Tag Archives: Spin Cycle

Masks {Spin Cycle}

As a preschool teacher, I have to dress up in a costume on Halloween. As a preschool teacher, I don’t wear a mask with my costume on Halloween. Why not? Because the little ones I teach would freak out if their teacher appeared as someone different! A mask would hide my familiar face, and preschoolers need to see a familiar face when they come to school. Not wearing a mask is fine with me; it’s hard to breathe or see with a mask on. Wearing a mask makes me all claustrophobic.

Emmy Bunny Hat

Masks can also give you a sense of freedom, however. I’ve always wanted to go to a masquerade ball. The movies always make it look so romantic. To dance with a partner who wears a mask, have him fall in love with you, and then he turns out to be the prince. *sigh*

A figurative mask can be also freeing. Take a mask like this blog, for instance. When I began it, I thought I was invisible behind my blog and my fake name. I could write whatever I wanted and no one would know it was me. I once wrote a post about someone who wasn’t playing nice. I told the story in my favor, of course. I was in the right and she was in the wrong.

This mask of mine, however, proved to be weak. Too many people knew that I wrote this blog. Terrified that this person would somehow stumble onto my blog, I deleted the post. As far as I know, she never read my words, but I became scared of hurting someone if I wrote my feelings publicly. Sometimes I write whole blog posts in my head but never write them down just for that reason. And that, my friends, can make my blog quite safe and boring when I hide my true opinions. That’s a mask of a different kind, isn’t it?

Masks are complicated, more complicated than they seem at first. Do you wear a mask?

Take a look at some of the great posts about masks that these wonderful bloggers have written!



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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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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. 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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The Big Picture {Spin Cycle}

When I think about the “Big Picture,” I usually imagine a large picture window, clean, clear, and offering a wide, unobstructed view of the outdoors.

I’m a very visual person. When I was learning how to knit, written instructions were useless to me, and even the pictures that accompanied the directions left me frustrated. It wasn’t until I watched a video on the knitting and purling process that I finally understood where the yarn was supposed to go in relation to the knitting needles. I finally got the big picture of how to knit, you might say.

When I was frustrated with potty training my children (one of my least favorite things to do!) one of my friends reminded me that my kids would get it, eventually. “They won’t be wearing diapers to college!” she said. And of course she was right. They were both out of diapers by the time they went to preschool.

Sometimes it’s so hard to look at that big picture. Those little details sure do block the view.

The other day I told Ed that I just don’t feel like I’m doing anything with my life. That feeling isn’t new. I don’t really know how I have time to feel this way. I’m very busy mothering, volunteering and teaching. I even joined a gym and have actually been “working out.”

When my daughters are in college, will I wonder if I did anything with my life? I’ll look back, and I’ll remember all the homework I helped Lily with and the piano lessons I drove Emmy to; I’ll remember the concerts I attended and the way I tried to hide the joyful tears after my child’s performance. I’ll laugh over the agony of potty training and have difficulty cutting those apron strings.

The big picture window will be clear, and hopefully I’ll see that I did okay. And I’ll still be looking out that picture window to catch a glimpse of that even bigger picture….

What does your big picture look like? Link it up here, and be sure to visit our other Spinners!


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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