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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.”
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Missed Connections. Day 249.

Photo by Hernan Pauccara on Pexels.com

Missed Connections is a type of ad that is taken out by a person to find a stranger from a chance meeting they had. It is still being used in this modern day even though social media would most likely be more feasible. I think it’s sweet.

Continue reading “Missed Connections. Day 249.”
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A Dollar. Day 248.

With a possible recession in our near future, it’s hard not to think of a dollar. We have been told to not spend too freely, save if we can, and watch out for the creepy scammers. I understand the domino-effect of recession, but not inflation. I do not know why it exists, but that it truly does, and here’s why:

Continue reading “A Dollar. Day 248.”
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For Alyssa: Boys. Day 247.

I’ve talked about Kim quite a bit in my posts, my friend I’ve know since we were kindergarten-age, the one I used to sneak out of the house with. (I told you that, right?) Her sweet niece, Alyssa, is about to have a baby boy, and she asked me recently to send along any advice about having sons her way. Here are a few things I thought I should mention:

  • Let him pick out his own clothes as much as possible. It’ll amuse you and grant him a sense of confidence and self.
  • Injuries will happen. Just keep your composure until you pass him over to the nurse or doctor. (Once I had to unscrew a screw from the bottom of Max’s foot.)
  • Try not to fear how much you love him.
  • Share music, all types, not that baby stuff, but real music from every genre, and if it has bad words, teach him not to say them. If you censor, it’ll fascinate him.
  • Trust him. Always trust him. (Or at least pretend to.)
  • Don’t wait to tell him bad news. He will be more secure if he doesn’t think something’s coming.
  • Don’t allow others to compare the progress of your son as a baby, in school, in sports, or ever, to their son. Nobody is the same.
  • Whomever your boy decides to love, be nice to them. Some of my favorite people in the world are ones my boys chose. They know what they’re doing.
  • Teach him how to swim.
  • Teach him how to cook, clean, use a drill, and read a paper map.
  • Show him Sesame Street!
  • Don’t be afraid to get dirty, sticky, poopy, pukey. Also, don’t feel compelled to always keep him clean.
  • No matter how many times you put your hand up as a guard, you will get peed on, so keep your mouth closed when you change his diaper.
  • It all goes by so fast.
  • Encourage him to play an instrument, juggle, do card tricks, do crafts.
  • Let him wear pink or flowers or anything else that is socially normal for girls.
  • Frame his art.
  • Teach him how to build a fire.
  • Let him wait on you if he likes. You deserve it and he’ll love to help.
  • Weirdness is simply fine.

The more I list, the more I realize any of these would work for a girl or a boy. I wonder if that’s my advice to you, just treat him like a human, and although you may not agree with some of it, or you choose to do things differently, just love him as you will and let him be whom he is.

Oh how your life will change, and the three of you will figure it all out, especially with your auntie only a phone call away. You are going to be such a good mom. My love to you all.

543 Day Writing Journey

Chopper Mom. Day 245.

“Eat your breakfast now,” I said to Baylee.

“Why?”

“So I can be home in case you choke.” I was getting ready to leave for work, and he would be alone all day.

I suppose that seems funny or over-the-top for some, but it’s our way of life. It’s not a chosen way of life, and maybe not even situational, but it’s tangible and constant.

When I say situational, I mean some would think we are worriers because of what happened to us, but it’s also genetic. I come from a long line of worriers, so our situation, so-to-speak, simply and complicatedly magnified and continues to magnify our worry.

If a dog limps, we go to the worst case scenario, and Heaven forbid they cough. That’s another story. We continuously suffer the consequences of our genes and happenings by living a life full of what-ifs. We have to put significant effort into enjoying life, celebrating, but we can and we do.

We party and swim and go to the beach. (Although I do stare at my man-children in case they need me to save them from drowning.) We have to put a little more effort into living and having fun, but we do.

Usually when a child turns into an adult, the parent stops telling them things like “Don’t cut yourself” or “chew slower” but I never hit that wall. I never stopped. I don’t think I will actually. Maybe I’m that mom who does get into the pilot’s seat and helicopters over their heads. If that’s what it takes to keep them safe, then so be it.

Just call me, Chopper Mom. (Very superheroesque. I need a cape.)

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Multiverse Mind. Day 241.

Wanda Maximoff

The boys and I went to see Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness today in Wilmington, and our chats have been deep dives and twisted ideas since we tossed our popcorn buckets into the cans at the end of the carpeted ramp. Because of that, I simply cannot organize my thoughts in any type of intricate way, so I will bullet my own madness:

  • I’ll never look swag while using a credit card machine, but tapping is pretty fun.
  • I buried a chicken this morning. RIP, Tuesday.
  • I don’t spend money on fancy purses, jewelry, or going out, but I do love Bose.
  • What is grief, if not love persevering.(?)
  • I still can’t believe we climbed 43 stories.
  • I like how people pat the seat next to them to say sit down. Well, most people.
  • I miss Kmart.
  • Nobody calls me Teresa or Teri in my house.
  • I love my job.
  • If I’m enjoying the present, is it a time thing or a really great gift?
  • I wish more people would recycle here.
  • Roger and I always loved mint shampoo.
  • I don’t like artificial sweetener.
  • When the boys wrestle with the dogs I always tell them to guard their wiener.
  • I think I like the cold because I like to make myself warm.
  • Weight Watchers must miss me. #chipsandcheese
  • With forward movement comes separation.
  • Are there multiverses?
  • I’m working on a nature-vs-nurture piece.
  • It’s the coolest thing to shove a seed into a tiny peat cup of expensive soil and eat what it grows. Come on. That’s so cool.
  • Watch AJR YouTube videos if you’re sad.
  • French toile makes me happy.
  • I can’t believe we’re in North Carolina.
  • My best friend is a 10 year old German shepherd.
  • Favorite colors are silly.
  • Roger put so much effort into being open-minded even if it made him uncomfortable. He was willing to learn. Gosh that makes me happy.
  • I’m working on a piece about my Uncle Lee but it’ll never be good enough to show what he means to us.
  • I wouldn’t mind a little Dark Hold adventure as long as there was a safe word.
  • The Easthampton Diner had really great mozzarella sticks, maybe still does. I miss that place.
  • Jim Halpert will always be Jim Halpert.
  • Turtles are better than people. Actually non-people are always better than people.
  • Exposure therapy is dumb but effective.
543 Day Writing Journey

No Memories. Day 240.

Everything Baylee knows about Roger is from what he’s been told and photos he’s seen. Just today he quoted to me, “You know that the earliest memories begin around three years old.” He was not quite three when Roger died. I could see his quiet face concentrating on the math.

Continue reading “No Memories. Day 240.”
543 Day Writing Journey

Worry. Day 238.

It’s debilitating and I think I do it to myself. I wish I had that gift of letting my kids figure it all out on their own, but I’m the mom who always says, “Don’t cut yourself” when they’re holding scissors or “Don’t choke” when they’re eating. Mind you, my kids are not babies anymore, and I don’t see an end in sight to my madness.

I’m not a helicopter mom, but a reminder mom who lectures and makes sure they know what they most likely already know.

Max went to his first day of work today after just getting his license, and I worried all morning until I got his text. “I made it. Love you.” I took a deep breath and thanked God.

All day we texted, him initiating more than I did because I was trying to give him space. Well, he forgot his charger, which in this day and age, and since he didn’t know the way yet, means he didn’t know how to get home.

“My phone is at one percent,” he texted me.

“You’ll have to figure it out,” I said, wanting to cry.

Well, he did, and he’s on his way home now. I knew he could do it, but why don’t I want to let him?

543 Day Writing Journey

New Drivers. Day 234.

Max finally earned his driver’s license! Due to him not being in a rush, COVID restrictions at the RMV in Massachusetts, and one failed attempt, it took longer than he would have liked. He got it, though. He practiced and studied and went in there knowing what he was doing. We were both very freaked out, but when he rounded that corner, I saw that smile his dad gave him stuck on his face, and I knew.

Continue reading “New Drivers. Day 234.”
543 Day Writing Journey

Beach Property for Rent. Day 233.

This hasn’t been published yet, so I eliminated the names.

Find harmony on a tranquil part of the island in this newly painted, clean and cheerful six bedroom, four and a half bathroom ocean-view house that sleeps fourteen people and has six balconies! You will admire the sunrise, sunset, inlet, and the ocean from this three-story home. This dog-friendly, newly decorated house nestled in the private community of &*%$* boasts a beach access and three stories, each with its own living area with ample comfortable seating and smart TVs.

Smart TVs are also in each of the six bedrooms ready for you to sign on to your favorite streaming apps. Two of the bedrooms, one on the first floor and one on the second are master suites with king beds and their own bathroom. Other bedrooms include two more on the first floor and another two on the third floor, enough room and separation for several families. 

The house sits on a cul de sac, right across from the private community beach access, offering a safe, short walk to the sand and sea. This part of the island will lend you a serene beach stay with an array of restaurants, bars, and shops only a short drive away, but not close enough to cause a loud, busy vibe.

The staircase at the front of the house will guide you to the first floor which boasts three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living area, and the convenience of a laundry room so you may return home with clean clothes, but it doesn’t stop there.

The second floor is the heart of the home with a sitting area, a large living room with ocean views, one bedroom, and two bathrooms. It is also home to the well-stocked kitchen, a gourmet chef’s dream with a Keurig bar, stainless steel appliances, a dining area with a large table that seats eight, and additional seating at the kitchen bar and center island. Adults can enjoy a glass of wine in the ocean-view living room while the kids play games a short distance away upstairs.

The third floor, a child’s dream, has two bedrooms, a large sitting area with a table perfect for games or snacktime, another bathroom, and a game nook well-stocked with board games. Children will love the bright colors and ocean life decor while they create lifelong memories.

Don’t wait to book this property in the highly-coveted area of *%^@&$?. It will go fast! 

543 Day Writing Journey

Pigging Out. Day 232.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Pexels.com

Walmart has boxes of cereal, name brand cereal, called Mega size. Last night I tucked a bright orange, 31.2 ounce box of Reese’s Puffs under my arm and brought it to bed with me. I knew I wanted to add to the extra milk at the bottom of my enormous bowl a little at a time, many, many times. Then I drank as much of the milk as I could before it made me sick, fell asleep, and dreamt about Wanda carrying around a live copperhead. I awoke this morning with a sore mouth, dirty dishes in my room (which I read is no good for one’s mental state), and no remorse.

Continue reading “Pigging Out. Day 232.”
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A Reminder. Day 230.

Working has put a hold on my memoir editing, so I wanted to remind myself that I’m not done.

Here, I talk about the day in 2009 when I had some ashes removed from Roger’s urn to have transferred to the cemetery:

I couldn’t help but wonder what was next. People started to leave and as much as I wanted to restore life back to normal, it was impossible. Also, when things calmed down, something else came up. It was a time of unrest and confusion, and the tasks I had to do kept me busy and were welcomed; well, most of them.

In order to have a marker put down at the veterans’ cemetery in town, they needed actual remains, so I made an appointment to go in with Roger’s urn. The day came to transfer some of his ashes into a smaller urn to be buried, and I was thankful to still have my friend staying with me. I didn’t have to go alone.

Auntie and I got into her avocado colored Jeep Wrangler which never had its doors or top on. I remember wearing a black sundress, my hair was in its North Carolina muggy messy bun, and my turquoise flip flops were tucked under my left arm. It had been weeks since his death, so I believe I was wearing lip gloss again. Light pink.

I cradled Roger’s urn tightly to my chest, buckled my seat belt, and lit a cigarette. I dragged deep onto that, inhaling my own death, as we made our way.

Mercedes with chrome details and lifted pickup trucks with big tires swirled around the road as I held my dead husband’s ashes. I moved him to the floor between my bare feet after a bump in the road concerned me. Delirium circled us in her glorious clouds as our little hairs stuck to our sweaty cheeks. There was sun but it wasn’t showing. People were going to K-Mart, first dates, baseball practice, and McDonald’s. They were driving along with their music, smiling at what their boss wore, or griping about their broken acrylic nail. They were late for hair appointments and early for affairs. It was simply absurd. We talked to the urn pretending or believing it mattered to him.

The funeral home was only five minutes from my house on Shamrock Drive, but I remember the drive lasting longer than that. Laughter was trapped in my chest and gut as I wrestled with the absurdity of my life and current place in Jacksonville’s daily events. I wanted to cry with and laugh with delirium. I felt the air tug at my body and imagined tumbling out of the Jeep into nothingness or a nice peaceful rest. Auntie and I knew we shouldn’t really look at each other.

The Jeep’s tires crunched the asphalt as she turned into the parking lot at the funeral home in Jacksonville, NC. I wriggled my feet into my teal Old Navy flip flops and jumped down from the Jeep. I picked up his urn from the floor and pressed it to my chest. I embraced it in a strong squeeze, purposely making it hard for me to breathe, making some of my pain physical. We walked into the front lobby and I felt the cool air envelope my bare shoulders and face as we left the July air. The front room was darkened and empty, and our feet were cushioned by soft, Turkish rugs. The chairs looked too nice to sit on with their velvet crimson cloth. A little man came out, light brown hair and wearing jeans and a polo shirt.

“How much do you need?” I asked the funeral director who usually wore a suit.

“About a handful,” he plainly yet politely said.

I looked at Auntie and she mirrored my face. I handed my husband in his box over to the man, and he nodded and said, “It’ll only take five minutes.” I prayed for his hands to not be sweaty.

We sat on the imported furniture with our Target clothes and looked around. What we were doing was ludicrous like something one would watch on a sitcom, yet it wasn’t funny. I touched the plush carpet with my big toe to feel its softness as I starred in my own sitcom. The man entered our silence with outstretched arms. He was holding Roger’s condensed body in the urn. I couldn’t help but believe it felt lighter as I received it and hugged its squareness. 

“Thank you.”

“Have a good day,” he nodded, and walked away before we did.

We drove home with less craze and confusion than our ride there. Our shoulders were a little lower and the clouds were grayer. I lit my menthol cigarette, and intentionally inhaled more of my life away. I placed his urn carefully between my ankles and squeezed it so he wouldn’t fall out. We made our way back to Shamrock.

A day or two later or who even knows, I filled out the paperwork for the cemetery.

“What am I going to write on his marker?” I asked Auntie, “I only have a few spaces.”

“You’ll know when it comes to you.”

I could have written “Father and Husband,” or “Proud Soldier.” Instead, on his marker in the cemetery, under his name, rank, and awards, people read:

SIMPLE MAN, QUIET HERO

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First Beach Day. Day 229.

We went to Tye and Deaven’s for a beach day.

Max is driving home currently.

I’m ok. Sam is riding captain. “One thing Tyler taught me was it’s better to hit someone’s grass than to hit someone on the left to ya.”

It trickles down.

My boys. I’m a proud mom, sitting in the back seat, enjoying the ride.

543 Day Writing Journey

German Shepherds. Day 223.

Zoeeee loved the trash.

I feel as though I would be doing a major disservice to anyone who follows me on social media or reads my posts on this wonderful WordPress page, if I didn’t talk about German shepherd dogs (GSD) a little and maybe offer a warning.

Continue reading “German Shepherds. Day 223.”
543 Day Writing Journey

Egg Bloom. Day 222.

Look how the bloom took over the show.

When I go to the chicken coop to collect eggs, I can put them in a basket and keep them on the counter until they’re ready to be used. They are covered with something called a bloom which protects the inside of the shell from bacteria. Read more about the bloom HERE. It’s pretty cool.

Continue reading “Egg Bloom. Day 222.”
543 Day Writing Journey

The Big Cats’ Real Friend. Day 219.

Photo by Jimmy Chan on Pexels.com

Learning is a practice, a lifelong, tiring event that we have to experience. In order to learn, though, we have to be willing to admit that we were once naïve about something and that we have since changed our ways, or are at least planning to. Learning is about opening our minds and admitting we were wrong. Learning is about not being a big old hard-headed, stubborn, close-minded know-it-all.

Continue reading “The Big Cats’ Real Friend. Day 219.”
543 Day Writing Journey

Long and Flat Roads. Day 218.

About two minutes after I leave my house, I fly down the ramp onto Interstate 40, a flat and long road with no pot holes or traffic, at least not where I drive on it. Third gear steals the show as fourth waits until we’re on the highway, blended with the rest of the waltzing little cars and box trucks. Then fifth, then sixth, cruise control, and go.

Continue reading “Long and Flat Roads. Day 218.”
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Kevin. Day 216.

Kevin

We have an old cabinet I purchased at an antique shop in Jacksonville. It’s been a snack cabinet, a place to put things we only use once or twice a year like canning jars or Easter Egg trays, and now it’s a small office space with the printer all snuggled up inside it. We call it Kevin.

Continue reading “Kevin. Day 216.”
543 Day Writing Journey

Not a Repost, but a Repost. Day 213.

*I write for Roger. Click HERE to read more.

In case you never clicked, here’s the story I wrote that was published in a rescue magazine called PawPrints. Click HERE to read more about it.

Continue reading “Not a Repost, but a Repost. Day 213.”
543 Day Writing Journey

Trying Something New. Day 212.

My gull friend. I don’t know her name.

This exquisite six bedroom, four-and-a-half bath property has a community pool, an elevator that goes to the main floor, rooms for days, and it sleeps eighteen people! On the first-floor oceanfront deck, you and your party can have a Sunday morning brunch at the dining set, or lazily soak in the hot tub while you watch pods of dolphins swim and a majestic pelican pair fly by.

When you walk through the grand entrance to the home, you will notice a classic, clean, and modern style with large white pillars and a lovely flow from room to room. Neutral tones and sleek, hardwood floors throughout add to an elegant, yet cozy feel. The kitchen is well-stocked with multiple appliances, cookware, dishes, a wine cooler and an island with stools, counter space, and a cooktop! From the dining room you can walk through the sliding door onto a large deck where you can view the ocean and watch the sun rise while you sip your morning coffee. 

Here is the full version which was published April 9, 2022:

https://www.treasurerealty.com/rentals/island-drive-4296-topsy-turtle

543 Day Writing Journey

Egg Baby Driving Test. Day 211.

An actual egg baby that hatched for us three years ago! Mr. Jarndyce

I still can’t believe I’ve posted something on here for 211 days straight! I feel so confident in my writing now, not enough to not go over it a million times first, and also not confident enough to not freak out when someone, probably Sammy, points out a mistake in my writing. I’m happy to have been exercising my brain and typing hands, though, and I feel like this collection will one day be some sort of cool thing for the boys and maybe their kids even.

Continue reading “Egg Baby Driving Test. Day 211.”