Favorite Quotes

  • You're not too old, and it's never too late

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

(Only) 5 of my Biggest Pet Peeves

So I'm working off of this "blog challenge" article, and one of the subjects is  "List Your Five Biggest Pet Peeves." Here are mine, in no particular order:

1. People who go through the "10 Items or Less" line at the grocery store with even 11 items. Drives me nuts. They had to draw the line somewhere. It's ten, not eleven or fifteen, or God forbid, 20! Why do some folks feel like rules don't apply to them??

 See? Someone even made a TV show based on this premise, apparently. I've never seen this show, but I think it was written by a guy who used to work at a grocery store I used to patronize in my neck of the woods.

2. People who stand too close to me in the grocery store line (clearly, I have a thing for people in grocery stores...) When I'm paying and checking out, I hate it when the person behind stands RIGHT NEXT TO ME, in my personal space, like they're the ones getting ready to pay. I'm working on it, dude...your turn's coming, just let me get my bags off the belt first! See the guy behind the gentleman in the baseball cap? He's already in there, and the other guy hasn't even left the space yet.

Uh uh. No. Back TF off.

If I was the baseball cap guy, I'd want to donkey kick his ass back to Aisle 7.

3. Drivers who turn into my lane and cut me off when there's no one behind me. You couldn't wait two more seconds and get in after I passed you? Inevitably, these are the same folks who cut me off when I'm doing 45 then drive 20 mph. So they can THEN drive at a snail's pace when I'd been humming along just nicely, thank you very much. (I have changed my take on this one as I've gotten older. I now see these people as God's way of slowing me down, maybe preventing me from getting into an accident, but still....)

4. People who chew with their mouths open, talk with food in their mouth and suck their teeth. 

5. Anyone who doesn't use proper grammar or speak proper English. Not surprising for a writer, I know. And I'm not referring to anyone born outside of the U.S. or who is new to the English language. Those folks get a break. My daughter is currently taking SAT prep classes, and she needs some help with the grammar section of the test. The woman at the prep site said, "They don't teach grammar in school anymore" and my head almost exploded. WHY??? With so many Americans not speaking properly these days, I think grammar is essential. Words that weren't words are becoming part of our lexicon because of their misuse over time, so we're dumbing down as a society. One of my favorite examples of this is the word conversate. It's converse!! We converse with one another!! Ugh...I've got to jump off here or else things are going to get ugly. 

And one more, just for the heck of it....

6. People who don't thank you for standing there and holding the door for them. Ok, I admit this is totally MY problem. It's me having expectations of others, which I try not to do anymore because let's face it, you're always disappointed when you expect others to act or behave the way you would in certain situations, but still...this irks me.


While I haven't shouted "you're welcome!" at someone, I did hold an outside door for a woman at a mall once and when she didn't thank me, I went through the inner door and allowed it to slam back in her face. Mature, right? I showed her!

For what it's worth, I used to have a much longer list of pet peeves. I used to write them down every so often, and it took some time for me to come up with this list, so I think I'm letting go of some of my pet peeves, which makes me feel better about myself. Like I've reached the age of 50 and I'm beginning to grow up or something.

"Maturity is developed by respecting others, and accepting responsibility for violating that respect."
                                                                                                                  --Wes Fessler

Saturday, May 20, 2017

My Current Relationship...with Myself

I'm not going to apologize again for neglecting my blog because I'd only offer up the same old excuses: I'm busy with family life, my daughter just came home from college (yea!!) and I've been focusing on my "real" writing. I've racked up 2 rejections so far this year, with three more on the way (I'm sure of it). Besides...I'm not sure how many people are really reading my blog. It looks like I have a number of visitors...several from the same spots...but no one comments. Hmm...I do see you out there, you know. ;o) Please talk to me!

So I got something in my inbox this morning from Pinterest: the "30 Day Blog Challenge."As I've been "blog challenged" these past several months, I thought I'd take advantage of some of the suggestions on the list of blog topics. The first one is "Discuss your current relationship." I've been happily married to my high school sweetheart/best friend for 25 years. We've been together now for 33 years. Maybe someday I'll write a post about how we've stuck together for so long and overcome different obstacles, but for now, and because my blog (sort of) focuses on my writing AND my relationship with food and body image, I'm going to discuss my relationship with the latter.

I turned 50 in February, and maybe that sparked something in me. I'm happy to report that my relationship with food and my self-image is currently in a good place. I've struggled with these issues for YEARS, but that's not a word I'd use to describe how I feel at the moment.

I began seeing a holistic nurse practitioner in February. I love her. She actually listened to my concerns about my health and weight, and ran a slew of blood work my previous doctor refused to order. This was also the same doctor who, when I complained about not being able to lose weight no matter what I did or how hard I exercised, said, "When women hit middle age, the fat becomes like cement." Thanks!

When the blood work results came back, my suspicions of being insulin resistant were confirmed. The nurse practitioner prescribed a medication to help the cells of my body respond more appropriately to insulin. I've since cut back on a lot of sugar and carbs. I've been exercising regularly and I've lost 12 pounds. I'm feeling healthy and more energetic, just better overall. And these changes I've made are not drastic. They're ones I can stick to, and they haven't triggered my eating disorder.  I've even started back to Jazzercise, something I did in college and throughout my 20's. I never thought I'd find my way back to working out with a bunch of women in a workout studio.

I've fallen off of my meditation schedule, but I'm trying to get back to meditating every day. Meditation has helped in so many ways. It has improved relationships in my life, and it has helped me maintain focus on what's truly important.

If anyone is reading this...is there an important relationship in your life you'd like to comment on or discuss?? I hope this post finds you happy and healthy!

Til next time...whenever that may be....

Monday, January 30, 2017

A New Year and....Things are Still the Same...Crazy

Where to begin....

I don't know. I'm feeling overwhelmed by the world, by life at the moment, thus my neglecting my blog. I just haven't had it in me. You should read the stuff I've written lately...blech! But I read a quote recently by some famous, published author who said just write...no matter what it is, or how bad it is...just write to get your creative juices flowing, so...in an effort to "just write," anyone reading this gets a new blog post!

We had a crazy holiday season here, which is wonderful, but...crazy, so I haven't written anything new or of substance since late November. I am still submitting things I've worked on this past year, and sticking to last year's New Year's resolution of submitting SOMETHING once a month. Two things got picked up for publication in 2016, so that's 22% acceptance rate (b/c I only submitted once a month starting in March, so that's out of 9 months, not 12 for anyone doing the quick math...) My husband, who works in the insurance industry, said for every 10 quotes they make, they write 3.5 new pieces of business, and that's 35%, so it helped to look at my rejections with a business frame of mind instead of my usual, creative, sensitive one. I have two submissions pending at the moment.

Our daughter came home from her first year in college, and stayed for 5 weeks over Christmas break! That was wonderful! I really miss her. We had a nice Christmas. Then....

the day after Christmas, my 76-year old mother was out doing errands when she slipped on black ice in a mall parking lot and sustained a traumatic brain injury. We've never experienced anything like this in our family, so we were rocked, to say the least. She was in the ICU then in an acute rehab facility, so that meant my siblings and I and our spouses had to pull together and take care of our dad, who's 75 and whose memory is quickly fading. He's an insulin dependent diabetic, who needs constant watching. As I'm a former nurse, I did most of the hands-on care for my dad, which meant no time for writing and creativity. I was zapped emotionally and psychically, and had little time to myself. When I did have time to myself, I was usually in a supine position on a couch somewhere. I'm happy (and grateful!!) to report my mom has done tremendously well. She's 95% back to her old self. We feel so blessed. She's back home, and able to care for my dad again, so things in that realm are basically back to normal. From what I've heard and read about TBI, we fall into the extremely blessed category. And don't tell me prayer doesn't work. When this happened, I put out a call for prayers on my Facebook page and hundreds of people responded. I know all of our prayers helped mom recover as quickly as she did. My family and I are overcome with gratitude.

We also received some bad news about our 12-year old PBGV, Divot, one of the loves of my life.

He was diagnosed with transitional cell carcinoma in November. He has tumors in his bladder and his prostate. Because he's 12, and because chemo would have been hard on him and only given us another 12 months at the most, we've decided to just keep him comfortable with pain meds and NSAIDs (drugs like Advil and Aleve). He's doing well so far. You wouldn't know he's sick unless we told you. He also went and tore his right ACL in one of his hind legs, so he's hobbling around here, which makes things more pathetic, but he's doing ok overall. The vet says we have 6-7 months more with him, so we're trying to enjoy every moment, not that we haven't already enjoyed every moment these past 12 years. Still...it's devastating to lose a pet, who's really a member of the family. He's my sweet baby boy, and a big presence in our home. We will really feel his absence when it comes.

And then...to top it all off...we have this crazy political situation here in the United States. Even though Trump was elected this past November, we've been dealing with the fatalism for 18 months. It feels like the negativity and pushback has ramped up even more since he was inaugurated 10 days ago. He has enacted two executive orders that have really upset people--the one to build his wall between the U.S. and Mexico, and now this travel ban on those coming into the U.S. from seven Muslim-dominated countries. When I log on to Facebook, I'm inundated with all of my friends' and family's political opinions. It's too much. Too much negative news, too many politically-laden FB posts...I can't take it anymore. I can't get away from it. I respect everyone's take on things--because I feel there are good and bad points on both sides. My husband and I decided the truth and the "right" things to do are wedged in the middle of all the political rhetoric somewhere, but seriously...I miss the days of logging on to Facebook and just seeing pictures of my nieces and nephews, and my long-distance relatives; pictures and videos of funny cats and dogs; funny memes and quotes. I made this meme, and put it on my FB page this morning:

I did this instead of "unfriending" my most vehement friends and family. I didn't want to hurt or offend anyone, and I imagined people coming back at me, saying I should just quit FB if I don't like what I see (which I may do in the end...). I hope some people get it...but I've been around long enough to know that most people don't. Especially those who are most fanatic about something. Oh well.

On a lighter note...I caved and got my first ever Brazilian wax this past month. That was quite an experience, and one I might lampoon in an essay. Not sure where I'd submit such an article. Maybe there's a professional waxers journal somewhere...there's a journal for everything else, so who knows?

(I wish my experience had been this pretty....)

I guess some creative juices are flowing now that I've unleashed my frustrations in cyberspace. It's 11 a.m. here on the east coast, and I haven't showered or started my laundry. My hair is piled on top of my head, in a greasy bun, but I guess I should stay in my pjs and work on a short story. Or love on Divot. And pray no one comes to my front door.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Just Checking In with the World.....

I've been busy...writing...so that means my blog has been woefully neglected.

I have a fickle relationship with this blog. As a writer, I don't want to "waste" time blogging because it detracts from the real work at hand. I'm still working on my eating disorder/self image memoir, I've been writing and submitting essays from said memoir, and I'm also working on two pieces of fiction. This is all great, wonderful stuff, and it makes me happy!

Still...there's this nagging voice that says authors have to maintain their blogs and build up some sort of audience because when the time comes to submit these larger projects, agents are going to want to know if I have a blog and/or a platform and how many readers they think I can reach. UGH. I have to say this business aspect of writing is the most difficult for me.

Oh, to have been a writer back in the early part of the twentieth century and have had the good fortune to work with someone like Maxwell Perkins. Boy, have things changed since then! I can't imagine what it must have been like for Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, who lived in rural Florida, deep in the Everglades, I believe...she developed a correspondence relationship with Perkins and he traveled down to Florida, amidst the Spanish moss and swamps to meet one-on-one with Miss Rawlings. Can any writers out there imagine that kind of attention from an editor??

Ok...enough fantasizing. I have to get back to work. I've received a few rejections since I last checked in, and I'm supposed to have a six-word story published online sometime soon by InShades magazine. I try to remember that it's good to be receiving rejections...at least it means I'm working and submitting.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Don't Blink

I blinked, and it flew by, just like I knew it would. 

I’m speaking about the month of August, the whole summer, the past 18 years, actually.

We dropped our oldest daughter off at college two weeks ago. I can’t believe she’s no longer in the house. I can’t believe I survived letting her go. 

It helps that she’s been good at keeping in touch via texting and phone calls. We even Face Timed once. What a thrill that was! I keep telling people I feel like a teenage girl with her first boyfriend. I drop everything when my daughter texts or calls. Sauces can curdle on the stove, my hair can be thrown up in a clip instead of straightened with a flat iron when the phone rings and I see it’s my daughter on the other end. Life be damned!

This summer was consumed by my eldest. The world revolved around her more so than usual. There were AP and IB exams the whole month of May, Prom, Graduation, a bazillion grad parties, her own grad party, dorm shopping, the “goodbye tour” where she bid adieu to friends and family and ultimately our own goodbyes. Now life has slowed to a dull roar. My youngest is home, playing field hockey, getting ready for her sophomore year in high school. The house is less frenetic, there aren’t as many kids hanging around. It’s quieter. 

It’s also cleaner. I’ve found a renewed interest in vacuuming and dusting, activities that had fallen by the wayside these past few months. There aren’t any dishes clogging up the sink, and my counters are bare, wiped and polished. It’s whatever is the opposite of nesting…cleaning and straightening up because a chick has flown the coop rather than come home to it. 

I guess it’s just a way to keep busy, to keep my mind from going where it shouldn’t—to the dark, netherworld that reminds me my daughter is off on her own (sort of) enjoying a life I’m really not a part of. If I let myself, I can feel pretty lonely and left out, like the younger girlfriend whose older boyfriend goes away to school. Parental FOMO. That’s what I have at the moment. 

On the writing front, though, I have two more submissions out for consideration, which is good. I’m sticking to my 2016 goal of submitting something every month. Between the big college move and my “real” writing, the blog has suffered. I’m going to try and pay more attention to my blog and the occasional visitors who stop by. I’m guessing with one less child in the house, and no more tennis matches to attend, I’ll have more free time on my hands. I just don’t want to blink…I don’t want these next three years to zoom by because before I know it, I’ll be taking our youngest daughter to college and then it’ll be just me and the dogs. And my husband, of course. ;o)

Saturday, June 25, 2016

When the Triggerer Comes to Town

So graduation season is upon us here in the United States, and with that comes numerous parties and celebrations, lots of good food and drink and....family. I'm not going to narrow anyone down, should they ever venture onto the Internet and discover my little blog, but let's just say I have a ED triggerer in my midst, and it's throwing me into a bit of a tailspin.

I've shared a little of my eating and body image issues with this one person, so he/she does know I've struggled with such matters for a while. This person knows I've been in treatment, and knows I'm working on my relationship with food and my body. Still...he/she continues to comment and remark about food in horribly damaging ways. In an effort to take care of myself and the headway I've made over the last few years, I've been meditating and trying to be mindful of what's important to me and my family.

Still, he/she does his/her best to wiggle under my skin and pick at all the little nits in my subconscious. I believe in my heart of hearts that he/she does not know he/she is doing this, but that doesn't make his/her comments any less hurtful.

Yesterday, after a round of golf, the group of us grabbed lunch. We were with two teenaged boys and my husband, who were all ordering burgers or sandwiches of some kind or another. I was leaning towards either a turkey burger, or a wedge salad when "The Triggerer" said, "I guess I'll be bad and have a burger and fries." Unable to control the sarcasm that has been brewing deep inside since his/her arrival, I replied, "Oh, it's bad to have a burger and fries?"

I kicked my husband under the table to make sure he was paying attention to all of this negative food talk.

"Yes," he/she said. "I could have a salad."

"And a salad is better than the burger?" I asked.

"Of course."

"Okay, so just so I understand where you're coming from, burger: bad, salad: good?"

"Yes. Or I could have a salad in place of the fries," he/she said. Mind you, this person eats more greens and salads than your average rabbit who has taken up residence in a backyard garden, but whatever.

When the waitress came to take our order, The Triggerer ordered the "bad" burger, then added, "Can you put some bacon on there, too?"

My eyes bulged. "Did you just add bacon to your cheeseburger?" I practically screamed.

He/she laughed. "Yes. I figure if I'm going to be bad, I might as well be really bad!"

Oh, Triggerer, my old self would have said, You are so strong with your food choices. One little cheeseburger isn't going to hurt you. Not if you make up for it and have a salad for dinner tonight, and restrict your intake of anything sweet. Cheeseburgers and fries ARE bad. I wish I could be more like you, but I'm so weak and wrong when it comes to food.

Then this morning....I'd made banana bread yesterday afternoon because I could no longer ignore the brown bananas in my fruit bowl that were begging to be changed from their ugly ducklingness into the swan that is banana bread. When I came downstairs this morning, The Triggerer was eating a Dannon Zero yogurt thing (something we don't usually keep in the house because we no longer buy into the "no sugar/no fat" nonsense). I reminded him/her about the banana bread. He/she followed me into the kitchen, rinsed out his/her yogurt container, then said, "Ok. I guess I'll have my dessert now" referring, of course, to the banana bread, the thing I considered my "breakfast." UGH.

There are more examples I could cite, but in an effort to keep anyone who might be reading this from falling asleep or clicking off my blog, I'll just say that it's taking Herculean effort to not buy into this person's warped food issues. It's taking every ounce of strength I have to tune him/her out and to stay strong in my recovery and my new beliefs about food and body image. Meditation helps, thank God. Having my husband and my daughters on "my side" helps. My girls, especially, are keenly aware of The Triggerer's comments. They shoot me looks of astonishment and understanding across the dinner table.

So this is life, right? Food issues and those who don't have a clue as to what's healthy and what's not surround us every day. I guess because this person is (sort of) in my family and knows my issues, his/her comments are more hurtful than those from anyone in the outside world. Our family often does the most harm when it comes to matters of food, eating and body image. I know he/she is living in his/her own world of screwed up food messages, and I need to understand that and accept he/she for who he/she is, but still, there's a big part of me that would like say, "Shut the hell up!"

Thankfully, I have less than two days with this person in my house. He/she boards a plane in 31 hours and twenty-two minutes.

Not that I'm counting.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Okay...I'm Back

So I deleted my blog a while back because, well...coming up with ideas for new, creative and inspiring posts had grown overwhelming. I wasn't working on any of my WIPs, and the blog had become this daunting black cloud..another task to which I wasn't giving any energy or attention. 

In February, I decided to get more serious about my writing--my REAL writing--not my blog. I set a personal goal to submit something--a piece of fiction, a personal essay, anything literary--every month. That meant I had to put everything else aside, and dedicate my writing time to serious projects. 

I'm happy to say that such dedication has already paid off! I had a piece published a couple of weeks ago on Mothers Always Write, a web site for us mom writers. My piece is entitled "Labels and the Damage Done." Please check it out here: www.mothersalwayswrite.com. Go to Current Issue, scroll down to In Mother Words blog section, and my essay is in there. I hope you like it! 

I have another piece out that has yet to be accepted or rejected, and I received two rejections on a short story about the sexual assault of a teenager. I'm going to try and rework that piece here soon. I think it's a good story. I just haven't found the right home for it yet. 

Submitting something in the month of June will be a challenge, although I did submit some "six word" stories to a journal yesterday. I like prompts like these. They push us to choose our words carefully, to make the most of them, to cherish brevity--something a lot of us writers need to do more. My oldest daughter is graduating from high school, her prom is this evening and we have guests coming from out of town for her graduation party later this month. Then we take off for vacation with my husband's family, so there are many things cutting into my writing time. I feel I've been making this time more of a priority in recent weeks, so I hope to keep it up. 

I shared a picture of the space where I write on Mothers Always Write Instagram, so I'll share it here as well:

That's my eldest, taking up my writing space, but whatever....

And a quote I've embraced as of late:

It feels good to be back in the blogosphere. I hope I return sooner rather than later.