Waiting

For the Just Jot It January challenge.  Today’s prompt, Memento, comes from Tara at Daisy Smiley Face.

 

My day will come, I know it.

I’ve been here so long,

waiting patiently.

She used to hold me lovingly,

touch me with great care.

Those days long past were mostly good,

but there were also tears.

Can’t have one without the other, it seems.

She will come back to me.

Her favorite momento,

I wait for her to want me,

to need me,

to get lost in the memories that I hold.

 

 

Let’s Think Positive!

Reasons why my day is going better than a trip to the dentist (AKA Let’s think positive!)…

Sunshine after days of gray and gloom. It’s still cold, though..

A relatively quiet work day so far after being stupid busy yesterday

Taco Tuesday

I’m making friends with my new-to-me car. It’s my husband’s car. I’ve started driving it in an effort to save money on my costly commute. It’s a hybrid. A Honda CRZ to be exact. It’s a bit like driving a tic tac box but it is red and zippy.

I have plans tonight and will conveniently miss the State of the Union address. Let’s face it, I wouldn’t watch that trainwreck even if my calendar was as empty as Trump’s brain. But at least I have a legitimate excuse to not tune in.

My plans tonight involve High School Information night for incoming freshmen. Yes, my almost-14-year-old daughter will be in high school in the fall. There will be registration packets and loads of information about curriculum, grading, graduation requirements, scholarships, transcripts, summer school, standardized testing, etc. Doesn’t that sound like fun?! I’ve already received her fall marching band schedule which has thrown a gigantic wrench into my weekend free time (what free time?) in September and October. And I just know I’m going to get roped into the Band Parents Association. I don’t think I’m ready for any of this. Wait… I think I feel a cavity coming on…

 

Written for Daily Prompt

Secret

Deep in the recesses of the forgotten, she locked it away. Afraid it would escape, she buried it. Instead of starving and dying in the dark, it lived and grew. It existed despite her best efforts. It fought, scraping and clawing. Bloody and filthy, it broke through her obstacles. She could feel its poison consuming her. It didn’t just resurface, it ravaged.

Be careful what you wish for…

This is just the laugh I needed on this dreary election day…

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The Los Angeles Rams have lost four straight games (to give them a 3-5 record) and were showered with boos at home by their own fans on Sunday.

Wait, what’s that, Los Angeles? The Rams are terrible? Damn straight they are. St. Louis endured many, many seasons of suck. We supported them anyway, filling the stadium and making fat bank for Stan Kroenke. Then he heartlessly uprooted them (leaving us with lots of stadium debt) and moved on to greener pastures (that would be you, LA fans).

Be careful what you wish for. You wanted them, you got them. Second thoughts?

Good luck.

 

photo from twitter @TheLARamsNFL

Silver linings

Irksome is an appropriate prompt for the eve of the U.S. election. Though, I believe this election goes far beyond irksome and into the territory of stressful, depressing and scary. Irksome is an understatement for that nightmare circus.

Irksome is my nagging back pain, much worse today after a fun weekend of camping. How I long for the days when I could move freely and not suffer the consequences. Irksome is planning an activity-packed weekend for our scout troop and then listening to that one child whine and complain the entire trip. Irksome is the permissive parenting style that produced that whiny, complaining child who is grateful for nothing. Irksome is that one bad driver who keeps messing up the four-car caravan. Irksome is having your child throw up in that other parent’s van, making the four-car caravan come to a screeching halt. Really, I had a wonderful trip last weekend but even the best of trips have their hiccups.

Rather than focus on the hiccups, I like to find the positive parts:

Yes, my back hurts today but I spent a weekend in nature and enjoyed some picture perfect weather. I felt the warmth of a campfire on my face and came home with its sweet scent permeating my hair and clothes. I ran and played with the kids, subtracting 30 years from these old bones temporarily.

Yes, that child whined and complained but the rest of the kids were amazingly good. We have kids that work and step up and help without complaint. They say please and thank you and are going to be respectful adults some day. Yes, I think that whiny child is a product of a permissive household but I also know she is mostly raised by her grandmother who is just doing the best she can.

Yes, the caravan was a hot mess but we made great time and no one got lost or had an accident.

And yes, my daughter threw up as she rode in another parent’s van with four other girls from her troop. It was an excessive amount of mucus, not vomit (still gross but far less gross). We had extra clothes packed for the trip so changing her was not difficult or inconvenient. The other parents were extremely kind and understanding. As parents, we know barf happens and we’ve all been there.

It is easy to find the irksome things in life. It is even easy to be consumed by them. But finding the silver lining can be difficult but necessary if we want to keep our sanity.

The Last Goodbye

My paternal grandmother died just one month shy of my daughter’s second birthday.

They always had a special relationship, the two of them. My grandmother was in poor health. She was on kidney dialysis the last years of her life due to chronic uncontrolled hypertension. She had many rambunctious great-grandchildren, but due to her medical fragility she did not always feel up to their visits. My dad, however, would take my daughter Kiera to see her every week. I worried about the impact of such visits on her health but my dad assured me that grandma wanted to see Kiera.

While the other grandkids rattled her with their noise and boundless energy, Kiera seemed to understand what grandma needed. She was quiet, gentle. She would crawl into grandma’s lap and snuggle or read books. She was a calming force. My grandma called her “special” and labelled her as an old soul. She looked forward to Kiera’s visits and actually hid a toy stash especially for her.

Eventually grandma got cancer. Her body was not strong enough for surgery or other treatment. When the cancer debilitated her to the point where she could not attend dialysis, her organs shut down quickly. In those last weeks, she was so ill that we no longer took Kiera to see her.

The night she died, I remember sitting on the couch with my mom watching Kiera play in the floor with her building blocks. My dad came home after spending the evening with grandma. It was evident from the look on his face that the end was near. In hushed tones, he updated us on her condition.

As we spoke, I heard Kiera’s little high-pitched voice from the floor. I could hear the sing-song tone of her voice but it took me a few moments to pay attention to what she was saying.

“Bye bye, geet gamma…. geet gamma, bye bye…. bye bye geet gamma..”

(geet gamma = great grandma in Kiera toddler speak)

Still seated on the floor, she had turned away from us and she was staring up at the ceiling in the far corner of the living room. She opened and closed her tiny hand toward the corner in that adorable way that toddlers wave goodbye.

She continued to chant, “bye bye, geet gamma…. geet gamma, bye bye…. bye bye geet gamma..”

This went on for about 30 seconds. Then she turned back to her blocks and continued playing as if nothing happened. She was oblivious to the three adults in the room that were now watching her silently. Speechless.

I have to admit, when I first realized what she was doing, my blood ran cold. It was an eerie moment. As I listened to her voice, the chill abated and I felt comfort. Kiera sounded happy and cheerful with no trace of fear.

Ten minutes later, the phone rang. It was my aunt calling to let us know that grandma had passed away… about ten minutes before.

I know that not everyone believes in ghosts or paranormal, supernatural activity. Some people have logical explanations for everything, including the above story. I believe that love creates an energy that is powerful enough to transcend time and space. It was wonderful to see something right before my eyes that validated that belief (at least to me). No one will ever convince me that it was anything other than my grandma stopping by to say goodbye to her very special great-granddaughter.

Lucky Me

Daily prompt: Luckiest people: Who was the first person you encountered today? Write about him or her.

Maybe it is just me, but I don’t really “get” this prompt. “Encounter” implies a chance or unexpected meeting and I haven’t seen anyone outside of my family today given that I am still on holiday. I tend to avoid going out on Black Friday. And I don’t really understand what any of that has to do with being “lucky.” But it is still November and I don’t have the energy to think of something else to write about so let’s do this.

Encounter of the first kind: my husband came to bed at 6am. He worked all night, pulling a double shift. This wasn’t much of an encounter, I vaguely remember him crawling under the covers beside me. I didn’t sleep well last night (I never do when he’s not home) so I was dead to the world at 6am.

Encounter of the second kind (or kid-kind): I heard little feet come down the hallway and my bedroom door slowly opened. The small one crept around to my side of the bed and started talking to me. The small one talks a lot. Luckily, I let the kids stay up late last night and they didn’t wake me up until about 9:30am (yet one more thing to be thankful for). Once they start coming into the bedroom for me, however, they tend to keep coming until I get up. My day officially began.

Encounter of the third kind: After lunch, I mustered the energy to drag myself to the DMV. I checked the website to make sure that they were open and it appeared that they were. Not that I wanted to visit the seventh circle of hell, but I never can make it there when I am working. I ventured out into the rain to comply with the law and transfer my tags to my new car. I arrived only to find a red piece of paper on the door: closed 11/26 – 11/28 for the Thanksgiving holiday. Encounter averted.

The rest of my day has been gloriously encounter-free. My girls and I played Clue and are now watching The Wizard of Oz. I think that makes me the luckiest person.

 

 

Can’t Fight This Feeling

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “First Crush.”

The middle school gym was stuffy, filled with the bodies of young teenagers. It was 1987 and I was a gawky 13 year-old. A beanpole, I was taller than many of the boys in my class and probably didn’t weigh a hundred pounds soaking wet. The spring dance was on a warm, humid evening. I was wearing a cute dress and I had teased my hair to impressive heights with the aid of a half a can of Aqua Net (80’s girls can relate). I was standing in a group of my friends, safety in numbers.

When a slow song came on, I saw Randy approach. He walked right up to me, smiled and shyly pulled me away from my friends. He led me out to the dance floor and we began that awkward process – stepping into each other’s personal space, figuring out where to put hands, shuffling around stiffly in a circle. My heart was pounding so loud that I was sure he could hear it. Looking into his brown eyes set off a flurry of butterflies in my stomach. We had been friends and neighbors for years but there, on that night, we stood on the brink of something that neither of us yet understood.

We danced to Can’t Fight This Feeling by REO Speedwagon. I still think of him when I hear that song.

After that dance we became an official thing. It was a typical middle school relationship that consisted mostly of hanging out and holding hands. He also gave me my first real kiss. About a year later, he moved away. This was long before email, text and social media so we quickly lost touch and our great romance came to an end. I probably wouldn’t even recognize him if I passed him on the street today. Funny how that happens.

I had to include the video because it is cheesetastic and features some totally rad 80’s hair:

Be Cool

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Polite Company.”

“It’s never a good idea to discuss religion or politics with people you don’t really know.” Agree or disagree?

Please. I don’t even discuss those topics with people that I do know. Well, I have cool friends. Friends are ok. But family? Big no. OK, maybe it’s just my in-laws…

When talking to people I don’t really know, I am usually trying to fumble my way through small talk given my limited social skills so no, I am not going to broach topics like religion or politics.  You amuse me, Word Press.

But seriously… I don’t think these topics are necessarily off limits.  They just have to be navigated with tolerance and respect. It does not bother me that someone has an opinion different that mine. We are all free to think and believe as we wish, it’s what makes our world great. As long as we can listen and accept and exchange ideas in a respectful manner, things are cool. It’s only when someone judges or belittles that they become offensive. I get that these are hot-button topics and people feel very passionately about them. Still, tolerance and respect. Be cool.

So, what do you think? How would you answer this prompt?

Things Worth Keeping

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “If I Had a Hammer.”

If you could learn a trade — say carpentry, electrical work, roofing, landscaping, plumbing, flooring, drywall — you name it — what skill(s) would you love to have in your back pocket?

As usual, I am not going to answer this prompt as asked… but it did remind me of a story.  So bear with me…

The ultimate handyman, my dad built a lot of things for me.  He built huge bookshelves to accommodate my book addiction that started at such a young age.  He built a beautiful dollhouse that was my pride and joy for many years.  He lovingly crafted every detail from the shingles to the shutters to the curtains to the furniture.  And he built two matching bunk-beds for my baby dolls.  They had wooden frames with mattresses and matching pillows.  They were sturdy but also light enough that I could drag them from room to room during play.  I adored them.

At some point early in my teenage years, the bunk-beds made their way into the basement along with my dolls and other childhood toys.  My parents kept a lot of my things,  my dad was careful to pack them in a way to protect them from moisture and time.  But after I left for college, the bunk-beds found themselves in my parents’ yard sale.  Considering the amount of my junk that they kept, I don’t know why the beds had to go.  But I do have a guess.  My dad, as talented as he is, is also humble and his own worst critic.  He probably didn’t think the beds were worth keeping.

Fast forward fifteen years.  As an adult I had moved back to my hometown and had a toddler daughter of my own.  A daughter who, I might add, thought her grandpa hung the moon.

His church was having a parish-wide yard sale.  The parish high school gym was crammed full of donations – clothes, furniture, toys, household items.  My dad was there helping sort through things and organize the day before the sale opened.  As he maneuvered his way through the narrow paths among the clutter, he spotted them.  He recognized his own handiwork and the familiar pattern on the mattresses and pillows – the bunk-beds that he had made for me when I was a little girl.  And they were still in good condition.  What a small world.  Thinking of my daughter, he brought them back home.

Fast forward another eight years or so and guess where those beds are today?  Yes, in my house, in our playroom.  My younger daughter loves baby dolls and so these beds are a treasure to her.  She will bring them from the playroom into her bedroom so that her dolls can have a sleepover.  Or she will balance one on a skateboard for a makeshift gurney when she is playing doll hospital.  They are definitely worth keeping.