Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Trifextra: Me and Craig (The UPS Man)

“Signature, please.” His eyes respectfully avert as the dog licks lunch smells off his brown pants.

“Sorry Craig.”

“No problem.”


Only time of year when a robe and UPS men go together.

I have to sign for every single thing since PINK tickets were stolen off my porch October of 2012. Sheesh!!!

Books I'm Reading When I Should Be Doing Other Things

Just a quickie!!! Thanks to Should Be Reading for the opportunity to share books.

What am I currently reading?

I’ve had this book on my shelf for a long time. It received the Man Booker Prize in 2005.

It’s described as a story “about love, loss, and the unpredictable power of memory.” From about midway through the book, I noted this quote about the past.

“That is why the past is just such a retreat for me, I go there eagerly, rubbing my hands and shaking off the cold present and the colder future. And yet, what existence, really, does it have, the past? After all, it is only what the present was, once, the present is gone, no more than that. And yet.”

The book is wonderfully written. I will reserve judgment until I finish.

What did I recently finish?

It was good, 3-stars. It told the story of one woman’s life from childhood to old age in a simple yet engaging way. I thought I'd like it better by the end but I liked the first three-quarters much more. Saying that, I still would recommend it as a lovely read.

What will I read next?

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!! I have to go get some things done!!!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Procrastinator's Christmastime Challenge

I’m sitting at this keyboard and I’m freezing. I am freezing because my house is cold and I should have taken a warm shower a long while ago after sweating out five pounds in a Bikram (i.e. severely hot) yoga class. I did not do this yet and my fingertips are blue and I'm shivering.

I’m sitting here typing while also staring at a stack of gorgeous family photos on Christmas cards, which were received in the mail today. At the same time, my stack of Christmas cards remains sealed in plastic wrapped packaging, unaddressed. 

I’m still sitting here, obviously, with full knowledge of the unwrapped Christmas gifts, which cover the entire floor of my bedroom. Fancy gold ribbon and silver foil paper and cute gift tags lay next to those gifts. I haven’t touched any of them yet except to burrow a path from my side of the bed to the bathroom so I don’t take a tumble in the dark when I get up at night.

I have a long list of things I haven’t done yet.

And I also have an idea of why I keep putting off every thing that is HO HO HO related (including today’s shower which is technically due to pure laziness). I just don’t feel like doing anything. Period.

It's not how I feel about Christmastime. I’m not in a bah humbug mood either. I love the holidays.

It’s almost as if I feel paralyzed to do anything because I don’t feel any sense of pressure yet. And I have no idea why I don’t feel any pressure because, please tell me if I’m wrong, Christmas IS next week. I can’t help it. 

They key component is I have to feel it, the pressure. And I don’t. Not yet.

I don't know if I am a glutton for punishment, although I can rightfully say I work best with a thumb planted firmly on my back, with a deadline. I can cram like nobody’s business and always get my shit done. Thank God I’m not a perfectionist since procrastinators aren’t afforded that luxury anyway. 

There's something just so enticing to me, and more fun-filled, about doing anything other than what I'm supposed to be doing. So maybe then, it's not about being a procrastinator at all. Whatever you call it (what do you call it?), it makes me me and it's not likely to change much no matter anyone's consternation. 

So until I feel it, the pressure, I’ll find things I’d rather do like read, or workout, or eat, or hang out with friends, or read some more. 

The pickle is, once Friday morning comes, the last grain of sand will drop through the hourglass. Time will have expired. There’ll be plans and holiday parties and kids stuff and a warm weather vacation. Life will become its beautiful Christmas chaos. And I'll be left surfing its wave.

By then, no more time to get ready for Christmas.

I should shower and get some shit done, right? I suppose time's doing its ticking thing...

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

WWW.Wednesday: Up Too Late Sneaking In Pages

In a hurry but wanted to share what I’ve been reading (over at Should Be Reading). I just wish there were a few more minutes in the day these days. Like every Christmastime reader, I’ve been staying up way too late to sneak in a few extra pages/chapters.

What am I currently reading?

I haven’t read much Alice McDermott; I think Charming Billy, which I liked, was the only other and that was so long ago. A testament to how much I like a book is whether it never leaves my side or I pull it out at stoplights. I’ve found myself pretty tight with Someone. I’m nearly finished.

What have I recently finished?
I liked this book though didn’t love it. It is a very quick read and kept me (usually) engaged. It’s a creepy premise. How much should we know about everything/everyone in this world? My personal feeling…I don’t need to know (shouldn’t know) everything about everyone and I’d rather not have everyone/anyone know everything about me. I’m too private and I misbehave.

“We are not meant to know everything, Mae. Did you ever think that perhaps our minds are delicately calibrated between the known and the unknown? That our souls need the mysteries of night and the clarity of day?”

What will I read next?

I need to make a dent in the books I have here at home so probably:

Have you heard about S. by JJ Abrams and Doug Dorst? I just about wet myself when it was delivered last week (actually two copies, Merry Christmas to me and one for a friend). If you don’t know about it, Google it. It will take some time, I’ve heard, so this will be a January project.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Blonde vs. Brown

Dazzle, his eyes did, as tow-colored strands threw back sunshine.

“You’re utterly myopic; I’m more than blonde hair and breasts.”

She remembers saying this once as coffee-colored rivulets run down the white basin.


This weekend over at Trifecta we are to add any 30 words of our choice to these three (basin, dazzle, myopic) for a total of 33 words. 

Blogger's Note: I've been blonde, then dark brown, then blonde and now recently dark brown again. There's definitely a difference. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

WWW.Wednesday: Book Obsessions

We all know it’s Wednesday and on Wednesday’s, for the last month or two, I’ve been talking about books and linking it up over at Should Be Reading. So here we go:

What am I currently reading?

This book starts out very quickly paced which I love. I’m about one-third through. It’s about a young, Google-like internet company and the whole “Big Brother” technology which is scary as it becomes increasingly more and more possible.

Also, I’m intermingling these spicy short stories.

What did I recently finish?

Absolutely outstanding. Five stars all the way. I'm addicted to and obsessed with Alice Munro.

What will I read next?

Well, I am in current violation of the moratorium on book buying that has been issued for this household. I expect UPS to ring my doorbell at any minute. Even though I have stacks and stack here from which to choose, here are the incoming:

It will be one of these! I think...

Happy reading!!!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Trifecta: When Mommy First Started Liking Daddy

“When did you know you liked Daddy?”

“Well, I liked your Daddy from the very first moment I met him.”

“You DID! Why?”

“Because he was so cute.”

“Daddy’s still cute.”

“I think so. And he was so hilariously funny he'd make me cry.”

“Daddy’s still funny but he made you cry?”

“No, silly! The laugh so hard your cheeks ache and your stomach hurts and tears fall kind. Do you know what I mean?”

“Yes, what else?”

“Your Daddy was nice to everyone. And we liked to do the same things.”

“Like what?”

 “Like eating pizza, going to Cubs games, playing tennis, sneaking into movies. All sorts of things."

"Wait, you didn't pay for the movie!?!"

"Forget I said that. Your Daddy was the most eligible bachelor in the whole city of Chicago. All the girls wanted to date him.”

“Were you jealous of all those other girls?”

“Maybe a little at first. Did you know he was engaged to marry someone else before we met?”

“He was?”

“Yep, they decided getting married wasn’t the right thing to do. We met just after that. But we were only friends for a while. It’s okay, you know, to be friends with boys without dating them. Sometimes it’s better that way but even if you’re just friends you can tell if there’s a spark or not. Then sometimes, maybe, you even dream about them and what it would feel like to go to a movie together or hold his hand. Or kiss him.”

“Did you like kissing Daddy?”

“That’s one of the reasons I wanted to marry him. Do you want to know the very first thing I really noticed about him? It was back when we'd just met.”

“YES! Tell me!!!”

“Remember we met at a Cubs game? Well, when Daddy got up to go to the bathroom I told Maggie, ‘That guy has the nicest tush I’ve ever seen.’ And I knew something exactly then.”

“Mom! Ewww!”

“Pickles, someday you’ll just know.”


This week Trifecta wanted to do something to mark the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. There are so many amazing Yiddish words that found their way into the English language, and they thought it would be great to highlight one.  To find one with a third definition, however, was not so easy until they stumbled upon this gem.
 33-333 for the word tush:
1. a long pointed tooth; especially : a horse's canine
2. an interjection used to express disdain or reproach

Happy Hanukkah to our Jewish friends.  Now let's all write our tushes off.

Thank you, Linda, for making Mondays even more fun!

I Don't Like Mondays Blog Hop

Friday, November 29, 2013

Trifextra: Food Coma Conundrums

This is how I'm choosing to spend the day!

Some days more than others, there’s such disparity between what I need to do, want to do, and should do.

Gloating jubilantly when not inharmonious, oftentimes it seems as complicated as Catch-22’s cousin.


This was a quick and dirty Trifextra prompt.  This weekend they assume that we are slogging our way through leftovers and family bickering (or is that just them? Nope, it’s not just you!!!) and thus they're going way easy on us. This weekend they’re are asking for a 33-word free write.

It’s also community vote. So click over, read a whole bunch of creative entries, and then vote for your favorite on Sunday night before you go to bed. Okay? 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Thoughts

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

A Thanksgiving Day Quote

Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart, it could hold a rather large amount of gratitude.

- A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

WWW.Wednesday: Turkey Week Book Selections

John Warner writes a column called "The Biblioracle" for the Printer’s Row Journal (the book arm of the Chicago Tribune). In it he reviews books or discusses the merits of different genres but it’s invariably all about books.

Last Sunday, he described his feelings about the short story. After reading a great number of such these last two weeks (by Alice Munro), short story collections may now be a new favorite type. I’m including an excerpt from that article here:

“The very best ones have a kind of diamond hardness, a compression down to only the most essential elements. The sensation of reading a great short story is like having the author remove part of your skull, reach in and scoop out some essential part of your brain you didn't previously know existed, and then display it in front of you.
Reading that over, I realize I've made it sound gross, but I mean to convey how a short story can simultaneously dislocate and reorient the reader. As we are immersed in the narrative, we are quickly and thoroughly dislocated from our own consciousness (a blessing in my case) until the narrative ends and we return to our senses, with a fresh understanding of the world we inhabit. I even occasionally find myself holding my breath as I read, as though I need to suspend all activity while I exist in this other world.”

This is how I feel, too.

What have I recently finished?

I loved every single minute spent with each and every story in this book. If you have not read anything by her, please do. She writes about women of all ages and circumstances, and everyone involved in their lives. Her writing is simply stunning.

What are you reading now?

Because I am currently obsessed with Munro and will read many more (or every) collection written by this author. More than halfway through and I believe I love it even more than the previous one, which is saying a lot.

A few weeks ago I mentioned I was in the mood to read some more spicy material. So I downloaded: 

Wikipedia notes "it was published posthumously in 1977- though largely written in the 1940s as erotica for a private collector." Hmm…

Having read only a few stories, I will reserve judgment on the spice quotient until next week.

What will you read next?

I really have no idea how I’ll feel after Thanksgiving and the kids go back to school. Maybe:

Thanks to Should Be Reading for making this happen!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

As My Eyelids Begin to Flutter, I Remember NaBloPoMo

I just want to lie on the couch. Really, I do. But I won’t let this day get completely away without writing something even though I blew NaBloPoMo two weeks ago. This will be my third week out of four getting it “right” and being consistent. I’d like to win a (random) prize this week over at Yeah Write. We are down to mere days now.

About lying on the couch, we (kids and me) were alternating between a battle of crepes on “Throw Down With Bobby Flay” and polar bears, walruses and seals on “Animal Planet”. I’m not one to nap but my eyelids were fluttering, for sure, when I remembered. 

So no one thinks I’m shirking my Thanksgiving Day responsibilities (This is my 25th year hosting it and I have it down!), I’ve been to the market, picked up Tom, and popped my head into the florist to grab flowers. Cleaned a little. That’s pretty much it because I had kids so they could help me with such things (kidding!).

Tomorrow is the first “day before” Thanksgiving that my husband has taken off of work. Ever. Doesn’t he realize he’ll be put to work here too? I’m banking on many hands making light work tomorrow. He's taking off Friday, too. As a matter of fact, he's never taken the day after Thanksgiving off either. Ever. Should be an interesting five days!

So my feet are going to prop back up and I’ll grab a blankie. I’m currently halfway through a fabulous book of short stories by Alice Munro (my second in two weeks).

Wouldn't this be a HOT room to have in a house? It's like a dream to me.
In reality, I probably look more like Peggy Bundy... And I don't expect this to change much for the next few hours.

Tomorrow, I hope to write about books but if I run out of time I'll re-post a Trifecta piece I wrote last year on tomorrow's exact day. It was a cathartic release for me. Now that I think about it, I'm going to re-post it for sure and my goal is to write about the books I've been reading.

Oh, and I hate the pitch blackness of 4:45pm!!!!!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Pluck. Chew. Dash. Roll.

The temperature outside is handily visible through the glass above my sink. Affixed to the big maple, the gage reads a frigid 29 degrees. In this part of the country, at this time of year, degrees mean nothing until you factor in wind chill. 

If I were sailing, I’d use the treetops as a yardstick to measure it, the wind, but the trees are leafless now. I watch the top branches sway anyway and suppose a sweatshirt under my Patagonia down coat should do the trick because it's always twice as windy when whipping through the park. 

She begins to dance as the words “Do you want to w…” leave my lips. My gloved hand reaches for the hook where her leash hangs and this seals the deal.

The park across the street looks like frozen tundra. The prairie grass has been sheared for the season and the playground is uninhabited. The old metal slide is covered with icy crystals.

I zip in tighter as precipitation, something between ice and snow, stings my cheeks. I can feel its weight and chilliness in my hair so I lift my hood.

Circumventing the first pond, we venture further inside, to the desolate space in the park’s center where she can explore unleashed with true Labrador unbounded enthusiasm.

Pluck, chew, dash.
Pluck, chew, dash.
Pluck, chew, dash.

She appears almost childlike and I brim with envy. It takes me a moment to comprehend what’s enthralling her so.When it finally dawns on me, I can’t get her attention because she’s in heaven. So I zigzag run behind her through a field of icy doggie delicacies (frozen goose poop) trying to catch her collar. I shout, as she licks her lips,

“Addison! Get over here!” “Stop eating that.” “Oh, man! That’s just plain gross!”

Then finally,

“I’ve got TREEEEEATS!”

I promise them out of desperation and disgust, and it's a lie, but she comes to me because I usually have them in my pocket. 


33-333 words for the third definition of:

PLUCK: (transitive verb)
1: to pull or pick off or out
2 a : to remove something (as hairs) from by or as if by plucking    b : rob, fleece
3: to move, remove, or separate forcibly or abruptly
4 a : to pick, pull, or grasp at    b : to play by sounding the strings with the fingers or a pick 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Shifts in Family Dynamics (When Your Kids Are Adult-ish)

The beauty of having older kids is no one wakes me up in the morning except the dog. As a matter of fact, I sometimes forget they’re home at all. It usually occurs to me around 11:00am because I either want to do something and the driveway is chocked full of cars that must be rearranged before I can reach mine OR dirty clothes magically appear in the laundry room during traditional sleeping hours (we are awake simultaneously for about 11-13 hours per day). Or the breadcrumb trails left throughout the kitchen and family room after midnight. 

On the plus side, they’ll willingly (within reason) run errands for me, walk the dog, unload the dishwasher, etc., etc.

The biggest difference, and what I forget in the time between their last visit home, is the shift in decision-making dynamics. They are mature-ish creatures of an extremely headstrong and opinionated nature. I suppose they’ve always been this way.

Historically and for the most part, our parenting style has been a dictatorship. Although I still think it’s fair to govern this way, it doesn’t go as smoothly as it once did. Everything is deemed discussable (and negotiable), which then leads some to believe we’re running a democracy. They think we vote on things. We, my husband and I, don’t. But then this happens…

“I agree with Daddy.” Or “Dad, Mom’s right.” Or “We don’t think so.”

We can feel the fault lines shift especially if there are an odd number of us involved. The “two against one” phenomena occurs. The playing field tilts when sides are taken and someone is odd man out unless all four of us are present. That typically turns out two against two then half the family is unhappy or disappointed or miffed.

Life with little kids is physically exhausting.

Life with adult(ish) children is mentally exhausting.

Nothing is perfect.

Believe me, we still haven't figured it out but I have no problem resorting to “because I said so” or outlandish and empty threats of punishment (especially if I’m woken during the night which I do not like) in a pinch as evidenced below.

When 5 boys spend the night...

And I didn't hear a peep!

 Happy Sunday! Today is homemade pasta making day!!!