Friday, January 29, 2010

Self Fulfilling Prophecy

Joanne left the bistro with her husband and cell phone firmly in hand. She was flushed, giddy, and still anxious. Lunch was incredible! As soon as she was in the car, she grabbed her phone and texted the friend who would appreciate the news most. "I met him, Drea! HIM! John Paul Cusack at a bistro in Hollywood. Text me back for more details!" Joanne sat the phone on her lap and stomped her feet on the car floor. She beamed at her husband as he guided the car onto the entrance ramp for I10.

As they climbed the hill and merged with traffic, the ground began to shift. Slowly at first and then quicker. It took a few seconds for them to understand what was happening. Being from Wisconsin, they hadn't experienced an earthquake before. Her heart pounded dangerously against her ribs and she began holding her breath. Joanne grabbed her husband's hand and then door rest, her phone sliding off her lap. They were unprepared, not knowing what to do. She looked over the side of the guard rail and was relieved to see a very short distance to the ground below her.

As suddenly as it started, it stopped. She released her grip and her breath. They looked at one another, afraid to speak, and wondering how long before an aftershock appeared. Ahead of them, the traffic was slowly righting itself. Cars that were damaged worked their way to the shoulder. The majority of cars slowly worked their way back into a lane. An aftershock hit. It was far milder than the earthquake, but just as startling.

Half an hour later, traffic began to move at a slow clip. They didn't mind. It felt normal. Joanne and her husband followed suit. Joanne bent down to pick up her phone. "Sat through an earthquake. Watch the news." Traffic picked up. They were getting closer to the hotel on the beach. As they rounded the corner, she saw it towering. Her eyes followed it up, up, up. She watched it moving toward her. She reached for her phone and sent one short word to her friend. "God-bye." Then she kissed her husband.

The news reported the earthquake and resulting Tsunami on televisions across the world.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Book Theif

I sat in front of the fireplace, wishing I could put my feet up, but knowing it would be wholly inappropriate to leave sandy footprints on the carefully shellacked coffee table. The warmth of the fire danced on my skin as my eyes ran through the words in the book I had brought down with me. An older woman's voice caught my attention. "Do you have any books? " she asked.

Glancing up from my page, I saw a small group of women congregated around the hotel's reception desk. The eldest woman saw me looking over at them. She began pushing her walker toward me. She pointed directly at me. "She has a book." Her peers turned, gazing at the book in my hand, and made their way in my direction, weaving between the scattered Victorian furniture.

I close my book and stand up. The eerie feeling of being the only living being in a zombie movie washes over me. I need to leave the area. My imagination is clearly getting the best of me. I begin to walk around the coffee table. One of the women is standing at the corner. "Excuse me" I say with a tentative smile.

"Give me that book." The ferocity behind it startles me and I step back, falling so that I am sitting on the coffee table. The book falls from my hand, landing on the table next to my rump. The woman advances a step or two, her chin lifted high and arm outstretched toward me. I swivel away from her, picking the book up again. I put the book behind my back and walk the other way around the table. Surprised by a small tug on the book, I turn and see the walker wielding woman has placed her hands on the book. Her weight is leaned forward against the walker.

"I'm sorry," I say, "This is my book." She pulls on the book in response. Her grip is tight and she is pulling the book steadily toward her. I let it happen at first, not comprehending the full situation. Then I being to resist, holding the book steadily between us. She doesn't speak, but her face folds into a deeper scowl. She pulls harder. I pull back.

Within a few seconds, there is a furious game of tug-of-war occurring. Her strength is unexpected. I have to fight hard for the book while trying to be careful not to knock her off of her balance. I am warm, but not because the fire is on my skin. The other ladies have gathered around us and the clustered furniture. They have begun to cheer for their friend.

Finally, I pull hard, bringing the book all the way into my chest and push her forehead in the opposing direction with my free hand. She falls backwards and her friends gasp. Using this as an opportunity to escape, I leap over the table and run up the stairs. I can hear the yells from downstairs as I round the bend in the hall and break into a sprint to my room. Quickly, I unlock the door and thrust myself through it, turning to catch it so it doesn't slam shut. I am too late and the door slams shut.

I jump back, banging my head on the headboard of my bed, my book spilled open on the floor and my arm wrapped in a twisted sheet which has fallen mostly to the floor. The clock reads 3:11am. I rub my eyes. "What a dream." I whisper to myself.

Monday, January 25, 2010


She sat there for the fourth time in her life feeling the frustration of telling her life stories in pictures and colors. She looked over the edges of the burned corners from the pictures she salvaged from the fire at her grandmother's house. Aside from the blackened edges and bubbled paper they were yellowed, clearly indicating time had passed. She saw relatively few smiles. She turned and looked at the pictures of her children, some black and white. Others in color, filled with a marvel of emotions. There was nothing in the middle. From a child to a parent and no mention of life in between. For the first time it struck her. This was a truthful reflection of her life. She smirked. It was a smirk of regret.

There had been life, but it was not well documented. She had hidden from both her past and her future, burying herself in books which she claimed were the fault of 'being educated.' Education had offered her an escape from being a child of many trespasses and opened a door to a future she lacked the creativity to imagine. She stagnated, trying to find herself in the lives of the heroins and downtrodden so frequently depicted in her beloved stories. When her identity seemed to be invisible even to the poets and authors, she moved from books and into hard work.

Her days and nights were filled with filling coffee cups, bringing drinks, counseling people on the best shampoo, and any other odd job she could find. No longer time for reading, she attended classes barely enough to pass. She continued to stagnate, looking for herself in her customers as she ease dropped on their conversations and spied on their mannerisms. They neither could answer the mystery of who she was.

She balanced her work schedule with her classes and the load of reading which came with majoring in English. Her grades improved. Her paychecks became smaller. She was forced to find a roommate. The roommate was controlling, abusive, and quite honestly, insane. Drowning in feeling from her childhood, she was forced to stir the waters around her. She found she could float and with a little more effort, she could swim.

Each day became an exercise in asserting herself, her rights, her well-being above others. She went from executing a sloppy puppy paddle to a beautiful breast stroke, gliding through the waters and eventually finding shore. The ground was sandy, but it wasn't wet. She started dating, finding someone who valued her for who she was becoming. This was huge as she realized that from her struggles, she had learned to be somebody. That she had an identity or at least nuggets of who she wanted to be.

And so she grew, with his patience, into someone she respected. She went from being the downtrodden to the heroine. Looking at the pictures surrounding her, she saw her story reflected back. She smirked again, but this time it was filled with a quiet knowing that was hers alone.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Humpty Dumpty

Humpty Dunpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
He loved it so much he wanted to do it again
but couldn't get back on the wall.

Friday, January 22, 2010


Space is greatly overrated. I've had lots of it all my life. My childhood house had enough space to shelter two or three other large families. My family insisted on emotional and physical space even when others weren't around. My peers also gave me space, but for all the wrong reasons. As a young adult, I tried to fill in all the empty spaces. I did it in all the wrong ways. I lived in a rented out bedroom with the owner's cats. I slept with every man that was interested and had the time. I called nearly everyone I met a close friend and smothered them with loyalty. In the end, there was still a huge amount of space between humanity and myself. I'm looking to create healthy space. I know I have to start with myself. To go back to having too much space and learn how to create that healthy balance. I don't know how to do that. Can you help me find the way Dr. Ramone?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Age and Wisdom

I sat in class, tired from the hectic events of the week. The events you can't prepare for. A trip to Urgent Care. An ill child who is also very tired and very hungry. A fight with the swim school over a ridiculous policy. The large amounts of blood that appeared to cover my arm and the bathroom floor from a bloody nose. And so on. My class partners sat down next to me. As they settled, I heard the kids behind me talking about some website that takes songs and speeches and changes them so they are monotone. Katie Couric's speech doesn't change according to them.

"Sometimes, I feel really old." I mumbled under my breath as I stretched my arms and back. Both of my partners looked at me and laughed. It wasn't that funny.

"She thinks she's old" she said to him. "I'm older than you are" she addressed to me.

"How old do you think I am?" I am frequently thought to be younger than I am. This fact use to annoy me to no end, especially as a college student. I enjoy it more with each passing year.

She seemed embarrassed. He sat very quietly. "How old are you?" she said, uncertain if it would help.

"Guess." It was a short and simple statement that put the ball squarely in her court.

"Well..." she hesitated, thinking. He continued to sit quietly. "Because I know you have two kids and you are married, I would guess 25. But not because of how you look." She withdrew as if she was worried I would be upset.

I smiled. "How old do you think I look?" I wanted to laugh hard and loud. I didn't. So far, this was proving to be the highlight of my week.

"Off of looks, I would say 23."

I started laughing. "Close. Just add 13 years to that second guess."

"No way!" they said in unison.

"Okay. I'm still 35 until next week." I admitted not sheepishly at all.

"You are older than me. I'm 31" she said. He didn't say anything.

I was very supportive of the misunderstanding, announcing, "I am going to laugh about this when I get home. Probably tomorrow too and maybe even over the weekend."

E-mail A Friend

Hi Kath,

Thanks for all the offers to hang out. Sorry I haven't been able to call you back or join you on any of the night out activities. They sound like a lot of fun!

Having a new born has changed my life greatly! Did you know she will be a month in two days? (I can't believe how fast time has flown already.) She has started to smile for reasons other than gas. It's great to see. You should stop by sometime, but call first!

Anyway, be patient with me and PLEASE keep me in mind for future events, even if you don't hear back from me.

Your Bu,


*** Prompt from Seven Days, Seven Answers***

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Staying In

I'm tired. It is late. I know I should go to bed, but I can't seem to extricate myself from my chair. I just keep staring at the screen seeing nothing. Waiting for what, I am not sure. I reach for my mouse and click on my e-mail. Nothing new. Sliding the gadget across my desk, I click on the tab for Facebook. The friend I had been chatting to has wished me goodnight and disappeared. My nacho plate is empty and my Pepsi only has a couple of sips in it. "Go to bed!" I tell myself. "Tomorrow is your early day."

It is to no avail. I still sit here, tapping restlessly on the keys. I check a couple of blogs to see if there is anything interesting on them. Nothing inspiring appears. Opening a new window, I click on the bookmark for Woot. Maybe something fun will be on it. Nope. MSN headlines scroll by. I don't care who has said yes 9 times or that a couple of teens were hospitalized by hot sauce. I click back to a friends writing site to see if she has posted anything new.

It's how I have been spending most of my nights. I can't even call it web surfing. It's more like treading water. The minutes tick by. A few minutes turns into a wasted half an hour before I realize it. My right hand begins to emit a cold air like feeling. Eventually, it becomes cold enough to cause discomfort. Only then will I reach for the button to turn off the monitor and head upstairs to the warmth and comfort of my bed. But not before checking all of my sites one last time.

Good night.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The prompt: A roadtrip, Witchita, red, Friday, cowboy

Susie, a dear friend in college had contacted me six months ago in an attempt to “catch up with old friends”. We had talked frequently since the initial e-mail. Although we had changed from the people we were in college, we found it just as easy to relate to one another now that we had entered our sixties. Oddly, our situations had not changed that much. We still dreamt of breaking the glass ceiling, finding a man to love, and traveling extensively. We’d each had opportunities and experiences, but neither of us could claim we’d fulfilled any of our dreams.

It was with great excitement and anticipation that I accepted her invitation to join her retirement “dream chasing” plan. On Friday, February 14th, I officially retired from Bank of America and packed my suitcase. The plan was to meet in Witchita and then rent a car for a meandering scenic drive to the San Diego port where we would embark on a retired singles cruise to Hawaii. Our cruise date was flexible. We’d have ample ability to see and go anywhere we wanted to on our way to the port without being tied to a timeline.

This is what appealed to me most about the trip. I’d always wanted to see the mountains and valleys of the west. I wanted to hear my voice echo in the Grand Canyon. I wanted to feel dwarfed by the giant redwoods. Route 66 was even a possibility. Most importantly, I wanted to get out of the Midwest.

The drive to Witchita was eventful. I’d given myself a week to make the 12 hour trip. I spent many afternoons visiting quaint little shops, eating at mom and pop diners, watching the people at parks, enjoying sunsets from hill tops and river banks, and listening to stories from anyone who wanted to share. I wrote all of my experiences in a notebook and relished them each night when I climbed into bed. I loved the freedom leaving my high level job afforded me. But I missed having a companion or even co-worker to talk to about my experiences. As I pulled into the Witchita Marriot, I was glad that I would see Susie at breakfast the next morning.

I checked into my room, tipping the bellboy for bringing up my luggage, and fell asleep reading my travel journal. The sun shone through my naked window early the next morning. It was a pleasant waking although my old body acted as if it was being asked too much to be expected to move. I donned my swimsuit and swam a few laps before returning to take a shower.

At 7:30am promptly, I entered the small breakfast nook and took a seat. Susie was always late in college and I fully expected to have to wait for her. She arrived 15 minutes later. I would not have recognized her had she not worn her Willmington College alumni jacket. It fit her poorly. She had put on quite a bit of weight since I last saw her 35 years ago. Then again, I had changed quite considerably in that time as well.

“Susie!” I waved at her, patting the seat next to me as she headed over with her belongings. She gave me a quick embrace before settling her weight on the chair. Small talk lead into grabbing breakfast. I had a strawberry yogurt with granola, banana, and glass of iced tea. I finished my food in little time and then chatted amiably with her while she finished the equivalent of the Perkin’s Tremendous Twelve platter. Watching her eat made me feel a little queasy. I excused myself under the guise of tidying my room and gathering my luggage so we could be on our way sooner than later.

By 8:45am, we were headed down US 400 on our way to the unknown in our leased corvette. We veered onto I-135 South when a large semi truck came up beside us, forcing our little car into the guard rail. We were unsettled and unprepared as to what we should do next. The car was badly damaged. The passenger side mirror had broken off, the convertible top was torn, paint had been scraped off the entire length of the car, the front tire was shredded and the back tire was flat. Finally, we remembered the on-star system and pressed the button to request assistance.

“Hello. I am your On-Star assistant, Theresa. How can I help you today?” Her voice was young and sweet.

“Yes. This is Carol,” I yelled at the screen. “I’m afraid there has been just a terrible accident. The car is ruined and we need to have someone come get it and us as soon as possible.” I wondered how Theresa could hear me through a screen and the rumbling of such fast paced traffic.

There was only a slight pause before Theresa spoke again. “Okay Carol. I am looking at your GPS location and it has you just past the exit from US 400 on I-135 South. Can you verify if that is your location?” I didn’t understand technology much, but I was always amazed at what they could learn about you from its use.

“Umm…. I think so. Does that sound right to you Susie? You had the map.” I wanted to double check.

“Yes. That is it. I believe we are at mile marker 48.” The map rustled and scraped loudly as it caught on her things and abdomen while she attempted to fold it back into the neat little packet it came in.

“Great Carol! And hello Susie. Before I send someone out, I just want to check and see if anyone has been hurt. Is there a need for an ambulance or fire truck?” Theresa’s smile could be heard in her voice.

“Goodness gracious, no. Don’t you think we would have told you that first?” I said it more crossly than I meant. I am always surprised at how oddly companies and their young employees think about things. Although, I guess when I was young, I may have overlooked the most serious concerns first. At least my 65 years had taught me common sense.

“I am sending a tow truck from Pioneer Son’s. They are about 7 minutes from you then. It looks like the driver is Clint. He’s a good guy. He’s been sent on a lot of these calls. He is an older gentleman and he will have ID with him if you care to see it. He’ll also take you back to the shop and help you arrange transportation as appropriate from there. Is there anything else you need?” Her voice really was charming to listen to and she had been a Godsend in our current situation.

“No thank you” I yelled at the screen.

“Okay then. Would you like me to stay on the line with you until Clint arrives?” She seemed genuine in her offer, but it seemed silly to keep her talking to me when I had a travel companion.

“No. We’ll be fine. I’ll push the button if we need anything else. Thank you again, dear.” I yelled for the last time. “Have a great afternoon and remember On-Star if there is anything else you need.” With that, Theresa was gone.

“Well Susie, I think it is a good thing we aren’t in any rush. What do you think about seeing if this kid Clint can take us back to the Marriot and we can stay here in Witchita another night?” Her face seemed sour and I couldn’t tell if it was from the climbing heat and heavy exhaust or from the idea of staying in Witchita another night.
“Okay Carol. One night won’t hurt anything. To tell you the truth, I’m feeling kind of ill all of a sudden. I think I would have made for a poor travel companion this afternoon. A little rest will certainly make things more enjoyable. You don’t mind do you?” She seemed relieved to be staying in Witchita. As much as I would like to be standing at some wonder tomorrow, Witchita had many possibilities I could check out.

“I think that would be just fine. Better one night than several if you don’t give yourself a break.” As I finished my thought, I saw a bright yellow tow truck pull up behind us. “I think Clint has brought the tow truck.” I sat silently watching him climb out of his cab and saunter over to the car, letting his eyes slide down the body of the car as if it were a young woman. My eyes slid down his body. He was an older gentleman. His hair was solid gray and his face looked weathered. He was very fit, although I couldn’t say muscular. He was the kind of man I hoped would be on the cruise.

Forgetting that objects in the mirror are frequently much closer than they appear, I was startled by what seemed like his sudden approach. “Carol and Susie I assume?” he said with a soft drawl that didn’t sound like Kansas.

“Yes, that’s us.” My voice was a little too vibrant, too excited by such a simple statement. I tried to tone it down. “I’m Carol, the one who called. My companion here is Susie.” Susie looked up and raised her hand only to drop her head back down quickly. “I’m sorry. She isn’t feeling real well. Is it possible that we can get her settled in your vehicle so she can be out of the heat and exhaust? I think she would be much more comfortable?”

“Yes ma’am.” He stared down at me with a small smile on his lips, as if he wanted something. I smiled back, trying not to squirm like a little girl under his intense focus. It felt good though. I only wished he would look at me like he looked at the car. The thought made me blush. He just continued to stand there staring at me.

I thought I was going to jump out of my skin when Susie laid a hand on my arm. “Carol? We are waiting for you to move so I can get out. Remember, the car door is up against the guard rail on this side.”

I was humiliated. My blush became even deeper. My hands fluttered to my face. “Oh my! Of course. I am so sorry!” I stuttered as I hastily moved my body out of her path. Clint reached in and helped her cross over the center console. It took him a lot of effort and I could see perspiration beading up on his forehead as I stood and watched. Finally, Susie was freed from the car and escorted to the tow truck.

“Carol?” I hadn’t seen Clint coming back as I fished our luggage from the backseat and trunk. I jumped again, feeling like a fool. “I can get those for you at the shop. There won’t be room in the cab. Why don’t you settle yourself into the cab while I get everything taken care of here.”

I knew I should go to the cab, but I wanted to continue being intoxicated by this man. I hadn’t felt this light and school girlish in a long, long time. To tell you the truth, I couldn’t remember a stranger made me feel this way. “If I won’t be in the way, I would prefer to stay out here with you. A mildly ill companion is not a fun one.”

He nodded and tipped a hat he wasn’t actually wearing. He was a great conversationalist. Over the next few hours between hoisting the car and finally getting back to the hotel, we talked about his growing up as a cowboy in the open fields of Montana, the things I had learned in my life as a mid-level executive in corporate America, what we hoped we could still achieve in our lives, and many other trivial and important things. I knew I was drawn to this man deeply and was sad when he tipped his non-existent hat in good-bye.

That night, laying in my new Marriot bed, I took out my notebook and wrote every detail I could remember about Clint. I put my notebook away, pulling the office like chair over to the window. In the distance, I could see what looked like a nature preserve. The sun was just setting in the sky, making it look the bright red of a fire. On a bridge, I saw the silhouette of a man. As the red sun finished setting that Friday evening, I realized I had found myself a cowboy I could love in Witchita.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Christmas Dinner

"I heard a good joke. What did Tiger Woods change his name to?" He sat confidently at the table, his long scrubby hair pulled back with a bandanna, brown cords and his typical long sleeved lined flannel shirt keeping his thin body warm, grinning ear to ear at each of his daughters, waiting excitedly to deliver the punchline. His four daughters braced themselves for the usual racial slur. Their eyes examined the small piles of poor quality restaurant food that adorned the cheap porcelain plates. It was the usual Christmas morning celebration on any day other than Christmas. None of them responded. "Cheetah!" he answered anyway, following it with a gruff laugh.

There was an audible release of tension in their laughter. The knowing eyes of the siblings stole relieved glances from the others. One of the sisters spoke up. "That was actually funny dad!" She lifted her fork to her mouth, still giggling as she took a bite of sausage.

"Well what did you expect?" their dad said as he snubbed out his cigarette in the full ashtray. "Something racist" another sister said. Two of the siblings choked on their food and the third tried to stifle her laughter. "Well, yeah..." His response was provoking. It sounded almost apologetic, as if he had been caught red handed and was quickly thinking up an excuse for why he wasn't guilty. He pulled a new cigarette from the case in his pocket, tapping it three times against his other hand. He freed a cigarette from the pack, placing it in the gap left by a missing tooth. "You know," and he took a deliberately long drag, blowing a fine line of smoke at the ceiling and following it with his eyes as he spoke "I got to know a few of them from work and they ain't so bad."

None of the young women spoke. Their father's racism still showed through, but in a subtle way. African-Americans were still another group. 'Them'. He still kept them segregated in his mind. 'They'. Sitting in the crowded diner's booth, eating unappealing greasy food, they were dumbstruck. Did their father really just pay a couple of African-Americans a direct compliment while insinuating some credit to the rest of the race? Did he really refrain from calling them niggers? No one knew how to react and just held themselves still in that moment of time.

The eldest daughter suddenly started looking under the table and behind her chair frantically. She stood up, leaned across the booth as far as she could and stared straight into her father's face carefully avoiding his eyes. "That's it! Who are you and where is my father?" He laughed, amused by the silly theatrics and secretly thrilled he had finally done something that made his daughters proud. The rest of Christmas breakfast seemed to taste a little bit better and the conversation was a tad bit brighter and louder.

Friday, January 15, 2010


He lay there, staring at the base of the toilet, wondering why things ended up like this, what he did to deserve it. The ceramic tile was cold against his bare skin. He didn't have the strength or desire to do anything about it. The small bathroom smelled sticky sweet. "So that's what it smells like to die." It was matter-of-fact, absent of fear and judgment. The music pulsed through his veins, thicker than the blood pouring out of them.

He’d picked the album, Ten, thoughtfully. It was calming to him, an album he listened to frequently to alleviate his own desperation by identifying with the lyrics and raw emotion of Vedder. He hoped it would tell his story. One of betrayal, loneliness, depression, and finally suicide. The music dulled in his ears as the pounding of his heart began to falter.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

How did you beat the odds?

My father was an alcoholic-drug-user- dealer who had a chemical imbalance in his brain which resulted in heightened violence. And just for fun, he was a Marine in Vietnam who suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. My mother was the frequent victim of domestic abuse and just as frequently unleashed her anger on her children through emotional and verbal abuse. I was the oldest child whom took care of the three younger siblings, sometimes for two weeks at a time, before another relative stepped in or my parents showed up again. My youngest sister called me mom for a few years.

I beat the odds because I am still alive and not suicidal. I beat the odds because the first time someone hit me, I stood up and walked away without ever looking back. I beat the odds because I do not drink or do drugs. I beat the odds because I have a husband and two beautiful children who do not know (and never will know) what it is like to be physically, emotionally, or verbally abused. I beat the odds because I have not fallen into the many snares there are for people who have experienced these things. And I am proud of that fact.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

You Sexy Thang!

Julia's blonde hair cascaded down the back of her sparkly pink dress. Her jellied high heels clicked quietly on the hard wood floor, her weight being so slight the sound was almost inaudible. She had just peeked between the curtains at her audience. Most of them sat silently, starring straight toward the stage. A few were talking amiably. She picked up her microphone. It was purple with little rhinestone stars set into the handle and cordless, an important characteristic which allowed her a lot of movement. It took quite the hissy fit to get it, but she was too self-centered to care.

The lights dimmed and the audience quieted down. "I'd like to welcome each of you to this private concert. Our performers love to entertain and appreciate the support you continuously give. So, on their behalf, thank you! Now, without further ado, please welcome John-Knee and his slap stick comedy routine!" The hostess' voice was professional, but Julia could hear the hint of a smile in the hostess' words. Polite applause followed and John-Knee took the stage.

Julia had seen this act many times. Occasionally she even helped during rehearsals. It was kind of fun and certainly different from her act, giving her a break from the day to day things. She started flipping the microphone in her hand, humming the tune of the song she would perform. John-Knee would be pretending to trip, spilling a glass filled with confetti on the audience. His act always made a mess.Besides the confetti, there would be balloons and streamers laying haphazardly on the floor at the end of his act. It was a neat affect, but it meant she had to be really careful not to slip and fall.

There was heavy applause and cheering. Julia knew John-Knee must be doing his finale. She lifted her microphone and sang the chorus softly. Butterflies began to flutter in her stomach. Her mother once told her that the first kicks she felt when she carried Julia were even better than butterflies. Julia couldn't wait to know what "Champaign bubbles" would feel like. She knew it would be a long, long time before she had a baby of her own. Her mom always told her she was far too young for that kind of adventure. She would always say, "Enjoy your youth. It is but a very short part of your life."

Julia smiled. She was enjoying her youth. How many other's had opportunities to perform on stage to an adoring audience. There were others, she knew, but she loved it all the same. The hostess took the stage. "Isn't John-Knee fabulous! Let's have one more round of applause before welcoming our last performer." That was her cue to get ready. She walked to just behind the curtains, standing so her back would be to her audience. She placed one arm on her head and the hand holding the microphone on her hip. Soon, the music would start.

Julia listened. The audience grew quiet and the beginning notes of her song echoed in the small room. She could hear the curtains being pulled open and began keeping time to the music. Tapping her foot made her hips move slightly. She assumed she could be seen by the audience and moved the arm on her head down to her other hip. On the first words of the song, she turned around and lifted the microphone to her lips.

"I believe in miracles
Where you from
You sexy thing
I believe in miracles
Since you came along
You sexy thing"

The audience was enjoying themselves. They were smiling, laughing, clapping, singing along. It was perfect! Julia felt great. She continued with her rehearsed dance, staying within the guidelines of the venue.

"Mamma! You were always a sexy thang." It was Julia's own four year old daughter bringing her out of her memories and into her present day living room. She was at her 40th birthday party, watching a collage of her 'performances' over the years. She glimpsed the teddy bears lined up against her four year old bedroom as it was portrayed on the video. Her daughter's eyes were aglow.

Julia knew she should have started doing this with her little girl a couple of years ago. It was never too late. She stood up, found the little wardrobe box she kept and pulled out the Ariel mermaid dress and a boa. She found her daughter, wrapping the boa around her, gently pulling her in close. Whispering, Julia told her "And now it's your turn to be the star."

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What Should Come in Pairs and Doesn't?

Hot dogs and hot dog buns. It would certainly solve the problem of 10 hot dogs and 8 buns. If they were sold as a pair, we would all be better off. Think about it. How often are people disappointed about receiving them together from a street vendor or off the children's menu. I'd venture to say almost never. As a matter of fact, this pairing seems natural.

** Spin-off question from One Minute Writer**

First Day Jitters

It was her first day of college. She had been both anticipating and dreading the day. She prepared the best she knew how. Folders covered in bright geometric shapes were stacked with coordinating notebooks. The astronomically priced text books were in a pile arranged by the course schedule. A pen and pencil was clipped into the bindings of the notebooks, completing each ensemble. The backpack she planned to use sat next to the table. In short, everything was set.

She stood in her cramped bathroom, checking her reflection over carefully. She was dressed comfortably in a sweatshirt and jeans. Natural eye make up paired with a bright red shade of lipstick marked her as a teenager. She ran her tongue over her teeth, ensuring no lipstick had blemished them. It was almost time to go and her nerves were ringing. She swallowed hard, switching off the light. She picked up the text and classroom supplies for her first class, inserting them carefully in the back pack.

She still had 25 minutes before class started. She felt rushed and quickly turned off the lights on her way out the door. The campus was only 10 minutes away, but the walk from her assigned parking lot would be another 10 minutes. She calculated that it would leave her just under five minutes to use the bathroom and be seated. She smiled as she approached her tiny blue hatchback. She just had to stay positive.

As she reached for the door handle, her back pack caught on the branch of the overgrown tree she had parked under specifically for the amount of shade it offered. The abrupt stop caused her to fall forward a step, yanking her arm unexpectedly. It hurt a great deal and tears welled up in her eyes. This was not the start she had imagined. A few deep breaths and the release of the back pack strap from the tree and she gingerly put herself into the car.

Slowly, she pulled out of the space and onto the road. Four blocks later, she was surprised by a herd of deer crossing the street. Although it was an incredible sight, it ate into the very little time she had left to get to class on time. She stepped on the gas to make up those precious lost few seconds when a speckled fawn jumped into the road. Slamming on the breaks, her body rocked forward. The seatbelt immediately tightened, saving her from crashing into the steering wheel while taking her breath away. The backpack fell to the floor, landing on a packet of open ketchup.

She couldn't believe it. Maybe her mother was right. College was not for her. It seemed no matter how careful she had been in picking out courses, purchasing supplies, and making herself believe she could do it, there were little signs telling her to stay home. On the day of her first class, they were multiplying, throwing themselves before her, trying desperately to hold her back from a destiny that was not for her.

She bit her lip, quietly smearing some of the bright red lipstick onto her front teeth. The car behind her honked, propelling her forward once more, no longer certain that the trip was worthwhile. From where she was, there was only one option to get back home. She had to turn and drive past the school. She came to a complete stop at the sign and turned her right blinker on. There was more traffic than she expected, giving her time to take a few deep breaths.

Once clear, she rounded the corner, went one block, and performed a legal U-turn. As she did she thought, "I can turn this around too." She felt empowered by this thought. SHE could turn things around. SHE didn't have to do what the family determined was appropriate for her. SHE had made it this far on her own. At least sitting in the classroom, even for a day couldn't hurt. It's more than anyone else thought she could accomplish.

As the school neared, she pulled her car into the turn only lane and entered parking lot C. It was overflowing with cars, most with parking permits like hers. Enough without one to make her notice. This had not been anticipated. She had expected there to be a spot for everyone and that she would arrive early enough to get one up front. With much stuttering, she drove up and down the rows, finally finding a spot in the second to last section. She parked, grabbed her dirtied back pack, and jumped out of the car. Slamming the door shut in her hurry, she caught a nail, ripping it further down than she could mend it.

The gasp induced by pain filled her lungs with the exhaust of another car just passing by. Sputtering, she closed her hand to protect her finger and headed off to class. She didn't know what time it was and hoped she could still be on time. After making her way through the parking lot, she entered the building and headed directly to her class. She had practiced this a few times over the last week and knew exactly where it was. The elevator to the second floor was out of order. The sign said to take the stairs around the corner. Slightly irritated, she ran tot he stairs. Hopefully they would be quicker. The elevator was usually busy and very slow. She ran up the flight of steps, breathing hard at the top. They were longer and required more work than she had guessed.

Forgetting about her injured nail, she pulled on the handle and felt the familiar stinging. She recoiled it back into the safety of her fist and reached with her other hand. Three tugs later, the door still stood firmly in place. She was bewildered and certain this was all a terrible mistake. She turned around to leave and ran into another student. "I'm so sorry!" she said breathlessly.

"Don't be" her peer replied. "I wasn't watching where I was going. I'm late for my first class. Spanish." In a glance, she took the girl in. She was petite, had an air of friendliness, and an armful of books, paper, and pens. The book on top matched the one in her backpack.

"Spanish 1 with Dr. Vargas?" she said, glad that maybe she had a companion in her situation.

"Yeah. You too?" The smile was reassuring. She followed the petite girl through the unlocked door next to the one she had been tugging on.

"Si. Do you think she might be running late too?" She felt more assured by this chance encounter than any of the signs telling her to turn around.

The other girl laughed as she walked to room 241. "I would say no, but I figured I am here. Why go home?"

"Exactly!" she said, opening the door to the language lab. "Exactly."

Monday, January 11, 2010


"It has pecans again. Do you care about the rest?" she yelled to her boyfriend. A small smirk spread across her lips. He hated pecans. He had already questioned how many pecans had been produced this year and why Culver's seemed to get such a large share.

He poked his head into the room. "That's six times this month! Don't they miss me? They must have figured out that this marketing plan is a major FAIL." He was both irritated and amused. It was only January 11th and pecans had found their way into over half of the flavors of the day.

"They are just helping you with your New Year's resolution. It's harder to gain wait if you aren't eating custard every day." She didn't even look at him. A stranger would think she was being completely serious. He knew the statement was heavily loaded with sarcasm.

"So, what do you want to do now?" He was bored and hungry.

So was I. "I don't know. Want to watch a movie?"

"Nah. Let's go out and find dessert." He was gone. She could hear his feet on the stairs, followed by the hall closet opening. Slowly she stood up and headed to the stairs.

"Are you serious?" The only response she received was her coat just missing her head as it appeared to fling itself over the half wall and down the distance to the steps. "It's freezing out!" she protested as she picked up her coat and headed up the rest of the stairs.

"Put a coat on. That should do it." He opened the front door. A moment later the car engine roared to life. It sounded rough.

She made it to the top of the stairs just as he came back in the house. "It's freezing out there!" He said it without thought. Then he noticed she hadn't put her coat on. It was in her arms. "You might want to put that on." He grinned, kissed her cheek, and picked his wallet up from the hall table.

A moment later, she had her coat on and had pulled a hat and gloves out of the table drawer. "Okay Romeo. Lead the way."

"That gives me an idea." His eyes were gleaming and a smile had taken over more of his face.

"I've got a bad feeling about this." She was suddenly unsure of where they would end up. She had just assumed Wendy's would end up being the destination. It was the standard back-up to Culver's, mostly because it was convenient.

She followed him to the car, climbed in and put her seatbelt on. "So, where are we going?" He just smiled and climbed in to the driver's seat, securing himself as well.

"That's for you to know and me to find out." It was a game. One she actually enjoyed playing with him. She was good at it.

"I get a clue to start with." she said, teasing him just a bit.

"You might find John there."

"Not fair. We know too many people named John. Narrow it down."

"You could find Eichenlaub there." He said it purposefully. He knew she wouldn't pick up the connection on that clue alone. She sat silently beside him, trying to work out the clue. Where did Eichenlaub like to go when he lived in town. Karaoke, leather, and lace. Those were his interests.She knew he wouldn't be going to any of those places. They weren't his style and wouldn't feed his need for something sweet.

Reluctantly she replied, "Next clue smart ass."

He didn't really have one. At least, not a good one. "It's fit for a wanna-be princess." It was weak, but maybe he could drag it out a couple more questions. His goal was to be pulling into the parking lot before she figured it out.

"Eichenlaub and princesses don't go together real well. Thanks for practically handing me the answer." She was smug even though she didn't have a clue.

"Well, smart ass, what's the answer then?"

'I'm not there just yet, but I'll figure it out. Just give me a minute."

He just laughed. Eichenlaub and princesses? What did they have in common she wondered. Slider was an oddball. Loveable, but odd.

Slider! Of course. Sliders and princesses fit together nicely. She rolled her eyes before answering. "White Castle? Really? Glad I wasn't planning on getting anything. You can sleep in the bathroom. Just turn on the fan." She was confident in her answer. She knew she was right even before he groaned in defeat.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Writer's Random Rambling

I was told to write a story. To just get back to it. That it would be like riding a bike. It’s a skill I would never loose. Maybe a little wobbly at first, but I wouldn’t fall and skin my knee. They lied. It wasn’t easy. I fell often and none of those who told me I could do it were around to pick me up and tend to my injuries. Now, I sit here at my desk, in front of my keyboard, starring at the blank white piece of paper portrayed on the monitor. My mind reflects that paper. No ideas came then and no ideas are coming now.

What am I suppose to do? The motivation left me long ago. It was a whim to take on this project. “Sure. I could write that!” I told some mother I met at the PTA luncheon after a couple of glasses of wine. “I’ll even do it for free.” At least I don't have the guilt associated with payment. I learned that little nugget of insight when my first book unexpectedly made it to the top seller’s book list. There was even talk of a movie. Of course, that was quantified with the completion of another installment following Miss Priss’s life.

Perhaps that’s when my motivation died. No. That wouldn’t make sense. I was incredibly motivated to produce another great piece of literature. I think it was my inspiration. It was eaten by the cameras and interviews and whispered rumors of a sequel. The quiet time I had dreamed my first book came in the wee hours of the morning as I watched my newborn baby rock in her cradle or the swing. I was exhausted. Lonely. Desperate for help and a man that wouldn’t walk out on me. I had the ability to dream of what my life would have been like if I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth and the world on a string. Miss Priss was my coping method.

Now that same sweet girl who would rock next to me is in school. I haven’t been sleep deprived in years. I can have Miss Priss’s life as long as royalties continue to be deposited in my checking account. It is no longer a dream and I certainly don’t need her to cope. In short, she is no longer inspiring. I know if I disclosed this to those who put me on the bike they would just say, “Well what inspires you now? Use that as a spring board.” And again, they would be elsewhere when my work was refused by the publishers and my hands and knees bloodied from the effort.

I need to stop it! None of this is helping me write the story of the school. Why did I agree to this? Two glasses of wine and a little bit of persuasion. I need to tattoo it on my forehead not to drink in public ever again. But then I would drink alone in the privacy of my own home. That could not possibly play out well. Focus! Stay on track. Tomorrow will be here shortly. It is getting late. I am beyond tired and need to get this completed or look like an ass.

Okay. The story of the school. I don’t need a completed piece. I need a rough outline or draft of the first part. Just something to show them. What makes a school unique. Rarely is it the classrooms. Sure, some are better than others as far as design or technology go, but essentially, they are all a cinder block square with desks in the middle. I could highlight teachers. The school has good teachers. They are compassionate and caring. Lots of schools have that. It would be a nice touch. There just isn’t enough to really write something eloquent. The students, however, offer so many more stories. They are the reason for the school. They make the image of the school. In this school, they are diverse. White students (and I hate that term only slightly less than Caucasian) are in the minority if you combine all the other groups together.

I could write about the students. I could request interviews, sit in and observe, write it from the viewpoint of my daughter. She is incredible. Her perspective would be incredibly interesting. Hmmmm…. This has potential. I see so many possibilities. Yes. That is what I am going to present as well as a request for more time to truly develop this. Oh my God! I think I may have found a new kind of inspiration!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Positive Peer Pressure

My five year old was timid. Scratch that! He still is timid. He will probably always be a little bit timid, especially when it comes to trying new things. I adopted a mantra. Trying is important. "Why?" he would say every time. "Because it helps us to learn." It doesn't work. He just says "Oh" and then still refuses the offer. That is unless he wants me to try something. Then he thrusts it back at me and I feel the double-edged sword sink into my brain.

So, I am constantly amazed to see him jump in with friends on tasks that would otherwise be daunting. He's tried soccer, gymnastics, board games, etc. But only because another preschooler told him it was cool. Now if only one of his friends would eat a vegetable in front of him. I'd be set.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


I heard the phone ringing, but I didn't bother to get up. It was probably Jordan. Drunk. Calling for a ride home. The clock said 3am. Bar time. It rang and rang. I continued to ignore it. About 15 minutes later it stopped. Good. I was tired of running to his rescue every time he called. And I was still mad. Still angry from our fight tonight.

I didn't feel like I had asked that much. All I wanted was for him to spend some time with his family. They would be gone in a couple of days and he hadn't even seen them yet. But no. He wanted to go out with his friends. I knew his cousins would be disappointed. His mother would be irate. Still, he argued throwing a hissy fit until I finally told him to just go. "Fine! Don't get yourself killed" I screamed as the screen door slammed shut.

The phone started ringing again. It was 3:30am. Damn it! Why couldn't he just take a cab home! I stormed out of my bed, whipping the receiver into my hand. "What?" I delivered it bathed in ice.

There was momentary silence and then one of Jordan's friends quietly said my name. "Amy?" Even in my fatigue and anger, the voice was uncharacteristic of Jordan's friends. They were all 'happy' drunks. The sound I heard was too subdued.

"Yes." The uncertainty took some of the edge out of my voice, but it was still cold.

"Amy. This is Micheal, one of Jordan's friends. I tried to call you earlier, but there was no answer. Look... ummmm. Jordan's in the hospital and its serious." It was serious. Now I could hear the tears he was trying to hold back.

"Oh my God. What happened?" Everything was a blank slate, ready to be written on.

"I think you should come right away. I'll tell you more after you see him, okay?"

I was silent. I didn't know what to say or how to react. The phone rested on my chin when I heard Micheal say my name again. "Yeah. Okay." I was about to hang up when Micheal rushed in an offer to pick me up. "No thank you. I can get there." I hung up the phone without waiting for a response.

I rushed to my room and pulled on the jeans I wore earlier that day, grabbing a hair tie off the dresser along with my purse and keys. I slipped into a pair of sandals by the door and headed to St. Lucia's. It was the only hospital for an hour. He had to be there. It never dawned on me to ask otherwise.

As I pulled into the first parking spot I saw, the last words I said to him began echoing around in my brain. "Don't get yourself killed." I doubled over, out of breath from the mere thought. Quickly, I pulled myself together, opening the door and marching myself to the emergency room. The nurse behind the desk raised one finger to me before I could say a word. She was on the phone and I was being shushed. A moment later she transferred the call and asked how she could help.

"I'm Mrs. Crowsauk. I think my husband is here. Jordan Crowsauk." I said it timidly, afraid that I had made an awful mistake, responding to a dream and that Jordan was at home waiting for me. She looked at her notes, nodded her head once, and waved another nurse over.

"Yes Mrs. Crowsauk. Your husband was brought in earlier. Nurse Mary will take you to the waiting area. I believe one of his friends is there now." Before I could ask any questions, Nurse Mary began leading me down a hall behind the nurse's desk. She stayed a couple of feet ahead of me. In my confusion I had difficulties keeping up.

After a few turns, she stopped in front of an elevator. It took me a few steps to catch up. "Where is he? What happened?" I felt so lost, not just in the maze of corridors, but in the situation.

"Mrs. Crowsauk?"

"Where are we going?" I was feeling impatient and it showed in my tone of voice.

"Mrs. Crowsauk, didn't you speak with the doctor? I know they called you this morning. Several times." She was hesitant in her words. The elevator had arrived, yet she hadn't taken another step toward the door. I watched the doors slide open and then shut.

"No. I came because a friend called. He said it was serious and that he would tell me more later. What happened?" I was afraid now. Tears were sliding down my face. I stood frozen, unwilling to take another step until I understood what I was going toward.

Nurse Mary reached out a hand, placing it firmly on my arm. "I can't tell you, but I can page Dr. Yoel. He was on duty when your husband was brought in. He can explain everything to you. Let's walk back up front." I wanted to scream no, to make her tell me what was happening. I didn't want to be the obedient puppy i was acting like, following once again at her heels.

Finally we reached the front. I was offered a seat and Dr. Yoel was paged. He arrived within a few minutes. Nurse Mary spoke with him quietly for about two minutes before he came over to me. "Mrs. Crowsauk, I am doctor Yoel. I'm so sorry we didn't get to talk before you came in. Mr. Crowsauk..."

"Jordan." I interrupted.

"Yes. Jordan came in this evening after being involved in an accident. It appears that he hit his head. We did everything we could. He had surgery to relieve the pressure. He is still unconscious and his vitals continue to fluctuate. We are having difficulty stabilizing him. Mrs. Crowsauk, his brain has been greatly traumatized. It is possible he may not make it through the night. If he does, there is a great likelihood that he will need specialized care for the rest of his life. The prognosis does not look good. But I have seen people pull through worse than this."

I sat stunned. Unable to move. Unable to breathe. Unable to cry. I just sat, starring at the black speckles in the white of the linoleum floor. Somehow, I found myself bedside his bed. I could barely recognize him. His head was heavily wrapped in bandages. His body was completely still other than the mechanical rising of his chest. Every time I looked at him I had to convince myself that it was Jordan and not an impostor.

The only memory I have of the next three days was of Michael. "He was at the bar. He'd only been there for a few minutes when he stood up. He said he had to go. His family was in town and he hadn't seen his cousins in a long time. He asked if he could borrow the Jeep. Since he hadn't been drinking, I handed him the keys. About six hours later, I got a call from the police. They said they found the Jeep flipped over and a man they assumed was me laying on the side of the road. I told them I had lent it to a friend. They asked for his information and then I called you immediately. I think he was out with his cousins. The tank was almost empty and the Jeep was covered in mud. He must have dropped them off first because there was no one else at the scene. Amy, I am so sorry."

Jordan died late on the third day. The last memory I have is fighting about not spending time with his cousins while they were in town. I ended it by telling him not to get himself killed. I wish that sentiment had not been filled with sarcasm. I loved him.

Monday, January 4, 2010

4K in Madtown

"I don't know how things will pan out. It's the first time a 4k program has been up for a vote Loretta. Don't get so anxious about it." Mildred said, casually turning over the pamphlet she received in the mail a few days ago. The literature made it sound like 4k was a dream come true for the small town, but she had her doubts.

"Yeah, but Mildred, think about the possibilities if it passes! Mikey would be in school and then I'd only have Juney home with me for another year. I can almost taste the freedom if I could get her into a 4k classroom!" Mildred wondered why Loretta so badly wanted away from her children. She was always looking for a place to drop them off, as long as it was free. She could see the draw a 4k program would have for Loretta in just that simple thought. Free childcare and the ability to wander throughout her morning.

Mildred shook her head. "Freedom? Oh honey, I think this would tie you down more. Did you even read the pamphlet? It only goes for a couple of hours four days per week." Mildred thought about putting her daughter in the program and felt confused. Her eldest would be in school so it would give her the mornings free. But at what expense? Her son didn't go to school until he was seven and it certainly benefited him.

"What do you mean tie me down Mildred? I'd have two free hours every morning. I could drop Juney off and then get stuff done!" Mildred laughed out loud. Loretta always had the best intentions, but they were more talk than action. Loretta would not use the time to get things done. She'd be at the pool flirting with lifeguards less than half her age or sound asleep in her bed. Groceries, cleaning, laundry, cooking. Those were things she hated doing and did them only at 'appropriate times' when guests were coming over. "What is so funny?"

"You are! Two free hours, huh? Did you take into consideration the 15 minutes there and back. That knocks your time to an hour and a half. Plus, whatever you do must fit into their time frame. Not your own. Are you ready to have Juney up, dressed, fed, and to school by 8:30 am? Are you even out of bed that early? Doesn't somebody else take Mikey in because it is too hard for you to do? And then you have to go back for Mikey that afternoon." Mildred was being a bit spiteful. It was all true, but she didn't need to add her lack of ability to get her son places on time into the conversation.

The phone was silent aside from the occasional odd trumpet coming from the radio. "Look Loretta. I'm sorry. There's just a lot more to think about before jumping head long into this thing for me. There is the time constraint. I'd have to deal with that too. But, there is also wondering if we are taking the kid's childhood away from them. Four years old just seems so young. I don't know. Do you remember our parents balking at sending us to kindergarten because we were so small?"

"Yeah. But they did it and it didn't hurt us any." Mildred thought about it and wondered if there was any proof in that statement. Did it hurt us? Was there anyway to know? All she knew was what her friend told her about kids not going to school until they were older and how they were some of the smartest, most capable students anywhere in the world. That's what prompted her to keep her son, Peter, home until he was seven. But that conversation was a long time ago. Her daughter was a different child altogether. Would it be more beneficial for her to go to school earlier?

"Probably not. But what do they do in a 4k classroom? I mean, if they are just going to play they can do that at my house." It was a sticking point for Mildred. She knew that it was mostly like a preschool, with much of the focus being on social skills and learning to follow rules and she knew she couldn't do as much of that at home. There were no other children for her little Teresa to play with. That would be one benefit for her daughter.

As far as the academic portion was concerned, she had been a teacher for a while and knew the ropes. Both her children knew the alphabet and how to count to 20 by the time they were two-and-a-half. They knew colors and shapes as well, but so did most children at that age. The academics she could handle. It was the social piece that made her even consider the possibility of enrolling her youngest.

"Who cares! All of the other parents want it. It's a little bit of us time. We work hard and deserve the break. Let the little ones play elsewhere. It can't be bad for them." Loretta. Always so quick to assume public preference was in the best interest of her child. She wouldn't think about it much beyond today's phone call. "None of this matters right now anyway. The vote isn't for another week. Right now, I need to figure out what I can put together for dinner and what I need to bribe my kids with to clean up. Phil will be home in an hour and the place is a mess. No rest for us mothers, you know."

Mildred looked around her spotless kitchen. The only thing out of place were the towels she had finished folding just before Loretta had called. It would only take a few minutes to run them to the linen closet. She glanced out the window over the sink. Peter and Teresa were playing on the tire swing, Pirates probably. "Bye Loretta. Good luck getting thins in order."

"Bye Mildred. Talk to you tomorrow."

The two older women hung up the phone. Mildred rubber her temples. The vote was a week away, but she had a lot to think about and her head already hurt from the complexity of the issue.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year's Night

“5….4….3….2….1 and welcome to January 1st, 2010. Happy New Year all!” Dick Clark intoned. I smiled and raised my plastic Champaign flute of sparkling apple cider toward the TV. “Happy New Year” I said softly, resting my other hand on top of my enlarged abdomen. I drank the rest of the cider, turned off the TV, and wandered to my bedroom, glass still in hand. The small room was cold and dark, but rich in security. I breathed deeply, pulling the sense of freedom deeply into my lungs, imagining it entering my blood stream and circulating throughout my body, as I pulled the heavy comforter back and climbed slowly into the space left open.

After carefully arranging the body pillow next to me, I reached across the little remaining space of the twin bed and flipped off the light. The chill that had settled on my skin retreated as I pulled the comforter over top of me. I laid my head on my pillow and positioned the roundness of my stomach on top of the body pillow for support. This year would be different. It was already different. I drifted off to sleep filled with hope instead of fear.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Recap and New Expectations in 30 words.

Children's laughter and tears. Love for my husband. Frustrations from an unprofessional job. Travel for family. Learning. Helping Others. Happiness.

Continuing to laugh, cry, love, learn, help, and live happily.