I Heart Wednesdays

It’s Wednesday, so that must mean that Joyce has offered her weekly Wednesday Hodgepodge questions. And lookie! She did!











1. Do you think the world became a more dangerous place on September 11, 2001 or are we just more aware of the danger? How has your own life changed as a result of that day?

I think that 9-11, as sad and strange as the day was, didn’t increase the danger level in our world, but it did peel away a thick layer of the make-believe cocoon of safety that many Americans had been living in. Before that morning, we seemed to have the delusional idea that warrish acts of violence happened ‘over there,’ wherever ‘there’ might be. Anywhere but here.

As far as 9-11’s direct impact on my life, I suppose that it was minimal. I didn’t know any of the victims and sadly, reports of horrific violence have become a nightly news event, so their impact—as troubling as it certainly is—is less than it was when it wasn’t commonplace. That fact alone—that we’ve become somewhat desensitized to violence—is a terrible truth about our world and something that should be a huge wake-up call.

The after-effects of 9-11 have made me a bit more outspoken about human rights, although that’s a topic that I’ve always felt strongly about. I bristle when people try to lump groups of people together in tidy little categories, especially when the purpose of the grouping is to label ‘them’ as dangerous. Radical, extremist nutjobs come from all walks of life—they aren’t the property of a certain nation or religion, they don’t all dress alike or hold the same political views—so to excuse hatred and bigotry in the supposed name of public safety gets under my skin.


2. Did you think your parents were too strict when you were growing up? How about in hindsight?

As a kid, I thought my folks were over-protective. Not terribly so, but many of my friends had more leeway than I did. Even at the time, I understood and respected their rules, but would have liked them to be a bit more in line with what other parents were allowing. And really, I was such a goody-two-shoes kind of kid that I would have behaved, with or without parental guidelines. That’s just how I was wired.

My kids grew up with much the same rules that I had, and now their children seem to have similarly structured outlines. The beat goes on. :O)


3. Share one random but candid fact about yourself.


Is there anything left that you guys don’t already know? Let’s see. At my last house, the phone line seemed to have a magical ability to get through on radio station call-in contests. I’d dial and be caller #1, hang up, hit redial, and be caller #9, hang up, hit redial and be lucky caller #19 and win the loot. It worked so incredibly well that I actually kept a list on the side of my fridge with all of the stations’ phone numbers, details of their current contests, and the date that I last won something from them (because most have rules about how often you can win). Getting through from that line was such a sure thing that my friends and family members used to come over to call from my house so that they could win, too. We won lots of cool stuff—cash, concert tickets, gift certificates, and even a handful of trips. Cool, right?


4. Would your nearest and dearest describe you as simple or far too complicated?

My guess is that if you were to ask my hubby, he’d say that I’m a simple woman wrapped in a slightly complicated outer layer. ;O)


5. What is your favorite stadium or carnival food?

If I didn’t think it would kill me young and if fat were to become the new fabulous, I would live on junk food. If it’s fried, greasy, packed with sodium, loaded with sugar, sprinkled with powdered sugar, covered in cheese or chocolate, or topped with whipped cream, I like it.


6. Tornado, hurricane, earthquake...how many of these natural disasters have you experienced? Which do you think would be the scariest?

There was a big tornado in my hometown when I was a kid. I was young, but I can still remember how the sky looked and what the town looked like in the aftermath. Despite that, I love storms—I hate the destruction, but I love the actual storms.

Earthquakes, though I’ve never experienced one, sound to me like the freakiest of the choices. The idea that the earth can just open up and swallow big chunks of cities—without warning—well, that’s a little unnerving.


7. Labor Day weekend is approaching so a work related question seems appropriate. Growing up, did your parents assign you regular chores? Were you paid for doing those chores. If you're a parent do you assign chores to your own children? Why or why not?

I didn’t have specific chores, as I recall, but my parents created an environment where everyone was expected to help out, and we all did. I got an allowance, but it wasn’t chore-based.

When my kids were growing up, they did have specific chores, but the assignments rotated on a four-week basis. I had three kids, so each child would be responsible for a certain task this week, another task the next week, and a third on the week after that. Every 4th week, they had no assigned tasks except for keeping up on their own messes and their schoolwork—both of which were expected all of the time. By rotating the chores between the kids, we hoped to teach each of them how to be well-rounded and self-sufficient. We didn’t want there to be ‘boys chores’ and ‘girls chores,’ but simply things that needed doing, and as members of a household, we were all expected to do our part. It worked very well.

My kids were all given allowances, but theirs weren’t chore-based, either. I wanted to solidify the message that as a family, we shared the responsibilities as well as the gravy. :O)


8. Insert your own random thought here.


We’ll have to close the pool soon, which makes me a little sad. It is, without question, my summer happy place.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Because of the storm question (Thanks, Joyce!), this post will also qualify for this week’s BFF: Blogging for Fun inspiration: Stormy Weather, and it’s also the last day of the month, so I’ve officially completed the NaBloPoMo August challenge. Woo-hoo!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Lying and Longing

Today’s NaBloPoMo writing prompt is: Tell us two truths and one lie. I’m still trying to figure out what to write for this week’s GBE2 writing prompt, which is Longing, so maybe I can combine the two and check ‘em both off the list.

Let’s see, two truths and one lie + longing. Okay, here goes:

1. I long for a pet that isn’t a dog. We’ve always had dogs because, well, because the hubs is a dog lovin’ kind of guy. What I’d like is a beautiful white cat like the one in the Fancy Feast commercials, but since both my hubby and my son get all itchy and watery-eyed around cats, that’s one longing that will have to remain unfulfilled.

2. I’ve longed for a place in the country for quite some time now. It will happen, but rearranging lives to accommodate the move isn’t without its complications. Plus, as much as I know that I want to leave the city (and I even know exactly where I want to go), there will be loss along with the gain.

Our daughter and her family want to be country-dwellers and when we go, we’ll be going in tandem with them, but our son and his family plan to stay put. Ultimately, no matter which place we were to choose to live, we wouldn’t be able to have both of them two minutes away as they are right now, but few parents have that and so no matter how it pans out, I will be grateful for this time that we’ve had all being neighbors and will do everything that I can to be a frequently visiting royal pain in the ass spend time with all of them as often as I can.

3. Nope, can’t do it. I have the one untruth covered (Really, can you see me with a freaking cat?? I’d be 100% pet-free if I lived alone and at least dogs don’t jump up on my counters. The man and the grownup boy really are allergic to furry felines, though.) and though we do want to move away from the city and I have my eye on a place (that I can have if the stars all align just right and a pile of money lands in my lap), I wouldn’t call it a longing as much as a plan-in-the-works.

The reality is that I’m not longing for anything; I sometimes have a hard time coming up with an answer when people ask me what I want for my birthday. My life is pretty good and even when I’m cranky and hormonal (who, me?), I feel blessed. I kind of think that longing, at least the way that I view the word, is mostly for angsty teenagers who while away countless hours pining for romance or at least a life free from their parents’ constraint. Much older than that and deep desire usually leads to action, not wishing.

Well, I guess I do wish that the stars would align just right so that a pile of money would fall into my lap. Does that count?


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

How about you? Can you tell me two truths and one lie? Think I’d be able to pick out the fib?

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

I'm a Rockin' Mom

At the risk of sounding like a huge dork (although I suppose that particular ship has already sailed), I’m going to share another song that takes me back oodles of years and evokes a vivid memory. But first, I need to share a little background.

For my 1st birthday, one of my older sisters got me a small wooden rocking chair. Now let me start by telling you just how much rocking chairs—and rocking in general—are a part of my family history. We are a family of rockers. We sway, rock, whatever you want to call it, all of the time. I’m especially afflicted, but I am far from alone in my genetic line of weirdo-rockers.

My mom rocked. Well, she totally rocked, but in addition to that, she rocked. Back and forth, side to side. Constantly. I do it too, as do my children, though not to the same degree. I think the weirdness gets a little watered down with each new generation, so before the end of this millennium, I may have a crop of perfectly normal descendants.

Hey, it could happen.

Anyway, back to the rocking. When I stand in line at a store, I don’t stand, I sway. When my kids were rockin’ mini-me’s, if we shopped as a family, all of us except for my husband would be standing in line, rocking back and forth. Yeah, we were those people.

When my son was small, I was worried about him. His twin sister was already running through the house and he’d yet to take a single step. Additionally, he rocked in his crib—and I mean he really rocked. Sometimes he’d move the crib all the way across the room with his powerful rocking. This went on for hours some nights—he’d rock and make this weird guttural noise while he chugged the crib all over the place. I did just enough research to scare myself before making an appointment with our truly wonderful family doctor. The doc listened patiently to my concerns and then he grinned at me, started swaying back and forth, and said, “Gee Mama Word Nerd, I can’t imagine why he rocks like that.”

Um, okay. Point taken.

He said that he believed that since I was a rocking mom (Yeah, that’s right. I’m a rockin’ mom!), my children likely find comfort in the same motion because it was a part of their environment while they were growing eyelids and giving me stretch marks. So we rock.

That rocking chair that my sister gave me got tons of use. I don’t know what she paid for the thing, but I do know that she got her money’s worth. I spent hours and hours (and hours and hours) on it, rocking, and often, singing. It was my favorite seat in the house until I finally outgrew it, at which time, my sweet grandma got me a full-sized rocking chair.

So picture it, if you will. Small girl with crazy blond curls, rocking on a little wooden rocking chair and belting out song after song. Yeah. Sorry about that.

YouTube is a fabulously limitless source of music and when I searched for this particular song, I was delighted to find a version by Bob Dylan. Bob-Freaking-Always-Cool-Dylan!

So ha! I wasn’t a huge dork! Me and Bob Dylan dug this song! Yep, me & Bob. Uh-huh. That’s right.




~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

GBE 2: Blog On -- Week #15: LONGING



GBE 2: Blog On -- Week #15: LONGING












As always, the guidelines are simple. Blog on this week’s prompt in any way you see fit. Once you’ve posted to wherever you normally blog, drop the URL to your post into the linky tool below.

REMINDER: use the URL to your entry for this week’s specific topic post, NOT to your blog’s home page!

If you haven’t already done so, you are welcome to join GBE 2 at its main headquarters over on Facebook (We currently have 182 active members and we’re still growing!). Just visit GBE 2’s Facebook page and request to join the group. Everyone is welcome, so tell your friends! :O)

For those of you who use Twitter, the hashtag for the group's posts is #GBE2, and we can increase readership if we all tweet early and tweet often. ;O)

That’s it! Easy-breezy-lemon-squeezy!

You have until Saturday (9-3-11) to post your blog and leave your link…

Again, this week, our prompt is: LONGING

Ready. Set. Blog!

Happy blogging!
Beth





~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Musically Slackerrific

In keeping with my new tradition (Hey, two weeks does so constitute a tradition!) of posting something on Saturdays that requires almost no effort, I present Slacker Saturday, Week #2. Yesterday, I wrote about how certain triggers can evoke strong memories—strong enough to yank us right out of the present and deposit us into our past. I mentioned that certain songs have that ability for me, and although I’d planned to post a big blog next week featuring a bunch of them, I thought it might be easier nicer to spotlight them individually, getting the most possible mileage out of giving each one the attention that it deserves.

Alrighty. Song #1 (If I do this right, these songs can cover Slacker Saturdays for months! I am the best slacker EVER!)

This song was one of my mom’s favorites and can make me weepy, still. Beware, it’s old-school country, so if you’re allergic to twang, you might not want to clickety-click unless you have an Epi-Pen handy.





~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

That’s it for today. What song(s) take you back? Oh, and take your time because you’ll have plenty of opportunities to list them as I drag this out wander sweetly down Musical Memory Lane.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Scents and Scentsibility

Memory is a funny thing. One trigger and we’re transported to a very specific place and time, the details almost as vivid as they were when we were actually in the experience. All of our senses have the ability to take us back, but for me, some do a better job of it than others.

Touch, as lovely as it is, is the least powerful memory trigger for me. I don’t typically find myself pulled into the past when I feel sandpaper, a soft blanket, or the tickle of a whiskered cheek against mine. There are a few exceptions, of course. When I flip my pillow to enjoy the coolness of the other side or kick the sheet off and run my too-warm legs across the chilly top of the coverlet (an increasingly common practice for me, post-45), I am reminded of summer nights in my childhood home, un-air-conditioned and still.

Visual cues induce stronger responses, though they usually lack the ability to pick me up and plop me square into my past. Looking through old photographs is fun, and some do bring forth clear memories of the moments they’ve captured, but often, they are simply representative of a time-frame, rather than a distinctly finite moment in time.

Certain sounds have the definite ability to take me back in time. There is a little church a few blocks from my house and on Sundays when I hear their bells ring, I am a little girl again, visiting my mom’s small hometown, where Sundays meant dressing up (white gloves and all!), going to church, and big family suppers afterward. It’s always a nice moment of remembering, though as an adult, I am as non-churchy as a firm believer can be.

Music is a huge memory trigger for me. Certain songs draw very specific memories and it is as if years—decades, even—have been erased and I am right back to a place and time long ago. Quite a few of the songs on my iPod are there simply because they hold happy memories. A YouTube-peppered blog spotlighting some of my favorites might be in order for next week.

Taste, too, is connected to some of my memories, but not all of them are pleasant. After over-indulging a little (okay, a lot) at my daughter’s wedding reception, it was months before I could take a sip of wine without feeling queasy. One taste and I was returned to the cool tile of our upstairs bath, the room spinning around me as I vowed to never touch another drop.

The taste of certain foods can evoke strong memories, but often, it is their aroma that really does the trick. The smell of bread pudding baking is a favorite—one whiff and I am eight years old again and my mom is standing in the kitchen, smiling at me. Chicken and dumplings remind me of childhood dinners at my Aunt Dot’s house. Every time we’d visit, she’d ask me what I’d like to eat, to which I’d reply, “I don’t know. Anything is fine.”

She’d grin then and say, “Okay, maybe I’ll make a nice meatloaf (or pork chops, or spaghetti),” knowing that I was really, really hoping for her delicious chicken & dumplings. In the end, she always prepared her signature dish for me, and we’d all sit around her warm and welcoming kitchen table with heaping helpings of the savory stew, served up on her beautiful blue and white dishes.

The earthy scent of tomatoes from the vine remind me of my son, when he was small. He liked to walk through our garden and eat tomatoes, hot from the afternoon sun. One smell of a fresh beefsteak tomato and I can see him, four years old, with juice and seeds on his face, shirt, and running down his sweet little arms.

It’s not just the smells of edibles that push me down Memory Lane. Pipe tobacco reminds me of my friend Ellen’s dad. He was as close to Ward Cleaver as I’d ever seen and to this day, when I smell pipe tobacco, I think of him, and how kind and gentle a man he was.

When I nuzzle an infant and take in that distinctly beautiful newborn smell, I am a young mother cradling one of my babies in the crook of my arm, happy and peaceful. Pine-Sol reminds me of my mother-in-law, who kept a very clean and tidy house, and every now and then, I catch a whiff of a certain cleaner (soapy with a hint of something softly minty) and I am back in my elementary school with its gleaming halls and shining bathrooms.

There was a cologne that I wore as a teenager and during the early years of my marriage. It was a cheapie drugstore type called Geminesse, put out by Max Factor. They discontinued it long ago, but every now and then I pick up a bottle on eBay when one goes inexpensively. Sitting for so many years makes the scent much stronger, but used sparingly it is wonderful, and one quick spritz has the ability to make both me and my husband young again.

Now if that isn’t magic, I don’t know what is.




~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

How about you? What sights, smells, sounds, tastes, and textures take you back in time?

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Limitless

I suppose that all parents feel overwhelmed at times with all that is required of them. It’s not just the stuff that needs to be done, though the list is genuinely endless. It’s not the sleeplessness or the lack of funds or even the sometimes thankless nature of the job.

What really weighs heavy is the simple sense of complete responsibility. There is no Plan B, no safety net. Screwing it up is simply not an option. Parenting is the real deal and while people may ooh and aah over the guts required of race car drivers and extreme athletes, I believe that the most courageous folks are those who assume the job of parent, because it is an undertaking so important that once accepted, there is no choice but to go full bore. Succeed or die trying.

If the basic job description itself isn’t impressive enough, parents are also without choice when they are paired with the children that they must guide to adulthood. Parents get a mystery package. Kids may have even temperaments or might emerge from the womb angry and defiant, might be people-pleasers or may get an obvious thrill from challenging every single thing that is asked of them from birth through college graduation, might be healthy or may have extreme special needs. No matter what, Mom and Dad are in it to win it. And winning, in parent-speak, means nurturing, guiding, and supporting children so that they become happy, balanced, kind, responsible people who use their unique talents to become their very best selves and better the world. Gee, no pressure there.

Thank God for love, that’s all I can say. For it is love that refills the well; love that scrapes up a little more energy and a little more patience when parents are certain that they’ve depleted their supply of both. Love redefines and expands the limits until they are infinite. Love is what never says enough is enough. It refuses to sleep when needs are extreme, exhausting, overwhelming, and relentless, and while the job might sound to outsiders like a foolish and hellish undertaking, love makes it instead something that we thank God for, would die for, and no matter what, would do all over again.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Written for this week’s The Writers’ Post topic: Beyond the Limits.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Wednesday Hodgity-Podgity















1. What is something that bothers you if it's not done perfectly?


If you’d have asked me this question years ago, I would have responded, “Everything.” My answer would have been especially firm, had I been speaking of anything that I was doing, because I had a ridiculous tendency to aim for perfection—as if that was actually possible—and then beat myself up if I fell short of the mark. These days, my answer to the question is, “Not a damn thing,” and I’m much happier with myself and the world around me.


2. Do you think a 6th sense exists? Explain.

I absolutely do. I believe that sixth sense, intuition, a ‘gut’ feeling, or whatever you want to call it is within all of us, but that some of us are simply more attuned to it than others and sadly, some have learned to stop listening to it altogether.


3. Do you say your goodbyes slowly, quickly, or not at all?


It depends. Casual or business encounters tend to result in quick farewells, but with those dear to my heart, the process takes a bit longer. When the grands hug me, I hug them back for as long as they want. Same for my kids, my husband, and a few select others.

My granddaughter likes for me to watch and wave to her as she leaves, and I am happy to accommodate her wish. If they’ve driven over, I wave until they pull away and if they’ve walked or ridden their bikes, I walk with them to the sidewalk and then wave every time she looks back until she is out of sight.

When my husband and I part, I don’t say goodbye. Instead, I say, “See you in a little while,” because no matter what the day might bring, I still believe that will be true.


4. On a scale of 1-10, with ten being hot-hot-hot, what level of spice do you like in your food? What's your favorite 'spicy' dish?

I’m a great big sissy when it comes to spicy foods, so I guess I’d have to say one, maybe topping out—if I’m feeling really adventurous—at a three. Yeah, I know.

Oh, and my favorite spicy dish is Johnny Depp.


5. What is one of your all-time favorite commercial jingles?


I like jingles. As a kid, I won a bike for writing the winning jingle for Razzles (Remember those? The candies that turned into gum?).

I have a handful of favorites: I love the Toys R Us song (“I don’t wanna grow up, I’m a Toys R Us kid…”), the Band-Aid one (“I am stuck on Band-Aids ‘cause Band-Aid’s stuck on me…”), Oscar Mayer bologna ("My bologna has a first name, it’s O-S-C-A-R…”), the Oscar Mayer hot dog one (“Oh, if I was an Oscar Mayer wiener…”), the Armor hot dog one (“Hot dogs. Armor hot dogs. What kinds of kids love Armor hot dogs? Fat kids, skinny kids, kids who climb on rocks…”) and I kinda like the Klondike Bar one, too (“What would you do-ooh-ooh, for a Klondike Bar?”).

And then, of course there’s: “Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun.” When that first came out, our local McD’s gave away free Big Macs to those who were willing to go up to the counter and rattle that off and who could do it perfectly and in so many seconds. I found it easy-breezy-lemon-squeezy. :O)


6. Plane, train, boat or auto...your preferred method of travel?

I love road trips, especially when secondary roads are chosen over interstates. All sorts of good.


7. What is something you take for granted?

The love of my family. It’s not that I’m ungrateful for it, because it is without question the most precious thing in my life, but I know that it is solid and true, so I’m comfortable to go on assuming that it will always remain.


8. Insert your own random thought here.


I’m a week away from completing the NaBloPoMo ‘post every day for a month’ challenge and just this morning, I realized something. Thus far, I’ve met the challenge and I have every intention of seeing it through. A few times, I posted right before midnight, refusing to go to bed before I did what I’d committed to do. Other days, I blogged early in the morning, but I’ve done what I set out to do—every single day without fail. If I applied that same dedication to working out, my jeans would fit a whole lot better.



~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

This was written for the Wednesday Hodgepodge, hosted by Joyce, and it also qualifies as my daily post for NaBloPoMo. Yay!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

You Belong Among the Wildflowers

Two of the grands will be starting kindergarten this morning. They are both very excited and I’m thrilled by their exuberant attitudes. I’m also a little sad. I know that they’ll do well—both are bright, funny, sweet kids who are enthusiastic, confident learners—but still.


Until the moment when they step through the doors of that institution, both have been wildflowers, faces tilted instinctively toward the sun, growing on a mixture of acceptance and love that celebrated their individuality and encouraged their unique gifts. By this afternoon, they’ll have had a teeny bit of that trimmed and in short order, they’ll be replanted in one of many matching pots, lined up in tidy, obedient rows. There’s beauty in well-defined flower beds and container gardens, but my preference is for open fields of blooms, each free to grow as tall and deep as the integrity of their seed and the generosity of their environment can take them.

My little wildflowers have been tended with care, thus far. And though their days of unbridled blooming may have come to a temporary close, my hope is that no matter how fiercely the gardeners that they encounter try to convince them to conform to their place in the well-planned landscape, the tiny seeds within will remember their origins and their desire to blossom. I pray that while they absorb all that they can from their places in the line of pots, their roots will spread strong and wide, and will ultimately break free from containment to live wild and free, as they were intended to do.




~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
This post was written for the GBE2 topic, “Growing Wild” and for BFF #116: “Back to School.” Feel free to click on either to join in, as both groups welcome new members.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Quiet Amid Chaos

The day was anything but quiet. Our son and his family, as well as our daughter and hers, arrived early in the afternoon and unpacked totes of swimsuits and towels. The grands, always happy at Grammy and Grampy’s house, ran and giggled through the house and yard, excited to be together and anticipating a fun-filled day.

They were right—it was a lot of fun. Instead of grilling, as had been the original plan, we ordered from a local pizzeria, freeing my hubby from BBQ duty and allowing him extra time to goof around with the kids. We set up Bozo buckets and awarded small prizes each time one of the kids was successful in tossing the ball into a bucket. They played ring toss, had sack races, tossed the Hot Potato, and pinned the tail on the donkey (or, as it turned out, on the door, the window, and even on the brick wall). The winners of each game won little toys and at the end of the games, we had a final awards ceremony. All of the children walked away with medals strung on red, white, and blue ribbons. They had a ton of fun.

Once the pizza had settled and there was a little room in our bellies, we set up an ice cream sundae bar and let everyone create their own dessert. Whipped cream topped concoctions were carried back outside and gobbled up with glee. The adults, far more tired than the kids, sat at the patio table while the kids ran off some of the cherries and chocolate sauce.

It was a noisy, messy, calorie-laden, somewhat crazy day. The two oldest grands got along about ninety percent of the time and fought like mad for the other ten. At one point, both mommies were simultaneously lecturing their children about the importance of treating one another kindly, which resulted in a few minutes of peaceful play before the warring erupted again. “Don’t talk to me like that!” followed by “Well, then quit bossing me!”

More warnings—sterner this time—settled the matter and giggles again took center stage. The little ones used lawn chairs and beach towels to create a clubhouse, and all three scurried underneath the bright tented top. I snuck up, camera ready, and lifted the terrycloth door to snap a surprise shot. Their smiling faces made my day, as they always do.

I found a seat between my husband and daughter, and sipped lemonade while we watched the kids play. They screeched and laughed as the towels slipped away from the chairs, and all three scrambled to reconstruct their hideaway. The noise level was impressive, but in the midst of the chaos, I looked at my bunch, and the craziness and mess just faded away.

What I saw was the man who’d spent the past three decades by my side, leaning in to say something to our son-in-law and our son, who both laughed. Our son reminded me so much of his father, twenty-five years before, that a few quick tears stung at my eyes. Our daughter-in-law tilted her head and pretended to spy on the tent-kids, who howled with laughter as they peeked out between the layers of beach towels and then snatched them closed. Our daughter noticed my pensive look and though she didn’t say a word, her smile told me that she knew exactly what I was feeling. Love, simple, pure, and silent—right in the middle of a colorful, sunshine-filled, and very boisterous afternoon.



~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Written for this week’s topic at The Writers’ Post: Silent Moments.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

GBE 2: Blog On -- Week #14: GROWING WILD (w/Picture!)




GBE 2: Blog On -- Week #14: GROWING WILD (w/picture!)










As always, the guidelines are simple. Blog on this week’s prompt in any way you see fit. Once you’ve posted to wherever you normally blog, drop the URL to your post into the linky tool below.

REMINDER: use the URL to your entry for this week’s specific topic post, NOT to your blog’s home page!

If you haven’t already done so, you are welcome to join GBE 2 at its main headquarters over on Facebook (We currently have 181 active members and we’re still growing!). Just visit GBE 2’s Facebook page and request to join the group. Everyone is welcome, so tell your friends! :O)

For those of you who use Twitter, the hashtag for the group's posts is #GBE2, and we can increase readership if we all tweet early and tweet often. ;O)

That’s it! Easy-breezy-lemon-squeezy!

You have until Saturday (8-27-11) to post your blog and leave your link…

Again, this week, our prompt is: GROWING WILD (w/above picture!)

Ready. Set. Blog!

Happy blogging!
Beth




~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Slacker Saturday

In my ongoing quest to be David Larrabee, I’m introducing Slacker Saturday posts. Yeah, they’re exactly what they sound like: the underachievers of the blog world.

On the plus side, Slacker Saturday posts are quick and easy…quick and easy to post and as a special gift to you, quick and easy to read. If fact, this first one requires no reading whatsoever. I’m just posting a video that I didn’t even make! Can’t improve on the slackery much more than that, right?

Damn, even when I slack, I try really hard to be good at it.




Anyway, put your tootsies up and listen:







One more, if you’re interested (Warning: If you’re sensitive to harsh language or your kids are right there, this Louis CK video is not for you. Don’t click.):





~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Quickie Q&A;

Better is Possible posted her answers to the following questions and invited (really nicely, because she’s good like that) her readers to do the same.











1. Using what's in your fridge right now what sort of meal would you be able to make for guests who are knocking at the front door this very minute?

It’s jam-packed with veggies, so I guess I’d toss together a big salad. I make great salads, if I do say so myself. And ice cream sundaes—the waistline antidote to salad—because I just happen to have all the fixins.


2. What is something about yourself that you hope will change but that probably never will?

I aspire to be a screw-up. I don’t think I’m wired that way, but being the girl who gets things done gets old sometimes.


3. What's something about yourself that you hope will never change?

I’d love to retain my idealistic tendencies. I absolutely believe that a better world is within our capabilities, and that creating it requires only simple decency and consistent kindness.


4. Do you usually send serious or funny greeting cards? Why?

I normally choose funny greetings, except, you know, for sympathy cards. Why? Well, it would be just plain wrong to cackle about the recently deceased, right? ;O)


5. Bird watching, shell gathering, or star gazing—your choice for whiling away the hours?

Stars or shells, but not the birds. I have a thing for robins, but other than them, I find birds slightly less interesting than Republicans.


6. Do you double or triple check things? If so, what?


Nah. I suppose I might, should I suddenly decide to take up sky-diving or bungee jumping, but since I’m a huge chicken-shit, neither of those are too likely.


7. What's your favorite place for people watching?

Everywhere—no exaggeration. There is nothing I find more interesting than people, so I’m in a constant state of checking them out. I tend to wonder what makes them tick and I spontaneously write little stories about them in my head. It’s freaky in there.


8. Insert your own random thought here.

Really? You want me to babble on? You know that’s a stretch for me because I’m usually such a quiet, un-opinionated girl.

Damn, I’ve got nothing. Total blank. Mark this day on the calendar, because that’s a first.



~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Okie-dokie, your turn! And once you've posted, you can add your URL to the linky tool on Joyce’s Wednesday Hodgepodge.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Oh Baby!

When I was accidentally knocked up unexpectedly blessed a second time and carrying the precious gift of life, the experience was far different from my first go-around. For starters, I wasn’t nearly as energetic as I had been the year before, when our daughter was a seedling. That might have been because the seedling was barely a sprout, so sleeping on demand wasn’t part of the equation like it had been the first time, when I could sneak in a nap after work, but I sensed that it was something more.

I also grew a big old belly much faster during the second pregnancy, and my father-in-law repeatedly commented I must be brewing twins in there. After each check-up, I assured him that there was only one heartbeat, but the running joke was that I was growing a dose of double-trouble.

Five weeks before my due date, my in-laws were supposed to go visit their daughter, who lived several hours away. My mother-in-law looked me up and down and decided to call off the trip, but I assured her that I’d be fine, so off they went.

After supper that evening, my hubby decided to have a little fun with them. He grinned, dialed the phone, and then pressed a finger to his lips so that I would know to be quiet. I listened as he told his mom that she was right, I had indeed gone into labor right after they left. He then proceeded to say that his dad had also been right, and that we were the proud parents of newborn twins. To say that the family was excited would be an understatement—I could hear the yelling from my seat across the room as he filled in the details. A boy and a girl, born about a half-hour apart, both perfectly healthy, weighing in at about five pounds each. Once they were in full frenzy mode, he told them the truth—that I was in the room with him, at home, our one unborn baby still gestating nicely.

His mom was every bit as angry as she had been excited, just a few minutes before. He apologized, but when he hung up, he was still smiling and seemed anything but sorry for having toyed with them. He’d had a blast.

Early the next morning, I woke with contractions. They escalated pretty quickly and shortly after lunchtime, our son was born. Beautiful, perfectly healthy, and exactly five pounds. Twenty seven minutes later, his sister made her entrance—beautiful, perfectly healthy, and just a half-ounce heavier than her brother. My husband went out to the waiting room to make the calls.

His mom was not amused. Not even a little.

He tried to convince her that he wasn’t making it up, but she was having no part of it. Frustrated, he asked the nurse at the desk to talk to his mom, but after she relayed the news, my normally soft-spoken mother-in-law, who assumed that her son had engaged the help of one of our friends, told the poor woman off soundly. Then she hung up on her.

My hubby called his mother back and asked her to call the hospital directly, which she grudgingly agreed to do, but not before warning him that he’d better not be messing with her. When the switchboard operator connected her to the maternity ward and the same nurse she’s hung up on moments before picked up, my mother-in-law finally believed what her son had told her. And she cried, but polite woman that she was, she first apologized profusely to the nurse, who graciously accepted.

True story.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Written for a NaBloPoMo topic: Unpack the statement: truth is stranger than fiction.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Word Nerd Randomizer

















Have you ever noticed how when I wait until almost midnight to start a blog that has to be posted before the clock actually strikes twelve that I usually just go for some sort of list? Nah, me neither, but that’s what I’m doing this time. Here goes:

  • I’m really tired of all of the pictures of politicians eating corndogs. There are so many genuine things to laugh (or cry) about from these jokers that 7th grade humor seems kind of wasted here. And I’m usually a fan of pretty much anything that makes twelve-year-old boys laugh, so it’s not like I’m opposed to cheap shots.
  • On the other hand, I’m not even a teensy bit tired of My Drunk Kitchen, and am delighted that Hannah Hart will be releasing two new videos this week.
  • Last week, I ate zero junk food. This week, um, my less-than-nutritious meals added up to more than zero. Earlier today, I mainlined some Ben & Jerry’s Oatmeal Cookie Chunk (Crunch? I don’t have time to go look) ice cream and I’m not even a little bit sorry.
  • Yesterday, I played a game of War (the never-ending card game) with my newly-five-year-old grandson. The boy plays for keeps and he pretty much always wins every game we play, even when he doesn’t alter the rules to suit him. He’s starting to get a little cocky about his good fortune, though. Every time I put a card down, he looked at it and even before he turned a card of his up, he’d say, “Say goodbye to your seven!” or “Say goodbye to your ten!” It was cute the first few times.
  • I just looked at the clock. Oh crap.
  • My card shark grandson and my soon-to-be six-year-old granddaughter will both be starting kindergarten on Tuesday—at the same school. They adore one another, but lately, they get on each other’s nerves and neither is shy about expressing their feelings. There are two kindergarten classrooms at their school and if by chance they are both assigned to the same one, I think I might send their teacher some flowers.
  • Is it just me or does the back-to-school aisle in the store smell just freaking awesome? I love that crayons/paper/gluestick combo scent. I like the smell of a lunchbox after it's toted a few lunches, too. Makes me want to make myself a bologna sandwich and stuff it with potato chips before eating it.
  • Okay, I’m really pushing my luck on time here. Done enough. Fingers crossed that Blogger isn’t experiencing any glitchy posting stuff tonight.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
This last-minute list of random crapola was brought to you in a desperate attempt to actually post something (clearly, anything) each and every day this month, a’la NaBloPoMo. Please accept my sincerest apologies.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Trusting Soul

My default mode is to trust people. I guess that makes me somewhat abnormal (nothing new there), but I tend to believe that people are not out to cause me harm unless they’ve given me reason to know otherwise. If they do, though, I accept that as truth, too. I wear glasses, but they are definitively not rose-colored.

I think that the thing with the potential to deplete our quality of life most is an inability or unwillingness to trust, to be vulnerable, to fully surrender. To just lay your heart wide open, knowing that you could get it stomped bloody but trusting that you won’t. That’s what it takes, I believe, to be a part of a relationship that lives in your soul. I’ve said it before, but I really believe it, so I’ll say it again: Give less and you are guaranteed to have less. Give everything and you may just get all you’ve ever wished for.

It’s true that being full-in means that if you get hurt, it won’t be a little sting, it’ll be a powerfully crushing blow. It’s a risk. But it’s a risk with such a wondrous payoff that I’m willing to take it. I look at it this way: I could hold back a bit—just a layer of bubble-wrap’s worth—but then the very best I’d ever get is really close, but not quite. I’d be a layer of bubble-wrap away from my heart’s truest desire. The bubble-wrap provides a cushion, but it’s also a barrier. I don’t want almost. I don’t want barriers. I don’t want to settle.

We all have to make the call that works for us, but for me, it's all or nothing, so it's easy. I’m all-in.



~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


Oh, and if it seems as if I've said some of this before, it's because I have. Back in April, I wrote about Trust Issues. Similar, but not identical.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Cozy



















Cozy


there was a young reader of books
who curled herself up in small nooks
her mom and her dad
were entirely glad
she had more on her mind than her looks


oh, she liked to play with her toys
and in time, she replaced them with boys
but no matter her age
she stayed thrilled by the page
a great story was one of her joys


in time the girl grew strong and tall
but inside, hardly different at all
it was still poems and prose
that she mostly chose
over TV or trips to the mall


it was common for her to just flee
and perch on a high branch in a tree
she’d read and she’d write
‘til dusk stole all her light
to pen stories just filled her with glee


now the girl is no longer a child
and she’s grown rather mellow and mild
but you’ll still find her there
with a book, in her chair
turning pages, completely beguiled


someday she’ll be wrinkled and gray
too feeble to go out and play
she’ll stay happily home
curled up snug with a tome
in a nook of a spot—that’s her way




~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

For the NaBloPoMo topic of the day: Where is your favorite place to read?


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

GBE 2: Blog On -- Week #13: TRUST

GBE 2: Blog On -- Week #13: TRUST












As always, the guidelines are simple. Blog on this week’s prompt in any way you see fit. Once you’ve posted to wherever you normally blog, drop the URL to your post into the linky tool below.

REMINDER: use the URL to your entry for this week’s specific topic post, NOT to your blog’s home page!

If you haven’t already done so, you are welcome to join GBE 2 at its main headquarters over on Facebook (We currently have 183 active members and we’re still growing!). Just visit GBE 2’s Facebook page and request to join the group. Everyone is welcome, so tell your friends! :O)

For those of you who use Twitter, the hashtag for the group's posts is #GBE2, and we can increase readership if we all tweet early and tweet often. ;O)

That’s it! Easy-breezy-lemon-squeezy!

You have until Saturday (8-20-11) to post your blog and leave your link…

Again, this week, our prompt is: Picture Prompt: See Above

Ready. Set. Blog!

Happy blogging!
Beth





~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The Ghost Ate My Homework

A few nights ago I brought my laptop into the living room and wrote while my husband watched TV. Now let me begin by saying that when he feels like parking himself in front of the set, he will find something to watch, whether or not there is anything on that’s worth watching. The man a serious television fan, while I often find that we have more than 500 channels of great big nothing.

Okay, so there we were, side by side on the couch, my eyes glued to my screen and his eyes glued to his. My ears, however, couldn't help but pick up bits and pieces of the show he was watching. Discovery Channel -- Haunted, I think. Anyway, from the tidbits that I overheard, I gathered the following ‘facts’:

  • If your teenager is moody and distant, you probably have a poltergeist in the house.
  • If you've been working a lot of hours or your job sometimes gets in the way of family time, you are practically inviting demonic beings into your household to prey on your children.
  • If you find some of your jewelry missing and then discover it hidden in your teenage son's room, he most certainly didn't steal it. The most plausible explanation is that he's been possessed by a demonic presence.
  • If your kid is acting weird, hearing noises, seeing things that no one else sees, and has your missing jewelry in his room, the person most able to help would be an exorcist.

So this mom (who had worked for years as some kind of ghost hunter) does what any mother would surely do. She schedules an exorcism. The demonically possessed kid objects, of course. Probably the evil spirits talking—after all, most normal kids would jump at the chance to have a priest force the evil right out of them. Oh, and the priest in question was ‘independent,’ supposedly working in the accepted Catholic manner and using all of the Catholic-approved, proven words and methods for scaring the devil out of teenage boys, but he simply wasn't currently associated with any particular parish (or the Church itself, from what little I gathered). Call me a cynic, but I assumed that he either A) has never been officially ordained as a Catholic priest or B) was at one time a Catholic priest but fell out of favor with the Church.

So mother and son head off to the independent priest, who did whatever it was that he did (I was standing in the kitchen by the microwave at that point, waiting for my popcorn to finish popping) and sure enough, the kid is no longer possessed. And they lived happily ever after.

We actually pay for cable TV. Amazing.



~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

This is a re-post of a column from a few years ago.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Tickety-Tock

It’s after 11:40 and I just thought about NaBloPoMo. Shit. Gotta post once a day. Every day. All month long. The thing is, I haven’t a clue what to write about right now. Usually, I give it more than 30 seconds thought—not always a lot more, but at least a little more.

Okay, how about a quick update on my week. Yeah, I know, but that clock is tickity-tocking away and I’m drawing a great big blank.

The week in review:
  • I managed to go the whole week without eating junk food. Gimme some knuckles!
  • One of the grandbabies had a birthday this week. He’s five now. On his last day of being four, he informed me that starting the moment he turned five, he would be cooperative all of the time and never misbehave because that’s what five-year-olds do. I’m not sure who fed him that line of bunk, but the smart money says that it was my son.
  • I’m thinking it might be fun to tell my now five-year-old grandson about the time that my son—his dad—at five, punched a fellow kindergartner in the nose because the other boy kissed my daughter after she told him not to.
  • We’re having the whole flam-damily over on Sunday, so I might want to start thinking about what I’m going to feed them.
  • Our granddaughter is thisclose to riding her bike without training wheels. She’s met the pavement up close and personal far fewer times this week that she has in recent weeks.
  • I’m really excited about a project that’s in the works and is starting to come together really well.
  • The hubs is still riding the high of new bike ownership, but the “damn, you are such a wonderful wife for letting me get this big, overpriced toy, let me clean the house and rub your back” phase is kaput. It lasted about 18 hours.
  • Speaking of the bike, I came downstairs the other day in a Harley tee-shirt that the dealership gave us when we bought the bike. They gave us two shirts, which my husband will tell you were free. I say that if we’re realistic, our free tee-shirts cost way more than my wedding dress did. More than the whole wedding, really. With the honeymoon.

Yeah, there’s more, but you know, tickity-tock.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Fun with Blogger Stats

Earlier today, I took a little peek at the stats for my blog. Readership is growing, so that’s good, and I’m getting not only a nice steady stream of repeat visitors (thanks, guys!), but a pretty good flow of new ones, too. Yay! :O)

One of the things what I thought was cool was that readers are located all over the place. Not only in the US, UK, and Canada, but India, Romania, Germany, China, Portugal, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, the Netherlands, and the Ukraine—and those were just today. When I looked at the week, month, and all-time stats, I can add several more areas. Hello France and Russia!

Have you ever looked at the stats for your blog? I’m not sure about other hosting sites, but Blogger has fairly decent tracking, and if you combine the basics offered right on the site with Google Analytics, you can not only see which of your posts get the most pageviews, you can also get a picture of where your traffic comes from and how people find you through searches.

Keywords that folks type into search engines lead lots of them to blogs. Not surprising, but what is kind of funny is noting exactly which keywords bring up your posts—they aren’t always what you’d expect.

Some of the Google searches that resulted in visits to my blog were directly related to either the blog itself or specific posts within it. A whole bunch of folks were searching for info on cat lady plastic surgery, Cindy Jackson before and after, Sarah Burge, and Barbie plastic surgery lady. Jackwagon got me quite a few hits, as did truck cabin spoon. The word cow leads people my way, as do barn and red barn, none of which surprises me since I mention my craving for living in farm country roughly every twenty minutes.

Some of the search terms are pretty funny, and while most of them give me an idea what might have connected them to my blog, others leave me wondering. Here is just a small sampling of what I saw:
  • lil wayne looks like a tree monkey
  • james hetfield middle finger
  • howard stern look alike short shorts
  • easy peasy lemon squeezy
  • nerd wallet
  • the best nerd
  • really cute nerds
  • hot word nerd lady

I have to say that I liked those last three quite a bit. ;O)


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Fiction Writing Tips: Show, Don’t Tell

Last time, I posted about the importance of cutting the fat in fiction writing, and I touched on the fact that good fiction paints vivid pictures. Anyone who has ever taken a writing class has certainly heard the following advice: Show, don’t tell. Yet what exactly does that mean?

A lot of writers—especially new ones—tend to rush their stories because they are anxious to tell the tale, but in doing so, they fail to give their readers what they came for—to be transported. Good writers are also avid readers. Think about it, what do you love most about your favorite books? There may be a number of things, but in all likelihood, the author’s ability to draw you into the story, to walk you through the neighborhood, meet its residents and learn what makes them tick, and to have an almost tangible connection to the characters and setting will be pretty high on your list. When you’re writing, you need to provide that experience for your readers, and that requires you to put yourself into the story to look around, describe what you see, and introduce your characters through their appearance, words, actions, and the little nuances that make them three-dimensional. You need to breathe life into all of it.

The other day, I got a call from someone looking for childcare. I answered the woman’s questions and set up a time for her to come and see the daycare. When I asked her why she was switching providers, she said, “Lately, it’s the same every morning. As soon as we pull into the lot, Lily starts wailing. It’s a fight to get her out of her carseat because she pushes my hands away and after I finally get the buckle unfastened, she holds onto the straps of the seat and I’m forced to peel her hands off of them a finger at a time. By the time that I get her inside, Lily is red-faced and screaming, her hair is a wild mess from thrashing in the seat, and she’s wrapped her arms and legs so tightly around me that I could let go and she wouldn’t slip an inch. She’s miserable there and I need to respect that. Plus, I’m tired of going to work with baby snot all over the front of my shirt.”

The woman is a number-cruncher, not a writer, but she did a pretty good job of showing, not telling. She could have simply said that her daughter had an extreme case of separation anxiety or that her daughter wasn’t happy at her current daycare, but instead, she painted a picture of their mornings that was so descriptive that although we’ve yet to meet, I have a definite picture in my mind of both Lily’s drop-off experience and her mother’s frustration. And while that mom wasn’t necessarily trying to write an engaging paragraph, she certainly did.



~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Love and Marriage

I’ve been married for three decades. Holy crapanoly, that makes me sound old. I’m not old, I’m, um, oh screw it, I guess I’m more old than young, but I don’t feel old. That counts, right? And I still have a demented, childish sense of humor and I laugh when I hear words like groin or crotch or shuttlecock or even lumbago. Immaturity equals young in some twisted way, right?

Anyway.

I’m not here to talk about my age; I’m here to talk about marriage. Not mine, specifically, though I could wax poetic about decades of being together through thick and thin, holding on to one another like inflatable rafts in the stormy seas of life, and surviving all sorts of trauma intact because there’s strength in togetherness. All of that would be true—I’ve long said that in marriage, life’s joys are multiplied by two and its hardships divided by two, and that has certainly been true in my case—but again, I’m not here to talk about my marriage, just marriage in general.

Let’s see. Two people fall in love, they buy a couple of rings, say their vows, and embark on life’s path together. Nice, right? I think so, too. So nice, in fact, that I wish everyone could find that person who will stand by them always, no matter what. The person who knows them at their ugliest and loves them anyway. The forever person.

We all deserve the forever person.

The thing is, while we can certainly all have a forever person if we’re lucky enough to find one, at this time, we cannot all marry that person. What’s up with that? For the life of me, I cannot understand why some pairs of in-love adults can head up to City Hall and leave there hitched, while others would be turned away. In most states, same-sex couples can’t get married. In 2011. In America.

Um, okay. Why not? I’ve heard some of the arguments:

It’s not how it’s ever been done. If that were enough, you wouldn’t be reading this because you’d be busy hunting or gathering or skinning some horned beast while your significant other got the fire going.

Marriage is an institution ordained by God, and God is against same-sex marriage. I have an idea. How about we play as fair as we can here and then let God make the final call on how we did when our time comes? Sound good? Plus, I’m fine with churches refusing to marry same-sex couples, just not governments.

I don’t want to have to explain it to my children when they see two guys or two girls holding hands in public. Fair enough. I don’t want to explain to mine that some people in this world are closed-minded and mean. Nobody ever said parenting was a picnic.

I think it’s creepy. I understand. I think that sushi, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, liverwurst, and Tom Cruise are all creepy, so I don’t plan on inviting any of them into my house. I recommend that you avoid inviting any gay people over for a pot-luck supper.

But what about the children? Marriage is designed to create healthy units for raising children! There are far worse situations for children than being raised in loving, two-parent households. And if you’re worrying about the actual process of making children, rest assured that there are plenty of kids who need homes and would be delighted to have a couple of moms or dads to hound them about eating their veggies.

Gay couples will influence their children to grow up homosexual, too. If that were the case, gay people, most of them children of heterosexuals, wouldn’t be out there giving you the creeps.

If we allow same-sex couples to marry, that’ll open the door for people who want to marry groups of people, or children. Or animals! Where will it end? Don’t be an idiot.

Well, it’s just not natural. For you. It’s not natural for you, and I respect that so I think that you should definitely marry someone with opposite fun parts.

Legalizing same-sex marriage will take away from all marriages. Really? How, exactly? Not to get personal, but how’s your marriage? If it’s a good, solid union that enriches your life, it’ll still be all of those things after your gay neighbors get back from their honeymoon. If it sucks, it’ll still suck.


That’s it. That’s all I’ve got. What say you?



~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Cross My Heart

A long, long time ago, I told a very big lie. It was purposeful and while the consequences of that action were extreme (and exactly what I expected), I believed then and still do that I did the right thing.

A consequence that I had not expected as a result of that lie, though, was a hard-hitting realization of just how potent our words can be and how one statement can quite literally change the course of a life. I’ve always been a nerdy, wordy girl, but until the afternoon of my deliberate untruthfulness, I hadn’t fully understood the power that is unleashed when we open our mouths.

And of course, with power comes responsibility.

I’d always been a good kid. Everyone said that I’d been born old, and really, I didn’t disagree. I felt like an adult in a small body. Not only was I calm and decisive as a child, I was ridiculously responsible and reliable, too. Yet still, I told my share of fibs. Little ones, mostly. Yes, I brushed my teeth and no, I don’t know what happened to the vase—those sorts of things. Kid stuff.

And then I told the lie.

It was a good lie, if there is such a thing—one born of love. Had I felt then that there was another way to do what had to be done, I would have chosen it, but there simply wasn’t. I could not have sat beside my mother and told her that it was time for her to go. She wouldn’t have gone, and I knew that. Yet it was time and I didn’t want her suffering to continue because of me. So I lied. I didn’t then nor do I now regret it, but not long after, I came to another decision.

I resolved then that would never lie again. Ever. Not for any reason.

My strict truthfulness policy does not mean that I am purposefully cruel or that I am willing to share every piece of information that I am privy to. It certainly does not give me the right to stick my nose where it does not belong. It simply means that I will not speak or write something that I know is untrue. If asked, I will respond with one of two replies: I will tell you the truth or I will tell you that it is none of your business (but only if that is true).

I highly recommend that you do not ask me if those pants make your ass look big.




~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

This post was written in response to today’s NaBloPoMo prompt: Do you always tell the truth?

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

GBE 2: Blog On -- Week #12: Picture Prompt!


GBE 2: Blog On -- Week #12: Picture Prompt!













As always, the guidelines are simple. Blog on this week’s prompt in any way you see fit. Once you’ve posted to wherever you normally blog, drop the url to your post into the linky tool below.

REMINDER: use the url to your entry for this week’s specific topic post, NOT to your blog’s home page!

If you haven’t already done so, you are welcome to join GBE 2 at its main headquarters over on Facebook (We currently have 181 active members and we’re still growing!). Just visit GBE 2’s Facebook page and request to join the group. Everyone is welcome, so tell your friends! :O)

For those of you who use Twitter, the hashtag for the group's posts is #GBE2, and we can increase readership if we all tweet early and tweet often. ;O)

That’s it! Easy-breezy-lemon-squeezy!

You have until Saturday (8-13-11) to post your blog and leave your link…

Again, this week, our prompt is: Picture Prompt: See Above

Ready. Set. Blog!

Happy blogging!
Beth






~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Life is Good

I got up this morning thinking what to blog? what to blog? Weird that blogging was pretty much my first thought of the day, but today, it trumped even gotta pee, gotta pee. After I flipped on the pool heater, I grabbed some breakfast and sat down in front of the computer. What to blog? What to blog?

I answered some email and read a couple of GBE blogs, but still had no idea what I’d write for my daily post. Then, while reading Jo’s blog, it hit me. Thanks, Jo!

Her post today was sweet. She talked about (well, she wrote, not talked, but Jo has a nice, conversational tone to her writing, so reading her often feels like a little visit) how nice it was to have some time with her grown daughter this week—just the two of them—and how much she enjoys being a mother and grandmother. I can totally relate.

I loved raising my kids. At every stage, I'd think oh, this is just wonderful, I wish I could keep them this age forever. Then of course, they'd grow, and I'd think that same thing again.

Mine are all grown up now, married, and raising children of their own. My daughter (that’s her up there, back when she was a cute little 1st grader) and her family live just a few blocks from us, so I get a lot of time with all of them. Sometimes, on Friday or Saturday nights, they invite me for a sleepover (so far, I'm still my grandkids' favorite playmate). We chase the kids around the yard, play games, laugh a lot, and eat too much. Once the babies are tucked into bed, my daughter and I stay up to gab and usually, we eat some more. After a while, one of us will look at the clock and realize that the kids are going to be up in just a few hours, and we wonder where the time went. I love those nights.

My son (the adorable kindergartener up there) and his family live a few blocks in the other direction. So many of my friends say that once their sons were grown, they lost some of the closeness that they once shared, but that hasn't happened with my son and I. I'm so grateful for that. We never sit up and chat into the early morning hours, but we see each other all the time and he calls several times every week just to shoot the shit. We have our one-on-one chats, just usually not while we’re in the same room. He's a busy guy, but he makes the time—he’ll call when he's out and about or on his drive home from work—and if something especially good or especially bad happens, I’m the call he makes right after his wife. I love that.

I adored my kids as babies and toddlers, and had such fun watching them grow and learn throughout their school years. When they moved out of our house and into places of their own, I smiled through the tears, wondering how it had all gone by so quickly.

These days, they are watching their own grow and learn, and yet still, they are my babies. And it’s just wonderful. I wish I could keep them this age forever.



~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Grab Your Readers: Good First Sentences

NaBloPoMo, Day 5. I’m up to my ears in work (but only until that lucky lotto thing comes through), so I knew that today’s post was going to have to be a shortie. I went over to peek at the topic and was delighted to find that it is perfectly suited to blogging in a mad, mad rush. Yay for the NaBloPoMo powers-that-be!

Today, we are being asked, What is the best first sentence you can think of off the top of your head?

Ages ago, I participated in a writing challenge that asked us to share the first line of whatever we were currently working on. I don’t remember what I posted, but I do recall that one writer said she kept a document on her computer to hold only first lines. She told us that she added to it at least a few times a week, though her goal was a daily addition. At that time, she had a few hundred. By now, she must have at least a thousand. Cool, right?

So of course, I immediately turned into a big fat copycat began a similar file of my own, and now I have hundreds of first lines, too. Some rank high on the suckage scale, but others aren’t half bad.

Anyway, today’s challenge is one good first line, off the top of our noggins. Let’s see, how about: “The irony of his name wasn’t lost on Chandler Ross, who didn’t have a friend in the world.”

Eh, mediocre, I know, but it’ll have to do for now. Duty calls.

How about you? Quick! Can you come up with one really good first line?


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Together











If you have no lasting wounds from childhood that were inflicted (intentionally or not) by one or both of your parents, keep reading.
*
*
*
*
If you have warm, loving relationships with all of your siblings, keep reading.
*
*
*
*
If you have always been the kind of parent that your children needed and have never let them down, keep reading.
*
*
*
*
If you have a healthy body image and focus more on the amazing gifts that your body gives rather than any real or perceived faults, keep reading.
*
*
*
*
If you feel at one with yourself and are confident in your ability to handle whatever life brings your way, keep reading.
*
*
*
*
If you have unwavering faith and a confidence that your spiritual self is on the right path, keep reading.
*
*
*
*
If you are able to express your innermost feelings without fear that you'll be ridiculed or abandoned, keep reading.
*
*
*
*
If all of your memories bring you joy, keep reading.
*
*
*
*
If you never doubt your abilities or worry that you don't quite measure up, keep reading.
*
*
*
*
If you don't shelter at least one fact about yourself that you fear would change how people view you, keep reading.
*
*
*
*
If you have never harmed another with your words or actions, keep reading.
*
*
*
*
If you've never felt like a lost child, long after you were grown, keep reading.
*
*
*
*
Is there anyone left reading? Probably not. We've all had our moments. We all have our issues and we all have weaknesses. We are—each and every one of us—flawed.

But we are—each and every one of us—on this path together. We can help one another, forgive one another, heal one another. And we can help ourselves, forgive ourselves, and heal ourselves. We just have to want to.




~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
This is a re-post (adapted) of something I wrote a few years ago.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Immersed

Have you ever wished you could enter a book? That’s what’s being asked of NaBloPoMo’ers today and I have to say that I took one look at the question and said Yes! Every single time I read!

My hubby is that way with movies. He’ll see something that speaks to him—a gorgeous old plantation maybe—and he’ll give me a nudge. “Whoa! That’s one helluva house! Wouldn’t it be cool to live in that?”

Usually, I shake myself out of the story that I’m writing in my head and focus on the screen for a minute. “Mmmm, uh-uh. Nice digs.”

I like movies. Some movies, sometimes. But they rarely transport me the way that books do. While my body is curled up in the big brown chair in the corner of my living room, one of its hands holding a book (or these days, just as likely a Kindle) and the other fiddling with a wayward curl, my mind is in a café in Paris, the delivery room at Boston General, or running down a street in turn of the century Atlanta, trying desperately to dodge an angry mob. I’m being serenaded or tattooed or caressed, and the details of my reality have been abandoned for adventures that would hardly happen to a woman with my Midwestern sensibilities.

It is the rare book that fails to draw me in to walk its story’s streets, sample the cuisine, and befriend the locals. When that happens—when I never for a moment lose sight of the fact that the laundry is piling up and the alarm clock will wail its hideous morning call in far fewer hours than Dr. Oz would recommend that I allow myself for sleep—then I am sorely disappointed.

Some might wish to romp only through happy stories, walking in strappy sandals down flower-lined paths, and while that sounds like fun, I like to dig in the dirt, too. Trap me in a burning building or sit me on the witness stand to stare down the bastard who cornered my sister in an alley. Lie to me and cheat on me, then let me wallow temporarily in a pint of Ben & Jerry’s before I ball up my fist and kick some sorry, unfaithful ass. Make me happy or make me sad, just please don’t bore me and make me remember the basket of towels, waiting to be folded. Anything but that.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The Voice Within

Have you ever met someone and immediately felt as though you’d known them forever? Listened to their words and known that you’d found a kindred spirit? Fallen in love with their minds and their hearts? Me, too. I love it when that happens.

I suppose it happens in reverse, too. Sometimes our gut sends out caution signals. Tidbits of uneasiness that crop up, letting us know that all is not necessarily what it seems. They may be mild little hints or huge, rolling warnings, but either way, I think they need to be heeded.

The voice within doesn’t lie. That’s the beautiful thing about it. It’s pure instinct, unspoiled by exterior dressing-up. It doesn’t give a fig about money or status, it’s unimpressed by poetic description, and it doesn’t change direction on a whim. It’s solid and steady; a beacon to help us maneuver even the rockiest terrain, and it’s within each and every one of us. How cool is that?

I love a lot of things about our modern world, but an unfortunate byproduct of being techno and developed is a certain loss of living in a ‘natural’ way. Some of what we’ve come to call progress is actually quite detrimental, not only to the earth, but also to us—our bodies, minds, and even our spirits. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not about to chuck it all to live in quiet contemplation on a faraway mountaintop, but I do think it’s important to hold tightly to the basics, even while enjoying the rest.

That instinct? That voice within? I believe that it is God. I believe that when we stop and quiet ourselves, God speaks. I also believe that the answer to every single question is there, no exceptions, if we simply take the time to listen.

Life gets crazy and noisy and busy, but even when things are the most hectic, that voice is there. If we are confused, frightened, or unsteady, the voice is there. The thing is, we have to be willing to listen for it, to shut out the rest and simply listen. And then if we are very wise, we trust it, for it never ever steers us wrong.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

My Favorite Book

What is your favorite book? That’s the question of the day over at NaBloPoMo. I read it and thought just one? One measly book? Nope, can’t do it. I can’t choose one book to stand alone above all others in my mind or in my heart. You might as well ask me to choose just one song to listen to for the rest of my life, one meal to eat, or one man to love. Wait. That last one works for me. But one book? Nah.

I suppose that I could line-list a bunch of books that have impacted my way of looking at life, those that have opened doors or made me laugh or resonated deep within my core. I’ve occasionally reviewed and recommended books that whispered to my heart, like this one, but even when a book stirs innate recognition, I don’t think I could call it my favorite, at least not as a permanent status. My favorite book? I could no more answer that than I could reply, were you to ask me to name my favorite of my children.

I do believe that the day will come when I’ll be able to answer. In the not-so-distant future, if you say, “Hey Word Nerd, what’s your favorite book?” I’ll smile and hand you a copy of the one book that will forever hold title as the dearest to my heart. It’ll have a pretty cover, one that makes you want to choose it over others when you’re browsing the shelves of your neighborhood bookstore, and though it has not yet been published, I assure you that it will be my most beloved. The book will have but one name on its cover. Mine. And I will love it best. Even if dozens of books one day list me as their author, that first one will hold a special place in my heart. It will be the one that made my dream come true, and while I might love others, I doubt that it will ever be with the same sense of awe and appreciation that I’ll have for the first.

Soon. My favorite book will be born soon.



~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~