Mixed Tape Monday!

In my search today for teacher/writer ideas for writing prompts, I came across this idea:  Mixed Tape Monday.  It goes like this:  If you had to choose three songs that represent your life, what would they be, and why?  Sounds fun!  Hopefully the videos come through for you!  I submit for my first entry, Chumbawamba’s Tub-Thumping.  Why?  Well, the band title and song title made me laugh the first time I heard them!

Not only that, this song is AWESOME!  (Probably why I mentioned it in my recent novel). It also came out in 1997, a very memorable time for me.  I was twenty-nine years old and a new mom.  I was back to working full-time, and my job was stressful.  So was my marriage.  I felt like I was always cheating some other part of me by being anywhere that I was in any given moment.  Who was I?  Wife, mom, sales manager.  I didn’t really have time to be anyone else’s friend.  Well, eventually I made a friend at work, and we’d go to lunch and scream to the chorus of this song with its catchy beat and winning attitude.  Yes, in my business blouse and skirt, after picking up an Arby’s sandwich, I’d scream to this song on the way back to work.  It made me laugh, it made me forget that I wished I was somewhere else, and it made any given day better.  “I get knocked down, but I get up again.”  These were pivotal years for me.  Indeed, I did get back up.  Now, that is something to celebrate.  I’m no longer married to him, I no longer work there, and I have a good relationship with my grown son who doesn’t give me guilt if I’m doing my own thing.  On to #2…

(It is second in the playlist)

“King and Lionheart,” by Monsters and Men. This is a recent song; of course, answering this prompt in 1985 would have yielded a much different result, but you would tire of my teen Madonna obsession.  🙂  I love Of Monsters and Men, their lyrics, their sound, their videos.  This song certainly showcases the female singer’s voice, her understated strength and melody.  I like to think that understated strength represents me.   “We won’t run, we won’t run….We’re here to stay, we’re here to stay.”  I hope I exhibit that inner strength in my teaching life and in my motherhood decisions, which, by the way, I still have to make at times.

The third and final song, because this prompt only allowed me three, is “Dream Weaver,” by Gary Wright.  I’m sure it was meant to be romantic, but when I first heard it, I had no idea what romance was.  I had a pre-teen girl’s unrealistic notions, and hence, a dreamer was born.  Do you see why I loved this song so much?  I am such a dreamer.  I recall saying that to someone who asked about my writing, that I’ve been a dreamer for a long time, and until I wrote my thoughts and ideas down, a dreamer is all I was, yet, I had to start out dreaming to believe I could do it.  This song speaks of fantasy and helping me to “forget today’s pain.”  If I close my eyes, the sound effects make me feel like I’m flying.  “Fly me away to the bright side of the moon, and meet me on the other side….”  Is it any coincidence that I prefer to write science fiction?  I wonder whatever happened to Gary Wright…..

That brings me to this ambivalent thought:  These songs span about forty years.  *Gulp*  To be fair, Gary Wright’s song came out when I was four.  Okay, I won’t dwell on this part.  🙂

I hope you enjoyed this musical journey! Perhaps I’ll try it again in a year and see if it has changed!  I’d love to hear yours as well, and hey, I plan to use this idea to get a class of middle-schoolers to write.  Do you think it’ll work?

*All videos are shared from Youtube, and I have no claim and take no credit for them.


F is for Flash fiction. #AtoZChallenge #fffaw


Photo credit: Yarnspinnerr

“I shall dominate!  I am King of the Jungle!  Watch me swing fearlessly from branch to branch!”

“Just hurry up, Rory.  It should be my turn now!”

“I feel so free up here!  Look at it, Joe!”

“I am.  Now hurry up, and make sure you don’t land to the left.  Looks like a long drop!”

“I’ll bet you didn’t think my arms could hold out this long.  You’ll never last as long as me.  Did you check your watch?  I’m gonna time you when you get up here.  I’m gonna-”


“Ahhhhh!  Rory!  Help!”


“Ah, man, Joe, you didn’t!”

“Help, Rory!  Get an ambulance!  I think I broke my leg!”

~Pride cometh before the fall.~

Find out about this Flash Fiction challenge at https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2017/04/03/fffaw-challenge-week-of-april-4-2017/     A photo prompt is added every week.  Writers follow certain guidelines: Please include the photo prompt with your story and credit it to the photographer.  The story word limit is 100 – 150 words (+ – 25 words). Please try and stay within this limit.  Pingback to the challenge post in your story’s post.  Add your link to the InLinks button. See more at the website above!


The Smell of Summer, a.k.a, Hanging with Mom

Inspired by writerswrite.com prompt, “Write about the smell of summer.”

MomHaningw.Me1989.20741_1324079389693_7577721_n (2)

1989.  In Vicky and Luverne’s tree, MN.

I’ve been wanting to write about my mom lately, anyway; she’s been having a reawakening of sorts, so this prompt fits right in!  My answer to the smell of summer would be, sunscreen.  The smell has always made me feel beautiful and relaxed, maybe because it signifies a relaxing day at the beach and the slight sunny glow that results (no burn, please).  Well, lately, my mom has smelled of sunscreen quite often!  This in itself makes her seem 20 years younger.  She used to wear perfume a lot, and being allergic, I always asked her to tone it down.  I do not associate the smell of perfume with youth; scented lotion is much better.  But now, she more often smells of sunscreen than not.  It is all part of her new goal of being active and getting OUT.

My 75 year old mother should give lessons on how to stay young.  Besides working part-time in a grocery store, she has been going to a Senior Center for a couple years now, and made several friends.  She usually goes to their exercise classes.  I’ve accompanied her once or twice, and I would say, they are really exercising, and it’s sort of fun.  They go to coffee afterwards, and they are a delightful bunch.  One of them is writing a book, like I am, and another loves to read everything, even Fifty Shades of Gray. (She’s 80, by the way).  I believe this group of friends is part of what keeps my mom young and active.  But that’s not all…

She started chatting with our neighbor, longer than necessary.  Yep, I’m sure other neighbors are looking and thinking, something’s going on there.  Well, he’s not yet 60, somewhere in his 50s.  But who cares, it’s just talking, right?  Well, it is, isn’t it?  I told her not to get drunk around him; I think she has already broken that rule.  Well, yeah, she drinks socially now, more than before, but I’m not here to judge.  In fact, she had two-for- one margaritas when we went out for Mexican the other night, and got really silly.  Heaven forbid I tell her what to do, but I did suggest she slow down and drink more water. (She didn’t).  My son spoke up and said he’d drive her car home.  Bless his soul.  I got past the urge to set limits for her, when I came home one day and they were outside the garage, standing there, chatting, shooting the breeze.  I should explain, I live with her; we bought a house 8 yrs. ago, and my now 20 year old son lives there, too.  So, on this particular day, I drove into the driveway, and said, “Hey, kids!”  Well, that’s just what they looked like!  As if they sneaked out to see other, young love in the works.  They both laughed and Mom loved the role reversal.  So I’ve decided to let her have her moments.  If this makes her feel good, it is not my place to limit what she is doing or judge it.

He bikes a lot, and eventually they went biking together, for a 6 mile ride.  She has since become quite regular with it, and if he’s working or busy, she goes by herself, for 6 to 9 miles.  So evidently, the new habit is sticking, and she won’t be relying on him to go bike riding with her.  She seems determined to seek out her own happiness and not depend on any man for it.  I say, Go Girl!  Last week, she bought a new bike.  I don’t think she needed it, but it sure is a sweet ride and seems very comfortable.  Sometimes she is up before me in the morning, and gets out riding her bike before I have even showered.  With the advent of summer and the heat, she started wearing sunscreen.  One night I noticed the sunscreen smell and realized it was her. The scent of the beach came to mind, relaxation, sunshine, and lazy waves.  But most of all, a feeling of youth.

The photo above is of me and my mother, in 1989.  We’d climbed a tree on my Aunt and Uncle’s farm in Minnesota.  She said she did it just to prove she could.  What a happy memory.  She and I laughed about it the other day, because she couldn’t get back down!  (I think someone had to help her).  But this is one thing that keeps my mother young, and I hope it has rubbed off on me.  She doesn’t exclude herself from anything because of her age.  Sure, we had a good laugh about the tree, but she did prove that she could get up there, so who cares about getting down!  She still has a youthful attitude towards throwing caution to the wind.  And a somewhat innocent belief that things will turn out just fine.  That was a wonderful summer memory.  I don’t see it as the past, either, it is just another example of how my mother has lived, and still does, live her life with an attitude that keeps her young.  So the smell of sunscreen is still something I associate with beauty, relaxation, and youth.  And now I often detect it on my mother:  the smell of summer.

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