Writing

A New Routine

writing

Today is day one of my new, unemployed life. What came before, these last two weeks was just the trial run. A period similar (but certainly not as devastating) to the events experienced after the death of a loved one. The period that is suspended in time where your tribe gathers around. Makes daily inquiries as to your well being. There is much to do in those first few days. Organize and prepare for what lies ahead. A pre-planned getaway to Florida followed my first week away from the job and there was a flurry of activity awaiting me there. But now I am home and everyone is back to work and school and I’m here to let the dust settle around me and find a new routine.

This is exactly what I have wanted for months on end. Time to write. Time to see if I have what it takes to birth a book. I’m hopeful because it is early days and I see nothing but time stretching ahead of me. I have a bit of money saved and with unemployment kicking in soon, I’ll have enough to get me through the next few months. I know how lucky I am. If I can’t make it work now, I don’t see how it’s going to happen for me. I know I have to sit my butt in front of my computer and let the words out, even if they are gibberish and nonsensical.

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Musings

Bingeing

Over the past couple of years I’ve gotten away from watching television. There seemed to be no time to keep up with all the shows people were talking about: Game of Thrones, This is Us, Big Little Lies. And Grey’s Anatomy is still on! The last shows I properly binged on were Downton Abbey and Breaking Bad, two shows so good but as different as could be.

Instead I was reading every chance I had and you can see the numbers of books read climb as my TV watching diminished right up to last year where I managed 83 book. Now I have all the time in the world and I’m finding it hard to focus on one book for very long. I had always loved movies so I started going again and have seen The Favourite (astonishing) and On the Basis of Sex (this calls into question what am I actually doing with my life) in the past week. And since I’m solo here in Florida, I turned on Amazon Prime and was delighted to see Lady Bird on there, a movie I had hoped to see in the theater. It is exactly the kind of quirky movie I love. The next night I watched Beautiful Boy, a heartbreaking movie about a drug addicted son that I wrote about here.

This brought me to yesterday. I am trying to go between the books The Alice Network and The Gifts of Imperfection but cannot stay focused. Instead I perused a few YouTube channels I follow but still nothing held my interest. I cleaned around the house and by 6:00 I found myself collapsed in my chair and started looking for something on Netflix. After the requisite 30 minutes of scrolling I settled on You.

I am now properly hooked after binge watching the first four episodes. I don’t know whether it is good fortune or bad but there are only 10 episodes right now so it won’t be a situation where I’m bingeing for days in a row. While You is no Breaking Bad, it is definitely keeping me entertained and surprised.

What are you watching?

MC

Life

Beautiful boy

I watched the above titled movie yesterday and I have a feeling it will stay with me for quite some time. It deals with the extremely difficult topic of drug addiction and the relationship between a father (helpless parent) and son (addict). It really blew me away in it’s unflinching portrayal of the damage drugs and alcohol can play in the life of a family.

It hit a little too close to home, though, as we lost a nephew to drugs just two and a half years ago. I met my sister-in-law more than 20 years before when I started volunteer work at a suicide prevention hotline. She was the director of the center and I felt an immediate connection with her as we bonded over losing our brothers to suicide several years prior. Suicide prevention, dealing with the aftermath and support to survivors is God’s work. She is amazing at it and just recently retired from doing it full time for many years. It is work that takes it’s toll and I found I could only do it for a few years before it started contributing negatively to my own mental health. It was through this relationship that I met my husband – she is married to his brother – and I got to see their three kids grow through the years.

Unfortunately drugs became part of one of their twin boys life and after a long struggle, they got the phone call no parent ever wants to hear. I’m sorry but your son died of an overdose. I know they did everything to prevent getting that call but addiction is cunning, baffling and powerful. Steve Carell and Timothee Chalamet portrayed the father and son but I couldn’t help slot my family members into their parts. To say life isn’t fair seems like a hollow admonition. A beautiful boy was lost and his family is forever altered.

MC

Writing

Girl seeks inspiration

Lately I’ve been writing posts that may never make it out of the drafts folder. My thoughts seem so lackluster and a little hollow. Here’s what I did yesterday, blah, blah, blah. I’m trying to scrape meaning from something, anything, so I can turn it into a brilliant and soul crushing observation. Inspiration is just slightly out of reach, though. Well, maybe more than slightly.

I’m currently on my own for a few days at our home in Florida, getting it ready for renters who will arrive at the end of the month. There are still a couple days left and I want to use the time to really get started on writing something more than a blog post. I’ve got my legs draped over my favorite chair, alternating between The Alice Network and a Brene Brown book I picked up yesterday but I can’t stay focused and the task of writing morning pages holds no interest for me.

I’m content, though. It’s quiet and peaceful. I can just sit here pecking away at the keyboard on my phone, a cup of coffee by my side. No one to care if I shower and dress. My lovely journal is within reach and day is starting to dawn outside.

These are the kind of days I rarely get back home. I feel laying around, particularly now that I’m unemployed, will be unacceptable to me when I return. That I will feel the need to earn my keep by making things nice around the house. Being super mom and super wife. School volunteer and job seeker extraordinare. Right now is kind of a bubble. Anything and everything is possible if only I could hear what the universe is trying to tell me. I’m listening.

MC

Writing

Writing with pen

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For as long as I can remember I have always had preferences when it comes to pens. Fine tip. Blue ink. All pens are not created equal though and it took a while to settle on my implement of choice which is the Pentel R.S.V.P., blue ink, fine tip (of course) and I’ve used them for years. Unfortunately as things go with pens everywhere, they have a penchant to go missing often and sometimes second or third best will have to do.

I’ve decided to return to morning pages and a pen is required for this activity. I needed something strong and solid to capture the muddle of thoughts I have after being released from a job I’ve held for nearly nine years. I have never been quite in this position before. I am a long and loyal employee and only left my previous employer of 20 years after much hand-wringing and emotional cross-examination.

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Life

Music for pre-teens

We are at a stage in life where Liam is becoming more interested in music and that is awesome. We have been bringing him along with us to live music (mostly free shows during the summer season) since he was a baby and over the past couple of years he has gone to several (paid) shows with us and is starting to find his own way.

I had bought tickets for my husband Jim and I to see Brett Dennen in November but Jim ended up being away so I brought Liam as my date (pictured above). This was a bit different than shows we’d been to in the past and he was really surprised when people stood up to dance (even a guy older than dad – lol) in their seats and in the aisles. It was high energy and a lot of fun but I couldn’t persuade him to get up and dance with me. Maybe next time.

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Life

I’m messing up my resolutions already

I’m not sure why we circle around the date of January 1 to recalibrate our lives. Lose weight, eat healthier, exercise, set new goals. The only goal I banged out of the park in 2018 was my reading goal which I consider research toward my goal of one day writing a novel.

But this year, as I was on my last minute shopping run to Barnes & Noble, my eyes lit up when I saw a daily calendar of writing prompts by Writer’s Digest. I have really missed the daily prompt on WordPress which was way more than just a prompt because it allowed me to connect with other writers and discover new voices and I admit it keeps me away from blogging regularly because I no longer get that daily email.

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Life

Another Christmas Past

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Time slows down for no one. Last I wrote, Christmas was sneaking up and I had my nose in a book. There was so much to do and here I am to report that whatever needed to get done, was. I had an awful moment of clarity on the morning of December 21st when I went to the store to purchase some items for Christmas Eve dinner, though. I was at Target and spotted a countdown to Christmas decoration and it was almost like a punch to the stomach because I realized I hadn’t retrieved ours from the basement this year. There were still no decorations inside the house. It was a very low moment and I vowed when I got home I would tackle the interior decorations.

I should probably go back and explain the reason behind all of this last minute decorating business. In late October I took a fall on a few stairs (while doing laundry – true story) and twisted my foot. For the next month I walked on it thinking it would eventually right itself until it was swollen and too uncomfortable to walk. We went to New York City for Thanksgiving (Liam’s 12th Birthday) and I could no longer tell myself it was going to get better on its own. It turns out I had a stress fracture and was relegated to a boot and crutches for the next three weeks which prevented me from doing the basement stairs.

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Life, Uncategorized

Books over Christmas

Christmas is coming but you wouldn’t know it if you walked into our house today. I have been procrastinating about cleaning the dining and living rooms which hold the remnant mess of our summer kitchen remodel. There are always better things to do (reading, reading, reading) with my free time! I kept telling myself I would get to it and even this week when I knew time was running out, I couldn’t ignore the siren song of my Kindle. I recently finished I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara and then I became obsessed about anything else I could find out about the rapist and murderer who terrorized California in the 70’s and 80’s. And then I said to myself let me just start another book before I jump into cleaning.

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parenting

Parenting with a clean slate

cleanslate

What are the first four words you don’t want to hear as soon as you walk into the kitchen in the morning? Today, for me, it was “we’re out of coffee”. What!? How is this even possible? This is 2018. Amazon delivers our coffee pods like clockwork. Something went awry. But we have those make your own coffee pods and regular coffee, right? Nope. I decided our new kitchen needed a new Keurig and those don’t fit in the new machine. I opened the cupboard and there it was. The sample set that came with the new Keurig. So officially I saved the day, right? You betcha.

Today is my day off. Aka, the day I schedule all those pesky appointments that sound ok when you make them months ago. Today was mammogram day. I always like to get the earliest appointments but this morning I was cursing myself because I really wanted to lie in bed for a while even though I have so much to do to prep for the holidays that are coming at us fast. On my way home from the appointment, I did a quick swerve into Walmart to stock up on Pike Place Keurig pods. I am going to hide some in our bedroom just in case this happens again!

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