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07/01 Direct Link

Home from Alaska

Twelve hours of travel, but not in real clock time. We crossed a few time zones in an airplane – at least it was a direct flight. Then we picked up our luggage, the car; drove home, showered, and drove to work for a 10 a.m. meeting. It was crazy. I think I may have slept for two or three hours on the plane, but I’m not sure. I didn’t feel tired that evening. I didn’t go to bed until 10 that night… and slept for the next 14 hours. Who says you can’t catch up on sleep?

07/02 Direct Link

The First Day Home

A day of unpacking, laundry, catching up on email, sorting through USPO mail, sorting presents into piles invisibly labeled “Souvenirs” and “Christmas presents.”   A timeless sort of day… no more schedule to follow for meals and entertainment. Do I leave the house? Do I need to? I haven’t driven a car – except for that off-roading Jeep adventure – in over two weeks. Back to reality, in a surreal sort of way. Repeating the same vacation stories over and over until you forget who has heard what, until the entire experience becomes summarized in two words: Great trip.

07/03 Direct Link

Watercolor

 

A few years in and many art fairs later

she noticed a theme  -

“you like watercolors.”

Yes, I do.

I hadn’t stopped in my appreciation

to find that particular commonality.

I’m glad she did.

I even took a class.

I couldn’t wait until the night

we painted landscapes

and seascapes.

I divided my paper in four

so that I could work on one picture

while part of another dried.

a drawback of that medium.

She looked at my red sun

setting over the ocean

and said,

“Don’t do that again.”

I haven’t.

I promise.

I haven’t painted again.

 

07/04 Direct Link

My Birthday

We couldn’t do any of the things that I usually like to do on my birthday – camping, kayaking, camp fire, wine, S’mores… We had just returned from a two-week vacation, and we were tired. It was good to sleep in my own bed again. But I wanted to do something fun. Damn the germy person who made me sick on the ship. I cursed myself for that one time that I didn’t use hand-sanitizer that might have prevented the world’s longest summer cold. I didn’t get my cake, but I did get Cold Stone Creamery the next night.

07/05 Direct Link

Communication:

It’s that little thing

that keeps the people informed.

Communication:

it’s that helpful message

that lets people know important things.

 

Oh, the extra tasks I was able to complete because I had an extra day. but it was not worth the sacrifice.

The loss of a day.

Less only four hours of time.

Creating

a rush of days in

four, not five.

if only someone had said…

if only someone had noticed

if only someone might have mentioned

six months or so ago

that the choice of that week

was not a good one.

We would have started later.

 

07/06 Direct Link

Building a character

 

I see a woman with her mouth open, wearing a green shawl, blue shirt, yellow and orange skirt, and black flats. Her arms are spread wide, as if she’s embracing the world around her. She wears a black hat and an expression of happiness, if only slightly embarrassed. There is a tent behind her. The crowd observing her has their arms stretched wide, imitating her gesture. She is performing. She travels with a circus. She is a one-woman show in which she plays many characters. One of her characters is a diva. This is her debut performance.  

07/07 Direct Link

a fountain not yet full:

has it not yet been attended to

or does it patiently wait for rain water?

in a clearing, a statue cries

and when his tears dry,

the tracks of rust

give away his sadness.

What is the cause of his sorrow?

Who is he – Jupiter or Jesus?

 

two paths lead into the woods and I have yet to check my map

dreaming of the luxury to explore without a map, without time constraints

a seemingly uncharted territory –if only to me

getting lost never bothers me when I have the gift of time:

I’m exploring.

07/08 Direct Link

 

the chimes sound the hour

bells of all sizes

with ropes of fifty feet long – or more

are they automated now?

just a very loud speaker

hidden inside the tower

visually they are still there

aesthetically as they ever were –

they rise above the edifice

as brass as ever

I do not recognize the tune –

are the bells playing a hymn

or are they merely a random

melody of chimes?

 

I used to live next door to a Methodist church.

across the small stream –

the parking lot was the end of the street.

the chimes sounded the hour –

a clock.

07/09 Direct Link

Cranbrook House and Gardens

the reflecting pool

 

 

The first thought is of natural beauty:

the flowers,

the grasses,

the hedges,

the trees.

 

The second thought is of created beauty:

the reflecting pool.

the stone walls,

the iron rails,

the fountains,

the statues.

 

The third thought is of wealth:

once upon a time,

did a family

call this home

and assume

that everyone lived this way?

 

The fourth thought turns inward back to me - 

appreciation for the art and architecture,

wonder at the nature

inspired by the creativity,

and relief that I’m not paying the mortgage on this vast estate.

 

07/10 Direct Link

Wherever you go:

where are you from?

have I been there?

near there?

know someone from there?

know something about there?

the human desire to connect

to have something in common

 

an “I remember when…”

to compare one knowledge with another

 

 

while the pieces of the tree fall on my arms

in my notebook

to remind me

to spend more time outside

 

the fountain flows

a meager stream

 

and the man on the wall still cries

if someone comes too near

 

Thunderstorms have been predicted for the next several days.

I wonder what the fountain will look like next week.

07/11 Direct Link

I’m so very sorry that your son died two years ago.

I’m so sorry that the school isn’t perfect.

It would be if it were run by you, of course.

There are so many ways to improve a life.

but this is summer.

it’s a happy time.

some people can’t ever let go of the negativity.

I make concerted efforts to stay away from those types of people.

 

the blue dragonfly lands on a pebble

then is gone.

the metallic color –

the iridescence of his wings –

or maybe of hers? –

I often wonder at the palate of colors in nature.

07/12 Direct Link

 

I resisted the latest teen sensation until three books were out. Then I read them sequentially so that they blended into one story in my head –how did Twilight-the-movie end without the big fight? “That was in New Moon.”

 

Bella was a terrible role model. I was nauseous; I feared that millions of girls dreamed of being Bella. Imagine my relief when I learned that, for them, the book wasn’t about her. Team Edward. Team Jacob. Pick one.

 

Who is warning these girls about the dangers of falling in love with fictional characters? Humans are never going to measure up.

07/13 Direct Link

Writing Retreat

 

I long for a cabin in the woods

near a blue lake

with white sand

and a kayak.

 

There would be a tall kitchen counter

and the perfect barstool,

a desk in the living room

with my shelf of writing books.

My meals would all be healthy and delivered –

and then magically cleared away afterwards.

Is it wrong to wish for a house-elf or two

to keep in my writing cabin?


There would be other writers in other cabins nearby.

to get feedback and inspiration to continue.  

 I do not wish to be alone all the writing time.

07/14 Direct Link

The perfect writing retreat.

why the woods?

I do not know.

 

When I need a break,

there will be a quaint little town nearby

with a winery and a restaurant

for eavesdropping as character development.

and the best homemade ice cream shop,

and a community theatre

showing one of my favorite plays –

perhaps a musical.

There’d be an area of historical significance

nearby

and a protected natural area.

 

to wander through the woods with only a water bottle, my notebook, and a pen –

to encounter animals unafraid of humans

because the animals perceive the humans

as neither threat nor food.  

07/15 Direct Link

 

I would have no fear of being lost in this forest.

a GPS backtrack built into my notebook?

no cell phone

no internet

no email or facebook to distract me

 

no house to clean

no laundry to fold

no rooms to paint

or pictures to hang

or closets to organize

or furniture to arrange

a maintenance-free place

for me to take care

of only me

and write.

 

I need to memorize more poetry:

The Red Wheelbarrow;

Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening;

a few by Maya Angelou;

some Emily Dickinson perhaps –

something more profound than Fame is a Bee…

07/16 Direct Link

Cooperation:

Getting along with other people is one of the most valuable lessons that can ever be learned. Not school subjects, the kindergarten sharing lesson.

In school, I hated group projects. Group projects meant that the smart kids did all the work while everyone else took credit. Group projects were never subdivided such that success was the sum of the parts, navigated solo by each contributor. If only…

 

Admitting when you’re clueless:

It’s never fun to not know what is going on, to be the only one in the room who doesn’t get the joke when everyone else is laughing.

07/17 Direct Link

 

I glanced at the spiral staircase to wound ‘round the brick wall. Right now, I did not want to be trapped in this open space. The fresh oxygen stifled; I longed to breathe the stuffy, musty air trapped on the other side. I wanted to hide in that space where everyone could see me. I picked a stone, closed my eyes, and concentrated. “Open,” I screamed in a soft whisper. I saw that nothing had changed. I picked another to the left and pictured it in my heart. “Please,” I whispered in my regular voice. The wooden door had appeared.  

07/18 Direct Link

To have a yard so big

with gardens such as these

with walls to  scale

and trees to climb

with fountains

and forest

and pond

and bog

and Jupiter or Jesus -

to be so far from the real world

and yet still right at home

 

would it detract from the escapism

if this were my very own yard

or lead to a more relaxed me

to have my own writing space

hidden in my own backyard?

 

nature would be perfect

if there weren’t any bugs

 

I’d heard of robin’s egg blue

and there it is –

half of it, anyway

07/19 Direct Link

After six years of counting words in hour-increments, or by 1667-word days, or by 10,000-word weekends, it’s strange to stop counting at only 100.

100 words is enough to say something profound and meaningful,

100 words is enough to question a decision,

100 words could be enough to change your mind.

100 words is enough to describe a setting,

100 words is enough to give characters depth,

100 words is enough to explain a motive,

100 words is enough to create a plot chasm,

100 words is enough to redeem a friendship.

100 words is enough to break a heart.

07/20 Direct Link

Photo-quality Printers: Trip Pictures

Despite the cds that we’ll eventually have, and despite the online gallery, I still want a physical album of printed pictures. I don’t know why. It seems like the major trips must have albums. It’s comforting to pull out the photo albums and admire the scenery and goofy self-portraits on something other than a screen. Although I have to admit that watching our slideshow on a 52” tv was really cool… He just stuck the flashdrive in the USB port on the television.  I’m not that old and I’m relatively tech-savvy, but that was still impressive.

07/21 Direct Link

I was aware of July 18th. It’s not that it went by completely unnoticed. It’s just that the date didn’t get the same attention that it has in other years… the first: a case of wine; the second: a mystery trip to N’ahlins; the third: the room at the Ritz – complete with the romantic package of wine, rose petals, and S’mores. The fourth was almost ignored, until I picked out a ring, for my right hand. This year was the 7th, but we now celebrate in another season, with prescribed lists of modern and traditional gifts to commemorate the year.

07/22 Direct Link

To Kindle or not to Kindle? Sony Reader, anyone? When I get mine, it will be a Kindle #(whatever) because my cousin now works for them. My cousin works for Amazon-not as cool as saying that I work there, but it’s the best I can do. I love books. I will never give up on books. But I’d love to take a Kindle on a long trip, with ten books that I’m interested in reading, not worrying about luggage weight, or packing only two books and finishing them on the first flight out. And Todd doesn’t even like to read…

07/23 Direct Link

Things that make me happy right now:

-working on my novel

-reading & my annual book goal/list

-Goodreads

-designing books

-photo albums

-traveling

-planning new trips

-having dinner cooked for me every night

-loving and being loved by other people’s kids

-100words

-reimbursement checks/paying off Visa

-swimming

-kayaking

-movies & movie-theater popcorn

-my new house

-painting the guest bathroom

-accessing my movies & music again

-organizational things (boxes, containers, shelves)

-musicals

-digital photography & the instant gratification of

-making jewelry

-creating stained glass

-admiring & collecting watercolors

-keeping up with friends on FB

-my 2002 CRV

-dark chocolate

-wine tasting

07/24 Direct Link

Someday I will save up thousands of dollars so that I can go to an art fair and buy whatever I want – price be damned. There was an amazing metal piece in 2-d called Open Water. Gorgeous. It would totally fit in my house. And there were some wonderfully bizarre yard-art sculptures that I loved… I would have picked out just one. And the jewelry… While it’s not hard to find jewelry that I like at art fairs, it’s hard to find pieces that I’d actually wear. I don’t wear small pieces because they’re cheaper – they’re just not my style.

07/25 Direct Link

Lazy Sunday… slept in a little, then made some jewelry for my sister. Took her to Olga’s for lunch. Then swam at a friend’s for a while. I don’t know why I feel compelled to write events specific to the day. Maybe that will go away in August. I liked reading randomly for inspiration – hence the watercolor entry. Maybe now that I’m able to participate daily that will change – as opposed to catching up on a whole month starting on… was it today or Monday – the only empty day on my calendar? I was busy, but what did I do?

07/26 Direct Link

 

The last day of the month – not chronologically, but compositionally. When I finish this entry, I will have written 3100 words… most of which I might not have otherwise written. Some of which I had written but not typed, a technological form of revision, if there was revision to be had. What will August bring? Will I be able to keep up on a daily basis, or will I have to write for several days at a time? To treat it as a writing exercise and not a diary-type journal will be the challenge. Characters - different points of view.

07/27 Direct Link

Groups of Friends
My first friend group lasted from K-3rd – and then I moved. It's hard to keep up with your best friends when you're only 8. The second didn't happen again until 8th grade...and lasted less than a year. High school was rough without a group of friends. I had a few individual friends but lacked a core group for consistent hanging out... and this is one of my biggest regrets from high school. I had the potential to have that amazing group of friends, and I lost them. I found my friends-for-life group in college. It’s okay now.

07/28 Direct Link

Feeling alone in a room full of people

most conversation goes on without me

most conversation is uninteresting

gossip

malicious

gossip

speculation

gossip

political

gossip

recipes

gossip

There is nothing I need or want to say

except to change the subject:

books, movies, landscaping, vacations…

but it never stays changed for long…

too much work talk

on summer vacation

is this all we have?

there are work friends –

and then there are friends at work.

When I am off duty, I am a real person

with outside interests

even my inside interests are of little interest

to those around me

07/29 Direct Link

Sleepovers

It’s R’s first sleepover in her purple room. After the movie ended, she said, “Now it’s time for my sleepover!” So, she brushed her teeth, and I tucked her in. She’s been up five times. The fifth time, I asked why.

“I’m just checking on you.”

“Are you the grown-up?” She smiled and held out her hand to lead me back to the purple room to tuck her in – again.

 I think it’s cute because I’m not her parent. Otherwise, she’d be in trouble. This is (one of the reasons) why it’s more fun to borrow other people’s children.

07/30 Direct Link

Unfortunately I hit an invisible curb in the grocery store parking lot on my way home and blew out my right front tire.
Fortunately it was the grocery store near my house.
Unfortunately I had to carry a gallon of milk, groceries, 2 pizza boxes, and a Slurpee.
Fortunately there was a package on my porch.
Unfortunately it wasn't for me.
Fortunately there was chilled wine in the frig.

Unfortunately it doesn’t taste very good.

Fortunately there are two more chilled bottles.

Unfortunately I picked up my antibiotics today at the drug store.

Fortunately I haven’t started taking them yet.

07/31 Direct Link

 Swimming and picnic today. The world’s best hamburgers, watermelon, cookies… a family of friends and a sister, niece, nephew and husband. The pool was cold after the recent rain. The air only warmed to eighty-four degrees – when the sun was out. The mermaid on her kickboard. some beach ball volleyball. missing torpedo shark. West Bloomfield juried art fair on Orchard Lake in Beaumont’s parking lot. The search for a fused glass face pendant. No kettle corn this time. Chicken on the grill for dinner. Mexican train domino domination – two nights in a row. Ah, summer! Lazy vacation time has begun.