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Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Bit Squirrely

Every now and then we get writing prompt that turns into something fairly amusing as well as spawning some general light-hearted discussion.  What follows is just such a prompt and resulting extra short story.
“After a long night out, you return to your house to find that every picture and painting in your house can speak to you.  What do the characters in the artwork and photographs say?  Write a conversation between you and one of them, or a conversation between two of them, in 500 words or less.”
            “Is that what you wore?”  The high pitched scratchy voice asked from behind me as I shed my coat and purse.  I looked around and shook my head and muttered, “Wow, I really must be tired, now I’m hearing voices.”
            “I don’t like that shirt.” Once again I heard the little voice, but this time to my right.   Looking around I said, “What’s wrong with this shirt?”  I glanced down at my pink geometric print blouse as I did a slow pirouette in the middle of the room.
            “It’s not a nice color, for one thing, and what’s with the sleeves?” trying to pinpoint the speaker I answered, “I love this color and these sleeves are the latest fashion.”  As I scanned the room while defending my choice of apparel, I caught some movement in one of the pictures.  The squeaky-scratch retorted, “Well, I wouldn’t wear it, I prefer a nice gray fur when going out.  And speaking of going out, if you’re staying out this late for heaven’s sake turn the ringer off on the phone or have your calls forwarded to your cell.  That thing’s been ringing all night long!”
            I stood there staring at the picture for a minute before saying, “Well Sorry, but I never imagined you would be bothered by the noise, or by my choice of clothes.  You know, because you’re a picture—of a squirrel, and you can’t talk?!”  The clock chimed three as I turned off the light and headed to the bedroom and heard behind me, “That’s what you think!”
            I lay down on the bed with the bizarre conversation replaying itself in my head.  I jumped up and ran back out to the picture of the squirrel peeking around a tree.  As I stood there considering possible explanations, such as exhaustion, the little mouth began to move.  “Care to reconsider your previous statement?”  I wasn’t as startled as one might think at this development and calmly answered the squirrel picture, “No, you’re still a picture of a squirrel.    I’m trying to figure out how you’re talking to me.  Am I delusional? Exhausted? Drugged? Perhaps I simply have a fertile imagination unleashed by an evening spent with artists…”
            “Can’t you just accept something at face value?  I’m a talking squirrel picture, get over it.” The squeaker continued, “We could be good friends, you know.  I won’t eat anything or make a mess and I can be really good company.”  It was four o’clock and I was dead on my feet.  “All right,” I said with a shrug,” have it your way.  I’ll see you for coffee in a few hours.”  In a smug voice my new friend wished me sweet dreams and then thankfully fell silent.
            I think most of us can relate to the idea of a smart aleck squirrel.  I do have a picture of a squirrel peeking out from behind a tree propped on the book case in my dining room.  I always seem to be having interesting squirrel encounters and the ultimate was the year one took up residence in our attic, and once evicted spent about 3 months still trying to get in and giving me hateful looks when I went outside.  It also used to sit on the deck rail and look in our front door.  So, my good friend sent me the picture for Christmas one year, with a post it note saying “I’ve got my eye on you!!”  I found it amusing, and it tends to be a good conversation starter with guests. 
            I hope you’ve enjoyed this lighthearted post.  We can all use something a little bit amusing from time to time.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


While our high school robotics team was hosting a huge competition, and our girls lacrosse team was holding a fundraiser, three of our high school students traveled to Stratford, NJ for the state finals in Special Olympics Bowling.  I can assure you this was no easy feat for those three athletes, and meant as much to them as any other event meant to other students, and perhaps more.  You see, these three youths don’t get many chances to succeed, let alone excel.  The joy and pride they show when their name is called when results are announced is astounding.  As a parent, I watch with mixed emotions; a whole pot full of simmering emotional stew in fact.  While I am pleased that my daughter has come this far, I am displeased at how inconvenient the weekend has been.  I am glad that she has had this opportunity, but sad that she has so few opportunities to participate in activities in which she is not simply a spectator.  It will be nearly another year before she has the chance to participate again, and while I am somewhat relieved by not having my Saturday mornings planned in advance, I am upset for her knowing that there will long expanses of time unfilled with meaningful activity.  So it was, with all that running through my mind that we sat as a family at the most recent town council meeting. We waited through awards and acknowledgements for our police force; a citizen who had been instrumental in capturing a bank robber; and our girl’s high school track team’s winning seasons until it was Hillary’s turn.  Our mayor and town council were recognizing the achievements of Hillary and two of her classmates’ participation and success in the state level Special Olympics bowling competition.  As I wheeled Hillary up to the podium as her name was called I was able to see the faces of the others present.  What I remember is the look of astonishment and pleasure on some of those faces.  Hillary was the only one in a wheelchair, and if you have never been involved in the Special Olympics bowling, you may not know that there is a ramp bowling division.  It lasted only a few moments, but they are moments I won’t forget.  Once we were home and she was tucked into her bed, I had time to reflect upon the recognition bestowed upon my humble daughter.  I felt proud not just of her and of us for taking her to events, but of our town.  It is not perfect, but I am proud to say I live in a town where someone like Hillary is given a certificate of recognition by the mayor.  Any recognition of the difficulties she overcomes to participate and succeed are most welcomed, and restore in this mother’s heart the hope that somehow, Hillary is making a difference in our small corner of the world, and can truly feel that she is part of our town.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Fast Week

Where did last week go?  Seems like I really should have had time to write a post, but obviously I didn’t!  Time just seems to keep on going by faster and faster, and I can barely think what all I did last week besides work and keep things going around here.  I know I went to writers group on Wednesday because I did the writing exercise a half hour before I had to be at the library—and I call my daughter “Last Minute Lucy” because she tends to leave homework assignments until the last minute!  I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, as the saying goes.  Hmmm, let me think what else kept me going in circles.  I had some dental work done one day after work, (made less unpleasant by the humorous hygienist and dreamy dentist), I seem to remember a trip or two to the store on the way home from work, and some laundry being washed, dried and folded.  There was lunch out with my daughter squeezed in one day between work and Hillary’s bus.  Oh, and let’s not forget going out for an early dinner with my husband Friday.  Well, and there we are at the weekend already and Saturday went quickly because, well, for one thing every Saturday goes fast, and I began fighting vertigo so took it fairly easy, took a nap, read a book, did a few necessary things around the house, and watched some TV. Today I continued the fight with the vertigo (I seem to be winning!) and enjoyed some time outside in the strengthening April sun hanging up wind chimes and sipping hot cider on the patio with my husband and daughters.  The breeze was kind of cold, but it was just too irresistibly sunny and blue skied to stay indoors all day.  We dreamed aloud of the coming spring and summer’s activities with the sound of the wind chimes for a soundtrack while we munched on some doughnuts.  Homemade macaroni cheese and sautéed cauliflower ended our Sunday afternoon, and now it’s time to get back into the work week mindset!  As the song says, “Time keeps on slippin’ slippin’ slippin’ into the future………”

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Saturday Morning Joy Reflections

I just wanted to share quickly some of the joys I felt this past week in the midst of for whatever reason felt like the longest week ever to nearly everyone I spoke with and me.

A plate of spaghetti and salad at the end of a long day.

The laughter of family on Easter Sunday.

Yellow peeps.

Talking about mundane things such as new pillows with the lovely ladies I work with.

The news that our supervisor is doing well after treatment for a tumor and may in fact be back with us sooner than anticipated.

Lunch out with my oldest daughter.

Listening to the radio.

Reading a book without falling asleep after the first page.

Writing a letter to a dear friend and imagining her delight and surpise when it arrives.

Bright sunshine and birds singing.

Watching Miss Hillary having her senior portait taken in preparation for her final year of school beginning in September. (this will also be part of a future post on mixed feelings!)

Perusing the "dollar deal" bins at CVS and finding something I just couldn't live without.

A soothing cup of tea before bed.

A delightful cup of coffee this morning.

Have a nice weekend, and I wish you many moments of joy.