Plow

Warning: Could be deemed as PG-13+ material!

Ah, the old double entendre. A word that in a straight forward manner means one thing but then alternately takes on a more risqué meaning, much to the delight of 12-year-old boys everywhere. I can see them now, huddled together in the schoolyard snickering to each other as they say, “hee hee, she said “plow.”

My dear friend, James, states that boys are suddenly faced with arrested development of a sexual nature when they hit the seventh grade. Oh, they can go on to become intellectually astute and worldly and all that jazz, but when it comes to girls, they can’t get past the maturity of a thirteen-year-old. I don’t know if this is true but, I guess when it comes down to it, I cannot think of a single boy I’ve dated who has progressed past this chronological milestone. Oh wait! My first spouse is an excellent example. He never talked about sex at all, which I’m not sure if that is better than a relationship with a perpetual 13-year-old who jumps up and down at the sight of boobies.

In order to maintain my PG-13 rating I’ll stop with this. I mean, I just wrote “boobies” for crying out loud. This can only go one way from here.

So, let’s talk about the more straight forward meaning of plow. Growing up in Ohio I experienced snow once in a while, most notably the Blizzard of ’78. I was nine at the time. We were without power for several days but luckily we had a fireplace, loads of sleeping bags, and a cribbage board to see us through. This was an important phase of my life because I realized that toilet paper waved over the flame of a candle ignites and burns rather rapidly. It was one of the scarier moments of my life, not because I was afraid of catching on fire but I knew my mom would kill me if she ever found out that I singed the rug behind the toilet in the back bathroom. As far as I know, she never discovered my secret. Once the power came back on and the plows came out, our lives could carry on. I remember that the first thing on TV when the power came back on was the Mary Tyler Moore show. I’ve loved her ever since.

Somewhere along the way I developed a severe fondness for the white stuff called snow. After my set-back with thyroid cancer in 1993 I decided to head west to spend a single ski season in what I thought was the most beautiful place on earth: Keystone, Colorado. My single ski season turned into eight years of mostly bliss. One day while I was at work the snow started dumping. We got several feet within a couple of hours. When my shift was over I got in my little Ford Escort with studded tires to start my seven-mile journey home. At this particular time in Summit County I lived up in Wildernest, which is a fairly steep drive up the base of Buffalo Mountain. I lived near the top of the developed portion of the mountain. As I crept through the deserted streets of Wildernest I became more and more concerned that my sweet little Escort just wasn’t going to make it. I kept repeating words of encouragement to my Escort, asking – no, pleading – for her to make it just a few more blocks. But then, she stopped. There was no going forward. No going backward. I was smack in the middle of the street. I sat in my Escort not knowing what to do. Just before the mounting snow entirely covered my windshield I saw a snow plow round the corner and head in the opposite direction. I bolted out of my car and started waving my arms like a maniac. I had my stupid little work flats on, which had minimal traction. It was much like Fred Flintstone trying to find his footing before taking off in a run. I finally caught the driver’s attention and motioned back towards my car. He turned around and started heading my way. Whew!

Unfortunately, I had to leave my car in the middle of the street but the nice plow driver gave me a ride home. As I was getting out of the truck and was nearly knee-deep in the new fallen snow, I looked up at my hero and said “I just can’t keep up with how fast it’s coming.”

And thinking back on it all I’m quite confident he said to his 13-year-old self, “That’s what she said.”

 

YIKES! I almost forgot to thank Nancy VonMinden for today’s word choice. THANKS, NANCY! I’ve known Nancy for about six years. She was Madeline’s preschool teacher but, thankfully, our relationship continued to grow over the years. Nancy is one of the most REAL people I know. She LOVES life! It’s just not possible to be in a bad mood when you’re around her. I love how she is passionate about her beliefs but never judges anyone if they don’t agree with her. She is intelligent. She is funny. She is infectious. She is giving. She does a mean monkey impersonation. And she loves me back. How cool is that? You’re the cat’s pajamas, Nancy. I love you lots.

 

 

Cheese

“Say Cheese!” The photographer shouted his command at me, which made my cat’s claws sink deeper into my shoulder. Mom warned me that taking Prissy to be photographed was NOT a good idea. I thought her negativity revolved around the fact that Prissy would shed all over my sweet JC Penney velour pantsuit, not the fact that Prissy would rip me to shreds under the harsh lighting and crying babies at our local Olan Mills studio. I insisted we take the temperamental Siamese cat who was famous for not playing well with others. But what did I know? I was only 11.

I love looking back on that picture and remembering the outtakes: me holding Prissy at arm’s length as she turned into one of those cartoonish balls of movement – scrambling so fast that you could only see lines and color – kinda like Andy Capp when he fought with his wife. I just know I turned my head to save my eyeballs from corneal damage, or better yet, actual loss. She was NOT a happy cat. We traveled back to Olan Mills two weeks later to look at the proofs, which only documented her severe unhappiness. If you put all the pictures together and thumbed through them at top speed it would make for a hysterical “flip book.” I scratched around the bandaids protecting my healing flesh wounds as the photographer begged us to choose “the best one”. A “best one” didn’t exist. But since this was a Christmas photo – I had my sweet velour pantsuit on – we had to choose one in a timely fashion. We went with the one of me looking like I was about to get my eyes scratched out with Prissy’s claws embedded into my vest, a look of pure evil emanating from her eyes. I learned my lesson after that session: NO MORE CATS IN PROFESSIONAL PHOTOS. But I have to admit that I’m glad to have proof that I lived through yet another crisis. And, I think that’s the only picture I have of Prissy.

I love pictures. I have thousands of them. Even before I had children I was a shutterbug. I especially love my photos from the 70’s. I took a lot of pictures of my best girlfriends while having one of our famous sleepovers. Nearly every single party had at least one girl running off to the bathroom to cry over something somebody said. I was always right there to comfort them (early proof that I would eventually go into social work) and then once everyone made up I’d take a picture of all of us. It was a weird little ritual but pre-teenage girls ARE weird. Ugh. I’m reminded that I’ll have a pre-teen shortly. Anyway, I loved gathering my group of buddies and yelling out “Say Cheese!” before snapping a pic.

In going through my pictures from days gone by I love coming across photos of people who have died. It’s always bittersweet and overwhelming when I realize just how many friends and family members I’ve lost. But how wonderful to have the memories preserved to remind us that there was a time when we could smile when someone asked us to “Say Cheese”. Before the heart attack. Before old age. Before suicide. Before cancer.

In my mind, when I look through these pictures, it reminds me I have to keep living. I have yet another day to “Say Cheese.” And that is priceless.

 

Thank you, Laura Lukacs, for CHEESE. I know it didn’t go along the lines of curdling and molding and all that jazz, but my mind rarely operates that way! While I didn’t know Laura at school, we both attended Watkins Memorial, and both of us have moved far away from “home”. Her favorite quote is “I reject your reality and substitute my own.” I couldn’t agree with that more! Thank you for sharing, Laura, and thanks for supporting me on my new journey. <3

 

Toy

Historically speaking, when a Dalai Lama dies, a very lengthy process takes place in choosing the next one. It involves quite a lot of mystical stuff, like which way the smoke of the funeral pyre blows and then – most importantly – what toy the child picks from the line-up of the former Dalai Lama’s personal artifacts. See, the Dalai Lama is believed to be reincarnated, so when the child who gets through the initial interview process for the Lama-ship is presented with the Former Lama’s toys, he should say “Hey! That was mine!” Then, after he chooses what was previously his, he is rewarded with a life full of exile and strife, and, of course, a book tour of the United States.

Now, on my 30 minute exercises I don’t have time to research my writing, so I don’t know if any of this is true. I’m relying on what I’ve learned in my earlier studies and I’ll be the first to admit that my 44-year-old brain is a little rusty. All I know is if I’m reincarnated (which I don’t believe that I am) I keep choosing the wrong freaking toy. I’m trying to leave a post-it note in my rusted out brain for my next trip into this realm (for when I’m wrong about the whole reincarnation thing) to remind me to step away from the freaking Fisher Price toys. They haven’t served me well at all.

I know that I’m incredibly hard on myself. It’s been a trait that I’ve fostered my entire life so I’ve become quite an expert at self-deprecation. I was never as pretty or smart as my sister. I’ve not measured up to my education; I’m an overqualified for and under experienced for everything. I’ve failed more than I’ve succeeded. It’s a chore living this life. And I think I’ll blame it on Fisher Price toys.

They were my favorite. I had the village (which was surprisingly similar to my hometown, minus the jail), the A-Frame schoolhouse (and the bus), the boat, the airport, the house, the farm… I loved them all dearly. And, for some reason, I liked to chew the braids off the little blonde girls’ hair. Maybe that’s why this life hasn’t worked out according to plan? I’m poisoned by ingesting all that plastic. Surely that affects the old brain waves.  I know that Fisher Price has stopped manufacturing the little girls with braids. Perhaps there’s a whole slew of girls like me who haven’t had their lives work out according to plan because they chewed the hair of their Fisher Price dolls? In my quest to further my education so I’ll become even MORE overqualified and under appreciated, perhaps I will do my doctoral thesis on that very topic.

I’m still big into toys, however. I graduated from Fisher Price to Barbies (very short-lived) which made way into music. Music, you ask? Yes, it can be a toy of sorts. Collecting albums, cassettes, CD’s, and, of course, making sculptures out of those yellow disc inserts for 45’s. Those were also good to use as plates for Barbie. It just takes a little imagination.

I guess that’s what it all comes down to: imagination. And I have that in spades. My brain is my very favorite toy. It might be a little rusty and becoming a bit antiquated, but I have no intention of setting it on a shelf in its original packaging waiting for someone to pay me a fortune for it on eBay. Nobody will ever pay me what it’s truly worth. It’s mine. I’m keeping it. And I’ll use it until I get some terrible brain dissolving disease from eating all that plastic during my youth.

 

Thank you, Annie Adler, for supplying today’s word. You are a sweet and sensitive soul and I’m glad to call you my friend. We’re alike in many ways (although I’m sure you were smart enough to not eat plastic) so the connection we have is very special to me. You’re smart, funny, and appreciate the difference between they’re, their, and there. That means more to me than I could ever express.

Thanks for being my friend for all these years. I treasure our conversations and look forward to knowing you until our brains rust out completely.

Tongue

“Let me see that again,” I questioned my seven-year-old son as he was brushing his teeth. There was a white spot was on his tongue, something I hadn’t noticed before, and something I knew shouldn’t be there. I took his toothbrush from him and tried with all my might – short of making his tongue bleed, of course – to get that white spot off of his tongue. It didn’t respond. But as Ben started to gag from my overzealous wielding of his toothbrush I decided to give it a rest.

Honestly, I put it out of my mind for the next few hours. As we were eating lunch I asked him again to stick out his tongue. The spot was still there. Now, I have a wildly overactive imagination but I could have sworn it had grown in size since brushing his teeth earlier in the day. I was hoping that my persistence with scrubbing the affected area wasn’t the reason why it appeared to be larger. I was confident that if we didn’t get in touch with his doctor before the day was over that it would grow to astronomical proportions and perhaps even be speaking by the end of the day. I could imagine it saying “Feed me, Seymour,” or “Hi! My name is Cancer!” Either dialogue was completely unwelcome.

Before the week was over we had visited his pediatrician and had a surgical consult lined up. The word “biopsy” was put out there which made me run to my panic room with my tail between my legs. Ben had technically been cancer free for three years but with the amount of treatment we had to subject him to they warned us that secondary cancers could rear their ugly head at any time. Not only were we threatened with the fact that Neuroblastoma was more than likely to return (which it unfortunately eventually did), we had to live with the fear that other cancers might decide to move in, too.

He’d been through the process before – at least 50 times – and I’m always slightly offended when the surgical department asks during their initial round of questioning “Would you like a tour of the facility?” or “Is your son nervous about his trip to the hospital?” Are you freaking kidding me? We’re not newbies to this world of surgical procedures. I have his medical record number memorized from all three facilities where Ben has been treated. In my wildest of daydreams I envision a ceremony where they retire his “number” and all the kids can look up at his “jersey” and say, “Wow. That Ben Brewer. He’s my hero. He is one of the greats.”

So, back to the tongue. The biopsy relayed the fairly benign news that it was leukoplakia. While it’s not a threat on its own, it is a condition where cells multiply quickly (gulp) and can be a precursor to cancer. We were right to get it taken care of immediately. In usual “Ben fashion”, he sailed through the procedure without issue and came away with a single, solitary stitch right in the middle of his tongue. He wasn’t happy about it. Later, before bed,  he decided that he’d had enough of that stitch and pulled it right out of his tongue. I know! HE PULLED IT OUT HIMSELF! Kinda makes me wonder why they didn’t offer us a “cone” after his procedure so he’d keep his hands away from it. Regardless, it healed just fine, and – despite an eventual relapse of the original beast – he’s gone on to live a fairly normal life. He is one tough dude.

And, he’s got a conversation piece to get girls close to his face when he reaches the age when that might be appealing.

 

Holy Cannoli, Joe Grande. Tongue? I was horrified as my initial thoughts swirled around the task of writing something that wouldn’t be rated NC17.

Seriously though, I cannot tell you what you and your wife mean to me. You two know how to rock the unconditional love! I admire the strength of your relationship and the love that you shower upon your children. I’m so happy and honored to be a part of your extended family.

Thank you for encouraging me to let my light shine. Thank you for opening my eyes to new outlets to showcase my creativity. And when I finally get up the nerve to do my stand-up routine, I hope you’ll be in the audience (but don’t let me know you’re there before I do my set!) I love you guys. Unconditionally.

Passionate

“Any kind of love without passion ain’t no kind of lovin’ at all.” ~The Eagles

That first electric spark that melds into a soul redeeming kiss that makes you forget the concept of time. Everything stands still yet rushes with great urgency toward the moment you know is coming but can’t bear to face – the moment you have to let go. Trying to memorize the way it feels. Physically. Emotionally. Spiritually. Capturing the scents and sounds. Begging for it to stay forever. Knowing it can’t. At least, not until the next time you’re together.

I believe that I’ve loved as best as I can in my previous relationships but admittedly, it’s been far from perfect. I think the reasoning behind that is that I haven’t been passionate about those I’ve been in serious “committed” relationships with. Except one. And that’s a story I’m currently trying to work through. With the other boys there wasn’t a deep need or desire. There wasn’t the connection. They didn’t win my heart. I’ll be the first to admit that my heart isn’t easily won. My heart has a soft and gooey center but is surrounded by chainmail with a necklace of barbed wire that occasionally has the electric fence engaged. It’s pretty difficult to get through to the good stuff… and beating at it like a pinata will get you nowhere. Unfortunately, I don’t always pick the best boys. That’s my fatal flaw. So, until I can feel secure in knowing that my heart doesn’t need to suit up like it belongs in medieval jousting tournament I guess I’ll just have to muddle through. It’s coming though. I can feel it. Or maybe it’s just gas.

But passion isn’t just about boys. I have many other passions, two of them being my Ben and Madeline. I’m so grateful for my incredible children. We’ve made a “summer of fun” list and are diligently making our way through it. It’s fun to cross things off our white board that we’ve put up. I’m passionate about making this summer one to remember. Plus, there’s so many cool things to do in this state that we haven’t done yet.

I used to be passionate about Colorado. I loved the majestic beauty of the mountains and the peace I felt whenever I was reveling in the glory of the outdoors. Unfortunately, much of that has gone. I don’t know if it’s because the last few years have been so physically and emotionally exhausting or what. I am disappointed. I just don’t feel the peace here that I once did. I think it’s because I’ve been living in so much fear. It’s suffocating, which is ironic because there’s so much wide open space. Maybe we’ll make up someday, but for now, we’re just roommates. We can only co-exist.

This new writing exercise has restored my passion for creating. I love this new format and I love incorporating my friends into my little project. It’s energizing! Passion renewed! I love the 30 minutes I spend on each story so much that I’m always disappointed when it’s over. And I love thinking about the people who are encouraging me along on this journey. I’m reminded that I have so many people who love and care for me. I enjoy thinking about these friends in more than just passing. I think we’ll become more passionate about those we love if we just take a little extra time to be grateful for them. I know I am.

Time’s up!

 

Andy Felty, for whatever reason I could not get you out of my mind when I was writing about changing the format of my blog. I knew you’d be on my list of people to solicit a word from and this topic was, indeed, extremely challenging. It was so difficult to not edit and re-edit as I was writing. Thirty minutes was definitely not enough. I love that we’ve known each other for eons. I love your confidence and your sense of self. I love that you’ve offered your support over the years. Showing your bravery through similar trials – in your fight with cancer as well as your son’s battle was more helpful than I could ever let you know. Thanks for supplying me with hope and encouraging me to be brave. You ROCK!

 

Corn

It’s no secret that I’m a rural girl, having grown up in a village of about 500 folks in the middle of Nowhere, Ohio. Kirkersville was a one-stoplight town. At the time of my upbringing it had two bars and three churches, a carry out, an ice cream joint, a funeral parlor, a fire station, an elementary school and an Exxon station about a mile outside of town that eventually got flattened by a tornado. Oh, and corn fields as far as the eye could see.

As a small girl my favorite ways to pass the time were as follows: popping the tar bubbles in the asphalt on a hot summer day; playing down at the creek; hiking back to the old quarry; riding my banana-seated Huffy on an endless loop around town; batting tennis balls against the wall of the elementary school; finding a way to climb onto the top of the school building to retrieve my tennis balls; and getting lost in a corn field. I was alone most of the time and I had no issues with finding ways to entertain myself. And I can’t even say that times were “different” then – that it was completely safe to wander such a small neighborhood in the middle of nowhere. It wasn’t. You see, Central Ohio was terrorized by a couple of brothers known as “The .22-caliber Killers” and one of ’em lived in my neighborhood. I played in that house once in a while. And this was at the height of their reign. I had no way of knowing – no one did. It’s frightening to think that we really don’t “know” each other. Despite our best efforts we, unfortunately, find ourselves in the midst of bad people on occasion.

On the flip-side, Kirkersville is also the home of Southwest Licking Local’s own Antsy McClain. This name embodies an incredible persona that has made a success of himself celebrating our small-town, trailer-park loving type of Americana. He’s an amazing singer/songwriter/humorist and I think he more than cancels out the negativity that The .22 Caliber Killer brought. You MUST visit his website at www.unhitched.com. He’s quite a talented feller and I’m proud to say “I knew him when…”. In fact, I might commission K-ville to make a new sign to post at the edge of the corn field before you enter town that states: Welcome to Kirkersville. Home of the .22 Caliber Killer BUT cancelled out by Antsy McClain. Maybe someday my name can be added to the sign, too. Not as a National Best-selling author, mind you, but as the girl who raised money to get all the tennis balls off the roof of Kirkersville Elementary.

You might not think that a small village like Kirkersville has the capacity to generate TWO awesome people AND an infamous murderer, but our neighboring town of Pataskala was able to churn out one John Holmes, so I do believe there’s something “special” about our neck of the woods.

Maybe it’s the corn.

 

Thank you, Lynn George, for supplying “CORN” as the word of the day. Lynn has been a long-term supporter of my son, Ben, via facebook. She’s one of my favorite “online” friends. 🙂 Lynn has a blog at butyoucancallmecrazy.blogspot.com, which features amazingly yummy recipes that I couldn’t even begin to duplicate (not because she’s complicated but because I’m not that talented). Thanks, Lynn! You’re awesome.

 

 

Glitter

Today’s word is brought to you by Joyce Hamilton Webster, WMS Cheerleading Coach Extraordinaire. She is the first on my long list of people I will be personally soliciting for a special word. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Joyce, but am totally enthralled with her submission. And I’m not talking the Christian Grey type of submission, Wink, Wink. So, Glitter, here I come. And I’m not talking THAT type of c…, well, never mind.

So, let’s talk about Joyce. I’ve known Joyce for many, many years. While we were only a year apart in high school we didn’t exactly run in the same circles. We knew “of” each other at best. WMHS was not a large school so I think we were all technically aware of each other in some way or another. Anyway, Joyce was a cheerleader. I was not. She could make really awesome posters. I kept my writing skills to journals expressing adolescent angst. She had spirit. I had bi-polar disorder. She was perky. My “highs” came from potential gateway drugs. Glitter poured from her soul. My soul was looking for a new owner. I admired Joyce for making the most of her high school years because I totally regret the way I tried to blend into the background and pretend like I wasn’t there. I definitely needed more glitter.

Fast forward several years and the onset of the Facebook revolution. I got in touch with so many people. It was way more fun than a reunion because I wasn’t drunk and making an ass of myself at a single event. I could make an ass of myself every day! But one person who surprised me was Joyce. We learned that we actually had some common interests. And I learned that she holds a PhD in sentence structure! While I had learned some new things about Joyce there was one thing that remained the same – Glitter. That girl is an amazing cheerleader.

Shortly after reconnecting with Joyce on Facebook, my son relapsed with neuroblastoma. My world fell apart. I was fortunate to have my Facebook community to rally around us, support us, pray for us, and love us. Joyce was one of the ringleaders of this effort. When we started our treks to NYC, Joyce was always making sure that Ben got a card while we were at the Ronald. She took good care of Madeline, too, making sure that she felt like the special princess she is. For Ben’s 9th birthday, Joyce pulled her cheerleading efforts into a call that brought an amazing onslaught of birthday cards from all over the world. Ben received over 250 cards. The love he received – and felt – was absolutely priceless.

In addition to sharing her glittery spirit with my kiddos, she was present when I lost my karaoke cherry. I was so scared getting up on that stage to belt out my rendition of “Some Kind of Wonderful,” so she stood up close to the stage so she could be my focal point, much like a Lamaze coach. Karaoke has turned out to be one of my favorite sports and Joyce makes an awesome cheerleader for that, too. I have to state here that NOBODY, not even Stevie Nicks herself, does a better Stevie Nicks than Joyce. You rock the mic, girlfriend.

So, it’s no surprise that Joyce has been nominated for WSYX’s community segment called “Champions”. They’ll be filming her tomorrow as she coaches her group of cheerleaders at WMS. I’m so excited for her… the fact that she might get adopted brought tears to my eyes. Oh, wait. That’s Wednesday’s Child. Wrong segment. Anyway, I couldn’t be prouder of you, Joyce. You’ve got SPIRIT. Yes, you do.

Oh no! Time’s Up.

Thanks, Joyce. You have glitter coming out of your You-Know-What. I love how we’ve reconnected and how you’ve showed your love and support. And when I was released from jail, which you are one of just a handful of people who even KNOW that story, I imagined there was a gigantic sign emblazoned with “CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR RELEASE!” in that special print that only cheerleaders know how to do. The guards were holding either side as I ran through the middle (in my XL blue jumpsuit and shackles), ripping your beautiful sign to shreds. The glitter covered me as I ran through my sign to the other side where my brand-new life was waiting. Your support definitely took away some of the fear I’ve faced in so many situations. And I still have some of the glitter in my hair – a reminder of your love for me.

Love you, sister.

Olive

I’ve never understood the attraction of olives. Sure, they look cool adorning each finger like some extraterrestrial with their suction-like fingers (I’m assuming here – I have no proof that aliens exist OR what their supposed fingers look like) but to eat them? Ewww. Those creepy little red pimientos contrasting against the green skin of the olive just makes for an unappetizing combo. I like my food to be more complementary in color. Just kidding. That’s rarely an issue for me or I wouldn’t eat a hotdog with ketchup, mustard AND relish. Those colors don’t go together at all. I guess I am forgetting that there are black olives, too… that shoots my attractiveness theory in the face. But I don’t like them either.

There are certain foods that I just can’t entertain. Like most seafood. Or any meat still on the bone. So an olive and salmon sandwich is completely out of the question! But I’ll eat a nitrate-laden hot dog. How twisted is that?

You’d think that I’d be all over olives because they are soaked in brine – and I’m like a doe in constant search of her salt lick. But no. I just can’t do it. I think it might be the texture. That is what actually deters me from most foods on my “no way” list. I don’t think it’s the smell (unless it’s tuna) or the taste. It’s all about texture. I used to have a strong dislike of mashed potatoes because I couldn’t take the texture. I’d gag every time I’d put a forkful near my mouth. It got to the point where I just refused to put them on my plate at all. Then, at one Thanksgiving get-together, my step-sister (who, incidentally, only has three toes on one of her feet) laughed at me about something and spit mashed potatoes all over my eight-year-old self. The shower of potatoes had me running at top speed, knocking over random relatives, in search of the closest bathroom so I could spew my Thanksgiving dinner in a private environment. Overly dramatic? Perhaps. But ewww. I just couldn’t take it.

I have to state here that I am NOT a fan of Thanksgiving… mostly because I don’t like Thanksgiving food. A big turkey full of bones. Gross. Mashed potatoes… I’ve come a long way but I’m still very particular about my potatoes. And then the other items… casseroles (ewww). Marshmallows on food (gross). Deviled eggs (oh, dear Lord). I just can’t take it. The only items I’d put on my plate at Thanksgiving dinner (as an eight-year-old, mind you) would be a single dinner roll with butter and celery adorned with *gasp* pimento spread. Ack! I guess I’m okay with at least part of the olive after all! I just realized something about myself that I’d buried down deep. Gosh. This exercise has been totally therapeutic.

In addition to – evidently – liking pimento spread, I do like Olive for a name. I find that to be fun. My favorite movie of the moment happens to be “Easy A” and the protagonist’s name is Olive. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s a lot of fun. Plus, there’s a lot of references to 80’s films, which is totally my era. If you do happen to watch it be sure to be on the lookout for oranges. The director has them thoughtfully placed in nearly every scene. I love random trivia like that.

Time’s up!

Thank you, Dara Ickes, for a fun little topic. Dara and I attended the same high school way back when.  She graduated a couple of years before I did (but that does not make her older, right?) I’m fairly confident that we were both in the marching band but she did not play an instrument. Rifle? Flag? Ugh. My memory is going. I played alto sax and could barely carry it around let alone notice what other people were doing. 🙂 What I know of Dara today is that she is very sweet and caring, she’s totally kicking my butt at Words With Friends and we’re doing awesome at Draw Something. We’ve hit 126 turns!  Thanks for your friendship, Dara.

 

 

Umbrella

I can feel the sun shining on me through the thick, clear plastic of my ultra cool umbrella, circa 1973. My umbrella is shaped like a giant mushroom. It’s one of my prized possessions. I’m dancing barefoot in the yard and I can see very clearly that I’m at my grandma’s house in Buckeye Lake. I also know that I was singing to myself. Uninhibited. Spinning madly. Fascinated by the mini rainbows reflecting on the ground. Knowing that Grandma’s watchful eye wasn’t too far away – an umbrella in and of itself – always protecting me from whatever foul weather was even remotely thinking of coming my way. She was always close by. Her umbrella was always such an all-encompassing feeling of love.

My grandma was an awesome lady. She didn’t mind that I was playing with my umbrella on a bright, sunshiny day. The typical rules didn’t apply to her. Not everything had a specific purpose. If I wanted to use my umbrella on a day with not a drop of rain in the forecast then I should have the right to exercise that desire. When I think of it, Grandma taught me to dream. We’d spend hours talking about the fantastic house that I’d buy for us in Hawaii some day – a place that she never got to visit. I’m sorry I couldn’t do that for her. I bet she would have loved that. Grandma always thought I’d be on TV someday. Not as a soap opera star or as a guest on the Dukes of Hazzard, but as a Weather Girl (hey… that was the term in the 1970’s). She always said I was very pretty and that I’d look really nice on the evening news. I wish I would have followed her advice. I’d love to get it wrong 80% of the time and still get paid handsomely.

There’s little five-year-old Sarah, though, spinning to the point of throwing up. Not able to stop for knowing that the spinning sensation will just get worse. Sometimes I wonder if I still do that? Do I spin just to keep spinning or should I just stop and let myself get sick? It’s okay to just purge. Besides, I have my umbrella to protect me. Whether it’s sunny or a torrential downpour, I’m safe under the watchful eyes of those who love me. Always protected. Always able to reach out. Thankful. Knowing that even though I love the rain and like to dance in it from time to time that I have all I need. My “umbrellas” have gotten me through absolutely everything.

I’m lucky enough to still have an umbrella just like the one I had in the 70’s. My daughter has one, too. I mentioned my love for my dear old umbrella once to a friend and the next thing I know I got a delivery of TWO amazing umbrellas. Now Madeline and I can spin incessantly in the rain – or sunshine – and fall down when we’re too dizzy, sharing our secrets and desires as we catch our breath. Both of us protected by our umbrellas, both physical and metaphorical.

 

Today’s word was brought to you by the incomparable Ann Ivory. She is one of my favorite people in the Universe. Ann is one of the most intelligent and interesting people I’ve ever met. I’ve known her since 1986 when we were “mod-mates” at Ohio University. She was witness to one of the most dreadful years of my life… also known as Freshman Year. One of my earliest memories of Ann was her posing the question “Who wants to go Uptown?” Being a shy girl I debated for a moment before taking the leap and stating “I’ll go.” I grabbed my fake ID and off we went, starting a friendship that has lasted for over 25 years. I love you, Ann. I love your stories. I love the adventures you’ve been on. I love your zest for life. I love you. Thank you for being my umbrella.

Change of habit

While I haven’t hit all the Daily National Holidays in existence over the last three years of writing this blog I think it’s time for me to switch gears. It’s true that I’ve posted just under 200 entries over the last 1,000+ days, which means that at least 150 holidays have not been recognized by my amazing wit and insight. I know, that is a true tragedy. I promise, though, that if I come across a holiday that speaks to me then I will pounce on it like a deranged serial killer at a summer camp full of sinners who deserve a painful, yet creative, death. Besides, I didn’t get to write about National Tap Dancing Day, which personifies me to the core. How could that not be an engaging topic?

So. What will my blog be about instead? In all honesty, I’m not changing that much. I’m just changing the daily topic. When I was in Mrs. Doran’s creative writing class at Watkins Memorial High School my very favorite exercise in the whole world was when she would write a single word on the blackboard and give us 20 minutes to write anything we wanted. Sometimes I would wander far off topic. Sometimes I would go places I never wanted to explore. Sometimes I would sit and stare at my college-ruled paper, pen in hand, with nothing flowing at all. But always, when I would re-read it (even the blank stuff), I was amazed by what I wrote. It wasn’t something premeditated. It just happened. My true thoughts beat me to the punch before I could second guess myself. I’m a second guesser by nature. I’m self-conscious. I’m insecure. I am a serial editor; in writing, in thought, in action. I get so confused and turned around that I forget what my original instinct was. Well, my friends, no longer.

So here’s the plan: Each day, on one of my outlets (could be facebook, google+, or I just might text you and ask you personally) I’m going to ask for ONE WORD. The first person to respond on, let’s say, facebook, will be the chosen one of the day. I’m not going to look for my “favorite” word, just the first word that appears. And then I’m going to take 30 minutes to write about that word. Wherever it takes me. Wherever it doesn’t. The person who comes up with the word will get special credit somewhere in my post. Get ready to challenge me, friends. And you know I’m coming for some of you specifically.

My reason behind this is that I want to start writing more. I’m going to do this daily. As I get stronger, then maybe I’ll write more about other things. We’ll see. But I want to make writing a daily exercise. Gotta start somewhere. And it will guarantee me at least ONE reader. 🙂