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A Storm. Day 298.

We’re having a little tropical storm named Collin today. It was last minute. The air is so muggy and thick, warm and misty.

As the rain was pouring on my Jeep, giving it a much needed bath, a rinsing off of the poor juicy insects who found their demise on Interstate 40, I was reminded of past hurricanes, and of one moment in particular that wasn’t funny then, but I guess is now.

Max was a baby, only a couple months old. He still used a baby carrier because he wasn’t quite ready for a car seat yet.

I worried about the storm and potential for tornadoes so when it was time to sleep at night I locked him up tight in his seat so if anything happened, he would have a fighting chance.

That’s paranoid, right? I thought it was genius.

It’s frightening to sit through sometimes days of violent winds and darkness. News on the battery operated radio talked about tornadoes lifting houses high in the air and flooding chasing people away from their homes.

I was simply afraid.

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How Do You Do It? Day 297.

Single moms out there, how do you manage? What do you leave undone? I need to choose something.

How do you:

  • paint your toes
  • clean out closets
  • brush the dogs
  • weed anything
  • deep clean the house
  • organize kitchen cabinets
  • cook dinner
  • not freak out
  • catch up on personal emails and Facebook messages
  • reach out to old friends
  • keep up with annual appointments and tasks
  • schedule service on your vehicle
  • play a board game with your kids
  • not pull your hair out

I’m waiting.

543 Day Writing Journey

Thirteen Years. Day 295.

The headlights from our white Chevy Venture van lit up the front yard of Shamrock Drive, exposing the freshly-cut green grass and the real brick façade that protected the bottom front of our little home. The hunter green front door opened and Roger, hair still wet and sticking up from his shower, walked out. He had on his plaid pajama bottoms and a clean white t-shirt. He was holding the front of his PJ’s just above the knees so they wouldn’t touch the ground. His skin was sun-kissed and squeaky clean.

Continue reading “Thirteen Years. Day 295.”
543 Day Writing Journey

Dystopia. Day 294.

Photo by Anna Tarazevich on Pexels.com

I don’t watch many shows or movies which are horrific or violent, but some I like have some unsettling moments, like Tarantino, Marvel and other similar science fiction. I don’t generally watch movies or shows of horror, war, or thriller (that’s a broad spectrum, but either way), but the genre that freaks me out the most is dystopian fiction like Handmaid’s Tale.

Continue reading “Dystopia. Day 294.”
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Quiet House. Day 293.

All of the boys are working today, and I am too, but they left and I stayed. It’s just me, the cats, the dogs, and the chickens today, and I thought it would be nice.

It’s too quiet, and I haven’t had a second to myself until now. Once the boys all began working, the others would take over their chores. Now, today anyway, it’s only me. I worked until after two, then did the chores.

I had to tend to the chickens which included feeding them, making sure their water was fresh, counting them, giving them treats, chatting with them for a bit, and collecting their eggs. I also had to peek at the garden and pick what was ready, take out the trash, empty and fill the dishwasher, and so much more that I simply don’t want to list.

While I do all this I have nobody to talk to, not one person to hear me fall in the shower, and the silence is deafening. It’s funny because even the dogs are quiet. It’s eerie.

So, I have made a decision: If I am still single when the boys all move out in fifty years, I will become like Forrest Gump’s mom and have boarders here who I will cook for, rent out rooms to, and share stories with. It actually sounds kind of nice.

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Gisele and her Person. Day 292.

We had a beach day at Tyler’s today and Gisele came along. It’s sweet to see her niece, Maxine, and her nephew, Belichick, love on her and show her the respect she deserves.

She got to see her person, Tyler, and she knew where we were going once we turned down his very long road.

Life is good. I just can’t stand it sometimes.

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Life Goes On. Day 287.

Daily observations:

  • I need to do some lat exercises.
  • Time goes too fast.
  • I’ll never outgrow peanut butter.
  • Hot sauce with jalapeños and Cayenne peppers from the garden is in the fridge for two weeks then we can use it. Try making it yourself. It’s easy.
  • Yogurt with granola is underrated.
  • There are so many last names in the world.
  • Stuff is getting expensive!
  • If I could meet the person who invented the undo button, I would buy her a Coke.
  • There are good people in the world, but we focus too much on the bad.
  • Pizza or tacos? You can only choose one forever.
  • My dad used to talk to me about a rocket that had unlimited gas and time. It can go go go forever. He would say, “Does it end? If it does, what’s on the other side?” There’s an other side to everything. Whoa.
  • I slouch too much but it feels so good.
  • I miss reading.
  • Get blue light glasses.
543 Day Writing Journey

Facing it Head on With a Silver-Can Shield. Day 285.

If you think about it, who amongst us doesn’t experience a little sadness on days like Fathers Day? Whether we’re missing someone who’s passed, mixed up in an estranged relationship, or maybe some of us have never had a father.

Continue reading “Facing it Head on With a Silver-Can Shield. Day 285.”
543 Day Writing Journey

Squatters. Day 284.

The boys and I moved to a bigger house in 2009, but I couldn’t imagine selling the home that Roger and I bought together, the one where we raised our little family for seven years. It was the last place I saw him, and Max and Baylee’s first house.

Continue reading “Squatters. Day 284.”
543 Day Writing Journey

A Bungalow. Day 282.

As Steve Rogers says, “I can do this all day.” I love love love writing property descriptions, especially ones as charming as this. This is one of the five I’ve written in the past twenty-four. Thanks, God.

Continue reading “A Bungalow. Day 282.”
543 Day Writing Journey

Perspective. Day 277.

“Maxwell, come up here,” Roger said to Max, many, many times.”

Max dragged his blanket with one hand and used the other to balance himself as he stood and walked from the end of the bed to the middle of me and Roger.

Continue reading “Perspective. Day 277.”
543 Day Writing Journey

Feetie Pajamas. Day 275.

Fleecy flannel feeties, 
Warm, lightweight, cheap,
Kmart $3.99.

Primary red, blue, yellow.
Soft hand-me-downs,
washed in Dreft and Downy.

Hanging by the wooden pins,
by the white plastic toes,
swaying in the North Carolina wind.

Zip up zip down,
carefully,
Lesson learned once.

You, too tall but not too wide,
so I cut the feet off for you,
then they fit again.

Big brother then small,
Same ones shared at different times,
until one day.

No more feetie pajamas
swaying in the wind, 
or tumbling in the washer, 
or sticking out of the top drawer, 
or in the cart at the non-existent Kmart.

One day, gone.
No warning or thought.
Just gone, 
in the dump on Ramsey Road in Jacksonville,
or the white trash bag for the Good Will,
or the box in the attic that the rats got to.

Gone. 
RIP feetie pajamas. 



543 Day Writing Journey

Zucchini Balls. Day 274.

These zucchini balls can be eaten with your favorite homemade or jarred sauce and served with crispy, buttery garlic bread, and a spring green salad. That is, of course, if you can wait. They have the same texture as a meatball, but are filled with healthy, flavorful ingredients, like whole-milk mozzarella and fresh herbs. Enjoy!

Continue reading “Zucchini Balls. Day 274.”
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Jealous of Roger. Day 272.

Sometimes I was jealous of Roger, well envious maybe. He’s traveled the world and has been to places like Turkey, England, Italy, Malta, and I could go on. He had friends in the Marine Corps, experienced adventures like sky-diving and visits to Las Vegas, and was able to nap. A lot.

Continue reading “Jealous of Roger. Day 272.”
543 Day Writing Journey

Raided by Rats. Day 271.

Photo by DSD on Pexels.com

I sat up in bed and looked at Roger who was standing in the hallway outside our bedroom on Shamrock Drive. The only light was shining a dim yellow from a small fixture above and behind his head, so I could only see his shape, and not his face. He was about to pull down the stairs to the attic because we just heard a mouse trap snap.

Continue reading “Raided by Rats. Day 271.”
543 Day Writing Journey

Change is Strange. Day 266.

Photo by David Gomes on Pexels.com

There are some shows and movies I watch simply because the kids do, and they recommend it. I begin because I like talking about stories, and since they’re not big readers (cry), I appreciate the next-best thing.

We discuss and debate the storyline, intention, character development, theories, etc. We don’t simply look at the surface of what’s on the screen, but all of the intricacies. After a couple years, they convinced me last summer to watch Stranger Things.

I’m not particularly fond of gore, and science fiction is a new interest of mine. I thought it would be a show about a bunch of kids, kind of Gooniesesque, with young, shallow love storylines or monsters who jump out and say “boo.” I didn’t realize the amount of layers and conversation starters the series would have.

Well, it does, and yesterday we watched the first few episodes of Season Four, the newest release from the franchise. It was awesome!

What’s new to me, besides my interest in science fiction, is my ability to withstand the gory scenes. Maybe it’s the way the team presents it or maybe it’s me being desensitized, but I am able to move past it and look deeper into the story.

I am babbling, I know, but I don’t want to spoil any of it for anyone, so I suppose I should end it here and continue later when people have had enough time to watch.

Try it! If you lived during the 80’s, that alone will be enough to have you gape-mouthed watching the TV for the different styles and brands, oh the brands. You’ll see old soda cans, different store brands like Benetton, and sneakers that I imagine were hard to find or had to be custom-made.

I just love it, all of it. Broaden your scope and break away from the same old. Trust me.

543 Day Writing Journey

On Behalf of a Grateful Nation: A Memoir Page. Day 265.

“I’m sorry, ma’am. I have to do it this way,” he said with a kind, firm tone. He was responding to my babble, my unanswerable questions, my erratic spin.

There was another man in uniform next to him, Sgt. Perez. I knew him, yet it didn’t register. There was also a police officer who I went to high school with. The night was dark and quiet. All of this was going on while the boys were asleep inside.

American tradition with its glory and Colors dictated how I would find out. My husband, Roger, of thirteen years had been killed in Iraq. He was driving a Humvee and ran over an Improvised Explosive Device. He was killed instantly, and I know it was fast because they said, “He didn’t know it even happened” like a billion fucking times. My first reaction was to reason with this young man and ask for proof. I thoroughly believed I could argue it away, mechanical and irrational.

I didn’t cry or fall like they do in the movies. There was no yelling because I didn’t want the kids to find out. I stood there in my parents’ front yard on a warm summer night in Southampton, Massachusetts. I’m sure the crickets were making noise, and maybe the bats were circling above, wanting to nuzzle their faces into my tangled hair. I felt like I needed to put on a bra and brush my teeth.

The boys and I had only been in the state for a few short hours. I stood there without my legs, with nobody to hold me. It felt like everything inside me was unattached and floating around. It was all gone. I was floating on very hot nothing, melted hell, and all I could concentrate on was the young private’s face.

“I’m sorry you had to do this,” I said to the poor kid. He just stood there after telling me the words. He looked perplexed, not knowing what to say next, pale. When I recall that night, I still feel for that boy, and the job he had to do, his vital composure.

The stranger and I stared at each other for some time, then for some nonsensical reason, I looked in the window of my parents’ house. There stood Sammy, ten-years old, pillow hair and full lips like his daddy, looking at me through the glass door, wondering who I was talking to in the middle of the night.

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Away. Day 264.

A book I read, with a bright orange, non-glossy cover and deckled edges, Where the Crawdads Sing, is about a girl/woman who raised herself in the marshes of the South amongst the tidal swells and swinging, gray air grass. She had no friends for most of her life and her family was not around for the most part. The novel has lingered in my mind, popping up randomly for years, for no reason. I imagine it would be lonely out there amongst nature only, rough nature, but I also imagine there is peace as well. And if you've never known company, would you know, recognize, and understand loneliness? She has nobody to answer to, no bills to pay, no comments to respond to on Facebook, and she will suffer no great loss. She also is not privy to the heartache we all read about on a daily basis, the happenings in the world that are potential for harm and sadness. I became lost in that novel by Delia Owens, and still fantasize about what life like that would be. It takes me back to camping, which I desperately want to do, and nature in general, the woods, ocean. The peace that God has offered to us all. It's what I appreciate the most, what grounds me. It's what offers me stillness and hope. It's fuel and vitamins and life. Real life with death that is cyclical and necessary, not to be feared or mourned, but to be comprehended and respected. There's no make-up or processed diamonds or five-hundred dollar handbags made out of nature. It's authentic. 
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To His Brothers. Day 263.

Memorial Day weekend has always been one for us to reflect and remember. The more years that pass, the more privately we want to do that. Our time is spent together and not on our screens, so I did not write anything new.

Today I share a post that Tyler wrote over two years ago to his three younger brothers:

543 Day Writing Journey

Comments. Day 258.

I used to click on the comments, especially on a controversial post. It took me years to realize it altered my mood and made me snappy and even crabby. Why do we do this to ourselves?

Continue reading “Comments. Day 258.”
543 Day Writing Journey

In the Wolcott Woods. Day 257.

Black bears, lost count.
Dense fur, giant square,
thick-padded paws on hinges.
She sees my face.
Her sweet browns, relaxed brows.
She saunters away, silent,
fur moving in waves,
like thick, black gravy.
In the Wolcott Woods.

Turkeys for days and then
for none.
Moms, dads, babies, friends.
Polygamy.
Intelligent;
(except for the time
that tom was fighting his reflection
in the truck chrome)
They fly to the tops of the trees
and stay together,
walking through the woods
and fields like friendly Skeksis,
modern velociraptors.
In the Wolcott Woods.

Possums, one in the coop.
Screaming smiling foxes.
A knocked-kneed, young moose!
Hundreds of deer who,
with their skittish babies, raid my apple trees.
Rabbits with nests of holes.
Bushy coyotes during the day,
call for each other at night,
or when a firetruck whirs by.
In the Wolcott Woods.

Gurgling ravens float in the sky,
chased by four spiteful crows.
Red-tailed hawks perch,
on the top of the chicken run,
smiling down.
Owls, barred, barn, and great-horned,
ask for them and dive for mice.
In the Wolcott Woods.

Bobcats in arm's reach, slight smile,
While they lick lick lick,
from atop the spilled willow tree.
Wetlands with the cat tails,
and juicy ticks,
a sentry for me from him,
or him from me.
In the Wolcott Woods.

They don't believe:
I looked up at the road
and saw a bobcat crossing over
I said, "hey!" and it turned to take a peek
then I saw,
tail dragging, touching the road.
Crossing through to find a mate,
local myth.
In the Wolcott Woods

Shut-down world,
need some air.
Freshly brittled leaves and babbling brook.
Prints in the white crystals,
or viscous watery dirt.
Slick mountain boulders covered in
crystal-tipped moss.
Walking with my girl, my girls.
In the Wolcott woods.


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Saturday. Day 256.

The whirring of the green and yellow lawnmower becomes loud, then fades, and repeats over and over again while Baylee attempts to created the best lines, the ones that will look better than Max’s, or so he hopes. Curving so gracefully and in cadence with the shape of the front yard. Long slim letter S after long slim letter S.

Continue reading “Saturday. Day 256.”
543 Day Writing Journey

Sandwich. Day 254.

Nana was in the big-enough, poorly-lit kitchen, wiping down the counter with a brand new yellow sponge minutes after she parked her car after a three-hour drive. We all loaded up our skinny arms with supplies for the week and brought them from the car to the house, flip-flops flipping and flopping along the way.

Continue reading “Sandwich. Day 254.”
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Chill, Girl. Day 252.

I realized something today. I don’t let life be. Everything I do is for the next step, whether it be an event, a purchase, a far-fetched dream.

This week alone I looked into going for my master’s, purchasing a pool, planning a trip to Boone.

I need to learn to leave life alone and enjoy the moment. I have no idea how to do that. Let it happen. Just live.

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Work Friends. Day 251.

I wiped the tin lids, put round, brown paper stickers on the jam I made last week, and wrote the words “Strawberry, May, 2022” on them. I also put some eggs, blue, tan, brown, and white, in the brown six-pack egg cartons, wrapped them in twine so they stay closed, and placed a sticker on each one that says, “Fresh eggs from happy chickens.” (I’m an 80’s kid. Stickers are everything.)

Continue reading “Work Friends. Day 251.”