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Momcation

I haven’t been by myself in a house for an extended amount of time in… Years. I always have my son (15) or my dad (95) around or coming back. It’s wonderful. I love my family. But….

I used to love living by myself too. I’ve always kept myself occupied– readings writing, television. I’m not one that gets bored and stays bored. The quiet is a friend of mine- it allows a moment of reflection, a deep sigh.

Thanks to Caltrans and my Best friend I just had that. A glorious Sunday through Thursday morning where I stayed in a house all by my lonesome. Caltrans closed the freeway that I need to get to work. (Not a work vacation, alas). My BF is travelling, and offered her house. I have to tell you….

It. Was. Glorious.

I wrote and sent out cards. I didn’t cook ANYTHING. Frozen all the way. And after work, I went to the real happiest place on earth, Barnes and Noble, and bought many wonderful magazines. One was brand new to me, called Oh, Reader and I read every single article in it. Which has inspired me– to do magazine reviews. Share what I’m loving. Maybe a few book reviews in there too.

The fact is that I miss blogging. I miss sharing the things I love, and boy do I love books and magazines!

I love my family. Of course I do.

But I missed myself, and didn’t even realize what had been missing in my life was ME.

Poem A Day

Is not going well
I’m sorry to say

The pen dried up
The paper burned
in an imaginary fire
My chisel for the tablet
Cracked in half

Or maybe

My imagination failed
I didn’t get the memo
The kid ate my poem
(The dog turned up it’s nose)

Or maybe

New habits take time
A little grace extended
To self is rare indeed
And it’s time to

Begin again

January 2021

So January was a good one for the writing. Maybe — Maybe not.

I have a story being held for consideration (fingers crossed and good vibes). Which in terms of goals means that I am actually submitting my work.

My writing sister from another mother (hi Rie!) Challenged me to a poem a day for the year. I am missing few days, but I have been doing it. Which is funny because I don’t identify as a poet but….

But when I was pigtails young, I did. I wrote a little chapbook for the school book project. At some point I stopped– lack of confidence, one too many insults? No clue. But I did, and now I am flexing those creaking poetry muscles and it feels good.

And then the cards! I did another batch on cards for the retirement home, which is still on lockdown. 70 this time. I was only able to do it because my bff Linda came over and we cracked them off. AT the beginning of the pandemic lots of people did lots of things for those that were shut in. We need to remember them. So I did– we did.

Happy New Year-ish

So i have made lots of goals for 2021. Not resolutions, just a nod to things I want to do differently. I started most of them in December, at the very end. I just couldn’t wait.

One thing I’m trying to do is submit my work, my writing more. I enjoy writing, and I have several stories that need homes. I wrote 4 or 5 last year and while not a huge amount– it is still an accomplishment I am proud of. I’ve sent 2 stories out, hopefully to find a home.

I’ve started journalling creatively for 10 minutes before going to bed. It helps with story generation, and also working things out. A fire kitten may be making an appearance in a story soon.

One of my dear friends, my sister from another mother, challenged me to a poem a day writing challenge for the year. I don’t consider myself a poet, but it doesnt say anything about GOOD poetry LOL.

I bought an undated planner and am using it to tey and work out a story I am working on. The story has a lot going on and will probably be longer than most of my writing. I tend to do short and sweet, this needs room to breathe.

So that’s what I’m getting into for 2021. How about you? Any wild crazy plans? Or slow and steady wins the race?

2nd Half of 2020

So, we are in the second half of 2020. They year i wemt crazy and bought 3 planners. They all sit empty. Locally, there are more Covid cases exploding here than there were in March. But the local school board decided to do all in for the 2020-21 school year. All kids, all the time, unless parents opted for distance learning. No info on how it would work…

2020 is a bitch. If we had a naming contest for the year, I personally would vote for Cruella.

There is so much wrong with this year…. how do we make some good come out of it? Nt necessarily the huge,YouTube worthy videos (although those were great!) But in a personal way, that gives us joy and helps us through to that next day?

Personally, I write cards. I call people. I need that personal connection. My son has stepped up and learned how to cook my favorite eggs (thabk you kind people of redditt!). He is trying to help out, trying on who he will be as an adult.

In my writing, I have been writing literary stories and i miss magic. I’m in the last 2 weeks of the literary class, and i have learned a lot this year. It helped to have something to do instead of going to museums, the beach… all those places I long to be.

What about you? How are you coping with The social distancing? With not being able to go where you want? What sparks of joy have come your way, and unexpected sparkler i nadark night?

#becausewecan: 82 Cards

A lot of things are going on in the world right now, and what we need is inspiration. The docotrs and scientists need inspiration to find a way to navigate us out of this mess. And we need inspiration to help us remain human and connected in a world of social distancing.

Some things happened the weekend of March 20th that inspired me. Some people inspired me. The first was Jennifer Pastiloff. If you dont follow her on Facebook or Instagram, you should. In the face of losing her livlihood, she decided to hang on by asking “How may I serve?” She did one of her classes online for a donation… to help feed others. To buy diapers, food. To help. She could have set it up and done her confrences that way– Zoomed her way into a paycheck. I still think she should consider it. But at this time, when we needed help, we needed to remember that you can always find 5 beautiful things right here and now… she gave me that reminder. That hope.

The other person that inspired me was Jon Bon Jovi. He did a video of the start of the song and asked that the people watching help write the rest. I don’t remember the name of the song, but i do remember thinking that he has already made an anthem for these crazy days. Because We Can. And also Army of One.

Those who know me know that Bon Jovi wrote the soundtrack to my life. At one point I toyed with writing a monologe set to their music. Is it any wonder that when I was looking for inspiration and comfort and the “Hell yes we can do this!” I turned to them, to the band that I grew up beside?

So.

How many have seen the meme about writing cards to seniors in rehab care facilities? On Monday night i got a wild hair and called the one Dad had been in here locally.  They have 82 people there. Writing cards is my super power. I dont just sign my name, I write. 

And then God laughed. I wrote Tuesday. I came home from work Wednesday and crashed (essential employee). I wrote Thursday. Ended up on the phoen a lot Friday, still wrote thouh. I wrote on my breaks. I wrote on my lunch. I wrote on Saturday and on Sunday morning. And at some point, your brain goes to sleep and magic happens and you’re just creating.

I delivered 82 cards on Sunday. All the cards opened with “To My Special Friend” and ended with the note that they are special and they are loved. I signed only with my first name. No phone number, no return address. Because while it would be great to know if the right card got to the right person… I am fighting my need for positive reinforcement.

I did it because I am an #Armyofone, and #becausewecan.

And also because Jen Pastiloff asked “How May I Serve?”

PAN-ick!

So things are getting wild. People hoarding….toilet paper and bottled water? Going to the grocery store has become an olympic event. The problem is, some are not competing, we are just trying to survive.

I am going to ask a favor of you. It’s a big favor, too.

I am sure you can do it, though.

I have faith in you. In us.





Be kind.



Unfortunately it needs to be said. When the police have to be called to protect the employees at a grocery store— we need to remember who we are. We need to thank those poor cashiers and stock persons, not attack them!  We are not the United States of Anger. We are the US. We are US.

Do you remember getting yelled at by the neighborhood grandma to get your butt back home? Those neighborhood grandmas and grandpas need us to step into being neighbors. To being US. To asking if they are ok, if they need food. Keep the social distance, but please check on them. If you are at a store and know they have an endcap by the frozen food with sliced bread, and you see a woman staring at whats left in the bread aisle, trying to figure out how she is going to make it work, open your mouth and tell her. Tell the lady who asks where you got the flat of eggs. Go online and figure out who has toiet paper for your friend with Irritable Bowl Syndrome. Write letters to your friends and family, to strangers. Pick up a phone and call someone.

Be helpful. Be kind.

Be US.

Power of Prayer

I believe in the power of prayer. I understand that gut feeling that you need to help a specific person, or for me, send a certain person a card. There have been so many times that I would go through my address book pick a person and send them a card. There have also been so many phone calls, cards and instant messages telling me that they needed it so badly right there and then, that it came at just the right time.

 

Cool. I have a super-power. Spreading sunshine and love through cards.

 

But this is about the power of prayer.

 

I have a customer, and we’re going to call him Smiley. He’s a real Hot Rod of a guy. He lives on the other side of the country from me. We have never met in person, but we have a really good rapport on the phone. He always ends the call with “Be Blessed.” Which makes me smile.

The first time this happened, there was no way he could have known. I had just received a phone call from my sister. She used to reside in Paradise, CA. and at the moment when Smiley called, I didn’t know if she was alive or dead. He called in an order and at the end of it he said “I don’t know why, but I feel I need to pray over you.” And he did.

It gave me comfort. And then something happened at work, and both the computers and telephones were taken out. So i was able to pray constantly for a while… Until I got the phone call that my sister was safe.

The second time he prayed over me, I had just gotten an email from my son’s school. They were on lock down due to a bomb threat. I was beside myself. I couldn’t go, I couldn’t stay. What was going on? Smiley called, he prayed, and then another email came through. It was apparently part of a nationwide hoax. The police were checking everything out, just to be safe.

We’re going to detour here for a moment away from Smiley to one of my card buddies, T. She sent me a Valentine and wrote “I miss your smile.” and my first, the honest, gut reaction was— I miss it too. So I sat down and wrote her a note about it, and set about trying to correct that.

I’ve started making plans with friends, had a magnificent birthday weekend with Linda and our kids. Made plans for something I really really wanted to do in May and bought the tickets!

 

Friday, Smiley called. This was the only thing we talked about. I think he called specifically for this reason. The following is going to be a paraphrase because it was one of those times when the message was so important that the meaning sank into my heart instead of the words being memorized. He told me something to the effect of “you need to let go of all those things that are draining your energy, that are taking away your joy. You were not put on this earth to be miserable, but to be joyful. Your true purpose, your calling, will fill you with joy,”

 

It kind of knocked me for a loop. I have a calling that I’ve been neglecting, one that I enjoy and that brings joy to others. (2 cards went out today, btw.) I’ve been working on my writing and that is a joyful struggle.

But I had been bad. I was sucked back into facebook and the stupid stupid articles that i was reading just to have something to read. And I don’t know why my google page looks like it does, but it isn’t good stuff to read. I went off facebook for a long time and didn’t miss it too much.

 

But you know, I picked up Anne Lamotte’s Almost Everything before Christmas. Started it and put it back down. I am savoring it now, have been reading it enough that I’m almost through the first 5 chapters. The 6th chapter is on writing— it’s one of those I can’t wait so I’m making myself wait kind of things.

 

But also? I’m finding my smile again.

 

All because of a man who believes in the power of prayer, and in sharing his testimony.

 

 

 

It’s been a while

But never fear, I’ve been writing. I’ve been writing many many words.

I started back at WVU (Writers Village University). Now, you may not have heard of WVU, so let me tell you a little bit about it. It is not an accredited university, it’s a peer run site. And there are times when you sign up for a course and no one else does.

And then came the MFA program. It’s a certificate program. You have to not only do your assignments, but also leave feedback for others, and it’s a specific type of feedback. No “great job, bye bye”. And the classes themselves, doing your own work, taking the works of others and internalizing them and applying them….

My God, how I’ve grown.

I had begun to believe that I only wrote light and fluffy. And I was fine with that. Light and fluffy has a place. Even if I sometimes slipped the leash and wrote dark and twisty, sunshine has a place.

Just because someone seems all Pollyanna does not mean that they do not notice the world as it is, or cope with the shadows. I had a problem admitting to those depths in my writing, in shying away from the deep dark and twisty. I have these diametric opposite parts of me, and I wasn’t willing to admit to them. Or try and see how they work together.

I’m ready and willing now.

And with the help of some fabulous facilitators and a group of peers who are ready and willing to help… I’m very close to being there.

Thank you, WVU.

A Different Kind of Christmas

My son nickel and dimes me to death. Video games, in-app purchases, toys, soda, chips…. It seems like every day there’s a new thing that he needs me to buy for him. Sometimes I say yes, but I often say no. He’s a pretty good kid, and there are never any fits or tears over my not wanting to be a walking wallet.

               A few nights ago, that changed. Not about things though. He misses doing things with me. Simple things like playing 2 square, crafts and playing with his Legos. Little trips going to places we love. “We never do anything fun anymore!” He cried. Not for things, but for me.

               I was a little confused, as we had just been up to Sacramento for a fun filled weekend. Back in September, we went to Monterey, and on the way back stopped at Pea Soup Andersons. We might not do fun things every weekend—but I don’t have him all the time. He spends Saturday afternoon to Sunday morning with his dad.

               We had the conversation. I needed to know before the Black Friday deals disappeared. “Do you want things, or do you want me to buy tickets for us to do stuff through out the year?”

               “I want to do stuff with you,” he told me.

               “Ok. That means you’re not going to be able to be with your dad every weekend.”

               “I miss you, Mom.” Way to break a Mommy’s heart, kiddo. I miss you too, but I wanted you to have that opportunity to build a relationship with your dad. Now, though… Well. Mommy’s back in the driver’s seat and we’re going to do this!

               I still surfed the ads bought him a few things for under the tree (thank you wifi!). But I also started my evil plan.

               Boomers:  This weekend, the year pass is only $39.99 It doesn’t cover the arcade or food, but it is something he loved doing with his dad. It’s also something that I can just as easily take him to, let him go Go Kart racing, climb a wall, all sorts of fun stuff. The pass also works for the remainder of this year. Hmmm…. To give early or not?

               The Exploratorium He loves science and tinkering and there is no better place than the Exploratorium. I’m still debating between a yearly family membership and just buying one time tickets. We travel a lot with my sister and her son, so they would be on the pass as well. One huge thing in favor of the pass is that I don’t have to drive there. We’ve taken Amtrak down to Pier 39 before: it’s an economical, fun way for us to get into the city and back home again. In 2 visits, the pass would be paid for. I almost did it last year and regretted passing.

               The Winchester Mystery House: My son is 11 years old and has been asking to visit “Sara’s House” for at least a year. He’s fascinated by why she would build the way she did, all the little oddities. I’d like for him to experience it in real life, instead of via YouTube.

               In addition to the above, I’m looking at both science and art kits for us to do together. There are a ton of them out there, including some that come as a monthly subscription. I like that more for the science than the art. For art projects (which we’ll start on Sunday when he comes home), I can go to any number of local stores. There are plans for experiments on the Exploratorium website, and I could probably find kits online and just buy one or two. I have time to figure it out, though.

               The sad part about the list above is that coupled with what I snagged online for him, I’m not going to spend a whole lot more money on Christmas by doing this. There will be a lot less Christmas clutter, and I’m going to have to get creative on how to wrap and present these gifts.

               But before that, we’re going to go out back and play 2 square together.

               In the end, I’m giving him the gift he wants. The gift of time. With me.