Learning to Change

thThe R on my keyboard sticks. In fact, every single time you see an R in this blog post just know that I’ve typed it in repeatedly before it showed up. I’m not quite sure when it started, but it was probably about three weeks ago. It was subtle, too, at first, so that I merely found it mildly annoying. In the beginning. Then it began truly bothering me this past week. With a vengeance.

I thought about prying the key up and trying to figure out what was happening underneath, thought about being the keyboard doctor, but I stopped myself with one very real fear: what would happen if I couldn’t get it to go back on? Then not only would I be without a perfectly working R key, but I would then have also maimed my keyboard to no avail. At least it’s not my space bar.

When it began messing up my Facebook posts and responses, that’s when I knew it was more than just an inconvenience. I mean, it’s Facebook! That’s probably an extension of my anal retentive nature, needing everything to be perfect, and being extremely disappointed when it reveals itself to be different from my ideal. It’s why I’m hardly ever satisfied, even when things go as well as they can possibly go. I’m always looking for that perfect scenario, that fluid R to complete my keyboard.

When I was young it first manifested in my bedroom while I was counting bars on my window. I would sit on my bed and stare through the glass at those thick black bars that made me feel like I was in prison. I counted them over and over again, even though they never changed. There were eight in total, and it eased my mind to have such a solid footing. I knew there were eight, and everyone else who counted would have seen eight as well. It was soothing in its way.

Continue reading “Learning to Change”

Checked Out: Week 11

thSince I started this series on my blog, it has been almost like a whole other world has opened up for me. Knowing I will be doing this every week, writing these thoughts down, has inspired me to read more than I have in a long while. In fact, in the break room at work today I was so intent on reading my newest book that it prompted one of my coworkers to say I was in the “zone.” That feels good to me, to be in that zone.

I’ll start this week’s edition with the books that I’ve Checked In this week:

  • The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt. This book started off with so much expectation, but it was an utter disappointment. It was my book club’s March book of the month, and I fought hard just to find a copy. When that finally paid off, I read the first 100 pages, and it was so difficult to slog through, the pace is so slow. I kept waiting for some genuine action, or for some connection with the protagonist, but I just didn’t get there, and there were so many other books that were worthy of my time that I did something I rarely do. I quit the book, and I don’t plan on going back to it. 771 pages is just too much to slog through.
  • Discretion, by Allison Leotta. I honestly never even got a chance to read this one, and the library came calling to have it back, so I returned it. I did, however, put it on my to-read list so I’ll get it back out again another time when I’m not deep into two other books.

And now, for the books I’ve Checked Out:

  1. Missing You, by Harlan Coben. I absolutely enjoyed the previous two books I read by Coben — Stay Close, and Six Years — so I was happy to see that his most recent one was in the small library a town over. I am currently on page 71 even though I just started yesterday and really haven’t had much time to read. That’s one thing I can count on from Coben, the fact that his books move along swiftly.
  2. U2 By U2, by Neil McCormick with U2. This book is so chock full of amazing pictures and interesting anecdotes. I just wish I didn’t have to return it to the library in three days. Time to move quickly when I really just want to savor. I’ll have to get back on the list to get the book back soon.
  3. The Spymistress, by Jennifer Chiaverini. This is from the author of the critically acclaimed Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker. I didn’t read that book, but this one actually looks interesting to me. I hadn’t even planned on picking up this book, but it called out to me like books sometimes do. It is next on my list.
  4. Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison. I have to get started on this one soon to refresh my memory. Only a month to go until the discussion group.

Oh, and our book club book of the month for April is Little Bee, by Chris Cleave. I’ve returned to picking books that aren’t brand new so everyone in the group can get their hands on a copy easily. I read this book ages ago, but it will be very good to refresh my memory by tackling it again. I highly suggest it for you and for your book group as well, should you be in one.

Until next week.


Checked Out Archive

The Absence of Her

5334011174_f6c35abafa_o-LI still think of her sometimes, even seventeen years later. She comes to me in dreams every few months, looking just as she did then, with a questioning look in her eyes, before fading away yet again. But she also slides into my thoughts in the daytime hours, while I’m doing mundane things, like driving my car or brushing my teeth. And it’s not because I miss her — I really miss the idea of her more than anything — but because we never really had closure.

There are some times in our lives when we do get closure, when a door slams shut in our faces and we know precisely why. We are forewarned by a series of events that lead up to it, and we say, “Okay, that door is going to slam soon.” We mentally prepare ourselves, as if the final event is a prolonged march to death. It’s not that we like it, but at least we know it’s coming. I was blindsided, though, by the absence of her.

It was my fault, too, why she had to distance herself so dramatically, so quickly, which is probably why it still haunts me on occasion to this day. And I wonder how badly I really hurt her. We never took that moment to talk about it, to discuss the extent of her pain, and I understand why. It just wasn’t going to be helpful to her right then, when it was as raw as an open cut.

But it wasn’t just that either. We were as close to each other as our own skin, so the tearing away was difficult for both of us, and the person we would have talked to about it was the one person we couldn’t bring ourselves to talk to. See, when I lost her I lost more than just a paramour. I also lost a best friend, and I needed to grieve the loss of that friend. At the time I never did. I kept hoping some day she would come back to me, that we would at least talk it out, but that never happened.

I still feel the absence of her, in those moments when it gets too quiet and my mind has room to breathe. But my soul has moved on to a safer place where I don’t feel as vulnerable as I probably am. I hope hers has too, that she can be at peace with the role I played in her life, for better or for worse, and that she doesn’t wrestle with those demons that can tend to slide into the grooves left behind by lost love.

And closure, were it ever so real, might still claim me as its own some day. When I’ve stopped looking for it.




I am reflected in my mother. She gave me life and a lot of my personality. She instilled in me the love of reading that has served me well all these years. She always put me ahead of herself and always gave me opportunities to be me.

I am reflected in my daughter. She loves me with an inimitable love. She enjoys my love of reading, passed down through the generations. She looks like me at certain times and in the particular way she acts. She shares my walk, and cadence of speech.

But unlike a mirror, these reflections don’t show me back to myself. They instead give me perspective of the past, the present, and the future. And of love.


That Glass Slipper

Fairy-Tale-Cinderella-1At first glance, the story of Cinderella reads like a true “happily ever after” tale about a girl who rises from oppression and the underclass to become a princess and have everything she could have ever wanted. She gets the man of her dreams, who just happens to also be a prince, and rich, and apparently extremely good looking too. What are the odds? But let’s dig a little deeper and see what we find in this tale.

First off, the one we hear Disney tell is not the original from Grimm’s Faerie Tales. Instead it has been prettied up to avoid most of the gruesome nature of that tale, and to make it more suitable as reading material for the young and young at heart. The infamous glass slipper was not in fact glass (it was golden), there was no fairy godmother (it was a pair of magical birds instead), and we get some mutilation as part of the original tale that does not factor into the Disney version.

But I think children would learn a lot more from the original tale, even if it frightens them at first. And maybe adults would learn a lot more as well.

First off, Cinderella’s mother dies, but instead of mourning she spends all of her time being kind and overly optimistic in the face of hard times and a lack of appreciation from the people who were supposed to be closest to her. Her father completely ignores her, preferring to call her the serving wench instead of his daughter, and he marries a woman who is by all accounts horrid to the girl. He much prefers his two stepdaughters, who aren’t ugly at all on the outside, but who are completely black and evil on the inside.

Which is when the real story begins, or at least when the real begging begins. Continue reading “That Glass Slipper”

Six For Saturday

six_lgToday was my sixth straight day working, and my brain is just a little fried with the lack of a break, but I have made progress with several endeavors outside of work. I also dealt with some personal issues, ate quite a bit of cheesecake, exercised a lot to work that off, and got a Facebook update on my phone. On top of that random people keep following me on Pinterest, even though I have only pinned two things to my board. Hmmmm.

Here are my Six For Saturday:

  1. Last night was the Down syndrome banquet, taking place conveniently enough on World Down Syndrome Awareness Day (3.21). The date was significant because of the other name for Down syndrome (Trisomy 21), named for the extra chromosome copy of chromosome 21. It was amazing to see so many members of the 21 Club there celebrating those close to us who have Down syndrome with a fun time.
  2. I tried reading The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt, for my book club that meets tomorrow night, but I had to stop around page 100 because of the insane excess of information in the 771-page book. It just strained my belief to think that someone 14 years later could remember the specific details that the protagonist does, and then relate them in graphic, grueling detail over the course of a couple of hours in real time, but that took over 100 pages to tell. The writing is good but tedious.
  3. My nephew is here for five days, which is always a fun time. The girls are excited to see him, and we are having a good time comparing March Madness brackets. It makes me think about when he was little and we had to explain board game rules to him, and now we are having intense discussions. It’s always interesting to think back, but he’s also looking ahead to college in the fall, and that’s just weird.
  4. Monday was St. Patrick’s Day, and I heard so many dissenting opinions about the holiday. Some people say it’s turned into a drunken bacchanal that has nothing whatsoever to do with St. Patrick or Irish history anymore, while others claim it is a good time to just wear green and celebrate that history. I didn’t drink at all on the day, and I wore my green. It doesn’t always have to be a fight.
  5. Putting puzzles together is still a whole lot of fun. I spent quite a bit of quality time with my youngest daughter putting together puzzles with her. It brought back memories of my mom taking time out of her busy schedule to put puzzles together with my sister and me. The smiles it brings to Maddie’s face, something so simple, it just warms my heart so much. I would do anything to keep seeing those smiles.
  6. We have Frozen. No, it’s not a reference to the semi-storm that hit on Thursday night, but instead it is the Disney film that everyone has been dying to see again and again. But we have never seen it. That will all change tonight, though, because it’s movie night. Homemade pizza and a great new Disney film: sounds like the recipe for a good evening staying home with the family.


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