Bygone Bar-Flies in Destined Disguise

“Quick! Come here! I need you to create a distraction.”

“Uh-oh. You don’t sound so good. But look at it this way. This can’t be any worse than that time you went back into that bar and pretended to be searching for something, in hopes those two guys, given a second chance and several minutes closer to closing time, would engage us in conversation.”

“You didn’t seem to think it was such a bad idea at the time…Ouch!!!!! But maybe I do now!”

“Easy there. Hey! Remember how everything was good until the one guy asked if you’d lost something? When you said yes, I had a feeling things were going to go down quickly from there!”

“So, I panicked, okay?”

“Just don’t panic now. Going back to that evening though…I would’ve gone for the answer ‘keys.’ Just sayin’…ow, ow, ow – don’t squeeze my hand so hard, please!”

“It’s entirely feasible that a girl searching around aimlessly in a bar at 1:50 in the morning could have had a lost voice…especially when she couldn’t think of a better response to give at the spur of the moment. My voice did get a little lost in his eyes, you know.”

“Yeah, most people who show up at the bar around 10:00 are still trying to figure out how to adjust the mask to put on their charade. By 2:00, they’ve generally given up. But not you. You ripped that mask right off for full exposure of what little self-esteem you – I mean, we – had left. I’ll give you extra credit points for that final burst of effort. And speaking of masks, has Jerry gotten his on yet, Doc? He needs to hurry up and get in here!!”

“Heck, it was either that or go watch the peeling paint dry on our little efficiency apartment walls until the sun came up, and we’d giggled our way into finally deciding to call it a night. Ohhhhhhhhh!!!!! Geez, this hurts! This is getting worse. Keep talking…”

“Fast breaths, remember?…Funny to think back to the good ol’ days. Wonder if Jerry would’ve laughed and offered you a ride home that night if he could’ve fast-forwarded into the future and foreseen the pressure of a 4-bedroom mortgage, two kids, and another bun in the oven – that’s about to burst open at this very moment?!”

“Well, that’s all about to be history now….Jerry!!!!!!”

“Yeah, but it’s made room for a new history in both your lives together. Sometimes I miss the stupid things we used to do, but I’m proud of the woman you’ve become, sis. Look, there’s your husband now – looking a little green around the gills. Now, push!!!!!”

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inmonsterbadge1Writing for Inspiration Monday on this one (which means it will officially post on BeKindRewrite this coming Monday, and yes, Mondays are always difficult for me to keep straight!).

I’ve bold-typed all the prompts – and for an extra challenge to myself this week, I used them all – in order of how they were prompted.

I also managed to stay within the word count of 200-500 words. My Word Count = 447.

Not too bad for anything having to do with a Monday!

How to Keep Your Friends by “Dumping” Them

What’s in the bag?”

“Little of this…little of that. All in all, some pretty useless stuff.”

“Now you’ve piqued my interest. What’ve you trapped in that silk prison on your arm?”

“ I used to carry items that I thought were important to my appearance there – a tube of lipstick, a compact for smoothing imperfections, a brush to freshen up, a credit card for purchasing any whims I fancied. Eventually, I came to grasp that accumulations were just weighing me down. That’s when I cleared all that stuff out to make room. Now this bag serves a much greater purpose.”

<Long, Uncomfortable Pause>

“I’m still waiting for an answer to my original question. What on earth are you carrying around in that pretty little bag swinging from your arm?”

“Don’t let its outer appearance fool you. Its contents aren’t all that impressive, truth be told.”

<Shorter, Terser Pause>

“Very well. If you absolutely must know…. It’s full of today’s mind clutter.”

“Pardon? Did you just say…?”

“Yes, I did, as a matter of fact.”

“Why in heaven’s name would you empty out your beautiful purse, only to fill it with…mind clutter?!”

“I’d rather contain it there for a time as have it swimming in my head, distracting my brain all day. At day’s end, I simply open it and dump this mess out, then begin fresh tomorrow.”

“Interesting concept. What happens if you mistake essential information and accidentally discard it too?”

“Have you been staying up early again?”

“Staying up early?! That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. No, you’re the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard – someone carrying a purse full of mind clutter.

Wait! What are you doing? Are you placing this memory of me in there?! How dare you!! Take it out this instant!”

***

“Trust me. By the time I dump this tonight, my mind will be emptied of all insults it tried to heap onto you in retaliation. Better this way. We can be friends again – come tomorrow.”

As I ended this post, I was reminded of this beautiful gift I received from a physician visiting the states from India, after spending the day working with him on imaging simulator demonstrations.

As I ended this post, I was reminded of this beautiful gift I received from a physician visiting the states from India, after spending the day working with him on imaging simulator demonstrations. Isn’t it marvelous?

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I took the opportunity to provide this little moral life lesson through 2 fun writing prompts heaped upon me this week.

inmonsterbadge1The first was from BeKindRewrite’s Inspiration Monday prompts (in which I worked to use them all – because it’s more interesting to see how the story turns out that way). Stephanie likes to “tease” and say there are no rules, but since such a thought gives me a migraine, here are the rules-oriented prompts:

  • Silk Prison
  • Waiting for an Answer
  • Mind Clutter
  • What’s in the Bag
  • Staying up Early

Other non-rules “highly suggest” limiting between 200-500 words.

From there, I looked for the opportunity to incorporate this week’s Trifecta prompt, which slid right there in the midst of my ridiculous bag. So before I accidentally dump it as useless information, here’s the uncluttered word and definition that had to be used:

GRASP (verb) – 3rd definition

3 : to lay hold of with the mind : comprehend

– See more at: http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/#sthash.OVZymUQ4.dpuf

By the way, Trifecta requires between 33-333 words. (My count came in at 333, which just so happens to land between 200 and 500 – how fortuitous!). By the way, this week’s entries are being community judged at Trifecta. So come one, come all! Come read, come vote, come enter!

Luke Bryan’s Gal Ain’t Got Nothin’ on My Tan Lines

In his song, “Too Damn Young,” Luke Bryan brags that “in that moonlight, I saw her tan lines.”

Luke, you handsome country crooner, you. I just want to tell you (in my heaviest Tennessee Southern drawl) that, “I’m no longer too young, and I’ll hop up on your tailgate and flash my tan lines at you any time of day.”

Sadly, it’s true. You and anyone else in a 50 foot proximity.

Now before any of you get your hopes up (or run for the hills, for that matter), let me tell you why you won’t have to wait until the moonlight…and why it really won’t be all that exciting…

I am a cyclist. (You’ll need to go back and read my Intro paragraph to my Cycling 101 post #1 at the Remedial phase to fully understand why I use that particular term to describe myself – it’s really just meant to make me sound tougher & more proficient on those pedals.)

If you read my introductory post, you’ll find that there are different classifications of cyclists, but unless you’re dealing with the kind who puts on a gingham dress to go to the countryside market by carrying her bread in a basket, the rest pretty much share one particular characteristic that marks them (I mean, us) as cyclists. (Sorry, I’m not used to personally sounding so tough & proficient yet.)

It’s the distinctive summer tan lines.

tan_lines

Despite the fact that I do most of my riding in the evenings (and occasionally in the mornings) and that I wear SPF30 on my body and SPF50 on my face, I’ve managed to get tan lines – and when I say distinctive, boy do I mean diSTINKtive!

My shoulders and tops of my legs (the lower parts not covered by the biking shorts) take the brunt of the heat – along with my cheeks and nose (which get some windburn too). The backs of my legs get nothing, and the tan gradient lessens down to my ankles, where my clipped-in, covered feet are white (which is quite noticeable when wearing summer sandals). More noticeable than the white feet are the white hands from the cycling gloves (which don’t cover the fingers, but those spend all their time wrapped around the grips).

Did I mention the tops of my ears? Okay, I’m just teasing on that one – the helmet pretty much keeps those shaded (but me putting sunscreen on them doesn’t keep my family from mercilessly making fun of me!).

Then, of course, there’s the reverse raccoon sunglass lines. (I’ll wear these even as the sun goes down. The bugs have a harder time sky-diving into my eyes that way. Notice I said harder time – not impossible…unfortunately.)

That other white line on “my” face up there is for my helmet’s chin strap. I’m hoping that, besides keeping my brain intact (no cracks please), it will also keep me from having to have a face lift one day…

And please don’t mistake that dark patch on my chest for fur. My cycling tops have zippers, which is how I get my air conditioning while I ride – and a V-shaped tan.

So maybe my tan lines aren’t as sexy as the ones Luke Bryan saw on the dock by the moonlight. But if he’s a true country boy who hangs out in the pastures with the cattle, then I have just one thing to say to him. “You should see the muscles in my calves, cowboy!” 😉

Back into the Gender Blender (Always a Messy Place): JOdY-iSm #40

jodyism_40_gender_blender

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See more at: http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/#sthash.r0zrrBeC.dpuf

Side bar: Lisa, one of Trifecta’s eliciting editors (please don’t mistake that for ‘illicit editors’), had a “tooth incident” at home this weekend – as in, her son lost one. In true Trifecta fashion, it was immediately deemed to be a creepy event!

At our house, such “creepy” incidences don’t come so much with “wailing & gnashing of teeth” as they come with a great deal of mishap & biting humor. Here’s a remnant of the latest incisor-edged event:

Even the Tooth Fairy has to deal with excuses!

Yes, even the Tooth Fairy has to deal with excuses!

Making the Difference…Some Day? This Day!

I stood proudly this week as another of my classes walked for graduation. It’s always amazing to me to look at how confidently this group of health care providers marches across the stage when thinking back to how uncertain they were on the first few days of their program orientation (where we inevitably lose at least one of them to uncertainty); to how inadequate they feel after the first few weeks of performing clinical duties (where we often lose at least another due to indecisiveness); to how exhausted they feel after just one semester (where we occasionally even lose at least another to lack of resilience).

I don’t apologize for the demands this intensive program places on our students – because I don’t want to ever feel apologetic to the patients with whom they’ll come in contact for the education and training they received while under my watch. Our students are dedicated, so they understand this. And that’s why they ultimately become such dedicated health CARE professionals.

Last year, I had a student who decided to use his iPad to journal his way through the program – and who often provided me with his raw, unedited thoughts that resonated with varying emotions. With his permission, I’d like to share a couple of those journal clips today. The first is from very early in his program experience; the second, from his final class days, where he was taking his final final exam (as he explains). Take time to note the difference in the hair growth too. By graduation day, his ears had been lowered again to their early program status!

Early Journal Entry (a student perspective after being accepted into & entering the program)

Final Journal Entry (a student perspective of coming out on the other side…)

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The Family Adult Privileges Act: As Enacted with Teens

much_expected

My first summer as a single parent was already sweltering upon me when my two teen sons heatedly approached me one morning to proclaim,

“Mom, we’re tired of you treating us like kids. We want adult responsibilities.”

Rushed to get my toddler to pre-school and myself to a meeting, I agreed to give their request some thought and get back to them about it that evening at dinner. I then found myself wrestling with their request the rest of the day, recognizing that they already had so much more expected of them than many young people their age. As I inventoried the situation, I at least felt relieved that sports and work schedules lessened their time for certain other extracurricular activities, but I also knew that summer still afforded them too much time on their hands. It took quite a bit of reflection before I was ready to decisively act. However, by dinnertime that evening, I realized they had actually assisted me in being more prepared to become a change agent of our household in granting their request.

As we sat down to dinner, my teens immediately broached the subject, again complaining that I didn’t trust them and treated them like kids. They reminded me that it was time for them to transition into adulthood, to which I reluctantly agreed – then asked them to wait until after dinner for a family meeting.

The meeting began with me facing two very smug looking young men, prepared to be victorious, as they confirmed their request for adult responsibilities and watched as I slowly, yet somewhat sadly, nodded my head in agreement. From there, I proceeded to hand them each a list of adult responsibilities that I thought they should consider, officially posting the master copy to the refrigerator. I watched as their expressions completely changed to shock upon a quick review of this task list of adult responsibilities. It consisted of things such as doing the grocery shopping, making family meals every third day, paying for a portion of the mortgage and utilities, making a plan to set back their boarding expenses for college, transporting their younger brother to daycare, and buying their own clothing. These were in addition to the expectations they already had upon them, such as making their own car payments, mowing the lawn, and doing their own laundry.

My oldest nearly stuttered his words, “Mom, this is not what we meant, and you know it.”

I’m sure my look was quite smug at that point as I reiterated,

“No, what you meant is that you wanted adult privileges. But you have to be willing to accept adult responsibilities in order to experience adult privileges.”

Obviously, the Family Adult Privileges Act underwent some major re-negotiations at the table that night; however, we walked away with a working document by which all agreed they could live. Of course, everything continued to change as these young men truly did continue transitioning into manhood and out of the house; yet that Act still comes up quite frequently in conversation among our extended family members.

My young men have now experienced the dreadfulness of failures when undertaking some adult responsibilities, as well as the need for balance in experiencing adult privileges. They now understand the importance in differences between the two, as well as how the two so closely correlate.

And I now understand this may have been the greatest leadership moment of my life in enacting my own adult responsibility as a parent, privileged to assist my children in their transition to adulthood.

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When the Brain Defies all Logic

When I read the Trifecta prompt today, it brought me back to a short story I had been working, some time ago, as little ideas came to mind – Life Beyond the Late Great Henry Sceates. This seemed like a good opportunity to develop one more tiny piece of it, as it always helps in bringing healing to personal loss.

I’ve submitted another little excerpt on these two characters before, so I thought I’d use this prompt to let Henry (a past semi-pro baseball player who coincidentally prefers to be called Hank, though his wife never does so) make another portion of his case to his widow, Megan (a librarian who is not necessarily enthusiastic to continue seeing her husband beyond his grave and who adamantly prefers not to be called Eggs by Henry). Despite their many differences, breathing being the main one, the two can’t seem to let one another go.

If you’re interested in getting to know these two a little better, the prior excerpt is a banter between them, entitled:  The Overly Ordinary Life of Megan Scott Sceates

Today is Henry’s (aka, Hank’s) voice from the beyond, working to strengthen his own case for his right to exist:

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Eggs, if you keep trying to define my existence through your logic, you’ll come up weak every time. Every stinkin’ analytical time. Besides, when did you ever know me to be a rational kinda’ guy, anyway? If you had ever operated on logic where it came to you and me, then…well, Eggs, we weren’t rational from the beginning, were we? So keep operating through your systematic, scientific approach to come up with a suitable explanation for what I could be. Let me know when you get it all rationalized out. Oh, but then…I might not be here anymore to hear about it. Are you really willing to take that chance? Or could you, just for once in your methodical, self-righteous life, admit that you don’t have all the answers that this vast universe holds? That maybe, just maybe, the truth’s not nearly as organized as all those library books that fit in just the right spaces on just the right shelves, forming a safe little compound to surround all those indexed ideas that could otherwise escape and swim around in that pretty little head of yours?

Am I making any sense here, Eggs? Gawd, don’t you just hate when the sensible one turns out to be me?

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So, if you’re a non-Trifectan, did you try to guess the prompt?
(Or, would you like to join us as a Trifectan & work on developing your own piece using the prompt?)

Not to keep you in further suspense, here it is:

WEAK (adjective) – by its 3rd definition only:
If you decide to join up with us…Remember:
  • Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.
  • You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.
  • The word itself needs to be included in your response.
  • You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above.
  • Only one entry per writer.
  • If your post doesn’t meet our requirements, please leave your link in the comments section, not in the linkz.
  • Trifecta is open to everyone. Please join us.

– See more at: http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/#sthash.vQkjbWRy.dpuf

Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreshadow

This is our family’s youngest.

He is apparently trying to convey to us, even from the womb, that he intends to become a surfer.

(Either that or he wasn’t yet quite coordinated enough to finish signing out “I love you!”)

Hang Ten!

Hang Ten!

(And, yes, I believe this does count as my photography, since I was the sonographer who took these obstetrical images.)

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Posted for the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreshadow

Cycling (Not even 101 yet – this is a reflection on my Remedial phase)

I’ve recently gotten into bicycling – which now apparently sounds much cooler if you label yourself, instead, as a “cyclist” (long vowel sound), rather than a “bicyclist” (wimpy vowel sound), not to be mistaken for the label “biker” (coughing vowel sound) in which you have a motor that will do a large majority of the work for you and sounds much more intimidating when revving your engine at a stop sign – versus the only sound I can make at that same stop sign, which is the unclipping of my shoe from my pedal (okay, and the whimpering “crap” that slips out when I lose all my momentum & a hill is facing me).

I’ve decided that, essentially, there are 2 categories of cyclists. Those who are either:

-Leisure-oriented

or

-Goal-oriented

Admittedly, there’s a range of sub-types within these categories, particularly the goal-oriented one. There are goal-oriented cyclists who:

– simply set personal goals to ride so many miles per week (though they might do it leisurely or not),

-work to beat either themselves or someone else’s record(s), perhaps on a particular course that’s been set up (see MapMyRide to understand how you can extend these challenge possibilities beyond your own circle of friends),

-formally compete at the amateur level, such as in triathlons, mountain bike or road bike races,

-formally compete at the quasi-professional level in high-speed road races,

-formally compete in professional road races (e.g., Le Tour de France being the premier of these known by all).

Let’s get back to the normal person, though – like me (yes, I consider myself perfectly normal!) – who started riding with absolutely no competitive aspirations. I imagined myself being a top-speed leisure-oriented rider (meaning I would ride down park sidewalks, pronouncedly declaring “left” to all the walkers I passed – and then I’d go a little over the posted speed limit when no one was looking). I would’ve even been okay with a little bell and a basket on my bike. And I surely couldn’t have imagined frowning down upon coming to a hill, hopping off to one side of my bike, and leisurely strolling it to the top.

That was before T surprised me with my very own Trek Lexa SLX (which touts it is specifically designed with women riders in mind — what? it comes with a compact mirror?!). She was sleek and beautiful, but I could tell she had a little bit of a rebellious streak in her – so I named her “Little Red Riding.” She was a little intimidating just sitting in my office, let me tell you – because even though she’s consider a “low-end model” in the road cycling world (yes, there are bikes that cost more than my car), I was afraid to de-value her by getting a scratch on her body. (If it came down to who was getting the road rash, I decided I’d throw my body between her and the asphalt.)

she is – “Little Red Riding,” hanging out in my office with me for the first time.

Here she is – “Little Red Riding,” hanging out in my office with me for the first time.

I was also intimidated by her clipless pedals (which seem to be a misnomer to me, as you do “clip” into and out of them) – and be assured that I’ll write more about those from a beginner’s perspective on a different day because, I figured if anything was going to cause my body to ever be between my bike and the asphalt, those were the most likely culprits.

I should’ve been intimidated by my crank system, but, heck, I didn’t even know there were any choices in crank systems at that time. There are, in fact. One is a triple crank system (meaning there are 3 chainrings) “for a wider range of gear shifting.” That’s what the brochure says, anyway. I can’t be sure of the difference because T chose a compact crank system for me. ‘Sooo?’ you may naively ask. Well, let me just read you its description: “Two front chainrings with shorter gearing, for the best combination of climbing ability and flat-terrain speed.” If you didn’t catch the two most important (let me translate that as intimidating) words, they were: CLIMBING and SPEED. I felt like I’d been gifted with a Trojan Horse! T was sneak attacking me with his gift. He had every intention of me being more of the goal-oriented cyclist than the “ring your little bell down the sidewalk and push your basketed bike up the hill” sort of leisure-rider I had envisioned.

So “Little Red Riding” and I weren’t going to be delivering a basket of cookies to Grandma, huh? Instead, we were going to be out riding with “The Big Bad Wolf.” (Please help me dramatically end this post by inserting your own goose-bump-raising howl here.)

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Opacity

We are but

Shadows… stretched, morphed, sometimes undisclosed

Contrails… temporary traces left imprinted upon this world

Cast to

Extend ourselves… cross over, connect, integrate, reshape

Reflect… all we are and never truly were

[ changó ] / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

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Written this weekend for the Trifecta community challenge photo prompt:

This weekend we’re asking for 33 of your own words inspired by the following photo.
– See more at: http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/#sthash.ck6PZcxI.dpuf