Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams

Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: May 2011

Monday, May 30, 2011

Skipping Graduation

This post was written in response to a prompt from the red dress club:

Well, now that school is officially over, I can confess that V never graduated.   I will never forget the excitement of that day:  The beautiful dresses; the carefully-applied makeup; hair combed and styled and sprayed just so.  Cameras and camcorders and grandparents and diplomas wrapped up in yellow ribbons.  Her older sister, offering advice.
My husband went out to the lawn to claim a few of the folding chairs that had been set up hours earlier in preparation for the big event.  I took V to the assigned room. 
She paused at the entrance.  “I’m not doing it, Mom.”
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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Preserving Memories

I drive to the school and pick up my daughters after their final exams.  Over lunch, I tell them I want to pick strawberries.  They sigh.  Summer has just started for them.  They want to relax. 
Just an hour, I tell them. 
They tell me they hate summer.  All this picking, picking, picking. 
I tell them it’s a short season—Strawberries don’t last. 
The room grows heavy with silence and resentments.  We eat our sandwiches without speaking.  The jubilation marking the end of the school year has passed.  No words are exchanged on the drive to the patch.  No radio plays to cover up the tension.  I find myself wondering why I bother.  Is it worth all this?
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Friday, May 27, 2011

And Versatile!

Many thanks to Cheryl at The Art of Being Conflicted for the Versatile Blogger award.
Again, I'm supposed to share seven things about myself, which I won't do, as I'm fairly boring. But I'm happy to pass the award forward to the following fifteen blogs:
1. The Writing Apprentice: Writing instruction and inspiration
2. The Things She Thinks About: Lovely writing and amazing design
3. Root Simple: Back to the land; sustainability
4. One Sentence: True one-sentence stories
5. A Low Impact Woodland Home: Sustainable housing
6. Write for Your Life: Another great writing site
7. Teaching Authors: Writing instruction for all ages
8. Learn at Every Turn: Interesting homeschooling site
9. The Betty and Boo Chronicles: Self-described as a hodge-podge blog.  Just the photograph on the opening page was enough to grab me.
10. Mom of the Perpetually Grounded: Nice reading on parenting
11. The Child: Another beautiful site with some great writing
12. Backcountry Writer: Journalist turned memoirist
13. The Pioneer Woman: Writing, homeschooling, gardening and more
14. Progressive Pioneer: Back to the basics
15.My Plastic Free Life: Tips on reducing your plastic consumption

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Many thanks to Elizabeth Young at The Garden Gate for this lovely award.  According to the rules of this award, I'm to share seven things about myself and nominate fifteen bloggers.  Here goes:
Seven things about myself:
1. I'm not good at following directions.

Fifteen blogs that I enjoy (in no particular order):

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Music Died

This post was written in response to a prompt from: the red dress club:

This was absolutely the last time she would touch a piano; the last time her fingers would tease out the intricate patterns of notes and rhythms from the keys, black and white.  It was the last time her hands would repeat the conversation that has been going on for centuries.
“Stay after class,” her teacher told her, the day she let the conversation die.
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Monday, May 23, 2011

What Shall I Be?

This post was written in response to a prompt on the red dress club:
Growing up, my sisters and I loved to play What shall I be?  First appearing in 1966 and categorized as educational, it was proclaimed The Exciting Game of Career Girls.  Based upon the roll of the dice and the acquisition of cards, players would race be the first to line up a job.
The box’s cover featured a dorky-looking girl, herculean pink bow in her hair, index finger on her cheek, looking as if as if couldn’t decide between all those career exciting opportunities.  To her left were six women, one of whom would be this girl’s future self.
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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Dolly Derby

Well, Squints and a friend are making a devil’s food cake with butter cream frosting and trashing my kitchen as they try to separate the eggs.  Perhaps I should give them a hand, but I won’t.  The cake may be delicious.  Quite possibly, it will be a disaster.  But, short of a fire, I will stay out of their way, acting only as consultant.  I will allow them to own this project because of a lesson my parents repeatedly taught my siblings and me years ago, a lesson that said that in order to succeed, we must first fail.
* * *
A gigantic cardboard box waited in the center of the main room at the K of C Hall.  A gaggle of girls crowded it, some kneeling on the grimy chipped tiles, others standing and leaning forward, watching the proceedings.
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Thursday, May 19, 2011

United Sloth of America

This post was written in response to a prompt from the red dress club.

Before my husband and I came to our senses, Squints attended a fancy-pants private school.  There were several perks to this school: amazing trips that we couldn’t afford to go on even if we’d wanted to; enrichment programs; oh, and the art program in which the students’ artwork would be digitized and sent electronically to a company in California.
This company would continually jam my inbox with email about upcoming specials: I could buy all manner of crap…mugs,  tee shirts, placemats, mouse pads, hell, I could probably even get underwear, if I wanted to… imprinted with my son’s original artwork.  You know, before he becomes world-famous.  
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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fair or Foul?

The pitcher’s mound is dark with rain.  The path from home to first is sloppy.  But the puddles have been filled with sand, and the fathers have just put down a fresh white line clearly delineating fair and foul.
Little girls in raincoats attack their own field with rakes.  Watching them, I find myself thinking back to when my daughters played softball and all those years when I didn’t say a word despite the cold burn of resentment I saw smoldering in their eyes.
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Monday, May 16, 2011

This Situation is Only Temporary: And Yet...

Squints and my family are no longer able to care for Destructo on our own. 
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Friday, May 13, 2011

On Target

Well, I’ve got to head to Target today because the cat is out of food and no one bothered to mention it except the cat and I’m ignoring him right now because of the ick he left on the basement carpeting.  On my way out, I stop to pull a few weeds from my perennial bed, because if I don’t keep up with these weeds, they’ll get ahead of me and take over the entire neighborhood.  I see that the violets have moved in with my hosta, and the black-eyed Susans are positively encroaching upon the lilies.  Clearly, something must be done about the situation.
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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Softball Season

Just as school is drawing to a close, and parents are relishing the thought of a three-month reprieve from educational duties—no band concert to attend, no homework to check, no spelling words to memorize—sports season rushes in to fill the void. 

For my daughters, the sport is softball.  On the evening of the first practice, we rush out the door, “Is your homework done? Have you practiced your clarinet? Hurry up, we don’t want to be late.”
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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Beauty or the Beast?

Well, it’s eight o’clock in the morning and I’m at yet another baseball practice one hour before yet another baseball game.  And I have to say, I’m cranky: The shower drain suddenly decided to block itself up this morning.  Houses have a funny way of making up projects when it thinks things are running too smoothly for you.  So, here I am, parked in a folding chair for the next three hours, Destructo at my side, my husband chauffeuring V and Filibuster to work and yet more aptitude tests before meeting me here, hopefully with a large coffee from Starbucks.  After the game, there will be the obligatory team photos, and this makes me even grumpier.
* * *
I despise pictures.  If someone brings out a camera at a family event, I’ll turn my head so as not to be captured on film.  If there’s some obligatory family photo, where we all have to line up by generation and height, I’ll duck behind someone tall at the last minute so that, when the picture is printed there’s an empty spot where I ought to be.
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Friday, May 6, 2011

Is This Situation Only Temporary?

My daughter needed a ride into school today so she could be on time for an AP test, a test which no longer seems an honor but a requirement for college entry. 
My car was at a quarter tank, and this was a big driving day, so I pulled into a local Shell, a behemoth of a station: At least six bays of three pumps each.  There was a hand-lettered sign taped to the pump I pulled up to: “Super (93) Only."  I pulled away and drove into another bay.  Same thing.  Every single pump was labeled Super (93) Only.
“Be right back,” I told Squints.
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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

This Situation is Only Temporary: What’s in a Name?

“I’m sorry,” Bruce said to me last week.  He shook his head sorrowfully.  “You are no longer permitted to enter this library without the puppy.”
So today, Squints packed him up and we were off. 
“There’s the little guy.”  Bruce came out from behind the checkout desk.  The other librarians emerged from their posts.  “Look at how big he’s gotten.  Look at those ears!  Those paws!”  Bruce bent over and rubbed the back of Destructo’s neck.
Destructo responded by gnawing on Bruce’s index finger.  His coworkers laughed.  “Puppies chew, Bruce.”
It was as good a time as any: I held up the library book I’d been hiding behind my back.  Destructo had pulled it from a shelf and bitten through several pages before tearing the cover off.  “Apparently, he’s not a fan of Shakespeare.” 
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