Saturday, March 31, 2012

It's almost time!

The Blogging from A to Z Challenge starts tomorrow. This will be my first year participating, and I can say that I feel heavy doses of both nervousness and excitement: nervousness because, well, I haven't even begun to come up with topics for each letter, and excitement because who wouldn't be excited to take part in such a fun challenge and get to know other A to Z bloggers!

Are you participating this year? Do you have your topics planned or, like me, do you plan to wing it?

The push and pull

Today's 100 words:

I stayed up too late reading again last night. I never mean to--I know how deeply tired I am and how much my body and mind crave rest since my first child was born five years ago. Before, I used to drink coffee in the mornings because I liked the taste. Now I drink it because I need it to push me closer to awake. Still, as anyone who reads knows, it's hard to put a good book down--no matter the time, no matter how tired, no matter the push/pull of reading love and need for sleep.

Friday, March 30, 2012

I may never understand

Today's 100 words:

I listened to the song again last night--Evanescence's My Immortal. You said it reminded me of you, back when our lives were breaking apart, back when nothing seemed certain for us anymore: the present, the future. Even our past felt like it somehow didn't exist--or maybe it was that it no longer seemed like time we had shared. Whenever I listen to this song, the one you say describes how you were feeling when it all came crashing down, I never completely understand. We wouldn't have been in that place if it hadn't been for you.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

I can't help it--I'm weak!

Today's 100 words:

This week I've gotten into the bad (calorie-wise, anyway) habit of allowing myself to walk near the avocados in the grocery store. They're like a magnet to me, and although I've been able to resist in the past with a turn of my head and a mental admonition--Calories!--this week I've been, well...weak. I could eat avocados every day; I'll be in real trouble if we ever move to California or Florida or anywhere else they're even more easily accessible. I have one waiting for me right now, and after I write these words, I'll heed her siren call.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sentimental value

Today's 100 words:

I need to do something scary today. I don't want to do it; I don't want to subject myself to the flood of emotion sure to hit as I open the door to the crawl space, but it's time to sort through my five-year-old son's baby clothes and pass some along to my friend's new baby. I want to help my friend--there's no question about that--but it's hard for me to give away my child's possessions. The idea of not owning them anymore breaks my heart. I keep trying to remind myself that they're just things.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Clutter: My Nemesis

Today's 100 words:

I have too much stuff. I've known this for years, of course, but I didn't really see it until last night, when I walked into our bedroom and forced myself to take a look at the clutter that covers all surfaces: the floor, the tops of the dressers, the bookshelf... Sadly, most of our other rooms are the same--except, of course, for the ones I keep as uncluttered as possible for company. I wouldn't call myself a hoarder, but I do attach sentimental value to some things. Guess it's time to put emotions aside and start tossing things out.

(Easier said than done.)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Fearing the unknown

Today's 100 words:

When I moved to Nebraska, I was terrified of tornadoes. I'd never experienced them in Northern Michigan and was afraid I was putting myself in prime tornado territory. I guess we always fear the unknown. As it turned out, in the six years I lived there, I experienced only two tornado warnings, and no tornadoes ever touched down. But the fact is that the unknown is frightening. I fear a lot of things, I think, because they're out of what I consider my normal. I get that nervous feeling in my stomach--the same feeling I woke up with today.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Still miserable

Today's 100 words:

It's been a week, and my ear still feels congested, in spite of the Amoxicillin the Urgent Care doctor prescribed. I've tried so many things--the antibiotic, Sudafed, tons of water, ibuprofen, cough drops, warm compresses, home remedies I found online--but none of them has provided relief for more than a moment. I feel like all I've done for the past week is whine like a child might, but I've never experienced anything like this before. I'm going to call my primary care physician tomorrow. Hopefully, she'll given me stronger medication or a referral to someone who can help.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Chatter and song

Today's 100 words:

The birds must be holding some kind of caucus this morning. Their chatter is loud and insistent, and I love to imagine that they're hosting a public forum or city council meeting and discussing important things: no fly zones, the empty nest law, speeding, flying without a license, the dangers of drunken flying... As a teenager, I can remember being so annoyed by the birds: How dare they interrupt my sleep! Now, though, well out of my teens, I can appreciate them for their beauty and their song. And I can imagine that maybe sometimes they sing just for me.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The fog

Today's 100 words:

She journeyed to the healer, fell upon her knees, begged for help, a cure, an end to the fog that blurred the edges of her world, that made her feel as though all sounds--hellos, good-byes, a child's cries--were coming to her through a wall of denseness, and even the sound of her own voice echoed through her head, loud and brash, until a whisper seemed like thunder or the blast of the trumpet carried by that band member as he marched down the street-left, right, left--past her closed window and closed drapes and closed ears.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

It's enough

Today's 100 words:

It's enough, really, that I have this computer and this room in which to write, the sun slatting through the blinds, the traffic outside my still-closed window serenading me with its early morning quiet hum. It's enough, really, that I have this home in which to live, this small place to share with my little family, beds to sleep in, food to eat. A refuge. It's enough, really, that I have a stack of books to read and time to read them. Simple things. True things. Comforting things. Life and breath. Nothing else matters. It's enough, really. It is.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The roaring

Today's 100 words:

It was the roaring that made her crazy, the seashell sound of some indescribable fullness or heaviness, a rushing through the ear, never ceasing, forever consistent, only seeming to abate when the noise outside her head grew louder than the pounding within. She began to despise the quiet time she had always loved and craved, the only thing that brought peace to her mind, but now that peace danced hand in hand with strangeness and waltzed with insanity, and although she tried to ignore the cacophonous chaos, she wondered how long it would be before she was finally--blessedly--free.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Stream of consciousness--and a good thing

Today's 100 words:

I feel out of sorts, not myself, like something isn't quite right, and I don't know if it's only the respiratory infection I've had for a couple of weeks or the ear infection I was just diagnosed with or the fact that ever since the end of February, everything in my life has been go, go, go when all I want--all I need, really--is to rest, to relax, to take some time to breathe and just be because honestly, I don't know how much longer I can go on this way at this pace: too fast, so fast.

As much as I've felt strange lately, I was able to push those feelings aside yesterday when my little boy, only five years old, ran up to me in the library, a book clutched in his hands. It was a "big kid" book meant for much older children--no pictures, chapters, lots of words--but he was so excited to check it out, so excited for me to read it to him bit by bit. We started it yesterday, and although I'm not sure he has the focus yet to really concentrate on such a story, I'm so proud of him for wanting to try, and I'll never forget the excitement on his face and the look of pride in his eyes as he clutched that book. I guess it's true that there's always a silver lining if one looks carefully enough.

Monday, March 19, 2012


Today's 100 words:

The weather has been so beautiful here these past couple of weeks, but no one in my family has really had the opportunity to enjoy it. We all made it to church yesterday, but later in the afternoon I came down with an ear infection--my first ever--and had to make a visit to Urgent Care to have it taken care of. My son and daughter have both been battling upper respiratory infections, and now my husband seems to be coming down with something as well. Normally, we don't get sick like this. It's been a strange winter overall.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

You never forget

Today's 100 words:

It's funny how some birthdays just stick in my head, even though it's been years since I've seen or talked to those people. Today is Mike's birthday. Mike was my first crush and the recipient of my elementary school puppy love. His mother told my mother that he liked me too, but we were both shy and rarely spoke. In high school, we did go to the prom together--just that one date. It strikes me as funny how throughout my life I dated other men for far longer time periods, yet I've forgotten most of their birthdays. First love...

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Not such a good idea after all

Today's 100 words:

I allowed myself to sleep in today, which seemed like a good idea when I reset my cell phone alarm but not such a good one when I got up about an hour before I knew the kids would be clamoring to get out of their room. I'm exhausted--didn't fall asleep until 3 a.m.--but I don't feel like an hour of quiet time is enough, especially since my husband is already awake, moving around the house, stepping on creaky floorboards and running water through clanking pipes. Clearly, my mind needs quiet more than my body needs sleep.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Tracing the line

Today's 100 words:
I've been watching episodes of Who Do You Think You Are? on Hulu. I find it fascinating that the celebrities featured on the show are able to trace their family lines so far back. I'd love to do the same, and in fact, that's part of the work I'm attempting in my family history memoir. I plan on focusing on my parents and their lives but would also like to find out other information--like the reason my family came to this country. I only wish I had the resources to travel as the celebrities do on the show.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

No sick days?!

Today's 100 words:

My son asked to stay home from preschool today, which is how I know he must really be sick. He's like I was as a child--always eager to go to school, afraid to miss out on whatever his teacher has planned for the day. I didn't like to be out of the loop, and neither does he. So today I have a sick son watching TV in the living room and a daughter coughing as she eats her waffle. Then there's mom here, typing, coughing like her head will explode, and wondering again why mothers don't get sick days.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

An ongoing project

Today's 100 words:

I've always wanted to write a family history memoir. For years I've been working on and off to transcribe cassette tapes my dad made of some of the memories he has of growing up and working as a logger in the days when horses were as common as trucks out in the woods. Now I'm about ready for my mother's story of growing up a country girl, then a city girl, then a country girl again. The history of how these two very different people met, fell in love, and married is what I hope to document for future generations.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

It never really goes away

Today's 100 words:

While going through some old emails yesterday, I found several messages my ex-husband sent me during the months before our divorce. Rereading them brought back a lot of difficult memories that I thought I'd hidden away in some back corner of my mind or had at least pushed aside for enough time that I could begin to forget. But the emotions--pain, anger, resentment--my ex expressed brought me right back to those moments, right back to those days our life together broke apart. I guess the pain never really dulls, no matter what good things life brings afterward.

Monday, March 12, 2012

It's gotta grab me

Today's 100 words:

I used to feel as though I needed to finish every book I started. In the past couple of weeks, however, I've probably given up on at least five books, and of the three books I started yesterday, I think I'll continue with only one. (Admittedly, that was an odd reading day.) I pick up books based mainly on their back covers, and as we all know, sometimes the writing doesn't deliver on the blurb. As I've gotten older, I've decided that if a book doesn't grab me in the first thirty or forty pages, it's not worth my time.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Muse! Muse!

Today's 100 words:

I wonder if speaking of the muse can bring her back, if merely uttering her name will call creativity to an uninspired mind. I did this yesterday--spoke about her here, talked of how she'd gone silent, killed by the inner critic who does everything in his power to keep my pen from the page and my hands from the keyboard. I called her, and mere hours later she was back, bestowing upon me ideas for a new poem, word pictures appearing out of the air. If speaking of her can bring her near, I'll call her daily: Muse! Muse!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

When I'm not writing

Today's 100 words:

When I'm not writing--those days, weeks, and months when words won't grace my page--I feel lost, left out, alone. I have many writer friends, creative people who scribble each day, painting word pictures in their chosen genres, and I love talking with them, hearing about their successes, lending an ear as they (sometimes) grouse about editing or the maddening existence of plot holes. Meanwhile, my own pages are blank, my muse silent, my inner critic on duty full-time now with no vacations planned, and although I try to call creativity into my corner, it has been KO'd.

Friday, March 9, 2012

On books and time

Today's 100 words:

Last Wednesday, I took my kids to the library, as I try to do at least once a week. They wanted to go to the one they call the "tent library" because it features a small tent in the children's section that they both love to play in. While there, I picked up a huge stack of books for all of us and was excited to find a novel that I'd been wanting to read for a while. Now I look at my tbr pile and dream of the moment I'll have time to sit down with my new books.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

"I'll take LIFE for $1000"

Today's 100 words:

Answer: A child's laughter, the smell of coffee, the beginning of the day with all its possibilities, hearing from an old friend, being up early enough to watch the sun rise, seeing the pink-streaked sky as the day winds down, reading all day long, writing something that touches the heart, curling up under warm blankets on a cold night, watching a favorite television show, talking with friends, eating at a restaurant, watching movies on the couch with a special someone, realizing how wonderful it is to be alive...

Question: What is happiness, Alex.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

On sleep (again)

I've noticed that the older I've gotten, the more I think about sleep--and my lack of it. There are so many things I want to do each day that often sleep seems secondary and unimportant. I woke this morning after getting about five hours of rest, and my tingly hands and tired eyes led to today's 100 words:

I need to get more sleep. Nearly every morning, I wake up with tingly hands, something that always signals I haven't had enough rest. I've gotten myself into habits that are hard for me to break: getting up early so I can have an hour or two of quiet time and going to bed late because I like to read and write after the kids are asleep. Most nights I get between four and six hours of rest, which my nearly forty-year-old body can't seem to handle anymore. Something has to give. Reading, writing... Sleep is important, too.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Online privacy

Today's 100 words:

For many reasons, I choose not to post pictures of my kids online, so when other people post pictures of them on their Facebook pages without asking me first, I get upset. I understand that many people have no issue with posting photos online, and I respect that; it's a choice, and all parents need to decide for themselves what's best for their family. I've received some flack for my opinion. People (including someone close to me) have called me paranoid and overprotective, but I can't let those words bother me. I need to do what I feel is best.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Never still

Today's 100 words:

I'm listening to the waterfall of water pouring into the bathtub, waiting for my tea to steep, typing these words, thinking about the day that lies ahead: Will I need to take my son to the doctor? What was that second thing I was supposed to get at the grocery store? I can't forget to finish the registration paperwork. And the laundry--I should start now so I'm not drying clothes late into the night... My mind is never still. Does it rest as I sleep, or do these thoughts continue: Wash the bathroom rugs tomorrow...

Sunday, March 4, 2012


Today's 100 words:

Some mornings when I wake up, I look over at the stack of books next to the bed and wish I could abandon all my responsibilities just for a day and read the hours away, curled up on the couch with something to drink--coffee or tea, perhaps--and a blanket to wrap up in, one of the ones my mom crocheted, and I think I would read and nap alternately, since those are the two things I seem to crave now--books and sleep--and outside my lovely cocoon, the day could bring whatever it wanted: sun, rain, snow...

Saturday, March 3, 2012

My inspiration

Today's 100 words:

Last night I found my inspiration. He came to me in the form of Phil, an 86-year-old man my husband had once sung with in the choir. Phil is a poet, and each time we've met him as we did last night--in the grocery store--he's said that he wants to give me some of his poems. Last night he did. I read them as we drove home, impressed by his obvious talent. Later I went to my office, eager to work on my own poetry, inspired by this man who has never stopped following his passion.

Friday, March 2, 2012

This moment

Today's 100 words:

Yesterday's "track" entry must have jogged something loose in my creative mind, as last night I found myself beginning a new poem for the first time in months. The poem has nothing at all to do with yesterday's words, which were part of a brainstorming session, yet isn't it true that it's the act of writing--no matter what words are penned--that exercises the creative mind, making it more willing to bring out new ideas and find new inspirations? Somehow the word "track" put my writing back on track, at least for now, and I'm savoring the moment.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Today's 100 words:

track, on track, off the track, train track, instrumental track, track the deer, track star, life on track, lose track, keep track, tire track, in one's tracks, racetrack, track-and-field, follow the track, track north, leave tracks, track the storm, track down, in her tracks, make tracks, off track, the right track, the wrong track, track in, track out, backtrack, track brake, track jack, track lighting, track record, track shoe, track spike, body track, cinder track, life track, get on track, track shipments, track mud, stop in tracks, dirt track, fast track, academic track, wrong side of the tracks