Conversations with my Mother…

Conversations with my Mother…

First, allow me to introduce the participants in said conversation.

Brett – My brother, Corey – Brett’s best friend, Emily – My niece, Kyle – Emily’s boyfriend (He’s from Ireland; which will be an important point for later), Aaron – My husband, Me, and Shelley – My mother

Scene – We’re at a party in a warehouse.

Me – Corey, is Kelly (his girlfriend) a tidier roommate than Brett?

Corey – Oh, no. Definitely not. She’s a collector of… things. She’s basically a hoarder of trinkets and… stuff.

Shelley – Oh!  Like Scrotchies! No, scrunchies, crotchies, scorch, scrunch…

We all look at her, puzzled.

Shelley – Kyle!  You probably know! I think it’s an English word, like scotchies!

Me – Mom, Kyle isn’t English… he’s from Ireland.

Shelley – Well, it’s practically the same thing!

Me – Except that it’s a different country.

Shelley – It’s like…. CROTCH! (she screams at Aaron while slapping her leg triumphantly). No, that’s not it.

Laughter fills my eyes with tears while my bladder threatens to betray me.

Kyle’s parents are leaving the party so Emily and Shelley go say goodbye to them.

Shelley – I’ll ask them, they’ll probably know!

Emily – Oh please don’t grandma!

After embarrassing Emily, Shelley and Emily join our conversation again.

Shelley – We should just google it. Just google it Aaron.

Aaron – We probably shouldn’t google search crotch…

Corey – Oh God please don’t image search that!

Shelley – No, just do it!  Google scrotchie!

Aaron wisely googles synonyms for trinkets.

Aaron – ….you guys aren’t going to believe this. Tchotchke, it’s a word for trinkets.

Shelley – See; crotchskies! (smirking and proud to prove us wrong she gets up and walks away)

You get what you pay for

image1

In nearly every aspect of life, you get what you pay for. Nose-bleed-section hockey tickets are no exception.

We’ve purchased seats up against the back walls of many rinks and the energy up there is always unique and unsurprisingly, much different than next to the glass. If you aren’t close enough to see the blood dripping from the fights on the ice, then you’re usually in the middle of an entirely different kind of chaos. It’s prime real estate for eavesdropping and people watching.

As the neon lights above center ice wind down, the number of beers consumed increased. I watched as my section companions stumble up and down the stairs for beer runs and bathroom trips. By end of the game I’m sure I completed my daily 100 squats simply from rising to allow the drunk frat boys in and out of the aisle.

One of the groups of college kids brought a responsible adult with them. However, I think they wound up babysitting their chaperone at the end of the night. By the beginning of the third period he was screaming for the players to fight, or the refs, or the men shoveling the ice. He didn’t care who fought, he just wanted blood shed. Beer and spit flew from his mouth as he cursed at everyone on the ice for doing their job, not doing their job, and anything else he could think to yell at them. Half his beer ended up down the back of the woman sitting in front of him and he was much more quiet from that point on.

Around that same time, the action picked up on the ice and across the aisle from us. Tequila mini bottles were scattered across the cement floor and as the height of the plastic beer glasses grew, so did the volume of chants coming from a fan. It began harmlessly, but ended up with him calling everyone in our section pussies because we weren’t humoring him enthusiastically enough. Most in attendance would rather have watched the game than his antics, vulgarities were thrown, individuals were restrained and, I’m sure you’ve all seen these scenes play themselves out before.

I feel we got our money’s worth, a hockey game and an episode of Game of Thrones really was worth the price of tickets. The Bruins lost this one, but we were thoroughly entertained from start to finish.

After the game, we hopped the T to get back to our hotel. A few stops before ours, an immaculately dressed couple, both sporting grey hair, boarded the packed train. Aaron and I rose from our seats to let them have our spot for their ride. They expressed their gratitude, but the man refused to sit while I, a woman, stood. He admitted he knew most people would want to “punch him in the nose” for insisting a woman, completely capable of standing, sit, while he stood, but I told him I respected him for being a gentleman. We had a great chat with the couple. The husband noticed our Bruins apparel and told us stories about going to Bruins and Red Sox paying $3.25 to see games as a kid. He recalled watching Milt Schmidt play, who just recently celebrated his 98th birthday. We left the T, smiles plastered on our faces, having ended our day on a wonderful note.

Cup and Handle

I’ve been reading Stephen King’s Bazaar of Bad Dreams and he introduced each story by writing a bit of background about it and how it came to be. He describes the process as needing to find a cup and handle, and then putting them together to create something that works.

A few years ago I was driving through my hometown and walking down the street was this old lady and a few feet in front of her was one of the roundest, fattest cats I’ve ever seen. It was unexpected and hilarious. I tucked the scene away, knowing it would come in handy at a later date. Earlier this year I received a text from a good friend with an concept for a story, a witch who steals laughter. Almost immediately, I knew I had both my cup and handle and that is how this story began.

This is the first witch story I’ve written this year and I think it will be one that receives more attention in the future and possibly added to my book (eee!!!).

**********

Her stocking-covered flesh oozed between the thick straps of her orthotic sandals as she waddled up the sidewalk. Gnarled hands gripped tightly to a walker she stole from the man who lived down the street from her. She didn’t need it’s assistance but she knew it added to the charade. Last night she added sparkly cat stickers to the frame, they covered up the name Cooper and added just the right amount of color to the prop.

Her shadow fell hard against the pavement and sweat slid over the dents and grooves that made up her face. A few feet in front of her stark outline was the boulder-like shadow of her cat. Frank’s mass of fat and fur waddled over the cracked pavement in a comical performance. This was, of course, all part of her plan.

Single file, they made their way up the block like camels through a desert. Fragrant sour cabbage filled her nostrils. While it was one of her favorite dishes, the scent wasn’t as pleasant when seeping up from beneath the layers of her loose cotton dress and wool cardigan.

Cars slowed as they passed, laughing and pointing as the pair cautiously made their way over the broken path. She nodded and waved at each car, gaining strength from their smiling faces. She took only a little from these victims, such a small amount that they would never miss it nor feel it.

Rainbows danced off of the cartoon cat stickers under the late morning sun. Her grip on the walker loosened as her weathered body soaked in the giggles bouncing on the hot air around her. She felt her body grow stronger; younger. Over the years she experimented with a variety of tactics, but she always favored the ones that involved Frank. Once a mere tool used to her benefit, she had now grown quite fond of the cat. His plump frame welcomed the fuel she required, he made this process easy on her and for that, she was grateful.

There was once a time when she would steal from one soul at a time. Spells woven to squeeze every ounce of happy chatter from her victims and leave them a black withered shell to wander their remaining years lost in perpetual melancholy. And, while that would always be the method she favored, unwelcome attention followed closely beside it.

Her heart quickened as she approached her final destination. It was nearly noon and she knew she would only need a few minutes to restore the last five years of aging. The wheels of Mr. Cooper’s walker twisted sideways before straightening over the horizontal lines of the crosswalk. She lifted the light frame back up onto the curb and followed Frank through the opening in the chain-link fence. She spun the walker around, pushing the wheels up to the metal lattice and eased herself onto the hard plastic seat. Frank lazily looked back over his shoulder at the witch and flopped hard against the tarmac rubbing his whiskers against the warm ground. The school bell sounded and within seconds children spilled from the doors. She lifted her chin to the sun and sucked in all of their delighted squeals.

Penny Lane

 

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset7:42 am Wednesday January 13 – I’m in the shower mid face wash and I can hear Aaron yelling from the living room. I’m annoyed because I think he’s hollering about something ridiculous and I can’t hear him over the shower. Turns out he had good reason for yelling. Our 100lb 9-year-old ridgeback is immobile and barely responsive. I still have soap on my face, I’m dripping wet, and I’m huddled over my dog that I’m sure is dying in front of me. I sob and tell her I’m not ready for this and that she isn’t allowed to leave me yet. In a panic I managed to get clothes on my body and in what felt like seconds we are carrying her through the doors of our beloved vet.

Long story short, she ate some pebbles, leaves, twigs, and a very small, but very pointy object. We were presented with a bill that is equivalent to a trip to Europe and the task of being on potty patrol for the next month in hopes that our decision to take a conservative route pays off. I imagine this is what new parents feel like… taking pictures of bowel movements to show their doctors, logging the amount of food your child has eaten and how quickly it runs through their body. I was pretty sure this was one of the reasons we chose to NOT have kids. Someone out there is laughing at us right now because we’re faced with the same tasks as a new parent, minus the free healthcare. Maybe we didn’t think this life decision through as well as we thought we had?

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

In all seriousness, this is a pretty wonderful life we live.  Even though I would love to have a heart-to-heart with Penny and find out what part of eating random objects she found in the yard was a good idea, I love her more than I can begin to express. And, while I’m sure the staff at TMz Vet clinic will never see this, I need to say thank you. Thank you for loving our monsters just as much as we do. For truly understanding how much they mean to us and giving them the best care a dog Mom could ask for. They make owning pets easy because we know we have the most incredible team of people we can turn to in emergencies like this and the well-being of our family is always their top priority.

Today, the sun is streaming through the window, warming both me and Penny as we share her bed.  She’s sleeping, toes twitching, tail wagging periodically, I’m writing and this is a moment I want to remember.

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

 

 

Intentions

As the end of the year drew near I started gathering all of my ideas and resolutions and tucking them away for later like a squirrel with acorns. I knew I would need them, I just wasn’t quite ready to do anything with them yet. I’ve been sitting on my stashed away notes and goals for a good month now and I think I’m finally ready to commit them to something more concrete than crumpled post-it notes. Please feel free to call me out on it if I’m failing hopelessly at any of these.

  1. Log a minimum of 1,000 miles on my Fitbit this year. And within that 1,000, a minimum of 365 of those miles must be running. Realistically, this should be easy, but if I don’t write it, I can’t be held accountable for actually doing it. If you’re a Fitbit user and want to cheer (or taunt) me on, add me here.
  2. Read 80 books. I’m including audiobooks in that number. And no, I do not consider that cheating. If you’re interested in following along, you can find me on Goodreads here.
  3. Have more respect for this shell that carries me through the day to day and feed it with proper fuel.  …I just ate a chocolate bar for lunch so I’m off to an awful start with this one! I have a game plan for this though and it revolves around Happy Herbivore’s Meal Plans. I’m confident it will be the glue to hold this goal together.
  4. Put myself, my health, and my well-being first more often so that I can be a better partner to my husband, and a better friend and family member to those I care about.
  5.  Write! For the first time ever, I promise that this goal will see a lot of love. I have a very serious game plan in place. I’ve told, well, pretty much anyone who will listen, and a few who didn’t about this and I’m 100% committed. I’ll be working on a book this year too. I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself for when that will be finished but I’ve promised myself that by the end of the year I’ll have completed enough work on that project so that I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished.

2016-01-04_0054

Circle Pit

Spit and snot sprayed from their faces as they cavorted in manic circles. Their limbs lose, and flailing at one another. I pressed myself into the wall and watched as they danced in their circle pit. Smiles filled their faces, an indication they were enjoying themselves, but this was not a game I understood nor knew the rules to. They screamed and grunted at one another like wild animals. I couldn’t decipher their words, but they appeared to understand each other. Round and round they flew like vultures circling their prey.

At the same moment I began to wonder how long this could possibly go on, they bounded up the stairs from my office, expressing their immediate need of a snack.
“Bye Auntie!!!” They hollered as they made their way into the kitchen.Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

Window Shopping : Vol. 1- Holiday Edition

Mr. T and I don’t usually buy each other Christmas gifts because Winter is our quiet season which means  – travel!  Plus, we’re desperately trying to get rid of ‘stuff’. However, that doesn’t mean I can’t create a little wish list of the things I would hope for if presents were our ‘thing’.


 

I would love to add a pair of ear weights to my collection.  I love these ones!

wotwjewelry

via : wotwjewelry


Morning coffee is already the best part of the day, but I think it really couldn’t get any better if my hands were wrapped around one of these adorable mugs!

Tickled Teal Boutique

via : Tickled Teal Boutique


I have been drooling over this lamp for at least a year now. It reminds me of the lamps in the Boston Public Library. I’m going to start squirreling away my pennies so I can buy it for my office!

LongMadeCO

via : Long Made Co. 


At first, I just loved this tee because, well, cats. But then I read the description of the meaning behind the design and loved it so much more.

Seriously, read it.

ProtectionTee

via : Kin Ship Goods


As a rule, I don’t really ‘get’ most comedians/comics/cartoons. My brother stole all of my sense of humor at birth (iloveyoupoopypants!). However, I feel like Gemma Correll can do no wrong and that every single cartoon she draws was written about my life.  Specifically, this one.

…and now I’m buying myself a copy.

5755056_16246064_lz

Via : Gemma Correll


What’s on your Christmas wish list this year?

Ugly Tree Forest

2015-12-13_0069

Every Fall, the women in my family get together to celebrate ‘Christmas in October’. We spend the day poking around the Christmas wares the local boutiques have displayed, eating decadently, and getting ourselves in the Christmas spirit. This has become a yearly tradition and something we all look forward to as the holiday season approaches.

Sometime near the beginning of these outings my sister and I stumbled upon what is quite possibly, one of the ugliest Christmas decorations we have ever laid eyes on.

Standing at approximately 10 inches high was, what appeared to be a Christmas tree plastered in dried snot, sequins, and dryer lint. Confused, I picked it up and presented it to my sister. We stared in silence for a solid minute and then burst into laughter, which lead to tears, which lead to my sister fearing she may need a change on pants.

And that my friends, was how our Ugly Tree Forest was born.

2015-12-13_0070

Every year while celebrating ‘Christmas in October’ we search for a new tree to add to the collection. And, on the years we haven’t been able to spend the holidays together, we’ve had competitions over who can find the ugliest tree to gift to one another.

2015-12-13_0066

Over the years many have heard the story of this forest. It has become a group effort with friends and family adding to our collection. We even have a shop in our home town whose owner now considers us while purchasing his Christmas stock, orders us the ugliest trees he can get his hands on and then hides them in his store for us to find when we come shopping.

It really has turned into quite the production.

2015-12-13_0071

2015-12-13_0068 2015-12-13_0067 2015-12-13_0072

A Year of Weird

2015-12-18_0002

When I first told Aaron the crazy idea I had for myself and 2016 his face lit up and he cheered, “A year of being weird!”.

Good, he was on board with the plan. Now, to get over my nerves and match his level of excitement.

We discussed ideas, how I wanted it to play out, and eventually, all of the pieces fell into place.

Knowing that my number one goal this year was to put in some serious hours working on my book, I wanted to put myself in a position where I was constantly pushing myself outside of my comfort zone and participating in unique-to-me experiences. From there, ‘A Year of Weird’ was born.

I’ll be the first to tell you, some of the items on my list are going to make me, and probably you, uncomfortable. But, that’s why I’m so excited about this! I want to embrace my interests that some would deem ‘unusual’ and I want to see things that will make me squeamish.

Why? It’s all in the name of research!

2015-12-18_0003

I’ve always had an interest in the taboo and 2016 will be the year I dive into all things ‘unusual’ and see where it leads me.

I’ve started a list. I love lists. I’m hoping you’ll be able to help me out and add to this list too. If you have any suggestions for experiences I should check out or even better, experiences you would like to read about please include them in the comments below! I’m using Stranger Than Fiction: True Stories- Chuck Palahniuk as my bible for this step of the process.

My list, so far…

*Spend a day with a taxidermist

*Spend a day with a mortician/funeral home

*Learn to fire a gun/visit a shooting range

*Join the local Police Force for a ride along

*Spend the night in a reportedly haunted location

*Attend an event hosted by the the local Society of Creative Anachronism

I can’t wait to hear what you suggest!