One Liner Wednesday – One Person

“to the world you might just be one person, but to one person, you might just be the world” – anonymous

Thank you to the man in my life for supplying the quote and the inspiration for today. I’ve been meaning to play along with this particular prompt for a while now and I’m not sure why I haven’t. If you would like to join in, the rules and such can be found here.

I’m planning to be a whole lot more regular in my posting and perhaps switching things up somewhat for 2015 and I figure today is a good day to start. (I’m one of those weird people who just starts things rather than waiting for a new year or a Monday or whatever people do to start things fresh) I hope you all enjoy my “voice” just a little more each week in the coming year.

Thank you 2014 for being so amazing! Bring it on 2015!

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2014 in review

I am so grateful for this amazing first year of blogging. It was more than I ever expected. Thank you to all my readers who decided to follow me. I honestly can’t believe I hit the 200 followers mark just last night!

I would also like to say that there is one stat that is completely skewed because a certain person accesses my blog through one of my posts, so it’s coming up as the number one most viewed post. Thanks, Mom, for always reading my blog and commenting. Maybe I can show you how to access it through the home page. 🙂

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,700 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 45 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Love Happens

I almost skipped Thain in Vain’s challenge again this week, but it’s the last one of the year and of all the challenges I’ve participated in since I started blogging, I’ve been inspired by this one the most. This week our prompt was Start your story with: “I’m telling you this story because you are the only person I can trust not to judge me . . .”

The first story I thought about when I read the prompt was really dark and I think that’s why I decided to skip it because normally I can’t get past that first idea to write something different. But this time, I was able to do it and I’m happy to finish this story challenge on a lighter note.

Love Happens

I’m telling you this story because you are the only person I can trust not to judge me. You are, after all, the love of my life; the person I trust the most in this world, and if I can’t tell you this and trust that you won’t look at me sideways on cold, rainy days when we’re alone in the house, then I must be mad.

I’m one of those weird fools who believes love can happen just like that! Snap your fingers, blink your eyes, oh shit, a connection just happened. And yeah, maybe you’re saying, “but that’s not love,” and you’d probably be right. But I believe it can start that fast and you really know, deep down, if a person is right for you or not, almost from the beginning. If only I’d known that sooner. I could have saved myself some serious pain and maybe not brought as much baggage along with me when we met.

I honestly wasn’t sure what to think when I signed up to date online. It was scary and strange, and I was wary after being hurt so many times in the past. I didn’t have much faith that anything would come of it, but decided to look at it as a new adventure; a new beginning.

It took a few weeks for anything to really happen and I was pretty lackluster when I saw your profile after you pinged me. I had a friend tell me to move on to the next guy, but my instincts kicked in and I answered your ping. It was crazy how quickly we were talking on the phone and before I knew it, we had plans to meet for dinner.

I was spectacularly nervous. Maybe that’s why when I first saw you, I took one look and thought, I’ll give this guy dinner and then I’m out. I honestly had no intention of seeing you again, talking to you again and if I’d dared, I might have just turned right around and walked the other way entirely.

I almost can’t believe those were my first thoughts after seeing you the first time, because little did I know that dinner would lead to drinks and six hours later we would be reluctant to say goodbye. I’ve never talked like that with anyone or felt a connection quite like that before.

That’s not to say this road has been an easy one. I might believe in connections and soul mates, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t take work to stay together. There have been times when I wasn’t sure we’d make it and I think it would have broken my heart for the final time.

What we have is truly special and has changed my life in so many ways. I just thought you should know that even though I wasn’t sure about you or us when I first saw you, I’m so happy I walked up, took your hand and followed you into happiness.

Consumption and Compassion

Consume is one of those words I had to look up and I guess it seems so weird because I always seem to equate it with “using up” but it also means “buy” which doesn’t seem to fit when you think of it in terms of “using up”. Buying means gaining something, or at least when you go shopping the day after Christmas, I’m assuming that’s what it means. I guess it could also be food which is consumed, but… I don’t know. It just doesn’t seem to fit, is all.

Regardless, I thought I would stick with what Linda prompted us with before she gave us the actual word because I was actually one of those crazy shoppers out in the malls yesterday. It wasn’t my idea. I would have never picked that day to take my daughter shopping for Christmas, but she wanted to go and I wasn’t about to pass up a day with her.

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We hit two different malls, I can’t even remember how many different stores and ended the day with food and walking into our favorite store, The Dancing Crane. I call it my hippie store. They sell incense and stones and wind chimes. I don’t know what it is about that store, but it is so peaceful. It was a nice end to a day filled with the crazy energy you feel around people shopping sales. We hardly ever buy anything from the store; it’s almost like we just walk in there to find our inner peace. I found these two gems and should have bought one or both of them to hang on the walls in my home, but I settled for pictures. I’m kicking myself for not buying them, though. I might just go back next week sometime to pick one up.

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One of the most memorable parts of the day for me was when we were at dinner. There were a few places Adelle wanted to go because they don’t have them in North Carolina and Zupa’s was one of them. It is a soup, salad and sandwich restaurant and it’s one of our favorite places to go together. We both consumed our dinner rather quickly since we were both starving. We probably should have eaten before then, and would have if there had been a Zupa’s anywhere near the mall we were at, but there wasn’t so we waited until we could find one.

While we were finishing up, Adelle asked, “Do they put the soup in to-go cups?”

“Yes,” I said. “Why, are you planning on getting some to take with you?” I smiled thinking she loved it so much she wanted to take some to eat later.

She smiled too, but all she said was, “Yes.”

We finished up and I was about to walk out when she jumped back in line. I said, “Oh, I forgot you were getting some to go.”

“Yeah, I’m going to give it to that homeless man out on the street.” She said it so off-hand, like it was just a normal thing to do. I’ve felt proud of my daughter in the past and I know she is a giving, loving person, but in that moment, I had so much respect for her. I work by that particular Zupa’s and go there almost once a week and there is always someone on the street with a sign. I see them every day, but I can tell you I have never thought of giving them anything.

She finished paying and asked me to get a spoon and some napkins then we made our way outside. I was a little worried the guy would be upset – I’ve seen some homeless people be upset when they were given something other than money –  but when she walked up to him she handed him the bag and said, “I got you some tomato basil soup and here’s five dollars too,” as she handed him the rest of the money she had.”

He looked a little shocked, but grateful as he took what she offered and said, “Thank you so much.” I was still a little skeptical and kept watching him as we went to get in our car and drive away. I was just waiting for him to toss the food, but he didn’t. I watched as his cold, red hands wrapped around the soup and reached in the bag for the spoon.

The only thing Adelle said after we walked away was, “I knew I needed that ten dollars for something today.”

I’m not sure that one moment will change my views on giving money to homeless people on corners, but it did make me think. It made me think about them in a different way and it made me wonder about that particular guy on the corner. Maybe that’s why I don’t do it. It makes me sad to wonder what happened to them and why they are out in the cold. It also made me see my daughter in a new way. She really is such a beautiful spirit, an old soul. I’m blessed she is in my life.

I hope you enjoyed my story of how my daughter turned our day of consumption into a day of compassion and giving; brought to you by Stream of Consciousness Saturday hosted once again by Linda G Hill. I hope you all have a blessed day!

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Excuse Me While I Freak The Hell Out

For some reason, this one stumped me again and I couldn’t think of a thing until I remembered a little incident I had in the kitchen with Andru about a week ago. First let me start by saying, I really, really, really dislike spiders and unlike some bloggers who post pictures of what they are going to talk about, I absolutely refuse to post a picture of a spider.

I’ve had many such incidents throughout my life but it wasn’t until I became a mom that I really had to start handling it, you know? Before, I could just run screaming from the room and make the husband or the brother or the dad take care of it. And I’m not lying, that happened many many times.

At this point, I’ve taken care of many spiders in my life time. And on one hand it makes me sad, because they are living things too. But then I realize that there’s just something about their creepy crawliness that makes my skin tingle, but not in a good way. It was probably one of my siblings when I was young, but someone told me we actually ate spiders and bugs while we slept. Ugh! Can you imagine? Makes me never want to sleep.

Anyway, I had just gotten home from work and was upstairs changing my clothes when Andru freaks out (I must have given him my fear of spiders). I ran downstairs to see what had happened and he said, “Mom, go look in the kitchen.”

I walked into the kitchen but didn’t see anything. He actually had to point it out to me.

The thing was hanging from the ceiling right by the stove. Now, how am I possibly supposed to dispose of a spider when I can’t smash it with a shoe or something handy around the kitchen. Andru actually went to find a shoe but I said, “If you throw a shoe at it, it will go flying who knows where and then what will we do?”

He did the whole Andru thing where he screwed up his face and thought about it for a second. “That’s true.”

I did the whole weebly wobbly thing where I curled up around my knees and said,”I hate spiders, ew, ew, ew!” but I did the only thing a mom can do in such instances. I grabbed a paper towel and very slowly creeped toward it – those things jump sometimes, I kid you not. I punched my hand out quickly and did a smashy thing with my hand, jumped in the air screaming “ew” and threw it on the ground. Andru ran over with the shoe and was about to finish it off when I said, “Buddy, it’s already squished.”

“Are you sure, Mom?”

I responded by picking it up so he could see how very squished it was and threw it in the garbage.

So yeah, whenever I see a spider, I take a moment to freak out and would say something like “Please excuse me while I freak the hell out,” but it sort of usually goes unspoken.

What is it about being a mom that makes us do things we wouldn’t normally do, like rushing in and killing spiders when our first instinct is to go hide in the bedroom under the covers and pray there isn’t one under there. I don’t know, but I pretty much end up feeling like a bad ass because, you know, I faced that fear and took care of things for my babies, even if it was just a spider the size of the tip of my pinky.

I hope you all enjoyed my spider story that was prompted by SoCS and the word “excuse” brought to us this week by Leigh. Have a fabulous Saturday!

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Armored Treasure

I had pretty much resigned myself to not writing a story for any challenge this week. Work seems to be sucking the life out of me and I haven’t felt entirely well all week. Add to that the particular season we’re currently dealing with and I found myself struggling.

I was interested in the random title challenge Chuck threw upon Friday, but after rolling my title, I couldn’t think of a thing. It wasn’t until I was driving home on the train Tuesday night reading Ryan Lanz’s Ten Quote Tuesday post where he includes some writing prompts at the bottom that it finally happened. After reading his prompt, Include these elements into a scene: a remote control, an elevator, a disco ball, and loneliness, the idea was born and I ran with it. I still had some trouble fitting it with my title, but I think I managed okay. So, using two different challenges and coming it at 1216 words, I hope you enjoy:

Armored Treasure

Walking into the gym, I rolled my eyes at the clichéd set-up. Not only was there a disco ball spinning in circles in the center of the echo-filled room, there were chairs lining the walls and a huge table off to one side with a punch bowl in the middle of it.

Why am I here? Why am I here?

The litany that had started at the door played over and over in my head, but so far it hadn’t done anything besides annoy the hell out of me and make me want to reach into my brain and turn off the switch. Knowing myself the way I did, I could only imagine it kept going because it somehow thought it could turn me around and send me back out the door and home, where I should have been.

I still couldn’t believe I had let Lisa talk me into this. I never came to the dances. I was lonely enough walking the hallways at school. I so didn’t need to sit in a chair on the edge of the gym watching everyone dance, wishing I could join in but not having the stomach for the looks I knew I’d get if I dared to step into their world. I’m not sure if I was the only one who saw the invisible lines that existed between social groups, but I knew they just weren’t crossed. At least, not by someone like me. Maybe someone braver than I was would someday cross that line, magically erasing it and every high school student everywhere would benefit from that one person’s bravado.

It so wasn’t me.

I couldn’t even seem to dress right for these things. I looked at all the glitter and brightly colored dresses and then looked down at my own. I’d gone out of my comfort zone and picked a white, high-low dress with an empire waist and a black sash that I thought looked pretty decent. I guess I could have done better than my black converse high-tops, but who would I be without a little flair? I definitely couldn’t see myself wearing four-inch heels like some of the females I was rolling my eyes at.

Lisa and I walked over to the side of the gym and just as expected, spent the next hour sitting in chairs, staring at the other students happily dancing, laughing and joking. I was pretty sure I had stepped into hell.

High school was rough, especially when it felt like I was on the outside looking in. I did well enough with grades, but the social scene felt like a huge fortress towering in front of me with armored walls and locks and no way for me to get in. After three years of being on the outside of it all, I was jaded as hell and even grew my own walls as a defense and buried myself behind an air of nonchalance and sarcasm. Lisa, on the other hand, still had the same optimism and bright-eyed hope she’d always had.

“Do you think they’re going to play the songs we picked?” Lisa’s voice interrupted the angst in my head.

“I don’t know, but I don’t think I want to wait. This is pretty terrible, don’t you think?”

Her bright red lips screwed up in a pout that went well with the Hollywood starlet look she was going for with her long blonde hair cascading over her shoulders in soft curls and the strapless black number that I couldn’t even imagine myself in.

“I at least want to hear my song. It was such a cool idea for them to let us pick the playlist, don’t you think?”

“Well, I thought so until I had to sit through the last hour of shit songs they’ve played. I can’t even believe I share a grade with these people.”

Lisa’s bright green eyes sparkled with laughter.

“It hasn’t been that bad…”

I gave her a look that said just how bad I thought it was.

“Please, Jane! Just a little bit longer.” The pout was back and she even went so far as to grab my hand.

I sighed. “Okay. I’ll give this another half hour, just for you. But after that, I’m out!”

“It’s a deal”

A few minutes later, I heard the beginning riffs of the song I had picked for the playlist. I was content to sit in my chair and just bob to the beat, but apparently, Lisa had other plans.

She turned to me with a huge grin on her face and said, “We’ve so gotta do this!”

“Oh my God, Lisa, NO!”

“We are so doing this! Come on!” Before I could protest further, she grabbed my hand and dragged me behind her to the middle of the dance floor. We normally did this crazy concert thing in the privacy of my bedroom or hers where we danced insanely and sang the song at the top of our lungs. I stared, dumbstruck, when she actually started to do just that.

“Tommy used to work on the dock,” she sang along with the track and pushed the invisible microphone in front of my face to sing the next line. I shook my head, mortified at the heads that were starting to turn in our direction.

She pulled her hand back and kept singing, “Union’s been on strike, he’s down on his luck…”

She was smiling and having so much fun it was like something inside me sort of snapped. Who really gave a shit anyway? Was I really going to hand the remote control to my happiness over to these people? I might have to share a grade with them and walk the halls with them every day, but I so didn’t need to let them dictate when and how I found happiness. If Lisa wanted to let loose and sing my favorite song, then damned if I wasn’t going to join her.

I held up my own invisible microphone and sang, “It’s tough, so tough,” as we circled around each other, laughing. When the chorus started, we were jumping up and down and singing at the top of our lungs not really caring what anyone else thought, just enjoying the moment and some Bon Jovi. By the time the chorus ended, we had a circle of kids around us and others were actually starting to join in.

I was in shock. Somehow, Lisa and I had crossed over into the fortress and found an amazing treasure; we were actually mingling with these people and having fun. It was like my heart stepped into an elevator, only this elevator had no ending so it lifted up and up, soaring into the atmosphere and out into the stars. I was worried it wouldn’t stop, but in that moment, I didn’t want it to. I wanted to float in the stars and wallow in this feeling forever.

I was still jaded enough to wonder how long it could possibly last after the dance and what the layout of the land would be come Monday morning, but I turned that voice off for the night and spent the next two hours with new friends, my best friend and, excluding the songs Lisa and I picked, some pretty horrid music.

Music Flows In My Veins

I love music. I think I would go so far as to say music is in my veins and keeps my heart beating on days when it wants to stop or doesn’t see a reason to keep on beating (which is actually the same thing but sounds more dramatic when you say both of them).

I’ve always loved music. I started taking piano lessons at a young age and didn’t really appreciate it until I was introduced to the minor key. It wasn’t even something I knew, really, it was more something I felt. I remember my piano teacher commenting that I must really like music in a minor key because I played it so much better, or something. I think the first composer who really hit me in the gut was Chopin. I’m not sure I remember the names of any of his music right off hand, but I do remember that it was one of his songs that I played when my music teacher said that to me.

I think many creative things – music, writing, painting, to name a few – are more when they are created with emotion. I know I tend to engage more when I can see a singer who feels the music rather than someone who just goes through the motions of hitting all the notes and singing the lyrics correctly.

Music is one of those things that can take me to another place; like I’ve stepped outside of myself and into the music and it swirls around me and fills me up almost to the point I can’t breathe. It brings tears to my eyes and sends chills up and down my body. I know other people feel this too, but when you’re in the midst of it, you believe you’re the only human alive and it’s just you and this song. Not every artist sings like that and not every piece of music brings those stirrings to life inside of me, but every once in a while, or quite a lot actually, I hear something that simply takes my breath away.

(I can’t post actual videos, but I can post links, so if you don’t click on any other link that I might share, I hope you click on the first one I’ve linked to below.)

Adelle texted me about two months ago and told me to check out an artist on YouTube. I have her to thank for a lot of my new music interests, and most of the time when she says, “Mom, you’ve got to listen to this!”, I end up loving it or downloading it or going to a concert or whatever…

The artist is Chase Holfelder and his specialty is taking songs in a major key and turning them into a minor key. The one song that really got me and still haunts me is Girls Just Want to Have Fun. There’s just something about the way the key changes the entire meaning of that song, especially when he sings the lyrics:

Some boys take a beautiful girl
And hide her away from the rest of the world
I want to be the one to walk in the sun

I also think he did something pretty special with Every Breath You Take.

There’s something almost magical that can happen when you get the perfect music, the perfect voice and it all blends and builds with the most beautiful and profound lyric. There are also some pretty ridiculous, and by ridiculous I mean absolutely fabulous, harmonies going on in both songs.

I was a pretty huge advocate of singing competitions when they first showed up and even imagined myself trying out for one before I reached the age limit and couldn’t do it anymore. I know that there are shows now that don’t have the limit, but I’ve passed the point in my life where I want to jump into it. I’ve found other creative outlets (writing), but music is something that will always be a part of my life in one form or another. I stopped watching those shows because it became not so much about the talent as it was a beauty/popularity contest and it seriously bugged me, but for some reason the last few months I found myself watching The Voice. I watched some of the first season and didn’t really care for it, but I have to say, I think it’s developed into a much better show than it was; but I probably still wouldn’t have kept watching it this time. I think I realized tonight that I kept watching it for a particular singer.

I’ve loved almost every song he has sung on the show; songs that are iconic and I’ve heard many times, or ones I have heard on the radio since he sang them and thought, “Dang, his was better than the original!” It’s Matt McAndrew and some of my favorites were:

The Blower’s Daughter
Make It Rain
Wasted Love (His debut single)

Anyway, I’ll get off my musical soap box now. I hope you click on some links and enjoy some great music!