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!!! 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Kid's Are In The House: Day One

Not me!
I wrote a post. It was a ten minute-ish, stream of consciousness, kind of post. I thought it was pretty good considering the limited time I had to write it. 

It was about a quiet start to my Saturday, a house full of kids (one girl, six boys, two mine, five not) and Dunkin' Donuts. It was sweet and light just like the morning I was having since they sleep in so late. 

It was about the joys of having college kids home for the Thanksgiving holiday and the inherent, yet lovely, commotion that tags along. The crazy hours, the revolving door of friends in and out and in and out. Even the sibling bickering sounded like a refreshing change to my normally quiet routine.

And in the very few seconds I took my eye off the ball amidst the chaos of having seven college kids in the house, I managed to cut (but not paste) and delete the post I wrote without saving it.

So I put on my happy, smiling, “nice” mommy face even though I’m frustrated as hell right now. I began writing again. And this post is nothing like the post I wrote before but it's all I can do right now.

It's only day one.

It could end up being a long nine days…

Friday, November 22, 2013

Window Shopping

I pointed through the glass.

“Size 9. I’ll take them.”

Tip-tapping the glass counter absentmindedly, I mused.

Glass of wine for husband in hand,

“You, me, just the boots?”

Works every single time.


Choose a word and use it three times in our 33 words entry. However, it must be either a verb, noun or adjective and the form of the word cannot change, it must appear exactly the same three times. Please highlight the chosen word in the piece before linking up.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Kit Kat Wrapper In The Shower Drain And Other Strange Shit That Happens At My House...

When I first though about writing today, I was headed to Costco (no secret here that I hate the place). I was truly dreading going there today because I’m in trouble. Going to Costco digs my grave deeper because I have a self-control problem. Do I ever tell you that? With lots of things but mainly book buying. Plus, "we" just had a conversation about this issue last night (I have too many books (he says 500; I say that number's a little light)).

Instead of heading there directly after the gym, I thought every other Costco shopper would appreciate it if I showered first. So that’s what I did. And this is what I found…


At the current moment (November 21, 2013) only two people live in our house. I am one of them. I did not eat a Kit Kat in the shower. Actually, I haven’t had a Kit Kat lately even though there is an entire bag in the freezer. If not me, then who? I set out to investigate…

So at first, he’s unsure. Tries to blame the dog. Then...

Still weird in my book.

This segues into the next weird thing that happened in my house today. Routinely emptying the dishwasher, I shoved a spatula into the utensil drawer and this is what I heard.
 WTF is THAT???

You know what? I don't have time or interest to investigate this one. I’m going to leave it for the weekend when the kids arrive home for the holiday. Must have been one of them. Or perhaps, it’s whoever, uh hum, eats Kit Kats in the shower.

So this is one of those times you plan to write about one thing then it suddenly morphs into something else entirely. Happens to me all the time.

Off to Costco to buy books. Did I ever tell you I don’t listen very well especially if you’re telling me what/what not to do? (Liz, you do!!!)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sand In An Hourglass
Though a storm was rapidly approaching along the lakefront, I sat to catch my breath anyway, but for a moment. Resting my ass on the cold concrete of the boardwalk, I watched as the wildly whipping wind coated my shoelaces with sand.

The sun was still bright for now. Elbows propping my chin, I gazed levelly at the horizon. Thought about time.

If I’d a concept of it, as a child, I imagined there was all the time in the world. It was limitless. Seconds, minutes, days, months, years. Infinity.

Everything was fresh and first timey and thrilling. I twirled untroubled with arms flung wide open to expanses. That’s how I recall time feeling. When I was young.

As I got older, impatience crept in and time seemed to saunter. Everything took time. Ugh! More time than I wanted like Christmas coming. A boyfriend’s phone call. That first kiss. Going away to school. Growing up. And I wistfully wished it away for better things yet to come.

What a mistake that was because, then, time began to crawl amidst things like jobs and bills and responsibilities. Seemed bogged down, sometimes stagnant, except for the moments directly in front of me and things to be dealt with.

I picked up a handful of sand and watched it slip through my fingers like an hourglass.

Time bounds and dashes now instead of carefree pirouetting or lackadaisically passing or dragging on even. It hardly pauses. No longer feeling linear but like a merry-go-round someone keeps propelling. 

Not letting me off. Not one foot. Not even for a second. 

Pushing harder and faster and lustier. 

The view is blurry because it doesn't stop. 

Slow the hell down.

‘Round and ‘round and 'round. 

Slow the hell down.

I can hear it whir.

Slow the hell down.

And I'm dizzy.

So I step off.

Time is my companion.


33-333 words for the third definition of:

1:  one that accompanies another :  comrade, associate; also:  one that keeps company with another
2obsolete :  rascal

WWW.Wednesday: What Else? BOOKS!!!!

The moratorium on book buying that’s been threatened for years has finally been passed. No more physical books. There’s been an unofficial count and I have in excess of 500. I guess you could say I’m on probation for life since we are moving next spring to significantly smaller digs. No room at the inn :-(!!! 

What have you recently finished?

Finally! Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.

This is my review over there:

I loved this book! It made me feel warm and fuzzy all over. And nostalgic for those first feelings of love. The first time, yes, but also what it felt like to fall in love each time. Rowell perfectly describes the panic and scariness, crabbiness combined with uncertainty, then the gushing warmth upon realization that the feeling is mutual. Also it's fragile newness and how the world, everything, somehow seems different because of that love.

For me, there is nothing like a first kiss because there is only ever one of those with anyone. Eleanor and Park took me back to that/those sweet time(s).

I have never considered myself a YA fan. Even though this book is technically just that, it was simply a fabulous book. And I don't think it is necessarily gender specific, I know a few men who would love this book too.

If you have the opportunity to read, or even listen to this book, do it!!!

What am I currently reading?

I have about 50 pages left (or the last story). It is outstanding. Alice Munro is a master at her craft.

What will I read next?

Who knows? Probably the other Munro book I have.


Thanks to Should Be Reading for the opportunity to connect with other like minds about all things books!!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

NaBloPoMo: I'm Lame 'Cause I Missed Four Days But I Have A Worthy Excuse!

I won’t admit to being a slacker for missing the entire weekend of NaBloPoMo. Or missing yesterday either. Last year, I didn't miss one day in November and I was really proud. This year, I'm cutting myself slack and not letting myself feel bad for missing a few days.

There are times when life knocks on your door and answering it is not an option especially when it's your out of town weekend guest with suitcase in hand. I wanted to devote my entire time and attention to her. That’s my excuse and I'm sticking with it. 

Backstory: I met Beth on my walk through northwest Spain this summer (the 500 mile Camino de Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage). Actually, she was the first person I saw after walking 6 miles virtually straight up the Pyrenees which border France and Spain. I'm sure I noticed her a moment before the frosty mug of bier in front of her. I was soaked with sweat, thirsty too, so I struck up a conversation.  
It’s not often, later in life that you meet someone and feel connected immediately. Like you’ve known them for years and it's incredibly easy. This was that and we became fast friends.

Her visit was a fabulous opportunity to show her the city of Chicago. The highlight was most definitely cruising the Chicago river on an architectural boat tour (yes, it was still running even for the cold November chill). If you are ever in the city, do it! Actually all the tours through the Chicago Architectural Foundation are awesome. Next time I'd like to take a tour via the "L"! 

We also messed around at The Bean taking "selfies" (because you can and it's probably the only place taking "selfies" should be allowed).

The Bean and Big Bags Under My Eyes!
A Backwards Look at the City Reflected Off The Bean
I also took my turn guest posting over at Yeah Write for NaBloPoMo. My post is about downsizing, which I am currently trying to do with my life. Please visit me and the other bloggers who are squatting at YW for the month of November and bleeding our hearts out!

I'd like to mention that someone said something very nice to me last night. I went to the gym to take a rope class (don’t usually workout at night) and told to a friend I was crabby.

He said, “Your crabby is like someone else’s good day.” I said, “Awwww! Frank that makes me feel better.” It really did. Even though my crabby is just the same as the next guy’s.

Day one of Bikram yoga under my belt (yet again). I’m back on it. It’s brutal. It’s sweaty. It’s mentally taxing. But there is nothing like the feeling of leaving that intensely hot room. I feel great, a shower will feel even better. I should probably do something really productive with my day.

But then this happens…

Also stop by tomorrow. Wednesday is book day and I’m reading some really great stuff!

I have a date tonight! I think we'll see a movie, either Dallas Buyer's Club with Matthew McConaughey or All is Lost with Robert Redford. I've heard both these movies will garner some award show attention. I'll review our choice in the next few days. 

It’s gorgeous in Chicago today. Get out in the fresh air at least for a little while.

I'm a day late and a dollar short for Linda Roy's "I Hate Mondays" but I'm here now. Mondays have really sucked for me lately. You?

I Don't Like Mondays Blog Hop

I haven't been random over at Stacy's place for a while! Thank you for hosting!