Tuesday, July 31, 2012

What's Normal?: Trifecta


Being home (Chicago home) for a few days for the first time since the middle of June inspired this Trifecta response for:

1: a : a normal line  
    b : the portion of a normal line to a plane curve between the curve and the x- axis 
2: one that is normal 
Please remember:
                Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.
                You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.
                The word itself needs to be included in your response.
You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above. 

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Everything about this place is normal.

Some would consider it better than normal or even absolutely fantastic; the town in which I live.

It is full of perfectly normal families who drive in brand new SUVs with a sparkling sedan parked in the garage.

Young, pretty mothers walk children to school, toddlers in tow hanging onto the dog’s leash. They greet each other fondly and wave at every passerby on their way to Starbucks or tennis.

Handsome husbands briskly walk to the train, briefcase and newspaper in hand, for their daily commute to the city oftentimes running down my street to insure being on the “right” side of the tracks as the 6:53 is heard passing. Their families, on the benches by the tracks, anxiously await their return train home.

The schools are brand new; the district highly regarded. Taxes are high, of course. 


And the lawns are double cut on the diagonal. Flowers bloom spring, summer and fall.

Everything about this place is bright and cheery and utterly normal.

I’ve heard our village called “Mayberry” and even “Stepford” a time or two. I think “Mayford” works better than “Stepberry”. I believe it’s more than a little bit true, too.

But The Doings comes out weekly including the Police Blotter and that's when you begin seeing chinks in the armor. The really normal side of normal emerges. The stuff you cannot hide.

And as for me.

I look and act perfectly normal.

I speak about normal things. Have normal friends who do normal things.

I raised normal children.

Yet….

It’s as if, at times, you can see my paint peeling and it’s possible to chip some of me away to see deeper inside. That’s where you’ll find me.

I’m more quirky and outlandish. Slightly wacky and weird. Not as I appear.

Sometimes, I just feel like flying my freak flag. But I’d probably make the paper and people would talk in my small and normal village.

Do I really care? 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Reconnecting With Pleasure



What we want you to do this weekend is to give us a 33-word opening line to your book.  That's it.
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Something about this place; something about them alone in a rented Mackinaw cottage. Blistering heat at midnight seduced Gabby to skinny-dip purely to lower their bodies' heat breaking the awkwardness of their reconnection.



REMEMBERING: JUNE 27th




People remember different things/dates/days in their lives often out of the shear impact they have on them; what that event meant and how they were affected.

Obvious examples include wedding dates, a child’s birth and, for most of our generation, September 11th, 2001. Of course, there are many more such dates of a personal nature that apply only to an individual.

For me, I’ll personally add June 27th to my list of days/events that changed my life. Forever. And I will remember it every single year going forward.

One month ago to the day, and it was a Wednesday, my life changed significantly. Looking back on it today, one month later, my transformation was mentally and emotionally but thankfully not physically.

Now I just have to figure out its purpose. Why it happened and what’s to be done in my life because of it.

I was lucky and should do something with that good fortune, right?

So I wait to discover my path with anxious anticipation.

Patience.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

When Kids Text On Your Behalf!

So I made it two days!

I just have to write (been writing a bazillion words in the last two days for me, just not here).

And sometimes I just have to share…when things strike me but especially my funny bone and this had us rolling on the floor, literally, at the end of the night when discovered.

A lovely friend invited me to dinner last night knowing I was alone. She thoroughly tempted me with her delicious fish tacos (fresh lake bass). I know she thought I’d say “no”, which I actually considered doing for sure, but knew she could hook me with a favorite meal. Dangling good food is a sure fire why to get me to do something.

As a guest, I refuse to just sit tight when someone is working so hard in the kitchen, especially for me, so I insisted that I help because if someone ever asks me while I’m preparing a meal, I always find something to delegate. Tonight, I got to heat up rice and beans (Woo Hoo!).

It was during last minute preparations that my phone “quacked” (and I’d like to know who set it’s tone to do that…not me!). The text was from my darling 21 year old daughter who I hadn’t seen in a week.

Being busy in the kitchen, I asked her best friend, daughter of the lovely dinner lady, to answer on behalf of me. As me!

This is the conversation my daughter thought she was having WITH ME while out for dinner with her father…


(That's a martini glass, a swami, and two money bags)



I suppose, if it were truly true, he should be concerned. He knows me inside and out and the possibility of such cavalier and spontaneous behavior really makes his very practical head spin.

Have you ever seen the movie “Lost In America” with Albert Brooks and Julie Hagerty (a movie that makes us laugh every time)? Here’s a small snippet of the plot!

“David and Linda Howard are typical 1980s yuppies in Los Angeles who are fed up with their lifestyle. He works in an advertising agency and she for a department store. But after he fails to receive a promotion he was counting on and is asked to transfer to the firm's New York office instead, David angrily insults his boss and is fired. He coaxes his wife to quit her job as well and seek a new adventure.
The Howards decide to liquidate their assets and drop out, "like in Easy Rider", heading out to see the country in a Winnebago recreational vehicle. They leave L.A. with "nest egg", but don't get very far. The plan goes awry when Linda loses nearly all their cash playing roulette at the Desert Inn Casino in Las Vegas.

I think MY guy was thinking this. He should know better, however, because I’m not a gambler…with money, that is!!!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Gone Fishin’



I don’t know if I’m leaving for just today, maybe. Or if I’ll be gone for a week, or weeks, or perhaps a month. I need to see where I get swept.

Just feeling it. Feeling the need to take a step back from some things and devote my time to others.

There’s still so much I want to do this summer and I’m not getting to it.

I want to wet a line everyday and catch a few keepers (bass must be 14” ‘round these parts) and after Matt fillets them, cook them for our breakfast.

I want to swim...errrr....float!

I want to finish The Hunger Games and start In One Person by John Irving (I’ve read several of his books).

I want to see “To Rome With Love” like yesterday and maybe today because it’s finally RAINING!!!! Plus it's going to be 97 degrees, or so "they" say.

I want to play with my kids before they go back to school in three short weeks.

Then after they leave, there’s this spot I’ve wanted to visit for as many years as I can remember. It’s from my favorite movie of all time and while it’s less than 6 hours away from me right at this very moment, I haven’t pulled the trigger and driven up there. This I will do and by myself. I need this the most.

But really what I need is..... to unplug for a while…..

"You will recognize your own path when you come upon it, because you will suddenly have all the energy and imagination you will ever need"- Jerry Gilles (some author dude but love this)

"Wherever you go, go with all your heart."- Confucius

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Near Perfect Day: Stream of Consciousness Sunday



This week’s (optional) prompt for Stream of Consciousness Sunday (Thank you Jana's Writing Place):
Tell me about a keepsake that you treasure and will hold on to until death do you part.

Remember this is five minutes only. Unedited and un-spell (I know that’s not a word) checked.
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Aside from some letters, I really can’t think of much more. Take it all way, steal it, whatever. Actually,  you can. My doors are never locked; purse and keys are in my always open car. Sure, if someone actually did, I'd be inconvenienced and it would stink for sure.

What I do treasure, and remember and hold close to my heart are memories of near perfect days. And today is one of them. It’s one of them purely due to its utter simplicity.


Sleeping in late, the smell of coffee wafted though my bedroom door signaling that it was time for me to descend.

A juicy burger and an ice cold beer in the afternoon hadn't touched these lips in what seems like forever and that’s exactly what we did. Mixing with the locals at the nearby tavern who serves the best burgers for miles (or broasted chicken) we devoured but most importantly we TALKED! It felt so good to just talk.

I sunbathed while reading the National Enquirer. Then fell asleep in a lounge chair.

Laundry was done for me today. Without me ever asking or expressing the desire for help. Is it Mother’s Day?

Dinner is covered without me having to lift a finger. Pizza! Yee Haw!

Tonight, I’ll sip a glass of wine, we'll find a good movie to watch on the television, and simply relaxed.

It’s been a perfect day and I have one person to thank. Your thoughtfulness will be amply rewarded, I assure you!
**********************************

Friday, July 20, 2012

A Humongous Leap


33 words for taking a leap provided by Trifextra

These words are inspired by the following quote:

“There is a longing for a return to a time without the need for choices, free of the regret at the inevitable loss that all choice (however wonderful) has entailed.”

You marry for love, your heart’s true best friend, then cross your fingers with hope.

Once tied, there becomes no other choice.

And that’s okay. If you chose right to begin with.

Leaping In Head First



A mysterious board washes up. 

A little boy of six leaps into the water claiming it.


Determination.

Practice.

Face plants.

Trust and cajones.


The biggest leaps in life take just that, don’t they?

Two Matts doing their thing like it's their job!

It kind of is!


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Letters Written In Secret


A tiny poem by Robert Frost to inspire us this week from Write On Edge:
The Secret Sits
We dance round in a ring and suppose,
 But the Secret sits in the middle and knows.

se·cret/ˈsēkrit/
Something that is kept or meant to be kept unknown or unseen by others.

***********************************

I have secrets because I’m not an open book. Some things I just won't part with because I want them selfishly as mine. They’re not bad things by any stretch, just not common knowledge, not to anyone.

Most of my secrets aren’t naughty or irreverent because those are called “skeletons” and I have more than a few of them as well. The keeper of those is sworn to the deepest depths of her being and will never reveal them. Of this, I am 100% confident. Plus, I can resort to black mail if necessary because she has way too many bones out there too, for which I oversee. It’s nice to have a friend like that, of 30 years.

She’s also kept secrets in the form of letters I desired to keep forever that didn’t have a place in my home anymore. Although opened by me over 25 years ago, I’m certain she’s never read a single word of them. It’s the kind of person she is.

Many of my secrets, past and present, turn back to letters I've written.

I have always had a relationship with handwritten letters, for as long back as I can remember. Maybe because that’s just how it was; the only private way to communicate with anyone.

“Private” was a secret in itself sometimes. Precarious. That’s part of the allure of some letters, isn’t it?

I became a proficient note passer in grade school with a stellar record in confiscation. In high school, love letters were hand delivered because posting them risked an interloping mom’s eyes. College letters found the blue box and I’d wait with bated breath for words to be returned. Waiting was the best part.

And it continued; my letter writing and still does to this day.

Anyone who has been or is special to me has had a letter written to them by moi. The secret there becomes the ones that were mailed that possibly shouldn’t have been many years ago rendering return mail unable to be saved once read. Letters not inappropriate in content per se but to whom they were written and why.

Then there are the letters written in secret, for my eyes only, that have never been mailed and the potential recipient will never know of their existence. They will never receive a postmark.

I wrote one of those recently; one that will never be mailed. I’ve kept it, hidden.

The scariest thing is I recently dreamt I called the addressee asking for their information to send them my handwritten letter. This would never happen for many reasons but mostly because I don’t want its contents revealed. Ever.

That’s MY secret.



Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Awards: Making Me Feel Special Today!




I’ve met some of the most awesome people in the world since I started this blog. They have supported me with lovely comments, laughed at my silly stuff and been all around sweet friends. Thank your for this. And I get so much from them, from reading their blogs and I rarely miss one of their posts because I love their style of writing and what they share of themselves.

AND NOW!!!! They are giving me awards!

So I put on a fancy dress just to type out this acceptance post. Actually, all I did was shower, which is a pretty big deal. So I’m fresh as a daisy accepting these!

You can’t even imagine how special this is to me at the moment.

a.eye over at  started off award season for me a few weeks ago. I apologize to her for not posting about this sooner. She is so engaging, to me, and really, really funny and her pictures series lately has given me the opportunity to get to know her better which I love.

Thank you, a.eye Shouldn't Life Be More Than This?, for the Liebster Award for bloggers with less than 200 followers (maybe someday or maybe not but it doesn’t matter one bit because I’m appreciative of those I interact with right at this very minute!)

Here are the rules for the Liebster Blog Award.

1.Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog.
2.Link back to the blogger who presented the award to you.
3.Copy and paste the blog award on your blog.
4.Present the Liebster Blog Award to 5 blogs of 200 followers or fewer. *I will do this at the end.
5.Let them know they have been chosen by leaving a comment at their blog

Then yesterday, Jen at We're Living A Full LIfe gave me the Fabulous Blog Ribbon. I love Jen and I think she knows it. She talks honestly, she’s genuine and funnier that heck. Also, she takes amazing photographs, which she shares on her blog, and I AM missing those this summer (how about some from the beach trip?) Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

This morning, Kenya from Here's The Thing bestowed on me another Fabulous Blog Ribbon. Okay! Yes, I do feel very special and this is exactly the kind of bump I needed today. Kenya makes me chuckle every time she comments on my blog. She writes about Christopher (her son) and her dad (love him without even knowing him) and she entertains me with everything she writes. I hardly miss a post of hers. Thank you, thank you!

For the Fabulous Blog Ribbon:

Name five things I've experienced in my life that were FABULOUS:
(This is really easy!)
1.    The day I walked down the aisle into the loving arms of the sweetest man in the world. I thank God everyday that he waited because I was very late and his friends said, “Let’s Go!” They didn’t really say that but kind of.
2.    The moment I first saw my babies and held them tightly to my chest.
3.    My first mission trip to Comayagua, Honduras nine years ago when I first met and fell in love with my Goddaughters, Juana and Johanna.
4.    Spending the last 20 entire summers at the lake playing camp counselor to my children and teaching them everything there is to know about simple living.
5.    The days I met my heart’s true best girlfriends; one at her birth, one freshman year in college and one as a young mother 16 years ago.

List five things I hate:
(Hate is such a strong word and I don’t really use it)
1.    Tippy top of the list…Judgmental people.
2.    People who talk behind others’ backs.
3.    Blue Cheese!!!!!
4.    Racism of any sort.
5.    Laundry and this I can say I hate with a passion like no other.

Five things I love:
1.    My family. My friends. Couldn’t live without either.
2.    Watching a sunrise or sunset over the water with someone special.
3.    A really, really, really good hug from someone who cares about me. Holding hands.
4.    Autumn when the trees are changing everyday (the first blanket of snow is close behind)
5.    Living simply.

Pass the award to five other bloggers. *Will do this at the end (and leave a comment on their blog, so they know they are a recipient.)

Liebster Award

The Fabulous Blog Ribbon
a.eye @ Shouldn't Life Be More Than This? (She engages me to no end)
Arnebya @ What Now And Why? (NEVER fails to crack me up with word choice even if the subject matter is serious. Sorry about that.)
Tina @ Not Just Another Mother Blogger (Her tastes run similar to mine, she’s one of my greatest boosters and her thoughtfulness is greatly appreciated)
Jody @ About Last Weekend (Her antics and photos from her life experiences turn me green with envy and I’m just glued to what goes on with her…not in a creepy way, though!)
Stacy Uncorked(A new friend that let’s randomness rock every Tuesday and post some crazy stuff that I just have to read)

Thanks again, my friends, for the special awards. CHEERS!!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

LOOK GREAT NAKED!

Do you sometimes feel as if the world is conspiring against you? That it sends out the big guns, even Brooklyn Decker, to remind you of what you cannot do?

I swear she was placed in the changing room of the MRI department to taunt me. I didn’t even have to rearrange the magazines to see her. She was just there... perfectly airbrushed, beautiful curves and all!


 Burn Mega Calories – Would love to but can’t!
Build Lean Muscle- Had them and want them back!
Sculpt Sexy Curves- Love them and always a goal!

Yes, indeed! I’ve been complaining, A LOT, about not being able to move, exercise, burn off steam, and everything that’s awesome and true about intense exercise. It helps me tremendously but particularly with my attitude and state of mind. It chills me out and when those endorphins kick in, I’m the happiest girl in the world. Just ask my family!

If you’ve been reading here since I started or even a month ago, you know I tend to talk about exercise more than a little bit. I love it! I love activity of any kind; bike riding, boxing, running, cross training, swimming. I love rope workouts. I love doing it with my friends. I love the sense of accomplishment; being hot and sweaty from it’s intensity. But mostly, I love what it has given my body and my mind…a very healthy, fit look and loads of clarity.

I MISS IT!

And now SHE turns up to remind me of what I can’t do. Again, I’m not complaining but I'm certainly whining just short of pitching a fit. I want that part of my life back. My old life! And as Veruca Salt from “Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory” says, “I want it NOW!!!”


Here’s my biggest question. It is rhetorical! I know the answer but I’m refusing to let it make sense at the moment.

How can you go from being in arguably the best physical shape in recent memory, working out hard since the beginning of December, to completely out of shape in a mere three weeks? Something is definitely wrong with this equation.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying I was the skinniest I’ve ever been, because I wasn’t. I was very healthy and very fit. I was embracing my curves and my muscle tone. I was feeling great and clothes were slipping on smoothly. I worked hard for that!

Now, I just feel scrawny. I’m not a small person in stature but I feel little, or littler, physically and mentally. Pants are falling off of me and not in a “Hey, I look good” or “You can never be too skinny or rich”, kind of way. It doesn’t look healthy at all and I don’t like it one bit.

Seeing that magazine this afternoon reminded me of what I already knew. It’s about being healthy, strong and sturdy, and I can be that way again, just not today.

Tomorrow, I can begin to change that. Why? Because I love strength. I'm very attracted to it physically, mentally and emotionally; in myself and in others. 


So, I’m going to walk down the road and hand deliver a thank you note for starters. I’m thinking there’s nothing wrong with holding some straight armed planks and doing push ups if my shoulder can handle it. I can throw in some stationary lunges if I’m feeling chipper. And that's how I’ll start building my strength back, beginning tomorrow. 

And yes, I did lift the magazine from the waiting room table. I have to go back for results at the end of the week, so I’ll have the opportunity to return it!

But first I want to learn how to “Be Happier Every Day”, “Flat Belly Secrets” and “Healthy, Yummy Bikini Friendly Ideas”.

Right now, I’ve had as much of this day as I can handle. I’m placing Brooklyn Decker on the pillow next to me and we are going to take a nap together. In a platonic way, of course ;-)

Mama’s Losin’ It
2.) Tell us about the last thing you complained about. How was the issue resolved?

If This Isn't Random Enough, I'm Not Sure What To Say!


I can’t imagine that anything I write from this point further will be more random than the randomness that this post will turn out to be. Thanks, Stacy, for letting random be the norm and not just be considered bad writing. And Shawn for allowing us to get it all out at Talk To You Tuesdays.

To say that I am currently frustrated, which I mentioned yesterday, is an understatement. It’s been three weeks and I still really can’t go anywhere by myself, or do anything (nothing I want to do except read and write). When you contemplate all the things you “can’t” do that you “want” to do, you then want to do them all the more and that’s just plain frustrating. I’m not being ungrateful because I am grateful. I’m just being feeling sorry for myself and that’s not good and not like me. Snap the “H-E-double hockey sticks” out of it.

I am also extremely over caffeinated at the moment. Two large javas will do that to a girl and my fingers are flying. My mouth would be flying, too, if I had someone to talk with. My girlfriend stopped by (the one who brought the second large vessel of coffee) and I just about got on my knees, pulled at her clothing and begged her to stay with me. However, she brought  “devil dog” along and after tearing through my house with Addy for an hour both soaking wet, I’d had enough. Now I’m lonely again :-(

Why can’t I just push an “on” button for anything in this house and have that thing simply work? Turn on. I’m not techie by any stretch of the imagine but I have a definite knack for figuring things out  and I won't let this computer, Linksys, Mediacom modem SH$T get the better of me. But I also don’t feel like wasting hours on the phone jumping through hoops to get everything to work. So I picked up the phone and asked someone to help, to do it for me. Does all this technology, wireless stuff annoy anyone but me?

Thank God for ponytails. It’s the only thing I can physically do to my hair right now and I’m finding the style very freeing. Before 3 weeks ago, I can’t remember the last time I actually put my hair in one.

Do MRIs make anyone squeamish? Claustrophobic? I have another one this afternoon for a torn rotator cuff (this stupid accident really messed me up!). YUCK! I’m not either of those two things but there is something terribly creepy about being shoved in a tube, panic button in hand and no quick way out. I often wonder if anyone is really manning the booth they hide behind in the other room and if I did push the button or scream, would anyone be there to hear me? Today…I just might test it out.


I need to buy new eyelashes for the weekend. Never know when you might need them.

It’s not easy being off of pain meds. I’m not sure that needs any more explanation. Hopefully the nauseating pain in my shoulder and the results of the MRI will yield a new supply. I’m not addicted, I swear!

What’s good on the tube right now? I need things to watch, to occupy some time.

I’m so excited to be writing a ton. But I’m not reading very much. Rats! I need to really dive into The Hunger Games. I know I’ll get hooked and it’s just what I need but I can’t seem to settle my mind into reading. Writing seems to be working better for me.

I’m bored with myself.

I can’t believe my kids go back to school in less than one month. I’m just short of devastated about this. I’m a “touchy feely” mom and they indulge me, usually. I will miss this horribly! I guess my attentions will have to be directed elsewhere (begrudgedly?). Lucky man!

I swear it’s like my neck is in its own 24 hour a day personal hot sauna and it’s getting skinnier which is not a good thing I’m thinking. If my posture isn’t stellar in 6 more weeks of this, I’m going to be really P-O’d.

That must be random enough for Random Tuesdays, right?

Stacy
Seriously Shawn

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Lesson In Kissing

His name was Micah. I always loved that name because it was so different.

And so was he from me.

We grew up in the same Chicago suburb which was rather large but neighborhoods were small. The kids you’d run into on the street were the ones you’d likely run into the next day, if you really wanted to, because 6 blocks isn’t far away, especially not on a bike. And that’s how four 15 year old girls, heading into sophomore year, met a large group of 16 year old boys from another high school.

The boys went to Timothy Christian, a Christian Reform school, in our neighborhood. The families generally kept to themselves so even though we lived within close range, our paths never crossed since we went to different grade schools. Growing up, I truly believed we were considered "taboo" to the TC kids.

Well, there’s no way to stop teenage boys and girls from meeting when they have their minds set on this. Straddling our bikes on a street corner, we talked. Cops would come by and kindly ask us to scatter. So we’d move to a different one.

One sure thing was the girls longed to kiss the boys and so did they. I’m not certain which side was more inexperienced; us or them.

Being late bloomers, the girls had heard plenty of stories about kissing. Experienced girls warned us that some boys kissed like Hoover vacuums and others so sloppy they didn’t know what to do with all the spit. None of this sounded appealing however, one by one, my girlfriends began to pop their kissing cherries.

Micah and I were still just talking but knew deep down we’d do this together. Everyone’s ready at different times.

In the fall and back to our respective high schools, weekends remained the same. The group got together because the other girls were “hooked up”.

It was just before Halloween when we gathered in George’s garage; his parents allowed boy/girl get togethers, and Micah asked if I wanted to go inside. Before we’d only been alone rather by default. This time, he was asking me to be ALONE.

Liking him, a lot, I went. Sitting closer than I ever had to a boy on a couch, he asked what I’d like to do. Having only one thing on my mind, I blurted, “Let’s make out.” Instantaneously, his lips pressed softly against mine; his breath smelled so sweet. Kissing for what seemed like an hour, he suddenly asked, “Can we French kiss?”

I was so far into the moment to say anything other than “OK”.

It was the first “real” kiss either of us experienced. I was 15 and he, 16. And it was completely opposite of hoover-like or sloppy with spit.

It was one of the sweetest, most gently intense feelings I have ever experienced in my life.

To this day, I credit Micah for my immense love of kissing someone special.