Living the dream

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Kansas City, Missouri, United States
I am a forty-something woman who embraces her attention-deficit disorder. It has made me the creative, questioning, multitasking, engaging, people-loving, RaNdOm person who knows how to love and live passionately and gratefully. No one has ever used the word BORING to describe me.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Hemingway's way

From The Writer's Almanac~
Today marks the 115th birthday of Ernest Hemingway. He didn't start writing until his 26th birthday: two months later, he had a first draft. Years later, he told a friend: "Toward the last it was like a fever. Toward the last I was sprinting, like in a bicycle race, and I did not want to lose my speed making love or anything else." This novel, first titled Fiesta, was revised to The Lost Generation. 
We know it as The Sun Also Rises.

I'm certainly no Hemingway, but I know a thing or two about writing, and so it came as no surprise to me while watching a PBS special last night to discover that reclusive writer J.D. Salinger routinely holed up in a bunker outside his home in New Hampshire to attend to his writing.
I know that Maya Angelou rented hotel rooms when she needed to get writing done.
The need for solitude without distraction is the very reason why the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire exists, or why Hedgebrook in Washington state exists.
When I was at MacDowell, the gift of time and space allowed me to write eight to ten hours a day. Within twenty-four days, I had written (and revised) six short stories, four essays, and seven poems. I kept a detailed journal of my time there, too.
Ask me how much I've gotten done since.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Meh and bleh

Today, I wasted twelve hours of my life.
Read a little, ate a little, got on Facebook a little, napped a little.
Took a shower, dressed, and then went nowhere. Unless you count the front porch or the back patio. I went there four times each. Had coffee; had tea; drank ice water.
Read the Sunday newspaper, started a book (seven pages and then put it down), trolled Facebook some more, made the bed, dusted some furniture, walked in going-nowhere circles.
HAS grilled salmon for supper. Veggies and garlic-herb pasta rounded out the meal.
I ate; I asked Child Three to clean up supper dishes. She did, without complaint.

And now it's 7:15 p.m. and still I have gone nowhere. I feel restless and melancholy and anxious and tired. I feel guilty that I've had an entire day stretched out before me and I have wasted it. Cancer patients know not to do this; people vacationing know not to do this; lovers spending weekends together know not to do this. So why am I here, (boringly) holed up in my two-story suburban home, dreaming of city life and food vendors and people passing by?

I tell you: this life here is backing me into a corner. I need a career job again; I need my own money; I need another Sunday--the kind that doesn't have enough hours to get everything done that I have planned.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

You Just Never Know

In 26 days I'll turn 49. That's a four PLUS a nine and I am losing my (aging) mind.
How in hell did I get to be 49? I still feel 14 in my head; I am quite immature. Someone farts around me and I laugh. I get much enjoyment watching a dog chase its tail. Cartoons still crack me up. I know every word of every song from Disney's Frozen. (I saw the movie twice, by myself.)
Then I wake up each morning, feeling cadaverous: stiff, I mean. The back, the neck, the shoulders, the knees, my right ankle. Left wrist.
And I am (only?) 48. What will 58 feel like? Seventy? Eighty? Will I be too stiff to stand erect? Will I be one of those humped-back women I see pushing the grocery cart?
Fortunately, my Uncle Neal called me, out of the blue, two nights ago. He was requesting a phone number that I didn't have, but given my reporting acumen, I was able to get what he needed within two minutes. (Sometimes I am truly awesome.)
Me with Uncle Neal, 2013

Here's the fortunate part: Uncle Neal, my grandmother's big brother (she died in 1985), told me, proudly, that he turned 89 five days ago. Eighty-nine years old and still capable of using the phone and hearing well enough not to ask, even once, What? I didn't hear you.
After congratulating him and promising to visit--I would bring a sugar-free cherry pie-- I told him I was turning 49 in less than a month. He laughed. (Swear, he laughed!)
"You're a baby," he said.
"Don't feel like a baby," I said.
"Every day's a gift," he said. "When do you think you might come visit? We're here all the time; can't go anywhere."
The "we're" is Uncle Neal plus his beautiful wife, Marcella. Each is home bound and in various stages of life-ending poor health. Marcella had a severe stroke about a year ago. Uncle Neal has congestive heart failure that has advanced. Hospice nurses come three times a week.
"What about the other four days?" I asked.
"We have round-the-clock care," he said. "Twenty-five hundred dollars a week."
I gasped. "A week?" Good God, I thought. Highway robbery.
"It's getting too expensive," he said. "That's a terrific amount of money every week."
I changed the subject. I become outraged and start feeling insane whenever the cost of elder care is being discussed. It's a hot-button topic for me, almost as bad as the immigrant-children issue that's bringing out the mean in people.
"When you were my age, did you think you'd make it to 89?" I asked my uncle.
He laughed again.
"Oh, no. No, no, no."
Suddenly I felt better about my upcoming birthday. Maybe I do have a few good (stiff) years left.

Monday, July 14, 2014

How Have I Not?

There are holes in my upbringing,
knowledge, absent.
Consider Walden, the woods-lived
life--the proud pond;
sixty-one acres of knowing,
trusting simple existence:
that it was enough.
                -Kate Churchill

From The Writer's Almanac, July 12, 2014~
David Henry Thoreau was born July 12, 1817, in Concord, Massachusetts. He went to Harvard, but he didn't like it very much, nor did he enjoy his later job as a schoolteacher. He seemed destined for a career in his father's pencil factory, and in fact, he came up with a better way to bind graphite and clay, which saved his father money. But in 1844, Thoreau's friend Ralph Waldo Emerson bought land on the shore of Walden Pond, a 61-acre pond, surrounded by woods, and Thoreau decided to build a cabin there. It was only two miles from the village of Concord, and he had frequent visitors. During the two years he lived there, Thoreau kept a journal that he later published as Walden, or Life in the Woods (1854). In the conclusion to Walden, Thoreau wrote, "I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours."

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Fantasy husband

Do YOU know who this handsome man is?
He's not within my reach, but a girl can dream, right?
I'll give you three clues:
1) He lives in France--he's an expat.
2) His writing makes me laugh so hard I pee my pants.
3) I have met him, albeit briefly. (OK, so it was a book signing.)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Diet #729

What I'm eating today:
What I want to be eating today:


Yes, please.