It Doesn’t Matter To Anyone But Me

When I go to the gym, it doesn’t matter if I walk on the treadmill for 15 minutes or 30 minutes. No one is timing me or watching me to make sure I work out, and as long as I log in for 12 times a month, my insurance will reimburse a portion of my gym fees. But no one is keeping track of the weight I’m losing (none so far, by the way). I’m the only one who will notice. So I don’t give up after 15 minutes. I increase the treadmill’s incline, or I speed it up, or I switch to the elliptical machine. I try to challenge my body so that eventually, I will lose weight.

The same thing is true with writing. No one will notice if I take a day off. If I write less than 500 words in a blog post, no one will say anything. It’s funny, just as I was planning out what to write in my head, Ed started to head upstairs. “I still have to write a blog post,” I said.

“No, you don’t,” Ed replied. He was right. I didn’t. Don’t get the wrong idea; he is supportive of my blog…it’s just that truthfully, I didn’t have to write a blog post tonight.

This NaBloPoMo blog-post-per-day, however, has been my “thing” since 2009. No one will know if I don’t write 30 posts for November this year.

But I would know. I know when my blog posts are written at the last minute and not thought out. I know when they are mundane and not very interesting to read. I’m not a humor writer, as much as I want to be. I can’t always find the right metaphors, and I often “tell” my stories instead of “showing” my stories.

I try to challenge myself, however, and so I write. I exercise my writing skills even when I don’t have to, so that eventually, I’ll become a better writer.

What have you been exercising lately?





Crocodile Tears and Caramel Shakes

Whenever one child has a play date and the other one doesn’t, the puppy dog eyes fill with huge crocodile tears, the lower lip comes out, and the whining begins. “Why I don’t I ever have a play date?”

I try to trick them with a special “date with Mommy,” which is code for running errands and possible getting ice cream if you’re good. They see past my trickery now, and try to get the ice cream FIRST.

Lily got me to get a salted caramel pretzel shake BEFORE we went shoe shopping this afternoon. Normally I would be all about going shoe shopping, but I had to buy new church shoes for Lily and Emmy, and white tennis shoes for Lily’s show choir performance in a couple of weeks. Do I need a new pair of church shoes? Absolutely! Did I get a pair? The fact that I was shopping with a child in tow should answer that question.

We also made a stop at Toys “R” Us and bought a Christmas gift for Emmy. My Christmas shopping has officially begun! I’m usually a last minute shopper, so this is a good start.

I made sure to whisper in Lily’s ear as I tucked her into bed that I had a great time shopping with her. That won’t stop the crocodile tears the next time Emmy has a play date, but I think Lily had fun spending time with me, too.




Light Pollution {Spin Cycle}

We were stopped at a red light. The soccer fields next to me were dark, but I could the lights of the planes lining up to land at O’Hare Airport. Every time I see the twinkling of those artificial stars, I’m in awe. To think that hundreds of people are up in the sky, traveling here for business or pleasure or are just coming home, is amazing.

Straight ahead of us are all the lights of Lutheran General Hospital, with the cross shining at the tip-top of the building. My children were born there. The parking ramp is also glowing. I can even see a huge house across the field that is decorated with an abundance of Christmas lights.

I’m surrounded by artificial lights. As I sit in the car, Ed is in the driver’s seat waiting for the red light to turn green. I look up at the sky, wondering if I’ll see any stars. I don’t. Is it because of the clouds, or because the bright lights are shining too loudly to see any stars?

I’ve been to places where the lights don’t shine so bright. Where you can look up and see the stars in a dark night sky without the halo of the city ruining the view. Where I can see the Milky Way and it really does look like spilled milk. Where I can imagine Abraham being truly awestruck when his God told him his offspring would number the stars.

I’ve made my children stare into that space, that milky, twinkling space full of stars. We were at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, and it was way past the girls’ bedtime. But I kept them up anyway. We stood in the middle of the courtyard by our cabin, tilted our heads back and simply gazed at the stars.

Back home, I teach them the rhyme: Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight. We strain our eyes to see that first star after the sun sets and twilight descends on the city.

The wishing star is very difficult to spot. We’ll try again tomorrow.

Grand Canyon morning

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Spin Cycle at Second Blooming

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Why You Should Go to Bishop, California

Road Trip paper (2)

Bishop is in the Central part of California, right between Yosemite National Park and Death Valley. Sometimes on vacation, we just stay in a place as a stopping ground to make our drive shorter. After driving through Yosemite, we swung up to Bodie State Park and decided to stay in Bishop before heading to Death Valley. (All of this was planned by Ed before our trip. He doesn’t leave much to chance! Ed always checks out the restaurants in town before he makes any hotel reservation. Food is Ed’s top priority! When he read the good reviews for the best restaurant in town–the bowling alley–he couldn’t resist the challenge and booked Bishop, California!)

We had reservations at the Creekside Inn in Bishop, and we were a little worried that the pictures we saw online were too good to be true. A few years ago, we made a reservation at a hotel for a room which had a kitchenette. The online photo made the room look, well, roomy. It was not. We had to shove the TV under the counter to make room for Lily’s pack -n- play and poured milk on our cereal while sitting on the bed. Calling it a “kitchenette” was very misleading.

The Creekside Inn, however, was everything the website said it was! A charming creek runs through the Inn’s property, and there are plenty of chairs and tables next to the creek. The weather was beautiful, and we sat outside to celebrate Emmy’s birthday. She opened her present while we relaxed next to the creek.

by the creek

For Emmy’s birthday dinner, we actually did eat at the Back Alley Bowl and Grill. It looked like a bowling alley and it sounded like a bowling alley, but wow! They served us excellent steaks and shrimp! The food was really good, AND most importantly for the birthday girl, the dessert was fabulous!
bowl and steak

Our room had a balcony facing the creek. Ed read a bedtime book to the girls out on the balcony first, and after we tucked them in for the night, we sat outside listening to the creek with a bottle of wine. It was a beautiful night!

creek at nightHave you ever been to Bishop, California?





Bucket List {Tuesday Ten}

When I was diagnosed with cancer back in my 20’s, I never even thought to write a bucket list. I wasn’t planning on dying, and there were still plenty of things I wanted to do…but I never wrote them down. Eighteen years later I’ve done so many things that I’m sure wouldn’t have even made my bucket list. I went on a zip line, drove from Chicago to Yellowstone, have been published, and HAD KIDS! Life is pretty amazing sometimes, and I’ve been very blessed.

However, there are still some things that I haven’t done, and would love to do someday! Let’s see if I can come up with ten things on my bucket list for Lisa and Rabia‘s Tuesday Ten.

  1. I have been to a lot of National Parks, but I would like to visit even more! On our last trip to the Southwest we weren’t able to go to the National Parks in Utah like Arches and Bryce Canyon. I really want to go, and I think this will happen some day because Ed is a National Park fanatic. He’s turning me into one, too!
  2. Ed and I drove to Yellowstone before we had kids. I want to drive there with Lily and Emmy, and stop at all the cool places between here and there! Mount Rushmore, the Badlands, and Devil’s Tower are on that list!Grand Canyon
  3. I have had a short story in three different anthologies. Wouldn’t it be marvelous if I could write a whole book on my own and have it published? I’ve been thinking about this for a couple of years now, and need to get writing!
  4. I want to knit a scarf. Really, truly, and for sure. I know how to knit and I enjoy it, but I haven’t finished anything more than a doll blanket for Lily.
  5. Speaking of unfinished projects, I want to finish sewing my quilt. I know I’ve mentioned this a few times…maybe I need to stop writing about it and get out the sewing machine.
  6. Take voice lessons again. I was taking voice lessons last spring, but then my wonderful teacher moved to Florida. I haven’t really looked for a new teacher yet.
  7. Make pie like my mom. She made a killer pie crust. Oh, yes, it sounds easy, but her crust was the flakiest and most tender crust I have ever had. Nothing from a restaurant or store comes even close to her pie crust. My own crust is too thick, and I work with it too much. I haven’t developed that pie crust touch yet. I think I will have to practice my pie making skills this Thanksgiving.
  8. Send my children to college, preferably with blogging money. Highly unlikely, but I can always dream, can’t I?
  9. Ride a horse for real, not just a rental horse that goes on a path.
  10. Travel to Paris and visit the Louvre. I’m not sure I’m going to take Ed with me on this trip. He may not have the patience to look at all that art!

What’s on your bucket list?

The Golden Spoons




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