Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2017

Marital Blitz

Both in our fifties, HoneyBunch and I met on an Internet dating site.  It matched us by age and interests. We married after three months, so there was no time for HB to learn the truth that all of this was not natural beauty. After the wedding, I kept up appearances for a while by disappearing one day each month to visit my hairdresser.  It wasn’t until I got sick and couldn’t keep my appointments did he learn the truth - I dyed my hair, grew a healthy, robust unibrow, and had an unruly cowlick the size of a Category 5 hurricane. As we near our eleventh anniversary, all my beauty secrets have been lain bare. All of this has been nothing more than smoke and mirrors. He tries not to laugh each time I have had to prepare for a colonoscopy – smiling at him one moment, running to the bathroom the next. He cautiously fed me Sprite and soup the week I contracted the Asian flu – fluids went in and flowed out from every orifice. Then there was the time I had my rotator cuff surgery and I slept…

From Genesis to the Gospels

In a few weeks I will have completed one of my New Year Resolutions for 2017.  I will have read the Bible.  Every book, including the additional, apocryphal chapters included in the Catholic Bible.  It is not the first time I have done this but it will be the first time I have done it with such purpose and intention.  I am nowhere an expert, but I consider it a good start into the study of the Good Book. I might do it again in 2018 just to get a better look at its message. Thanks goes to the friend who coordinated the Facebook online group.  The guide we used broke it down into weekly reading assignments which made it manageable, but it also presented the readings in chronological order.  We started at the beginning but often jumped ahead several hundred pages to other books that “happened” at the same historical time.  For instance, while reading Genesis, we skipped ahead and read Job, then came back again Genesis.  The Psalms were interspersed wherever they fit into the Old Testament…

Home Delivery By RM Martinez

All characters and events in this story are entirely fictional. 
As I headed south on the interstate, the sky was more white than blue.  Not a cloud for miles.  I consulted the weather app on my phone before leaving the house, and there was a storm forming in the northern part of Mexico but it wasn’t due in southern Texas for another twenty-four hours.  I should reach my destination and head back home while it was still daylight.  A single woman my age always planned ahead when traveling alone. I raced alongside hundreds of other cars on the highway, and the drive was uneventful except for the persistent pounding coming from the trunk of my sedan.  It was nothing of consequence so I turned up the radio. As I crested a small hill, thunderheads rose up ahead.  The sky to the west was clear all the way to the horizon, but by the time I neared my exit, the storm clouds were overhead.  I cursed the weather app and stepped on the gas pedal.  I really wanted to make this delivery in the dayl…

Broccoli Wrapped in a Corn Tortilla.

HoneyBunch had been single and alone a tad longer than I had when we first met. His sons went off to college and only came home for short visits; two of mine had come back to live with me so I was rarely alone. On the rare occasion I did not have to cook for five, I indulged in Pop Tarts and cheap bottles of wine for my dinner.  HB talked about steaming broccoli in the microwave and wrapping it inside a cold corn tortilla. He talked about yogurt and hot cups of green tea for breakfast; I feasted on pancakes and mugs of coffee. He could not go a day without tomatoes and salad for lunch.  The only time I tolerate tomatoes are when they are tucked inside a hamburger. As for his broccoli tacos, I would have smothered them in cheese to help make them palatable. We were culinary opposites, but we still fell in love with each other. Once we settled into married life, I pulled out my calendar and sat him down one evening to discuss my hectic work schedule. I sometimes worked six days a week; s…

Me and Moses

When I attended a Catholic university to get my BA many, many years ago, I was required to take twelve hours of religious studies.  I took several courses on the Bible, but I remember little of it outside of the more popular books. Since then I have tried reading the Bible on my own on several occasions but somewhere between Judges and Ruth, I lose interest. After wandering around like Moses in the desert, lost and bewildered as to how to get this done, I joined a group last year committed to reading the Bible in 2017.    The leader is a Facebook friend and fellow writing buddy, but my commitment is not as much to her or the group as it is to my own belief in God. If the Bible is the book of my faith, I should be able to proudly state I have read it cover to cover and am familiar with its contents. Here I am ten months into 2017 and I have just now finished reading the Old Testament and have started into the New. Some OT books were lyrical and uplifting; others were drab and painful.  …

Feeding Frenzy on Facebook

8:15 AM: I find a happy photo with a meme and I post it on my feed.  I am the first to “like” it so that it will push to the top of the main FB feed my friends see.  -Like # 2 -Like #3 -Grumpy Face.  A link is attached.  There is NOTHING happy about last night’s catastrophe, controversy, corruption! (I do not respond.) 8:20 AM: I post a corny, non-political, joke.  I like puns.  I “like” it. -Like# 2, 3, 4, 5 -A “friend” corrects an irksome, grammatical error as if I hadn’t noticed it also. (I do not acknowledge.  I refuse to be put on the defensive.) 8:25 AM: I try my luck with an uplifting quote, a familiar verse often used in literature and song. I “like” it. -Like #2 -Scolded again.  This time for forcing a Bible verse on those who prefer I keep religious references to myself.  (I remind myself to do this again tomorrow.) 8:30 AM: I post a link on my feed, current news.  I share without a “like,” without a comment, without an emoji.  -An immediate slam, an accusation of being vile, com…

Legacy

Two people died last week.  They both lived long, full lives.  One was arrogant and infamous, thousands knew his name; the other was humble and well-loved by only a handful. Both had families.  His was a product of a multitude of meaningless, hedonistic relationships; she dedicated herself to her husband of sixty years. While his heirs scramble over the remains of his crumbling empire, hers are assured of their inheritance as they stand on the solid foundation she left behind.   He will be remembered for scandal and promiscuity. People either snicker or frown when his name is mentioned. His fame, money, and arrogance did not buy him immortality. She will be remembered for love and integrity.  People either smile or feel sorrow at the mention of her name. She lived an exemplary life and that is her legacy, one for which her family and friends will long keep her memory.     Two people died last week.  One lived his life as if there was no tomorrow; she lived hers knowing that there is.   

Hair of the Blog: Remedies for Idea Hangovers

How do you keep up with a blog when you are suffering from Blog Hangover?  Has blogging started to be more work than fun?  Has it become painful to develop interesting ideas? Do you feel disinterested, tired, and in need of hair of the blog? First, whether you are blogging once a week or twice a month, keep to your schedule. If you have established faithful readers, respect their time and loyalty.  Give them something to anticipate in your next blog post. Keep their interest.  If you don’t keep to your promised schedule, you run the risk of losing them and having to attract a new readership from scratch. Also, the more you post, the better your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). With each post, the Internet builds a portfolio of your work and your SEO increases.  When people search the Internet for a topic you have written, the chance that your work will show on their first page of searches increases.  Writing sporadically only hurts your reliability and your SEO. Secondly, blog topics…

Really, Really, Amazing Must-Have List of Books for Beginning and Established Writers

I love lists, especially book lists.  I used to browse the brick and mortar bookstores for hours, looking through displays and shelves, selecting books I wanted, and putting some back when it came time to pay for the ones that fit within my budget. Nowadays, I rely on word of mouth, especially book club suggestions on Facebook, Goodreads, or Amazon.  I see a book list and my curiosity goes into CSI mode.  I read reviews, compare what one reader says versus another, and then make my online purchase.  I offer you my list of Really, Really, Amazing Must-Have Books for Beginning and Established Writers. They can be read in any order, but I thought you would like a bit more description before you decide to own any of them.
I.Starting List of Really, Really, Must-Haves:

On Writing Well by William Zinsser. Good, basic advice, so purchase any edition.  This is a good place to start planning this writing venture.

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Creative Battles by Steven Pr…

Surviving the School Year

Everyone figures out a way throughout the school year that fits both working and school schedules into an easier lifestyle. When my three were little I worked full time, so I whittled out routines that became our “normal.” It ensured we made time for everyone and everything, including free time.   Here is what worked for us and I hope you share your ideas so we can help each other make life less hectic. 1.Stock up on extra school supplies and keep them handy at home – notebook paper, spirals, pens, pencils, crayons, markers, glue, rulers, a good pencil sharpener – whatever kids might forget at school but will need at home to complete homework assignments or projects.  Keep a couple of poster boards handy so you do not have to drive to the store in the middle of the night when they remember they have a project due the next day. 2.Provide a space where you can supervise homework and study while you work on your own projects. My three had to sit at the kitchen table for one hour every eve…

Grandma No No

The two-year-old looked up at me as I dragged him away from the DVD player. He wasn’t happy.  “Grandma No-No,” he grumbled. I giggled at his pronouncement, but I could see why I had earned that moniker. His intelligence, curiosity, and fearlessness – all good traits – kept me on my toes.           He wanted to learn the how and the why of everything, but had to be redirected constantly.  If it was within his reach, he inspected it to learn its purpose.  The electrical socket and the DVD cabinet called to him only because it got a huge reaction from the adults. He saw no difference between his Super Hero toys and the expensive knick knacks on the coffee table. If it made a noise, tore at the mere touch, or bounced, it was his.   He soon learned that his height kept him from reaching things grownups didn’t want him to have, so he taught himself to climb. I watched as he pulled cushions off couches or dragged chairs into position so he could mountain climb from one to the other. I let him …

Letting Go; Emptying the Nest

When my three were little and they got into mischief, I warned them they would one day stand in my shoes.           Someone knocked a hole in the living room wall, another kicked a hole in the back of my brand-new recliner, all out of frustration because I held the line on discipline. They bucked curfews, skipped classes in school, and dated the very people I had warned them to avoid. Every time they gave me grief, I dealt out consequences.           You would think I looked forward to the day they would reach legal age and they would fly out of the nest.  You would think I would relish my well-earned peace and quiet.           But I didn’t.           My many years as a middle school teacher made me an expert at adolescent psychology, so at the same time I was upset by their misbehavior and bad choices, I also celebrated their fight for independence. I recognized their tantrums, disobedience, and rebellion as normal phases.  They were learning to be independent.  They were t…

The Importance of a Simple Thank You

One of my biggest peeves is not receiving a simple thank you for a gift given lovingly and willingly to another.  Grandma asks a child what he wants for Christmas or his birthday and gets a long wish list.  After the child opens the present, he tosses it aside and grabs another without acknowledging or thanking her. The time, effort, and money spent in the process is treated inconsequential, a right and not a privilege.   The following holiday, again the child does the same.  Grandma’s gift is lost among the many others.  No acknowledgement.  No thank you.  If the outcome is the same whether the giver offers a present or not, then why bother? I use the example of a grandchild, but my experience has been wide and varied. This incident has happened repeatedly to me with family and friends where a celebration requires a gift.  What happened to the formal thank you note?   Why is it considered antiquated when the giving of gifts hasn’t gone out of style? We complain about the entitled gene…

Happiness – A Simple Explanation

Scientists can prove “happiness” through brain scans, chemical secretions, even the subtle change in individual cells.  It has also been proven that one’s facial expression can affect one’s disposition.  The body anticipates “happiness” if one practices smiling. I don’t need all that to know what makes me happy. -Bare toes on the beach, the feel of cold, wet sand soothing away the tiredness -A sunrise, its promise of a new day -A vibrant sunset, the accomplishment of that promise -Children’s laughter, especially giggles and squeals -The first sip of coffee in the morning -A drink of cold water flowing down a parched throat -A satisfying ending to a good story, be it a book, a tale, or a movie -A small, unexpected kindness -A loving, understanding partner, family, a good friend -A decadent dessert or a simple, crisp saltine cracker -A moving piece of art; music that stirs the soul -The perfect bubble -A butterfly, a dragonfly, bird in song

Surviving a Panic Attack

I sat my three kids down to give them the news. I was losing control, overwhelmed by the divorce.  I felt my brain on overload and I was inches away from a breakdown.  I needed their help. I needed them to take care of me while I rode out this storm.           All three sat there stunned.  In their early twenties, they were barely adult enough to care for themselves, and I was “the strong one,” the one parent they relied on, their tether while they tested their wings on their own.  I had always warned them not to put me on a pedestal.  My feet were made of clay.  I was mortal and finite. And just as human as they.           Right now, I was moments from slipping into a serious anxiety attack. I knew this because it wasn’t the first time I’d had one. Twenty years prior I froze in front of an auditorium full of educators who had come to hear me speak about the use of a computerized reading program.  I was legally separated (from the same man) back then, so my mind was on more important t…