It’s Friday Again!

I’m back! Did you miss me?

I hadn’t planned on writing today, but since we decided to come home early so that he’d have a few days of rest before he went back to work on Monday, I’ve had a day to rest and catch up on things myself. So here I am!

Happy Friday to you!

Thing I learned: Just before I left for our first vacation without kids, I was asking myself “Where do you go when you aren’t trying to show the world to your kids? What places do you visit when you only have the two of you chiming in with preferences?” Since my husband came with a daughter, we’ve always had kids around. Want to know the answer? The same things we’ve always done but without little people dragging along behind!

We were walking along a trail at a state park, stopping to look at animal tracks and wondering about how a fence was constructed, when it dawned on me. We are still doing the same things we did when we had kids, and probably the same things we did before we had kids, before we even met each other. We are explorers! The end of parenting is not the end of our marriage. Kids are not all we have in common!

Thing I’m reading: I started reading “Paul Simon: the life” by Robert Hilburn while we were out on the road. I haven’t always been a fan of his music. I mean, everyone knows the songs he has on the radio, but I didn’t have any albums. My sons introduced me to him, and they always marveled at the poetry in his music. I’m loving the biography because reading it makes me think he, as a person, is similar to his music; down to earth, a bit deep, quiet, and relevant to all times, not just the ones he wrote in.

This quote from him resonated with me.

“I think she understood that the one who are looking out the window are sometimes your best students, not the ones who always raise their hand and want attention,” Paul said. “I always thought that was embarrassing. I wanted attention, too, but I didn’t want to be seen as wanting it. I wanted it to come naturally, by doing something that warranted it, rather than me manipulating people to look at me.”

I can understand that! The book is really speaking to me as a writer. An artist is an artist. We want to be noticed for creating something people want to see, not because we read an article or hired someone that knows about social media ads and manipulating Amazon “best seller” subjects. It has inspired me to keep writing exactly what is on my heart and not worry so much about getting seen. I’ll be visible soon enough. I don’t need to sit in the front row jumping out of my seat with my hand up.

Thing I heard: “Live Life. Take Notes. Tell Strangers.” A couple of years ago, I saw this magnet on the fridge at the pregnancy clinic where I volunteer. Funny thing is that  I took a picture of it, posted it, and then forgot all about it until I was scrolling through my Facebook Memories. This time it struck home. This is exactly what I do on my blog!

I loved it so much that I immediately made it my blog’s profile picture on Facebook. Then I searched the internet for its source. It turns out that it’s from Tim Hawkins! He was asked what the secret to writing comedy was and this was his answer and I couldn’t agree more. I hope he doesn’t mind that I borrowed it for a bit of inspiration! I bought my own fridge magnet and a notebook! Want one? Click here!

Thing I want to do: Change the production schedule of this blog! The last couple of weeks have illuminated something important to me. I cannot produce publishable output every single day, not yet anyway. I need more time. From now on the schedule will go like this:

Every Monday and Wednesday I will put up a finished piece. They will typically be observation articles, things I’m thinking about or have noticed and want to expand on. You know…philosophical stuff.

Friday will always have a “It’s Friday, my Friends!” post like this one.

As they come up, I’ll post my book reviews here as well, but they aren’t scheduled. They’ll just be up as I finish a book and get the chance to write my thoughts about it. I’ll post those to my Goodreads account too!

Tuesday, Thursday, and some Saturdays and Sundays, will be my simply writing days. Every day I’ll schedule a couple of hours to sit at my computer and think, but I’ll only post the output three days a week. I think this time frame is feasible for me right now, but I may just drop to two days a week if it overwhelms me again.

The overwhelm comes, not from the writing itself, but from having to post it. What I’ve been doing is sitting down at my computer, thinking of something to write about, tapping it out, reading it over, and then immediately posting it. It’s not very conducive to coherent writing. It puts too much pressure on me, and I make a lot of mistakes! If I have only two or three days a week to post, the rest of the daily writing time can be better spent writing and then actually editing that writing before I give it to the world. We’ll see how it goes!

Picture of the week:

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It’s me, hiking with my husband this past week. He turned around and took it as I was walking behind him. I’ve always struggled with body image. Even when I was a kid, young and skinny, I thought I was chubby and not that attractive. My husband begs to differ and thinking back, I’ve never lacked for male attention, so doesn’t that mean I am attractive?

So…here I am, boldly making the statement. I like this picture of me. Yes, I’m chubby! But I’m fun. And I love life! My hair is going grey, my skin is starting to show its age, but I’m healthy, strong, and happy. This is what joy looks like in real life!

When Kids Misquote the Joke

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My brother and I grew up in apartment complexes in Southern California in the ‘70’s. Most them look the same. Four long, two-story buildings set in a square, a parking lot outside the square at one end. In the center of that square was usually a courtyard with a big swimming pool. The first one I can remember was very much like that except that it was more rectangular than square and had a fenced concrete pool at one end and walkways with grass and trees on each side at the other end. There were brown pebble embedded concrete stairs up the second floor apartments. When we were short enough to stretch out across a whole step, we would lay out and warm ourselves in the sun, one kid to a step, waiting for the inevitable adult to come by and scatter us.

Kids ran around that courtyard all day when school was out. You could hear mothers admonishing kids to “stay in the courtyard” and out of the parking lot. If you were bored, you could go outside and probably find other kids to chase. If not, they’d soon see you and come out. It was before the age where you were discerning about who you hung out with, every kid was your friend and just about everyone you met was invited to your birthday party.

I don’t remember much about those kids but I remember one very clearly. I don’t remember what he looked like. Probably the usual lanky kid with brown hair, brown corduroy pants and a striped gold and white polo shirt of the late ‘70’s. Wherever he went he sang “Lucy in the sky with diamonds!” at the top of his voice, not the whole song, just that one line over and over again.

One afternoon my mother told me to keep an eye on my little brother out in the courtyard and to “stay out of the parking lot.” He was two years younger than me. In my imagination, he was the instigator back then, always roughhousing with other boys and making me chase him all over the apartment complex to keep him out of trouble. It seems like I wasn’t in school yet, so that would make him three or four. Thinking about it, I’m imagining a five and three-year-old playing in the courtyard of an apartment complex without an adult in sight today. Someone would have called the police!

The singer, as we called him, came storming up to my brother and I as we played beneath a large tree. We were “catching rabbits,” a game where we laid very still beneath the tree and near the bushes and watched for any imaginary rabbits that may come out since they wouldn’t know we were there. The singer came running up and my brother and I were angry that he had scared the rabbits away. That boy got right in our face and said, “You want to hear a joke?!” He was so loud! He straightened up real tall and showed us a piece of paper in his hand. “I’m a policeman. Never never!” and then he threw the piece of paper over his shoulder and ran off laughing manically.

We stood there staring after him in wonder. My brother looked at me and quickly picked up the piece of paper and repeated what the singer had done and laughed. Of course, I followed suit and repeated the “joke” again. I remember hearing the singer loudly repeating the joke to someone else he found in the courtyard and giggling to myself as we went back to the “catching rabbits” game.

Later that evening, when our mother called us in for dinner, I remember my brother repeating the joke to her. She just stared at us as we laughed in childish hysterics. How could she not find that funny? Old people! She just shook her head and told us to wash up and get ready for dinner.

It was around 1978 and “Keep America Beautiful” was at its height that year. Iron Eyes Cody made us all feel so bad about how we trashed our neighborhoods. There were school programs now to clean up the neighborhoods and constant reminders to “never litter.” It took me years to realize that our neighborhood friend probably misspoke a joke he heard on TV or from his parents, maybe an older brother. He was only six years old too! Now I can see it, someone thought they’d be hilariously ironic and pretend to be a police officer that litters and tell you not to. Our young friend heard the joke, loved the laughter, and tried to recreate it for the kids in the courtyard. I wonder if he wondered why the joke didn’t go over as well as when he first heard it.