Archive | February 2012

To the Rescue

Cars passed by tossing slush piles in our direction. The bus shelter reminded me of a vertical can of sardines. I decided not to join the crowd, and I looked up above just to make sure that no icy power lines were waiting to snap in my face. I was happy to see that not one power line was even close to us.

“There’s a bus stuck trying to get up the hill,” a bicyclist said as he pedaled towards us and pointed down the street that was out of view. His yellow outfit must have been keeping him dry, and little lights blinked from his bike and helmet even though the white snow made everything clear.

One of the sardines squeezed out and walked down to the stuck bus. I thought that maybe someone smarter than me would suggest that we all go sit on the bus, and with that extra weight maybe it would get unstuck because that hill is not very steep. But, nobody said anything.

“The bus says, ‘Out of Service,’” he announced to us, so we gave up hoping for a ride from there, and sorry to say, the sardine lost his spot.

More time passed, and I wondered if anyone was going to make a bold move and offer to give some of us a ride downtown in their car, but it looked as if no one wanted to drive that day. I am sure they wanted to avoid any type of fender bender.

After a longer wait, a bus came from the other direction, made a U-turn and pulled up in front of the bus shelter. To us he looked like a knight in shining armor. Shoulders stopped slouching as we puffed up to hear what he had to say.

“Can we have a ride?” someone asked.

“No, I can’t right now. I have to run some errands for my wife,” the bus driver announced. Many chuckles were heard as people piled out of the bus shelter.

“There are two 875s stuck on that hill over there,” the bus driver pointed. They were probably stuck because they didn’t have enough people on them, I thought.

“Where are you going?” someone asked.

“Downtown,” he said. The bus driver must not have known that he did not have the right sign displaying his destination. All the buses that usually stop there are going downtown. His joke did not get a laugh.

“Are you a 461 or 875?” someone else asked.

“Oh, I am a 461,” and he changed the sign. We were glad because we have to know which way we are going. We all hopped aboard. As we traveled along, one of the passengers asked the bus driver if he could change the bus into a 875 (because that bus gets downtown a lot faster).

“Ya,” he said, “and let’s stop at Perkins on the way!” We headed through town taking the slow and long route. The bus driver greeted each passenger with a cheery hello trying to improve their moods. They looked as if they had been waiting a very long time with their wet and stringy hair and winter coats soaked and dripping.

As one lady got off the bus well before we reached downtown, she fell on her rear after her foot touched the ground. Even though some of us said “ouch,” she went on her way as if nothing happened. As more passengers got on the bus and the fog on the windows grew even thicker, I started to wonder if other people were wondering why we live here.

The bus started picking up speed once we got on the freeway. I decided I was happy to be here because where else can you find an adventure like this? Not only did I see a person riding a bike in a snow shower, I never saw so many people in one bus shelter, and it’s the first time I saw a bus make a U-turn. Plus it’s a place where a person who is working his regular job suddenly becomes a knight in shining armor.

I thanked our knight very much for coming to our rescue as I got off the bus, and I was glad that I was only a half hour late for work.

Dog’s Coat Gathers and Stores Sunbeams!

This morning while walking with Lila, I was happy to see the soft baby blue color of the sky. Only a few white and gray wispy clouds floated about. The air felt warmer than the day before, yet the wind was stronger.

The street was clear of ice and snow, so it was easy-going until we got to the icy wooden bridge. I guess I can’t expect the city to put chemicals that erode things on a wooden bridge, but when my 70-pound dog started pulling me across the ice, I started to get a little nervous.

After we made it safely across the bridge, Lila found some things to sniff while we moseyed around the clear path. The wind wasn’t moving us along any faster than usual. I didn’t pay much attention to the walkers ahead of us. I was making a point of enjoying the fresh air that held a tint of spring, and I silently thanked myself for wearing a hat and sunglasses.

Lila, the more observant one, noticed who was ahead of us. She walked faster and faster, pulling me along, while I wondered why, and then I recognized the black beret hat and red jacket of our neighbor, Carl. Carl was walking with Ollie. Ollie, a labradoodle puppy, would not move along as he should, and he stood there waiting for us. Lila and Ollie said their hellos in the usual manner with Lila very easily showing Ollie who rules. Ollie hopped up to give Lila a kiss on her cheek, and Lila mimicked the gesture by jumping up to Carl’s face.

“No, down,” I said while Carl put up his arm to protect himself from slobbering dog kisses.

We chatted for a little while about the cuteness of our dogs, when Lila started pulling me along.

“Why don’t you go ahead of us?” Carl said, as he dug some sort of rock or tree part out of Ollie’s mouth. “You are much faster than we are. This dog is always eating something.”

“Lila is always chewing on something too, but she has a bigger digestive system,” I said.

“Ollie held onto a sock for three days before throwing it up.”

“Good thing he got rid of it,” I said. “It’s such a nice day, isn’t it? A little windy though.” We continued on our way along the path.

“Yes, it’s brisk,” said Carl.

“See you later,” we both chimed.

As Lila and I circled around and got closer to the playground, we noticed a boy and a dog playing on the equipment.

“Willie,” the boy yelled. “Come back here.” Willie, a little black and gray poodle mix, was running straight towards us and getting Lila all riled up. Lila pulled the leash, but I held her tight. She looked up at me as if to say, “Why does that dog get to run around, and I don’t?”

Willie listened to the boy, and went back briefly, but then came back a couple more times. Each time, I held on tight. We marched on our way and left Willie and the boy behind.

As we got closer to home, the smell of cooking bacon wafted through the air. I couldn’t tell where the smell was coming from. Since Lila wanted to stay outside in the front yard, I knew that the smell was not coming from our house.

Lila laid down in a white pile of very cold snow, settling down to watch over the neighborhood. Seeing her in the snow gave me the shivers.  Lila never appears to be cold, and it makes me wonder if her fur coat has the ability to gather up and store sunbeams.  It must because she is only in a hurry to get inside if it is for a treat or her dinner.

This post is part of the Saturday morning blog hop.  To get your link, click here.

It Wasn’t Like I Remembered

One day while shopping with the children, I saw a movie that I used to watch all the time when I was a kid.  I thought they would like to watch a movie that I watched when I was around their ages, so I bought West Side Story.  I watched this movie so much when I was younger that I memorized the words to every song.

When we got home, the kids did not seem as excited as I was.  I put the movie in the DVD player, we all settled in and got comfy, and suddenly I was sitting all by myself.  I guess the kids thought it was weird that boys were running and dancing around in very tight jeans, snapping their fingers, and looking for a fight.  I heard them utter, “Mom, this movie is weird.”  We didn’t even get to the part where Maria sings I Feel Pretty.  Not only did the movie look funny to them, it started to look funny to me too.  I decided that it wasn’t like I remembered.  I used to think that Tony was so cute, and that he and Maria made such a cute couple.  I was suddenly seeing through my children’s eyes, and I wondered what my fascination was.  I switched off the movie, put the DVD away on the shelf, and got busy with something else.

That experience brought me back to the time when we rented Fiddler on the Roof.  The kids sat down with me, and we got all comfy and ready to watch the movie.  Then they wandered off one by one muttering, “Mom, this movie is really weird.”  I sat by myself and watched the entire movie.  I did not remember it being so long, yet I watched mostly because I loved the songs.

Isn’t it strange when we haven’t seen something for a long time, and we somehow build up how much we liked it in our minds?  When we finally get around to watching an old favorite movie or show, it’s not what we remembered.  Do you think it has something to do with how the movies are now?  Do you think technology has made movie watching more fun or just the opposite?

I guess I will not even try to get the kids to watch Bye, Bye Birdie even though I think they would learn so much by watching my favorite part, the telephone scene!  If you don’t remember the scene, here’s a link:  Was it like you remembered?

Kreativ Blogger Award

On December 12, 2011, Jodi Stone at Life with Sampson and Delilah, the 411, awarded my blog with The Kreativ Blogger Award!  I am a bit behind on accepting this award, but thanks Jodi for the nomination.  I really appreciate it.  I like how the colors of the badge go so well with my blog.  🙂

This award comes with a bit of direction, the first being share ten things about yourself or your blog that people might not know.

1.  I can be really picky about some stuff.  For instance, it bugs me that “Kreativ” is spelled wrong in this award!  Yet, I still feel honored to receive it, and I will not change the spelling.

2.  I am working on writing a book.  It is in first draft format.  I am all over the place in this book right now.  As of today, my first draft has 7,789 words.

3.  I have been keeping track of how many words there are in my book on the sidebar of my blog.  I am trying to keep up with Jodi Stone.  Jodi posts how many words she has written on her book at the end of each of her daily posts and she is farther along than I am.  This keeps me motivated.  Thanks, Jodi!

4.  I admire people who blog everyday.  I, however, do not think that I will ever be able to accomplish such a goal.  I find that most times when I write a post, I have to go away from it for a while, think about it, make more edits, if needed, and then publish it.

5.  However, there have been a few times when I have written and posted a blog in one day, and I feel like I am taking a huge step when I do such a thing.  Recently, I did a one-day write and post called “It’s Nice to Get Noticed.”

6.  When I was 13, I secretly decided that I wanted to be a writer.  I only shared my secret with a few people.  I kept my dream tucked away for many years.  Part of me thought that being a writer was so beyond me because I admire writers so much.    

7.  I think I am at the stage in life where I am getting brave enough to write.   

8.  Starting up this blog came at the right time.  Our two daughters are in college right now, and I miss them very much.  Soon our son will be going off to college too.  My blog is just what I needed to get me through this stage. 

9.  I read everyday while I am commuting to and from work.  If a book keeps me awake, I know it’s a winner!  Don’t worry, I take public transportation.  I mostly read fiction, memoir and books on writing.  I have read and enjoyed “On Writing,” by Stephen King, and “Shimmering Images, a Handy Little Guide to Writing Memoir,” by Lisa Dale Norton.   The work of fiction that I am currently reading is “Memoirs of a Geisha,” by Arthur Golden.  I found that “Memoirs of a Geisha” put me to sleep a little in the beginning, but now that I am towards the end, I am keeping awake!  I am glad I stuck with it.

10.  I like to cook because I like to eat, but I never watch cooking shows on TV!

In no particular order, I have the honor of awarding six other bloggers with The Kreativ Blogger Award.  

I feel lucky that I ran across These Are Days when I first started blogging.  Terri always has something honest to say, tries to look on the bright side of things, and she often posts some very beautiful pictures on her website.  Plus, I like to read about her family; her dog, Lucy; and her weekend cooking accomplishments. 

I also discovered Katy’s blog, Story Telling Nomad, when I first started blogging.  Katy recently started posting about her A-Z Eurotrip, and I feel as if I am going on an adventure every time I read her posts.  Check out Katy’s great pictures and excellent writing style. 

So Much to Say, So Little Time.  Kathleen blogs on a variety topics.  I especially like reading about her day-to-day life as a Mom to four young children.  Plus Kathleen has some very inspirational writing going on here, too.

Recently, I have been running across the writings of The Lucky Mom.  Lisha will have you laughing out loud!  If you need a laugh or want to read a great blog, check it out!

Another recent blog that I have been checking out is Empty House, Full Mind.  I appreciate Sharon’s honest opinions on current topics.  This blog gets me thinking.

I often visit Not Just Another Mother Blogger.  You will find some interesting, honest and thought-provoking stories at Tina’s website.  Plus, Tina does not like it when people spell words incorrectly!

I hope that you check out these blogs and that you enjoy them as much as I do.

Thanks again, Jodi!

What an Angler

While I was in the moment, I had a little inkling that it was too good to be true. I sat right under a beautiful, multicolored umbrella. The lounging chair was in a perfect position for me to read through my lines for the upcoming show.

I checked and saw that the children were busy making a sand castle with their Dad. I was a little sad that I was not spending time on the project too, but I told myself that it was good for the three of them to hang out together.

Colors from the umbrella shined through and hit the pages before me making a rainbow. I worked on blocking out the sounds around me and concentrated on the words. I quickly turned the pages to see what the next joke was. Occasionally I noticed that others looked in my direction, but still I found it difficult to stifle my laugh. It was going to be fun to work on such a witty comedy.

“Kate,” I think I heard my name being called. I could not lift my eyes from the page.

“KATE, KATE,” someone was yelling at me.  It was my husband.

I quickly jabbed my fingernail on the page to make a little indentation of where I left off.

“KATE, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? COME HERE!” he yelled even louder.  Mike was holding Beth up in his arms, and she was crying. She had her little arms stretched out towards me. George’s face was starting to crinkle up into the crying position. He stood next to the castle with a red shovel in his dimpled hand.

I threw the script on my chair. I tried to run, but the first steps in the sand got me off-balance. Once I found my footing, I ran towards my family and their partly-finished sand castle.

“What happened?”

“Something bit Beth. We were digging in the sand. But, the thing.  I think it came up with the waves.”

“That’s a jelly fish,” said an older man who stood nearby. He wore a Santa hat while holding his fishing pole in one hand and his tackle box in the other. His red trunks covered his legs to his knees, and his taut and tan tummy looked like leather.

I looked to where he was pointing. The jelly fish looked like purple jelly. It  looked dead.

“Beth, show me where it bit you,” I said.  Her breath came out in jagged sobs.

“Momma,” she said. She pointed to her leg, but I couldn’t see any marks.

“Where, honey?” I smoothed out some of her blond curls that had lightened up from being in the sun. Her little face looked so tan against her hair, and her blue eyes were as bright as the sky. She scratched her leg starting to make a mark.  Her gaze was glued to the ground.

“Momma, nothing bit me.” Her shoulders lifted up and fell down with her sobs.  “I just wanted the shovel. George took it from me. I’m sorry, Momma.”

The fisherman winked and walked away.

“Honey, you scared us so much,” I said, as Mike rolled his eyes at me.

I went to the pile of stuff by my chair and found another shovel.

“Here, we have more. Next time, come and tell me. Let’s not make up stories just to get what we want, okay?”

Her sobs started to subside.

“Okay, Momma. Will you play with us?” She asked in one big breath.

I knelt down on the ground next to the castle.  George stood next to me and twirled his warm and sandy fingers through my hair at the nape of my neck. 

I was glad Beth was all right and that the jelly fish was dead.  What made me even more happy was to be angled back into the group.

This post was inspired by Write on Edge’s Red Writing Hood prompt. We were instructed to pick four numbers between 1 and 10. The prompt listed different topics for each number. The first number is for your character (actress), the second your setting (beach), the third the time (December) and the fourth the situation (a family emergency). Then take the four elements and combine them into a short story.

It’s Nice to Get Noticed!

The nice and unusually warm weather that we are having this winter in Minnesota made me want to take Lila for an extra long walk today.  Lila has a habit of watching me as I get ready.  She pants and follows me around the house as I try to find all the items I need to stay warm.  She looks at me as if she is thinking, “What is taking you so long?”  Well, I need a lot of stuff!

Even though it was a balmy 30 degrees outside, I still wore two pairs of sweats.  I put on a stylish crocheted black hat, my lighter-weight gray jacket, my purple knitted scarf, black boots and sunglasses.  Other necessities were put in my pockets:  a plastic bag for Lila droppings, cell phone and key.  I put Lila’s gentle leader on much to her chagrin, clipped on her leash, and away we went.  “Finally,” Lila seemed to say.

The sun was a welcomed sight as it has been hiding behind clouds for many days making us feel as if we lived in a bog.

Lila headed towards the small park.

“No, Lila, this way,” I said.  “We are going to the big park!”

Lila always does a hop as she turns the other way while wagging her tail when she finds out that we are going to the big park.  She knows that the big park takes a lot longer and has many different smells.  

Many people were out enjoying the day.  It seemed as if we all had a touch of spring fever.  That thought struck even more true as I heard what I thought was a bunch of kids yelling at us from a truck that was passing by.

At first I thought, “Gosh, no one has hooted and hollered at me like that for years.  They must really like the looks of my ensemble, sweatpants and all!”  But then, as they passed, I noticed that it was two little yippity dogs barking out the driver’s side window.  I guess it wasn’t me that they were barking at, but at my beautiful dog who seemed to puff up as she was striding along besides me.

Oh, well, it’s still nice to get noticed!

This is part of the Saturday morning blog hop.  To get your link, click here.

Valentine Surprises

The day’s clouds hung thick and gray.  The snow piles were old and melting and blended in with the color of the sky.  My mood mirrored the day.

I missed my Dad and Mom on that Valentine’s Day.  It was my first Valentine’s Day away from them.  I was 20 years old and had moved away the previous summer.  I had only moved a mile away!  That didn’t keep me from feeling homesick.

I remembered other Valentine’s Days, when Dad would come home from work with two surprise Valentine hearts filled with chocolates:  one for me and one for Mom.  Each year, the size of the box of chocolates grew bigger as I did.  The cellophane wrapper crinkled to reveal a little plastic rose decorating the top of the box.  The inside smelled like a combination of paper and cocoa.  The thick white wrapper that covered the chocolates and the small brown papers that held each piece were carefully kept in place even after I tasted each delicious piece.  I saved the box for months just to open it, remember how it had first smelled and listen to the paper crinkle as I played with and folded up all the little papers.

Now that I was all grown up and on my own, I didn’t expect a surprise Valentine heart filled with chocolates.  Though it was difficult, I secretly said good-bye to my Dad’s tradition.

After dinner I got busy washing the dishes, and the telephone rang.  It was Mom.  She asked me if I had gotten the mail.  I hadn’t because I had forgotten all about it.  I had been thinking about childhood Valentine’s Days.

After chatting for a while, we hung up. When I went out to the front porch to get my mail, I was so surprised and happy when I saw the very big Valentine surprise heart sitting on my pile of mail.  That was a day when I really appreciated all the love and kindness of my parents.

It’s nice to still be a little kid in your parents’ eyes, no matter how big you get!