When the word slow rolls off my tongue, I can’t help but feel it is a very weird word. Some words are like that for me. It makes me think of a sloth, slow and sleepy, dangling from a branch high above the Costa Rican rain forest. I was disappointed not to see one up close when we were there a couple years ago but apparently they don’t do much more than hang from the upper branches of very tall trees. And surprisingly they are very good swimmers (though with how long it must take them to get to a body of water it would be a wonder they swim at all).
As I push in the side door of the tall, white church, I inhale a familiar scent that tells me a hundred things. It’s been four and a half years, give or take a month since I’ve come to know this distinct odor and I can’t say it’s a hundred percent pleasing but I’m unable to discern the notes that make this fragrance unique to this time and place. Maybe it’s an intermingling of a thousand people, the coffee, the incense, the monthly chicken barbeques of which I have yet to partake. But when I enter and the smell hits me all at once, I know I am home and that peace and hope will be mine for the next hour.
When WordPress did away with their daily writing prompts in May of 2018, I was very sad as were many of my fellow bloggers. I started writing in 2016 as a way to process my days of early recovery from alcoholism and without it, I might still be drinking today. Pouring out my experience here, helped get me through a very hard time. But after a few months when I was starting to feel better and wanted to write about other things, the daily prompt was great inspiration. It helped me think about things I hadn’t thought of in years whether it was happy, sad, weird or just a string of a memory. It enabled me to discover other writers too, as the the post for the prompt catalogued all those who participated.
Curious what I was thinking about a year ago, compared to now, I took a trip to my blog history only to find it bare. I didn’t publish a single blog post last April. But what about unpublished posts? Nothing there either. I guess I could go digging through notebooks to see if I was even writing last year but I am not that organized. Without moving an inch, I remember a reliable way to capture what was going on this time a year ago: the ever reliable photo roll.
Recently I have been thinking of the defining times of my life. The big events that mark a time and place where I remember exactly what was happening around me as the world was changing. The first big one was the Challenger explosion. I was a senior in high school in January 1986 and we were gathered around the lone television in the school library which sat on a tall media cart. By today’s standards, it was a small, boxy television and we were all trying to get a good look at the very first civilian to go into space, Chris McAuliffe, a teacher we all might aim to be someday. And then it exploded and someone quickly went to the front of the room and the box went dark. We sat in silence, not believing what had just happened. How could it be? A moment that was much anticipated had been over in a disastrous instant.
And then of course, there was 9/11 which put that moment of national disaster into perspective as we learned more with each moment that passed, what felt like the longest day of our collective lives. I was driving into work and pulling into a parking spot just as the first plane hit. I worked in the newsroom of the local daily paper and was in the habit of listening to talk radio as many of us did back then. The host broke in to tell us about the plane but he thought it might have been an accident, a one off where the pilot made a grave error due to a medical emergency. And then we found out it wasn’t an accident. There were more planes and the death toll rose as the days passed. I managed to walk into work that morning but I don’t recall getting anything done. My boss, the Editor, rallied everyone around to take charge of our coverage of the event and I did my small part and made sure these reporters and editors who had come in that day to cover a primary election race that was not to happen, were well fed as they worked the local angles of the events unfolding. I spent the day reading wire reports and watching the news on various televisions placed throughout the vast room. And then I went home and like a zombie, feeling helpless and numb about what was happening around us, watched the non-stop coverage of the events. People jumping out of windows, flames pouring from buildings, and finally the buildings themselves crumbling to the ground.
But this is different. There was not one event we can point to and collectively mourn together. Many of us do not even know what this silent enemy is going to do by the time it is all over. How many will come to the brink of death? How many will die? How many will be forever be marked by this anxious, uncertain time for years to come? How many do not even take it seriously yet when we are several weeks into a pandemic that is spreading it’s invisible poison among us? Who has it, we silently ask ourselves as we try to carry on as if life hasn’t changed in every way around us. What is still yet to come? The only hope we have is our resilience. That we can come back from hard times as our ancestors have done throughout time. We are not being asked much. We are not being asked to go behind enemy lines. We are not being asked to board trains to an uncertain death. We are simply being asked to stay put and keep this invisible enemy from spreading. We are being asked to amuse ourselves which is no small task given that we have become used to a freedom that has been earned by the people who have gone before us. Let’s do our part now so that we can get back to life as we once knew it.
Last night I had a wonderful dream. My husband and I had decided to purchase an apartment in Paris so that we could spend several weeks there each year, taking in the culture, food and general ambiance of this beautiful city we spent our honeymoon in. We made a trip together scoping out properties and then I was going to return on my own to settle on one apartment we loved and get it set up. For some reason my sister and niece tagged along on this trip and we stayed in a hotel where I lost over 700 euros I had withdrawn from an ATM. But there was a general good feeling and I could almost smell the freshly baked, buttery croissants and the decadent chocolate Parisian confectioners are know for. And then I woke up. Continue reading “Dreaming of Paris”→
What is your digital footprint and how do you tend to it? Are you an avid Facebook user or do you prefer Instagram? Do you try to keep up with the youngsters on Snapchat and TikTok? How about blogs you follow or YouTubers you keep up with, podcasts you listen to? Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn, Reddit, Nextdoor. I could go on and on and on. In fact, I Googled social networks and an article about the 65+ Social Networking Sites You Need to Know About came up and my mind almost blew a gasket. I can barely keep up with a handful let alone 65. Many I hadn’t heard of.
Hello and Happy New Year! I have been thinking about writing every day and missing this space and I realized that with every passing day it was getting harder to return. I haven’t been writing. Again. But it’s all good. I haven’t been without routine these past few weeks but I’ve been at a loss on where to fit the writing in. You have to just get started somewhere, so here I am.
Looking back through my blog content, I didn’t spend much time talking about my 2019 reading list. I might have mentioned a book here and there but the only time I blogged about books this year was for my 2018 list which I published in late January (better late than never?!). This year I set a goal of 70 books and finished 77 as of today – this number astounds me because I used to read a couple dozen books a year. The benefits of sobriety! I’ll take you through a few of the best books in a few different genres that I enjoyed.
Best Audiobook: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
There is a lot of debate on book Twitter if audiobooks even count as books read and I’m here to say they absolutely count. If you listen to a book and take in all the information from the book you have every right to count them on your “read” list. I have tried to read A Man Called Ove many, many times because everyone told me it was good, but it didn’t take until I listened to it while I sweated it out at the gym. All this time I had been pronouncing Ove wrong – this is one of the benefits of listening – hearing things pronounced correctly.
The idea of seeing a medium has been bouncing around in the back of my mind for years. Nearly thirty three years since I lost my brother, Jeff, to suicide. There was no note. I was gutted. Why had this happened? I needed answers. John Edwards was a fairly new phenomenon back then and he had been a guest speaker at my college at the time. I don’t remember what he said that night, but I knew there could be an answer to my questions by visiting him. But I didn’t persue it.
There were a couple of local psychics in my hometown and one reached out to a family member a while after my brother died. She said my brother had visited her on the night he died and he wanted her to tell my mother he was OK. He mentioned very specific jewelry in her posession that no one else would know about. I imagine she was terrified to bring this information to my mother knowing we were a devout Catholic family who didn’t go in for other wordly nonsense.