#DSFWeeklyRewind… 10/15/17

#DSFWeeklyRewind

Hi, friends! We are trying something new this week. Instead of having coffee, I am joining my friend, Tara, over at Daisy Smiley Face for her new linkup #DSFWeeklyRewind. This is a way for us to connect and rewind through our week (our “playlist,” if you will), reflect, and express gratitude.

This has definitely been a week of “put that song on replay.” It started with my camping trip with the scouts. This was our largest group yet and we had many newbies. It was fabulous. I always love going there in the fall because of the weather and the colors. Last weekend did not disappoint. My normal life is full of traffic and cities, so getting away to country and nature can be a magical elixir. Something about a campfire fixes everything. I forget how beautiful the sky is until I am out  in the middle of nowhere and I see a symphony of stars… so many more than I can normally see in my neck of the woods. Of course, the trip was also great because we are growing strong girls. I love seeing young girls try new things, have new experiences, and build bonds with one another.

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Monday was my 18th wedding anniversary. It is hard to believe. I mean, time is funny with things like that. In ways, it seems like shorter (how can I be old enough to be married that long?!) and in other ways it seems like longer (it is hard to remember my life before). If our marriage were a person, that person would be a legal adult! Able to vote and everything (well, not drink. I’m not that old yet). Playlist: Grow Old With Me by Mary Chapin Carpenter (our wedding dance song).

The part of my week that I would “skip” would be (no surprise): work. Work has gotten busy again in an exhausting pull-my-hair-out kind of way. We are also preparing to move our offices on November 3rd. I need to start decluttering (I have a lot of junk I don’t want to move) and organizing (stuff is everywhere!).

*cue the upbeat, happy music* Highlight: a surprise package from a friend. My good friend, Violet, sent me a care package of Harvest Mix!! This is Cadbury mini eggs cleverly redesigned and repackaged for fall. Bravo, Cadbury! Violet is such a sweet and thoughtful friend.

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GRATITUDE:

  • I am thankful for nature. I am thankful for the way time slows down and means more when you take the time to slow down and do meaningful things. At camp, we exposed girls to new things (horse-riding, flag ceremonies, dutch oven cooking) and gave them some new memories (spider cabins). We felt the warmth of the fire and marveled at the starry sky.
  • I am thankful for purpose. In a chaotic world that I sometimes feel is losing it’s moral center, I am making a difference in the lives of young girls (including my two daughters).
  • I am thankful for love
  • I am thankful for friendship. I am so lucky to have caring, thoughtful friends in my life.
  • I am thankful for chocolate
  • I am thankful for the LA Dodgers, who beat the Chicago Cubs in game 1 of the NLCS last night. I’ll be even more thankful when the Cubs are eliminated.
  • I am thankful that there are only 7 days until the new season of The Walking Dead!!

So, head on over to #DSFWeeklyRewind to check out the deets and participate. Tell me about your week and what you are grateful for!

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If We Were Having Coffee on the First Day of October…

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Hello, October! It is nice to see you, my friend.

I adore October. It is my favorite month. My wedding anniversary is in October. I look forward to colorful leaves, falling leaves, crisp air, sweaters, jackets, boots, fire pits, hot chocolate, pumpkins, pumpkin spice lattes, Halloween, homecomings… so much fun stuff in October.

Next weekend is our camping trip with the girl scouts. This will be our biggest group yet with about 20 girls and 11 moms. It is a busy weekend with horseback riding, activities, games, dutch oven cooking, and cleanup. But there is also much time for relaxing around the campfire and enjoying nature. I’m hoping to see some beautiful colors next weekend!

My St. Louis Cardinals’ season is officially over. No postseason play for us this year. It was a roller coaster season. We did keep the Milwaukee Brewers from making the playoffs so there’s that. Now I’m just looking forward to spring training.

Who is gearing up for NaNoWriMo next month? I have never participated and doubt I have the time but I flirt with the idea every year.

Thanks so much for having coffee with me this weekend. There is no linkup this time, Diana at parttimemonster.com has been our lovely host but has been on a bit of a hiatus. Until our next cup!

 

 

Monday Minutiae

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I know this has been my first post in a while. Trust me, I know. I’ve missed Friday Fictioneers and Weekend Coffee Share the last couple of weeks. Most days I feel like I’m standing in the middle of a tornado and the debris flying around me has names like work, drive, kids, school, scouts, housework, laundry. When I do get the odd spare time, I tend to opt for sleep lately. But the longer I’m away from my blog, the harder it is to get back. So, this is a catch-up post. Be forewarned: Random mind nuggets ahead.

Fall is my favorite season. I love crisp air, brilliantly colored leaves, sweater weather, and fire pits. What I don’t love? How the spiders tend to be everywhere in September and October before they disappear into the abyss for the winter. It has been hot this month so far but that hasn’t deterred the little creeps. We were coming home the other evening and a wolf spider was in the garage. He was sitting right by the door like he owned the place. If I see him again, I may have to burn the house down.

I am super bummed that baseball season is coming to an end. Well, regular season is coming to an end. My STL Cardinals are likely not going to make the playoffs. Again. For the second year in a row. Cardinal Nation is frustrated and upset. We are not used to such mediocrity. What’s worse? The Chicago Cubs, who I detest with the intensity of a thousand suns, are in town for a four game series. It is quite probable that the Cubs will clench the central division during this series. In St. Louis. On our turf. The thought makes my stomach turn.

I am excited for the return of new fall tv shows… especially This Is Us and The Walking Dead. I need something to take my mind off of the absence of baseball.

I’ve recently fallen down the rabbit hole of podcasts on Spotify. And a wonderful rabbit hole it is. This has given me a whole new mode of entertainment during my daily drive. I got addicted to “Alice Isn’t Dead.” Also on my list: “Welcome to Night Vale,” “99% Invisible,” “Homecoming,” and “Dear Sugars.”

A blogging friend (hi Johanna!) tipped me off to the existence of Cadbury harvest mix. These are Cadbury mini eggs in autumn wrapping! I looked for them immediately but couldn’t find them anywhere. Now I have proof that they exist and are in Target stores. The Target website tells me that they are in my local stores so I am on the hunt. Wish me luck. I have been saying for a long time that Cadbury needs to take a page out of the M&M (and really every other candy company that wants to make a buck) playbook and market the mini-eggs for different seasons and holidays. Cadbury for the win!

My mom and I spent hours on Saturday making a cake for our girl scout troops’ ceremonies. Hours. We thought about throwing in the towel several times and I was sure it was going to be a huge pinterest fail. I am proud of the end product, though. But man, was my hand cramping after writing all of those names!

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The ceremonies went well. We have two troops and one is split level. It is a lot of work but in the end it is worth it. In the chaos that our society has become, we are trying to be a positive influence on these young girls. Tomorrow’s women.

Until next time!

 

First Photo by Abbie Bernet on Unsplash

The Survivor

Martin stood in the ruins of the abandoned hospital, his mind lost in the nightmares of 1860.  He could feel her here, his sweet Helena. Her imprint was strong, resistant to the fade of time. Her voice called to him on the breeze. He closed his eyes and she was healthy and beautiful. Before.

The ancient amulet hummed in his pocket. The talisman had been too late to save Helena. Martin wished he’d met the same fate.

The building where he stood was nothing but a shell now, the inside gutted out. Just like him.

Mere survival was not the same as living.

 

**note: I made an edit based on reader feedback… just moved the order of two sentences. I feel like it makes a big difference in the flow. For anyone interested, this is the original:

Martin stood in the ruins of the abandoned hospital, his mind lost in the nightmares of 1860.  The building was nothing but a shell now, the inside gutted out. Just like him.

He could feel her here, his sweet Helena. Her imprint was strong, resistant to the fade of time. Her voice called to him on the breeze. He closed his eyes and  could envision her healthy and beautiful. Before.

The ancient amulet hummed in his pocket. The talisman had been too late to save Helena. Martin wished he’d met the same fate.

Mere survival was not the same as living.

 

 

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bulltot

This is written for the weekly flash fiction challenge, Friday Fictioneers. Check out the other 100-word gems of flash fiction here. Many thanks to our lovely host, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

One Enchanted Evening

Ana laid tangled in Nick’s arms in the bed of his parked pickup truck, soft music floating from the cab. Far from city lights, a million stars dotted the sky. She thought the night couldn’t be more perfect but he promised more.

He led her through the woods to their campsite. Soft illumination inside the tent made it glow green like an emerald. Twinkle lights hung in the trees. The beauty left her breathless.

She turned to find him on one knee, ring in hand. Hope and anxiety were clear on his face.

Serenaded by cicadas, the couple celebrated her answer.

 

PHOTO PROMPT© Jan Wayne Fields

Happy weekend! This is written for the weekly flash fiction challenge, Friday Fictioneers. Check out the other 100-word gems of flash fiction here. Many thanks to our lovely host, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

 

 

If We Were Having Coffee… 8/20/17

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Welcome! Come in, come in. It’s been a few weeks. August gets a bit hectic in my neck of the woods.

We were able to have a great family vacation. We went to St. Augustine, Florida. Our hotel was just a ten minute walk to the beach, so we had daily beach time. This was peaceful, healing, and much-needed. St. Augustine is the oldest settlement in the US and the town has a lot to offer as well. We went to the Castillo de San Marcos monument and the Cathedral Basilica. There was also a lot of shopping. My kids loved the Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum. Here are a few pics:

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Two days after we returned home, school started. My girls are in eighth grade and fourth grade. They like their teachers and schedules. So far, so good. I’m glad they are back in school, though I’m not ready for the busy routine of homework and extracurriculars.

We are eagerly awaiting the solar eclipse tomorrow. Our town is in the direct path and we will have two and a half minutes of totality. Out-of-staters are coming in to view it as well. School was cancelled so we will be able to view it as a family together.

Catch me up. What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

Thanks to our lovely host, Diana at Part-time Monster! Stop in and have a cup with our other participants at the linkup here.

If We Were Having Coffee… 7/31/17

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I know, I know. The weekend is over. Believe me, I’m well aware that it is Monday. I had planned to meet up with you yesterday but it just didn’t happen. I was pleased to see that the linkup was still open (thanks, Diana!) so I thought we could grab a quick cup.

We had a good weekend! My daughter elected to forgo a big birthday party this year in lieu of a sleepover with one friend. So we picked up that friend on Saturday and we went to a bouncy house place and the mall. I know a lot of malls are dying out (and so is ours to be honest) but we found a couple of fun things to do there. The kids did a bouncy trampoline thing (where they connect you to a bunch of big rubber bands and let you jump) and they also rode motorized animal scooters (they are basically giant stuffed animals on wheels). Then we came back to our house for the sleepover.

So it seems I didn’t get much done this weekend. At least, I didn’t get much done that I wanted to. I did a lot of house cleaning on Saturday which led to back pain. I tended to the kids which kept me somewhat busy. Sunday I basically succumbed to headache and back pain instead of being productive. It was disappointing and I hate when I have days like that.

I am waiting for the body shop to call me about my car. It should be ready today. My rental car is nice, but I am ready to give it back and get my own car back. I have missed it!

I am also trying to plan our quick before-school-starts vacation. We are going to South Carolina to visit family (my in-laws) but we also want to take a side trip to the beach. Of course, my husband’s family makes it hard to make plans (which is typical for them). We leave on August 8, so I want to get plans finalized.

Catch me up. What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

Thanks to our lovely host, Diana at Part-time Monster! Stop in and have a cup with our other participants at the linkup here.

If We Were Having Coffee… 7/23/17

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Welcome! Come on in out of the heat. It is not even 10am and it is already eleventy billion degrees. We have had an oppressive heat wave here in the Midwest this week. In St. Louis we hit a record high yesterday (or maybe it was Friday? The hot days melt together in my brain) with an air temp of 108. And we have high humidity so it felt higher than 108. You can take several showers a day and still feel like a sweaty mess.

Given the heat, you may want to skip the coffee in favor of a cooler drink. We also have leftover birthday cake from my daughter’s celebration yesterday. She is 9 years old. It is hard to believe. I know it is cliché, but time really does fly, especially with parenthood. Her actual birthday was Tuesday and we had a small celebration that day. But since I had to work that day, we delayed the big cake/ice cream/presents party until yesterday.  She wore a couple of her presents all day (new leotard and tights and a hello kitty backpack). I also gave her some cash so we will probably hit some stores today.

We were in a minor car accident last weekend. Thankfully, minor is the key word. No one was injured and my car is driveable. There is damage, however, and since we were not at fault I have been dealing with the other driver’s insurance company. We are finally moving forward and I will drop my car off for repairs on Wednesday and pick up my rental car. My driver’s door is messed up and it makes a loud pop sound when I open it so I will be very happy to get that fixed.

Tomorrow is our go-live date for our new software system at work. We are ill-prepared and I expect tomorrow to be a complete dumpster fire. I have two meetings this week (one at 7am and one at 4:30pm), neither of which I really want to attend. I will be arriving late on Wednesday after dropping off my car. And I am leaving early on Thursday to go to my older daughter’s middle school orientation. My coworker is also on vacation. Overall, I think it will be one of those “praying for Friday” kind of workweeks.

I have been improving with my running in both speed and distance. I have to keep a close eye on my back and the pain has been status quo (but not worse, which is good). I think the running hurts my hips more than my back anyway. As long as I don’t see a significant increase in joint pain, I keep going.

Catch me up. What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

Thanks to our lovely host, Diana at Part-time Monster! Stop in and have a cup with our other participants at the linkup here.

If We Were Having Coffee… 7/8/17

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Welcome, coffee friends! Look at me having coffee on Saturday (I’m usually a late Sunday person). I’m glad we could meet again. It is ridiculously hot today, so we may want to choose cooler beverages. We will definitely be staying inside in the A/C.

It has been a relatively quiet week at my house. I enjoyed an extra day off for the Fourth of July. We watched the fireworks display at our local park but otherwise had a restful holiday. I also worked a half day Thursday and had the day off Friday. Yay for short workweeks! Thursday I took my daughter to the doctor for school-required vaccinations prior to entering 8th grade. Eighth grade. It is hard to believe. Where does the time go? And my baby is entering 4th grade! It will be her last year of elementary school.

My days off went well because now I have a coworker than can handle things in my absence. I cannot adequately describe the peace of mind that gives me. I did answer several emails from home, but otherwise she could deal with patient results and phone calls and such.

I went for a nice run yesterday on my treadmill. You might remember that I am slowly getting back into running after a lengthy hiatus due to back injury. Yesterday I did well. I did about 20 minutes of running with one 10 minute interval. This may not sound impressive to a seasoned runner but for me it was incredible progress. I even got a pressure bruise on the bottom of my second toe. This happens to me a lot when running.

The TV is currently tuned to Titanic. I enjoy that movie so. Rose is getting rescued out of the water after the ship sinks. Why couldn’t Jack fit on that big slab of wood with her? Poor frozen Jack.

We could talk commiserate about the Cardinals again. It is same old, same old…. bullpen, pitching, field errors, baserunning snafu’s, yada yada yada. We are still below .500. They did win today, though. I love them, but man are they killing me this season.

I participated in Friday Fictioneers this week. Please check out Farewell Fireworks.

So catch me up. What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

Thanks to Emily at Nerd in the Brain for hosting the Weekend Coffee Share (next week back to Part-time Monster)! Stop in and have a cup with our other participants at the linkup here.

Farewell Fireworks

Debbie carefully packed her desk items into a box. She paused at the cup overflowing with bent paperclips, one deposited every day she worked in this dreadful office.

She wasn’t necessarily ready for retirement, but the company had pushed her toward a settlement. Out with the old, in with the new.

Good luck with that. There was more drama than work with her younger counterparts. They also had loose lips. Yes, Debbie had all the dirt. Affairs. Embezzlement. Stealing.

The secrets flowed through her fingertips as she typed her final email to her boss.

She was going out with a bang.

 

PHOTO PROMPT © Claire Sheldon

Happy Friday! This is written for the weekly flash fiction challenge, Friday Fictioneers. Check out the other 100-word gems of flash fiction here. Many thanks to our lovely host, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.