Change

via Daily Prompt: Savor

Life is full of changes. My job was recently complicated when one of my leads resigned to take another position. A new team was put in place and I found myself in the position of being one of the most seasoned members on that project. Now, I’m perfectly capable of leading. I’m even kind of good at it, but I still don’t always look for excuses to lead. I love mentoring, but being the leader is a different ball of wax. Being the leader requires more commitment, more stress and frankly, less freedom; and if I’m going to be perfectly honest about myself, freedom is one of my favorite things in the whole world. So it’s a struggle. As per my normal reaction, I’m trying to find a happy balance with the situation.

In addition, my baby sister has decided to move to California which is literally on the other side of the country. I’ve been scrambling to get some time with her before she goes; and I’m already thinking ahead to my first visit, which has been difficult to pull together due to conflicting timelines.

Last night, our large family came together and we took her to dinner. There were seven small children total in our group so I imagine the restaurant is still nursing the wounds of that trauma 🙂 (Needless to say, we tipped our waitress very well). Afterwards, my sister and I stood outside of the restaurant and talked to one of my brothers and his family for about 45 minutes then she and I went for a drink with a couple of her friends.

As we stood outside of the restaurant, I looked up to see the sky in all its glory as the sun set behind the clouds. A sense of awe and freedom and gratitude washed over me as I stood under the sky and talked to my siblings in the parking lot. Afterwards, my sister and I went out and extended our visit.

Sometimes, life takes twists and turns and we don’t know where it’s taking us. I was talking to a friend a while back. She was looking to make some changes in her life and was overwhelmed by how she should do it.

“I have a tendency to get bogged down with the big picture,” I said.

“Me, too!” she answered.

But I think the key is to just take the next step. We can be aware of the big picture, but most of the time, we won’t be able to just jump to the end. We just have to take the next step and savor the good times along the way. Make the most of a visit when the opportunity presents itself and always glance up to see the sunset.

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The Most Interesting Cat in the World

I’ve been craving new excursions lately in the way of exploring or hiking, however, life has been crazy busy.  The struggle to find time is real, my friends. But excursions are coming because I need them! In the meantime, let me attempt to entertain you with another Caturday Haiku in honor of Sir Poe Cat, who turned 5 yesterday; my favorite football team, the Carolina Panthers; and The Most Interesting Man in the World (the first one, not the new one, who-no offense to the new guy-can never be replaced).

I don’t always act

like a big cat but when I

do, it’s a Panther

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If you want some giggles, click on this link for some of the best quotes from the Most Interesting Man in the World.

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And finally, it’s July in NC and hot as blazes. Stay hydrated and Keep Pounding, my friends!

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Beach bunny

Little beach bunny

steals attention as we stroll

towards the water

 

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This little fellow lives behind some condos at my favorite access point to the beach. He’s obviously being fed and cared for. He doesn’t seem fearful as we walk by on our way to the beach. I’ve seen him several times now and always look for him on my way to the ocean.

 

 

3pm

After writing a haiku yesterday about the first long “summer” weekend of the year, I felt that I had to write another one today about the true meaning of Memorial Day. The photo was taken from the Arlington Cemetery website:

Memorial Day

Moment of silence honors

Those who fell before

 

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Guilty pleasures

via Daily Prompt: Notorious

When I was a teenage girl, I was a Durrannee. My bedroom walls were lined with pictures of Duran Duran, in particular the lead singer, Simon LeBon, who wrote poetry like me. My mother used to say she could never sleep in my room with all of those men looking down at her.  I was 11-years-old in 1981 when MTV was launched and was a full-fledged fan of both Duran Duran and MTV by 1983 when I was 13 and the videos for Hungry Like the Wolf and Rio were being played hourly. I did not have MTV at my house but my friend, Mary, did. I stayed many weekends at her house where we spent hours watching videos by Duran Duran, Spandeau Ballet, The Police, the Eurythmics and more.

 

The 80’s were a unique time. It was a “Romantic” era for pop music when male singers wore pretty clothes and makeup. It was a dream for Mary and I. We could indulge in typical teenage crushes but also admire the makeup and outfits of the artists we were crushing on. When British New Wave hit America, I remembered thinking THIS is the music I’ve been waiting for all my life (you know, all 13 years of it). It was my music.

 

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In April this past year Duran Duran played, for the first time, in my hometown. Mary sent me the link with the announcement and a comment stating, This is thirty years too late for me. I decided it wasn’t too late for me. I thought about what my teenage self would think if she knew I had had the opportunity to see Duran Duran play, and I came to the conclusion that she would never forgive me if I didn’t go.

I easily found another friend, Sandy, to go to the concert with me. We purchased our tickets and I promptly ordered a tee-shirt that said “Hungry like the Wolf” on the front. The day of the show I donned my t-shirt and we arrived shortly after the gates opened to secure a spot front and center. When it was all said and done we would stand in that spot for about five hours. Over one hour waiting for the opening act, another hour waiting for Duran Duran then the actual show.  We made friends with a couple of ladies standing behind us. One of them commented that I must be a true fan because of my shirt.

“I used to be,” I said, “but this is the first time I’ve ever seen them in concert”.

“Oh, I’ve seen them in concert 13 times,” she responded.

She proceeded to tell us about her adventures following Duran Duran, including the time she was traveling with her husband and saw Simon LeBon standing by a car parked in front of her hotel.

“Take my picture,” she had said to her husband, who was playing games on his phone.

Then she flew down three flights of stairs to introduce herself to Simon LeBon. Her husband, apparently, failed to take her picture because he never looked up from his game.

The other woman, a cute, dark-headed lady wearing a t-shirt with the picture of the British flag on the front, told us of how she had tried to get her daughter and husband to come to the show with her, but they had refused.

“My daughter looked at me and said ‘Who is Duran Duran?’ ”, she commented, “But I have to say it’s kind of nice to go to a show where everyone is the same age as you”.

We looked around. The audience was filled with women in their 40’s and 50’s. There was also a decent showing of middle-aged men which surprised me a little (but many of them may have been spouses) and there were some younger people sprinkled in here and there.

“Okay,” I said, looking playfully at Sandy and the ladies behind me, “We have to make a pact. When Duran Duran starts to play, people from the back are going to probably start rushing forward to get close. Can we all agree to create a little barrier in our spot so that we can keep our places? I’ve been standing here for hours and I don’t intend to lose my place.” Everyone agreed.

After the opening act, there was a delay before Duran Duran hit the stage. On several occasions, the audience mistook the testing of the lights for the arrival of the band and erupted into cheers. One time, I saw a bleached blonde person standing to the back left of the stage. I grabbed Sandy’s arm.

“It’s a Duran!” The squeal ruptured from my mouth involuntarily. Then I looked a little closer. “No,” I said, “Scratch that. I think it’s just a woman with the same haircut as Nick,” (Rhodes, the keyboard player). After a few more disappointments, I declared, “That’s it. I’m not squealing again until I definitively see a metrosexual standing on that stage!”

Shortly thereafter, just as I had predicted, a pretty, brash young woman pushed her way through the crowd to the front. She made it through because she caught everyone off guard, but a lady behind her did not. As the second woman tried to edge her way through the crowd, a blonde lady who looked like a soccer mom blocked her way.

“No,” soccer mom said in a firm mom voice, “ I can’t let you do that. These people have been standing here for hours. It’s not fair and you’ll have to find another way”.

“But…”

“I’m sorry but you will have to find another way.”

The woman trying to cut through slipped down the row and attempted to slide past a man who had seen the exchange. He, too, blocked her way. Eventually, she gave up and stayed where she was.

Sandy cut her eyes at me and smiled. “You don’t mess with middle-aged women,” she said, “most of these women are moms”.

I nodded in agreement. “Yep, and mom’s know how to say no”.

Finally, the band started to play. Simon LeBon stepped on stage wearing a pair of white pants, bright green sneakers, a t-shirt and a blue-green jacket. He was cocky but fun. He strutted and they played all the greats, including “Planet Earth” and “Notorious”, as well as some new songs. I’m not going to lie, I thought it was a good show. After the initial squeal, I didn’t really feel any of the pangs of my old crushes. Thank goodness, ha ha!  I guess that one squeal had just been pent up for so many years that it had to come out. But I found that I do still like the music. I like the new stuff. I’m not as enamored with their love of supermodels, it seems a bit shallow, but the music is fun and I like dancing to it. I guess in some ways, I’m still a Durannee. I wonder if I will go to see them again…when I am in my 50’s and they are in their 60’s or I’m in 60’s and they are in their 70’s. Maybe. I guess we’ll see.

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We did our jobs as fans and screamed, danced and sang our way through the show. It closed with “Rio”. Gratuitous beach balls were cast into the audience and we popped them around instinctively. When it was over, Sandy and I said goodbye to our new friends and walked to our cars, hoarse but gushing about how it was a great show and so worth the time and money.

 

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“I think my feet are a still a little asleep, though” Sandy said. “We stood a LONG time.”

“Yeah,” I agreed, “My dogs are barking, too…but I would do it all over again”.

Good times. 

 

 

Better

This week for the first time, I met my new children’s lit critique group. I submitted two pieces for review: a nursery rhyme about a little girl trying to find a matching pair of shoes and a short story about two cats learning to live with one another. My group loved the nursery rhyme but schooled me on stress syllables. They ripped apart the story of the cats but they liked the theme of the story. I came away with hyperlinks to stress syllables, two book suggestions and a reminder of how far I have to go before I craft my stories into the best stories that they can be. My response? I’ve purchased one of the books on Amazon, I’m reading up on the subjects of stress and meter and I’m planning revisions to my stories. In the end, both the stories and I will be better for it.  

So much of our lives, in every area, are spent growing whether we want to grow or not. At work, computer systems are constantly being upgraded and new people always need to be mentored. Once you reach a level where you can mentor someone else, watch out, because that means you qualify for more responsibility. With additional responsibility comes additional correction which is stressful (not to use that word again), but without the correction we cannot get better. I’m learning to think of getting better as growth instead of a sign that I’m not good enough, and I’m learning that no matter how much I grow, there will always be hard work to do.

This morning, I was lazily sitting on the couch drinking my coffee when I heard a vehicle pull into my drive. I looked out the window and it was my father. I wasn’t surprised. On springtime mornings, he frequently arrives unannounced with his pickup truck, trimmers and weedeater in the back, to offer assistance in my yard. I pulled on a robe and walked outside, cup in hand, and smiled.

“I guess this means I have to get dressed,” I said.

We spent a couple of hours working in the yard. I rode my  lawn mower, and he did the weeding and trimming. At lunch, I got us a chicken salad from Zaxby’s, and we sat on the back porch and ate together. The time he spends working in my yard is for both our benefits. I need the help in the yard and he knows it, but it’s also something that we do together. And there is reward in the end. The yard cleans up nice and visually rewards us for our efforts. As for us, well, we are better for it, too.