#weekendcoffeeshare: Misstepping on the Balance Beam

#weekendcoffeeshare: Quirks
Image provided by Dave White
https://www.flickr.com/photos/mrdestructicity/

Diana at Part Time Monster hosts a weekly link-up, where you can submit a link to your post and browse everything else that’s been submitted, or you can use the #weekendcoffeeshare hashtag on Twitter or Facebook.

If we were to have coffee, I’d want it to be at a quaint coffee shop. It would be one of those places off the main drag that probably only has about ten to fifteen tables scattered around within its four walls.

(Your dialogue is in purple. My dialogue is in green.)

§

Well… you’re here already? Did you order coffee yet?

I sit across from you at the smaller table set next to the picture window looking out onto the deserted street.

I just ordered. How did your week go?

Same as usual, unfortunately. Did you read that article about balancing your life?

The waitress, the same one as last week’s, places the mugs of coffee in front of us along with a plate of Texas Toast.

No rolls this week?

No, the shipment is late again.

This will do fine. Do you have honey?

She nods and trots off towards the kitchen door.

What did you ask?

You pour sugar into your coffee and stir as I add some Amaretto creamer to my coffee.

What did you think of that article on balancing your life?

Who has time to balance? I’m lucky if I make it through the day without having to juggle more than ten things on my to-do list.

#weekendcoffeeshare: Misstepping on the Balance Beam
Image provided by AJ Cann
https://www.flickr.com/photos/ajc1/

Balance is important. There’s three major parts to a person’s life: work life, leisure life, and intimate life. If you’re satisfied with all three, you’re lucky. If you’re satisfied with two, you’re doing okay. If you’re only happy with one, you need to work on at least one that you’re not happy with. And if all three are a bust, you need some serious changes in your life.

One of your eyebrows peaks up as you give me a scrutinizing glare. I raise both eyebrows and sip my coffee. The honey has appeared without me realizing the waitress has come by. I squirt some of the golden syrup on a piece of toast and spread it with the bottom of my spoon.

And you believe this garbage you’re reading? I’m missing the leisure part completely unless you call this little time we have each week leisure.

I call it leisure. I have too much leisure and not enough of the other two. And the info isn’t just from the article. They use this formula at all the military bases and ports for their active-duty members.

You take a bite of the toast you had just grabbed and chomp on it with a far away look in your eyes. Placing it with the bite out of it onto a napkin, your gaze turns into a piercing stare at me.

I thought your marriage was solid. Now for the working part, you do write. Or is that a hobby?

Talking about my love life is a little embarrassing for me. I don’t talk about romance with anyone except my husband. Yet, I’m the one who’s brought up the subject. Hopefully not much will be said about this third part of the equation. Does this make me a prude? Most definitely, but at my age, I doubt I’m going to change. I sidestep.

The writing is both. The thing is, I don’t consider it work–yet. Until I’m published again, in my mind it’s a hobby even though I work at it every day.

Maybe it’s a case of you being that satisfied with that part of your life.

When I bite into the toast, the honey explodes with sweetness in my mouth. I close my eyes as I savor the toasted bread and the syrupy sugariness.

I do love writing. It isn’t the same as when I had that job at the hospital but, in its own way, it is gratifying.

So what’s wrong with your marriage?

I breathe deep. I was hoping to jump past this.

Nothing. We just need a vacation from our daily rituals. Is this the extent of your leisure time in life?

Please, enough about intimacy.

Both of us have finished our coffee. We hold our mugs in the air simultaneously and grin at each other. The waitress is with another customer, but takes the time to nod our way. We place our mugs at the end of the table so she can scoop them up for a refill. Before taking another bite of my toast, I look at you expectantly.

Okay, I do have some leisure time, but as far as it being enjoyable, these trips for coffee are it. TV bores the hell out of me usually. Until my son fixes my bike, I’m not in any of the cycling events. Don’t you dare try to include me in your nature walks either.

I shrug my shoulders.

Don’t you do anything with the kids?

Sure, the bikes. They’re teenagers. Everything else for them is teenagers only.

The waitress comes back with our refills.

The toast is a poor substitute, isn’t it. Sorry.

It’s fine. Don’t worry. It’s not your fault the truck is late.

A customer is at the register so she leaves the conversation abruptly where it is.

Big question. Are you dating anyone?

You look down into the coffee in your mug. I feel bad, but at the same time I think this conversation might be good for you.

With summer just around the corner, I’m not thinking about anything romantic. Maybe once we get into the summer routine.

Okay.

I want to play matchmaker but I also know that it usually turns out terrible. Maybe I should be talking to one of your kids about this instead of you. We finish our toast in silence, peering out the window at the barren landscape of the southwestern town.

Are you good for next week?

Yeh, I should be. If you get your bike fixed though, we can change times.

It should be fine. Even if I ride, it won’t be until the early afternoon.

Finishing our drinks, I pick up the check. It’s my turn after all.

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  1. Posts should be framed as a chat over coffee or some other beverage.
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If we could learn how to balance rest against effort, calmness against strain, quiet against turmoil, we would assure ourselves of joy in living and psychological health for life. – Josephine Rathbone

Knowing Stranger – part two

When I wrote Knowing Stranger, I hadn’t imagined any sequels, but there were a few readers who wanted it. So here is part two. I hope you enjoy the read.

Knowing Stranger - part two
Image provided by
zoetnet @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/zoetnet/

Janice’s thoughts weaved in and out of the ruminates of the previous night as she hoed her garden in preparation for the flowers she planned to put in once May hit the calendar. She had a good time at the party — to her surprise. It was fun to mingle again. Did Willa know that Neil and her had a past? She doubted it, but then again, maybe that’s how he got invited. Whatever the case, they hadn’t been serious those many years ago. In fact, they had been more of good friends with kissing privileges. It never had gone any further than that.

Neil had told her about his failed marriage and the twin girls he shared custody of with his ex-wife. Children hadn’t come into her own marriage. Her ability to have children was quashed by abnormalities with her reproductive organs. Adoption had been discussed, but somehow never became a reality.

Now thinking about Neil, she wondered why it hadn’t gone any further. She knew that she wasn’t thinking about romance at the time. She just wanted to finish college. She didn’t have a clue as to how Neil felt at the time though. She had assumed his focus was the same as hers.

Picking up her tools to take back to the shed, she heard her phone ringing. She dropped her tools to run for the phone laying on the table under the canvas cover that shaded the patio. “Hello,” she said with lost breath.

“What are you doing, running a marathon?” She could almost hear the smile in Neil’s voice.

“Did Willa give you my number?”

“Yeah, that’s okay, isn’t it?”

“Sure,” she answered, realizing the sharpness in her voice. “I’m just surprised to hear your voice, Neil. To answer your question, I was running to catch this phone call. I was in the yard tilling soil.”

“I’m going to be in town for a few more days. I was wondering if I could con you into dinner on Tuesday.”

“Yeah, that would be nice. Fancy or casual?

“Casual. I haven’t changed all that much, Janice. I still prefer jeans and a t-shirt. How does 6:30 sound?”

“Will do. I’ll be ready with a scrunchy in my hair,” she said.

Both laughed as they remembered an incident in their connected past.

During the following two days, Neil and Janice, separately, had bouts with reminiscing. The two years of college they had spent bumming around together had given them the release they needed from their studies. During those hours, each could forget the pressure put on them by studies, family and themselves. They were brief interludes of feeling carefree. When it was time to say good-bye, neither one had tears for the other one. Their departure scene at the airport was brief; one getting on one plane and the other heading for the ticket counter of another. There weren’t any promises of keeping in touch.

Janice wondered if Neil had had more serious feelings for her in college but didn’t want to appear that romantic. And what if he wanted to pursue her now with those intentions? She hoped not.

I’m hoping the end of this one will be next Friday. It’s not that I don’t like doing these sort of stories. It’s the fact that they’re cutting into time I’d like to be spending on my writing project. I’m not very good at multitasking.

 

# Life Makeover – Time Management

# Life Makeover - Time Management
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Tacticus @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/the_other_tac/

When I read Suzanne’s post for the 52-week project last Thursday, I was skeptical on what I could do for my own time management. I wrote a comment to her post somewhat to the effect of, “Time is what I have an abundance of. Enough so that if I fool around for half the day, I still have plenty of time to get things done.”

Then I thought a little harder on it this weekend. There is more that I can do with my time — even despite the limitations of mobility I have.

During most of the time that I’ve been married to Hubby (24+ years), I’ve left his stuff alone, at least for the most part. But also, all during this time, this has been one of the sore spots in our relationship. Mind you, we don’t fight very often. Neither of us get any kick out of that sort of thing. Still, there are times when I’m biting my tongue so I won’t say something about where he puts and leaves his stuff.

Today, while I was reading blog post, it hit me. If we haven’t actually fought about this subject, if handled right, we never will fight about it. I can do something about his stuff and not leave it up to him to do it. After all, I’m a stay-at-home wife with kids grown and on their own. I have the time to do this. It’ll be my distraction from my writing project when I’m feeling frustrated. Physical work, no matter how small is good for getting cobwebs out of the brain.

What’s more, by doing this chore, I’ll like my home better. This may spark some creativity in my old rusty noggin. I know that some writers can work in a mess, in fact may even work better. Unfortunately, I’m not one of those. I’m happier all the way around being a neat freak.

So this week’s assignment for me will be to get into the routine of getting into Hubby’s stuff and organizing it. 😛

Personal Obstinacies

Personal Obstinacies
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soyculto @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/bodavickyseba/

Some say I’m just plain crazy and leave it at that. The reasons I give for some of the things I do and some of the things I feel I need sound silly, ludicrous and even insane to most. They say I’m being stubborn or unreasonable.

Yet, I persist. I feel that I need some things a certain way in order to do them, have them make sense to me, or for the circumstances to turn out right.

Some are habits I refuse to give up. Some are the order in which I do some things. Some are actually superstitions that, in most cases, have been proven to be true.

I know. You think I’m out of my mind. You think that maybe you should consider distancing yourself from me a little more.

I’m asking you to put off your judgment of me. After all, you may have some obstinacies of your own that you harbor and they’re just different from mine.

Obstinacy #1

I must prepare my first cup, well… really a giant mug of coffee in the morning.

I want my coffee a certain way and if it isn’t that way first thing in the morning, chances are I’m a Grinch for the rest of the day. After that first cup (mug), I mellow out. If someone else fixes my coffee and it’s off a little or a lot, I can live with it.

Obstinacy #2

I must brush my teeth before taking my shower in the morning and have it be the very last thing I do before going to bed at night.

This one is because I have what is called Short-Term Memory Loss. If I don’t brush my teeth at these times, there’s an excellent chance that I’ll forget to do it all together. You may think the one at night isn’t as important but, truly, it is. If I forget at night, the likelihood of me forgetting in the morning rises considerably.

Obstinacy #3

I must put on my socks and shoes last when getting dressed.

I think with most people shoes go on last. After all, if you’re not leaving the house or apartment, you may not even put on your shoes and instead, run around in your stocking feet. With me, if it isn’t shoes, it’s slippers with soles that aren’t slippery on tile, lament, or hardwood. This is just because my balance is wobbly at times. Putting on the socks next to last is because I end up feeling I didn’t do something right for the entire day if I don’t do it in this order.

Obstinacy #4

I drink whatever beverage I have after eating, not before.

Of course, this means I do not eat breakfast seeing that I need that first cup (mug) of coffee in the morning. I just prefer my beverage at the end of the meal. It doesn’t taste as good to me when I interchange it with food.

Obstinacy #5

Right after using scissors, book of stamps, wrapping paper, etc., they must be put back where they were.

This is one I have a hard time getting Hubby to do, and it drives me bonkers sometimes. The reason is, again, because of the Short-Term Memory Loss thing. I’ll never find those things unless they are put back where they belong and right away, not later. Yes, it’s a pain in the butt. No doubt about that.

Obstinacy #6

I will not talk about good things of the future.

This is a full-blown superstition. Anything I’ll working on that I’m hoping will be a good thing in the future I will not discuss with anyone. I didn’t talk about the townhouse I was buying until the papers were signed and I had the key in my hand. I said nothing, zilch, zero about how I felt while dating my husband even though, secretly I knew I loved him. It was when he asked me to marry him that I felt it was all right to talk about how I felt.

The only thing I haven’t been faithful about with this superstition is writing. Many of you know that I’m trying to get through a writing project that I’m hoping will be a novel in the future. However, I am just on the first draft. Chances are this will be the only draft you will know about until, if ever, the novel is published. (There are three who are exceptions of course because I need beta readers and one is a writing buddy too.)

There are probably more obstinacies that can be added to this list but these are the ones I’m most insistent upon.

 

Do you have any obstinacies or obsessions like these? I’d love to know if you’re willing to tell.

My Heart Is At Work

This is the second lesson in the email course, Inner Journey by Writing Bliss. If you missed my first post for this course, you can read it here.

This assignment, My Heart Is At Work, explores emotions through writing.

“When tears come, I breathe deeply and rest. I know I am swimming in a hallowed stream where many have gone before. I am not alone, crazy, or having a nervous breakdown…My heart is at work. My soul is awake.” — Mary Margaret Funk, Author of Thoughts Matter

As it was with the first lesson, I had my choice of which of five questions to answer.

 

What is the greatest intangible gift given you?

Until I was an adult, even after my son was born, I could not wrap myself around the thought of unequivocal love. My parents told me that they loved me of course, but I lived under the impression that I had to behave in a certain way to get that love. Mind you, I wasn’t getting this notion from my parents per se. What happened was that I would see their frowns when I’d do something I shouldn’t, and interpreted it as ‘They don’t love me now.’

As I grew up, I began to understand that their disappointment didn’t last forever, yet I still, somehow, felt that all love is conditional. I felt this in my first marriage too. Oddly enough, it wasn’t this feeling that broke up our marriage. (I’m still not sure if I’ll ever tell that story.)

During most of the time that my son was growing up, I worried about if he loved me or not. As before, it wasn’t anything that I was actually seeing in him. It was my own interpretation of what love is that was hanging me up.

When I married for the second time to the man that I call ‘Hubby’ here in my blog, I knew what I felt was love. At first, I wasn’t all that sure about him loving me because of this burden I had been carrying around with me for what seemed like forever.

Late one afternoon, I felt that I was losing it. I felt that I was going to explode if I didn’t find a way to release the tension in me. Hubby was already home from work, sitting in the living room watching TV with his daughter and my son. I stood at the west end of the living room close to the kitchen and announced that I had to leave. I said nothing about coming back or where I was going. I got into my car and drove until twilight hit. I sat there in the car that I had driven out of the city to heaven knows where. The tension had finally diminished.

By the time I got home, it was pitch black out. Hubby met me at the back door. He took me into his arms and asked me if I was all right now. My answer was yes of course, but I also added at question. ‘Do you still love me?’ His answer – ‘Of course I do.’ And he hugged me tighter.

To tell you the truth, no one had ever answered that way before. Everyone else would say something like ‘Don’t be silly.’, ‘What do you think?’ and other such lines.

I, now, know that I am unequivocally loved.