Category Archives: Creative Writing

Amusing myself in AARP land

Full disclosure: I am an overthinker. And very likely too hard on myself. I confess this today after coming to the conclusion that writing is actually hard. I had every intention yesterday of publishing a truly epic post, only to find myself completing approximately 70% of a moderately humorous and mostly lame essay.

I jazzed up one other post that I had in my draft folder as well, but it didn’t meet my standards of publishability. Yes, I may have just made up a new word. 

Of course, I just had to google the word publishability and of course it is a legit word. No matter.  I have also come to the conclusion this week that the most beneficial thing I can do to harness whatever creative writing abilities I possess, is something. As in, don’t just plop your arse down in front of the computer and force yourself to write something, anything, just so you can give yourself a high five that you continued your blog for yet another day. As it turns out, writing doesn’t work that way.

So I actually did some stuff this morning. Not a lot of stuff, mind you. But stuff, nonetheless.

I checked off one of my to-do list items. I wrote a check and filled out a form to claim my new, free duffel bag from AARP. Which means I am now officially a member of the Advanced Age Restless Party. Take that, those of you under 50! Ha!

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Oh, the irony of this sarcastic comment!

All I had to do was put a stamp on it and then send it on it’s merry way. I recalled recently locating a book of stamps I purchased at the post office in one of the zippered pouches of my trusty black Baggallini purse. I also recall thinking to myself let’s put those here where they will be handy when I need them. 

The only problem is the “here” is nowhere to be found. And of course since I’m thisclose to being a member of  the exclusive AARP club, I cannot recall for the life of me where precisely that “here” is. I’ve searched high and low-in other purses, in my small filing cabinet next to the computer desk. No stamps to be found. Not. A. One.

Those darn stamps are bound to turn up somewhere at some point in time, right? The most likely scenario, however, is that the moment I arrive home from purchasing a new book of stamps they will magically appear. Just like that belt I forgot I bought after buying the exact same one at Target last week.

So after this kerfuffle, I decided to do something else. Something challenging but entirely irrelevant and self-serving. Something to divert my attention from the reality that I have indeed lodged myself firmly into AARP land. As I said in a very recent post, one of my life goals is to be able to successfully sing all the lyrics to R.E.M.’s “It’s The End Of The World” song. I found the lyrics on Google Play, then put this song on play on my tablet.

All I can say is that I was all kinds of happy when I got to the main chorus of “It’s the end of the world as we know it” (times 3) then “and I feel fine”. The rest of the lyrics were akin to rapidly repeating an old timey tongue twister like “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers”. But nonetheless it was highly amusing.

I guess the lesson here for me, today, despite my geriatric tendencies, though one could also conclude the lesson is that I have entirely too much time on my hands, is that I’m still young at heart. Like a 14 year old geeking out at those “amazing” music videos on MTV trapped in an occasionally audibly creaking, slightly overweight, stretch-marked, 50 year old body. And that’s okay with me, because acceptance leads to freedom.

 

Random Ramblings

Just a few, unrelated and utterly irrelevant thoughts I have had recently….

I’m kind of a sucker for those sites that post decadent dessert recipes on Facebook. It infuriates me, however, when “Easy” is in the title, however. Thing is, if I’m going to make and then of course consume said dessert, it is not in my belly fat’s best interest for it to be “easy” to make. The recipe should include ingredients you have to work for, like a specific kind of berry only found on the top of the Rocky Mountains. Or honey that has to be tapped from a specific maple tree located deep in the forest. Or corn meal that you have to grind yourself.

I might want to grow my hair out and see how long it can get. This notion was inspired by seeing Megan Mullally’s beautiful hair while watching Summer of 69, the big hearted and smartly hilarious comedy show she and her husband Nick Offerman created. Also, she played the ukulele during the show so now I want to do that too.

I love Pinterest but recognize that it can be a black hole. Or like the kettle corn I can’t seem to get enough of, despite feeling sick to my stomach and hyped up at the same time. Or like when my cousin and I, as kids,  would spend hours upon hours gazing through the JC Penney Christmas catalog with calculators in hand, pretend shopping for things we wanted to buy.

Hubs recently shared that he had to “drain the lizard”. As in, he had to pee. Use the lavatory (wasn’t that weird how the bathrooms in school were called this back in the day? Such a weird, unused word today). Hubs told me this was one of his favorite euphemisms. I prefer when he tells me (seriously, even in public) that he has to “go potty”. Weird, right? But I find it endearing. It reminds me that he was once the daddy to our no longer little spawn, and our charming 3 year old grandson. The daddy and “Papa” who said/says “make sure to go potty before you get in the car” and “do you need me to take you to go potty now?”

One goal I have in life is to be able to sing through the entirety of  R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World”. While undoubtedly frenetically paced, this is a classic song, amiright?And once I’ve accomplished that goal, I should easily be able to get work as an auctioneer. Maybe I could add that to the list of possibilities for my job search.

 

Potential Pinterest Fail Project

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I present to you the owl I was hoping to make to display on my kitchen wall. I pinned this on one of those days last summer when I obviously had too much time on my hands. I thought it was cute and kitschy, and a great way to recycle those beer bottle caps I’d been saving.

This week, when I re-discovered this pin, I decided to actually read the instructions on how to create this spectacular  work of art. However, there were no actual instructions. 

But there was a list of items and tools needed for this project, which included the following:

  • Large metal lid-All my pot and pan lids are glass. May have to purchase used one at thrift store.
  • Medium metal lid-See above
  • Small metal lid-See above again. Duh.
  • Metal washer-I think those are little circular things used for stuff around the house. Check with Hubs.
  • Metal button-I ought to be able to find one around here somewhere.
  • Dessert spoon-What the fudge is this? Who has special spoons just for eating dessert? Not this broad.
  • Metal cutters-Ummm…not sure about this one..check with Hubs.
  • Vice-Well, my vice is chocolate. Not sure how that fits into this project. But I’m willing to try and figure it out. 
  • Pliers-No dental tools in this house. Maybe Hubs can come up with something?
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks-Now, I know for a fact I have glue sticks because I recently bought them to use on a far simpler project than this. But damned if I can find my trusty hot glue gun. Must make a run to Michael’s asap.
  • Cordless drill-Yay! Something I know we actually have in the garage.
  • Screws (optional)-I ought to be able to round a few of these up.
  • Slender tree branch (also optional)-We have plenty of trees in our neighborhood. Might need to get out the ladder to find just the right branch on the right tree though. Maybe Hubs will volunteer since I’m scared of heights?
  • Beer bottle caps-Certainly we have enough of these!

I would like my beautiful owl to look precisely like the pic I pinned. Which means I need green, silver, and white beer bottle caps. Problem is, we don’t necessarily like Heineken beer. We like craft beer, like what we find here in Colorado (though technically, Heineken is considered a craft beer, surprisingly enough). And our delicious craft beers do not all have green, silver, or white caps. Damn!

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Our beer bottle cap collection.

 

Hmmm…guess I could buy the estimated 18 cases of Heineken required and dump it down the sink. But what a waste of mediocre beer not to mention a huge waste of money. 

Maybe I could find a neighbor who regularly drinks Heineken. I know 3 of my neighbors so far. The odds are not with me on this. 

Oh, I could go and knock on all the neighbors doors, introduce myself, and ask them if they drink Heineken and if they keep all their bottle caps. I’ll explain to them my new art project and what it means to me. I’m sure they are all nice people and will help this gal out, right? 

If that doesn’t work, then I could put an ad on Craig’s list or on the Next Door neighbor app, pleading for donations of Heinekin beer caps.

This could take a while.

Dreams are weird

My right eye was glued shut when I awoke. I rubbed it to release it from its captivity. My brain still fuzzy from sleep, I recalled the scenes in my head of which I had no control just moments prior.

I was going back to college. I do not know at which age I inhabited. It seemed irrelevant. Emotionally, I felt wholly unprepared. I felt panicked and confused. Classes were starting soon, and I could not recall for the life of me how close I was to graduating. Most upsetting, however, was that I had no memory whatsoever of registering for any classes.

What on earth am I going to do, my panicked brain wondered to itself, if I am in fact not signed up for any classes at all? OMG, I will have to find a minimum wage job to work until the next semester rolls around and I can resume my studies.

What can I do to prevent this from happening?

Wait, there must be a way for me to check on a computer to see if I’ve registered. Maybe it’s simpler than I thought. Now I need to find a computer….

Cut to a completely different scene. 

I’m in a large warehouse type of place. I’m disheveled. Un-showered. Smelly. Dressed like a bum. Pathetic.

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There’s a movie crew there. The star is amongst this crew. It’s Shirley McLaine. I must meet her before she has to get on the plane to another filming location. But I really have to pee. There are no bathrooms in sight. Only a bathtub filled with water. I am wearing jeans. I really have to pee. I step into the tub, fully clothed, and relieve myself.

 

I feel so much better now. There’s Shirley! She is walking towards the exit wearing a fancy outfit complete with heels (clicking and clacking on the concrete). She is wearing a large, Kentucky Derby type hat. She looks so glamorous and important. 

I will not let this opportunity pass me by. I race over to her. She turns around, startled by the sight of me fully clothed and dripping wet.

I tell her that I love her work (though I can’t recall off the top of my head what films she was even in). I tell her that despite my current situation, I was not willing to miss the opportunity to meet her in person. That I didn’t want to have any regrets.

Okay, you interpreters of dreams, have at it.

11 things I can’t live without

So I thought I’d have a little fun with lists again. It’s been a while. I could go with the obvious things that I truly could not exist without, like air, water, a beating, healthy heart-but where’s the fun in that?

Instead I’m going to focus on those things, excluding people, because people are not technically things. Duh.

Without any further ado…..here are the things I can’t live without I need to function in order to be the best version of myself.

#1: Coffee. Those 2 cups of strong black coffee with a generous splash of half and half,  a teaspoon (give or take) of Truvia, with a sprinkling of cinnamon on top is the fuel in my my personal gas tank.

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Me, upon waking each morning.

#2.Our personal computer. This blog wouldn’t exist without it.

#3. My DVR service. One of the best inventions in the last century, IMHO. I can tape whatever show or movie I fancy and watch it at my leisure. Fast forwarding through those pesky commercials is an added bonus.

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A portion of what I have saved on my DVR. Need to watch these asap!

#4. Zoloft. Anxiety, be gone!

#5. My heating pad. I have bursitis, primarily in my right hip. God only knows why. I turn on that puppy when I’m cozied up with Hubs watching t.v. at night. It relaxes and loosens my hip muscle and allows me to sleep comfortably in my preferred position, which is of course on my right side.

#6. Books. Since my “gap year” began, in July of 2016, I have had the blessing of time to read truly great ones. They have taught me lessons (about omens in Paulo Cohelo’s “The Alchemist”). They have entertained me, like Amy Schumer’s “Girl with the Back Tattoo”. They have delighted me, like Amy Krause Rosenthal’s “Textbook Amy Krause Rosenthal”. Even once paid employment is part of my life again, I fully intend to continue reading.

#7. My crockpot. One can make some seriously delicious meals in these with minimal effort. And the way the house smells when I’ve got honey garlic chicken (like today) in that wonderful vessel is intoxicating.

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#8. Since I’m talking about smells, I must include my love of candles. All kinds of them. Like the apple basil ones I recently got. Or the “home and heart” soy square candles that pop into pretty night-light thingamabobs (see above). Or the honeysuckle scented candle I got at World Market several months ago. I have candles lit every night whilst sitting on my heating pad.

#9. Post it notes and colorful pens. I am a writer, after all. Writing ideas randomly pop into my head when I’m not feeling motivated to haul my butt upstairs to our office to type them into a draft. And picking a fun colored pen makes me happy, like when I was in kindergarten and opened up a big box of crayons, delighting in the variety of colors I had to choose from.

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#10. My yoga mat. Ok, let me be clear-I am not (at least not yet) a yoga gal. I like using it when I’m doing my morning stretches and other floor exercises because our house has almost zero carpet and my old-ish body appreciates that little extra padding.

#11. Music. Best therapy ever. ‘Nuff said.

Wednesday’s Wonderful Word

According to this handy dandy publication, the word “fodder” used as a noun means:

  • Feed for livestock, especially coarsely chopped hay or straw.
  • Raw material, as for artistic creation.
  • A consumable, often inferior item or resource that is in demand and usually abundant supply: romantic novels intended as fodder for the pulp fiction market.

Read more at http://www.yourdictionary.com/fodder#C0Bde5M1aeOGk27x.99

Since I don’t happen to own any livestock, this word has a different meaning for me.

Fodder is indeed raw material for my creative writing. 

It’s kind of like Kettle corn, hot and fresh, right out of that big black pot, for me anyway.  I can’t ever have enough of it. 

My goal every day is to keep my fodder radar at the highest level possible. This requires me to be present, in the moment which is a gift unto itself.  Sometimes the fodder is crap, when I start thinking about how I can use it to pen a great post. Other times it will spark a new idea, something unexpected. That’s when writing is especially enjoyable.

 

 

 

The music of a melancholy Monday

Yes, unlike my usual upbeat self, today, Monday, I am feeling blase, minimally motivated, and melancholy-ish. There’s no good reason for it I’m healthy, Hubs and I have a nice home to live in, the spawn are fully functional adults, busy with their own lives far away from here. Maybe that’s it.

September is a month I have always loved. And here I am, smack dab in the middle of it, and I just don’t have the same enthusiasm I used to at this time of year. I see all the pictures on Facebook of those friends and family of mine with their kids sporting their new duds on the front stoops of their family’s home for the first day of school. Some of those kids are smiling (not surprisingly, the younger they are, the bigger the smiles), some have that look on their faces that communicate they are cooperating with this photo shoot under great duress.

Weird thing is, it turns out as much as I was pining for the “empty nester” years whilst my spawn were spewing hateful insults at each other and gifting Hubs and I with gray hair, I do terribly miss those days. Funny how that is.

On those odd days in which I’m not feeling so perky, I rely on my music. Not only am I drawn to a great melody, solid drum beats and guitar riffs; I am a sucker for a great lyric. Some just stick with you. You know what I mean, right? They resonate with you at your core. They make you think of someone you love or have loved. They make you feel less alone in the world. They make you feel better.  Sometimes they even inspire you.

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This is the part of this post where I am going to do a little sharing.

Here’s just a few song lyrics that resonate with me right now, today. Monday.

“We can never know about the days to come, but we think of them anyway”-Anticipation by Carly Simon.

Honestly, I probably do this too much.

“Some people are just meant to be a memory, to be called upon to remind us how we’ve changed”-Coming Back to a Man by Dawes

Sad, but true. Relationships we have throughout our lives provide some good lessons. 

“We are the lucky ones, some people never get to do all we got to do”- Now and Forever by Carole King

How I feel about my marriage to Hubs. We most definitely are the lucky ones. 

“If it makes you happy, it can’t be that bad, if it makes you happy, why the hell are you so sad?”-If It Makes You Happy, by Sheryl Crow

Good question. The answer often alludes me.

“You can build a mansion, you just can’t live in it. You’re the fastest runner but you’re not allowed to win. Some break the rules, and let you cut the cost. The insecurity is the thing that won’t get lost”-No one is to Blame, by Howard Jones

My way of expressing the frustration I have with myself as a writer. 

“When the road gets dark and you can no longer see, Just let my love throw a spark and have a little faith in me”-Have a Little Faith in Me, by John Hiatt

My way of saying, stick with me people. I am part hot mess and part optimist. But my determination to be light in the darkness will never wane.

“Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow, don’t stop, it’ll soon be here. It’ll be here, better than before. Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone”-Don’t Stop, by Fleetwood Mac.

I’d love to add the line “and don’t forget about today” but I’ve no clue where it would go. Guess I just think while it’s important to put some focus on tomorrow, the future that holds so much promise, not living in the present prevents you from finding peace in your soul. 

That said, I will leave you with this video. Because underneath the melancholy of today, I’m still an optimist.

Don’t Stop