Five Minute Friday: LOVED

Five Minute Friday

Today’s Prompt: LOVED

I’ll be honest, readers. I am feeling disconnected from this prompt.

As any of us (all of us) writers know, however, writing is among the best of the methods of finding connection again.

It would be easier to write about things I love, but things I loved or times I personally felt loved seem elusive right now.

To tackle them one as a time, though.

I was reminded of something I loved today when I saw the modifications someone had made to New York City subway and mass transit stations to honor Aretha Franklin (especially to (appropriately enough) the Franklin Street station). I mentioned to someone on Instagram how that made the millionth (roughly) reason I love New York City so much.

It reminded me of the day after the Pulse Nightclub shooting, when all of a sudden rainbow hearts and memorial messages appeared on ad panels. Within 24 hours of a tragedy, a city I love (see, NYC will never be just “loved” — it will always be “love” applied all its artsiness and awareness to show solidarity to another city experiencing its own crisis).

Five Minute Friday

Times I felt loved …… I suppose a tangible way to point that out is this laptop I’m typing on. My son somehow tracked down a refurbished laptop with faster processing speeds and a blessedly large 17-inch screen for Mother’s Day. On his college freshman budget. When he surprised me with it, I felt loved.

*** end of 5 minutes ***

Love now, loved then, to love in the future. Thank you, writing (which I have always loved) for doing what you always do — getting me closer to my true self.

Five Minute Friday

 

Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many.

Five Minute Friday: WOMAN

Five Minute Friday

Today’s Prompt: WOMAN

There is a woman I don’t know out there who is getting her classroom ready for the 3rd graders she will start teaching Monday.

Because the school system doesn’t give teachers their classroom funding (such as it is) until school starts … and because it is her first year teaching, a mutual friend asked several of us to contribute books.

One of the books I am contributing is Glowstone Peak. The authors (Karin Hurt, David Dye and Sebastian Hurt) sent me this copy for review purposes. Once I am done reviewing it (soon!), I am going to pass it along to this woman for her classroom.

I read a brief excerpt in the video below:

I may not know this woman, but I know who the woman I have been for all the years my kids were in school (my son graduated in 2017, so I had a student in Leon County Schools from the time Tenley started kindergarten (2001) until Wayne Kevin graduated in 2017).

I may not know *this* woman starting to teach 3rd grade, but I know what it’s like being a woman who hopes her child is being encouraged, enriched, disciplined when needed, and allowed to enjoy a safe and fulfilling childhood.

Because I work at home in the early hours, I watch the bus go right past our yard, right past the spot where it used to pick my children up. Recently, I watched it make practice runs in advance of the beginning of the school year. I may not have literally teared up, but a little bit of my heart tugged every single time and it probably always will.

All those years, praying and hoping school would be a happy page in the books of my children’s lives.

That is why this woman (me) is giving that woman (the new teacher) books.

She is helping lots of minds, full of potential, write their own stories. I hope Glowstone Peak and the other books will encourage her as she starts her first year as a teacher of other women’s (and men’s) children.

Five Minute Friday

 

Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many.

Five Minute Friday: ANNIVERSARY

Five Minute Friday

Today’s Prompt: ANNIVERSARY

Trash talk.

That’s what my husband wants for our 26th anniversary on August 8.

Perhaps I should explain.

Our trash is usually picked up on Tuesday mornings.

This past Tuesday, I was working in the other side of the house. It’s odd enough for me to have him home during the day (this is probably a hint for how a retirement could go, although I don’t have much faith that we’re ever going to be able to stop working at the rate things are going….). I like the house to be perfectly quiet while I work, because it takes concentration and has strict deadlines. He was home to take care of a few tasks.

BUT … I hear him: “Hm, that’s weird.” And he’s clearly perplexed.

He comes to talk to me: “I know you’re on deadline but did you perhaps forget to pay the trash bill?”

This is a perennial issue in our home (because it happened once before). I think we have auto pay. It turns out either we don’t or some complication happened because I didn’t give them the new number when our debit card was re-issued after being compromised, or something.

I put off the resolution until my deadline was over.

When I had time, I called WastePro. I emailed WastePro. Nothing.

I finally did reach them the next day.

(Full disclosure: I did have one paper bill that I received a while back, but I disregarded it because of the auto pay I apparently didn’t have….)

Customer Service: “Okay, pay [amount] and we’ll get you set back up.”

I give them my routing #, etc., to pay.

She comes back on the line: “Oh December’s payment didn’t go through either.”

Another round of routing and account number. Rinse and repeat.

***end of five minutes***

The WastePro rep said we would have our bins back in 3 business days. Yay.

Meanwhile, Wayne and I were discussing dinner plans last night. He wanted a plain ham and cheese sandwich from Publix. BUT he wanted me to check our mustards at home to make sure there was one that had not expired. He planned to heat his sandwich at home so didn’t want Publix to put condiments on there.

I arrive home with his sandwich.

When he finally goes to heat it up: “What was the mustard situation?”

via GIPHY

Yes, I had forgotten to check the mustards (turns out we had one that was fine, by the way).

Two strikes.

When the trash can situation occurred, he was more amused than I was.

“You should blog about this,” he urged.

“Not in the mood,” I said. “Why don’t you do a guest post about it if you find it so funny?”

I guess one thing about being married (almost) 26 years is that you learn there are times your spouse just wants you to acknowledge that you heard them and gave their idea consideration.

Well here you go, Wayne, a little anniversary trash talk.

(This is the text I sent him with the good news that our trash bins had been returned to their rightful place at our curb.)

Five Minute Friday

 

Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many.

Five Minute Friday: THIRTEEN

Five Minute Friday

Today’s prompt: THIRTEEN

I have never seen a yoga mat like the one my teacher used Saturday at community outdoor yoga. (I’ve been doing yoga for nine years, so I’ve seen my share of mats.)

It was round rather than rectangular. It was similar to the one pictured below (and I think this is the brand too).

Source: Mandala Yoga Mat

For the record, she was also wearing a top over her yoga gear that was like a sheer overlay thing — it was ethereal and flowy — and I heard her telling someone that when it is uncinched, it is square. How odd, because it seemed to have no edges except the hem.

The mat fascinated me, though. When I talked to her (Rachel) afterwards, she said it is good for teaching, because when you are teaching yoga, you need to take many different positions and angles, and the round mat enables you to do that while also being protected from the floor.

It seemed like the kind of thing that would give a yogi thirteen options — so many more than a rectangular mat.

With a rectangular mat, if your arms or legs go too far afield from your core, there is no safety. Not that a cork floor in a yoga studio or the grass at outdoor yoga (or faux grass as it were where I have been going this month) is dangerous exactly, but it is a change, sometimes an unexpected one (and sometimes you collide with your neighbor.

It got me thinking that sometimes, in order to teach others, we need to ensure we have a solid cushion underneath us, emotionally or physically, that helps is feel empowered to share without hesitation.

What is something you need to share with someone else? How can you build the protective space you need to feel prepared to do so?

Five Minute Friday

Welcome to this week’s Five Minute Friday. Our instructions, via creator Kate Motaung: “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.” (But I can’t resist spell checking, as you can imagine.)

 

Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many.

Five Minute Friday: WAY

Five Minute Friday

Today’s prompt: WAY

My mom loved her acrylic nails. I think it was about 15 years ago that she started getting them done. After that, she was fastidious about getting them done regularly. As my dad tells the story, she would cut his hair, then he would pay her $15 (or whatever) and she would use that to get her nails done. Sounds like an arrangement that worked well for them.

Mom was not a flashy person at all, but having her nails in great shape was a way, I think, to feel just a little more polished (pun intended!). As a side note, she had a pet peeve about people who always looked completely put together (imagine her voice here) “except they had a quarter inch of slip showing out of a piece of hem” or “their hair was never quite in place” or …. some little thing that kept the image from being perfect (and I wonder where I get my pickiness about words from …. maybe it’s an offshoot of that).

The nails were a problematic barrier during her two months in the hospital. It was hard to get a good oxygen reading. I saw them use a pulse oximeter on her ear one time when they were having trouble getting a reading (that didn’t work out that great either…). Yet they stayed. I guess none of us could figure out how to go through the rigmarole of getting them off there in the hospital. I think we also all thought that her recovery was imminent and she would be able to take care of it.

For her funeral …

*** [end of five minutes]

… I tried to replicate exactly the color she had had over those months. Almost everyone who visited her in the hospital had complimented her on her nails. My dad kept saying, “they didn’t expect someone that old to have such great nails.”

Her hands were a mess after she passed away.  I remember talking to Kaleb at the funeral home about them …. and I think the point was they were too bruised from all the procedures to look right, so they were concealed.

I vowed to always keep my nails done as long as I could afford it in tribute to her (and as a bit of self care).

The time has come, until we get this house sold and some other things fall into place, to hold off.

BUT there is another way. As my income situation keeps coming together, I am also picking up transcription work during spare moments. It may not pay for a professional manicure, but it’ll pay for a bottle of polish.

I’m pretty determined (so was my mom, about many things), so I’ve found a way (for now) to honor her my doing my nails without further breaking the bank. I think I know what I’ll be thinking about as they dry.

Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday

Welcome to this week’s Five Minute Friday. Our instructions, via creator Kate Motaung: “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.” (But I can’t resist spell checking, as you can imagine.)

 

Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many.

Five Minute Friday: DONE

Today’s prompt: DONE

Although I am not able to run right now, my social world is still FULL of runners and triathletes. These are relationships built over years … of Thursday night trail runs, Tuesday night intervals, and countless Saturdays toeing the line at races (then relaxing together afterward.

Something that comes along with hanging out with athletes in real life and online is all the motivational sayings.

Here’s this week’s: CAN’T STOP WON’T STOP #CSWS

In all honesty, #CSWS isn’t one of my favorites among the flood of motivational hashtags I see and hear over a week.

Before I get off the whiny horse, I had to stop so I did stop (running). #HTSDS doesn’t have the same ring as #CSWS.

But I know it isn’t to be taken literally, and it basically means “do what you love — break down ALL the barriers — keep going because stopping isn’t an option — and hold each other accountable to that.

#CSWS is the hashtag our community has used to support our friend Ron Nieto, who went to hospice Tuesday. He has had cancer for several years.

Now that he has been moved to hospice, he and his family are so much on my mind. It hasn’t been that long (a year) since we were a hospice family, first for several months at our home and then for the last week of my father-in-law’s life.

I didn’t know Ron well, and I had just started socializing with him a bit due to our mutual involvement in Team Red White and Blue right around the time he got diagnosed. I remember chatting with him following one of the amazing Gate to Gate runs at Eglin Air Force Base.

** end of five minutes **

But then life got in the way and we didn’t see each other that often (except on Facebook).

One day not all that long ago he posted “just come see me. I don’t need anything, just company.” (This is a paraphrase.) I wish I had made a point of visiting, even if we don’t know each other that well (how often do people actually ask for things specifically enough that we can know we are doing what they want?).

He also went out of his way to thank people for supporting him. After several friends participated in the Ride for Hope bicycle event in his honor a few weeks ago, he posted thanking them. And the volunteers who made the race happen. He was gracious and remembered the small things.

Ron may be done with triathlons, but we will never be done benefiting from the example he set.

#CSWS #RonStrong

My musical inspiration for today’s writing (hopefully I found the clean version considering this linkup is a faith-based thing!).

Five Minute Friday

Welcome to this week’s Five Minute Friday. Our instructions, via creator Kate Motaung: “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.” (But I can’t resist spell checking, as you can imagine.)

 

Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many.

Five Minute Friday: VACATION

Five Minute Friday

Today’s prompt: VACATION

My Facebook scrolling (and most other social media) is full right now ….

…..of what OTHER people are doing on vacation.

Europe seems to be especially big this summer, with New York City (my favorite!) not far behind. Oh, and the beach.

Honestly I struggle with the generosity of spirit required to simply be happy for these friends (which I am) rather than be envious.

My dream trip (Valencia, Spain) seems farther and farther away as I get older and my wallet gets slimmer. I haven’t been to New York since December 2016 (I aim to go once a year). Our family doesn’t take summer weeks at St. George Island anymore.

Bluntly: I need a vacation!

(alert for whiny paragraph here) I haven’t taken a day off for something that didn’t involve a family member’s hospitalization (my mom’s lengthy illness), a death (hers, as well as my father-in-law’s) or a medical procedure for myself since April 2017 (who’s counting?!). It’s not that my free-lance employer wouldn’t give me the time off. They would. It’s a combination of the fact that we need the earnings (especially until this house gets sold) and trying to prove myself reliable to my employer. To keep all the “whines” in one paragraph, one of the challenges of freelance life is the fact that there is no paid leave.

***end of five minutes***

***puts Flamenco music on Spotify to inspire a Valencian vibe as I finish the blog…***

Until my vacation materializes, I’m going to keep enjoying my friends’ pictures and stories, and redouble my efforts to be genuinely happy for them rather than feeling deprived (and let’s face it, at this time in our world there are much bigger problems than not having more stamps in my passport or more frozen daiquiries at the beach).

I’ll keep working, keep proving myself, keep hoping.

Maybe the next time a prompt is “vacation” or “trip,” I’ll have something more to report!

Five Minute Friday

Welcome to this week’s Five Minute Friday. Our instructions, via creator Kate Motaung: “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.” (But I can’t resist spell checking, as you can imagine.)

 

Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many.

Five Minute Friday: IF

Five Minute Friday

Note: While this runs completely counter to the point of Five Minute Friday and having a prompt, I am inserting two pictures that I plan to work into this week’s prompt before the prompt is revealed. There’s a particular thread I need to pull in my life and writing right now, so here’s hoping the prompt somehow works into the concepts in my head and these pictures.

Samples of what would work: Bloom, climb, suffocate

Can’t wait to see what I end up with! ~ pk

Today’s prompt: IF

As I mentioned above, there’s an emotional thread I need to go ahead and pull. Not knowing what the prompt would be, I took a leap of faith and found the images below, hoping it would all work out. It has (yay)!

The issue/thread is a relatively private thing that I am trying to do in a public manner (what could possibly go wrong, right?), so I apologize for any additional “cryptic” that characterizes this post.

There is a connection I have been seeking with another individual, and I find myself (in my perception at least) being *that* over-attentive acquaintance that I *know* annoys me when the reverse is true.

You know — the person who is genuinely wonderful, but may not have that much faith in themselves therefore are the first to show up at every gathering (not that punctuality is bad!), if you ask for a glass of water they bring you the glass, plus a backup gallon for when you run out. Giving, but cloying.

There is a fine, fine balance between confidently asserting yourself in someone’s life and sucking the air out of that intangible space that helps an acquaintanceship grow into deeper friendship.

[Timing note — I’m at roughly the 4:30 mark — and stopped writing because I got a phone call — and I guess that’s how this prompt is going to go today. Obviously, I need to finish my response (and at least get to the prompt word), so I invite you to keep reading.]

Here’s a visual. There are some beautiful flowering vines out there. Wisteria is one. I have seen many different gorgeous color variations of wisteria.

However, did you know wisteria is one of the Five Monster Vines Southern Living Says You Should Never Plant? The Southern Living article says Chinese Wisteria and Japanese Wisteria can: “Tear off gutters. Bend iron railings. Strangle trees. Smother entire woods and hillsides.”

Wisteria looks much less attractive if it gloms onto something else in its overzealous way without being patient about finding a way to co-exist beautifully (like this…):

Source: Wikipedia images

Each of us has something to give the world that no one else can do in exactly the same way. Trying to grow connections too fast without taking into account the two-way of this kind of thing can end up being stifling for the other party and exhausting for the person seeking to connect.

(And this is a side note, but the other thing about overzealously pursuing something that just isn’t destined to connect better or more deeply, at least not at the current time, is that I sometimes end up giving short shrift to the people with whom I already have a comfortable, dynamic, trusting fit.)

IF

What if, instead, we appreciated what we already have and had confidence that connections that don’t bloom the way we want them to may still be developing roots?

What if, instead, we accepted that sometimes these gaps between people are not about either person but about timing, or misunderstandings, or for goodness sake — just because they aren’t meant to be?

(Another side note: I think social media complicates all of this — it’s that much harder to read intentions when you have never looked someone in the eyes….)

What if, like the wisteria below, we each worked on strengthening our core values and sense of self? What if we let the people who have been faithful in our lives help build a logical and stable frame so we could stretch out our limbs and bloom?

What if we spent less energy on proving how fast we can climb and how colorfully we can bloom and instead proved our worth to ourselves?

Photo Credit: Flickr user Catherine

Five Minute Friday

Welcome to this week’s Five Minute Friday. Our instructions, via creator Kate Motaung: “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.” (But I can’t resist spell checking, as you can imagine.)

 

Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many.

Five Minute Friday: OCEAN

Five Minute Friday

Today’s prompt: OCEAN

I laughed and laughed (probably too much – it wasn’t that hilarious but it WAS very early in the day) yesterday when an article I was reading for work talked about the acronym for the Portland Urban Data Lake — PUDL.

The metaphors for data make me laugh – fog, lake. I’m not sure if there’s a data ocean but we are all dealing with so many waves of data it seems like there should be if there isn’t.

Like all of us, I am dealing with so many waves of incoming data — it’s definitely high tide for that kind of thing — and a trip to the REAL ocean would, to borrow from last week’s word, RESTORE me.

When I first started having tinnitus, it was summertime and our family was scheduled to go to the beach. It wasn’t until I was at the shore, sitting on the sand, taking in the roar of the ocean, that something was finally loud enough to drown out the rushing sound in my head.

I’m (mostly) used to the sound in my head now. There could be worse problems to have, but it was incredible to have relief for a few minutes, especially when the sensation was new.

The tinnitus also went away (briefly) after a chiropractic adjustment to my neck a year or two ago. There’s probably a large, meaningful message there about the effects of alignment on my literal head.

But back to the restorative ocean. Our family doesn’t go to St. George (the local and beautiful beach) for a weekly get-together anymore, but being back there would certainly help me align my head and my heart again, and drown out some of the incessant tides encroaching on my life.Five Minute Friday

Welcome to this week’s Five Minute Friday. Our instructions, via creator Kate Motaung: “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.” (But I can’t resist spell checking, as you can imagine.)

 

Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many.

Five Minute Friday: RESTORE

Five Minute Friday

Today’s prompt: RESTORE

The word “restore” makes me think of a local church called “Restoration Place.”

I suspect people may go to Restoration Place seeking for their spirits to be restored, but the real work happens inside and can take place anywhere.

I want to write something positive tonight (because I feel my writing lately has tended toward deep introspection with an essence of despair (not to sound maudlin — it’s been a year.))

Therefore,  a word of gratitude to the people, places and things that restore me daily. It really doesn’t take much.

My Facebook friend Lisa, for example, shares her vivid nature photography. I don’t think she and I have ever met in person, but she restores me with these gorgeous images that remind me there is a force out there bigger than ourselves that places beauty in our paths. Thank you, Lisa, for capturing it so beautifully.

Gulf Fritillary
Photo Credit and all rights: Lisa Baggett

A friend texted me yesterday to set up brunch this weekend. That gives me something to look forward to, at a restaurant I haven’t been to before. I know from prior experience with her that the shared laughter, empathy and support will be restorative.

I’m in a new (additional) freelance situation this week. The fact that the owner took the time to tell me that I am appreciated, picked up screen share (do you pick up screen share? Set up, I guess) to teach me a skill I needed because I hadn’t used their social sharing platform before, and in general set a positive tone refreshed my faith that sometimes a strange set of situations …

** end of five minutes**

… some Slack conversations and a bit of serendipity can lead to a bright moment or two.

I’m also still in my (old) freelance situation and, although anyone who is hanging out with me on Twitter at that time of the evening may wonder why I tweet almost every night that I am happy to wake up early for work I like, all I can say is the same thing I say in many of those tweets. I don’t take this for granted. A decade+ of Monday dread showed me otherwise, and it’s worth sharing over and over when something revitalizing happens.

Five Minute Friday

Welcome to this week’s Five Minute Friday. Our instructions, via creator Kate Motaung: “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.” (But I can’t resist spell checking, as you can imagine.)

 

Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many.