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Archive for February, 2014

Generous opportunity…

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From my kind friend…I’m not a bottom-feeder and she’s vouching for me. 🙂

Living Lightly

2FBHazy.jpg I call her Hazy; she calls me P.C. And we call each other friends.

Thankfully, she contacted me recently to ask me a question. She thought it strange that I had not been responding to comments she left on my blog. She knows me well and knew something must be amiss if I wasn’t responding. We finally figured out that her comments of the past few weeks were being sent to my WordPress spam folder, along with all the strange symbol-names and foreign-language comments.

Her likes appeared just fine, but for some reason, her comments did not. I featured Hazy on Author Wednesday a few months back, and her post received more spam comments than any other posts to date. We’re not sure if that’s what set off the spamming of her comments or not. Thankfully, I was able to pull her comments out of the dead-end file and respond…

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“I know where you live.”

I stop mid pour. The rich smell reaches my nose and it’s glorious, despite not being able to stomach the stuff.

“I don’t think you do.” I say calmly, tipping the pot once again. Little coffee bubbles dance on the old Formica countertop.

“I do,” he says. “Saw you outside the Laundromat last week. You were driving that old green wagon.”

He takes a sip and closes his eyes as if it’s the best thing he’s ever tasted. His lips pull into a wide, flat line.

“Yeah, well I don’t live at the Laundromat.” I joke.

It’s the simple things, isn’t it?” He sighs. “Coffee, black and hot. Cures whatever ails.”

“I don’t drink it,” I tell him. “But I imagine if I did, I’d be dousing it with cream and sugar.”

“Nah, that stuff just smothers the quality of the bean. I like to know what I’m drinking.” His eyes are still closed but they open when he asks; “How in the world can you work in a diner and not drink coffee?”

“Love the smell, can’t stand the taste.”

“Ah, it can be a cruel, cruel world.” He nods and smiles a little wider, exposing surprisingly white teeth from behind his reed-thin lips.

Ding.

Slamming my chit on the spike, I grab his order from under the warmer and set it in front of him. Two eggs, sunny side up, extra crispy bacon and sourdough toast, lightly buttered.

“How long you had that car?” He asks.

As he snaps off a piece of bacon and dips it in the ketchup he’s squirted on the edge of the plate, I can’t help but wonder where his sense of quality is now.

“Four years,” I answer. “My Grandma left it to me.”

The dark moons under his nails loosely string each finger together like a black crepe streamer and his clothes are on the worn side of things, much like his skin, supple and weathered.

“Ah, a treasure then. It’s a ’73, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, how did you…?”

“Lucky guess,” he says. “We used to have one back in the day. I learned to drive in it.” He chuckles. “Showing my age now, I suppose.”

“More?” I hold the pot over his almost empty cup.

He nods. I pour.

Despite his ruffled appearance, I can smell fresh shampoo and sharp aftershave as I lean in to wipe up the drips.

“It was a guilt gift,” I confess. “She wanted nothing to do with me. The car made her feel better.”

“Did it make you feel better?”

“Probably not for the right reasons,” I admit. “It’s the only thing I own. It’s more important than it should be now.”

“I’ll take it off your hands.” He offers and slides his business card across the counter. It claims he’s the owner of the Green Bean Organic Coffee Plant. The same coffee we use in the diner.

“I can’t. I still need it.”

“If you didn’t have it, where would you be?”

“Um, taking the bus?” My eyes shift.

“Sometimes it’s good to rid yourself of things that are holding you back.”

“I told you, I still need it.” I look away. “Why are you so hot for my car anyway?

“I could say it’s because it’s green. Or because, like I said, I learned to drive in that very same car.”

He lightly knocks his fist twice on the countertop. “

“But, I’d be lying. It’s because I know where you live.”

Green 1973 Wagon

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Oh dear. My 150th post and I screwed it up. I knew you guys were discerning readers, but never did I think you’d shy from one slightly rare serving!

Where do I go from here? Is it too late to say I’m sorry? To promise I won’t do it again?

No, it’s not too late. Yes, you’re discerning, but I’m pretty sure tolerance, compassion and forgiveness are in there somewhere too. That has to be true or we’d have parted long ago.

And it’s a good thing, because I’m trying desperately to be a writer. And to quote Thomas Mann; “A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”

 

Make no mistake – we’re friends because you’re particular.

 

It could be argued that what I did the other day wasn’t writing, but I stand firm that all writing is writing. I started this blog to bolster my commitment. I hoped knew it would hold me accountable for producing something on regular basis. I wanted it to make me think.

I dreamed of it making you think.

I spent years writing in journals. They didn’t suddenly stop selling them in the stores. I didn’t run out of pocket money to buy one. I chose to display my trials and tribulations on a public forum. I decided I wanted you to witness my stabs and my stumbles.

Some things I write to reflect and some things I write to connect, so neither of us should be surprised by the odd, rare roast post.

It’s how I get to know you.

It’s how I hope you’ll get to know me.

It is how we’ll get to well-done.

Heart shaped meat

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Is it too late to start a post? Some would say yes. It’s 11:15am and when I’m still working on it at 3pm and behind on all I should do in a day, I might be agreeing with those people.

But…yesterday, I did paperwork – like, all day – and then again for two hours this morning. Wah. I deserve a break, don’t you think? That is a lot of time spent on something I really don’t like doing. Am I right?

Yes, I’m right. I just wish I could feel right.

You see, paperwork is kind of like housework for me. It’s this illusive, slippery matter that slips through my fingers, no tail in sight. Anytime I hear anyone say, “Oh my goodness, I cleaned all morning. It feels so good to be finished!” I can’t help but ask, “Finished? How are you finished? Where do you get one of these houses you can clean and actually be done at some point?”

Because, I for one, am never finished cleaning.

Except, I don’t mind cleaning. I like the smells and the scents, the sparkle and the shine. It’s relaxing. It’s satisfying. It’s visual.

Paperwork? Not so much. It’s not pretty. It’s not creative. (Well, not in any legal way) There’s very little smell. It doesn’t sparkle or shine. And I have to say, it’s anything but relaxing. I mean, shuffle, shuffle, shuffle, money, money, money, crunch, crunch, crunch, sweat, sweat, swear sweat.

and…

Do I need to keep this bill? Can I write that off? Did pay my property tax? What do I do with this? Will this come back to haunt me?

No bliss about, I tell you.

There are some things we have to do and some things we want to do. For me, writing is definitely both of those, so why does it always come one hundred and sixty fourth on the list?

But even at 164, it’ll happen. Although sometimes it means serving up an undercooked post like this one. Just take a Tums before reading and it won’t be so upsetting.

Oops, too late.

when writing isn't a money maker

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Some time back I held an “appreciation” for the growing audience my blog was accumulating. I had hit 400 followers and in my euphoria I offered Stephen King’s book “On Writing” to the first person to like and comment on that particular post.

A man named Jim over at “Life Choice” won, but when I contacted him for an address, he, very generously, asked if I could please donate the book to someone who may not be able to buy it for themselves. He also asked that I name him and myself, and include the story of how the book found its home.

I was thrilled. And then…

I waited.

Why? I don’t know. Procrastination, had a headache, needed coffee, had to go buy gum.

It took me way too long a while, but with the help of a friend, I decided to gift it to our local library. The way I see it, many, many people will then have access to a wonderful book they otherwise might have never come across.

February 2nd, 2014 Dear Reader, This book was gifted to you by a man named Jim. We both have blogs on WordPress and a while back, I held a contest of sorts ~ the prize being this book. Well, Jim was the winner, but when I contacted him for an address, he, very generously, asked that I give this book to someone who may not be able to buy it for themselves.  The library was decided upon as it may now fall into the hands of many who might otherwise have never come across it. It’s one of my favorite books on writing and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Happy reading from: Jim  http://jimlifechoice.wordpress.com/  and  Hazy  www.hazyshadesofme.com

February 2nd, 2014
Dear Reader,
This book was gifted to you by a man named Jim. We both have blogs on WordPress and a while back, I held a contest of sorts ~ the prize being this book. Well, Jim was the winner, but when I contacted him for an address, he, very generously, asked that I give this book to someone who may not be able to buy it for themselves.
The library was decided upon as it may now fall into the hands of many who might otherwise have never come across it.
It’s one of my favorite books on writing and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Happy reading from:
Jim http://jimlifechoice.wordpress.com/
and
Hazy http://www.hazyshadesofme.com

I’m happy with this and I hope Jim is too.

The air is cold and crisp, the sun is bright and I literally woke to birds singing. It’s a stunning day. The kind of day that shouldn’t be taken for granted because tomorrow there is a Celebration for a life that ended far too soon.

Appreciate today. Don’t live to wait.

 

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I tiptoe ‘round this post like the exhausted mother of an at long-last sleeping baby. Afraid to wake what lies before me…fearful I won’t be able to give what it needs.

Death, after all, is a needy subject. Never far away. Never a maybe. Never forgotten. And somehow, it still manages to leave us reeling. To rip us out of that place where we believed we were safe. Sometimes with nothing more than what seems a moment’s notice.

I lost a friend on Saturday. It was someone I hadn’t seen since high school. Someone who, before the last seven years, I’d only thought of maybe a handful of times. But, because of present day oddities, we were somehow very connected. Through social media, such as facebook, we were, what classifies as friends, before she passed.

We’d sent each other several private messages upon our initial encounter, reminiscing about our high school days and catching up on what was, at the time, our current lives. She told me that she was the happiest she’d ever been, having overcome some tough times and being in love with, what she deemed was, “…the best guy that ever walked this earth.”

And admittedly, that’s probably where it would have ended for us. Much like many, we both had hundreds of facebook “friends” and the extent of our relationship would have existed on the wings of a fluttering like or comment here and there.

Except Gina turned out to be one of the most positive posters I’d ever come across. Everything she wrote happened to be the silver lining in a grey cloud, should you find yourself fogged in. Her energy was addictive and I’d roll over and rub my eyes just to start the day with her perspective.

This didn’t change when she was diagnosed with brain cancer on June 1st, 2012.

She was generous enough to share what was the privacy of her fight with people – many I’m sure like me – not even a part of her inner circle. Her positivity not only continued, but was bolstered by an exasperating battle and her commitment, not to simply beat the disease, but to remain optimistic and inspirational to all those around her, never faltered.

Not once.

A post from Gina 7 months into her diagnosis

A post from Gina 7 months into her diagnosis

 

As I mentioned, I’m on tiptoes, terrified not to do justice to the power of death. To fail to give proper credit to Gina and what she so selflessly sacrificed so that we could learn.

There’s certain valor in accepting what eventually becomes an inevitable destination, but the real courage lies in how you walk the road. True wisdom is knowing you’ve trudged long enough, but the maturity to say good-bye is the bravest thing of all.

Gina Covey

March 26th, 1970 ~ February 1st, 2014

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