Waiting on a Word

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Longing for Gravity- The Daily Prompt June 4, 2014

I’m baaaaack. Here to stick my entire foot back in the water (instead of just my big toe) with a response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt.

You are on a mission to Mars. Because of the length of of the journey, you will never be able to return to Earth. What about our blue planet will you miss the most?

You can see the prompt and other responses here.

First, I’d like to clarify that I would never, ever, voluntarily go on a mission to Mars, especially one so lengthy. I’m glad gravity’s holding my feet securely on Earth. Sometimes it gets a little hot, sometimes a little cold, but I never think to myself, “GOSH Earth blows! I hate living here. I want to move to Mars!” (Also, you know how freaked I am by the idea of outer space).

Now onto the question posed by the prompt.

What would I miss most about the Earth? Well, the people of course. But as far as Earth itself? As the prompt suggests, I would miss the color. I know it’s cheesy, but it’s true. I’d miss the color I see everyday, like the blueness of the sky, the white puffiness of the clouds, or the green of the grass, as well as the color that comes and goes, like the pink of these trees in my neighborhood.

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The vibrant colors of fruit: red strawberries, green apples, yellow lemons– how is it possible that these perfect things come from the dirt of the Earth? Earth is really a pretty place. Sometimes we forget to look at it. I can’t imagine Mars being as visually stimulating.

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Although, Mars is an interesting, angry red . . .

 

Thanks for reading. Have a nice night! (All pics are from my personal collection- except Mars. Ha Ha. That one I picked up from here: ( http://stateschronicle.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/mars2_115916c.jpg )

 

 

Hello again, hello June 2, 2014

Filed under: Blogging — Jess @ 9:56 pm
Tags: ,

WHAT’S UP WORLD? I’m back in your inbox and I hope you’re pleasantly surprised. I don’t know what happened with WOAW. I couldn’t think of anything to say so I opted to say nothing.

Frankly, I still can’t think of anything to say. But there’s evidence floating around that I am missed, which I appreciate.

First, by my Aunt Darlene who, while on the food line at my baby niece’s baptism party, told me she misses my blog (Hi Aunt Darlene!). Then by my cousin Denise, who also told me she was missing WOAW, as it constitutes her morning reading material while she does her hair (she has GREAT hair, too, I might add). My friend Clare also mentioned that she misses the blog posts, and finally David sent me an email wondering where the heck I’ve been. I’ve also been subjected to regular “you haven’t been blogging” comments from those in my daily life.

It’s nice to be missed!

I apologize to the 1780 senders of the unread emails in my blog mailbox. I think at this point, it’s more time efficient to do a mass deletion than to go back and open my mail, but I look forward to jumping on all of your blogging trains as they speed by, and rejoining the journey.

Often during this four-month or so hiatus I thought, “that would make a great blog post,” but besides coming up with the idea, I couldn’t think of anything to say. Here’s a list of some things that I considered posting about:

  • The power of the Magic 8 Ball that sits on my desk. It’s insanely freaky.
  • #yesallwomen
  • I went to a concert a few weeks ago. Said concert was in Connecticut on a school night. Friend I went with lives on the West Point campus. Friend is awesome. (I think each of these statements could have been individual posts and compiled as a four-part week-long posting spree).
  • WHERE THE HECK IS FLIGHT 370?
  • JC and the Bring Your Kid To Work Day fiasco, JC and the well visit, JC illustrates his first movie poster (i.e., the Adventures of JC).
  • Are you smarter than a 4th grader? (Can you name six simple machines?) *
  • M makes his communion, M becomes a peeper, M and his newfound love of smelling things (i.e, the Adventures of M).
  • Life Without a Microwave: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
  • My newly-purchased book: Show Your Work! 10 Ways to Share your Creativity and Get Discovered, by Austin Kleon.
  • Bingo Bonanza Part Next: The Progressive Goes Off!
  • My Cranky CrApple iPhone 4. Related post: Mommy’s Secret iPad.
  • 50 thoughts on 50 Shades.**
  • Sharing a list I made of things I talked about in one day (the diversity of topics is astounding).

All of these scintillating topics are well-thought out in my head, but the urge to explain them is lacking. Maybe if you’re interested, I’ll elaborate. Or maybe I’ll elaborate even if you aren’t interested. That’s the beauty of being the blogger. Tonight though, I’ve stuck my big toe in the water and now I quickly withdraw it. That water’s cold!

Thanks for missing me and have a nice night.

*Six simple machines: pulley, wheel and axle, inclined plane, wedge, lever, screw (which is actually an inclined plane wrapped around a wedge, BAM!).

**Currently, I have a handwritten list of 46 thoughts. I think if I really exercise some effort, I could come up with four more thoughts for a total of 50, which is about 4o more thoughts than Ana has in the entire series (heh heh).

 

 

Reflections- Weekly Photo Challenge March 27, 2014

The Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge is “reflections.” You can see the Challenge and the other entries here.

I have two photos.

Watkins Glen, NY

Watkins Glen, NY

 

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Little M. reflecting

 

Have a nice night!

 

WOAW Fiction- “Ten Little Chapters” Challenge March 26, 2014

The Challenge:  1000 words in 10 chapters, courtesy of Awesome Author/Blogger Chuck Wendig. Check it out HERE.

Chapter 1

I stand barefoot on the beach at the edge of the water, about a mile away from where she is, where I’m not supposed to be. Anxious, I pace in circles under the hot sun, watching my footprints in the sand wash away with the tide as I do my laps. Walk into the water, walk out of the water, “swoosh” go the footprints. In the water, out of the water, “swoosh” go the footprints.

I have to make up my mind soon if I want to give myself a chance. What should I do? What should I do? “Swoosh” go the footprints.

Chapter 2

I think about the moment I met her. She was on line in front of me at the supermarket, and must have felt me watching because she looked back and smiled.

“Sorry,” she said. I’m not sure why. At the time, I just shrugged. Once her groceries passed over the scanner and she was told the total, she rummaged through her purse and came up short ten dollars.

“Crap,” she said. She ran her hands through her long red hair and looked up at the ceiling. Something about her desperation spoke to me, so I took out my wallet and handed the cashier a ten dollar bill.

“No, I couldn’t,” she said to me.

“I insist,” I said. “It’s not a problem.” She looked skeptical. “My ice cream’s melting.”

I smiled and she smiled back. That’s how it started.

Chapter 3

I stop making circles in the sand and face the Atlantic, then take a giant step to my left, towards where I know her to be. She’s pulling me to her.

Chapter 4

I remember the first time I told her I loved her. We were on the couch together watching a movie. She said it back.

She said it back. I take another giant step to my left, my toes digging into the sand.

She said it back. A hundred times, at least. In bed. On the phone. In the car. In the park. She said it everywhere. I didn’t dream it.

I walk towards her, along the water line. The waves push me as they crash over my ankles.

Chapter 5

Did she forget? Did she forget how it felt to kiss goodnight and wake up together in the morning? Did she forget what I said to her while we danced at her brother’s wedding?

She wore a green bridesmaid dress that showed off her hair and made her white skin glow like shiny porcelain. “I love you, Meredith. Forever,” I said. “Someday, I want us to get married. Will you marry me?”

“Are you proposing to me?” she asked. “For real?”

“I’m proposing that I’m going to propose to you,” I said.

Meredith giggled. “Well then I propose that I will answer when you propose,” she teased. Then she kissed me, and I squeezed her tightly.

Chapter 6

Did she forget how happy we were? How did I let her get away? I jog towards her, the water splashing with each stride. Can I get to her in time? I know I have to try.

Chapter 7

I didn’t believe her when she said she had met someone else. How could she when we spent almost every waking moment together? How could she be interested in anyone else when we were so perfect together?

“I’m sorry,” she’d said.

“Don’t you love me anymore?” I’d asked.

“It’s not about love,” she’d said.

She’s wrong, I know, as I jog down the beach. It is about love. It is about love. Each stride takes a different word. It. Is. About. Love. I break into a run.

Chapter 8

The ocean breeze blows the hair off my face and my lungs start to hurt. Faster and faster the words match my pace as images of her flood my mind. It. Is. About. Love. It. Is. About. Love. ITISABOUTLOVE. ITISABOUTLOVE.

I think I’m too late, but when I finally reach the private beach, the white chairs still empty, the flower-covered trellis unattended, I realize that I made it. I hurdle the fence and quickly walk around the perimeter to building attached to the long, white aisle. My heart is pumping—not from the exertion of running, but from anticipation. Avoiding eye contact, I open the door.

Chapter 9

Meredith looks beautiful on her wedding day as she stands before me, dressed in white, holding her bouquet. For the second that passes before she looks up, she looks peaceful. The flower in her hair is a nice touch. She makes a lovely bride, like I knew she would.

When she notices me, her face changes. “What are you doing here?”

“I couldn’t stay away,” I say.

“You can’t be here. Please leave,” she says sternly. She looks around the room but she’s alone, like I want her to be.

“You look amazing. Perfect.”

“Go away,” she says. “I’ll scream.”

“No baby, don’t scream,” I say, holding up my hands. “I just want to talk.”

For some reason this angers her. Her face turns beet red and she charges me, pushing my chest with her hands. Her citrusy scent overwhelms me. Intoxicates me. “Go away. I don’t want you. Can’t you get that through your thick skull?” Meredith screams.

I sigh. She’s so spirited.

Chapter 10

Meredith turns her back to me and starts to walk away. I can’t let her leave again. I need to tell her how much I love her and want her. I can’t let her marry that other guy on the beach today. “Meredith,” I call after her.

She keeps moving, so I pull the gun from my waistband. It is about love.

Meredith doesn’t turn around until she hears me cock the trigger.

I don’t have a choice, really. “I’m sorry to have to resort to this,” I say. “But it is about love.”

Then everything goes dark.

 

 

 

 

 

“Happy My Teeth” March 20, 2014

My eight-year-old son, M., has autism. For an autistic kid, M. is very in tune with other people’s feelings. He shows a great amount of empathy. He gets very upset when others are upset.

For example, when our house gets loud or we’re arguing with M.’s older brother JC, M. gets very unsettled. He starts to growl. “GRRR,” he says. If we ignore him and get even louder, he growls even louder. When we notice M. is growling at us, we stop and realize how ridiculous we sound yelling at each other, and usually we start to laugh.

Whenever M. thinks we are upset with him, or hears the slightest change of tone in our voice, he says, “Happy my teeth” and looks at our faces. We figured out early on that he wants us to smile at him to prove we are happy. He watches our faces and doesn’t let us off the hook until we actually show him teeth in the form of a smile. It’s really sweet. If we don’t smile right away, he says it again. “Happy my teeth.” The way he says it is super cute– like, “Happy my teef.”

On occasion though, M. wants us to be happy before we are ready to be happy. Like when he dumps the Legos on the floor. A floor covered in those pointy little overpriced Blocks from Hell does not make me happy (As an irrelevantly relevant fact, wouldn’t that be a good way for the CIA to torture detainees? Screw sleep deprivation- here, walk over this floor of Legos with bare feet!).

Still, once M. hears our tone change, he’ll start with his “happy my teef” routine. Here’s a typical “conversation”:

JC (yelling upstairs from basement): MAAAAA, M. dumped all my Legos onto the floor!

Me (screaming into basement): PICK UP THE LEGOS!

JC: He’s not doingggggg it!

(Mom (me) walks down the stairs into the basement and gasps in horror! The Legos are spread like a layer of hot coals, the dog is chewing a couple of limited edition mini-figures, and M. is sitting in the middle of the pile making snow angels, Legos flying in all directions.)

JC: Oh my God! M.! Clean up the Legos!

M: Happy my teef!

Me (with furrowed brow and Mom Voice): No. No happy my teeth! My teeth are not happy.

M: Happy my teef! HAPPY MY TEEF!

Me: You CAN’T dump the Legos all the time.  Clean them up, NOW.

JC: YEAH.

M: HAPPY MY TEEF! HAPPY MY TEEF!

(Now M. has approached me, his face inches from mine, holding my cheeks until I show him I’m happy.)

Me: FINE. Happy my teeth (I fake smile).

It’s usually around this point where I stop being upset. The kid is just so friggin’ cute. He has these big, brown puppy dog eyes and awkward-kid-stage oversized teeth, kissable cheeks, and goofy hair that points in different directions. He faces all these challenges in his life and all he ever asks for is for everyone to be happy. And he’s there in front of me staring at me, looking into my eyes. Do I want him to see my angry face or my happy teeth?

So I smile. “Happy my teeth,” I say. M., finally satisfied with my response, moves onto the next thing and I go get the broom and sweep up the Legos.

I’m thinking that we should try M.’s technique with the cranky people in our lives. Next time someone starts to yell at you, try saying “GRRRRR” in response. When someone starts to spew negativity, stick your face in theirs and repeat “Happy my teeth!” over and over until they show you a smile. Maybe it will work!

Have a nice night!

 

Pour Some Sugar March 18, 2014

On the way to work today, Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar on Me” played on the radio. That song always jets me back to high school at warp speed.

I sang along in the van. “Love is like a bomb, baby, c’mon get it on. Living like a lover with a red owwf on.”

Wait. What exactly is a “red owwf”? I never knew that line. Not in 1989 and still not in 2014.

In fact, I distinctly remember a late-eighties conversation with a girl named Leanne. Leanne was a classmate and fellow Def Leppard fan (we’d been to numerous DL concerts), who (hide your eyes, Mom) cut school with me one day to go to the beach. We sat on the beach, tanning, talking, and discussing that line for a nice chunk of time.

“Maybe it’s ‘red outfit on’?”
“But there aren’t enough syllables. Maybe it’s not red at all?”
“Like ‘real loaf on’”
“Yeah!”
(Break into fit of giggles)

Every time I hear the song, I think of Leanne. Eventually, we accepted that a “red owwf” was either something British or we just didn’t have the ears to hear it right.

Today as I sipped my morning coffee at my desk, I googled the line. According to azlyrics, the lyric is “Living like a lover with a radar phone.”

Of course, this begs the question: What on God’s green earth is a “radar phone” AND WHERE CAN I GET ONE?

Back in the old days, I’d get so mad when albums didn’t include lyrics. I’d camp on the floor with my ear to the speaker and hit rewind, stop, play, rewind, stop, play over and over on my cassette tape deck to figure out one measly word from a song. Sounds silly, but sometimes one word can make or break a song, especially to an emotional teenager. (Ready for your irrelevantly relevant factoid of the day? Case in point: Modern English’s “I’ll Stop the World and Melt With You” (1983-ish). My friend and I insisted that somewhere in the song the chorus changed to “I’ll Stop the World and Melt For You,” which totally changes the entire song. Melting “with” someone is different than melting “for” someone, right? A quick azlyrics search doesn’t reveal any secret switchover from the nice-I-want-to-date-you-and-love-you “with” to the wow-he-wants-to-like-MELT-for her “for.”)

When I got my hands on Journey’s Escape album, circa 1981, I was thrilled to find the lyrics inside. I copied the lyrics to every song, by hand, onto looseleaf for a friend. He was so happy when I gave it to him, even though Journey’s songs were relatively clear and easy to decipher. After all, I’d saved him hours of strenuous listening to figure out the words. Now he could read along without lyrics stress.

Remember when Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” was a topic of conversation? “But the chair is not my size.” “NO! It’s but the kid is not my son!”

Or The Police? “We are Cheerios, in a cereal bowl.” “Duh! It’s SPIRITS. We are SPIRITS in the MATERIAL WORLD.” “But what does that mean?” “Who cares? It has a good beat and you can dance to it!”

During that “Billie Jean” era, a girl named Kathy lived a few houses down the street from me. Kathy knew everything. EVERYTHING about Adam Ant (Perhaps you remember “Goody Two Shoes”? “Don’t drink don’t smoke. What do you do?”). She loved him more than life itself, which even back in the 80′s was ridiculously weird. Whenever we had a question about anything Ant-related, someone would say, “Let’s go ask Kathy.” We’d trek to her house on our bikes and bang on her door, ask our question, maybe debate a little. Kathy was our Adam Ant Wiki. The best part would be when debating turned into either, “You’re a reject!” with stomping and yelling and riding away, or “Let’s play Payday,” and we’d move on to something else.

But rounding the corner to my point (it’s here somewhere), the mystery of the lyric is now over. I wonder if I’ll still automatically sing “red owwf on” when I hear the Def Leppard song or if I’ll convert to “radar phone.” (I really NEED one of those, people!)

I miss wondering about lyrics, and miss wondering in general. Something positive must have developed from all that wondering we did with our friends on the street. Today, all debatable questions are answered in light speed with a Google search. What do kids even talk about these days?

All these memories from a Def Leppard song on the way to work! Who knew it would turn into a writing prompt!?

Have a nice night. Thanks for reading. I’m going to go Google “radar phone” now.

 

Academy Awards Movie Madness- Captain Phillips February 14, 2014

“Argh! Ahoy there me hearties!” – Captain Feathersword, The Wiggles. Not to be confused with Captain Phillips, starring Tom Hanks, an Academy Awards Best Picture nominee.

Captain Phillips takes us back to 2009 and the Somali pirate hijacking of the Maersk Alabama, a United States cargo ship off the coast of Africa. My three word review: Exciting. Thoughtful. Well-played. (Does a hyphenated word count as one word?)

In my view, Captain Phillips had a few things going for it before the movie even began. First, it’s available to rent On Demand, which meant I could enjoy the film from the comfort of my couch. Second, I already knew the story because I’d watched a documentary on the Navy SEALs’ involvement in the Somali hijacking with my son, a SEALs enthusiast. Third, TOM HANKS.

Captain Phillips (Tom Hanks)

Tom Hanks is one of my favorites. A glance through his IMDb credits shows a whirlwind of awesome roles and movies. Forrest Gump sits securely on my personal Top Ten Movies of All Time list, and he’s WOODY from the Toy Story franchise. (Which, since I need to include my irrelevantly relevant factoid, started in 1995. Yes, Toy Story is almost twenty years old!). Woody’s been a big draw in my house for the past ten years. “Reach for the Stars!”

I have to go off on another slight tangent– can we talk Bosom Buddies for a second? Hanks played Kip/Buffy Wilson, a man who dressed as a woman in order to secure housing in a female-only residence hall. I have to, HAVE TO include a pic here. Feast your eyes:

Kip dressed as Buffy (Tom Hanks), and Henry dressed as Hilde (Peter Scolari)

Genius. You know what? I’m going to stop right there because Bosom Buddies was amazing and deserves its own post.

Back to Captain Phillips. This is a bit of a spoiler for those of you unfamiliar with the incident. It doesn’t matter if you know what happens though, because the movie is so good you’ll feel the intensity regardless.

Somali actor Barkhad Abdi plays Muse, the leader of the four pirates who captured the Maersk. His character uttered that now famous line, “I’m the Captain now,” to Captain Phillips, letting the viewer know that the shit just officially hit the fan. He’s been nominated for Best Supporting Actor, and yeah, he could get it. He was that good. Check out this pic:

Muse (Barkhad Abdi)

Captain Phillips tries to keep his cool the best he can, and is able to hide his crew and give them little tips via intercom and radio to keep them safe. He manages to get himself off the ship with the four pirates, into a small lifeboat, which the pirates attempt to navigate towards the coastline. Obstacles ensue, including the American military. Eventually, the military tricks Muse off the lifeboat (he’s now in federal prison), and Navy SEAL snipers take out the other three pirates, in a perfectly timed, perfectly executed operation.

I vaguely remember this event from the news back in 2009, but seeing the movie made me aware of so much more.  What struck me most is the desperation of the Somalis who take on these hijackings. The film showed a Somali village and the villagers fighting to be chosen to carry out the crimes. It made me think that these aren’t all bad guys, but desperate guys who do really bad things. I felt sort of relieved that Muse is in prison, not dead by a sniper’s bullet. I wonder if he feels the same.

Also, I couldn’t believe that four Somalis in a small boat could take over a giant American cargo ship. Seeing the physical size of the Maersk compared to the little boats that sped towards it was mind-blowing. Captain Phillips knew that once the pirates hooked their ladder onto the side, they’d get control of the ship. Is it really that easy? Hopefully new measures are in place to ward off these attacks.

Finally, I admired Captain Phillips for keeping his crew safe and sacrificing himself to get the pirates off the ship. Hanks does an awesome job portraying Captain Phillips not as a consummate hero making all the right calls with confidence, conceit, and a puffed out chest, but rather as a real person: a dude with a wife and kids who’s working a job he seems to enjoy, a by-the-book kind of guy with a healthy fear of death, thrown into this horrible situation. Hanks portrays this regular-guy, imperfect hero most amazingly in the last scenes of the movie, when Captain Phillips is saved and totally freaked out during a medical examination.

Captain Phillips is a great movie if you are in the mood for action, intensity, and Tom Hanks. It’s well-worth the $4.95 rental On Demand.

Only a few weeks to go until the Oscars! I need to step up my game. Thanks for reading and have a nice weekend!

[Photo:  http://img2-3.timeinc.net/ew/i/2013/10/09/Captain-Phillips.jpg (Captain Phillips); http://img2-3.timeinc.net/ew/dynamic/imgs/071218/hanks/buddies_l.jpg (Bosom Buddies); http://www.tasteofcinema.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/barkhad-abdi-captain-phillips.jpg (Abdi)]

 

 
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