The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Friday, March 15, 2019

Slice of Life Days # 15-16: Wait For It

Yeah, I know. It's kind of cheating if I lump one day with the next. However, the lumping is a good thing when it comes to you. My existence is fairly dull, so often, one single slice is not incredibly tasty. Two slices masquerading as one has the chance of some flavor...

Don't bother enlarging the picture in an attempt to find the point of
this picture. Making it bigger will not make the photo more exciting.

I saw one of Radar's balls sitting--all by itself--on our carport. I know what Radar (probably) is thinking every time he trots by the ball. My ball! I'd really like to play some fetch. Maybe next time I'm out here, somebody will play with me.

He's patient. He's willing to wait. I need to learn something from my 78-pound furball: patience.

I need to wait for the right job to come along. It will. (Of course it would help matters if I actually applied for some jobs.)

I need to wait to hear from an agent. I will. (And one of these emails will be a "Yes, we'd like to see the whole manuscript," instead of a "Thanks for thinking of us, but your piece isn't a great fit for us.")

What are you waiting for these days?

Slice of Life Day # 14: A Fresh Start

Every year it happens. The dead leaves are shoved aside by new shoots of flowers and grasses. The brown segues to green.

Every school year it happens. A new quarter. Students begin with a fresh slate. The grades they made earlier in the school year are in the past. They have the opportunity to make different choices--better choices--if they struggled with their behavior or their attitude. If they didn't try their hardest, they have the chance to finish the school year with drive and determination.

And me? I must begin my writing work with a fresh start. My manuscript... I must not obsess over the rejections. I need to look ahead at new possibilities when it comes to agents. My creative nonfiction work... I've had success with Chicken Soup for the Soul stories but lately, I've gotten way more rejections than acceptances. I need to begin with fresh eyes, and bolster my spirit.

How about you? What fresh starts are you looking forward to?

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Slice of Life Day # 13: Naps

Naps are wasted on kids. It's the grownups who yearn for naps.

For me, there's something delicious about cuddling under some blankets, a book in hand, and drifting off to sleep... in the middle of the afternoon.

Often I wake up and 

My Spring Break is coming up, and I'm planning on at least a couple of naps during the week.

How about you? Are you a napper?

Slice of Life Day # 13: Goin' to Church

Tonight I worshiped at the Church of Mellencamp. It was a night of as much feeling as hearing. The wailing guitars, the sometimes-unrelenting drums... My chest throbbed with the vibrations. One of his song's lyrics has a refrain that goes like this: "And the walls, come tumbling down And the walls, come crumbling down And the walls, come rumbling tumbling down" At one point--earlier in the concert--John Mellencamp shouted out that it was time to end "all this bigotry bull-$@#&" and given all the divisiveness in our country, it did not surprise me when he changed some of the choruses to sing about THE WALL coming down. Or was it just my wishful thinking?

Monday, March 11, 2019

Slice of Life Day # 11: Sal Army Days

Eight hours a day of rocking her. Eight hours a day of encouraging her to drink her formula, of carefully diapering her. Eight hours a day of carefully slathering lotion onto her, putting a thick white coating onto her peeling, tissue-papery skin.

What brings back a memory, decades-old? What brings back an ancient vision, making it seem like it flashed before my eyes only yesterday? This time, it was a foster child. My son and daughter-in-law just got a foster baby, and as soon as I saw a texted picture, I was immediately transported to the days when I worked in the infant room of the Salvation Army residential facility (on Marine Avenue) for abused and neglected kids. 

Marie and her father had fallen asleep in the same bed, along with her father's cigarette. Almost 30 years later, I still remember her pink skin which was covered by pieces of peeling-off dead skin. Like a birch.


Along with her pink burns--from her scalp to her toes--she sported another color that caught everyone's attention: blazing blue eyes that could shoot arrows when she was pissed off. Which was all the time. It was uncomfortable for her to stand up--when she got old enough for that--because of her fragile skin. It didn't feel good to have us rubbing thick globs of skin cream all over her body... but it had to be done. Her hair was like a scarecrow's--if the scarecrow had survived a three-alarm fire. Several times a day we'd take a fine-toothed comb and try to keep the straw-like hair free of the dead skin that seemed in endless supply. If looks could kill? I would have been dead hundreds of times over because of that little girl's spirit.

Marie was one of the few success stories. She got adopted by a wonderful family. She was loved and doted on. Most of the other kids drifted into a foster home or back to their birth parents... which meant that some of them would continue to endure the abuse and neglect... more burned buttocks or strings tied around a boy's body part to help with toilet training... more molestation... more time left alone in a crib without anyone to bond to...

I hope this new foster baby is like Marie. I hope that wherever he goes to next (next month? Later this year? Next year?) is either to a loving adoptive home or back to his mended and caring birth family. 

What survivor or underdog still remains in your memory? Inquiring minds want to know...

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Slice of Life Day # 10: Click Clack

Short ones. Long ones. Fat ones. Skinny ones. All I can knit is scarves...

Some evenings I'm Madame Defarge. As my knitting click and clack together, I chronicle my day (in my head). For me, it's relaxing. I can do something constructive while I watch a television show or a movie.

The left needle is anchored between my arm and my side. The right needle weaves in and out, the yarn looping around the dull point of the needle.


The scarf I'm working on currently is 21 stitches across. At the end of each row I pull the yarn taut. At the beginning of each row I pull it tight. Otherwise, it's loose.

How do you keep loose?