30-Day Writing Challenge: Day 30

Prompt: One thing you’re excited for.

Well, for one thing, I’m excited that this writing challenge is over. And that I can go back to writing what and when I want. I’ve also neglected my other blogs. It seems I’ve reached the limits of how much blog writing I can do and…one post a day is it.

I’m also excited that I’m closer to my two-week holiday vacation. I desperately need some unstructured down time even though I just had a week off.

I’m excited about the new little craft area I made in my bedroom. I took the table the guinea pig cage was on and it fit exactly perfectly in the corner of my room next to my love seat. I moved the bookshelves around and organized the books a bit. All my “writer” books are in one place next to my writing desk. Nonfiction/biography/memoirs are together. Books by the same author are together – all my Tana French books are finally able to live together – at least among the books in my room. Books I haven’t read are in one pile. Some of them….I don’t know. I might have lost interest in a few. I also pulled together a stack of books to give away. I still need to paint the red wall but the room looks much better. It’s not 100% KonMari’d but it’s close. And that’s exciting.


30-Day Writing Challenge: Day 29

Prompt: The night of your 21st birthday.

No clue. I pulled out my calendar from 1987 (yes, I’ve kept every one). But this was just a calendar, not a journal. I didn’t keep journals. I’ve only started writing morning pages since doing The Artist’s Way for the second time. So, for a little over a year.

For June 21, 1987, my calendar says: My 21st birthday and Millie’s!! Got turntable from Dad, shirt from A, earrings from M, books (kids), mug from A—.

If I went out drinking – which I doubt – it was not recorded. A very boring night. My birthday fell on a Sunday that year. I was still dating a psychopath (the one who gave me the mug) and living in a studio apartment across from a hospital in the Fan. The following day, the 22nd, I had a birthday dinner with my mom at Hunan East, and then the day after that, the psychopath took me to dinner for my birthday. Same restaurant.

I recorded cards and letters I received, calls I made or received, but no details. No excitement. My birthday twin had been to visit the week before so I’m betting my actual birthday was a bit of a let down after that.

I’m feeling a bit of a post-fun let down today though it was nice to sleep in my own bed with no flopping, coughing eleven-year-old in it. We had a great time in NC with great friends. Dusty had a good birthday. We shopped in Southern Pines – a beautiful little town with interesting shops – and then drove down to South of the Border. My pre-written post for that day mentions the beach but we didn’t end up doing that. We all slept in and got a late start to the day. Dusty’s birthday cake featured Minions – her most hated characters – and read “Happy Bar Mitzvah, Marie!” Multi-layered joke.

And now I’m doing laundry and Red and I will venture out in the rain to get groceries in a bit. And I’ll get ready for real life again. Another Sunday. About as exciting as the Sunday I turned 21.

30-Day Writing Challenge: Day 28

Prompt: The word/phrase you use constantly.

Well, I’m not proud of it, but I use “awesome” a lot. As in I just got home from a truly awesome Thanksgiving vacation and I’m about ready to sit down and watch Elf (an awesome movie!) with Red and drink a beer or two before Dusty and I watch a few episodes of Veronica Mars (an awesome show) – she got the entire series for her birthday (see yesterday’s post about that).

And….I’m too tired to write any more awesome stuff today. I’ll be back tomorrow!

Day 27

Prompt: What you wore today.

A smile. Today is Dusty’s 15th birthday and we are spending it in style – going to South of the Border to visit Pedro and to the beach. Because Dusty loves a good beach and even though it’s too cold to swim in the ocean, the next best thing is seeing it and hearing it.


Then as now, Dusty’s always thrown herself full bore into her passions. It’s one of the things I love about her.

Happy Birthday, Dusty!!


(A photo of a photo but that’s how it is when they reach a certain age.)

30-Day Writing Challenge: Day 26

Prompt: Things you’d say to an ex.

Wow, um, HAPPY THANKSGIVING, Y’ALL! I am having too much fun right now to dwell on what I’d say to an ex…..friend, lover, boyfriend, husband.

I mean, who should I pick? I’m past them all now. There was one guy…dude, I’m sorry I dumped you. You may not have realized you were the transitional guy and we really only dated for a couple months and you must have known this couldn’t possibly last and hey, you were 21….you were too young to subsist on a monk’s diet of beans and brown rice. I hope you eventually came to your senses and added a little more fun to your diet.

Anyhow….y’all have a great holiday!

30-Day Writing Challenge: Day 25

Prompt: Four weird traits you have.

What are you doing to me? Why must my traits be considered weird? By whom? I’ll tell you four things about me which may or may not be considered traits or weird. You be the judge. Or not.

One. I’m an introvert. I like being alone. I’m never bored in my own company though I might be bored in yours. Well, not YOU but him over there. Or that woman. I like people that I like but if I’m by myself, I’m content. I’m never without a book or something to write on and with. In crowds, I’m a people watcher. My mind is always thinking. It is as exhausting as it sounds. I think and it’s usually when I’m driving or in the shower that I remember something I must write down immediately. I have a notepad and pens in the car. I can write and drive at the same time. It’s a skill. I got off track, I think.

Two. I diverge. I get off track. I start thinking of one thing and that thought takes me to another and another and then I don’t know where the hell I am or how I got there. My dreams are that way too. I start out in some semi-familiar abandoned house surrounded by semi-familiar people and end up all the way up in New York City if NYC was in Richmond on Monument Avenue and all my past boyfriends are sitting around plotting how to make my life a misery.

Three. I am both productive and a procrastinator. My bedroom is a good example. I painted it last year and rearranged things (I rearranged again yesterday – the table the Dearly Departed Guinea Pig’s cage was on is now my craft table) but I’ve decided I don’t like the red wall. I bought more grey paint months ago but I haven’t repainted yet. Mainly because I damaged my left elbow and couldn’t lift a paint brush much less a toothbrush for months. It’s fixed now but the wall’s still red. The photos I tacked up….I have a different idea about how to display them. I just need to DO IT. Maybe over Xmas break. If I feel like it.

Four. I’m not really huge about tradition per se. I don’t understand doing a thing over and over if it’s original meaning is gone. Like silver and china patterns as wedding gifts (I don’t have fancy dinner parties). Like Thanksgiving with that static menu of things I don’t eat or like. Until this year – we’re leaving for the train station soon – I’ve suffered through years of Thanksgivings in my cold (literally – the heat is never sufficient) childhood home and wishing I were home (see trait #1). The menu rarely varied. My dream vacation? Beachfront house with people I enjoy, eating whatever the hell we want. Bring your favorite dish to share! Or, let’s order pizza! Bring your favorite beer! Let’s watch our favorite movies!

Not sure those are all technically “traits” but it’ll have to do. I have a train to catch!


30-Day Writing Challenge: Day 24

Prompt: Something you miss.

There are lots of things I miss: summer, aspects of my childhood, the way the cut grass smelled on the back school playground. But most of all, I miss my grandfather. Here we are when I was tiny. He is probably telling me a joke or naming all the plants outside or poking fun at someone walking by. He always had that mischievous look on his face.


He was my Groucho Marks. Funny, silly, stubborn, multi-talented. He retired early from the National Weather Bureau in DC and threw himself into retirement with gusto. He had a love for Japanese culture, “adopted” a Japanese family, and raised bonsai trees. He loved shopping at Kmart. His kitchen cabinets were filled with cans he’d written the purchase date on so he’d know how old they were and wouldn’t accidentally die of food poisoning. I wonder if packaged food had expiration dates on them back then? Even it they did, he wrote his own dates with a black permanent marker. He loved those blue tins of Danish butter cookies. And butter pecan ice cream. And soft serve ice cream after a McDonald’s breakfast. He was a lifetime member of the Smithsonian with an underground parking space (which seemed much more exclusive when I was a kid that it really was). He was Jewish but an agnostic Jew who loved Christmas. He sent Christmas cards every year to a long list of people and would keep a tally of who sent him one in return. If they didn’t, he’d cross them off his list for next year. This list was kept on his refrigerator next to the very long list of magazines he subscribed to. I mean, 30 or 40 subscriptions.

He doted on me and my sister and would sing us songs while strumming his mandolin. Sometimes he’d do a little dance. His house was covered in dust – he was too busy and too much of an old fashioned bachelor (despite having been married to my grandmother for roughly 20 years before she died in 1974) to clean house – but it was filled with interesting and exotic things. Reproduction tribal African masks, glass paper weights, one of those glass birds that bob down into a cup of water, a greenhouse filled with plants like a jungle attached to the enclosed porch next to the kitchen, an old wooden coffee grinder, my grandmother’s glass eye (which I wasn’t supposed to find; I was a super nosy child).

I think about him every day. He would have adored my children. He and Red are so similar and they would have been thick as thieves. He died on 11/11/85 at 64 years old. Way, way too young. I miss his stories of growing up in New York City, the son of a jeweler who supposedly left Russia around the time of the Russian Revolution (I don’t know if this is accurate but it’s what I remember being told). He died before I could ask him more, pay attention to what he did tell me, write it all down. One day I’ll do some research and see if I can discover more.

I wish he was here today. He loved Thanksgiving and insisted we save him the legs. He was a dark meat fan. The holiday isn’t the same without him.