Blog Challenge And Other Tidbits
|A very challenging challenge!|
PROMPT January 22nd
Your bags are packed. You have unlimited funds and resources to travel anywhere you want. Where do you go, who do you bring with you, and why?
So now you've gone and opened up a can of worms! Thanks a LOT! I've had such a bad case of wanderlust lately it isn't funny. I keep bugging my husband to please, please, please book some tickets somewhere. I really don't care where. Just somewhere. I absolutely MUST get out of Rocklin, California. And he just keeps telling me he's not sure where we should go. Are you kidding me? Just pick a place! But that's not him. He'll ruminate on this for quite some time and then one day he'll finally make up his mind. But that could take weeks, months, even a year! Oh man! I may just have to book something without him. I've just got to get out of here!
Now that I've made THAT opinion known, I will have to say that I'm the kind of person that can pack a bag and be ready to go in a half hour. Just give me the word and I'll happily throw together everything I need for a trip away from home. I've always been like that. My father was like that too, and maybe that's where I get it from. My dad would just announce one day...or night...that it was time to go. That's it. "Everyone get in the car. It's time to go!" That's all he had to say. Day or night. And we'd all pile in and take off. Most of the time we had no idea where we were headed, but that was okay. We always wound up someplace nice.
Who was it that said, "If you don't know where you're going, you'll wind up someplace else"...??? Oh! I know, Yogi Berra! He was right, and he was also wrong. That's because we always wound up somewhere and it was always just the right place.
And just so you know, my heart belongs to France. No, I'm not French, but I love France and everything French. It's my go-to place. If my spouse can't make up his mind, then it's off to France we go. Gosh, maybe we should think about branching out a little...you think?
By the way, my bag is packed...where are we going?
PROMPT January 21st
How much of your own life or the lives of people you know do you put into your writing? Do you mine your past for inspiration, or do you create wholly new places and characters?
Yesterday I chose to voice my opinion on the content of a person's character. And I mentioned that it's time we paid more attention to that. So I guess it's only apropos that we're writing about characters today!
I do a lot of people watching so I pull character traits form there. For me it's a lot fun just to sit at the mall and watch people as they go about their day. I try to figure out what they're up to and where they came from and what they're about to buy...or steal...I ask myself a lot of "what if" questions about people at the mall. If I let my imagination loose then I can usually come up with some interesting traits. I can usually find a victim, a villain, a hero, and a guide. But the mall isn't the only place!
I like to write murder mysteries. No, I am not a murderer, and I am definitely NOT planning to murder anyone. But I do love a good mystery and in every good murder mystery someone gets killed. So that means my no good, nasty villains need to know how to get the job done. In order to help them out I watch a lot of crime shows! I'm always looking for a new way to kill someone, and what better place than those cheesy poorly-produced crime shows. Well...I guess there's always prison, but who wants to go there? So crime shows it is! I love People Investigates and Dateline. I also like Father Brown and Shakespeare and Hathaway. They're all completely different, but they all give me some good ideas.
Of course I can always turn to family and friends and all the people in my life, but for me it's just more fun to spend time at the mall or in front of the TV with a big bowl of popcorn. Here's to all the villains out there!
PROMPT January 20th
Today is a national holiday is the US: Dr Martin Luther King Jr Day. Dr King believed that fear was the ultimate cause of hatred, prejudice, and violence. Do you agree or disagree with his assessment? Give examples.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had a message, and it's one that definitely shook the world and shaped the character of our nation and the nations of all people around the world. It's not only a message of hope, but one of faith. And yes, it's predicated on fear.
But it's also predicated on something else. If we take a step back and put fear aside we can also see that Dr. King's message gave us a way to overcome this fear. Everyone knows that famous line, "I have a dream...", but people forget what came next. The line is really, "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." It's worth repeating - The Content of Their Character. I believe it's about time we all focus on the content of our character.
Dr. King was filled with the hope that we could judge our own character and see ourselves not as separate, but as one. His hope was that we could find a way to put aside our differences, especially race, creed, and color, and stand together as ONE. He hoped each of us would rise above fear and see only the good. Through our actions and our words he hoped we could stand and be seen as someone whose conduct is becoming of utmost Christian Character.
And let's not forget faith. He had absolute faith we could do this. And he wasn't afraid to say so. He had absolute faith that his words were important to our people, and they needed to be said. He didn't cower. He didn't back down. He didn't hide. He knew it was faith that took him to the Lincoln Memorial that day in August, 1963. He knew people would listen. He knew they NEEDED to hear.
And so I believe fear does, in fact, spark the fires of hatred, prejudice, and violence. But I also believe that character is what allows us to overcome fear and stand together as ONE. And we could use a little more of that in our world today.
PROMPT January 19th
Write about something ordinary that brought you unexpected joy.
There are a lot of things that bring me joy, both expected and unexpected. And I try my best to relish each one. Sometimes I do a great job at that, and like everyone else on the planet, sometimes I don't. My hope is that I actually relish 90% of whatever presents itself as joy.
So today's prompt is a good reminder to "stop and smell the roses". And yes, for me, this old cliche speaks volumes. It just seems like I get busy, get moving too fast, and rush, rush, rush, through my day. And because of that I don't always stop to recognize, appreciate, and give thanks for what's in my life. Definitely something I should work on.
But as I sat reflecting on this prompt I had a message from a good friend about our plan to go to the movies tomorrow. She woke up with a cold and had to cancel. So...no movie for me. But I also realized something. Last year for Christmas my husband bought me a subscription to the Cinemark Movie Club. It's a small monthly fee and I get one ticket per month. And the tickets roll over if I don't use them. I also have the option to buy extra tickets at a deeply discounted price. The best part is that all the concessions are discounted. Of course this is wonderful for me because I'm such a popcorn-face to begin with. One of my favorite things on the planet is movie theater popcorn.
This little gift has brought me so much joy! I can go off to a movie whenever I want. I can get the best seats for the matinee price. I can get the giant bag of popcorn for the price of a mini. I can buy tickets in advance and even get a refund if things don't work out.
My favorite part? If I need time to myself or I feel like I need a break from work then I can sneak off to the movies. I've been known to arrive at the theater and buy a ticket for whatever is playing.
You can probably tell I enjoy the movies. Actually I love the movies. And I think one of the best surprises I've ever had was a little subscription to the movie club. I keep telling my husband it was truly one of the best things he's every given me. Now I just hope Hollywood keeps making great movies. And movie theater popcorn never goes away.
PROMPT January 18th
It’s Show and Tell Day here at the 30DBC! Think of an item that is special to you (it may help if you are able to see your chosen item while you write your entry). Describe it in as much detail as possible. Then, tell us its story. How did it come to be in your life and what makes it important to you?
I try very hard not to get attached to material things, but sometimes I do, and it makes me feel like a pack-rat. Something reminds me of a special person or a special place or even a fond memory. All of a sudden I find I cannot let it go. But there HAVE been times recently that I've been able to let THINGS go, and I've been able to pass them on, knowing that they will be well-loved by the next person.
BUT...there are those few things that will remain with me my entire life. One of those things is a tatty old rag of a sweater. It's a soft blue and white sherpa fleece with a big collar and 5 big silver buttons with daisies on them. There's a flower embroidered on the front with red silk thread.The sleeves have a little cuff to roll up. It's warm and comforting. And here's the crazy part: it makes me feel safe.
When it was brand new 20 years ago it was actually beautiful. But now...only one button remains and the fleece is worn and faded. The thing really is a rag, but I can't let it go. And that's because...it was my mom's favorite...and that silly rag of a sweater is the closest I can get to her. She's been gone just over 15 years and I still long for her everyday. Her smile. Her beauty. Her laugh. Her advice. Here friendship. Her unconditional love. And the sweater provides that. Fond memories of her, both melancholy and bittersweet.
I used to cry a lot when I wore that sweater. And yes, I still cry some. But I also smile. And that's because I remember all that we had. I feel warm and comfortable. But most of all, I feel safe.
|PROMPT January 17th
Use the following words in your entry today: tumultuous, navigate, journey, and gargantuan.
Have you ever had that one friend that makes you wonder why the heck you're even friends? You know. The one you love dearly. The one you want to see succeed. The one you hope experiences only the best in life. And no matter how you try to love them and encourage them and support them, they still suck the life right out of you?
Yeah, you know what I'm talking about.
I've got one of those friends. She's a smart, witty, loving individual. But her life is a constant and tumultuous battle with everything throughout the day. Someone has wronged her in some way, shape, or form. Someone doesn't like her and she doesn't understand why. Someone's out to get her or make her look bad. Someone wants her job. Even when it isn't true!
For some reason her life journey is always on a path to sadness and grief. Instead of experiencing the happiness and joy of those around her and the joys that are apparent in her life she ruminates on the past and all the negative challenges and outcomes of her life.
She navigates life like a salmon. Always swimming upstream. Everything for her is so hard. And it doesn't have to be!
Her life can be so much more. She has so much to give. And honestly, people want to love her...but they can't. For them it's just too hard. If only she could see the gargantuan mistake she's making by approaching life from the side of lack instead of the side of abundance.
Sometimes I feel pity for her. Sometimes I'm just plain angry. But at the end of the day I love her as part of my family.
So I guess she'll remain that ONE friend who sucks the life out of me, even though I wish only the best for her.
You've got one of those, right?
PROMPT January 16th
What are you waiting for?
There are so many ways to answer this question, both light and heavy, so I look forward to reading where you go with it!
Waiting. It's a slow, easy word. Just saying it is slow. No rush. No motivation. No inspiration. Just a sedentary state of...really...nothing. Lazy? Lackadaisical? Careless? Maybe or maybe not. Just a quiet, still space something like limbo. It's not productive yet we all do it, and we do it all the time. Even though I'm usually the one who says, "Let's get this done," I'm also the one who says, "Just a minute. Let's wait just a bit." Hard to admit that I'm waiting. But if I'm honest with myself then I'm waiting ALL the time.
Waiting for the right time. Waiting for the right day. Waiting on someone else. Waiting for good weather. Waiting for bad weather. Waiting for a feeling to pass. Waiting on extra money. Waiting on all things bound by time and place and space.
I guess that makes me a waiter!
And if I were a waiter then I'd be waiting on tips. Waiting on the food. Waiting on the crazy people and the nice people and the mean people and the sad people, and everyone else. Waiting on my boss. Waiting on my paycheck. Wait, wait, wait. I guess that's what waiters do. They wait.
But glamorous as it may be, I don't want to be a waiter. Instead I want to be a doer. Get things done. Move forward. Even when it's scary.
I guess I didn't realize I was such a waiter. But I can change that. I'll have to put a new slogan on my wall: Less Waiting; More Doing.
|PROMPT January 15th
Write your entry today about commitment. Committing to an activity, craft, person, way of being, etc. Consider the concepts of diligence, honesty, and responsibility. What does commitment look like to you?
This day is running away from me! I literally feel like I'm chasing daylight! Not sure what happened. I was up and having coffee about a half hour later than usual. But that one half hour shouldn't have that much of an impact on the day. I even skipped my noon nap just so I could try to catch up. Yes, I am the queen of cat naps. I just set my internal clock for 10 minutes or 15 minutes and it's done. My husband has always marveled at that. After 36 years he still thinks I play some kind of trick.
Anyway back to the day. Even though I've been running behind all day, and even though I've got a migraine pounding a nail into my right eye I feel I need to pat myself on the back. I did actually stretch the little gray cells of my brain thinking about commitment. I went to physical therapy and for the entire hour that word "commitment" was top of mind. I even felt embarrassed because the therapist mentioned that I "seemed far away today". Well, I guess I was.
Like every other day I made a list of all the stuff that's important for me to tackle today. And I say "tackle" because of previously mentioned nail in my eye. I finally gave in and took some big drugs but now all I want to do is lay down with a soft pillow, a cool cloth on my head and a warm blanket all snuggled up in a dark, dark, dark room.
BUT I won't let that happen. At least not yet. Why, you ask? It's because I'm COMMITTED. I'm committed to writing a blog post every single day for this challenge (which I truly enjoy). I'm committed to organizing and preparing for the class I must teach later today. I'm committed to taking the dog out for a long walk before the sky opens up and rains. I'm committed to working through my physical therapy so my back feels better. I'm committed to cooking and preparing a healthy lunch and dinner in the hope I lose some weight. I'm committed to answering questions, answering email, and taking phone calls from clients and colleagues. Mostly, I'm committed to getting through this day!
My goal is to cross everything off my list, finish this day, and crawl in bed with a good book. And if the nail is still in my eye then there won't be any book; just a dark room with lots of quiet.
This whole rant really isn't what I envisioned for this blog post. But I think it gets the point across.
PROMPT January 14th
Write about a time when you made a wrong assumption. Did you realize your mistake right away, or did someone tell you later? What did you learn from your mistake?
When I first read this prompt I thought, "Well, sure, but I can't think of anything. Besides, I haven't had any coffee or tea yet." This thought is really code for, "Rats, I actually have to tax my brain and come up with something." Then I thought, "I know, I'll go get some breakfast and think about it." Also code for, "I've got absolutely no idea."
So off I went to the kitchen. Plunked some bread in the toaster. Pulled out the peanut butter (Skippy Super Chunk). Peeled a banana. Reached for a vitamin. I stopped everything and stared at the little pink pill in my hand. It was then my brain dug up a hideous memory. One that's not-so-funny and makes me twitch just thinking about it. But my brain also went, "Perfect!"
Twitchy or not, here goes...a little more than 10 years ago I was searching for a natural way to help me overcome the horrendous hot flashes I was experiencing. As I sat at my computer scouring the internet my husband leaned over my shoulder and had the gall to say, "Honestly, they can't be THAT bad." I looked at him with rage, smoke blowing from my ears, daggers shooting from my eyes, and retorted back, "Do you actually know what it's like to boil from the inside out!" My voice raised to a screech. He raised an eyebrow and took off, the scent of fear left behind.
Well, I eventually found Black Cohosh, a simple supplement that promised to help keep me from boiling. I knew it would take some time to work but I was faithful to my daily dose. And then one day I noticed that I wasn't having so many hot flashes. It was working! Finally I could smile again! And it worked the next month and the next month after that. It was truly a life saver for me.
But one day I ran out. I'm not sure why because I was so diligent about keeping it stocked. The important thing was that it worked and I found it necessary to drop everything I was doing so I could rush out to the store to get more. There was no way in hell that I would be left without my Black Cohosh.
Off to the store I went, but when I arrived I found...nothing on the shelf. There was not one bottle of Black Cohosh to be found. I nearly broke out in a sweat. But, aha, not to worry. The next shelf over was simply full of Blue Cohosh. Blue? Never heard of it. But cohosh is cohosh, right? They've got to be the same. So I settled for Blue Cohosh and ran home with a bottle or two, or three, or maybe even seven.
Along I went with my life. Blue Cohosh every single day. And no hot flashes, either. But...on day number 3 I noticed some small red bumps on my belly. And they were just a little itchy. I told myself it was nothing. Not to worry. Then on Day 4 there were more red bumps and this time they covered most of my torso. And they were really itchy. But not to worry, it was probably just an allergy. I remember I took a Claritin. However, by day 5 I was completely covered in red bumps that were so itchy I nearly cried.
My husband hauled me off to the allergist. He took one look at me and said, "What have you done?" I shrugged and replied, "Well, nothing, really. It just happened." He studied the bumps and I could tell he knew EXACTLY what I'd done. He looked me in the eye and said, "Okay, I know how you operate. What new supplement do you have?" I explained about the cohosh. His eyebrows raised. "Blue?" And then he said it again. "Blue?" Well, I was annoyed by that so I shot back, "Yes, blue. What's the difference?"
Well, he told me the difference all right. Turns out Blue Cohosh is related to Blueberry Root. And you guessed it. I'm very allergic to Blueberry Root. Very allergic. Did I mention how allergic I am to Blueberry Root? The allergist deemed it an emergency and told me he was surprised I hadn't already gone into anaphylactic shock. And instead of showing a little pity he looked at me as if I were the biggest idiot on the planet.
He ended up giving me a shot and some medicine that made me sleep for about 3 days. He also sent me home with instructions to never, ever, ingest Blue Cohosh again. I promised I wouldn't.
I'm happy to say, though, the hot flashes finally ended and there will never be any cohosh in my life again - either black or blue.
PROMPT January 13th
In your entry today, write about games! Board games, video games, card games, sports games, mind games, etc... Share a memorable story.
I love board games. And card games. And so does everyone else in my family. So, we are never bored and always have something to pass the time. We've played hundreds, or maybe even thousands, of board games and card games. Monopoly, Scrabble, Risk, Canasta, Rummy, Casino, and just about every other game out there.
I remember one summer I was staying with my sister. Her husband was in the Navy and was stationed at Coronado Island in California. They rented a little tiny house very near the beach. Oh my gosh, Coronado is beautiful and the weather is perfect most of the time.
Anyway, her husband was at sea and she stayed behind with their two little girls. Just a bit of background information here...my sister is 13 years older than me. She's number two child of six, and I'm number five child of six. So at this time she was a young navy wife and mother, and I was just finishing up high school.
My parents thought it would be a good idea for me to stay with her. Help take care of the girls. Help out when needed. Scope out the university. Things like that. They also thought it would be a good idea for my sister to enroll her two girls in day camp. Give them something to do during the summer. Give my sister a break. Give us time to scope out the university. See a theme here? It was mostly about the university.
So everything is set and my parents send me off to Coronado for a summer adventure.
Let me say right here that I love San Diego and I love Coronado and I love the beach and everything about the beach. So you would think I spent time at the beach. Right? Well...not exactly.
One foggy morning (yes, there's tons of fog in San Diego in the summer, although it burns off by noon) we dropped off the girls and made our way back to her little tiny house that was within walking distance of the beach. We donned swimsuits and grabbed towels but it was just too cold and too foggy. We had to wait for the sun to come out.
We sat looking at each other and then my sister asked if I like to play cards. Heck yeah! And then she asked if I knew how to play Canasta. Heck yeah! So she challenged me to a game. Just until the sun came out. Heck yeah!
So we played. She won a game. Then I won a game. Then she won again. And then I won again. And with each game we got more competitive. And then we were in an all out battle to see who would be the ultimate champion! Heck yeah! It was a ton of fun!
Time passed. And more time passed. And even more time passed. And then...it was time to go get the girls! We never made it to the beach! But we didn't care because we had so much fun.
And for that entire summer we never made it to the beach. We literally spent the entire summer playing Canasta. And even though I love the beach I have absolutely no regrets that I never made it to the beach. All because we waited for the sun to come out.