Gratitude Story

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The party was going on without her.  She sniffled loudly and added another tissue to the overflowing trash bucket.  She wondered what they were talking about, wishing she was there.  Her husband had decided to go to the party without her.  After all, why should he stay home and listen to her cough and sneeze?  But she felt left out anyway, and jealous of the fun time she was sure she was missing.  She watched a sappy love story, one she knew her husband wouldn’t have wanted to watch.  The choice of movie was a regretful one, producing more mucus and tissues as she cried her way through it.  As the movie ended, she heard the door and her husband walked in.  He handed her a brown bag.  Her friends had sent home a bottle of wine with him and the note read; “It’s not as fun without you.  This is for when you are better…”  She closed her eyes, hugged the bottle and smiled.  Thankful for her friends.  Thankful to be missed.

***

We all deserve a little recognition now and then and I feel honored to be nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award from the wonderful Good Woman blog.  Her posts reflect what she feels in her daily life of being a woman from grieving for her husband to stitching to discovering the blogging world.  It’s really really good.  Go check it out! Now!

versatile blogger award

I am proudly accepting the award to give notice to other blogs I love as well as some eyes on my own.

The rules are:

Show the award on your blog.

Thank the person who nominated you.

Share seven facts about yourself.

Nominate 15 blogs.

Link your nominees’ blogs, and let them know.

My seven facts:

1. I have two beautiful daughters in 4th and 7th grades.

2.  I met my husband on a blind date.

3.  I live in the suburbs, and have grown to love it here.

4.  My dad died when I was 25 and I hate that my husband and kids never met him.

5.  I hate unloading the dishwasher.

6.  My dream vacation would be to go to Bali.

7.  I love my dog so much, but she eats her own shit, and that really bums me out.

My 15 blogs:

It’s Just a Box of Rain

Views from the Podium

60While60

Beautiful Words

Dear Suburbia

Doodlemum

Giving Daily

Keeping my Eyes open

Ninaoneillpoetry

Bralowski

DoubleU

SilverLiningMama

13th of May

TJ’s blog

The Sunny C

Now get reading!

 

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Our Most Common Denominator

"Where are you?"

“Where are you?”

My mom used to say that all the time.  “Where are you, Jeanne?”  I am frequently in La-La Land, I admit.  What can I say?  I love thinking.  And somewhere along the way, I fell in love with thinking about thinking.  The way our brains operate, you know, neuroscience (for the rest of us).

I am an occupational therapist and I work primarily with kids.  A good healthy knowledge of the brain and its inner workings has made me a better therapist, a better mom and a better person.  We all have those gooey, wrinkled things in our heads.  But we lose sight of this, that we all exist as wired entities.  I don’t mean hooked up to computers.  I mean the electricity of our minds.   We all have primitive neurological impulses that don’t always mesh with our often messy worlds.  Call it “intelligence,” call it “mental health,”  call it “willpower.”  It’s all our brains, people.  And we are are not, in fact,  people without them.  That’s pretty awesome.

I wish I could give my brain a hug.

Here We Go…

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A marvel, a sight.

She is beautiful, betwixt and between.

She makes the world’s edges

Smooth.

It’s roughness,

Soft.

The opening, the beginning.

Woman.

Just yesterday, though.

A child, so young, so blue.

Now she radiates the glow

Of luminous and lingering.

Lady-ness.

The trace of wonder

On her lips, as well as

Her hips.

Don’t forget she is still

A child.  An infant woman.

This new day is the embrace

Of new and old

Of fear and courage.

It is the day

She received her ticket

To the unknown.

Just like me and you and all

The girls.

photo courtesy of Barbara Paulsen at Tandem Echoes

The Drink

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Connect the Dots.”

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She didn’t say “goodbye.”

No note, no voice mail, no words.  At all.

Simply,

Clothes gone. Shoes gone.

A large cast iron pot.  Gone.

Like she had never been there.

Aside from a swinging

Hanger in the closet.

 

Even still, I knew.

As I walked slowly so slowly

Whisper, the squish of my shoe.

My apartment door, suddenly

Foreign, unrecognizable.

I knew, before I entered.

 

The argument.

Voices raised, indignation.

Inevitability, clenched fists.

All night, tossing, turning.

Burning.

A mind made up.

 

And now, vodka.

Clear eyed and waiting, waiting.

I realize

I’ve begun to sweat. 

The prickle under my arm.

Signaling

The choice is now mine.

 

Being Eleven

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Jackie ran around the playground with her friends until someone named Eddie stepped into her path and stopped her with a raised hand.  “Carl likes you,” he said.  Feeling the call of maturity, she looked at her friends and suddenly felt like she was acting childish.  She looked down at her foot and twisted it side to side, her thinking pose.  “Well I guess you can tell him I like him too.”  She started to run, then walked, back to join her friends.  They fired questions at her.  What did he say?  What did he say?  She couldn’t help but smile.  “Carl likes me.”

Eddie and Carl were the most popular boys at school.  They knew all the coolest music before it even became a hit.  Their longish hair.  Their sporty clothes.  Their athletic prowess.  They ruled the school without benefit of thrones, crowns or titles of distinction.  They were cool.

For over a week, Eddie talked to Jackie about Carl.  How much he liked her.  How he talked of her all the time.  Jackie felt confused; he’d never so much as talked to her or glanced in her direction.  Except once.  In first grade, he’d knocked over her milk as he was playing around with a friend in the cafeteria.  “Sorry,” he’d said.  She wondered why he liked her.  Was it the way her mom curled her hair for picture day?  No matter what, she felt…elated.  Carl.  He liked her.  What could be better?

Eddie told her that Carl would be asking her out on Friday.  Jackie walked on air from Tuesday through Thursday.  But on Friday morning, she asked her mom if she could stay home from school.  A feeling of dread enveloped her as she slung her backpack on her shoulder.  At recess, Eddie approached her.  He said the time was right.  Then a couple friends pushed Carl toward Jackie with a look of surprise and irritation on his face.  Eddie was giggling.  Carl was stonefaced.  Carl said, “Her?  No way, dude,” and walked away.

Jackie walked home with her head down.  Her stomach pitched inward.  Her head spun.  Carl didn’t like her, his friends had played a joke on him.  A dare.  To see if they could get even the shyest and quietest girl in the class to like Carl.

It worked.

She put down her backpack, turned on the tv and watched the Brady Bunch.  Twice.

Thanks to Itchy Quill for the idea.  This story is about me, straight from my journal.

 I am Jackie.

https://itchyquill.wordpress.com/2015/01/09/want-to-live-forever-easy-keep-a-journal/

Has Anyone Seen My…?

 

This happens just about every day.

This happens just about every day.

So, our family is planning a trip to Europe.  Somewhere along the way, while looking for a place to stay,  I got my euros and dollars mixed up.  I found myself putting in a reservation request for an apartment for WAY more than our budget.  On top of that, I booked our flights for a 3 week period instead of one because I reversed the dates.  My husband finds these things infuriating.   He’s lucky.  I find them infuriating, confounding, humiliating and irritating.  And worst of all, I just feel…old.

Experts say this “brain fog” is part of both perimenopause and menopause.  It seems that my hormones are conspiring against me in some kind of sadistic dance that affects my cognition.  Dammit!  As I am now 46, I can feel menopause banging on my front door.  She sounds shrill, angry and slightly insane.  She sounds like one rip-roaring bitch.  I don’t want to let her in, but man is she persistent.

While the research says that this brain fog is “normal,” it sure feels anything but.  Now I was never Einstein or anything but I graduated magna cum laude!  Give me a break with the fucking “fog.”  As many of my comrades will tell you, getting up in the morning can be a marathon event, saturated with fatigue and punctuated with other people needing things from you that you cannot bring to the surface of your otherwise underwater brain.

Sometimes I feel sorry for my brain.  It has a lot to remember!  Having become the eyes and ears of this institution I call “my family,”  it holds reams of data that it’s having a hard time coaxing outward.  When is her dentist appointment?  How long since we treated the dog for fleas?  Are we out of milk?  Is it too late to get the flu shot?  My brain is walking a very fine line here, speaking very least of the extreme bouts of emotion which also may accompany “the fog.”

Sometimes I imagine my brain in it’s confused, mixed up and overwhelmed state.  It appears shrivelly and gray.  It looks like it, if touched, would be the roughness of sandpaper.  And then, taking a deep breath, I recall all that I manage.  All that I complete, and all that I am.  That icky wrinkly brain begins to look smoother, plump and pink and glistening with renewed vigor.

And then, I decide, it’s time to go to bed.


Ernesto’s

What a discovery we had made!

Driving around, longing eyes

There it was!  On the corner.

A refuge for all who hungered.

 

Italian food, adequate, but oh

The antique bottles of Chianti

Exploded with bright and dusty plastic flowers

Portly chefs with white aprons-and smiles.

 

Dwarfing the plate

In Italian immense-ness

Cheesy specials brimming with promise

To fill you.

 

Black “specials” board with neon writing:  “Ravioli!”

Plastic lined menus, 10 pages long!

Cavernous dining room equipped with

Prom dates

Starry eyed couples

Grandma and Grandpa

Cheap chairs.

 

Every winter Ernesto’s welcomed

With minestrone and eggplant parmesan

Tummies expecting and anticipating

Wishes granted.

 

Photos with Grandma

Sauce still on their faces

Bibs around their necks

Satisfaction in their grins.

 

This year-then this year-

Anticipation and the fall

Ernesto’s

Dark and closed

Empty hearts and sad bellies

No gnocchi.  Anymore.

 

 

 

Hearts

Heart

 

A flame that no longer burns.

Red.  Aching.  Sore.  Hurt.

It came so quickly.  So full and pumping.

Ran into me while I was walking.  Made me run to keep up.

And then.

It wasn’t the same.  My run slowed.

Waiting for it.  To keep up.  It didn’t.

My pace felt lame.  I gave up.

Mend.

 

 

Heart

 

You know the things they tell you.

“Don’t play his game.”

“He doesn’t deserve you.”

Coming off of you was slow. Pale.  Draining.

Ba-bump.

Ba-bump.

Colorless world.  Tame world. And not a crayon to be found.

I don’t blame you.  I wait.

For a palette.

Heal.

 

 

Heart

 

I wake up.  I look in the mirror.

You know, the one with the beautiful hand-carved frame?

For the first time in a while.

I see me.  Without you.  Without shame.

I feel a sputtering.  Inside.

Ba-bump ba-bump ba-bump! it goes.

Crimson.  Ready.

 

Now.

That First Kiss

Melissa was just thinking about how seventh grade really sucks. And then it arrived in her mailbox.  The validation she needed.  An invitation to Amy’s party! Amy, of course, was the most popular girl in the seventh grade.  Her boobs arrived on time and in precisely the right proportion.  Her hair was the perfect level of blonde, not too platinum nor too mousey.  Her legs long and shapely, her nails nicely shaded.  Rumor had it that despite her parent’s obvious wealth, there were affairs and other shady dealings.  Anyway, the invitation was pink and Melissa replied via email:  “yes, can’t wait!”

On the night of the party, Melissa was thinking dreamily about Joey, hoping that the bottle would spin in his direction.  His curly hair, the way he joked with his friends, the way he ran across the blacktop clutching a football.  As all sat in a circle, the bottle spun.  As it was a plastic bottle, the spinning action was limited.  A frantic search for a glass bottle began, finally yielding an empty beer bottle, procured from the recycling bin while Amy’s parents were upstairs watching tv.

It was Melissa’s turn. Someone requested the lights be dimmed.  Another complied with the request.  Melissa leaned forward onto her hands. She spun the bottle.  She leaned back onto her feet and tried to tuck her freshly curled hair behind her ear in a way that made her seem relaxed.  She thought “Joey, Joey…” but the bottle had other ideas.  The bottle said “William.”

William wasn’t so bad, certainly not as bad as Thomas, who wasn’t invited anyway.  Melissa leaned forward again, took a two step crawl toward William.  At the last moment, Melissa realized William was lunging toward her in the center of the large circle of seventh grade prying eyes.  Too late to slow down, their teeth clanked together, then a swift groping of tongues, extremely sloppy but thank goodness not drippy.  Melissa and William parted, sat down in their respective spots in the circle.

It was over, but really, it had just begun.