An unexpected funeral

Vacation can certainly get you off your schedule. As I mentioned previously, my dad likes to go to daily mass so the two things I planned to do in the morning have gotten lost in the shuffle: writing and exercising. This morning there was a funeral as part of the daily mass so that was interesting. It’s the second random funeral we’ve attended in Florida. Last year on the anniversary of my mom’s passing we also attended a stranger’s funeral at daily mass.

For today’s funeral, we sat in the front across from the family. The person’s ashes, photo and a dozen roses were on a small table in front of the altar and I had a pretty good view of everything, especially the deceased woman’s photo and she looked to be in her early 60’s if the photo was recent.

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My Childhood Library

Library960The memories I keep of my hometown library surround me like a comfortable blanket. It was a place where I first found independence because when we moved from the country to the village when I was in second grade, we were less than half a mile, door to door from the library. I tried to convince my mother to let me go alone but she always made sure to send an older sibling along just in case. By fourth grade I was able to go on my own and I spent most Saturdays there.

Upon arriving at the library, I bounced up the steps, opened the heavy brown door and was greeted by the intoxicating scent of books. The librarian was at a desk, straight ahead, always busy matching up people to books. She would stop what she was doing to look up and greet me with a wide smile before returning to her pile. Although her name escapes me, she was everything you’d imagine from a small town librarian. Gray-haired, glasses that dangled from a chain, cardigan-wearing, a ready smile, eager to help.

To the left as you entered stood the card catalog unit, overstuffed with typed up index cards telling you where you could find each and every book in the library.  To the right were two long tables surrounded by comfortable chairs and window seats where the locals would congregate and catch up on out of town newspapers and periodicals. It’s where I would sit for hours as I worked on my book reports for school, sometimes joined by friends but many times contentedly alone.

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Shopping for Sneakers

I realized once we got to Florida that I didn’t have a pair of sneakers down here. I had bought an extra pair to keep here but I guess I brought them home with me when I was here last summer. I was planning to keep up with my running/jogging program this week because if I take the week off from it, it will be too hard to start back up again. I also gave up shopping for Lent so this presented a bit of a conundrum.

I wanted to go to the gym so I decided I needed to buy a new pair of sneakers and after breakfast, we headed to Dick’s Sporting Goods. It is dangerous for me to enter a store of any kind but as we entered the shopping center Dick’s is in, a wonderous, almost astral vision appeared before me. A brand new HomeGoods!

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Traveling with Dad

We are barely minutes into our trip and I’ve got my first dadism. Dadisms are phrases I wouldn’t expect to hear pass through anyone’s lips. Except my dad’s. The first one is pretty innocuous as he tells me he could never fly alone because my mom had been the “brains of the operation”. The second one, about 10 minutes later was about the bathroom so I’ll keep it to myself.

I have an older and younger sister so we share them via text as they come up because we have all experienced them in their varying forms. I am currently in re-entry mode so I hear them every few minutes until eventually, they become part of the background again. My older sister who has been living with him for a couple of months will only share the doozies because she’s been highly desensitized to them.

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Relationships under a microscope


Assay: to determine the contents or quality of (metal or ore) or men

This could sum up my very long dating life! Did I assay through a long list of boys and men to find my ever after love? I sure did.

I liked boys far too early for my mother’s liking. By sixth grade, I had my first steady boyfriend. We didn’t actually speak to one another and I avoided face to face contact with him as much as possible. Our relationship conduit was my BFF and his cousin. She would say George (real names protected!) says hi and I would say tell him hi and then my face would turn red and I’d go back to whatever I was doing. Sometimes he would call me from her house and we’d sit on the phone in silence. This was the way things went until about ninth grade.

I went from a small Catholic elementary school with 20 classmates to the only high school in town and increased my class size by 400%. Freshman year I had a giant crush on one of the basketball players a year ahead of me and wrote his name on most of my notebooks. This was pretty brazen now that I think about it since he could have found out about my crush (and probably did). Well, one day in Earth Science, the teacher caught me doodling and picked up my notebook and started reading the boy’s name to the class. I probably don’t have to explain how mortified I was. I found out many years later when we became Facebook friends, I never had a chance.

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Encrusted in Poetry

Today I poked around some blogs based on today’s prompt, encrusted, and happily found some new writers to follow.  I love seeing how everyone has used the word, especially in poems because of how succinct and powerful they can be. Poetry was once very important in my life and I’ve kind of gotten away from it lately. I have a book of poems I keep at my work desk when I look for something to take me away from the sometimes boring number crunching I do. I haven’t changed it out since I’ve been here (nearly eight years) and I think it’s time for a new volume.

At home, I mostly read poetry by Shel Silverstein with my son. One of my favorite poets I discovered in high school was Edna St. Vincent Millay and after my brother died, I turned to a few of her poems over and over (Renascence mostly). Awaiting me in Florida is a book of poetry by Mary Oliver and I’m looking forward to picking it up again. I also love to read poetry aloud (even if it’s just to myself) but I feel a bit conspicuous about it when others are around.

High school and college were when I did most of my poetry writing. It helped me make sense of so many situations including heartache, grief, confusion, injustices (rarely happy occasions!). I’ve thought of trying my hand at it again but it seems my poetry mind may have dried up. I may give it a try again while I’m away on vacation next week.

I didn’t find much inspiration for my own use of encrusted, but it got me thinking about poetry again so I can be thankful for that! Thanks to all of you who have inspired me today.




Random writing

I’ve made it to day 20 of daily blogging! I love to go to my stat insights page and see all the blocks for February filled in because it makes me feel so accomplished. That and getting my weekly Grammarly Insights email that tells me how many words I’ve written and the number of unique words I used. But the truth is, writing and publishing something every day hasn’t been easy at times (as many of you who have blogged daily for many, many days, months and years can attest – hats off to you). While I am constantly searching my brain and my surroundings for topics to write about, sometimes I come up blank and write about random things as I did yesterday. And guess what, those are my most read and liked posts. Who can figure? The good thing is that daily writing has not felt like a burden.

As I prepare for vacation later this week, I’ve thought I’d try pre-writing and have some posts ready to go next week so I can spend more time writing the book I haven’t been working on lately. I don’t want to spend all my time writing at a computer while my dad is around because he is all about limited screen time (except when it involves baseball and movies). If ever I’m on my phone too much he will definitely pipe up. Also, if I leave writing to early morning or nighttime, it likely won’t happen.

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Never Nothing to Do

Another day off from work and I’m wondering why I never seem to have a stretch of time with nothing to do on these magical days. Why are there always errands? Why is there always laundry? Today I dropped Liam at taekwondo camp and Jim dropped Murphy at the groomer before heading to work which left me with a house to myself.

I ended up going to the gym but was exhausted when I got home. I cleaned a bit, did some laundry, cleaned the kitchen and it was time to shower and head out again. I meant to write something earlier but before I knew it, it was time to get Liam and run to a hair appointment. The day disappeared before my eyes.

On Friday I’m heading to Florida with my dad and I had meant to pull out my spring/summer clothes and do some packing but it didn’t end up happening. I’m so excited to have this week with my dad. We did this last year for the first anniversary of my mom’s passing and we’ll be there for the second anniversay. Last year we went to daily mass and there happened to be a funeral on her anniversay which was a liile weird. We’ll be visiting my mother-in-law and going to a baseball game but no other plans but to relax and read by the pool. I am freeing myself from housework and laundry for the week so hopefully I’ll get some more writing in! The nice thing about vacationing with my dad is that we’re both pretty easy going so we won’t have to compromise much. It will be nice to have a few days off from that too.



Still Running

Today’s blog comes to you from the gym where I just completed my workout. Liam had a basketball game today where there was another crazy incident involving a ref, one of our players and the coach. This one had racial undertones which was incredibly inappropriate on the refs part. It was an unfortunate end to a great game where our boys gave everything they had.

The rest of the day was pretty lazy, spent napping and reading, and more napping. Today is a gym day but I hadn’t gone yet. I was going to blow it off and go tomorrow since I have the day off. But then I figured there is no time like the present! So at 5:30, I grabbed my sneakers, phone and Kindle and headed to the gym.

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Courage in Parenting

On Tuesday evening after picking my son Liam up from school (5th grade), he told me something that happened in one of his classes that day and I had a deep pit in my stomach that lasted for a good hour. He rarely wants to talk about his day, let alone relay something he feels uncomfortable about. I went into full mother alert and began texting other moms to see if they could corroborate if anything weird happened in religion class.

It took forever for anyone to respond to me so I called my husband to relate the incident. I had initially tried texting the details and he wasn’t getting it so I called him. Yes, the teacher said something completely offensive about a student’s mother and it was sexist and suggestive and completely inappropriate for a 5th grade RELIGION class.

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