Monday, August 22, 2016

It's My Lucky Day...Year IX

****It's the ninth time around for this post! Can you believe it? I don't know how I am going to top last year's concert to see Joan Jett, but I'm sure I will think of something. Maybe, a big bowl of mashed potatoes and some scratch-off lottery tickets will be just what I need. You can't go wrong with mashed potatoes and I just know that it is my destiny to find the winning one million dollar ticket. I am absolutely sure this is going to be my luckiest day ever!

****It's the eighth time around for this post! Can you believe it? What's really fun is that I am going to see Joan Jett & the Blackhearts at Harrah's Casino. I just know those slot machines will be spinning in my favor.

****It's the seventh 7! time around for this post. LUCKY NUMBER 7! This is it! This is the year I've been waiting for. Seven will be my lucky number. I think I'll buy a bunch of lottery tickets that all have the number seven on them. I just know that this will be my luckiest day ever.

****It's the sixth time around for this post. It's hard to believe I have been blogging for this long. I am absolutely positive that this is going to be my luckiest day ever. I sure have changed a lot in the last year. I'm not really a middle-aged fat woman any more. I'm still middle-aged but not nearly as big as I once was. (I'll wait while you tell me Congratulations!) Anyhow, I'll let you know how it all turns out.

****It's the fifth time around for this post. I'm incredibly excited about the whole month of August this year, not just my lucky day. Super things are happening for me right now so I just know this will be my luckiest day ever!

****It's the fourth time around for this post. I don't even remember what happened last year but I just know that today is my lucky day and the Pythagoreans believed that four was a perfect number. A perfect number for a perfect day!

****It's the third time around for this post. I just know that this will be the luckiest day of the year...Third time's a charm, right?

****This was what I posted last year on my lucky day. It didn't turn out as lucky as I would have wanted. So, I'm giving it another whirl. Maybe, better luck this year...year two!

Today, August 22, is the luckiest day of the year for me. If something exciting is supposed to happen, it usually happens on this day. I can't remember the specific events (okay, maybe I can, but a girl has to have some secrets) but I do know that it was on this date. I do remember that I got my wisdom teeth pulled on this date in 1989. I know that wasn't lucky but I did get to eat mashed potatoes for every meal for a few days. And luckily, my favorite food is mashed potatoes.

I think I am going to try my lucky numbers on the lottery this evening. The problem is that I have to pick five numbers and I only have two: Eight for August and twenty-two for the twenty-second. That means that I will only get two out of five numbers and you don't win anything with just two correct. But, since it is my lucky day, I might get the other three numbers as well. I'm a winner and I didn't even know it.

Now, what am I going to do with all that cash?

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

White Men Can’t Jump…A Cherry Fork Road Memory...One Hundred Days…77 Days In…

White Men Can’t Jump.

And apparently middle-aged fat women can’t either.

I used to be able jump higher than the tallest building or at least up to eight feet because that’s how tall the ceiling was in my childhood home growing up on Cherry Fork Road. We did a lot of jumping. I couldn’t pass through a doorway without jumping up and touching the door jamb on my way outside to play with the neighborhood kids.

On more than one occasion I can remember my father yelling after us as we skipped and jumped our way through the circular path that wound its way through the downstairs of our old farmhouse. “Stop running in the house! You’re going to knock something over!”

We never did knock anything over but we usually stopped running (for a while) because you never wanted to make Dad say “Don’t make me come after you,” because he would…and he could catch you because he was the fastest person, young or old in the neighborhood.

Unlike my sister who excelled at standing on her head and turning cartwheels (neither of which I ever mastered) running and jumping were my preferred activities on rainy days and sunny afternoons. It didn’t matter what time of year it was because living on a farm with a huge barn and a beautiful silver maple tree allowed many opportunities for this hyper kid to wear herself out.

In the fall the jumping moved out to the front yard and wasn’t how high we could jump but how high we could climb in the maple tree before safely jumping into the pile of leaves below. I never made it past the bottom most branch because I was never tall enough or if I did happen to reach it on one of my jumps, I wasn’t able to pull myself up. I used to jump off the high side of the tree where a big root jutted up (I’m sure it wasn’t nearly as much fun as jumping from the tree, but I never injured myself either, unlike our neighbor’s cousin, John John, who fell out of the tree and broke his arm. A branch might have broken; I can’t remember for sure.).

Another thing we liked to do as kids was jump from bridges. Why? I have no idea. We jumped from the bridge down by the creek at my house. We jumped off the swinging bridge down in Wamsley, Ohio, population 50, (most of whom are my family and are buried in the cemetery there) that hung across Scioto Brush Creek and as an adult looking back on this feat (because Brush Creek should be called a river) either we were kids and didn’t know what fear was or we were just batshit crazy. (Either way, I’d probably pass out if I even contemplated doing something like that as an adult.) Plus, now I’m afraid of heights and I certainly won’t be climbing anything just to jump off of it.

And we thought about jumping off another swinging bridge when we were in high school but decided we’d just rather party there instead (Although, but I can’t be sure, there might have been some jumping on senior skip day or maybe it was semi-skinny dipping. Age has a way of making things a bit fuzzy).

Also, in the fall basketball practice started and the running and jumping lasted for six months without a break. The goal from the moment I started jumping in the living room was to touch the ceiling. The goal (besides making the team) when I played basketball was to always touch the bottom of the backboard. Eventually, I did touch the ceiling in the living room and the goal after that was to palm the ceiling. In basketball, I gradually worked my way up to getting a running start to touch the bottom of the net and by the end of my senior year I could do a flat-footed jump from directly under the net and touch it. But no matter how hard I tried, I could never touch the bottom of the backboard.

Until one day in my freshman year of college. It was fall and I found myself missing out on my favorite sport so I walked on the team at Wilmington College. During our conditioning program, we lifted weights and it was the first time I had done any serious weightlifting. My leg muscles became more than just thunder thighs, they started to resemble tree trunks (not really, but they were big). One day at practice, or maybe after practice, I can’t remember, some of us started seeing how high we could jump.

“I’ve never been able to touch the backboard,” I said nonchalantly. Looks of disbelief were tossed around like one of the towels we used to wipe our brows off with—I should have let it go, but didn’t. “Nope, I sure haven’t.”

Coach walked over.

“What are you guys talking about?” she asked. One of the players filled her in and the next thing we knew we were all lined up. “Okay,” she said. “You know the rules: everything we do as a team and unless you’re under 5’5”, which none of you are, everyone has to run and touch the backboard. And we’ll keep running until you do. I’ve got all night.”

I’ve never been a big fan of the philosophy: you fail, we all fail. I know there is no I in team, but I had a lot of junk in my trunk even back then, so why punish the whole team because my feet were firmly planted in the ground. After the third time of failing to reach the backboard and the third suicide sprint up and down the court we called a “players only meeting” and met on the opposite end of the court.

We whispered amongst ourselves for a few seconds, mainly catching our breath before the shrill of the whistle sounded again. “Okay ladies, let’s try this again.”

Coach blew the whistle again, but instead of us lining up to wait our turn to jump and touch the backboard, we all ran underneath the rim and the whole team lifted me up. I smacked the backboard as hard as I could several times and the coach looked like she was going to choke on that whistle.
“I did it,” I said, “with the help of my teammates.”

Coach was silent for a moment. “All right,” she said, “that’s enough for now. But I want you to be able to touch it by yourself by the end of the season.” I transferred schools at the end of that fall quarter so I didn't have to worry any longer about the threat of running sprints until I puked. I never did touch the backboard on my own.

What started this trip down memory lane was my (very unsuccessful) attempt to jump up and grab a branch that was hanging over my car. I tried to jump three times and I swear the only thing on me that moved in an upward direction were my rolls of fat. I don’t even think my feet left the ground. Friend laughed so hard at me that she fell off the porch (It was funny!).

 I’m a bit leery of the foliage growing around my car and had a rather large branch fall on top of it several weeks ago. Those limbs were removed but more trimming is needed, but no one can agree on who owns the property where the trees are located, so until they figure it out, I’ll be parking in the front yard.

Or on second thought, I’ll park underneath the basketball hoop—if I stand on top of my car, I might just be able to touch the backboard. (Just don’t ask me to jump up…or down….)

And if you are keeping up with my one hundred days of writing this summer, I am happy to say that as of this writing which is day 77, I have added 77,000 words to my various projects. Only 23 days (and yes, I am counting) to go.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Friend's Birthday...Year VIII

Birthday wishes go out to the Friend that I mention in my posts. Friend has experienced several of the MA Fat Woman's mishaps and can always be counted on for a good laugh, a no nonsense quote, or a story that will upstage mine every time.

Which reminds me of a story about Friend. Friend had a big time job and several underlings at her disposal for years. When birthdays and holidays floated around they always celebrated big. Everyone got cakes, presents, and usually taken out to dinner or the such. Well, Friend was really excited when it was time to celebrate her birthday. She had heard them planning and plotting the details of the party and was very excited.

It didn't turn out that way. It seems the person that had done the planning had an emergency and all of the plans fell through. On the day of the birthday, there was nothing.

No dinner!

No presents!

And no cake!

Somebody realized what had happened and ran to Walmart to get an emergency cake. The day was a Friday and the office was scarcely staffed. After about 3 or 4 people sang Happy Birthday, each grabbed a slice of cake and scattered back to their respective offices.

When it was time to go home that evening Friend went into the break room to get the cake to take home... wasn't there!

"Where's the cake?" she asked.

"Oh, so-and-so took it with her. She said nobody had chipped in, so she was taking it home!"

I know! Stuff like that happens all the time to her.

Happy Birthday, Friend!

I hope you get a cake that is all yours...

Monday, August 1, 2016

Twenty-Four Years

Reflections, longevity, a time to look back
Back to a time of innocence where we held the world in our hands
And our hopes from the heart
Sprang forth like a rushing mountain stream

Many others have come and gone
While it has remained to carry on
A short time to some
A life time as one

Laughter, a blessing, never without
Stories retold, was there ever a doubt
That kindness and honor from those before
Would carry to the young, no matter how poor

One always steady, another pursuing the dream
Stumbles within darkness
For we are that team

First to join was the littlest thing
Spitfire, vocal, oh how it sang
Sadly, the loss affecting their will
First love, first lost, it lingers still

A day to remember just before the cold
The black, the white, a sight to behold
The calmness, the gentle of one so small
Enduring the stick that affects us all

Walks to the green
Rides through the mist
Settlement is there
By the first, still quite the pair

More time together
Looking for the one
The only dream
Yet, it's still undone

Golden and white
So strong is their bond
Transferring to it
To now and beyond

More time to see
Being lost in the blue
The uniqueness, the beauty
That is totally you

Words have been written
All thoughts back to you
Pursuing the dream
With our future in view

Twenty-four years is
Twenty-four years are
Twenty-four years were
Twenty-four years…Done

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Kite Flying By The Ocean...Part Two

“I’m going to have the dinner. I might have the platter tomorrow.” The three of us headed out in my sister’s van and ended up at the Flying Fish—a great place where the food matched the d├ęcor. As you can tell from the photo, I caught more than just the shrimp for my dinner.

And the crabs were tasty, too.

The restaurant was one of those places that I’ve always wanted to eat at but was always past it before I remembered that I wanted to stop there. And I’m just like my mother in the fact that if I pass something I don’t like to turn around and go back. There’s always the next place up the road, Mom says. But again, my timing was right and we were stopped at the traffic light directly in front of the Flying Fish and my brain was like “Hey, didn’t you want to stop there?”, so we did. The food was excellent. The drinks were overflowing and the service was exceptional—it’s hard to get all three of those at the same time and when you do the best thing you can do is tip well (We did.).

After lunch we headed back to the beach house to spend a few hours hanging out on the screened porch. I have a rather light complexion and after my early years of being fried to a crisp without the benefit of sun screen, I have decided in my later years to avoid the sun whenever possible. This year, I have done a really good job of that except for the one early evening I decided to go for a walk on the beach. I should have known better (really, I should have) but I took my sandals off at the end of the boardwalk that leads down to the ocean and stepped on the sand and starting walking. I hadn’t gone more than a few steps when my feet started burning and I was jumping up and down on either foot trying to escape the scorched sand but it was too late—the damage was done. I hadn’t sunburned any part of my body, but instead sand-burned the bottoms of my feet. (I should have known better.) 

Unfortunately, my timing wasn’t good on this occasion because I ended up with burn blisters on both of my feet or maybe the timing was good enough that the burns weren’t more severe. As a person that has had diabetes and taken insulin injections for nearly 20 years, there are two things I am fanatical about: my eyes and my feet. Diabetes can lead to complications over time and I do my best to wear eye protection when needed and I always wear socks around the house. Mom just gave me the over-the-glasses-look and shook her head. “You should have known better than that,” she said. (You’re right!) The scorching of my feet actually took place two days before my perfect timing day and I stayed off my feet the next day.

Later in the evening after I saw the sunrise and dolphins all of us decided to take a walk on the beach (with my shoes on) and watch the sunset. It was windy and we were almost out the door when I remembered I had picked up four kites for two bucks each at Walmart back home. We grabbed the kites and were really disappointed when we took them out of the package. The front of the kites was no bigger than a large paper plate but had over 20-feet long tails so we didn’t know how they would fly. Once we lifted them up into the air the wind took hold of them and for the next 90 minutes a handful of people on the beach had the time of their lives flying kites over the ocean. I’ve been told to go fly a kite on occasion but I never did (ha ha) but as best as I can remember it’s been at least 30 years since I have actually flown a kite. For mom, who kept saying no, she didn’t want to, once she took hold of the string, it was like she was transported back 60 or more years to her own childhood when she flew kites with her own brothers and sisters.

And what about the small kites we were using? They turned out to be just the perfect size for the wind we had and I can honestly say it was the best eight (4 kites x $2) bucks I’ve spent in recent memory. It was another of those timing issues. I hadn’t intended to go to Walmart that day and I certainly hadn’t intended to look for toys but something wanted me to get those kites and I really am glad I did.

You may not think so but everything that happened on this day was about being in the right place at the right time. My week at the beach has been almost perfect (except for the blistered feet) and maybe my friend was right: the ocean is a healing place. I know I certainly feel better.

Here’s my advice to you: If you feel like you need to unwind, relax, rejuvenate or just spend some time with your thoughts take yourself to the beach.

And this is the most important thing to remember: Look up from your screen, or better yet, leave it behind and remember to wear your shoes.

On another note, if you are keeping track of my summer of writing, this is the 60th day in my one hundred days of writing and I have added 60K words to my various projects. And there are only 40 days to go.

(Not that I’m keeping track or anything.)

Friday, July 29, 2016

Kite Flying By The Ocean...Part I

I’ve been at the beach for the past week enjoying time with my family on our annual summer vacation. We alternate beaches and have visited the Outer Banks of North Carolina, the Gulf Coast of Florida, and of course, the beaches on the Georgia Coast. We tend to favor the Georgia beaches more because it is the halfway point for my sister and her family when they travel south. We’ve really enjoyed visiting the Outer Banks over the years but we like to go in September when it isn’t so hot but with a house full of teenagers who are already in school by that time timing has become an issue.

This year our destination was Tybee Island which is located about 20 miles from Savannah. For whatever reason, I have been lucky enough to visit the ocean three times in the last four months and as one of my friends, Gail remarked, “The ocean is a healing place.”

My response was a usual quip, “I must need it,”  but her words got me thinking about my attitude when I am going, I’m there, or after I have returned from a visit to the ocean. I am different. Other than being hot and sweaty in all the wrong places and trying to make a decision on whether I will have the fried shrimp dinner or the fried shrimp platter at the restaurants we visit no other decisions are required of me. I’m fairly easy-going by nature and the moods around the ocean enhance that trait. It could be just the fact that I am on vacation that mellows me out but some of the last few trips that Mom and I have made—up the East Coast last year, a bus trip to the Grand Canyon and a boat ride down the Danube in Germany in December left little time for relaxation.  It was go, go go or you’ll miss the boat (which I almost did in Germany when I went hunting for spicy mustard up the street and  I spent too much time in the souvenir shop in NYC when visiting the Statue of Liberty), I don’t have to worry about that when I’m at the beach. If I miss something, I can always catch it the next day because the waves are always rolling and crashing in, right?

Maybe not?

Some days, life is about timing and every once in a while, my timing is right. Yesterday, I had one of those days that when I look back on it in the future I’ll wonder how I was lucky to have such a perfect day. It started, ironically enough, by my inability to sleep and as I saw the first rays of morning creeping through the window I thought of the sunset that I’d yet to witness on this trip. I only gave it a thought because I rolled over, put the pillow back over my head and tried to go back to sleep. It didn’t work, because nature called and then I was up for good. It was 6:15 and I thought sunrise was at 6:25 so I threw on my clothes from the night before, and took my spectacular crown of bed head and my unwashed self to the beach which was probably only about 300 yards away.

Only a handful of souls were walking the beach at that time of day and none were within a hundred yards of me. I had my phone with me ready to document the birth of the sun on this morning and I waited. And I waited. And I waited some more. The sun didn’t come up when it was supposed to and I waited a few more minutes snapping a few photos of the morning tide and finally concluded that it was too cloudy for the sun to be seen. I had my back to the ocean and snapping one last selfie when a flash of brightness reflected off my screen and momentarily blinded me. I turned around and there it was: the sun. I checked the time and it was 6:45—either it was late or I’d gotten the time wrong. It didn’t matter because the timing was right and even though I was being so preoccupied like everyone else these days by having my face buried in a screen I was somehow lucky enough to view a brilliant sunrise.

I spent the next few minutes walking along the shore and had a few pictures of the sunset that I thought I would share on my Facebook page for others to enjoy. Again, my face was buried in my screen and I was startled when a wave nearly overtook me and I scurried a few steps back. I’d almost walked straight into the water because I was worrying about something other than what was right in front of me and when I looked up and out at the ocean I was delighted to see a group of dolphins swimming parallel along the beach. Again, even though it almost swept me out to sea, something wanted me to see those dolphins and the timing was just right.

Later, after I returned to the beach house and went back to bed, I was surprised to wake up and find out it was after noon but Mom summed it up perfectly: “You’ve seen the sun come up, a pod of dolphins, had your breakfast and your daily nap all taken care of by noon—that’s a great day. Now, you’ve got the rest of the day to explore, read, or do nothing, but first, it’s time for lunch. Are you going to have the platter or the dinner?”

Check back for part two tomorrow….

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

One Hundred Days...50 Days In

One Hundred Days…50 Days In

Half-full? Half-empty? Are you an optimist or a pessimist? I like to think I’m a little bit of both but for the last week I’ve definitely been on the half-empty side of things. Maybe it’s the current political climate that our great country has found itself in where “Black Lives Matter” and “Blue Lives Matter” and “Muslims Don’t Matter” dominate the nightly news. One report I saw had a protestor with a sign that read “No Lives Matter” and with the random killings that occur not only in the United States but in France and Turkey it makes you stop and ask yourself: Does my life matter?

I’d like to think that it does.

The next question you might ask yourself is What can I do to change things? Can I make a donation of money, time or blood? Can I wave a sign in a protest march? Can I post my political views on Twitter? What about Facebook?

Facebook has become more than just a way to keep up with old friends and their crummy vacations. It’s become the go-to choice for many of those old friends to rant about this politician or that politician, but I wonder if all of that effort does anything more than confirm to your non-aligned friends that you really are as crazy as they remember. How could you possibly support that person?

But now the half-full side of me is going to present this statement for you to think about: Isn’t that what makes our country great? Hasn’t America always been a melting pot of ideas and cultures where everyone has the ability to contribute something and express themselves? In the America that I live in that’s been the case, but some would make you think that America isn’t great.

What’s incredible about being a melting pot of ideas is that most of us are contributing whether you know it or not? Every time you show kindness or offer assistance to someone you are a contributor in the larger scheme of things. An example: Holding the door open for someone. A simple process, yes, but let’s open the scenario a bit wider. You're a Democrat. They’re a Republican. They’re Christian. You’re Muslim. They’re a Redneck. You’re from the Upper East Side. I can’t speak to every occasion because no one can but if someone is struggling to open a door because their hands are full with groceries or trying to get a walker or wheelchair through isn’t it your first response if you’re able and close enough to give a helping hand?

I’m right, aren’t I? You would help, wouldn’t you? And your first instinct wouldn't be to ask what their political affiliation was either.

Of course, there is always someone out there that wouldn’t open the door for their own parent, spouse or child. The hatred is planted so deep that the roots are cemented to their very soul and those people are the ones that hide behind the anonymous label on social media. Their mantra is “I can say or do whatever I want to and you’ll never know it was me.” But I wonder if perhaps they have already been caught—by their own conscience. Do the haters ever give pause before they hit the send button? Are they ever kept awake by a comment they posted on Twitter or ashamed of a shared post on Facebook that served no purpose than to cause harm to someone else?

I’d like to think so because I am an optimist and I try to see the bright side of things. As we continue on in this election season and beyond if there is anything you take away from this essay it’s this: America is a great country, so do what you can to help out and if you ever find your hands full, just look for me or anyone else, we’ll go out of our way to hold the door open for you.

It’s America. That’s what we do.

Lastly, this past week has been the toughest in my writing journey thus far. I haven't wanted to write anything, especially in the books I'm working on because I'm describing something that doesn't exist. It is a fantasy novel and I'm making it up as I go along. And when I get too involved and wrapped up with what's happening on my social media pages my imagination likes to take a sick day or even worse: a two-week vacation so when I do sit down at the computer I spend the first 15 minutes typing my name so I'll remember who I am and what I'm trying to accomplish before I can actually begin to write.

It's working too, because I've learned to turn off the social media and I've added 50,000 words to my various projects and there are only 50 days to go.

Or maybe I should say I've completed 50 days and I'm halfway there.

In this case, both works!

One hundred thousand words in one hundred days is how I am spending my summer. There's still time to join in on the fun.

Keep writing.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin