Angela Amman

Christmas lists and pajamas

Making Christmas lists Some days I feel like I have the whole working-at-home thing under control. I get (some of) the laundry done, and I make a (reasonably) healthy dinner, and everyone gets where they need to be on time.

Other days, I’m not so sure.

The kids are off school for Election Day — and if you’re reading this, I absolutely encourage you to get out and vote.

We love the voting process here, and we’re going to be at the polls soon. Our community is voting on a bond proposal with huge implications for the schools our kids will be attending for the next 12 years, and there’s nothing that would keep us from voting for it. Both kids get a kick out of the process: the standup booths, the oversized ballots, the machine that gobbles your vote into its stomach to process. I’ve been bringing them along since they were too little to understand what we were doing, and I fervently hope our discussions and participation plant the seed that voting isn’t an optional part of their citizenship.

I wanted to be at our polling location for most of the morning, holding a sign and letting voters see exactly who will be affected by their vote.

I have a conference call, though, so our presence is delayed.

Putting off my work isn’t an option, though I’ll work a few hours tonight to make up for the time spent singing to The Descendants soundtrack and helping with Christmas lists. I’d like to say the kids spent the morning working on educationally-appropriate crafts. Instead, one of them wore his pajamas until lunch time and both of them spent an inordinate amount of time thumbing through catalogs to put together Christmas wish lists for their grandmother.

I came to NaBloPoMo hoping to find some beauty in my words, but some days I know I’ll just write for my allotted time and end up with a smorgasbord of letters on the page. Accepting that will make the month’s writing worth it, just like I accepted pajamas until 11:00 a.m. and catalogs instead of crafts. Some days, just writing has to be enough — even when its amidst deadlines, distractions, and Disney soundtracks.

While I was working, they wandered from the table, sketching chalk drawings on the patio under the sun and humming along to the songs in their heads.

 

Not every day looks picture perfect, but moments of those imperfect days will settle in my heart, if I let them.

NaBloPoMo November 2015

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I am… Old School Blogging

Old School Blogging

one of my favorite LTYM Metro Detroit 2015 photos, courtesy of Kimberly Mitchell

I am bursting with dreams and holding too tightly onto fear.
I wonder if their hands will always feel like home when clasped around mine.
I hear echoes of failure and ticking clocks as I fall asleep.
I see glitter on the table and remember not to take life too seriously.
I want to be the ninety-year old wearing lipstick and laughing on a dance floor.
I am bursting with dreams and holding too tightly onto fear.

I pretend numbers don’t matter — scales and checkbook balances and the number of times I hit snooze.
I feel days slipping into years I can’t reclaim.
I touch my children’s hair and breathe in their childhoods.
I worry about everything, including worrying about everything.
I cry in sadness and joy, anger and fear, my emotions burning my eyelids even when I wish they’d stay inside.
I am bursting with dreams and holding too tightly onto fear.

I understand everything, until it floats from my grasp and I understand nothing all over again.
I say I’ll do better tomorrow.
I dream of weaving together stories the way they feel in my gut.
I try to fit too many words into too few hours.
I hope my laugh lines crowd out my frown lines.
I am bursting with dreams and holding too tightly onto fear.

Linking up with Elaine from The Miss-Elaineous Life and Angela from Jumping With My Fingers Crossed for a little bit of Old School Blogging. There’s still time to play along!

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Discord

The bells of St. Brigit’s are calling tonight,
taking me back to December
when the snow was new, and we were able to breathe
without words dying on frosted lips.
For a moment the bells sing through February’s lies.
I twirl once in the snow,
pretend there’s time to dance tonight,
pretend there’s time to pause and listen to the bells,
but soon they die on the chilled air.
I hear only wind,
gasping against my woolen ears
and pushing me away from you.

Write at the Merge

the prompt:

“The bells of St. Brigit’s are calling tonight.”

the challenge:

100 words, added to the above sentence, for a total of 108 words.
(And it *is* a challenge. I am verbose.)

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Blown line

Charlie watched Josh walk away. He knew nothing good would come of any conversation fueled by tequila and his brother’s too-late regret about sleeping around while dating Charlotte. Charlie’s own tequila churned in his stomach as he watched a hot-shot freshman hit a last second three point shot that few people noticed. Numbers clicked through his head, and he checked his phone hoping he was wrong.

No such luck.

With that shot, the line on the game was blown, and almost five hundred bucks shifted from his mental credit to his mental debit column.

Texts pinged, and he silenced the phone as the waitress leaned against the table and gathered empty glasses onto her chipped tray. Instead of walking towards the crowd of people near the high tops next to the bar, she rested her tray on the table and slid into Josh’s spot.

“You’re Charlie.”

He had to lean in to hear her. Cinnamon gum and some sort of perfume that smelled like flowers hung in the air between them. The cloying scent didn’t suit her, but the cinnamon did.

He was intrigued.

“Sure am. And you are?”

“Lauren,” she said, holding out her hand. That surprised him, as did the firmness from fingers that were completely engulfed by his own hand.

“Have we met? Do you go to Occidental?” Charlie’s eyes locked on hers, and he couldn’t blink. He knew he would have remembered her eyes; they must have been blue, but in the dimness of the bar they were so pale they almost glowed.

“Caltech,” she said, meeting his raised eyebrow with her own.

“Well, Lauren from Caltech, how can I help you? Not that I mind if you sit here the rest of the night,” Charlie felt himself smile, knowing the impact of the dimples he’d hated so much as a child.

“I hear you’re someone I might want to know.”

He could feel tension radiating from the fingers drumming on the table. Her eyes were still calm, but her foot was jiggling against the table leg.

“You heard wrong. I don’t… well… I don’t work in pharmaceuticals anymore.”

Derision crept into those icy eyes.

“Drugs? I work in a college bar. I don’t need to talk to you about drugs,” she said. She folded her hands on the table in front of her, the tension gone.

“I’m more interested in the card games you’re running.”

“I don’t know what you heard, but private gambling’s illegal.”

“I get off at eleven. You can wait here or pick me up at 11:15.” She picked up her tray.

She never looked back, though he couldn’t drag his eyes from the clinging black shorts walking away. Charlie was rarely surprised, but for the first time in days he forgot about basketball, his looming tuition bill, and everything but the smell of cinnamon and those blue eyes.

Write at the Merge
the prompt:
“Sometimes legends make reality, and become more useful than the facts.”
~ Salman Rushdie
link up with Write at the Merge

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