Journaling – A beautiful and productive way to start the New Year

Journals

One of my favorite notepads and my new notebook for my “Bullet Journal.”

“I write journals and would recommend journal writing to anyone who wishes to pursue a writing career. You learn a lot. You also remember a lot… and memory is important.” -Judy Collins

On the first weekend of the New Year, I braved the bitter cold and headed out to a local writer’s workshop. The theme – perfect for starting the year – was “Writing Goals and Skills,” led by the president of the Detroit Working Writers.

I purposely left my laptop at home, for a multitude of reasons. First, there was the practicality of lugging it in the cold. As uncoordinated as I can be, I envisioned slipping and falling in the icy parking lot, struggling to save my device as opposed to struggling to save myself.

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Naked and afraid to eat

Naked and afraid to eat

My sweet hat and sunglasses from Italy will provide me, um, cover…

“Clothes make a man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” – Mark Twain

Well, Mr. Twain, I beg to differ. Little did you know that we’d have naked dating shows, naked real estate shows and naked survival shows. Oh, and naked restaurants. I’m thinking naked people do have a wee bit of influence these days.

Oo la la! France is on my bucket list of travels. Food, wine, fashion and sites –  oui! I am looking forward to seeing more of the country than I saw recently, which was the inside of an airport on a layover.

Naked and afraid to eat…

But, one place I will definitely avoid is the new, all-nude restaurant. (Don’t believe me? Google it. I can’t be responsible for the spam bots, okay? Okay!) Hey, if I plan to drop a boatload of money on clothes in Paris, I want to show them off. Right? I mean, I’m all for themed-restaurants, but who comes up with the idea that people want to eat when they are nude? I’m thinking they aren’t going to be famous for their wings, ya know?

My mind goes places. Places I don’t want it to go… like to pre-teen immaturity when I hear “naked.”

So, please bare with me while I have a little fun.

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When Turkeys Fly – Thanksgiving Disasters

When Turkeys Fly

This turkey was not harmed in the writing of this post.

It’s hard to believe another year is drawing to a close. And of course, this is the time of year we are most sentimental with memories of holidays past, like when turkeys fly.

The past few days, I have to admit that I have been getting a kick out of reading about Thanksgiving disasters.

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To my soldier on Veterans Day


To my soldier on Veterans Day:

13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 KJV

It sure has been a crazy ride, living this military life. There was no way to know what we were in for back in the day. I think about so many who have served – you, our son; my brothers, your brother. Your dad and grandfather. My uncles, your uncles. Our cousins and nephews and neighbors and friends. And by default, all of the spouses and parents and other family members who serve by supporting.

There were a lot of things so foreign to me when we started out, especially all the acronyms. I remember constantly asking, “What does this mean?” And you patiently responded more times than I can count.

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Love is a battlefield – midlife style

I have the power…

Love is a battlefield…

So, I am standing in line at Trader Joe’s. As usual, my quick trip yielded a cart and a half of food, water and wine. I think maybe their carts are too small.

Anyways, I am making small talk with one cashier, when another one walks up and starts chatting and bagging my groceries.

The piped-in store music had Pat Benatar’s Love is a Battlefield playing, and of course, a few hours later, it is still on loop in my head.

“I always loved her voice,” said one of the cashiers. “And she’s right – love is a battlefield!”

Me, laughing, responded by saying, “In my world, it’s only a battlefield when it comes to TV remotes and thermostats.”

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The battle of my weather-predicting knees

Aging knees

Rain or snow coming? Just ask my knees.

“Your middle name must be Grace,” she surmised, placing bandages on my scraped-up knees.

“No, it’s Catherine,” I replied, unwrapping the lollipop she placed in my skinned-up hands.

It took me a few decades to realize that my friend’s mother wasn’t really trying to guess my middle name.

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Marriage, like travel, is a journey

Marriage is a journey

Marriage is a journey

Marriage, like travel, is a journey. Charting your destination, off you go.

“In life, it’s not where you go, it’s who you travel with.” –  Charles Schulz

On this day, almost three and half decades ago, the two of us became one. Not long after our vows were said, we loaded up my little four-cylinder Mustang and headed west to Arizona, our first move for the Army.

I had zero experience with the military, and that road trip would be the first of many. Leaving on a beautiful fall day, we said our tearful goodbyes to our parents and siblings, and we were on our way.

Our journey had begun.

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Making Amalfi paper traveling through Italy

Amalfi Paper

A great tour at Museo della Carta in Amalfi.

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” – William Wordsworth

Paper – a trade tool most every writer has used. Sometimes we curse it, when it is blank due to writer’s block. Other times, we crumple or shred the pages we pour our souls onto, thinking the work is no good. Yet there are times we frame that paper, because it bears our byline. Either way, there can be a love/hate relationship with the paper we need and use.

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When your dog dies

The best dog ever.

When your dog dies…

“I could give you some medication for him. It would alleviate some of the pain, but…”

I knew when I hugged him that it would be for the last time. Cradled in my oldest son’s arms, I bid farewell to our family’s dog.

He had a wonderful life. He lived better than some humans, as he never wanted for a meal or a warm place to lay his head.

Apparently, I slept through what my husband said was Jack’s very labored breathing. Our dear old dog made some very odd sounds, jarring my husband awake. And since I woke at my usual time, I let Jack outside while I filled his dish with his breakfast, not knowing what had transpired through the night.

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Steps, stones and serenity in Positano

Positano

Sunrise in Positano.

“Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone.” – John Steinbeck, 1953

If you have ever had the opportunity to visit Positano, the words of John Steinbeck ring true. In 1953, Steinbeck wrote an article for Harper’s Bazaar, after he and his wife visited this enchanted, panoramic town. My husband and I spent four days pinching ourselves to see if we were dreaming, or if we truly were in Positano, a town built into the cliffs along Italy’s famously beautiful Amalfi Coast.

Positano

Late afternoon view of Positano.

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