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: 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: TIRED

Today’s prompt: TIRED

I have been getting up exceptionally early the last week or so. I used to start working (freelance, from home, blessedly) at around 6:45. Now I am getting things underway around 5.

It is a recipe for being tired, and I’m having a small challenge convincing my body to get to sleep earlier, but there is a crucial difference at this point in my life: I am so happy to have the opportunity to do this, to add something new to my skill set (and hopefully help the business out too).

It is not an exaggeration to say that during the first year or so that my father-in-law lived with us and we essentially had to have someone at home, I would pray for an opportunity that kept me at home, used my writing skills, and occurred early in the day.

It takes time sometimes to gravitate to the right fit.

I could technically, now that Dad is gone, get a regular 9-5 job. I may have to go that route eventually. But I find myself clicking out of job ads and hoping I can make the current combination work. (And note: I realize I am in a privileged position that Wayne has health insurance. I don’t take that for granted.)

“Tired” is much less draining when your internal motivation has woken up, regardless of the time of day.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: REGRET

Five Minute Friday

Today’s prompt: REGRET

There’s a saying (I’m paraphrasing) that “you regret all the shots you didn’t take” — something a sports star said.

There are some shots I don’t regret not taking. I don’t regret making some career choices that kept me closer to home and more available to my children.

I don’t regret letting my daughter dress herself in dots and stripes when she was little rather than being matchy-matchy. She found herself of self and style more easily that way, in my opinion.

It’s a little hard lately in this latest life iteration not to regret being away from writing, proofreading and editing so long. I always had my finger in the pie, but there was a lengthy detour through child health policy.

I have decided for the most part, though, that in addition to the principle that things truly happen for a reason, my career path may have put me a bit behind competitively for some of the types of things I want to do now, but gave me so much that makes me a well-rounded professional:

  • Having to work through the federal government process to get funding for a start-up program
  • Multiple procurement processes for health plans, dental plans, and third party administrators (the TPA procurements taught me so much about technology, at least at a rudimentary level)
  • Becoming a Certified Public Manager
  • Overseeing the dispute process at a program with several hundred thousand enrollees
  • Supervising people

*** end of five minutes***

There is more I got out of those years, more than five minutes can hold. There were difficult bosses (and good ones), boards of directors to satisfy, the perfect timing of having a communications person who knew Twitter well and taught me when Twitter was new.

I got victories and defeats. Did some things well and messed up a few too (especially when it came to being the leader my people needed). Saw every single county in Florida.

I got so many things to write about, and that’s something for which I have no regrets.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: 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.

Five Minute Friday: DIFFERENT

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: DIFFERENT

Five Minute Friday

I turned Spotify on to “Acoustic Covers” so that I would have music in the background as I composed this five-minute piece.

Rather than music only, I got voices. This was different than I expected. I suppose it’s acoustic as in “no electronics,” which is different than “no voices.”

“Different than what I expected” seems to be the status quo in my life lately.

(And in the case of the music I’m listening to, I end up at a different place or with a different product than I intended mainly because I didn’t pay attention in the first place.)

I’m not in one of those “ah differences are wonderful and sometimes lead us to something we like even better” moods. Not at all.

As we face the sale (hopefully — please realty gods) of this house, and continue to adjust to the empty nest, I’m struggling to reframe “different” as an “adventure” because right now it feels more like a precipice.

Our whole world seems stuck in the “yuck” of difference. We cling to what we know, feeling safe, rather than exploring (respectfully) what we don’t know (or agree with) because it just feels too scary.

Perhaps if I take a deep breath (and keep writing to sort it all out), the “different” of 2018 will transform into something positive.


Five Minute Friday

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

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