Category Archives: writing

At the Gym {Spin Cycle}

Just down the street from us, next to the Dunkin’ Donuts, is a new gym. Ed and I decided that we needed some motivation to exercise, and paying for a gym membership is good motivation for both of us. We’re both so “frugal” that if we spend money on something, we’re going to use it. We’re trying to make exercise a habit; a good habit. I stop by the gym right after teaching my little preschool class.

When I’m at the gym, the manager always has a cheerful hello for me as I walk in. I step into the bathroom to change (no locker rooms) and then it’s out to the treadmill to walk. Usually I have my choice of machines, but when there is someone else walking on a treadmill, I’m always careful to leave a treadmill as a buffer in-between me and the other exerciser.

About a week ago, an older woman was on the treadmill. I kept that buffer in-between me and her. It didn’t stop me from noticing her brilliant red hair or her blue velour sweatsuit, however. I started my workout.

The gym has very fancy, new treadmills with TV screens built into them. She was having trouble changing the channel. I knew it was only a matter of time before she asked me for help. I started to speed walk. Unfortunately, treadmills don’t move.

Do you watch The Big Bang Theory? Remember how Howard’s mother talks? With a loud, nasally voice? Then you can image how she sounded when she asked me, “Do you know how to change the channel?”

I acted very out of breath, like I was working very hard. “No,” I said. “Sorry!” I’m not very accommodating. But I was also telling the truth. I don’t watch TV while I’m on the treadmill.

She pressed more buttons on the remote as her walking slowed. For an old lady, she had been working up a sweat, which was impressive.

All of a sudden she yelled, “Help! Help!”

Remember Howard’s mother?

I looked at her, then looked around to the room to see if anyone heard her. A personal trainer fiddled with some weight equipment and pretended to be busy.

“Help!” she called again.

The gym manager came over to help. “I don’t want to watch this channel any more!” she nasally said. “My movie is over and I don’t watch to watch this show!” The manager was as sweet as could be, and helped her change the channel. She exercised for about five more minutes and then stepped off the treadmill.

I was able to finish my workout in peace and quiet at the gym. That night, I had a good story to tell the girls and Ed. I was sure to use my best impression of the red-haired lady at the gym.

“Help! Help! I can’t change the channel!”

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How I Conquered The Goldfinch {Spin Cycle}

A few months ago, it seemed like everyone was talking about The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt. The description of the book sounded intriguing, so I put the e-book on hold at my library. The wait was long, and I finally got the book. However, I didn’t realize that it’s 771 pages long. I had two weeks to read it. Could I really finish it in only fourteen days?

I’m a fast reader and I don’t mind reading long books. Last summer, I reread The Lord of the Rings, which is well over a thousand pages, just for fun. However, reading a book that is familiar is easier than reading new material. Plus, I tend to read for enjoyment and am more of a literal reader. I don’t look for deeper meanings as I read. You might say I’m shallow.

I had one thing in my favor. It was the beginning of summer, and so I had more time to read than usual. I had a disadvantage, though…the book wasn’t catching my attention. I thought it would be more about the art world that it was. It was more about a 13 year old boy learning how to do drugs and build a lifetime of dependency on lying. I kept thinking as I read, “If only his mother were still alive!”

And perhaps that was the point of the whole book. I honestly don’t remember the flurry of words that happened at the end. But I do know that I was disappointed in the book as a whole. What kept me going was a determination to finish it before the library took it back. When an e-book is due, it disappears from my e-reader, and if I lost The Goldfinch, I was not going to check it out again. I was still desperately trying to finish the book on the day it was due. Somehow, I made it to page 771 and breathed a sigh of relief.

After finishing conquering The Goldfinch, I needed some light reading. My next book was Avenging Angel, by Nevada Barr. This book was familiar territory for me. I hadn’t read it before, but I’m a big Nevada Barr fan and have read most of her books.

There wasn’t much need to “conquer” Avenging Angel. I read it in two days! Good guys get the bad guys. Now that’s my kind of book.

Just this week, I was rewarded for my diligence. On the TV show The Good Wife, Alicia’s mother mentions The Goldfinch when she tries to change the conversation! I was like, “Hey! I read that!” as I watched the show.

What have you conquered lately? Spin it up and link up here!


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Spin Cycle prompts for the month of October:

{week of Oct. 20 – At the ________ }
{week of Oct. 27 – Mask}

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Your Spin Cycle Prompt {week of 10/13}

It’s time for another Spin Cycle prompt! This week, let’s write about the word “Conquer.” What do you need to conquer? Your fear of something? Do you need to conquer your messy house? (I do!) How about conquering the treadmill at the gym? Or maybe you’re going to try to conquer THE WORLD, just like Pinky and The Brain!

Pinky_and_the_Brain_vol1

Spin it up and link up here any day this week!


Copy and paste the code in the box to add some Spin Cycle bling to your post! (On some blogs, you will need to delete the quote marks and replace them with regular quote marks.)



Sign up for my newsletter, and I’ll send you the Spin Cycle prompts each week:

Spin Cycle prompts for the month of October:

{week of Oct. 13 – Conquer}
{week of Oct. 20 – At the ________ }
{week of Oct. 27 – Mask}

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My Happy Place {Spin Cycle}

When I was going through cancer treatments, I tried to visualize a happy place to get me through the procedures. I started off by thinking about a grassy green meadow, with a blue sky above, and maybe some yellow flowers dotted throughout the grass. That happy place usually lasted only about five seconds, and then I would be distracted. I didn’t mind watching the phlebotomist draw my blood or the nurse pumping chemotherapy into my vein. It was actually a fascinating process, once I got over the fact that I had cancer.

My cancer treatments were completed long before I had Lily and Emmy. When Lily was little, she spent more time in hospital waiting rooms than many people have, and it had nothing to do with me. Before she was two, my brother was in a motorcycle accident and was in the hospital and rehabilitation for six months. Ed’s mom was in and out of the hospital due to rheumatoid arthritis and Parkinson’s disease. Then after twenty-five years, my own mother’s cancer was back with a vengeance.

It was a rough few years. I cried a lot. Lily and Emmy saw me cry a lot, and since they were so little, a toddler and a preschooler, they asked me why I was crying.

How do you explain the ache that you feel when your own mother dies? It was an ache I couldn’t bear to talk about. When the tears came, Ed would tell the girls, “Go make your mother feel better.” And they would come over to me, hug me and give me sweet baby kisses.

They are my happy place. Forget the green meadow with the yellow flowers and the blue sky. If I am with my daughters, I am happy.

Alaska cabin window

There are times, however, when I need to get away from my children. It is nice to go to a conference or have a night away. Ever since we spent the night in this cabin in Talkeetna, Alaska, I’ve longed to go on a writing retreat. Wouldn’t this little cabin be the perfect happy place?

Whenever I do travel with Lily and Emmy, I always miss my babies. And I always know that as much as I enjoy being away, my happy place is waiting for me at home.

Where is your happy place and what does it look like? Thank you for inspiring the prompt this week, Tamara (Tamara Like Camera)!


Copy and paste the code in the box to add some Spin Cycle bling to your post! (On some blogs, you will need to delete the quote marks and replace them with regular quote marks.)




Sign up for my newsletter, and I’ll send you the Spin Cycle prompts each week:

Spin Cycle prompts for the month of October:

{week of Oct. 13 – Conquer}
{week of Oct. 20 – At the ________ }
{week of Oct. 27 – Mask}

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Your Spin Cycle Prompt {week of 10/6}

When I’m at the doctor’s office getting my blood pressure taken, I need to think of my happy place.

When I’m getting a mammogram, I think about my happy place.

Seriously, when I even need to call the doctor to make an appointment, I need to think about my happy place. Having cancer once makes me think about getting it again, so I really, REALLY need a happy place.

Alaska cabin window

This week’s prompt on The Spin Cycle is Your Happy Place. Write about it, add the Spin Cycle button to your post or a link back to my blog, and link up your Happy Place spin here any day this week! I’ll be back on Friday telling you all about my happy place!


Copy and paste the code in the box to add some Spin Cycle bling to your post! (On some blogs, you will need to delete the quote marks and replace them with regular quote marks.)



 
Sign up for my newsletter, and I’ll send you the Spin Cycle prompts each week:

Spin Cycle prompts for the month of October:

{week of Oct. 6 – Your Happy Place, inspired by Tamara Like Camera}
{week of Oct. 13 – Conquer}
{week of Oct. 20 – At the ________ }
{week of Oct. 27 – Mask}

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