Thanks for the Memories- SOLC #31/31 Wow!

I just had to leave this big! ¬†ūüôā

Restless night. ¬†Couldn’t sleep. ¬†Probably the best reason for ending the challenge at the beginning of the last day.

What fun it was to share this month with so many brilliant, funny, and intentional writers. ¬†I would like to think ¬†my writing has gotten better, but I’m not sure I can say that. ¬†I CAN say the hours spent engaged in this process have been well spent. ¬†I have followed through with a commitment to doing something daily, which is not my thing. ¬†There were a couple nights when I wasn’t sure I was going to make it, but I did! ¬†And I learned about so many wonderful things:

I learned about the joys of motherhood- of little ones, teenagers, and grown children

I re-learned several different poetic structures- phone number poem,  diamante, book spine (I still need to try that last one).

I enjoyed musings of marriages.

I mourned the death of a beautiful author and friend to many around the world.

I lamented the slices about school testing and rejoiced at poignant pieces of classroom successes.

I was surprised, reminded, sometimes reprimanded, and often tickled.

Thank you to all those who made this month possible.  Your service to us writers will certainly inspire many.

 

 

A Visit to Starbucks- SOLC- 30/31

I am not a frequent Starbucks patron, but I had some time to kill before an appointment.  I decided to stop and write my slice for today while I waited.

What I find fascinating about this place is not so much the sinful number of caffeine options offered.  It’s also not the way the barista can remember ridiculously complex combinations of these said caffeinated and non-caffeinated beverages.  What I love the best about my Starbucks visit is the people-watching.  Aside from the airport, I don’t often see such a variety of people and purposes.  Of course, I only imagine the details and back stories of each group, but it is so interesting just taking it all in.  Let me introduce you to a few of the bits of humanity I enjoy this late afternoon:

The group of high school boys- five of them to be exact- seated out on the patio.  Shorts-clad and sporting baseball caps, none of them speak to teach other.  In separate sections of the outdoor couch, each young man interfaces with his phone.  There might be a random comment tossed into the crowd, but no conversation ensues.  To them, it’s just enough to be together.

The older couple, enjoying water and an exotic green tea beverage.  Their ease with each other reflects years of sharing time together.  I witness their hands reach for each other under the table.  I smile.

Two middle-aged men celebrating happy hour with a berry tea.  Lots of gesticulating, lots of talking.  Maybe they’re engaged in a business discussion?  Regardless, their respect for each other is obvious by the way they interact, nodding, each waiting his turn to talk.

Of course there are young dating couples, some pretending to be together under the guise of studying.  Laptops open, ear buds around the neck, sitting side-by side instead of across the table.  Their conversations range from ones that elicit giggles to listing memorized science formulas

What would Starbucks be without us singletons- the man asleep on the overstuffed leather chair, the grey-haired professor talking to his computer, the leather-skinned man perusing the daily newspaper, me, the school teacher, getting some work done in the in-between, the senior citizen awaiting the ‚Äúregulars‚ÄĚ for his nightly greetings.

I know Starbucks often gets a bad rap:  too commercialized, too expensive, just too much.  But being a place where so many diverse populations feel comfortable to come and just be themselves, to take a breath from the rat race and enjoy a beverage- too cool!

Best-laid Plans- SOLC #29/31

I’m coming home early today. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†

I’m going to get my slice done early tonight so it’s not hanging over my head all evening.

I’m going to go to yoga and de-stress after two days of testing.

I’m going to enjoy watching Modern Family with my husband.

I’m going to fix a light, quick meal for dinner to make up for the soup and bread I had for lunch.

I went to sleep instead.

Advantage of being an adult.

The Christmas Sweater- SOLC #28/31

As I sit here beginning my post for the day, trying to think of something to share, I glance at my favorite sweater on the table beside me- the sweater I bought Christmas Eve eve when I shared the San Antonio river walk with my college co-ed Abby¬†for the first time. Spur-of-the-moment decisions often prove to be the most fun, and this evening did not disappoint. ¬†Sitting on the edge of the water, Abby and I enjoyed margaritas and conversation. ¬†The Mexican food we shared wasn’t bad either. ¬†Most importantly, we shared a moment in time that highlighted that shift that happens when your precious little ones transform into adults and friends. ¬†We shared similar concerns about our world and differed on other issues. We talked about her dreams and my memories. ¬†We reminisced about previous holidays and loved ones that have gone. ¬†Crowds of people jostled down the narrow path outlining the river, hands clasped. ¬†As the string of lights enthroned¬†the tree’s edges, their twinkling shine reflected on the dark water. ¬†Magical moments of tenderness and laughter.

Sights to See in the Big D- SOLC #27/31

As a long-time resident of Dallas, Texas, I thought it would be fun to share a few places you might like to visit if you are in the neighborhood.

If you are a sports fan, the obvious choice would be to visit AT&T Stadium, home of the national favorite ūüôā Dallas Cowboys. ¬†You can either take the group, self-guided tour, where you can not only hear fun facts about the team but also toss a football across the field. ¬†The VIP tour takes you deeper into the facility, guiding you through the behind-the-scenes secrets of the stadium. ¬†This is definitely worth the time for the football fanatic.

Across town is the unique¬†Dallas Arboretum, a garden that can take your breath away. ¬†From the multiple reflection ponds that make you feel like you’re walking into White Rock Lake to the whimsical floral topiaries that dot the garden, there is something interesting for everyone. ¬†Brides can be seen posing for their portraits, and children enjoy activities planned just for them. ¬†In the summer, Thursday nights bring live music patrons enjoy while nibbling on snacks or sipping choice beverages. ¬† For the flower lover, the variety is breathtaking; for those who just want to get away from the busyness of life, nothing beats it.

For shopping fans, there is a mall with you name on it!  The famous Galleria, known for its upper-end shops and impressive decor is the place most people start with.  North Park Mall has grown in stature, complete with a movie theater, interesting statues, and exclusive boutiques.  Even their food court offers a more sophisticated menu.  For those on a budget, Sam Moon would be the place for you.  If it is an accessory, you can find it there.  Purses, necklaces, tiaras, headbands, and suitcase are only a few of the items for sale at extremely discounted prices.  Plan to spend a couple hours there to give you plenty of time for exploring your options.

The artists should visit the Dallas Museum; the musician shouldn’t miss Deep Ellum. ¬†The Ross Perot Museum offers the perfect place for the kids to explore all things science, including what it feels like to be in an earthquake and if they can run faster than a cheetah. ¬†Again, set aside lots of time, so that the family can explore all three floors of fun. ¬†More for the older set, the George Bush Museum on the SMU campus reminds us of the days our former president led our nation, with details that allow us to see things through his eyes. ¬†It’s a fascinating look at our recent history.

If I were to try to talk about food, there is no way I could begin to touch the multitude of  choices you have here.  But know that if you crave it, you can find it.

So there you have brief teaser of things you might find interesting as you visit big D, little a, double l, a, s!

Write, Share, Give

Slice of Wood Challenge- SOLC #26/31

Today my husband attempted to trim the trees. ¬†This doesn’t sound like that big of deal, but our backyard has degenerated into a jungle, complete with hanging vines and twinkle lights. ¬†I know some gardens go for the rustic, naturey look, but we have gone too far with this concept. ¬†As I look out our wall of windows, I see shades of green juxtaposed with the browns of dead branches, crumbling fence, and newly-repaired wooden deck. ¬†The lonely fire pit relaxes in the corner, dormant since the warm winter robbed it of its stage. ¬†Dead branches, the only remains of a row of shrubs, outline the wooden seating. ¬†I try to ignore the red solo cups that escaped the clean-up process.

Back to the trimming. ¬†Thanks to a chain replacement on a retired saw, hubby was able to begin with the smaller branches overhanging the deck and end with miniature trunk-like chunks. ¬†Safely removing these sections¬†of tree extensions required analysis of the highest order. ¬†Success would mean sky revealed and trees released of their extra pounds. ¬†Failure could mean anything from partially cut branches, evidence of hacking not quite completed. ¬†Or it could mean a fall, or worse. ¬†Whether successful or not,¬†his muscles will no doubt punish him for today’s exertion. ¬†Bye-bye dead wood.

Saturday Night with Columbo- SOLC #25/31

It was a thrilling Saturday night at the McBroom home. ¬†Hubby and I snuggled up to watch yet another episode of Columbo. ¬†Why is that that we continue to return to this nostalgic favorite? ¬†In response to that question, I present to you…

Five Lessons I’ve Learned from Columbo

  1. Looks are deceiving.  Columbo comes off as a bumbling mess. He acts forgetful, seems to never understand what is being told to him, and his clothes are a mess.  Yet underneath that unassuming facade is a detective with a brilliant mind.  Similarly, Columbo was deceptive.  I wager that he planned every detail of his investigations for the greatest effect.
  2. Details are important. ¬†There’s always that small detail, revealed in the last 10 minutes, that brings all the pieces of the puzzle together. ¬†Something is out of place; someone does something out of character; events seem too coincidental. ¬†No detail is minor in his eyes.
  3. Persistence pays off. ¬†Even when there seems to be no possible way that the suspect can be guilty or when Columbo knows he’s guilty but can’t find just the right evidence to prove it, he keeps on pressing, confident in his conclusion.
  4. Pride goeth before the fall- Columbo plays the foil to the always-arrogant villians with his humble presence.  Almost self-deprecating, he displays respect for everyone, even when he is sure of their guilt.
  5. Success means taking it slowly.- ¬†The pace of the show reflects the idea that it’s all about the story, not dependent on fast-paced action scenes or bombs exploding. ¬†His deliberate questioning and processing of information leads the audience to solve the crime with him. ¬†But, of course, he gets it just a bit before we do.

These observations are not earth-shaking; maybe¬†that’s partly why ¬†Columbo has remained popular for so long. ¬†The things we learn are simple and predictable, and yet somehow we come back for more. ¬†Especially on a Saturday night.