#DSFWeeklyRewind… 11/5/17

#DSFWeeklyRewind

Another week has flown by and it’s been a busy one!

*Monster Mash* Tuesday was Halloween. Typical Halloween fun was had… the girls dressed up and we went trick-or-treating as a family (well, hubby and I would stand on the sidewalks as the girls would run to the door to get candy). It was cooler than it’s been in recent years but it was bearable. We came home and each girl examined and organized her loot. One house gave out full size candy bars so that was the hit of the night. I also exercised my parental right to take a “candy tax.”

*Hallelujah* (cue angels singing)… I had a productive week. I got my office packed. I finished my second presentation in a week. I have no more scheduled right now (which makes me very happy). I got started on my CEU’s that are due at the end of December. I still have a long way to go on those but I started… and that first step is often the hardest, right? I even got a little Christmas shopping started Saturday night. I am on a roll!

This week I am thankful for the beauty of nature. By this point in November, our colorful trees are often starting to fade. However, October was so warm that our colors were a bit dull last month. In the last week or so, we got some rain and our temperatures finally cooled off. Way off. And the colors of the leaves have really popped. The colors are sharper and brighter. It is late in the season but it is a nice view all the same. I am lucky that on my daily drive I see a lot of bright yellows and fiery oranges and reds.

Have a great week, everyone!

Join us at #DSFWeeklyRewind. This is a way for us to connect and rewind through our week (our “playlist,” if you will), reflect, and express gratitude. Connect with others at this week’s linkup. Everyone is welcome!

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#DSFWeeklyRewind… 10/29/17

#DSFWeeklyRewind

How can it almost be November?? Where has this year gone? We are dangerously close to Christmas and *gasp* 2018! Let’s rewind the week…

I’ve been freaking out all week about the quick passage of time because my board certification expires 12/31. We have to renew every 5 years. I need to make up a boatload of CEU’s to recertify by 12/31. This means that I need to go online and pay an arm and a leg to download educational content, read and take quizzes, and earn said boatload of CEU’s. As usual, I have procrastinated. Also, I don’t exactly have piles of spare time laying around to devote to this.

Work this week has been surprisingly good. I caught up on my patient letters and I had a *very* productive day Friday packing my office. I actually got all of my drawers and storage cabinets packed. Friday, 11/3, is our last day in the office and all I will have to do that day is pack my desk. I am feeling a huge weight lifted regarding the office move.

Last weekend, I took a trip with the hubby and the kids to a mall in the city. We had a great time, of course. In the car, we were listening to playlists on spotify… mostly the kids’ pop music. Then hubby wanted to hear Stairway to Heaven. Then we fell down the rabbit hole and started playing the Beatles, Pink Floyd, etc. We ended with a variety of hair band stuff. Hubby and I were singing – loudly – and recalling great memories. We were transported to younger days and easier times. Music, sometimes, is magic.

My podcast obsession this week has been Lore (by Aaron Mahnke). Between my morning and afternoon commute, I get to binge about 6-7 episodes a day. If you love creepy stories and want to learn more about the historical events behind today’s folklore, check out Lore. It does not disappoint.

Friday night I did a food drive with the girl scouts. The girls dress in their Halloween costumes and go to local grocery stores to “trick or treat” for customers to donate food items. We also get a lot of people that just give us cash. We donate everything to the local food pantries. We do this every year and it is a wonderful program. I emphasize teaching the girls service to others and giving back to the community. Now, you put a large group of young girls together and add Halloween costumes and things get… chaotic. They have so much energy. And enthusiasm. I love it even if it is a bit… tiring.

This week I am thankful for time. Time with my family to just be goofy and enjoy life. Time in my car alone (even though I curse my commute often) to listen to music/stories that fill my brain and reenergize my soul. Time with my kids, molding and shaping them into good people who will grow up and do amazing things in this world. I know their young years will go lightening fast, I have to enjoy the time while I have it.

Join us at #DSFWeeklyRewind. This is a way for us to connect and rewind through our week (our “playlist,” if you will), reflect, and express gratitude. Connect with others at this week’s linkup. Everyone is welcome!

 

On the Run

Sunsets were bittersweet to Ana. They were beautiful, but they were also a harbinger of the darkness to come.

She had stopped at the pond to rest, maybe even to bathe. Her sore muscles begged for respite.

She froze as the hair stood up on her neck. Was it the cooling twilight air or was it because of him?

Yes, darkness was coming. In more ways than one. She could feel him. He was close. Always too close.

Ana wistfully picked up her sword and bag. She had to keep moving before the reds and purples overhead faded to black.

Word count 100

 

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

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.

#DSFWeeklyRewind… 10/22/17

#DSFWeeklyRewind

Happy Sunday! I am again 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 week there is a linkup. Come join us!

Last weekend we went to Fall Fest at a rural Lutheran memorial grounds. We went last year, too, and fell in love with these doughnuts made by an Amish group. So we went again this year to get more Amish doughnuts. They also make a mean bowl of chicken and dumplings, which we also enjoyed. The weather was perfect. And when I say perfect I mean it. It was Midwestern autumn in all of it’s glory. We browsed the craft tables and my older daughter got a handheld acrobat toy (that has mesmerized me) and my younger daughter got a wooden gun that shoots rubber bands. I was so thankful for beautiful skies, warm temperatures, fun and family time.

On Tuesday, I had a work dinner at a trendy, upscale Italian restaurant. About 25 of my coworkers went. Now, I am neither trendy nor upscale and I have pretty significant social anxiety. So functions like this really throw me into a tizzy. I fretted all day about it. In the end, it went great. The food was amazing and the socializing wasn’t as painful as I thought it would be. I was thankful for good food, friendly coworkers, and a good job/department that paid for it all.

On Thursday, the Los Angeles Dodgers eliminated that Chicago Cubs from the NLCS. And the Cubs didn’t just lose, they were spanked (11-1 Dodgers). The Dodgers won the series in just five games. I (and the rest of Cardinal Nation) am ecstatic. Thanks, Dodgers!

I finally caught up on my favorite podcast, Steal the Stars (by Mac Rogers). I binged it for several days. It is amazing. Great story and wonderful acting. Now I have to wait for the weekly episode. I think there are only a couple episodes left. I will be so sad when it is over.

The six month wait is over… The Walking Dead comes back tonight! I am so ready to catch up with Rick, Daryl, Michonne, Maggie, Carol and the gang. Even Negan.

Have a great week, everyone!

#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!

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.