Winter Travels

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I don’t usually do much traveling between the Christmas holidays and spring, but this year my parents needed some help moving my grandmother from her apartment to a room in the main building of her continuing care retirement community.  She’s still in pretty good health for a woman in her 90s, but she doesn’t move around as well as she used to and needs the support of being in the main building and regularly checked on by the nursing staff.

So the husband and I set out from North Carolina to Pennsylvania last Friday and returned home on Monday.  We helped sort through things in my grandmother’s old apartment that wouldn’t fit in her new room, saw my great uncle and his wife, and did what we could to keep Gramma occupied and less morose about the move.  She was disappointed to lose the apartment and the space, but what hit hardest was having to give away her cat.  The pretty ginger tabby was previously owned by one of her friends who passed away, and she’s passed him along to another friend in the community, so at least she’ll be able to go visit him.

It’s always great getting to see family, and I’m glad I could visit to help brighten my grandmother’s weekend.  The long drive was hard though.  I have a lower back issues that pinches my sciatic nerve when I sit.  On a good day, it’s a little achy, uncomfortable, or numb.  On a bad day, it causes sharp shooting pains through my hip and down my leg, sometimes all the way to my heel.  I have physical therapy exercises I’ve been doing daily for almost five years, and some strategies for being in the car with less pain.  It’s only in the last few months that I’ve gotten to the point where I can sit without pain or discomfort for one or two hours instead of for ten or fifteen minutes.  I’ve never been so glad to spend 30-60 minutes a day on exercises before.

This trip lead to my usual habit of taking pictures of various things I find interesting (this is the source of most image prompt pictures).  I thought I’d share a few of the more interesting photos I took during the course of the trip.

From the trip from NC to PA:

Random Objects:

Some from my Great Aunt and Uncle’s place, and some from my grandmother’s (only two of which I ended up taking home with me).

Other interesting images from the trip:

The journey from PA back to NC:

Where I’m From: 2019 Edition

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This is my yearly version of the “Where I’m From” poem prompt.  You can find my original prompt here and the versions from 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018.  If anyone else wants to try their hand at the poem prompt, I’d love to read your results, so feel free to leave a comment.

 

Where I’m From

I am from mechanical pencils, from a blue North Face backpack and a too small iPhone.

I am from the quiet, dark, semi-basement, cluttered apartment.

I am from the kitchen window philodendron, the purple fields of heather.

I am from gathering in the kitchen and continual curiosity, from Catherine and Kenneth and Carlton.

I am from the tendency to correct everyone and a desire for super soft pajamas.

From you can grow up to be anything and don’t read under the covers after bed time.

I am from simple wooden crosses, red carpet runners, and a sturdy A-frame building.

I’m from Monroeville and Scotland, spicy Italian sausage spaghetti sauce and pumpkin rolls.

From the fruit punch cup flying and coloring the dictionary pages pink, the marbled edges that almost look intentional now, and the many incorrect insults my sister made me look up after I used them on her.

I am from fridge magnets, photo albums, computer files, old letters, and boxes of slides.

From time spent reminiscing, memories of loved ones, and family history.

From stories over crossing the Atlantic, founding towns, train wrecks, and weddings.

Vacation Time – Great Smokie Mountains

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This week is my annual vacation with my husband and his family.  It’s one of my favorite things that doesn’t have to do with NaNoWriMo.  It’s me and my husband, his parents, and my sister-in-law (SIL) and her husband.  I joke that I stole all my sister’s in-law karma, since she does not have the best in-laws and I have the ABSOLUTE BEST in-laws.

Seriously.  They’re amazing.

And that’s just the basis for the great vacation.  We all get along pretty well as long as no one brings up politics.  I can even handle the in-law’s standard poodle and SIL’s smooth coat collie for the week.  (I lam solidly in the cat-person camp.)  SIL is the alpha animal of all alpha animals, so the poodle is super well behaved when she’s around, and her collie is actually a service animal and as well trained as you think he is based on that.  (She trained him herself which is also kind of amazing.  Have I mentioned how much I admire my SIL?)  Even when he’s not working and just goofing around having fun he’s super polite and well-mannered and follows orders.

This year, we’ve booked a cabin in the mountains (and by that I mean a cabin-themed house big enough to sleep 8 adults).  Each couple is cooking two meals to cover dinners, and the younger generation has collectively packed enough board games to fill the entire week.  As I joked in our group text message “it hurts nothing but our backs to bring more than we can possibly play.” Continue reading

Image Prompt 019 Response – The Petting Zoo that Doesn’t Allow Petting

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I selected the image of the hairy cow for my 20 minute spring this time around.  I tried something a little different as well.  I don’t write young children characters much, so I tried my hand at it.  I hope you enjoy.

The Petting Zoo that Doesn’t Allow Petting

It was a cow.  More specifically a hairy cow.

It didn’t make up for the fact that Kylie didn’t want to be there.

It was supposed to be a petting zoo, and it was supposed to make her little six-year-old cousin Angela bearable because she loved animals.

There was no petting of the animals.  Most especially the hairy cow with the giant horns.  Even if the sign hadn’t expressly forbidden petting, feeding, or in other ways putting your hands across the gate, the cow was lying down feet away where no one could possibly reach it if they wanted to.

Kylie secretly envied the ridiculous ginger hairy cow. Continue reading

Merry Christmas!

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Since my Friday post landed on Christmas itself, this is going to be a pretty short post.

I hope everyone had a wonderful winter holiday, whichever one they celebrate.

Today I’d like to share some of the images of the holiday I’ve taken over the years. I have a dozen for you. I find it interesting to see how my Christmas imagery changes over the years. Enjoy.

2015-12-25 Christmas 1988

1988

Continue reading

The Hands that Mold: My Family

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For those new to my blog, the Hands that Mold series of posts is about the people in my life that have helped shape me into the writer I am today.

This post is about my family.

I was lucky to grow up in a family that values learning and intellectual pursuits.  I might not have turned into the person I am without all the family influences in that direction, so I’m very grateful to both my immediate and extended family for always encouraging me in my drive to learn and then to write and create.

Growing up, it was just my parents, my sister and me.  We moved around a decent bit, especially when I was younger.  We’d live somewhere for a few years, once as little as eight months, before Dad’s job forced us to move once more.  It made for an interesting childhood.  I lived several placed before I started school, and because of all the moves I attended two elementary schools, two middle schools, and two high schools. Continue reading

Appreciating Your Mother

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Mother’s Day isn’t one of those holidays you get time off for, but it’s one that I really love. Mother’s Day is all about celebrating the mothers in your life, be they your own mother, your daughter, sister, wife, or friend. I may be a little late this year, but I still wanted to share my thoughts on Mother’s Day.

Through the years, I’ve done a lot of different things to celebrate Mother’s Day with my mom. When we were very young, my sister and I made her pictures and other hand-made gifts. As we grew older and learned to save our allowance and gift money, we’d buy her real presents. We gave her picture frames, personalized name plates for her office, and tools for her gardening projects. Continue reading