Monday, January 19, 2015

New Year’s Resolutions 2015


I know what date it is; it is mid-January.  I am just now getting around to announcing my NY resolutions when most everyone else has already abandoned theirs.
See, that is the thing with resolutions – they should be resolute and not just wishful thing.  They should affect change.
When someone chooses “to lose weight” as a NY resolution, what they are really saying is that they “hope to” lose weight.  They announce it to the world, rush to the grocery store, stock up on fruits and veggies, and sign up for Zumba classes.
A few weeks later, all that elation hits bottom.  Expensive produce turns to ooze at the bottom of the vegetable bin and their gym membership card lays forgotten at the bottom of their abandoned gym bags. Their bottoms hit bottom.
Their “resolution” was really nothing more than “wishful thinking,” right up there with pinky swears, winning the lottery, and the odds of stealing a Hollywood hunk first-named Ryan from his hot Hollywood wife.
I prefer to make resolutions – determined, serious, hard line declarations of change.
On that note, I resolve to eat healthy in 2015.  I promise to avoid the grocery aisles that stock sodas, chips, and canned vegetables. I resolve to save money and avoid frivolous spending.  I will stick to only necessary purchases.  I refuse to buy another book or another piece of clothing until I exhaust the hordes I already own.  I resolve to exercise my mind, body, and soul, keeping everything working in tiptop shape as I age.  I will read more, walk more, get out and socialize more.
Funny thing about resolutions, they manifest themselves in change.  If we end up in the same place we started, it wasn’t true resolve.  We should see the change if we worked doggedly to attain it.

I hope to find myself at the end of 2015, healthier and with a little more pocket change in the old bank account. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Story Using the Sense of Sound


Listen to the sweet rondo a partner sings each night, a lullaby camouflaged among snuffles and snores, moans and groans.  Instead of annoyance, this joyful noise provides comfort, a succor of peace and love and protection.
Listen to the splendorous cacophony when family gathers. Baby babbles, a jumble of vowels and consonants, accompany the lisps and invented language of older siblings.  The timbre of adult voices synthesizes with the innocent giggles and shrieks of baby song. The irreplaceable value of such a crescendo is never appreciated until the swell subsides, family leaves, and silence takes its place.
An unexpected phone call and the voice at the other end warms us with smiles and memories. A baby giggles with joy and heart strings thrum a chord. A song plays on the radio and melody and lyrics pierce our soul.
Nature offers a symphony.  The cold seasons’ sonatas, howling winds and the soft snowfalls, complement the cantata rhythms of the warm half of the year. Owls call to each other in the dark of a hot night, mockingbirds steal the spring song of others, and insects tune up to discordant riffs.  
Even in the silent intermissions between orchestral displays, the quiet is a lyrical study of sound:  a clock ticks a tempo somewhere, a muffled TV chatters in the distance, and household appliances hum their staged beat.

The sense of sound provides a story. The sense of sound mirrors our soul.   

Monday, January 5, 2015

Finding Characters at the Grocery Store

 There’s the linebacker, the man with no patience.  He came to the grocery store to hunt and gather and no one or nothing will keep him from his objective. He has no patience with the coupon-toting mama or the comparison maven.  He Mad Max’s his way down the middle of the grocery aisles, oblivious to any rules of the road or kindness. He doesn’t care of the mayhem he created in pursuit of a deli chicken and a six pack of beer.
There’s the rooky, the first timer. He didn’t grab a basket on his way in and now is standing in the middle of the aisle.  He holds a grocery list and his cell phone in one hand, and he is balancing several bulky items in the other.  He yells into the phone that “they all look alike,” as he studies all the boxes on the shelf. One young mother reaches around him and grabs a box. A woman who could be his mother grabs another.  He shrugs and shoves a box of the same unto his arm with his cell phone and grocery list hand and runs off.  Maybe the next time he takes on the family grocery shopping, he will get a basket before venturing into the bowels of the grocery store.
Not all men dare the grocery store by themselves. 
There’s the suave playboy.  He is too busy to drive the cart for his wife.  He stands apart so the “babes” at the grocery store won’t confuse him with being married.  While his wife studies the cans of tomatoes, he effuses smarminess and charm. He chats with every passing female and winks at the young ones. If his wife catches him hitting on a woman, he affects a look of innocence.  His wife calls out in a voice we all can hear and exposes Mr. Charm for all that he is (or isn’t), “Don’t let me forget the prunes.  You know how you get if you don’t eat prunes.” 
The grazer can always be found dashing from one freebie stand to another.  He sometimes goes it alone while his wife is shopping or he stampedes with his whole family.  “Over here.  They’re serving sausage bites over here!” He not only leaves his trash on nearby displays or at the bottom of their grocery cart but he also tastes the grapes or helps himself to a free donut out of the bakery case. From the size of the waistline of his khakis, he has done this often.
The one male shopper who probably has the most interesting back story, is the bully.  He drives the shopping basket because he wants to know how every bit of his hard earned money is spent. Every item the wife puts into the basket has to be approved by him first. He never bothers to talk quietly to his wife, but yells in a voice for all to hear. He makes sure we all know that it is HIS money that will pay for all of that extravagance. 
He makes all the others look good.
I am sure there are other “types,” but these are the ones who always stand out and catch the writer's eye. 


Monday, December 29, 2014

Grief


You wake up in the morning and the day laughs at your pain. It is sunny and bright, cheerful and promising; everything opposite of how you feel.  
You count the days in minutes.  First a few seconds separate you from the person you loved, then the seconds melt into minutes and hurry into hours.  The minutes become days, weeks, and months.
You reach into a drawer, a closet, a cabinet and find you didn’t get rid of everything as well as you thought. Memories hide in the most unsuspecting and unforgiving places.  
You hear a voice and you turn, a smile on your face, ready to answer, forgetting for one second that it is not him or her.  
You think of a question, hear a joke, remember a story and you reach for the phone before you realize no one will answer at the other end.
A couple holds hands, a baby cries, you overhear a conversation, and you pray no one saw the naked look on your face before you walked away. 
If you could do it over, you would be more careful, more obedient, more diligent. You would treasure each minute, each day. You realize how much you miss what you had and how its absence affects your actions every day and your sleep every night.  
You regret words you said or didn’t, you miss all the moments you shared or didn’t, you wish you had stolen one more kiss, hug or smile. Unfinished business will forever stay unfinished.
You yell at anything and anyone – God, the loved one, the accident, the divorce, the disease. With the passing of time, you realize nothing assuages your pain.

For most of us the wounds heal.  They might leave a scar but they heal. Each in its own time. You learn to live with the wound that surrounds your heart, or that empty space will fill instead with good memories, with forgiveness, with acceptance. You can no more undo your grief than you can undo that they existed, that you once loved them, that they left their mark in your heart forever.   

Monday, December 22, 2014

Ditch the Divorce Tag


When do you stop being “divorced” and can start calling yourself “single” once again?
I don’t like the word “divorced;” it somehow attaches the ex-spouse to you like old gum on the bottom of your shoe, and I don’t think that is what you want. You legally ditched the ex, so being divorced should not dominate your introduction to others. 
If you never remarry again, doesn’t it condemn you for all eternity to say things like “Hi, I’m divorced.” to brand new acquaintances? This leads to questions like “Since when?”  And here you go again – dragging that old carcass into the preliminaries when you have more exciting things to discuss like politics, sports, your next dental appointment.     
Along with reclaiming my maiden name (and paying off the lawyers), I was newly single the moment I walked down the court steps and headed for the parking garage.  (Isn’t single the opposite of married?)
Being divorced is not a permanent condition.  Like the flu or a stomach virus, you survived and it’s over. You don’t go around saying, “Hi, I had a colonoscopy.” It was difficult, but move on. You might eventually get around to sharing this info one day, but not at the start of each new conversation.
Here’s something else that goes with that: Why is a person who has married more than once considered “remarried?” Unless you marry the same person again, shouldn’t you just be “married?”

It’s that sticky gum nuisance once again, messing up your Ferragamos.