Monday, March 25, 2013

Mondays Are Made For...

I usually roll into Mondays without much issue. They’re just like any other day of the week except with more “any other day”s strung behind it. Mondays are good days for fresh starts.

Appearing as a vision of an organized home last night, I decided this particular Monday would be the beginning of closet cleaning. It’s true that things are bursting out of them, stuff is falling off shelves, and the doors don’t fully close. It’s overdue.

So the first thing I intended to do after brushing my teeth was to hit up the hardware store for gigantic, black trash bags. That would get me started.

But I got a call at 7:00am from a kid (one of mine). There's only one worse and that's the middle of the night call. Calling from the campus medical center, my son informed me of his fresh diagnosis of mononucleosis. And that he felt like doggie doo doo. And that he had a test in an hour.

When your kids are sick, it’s difficult to concentrate on spring-cleaning because you’re worried and feel powerless especially when they are away at school. (I should probably put together a care package.)

Instead of buying gigantic, black trash bags at the hardware store and digging right into those closets, I decided to go to yoga. I’d have the rest of the day to fill gigantic, black trash bags, right?

But if I wasn’t going to fill gigantic, black trash bags, I should do some “real” work.

Except that after yoga, I really felt like writing. Just a few words about cleaning out closets, I promised myself. The gigantic, black trash bags and my “real” work could wait because it’s only noon and I have the rest of the afternoon, right?

Now that I’m finished writing, I’d really like to finish the book I’m reading. It’s called Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple. It is one of the funnier books I have read in a long time. There are only 50 pages left which won’t take long. That would still leave me the rest of the afternoon to fill gigantic, black trash bags and do some “real” work, right?

I have a habit of not getting much done on Mondays.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Trifextra: Hopelessness

Unfortunately this entry is inspired by an incident this past Monday involving someone who lived 13 houses down the street from me. In just under three weeks, we have had three such occurrences encompassing only a two-mile stretch of tracks on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) train line, which carries commuters twenty miles from the city to the western suburbs. This is one man’s story…


They’ll call it selfish rebellion.

The truth...

hopelessness and desperation.

Timing the whistle precisely, 

I sprinted alongside rails in the freezing rain.

Cigarette lit. 

I stepped onto the tracks.

You’re only nine


please remember me.


This weekend’s Trifextra challenge is revisiting a prompt we've done before.  They are giving us three words and asking us to add another 33 to them to make a complete 36-word response.  We may use the words in any order you choose.

The three words are:


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Be Honest! You'd Be Grumpy Too!

Are you tired of hearing me say I’m grumpy?

Can you now understand why I say, “I’m grumpy”?

This picture pretty much sums up what it’s like here on March 21st.

Actually, I’ll correct that a bit.

It was like that last night as I watched gigantic flakes fall outside my window. Today it’s 17 degrees but sunny.

The only problem I see with 17 degrees and sunny besides that it’s 17 degrees, is that your sunglasses immediately fog up making it extremely difficult to see while driving.

I want warm weather.

Excessive and elongated spells of cold weather make me grumpy.

Therefore, I am!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

It's a Small World and Other Overused Cliches

It may be cliché but the older I get, the truer it seems. Is it because I have “been around the block”? "The past is catching up with me"?

Generally speaking, “it’s a small world” is viewed positively.

Take today’s job market, for instance. I have a college kid who’s looking for a summer internship. It’s nearly impossible to get a job after school these days without having a notable, successful internship. In days past, you sent a resume, had an interview and got the job based purely on your skill set and personality.

Not so these days.

The world revolves, good or bad, around whom you know. So living in a small community and having parents who went to large schools can make a big world seem a teensy bit smaller. That is definitely the positive side of “it’s a small world.”

My daughter previously refused to “use” anyone so she stubbornly made the job fair circuit. I admire her determination. However, there are times when people are pleased to help you like those who’ve bowled with you every New Year’s Eve while growing up and lived across the street for years. They’d rather hire a kid with whom they have history, a known commodity, instead of someone they’ve just met.

As days towards summer tick off the calendar and possibly a little applied pressure, we encouraged her to send her resume to a few dear friends who have successful businesses. Within an hour she received a reply. 

“Hello Miss Amanda-

It is very ironic, but we are looking for a marketing / advertising intern for the summer. The potential candidate must have the following skill set:

                Big Ten Conference
                Young, energetic, outgoing personality
                Family history of good athletic genes

Let me know when you are available to interview with my sales manager, Tom Johnson.


(Note: I went to college with him and we were very good (platonic!) friends. I swear.)

“Mom, it sounds like he’s joking!”

“He’s not joking. Just having fun with you. That’s what he thinks of you. Cool, right? Follow up with a date to meet his sales manager.”

It’s a small world.

Recently I had a conversation with “Steve” and he told me he hired T.J. Johnson, a guy from college.

While in the end, we ultimately became friends,T.J. and I weren’t just "friends" for several months our sophomore year. And the reason we stopped hanging out was that he wasn’t a good kisser. Very shallow of me, I know. 

There’re times when the phrase “it’s a small world” is awkward. This is one of those times.

By now, T.J. knows Gina’s daughter is coming in for an interview, which makes it necessary to tell her that I know him. Details will be conveniently left out. Hopefully he has a poor memory.

“You have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince” is a great cliché as well.


If you aren't hanging out at Yeah Write, you should be. It's more fun than...a barrel of monkeys (they're fun, aren't they?).  Awesome writers!!!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Trifecta: It's Sad

It’s sad.

I never want to be like them.

It’s none of my business.

But I want to shake each and every one of them anyway.

Surrounding us, table upon table, are couples not much older than us sitting directly across from each other on a Sunday evening. Women silently eat looking a few inches over their husbands’ left shoulder at nothing in particular. Men mutely guide pizza to their mouths gazing not at their wives but mindlessly towards whatever game is playing on the bar's television.

No words are exchanged except, “Check please.”

Not that I hear.

Or intimate smiles.

Or angry eyes even.

Not that I see.

I speak though no one hears me. 

“Don’t you notice it too? Do you even care? Is this what it becomes?”

As if I my thoughts can somehow infect them with the ardor, passion, and intensity they once had. For each other. For something. For anything it seems. 

I turn away from the room when I feel my attention being pulled back.

He smiles.

“But I want to shake each one of them.”

“It’s none of our business.”

“I won’t let that happen.”

Sunday, March 17, 2013

My Unlikely Look-a-like

I’m participating in 'KETCHUP WITH US' - Prompt #14 with Mel and Michele.
In 57 words or less, tell us about your doppelgänger.


“You look exactly like her,” he said with a wink.


It was the only time I’d cut my hair short.

“A guy told me I looked like Princess Diana! Must be the haircut.” I repeated to hubby.

“What guy?”

“Victor at the high school.”

“Who’s Victor?”

“Well, the night janitor if you must know.”

Don't I freaking wish...............................

Ketchup With Us

Friday, March 15, 2013

Trifextra: Taken

Photo credit: Bérenger ZYLA / / CC BY-NC-ND

33 words for this picture…


(release mysterious fog)

"Ce qui est votre nom?" 


(cue mesmerizing reflections)

"Touchez ma main."


fingertips at first…


working their way up

To slender wrists.

it’s already too late...


Because the picture is French.
"Ce qui est votre nom?"  What is your name?
"Touchez ma main." Touch my hand.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Half Naked Sports Bars in NYC

Grabbing his suit coat from the back seat and flinging it over his shoulder, we headed for the parking garage elevator, which would whisk us to the 44th floor restaurant with expansive city views. The Everest Room was way out of our league but it was our first anniversary after all.

Just as the elevator doors began opening, my husband straightened his tie and put on the coat. A confused look crossed his face as the sleeves fell down to his fingertips. Looking closely at his coat, then the pants and back.

“Honey, they don’t match,” I said.

“Obviously, this isn’t my suit coat,” he said as we headed in for our reservation.

“The cleaners probably screwed it up.”

Sipping our glass of wine, reminiscing about the past year and slightly melancholy we weren’t technically “newlyweds” anymore, we dug through the coat pockets looking for clues.

Voila! Inside the breast pocket was a small stack of business card…in Japanese! My husband is not small and these coat sleeves were 4 inches too long for him. It must belong to the world’s tallest Japanese man.

I turned the card over in my hand and read the translation.

“This coat belongs to Bob McCarthy, Marketing Director, Waldorf Astoria, New York City. How in the world would you have a suit coat belonging to someone from New York?”

“I was in New York two weeks ago visiting clients. Remember?”

“I remember but how would you have his coat?”

“Well, my customers wanted to go to a particular sports bar after dinner. It had half court basketball. I played two-on-two against this really tall guy. We had our coats off. Must have switched them on the way out. I’ll call him tomorrow to see if he has mine.”

“What sports bar?” I asked since I was travelling to New York a lot as well.

“Just this popular place they wanted to go.”

“So what’s it called?”

“Scores, I think.”

“You think? SCORES is the one Howard Stern talks about all the time on the radio. The waitresses have huge boobs and they're naked from the waist up.”

“Yeah, that one. You’re going to New York in a few weeks. Maybe you could stop by the Waldorf and swap coats for me.”

“So you want me to return a coat you accidentally switched at a strip club while you were looking at boobs?”

“It's not a strip club. I hardly noticed the boobs. We were playing basketball.”

“Okaaaay. Set it up and I’ll decide if I can make time.”

Two weeks later, I walked into a strange man’s office to exchange my husband’s suit coat, which he absentmindedly swapped at a half naked sports bar.

“So where'd the mix up happen anyway?” I nonchalantly asked the tall guy.

“Some corner sports bar. I’m so happy to have it back. So is my wife!”

It was then I realized I wasn’t a newlywed anymore and I was okay.

My husband tells the truth.


As always, Yeah Write is the place to spend your week reading fantastic stories by incredible writers. You'll laugh and you'll cry but will love every minute!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Trifecta: Twenty-four Years

3:46 a.m.

My hazy gaze turns left for needless confirmation. The red LED numbers illuminate the same combination night after night. It's a real life version of Ground Hog Day, the movie, but it's a standing time they have, the one at which my body and mind choose to commune. Disturbing my peaceful slumber as wired toddlers do.

Eyelids remaining lightly closed and thoughts quickly, nimbly moving through my half-awake state, I've learned to embrace these hours like a frisky and persistent lover. There's nothing else to do but give in. 

In the not so long past, or so it seems, these moments were filled with nocturnal whispers. I fondly remember them as the solitary yet perfectly perfect quiet time two/too busy parents had to be "together".

Then the years blew away like a dandelion’s fluff in strong wind. They sprouted wings without asking who was prepared. And these night whispers became one-sided conversation inside my head. 

“What happened? Where's life going?”

But last night, it was different. Instead of looking towards the clock and grabbing my book, I inched over to the warmer side of the bed. Creeping within centimeters to feel his body heat, I watched his bare chest gently rise and fall. The movement was barely perceptible.

I began to whisper. Like I used to do in the dark. 

“Where did it go?

Twenty-four years.

Am I still as pretty… funny… smart... as I once was? To you.

Do you love me differently… better… more... after a quarter of a century?

Tell me.”

He rolled over pressing his good ear deep into the down. Lightly brushing my fingertips down the length of his spine, he stirred when I softly said (or maybe it was my hand), "Happy Anniversary, Honey." 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

SOCSunday: Tired. Lazy. Crabby.

Sunday stream of consciousness at Jana’s Thinking Place is going on right at this very minute. There is an optional prompt of which I am opting out. It has taken me hours just to walk from the family room to the computer and type for five minutes.

The rules are five minutes, leave it alone, push publish. Here goes:

Not only am I having a “fat” day (hate this feeling), I am extremely tired, incredibly lazy and quite possibly intensely crabby (you know what you know….). I don’t intend to ask anyone for confirmation on any of those adjectives particularly with regard to my mood, but no one’s really talking to me anyway as of yet. It is 1:30. Do you think I did something or am I giving off the “vibe”?

Last night was P!NK!!!!! It was the most incredible concert experience I’ve ever had the privilege of spectating and I’ve spectated a lot of experiences (spellchecker is hating all over my use of this word. It is a word, isn’t it?). Wow! She draws a very homogenous crowd and it provided for quality people watching which besides seeing P!NK is one of my most favorite things to do.

You’d think standing and dancing for two hours straight burned enough calories (should Google that actually. Must be hundreds, right?) and that I should be able to eat anything I darn well want today.

But there’s nothing worse than feeling chubby, lazy and crabby because in that “perfect storm” the only thing you feel like doing it is eating. Because you shouldn’t be?

Peanut Butter on a banana
A donut
Chips and salsa
Chicken tortilla soup
A bowl of salted caramel and chocolate malt ice cream (yes, two scoops)

And now someone just asked me to get out of my sweats. We are going somewhere.

I don't think sooooo.....

It is only 1:45pm.

More lazy, more crabby, more eating to do. 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Intouchables (The Movie) and I Told You So's...

I don’t have to be “right”. I don’t actually care if I am or even if no one notices or acknowledges it. I can keep the self-satisfaction to myself. I hate gloaters!

After 24 years as a wife and mother, I am a professional battle picker! I don’t often push hard for something that doesn’t really matter much to me. Like with family movie night, I’m the first to cave because I’d rather have us together snuggling under blankets than someone leaving the room in a huff.

So last night when movie negotiations began, I decided it was time to hold my ground and insisted we watch something I saw a few months ago called Intouchables (of course pronounced in the proper French way). I had a few reasons why I wanted them to see it, at this particular time, though one of which is that it's outstanding.

(They wanted to watch a soccer movie with Gerard Butler and Jessica Biel. Uh, uh!)

“What’s it about?” my daughter asked.

“Well, it’s a French movie about…” I replied.

“Don’t tell me it’s subtitled,” said my other half, stirring the pot.

“Yes. It’s subtitled but you won’t even notice it.”

“You don’t think we’ll notice that we are reading THE WHOLE THING?”


“GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!! I know I’m going to fall asleep,” added the college student.

Within 15 minutes, I heard the first chuckle. I smiled knowing no one would doze off any time soon.

Intouchables is a true story about an unlikely relationship that develops between a down on his luck ex-con from a difficult upbringing and an extremely wealthy wheelchair bound quadriplegic who requires full time care. They need each other.

It is oftentimes extremely touching and there are at least five scenes in which it is impossible not to laugh along with several opportunities to reflect on how even people with opposing personalities and lifestyles can and do often connect. Our basic need to rely on other people comes through too.

As the credits rolled after midnight and neither was remotely close to falling asleep, I asked the doubters what they thought.

“I really, really liked it. I'm glad we saw it,” said my husband.

“It was really funny but that could have been you, Mom,” solemnly added my daughter.

As much as I knew they'd like it, my daughter hit the nail on the head. That was the reason I insisted we watch it because it could have been our lives right now.

I never said, “I told you so or I knew I was right.”  

But it didn't stop me from smiling to myself knowing I was.

Or from subtly mentioning my "rightness" this morning!


There is nothing more fun than hanging with the weekend Moonshiners over at Yeah Write. AND it is an especially special weekend as we whoop it up with Erica for her birthday! Hope you're having a good one, girl!!!! Come check it out!