Five Minute Friday: OTHER

Five Minute Friday

Today’s prompt: OTHER

From the moment I heard that today’s prompt would be other, I knew I wanted to write about other as a verb. I originally thought I wanted to reflect on “othering,” treating people of different colors or abilities as something aside/more/exceptional than their humanity. It is something I probably did (although with good intentions) with my mother-in-law, who was blind. I overlooked her sheer humanity sometimes because I was so focused on the things she did as a blind person (knitting, golfing, ice skating, etc.) that I probably made a bigger fuss than she preferred.

Early this morning, though, I read Scott Simon’s piece A Sister Shares ‘Horrible And Wonderful’ Memories Of Her Brother’s Life And Death. There’s a reference in the piece to being a sister but not as a noun (she was his sister) rather as a verb (she sistered him for lack of a less awkward treatment).

Something about that stuck with me. I thought about headstones (there have been quite a few of those lately in our family) and how they often include the nouns: mother/wife/sister/friend/etc.

At a time when we have lost people in our family and lost friends to disease and accidents, I am struck that it is a potent opportunity to be a verb in the lives around us.

(Bear with me the grammar may be weird but…)

To mother our children

To friend those who aren’t of our blood but make our lives more complete

To sister or brother our siblings (or our siblings of the heart (shout out to my only children friends!)

To resident (reside in) our homes and neighborhoods

To citizen our nation.

Life often calls us to act; I am reminded to choose to do so more consciously.

This is the book Scott’s piece was about. It’s already on my Audible wish list.

Note: The audio version of Scott Simon’s piece can be heard here:

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: RELEASE

Five Minute Friday

Today’s prompt: RELEASE

You know how some fishing options are “catch and release”? The person doing the fishing has the thrill of the hunt, but the fish gets the privilege of living to swim another day because it gets released after being caught.

Well, I have had some catch and release experiences lately, except with lizards and not fish. I am not sure what (if anything) the universe is trying to tell me.

Saturday, Tenley and I were on our way to the cemetery for the burial of my in-law’s ashes. My sister-in-law asked us to stop at Home Depot and pick up some ferns to place near the headstone on our way to the ceremony. (Note: Tenley has a brand new immaculate car … this matters slightly for this story. She wasn’t all that excited about dirt/ferns/water in the car but when relatives call, we respond.) As I was placing one of the ferns in her car, I noticed something ALIVE on one of the fronds. A lizard! I quickly took the fern back OUT of the car and performed an elaborate, awkward production to get it off of the fern and onto the sidewalk. I am just glad I found it BEFORE she and I were in transit. Although I caught lizards with my hands when I was a kid, they are not my thing at all these days.

Fast forward to yesterday. I was watching our cat, Alice Cooper stalk a green lizard that was between a window and a screen. Alice is a geriatric cat, and it was fun to see her so excited about something. Her tail was whipping furiously. I was just enjoying it — the lizard was outside and we were inside, as nature intended.

Once our other cat, Bella, showed up, she got in on the fun. I was taking pictures (and videos (see below) and sharing them with Tenley.

UNTIL (wait for it) somehow Bella enticed the lizard INSIDE through a small gap in the window!!

**end of five minutes**

I was no longer enjoying this and wanted her to RELEASE THE LIZARD!

One thing you have to know about Bella is she loves being outside. It was the ongoing bane of my existence that she took advantage of my father-in-law’s frequent trips outside to smoke his cigars to craft her own escapes. He thought it was hilarious. I didn’t.

My strategy was to take advantage of her love of the outdoors, hoping she would keep her prized lizard in her mouth, and get the lizard OUT even though that meant I would have to lure Bella back IN (luring Bella in is frustrating but not impossible. We are the ones in charge of the food bowls!).

There I am, screaming at Bella to go outside, praying she’ll keep the Lizard in her mouth.

Like a recalcitrant toddler, she stopped dead in her tracks short of the door and just stared at me.

She did drop the lizard. It was a bit shocked at this point and probably injured.

I screamed at Bella a few more times to take the lizard outside (why did I think she would obey??!!).

I then gave up and took a broom to manipulate the lizard outside. I have to admit I wasn’t gentle. Maybe the creature would  have had a fighting chance if I had picked it up but I just couldn’t bring myself to do that.

Its lifeless carcass was still on our porch where I had swept it hours later.

Unlike its cousin in Tampa, which survived its release, Bella’s prized lizard was not so lucky.

I think she’s still holding a grudge against me!

(See her enthusiasm (and the lizard in the last moments of its life) below — I know I shot this vertical – a mistake in the excitement of capturing the action!)

 

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.)

I am also linking up to Kat Bouska’s site (www.mamakatslosinit.com), under the prompt “Share an instagram image from this month and explain what it means to you.”

 

 

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

Five Minute Friday: SETTLE

Today’s prompt: SETTLE

“Smelled horribly.”

These two words were part of the first feedback comments we got from a realtor who had shown our house to his or her clients. The realtor was referring to our cats, but until I looked back at the email before writing this post, in my head the recollection was “the house [itself] was horrible.”

It takes a thick skin to read realtors’ comments. I wish this particular one had phrased things differently. There was a way to present the concerns without being so cutting about it.

I suppose from a transaction standpoint it really doesn’t matter to me who settles down in this house next. However, in my mind’s eye I see a family that goes through as many stages as we did. Elementary school. Middle school. High school and graduations. Seeing an elderly relative through two bouts of cancer, countless incidents of letting the cats out, and ultimately their last days before passing away at Hospice House.

*end of five minutes*

Maybe things have worked out this way for a reason. I have long stretches of hours in our home to myself — working from home, working with Wayne on getting it ready to sell, trying to reduce the cat smell. Maybe the house and I are saying goodbye to each other.

I love this house. I love this neighborhood.

I know, blunt realtor aside, it will bring joy to whoever settles here next.

I hardly foresee “horrible” for the next occupant.

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.)

I am also linking up to Kat Bouska’s site (www.mamakatslosinit.com), under the prompt “Share an instagram image from this month and explain what it means to you.”

*written on my iPhone … all thumbs!

 

 

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

Five Minute Friday: ROUTINE

Five Minute Friday

Today’s prompt: ROUTINE

This is how to disrupt your routine: list your house for sale.

I didn’t get to write last night because my work schedule requires me to go to bed so early these days (something I gladly do). I didn’t get to write when I finished working this morning because my daughter was in town and I needed to meet her (also a good thing).

That left me with this five-minute sliver before I have to clear out the house for its first showing to a potential buyer.

I could have spent that five minutes scrolling Facebook.

I could have (maybe should have) checked the cats’ litter area one last time to make sure they didn’t sabotage operation sell this house.

But writing has to happen, for me at least. It isn’t a perfect moment. I am anxious about all the house-selling process. I am afraid the realtor is going to call during the five minutes and my train of thought, such as it is, will derail.

I have learned to write no matter what, though. It is why I write a blog post every Sunday whether I feel inspired or not (obviously over nine years I have managed to find something every except one or two Sundays when I just couldn’t post).

Wherever I live, I will always have writing. The writing is what needs to be the routine no matter what is happening externally.

Maybe soon I will have some  home selling adventure to write about!

These walls have surrounded me as I wrote since 2005. As I ran these streets, I gathered motivation and organized my thoughts.

I wonder what the next home will contribute to (or detract from) my writing routine. I do know it has been a plus to move away from the dining room table and to a dedicated work space.

That dedicated work space will definitely be part of my routine at the next place.

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: PROVIDE

Five Minute Friday

Today’s prompt: PROVIDE

I grabbed the sunrise picture above this morning at around 7:20, when I was making coffee in the middle of a work shift that had started at 4 a.m.

When I used to run, sunrise runs in this neighborhood were the best. I would think “this will never end. I will never take it for granted. I will always appreciate this. Nothing else can provide the joy that running, in Hawk’s Landing, at sunrise provides.

As it turns out, sunrises are different now. I’m more likely to be at my laptop in slippers than on the pavement in running shoes.

Maybe the “no running” imposition due to health concerns was timed in a way that made it a little less heartbreaking (pun slightly intended) to take on work that has to happen early.

That work is allowing me to help provide for my family. And the latest changes are providing challenges to my brain that I haven’t experienced in a long time. Taking on a slightly higher responsibility makes two hours of the shift FLY by. Is it weird to compare it to meditation? It’s away from social media. It’s intense concentration. It’s (largely) solitary. It introduces me to new topics and tasks while drawing on my love of writing and editing. The biggest challenge is taking in large amounts of information quickly and fact-checking them.

That fact-checking challenge, come to think of it, is a little like trying to top a personal running goal or retain the feeling of running through a sunrise.

[end of five minutes]

As we prepare to leave this house, I’ll always carry with me gratitude for the different types of joys and challenges I’ve experienced here at sunrise.

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: WHY

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.”

Five Minute Friday

Today’s prompt: WHY

“Why aren’t you crying harder?”

This is the worry the author of the current book I’m reading, The Girl with Seven Names, had when she was gathered with her schoolmates after learning of the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

She said (I’m paraphrasing here…) “My survival skills kicked in. Everyone else was crying hard and I wasn’t. I knew I would be singled out for not being distraught enough.” (Fast forward to later when peers of hers who weren’t considered “upset enough” were punished, some by hanging (I think — it was an audiobook and I was in traffic!). She put on her best thespian skills and worked up the look of grief. She was not ultimately punished. (This article talks about that time in North Korea.)

I was talking with dear lifelong friends tonight about our expectations of what happens when a loved one is dying and afterwards. I was commenting about how none of the three deaths I’ve experienced between my mother-in-law, my father-in-law and now my mom has fit that stereotypical “passed peacefully surrounded by family” vision that is so frequently referred to in obituaries.

The background thought in my head was “why am I not crying more?” I can’t explain that very well. I adored my mother and appreciated her more than she ever fully understood. But the last few years have given me a different perspective on death than I had prior to these three deaths.

[End of five minutes]

There is an entire different set of “why” questions related to how the events of the past two months ended with her death, but those are not likely to ever have clear answers.

For now, my personal approach isn’t so much to ask why I am grieving the way I am grieving, but to ask how I can best serve my father through a searing transition and what I can do to carry on her legacy of intelligence, kindness, patience, and generosity.

Five Minute Friday

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday linkup.

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

Five Minute Friday: PRIVILEGE

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.”

Five Minute Friday

Today’s prompt: PRIVILEGE

My attempt to mitigate the fact that I have been accorded all kinds of white privilege throughout my lifetime is imperfect at best.

I am pretty sure, though, that it isn’t supposed to be played out in my choice of when to see a particular movie.

I went down the Twitter rabbit hole today (I’m on Twitter throughout the day, for work and for “fun”) and saw one person tell me I should wait a week to see Black Panther:

WHITE PEOPLE BLACK PANTHER RULES

Do not see the movie in first week so that PoC have a chance to see it first.

If you’ve already bought tickets, give them to a PoC.

Post a positive review at Rotten Tomatoes. Do not wait to see the movie first.

(My reaction to this one ^^^ “Who would post a positive review without seeing a movie? There are other ways to support the movie and encourage attendance than publishing a positive review that is false because it is based on a pretense.)

Sit in the back of the theater.

I don’t see (at all) how following these “rules” does anything to help black people and white people (and …. just people ….) understand each other any better. I don’t.

But then when I was looking for the above tweet prior to writing this post, I found this tweet:

White people, let’s all go to the opening night of Black Panther and talk loudly through the entire movie.

Oh Twitter, if there had been a moment tonight when I was feeling good about humanity and race relations, that tweet (and the comments) reversed it. Easily.

***

The situation reminded me of the day after the Women’s March last January, when friends/acquaintances asked me if there were pro-life women there.

[end of five minutes …. still writing]

“Of course there were!” I responded. I checked with people who had been in DC (rather than Tallahassee). They confirmed their march was accepting.

I have to say in my heart of hearts, though, I don’t think my pro-life friends would have felt welcomed at the march I attended. It was a women’s march, but given the philosophical leanings that drove many of us there, my pro-life friends would not have felt comfortable.

Feeling comfortable — now THAT is a privilege.

Honestly, I think the most comfortable thing I could do about Black Panther is go with a PoC friend the first week, second week or 50th week. And we would both sit wherever we please. Together.

Five Minute Friday

 

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday linkup.

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

Five Minute Friday: AGREE

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.”

Today’s prompt: AGREE

My social media feed is already full of people who don’t agree that there should be a Black History Month (or people who anticipate others will disagree with them about whether the month should exist or not).

I haven’t seen (yet) anyone say “but why isn’t there a white history month?” Maybe those people have gone farther underground (I doubt it). Maybe I’ve just missed it.

Maybe I don’t have enough knowledge to fill for five minutes explaining why it’s a different thing to have a Black History Month.

Someone on social media today (I wish I could remember who) encouraged white people to learn ONE THING a day this month about the role of a black person in history. I think that’s a great idea.

Those of us who are not black have often had blindfolds on (intentionally or not). We didn’t learn about the contributions of black people throughout history. We couldn’t feel, tangibly, the pain of discrimination, slavery, confinement, prejudice.

Yet here we all are. It’s 2018 and we disagree. We disagree about what deserves a “special month,” about what identifies us. We struggle to find common ground.

Let’s see over the course of the month what about the history of being black can show us about each other. We may agree when it’s all said and done that we need longer than February to give the topic its due.

Editor’s Note: First of all, I confess I went over the five minute limit (again) tonight (sorry not sorry). Second, the hyperlinked word at the end of the post is intentional. As I chose the word “due,” I was thinking about Patricia Stephens Due, a woman who participated in a sit-in in Tallahassee in 1960 at the age of 19 and went on to make a tremendous difference for civil rights.  

Five Minute Friday

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday linkup.

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

Five Minute Friday: INTENTIONAL

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.”

Today’s prompt: INTENTIONAL

“Professionals should be intentional about ……….”

In my morning freelance job, I summarize news articles. The goal is to be concise and straightforward.

One type of article I summarize is a professional practices article, such as “how to plan for organizational growth” or “how to prepare for retirement.”

Today, when summarizing one of those types of articles, I started typing “Attorneys should be intentional about their plans for retirement” and then I deleted that word choice.

Besides the fact that there were more concise ways to make the point, who am I to tell someone else a) what they should do and b) to be intentional?

So much of “intentional” comes from being internally motivated, with a lovely layer of strategic methodology on top (or woven through), and I would argue with a generous helping of heart.

As I communicated with someone about a job I had been pursuing today, I had to be honest (yet professional). I don’t know how this ties in with intentional (which is not how my career process has felt since Dad passed away in July and I gained the freedom to work outside of the home if I want to) but an internal voice said “just be honest (and patient).”

It is an ongoing challenge to wait and be patient for life to unfold as it should while remaining intentional about the choices that matter. 
Five Minute Friday

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday linkup.

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

Five Minute Friday: SIMPLIFY

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.”

Five Minute Friday

Today’s prompt: SIMPLIFY

When I was within a few minutes of sitting down to write this post last night, squeezing the writing in before getting to bed early (because I had to be up for work at 5 a.m.), my husband called urgently from the guest bathroom ……… where he had discovered a half in inch of standing water.

So much for the simplicity of simply writing for five minutes.

I gave up on the blog post composition so I could get to bed as soon as we had the immediate problem resolved.

I’m still not, however, feeling the “simplicity” prompt.

I’m feeling ……… weighty ……… physically and emotionally. Maybe emotionally BECAUSE of the “physically” part.

I’ve been through the weight loss/gain cycle before (repeatedly) and find myself wondering how I got here, heavier than I was with either pregnancy and, frankly, avoiding socializing with people.

I know it seems simple to say “move more and eat less.”

When I met with my electrophysiologist Wednesday and explained that I had not had any arrhythmia episodes because I hadn’t exercised, he said “at all?” And I responded, “yes — pretty much.” (To his credit, he had good bedside manner when he said it — it could have been sarcastic but it wasn’t.)

I said to him, “I can barely remember the days when it was routine to go out and run ten miles.”

He, of course, reminded me that my medication does work (ahem) and to go at things gradually.

I’ll have to leave this one for this week with the complex issue of returning to simplicity.
Five Minute Friday

 

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday linkup.

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