Tag Archives: education

Retirement [flash 172]

Alarm clock monochrome

It was a myth that you’d miss working 6 months after retirement. Marty had heard all the jokes as he’d opted to get out early, and here he was… sleeping half the day away, with his most important decision being should he make pancakes or waffles for brunch?

He rubbed his hands together with glee as he started the coffeemaker. Mmm French roast. So delicious! He did not miss the crap brew they’d had back at work, nor the intrigue and gossip among his backbiting colleagues.

Sure, it got lonely at times, but Marty had resilience. He’d signed up for a macrame class at the community center and Linda next door had invited him to join her bird watching club. Fun!

He sure was not going to miss the screams and howls of his old job, the crying, the punching, the spitting, the stabbing, the tranquilizer darts, the shock collars

Nope, Marty was not gonna miss teaching in that third grade classroom one bit!

Besides, his neck was still a little sore.

~*~

Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge 54.

©️2020 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

PFF37: Valentines No More

Friday Flashback

Welcome to Paula’s Friday Flashback! This is a challenge begun by Fandango and it’s fun to see what we posted back when (as well as the comments). The post below is a reblog of a post I made exactly 9 years ago on February 14, 2011… and the poem itself appeared in my college chapbook in 1989.

valentines

i brought you poisoned candy, ha!
but you spit them out, one by one–
crushed chocolate on our Persian rug.
next year? i’m thinking, i’m thinking…

mine is wrapped so neatly:
ribbons curled like big fat tongues;
i rip them out, one by one.
just what i’ve always wanted:

a solid gold tarantula.
i toss it out the window, BOOM:
you almost got me that time, dear.
try your luck again next year.

at least i still have the foil balloons.
i love you, i love you, i do.

[me, 1989, published in CSUN thing]

/end reblog

~*~

Image from Pexels.

©️2020 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Holiday Oversharing

Hanukkah Bitmoji

Melanie has questions!

QUESTIONS FOR THE WEEK 12-23-19:

1. Do dogs ‘talk’ (communicate) with their own species?

I think so. I’m not sure if all that barking means anything other than to warn critters away from “their” territory, but dogs seem to have a complex system of body language to communicate with each other. So do cats and other animals, even bugs. We aren’t that special. And no I didn’t read any of the links; I’m just jabbering away, as I do.

2. Have you ever had to work on Christmas Day?

Had to, no, but it’s a good day for me to get work and other chores done, since I don’t celebrate Christmas. This year, I’ll do some work in the morning before heading over to a friend’s house to watch movies.

Merry Christmas Bitmoji

3. If someone gifts you something that you immediately loathe, do you pretend to really like it anyway or are you brutally honest about your opinion?

I find something about it to like and a kind comment to make. “Brutally honest” is a euphemism for being an asshole ~ it’s one of the terms you see a lot on dating sites from men who revel in being jerks. Yuck.

3. Which popular drink, found during the Christmas season most often, is called “milk punch?”

Don’t know, sounds gross.

4. How many ghosts show up during “A Christmas Carol?”

Just had this Q in a trivia game and luckily one of my teammates knew it was 4.

5. Are you all about the holly and jolly or more about remembering the alleged ‘true’ meaning of Christmas?

Neither really, since I celebrate Chanukah, and that only mildly. But I’m not a humbug either… I’m happy for other people’s joy and will go to parties, sing, dance, and be merry.

Meowy Christmas Bitmoji

6. Please share a memory or thought about the holiday season if you’d like, whatever kind of celebration you may observe.

When I was in 5th grade the music teacher asked if anyone was Jewish. Unfortunately, I had told someone I was so she pointed to me. The teacher asked how I celebrated Chanukah and I said I didn’t. He was confused and made a joke about Santa not celebrating Christmas. Everyone laughed and I felt humiliated. I hated him. And them. But it wasn’t their fault. In 6th grade, I stayed home sick on music days around that time to avoid this scenario repeating.

I was a half-Jewish girl who didn’t celebrate the Jewish holidays because my father had no interest in them. My mom liked to put up Christmas lights and decorate cookies, so that’s what we did. We had Easter bunny baskets too. I grew up with all the standard American stuff, even though I didn’t really belong to it. It was easy to give it up when I married a Jewish man. Later, after our divorce, when faced with various dating options, I decided I didn’t want to observe holidays in my home that I no longer felt connected to. (I am fine with not doing anything for any holidays however.) Why do I feel connected to my father’s side and not my mother’s, when he wasn’t even interested in his own holidays? I don’t know.

Dizzy dreidel Bitmoji

~*~

Images from Bitmoji

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

FPQ52: The Good Life

Fandango’s provocative question

Fandango provocatively asks…

What does living “the good life” mean to you? Do you think that you’re living “the good life”?

I’m going to guess that most people will answer in the affirmative to this question. They’ll say they’re living the good life, since anything else seems like admitting failure. We’re always supposed to upsell ourselves. My life is great! My marriage is fantastic! My new job is a blast! Six months later… divorce and bankruptcy court.

Cutting up marriage certificate

But I’m not most people. Not gonna upsell. (My phone doesn’t even believe that’s a word anyway.) I’m not living a “bad” life ~ obviously these definitions are subjective according to our own definition. In my case, I would say I am living an “okay” life.

To me, a good life would have included a happy long-term marriage. It’s not a whole lot of fun doing everything on my own as a single person… case in point, moving. Ugh! I had some help from friends, for which I am extremely grateful, but that’s not the same as a husband with whom you make mutually beneficial decisions. And it’s sure not making me happy to contemplate my lonely retirement on limited funds. Blah.

But as I said, it could be worse. Much worse. I could have ended up with one of the dating site psychos, gahhh. I could have made even stupider decisions than I did in all sorts of areas. No really! I could have.

There are lots of positives happening: good job, good friends, reasonable-ish health, adorable kitty, wonderful daughters, great sons-in-law, sweetest grand daughter, nice new place to live, etc.💖

Cute tuxedo kitty

But I’m plagued with chronic pain (yes, despite being in decent health otherwise). It keeps me from exercising and enjoying some of the good things around me. That gets me down a lot, and I don’t have one of those naturally bubbly type of personalities that goes wheeeeee it’s fine that my neck is all stabby… I’ll still go for a 5 mile joggeroo and smell the flowers cuz life is beautiful! Eff that. 😛

If I’d known I was going to be single at the end of the game, I would have focused more intently on education and career in my 20s. I had every opportunity, but wasn’t thinking about the big picture at that point. I could have done so much more… and made so much more money. You say money isn’t important? Try looking for a place to live in Southern California!😳

On the other hand, it’s gorgeous here. And there’s a lot to do, plus it’s still free to watch the sunsets over the ocean (not to park at the beach however). I’m glad I didn’t stay in Chicago, despite the pizza.🍕

There you have it. Again, not everything has to be extreme, good/bad, love/hate. My life is okay. Not great. Not terrible.

California sunset

~*~

Image credits to Fandango and me and idk about the orange scissors one so whatever.

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

FPQ50: Starting Over

Fandango’s provocative question

Fandango provocatively asks…

“Would you be willing to give up everything you have if you could go back and start your life all over again? Why or why not?”

Not unless I could somehow be allowed to retain all the knowledge I have of all my mistakes, but how would that be possible if I were to truly begin again as a newborn baby? It’s a nice exercise… to imagine that we’d do things differently if we’d only had a chance at this juncture or that one, but would we really make a different choice? I like to think I would, especially at certain crucial times (I consider my failure to pursue better educational opportunities when they were available to be my worst mistake that has haunted me my whole life), but I’d still be the same person, so the only reason I’d take another path is if I knew the outcome of this one. 🙃

However… if I could remember the places where I screwed up? Yep, you got a deal! Sign me up for the restart. Until my college screw-up, my mistakes were minor and fixing those would likely not alter my life much except to make it less unpleasant day to day, but after I righted my course at age 18, everything would change. Then I’d have all new mistakes to make! 🦋

I’m not going to get all mushy now and say I couldn’t possibly reboot my life because then my children wouldn’t exist blah blah blah because this is just a fantasy and it can’t actually happen… unless the rumors are true and Fandango is really a powerful magic wizard. 😱

~*~

Image credit to Fandango himself.

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Questions from Carol Anne

Autumn leaves

My lovely friend Carol Anne has given me some questions. They’re associated with her Liebster Award. Congrats on your award, Carol Anne, and thanks for thinking of me! 💖

My 11 questions to you my nominees are:

1. Can you swim?

I know the basics, but I’m not a strong swimmer, and frankly I prefer to stay on land and gaze out at the beautiful waves.

2. Pepsi or coke?

Coke, please.

3. Snail mail or email?

Email is less wasteful.

4. Do you enjoy traveling?

No. Shocking, I realize. Everyone loves to travel, right? Well, I do enjoy experiencing new sights, attractions, nature, etc., but the expense and inconvenience make it a net negative for me. Travel is very costly unless you go by car, split the cost of gas, have people to put you up at your destination, yada. Or go camping, lol. Then there are all the migraine triggers for me that happen from noise, light, discomfort, etc. Also, there is my ongoing back/neck pain. Not to mention I don’t like leaving my kitty for more than a couple nights because I miss him too much! 🐱❤️

5. Snow or rain?

I’m from the East and honestly I miss the idea of snow but not the reality of it. Snow is beautiful and fun, if you don’t have to be anywhere and can bundle up and take a lovely walk. Rain can be romantic if you’re snuggled indoors with your sweetie, or a kitty and a good book, but again not if you have to drive in it. Since I’m in California, land of perpetual drought, I welcome any and all precipitation! Of course, we always get the “wrong” kind, in the “wrong” place, so they tell us the drought goes on…

6. What is one of your favourite quotes?

Life is short; eat dessert first. 🧁

7. Are you a glass half full or glass half empty sorta person?

Depends on the day.

8. What is your favourite flower?

Sunflower. Or tulips!🌷

9. If you could give your younger self some advice what would you say?

Go to Northwestern (in high school)! Stop dating insane men (in the 1980s). Buy tech stocks (in the 1990s)! Sell the tech stocks (before the crash). STOP DATING INSANE MEN. 🙄

10. If you had one superpower what would it be?

Repelling insane men.

11. Favourite book?

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. Tied for second place: Where I’m Calling From (short stories by Raymond Carver) and Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman (short stories by Haruki Murakami).

~*~

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

Scary Sharing [ranty]

Scream

Questions from Sparks

Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat) a good thing, a bad thing or a mixture of both?

Bad. Right now, I have a Twitter account, which I mainly use for poetry prompts and news, but the way others use it to argue and snark 24/7? Bad. It contributes to our nasty, bullying culture. Of course nastiness and bullying existed before the internet, but we weren’t hooked into it every minute of the day. You could take an actual break from school and not look at what people were saying. But now? Well, naturally you “need to know.” Same goes for the garbage on FB and Insta… you can’t be out of the loop! 😱

Before people fly into a tizzy, I’m not saying anything should be banned. I voluntarily left Facebook and Instagram. I suggest you do the same. Unfortunately I still have an account I made just to use Messenger for the convenience of friend chats, but I hope that’s temporary. It irritates me that some friends are opposed to normal texting.

I am absolutely opposed to the constant political screamfest on every corner of the internet that has accomplished absolutely nothing. Everyone is now able to screech about how much they hate X and get a pile of X-haters to agree, and another pile of Y-haters to engage in an endless namecalling jamboree, yippee doodle. What a great way to spend our free time. 🙄

Besides that, social media has destroyed privacy. Many of us overshare in so many ways; it’s the new normal to blurt out our feelings all the time to the whole world or to our 500 “friends.” Not only that, but in order to have “free” access to the things, we give giant corporations all our info, and shrug off periodic hacking and ID theft as a cost of doing business because we simply must stay connected 24/7 to these people who actually don’t even notice when we disappear. They really don’t.

People begged me not to leave Facebook. Then they laughed and said I’d be back in a month. Now, they’ve forgotten me. There are bloggers who have left. Some used to post and comment all the time. Who even ever thinks about them?

Are you camera shy or do you pose for the camera with confidence?

I’m not a fan of people taking my pic when I’m talking or have a mouthful of food. I always let people know when I’m taking their photo, and if they don’t want me to, I don’t. That said, if someone asks, I’ll always smile and agree. Why not ask? It’s just good manners.

Is there anything you’ve kept from younger years for sentimental reasons alone?

I have a folder full of school stuff to remind me of how much potential I once had and that I let it fade away to nothing.

Do you like to decorate for different holidays?

When I had a house I did. I especially went all out for Halloween because that’s such a fun holiday to me, with no pressure for family dinners or gifts. It’s just pure silly enjoyment. For the kids I mean! 🤣🎃👻

Halloween pumpkin head

~*~

Laura’s October Challenge (Day 7)

~*~

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

One-Liner Wednesday

F. Scott Fitzgerald quote

I’ve always felt that autumn is for fresh starts, not endings, probably because of the school year. But also I get so lazy in the summer and fall revs me up. I’m already more productive. Plus, early September is horrible for my migraines and then they suddenly and mysteriously taper off during the last week or so.

Looking forward to a good October!

~*~

Written for Linda’s One-Liner Wednesday and Laura’s October Challenge (Day 2)

~*~

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

All Apologies

There are many forms of apologies, most of them insincere. We’ve all seen the political apology (not limited to politicians, of course), where the person is simply sad they got caught doing the thing and hopes to continue doing the thing, but differently. The people who support the politician will forgive him, and the ones who don’t won’t, whatever the thing may be.

Then there’s the the celebrity apology. This occurs when a celeb says something stupid, which happens on the daily, and they come trotting out in front of the cameras, all abashed looking, saying how deeply sorry they are if they’ve caused offense to anyone and they certainly didn’t mean to. Usually they’re forgiven because they’re pretty.

The cheater’s apology is a combo of the above. Mostly, the cheater is deeply sorry he got caught. He has suddenly realized his behavior is wrong ~ or hers, in the case of those college scam moms. S/he promises to make amends to those s/he has wronged.

Blah blah blah.

I say sorry a lot. Usually it’s because I’m clumsy and bump into people or drop stuff. Or I’m not paying attention and don’t hear something or have forgotten it two seconds later. I’ll say sorry when I hear someone else’s sad news even though it’s not my fault because I feel sympathy for them. Saying “my sympathies” sounds too formal for me.

Generally, if I feel badly about something I’ve done to someone, I’ll change my behavior rather than issue a meaningless apology, but this is rare. Why? Well, I don’t interact with many people, and I’m also careful. In my opinion, there are plenty of folks who should apologize to me! Do I expect them to? Of course not. They’re jerks.

I used to be quick to accept apologies ~ too quick. It feels good to forgive. Don’t want to be a dour, unforgiving grump. But this hurt me because I didn’t analyze why a person was apologizing and often it turned out they simply wanted back into my life in order to do the same thing (or worse) yet again. I learned. Took a long time though.

Recently however, I did receive a very nice apology with an offer to be taken out to lunch. I declined the lunch, but the warmth of the apology was appreciated. Now, I do get that it was partly motivated by other concerns, which is fine. It was still gracious. It’s rare to be the recipient of graciousness in this world lately.

Enjoy it when you can.

~*~

Written for Mindlovemisery

~*~

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.

FPQ41: Perfectly Tense

FPQ

Fandango provocatively asks…

“So this week’s question is for you to discuss what you think about Zadie Smith’s quote. Do you believe that the past is always tense, the future perfect?”

I suggest you visit Fandango’s link to get the full sense of what he’s on about before you try to make sense of my jabber, but do as you will. Obviously, I am going to speak only to my limited experience on this.

In most cases, I believe people engage in a cognitive dissonance regarding their past. Well, let me back up. A disclaimer: Memory is notoriously unreliable. Even our short-term memories can be wrongola, so the idea that we can accurately remember what happened decades back and make judgments from there? Pffft. Let’s get that out of the way. Okay then.

Do I believe the past is always tense? Well, no! That’s silly. Some people say they had wonderful childhoods. Others have had or are currently in long, happy relationships. These people may or may not be optimistic regarding the future, depending upon a whole bunch of factors, including their individual personalities. That married man I was with for 2.5 years was a “glory days” guy, always telling stories of how much fun he’d had back when, and how the future would never measure up. Always nice to hear, amirite? 🙄

I’m somewhere in the middle, as usual. I had an okay childhood, not great, not awful. I recognize that my memories might be inaccurate and there is no one around to verify anything with. I accept responsibility for my part in failed relationships as an adult, which mostly connects to choosing the wrong men and then doubling down. [Note to self: Don’t do that.]

I’m kinda gloomy about the future, I admit. Maybe it’s a function of where I live, but I see people working their butts off and just getting nowhere. Is this happening in “the heartland” as well as on the coasts? You work a normal full-time job, plus maybe do some part-time work too, and can barely afford to rent an apartment? Forget ever buying a house unless Grandma leaves you one or you win the lottery. Maybe you save and save and can buy something with a group of others, but that’s not exactly “the American dream,” to live like a college student decade after decade.

Okay, so Fandango’s post was more about learning from your mistakes in order to create a perfect future. How realistic is that though? I’ll be 60 in 1.5 years. I understand I could have done many things better, but those chances are gone. I can’t redo where I went to college (passed on Northwestern and UCLA like a freaking idiot). I can’t improve my relationship with my parents because they’re both dead. I can’t make it 1995 again and fix my marriage with what I know now.

Learning is great, but opportunities do not stay available forever. Times change, the dogs bark, the caravan moves on. 🐶

~*~

©️2019 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon.