Thursday, July 25, 2013

Throwback Thursday.

...my first attempt* at a throwback post - because really, I couldn't get this image

out of my head today. I'm guessing it was taken in early August 1985 (we closed on the empty lot on July 29, 1985).

What a difference 28 years makes.

We built our family in that house and have more good memories - and hundreds of photos! - than I could possibly begin to share here. Like I texted to Marc, Katie and Sara it's "the end of a very good era." I'm proud the house is still looking great!

*this is also my first attempt at a blogger post from my iPad and if anyone has tips and/or App suggestions to share, I welcome them - thanks!


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Ten on Tuesday. Alone Time.

...my how things have changed since summer 2007 when I spent a weekend alone for practically the first time. ever. This blog post from that June sprung to mind as soon as I saw Carole's prompt for today, specifically the part about that "one-way conversation". I'd completely forgotten the super-short haircut and the pink silk skirt outfit (although that business lunch came right back to me as soon as I read the words).

Yep, my hair is longer now. No more business lunches. Chance is gone. Holly is constantly by my side to hold up the dog's end of those one-way conversations. The girls are grown and we are officially empty nesters. Marc works long hours and travels frequently. I am kind of a pro at alone time. And I've learned to (mostly*) love it! Without further ado - ten of my favorite things to do (or not!) when I'm alone:
last night's "dinner"...complete with internet wandering
1. popcorn and wine for dinner, eaten right at the counter, preferably accompanied by mindless internet wandering.

2. late night/early morning reading in bed. pillows piled high and lights on.

3. marathon TV. I've watched entire seasons/mini-series in two or three sittings. most recently Mad Men season 6 when I watched all but the last two episodes over three days and Game of Thrones when I watched seasons 1 and 2 (20 hours?) in a week. sadly, I have nothing queue'd for this week...and Marc's gone til Thursday.

4. talk out loud to myself Holly.

5. clean. and enjoy it staying that way.

6. or make a mess and not worry about picking it up (this is especially helpful for getting caught up on crafty things).

7. listen to music really loud...and sing along really loud. this one is also very fun with dancing. (I'm a much better dancer alone!)

8. eat what I want when I want.

9. take a bubble bath. with candles. wine. and a stack of magazines.

10. my big "not" is making the bed. Marc cares. I don't. so when he's gone, it doesn't happen.

*my long stretches of alone time come mostly from Marc traveling, often internationally. I worry. I miss him. Time zone differences make it hard to communicate. We miss out on the day-to-day stuff of each others' lives that make a 30-year marriage work. That list above is only possible because I know "being alone" is a temporary state. Celebrating my alone time is a huge part of being ok with it.
click here to join the Ten on Tuesday fun!

Monday, July 1, 2013

My Short Story Project.

...what started last month as a little toe-dip into the short story pool ended up being a full-fledged dive off the high dive into the deep end and by the time I came up for air and swam to the side, I realized I didn't want to get out of the water.
I thoroughly enjoyed "Last Night", but what I really got hooked on was the New Yorker Fiction podcast...and then the Selected Shorts podcast. I love listening to the stories. Last week I realized I was quickly working through the entire backlist of those podcasts and I couldn't even remember everything I'd heard.   But stories by Amy Hempel ("Jesus is Waiting", "Beg, Sl Tog, Inc, Cont, Rep" and "In the Cemetary Where Al Jolson Is Buried"), Miranda July ("Roy Spivey"), Dorothy Parker ("Here We Are", "Just a Little One" and "The Waltz") and Flannery O'Connor ("Everything that Rises Must Converge") have stayed with me. I do still have a few episodes to listen to, but I decided it was time to start reading.
I combed my bookshelves and found these four collections. Happy coincidence that three of them are already favorites. The Dorothy Parker was my mom's copy.

And I'm not sure if the Faulkner belonged to my mom or to my dad. The highlighting makes me think it wasn't my mom, but I'm sure she'll let me know!

I "inherited" the Miranda July from Katie when she moved out after college. Amy Hempel's is the only one I bought and I remember the day I bought it in January 2007. Katie was visiting for a birthday lunch and we made a quick pre-meal stop at Barnes & Noble to look for books. I'd recently heard a story that captured my heart; it's that last line and it's still with me:
Then you take a deep breath, and slide your head under, and listen for the playfulness of your heart.
I've enjoyed it in little bits and pieces since then, especially when Katie moved to NYC four summers ago and I read aloud many of the stories as we drove through West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Although I have to admit - the professionals who read the stories I mentioned do a much better job!

Ann Kingman is reading a story a day this year. I'm not sure I'm up for that much of a commitment! But I am hoping to read 100, which works out to 3-4 a week and will get me through all four of these books. If I add in the ones I listen to, I suppose I could get to 194?! (which is one a day for the rest of 2013). To help my terrible memory, I'm also going to keep a journal and I'll share the highlights here.

And all this has me curious - do you enjoy short stories? which ones are your favorites? and do you keep a journal to help you remember them?