Sunday, December 28, 2014

Promises Made to Self (Thanks!)

I promise myself I will write more in the new year. I promise I will write more once my computer gets fixed. I promise I will take my computer to Apple for repair after returning from vacation. I promise to have a fantastic vacation adventure. I promise to stay completely in the present while on holiday. I promise to read two books while there. I promise to finish the first, Mermaids in Paradise, on this second flight. I promise to lend it out at the resort without regard for its return.  I promise...

Wheels up.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Going Out "Old School" and Seeing an Eye

Yesterday, I set out on a day's worth of errands and Christmas preparations without my cell phone. I figured it out as soon as I walked out the front door of my building. Not that going back to retrieve it was a big deal, or too far; I simply didn't feel like it.

It was a little weird at first.

For one split second I thought, "What would I miss?" "What if someone needed me?" "Would there be an emergency?" "Would anyone even notice I was out of touch?"

Then it felt freeing.

I'm a parent and a spouse. And not that people go looking for me, but sometimes people are looking for me.

I would only be "off grid" for six hours. No big deal.

Maybe I have mentioned this in the past, but I don't wear a watch. Haven't in roughly thirteen years, give or take a year. People have commented. Asked why. And I know people have thought it strange. Let me tell you, it didn't take any getting used to on my part. I don't miss one. I don't have any problem figuring out what time it is. A lot of times, I don't want to know what time it is.

Remember when your mom rang the dinner bell outside your back door, and it didn't sound like your neighbors', so you knew it was time to head in? I liked that. You didn't have to bother knowing until it was time to know.

I am only telling you about the watch thing because without one, or a cell phone, I had to go "old school" to figure out the time in order to be prompt for my appointments. I am uncomfortable being late.

If there wasn't a clock around, and surprisingly, there are less clocks around than you think, I asked.

"Will you please tell me the time?" I asked a barista, the receptionist at European Wax, a business man at a corner. I don't even know how many times I asked. Probably seven.

It was actually fun.

[As an aside: I hate bothering people. I have told you before I'm quiet, though not an introvert, yet open and polite to people who cross my path or engage me. Hopefully, I didn't bother anyone! Does it annoy you when someone asks for the time?]

I guess the biggest thing I noticed were the "crickets". Nothing (but the street scene). No vibrating coat pocket. No Natalie Merchant "These Are Days" ring tone. The sound of silence, as far as my phone was concerned. Dare I say it was blissful?

I wasn't stressed. I couldn't check a phone between appointments even if I had an itch. Then I forgot about it.

Because my face wasn't buried in a screen checking for some kind of update, I looked around. I people watched. This sounds corny, but I actually caught myself humming to "Silent Night" playing outside one of the hotels. (One of my favorites because my mom sings it.)

My biggest score was on Ontario Street, east of Michigan Avenue. On the sidewalk, and in the general vicinity of where a particular homeless man usually sits, I saw a small, painted eye. It was about as big as a quarter and vibrant and blue. It was detailed, with lashes, an iris, no eyebrow.

It was like a surprise. A present. A little piece of art.

Who painted this eye and why?

The homeless man?

What did this eye see as everyone passed by never noticing it?

What did it think of me as I bent over to get a closer look?

Why blue and not brown?

And a day later, I am still thinking about this eye...

[Of course, my phone just about imploded with messages when I got home. "Mom?!?!?!?" "Honey, why aren't you answering your texts?" "Honey?"  "Are you ok?" "MOM!!!!!"]

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Feels Like Bragging: Are You

The "Are You" meme over at Sunday Stealing.

1. Are you psychic in any way? Yes, I truly believe this to be true.

2. Are you a good dancer? I think so. My dancing gets better in direct proportions to the amount of wine I've had. However, there is a fine line between the time it goes from fabulous to time to go home. Nah!!!! Kidding!

3. Are you a good singer? No. Wait! In the car I am. My family would contest this statement.

4. Are you a good cook? I'm a fabulous cook.

5. Are you a good artist? I can doodle with the best of doodlers.

6. Are you a good listener? This I can say with tremendous confidence. I am a stellar listener!

7. Are you a good public speaker? I can do it. The less people I know in the the crowd, the better. Speaking in front of people I know makes me more nervous.

8. Are you a good babysitter? Yes, in short spurts.

9. Are you a good mechanic? Uh, no. And I'm okay with it.

10. Are you a good diplomat? Outstanding.

11. Are you a good employee? Yes, I take and follow direction well. I finish what I start. I'm overly reliable.

12. Are you a good dresser? Yes, except when I don't have to be. I can rock sweats rather well and comfortably.

13. Are you a good swimmer? Yeah, I swim for my job. That said, I won't win any races though.

14. Are you a good skier? I've been skiing my whole life.

15. Are you a good gift giver? I am feeling so smug with this meme. I'm not good at everything but this is giving me an ego boost! I give great present!!! I love to give. I'm far less comfortable receiving. Giving me things is never required. I have what I need.

16. Are you a good musician? No, I'm not musically gifted. I played guitar, badly, for one year when I was in seventh grade. My parents still have my guitar.

17. Are you a good comedian? I am a horrible joke teller, an average storyteller, but I'm great at  slightly sarcastic one liners. My friends think I'm funny. At least they're laughing at me.

18. Are you a good cleaner? Not my strongest suit. My house "appears" clean. I use smoke and mirrors.

19. Are you a good actor? Yes. I can make you believe things.

20. Are you a good writer? I can be at times. I need the right motivation. Lacking a muse these days. Any takers?

Friday, November 28, 2014

Didn't Fry the Turkey, But I Did Fry My Computer

I didn't post yesterday because, like many of you, I spent my morning wrestling (AKA stuffing) Tom, then hosting the family at our new place. The day was a smashing success even though my parents got lost navigating the big city streets (we live in a tricky spot to get to). The food turned out yummy, as always, we played lots of Rummikub, no one got too drunk, and my kids behaved, for the most part. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because expectations are manageably low and casual. It's the perfect recipe to exceed them.

The only casualty of the day was my computer. I left it sitting on the island while cooking. I inadvertently splashed a very small amount (small amount, I reiterate!) of  yellow liquid on it from a tall stemmed glass. It went blink, blink, bli....  Fried!!!!!!!!!! And not in a good way like a turkey!

I almost died when my nicer/kinder/better half asked me to use it so he could show my dad something.

"Out of juice," I croaked.

I determined this answer, although a white lie, was better than the alternative yet more truthful response. The timing wasn't right, and I'm not sure the timing is good today either.

My computer is new (September purchase). I don't want to brave the Apple store on Michigan Avenue, or any location, on Black Friday. I don't leave the house on Black Friday if I can help it! I think I will wait until Monday to sneak it into the Genius Bar.

That's the long version of why I didn't post yesterday, and I am blogging from my phone today.

(I've actually exceeded my NaBloPoMo expectations! I pretty well knew I wouldn't post every day, but I wanted to write a majority of them. I feel successful (enough)!)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Holiday Served Cold

Smiling, I push through the door calling,

“Kids, I’m home!”

His filthy boots greet me instead.

With exhausted nonchalance, I transfer Chase’s bat from the coat closet to our bedroom.

“So glad you’re here for the holiday, Honey.”

This time I'm prepared.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Poems While You Wait

I turned a corner in the crowded Randolph Street Market yesterday, and almost ran right into “Poems While You Wait”, a group of poets, five yesterday, who routinely makes the Market/Charity Event/Art Festival circuit, or so I was told. Sadly, I had never heard of them before.They directed me to their Tumblr here for more detailed information.

Never mind what they were actually doing. Writing poetry on the spot for a $5.00 donation. The fact that they set up a makeshift writing shop on simple cafe tables, used only vintage manual typewriters, with real typing paper, almost gave me the thrill chills. 

My daughter even responded, “This is so cool!” 

It is! And it was!!!

Of course, my daughter also thought the typewriters were prehistoric. But to me, it felt like a comforting sigh, so nostalgic. I received one right before I left for college, typed all my term papers on it, changed the ribbons, and fixed type bars. It probably would have been wise, at the time, to purchase stock in “White Out”.

So this is the concept of “Poems While You Wait” (taken directly from their Tumblr):

Step 1
We show up ~ with Royal, Smithy, & Olly.
Step 2
You show up ~ with your poetry topic ~ & for a suggested donation of $5 commission an original poem from us.
Step 3
You go away ~ this is the “wait” part of Poems While You Wait.
Step 4
You return ~ 15-20 minutes later ~ & retrieve the poem we typed out for you.
Step 5
You go away again ~ this time with an artifact, a souvenir, a gift from us to you & from you to who-knows-who, a memory of an unpretentious human interaction which resulted in … fun, which is just another word for poetry.
  • 100% of proceeds go to support the non-profit literary publisher Rose Metal Press

Here’s a picture from yesterday:

The topic on the sheet ahead of mine was “He proposed to me on a horse. He is allergic to horses.” This made me laugh, but what a great poem this will be!!!

Here are a few examples I pulled off their Tumblr page:

Love them!!!

Mine are clever and quirky and will become framed gifts, and I am so excited to give them. Maybe more than anything else.

The best part of this for me???

See Step 5.

Unpretentious human interaction!!!!! A special gift. FUN!!!!!

I am going to stalk them.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

How Do You Spend Thanksgiving? This Is What We Do...

I can’t believe the architectural tour boats are still operating this late in the season. I can hear the docent’s muffled voice from my window in the sky. 


It’s been a long while since I’ve had to keep hushed well into the (LATE) morning. Mateo’s in the house! And mama wants him up, up, up because I miss him, and want to play. But first, I am going to quickly tackle this Thanksgiving meme set forth by Kwisgiver over at Sunday Stealing. Yes, it is Saturday but I am trying to be ahead of schedule (even though I am fully aware I missed yesterday). 

Things you may or may not care to know about my Thanksgiving holiday plans:

  1. Are you celebrating Thanksgiving at home or elsewhere this year? With whom will you spend Thanksgiving Day? I have cooked every Thanksgiving turkey for the last 24 years. I love hosting this holiday. House smells yummy, we require casual dress, eat, and watch football. This year, there will be the four of us plus my parents, my husband’s brother, and my daughter’s roommate. Can’t wait!
  2. What do you have for breakfast on Thanksgiving? I am not a big breakfast eater, or maker, for that matter, especially knowing the sheer amount of food I will be consuming later in the day. My husband, for life, is the breakfast guy. He’ll do a full bacon/egg/hash browns thing, no doubt.
  3. Do you go to a Thanksgiving parade or watch one on TV? I have this whole Thanksgiving morning routine, which includes the Macy’s Parade in NYC and complete with the yearly anticipation of the Rockette’s kick line!!!
  4. Do you serve appetizers, lunch, or snacks during the day? My mom usually brings an appetizer, which we don’t really eat because it’s Thanksgiving, and everyone’s holding off for the big meal. I always have medium sized black olives for my dad, and shrimp cocktail for my kids. Eat lunch before you come, please!
  5. What do you wear on Thanksgiving? We are very casual on Thanksgiving. I usually wear black tights and a light weight sweater.
  6. What’s your Thanksgiving table like- do you use special plates/silver/glasses, etc. Do you have a color scheme? Center piece? Candles? I don’t have a theme of any sort except Fall. Depending on my mood and available time, I make candle holders out of gourds or pumpkins. I put votive candles in pieces of fruit. Things like that. There will be a centerpiece of candles though I don’t know where the closest florist is to our new digs. Better put this on my list…Search out florist!
  7. Do you serve buffet-style or family-style? What do you have to drink? My family always serves holiday meals family-style, everything on the table. My dad likes Diet Tangerine pop, and the rest of us will drink wine. It becomes quite the party!
  8. Once you’re at the table, do you say grace or a toast or does everyone go around and say what they are thankful for? I have never been to, or had, a holiday meal where we didn’t say grace. It’s what we do before most meals regardless of a special occasion.
  9. Do you have a dessert right after the main meal or later on? Later on.
  10. What do you do with your leftovers? Disperse them!!!!!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

My Kid Turned 24 and I Feel...

I am not feeling any older than I did five short years ago. Not even ten years ago, maybe. I am in the same physical shape. A bit thinner actually (though I am not sure this is a good thing). Not as strong. Smarter, for sure.

“The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.” Madeleine L’Engle

My thoughts aren’t particularly those of a (little older than) middle-aged person. I do feel wiser after going around those blocks.

Another belief of mine: that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise.” Margaret Atwood

So then, how in the world did I become a person who has a 24-year-old child?

I am convinced that most people do not grow up. We marry and dare to have children and call that growing up. I think what we do is mostly grow old. We carry accumulation of years in our bodies, and on our faces but generally our real selves, the children inside, are innocent and shy as magnolias. Maya Angelou

Where did the time go? So imperceptibly, it moved, that I almost didn’t hear the whirr. 

“There is a certain part of all of us that lives outside of time.
Perhaps we become aware of our age only at exceptional moments and most of the time we are ageless.
Milan Kundera (Who is this guy? He is the author of The Unbearable Lightness of Being (good book/movie))

The speed is dizzying!

Just remember when you’re over the hill, you begin to pick up speed.” Charles M. Schulz

Stop. Just stop.

Do not wait for life. Do not long for it. Be aware, always and at every moment, that the miracle is in the here and now. “ Marcel Proust

In my morning prayers, I always ask for moments, minutes, entire days for which I am fully present. Living. Because “time and tide wait for no man” (Who said this? A quick google search gives credit to the poet Geoffrey Chaucer)

None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.” Henry David Thoreau

I am desperately trying to maintain my zest for life. Be excited by things. Little things. Am I running out of time for new adventures? I desperately want to be interesting. Feel interesting. I still want “you” to think I am interesting. If nothing else.

Wrinkles should merely indicate where the smiles have been. Mark Twain

Sometimes I look in the mirror and all I see are dark circles and deep crow's feet.  Other times, I see the twenty or thirty year old looking at me. Many times I like what I see. Sometimes, when I’m tired, especially, I don’t. And I think to myself, “Where am I?” 

And I always notice the eyes. "Where is the crystal blue?".

I may be a senior but so what? I’m still hot.” Betty White

She's funny, and I wish. 

Nature gives you the face you have at twenty; it is up to you to merit the face you have at fifty. Coco Chanel

Yep, my daughter turned 24 yesterday, and to think she believes she’s old!!!

First, I want to know how it happened, then why she didn't ask me if she could grow up so fast. 

And why don’t I feel old enough for that?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Pre-Holiday Books: What's Everyone Reading?

What am I currently reading? 

I am reading Speedboat by Renata Adler,


PostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives complied by Frank Warren (See HERE for explanation).

What did I recently finish?

The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan. Keegan had a job waiting for her at The New Yorker when she died in a car accident five days after graduating from Yale. Her essay entitled "The Opposite of Loneliness" about her Yale experience subsequently went viral. From the book's foreword, which was written by one of her Yale writing instructors, I gather she was spirited, curious, and feisty. Challenged people, questioned everything, and was akin to a square peg. For me, this translated into a wonderful reading experience. If you compare her writing style to the likes of more acclaimed short story authors like Alice Munro, or even Miranda July (No One Belongs Here More Than You), you will notice the youthful inexperience in her writing. But who cares? The stories and essays are still incredibly contemporary, engaging, and rather unique. I highly recommend it.

What will I read next (with my increasingly limited time!)?

I think it is time to pick up (again) a collection of short stories called Bark by Lorrie Moore, and Land of Love and Drowning by Tiphanie Yanique.

What is going on in your “reading” life these days?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tuesday Teasers

I haven’t done this in a while, so I decided to tease you with a few sentences from what I am reading. The rules are simple.

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

One book I am reading is called Speedboat by Renata Adler. Here is a fairly recent article from the New York Review- Books. I chose to read this book because it was the first book on David Foster Wallace’s literature class syllabus back in his teaching days. He fascinates me. [As a side note: He taught at my university for almost ten years, although after I had already graduate.]

 Page 70:

“Sometimes the point is a momentum, a fact, a quality, a voice, an imitation, a thing said or unsaid.”

“You cannot be forever watching for the point, or you lose the simplest thing: being a major character in your own life.”

There you have it! I have just recently started this book, but I am excited to pick it up later for more.

Thanks to Miz B at Should Be Reading for giving us book lovers a place to share.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Taking Stock: A Meme

This meme called Taking Stock was easy, breezy, and fun to do. 

Making: stuck my tongue out at my husband just now, so a face.

Cooking: pots are cold, and will remain so.

Drinking: Fiji water from Costco

Reading: A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor

Wanting: a glass of wine

Looking: for some quiet time after a busy weekend

Wasting: not away after eating a Turducken feast this weekend

Wishing: for more time with my friends

Enjoying: the couch with my feet propped up on the dog

Waiting: for my hubby to replace the dog and disturb the zen, which is just a matter of time

Liking: the view of the Riverwalk trees at dusk freshly lit with white lights, and the promise of good TV on this evening

Wondering: can’t believe I am saying or thinking this, “what’s for dinner?”

Loving: being horizontal

Listening: to the wind whipping wildly down the river from the 12th floor

Needing: to review some papers for my training, and sleep (desperately)

Smelling: fresh soap

Wearing: black leggings, long sleeve tee shirt, powder blue colored fleece jacket, and a pony tail

Following: the Bears game 

Noticing: the dryness of my lips 

Knowing: I have some really good friends

Thinking: I might fall asleep

Feeling: lucky

Bookmarking: Books from The Printer’s Row Journal

Opening: my mouth to yawn

Giggling: at a text message from one of my girlfriends

I realize it is Monday, but, to me in actual “writing time”, it is Sunday just as the sky is darkening (or 4:26pm, to be precise).

The Commotion on Michigan Avenue AKA Jane Byrne's Funeral Procession

My daughter’s birthday is in two short days. Where in the world did 24 years go? And to think, she feels old. Come on!!!

This is not about that.

I was birthday present shopping for her these last few hours.

This is also not exactly about that either.

While out, the corner of Michigan Avenue and Walton Street was completely closed off with emergency vehicles of all kinds. I paused with concern. Not wanting to be thought a “gaper”, I crossed myself, and said a quick prayer in case any tragedy occurred.  As I said, there were far too many flashing lights for this to be a small thing.

To get out of the fray, I walked a few blocks before hailing a cab. By then, traffic was at a stand still as a procession of 50 police cars with lights twirling whirred by. The cabbie commented that someone important must be coming through, and it couldn't be the president because he was just here

Then a shiny gray hearse passed us, followed black limousines of loved ones, we guessed. With smart phone in hand, the cab driver “googled” the incident.
Cabbie: “It’s Jane Bryne.”

Me: “Didn’t she die a while ago?”

Cabbie: “Only a few days ago.”

Me: “I had no idea. I remember when she was Mayor.”

And I do remember exactly when. Her four year term coincided precisely with my stint in college. 

I remember being happy and proud that a woman was the mayor of our city even though I never considered myself any kind of feminist. I remember she was very strong minded, willful, and feisty at a time when the “good old boys” ran the show around here. I can not recall, however, if she was crooked. I would like to believe she was not. Our governors are! I know the Circle Interchange (aka the spaghetti bowl) was recently named after her. Something else, too, if I recall correctly. I don't know, I felt a bit shocked that she passed unbeknownst to me. Maybe I need to be a little more cognizant of current events.

I looked it up when I got home, and found this extremely current article. As a matter of fact, her funeral may still be going on. She received quite the send off.

Rest in Peace, Jane.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

How Do You Feel About The Phrase "It Is What It Is"?

This saying causes me to cringe akin to pointy fingernails dragging ever so slowly across a chalkboard. Maybe that's a little bit melodramatic. It drives me nuts though, and I bring it up because I heard it said several times this last week. How do you feel about it? 

Without commenting on the fact that it's meaningless and redundant, nothing good seems to precede its use. Like, “I just cleaned the house for you. It is what it is.” Or, “I bought you that book you were drooling over. It is what it is.” Or, “We’re going on a date tonight. It is what it is.”
It doesn’t work that way. It is always something more disappointing in the realm of, “The dog keeps eating your socks then throws them up on the rug every morning. It is what it is.” Or, “Your parents can’t come (to whatever). It is what it is.” Or, “I’m sorry you didn’t get the job/promotion/anything you really wanted. It is what it is.” 
Today, conversing with my better/kinder/nicer half during a several hour long drive, I asked, "Why do people say this?" His response surprised me, because he consistently approaches matters from a glass-half-full prospective. Though it concisely explained how I feel about it. 
“Bill Murray recently said when people use the phrase consider it synonymous with 'you’re screwed,'” he said. This made me laugh.

Now, I don’t know if my husband’s reply was a “butt fact” (butt fact =  saying something with authority, so it sounds believable, but it is most probably made up, and not based in any sort of fact). I didn’t have the energy to  “google” it either. It sounds about right though.

There is definitely a negative connotation to “It is what it is.” It basically means suck it up ‘cause it is probably not changing. You can't improve the situation. It is usually less than good news. 

It’s the inherent hopelessness it seems to convey, at least to me. Residing to a fact. It just doesn't feel happy. Maybe that’s what I don’t like about it. 

Maybe my lamenting is over the top. It's Sunday; my day to write off the tip of my tongue.
I say, "It just is."

It spares me the shivers.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Turducken Meets The Big Chill

Believe me, I know I didn’t post yesterday. Fail!!!

You know what though? I am not going to let it get under my skin, or beat myself up about it, because I had a great day despite the first snow flurries of the Fall (it is Chicago after all). It was sunny and the fell like pretty little crystals.

Like the groundhog, I predict another missing post tomorrow. And you know what? I can’t let it get under my skin because I am going to be having too much fun. This I know this already for sure!

This is our annual Turducken weekend! Picture a dense and stuffed hunk of fowl meets The Big Chill movie. We do it every year, hence the annual bit, but usually in January or February. This year, we wanted it to be earlier for a few good reasons.

There will be big dogs (real dogs, not hubbies), too much food, and games (the good, clean kind like Dominos). There will be just a smidgeon of wine poured as well.

I would like to say there will be pictures posted here next week, but there won’t be because I can’t do it. Someone didn’t make the guest list this year because they have been naughty. I’m no Santa, I know, but she’s been no kind of good girl either! Knowing that we did this without them would be hurtful, and I don’t want that. She doesn’t even read my blog, but you never know. I guess if she does reads this then she will. I never claimed my methods are full proof!

T-minus six hours until they arrive in rural Indiana. Lots to do. Got to go!!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Yoga Quotes Aren't Always Cheesy

I pointed out to you the stars (the moon) 
and all you saw was the tip of my finger.
Sukuma ( Tanzania )

(The post below could be residual effects of the Facebook Positivity Challenge).

The above quote was recited at the beginning of my yoga class this morning during meditation. Before you think I am getting all yogi or really weird, please think about it.

Did you?

It is so meaty it stuck to my ribs.

To me, this doesn’t mean look far away into the future, but look past my nose-tip. Open my eyes, silly. See something, anything!

So many time I move robotically through my day handling routine tasks with less than moderate enthusiasm failing to recognize anything meaningful or beautiful or sweet. By then, the day has slipped away. 

[Conversation with myself]

"It is icy cold here today." 


"Though, guess what?" 


"The sky is the most amazing shade of blue. Almost summer blue. It’s as simple as a warmer coat, scarf, and maybe some ear warmers. You could stay inside all warm and cozy, read a little, and do your work. But, nah! What’s a little cold weather between friends anyway?"

I have a friend coming in town today that expects the chipper, fun, and enthusiastic version of me. And that's who she's going to get!!!

Let’s see the stars today.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

This Is Not A Real Post

This does not count as a post. It is 8:19pm. I am wiped out to the point where I can hardly keep my eyes open. Toothpicks needed, stat!

I kept saying at the aquarium all day today, “I’m having so much FUN!!!” And the Dive Safety Officer kept saying, “No! This is a job! We don’t have fun. Don’t tell anyone we are having fun.”

I babysat an extremely large green sea turtle named Nickel by using diversion tactics like dangling delectable Romaine lettuce in front of her nose, and scratching her back with a brush, and rubbing her fins (WITH MY HANDS!!!). Nickel is approximately18 years old and considered an older teen. She weighs about 180 pounds, and acts like a Lab puppy! Naughty!

My Young Charge!
I fed a moray eel. I basically shoved a large sardine directly down his (I think he’s a he) throat, and held it there until his second jaw/set of teeth popped out, and grabbed it. Freaky!

I prepared food for an entire days feedings for the Caribbean Reef exhibit. My initiation was filleting pounds of raw squid. Doesn’t scare me!

Finally, I suited up, and swam in the museum’s center tank to get my proverbial feet wet. Figured out buoyancy, and how to breathe and talk simultaneously.  Pushed away a bunch of mauling cow nose stingray who thought I had food, which I didn’t. Survived a head smack by Nickel's front fin as she tried to sit on my head. And swam up to the windows to wave at the young children. They were so excited and so was I!

I had my first tank picture taken when two high school girls wanted me in their #Selfie. They weren’t perfectly happy with how they looked in the first one so they held up a finger to say, "One more?" YES, please!!!

Yep! It was a really cool day. And now I am heading to bed. Really.

Night, night!!!

Monday, November 10, 2014

When God Makes Cotton Candy

The pensive sun is pondering sleep.

Its brilliance is seconds from perfection. 

The clouds appear as wisps of long, fine hair with blond frosted tips.
The sky turns pinkish white first, then the color of fuchsia lipstick mixed with tangerine juice.

The gray-green windows of skyscrapers reflect back 
the palette like mirrors.

At each other, at the lake, at me. 

Hold your breath. 

The world seems serene, and hopeful, and at peace.

And it seduces me into feeling a little this way, too. 
When we were children and the sky shone like this?

My mother would whisper to us,

“God is making cotton candy.” 

I love cotton candy.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Feeling Melancholy on This Sunday Evening

“You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what's a life, anyway? We're born, we live a little while, we die. A spider's life can't help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone's life can stand a little of that.” 

This is one of my very favorite quotes, and it always reminds me of some people who are quite important to me. It also reminds me of a friend, or two, I have lost.

It has such a melancholy feel to me, bittersweet, but very tender, and warm. Friendship is warmth, provides warmth, doesn’t it? 

For several reasons, I have called this quote to mind recently.

What is your favorite quote, friendship or not?

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Velvet Verbosity- Spilled Milk

“My eyes are just doing their dewy thing since I wouldn’t spill true tears for you anyway. You mean nothing to me. Zilch. Nada. I thought you did. Maybe you did once, but you don’t. Not anymore. This is both the hardest and most hurtful thing I can ever remember saying. You’re a complete fake. A pretend person. A shell. You’re a down dragger who’s not worthy of my friendship. I tried to convince myself you were, but only “real” people are. You aren’t authentic.

Here’s the rub since there’s always one. How will I be able to forget you?”


There is something intriguing to me about the word dewy, which Velvet Verbosity chose for their challenge this week. I'm a little late to the party, but I had something to say about dewy, I guess.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

When You Have No Idea What Will Actually Come Out of Your Mouth Until You're Finished

Hey! Did you notice I posted twice yesterday? I didn’t think so, but I know I did, and it almost feels like I have immunity today from post writing. In the spirit of NaBloPoMo, that wouldn’t be the right thing to do.

So here I am with a handful of spaghetti to throw against the proverbial wall because I have no idea where this post is headed, and they can’t all be masterpieces, at least not for me, which segues me into the creative piece I wrote yesterday. 

I really liked it. It felt good. I felt something. 

I was a teensy bit proud of it, too, so thank you from the bottom of my heart to the fifty-eight of you who have read it so far, and those who commented. Comments, while not completely necessary, help me feel excited about my efforts. Of course, stats tell you one thing, but comments, well, they’re the bomb!

Unfortunately for me, this creative piece was in violation of a rule at Yeah Write so it was disqualified from the competition grid. Here I thought I was headed for a blue ribbon (of course, I did not think this!). For you curious sorts, like me, I added a thirteen word shout out to Yeah Write in order to encourage those unfamiliar with this creative writing group to take a peek. The editors added my enthusiastic directions to their website to my piece (55 words instead of the 42 allowed). Technicalities, schmechnicalities!!! I was slightly disgruntled and intensely disappointed, and, frankly, I actually cried a few tears. I am not a dumbass (I can’t tell you how many times autocorrect would not let me use this swear word!). I understand the rules. I just didn’t think the way I used them was in violation. Well, it was, and the rules are the rules.

I paused for like an hour (okay, ten minutes) to think about how I felt, and why. Then I threw some perspective at my pity party’s wall. 

You know what I decided (it’s not rock science)? This shit doesn’t matter in my life! 

Sure, I wanted this piece to get to the voting round of the competition, BUT  whether it does or doesn’t, (which it didn’t)……

My husband is still going to walk through our front door after work, and kiss me (probably proposition me, too). 

My kids are still safe and sound.
Parents still love me.

Everyone I love and care about, still loves and cares about me.

I am still reading a good book, with many more from where it came.

I was still going to Trivia Night with some good girlfriends.

I was hurt. BFD (short for Big Fucking Deal, but you knew that already). I spilled some tears over it. BFD. I vowed to never participate again. Yeah, right. But, BFD.

It just doesn’t matter. 

Did I mention I am doing the Positivity Challenge on Facebook this week?

So much good stuff happens in my life that I can’t/won’t let things that don’t really, really matter get under my skin, bring me down, or turn me into a negative Nellie. I am a glass half full person, first and foremost. I am constantly searching for every good little thing in my minuscule corner of the world. Not only so I can post events this week on Facebook, but for the way these beautifully positive things make me feel inside. How they help me interact with those around me in a more serene, and happy way.
So go on over to Yeah Write. Read some of the awesome creative endeavors the brave writers (minus me) are serving up for you. I did first thing this morning because life goes on, and I move with it.

One more thing...


Right now.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Yeah Write: They Didn't Know You

They wondered why we didn’t bury you, 

or mark your terrestrial spot with granite

so they could make plans they wouldn’t keep.

They should’ve known

You belonged in the water’s waves 

hearing the wind’s whispers,

untamed halyards,


children's laughter, 

not silence.