Not Quite Me

Writing 101: Serially Found

Earlier in the course, you wrote about losing something. Today, write about finding something. For your twist, view day four’s post and today’s post as installments in a series.

This is the second part in a three installment series.  The first installment was The Serial Killer.

For several weeks before I found out, I had been complaining how unusually tired I was; exhausted really.

“I don’t feel sick,” I remember saying to Sam, one of my girlfriends, on the phone as I sat on the carpeted step outside of my bedroom.  “I don’t know how to explain it, I just don’t feel like myself.”

“It seems like you’ve been tired ever since your father died,” she offered.

For a moment, I thought maybe Sam is right.  My father’s sudden death did take a toll on me.  It took me almost two weeks to return to my office and several months to resume my normal schedule.  My body and my soul were in mourning.

“No, it has been five years.  This is different.  I’m sneaking into the ladies room at work to take power naps during the day.  I come home and I’m tired and I’m hungry.  When I start to eat, I’m not that hungry; I’m more tired so I just go to bed early.”

“You need to make an appointment with your doctor,” Sam chided.

“You’re right.  It’s not that I’m sick, at least I don’t think I’m sick.  I feel like me, but just not quite me.”

“Maybe you’re not quite you, you are quite you pregnant!”

“That’s crazy.  We just got back together.  If, I’m still feeling off in a few days I’ll call my doctor.”

I was still sitting on the step when your Dad walked in the house.  When I got up to kiss him, I immediately felt woozy.  Not the you swept me off my feet woozy, the I’m about to do a face plant kind of woozy.

That was it.  I had to go to the doctors immediately.  I told him what Sam had said and we started talking about the possibility of you. We were cautiously optimistic both thinking it was more likely that I was experiencing some sort of blood sugar imbalance than that I was pregnant.

The next day my primary care doctor confirmed Sam’s suspicion.  That is how we found out, baby girl that we were going to be a family, a forever family.

All in for Nan

At twelve, Kat lived in the same 1960s style three bedroom ranch house her parents built when she was three years old.

It sat on a plot of land originally owned by her mother’s grandparents. Kat’s great grandparents were Italian immigrants, who on weekends escaped the neighboring city and its shoe mills to work a piece of land in what they referred to as the country.  They grew vegetables and raised chickens.  They made wine out of the grapes on the vines still growing alongside of the barn.

It was the second to the last house on the right. A big old oak tree grew proudly at the front of the house while weeping willows offered shade from the sun and heat in the backyard. If it had been built another quarter mile through the woods, Kat would have lived in New Hampshire. Or Cow Hampshire as she often times heard people refer to the state to the north. Instead the dark brown ranch, adorned with matching colored planters made from old tires filled with brightly colored tulips, was located on a dead end street in the City Known as the Town of Methuen.

Not knowing that her hometown’s moniker had to do with its form of government, Kat snickered when she heard people say, “The City Known as the Town.”

“Being called the City Known as the Town is just plain silly,” she would proclaim. Adding, “You can’t be a city and a town.”

In the twelfth year of her life, the town trucks covered the dirt road she lived on with shiny black asphalt. She no longer lost her rubber boots in the spring mud as she raced home from school. Along with the dirt, the trucks covered at least one pair of boots Kat had lost the prior year. It was the first of many changes to occur on Quincy Street that year.

Continue reading


Friday again?  The week truly flew by.

E.P. Matthews a white splat in a multi-splattered world

First up in my blog shouts for the week is E.P. Matthews a white splat in a multi-splattered world.  I discovered E.P. in my reader under Racism in America.  She writes from the perspective of  “the white, middle aged, suburban mom in the mirror.”

Her post Picking a Caucasian Baseball Cap was witty and entertaining while at the same time thought provoking. It made me think back to travelling to Cairo as part of a college group nearly 25 years ago and choosing to present myself as the understanding American by observing Ramadan with the locals.  It wasn’t a choice everyone in my group made, but I think those of us who did observe enjoyed a richer experience for it.

With only a few posts on her site, I am left yearning for more.

Adoption =

Casey Alexander, the author of Adoption =, and I discovered each other in The Commons for Writing 101 and Blogging 101.  She asked a formatting question, I actually knew the answer to (how to set up archive pages) and then Casey discovered we both have a connection to Trinidad.  She writes about her Trini connection here and I reference a former Trini boyfriend in one of my posts.  Her description of her visit to Trinidad and the food left me craving Trini food.  When I commented that I didn’t know how to cook Trini food (always ate the ex’s mother’s food or went to local restaurants in my old neighborhood), Casey immediately shared instructions for making curry potatoes with me.   When I finally get around to cooking curry potatoes, I will definitely post about it under Saturday Suppers on my blog.

The tagline for Adoption = pretty much sums up what the blog is about:  Let’s be honest. Adoption isn’t easy, pretty, or fun. Except when it is.  Casey writes about her family’s experiences through the adoption process and raising two adopted children.  Although this is an experience Casey and I do not share, her sense of humor in telling her story for the benefit of other adoptive and potential adoptive parents keeps me coming back for more.

Mellow and the Wilding

Mellow and the Wilding is written by Melinda, a part-time attorney, part-time stay at home Mom.  Her blog features entertaining stories about her two daughters Mellow and Wilding.  In the first assignment for Blogging 101, Melinda introduces her readers to her blog.  All names are changed to protect the innocent and at times not so innocent.  Her daughters are appropriately nicknamed as you will discover by reading her blog.  Read today’s post to find out more about Wilding on her fourth birthday as Melinda reflects back on Wilding’s birth.

Hope you check out the blogs I mentioned in today’s #FF post.  I’m heading over to Grasshopper Girls who is joining me in writing #FollowFriday posts to see which blogs she discovered this week.

Until next Friday.

Writing 101: Be Brief

Writing 101: Be Brief

You discover a letter on a path that affects you deeply. Today, write about this encounter. And your twist? Be as succinct as possible.

You stumble upon a random letter on the path. You read it. It affects you deeply, and you wish it could be returned to the person to which it’s addressed. Write a story about this encounter.

Today’s twist: Approach this post in as few words as possible.

Quickly, I snuck up the attic stairs while my grandparents were sleeping. The two-family with a dutch flat that my grandparents never finished was eerily quiet in the early morning.  As I reached the top step, the cigar box that contained what remained of my Uncle Romeo’s life came into view.  It is what had me out of my bed so early on a Saturday morning skulking around the attic.

For all my 13 years, Uncle Romeo, my grandmother’s brother, had lived with my great grandparents. First, he was a sad broken figure of a man sitting in a wooden chair peering out a single kitchen window in the kitchen of my great grandmother’s home in a third floor walk up. Day after day he sat and surveyed the people on the busy street below.  He rarely spoke; uttering a soft-spoken word or two here and there and then mostly in Italian while all around him the hustle and bustle of our large and boisterous Italian extended family took place.

Why Uncle Romeo sat in silence was always shrouded in mystery and secrecy. Cloaked in sadness, he appeared to be searching for something through his window.  I asked my mother once why he just sat there.  She said something about the war and being shell shocked and a woman named Graziella but I should never speak of either.

When my great grandparents began to get feeble the three of them moved away from Uncle Romeo’s window to a nursing home. Suddenly the chair by the kitchen window he had silently occupied for several decades was replaced by a blue cushioned chair in a room in a nursing home without a window.

I opened the cigar box and a piece of worn stationery peeked out from underneath Uncle Romeo’s scant belongings; a pocket comb, a worn photograph, a ball of string, a Swiss army knife and an old savings account passbook.

I turned my flashlight toward the paper so I could read the words:

Dear Romeo,

Words escape me. But, I must tell you.

I enjoyed our time together and care about you deeply. But, I am no longer in love with you.

When you left to fight on the European Front your absence was too difficult for me. I felt so alone and miserable.  Pasquale was there to help me.  I am sorry, neither of us meant for this to happen.  As we spent more time together, Pasquale and I fell in love.   We are getting married on the second Sunday in May.

I hope, we both hope you can forgive us,


In 100 words she shattered Uncle Romeo’s heart. Convinced Graziella would return to him, he spent a lifetime looking for her to walk up the busy sidewalk outside my great grandmother’s kitchen and return to him.  Until, he moved to a chair without a view.

Working Through The Pain with Chocolate and Chardonnay

Writing 101: Serially Lost

For today’s Writing 101 assignment I am re-blogging my original post from the June session of Writing 101. In June, I did not write the second or third post in the series. Couldn’t figure out a way to make it work; will try again this time around.

from the sticks to the bricks and back again

Sitting in the cold sterile hospital room waiting for my doctor to come speak to me, I remember the night you were conceived.  Your father and I had recently reconciled.

Your grandfather had passed away suddenly of a massive heart attack four months earlier.  The night before Papa’s funeral, your Dad, who has never handled stress or loss very well, announced he was leaving me after the funeral.   The sudden death of his Dad was telling him that there was something wrong with his life and we weren’t meant to be together.

Don’t try to make sense of that.  I lived through it and I don’t  completely understand his thought process.  At this point, four years into our relationship, I knew that when your Dad was upset the best thing I could do was assure him that I was there if he needed me and give him space.  Hovering and…

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Blogging 101: Say “Hi!” to the Neighbors

Blogging 101: Say “Hi!” to the Neighbors

Today’s assignment: follow five new topics in the Reader and five new blogs. A blog is just a diary unless there’s a community — start building yours.

Blogging is a communal experience; if you didn’t want anyone to read your posts, you’d keep a private diary. Today, begin engaging with the blogging community, the first step in building an audience.

When I saw the assignment for today, the lyrics to Mr. Rogers’ Won’t You Be My Neighbor popped into my head.  Crazy I know, but periodically throughout the day I have heard echoing in my head as I thought about this assignment:

It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood, A beautiful day for a neighbor. Would you be mine? Could you be mine?…

Managing to put Mr. Rogers and his neighborhood out of my mind, I thought it would take me 30 minutes, maximum. I already make it a habit of reading, commenting and following other blogs. In reality it took me hours.  I got lost in reading the posts of my fellow bloggers.

I learned how to use the reader properly. As much as a geek I am, I still surprise myself when I am technologically challenged from time to time.  When I first opened my WordPress account I selected two tags in my reader – Family and Red Sox, and never gave it much thought when I scrolled my reader.  As I was adding tags, I learned that the reader filters by tags and does not display all the posts together.  I have to click on the drop down box and my feed on my reader changes by topic/tag.  Who knew?  Apparently not me.  It sounds very silly; hopefully I am not the only who ever made that mistake.  I am usually pretty tech savvy; I am chalking this up to a brain freeze or a blonde moment.

I reviewed my tag cloud on from the sticks to the bricks and back again and added the followings topics to my reader:  Racism in America, Writing 101, Loss, Procrastination, and Blogging 101.  I also added Baseball (there were no posts tagged baseball which seemed wrong to me) and Softball (there were only two posts).

I decided to add my own twist in that I would follow one blog from each of the five topics I followed today. I connected with each of these bloggers on some level, sense of humor, similar interests or the like.  The blogs I followed today are:

Blogging 101 – I enjoyed the sense of humor in Running Away to Booktopia, that we both like The Walking Dead and she had my interest when she stated in her first assignment:  “My middle daughter was 3 years old before I finally finished the blanket I had started when I was 4 months pregnant with her.” Tugs at the strings of my procrastinating heart.

Loss – I was touched by the beauty and power of the words used by I Had It Here A Minute Ago in the post about her mother’s death.  I could visualize her mother’s last ride.

Procrastination – Reading A Scheltered Life, I immediately appreciated her sense of humor and loved her post Procrastination.  Guilty as charged, I can relate.

Racism in America – I found 20/20 Hines Sight to be totally candid and honest.  She calls for a much needed discussion of racism in America and starts one on her blog.  I am thrilled I found her blog and look forward to reading more.

Writing 101 – I found Grasshopper Girls to be delightful and whimsical.  I loved in her Writing 101 post on three songs she included  Disney’s Frozen on her list and not just because she’s the mother of two little girls.  I was impressed by her use of social media – no matter which platform you are on her brand is recognizable.  And in the true spirit of this exercise, she has already followed me back.

If you get a chance, check out my new neighbors on WordPress, their blogs are definitely worth a visit.

Grampy’s Red Sox and cheap Irish skin

To get started, let’s loosen up. Let’s unlock the mind. Today, take twenty minutes to free write. And don’t think about what you’ll write. Just write.

Keep typing (or scribbling, if you prefer to handwrite for this exercise) until your twenty minutes are up. It doesn’t matter if what you write is incomplete, or nonsense, or not worthy of the “Publish” button.

And for your first twist? Publish this stream-of-consciousness post on your blog.

Generally, I hate timed free writing assignments.  It reminds me of being back in school – not that school was bad.  It’s just I always find that timed writing prompts were painful.  Sometimes I would sit paralyzed – pen frozen in my hand.  Words unable to escape.  My face becoming first pink, then red as I was sure that everyone could see the empty page in front of me or worse yet my incomprehensible scribbling on the page in front of me.

My free writing by hand

My free writing by hand

Even when I free write in the privacy of my home, I feel vulnerable as though my other half can see what I am writing.  The color of my cheeks rises on my cheap Irish skin that I inherited from my grandfather.  Why I lament did I not get the olive toned Italian skin of my grandmother’s side of the family that my sisters are blessed with?  Instead I inherited my grandfather’s cheap Irish skin – prone to rises in color and sunburn.  Why, I didn’t inherit his metabolism – he was always able to eat anything he wanted and never gain any weight.  Unfortunately his metabolism gene skipped a generation or something like that as none of my sisters or I am blessed with his ability to eat cake and ice cream and not gain any weight.

In addition to his cheap Irish skin, I did inherit my grandfather’s deep abiding love for his Red Sox.  As a child, I did not much appreciate Grampy’s Red Sox – which had less to do with the Red Sox and more to do with the fact that when we visited Nana and Grampy’s house, Grampy controlled the TV and there were only three choices – Lawrence Welk, Candlepins for Cash, and the Red Sox. And watching baseball on TV was about as exciting as watching paint dry.

Today, however, I am part of the Fenway Faithful, a card carrying member of Red Sox Nation. Admittedly, I tend to do most of my sports following via the internet – checking on scores periodically throughout a game. As an adult, however, I have developed the ability to watch a full Red Sox game on TV and not complain; unless the Sox are losing then I will be throwing things, cursing and yelling at the TV as though the ump or my beloved Red Sox can hear me. I am not sure where or when I developed this habit of talking to the players, but, it is something I definitely do. I have had more than one conversation from the comfort of my living room with Big Papa as he is up to bat, coaching and cajoling him to hit one out of the park.