Tag Archives: family

Sunny Break

Woman hat sunflower field summer

No, sillies, I am not taking a blog break to cavort in the sunshine. The horror. You should know me better than that! Besides, it’s supposed to rain tomorrow and why risk going out there today? What I am doing is replying to the Sunshine Award questions Sadje posted.

1. How are you, really?

Eh, I’m OK… could be worse… could be raining. Oh wait! Actually, I am feeling somewhat better today from my fall a few weeks ago, but I’m still gonna take it easy. Decided that making banana bread was too much work, so I just threw the bananas in the trash and decided to blog this instead. You’re welcome!

2. What was the best age of your life?

Best is relative. I loved the years when my girls were little and I played with them every day… had the energy to do that along with help from my mom. I miss my mom so much. But other things weren’t great back then, and I have to admit I truly appreciate the past 10 years+ of fully financially supporting myself without depending upon some man.

3. What is your best method of relaxation?

It’s funny… up until a few weeks ago I would have said playing solo games on my phone. But then I had the epiphany that they weren’t relaxing at all and kept me hyper and unable to sleep. I’m back to reading ebooks now, and diving into fiction is a good relaxation tool until I get enraged by typos. (PS: I have only 7 books to go before I hit 100 read for the year!)

4. If you have a favourite movie, which one would it be?

Can’t choose only one, but some all-time favorites are Dr. Zhivago, When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail, Alex & Emma, 27 Dresses, Analyze This, Goodfellas, Young Frankenstein.

5. How about a book? Which one would you choose?

Again, not possible to choose only one. Here are some at the top of my list: The Unbearable Lightness of Being, The Great Gatsby, Where I’m Calling From, Blind Willow/Sleeping Woman, The Velveteen Rabbit.

6. What do you think of psychology and the way it can help people?

Meh. It’s a soft science. But what I do think helps is having an objective person to talk to who is not a friend or family member ~ someone to whom you aren’t afraid to express your true feelings. But I think most of the “help” consists of realizing the solution to your own problems as you’re finally free to honestly say what you think. Now, if we are talking about actual doctors (psychiatrists) who can prescribe meds, that’s different. I’m highly in favor of meds.

As an aside, I’m NOT a fan of all the pop psychology floating around the net where completely unqualified people read an article or two and then believe they have the skills to label others with mental disorders. This does not apply to me obviously when I call my exes psychos and narcissists.

7. What’s your favourite food?

It really is mood-dependent. While I often want sweets, there are times I crave a yummy pizza or delicious, creamy seafood pasta. And a couple times a year, I simply must have a CHEESEBURGER!

8. What’s your favourite social media platform?

Even with all the glitches… WordPress by a mile. It’s mostly because of how nice everyone is in our writing community. Thank you, all!

9. Do you like hot or cold weather, and why?

Hot, up to a point… 75-85 is my ideal range. I enjoy the rhythm of long sunny days when it isn’t dark right after work and I can get motivated to be productive (or even social) in the evening.

10. What’s your idea of a perfect day?

A day without pain.

11. Finally, if you could change something in the past, what would it be?

Not a change, but I wish I could remember all the math I took. I was great at math as a teenager (including advanced calculus) but can’t recall stuff now. I am seriously thinking of buying math books to review what I used to know and go beyond that into the weird…

~*~

Image from Pexels.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Shopping Habits [fpq]

Cat berries groceries market


Fandango provocatively asks…

During the height of the pandemic, to what extent did you avail yourself of online shopping for meals, groceries, and other goods and services? If you did use online shopping and delivery services, now that things have eased up a bit, has your reliance on or use of such service continued at the same rate, increased, or decreased. To what extent?

In March of 2020, when we all realized that Covid was a bfd, I stayed home from work for a while and was terrified to go out, touch anything, or breathe. While I had been ordering miscellaneous stuff online for years (vitamins, clothes, gifts, etc.), I had never used grocery or meal delivery services. I tried to set up grocery delivery during the beginning of the lockdown and every attempt failed ~ through Amazon, Target, and Vons. I’d load up a virtual cart only to be told at checkout that none of the items were actually available and/or that there were no delivery times available. It was incredibly frustrating.

So I kept going to the grocery store. I went super early, the minute they opened, and hurried through, masked of course, trying to touch as little as possible. When I got home, I swiped everything with alcohol wipes, including my steering wheel, purse, keys, credit card, and all the groceries. It was completely nucking futz. Naturally, I was extremely relieved when it turned out we didn’t have to do any of that alcohol wiping.

But as far as shopping during the worst of Covid (assuming the worst is over!), I basically carried on as usual. I went to meatspace stores to buy things I needed that I couldn’t get online. The above pic is from a farmers’ market outing with friends. We felt relatively safe outdoors, though we wore masks even at the beach, which in my opinion is an enormous pain. I hate masks. They are hot and annoying, and they make my glasses slip off. My glasses actually fell off and broke at one point (in my office building) and are currently held together with superglue. Yes, I understand this is minor compared to being on a ventilator, thanks.

I’m triple vaxxed now and lately I’ve been doing whatever ~ restaurants, movies, game nights indoors, etc. I will be flying to NorCal in November to spend Thanksgiving with my daughter and son-in-law. Last year I drove, but ugh… 7 hours in the car is really painful for my back. I feel safer now that I’ve had so many vaccines (not just for Covid but also for the flu and shingles), and California has a high percentage of sensible people who are fully vaxxed as well. I don’t always love living here with the ridiculous taxes and cost of housing, but I am grateful for the way most of us in this state have behaved during the pandemic.

~*~

Image is mine.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Collecting My Thoughts

America beanie baby bear

Lauren’s Throwback Thursday theme this week is collections, specifically these questions:

1. Did you start collecting things as a young child?

I did. The first thing I remember collecting was around age 6, and that was stickers. I think they came in packs of gum, not sure. When I went with my dad to get the Sunday paper, he would buy me some.

2. Were there special trinkets you enjoyed saving?

My mom bought me a charm bracelet around age 9, and I liked to find random charms to add, especially when we traveled. These were all cheap though, not real silver (neither was the actual bracelet), and after a few years they got all tarnished and icky-looking.

3. Where did you keep your treasures? Do you still have anything from your early collections? Did you collect things because family and friends wanted to contribute to your “set?”

Stickers were in a notebook; charm bracelet was in a jewelry box. I no longer have these, nor the seashells I collected, nor the gum wrapper necklaces I made, etc. I’m not a big “keeper,” though I do have a few special things from my mom and my daughters. I collected stuff I liked and mostly no one else contributed except my parents.

There’s one exception. Starting in my early 20s, I began to collect Swarovski crystal animals. My boyfriend at the time and his family gifted me a whole bunch of new pieces one Christmas. That was really sweet. I probably made a big mistake breaking up with him a few months later because I got bored. He was the nicest guy I ever dated.

4. Do you have collections now? Do you enjoy adding to a friend or family member’s prize collections?

As an “adult,” I started hoarding collecting Ty Beanie Babies. It was completely insane, though fun. I have fond memories of giving my daughters candy for dinner so we could continue standing in line for a hard-to-find beanie. Not sure if their memories are quite as fond. I also traded over the internet (which is the only reason I was interested in the internet in the late ’90s, but then I discovered writing groups)… good times. I gave away almost all my beanies to charities, but I still have a few, like Patriot Bear on my desk at work.

Due to limited storage space, I am no longer interested in collecting anything. I even donated almost all my books to the library during my last few moves. The crystal animals didn’t do well with a kitty in the house.

5. Have you ever needed to tell someone to please stop adding to the hoard? Have you inherited anyone’s collection?

No and no. Well, my mom had a collection of fancy evening bags I technically “inherited,” but I donated them all. She never used them, just wrapped them up and squirreled them away. God only knows why!

~*~

Image is mine.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

HC9: Blood

DNA genetic blood

“Hey, Lori! Guess what?” I grinned as I clicked on the email. “We finally got the results of Wesley’s DNA test.”

“Thank God,” Lori muttered. “Now we can find out if he’s really blood related to us. Honestly, Chris, I hope he isn’t. The idea of being his sister is too creepy, especially when Mark and I are trying to get pregnant. You know some of those scary traits can be passed on.”

I nodded. “I hear you. When I was little, I pretended not to know him in elementary school. I didn’t want the other kids to know I had such a weird brother. But then they threw him out of school, so I didn’t have to worry about it.”

“For setting those fires, right?” Lori asked.

“Mm, and other… things. But he always denied doing any of it. Said he was being set up.” I entered my password and clicked through the menus on the site. “I’m just glad they took hair because there’s no way I was gonna get him to spit in a cup.”

“He’d probably spit in your face!” Lori laughed. “Of course he denied it. Typical of psychopaths.”

“OK, he’s a quarter Irish and a quarter German, just like my test said.”

“Ugh,” Lori growled. “But does he match up with you in the relatives’ section?”

I scrolled down. “Hang on. He’s twelve percent Norwegian, eight percent Belizean, and… what’s this?”

“What???” Lori peered over my shoulder.

“He’s six point six six percent jackal.” I stared at the screen.

“Explains a few things,” Lori said, her breath hot on my neck. “Seriously.”

~*~

Written for Tourmaline’s Halloween Challenge. Image from Pixabay.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

School Daze

school photos

This week’s Throwback Thursday focuses on our memories of school. We’re told to take this prompt wherever it leads, and I’ll begin with their questions…

1. Who was your favorite teacher? What about your worst?

My favorite teachers were math teachers (after elementary school we had different teachers for various subjects), all men, and no BS. They neither shared things about their personal lives nor intruded in ours. Not coincidentally, math was my favorite subject.

My least favorite teacher was a high school history teacher who constantly babbled about personal stuff. He even put it on the quizzes! I had a 7th grade history teacher who spent a lot of time telling us about her divorce too. I didn’t much care for the elementary school teachers, mostly because they didn’t seem to like me.

2. Were you a member of any clubs?

Not really my thing, but my parents nagged me, so I joined the Spanish club and the newspaper team.

3. Did you attend homecoming or the prom?

God no.

4. What was your favorite subject?

Math, as I said. I also enjoyed a creative writing class senior year (male teacher). I enjoyed Spanish all through high school, which was taught by a woman, and she created an independent study class for me senior year because I was so advanced. She also gave me an award. Very cool.

5. Were you the perfect student or a troublemaker?

Neither. I broke some rules, but I didn’t do anything too horrible. My grades were always fantastic, so teachers didn’t bother me much. Here’s a naughty thing I did. In 8th grade science, we had to write a 10 page paper about something or other. I chose scallops. OMG they are boring (though tasty)! I took a chance the teacher was not going to read all 10 pages, so I wrote about scallops on pages 1 and 10, and in the middle I wrote a bunch of garbage. I received an A.

6. What clothes were in style when you were in school? How did you get to school? Bus, walk, drive? Any extracurricular activities? What did you do for lunch? Did you attend football games or other sports? Did you attend school when corporal punishment was applied? Have a school photo you wish to share?

We mostly wore jeans, sweaters, boots. I had high school in Illinois, so it was freezing much of the time. I never took a bus ~ either walked or got a ride, and at 16, I had my own car. I wasn’t into any rah rah stuff, such as sports, pep rallies, dances, etc. I either brought my lunch or bought junk food in the cafeteria. There was no corporal punishment.

I hated school when I was little because the other kids mocked me for being fat, wearing glasses, having no athletic ability, and even for being smart. Intelligence was not valued. Cute, slim girls who were good at volleyball were valued, just as Janice Ian wrote. You would think then maybe at least the teachers liked me for being smart? Nah. They didn’t care. They also preferred the cute kids.

Later, in high school, things were a little better because I developed anorexia and was no longer fat. I sort of became invisible at that point, which had been my goal… to float through the days without anyone taking notice of me and saying something mean. I deliberately let my grades slip so I wouldn’t have to be the valedictorian or one of the salutatorians on stage at graduation. I came in at no. 5, which delighted me and infuriated my mother. My father said kids would be different in college, but he was wrong. They were the same people who were jerks in high school ~ a new location did not change their personalities. Nor did it change mine. Depressed, I left the University of Illinois in Champaign after one semester and returned home to be invisible again. Finally, I finished college in California as a commuter student when I was 29.

I am brave enough to share pics! I made a collage from phone pics of photos in an album. Top left I’m around age 4 and already rolling my eyes. Look how pretty my mommy is! The next one is from like 2nd grade when I was super chubby. Then comes 4th grade or thereabouts. The one with the doggy is 6th grade in New Jersey. And finally I’m in high school… dig my kaleidoscopic shirt!

Here’s Janice, saying it all perfectly…

~*~

Image is mine.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Family Matters

Family

There are so many great songs (and books and movies) to illustrate Jim’s Thursday Inspiration prompt this week. It’s funny that I just finished rewatching all 6 seasons of the Sopranos along with the prequel movie The Many Saints of Newark. In these fictional mafia stories, family is hugely emphasized, both blood relatives and also your partners in crime, who sometimes motivate more love and loyalty than birth families. Until they rat you out to the Feds!

I also recently read a book that focused on family relationships, both blood relatives and also chosen families. It was The Moonlight Child by Karen McQuestion and I gave it 5 stars, which is rare for me lately. I highly recommend this novel. The plot was exciting, the characters were compelling, and the narrative was straightforward, third-person, past tense, as stories with multiple POVs should be. There were no awkward jumps into first-person, present tense like so many books lately. Uck!

But I digress. Some of my favorite family-themed songs are ”Rock & Roll Lullaby” by BJ Thomas, ”Daniel” by Elton John, and ”Daddy, Don’t You Walk So Fast” by Wayne Newton. Enjoy!

~*~

Image is mine.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Sharing About Sharing

Halloween SYW kitty cat

Happy first Monday in October! Melanie treats us to a new set of questions..

How do you feel about sharing your computer or phone password with your partner?

I feel extremely negatively toward this idea, from my direct experience with an ex spying on me and, unfortunately, vice versa. It was a disaster in both directions, solved nothing, and only created more trust issues, though it is fair to say the relationship was doomed regardless.

With another ex, I voluntarily gave him a few passwords, in order to help him feel more secure, but you know what? When you’re dealing with a paranoid lunatic, NOTHING is ever enough. It makes no difference how much of your privacy you relinquish, when someone is horribly insecure and neurotic, they will always find something to freak out about. It’s simply their nature.

Here is another problem with allowing them to snoop ~ you are also compromising the privacy of everyone else who communicates with you. In my case, I don’t want some man poking around in my messages from my daughters. They haven’t agreed to randos reading their texts. This is a terrible idea, from start to finish.

What is the greatest struggle you’ve overcome? (This isn’t meant to be invasive, just use general terms if you’d like.  Or if not, feel free to pass on the question.  That’s allowed too).

My divorce and everything that entailed, such as selling two properties while in a hostile situation, was pretty tough, not to mention that the process of splitting up went on for around 10 years total, including while we were still living together. It was a slow motion train wreck.

If heaven is real and you died tomorrow, do you think you would get in?  Why or why not?  (this is purely speculation, no bias if you don’t believe)

I tend to think that I would not get into any kind of heaven. I had a 2.5 year affair with a married man, and that can’t be OK in any set of rules. That’s not the only bad thing I’ve done, but I feel it’s probably the worst. Luckily for me, however, I don’t believe in an afterlife.

What makes you feel like you really need to be alone?

Being with people! Actually, I enjoy social events, but I have limits. For every hour I spend with others, I need “recovery time” to recharge. It’s stressful for me to spend day after day socializing, so I take significant breaks to chill by myself. Family is different. I enjoy being with my daughters for however long we can. This isn’t to say that my grands don’t tire me out, but that’s more physical than emotional.

Do you have any traditions around this time of year? 

When my girls lived with me, we would decorate for the season and also make sure to have pumpkin pancakes at least once before December. But on my own, nah, not really. Some years I have worn a costume for Halloween and gone to social events, but it just depends on what friends are doing and planning. This year nothing seems to be happening on Halloween weekend, so maybe that will be my me-time to recharge!

~*~

Image from Melanie.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

September’s End [syw]

Planet balloons


Melanie finishes the month with a bang of new questions…

1. What’s your favorite way to exercise?  (if you do or don’t.  Exercising one’s mind is a valid answer IMHO, because that’s my favorite).

I do exercise my mind fairly often via games and reading and art appreciation, but I try to exercise physically too. For me, this means gentle stretching and light walking. I also like to dance, but since I’m bad at it, I mostly indulge alone.

2. What’s more important to you – family or friends?

Obviously, if I were forced to choose, I would say my family. Nothing is more important to me than my two daughters, and by extension my grandchildren. But luckily I don’t have to choose, so I am free to say that my friends are a very important part of my life.

3.  (a segue of sorts from last week’s SYW)..Have you ever voted for someone (in whatever venue – politics, contests, school elections) based solely on how they looked?

I hope not! But do we really know? Biases toward people who look more like us, however you define that, play a role (consciously or otherwise) in our selection of friends, lovers, and representatives. It’s not a coincidence that 45 out of 46 presidents of the US have been white men. You may say it’s not the voters’ fault if the choices all boil down to white men most of the time, but why are white men predominately given more opportunities to rise to the top than anyone else? That is an issue which needs to be addressed.

4.  (silly one)  How could carousels be spiced up so they are more exciting?

Oh, lots of ways! How about a girls’ night where you ride double with a hero from a romance novel? You could have a sexy pirate or a dashing duke or a gorgeously rich snd handsome CEO. You could also choose your costume as well. And the ride would last longer than 3 minutes, hehe, plus continue on after dismount with a romantic cruise through the tunnel of love…

5. Please feel free to call share something you’ve enjoyed about this September.

September is always my worst month for migraines, but they weren’t as bad as usual this year. Perhaps that has something to do with climate change, since it also didn’t get disgustingly hot and windy here. So I have enjoyed a relatively OK month in the pain department.

~*~
Image credit Jordan_Singh at Pixabay.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Music Memories

rainbow piano keys music notes

Maggie asks about our music memories for this week’s Throwback Thursday:

Maybe it’s a song that brings back good memories. Maybe it was your first radio or record player – or iPod depending on your age. Maybe it is the song that always moves you to tears. What song was played at your wedding? Did you have band posters hanging on your bedroom walls? What are your music-connected memories?

My early music memories center around the records my parents played ~ Johnny Cash, the Doors, the Beatles, the Woodstock album, soundtracks from musicals, etc. “Blackbird” by the Beatles was one of my mother’s favorite songs, so I always think of her when I hear it. My dad was a big Doors’ fan. Then there’s the music I discovered as a teenager ~ Neil Diamond, Gordon Lightfoot, the Supremes, etc. I remember putting on the Supremes’ Greatest Hits and dancing around by myself in our living room. I still love all this music, including the soundtracks, and it makes me happy to hear any of it.

I first heard Rumors by Fleetwood Mac in its entirety at my friend Kate’s house, and I still remember that afternoon. My Chicago boyfriend Charlie took me to see Pat Benatar in concert, and that was a great night. Listening to REO Speedwagon reminds me of my friend Kathy (went to their concert with her in Chicago too). The soundtrack from Risky Business brings back the day I skipped class to watch it alone… and I also think of the guy I had a crush on at the time. Other songs remind me of Mark too, especially “You Are the Sun” by Lionel Ritchie, which we slow danced to in a bar at closing time. When I moved to SoCal at age 22, I began watching MTV (which wasn’t available in Chicago then), and the songs from the music vids remind me of my parents’ condo in Burbank and gradually adapting to life out here. There was a lot of Madonna, Roxy Music, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson, ZZ Top, etc.

There are many songs that provoke an emotional reaction for me. “This Guy’s in Love with You” always gets to me (for a while, it was an “our song” for my ex-husband and me because of a mix-up when I requested it at a piano bar), and so does ”The Story” by Brandi Carlile. Neil Diamond’s album 12 Songs makes me sad, but in a good way. I first listened to it on the drive back from a writing convention in San Diego, where I had a pretty bad time and was also dealing with other personal issues. I always love the long version of ”Hotel California” too ~ a couple years ago, a group of us dressed as parts of the song for Halloween. That was so much fun!

I am not the type of person to worship celebs, but I did have a poster of David Lee Roth in my bedroom in Chicago.

~*~
Image from Pixabay.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Surprise!

Dock sunset water

Peeking through the window, Lydia’s surprise turned to horror when she saw them stumble drunkenly up the boat dock, trip, and drop the birthday cake splat on the ground.

“Grandma?” she said to the snoozing old lady in the rocker. “The guys are here for your special day.”

“Wha’ day?” Grandma mumbled.

Lydia hadn’t wanted the party at all while she was hiding out, but her brothers had simply shown up. Any excuse to down some brews, she guessed and rolled her eyes.

“Your ninety-fifth birthday!” Lydia pasted on a fake smile as her brothers banged on the door and hollered. All she had to do was stay gone another 24 hours and she would get everything, while her ex would end up blamed for the whole financial fiasco.

“Hey, guys!” She opened the door and hugged her annoying siblings. It was nice they still cared about Grandma, even a little.

“The cake met with a little accident, Lyd,” Gary said. “Sorry about that. Maybe we can bake one.”

“Who’s this?” Lydia gestured at a fourth man behind the group.

“He’s a friend of Tommy’s,” Brian said.

Tommy belched. “I thought he was Gary’s friend.”

The man stepped forward and shoved an envelope into Lydia’s hand. “You’ve been served,” he said. “Have a nice day.”

As Lydia watched him stride away, detouring around the smashed cake, she felt her careful plans crumble to ruins.

~*~
Image credit to Kenrick Mills @Unsplash.

Written for Sadje’s What Do You See and Fandango’s Story Starter.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.