543 Day Writing Journey

Why Don’t You Free-Range Your Chickens? Day 188.

Aunt Wendy three years ago with the newbies

I dedicate this post to Aunt Wendy, our silver-laced Wyandotte who passed this morning. She was five and although she was tiny, she was the boss. All the others respected her and moved out of her way when she wanted them to. Enjoy string cheese with Barbie and the others, sweet Wendy. You are so missed. You have no idea.

Continue reading “Why Don’t You Free-Range Your Chickens? Day 188.”
543 Day Writing Journey

Hurricanes. Day 187.

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It must be obvious that I love North Carolina, but I do not love the storms, specifically the terrifying tornadoes and the catastrophic hurricanes.

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543 Day Writing Journey

Some Memories for the Boys. Day 186.

I have been keeping up with this 543-day writing challenge, journey, or whatever you want to call it for 185 days! Today, let’s call it a trek.

Max the pool up-chucker and Sammy the chicken-chewer

Although I do this in the memory of my late husband, I am writing for my boys to read one day. They do already, but them having a book of their mom’s zany ideas and some fun memoires we all share would be a cool thing, a treasure.

Continue reading “Some Memories for the Boys. Day 186.”
543 Day Writing Journey

Da’Bomb Repost. Day 185.

Today I repost one of my favorite blog posts I call “You’ll Think You’re a Tough Guy, Too.” At the end, there is a video we took this past summer of us suffering from the effects of a popular hot sauce. If you’re interested, you can buy this hot sauce online. To not make myself an accomplice, I will refrain from sharing a link to purchase the sauce-that-could-be-a-weapon.

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543 Day Writing Journey

Tax Day. Day 184.

A photo of Gladys just because

Doing taxes took up much of my time today, so instead of writing something thick and wordy, I will share a bulleted list of recent thoughts in my writing notes:

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543 Day Writing Journey

New Songs. Day 180.

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We listen to music all day long, all of us, from all genres and all times, so I thought I would share a new list of my current favorites. Sundays, especially when football is not in season, are the best days for music because we deliberately listen and don’t simply have it playing in the background while we work.

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543 Day Writing Journey

Germophobes. Day 179.

I grabbed the ball that my German shepherd, Wanda, dropped in front of me. It’s actually a horse toy and she loves to shake it back and forth with her skinny little head. I held it with two hands over my head and threw it as far as I could. She took off, jumping off the deck and running, ears back.

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543 Day Writing Journey

First Date at Subway. Day 178.

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I would be lying if I said I didn’t violently toy with regretting our move to Massachusetts in 2016, but it does me no good to dwell on it. Instead, I pry open the guilt that shadows our time in Mass, and pick out the good that was in our five years there, but that’s for another post. Instead, I will talk about the future and not the past. Thanks to a busy morning, I was given some glimpses into the future by Max.

Continue reading “First Date at Subway. Day 178.”
543 Day Writing Journey

Pencil in Sam’s Foot. Day 176.

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One day in September of 2009, a couple months after Roger died, Sammy, who was eleven at the time, came to me in the kitchen of our Shamrock house and said he stepped on a pencil.

Continue reading “Pencil in Sam’s Foot. Day 176.”
543 Day Writing Journey

Today’s Notice. Day 175.

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One thing I have been noticing is that everyone I see on the news and in my social media feeds, no matter their political preference or views on the world and life, believes Ukraine should not have to deal with this mess.

We are all on the same page for once, and it’s just so wonderful. It gives me hope.

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543 Day Writing Journey

Turkey Vultures. Day 174.

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People don’t really like the way turkey vultures look, but that’s an opinion I don’t share. They are different looking, yes, but I think they’re quite majestic and their unique look gives them a little swag.

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543 Day Writing Journey

A Movie Reminder. Day 173.

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Today is a dreary day, the weather mirroring the sad world. It’s the perfect Sunday to watch a movie and one I recommend highly is Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. What better way to grant yourself some selfish peace during a time of turmoil than a Tarantino distraction?

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543 Day Writing Journey

Day Trip. Day 172.

A job search, loud puppy, and a new war had me spinning. I was allowing a little frustration to enter my spirit and cloud my rational mind, so Doo, Gisele, and I decided to take a trip to see Tye, Deaven, and the pups at the beach to refresh our souls.

Of course, the ocean is calming most days, and the vastness of it reminded me of how little my personal issues were. The puppies are really recognizing us as part of their pack, and were happy to see us. Maxine thinks Gisele is the bee’s knees and shows it by flattening herself on the ground and licking her face, her little ears back in the sweetest surrender.

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543 Day Writing Journey

Wilfred Owen. Day 171.

This poem may be disturbing to some, whether or not they’ve seen war or have suffered the effects, either directly or indirectly, of Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some of the language and wording in this poem has become less than polite or proper through the years due to our glorious evolution of language, but the sentiment remains the same.

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543 Day Writing Journey

War. Day 170.

Waking up and reading the news this morning, I realized that evidently, the macho, chest-pounding tough guy isn’t going to pull back, and in fact, the little squirt did invade Ukraine. It’s because he and his groveling friends don’t sacrifice or suffer loss themselves. They watch it happen while they sit back in their flawless, uninteresting suits, smirking, grinning, and sipping on cloudy vodka with their sad small lips like scared little boys.

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543 Day Writing Journey

The Dragging Mattress. Day 169.

A photo I took of him in 2016 after we moved back to Shamrock

For no reason other than the recent remembrance of a sweet occurrence, I would like to share something cute Baylee used to do.

At the end of 2015, we moved back into our Shamrock house which had been a rental so we could get the Raintree house ready to sell. Tye, Sam, and I had rooms, and Max and Baylee shared one, but that wasn’t good enough for the youngest boy.

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543 Day Writing Journey

Tuesdays. Day 168.

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Tuesdays don’t get the credit for being annoying as much as Mondays do. On Sundays, Roger used to get a little down beginning around noon because he loved being home with us and didn’t want to work the next day. His Sundayitis was contagious, and I used to get upset with him.

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543 Day Writing Journey

Ship of Theseus. Day 167.

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Here is the Wikipedia explanation of the Ship of Theseus: “In the metaphysics of identity, the Ship of Theseus is a thought experiment that raises the question of whether an object that has had all of its components replaced remains fundamentally the same object.”

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543 Day Writing Journey

Operation Homebase. Day 164.

From Roger’s Funeral

All of the good that Tunnel to Towers does overwhelms me, and their newest endeavor, Operation Homebase, is something I can’t stop thinking about.

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543 Day Writing Journey

A Soldier’s Child. Day 163.

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I’m still hanging on the coattails of yesterday’s post about Tunnel to Towers, the foundation that saved me when I had no other options. After I wrote that post, I started to think of the other foundations and organizations that exist out there, and one in particular warms my heart.

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543 Day Writing Journey

They Do Good. Day 162.

Home ❤

“Tunnel to Towers wants to give you a house!” It was Nancy Gass, a recipient of the foundation and the Gold Star Ambassador and Advisor for them. We had been chatting recently after my Uncle Lee insisted I fill out an application.

“I can figure out this whole house thing on my own,” I said to him. (I’ve always been the queen of I’m fine.)

“Just try,” he said many times.

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543 Day Writing Journey

Our Forward Ever. Day 161.

Our family is stepping forward each day, all over the sharp rocks with our bare feet, and even on the smooth sand when things go our way. Whether it’s a miniscule hop, or a gaping leap, we are each progressing towards a future while we are soaking up our present.

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543 Day Writing Journey

It’s Monday. Day 160.

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My mail carrier just came to the house to deliver some stepping stools we ordered to raise the dogs food bowls.

“They have you working on a Sunday!?” I said to her.

“Honey, it’s Monday,” she said while she chuckled so sweetly.

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543 Day Writing Journey

Seeds. Day 157.

“Where’s Sammy?” I asked Roger.

“He’s in the garden,” he said, nonchalantly.

There he was, not quite two years-old, wearing a Luv’s diaper, bright yellow rain boots, and a little Coppertone. His hair was cartoon blonde and his skin was summer brown. His cheeks were puffed out tight and his eyes were smiling at me, filled with mischief.

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543 Day Writing Journey

Miss Emily. Day 156.

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Baylee is studying the late 1800’s in history, and because his workload this new semester is quite giant, I’ve opted to not introduce a novel and do some poetry instead.

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543 Day Writing Journey

My Wedding Ring. Day 154.

“I like the plain ones,” I said.

“Me, too.” It was our first together-purchase, wedding rings at Hannoush Jewelers in the Holyoke Mall. With stars in our eyes, we bought mine for $75 and his for a little over $100. We didn’t have enough left to stop for food and that was OK.

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543 Day Writing Journey

Chaos at the Naval Hospital. Day 153.

Sammy holding Max

Sammy was four with white-blonde hair and Coppertone-brown skin from hours spent in our backyard pool on Shamrock Drive. He was trying to let go of my hand, and our mingled sweat from the warm July day gave him hopes of an escape. We walked from the van to the sidewalk, Max on my right hip and Sammy screaming as I calmly dragged him behind. It was shot day and he knew it.

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543 Day Writing Journey

Clean Room. Day 151.

I hear the vacuum running outside my bedroom door, back and forth, back and forth as Baylee earns the seven dollars from Max for doing his chore. The puppy, Wanda, barks playfully, and the gentle tap tap tap of the hammer keeps the rhythm of the house as Max chisels out a home for our new deadbolt to rest.

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543 Day Writing Journey

Crash. Day 150.

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“Why are you pulling over?” I asked Roger.

He didn’t answer, pulled over quickly, and got sick on the side of the road.

“Are you OK?” I asked.

“It was that rest stop Burger King,” he said. It really was terrible food that we all had in New Jersey. They ran out of buns and subbed it with a day-old croissant. He ate a few bites then tossed it.

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543 Day Writing Journey

Kool-Aid in a Baby Bottle. Day 149.

When I had Tyler, I was seventeen. I wasn’t really sure about what I was doing, but we’ve evolved, and he forgives me.

We used to eat fast food too much, I stopped his crying with Oreos, and I can still picture the red Kool-Aid in his eight-ounce bottle.

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543 Day Writing Journey

Just Try It. Day 148.

Do it for Roseanne.

“Why do you keep checking the ingredients?” I asked Sammy.

“There’s no way this isn’t real meat,” he said, skeptical. With some of the products listed below, you would never know.

I’m not suggesting you turn into a hippie vegetarian. I’m not even talking about the health benefits because each brand differs. I’m only trying to pass the word that some of the products you see advertised in restaurants, on TV, and all over the internet are incredibly delicious.

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543 Day Writing Journey

White-coat Hypertension. Day 147.

Baylee taking Max’s blood pressure.

Gone are the days when I would look forward to my appointments with the doctor. There is no more listening for a fetal heartbeat, or even better, seeing their little bean bodies on an ultrasound screen. Now, my appointments aren’t as fun.

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543 Day Writing Journey

We All Care. Day 146.

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“I don’t care what people think.”

It’s an untrue statement we have all said, thought, and heard. It’s a wonderfully protective social tool we use to move on from an awkward situation or declaration of an unpopular belief about something, but if you rub Secret on your pits, wear Covergirl mascara, or refrain from picking your nose in public, you care.

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543 Day Writing Journey

Must Love Chaos. Day 145.

I love chaos. Me with my four pups and my son’s and his girlfriend’s.

Dating has been the recent topic of conversation in some of my friend circles (not me, them), so it makes me think. It still horrifies me to even imagine meeting someone out in public or even chatting with a person via text or phone call. Instead of giving myself unnecessary anxiety, I try to have fun with the thought and imagine how I would write my dating profile bio.

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543 Day Writing Journey

Spine Poems. Day 144.

I had nothing today, no ideas, no revisions, no poetry. I didn’t even want to share a recipe. I needed help with my fleeing focus.

Sometimes when I’m struggling to write, I google “writing prompts.” Dr. Filas used to pass an item like a pear around the classroom and tell us to write about it for five minutes. The end of our little essays was never about a piece of fruit.

The online ideas are limitless and today I found a new one, spine poetry.

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543 Day Writing Journey

Starting to Forget. Day 143.

Mine on the left. Roger’s on the right.

Dr. Filas, my professor at Westfield State who taught me about memoir writing, said, “It doesn’t have to be exact. You can paraphrase or embellish if you need to.”

Although I am not against the practice of embellished dialogue for some, I will not use it in my writing. Some conversations stick in my mind, but others are foggy, so I will say “I have said” or “He may have said.” The exact details are important to me, so I will not say definitively that something was said if it was not.

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543 Day Writing Journey

Egg Cups. Day 142.

In mine, I added scallions and feta.

I have tweaked a recipe that I found on Weight Watchers for egg cups. An egg cup is kind of like an omelet, but it’s baked in a muffin tin so you can make many of them at once. They’re filling and rich and almost no points if you are careful. Plus, my chickens are still laying eggs regularly, even though the days are shorter this time of year.

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543 Day Writing Journey

Ego. Day 141.

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“You’re a great writer,” they’ve all said. Family, friends, professors, and even strangers still say that. Of course. It’s like when you don a new haircut and people say they love it, or when you bake someone a cake. “This is to die for.”

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543 Day Writing Journey

Peanut Allergies. Day 140.

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“I can’t have peanut butter in my lunch,” Baylee said. We had just moved to Massachusetts from North Carolina.

“What?!” I was surprised, and a little angry. How could someone tell me what my kid could have for lunch, right?

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543 Day Writing Journey

Pressing Cammies. Day 139.

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The smell of burning water told me the iron was ready, so I took a pair of trousers out of the high pile of cammies. I held the pants upside-down, lined up the bottom hems, and gave them two shakes. Once they were flat, I put them on the ironing board, lined up the creases, and began pressing.

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543 Day Writing Journey

Roger Annoyed Me. Day 138.

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They say time heals all wounds, but it’s not true. My Nana has been gone since 1993 and I still miss her terribly. All of my past personal losses still and always will suck. Time does, however, offer you devices and tricks to cope with the grief, and I’ve seen the results of one specific tool lately.

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