550 Words

Dear Linda, thank you for bringing me into this group of women with a common goal of writing 550 words every day. What a great video conference! Now that I have ‘met’ most of them I realize that you curated this group with great care (and I am guessing a bit of trepidation about exactly what kind of monster you were creating). Such different personalities with raw talent and commitment to generating work, great or otherwise (I know that sometimes I am just typing until I see the word count in the corner go past the requisite 550 words). And when we get together online like we did tonight everyone is so kind and supportive – oh, hold on. I need to get another beer – and I have to change seasons, the Sunfish is gone and now it’s Sam Adams Cold Snap. At least I’m not driving, right Alice?

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Send In The Clown

Jim. A 92 year old man who lived a full and blessed life. I spent a couple of hours today listening to the stories of how he lived and my heart was full, and breaking. Full because it was evident that he touched so many lives, and breaking because my friend was mourning the passing of his Pop. The priest gave a wonderful homily about sunrises and sunsets and birth and death and about Jim going home. No matter what your thoughts about religion and life and the afterlife, it was a wonderful celebration. From the a cappella opening song “How Can I Keep From Singing”, chosen because Jim spent a lot of time his last couple of years singing out at the home, often at the top of his lungs, to the moving eulogy given by his son John, whose stories captured his essence perfectly.

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Remembering Dan

Raking leaves under a fall of snowflakes is status quo for me at the Great Camp Sagamore volunteer work weekends, whether it be May or October. It may seem extreme, but it is the mountains, after all. What a curious place, Great Camp Sagamore, existing in another time. No riding mowers or leaf blowers for this clean up crew, just rakes and shovels and tarps that had been previously been used for raven mitigation. That was a whole separate job that I was not willing to volunteer for (although Dana did!) that involved raven shit being cleaned off roofs. I get enough shit at work. I am Queen Pee after all.  Leaves piled on tarps are transported to a secluded section of woods and unceremoniously dumped onto other huge piles of leaves. And so it goes, every other season, fall and then spring and then fall again. No matter what the season, and what the weather, you could always find Dan wearing his trademark shorts.

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To Summarize…

You haven’t heard from me in a couple of weeks because Shameless. I spent the last couple of weeks with the Gallaghers. slipping deeper and deeper into their dysfunctional chaotic lives. And what happened to the promises made at the beginning of the month to match NaNoWriMo commitments from previous years, to post a blog a day during the month of November? Sadly, it seemed to go the way of all the ones made in years past. Another pre-Christmas retail season had me working extra hours and limping home, reaching into the medicine cabinet for copious amounts of Advil. And then hours of keeping up with the drug and sex-fueled Chicago family who just can’t seem to keep themselves out of jail. Go Figure.

A total of 12 blogs, all written in the first two weeks of the month, is still more writing than I think I accomplished in past Novembers. It was a strong start.  What did I learn during this latest attempt? That maybe November is not the best month for me. I will be gentle with myself, continue to blog at a pace more suited for my #retaillife, and bring you quality writing as often as I am able. Thanks for your continued support. And if I end up in jail in Chicago because of those crazy Gallaghers, I will let you know where to send the bail money!

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Piles of boxes stacked taller than me, slivers of space to squeeze through to get to the back door where the UPS truck is waiting to load in 200 more packages. Books as far as the eye can see on every counter and spilled over onto the boxes. Sound like an episode of “Hoarders?” It’s the stockroom at Barnes & Noble, where booksellers now have to try and get the product out on the floor and in the hands of customers in the less than 6 weeks until Christmas.

It’s the same scene every year. Our back room is really too small to handle all the boxes delivered on a daily basis during the season and we have gotten pretty creative about how to maneuver, but it’s a tight fit for a few weeks and it is really stressful to try and scrape enough personnel together to take care of it all. Always too much to do and not enough time to get it done. But then we do. We will get it all out and spend the next several weeks delighting customers with all the gift ideas we have, then clean up the glitter and snowflakes and start the ‘new year new you’ theme, and then comes Valentine’s Day, and the year will continue. The circle of retail life.

The next six weeks will be a blur. I will put my heart and soul and extra hours in to make sure the store is ready for all those people looking to create an amazing holiday. I’ll make my special meatballs and bring in treats and try to keep everyone in the holiday spirit, and when they are not I quote my dad to them, who is fond of saying, “Ho ho ho your ass!” By New Year’s Eve I’ll bone tired, but also happy we made it through another holiday.

Why take the time to share all of this? To ask that every time you are out shopping, trying to make the perfect holiday for your family and loved ones, remember to thank a retail worker who spent the previous evening stocking the shelves. When you stop to eat somewhere because you are exhausted from holiday planning and you can’t even, give an extra smile and maybe a larger tip to your waitress who works so hard so you don’t have to.  Instead of cursing DPW workers who plow snow into your driveway, say a thank you that the roads are clear and salted. So many people toil every day in service so others can go on doing for their family and friends. Make sure to let them know how grateful you are. I know I am. Happy Holidays!

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

I took some time today to catch up on Season 3 of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. With so many shows on TV and the internet that have characters with no moral compass or redeeming qualities, this is a refreshing show with all the tongue-in-cheek crazy stunts. Rebecca seems to really believe she was wronged and is hurting everyone in her life in her quest to feel better. Kinda like if Trump was a 30-something throwing a temper tantrum and not just tweeting like one. Everything is so over the top in this show, including the elaborate musical numbers. But then it is also about friendship and support and there are little pockets of unexpected kindness. The wordplay is entertaining and the innuendo is just this side of inappropriate. At the end of every episode I have a smile on my face and I am happy to have had the chance to live out my revenge fantasies and crazy stunts that people think about pulling but know it’s just not right…

There are so many fun shows to watch these days. If you are looking for one that really is just pure escapism, check it out. Just Netflix and chill.

Sometimes…Life.

I know I have missed a couple of days of posting, but there are wireless problems in my home so am posting from my phone tonight. That way I only owe two days in December. But sometimes life happens and no amount of tech support can help and then you have a tiny little screen to tell all of your larger than life stories.

Technology has come such a long way in the last 5 years…the last 10 years…the last 50 years. I was a computer science major 35 years ago and all my programs were typed on computer cards and heaven help anyone who spilled those piles of cards and had to try and put them back in the right order…back when some computers still filled entire rooms and no one could imagine one fitting in the palm of your hand.

It’s like the memes of people talking on the phone connected to the wall with a long curly cord and talking about how kids today don’t understand what it was to be a teen in the 70’s. The phone in our house was next to a comfy armchair and I remember spending hours talking to my boyfriend on it even though he only lived 3 blocks away. Today I called my sister and my nephew answered and then yelled at her to come to the phone. “Why are you yelling? It’s not like the phone is connected to a cord!” “Well actually it is, Aunt Buddy. The batteries on our other phones are running out too fast.” I guess he told me! And now HE knows the struggle is real.

So forgive me any mistakes or misspellings that may be occurring because of this tiny screen. And maybe take a moment to marvel at the technology that allows me to blog on a phone!s