Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Yeah Write Micro-Stories: When Your Wife Might Really Be A Zombie

Honey, don't forget to lock the balcony door!

The thing about being married to a “ripe” woman who sleepwalks is my darling bridegroom can't discern where I’m headed post-midnight. I believe he’s secretly relieved when I hit a bedroom wall because then he doesn’t have to search far for me.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Nerd Alert! Books and Reading Habits

This week’s questions over here are titled “Nerd Alert”, and they pertain to books and reading. How can I not participate in a meme about books and reading? Plus, I am definitely this kind of nerd!
  1. Favorite childhood book? I have two, A Wrinkle in Time and The Phantom Tollbooth. I had the pleasure of revisiting them twice more when both of my children read them as kids. I also love Charlotte’s Web, but probably more so as an adult.
  2. What are you reading right now? I am hopping around a bit, and having a little difficulty settling on one book. I am currently reading The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez, Excitability: Selected Stories 1986- 1996 by Diane Williams, and Welcome to the Monkey House by Kurt Vonnegut. All are good in very different ways.
  3. What books do you have on request at the library? None! I need to get a Chicago Public Library card. First, though, I need to buy a bus pass in order to get to the library. I can take the #29 bus. Not that I am afraid of walking. It is simply a very healthy walk there and back, and with winter coming and stuff…
  4. Bad book habit? I obsessively order used, and sometimes new, books online from independent booksellers/stores. I frequent independent bookstores much too frequently! I need to get a bus pass!
  5. What do you currently have checked out at the library? I need a bus pass…
  6. Do you have an e-reader? Yes, I have several, and everyone in my family uses them except for me. I do not care for reading on an e-reader.
  7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once? I prefer to read one with the hope of becoming so completely engrossed that I lose my mind. That doesn’t happen as often as I would like, but it did recently when I could not put down The Language of Flowers. Therefore, I usually have two or three going at a time with one definitely a collection of short stories.
  8. Have your reading habits changed since starting to blog? Not really except that I probably read a few less books. I have always been a “big” reader since childhood.
  9. Least favorite book you read this year (so far)? I have read soooo many good books this year so if I had to give least favorites even though I did enjoy them, they would be The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick, or Night Film by Marisha Pessl.
  10. Favorite book you’ve read this year? So many! Stoner by John Edward Williams, An Untamed State by Roxanne Gay, The Road by Cormac McCarthy to name a few!
  11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone? Not often enough. Unfortunately, I like what I like.
  12. What is your reading comfort zone? I like well written fiction that has some element of thought provocation. I also like short story collections, though these can be non-fiction too.
  13. Can you read on the bus? I can, and do, read everywhere.
  14. Favorite place to read? Is “anywhere” a place? In actuality, it is right where I am currently sitting. There may or may not be an indentation in the exact spot on the couch where I am inclined to read (it is pretty much “my” spot). I just got up and can confirm said indentation!
  15. What is your book lending policy? I lend out all my books, all the time. I even lend out books I have yet to read. I trust the people to whom I lend. If they don’t return it/them, then they don’t. It’s on them. They should feel a little crummy about it since I was so generous. I’m kidding! I really don’t care that much if they are returned or not. They are just “things”. “Things” don’t matter much to me. In fact, I give away most of my books in order to fit more on my shelves.
  16. Do you ever dog-ear books? Never on purpose!
  17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books? I have on occasion, but only ever in pencil.
  18. Not even in text books? Back in the day, I was a master highlighter. So the answer here is “yes”!
  19. A book you didn’t expect to like but did? This is the hardest question. Geek Love by Katherine Dunne was recommended by someone who knows my book tastes fairly well, so I knew I would like this crazy tale. What I didn’t realize was just how much I would like it, I guess.
  20. What makes you love a book? When I relate so much with a character that it’s like, “I have felt this too!”, or when it’s all I can think, or when I refuse to leave the house without it, or after turning the last page it’s all I want to think about, or can think about, or makes me think and feel something. It needs to transport me, either somewhere familiar or different, just somewhere else. Does this make sense?
What are you currently reading? What is your comfort zone or, maybe more importantly, discomfort zone? 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Is Providing Honest Opinions the Same as Having a Big Mouth?

I love October, and not just because I was born in this month. 

I love the feeling of change in the air. There is a freshness and crispness like no other season. It makes me think of chili and chocolate (though chocolate is always on my mind) and pumpkins. The sun glows differently too. Lower, and it feels softer on my face somehow.

The leaves are slow to change this year, it seems. Maybe because we’ve enjoyed some Indian Summer days these last few weeks. Hands down, watching the trees burn bright is one of my very favorite things.

Most of all, October signifies change to me. Do you feel it too?

I have noticed a change in myself recently. I am doing something, on occasion, that I never used to do. When asked for it, I am giving my (honest) opinion. And I am not doing it all the time. Baby steps.

In times past, my response to a question like “How did you like it?” might result in an enthusiastic gushing if I liked/loved whatever it was. If I had a negative opinion, I would respond, “It was good.” or “Fine.” Something extremely simple.

[If you are sick of hearing me talk about yoga, bear with me for a minute because I am baring my feelings here, and it is part of my change, I promise.]

After every class I take, which is usually 5 a week, the instructor asks for feedback. I sure hope they are asking because they really want to know because I have started to provide an honest assessment of how I felt about the class. After all, didn’t we just spent 60 minutes listening to him/her instructing us?

I am diplomatic. I choose words carefully. I believe in “it’s not what you say (usually), but how you say it (my kids are still tired of me relying on this phrase, though it is so very true)”. Plus, I am not a mean spirited person.

My problem is…

I think I got someone fired for giving my opinion. Well not fired fired, but removed as an instructor of the more advanced level Monday morning class. I confidentially provided honest and constructive feedback to the studio manager when she specifically asked what I thought of the class I’d just finished. Very nicely, but firmly I gave my honest opinion, which was the teacher in question did not instruct the class to the level expected. Not even close.

The instructor has never been on the studio schedule again. I feel more than a little crappy about it. My hope is she is at another studio teaching the level with which she is more suited. Still, I feel crummy.

I am going to continue taking baby steps toward speaking up when asked for my opinion when it’s negative, and I haven’t figured out a really good way to apply this change outside of Core Power Yoga in my “real” life, in particular, because I never want to hurt the feeling of those I care about. And forget about giving unsolicited advice. I will just keep quiet.

Would/do people ask for feedback if they really don’t want it? I am afraid of this…

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Do You Ever Experience FOMO?

Do you know what "FOMO" means? My 23-year-old niece threw it out as a response to something I asked her this summer. I don’t even remember what my question was because I was so surprised and curious about her very short answer. I had to confess I did not know.

(By the way she didn’t say, “Hash Tag, FOMO.” I just imagine their would be a hash tag here.) 

“Aunt Gina, FOMO. The fear of missing out.”

I can shamelessly admit that I do not have my finger on the pulse of 20s-something lingo.

I didn’t respond like Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride, but I did ask her every time I saw her that weekend. 

“Stephanie, what was that saying again?” 

“FOMO, the fear of missing out!”

“Got it!”

Do you suffer from FOMO? Ever?

I used to think I did not. I’m usually pretty happy the majority of time with what I have chosen to do. Notice I didn’t say what I have or should do (sometimes I think it is just their connotation like having to do the laundry which I should be doing while I write this). And it’s been a while since I can remember feeling a sense of FOMO. That is until this weekend.

This last week, I traveled with my mother to California, Santa Monica and Malibu to be exact, to visit family friends that she and my dad met while they were on their honeymoon 56 years ago. They have been close friends since then, and their kids, primarily their youngest daughter, and I have been friends since we were born. Close.

It was fun. I had fun. My mother is fun. She always has fun.

But at the time I planned this “fun” trip for my mom and myself, I didn’t realize it was my (senior-ish in college) son’s Fall break. It would be the first time he was coming home since the summer, and to our new place in the city. My daughter lives in the city, too. Suffice it to say, my family had a blast this past weekend going out, chilling out, and hanging out. Without me.

I was melancholy and conflicted, for sure. Even though I wanted to be walking on the beach in sunshine rather than rain, laughing with my childhood friends about all the things we did while our parents weren’t paying attention, and indulging in whatever I wanted to indulge, I was feeling the FOMO.

As much fun as I was having, I couldn’t get "home" out of my mind. 

I wanted to be there. I wanted to be with them. I wanted to go out to dinner, laugh at inside jokes, listen to my kids bicker, smile at my husband because we were all together, and happily (kind of) do their laundry. 

I knew what I was missing. I felt it in my bones, in my head, and in my heart. It kind of hurt. The FOMO had legs, and it was running.

When I finally got home, the house was quiet. There were telltale signs of each of them, and their fun, and there was laundry to do, but only mine.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Yeah Write Micro-stories: Kissing Someone New


Laughing nervously, my eyes squeeze tightly anticipating where I’ll first feel his breath, or anything. I await his lips, or something.

My stomach pitches. 

That deep, aching warmth spreads across nether places sweeping up universes within its centripetal force. 

A gasp slips.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Yeah Write Garbleblaster: Say Something, Anything

Pink netted tutus,

Prom dresses, 

and sneaky boyfriends

passed before her.

School Halloween parties,

track meets,

and blatantly blown curfews

became invisible memories.

Statuesquely she sat in the same chair,

never moving, looking up, or uttering 



“Darling, fill my wine.”

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Gone Girl, The Movie: Toxic Marriages and Ben's Junk


My birthday was Friday, and I have had an extended celebration, for no reason other than I had lots of plans and eager friends, that began on Friday afternoon and will culminate this afternoon with dinner at my parent’s house. “Part Two” of my birthday weekend included quite possibly the best surprise present a girl (me) with a crush on a guy (Ben Affleck) could possibly ask for (not really or at all, but it was a surprise, and I did find it interesting as I will openly admit). I saw, albeit for the briefest micro-second, Ben Affleck’s penis!

[Yes, I did. But so did the entire theater watching Gone Girl if eyes were quick enough and focused first on the shot of his very firm cheeks in the shower scene at the end of the movie. The camera panned around his waist to a frontal view. I am not providing a spoiler here. While I didn’t know about it prior to the movie as I didn’t read or see any promotional stuff, apparently he’s been talking about it in his interviews. He said, “You have to know that it was cold on the set. Very cold. It looks better in 3-D IMAX!” I thought it looked pretty darn, ahem, solid.]

My girlfriend missed Ben’s junk, though I blame it partially on the fact that she doesn’t have a crush on him. My husband also didn’t see it, no doubt due to the gorgeous and svelte blond, Ben’s movie wife Amy, rinsing off simultaneously under a shower spigot. My 23-year-old daughter did not miss it.

The first thing I said when we walked out of the movie was, “Welcome to cah-rayzie-town!!!”, then “I saw Ben’s penis!”

This movie is so twisted, but that you already knew if you’ve read the book. The book as well as the screen play are written by Gillian Flynn who is an amazingly talented writer (with a freaky mind to dream up this extravagantly detailed plot). The actors, particularly Rosemund Pike who plays the female lead Amy like an ice cube, carry off the plot almost impeccably. I would have liked to see a little more from crazy Amy’s point of view, but the book follows Nick’s timeline more so, and the movie follows suit. 

Questions posed at the beginning (and later), which are woven, if you think about it, and I did, throughout the entire movie that hold true, at least for me sometimes, when reflecting on a spouse or marriage:

“What are you thinking? How are you feeling? Who are you? What have we done to each other?”
Haven’t you thought about those questions a time or two?

Gone Girl chills to the bone. Both characters are despicable. They are toxic, and you will hate them. This movie is deliciously deep and dark like chocolate much too bitter! And I loved it

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

I Just Wrote My 500th Post!!!

And I didn't even realize it! I mean the one before this one!!!

Writing has been slow going and complicated for me lately. For a lot of reasons, but mostly due to lack of time (and the disappearance of "Creative Gina" in favor of "Practical Gina"). As you know from yesterday's post, I have immersed myself in the world of yoga. It is time consuming, but it makes me feel good, even better than any other form of exercise or meditation. It has cleared my head, and I needed that to happen. It feels nice to smile more times a day than I remember. I even have deep smile lines now, DAMMIT!!!! Is there a magic pill for wrinkles?

My goal is to write at least 50 more posts before the end of the year, then hit the writing hard core January 1st. Look out!!!

Gargleblaster! Thursdays at the minibar


The bass starts floor bumping earnestly around 11:00, climaxing at 2:00, then waning. Flipping on the fan, I roll over. The gyrating guys in blue silk speedos beckoning from the first floor window should have been a clue to another sleepless night.