Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Trifecta: There Are All Kinds Of Whores

“Sit down, please.” He said firmly.

Oh, oh! She knew that tone, the one he didn’t use often at all, which meant only one thing.

She never got in trouble but she did get “talking to”[s].

“Who’s perfect, anyway? He’s not either.” Raced through her mind as she found a chair to sit facing him.

“Okaaaay. Are you mad at me?”

Holding paper in his hand, he said, “Can you explain this?”

“I don’t know what that is?”

“It’s the VISA bill.”

“What’s the problem?” she asked with one eye squeezed closed, nose and shoulders scrunched, as if faking invisible.

“It’s all right here. I know when, where and names.”

“WHAT? Did you hire a private investigator or something? That’d be pretty crummy!”

“You think this is funny?

“Let me see that.” She said grabbing at it.

“You don’t even try to disguise it anymore. You think I don’t see where you hide them? That I don’t notice? You’re becoming reckless. The kids are still in school and our homes…” His voice began heating up.

“You’ve never been really observant. I just thought...”

“Well, you thought wrong. This, I see.” Pointing a finger.

“You secretly like it. I know you do. So stop pretending.” She said trying to deflect his accusations of her questionable behavior.

She couldn’t lie because he would know.

“Do you want me to admit it? Is that what you want?”

“No. I want you to stop. Now.”

“But I, I…can’t promise that.” She said with a little nervous twitch.

“I would appreciate if you’ll, at the very least, commit to trying.” He sighed, exasperated, having nothing more to say.

Phew! That wasn’t as scary as she thought. She came out pretty unscathed.

Of course they have names. Her men.

 Stuart, Jimmy and Christian (not Grey).

And she is sneaky and shameless, but apparently not as stealth as she thought she was, or always had been.

She’s a shoe whore.

There are always worse things I could be….


This was written for Trifecta's 33-333 word challenge using the third definition of WHORE: a venal or unscrupulous person. 

(I like them tall, dark and beautiful!)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Birthday Presents For Hubbies

It’s hubby’s birthday today! And he received a very timely and much desired present last night. The Chicago Stock Exchange is closed today because the NYSE is. New York doesn’t want any business transacted while it is dealing with Sandy!

Nothing, I mean NOTHING, makes my guy happier than not having to go into work.

What in the world will I do with him all day (and tomorrow for that matter because I overheard the exchange may be closed Tuesday as well)?

It is his birthday so that means we should do something fun; something he wants to do. Right? Hmmmmm…..

A movie! That’s what we’ll do. He loves popcorn (he doesn’t let me put fake butter on it though!) and the show. Maybe we’ll even see two in a row like we used to do when we were dating and newly married. But we will pay for both instead of doing the “other” thing we might have done when we were young and broke. We will pay, I promise!

[I loved being young and broke. We were tight and worked through a million things. Like vacations on the cheap; buying the condo of our dreams; eating out at great restaurants or going to two movies in a row; even buying diapers. In a lot of ways, even though things were tough, things were simpler and we were insanely happy. Does that make sense to you?]

And for his birthday dinner tonight?

Do I cook for him or take him to a great restaurant?

Be an apron only wearing chef or put on a hot outfit with black stockings to go out?

OR cook at home in hot outfit with black stockings?

I’ll have time to figure that out at the movies!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Speaking Spanglish

So this is the idea for Sunday Stream of Consciousness at Jana’s Thinking Place. I almost missed today for several reasons but as I thought about missing today, I thought back to March (maybe) when I started doing SOC on Sundays. And you know what? I’ve hardly missed any. So I decided excuses weren’t going to cut it today!

Five minutes. On the above topic. Unedited. Un-fussed with writing.


It’s not a new trick. It’s an old one. It’s so very old. Well 4.75 years old.

Tomorrow is the day I break the seal; break the cellophane seal on my Rosetta Stone Central American Spanish.

(Hey! This is exactly what my box looks like!)

You see (readers of this blog have heard me bemoan about this many times and I still haven’t done anything) my family gave me this language program almost five Christmas’ ago because I asked for it. And here I am. In the same Spanglish speaking state I was five years ago. Not improved at all.

I have this particular edition because that’s where I find myself most often needing to speak the language. I also find myself in Mexico on a yoga-ish retreat most years, too. And this Christmas, I will be vacationing with my family in a Spanish speaking Central American country.

I’m also committed to a 5-week trip beginning at the end of May through 4th of July. I’ve heard there is not a lot of English spoken where I’m headed. It would be wise to learn. One of my travel mates speaks Italian, close but no cigar. The other speaks kitchen Spanish; you know the kind you use when you work in a restaurant which WILL come in handy.

But I’m tired of making excuses; being a giant procrastinating slug by not learning myself and relying on others.

My friends…please hold me to it!

Friday, October 26, 2012

I Need To Hear Your Voice

Five Minute Friday at Lisa-Jo Baker at Gypsy Mama is a stream of consciousness linkup (which you know I love) with this week’s prompt being VOICE.

Connect on Twitter with the hashtag #FiveMinuteFriday.

No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font or punctuation.

Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

Okay VOICE, here we go…

There are things I need to (love to) to really know about a person. I love to see something written; not an email or something typed. I connect seeing handwriting because it’s real. It helps me visualize people. It’s like a piece to a puzzle.

But what is more important to me is knowing what someone’s voice sounds like. I may not know what they look like, or what their handwriting looks like, but hearing a voice stimulates my senses. For me, hearing things like music or words, the intonation of a voice, is incredibly important. If I can see the person AND hear them…AHHHH!

There is someone I’d love to be hearing right now. Someone I miss very much. That is one of my God daughters who lives in an orphanage in Honduras. I didn’t see her, hear her voice this year and it just about stabbed me in the heart.

She’s 18 now. I’ve known her since she was nine. She’s almost grown up but schooling (unlike other things) moves much slower there. She’s a high school sophomore.

I happened to be on Facebook today and “poof”! Up popped “Hola”. I was surprised and thrilled because it was a school day and during school hours.

So I asked about escuela (school) and she was getting ready for a big exhibition for her teachers on an operating system so she wanted me to wish her “BIG” luck.


Presentations…On operating systems…In Honduras?

And I could see she was trying to video chat with me. Then I would REALLY hear her voice but after a minute or two, she said GTG (so kidlike). So I sent her a giant XOXOXOX which I taught her. And of course, my love.

I really miss her. Boy do I wish I could hear her voice.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Elevator Etiquette: What Do You Do?

1.) Write a post in just 12 lines...

Is the first prompt in over at Mama Kat's Writing Challenge. It's my first choice.

One of my favorite quotes is the inspiration for my 12 lines.

“The cure for boredom is curiosity.
There is no cure for curiosity.”
Dorothy Parker


I was curious about this very thing this morning as I rode the elevator to my room from the fitness center. For three days, I’ve been staying at a hotel connected to Indiana’s Student Union while visiting my kids.

I’ve had plenty of opportunities to ride the elevator with all kinds of people: kids, parents, professors, housekeepers, or whoever. I also took some extra trips while not noticing which way the arrow was pointed.

What do you do when you encounter someone in an elevator? Do you say “hi”, begin a conversation, just smile or have no reaction at all paying them not one lick of attention? Does it make a difference if you are already there and someone hops on or if you are the enterer?


P. S. I know how to count to 12. Oops!
Mama’s Losin’ It

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Don't Poke The Mama Bear!

I’m really very laid back. Not a whole lot ruffles my feathers.

I’ve learned to pick my battles with myself, my husband, my children, and the world, for that matter. My social life has experienced enough attrition over the years (the fluff is gone) that it’s all love with my friends.

You know what you can’t do?

You can't mess with my kids. Period.

No one would mess with “Sissy”, my daughter. She’s tougher than I could ever dream of being. What attribute does she get from me? Once she opens up, you’re in for life unless you majorly F%CK it up. I’d give you another chance but not her.

My sensitive son is only beginning to understand some subtleties of relationships. He takes everything to heart, bleeds for others, and would give you the clothes off his back and my money out of his pocket if someone needed it.

Raising Matt was a daily challenge.

He’s also bright, charming, and vibrant but he’s different, too.

I knew it as did his teachers.

In first grade, Dr. C. said, “Our little lion doesn’t fit into this box called ‘school’. He’s a square peg. The problem is he has to get through it. In the end, he’ll be fine.”

“Are you holding him back?” I gulped.

“Heavens no. He’s too bright!”

Every time I’d see her over the next 13 years she'd ask, “How’s our lion?”

During 4th grade, our lion was officially diagnosed with learning disabilities that prevented his extremely intelligent brain from realizing it’s true capabilities, which is something we surmised all along. His mind worked differently. Imagine running on a treadmill set at 8mph, which is fast. It’s moving so quickly if you pause at all, you'd fall off. That's how fast his brain processed.

It also decided to mix things up at the same by changing the order of words and letters so when he saw “it”, “and” and “the”, they never looked the same the next time he read. His coping mechanism was to listen carefully because it was the only way to insure he'd catch everything, which became extremely unpopular with teachers who insisted on note taking.

I’m simplifying this but, in essence, this is what it was like.

We resisted medication in 4th grade choosing accomodations and modified nutrition first. In sixth grade, he had a complete breakdown in a “team” meeting that reduced him to tears. He begged for help. My heart was crushed as I watched him crumble before my eyes.

The only option left became medication because falling further behind wasn’t one with high school right around the corner.  It was a blessing. The moment you realize your child’s brain is “unlocked” is one of the happiest days you’ll ever experience but it’s not without issues.

He couldn’t eat.

He couldn’t sleep.

His physical growth was a concern.

His stomach hurt.

But he handled himself in social situations better.

His grades dramatically improved when he remembered to turn in homework.

This seemed to be our academic answer.

Doctors say kids usually grow out of the need for medicine. But when? He still wasn't growing. “Is it because he can’t eat?” we asked.

He waited to grow. We waited.

Then came the day he decided, “I’d like to try without it.”

“Ok.” Yikes! Not a great idea.

He began eating, gaining weight, and looking healthy. Yet we saw him slipping almost immediately. Finding a balance proved impossible. You can’t force pills down the throat of a 15 year old. I’ll admit to trying.

It took until mid-terms sophomore year for him to ask for them back. Defeated, his awesome doctor reassured him, “Matt, your brain just works differently. There’s nothing wrong with that.” God bless him.

Getting our kid, with attention issues and dyslexia, through high school became one of our greatest accomplishments (struggles) as parents. It took more support than I can accurately explain.

He was accepted into every college he desired and his confidence was brimming.

When he left for school, we warned him not to let anyone know he took medicine. In fact, guard it.

Freshman year, he was exhausted from not eating, little sleep and a weakened immune system due to lack of nutrition. He was sort of a mess. He decided to take himself off his meds, again. What he didn’t realize was the amount of sustained focus required for each and every class, tests, project and paper. He ended up calling the doctor himself to reinstate his prescription.

Funny thing about controlled substances, they can’t be faxed or emailed anywhere. A paper copy must be taken to a pharmacy. Identification is required. You can get it every 30 days and not a day sooner then the last time it was dispensed to you. And since he was home last weekend, I handed him his pills personally.

Today, he showed me the bottle with only 12/30 left explaining that someone stole 15 pills from his room.

It’s a crime to steal controlled substances.

It’s a felony to sell them.

My kid is slightly anxious by nature and already concerned about studying for upcoming tests. It’s not merely a crutch.

My solution is “It's against the law. Call the police!”

His idea is a 50 lb. safe because he doesn’t want to make waves and confront anyone.

I know. I know. He has to work it out himself but I’m still mad and I want someone to get in trouble.

It’s been a long road to get here and we don't need anyone else messing it up. We do that just fine on our own.

College and Dogs, Endorphins, How French Women Stay Thin, Sleeping Naked

Only time for a very short burst of randomness today!

I really should be in the car, right at this very moment, driving down to Indiana University to see my kids. It’s not a long drive (3.75 hours) but I’m dragging my heels here. It’s a really big week! Addison, 80 lbs. of chocolate Lab-ness, is visiting campus for 3 days AND staying with Matt at his fraternity. They’ve nicknamed her “Frat-ison”. Their plan is to walk her up and down past all the sororities. They say a dog is a chick magnet. Hopefully, things will go down as planned!

Actually, I’m still catching up from a surprise visit from three college boys (and 5 loads of laundry (just my son’s)). They were fantastic. And I’ve been so incredibly pleased with each and every friend my son has introduced us to from his fraternity. We had five stay with us at the lake this summer for a long weekend and now these two this weekend. They’re all polite, helpful, engaging (look you in the eye and converse type of engaging), smart and they made their beds. What good boys! And they didn’t wake up momma at night with any loud or noisy behavior.

Probably my favorite type of workout is spinning. I love it. Talk about an endorphin rush! And the sweat pouring off…there’s nothing like it. Of course, the thought of burning 600 calories in an hour is addicting, too.

So watch this very short YouTube video (only 45 seconds) of how French women stay thin. 


 I knew there was more to it than just walking to the market everyday.

I love when I hear a favorite song on the radio that I’d forgotten about. And since I have Shazam, it’s easy for me to download it. So here is that song I forgot I loved so many years ago. I need more Bob Seger in my life. Plus I missed Music Moves Me Monday. So here's one from me...

Every morning when I go around the corner for coffee, I hear the question of the day by a local radio show. Most often I catch just the question and I’m not around to hear the answer. Today I tuned in just as Eric said, “Correct answer!”

So the question was, “At night, what do men do 3 times more than women?” I didn’t have the opportunity to hear the other guess and I’m not sure this would have been my guess but the answer is…….
Sleep naked!

Would you have gotten that? I hung on for the brief conversation after the correct answer. Who feels more awkward in bed when one is wearing jammies and the other is naked? And the overwhelming response was the clothing clad person feels awkward that the other person is naked. Hmmmm…..

Happy Tuesday~

Thanks Stacy Uncorked, Shawn and Impulsive Addict for another Tuesday!

StacySeriously Shawn

Monday, October 22, 2012

Trifecta: Dark Shadows

I had no idea before today what I was (am?).

I was (am?) most probably a scelerophobic (a bad guy fear).

Living on a quiet, tree-lined street in a suburb with little crime, no one locked doors. Windows had screens to allow the breeze.

Dark Shadows haunted me at 4:00 (I hid) after Gilligan’s Island. 

Dragnet, at night, always began “the story you are about to hear is true…” inevitably including legit America’s Most Wanted”s. It didn’t matter, to me, where they were last seen. I was FREAKED!

Convinced sinister men from posters, armed and dangerous of course, or whatever, would find me in a sleepy suburb and…

My mind never went further. Imagining them in my room was enough.

So it began in a bedroom with too many hiding spots. Full sweeps every night; under the bed, swiping a foot over the closet floor; arms swinging through clothing. Even on sweltering nights, window latches were triple checked. Shades drawn at sunset.

Door locked; the trashcan against it to warn me in case I didn’t hear the lock picked. I thought about booby-traps while praying.

For Everything.

For Safety.

For a Storm.

Bad guys didn't visit during storms.

Against better judgment I saw movies like “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”, “Amityville Horror” and “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” with my boyfriend so we could snuggle. I paid dearly for years.

Hardly sleeping...

Was it because Dad traveled incessantly leaving only mom home with us? What could she really do?

College provided respite with ROOMMATES and…


On my own, it sort of started again (okay, it did). My first studio-apartment proved easy to sweep (closet and shower) before turning triple deadbolts Dad installed. Place two, a one-bedroom, took more time.

Thereafter, I had roommates.

Now, if I’m sleeping completely alone?

Bedroom locked, pepper spray handy and 80 lbs. of fierceness between me, Barnabas Collins and “poster” guy, even though there’s absolutely no crime on this tree-lined street.

Old habits die hard…

For chicken shits!


33-333 words for the third definition of sinister:

3. singularly evil or productive of evil

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Living Temporarily "Inside The Box"

It’s Stream of Consciousness Sunday at Jana’s Thinking Place. I always like to thank her for giving us a spot to drop our stuff on Sundays. I really like to write this way so here is her prompt.

Today’s (totally optional) prompt:

What have you done recently or would like to do that’s outside your comfort zone?




Absolutely nothing to report. I haven’t done anything recently that has been out of my comfort zone. Also, I have nothing on my mind that is out of my comfort zone (this is exceptionally atypical for me).


I’m trying to decide if this depresses me or if I’m okay with it. My life generally vacillates between way too busy or not anything to do; much too exciting or far too boring; craziness versus normalness.


Sometimes I really wish for more of a balance. I just don’t think my life is cut out to be that way even though my zodiac sign is one of balance, a sign that craves balance.


I guess I go more for balance in personal relationships than with what goes on in my life. I sort of just get caught up in the flow and hope it sweeps me either someplace fun or, at least, not too precarious. Hopefully a productive place as well.


So today.

This week.

This month.

Next month.

I’m predicting no excitement and no action outside the box. I'm also predicting movies and books and lots of them.


Fingers crossed for next year. Pretty please. There’s only so much lack of adventure and hysteria a girl can take.


Actually, I relish in the peacefulness of what most people would consider my boring life. And that’s okay.




So here are Jana's rules:

  • Set a timer and write for 5 minutes.
  • Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.
  • Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible.
  • Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post (in the sidebar). .
  • Link up your post below.
  • Visit your fellow bloggers and show some love.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

When Self-Motivation's Being A Bitch

(I want to be able to do this. Is that too much to ask?) 

It’s almost 1:30 and I’m still procrastinating.

I’ve been talking about going to “the stairs” all morning.

But my iPod wasn’t charged and there’s stuff to do and I have to make breakfast for the boys and I have to……

And the excuses go on and on and on.

Here’s my attempt at inspiring myself.

And I want to know when I turned into a slug!

(Not me :-( )

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Peep Overdose And Sugar Addiction!

It may or may not have started with an overdose on Halloween Peeps. I ate this whole box in, oh I don't know, ten minutes? Pretty gross, if you ask me.

Did you know they made Halloween Peeps? 

I didn’t but I ran into them at a drug store in New York. Until Sunday, I only thought Peeps were available at Easter and Christmas so I've never pursued them at any other time.

You see... I’ve had a scandalous seasonal romance with Peeps (not as intense as my love affair with peanut butter but an affair none-the-less).

As a matter of fact, my mom still buys me Peeps for Easter and brings them over to my house. Is she still feeling guilty that she discontinued our Easter baskets in favor of her grandkids? I never, ever tell her that I’ve already had several boxes. That would disappoint her. I always get a box of traditional Peeps exactly like this:

And I’m not terribly partial to a color but as far as Easter Peeps go, I choose yellow first (always) but I will eat pink, purple and white bunnies as well. I'll eat any color.

What I’m confessing to here is I have an addiction to sugar, not always, but currently and I make bad decisions/food choices because of it. 

I eat way too much of it and too often; it gives me an energy boost only to drop me on my ass an hour later. And it’s a vicious cycle that I keep feeding!!!

I don’t sleep well and lack of sleep triggers sugar cravings big time.

They (web M.D. and other such sources) say the withdrawal should last only a week. It’s been 5 days.

And you know what?

I want to tear (am tearing?) my entire house apart looking for sugar because I have depleted my sources. If I dug around in my daughter’s room, I’d probably find candy somewhere but since she hasn’t lived at home for a few years, it’s would likely be stale, gray chocolate and everything else just plain nasty. That’s if she's become more lax in her hiding places in her older age.

So what have I been thinking? Just how desperate am I right this minute?

I’m almost ready to turn the Hersey's Syrup bottle upside down and take a few squirts to give me a bump. Anyone ever done that? I'm not saying.

Someone talk me off the ledge.

Or send me a piece of fine, dark chocolate.


Math Equations For Wishes

Blogger's Note: Not that I'm giving a math lesson here but to clarify my equations, I thought I'd add that anything in parentheses is done (weighed) first then multiplied by what is outside of parentheses (or added to if there is a plus sign). Well, double parentheses means a whole lot of multiplication is going on. Sorry for any confusion. Sometimes my mind works in equations and sometimes in words. One never knows...


Soul Mate (Cost + Sacrifice) 

((Family + Friends) Laughter)) + Emotional Exhaustion


Vivid Green (Doubt + Danger) 

The Exponent (Multiplier) for “Enough”


A Brain-Teaser…


Write 33 words exactly about three wishes that come at a high price to the wisher.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

10 Someday I'll Do's

5.)    Someday I am going to _______. (Inspired by Marcy Writes)

Man, there are a hundred things I “think” I’m going to do someday. Hundreds!!!

The list has resided solely in my head, pretty much, until last weekend when it came up in conversation with my best friend. Of course, she’s heard or knows most of these things yet a few were new to even her and a few she just said “Why?!?” Because I have to, which may not be a very good reason at all?

Something’s have been on “the list” for a very long time (most) and a few things are new-ish. But I’m constantly thinking about it.  Some of these things are wishes blurred with someday things but they’re kind of the same, aren’t they? And I’ll just add as an aside, I’m not getting any younger so I should probably hustle on a few (no comments from the peanut gallery, please and you know who you are!)

So….Someday I’m going to _____________________.

1.     Become fluent in another language other than American and British English. My best chance is Spanish for which I have an entire Rosetta Stone program, unopened from almost 5 Christmases past. It was an expensive program and my family is still upset with me that I haven’t taken off the cellophane yet. I currently speak outstanding Spanglish for which I’m fairly proud, a teensy bit of French and a wee bit of Italian.

2.     Rent an apartment in Rome and live for a year.

3.     Get a rescue Lab to fill this house back up with some puppy action. Addison is too lonely without her sister!

4.     Rent a 58’ boat and sail throughout the Caribbean Sea for an entire winter.

5.     Become a yoga teacher and perfect that calm, soothing voice all great yoga teachers have helping their student to meditate peacefully and effectively.

6.     Take creative (fiction) writing classes at the local college.

7.     Live in the city again. I mean Chicago.

8.     Send in our application for the Amazing Race (mine and Susie’s) soon because it is due November 1st.  The video submission is being edited right now. Our premise is that people often think we’re sisters and sometimes twins. We are quite funny together and, as a twosome, can charm just about anyone. She’s committed to doing all the gross eating challenges and I will hang out of all the helicopters. We don’t fight and we’re not catty but we make a joke out of just about everything but mostly ourselves. Wish us luck!

9.     Complete the 500 mile La Camino de Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage in Spain (The French Way (or route)). Actually, I’m leaving on June 3rd, 2013. It will take 30 days.

10.                       Publish something some place other than on my blog. Taking that several steps further, I aspire to be a travel writer providing the 411 on exciting destinations, off the beaten path things to do, yummy food to eat and great places to stay.  And then get picked up by The Travel Channel and have a show that would be a combination Samantha Brown meets Anthony Bourdain (she’s too goody goody and he’s a bit brash) type vibe.

I don’t think any of these “some days” are too much to ask, do you? A girl’s got to dream!
Mama’s Losin’ It

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

There's This Club You Belong To...

It was early August and I’d avoided this guy for a month, at least. He’s a friend but I hid every single time he came to see me.

“What should I tell him this time? He just wants to talk to you.”

“Ugggghhhh! Why won’t he leave me alone! Tell him I’m napping. Anything. I don't care!!!” I yelled more loudly than I meant.

“But it’s 10:00 in the morning…” My husband's words trailed off. 

It was simple. I didn’t want to hear his story while living my own bad dream. 

Yet, the world must be confronted at some point and I needed to get out and walk to build back my stamina. My plan was to do it during the week when I could walk in peace with no questions asked.

It was my second 1/2 mile walk and I was roasting in my Aspen Collar (picture below) which was now  soaked with sweat yet I felt good. I pressed on a little farther but as I made the turn for home, a car rolled up. Oh for Pete’s sake, who’s this?

“Hey.” Jeff said.

Oh crap. “I’m so sorry I was napping all those times.” I said sheepishly.

“It didn’t matter. I just wanted you to know I was thinking about you.”

“Haven’t felt like talking to anyone.” I admitted.

“I get it. How’re your spirits?”

“Pretty shitty, thanks for asking, but I’m getting there.”

We chatted in the middle of the road awhile longer and not about his multiple neck fractures or details about my accident, although he knew the full story. We talked about “big picture” stuff.  How it’s normal to feel depressed, the daily emotional roller coaster and the light at the end of the tunnel that you just can't see yet.

His parting words were…

“We're in a club now. If you hear of or see someone who’s been through this, even if they’re strangers, you won’t be able to help yourself. You’ll reach out to them. Tell them there’s light.”

As I walked gingerly away completely exhausted, I thought, “Oh no I won’t. There’s no way in hell.” It wasn’t my personality to intrude on anyone’s privacy. Just being grumpy, I guess.

I was probably nice to Jeff but I’d been pissy for as long as I could remember.


While walking the streets of New York this last Friday, I saw a young kid (probably late 20's) walking towards me. From a distance, I noticed his slow and fragile gait. As sounds caught his attention, he used the tell-tale full torso turn I knew so well to see from where the sounds came. As he got even closer, I saw his ghostly pale skin that hadn’t seen the sun in forever, sunken eyes and scrawny stature.

Really, what stood out like a blinking beacon was his Aspen Collar. It had been my “necklace” for 8 weeks, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And there’s only one reason you wear one. They’re for broken necks.

As he brushed by me on unsteady legs, I whispered to my best friend who’d also noticed him.

“I have to talk to him. I can’t help it.” What? The urge was so strong.

“Go. GO!” Maggie encouraged.

So I ran after him and touched his arm gently while simultaneously making apologies to him and his companion.

“Hi. I'm very sorry to intrude. I couldn’t help but notice your Aspen Collar. I wore one all summer.”

Smiling, he replied in his soft spoken voice. “You did?! You look normal.” 

 “Thank you. I feel pretty normal. How much longer do you have?”

“I have six more weeks. It’s been six already. ”

“Oh, boy. I know exactly…”

I didn’t ask but he volunteered his story. He’d fallen asleep at the wheel and hit a tree. Then he asked me.

“You’re lucky to be alive.” I said.

“I know. You, too.” He said sweetly.

“No, I’m lucky to be walking and feeding myself.”

 We both sort of chuckled.

“How’re your spirits?” I asked.

His girlfriend answered quickly , “Crabby.”

“Crabby, I guess.” He acknowledged in agreement.

Then my friend chimed in, “Oh, she was really crabby, too!” which made all four of us laugh.

“You look so normal.” He said again looking off in the distance.

“You will too, I promise, and really, really soon. You’ll feel a little bit better every single day until one day, you’ll forget that it wasn’t so long ago that…” I didn't need to finish.

“Does it feel different when it rains?” Meaning my neck.

“It always feels different. Getting used to it, though.”

We both have enough titanium holding up our heads we’re TSA security risks.

“I don’t want to keep you but you’re halfway there. It’ll go fast. Please be careful driving. We never know how many chances there are.”

“I hope so. That it goes fast.”

Looking directly in each other’s eyes, we smiled before turning away. When I was 20 feet away he called out, “You look great!”

“Your turn next!”

There’s so much we didn’t need to say; questions we didn’t ask each other because we both knew.
Do you sleep at night?

Can you open your mouth more than an inch or eat without smashing food to a centimeter?

Do you even have an appetite?

Do you fall over things all the time?

Have you called the doctor about the funk and asked for meds?

How bad does it smell?

Do people treat you differently and annoy you?

Have you begged yet for more pain meds then wondered what you’ll do when they’re gone forever?

What is normal?

Guaranteed, this kid will see someone in the "collar” and reach out, too, and ask, “How are your spirits?”

There's this club; one you never imagined or wanted to belong to but now you're a card carrying member.


Head over to Yeah Write and check out some awesome writers telling their stories. They’re courageous and creative and everything else I want to be. Go on!