chey being

For my untempered heart


Information overload?

Daily Prompt:  “Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.” — Gertrude Stein
Do you agree?

I think how one defines common sense will help determine a yes or no answer to this question.  Common sense could be what we have all been trained to think is common sense; therefore, what are we really losing that’s authentic to ourselves?  More information would just be adding to the pile that has already determined our common sense.  Is it common sense to quit the job you hate, but supplies a steady, secure income, to move to Key West and open your own food truck?  That would be nuts, right?  I don’t think so;  I would root for taking the chance on doing something someone loved any day.

The question also implies that too much information is bad.  I do agree that too much info can cause one to feel overloaded or overwhelmed, but ultimately, the more informed we are, the more educated human beings we are.  The trick is to truly know yourself so that one can quickly weed through the garbage and find what is or is not important.

The world is at our fingertips and will only continue to be more and more.  We have more choices because of the information out there.  We can choose to access that information or not.  No one is making us turn on that TV, or look at our phone every twenty seconds.  It can be somewhat of a test of will power.  A test that will determine, “What is important to me?”

My answer obviously would be no, I do not agree.  What I do agree with is that at some point this country will turn its focus onto how to manage all this information by creating balance.  We are a society buzzing with intensity of motion, someday our buzzers will grow weary.







A life in letters.

As a young child and into my teens, I consistently wrote letters to my grandmother.  She lived a few states away and our families only came together for Christmas and summer vacation, but we were always communicating.  Writing thank you notes and life updates to her were never a chore.  When I think of writing letters now, it is a tedious process that I have little patience for!  Sign of the times, I suppose.  It was a different time, a different era.

I always felt a close connection to my grandmother.  I find it hard to put into words as I can not think of a specific reason or event as to why I felt so close to a woman I rarely spent time with.  It was purely a feeling on my part and to be honest, I know she loved me dearly, but I have no idea if she felt the same in return.  I was her first out of only two grandchildren, so I am certain I was extra spoiled. Grandparents have the luxury of simply loving their grandchildren and leaving all the dirty work to the parents.  Maybe that is why I adored her so much.  She loved me, I felt it, and I appreciated it.

I do not remember the occasion, if there was one, but somewhere around my late teens or early twenties, she presented me with a stack of photo albums containing all the letters I had ever written to her.  She had saved them all those years.  Just looking at the bright turquoise and orange flowered albums brings a sense of nostalgia.  Very 70’s looking.  I was so moved by her thoughtfulness.  I wonder if that had been her plan all along, or if one day she thought it time to do something with her amassed collection.  I will never know.

I have not looked at them since the day she gave them to me.  It has been over 20 years.  They are safely put away in some plastic bin and have followed me though my life’s journey.  It makes me happy knowing they are there; it is a comfort, but I am too scared of the heartache to peer into their depths.  My grandmother passed away about five years ago.  I still have dreams where I am trying to communicate with her even though she is gone.  I am pleading and crying in the dreams and I always wake up to my pillow wet with tears.  I am not ready.

These letters are a timeline of sorts of my childhood.  I have no doubt they begin with my first words put to paper and move through my carefree early years, my silly drawings,  my coming of age, the boy bands, and the glory and heartache of my first love.  They are leftovers of a relationship.  One-sided of course, as I did not save many of her letters to me.  One day I will be able to crack open those over-stuffed albums, and a box of Kleenex and I will laugh and cry at my lost youth and my lost friend.  Some day.


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Fifty Word Inspiration

Chik, chuk, chik, chuk; the hazards beat a dull heart.

We line the cars up along the sepia-tinted streets of my childhood.

There are flags trembling, a light drizzle.

I am alone in my car, waving to my best friend just ahead.

It is a parade, a homecoming,

a funeral.  “Homecoming” by Jen Groeber: Mama Art


I have never been to a one before.

I have never had anyone close to me die.

I always wondered how I would react.  How can I predict an emotion to an event that I have never  experienced?  They say most human reactions are based on prior experience.  Like triggers from our childhood.  I have no prior experience from which to draw.

I feel numb.  Is that normal?

I never thought I would come back to this now-foreign place.

What is normal?

I notice when the drops become too heavy, they careen down my windshield.

I feel my insides have gone into crisis mode, unsure of what to put out.  Maybe I fried the system.

What do I say to people?  I am afraid.  I don’t want to think about this anymore.

Time is a funny thing.  Everything is rearranged in a second.  I don’t remember what it was like before.  The past feels like a dream.  Did any of it really happen?

We are stopped now.  Like birds being released from a cage, they begin to file out from their cars.

Everything looks black in misty weather.

I know it is coming.  I know my insides will figure it out eventually.

A hollow knock on the window startles me.  Time is a funny thing.  It never stops.

**The first part of the this post was written by Jen Groeber for the Fifty Challenge.  This weeks writing challenge was to use a Fifty for inspiration, which is what I added after the line.

Check out my original Fifty, The Meeting.

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How Coffee Became a Morning Addiction (A creation myth.)

Joe works for the CIA.  He works in a cubicle with hundreds of other neckties.  They work the daily shuffle of papers, the usual spying on foreign leaders, and currently, the Watergate mess that was about to embarrass the lot of them.  These men started early and stayed late.  There was little time for sleep between work and mowing the lawn.  And forget about those pesky wives, and peskier children.  No time for that non-sense with the director down their throats.

The director was growing weary of hounding his men.  The new 10 minute breaks at the water cooler were doing little to sustain energy.  As he was getting a blood pressure check at the onsite medical office, he decided to ask the doctor if he had any advice on how to keep the energy up for his men.  The doctor asked the director if his men where eating a balanced diet, receiving proper care and attention from their wives, and getting enough sleep.  The director did not know the answer to these questions, but he was sure to make it happen.  He left the docs office feeling confident that his men would be in tip-top shape within a week.

As soon as the director got back to his office he dictated a memo to his secretary as follows:

To the wives of all CIA employees,

Being a CIA agent is a very demanding job.  We require a high amount of intelligence at all times.  This can be very stressful on our men; therefore, we are asking for your help.  Wives have the highest honor in taking care of our fine men.  In order for them to perform at their highest level, they require a hardy, well-balanced meal, three times a day.  They must also be allowed to rest and decompress when they come home from a hard days work.  Please keep children quiet during this time.  Offering your husband compassion and complements about his hard work will surely help sustain him though his day.  We here, at the CIA, thank you for servicing our men in all capacities.  It is your patriotic duty.  Be proud.  Be American.


Very Important, Person

Surprisingly, a week later, the director saw no change in his men.  He began pacing his office with a furrowed brow, wondering how he was going to solve this very serious problem.  These were good men but they were beginning to look like zombies.   The agency’s reputation was under attack by its very own country.  It was more important than ever to keep his overworked staff on high alert.  Just then the phone rang.

“Important, how can I help you,” he said.  It was his informant in Mexico.  Top Secret was talking so fast that the director could hardly keep up.  He asked Mr. Secret if he could slow down.  Mr. Secret agreed but began to repeat the information at the same speed.  Mr. Important grew frustrated and asked Top why he was talking so fast.  The informant apologized profusely and told Mr. Secret that it must be the coffee.  Apparently, while infiltrating the Mexican government, the informant became addicted to the stuff.   At the end of the call, Mr. Important commended the man for his service and the sacrifices he had taken to keep his identity safe.

After hanging up with Mr. Secret, the director’s wheels were spinning.  Could this be the answer he was looking for?  He decided to test this theory on his top guy, Joe.  After waiting a week for the supply from Mexico, he told Joe that his country was in need of his service more than ever.  He told him that the government was testing a new drink that could increase productivity by 50%.  Joe, of course, agreed without hesitation.

A week later and the results were amazing.  The director could not believe the increase in alertness and productivity in Joe and soon began offering free coffee to everyone in the office  Coffee needed to come to America.  Mr. Important contacted the President and told him of his discovery.   He expressed the need to bring coffee into all government agencies as a start.  The director knew this could become huge across the entire country.  The President agreed and let Mr. Secret begin the process of importing coffee in large quantities.  The director was so excited after the call that he immediately contacted his good friend, Iam Starbucks, who knew a thing or two about importing.  This was going to be big, he thought.

A week later, Joe noticed he was beginning to lag a bit after lunch.  He had just read something about this new soda pop drink.  He made a mental note to talk to the director about this.


**If you’re wondering why I wrote this silly mess, honestly, I am too.   I do not know what portion of my brain, if any, this came from because it is so not like my usual writing!  If you are one of my regular followers and actually made it to this part, I apologize!  And have no fear, this was a momentary blip on the radar.  This was my response to this week’s writing challenge:  “Are you ready to spin a good origin tale?  This week, we ask you to invent (or reinvent) a creation myth.”  I have to say though, it was fun to go a bit off kilter. 🙂

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Forever here.

The current Weekly Challenge is song writing or re-writing of an existing song.   So here’s my version of Shelter From the Storm by Bob Dylan.

Starring so long in shadows with my now sightless eyes
What became of me is now hidden in the mountain of lies
Twisted and contorted wrapped within my fear
“Don’t be scared,” he said, “I will wait for you forever here”

I walk between two lines my soul seeming divided
Shamed and bloody with this mask I hide it
What have I done for they are all that is dear
“Don’t be scared,” he said, “I will wait for you forever here”

I close my eyes and wait for the guiding light
It never never comes, it grows weary of my plight
Spitting what is worse I can not look in the mirror
“Don’t be scared,” he said, “I will wait for you forever here”

I made a lost wish on a dream of a glowing star
Walking aimless away, I could never go that far
Forgotten my wish, nothing left but black fear
“Don’t be scared,” he said, “I will wait for you forever here”

Inhaling and exhaling the breeze brushing through my hair
Quiet soft moments often linger with a pleasing dare
Always a coward of sorts, I can only sit and leer
“Don’t be scared,” he said, “I will wait for you forever here”

The star long forgotten, my wish knocked at my door
She loved me like angels and lifted me from the floor
With nothing left to spare she would finally appear
“Don’t be scared,” he said, “I will wait for you forever here”

As deserving as Mary I was hopeless and scared to see
Born with a sacred gift and yet feeling no love for me
But for rivers and streams, I could be all you hold dear
“Don’t be scared,” he said, “I will wait for you forever here”

No matter now I walk the winding trail happily alone
The stars shine bright and guide me down the path shown
A gladiator from long ago I walk with only my bloody spear
“Don’t be scared,” he said, “I will wait for you forever here”

I want all you forgotten, I want to begin with a clean slate
Suffering was swept out to sea with all who came to hate
They are now lost to me but I dare not shed a tear
“Don’t be scared,” he said, “I will wait for you forever here”

Nothing seems real when my happiness flows with the tides
I am revived in this long journey but still wait to die
Show me my love the path once more, I know you are near
“Don’t be scared,” he said, “I will wait for you forever here”


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Could the real me, please stand up?

How was it going to go this time?  Was he going to look away the entire time again?  Was his attorney going to be a complete ass again?

I had been uptight all day knowing that we would have to meet again in court.  It had been four years since my ex, his attorney, and myself had been together in the House of Horrors (aka Court House).  We were not there because of anything we had started so I had not anticipated a confrontational meeting, but I certainly expected it to be a tense reunion.  Sadly, one of my other thoughts that morning was of my appearance.  My insecurities come out, or the girl in me comes out, or a bit of both, and I feared these two people, neither of which I really care for, would perceive me as ugly, older than I am, and/or overweight.  I know the ridiculousness in this.  I am not unaware.  But that knowing doesn’t seem to change how I think or feel and well, that is fodder for another post.

This was the first “me,” the insecure one, that walked into the referee’s waiting room; a room that can only be filled with the baddest of juju.  Gratefully, I saw that only his attorney was present.  Very unexpectedly, he greeted me with great warmth.  I was a bit thrown off but steadied myself as I waited to see where this was going.  He proceeded to ramble on about how good I looked and how he was not afraid to say it.  That was when the non-trusting me came out.  Was this guy for real?  He was the biggest jerk to me in the past when we were trying to settle some issues.  Was he charming me?  Why was he charming me?  What was I missing?  Questions were doing flybys in my brain a mile a minute.  This is a place to be our professional selves, but he was making this into a backyard Bar-B-Q.

I regained composure.

The insecure girl that had walked into that place took a back seat.  The non-trusting me had now manned all entrances and made way for the tough and strong me to take charge.  After the attorney thought he had successfully warmed me up, he began a series of personal questions to see what he could find and perhaps use to his benefit (my interpretation, of course).  I tried to be very careful in what I offered but then that damn nice part of me didn’t want to be rude and the naive part of me wanted to think he was just being nice.  The insecure part of me reared her ugly head too.  She wanted to say all the right things so he would like me.  The tough me would still not be bullied, but it wasn’t only the attorney sitting next to me that I had to fight.

I was relieved my ex never showed.  All the other me’s got the day off.

As I sat in the waiting area, I did not like how I was being pulled into a casual conversation.  This was a serious place, where serious decisions were made.  I was not this guy’s friend.  I wanted to be professional.  Once we were called into the referee’s chambers, it was all business and easier to maintain my professional self, at least for me and the judge.  The attorney was still complimenting me, in front of the woman judge, but it was easier to ignore him with the judge in front of me.

When I put into words all the versions of me that dual it out in my head, it is exhausting.  And confusing.  And I sound like a mental patient (no offense mental patients).  However, in writing out this mess, I have really become aware of how quickly I transition through personalities, or emotions really.  I’ve always known that I run a pretty full spectrum of me’s…think the Meredith Brooks song, Bitch.  Although bitch would not be at the top of the list (no, really), the point is that I am many things.  What has really surprised me is how many me’s I run through in any given moment.

How can I trust myself?

This writing challenge is about the different “you’s” colliding, ie the friends you, the mom you, the stranger you.  I am unsure that I have interpreted this correctly.  I suppose I should think about this more on the surface, such as, I cuss like a sailor in front of my friends only; however, when I think about the different me’s, I can’t help but think more about the drama that goes on in my mind rather than my outward mannerisms.   All these me’s are just really my emotions and ego running my brain.  I really need to learn to take control and trust in the real me.  I suppose self-awareness is a good step in the right direction.  Do you find yourself having a wrestling match in your brain?


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Resurrecting the stay-at-home mom? (A Lost Art, Writing Challenge)

My son had an interesting day at school yesterday.  He told me he learned that marriages have a higher percentage of being happy when the woman stays at home and the man goes to work.  They are happier because they each have defined roles and this causes less arguing.   Having a defined person in charge (the man), creates less friction.  When both, the husband and the wife, want to be in charge, they fight over whose way is better.  Their roles are more confusing and this creates more friction.  A marriage is more peaceful when the man is in charge and the women follows his lead.

No, we do not live in a cabin in the mountains, or in a city with a population of 112.

He also added that the teacher asked the class what their parents fight most about and they concluded that the majority of fights were over “stupid pointless stuff.”  I asked my son what he took away from this class discussion.  He told me that he agreed that it is better when a man is in charge and the woman takes on a more subservient role (yes, he used the word subservient).  He feels this will create a more peaceful home life.

This could explain why my son has dated half the 10th grade class and is currently single.

My initial knee-jerk reaction was, WTF?  However, much to my surprise, I remained calm.  I know my son and he is very opinionated; once he has formed an opinion, it is unlikely to change based on anything I have to say.  Any parent will probably tell you that children much prefer to take on the opinions of complete strangers over their parents.  It is in a child’s nature to go rogue, but when they reach adulthood, they will most likely fall back on becoming just like their parents (for better or for worse).   It is also not surprising coming from my son because he does not like loud spaces, distractions, or people arguing.   So, if he feels this “way of life” would cause less fighting in a relationship, than that is the opinion he will agree with.  I did offer some arguments against his new found way of life, but after a brief discussion, I decided to drop it.  I wasn’t quite sure where I stood.  I am a very strong woman and it goes against all I am to agree with these role arrangements (even though I was a stay-at-home mom by choice).   But I could not argue with these facts (as regurgitated by a 17 year old mind you).  Unless I had a better alternative, I did not feel I should continue talking with him on the subject.

Is being a subservient stay-at-home mom a skill women have forgone?  Does this mean that women need to stop progressing or pursuing their own dreams in order to have happy marriages?  Is it really possible to have it all?

Thankfully, there is no going back.  Men and women are changing and evolving.  Progress?  I don’t know if I would use that word because progress seems to imply something as right and who is to say what is “right.”  It is simply different now, than it was before; however, every change has an effect.  Women going into the work force more and more have a huge effect on marriages, raising children, what our children eat, where our children spend their day, who they spend it with, and the lifestyle afforded to the family, just to name a few.

So what do we do with this information?

Maybe there is something to be learned here.  Can responsibilities and roles still be defined when both parents work?  Is it really that simple?  Doubtful, but hopeful.  We are thrown into parenthood so quickly.  There is no test run.  There is no 9 to 5 baby, Monday through Fridays.  That child is there, instantly, all…the…time!  A parent’s survival mode kicks in whether it is a good move or not.  Imagine you are dying of thirst.  You have been walking for days without as much as a drop of water.  You finally come across a river.  A dirty river.  You know it’s contaminated with God knows what parasites and all.  Do you drink?  Hell yes!  You have to in order to survive!  That’s what we do as parents and I think it creates bad habits within marriages.  Having defined roles could make things smoother, maybe creating less resentment and fighting.

Yeah, yeah, I know…in a perfect world.

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