If you can't say something nice, at least make it funny!

Thanks for visiting Tinfoil Magnolia, a blog about my life, times, marriage, friendships and all the strange things that happen to me and with me. I hope you find something here that will encourage you, inspire you or at the least entertain you. And if it doesn't today, check back tomorrow because, my life? honestly...

Sunday, October 31

I LOVE Halloween!

I am writing today to express my outrage. Well, OK, maybe it isn't outrage I suppose I should save that for something really important. But it is aggravation and mild irritation at what I consider the watering-down of my favorite holiday. Halloween.

Is it not bad enough that the aisles are already full of Christmas stuff by October 1? Is it not bad enough that the Halloween decorations and costumes, already crammed into some forgotten aisle or back corner, are on clearance the week before the holiday? Is it not bad enough that mega-churches have to make Halloween about religion by setting up crazy-ass "Judgement" houses which are essentially supporting the Halloween stereotypes anyway? But with a (to me) disturbing and harmful judgemental overtone that is being drilled into kids' heads and transferring to other areas of their lives? (school bullying, anyone?)

Nope. Apparently all of this is not enough. It is, in my opinion, just a fun holiday. It is a time to dress up, it is a societal ritual. It is about community and neighbors and being spooky and eating candy. Any efforts to make it more than that are, in my opinion, ridiculous. Now, I am all too aware of the origins of the holiday. However, like with most other holidays, it has become about more societal and commercial things anyway, so I just feel we should be celebrating it as such. Or don't celebrate at all. Last I heard you had a choice. For the majority of us there are no sinister overtones, there are no frightening rituals, you aren't challenging or increasing any one's power, or betraying a loyalty by trick or treating. Unless, that is, you believe you are. Unless you give one day out of the year that kind of power. Unless you are of a belief system in which the day is a high holy day. Or a sinister evil day. Otherwise it is just a day. October 31st.

And thus the basis of my post. I woke up this morning thinking Halloween was over. When I looked at my calendar, imagine my surprise to see the date. The 31st. See, here in my town Trick or Treating was last night. October 30th. I heard through friends that it was one day last week up in our old town in Pennsylvania. Some of you reading this may appreciate this, but others may wonder. Why? Well, I can't speak for Pennsylvania, but here it is because the 31st fell on a Sunday. And apparently unless it is Christmas, having a holiday on Sunday is just not OK. Or is it because Halloween is so very evil? And do not give me that "it's a school night" crap, because if it were on a Tuesday we would have been Trick or Treating on a Tuesday. It is over by 7:30 anyway. Don't give me that "church" crap and how it is against their values and should not be held on Sunday. Because many, many churches held events that were called other things, but involved kids dressing up and getting candy. At the church. Or on the town square. Sound familiar? Exactly HOW is that different? How is it less evil or sinister. I must be missing it somehow, what with my pagan views and all.

My memories of childhood Halloween are wonderful and scary and fun. They are all mixed up with birthday memories, and hayrides, and fall festivals. I remember going to school in costumes made by my mom and trick or treating with groups of my friends in big neighborhoods and our parents walking along with us to make sure we said "thank you". I remember the one house where the lady met us at the door with a huge crystal bowl of FULL SIZE Hershey bars and I thought "she must be RICH! Score". I remember coming home and my brother and I dumping our candy out and trading out for what we liked, giving mom all the "old people" stuff that we didn't like. (i.e. anything not sour, chocolate, or anything with coconut or nuts in it) I actually remember the time when you got homemade treats in your bag like cookies, popcorn balls, caramel apples and such. I also remember the year we all started having to get our candy x-rayed and only individually wrapped would be acceptable from then on. Someone had laced candy with razor blades and hurt children. I think it was a Thursday. Even as an adult, I still consider it my favorite holiday. I have had some really fun adult Halloweens, and I love being able to dress up and be someone else for a little while.

Like with everything else, kids have an innocent view of Halloween. It is about candy and getting to ring doorbells, getting to dress like your hero or the bad guy, seeing new people, and candy. And watching a Charlie Brown special. Oh, and did I mention candy? I doubt there is 1 six year old who will tell you stories of devil worship or anything else as the reason they love Halloween.  They don't see all the  bad overtones and hidden meaning that we adults read into it. It is just a fun day for them. Shame on us adults for trying to water that down.

Oh, and Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 29

Where Does My November Go? NaNoWriMo

This spring I went through a little bit of a jump start, creativity wise. I got energized, excited about writing and actually committing to writing, not just talking about it like I have done for the last so many years. Starting this blog was one of the commitments I made to provide myself with a creative outlet. I committed to spend a minimum of 2 hours each day writing. I began a novel. It now sits, printed, over 80,000 words yet still unfinished, in the corner of my office.

Over the summer, a lot of my attention has been diverted to other things. Diet and exercise, starting a new business, securing freelance design work, and working on a lot of not-for-pay jobs. I have spent time doing things that needed to be done, thinking about things and how to do them and yet not getting them done, or just doing things I enjoy simply to enjoy them and forgetting about everything else. In May, during a particularly ambitious burst, I signed up to participate in National Novel Writing Month, affectionately known as NaNoWriMo or just NaNo, which is held annually in November. I was giddy.

And now it's November. In two days. I have had trouble being stressed and mentally I am just not at my best, or at least not the best I have been this year. Personally it has been both a wonderful and rewarding year and also an incredibly stressful one, for many different reasons. I am having trouble focusing my energy and getting a grip on all the things I have to get done in a day. As I tend to do when I am overwhelmed, I end up spending hours every day drifting aimlessly, hovering on the Internet, participating in Tweet Chats and many other pointless activities that, truthfully, should be at the bottom of my list. (or not on the list at all)

Because of this lack of focus, an enormous to-do list, and hours that I owe to my new business now that it is finally getting a good start, I had made a decision not to do NaNo after all. No one else knew of my commitment. I could quit and who would know anyway? Who would even care? I could write a novel at any time, couldn't I? And besides, I couldn't imagine for the life of me what I would write about. I didn't want to rehash what I already started, and continuing on that seemed like a cheat. I was barren of ideas. The harder I tried to think of something the worse it got.

Enter: some of my online writing buddies over at the 100 Word Challenge. Velvet Verbosity posted about her intention to participate this year (with the most serendipitous timing) right after I posted a comment about committing and then not wanting to do it. I had several comments and messages telling me that, yes, I needed to go on and do it. Yes, I can do it. And yes, I should do it. People (you know who you are) cajoled, encouraged, guilted, and otherwise assured me that the sky wouldn't fall if I didn't complete my 50,000 words by November 30.

So, I am doing NaNo. My writer friends (real and virtual) will realize the commitment required. My non-writer friends should just trust me and be willing to encourage me if at all possible.  Once I committed mentally (and via Twitter) the basic line of my story came flying into my head within a day or so. Which only goes to show the power of thought and putting your desires out into the universe. This is kind of a big deal. It is a huge commitment of time and energy and I don't take it lightly. All I have to do to "win" is finish the 50,000 words. But the joy of reaching that goal will be all the reward I need.

Thursday, October 28

Dreaming Reality

Today's post is my entry into this week's 100 Word Challengehosted by Velvet Verbosity. The 100 Word Challenge is an exercise in which we write exactly 100 words in response to the weekly prompt word. Click the link to read the other entries–good stuff over there! 
This week's prompt was "unbidden"

The thoughts came to her unbidden. Morning, noon, and night the whys and what ifs echoed through her head like a loudspeaker that she couldn't silence. Even as she slept thoughts turned into dreams. Dreams that felt so real they startled her awake. She would sit for hours on the edge of the bed, sweaty and shaken, trying to figure it out. Was this the reality? Or the dreams? What if she had begged? What if he had stayed? Always the same questions echoed in her head. She couldn't stop them any more than she could stop her own breath.

Wednesday, October 27

Strange Days Indeed

I mean really, how many times do you start your day by backing into the BOOKMOBILE? That's right. I said it.

This morning, as I was leaving a business meeting, I backed my car out of a parking space and heard a crash. I knew the Bookmobile was right behind me, but way underestimated how far it stuck out of the space. And I backed right into it. The passenger side back bumper took the majority of the hit and the Bookmobile had a paint scratch and a big hole/split in the bumper. (Oh, for the days of the metal bumpers)

So I trekked over to the library, which is next door to where I was parked. Neither of the people working at the desk wanted anything to do with the situation and one of them called the lady who is in charge. I was so embarrassed and speaking quietly, being in a library and all. So the lady picks up the phone and says, in I swear what was most definitely an OUTDOOR voice, "THIS LADY HIT THE BOOKMOBILE IN THE PARKING LOT. ON ACCIDENT..... THE BOOKMOBILE...SHE HIT THE BOOKMOBILE....IN THE PARKING LOT..." Seriously, Shhhhh.... that's what the phone is for. To keep you from having to shout up to her. After I waved to the twenty or so people sitting at the first floor computers (who were now all looking at me with fire in their eyes) I looked up in the direction the lady was shouting. I could see the director through a glass window in her second floor office, throwing her hands on her head. Her silent mouth exclaiming "oh, no!", her face distraught as if I'd smashed her kitten. I turned the other way to smile wearily at the lady working the desk. "She wants me to get a police report" she said, hesitantly. "Of course". I smiled, sighed, and wondered once again....why me?

How in the world do I get myself into such strange situations? To top it all off, the director came down to the first floor to give me a little ribbing.(I am just going to go ahead and assume she was joking, because she really could have been nasty about it, couldn't she?) "Why didn't anyone ever hit the big, ugly bread truck Bookmobile? Why is is always the cute little one that is all painted up nice?" Then she asked my name and when I told her she said..."Oh, Mitch's wife?" Yep. That's me. Mitch's wife. (Because although I have achieved Internet fame, no one in my hometown seems to remember who I am (sarcastic font, remember?))

To top it all off, the policeman shows up, like, 10 minutes later. In his cruiser. To take the report. Now, for those of you who don't live in my small town, the police station? Is RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET from where this happened. SERIOUSLY. We took longer inside looking up the non-911 number to call to report the accident than it would have taken to walk over there and tell them in person. **Sigh**
The culprit. I think it was entrapment.
So later when I stopped by the newspaper office to drop something off to my best friend Amy, I had to give her the scoop on the happenings. Being as she's a crack reporter and would find out anyway y'all. I mentioned that the policeman said "So, you were just backing up or what?" (**really?***) and I had to bite my tongue not to say "NO, I am waging a war against literacy and thought I would start by crashing my SUV into the Bookmobile! That will teach those uppity shut ins not to read so much." She got a huge laugh out of that and said "I so wish you had said that. It would have been too funny." Yeah, right. I do NOT need to go to jail today, not even library jail.  Oh, and by the way? The Bookmobile? Less than a year old. Yeah. My life? Honestly...

Oh, and PS. Whoever tattled to my mom? About my blog? I will find you out. She is demanding explanation. Do NOT tell her about the Bookmobile. I just can't handle one more "Marsha shouldn't be driving" remark. Yeah. Thanks.

Monday, October 25

It Was Time

I got a new picture! Ms. Amy (bestfriendsince8thgrade) Ellis took pictures for hubby and me yesterday afternoon, despite the impending rain, and did a wonderful job as always. She was kind enough to indulge me by taking a new photo of me for my blog, seeing as the one I am using was taken with a cell phone and is at least 2 years old. I love it, thanks Amy! Hubby says it will be the photo on my book jacket. (I so wish)

As a former Realtor, I have a thing about keeping photos updated. Too many were the occasions that I met a realtor whose photo I had seen a million times and had NO idea that it was the same person. I actually once asked a friend if that was so-and-so's mother, and it turned out it was her. The violator shall remain nameless, but the photo on her cards, signs, and flyers had to be at least 25 years old.

So, all my Realtor friends, please do not be offended. I love you all. But remember Erma Bombeck's advice of "when you look like your passport photo it's time to go home". And make a new rule. When you DON'T look like your business card photo, it is time for a new photo. Call my friend Amy at Images by Amy Ellis. She'll fix you up! By the way, if you still look like your photo after 20 years, then good for you keep using it. But be sure to get a second opinion on that before you do.

Oh, and check my new Magnolia ring in the shot above. Hubby's birthday gift to me, I just HAD to make sure we got a shot with that in there. I love it. Thanks, honey!

See? Isn't she great? She even makes the likes of us look like models!

Sunday, October 24

The Week in Review

Post-Sangria Art by Me
OK, well, I am glad for once that my week is over. It has been a crazy, confusing, exhausting whirlwind of events. My BPW club celebrated National Business Women's Week in a weeklong series of events for members and local women as well. As the VP of the club and unwitting volunteer to co-chair the week's events, needless to say I was kept busy last week. My friend Brownie (snickerdoodle as hubby calls her) did the lion's share of the work as Chairwoman, but I helped where I could, and received more credit than I deserved. We cooked a Sunday lunch for about 20 people, we organized vendors and donations for Friday's Working Women's Luncheon, she organized a beautiful banquet on Monday and an informative political forum on Thursday. And in between, we acted like complete morons trying to learn how they play bingo (it is different from the last time I played in the late 70's with my grandma!), and had drinks out at a Mexican restaurant.

Birthday came and went. I had an unexpected surprise when we planned to go out for Wednesday night event with bro- and sis-in-law at the "church of our choice", Saint Margarita's holy house of chips and salsa. Hubby and I were exhausted after a very busy weekend and being out Monday and Tuesday nights. I was about to call and cancel on them when I got a text with all the girlfriends included saying to meet up at 6:30 and there were 10 people coming that night. I had not the first clue that plans had been made for everyone to meet up for my birthday drink. The night ended up being a wonderful stress reliever with my besties and a couple of hubbies and we had a lot of laughs, as usual. My lovely friend Rachel arranged for me to be sung to in Spanish. And yes, I had to wear a very large sombrero. Thanks a LOT, Rach.
I wear a lot of hats, but this is NOT
my best look!
Me, Debbie, and Rachel (the perpetrator)
Then I was presented with a GIANT fried dough thingie filled with ice cream and sprinkles. Which I passed over to hubby. It looked great, but I have already gained back 4 pounds of the weight I lost due to birthday nonsense and was trying to avoid any further backsliding.

See, on Tuesday, my actual birthday, I finished off 1/4 of a pecan pie that was leftover from Sunday's luncheon. I don't even know why I ate it other than the fact that I love pecan pie and it was sitting on my kitchen counter. Taunting me. I ate it one forkful at a time, walking back and forth from my office to the kitchen and swearing each one to be the last. I know people who don't have food issues don't get this. I told a fellow BPW member what I had done and she said "Well, that's OK, it was your birthday."
Me: "Yeah, but I shouldn't have eaten it. At all. I am not supposed to have any sugar. For 2 more weeks."
Her: "Wait, you mean a quarter of a piece of pie, right? That isn't that much."
Me: "No, a quarter of the whole pie. Minus the crust." (In my defense, it was honestly not a full sized pie, it was small, but still)
Her: (with an absolutely horrified "who the hell are you" look on her face) "oh."

I was not supposed to be eating any sugar. At all. I know this. For the duration of my 6 weeks post diet maintenance. I should never have even brought the stupid thing home. But it was delicious. Stupid deliciousness. In retrospect, though, not worth the 4 pounds that I now have to worry about. I guess if I can realize that, I am making progress in this complete mind-f*@% that is weight loss and impulse control.

Anyway, to end on a positive note, I was honored at our banquet on Monday night to be one of two recipients to receive a Non-Traditional Student Scholarship which will allow me to continue on my path toward an MFA. It is an honor, and I am so very grateful. So, I guess I don't totally suck.

I am looking forward to all my catch-up work this week. I see in my future a return to water aerobics to work off this 4 pounds and try to get back some balance. If I can't find evening classes, you can look forward to more stories of the annoying "old" women in the classes. They truly are priceless. And annoying. I am going to be better with writing and blogging, trying to get back into a routine. And I have a lot of phone calls to make. My dad, who had surgery 12 days ago, is home and recovering nicely. The tests showed that it was colon cancer, but at 83 we don't know yet that they'll want to put him through the stress of chemo. His doctor was very aggressive at getting everything out when he did the surgery. So we'll see. I am so thankful for all the thoughts and support and questions on his progress.

In an unrelated development, my BFF since 8th grade Amy has invented a new iPhone accessory (also post-sangria) to assist with our damnably slow internet connection here in the boonies. We've dubbed it the iTennae and she swears it actually worked, helping her send an email that "had" to get out. I think it will catch on, patent is pending. Her husband John looks dubious.
Amy, inventor extraordinaire
Anyway, that is all the updating I have for today. Ya'll have a good week!

Saturday, October 23

These Thoughts Inside

(Forgive me for posting my horrible poetry this week. This has been rattling around in my head for a while now. I have committed it to paper in many different versions. It just seemed to fit the prompt and I thought I would give it a try. Writing poetry in exactly 100 words is even more difficult than I realized.)

Today's post is my entry into this week's 100 Word Challengehosted by Velvet Verbosity. The 100 Word Challenge is an exercise in which we write exactly 100 words in response to the weekly prompt word. Click the link to read the other entries–good stuff over there! 
This week's prompt was "within"

Unsocial, egocentric,
degrading and mad.
In lightning quick flashes
they enter my head.
Worshipful, wanting,
and lasting all day
they stumble around there
then fly far away.

All of my thoughts–
whether petty and small
or delusions of grandeur,
of having it all.
These thoughts live within me,
they'll wane and they'll waiver.
A few I push away,
but others I savor

in the mental equivalent
of self-flagellation.
They're the very embodyment
of bad behavior.
Sugar and spice.
Loving but hateful.
Thoughtful and spiteful
and everything nice.

Feel guilt, feel pride,
superior and snide
Only I know these thoughts inside.

Tuesday, October 19

You Say It's Your Birthday?

So, today is the day of my birth. My age is somewhere between a mid-life crisis and an AARP membership. I had a crazy, fun party planned for myself and all my girls last Saturday. Cause I am like that. One of my friends said, "Aren't we supposed to throw a party for you?" "No, thank you" I said with a smile, "I want what I want so I choose to do it myself."

When I was growing up, birthdays were a huge deal. People, I got a pair of Shetland ponies for my 4th birthday, OK? Yeah. And a little cart for them to pull the princess around in. My mom and dad would be MORE than happy to share the video they took of me and some of my cousins having rides around the farm. So, my parents kind of set the bar ... high? shall we say? Although I have to mention that they did try to have children for almost 15 years with many disappointments and finally adopted me, and 3 years later my brother. (And no, we're not actual biological siblings.)

This fun was only complicated by the fact that my brother and I had birthdays 3 years and 10 days apart. He was younger. My birthday was first. Think about it, when I turned 5 he was about to turn 2. When I turned 7 he was about to turn 4. It wasn't pretty people. It is impossible to explain to a 2 year old that it is his birthday in 10 days. I feel bad for him, really I do. It had to be torture waiting for your birthday and having your sister's giant royal celebration BEFORE you. There was much tantrum throwing, cake smashing, and candle blowing-outing done by my brother before my parents finally wised up and decided that we should have a COMBINED party for the both of us somewhere in between the two days. I think that was the year I turned 9 and he turned 6. Yeah, that works out well, don't you think? Ten 9 year old girls and ten 6 year old boys at a McDonald's party together, fifteen 10 year olds and twenty 7 year olds at a roller skate party together. But you get the picture. It wasn't pretty, but it did save my beautiful cake.

Oh, the cakes. Every year my wonderful mom would ask me ahead of time what I wanted for my cake. And then she'd make it for me. Obviously this was back in the day of the true homemaker and stay at home mom. I had some wonderful cakes. One year (I think I was 4 or 5) I asked for a jellybean cake. If someone asked me for that, I would have no idea what to do. But mom presented me with a giant cake that had "Happy Birthday Marsha" spelled out in jellybeans. The princess loved it. One year I wanted a horse cake (10th I think) and she carved a cake in the shape of a horse head (my horse's head specifically) and decorated it. It was beautiful. If I had the time today I would search the archives for the picture, but alas. It is a busy week.

So my growing up years were full of fun birthdays in which I was the queen for a day. Roller skating parties, sleep overs, shopping trips, movies, ice cream cakes, homemade cakes, cup cakes, trips to Shoney's and Baskin Robbins, jewelry when I got older. It set a terrible precedent for adult life, unrealistic expectations for everyone around me. Even my mom told me "you want everything to be exactly right or it doesn't even count." No, it doesn't. But I am working on that. And by the way, mom? You created this birthday monster, do you realize that?????

When I was in my 20's a co-worker told me that I need to get over this. "Once you're past the age of 12, no one cares that it's your birthday." she said. Well, maybe that's true. I don't get treated like Queen for a day anymore, that's for sure. I don't get to pre-order the cake I want and have exactly the cake I want show up exactly how I imagined it. (chocolate cake with mocha chocolate chip ice cream. HOW HARD IS THAT??? Really?!) But what I do have is this:

I have friends who love me and I totally appreciate every one of them taking time to send me wishes by text, phone, and FaceBook. I have my husband who woke me with kisses and sang "happy birthday" to me. I have the fact that I am not eating sugar or carbs right now to eliminate the need for any cake, much less the one I want. I received a scholarship award last night that will allow me to begin classes again in January. I have an 82 year old dad who just made it through a MAJOR surgery and is coming through like a champ. I have a beautiful new ring that I picked out and hubby gave me. It's a Magnolia blossom.(natch)

So what if I am working all week co-chairing event after event. So what if I had to cancel my fun birthday "tea" for my girls in my backyard due to dad's surgery. So what if I don't get to be queen for a day and eat my favorite cake. So what am I doing for my birthday? I am working on a design project today, mailing postcards for my jewelry business and talking to some wonderful people on the phone. Best of all, tonight we're (hubs, me, and my bff's) heading out for a bingo experience as part of our NBWW events. How kitsch is that? I am so excited. And extremely thankful. It's gonna be the best birthday ever.

Saturday, October 16

Last Chance

Today's post is my entry into this week's 100 Word Challengehosted by Velvet Verbosity. The 100 Word Challenge is an exercise in which we write exactly 100 words in response to the weekly prompt word. Click the link to read the other entries–good stuff over there! 
This week's prompt was "vague"

His hands fumbled on the delicate clasp, and it took longer than he would have liked to fasten it around her neck. He could feel her impatience tugging at the chain. When she turned to smile up at him he started to speak, but he hesitated, letting the moment pass. “Thank you, Daddy.” she said, giving him a quick hug before returning to her raucous group of friends.

She wore the simple necklace for that birthday and many more. She never had more than a vague idea of the gift's true meaning or the price he paid that day.

Thursday, October 14

New Use For Comic Sans

Because I greatly rely on the use of sarcasm in my humor, I have wished for the longest time that there was a universal "sarcasm" font. I mean, think of it ALL CAPS IS LIKE YELLING, italics are like whispering, BOLD gets your point through in a William Shatner staccato way. So I ask you. Why do we NOT HAVE A sarcasm font?

Well, I have had it. I am hilariously funny, but only if you get that 80% of the time I am being sarcastic. **sarcasm** Cause I am highly intelligent that way.**again** I am tired of making this symbol ;). (Because it's like "just kidding" or "you know I'm joking". I am tired of doing the **insert sarcastic tone here** (see above) or #sarcasm (for my Tweepies).

Right here, right now I am officially dubbing Comic Sans the sarcasm font.  Because it is so well designed and makes you look like you know what you're doing. It's fancy. See? Darling of the design world and champion of the common man. Why even pay a professional to design your ads? Open up Word, slap this font on any flyer, advertisement, brochure or whatever you need and it will automatically look SO professionally designed. (In case you don't get it? I'M BEING SARCASTIC!!!)

Comic Sans. It's only for sarcasm now. Deal with it.
Seriously people, don't ever use it.

Wednesday, October 13

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

I sat in the room realizing that it was nicer than most hospital waiting rooms in which I have spent time. There was actually carpet on the floor, comfortable chairs and benches, lamps, and pretty pictures. It could almost be a doctor's office waiting room. But it wasn't. There was still the unmistakable fluorescent overhead lighting, the awkward set up with rows of people sitting back to back, the absence of a clock.

To my right was a small wooden desk where a tall, thin, well dressed lady sat answering phones and directing traffic. I momentarily wished I were tall, thin, and well dressed. She wore her hair cropped short, the style I want to wear in my later years, with a large pair of silvery leaf-shaped earrings that shimmered in the overhead lighting.  At the back of the room, in a little corner, there was a cheap coffee maker chugging away–brewing a new pot of delicious smelling but acrid coffee. And next to that, the unmarked door.

At long last we were taken by the willowy lady to the room with the unmarked door to receive an update on my father. The three of us sat sequestered in the small room for 20 minutes before the surgeon made it to hand over our update. My brother is completely devoted to my dad. He looked so nervous and upset. My mom looked so small. So scared, helpless almost. That was hard for me, she is so in control of everything and everyone in her life. She is always so demanding and outspoken, it is always a shock seeing her be so submissive to anyone. Finally the surgeon comes in and, without even taking a seat, gives us the news. He made it through surgery, he is going not to the ICU but a private room, he would have a long recovery but should be fine, the biopsy will not be back until Friday.

We return to the waiting room after about a 5 minute information session. Upon leaving the room, without other things on my mind, I look around this waiting room. The surgical waiting room. People are clustered together in small and large family "groups". Our little group of 3 is smaller than most, but no different.  Then, I notice the clear plastic bags. They contain whatever clothing and shoes the patient was wearing upon arriving at the hospital. Each group has a bag sitting on the perimeter, waiting to be reclaimed. Something about it strikes me as being somehow sad, and I feel tears welling up. It makes me think of hope. Just sitting there, we all have hope.

I watch a large group to my right, across from the desk lady. The three men are obviously brothers, they look too much alike not to be. They are in their 40's I would guess, and I spend time watching their group. The older man across from them has to be the father, so I make the conclusion that it is probably mom who is having surgery, though I really have nothing to back it up. There are 3 women who are likely their wives, although one of them I am thinking is a sister, same nose and mouth. You can tell by looking at the brothers that they all work in different areas of life. One is wearing a business suit and attached to his Blackberry. Another has khakis and a golf shirt on with work boots, the third jeans. I have to smile at the interaction of the group. They seem to be a close family and are joking, talking and passing the time playing word games. One of the wives is a ringleader of sorts, unable to sit still and constantly stirring up the group. Family dynamics. I feel a pang of, what is that? Jealousy? Regret? Wistful for a sibling who understood me and who I could relate to. Wishing we could carry on games and conversation for 4 hours, have fun together, and stop not knowing each other.

I sit and listen to my mom's chit chat and barely say two words to my brother. We don't ever know what to say to each other. We go eat lunch and he buys lunch for me. Then, we don't talk more at lunch. When we come back the room is ready and we wait there for my dad to be wheeled in, pale and ghostly looking, in a post-op daze but still trying to joke with us. Mom goes immediately to him and assumes her rightful position, bedside, holding his hand.

Saturday, October 9


Today's post is my entry into this week's 100 Word Challengehosted by Velvet Verbosity. The 100 Word Challenge is an exercise in which we write exactly 100 words in response to the weekly prompt word. Click the link to read the other entries–good stuff over there! 
This week's prompt was "handsome"

At the end of a gray October weekend she told him with tears in her eyes that she didn't think she could do it anymore. She was tired, emotionally exhausted by her own jealousy and anger. He smiled and told her that her eyes were beautiful in the sunlight, reaching to wipe away a tear. “They look so green” he said, then a moment of hesitation before he kissed her goodbye.

He had never looked so handsome as the day he let her go. He just tucked her into her car and walked away. The next week she turned 21.

I'm a Cheerleader, Ya'll!

This weekend, in addition to the 24,000 other things I have going on, I am cheering on participants in Dewey's Read-a-thon. The Read-a-thon is a 24 hour event during which participants read, participate in challenges, and post to their blogs. Check out the site and some of the participants and, hey, we're only 2 hours in, jump in and join, will ya?

Friday, October 8

Had a Bad Day...

I am a bit grumpy today. That doesn't happen very often, but one thing that will trigger it every time is when I am overloaded. And right now I feel totally overwhelmed. I have a lot I have to get done, for both paying jobs and volunteer work. I have a lot I want to get done, for my business and my writing. And I have things I need to get done, like laundry and housework. Aargh, I am getting stressed just typing about it.

I am not the best multi-tasker in the world, which makes me wonder why I think I need to take on so much. I think my problem right now is that I work for myself, and I tend not to think of that as a "real" job. (And neither does anyone else.) So since I don't go to an office 8-5 every day, I think of my time as open. And I overschedule and overload myself. I also wonder why I am trying to get my design business up and running while simultaneously trying to get a jewelry business up and running and also wanting to complete the novel I began writing this spring. I wonder why I never have time to ride my scooter anymore and why I even own one. Or why it is October already and I haven't gone to the country or the pumpkin patch or an orchard on the beautiful weekend days. I wonder why it has to be such an effort to make a healthy home made dinner every night with foods that are acceptable on my very strict food plan. Which in turn makes me wonder why I even look for a "real" job when I need more hours in the day as it is.  And there it is, the shortness of breath. The anxiety. The worry.

Oh, well, just a little private Friday pity party. To top it all off I found out that my 82-year-old dad is having surgery next week due to a blockage (probably 90%) in his colon. Which could be dangerous due to the fact that he a) is 82 and b) has a heart condition. So tonight I told my hubby to go on with friends to the football game tonight and let me stay home to wallow in my misery. Tomorrow will be better and I am going to get out from behind this desk all day and enjoy life, give myself a little kick in the rear, and get back to a rational, sane, healthy diet. (After tomorrow I am done with the restricted diet until January!!) By Sunday, my attitude will be much better. Tonight, however, is made for sulking.

Thursday, October 7

and If You Threw a Party...

Earlier this week I posted on FaceBook that I am going to cut my hair off. It has been growing since February and is shoulder-length. I was going to let it get long, but now that it is cold and we are wearing collared shirts and coats I am remembering how I hate dealing with longer hair; its either hanging over your collar or tucking in or out or both at the same time, mine is just at the wrong length.  So I got several responses to my post saying "you go girl", "you're adorable no matter what style you choose", etc. I can't help but read those responses and think how lucky I am. I have some really wonderful friends. They are so encouraging and supportive of me. Some days,most days,  I wish I could be as accepting of myself as they are of me.

My whole entire life I have truly cherished my friends above just about anything else. I was never a big "group" friend person. I had a lot of friends in high school, I had friends in almost every social circle there was, actually. But I never really fit in any one group. There were my friends who were cheerleaders, band friends, friends from the church youth group, student council friends, basket ball players, the "smokers" and heavy metal kids. But I was not solely any one of these things.

I still sometimes don't feel like I fit in anywhere. I am too liberal to fit in with one group or too straight to fit the other (and believe me, if I am too straight for your group, that has to be one wild group). I am too "earthy" for the girly girls and too girly for the "earthy" ones. I have friends who are artists, arborists, accountants, and insurance agents. I am not rockin' enough for the music people, but I am too rock'n'roll for the top 40 crowd. I now live in a small town, but long for the big city. When I lived in a big city, I dreamed of living in a small quirky town. (careful what you wish for) I am a study in contradicitons.

I am now grown up and have all kinds of friends all over the place. I have been welcomed into a group here in my hometown who are all different from most of the friends I've had in my life, and somehow it works for me. I feel really at home with all of them and have fun with the entire group. But I miss all my friends who I don't get to see as much because every last one of them has been special to me and every one has affected my life in one way or another. So to all my friends who are reading this, from my elementary best friend Joletta (who I haven't seen since 1978, but found recently on FaceBook) to one of my newest friends and "soul-sister" Jackie (who I left behind in PA) and all the others in between I just want to say "Thank you for being a friend". And I hope that song is stuck in your head all day. Wait, here, click this link to be sure.


Oh, and thanks for all the compliments on my new hairdo. Now if I can just figure out how to make it look like she did, I will be doing well.

Monday, October 4

A Glimpse of My Future

I spent the day Friday with my mom doing our usual Friday thing. She has been suffering from allergies and a head cold so instead of taking the hot rod Dodge we drove my SUV. By the time we finished up our weekly yard sale day the car was packed to the rafters, it was 2pm, I had missed 2 events that I was supposed to be back in town for, and I was literally worn out to the point of being grouchy and incoherent. I felt like a 3 year old needing a nap. Good times.

Mom and I had a conversation about how much we both like purchasing "pre-owned" merchandise at yard sales. This week my best bargain was finding a Wacom tablet, still in the box for $10. Manuals, software and everything, find them new for $50-100. Not a bad deal. Both of us have discovered that sometimes we talk about needing something for the house or whatever and lo and behold, we find it that week. My most recent instance was talking about a book my doctor recommended that I don't have and didn't want to pay $10 to obtain. Three weeks later, there it is for .25 at a sale. Kinda spooky. Anyway, I know it isn't for everyone but in this economy, I find it to be a terrific help to budgeting and a great form of recycling.

So the parental units went out of town this weekend. Something they used to do a lot, but not as much anymore. My dad's business keeps him ridiculously busy at age 82 and he rarely takes a weekend off. My mom grew up in Breckenridge County, KY and attended a one-room school house there, along with all her siblings. She didn't finish high school, or even junior high (for reasons I won't get into) but every year the folks who attended that school have a reunion and a dinner and revisit old times. She tells me that the crowds are dwindling down to just a few brave souls who are still around. Normally some of my aunts and uncles go with her, but this year she was the only representative of her family to attend. So they left out early Saturday and drove up for her reunion.

Coincidentally, my dad's high school reunion was Saturday night. He grew up in Wayne City, IL and always looks forward to going back to catch up with his friends and family. So after they spent the afternoon at mom's school they once again hit the road and headed up to Southern IL for his reunion. Mom reported that they had a great time and dad won a door prize, a $25 WalMart gift card. The drive up was torturous for her because the state route up there was filled with yard sales and they couldn't stop at even one. Finally, they checked into their hotel after several hours of driving with only 20 minutes to shower, change, and drive the 8 miles to where the dinner was being held. At 5:30. Yes, did I mention this was his 65th reunion? Or something like that. The theme was apparently "Early Bird Special, In Bed by 9". But I digress.

Needless to say they were exhausted by the time they got back to their room, they had been running all day. Sunday afternoon my phone rings and I receive the following report from the mom: They were about an hour away from being home when they realized that they left my dad's "book" (what he keeps ALL of his business contacts and phone numbers in, his bible, his life), some of his medical papers with instructions for the procedure he's having Wednesday, and a couple of other things on the table at the hotel.

So, me being a normal person, I would have called the hotel and made arrangements for them to mail the stuff back to me. But my parents? They turned around and headed the car back to Southern IL. It was around 1pm when I talked to mom and she told me that they had lounged around that morning, eating breakfast and relaxing in the room, or they would have left earlier, discovered their mistake earlier, and been home earlier. I suggested that when they get there, they arrange for a room and stay another night so they didn't have to drive another 4 hours home all in the same day. She said they were "thinking" about it and that my brother told them the same thing.

Then she said "Oh, but let me tell you about our 'senility moment' that we had last night."
Me: **sigh** bracing myself "Oh? Why? What happened?"
So she told me the story above about their drive, and all the details of her reunion, and how they made it to dad's reunion just in the nick of time. They had a great time and visited with everyone and it was "late" when they got back to the hotel room. I am paraphrasing all this part to spare you all the details which, believe me, I did receive during that 45 minute phone call.
"Well, your dad and I were so tired after all that. It was a long day."
Me: "Uh-huh"
Mom: "So we got back up to the room and our room key didn't work."
Me: wondering how this qualifies as their problem, it happens to me all the time "Oh, really?"
Mom: "Your father stood there trying it again and again. He flipped it over, he tried one end, then the other one. I even tried it once or twice and it wouldn't work!"
Me: still underwhelmed and loading the dishwasher "Well, did you go to the front desk?"
Mom: "Well, your dad had to go ALL the way back down to the lobby, and I stood there holding our bags and coats and everything, looking like a fool standing in the hallway!"
Me: "oh, no." thinking really, this is it?
Mom: "So finally your dad comes back up and says 'My. gosh. I was trying to open the door with that D@#% WalMart gift card! '"
Me: hooting with laughter "OH MY GOSH THAT IS THE FUNNIEST THING EVER!!!!!!!!"

You have to know my dad to truly appreciate this story. He is a total jokester and pulls pranks/picks on people all the time. But he HATES being the butt of any joke. Period. Much less something like this. He is a terrible sport. She said they laughed about it later, but that he was not happy at the time.

So I wonder if this is but a glimpse into old age for the girl who forgets what she's saying mid-sentence and puts things "away" then can't remember where or looks for my sunglassses for 2 hours only to find that they are on my head. Next stop, the loony bin. So last night around 8pm the phone rings and they, of course, drove home. 600-some odd miles in one day. Kinda scary for two people who just tried to open the hotel room door with a WalMart gift card, don't you think? Honestly...

Saturday, October 2

In This Moment

Today's post is my entry into this week's 100 Word Challengehosted by Velvet Verbosity. The 100 Word Challenge is an exercise in which we write exactly 100 words in response to the weekly prompt word. Click the link to read the other entries–good stuff over there! 
This week's prompt was "ditch"

October rolls in, shiny and golden, leaving summer with one wheel in the ditch. We pull on our boots and hats to enjoy the fall weather after months of hiding from the sweltering heat. Suddenly the nights become cool, asking us to don fleece and flannel.

Ahead, January lies in wait, ready to complete its own seasonal cycle. But for now we bask in the unabashed natural beauty of fall; blue cloudless skies changing into lavender at sunset, trees worshipping the sun in their orange and gold frocks, leaves fluttering to the ground like autumn confetti scattered by the roadside.