“I Learned How to Write From My Heart”

This is a wonderful feature on Discover from my favorite blogger.

Discover

“I often say that blogging is like talking to yourself, and then realizing someone heard you,” writes Paul at The Captain’s Speech. In his reflection on four years of blogging, he explains how this outlet has introduced him to a larger community of writers and readers, showed him how powerful our words truly are, and taught him how to write from the heart.


Early on in this blog’s life, I was always so worried about every sentence, and every word, and every comma, and every semi-colon, and every little detail. It ate away at me as I put words on the screen. I would write three sentences and delete two and a half of them.

I felt like it had to be perfect, or someone would criticize me.

After a few months of being a “sports blog,” I reached a turning point.

It was the first September in…

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A Nostalgic Mess

The credit for this post goes to Ann Coleman at muddlingthroughmymiddleage.com.  I’m not exactly stealing the idea, but as soon as I read Ann’s post about Moving On, it struck such a chord with me that I knew I had to tell my somewhat similar story.

My husband thinks that I’m a nostalgic mess.  After feeling affronted, I realize that he is right.

We bought our  my dream house in 1999-2000.  Sometime around then.  Don’t get me wrong, he really liked the house, too, but I loved it.  Loved it, loved it, loved it.

It is on the side of a mountain, no neighbors in sight during the summer, no noise except the howling of coyotes at night.  We have seen mother deer nursing their fawns, have had minx in the backyard and one time a black bear stroll down the driveway.

This house is a large colonial which was good since together we have four children, and at various times my two daughters moved in with their infants and lived with us until they were back on their feet.

We also had two dogs and with four acres, they could run around without leashes and stayed put.  I always said that the top part our “yard,” which was a long, steep slope to a large mowed area, provided a great view for the dogs that was like watching a large screen HD TV.

Then a family tragedy struck and we had to sell the house and move.  One does what is necessary in situations like this, and we had to sell.  There was no question nor other option.  Family comes first.

But I was devastated.  We sold the house in 2010?  Around then.  Periodically, we drive by and it looked sort of the same, except the yard work, fence work, rock walls and garden that we (mostly my husband) built and took such pride in, started to fall by the wayside and weren’t tended the way we wanted.  Oh well.

Then, a couple of years ago, it started to look deserted.  No curtains on the windows, no toys are cars in the driveway.  I checked around and everyone who knew the new owners said they lived there.

Well a couple of weeks ago, we saw that the yard looked extra-unkempt and the house was obviously empty.  I went up and looked in the windows.  There was a sign in a window from 2 years ago that the water was shut off to winterize the house.  Turns out the house is in foreclosure.

My first reaction was YAY!!!!  We can buy it back!!!!

My husband’s reaction was  ARE YOU INSANE?

Nostalgia, nostalgia, nostalgia.

All of our kids are adults, retirement is in the not-so-distant future and we are down-sizing from our already down-sized condo.

And I want to buy again our four bedroom huge colonial on four acres in the woods. Yes, yes I do.

I know it’s a pipe dream, but it is much cheaper now that it is in foreclosure.  But more expensive than a pension and Social Security can justify.  There is no way that we can turn back the clock and move back to this home.  My dream home where we spent nine nostalically perfect years.

Shhhhhh…….don’t tell my husband, but I check the listing every day and drive by the house every week.

I’m a semi-realistic nostalgic mess.

 

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Unoccupied Car Accidents….For Real

I have been involved in four accidents that I can think of off the top of my head that have one thing in common.  No one was in the car at the time.

The first one was a doozy.  In a previous job that was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I had a Chevy Lumina.  Perfect car for a single mom with three kids.

I was in an important meeting, and was a low person on the totem pole in this meeting and didn’t want to come across as an idiot.  My position was Assistant Program Director of Residential Services, which sounds a lot more important than it was and there were like six of us.  But it did mean that I had to approve of, and be informed of, a ridiculous amount of things.

The secretary at the corporate office knocked on the conference room door and called me out of the meeting at least three times.  I finally said to her “DON’T INTERRUPT AGAIN UNLESS THE POLICE ARE HERE.”  About five minutes later, she knocked on the door again and called me outside.  I started to voice my annoyance and she cut me off and said “The police are really here.”

Police:  Your car was involved in a major accident.

Me:

Police:  It is totaled and cannot be driven.

Me:  But I’m in a meeting, not in the car.

While parked at the curb (and I’m a good driver), an 18-wheeler driven by a not very good driver, missed the turn and slammed into my car, shattering the windows and smashing in the side of the car.  Crazy.

The other three accidents occurred in the last month and a half and were also crazy but not as serious.

  1. We have assigned parking spaces at work.  They are on the small size.  I was parked in the middle of my space and inside school.  Not in the car.  The person parked on one side of my car sideswiped me.  Down the entire length of my car.  Drive-able, but still.  In her defense, she had a big car which also had a lot of damage.  She now has a new SUV which is much smaller.
  2. The day after the work incident, my husband got off the train in which he commutes to work, walked to his car, and saw that the front of his car had been smashed.  I’m not good at describing cars, but someone had obviously backed into his car.  Fast. This person is proof that there are honest people left in the world because he left his name and phone number on the windshield.
  3. As I was on my genealogy hunt last week, I had a very frustrating day that ended up being fairly fruitful.  I left a Town Clerk’s office feeling proud of myself and saw something in the road near my car.  I picked it up so that I wouldn’t run over it, and saw it was a side mirror.  Then I realized it was the exact same color as my car.  I looked over and sure enough, probably a small truck knocked the driver mirror off. I drove over the Tappan Zee Bridge (a nightmare on the best of days) petrified because I use my mirrors for everything and I was afraid to change lanes.

Caveat:  I have been involved in other fairly minor accidents.  None have been considered my fault to the police or insurance company.  Several deer have received citations, however.  And I don’t mean to minimize accidents which have caused catastrophic tragedies for families.

Conclusion drawn?  Parking your car and not being in it is a dangerous activity.

Parked under the influence of emptiness.

 

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The Oral Surgery Diet Is Working

After two years of following the Girl Scout cookie diet I have realized that no matter how hard I try, that diet just doesn’t work for me.

I recently stumbled upon the Oral Surgery Diet and it’s a charmer.  While individuals differ, for me this diet may work because the surgery is divided into parts that will be accomplished over a couple of months.  Originally, I was told it would be done in one day, in one fell swoop.  Alas, my teeth/mouth are too screwed up for that.  So it’s one visit at a time.  It could be done slightly faster, but I’m going on a cruise and don’t want to be in another country if something goes wrong.

The last day of school a couple of my friends and I went out to lunch.  We are in the same age group (50s-60s) and laughed because our conversation quickly steered to what doctor appointments we have coming up, what meds we’re now on and what our current aches and pains are.

And, of course, our weight.  The Oral Surgery Diet is really working for me.  Loss of appetite and not being able to eat almost anything that isn’t soft food is helping me to shed pounds.  But I stop short of actually recommending it to anyone.

I’m the Bionic Woman, replacing one body part at a time.  And that’s only partially tongue-in-cheek.

 

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I Am Totally Obsessed With This Song

I could listen to this 25 times a day.  Nothing in moderation for me.

Half Light by @BannersMusic.  I’m obsessed.

 

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The Crazy Evolution of Holidays

On Monday, we will celebrate Memorial Day in the US.  The day we honor our fallen soldiers.  And eat hot dogs and hamburgers.

I’m not kidding.  If you’ve read my last post, you know how important Memorial Day is to my family.  We have family members who have served in the Armed Forces in every generation since the American Revolution.  And, I’m sure, before that.

Michie Stadium, West Point

Yet we also go to barbecues (interesting side-note: that just autocorrected to 
“arabesque”), parades and picnics.

I don’t think my grandfather died on the battlefield in St. Mihiel, France so we could eat food grilled outside.  Just sayin’.

But it isn’t just Memorial Day.  And I’m sure that other countries have their own version of holidays which are celebrated in bizarre, originally unintended ways.

Christmas in Chappaqua

Christmas.  I was raised in a Christian household.  We went to Mass to celebrate Christ’s birthday and then couldn’t wait to open the presents under the Christmas tree.  I’m pretty sure that evergreens aren’t indigenous to Bethlehem.  And Christ wasn’t delivered in the stable by Santa Claus.

Easter.  I’ve written about this before.  Christ is risen but not by rabbits laying colored eggs.  And I seriously doubt there were colorful baskets filled with chocolates in Calvary.

Independence Day.  Instead of calling relatives in Ireland and Scotland and saying “Haha we got rid of them,” we once again eat hot dogs and hamburgers. Take that England!

Thanksgiving.  We pretty much do what the Pilgrims did, just with a lot more food plus a lot of football.  And we do give thanks for the blessings we’ve received.  But eat the meal in 10 minutes so to better focus on the parade and then football.

Upon reflection, we seem to have an inordinate amount of parades.  Or do all countries do that?

Veterans Day.  More parades and yay we get a day off of work.  It’s a little too cold where we live for hot dogs and hamburgers on Veterans Day.

Valentine’s Day.  No parades.  I don’t even remember the origin of Valentine’s Day.  It’s a total field day for florists and greeting card companies.  We get our self-esteem by the number, if any, of the gifts and cards received.  Oh and more chocolates.  And devastation if you don’t “have” a Valentine.  Who decided that on February 14th people should feel like loved ones or losers?  Let’s get rid of this one.

Birthdays.  I’m biased on this one because I’ve given birth four times.  But I think the mothers should be celebrated on each kid’s birthday.  They owe their existence to us and we do all the work bringing them into the world.

What a strange country I live in.  Things are not as they seem.

The bizarre evolution of holidays in America.

 

 

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*sigh* I Tried

It happened again.  It was important that I give it another go, just in case last year’s results were an anomaly.

But, alas, the Girl Scout Cookie Diet failed once again.

 

A Sampling of saneteachers’s Girl Scout Cookies

 

At least I tried.

 

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How I Lost $20 And Saved My Life

When I left work today I realized that I had to get gas or my car would run out before I got home.  I wasn’t being stupid about it, but I didn’t stop this morning because I knew I had time to do so after work.

My mind was racing because, well, that’s what it does.  My brain was filled with thoughts of the workday and a meeting about the school year for next year and then I was thinking about home and lesson plans and my blog and genealogy and, and, and…

I pulled into the gas station, ran inside and gave the guy working there “$20 for pump 10, please.”  Then I power walked back to my car, got back in and continued to drive home.

Have you noticed the step I forgot to take in my madcap pursuit of the afternoon?

About 10 minutes later I looked down and the yellow you-better-watch-out-because-you’re-going-to-have-an-empty-gas-tank-soon light was shining brightly up at me.

AAAAUUUUGGGGHHHH!!!!!!!!!

I never put the gas in my car.  I paid for it and then just left.  WHO DOES THAT??

I raced back praying that a miracle had occurred and that no one had pulled up to that particular pump.  But it showed a previous purchase of $86.02.  Obviously, $20 of that had been my $20.  But what kind of a vehicle holds that much gas?

I ran inside and explained what happened.  They felt sorry for me.  So I handed over the $15 I had left, walked slowly back to the car and with the precision and stealth of a jaguar, I put gas in my car.

Well my prayers were answered, but not in the way I expected.  I had prayed that no one had used my $20.  Then I tried to let go of the feeling that I was an idiot.  Everyone makes mistakes and it’s not like the shock of the century that I lost focus and forgot to do something.

On my way back home, there had been a 5-car crash.  An SUV was on it’s side, facing the wrong way.  Two different front wrap-around grills (that’s not what they’re really called but you know what I mean) were in the road.  Glass and stuff from the cars were strewn everywhere.

However, I was not strewn everywhere.

Had I not had to go back to the gas station I would have been in that very same spot at roughly the same time as the accident.  My prayer was answered, but in a different way.

Losing $20 possibly saved my life.

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Fog

I’m living my life in a fog

filled with despair.

Tears running down my face

eyes blurry

tissues at my side.

Pollen

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Top 10 Reasons People Like Top 10 Lists

  1. Easy to read
  2. Easy to comment upon
  3. Easy to skip the uninteresting topics
  4. Easy to scan without being caught
  5. Easy to agree with
  6. Easy to disagree with
  7. Easy to enrage
  8. Easy to engage
  9. East to disengage
  10. Easy to rhyme  write

See?  That was easy.  🙂

 

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