My apologies, but I have no title.

I haven’t written in ages. Years. Decades. Clearly, my hyperbole is still intact, so I think it is safe to proceed.

Neil Gaiman. That’s the name of the guy getting credit for this post. Neil Gaiman and OverDrive. OverDrive is also getting credit for this post, because OverDrive, a free app that enables you to check out books from your local library and read or hear on your phone, tablet, etc., introduced me to Mr. Gaiman. Mr. Gaiman. That’s too formal. Going forward, I’m going to refer to Mr. Gaiman by his first name. I don’t think he’ll mind.

Whenever I visit my local Barnes and Noble Bookseller, I typically head straight to the Children’s section to find books for my boys. On more than one occasion, I’ve found myself spending several minutes starring at Neil’s novel, The Graveyard Book. I’ve yet to buy the book, but I might. One day. Or, I will listen to it online through OverDrive. Still, though I’ve not bought the book, I have his name in my head. And recently, while searching through my library’s electronic card catalog of the 21st Century via OverDrive, I came across Neil’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Once I started listening to the book, narrated by Neil himself, I was smitten.

Quite simply, I have fallen in love with Neil and his writing style. Even as I type this, I am reading it in his voice.

Those who know me in real life, as opposed to this digital life made up of 0s and 1s, tell me I write like I speak. They tell me they read my posts, hearing my voice as they read. I’ve not actually read one of Neil’s books – only listened. And, I’ve only completely listened to one book. (Though yesterday, I started another one of his books, Trigger Warning. I was drawn to it because it reference The Ocean, so it seemed the logical choice.)

Because I’ve not yet read one of his books, I don’t know if Neil’s books read like he speaks. And, I suppose it is safe to say I will never know if his books read like he speaks; because, well, after hearing Neil read his own books, I can only assume if/when I actually read one of his books, I will read it in his voice, trying to emulate the inflections and tones I’ve heard him make, much like I am doing now as I share this story with you.

And, with that, I think I’ve come to the end of this story. That is to say, I’ve scratched my ‘itch to write’ enough to satisfy it for another day or two – or 365 or more. But, I feel it necessary to let you know that I quite enjoyed The Ocean at the End of the Lane, though the ending wasn’t as exciting as I had hoped. (The description of the worm in the foot and the visual triggered by the said description will live with me forever. Thanks for that, Neil.) I am also enjoying Trigger Warning. My Cassandra was George Robinson. Fortunately for me, he stayed a work of fiction.

I’m pleased to finally meet your creations, Mr. Gaiman.* Formalities feel necessary at this point. It may take me awhile to get up to speed with the hip and happening, but I like to think I make it eventually. If only for a moment.

.::.

* Please know, though I’ve not read Coraline, I’ve seen the movie. (I realize that disclosure could be considered sacrilegious.) And no, I did not realize Coraline was a work of Gaiman. See post reference about my struggle to be hip and happening.

 

 

 

 

A Pair of Socks

Today I am wearing my Dad’s long black dress socks. I’ve worn this pair of socks off and on for nearly 30 years.

I first wore the socks when I was in high school. I needed a long pair of black dress socks, and I didn’t have time (or money) to go buy a pair. I asked my Dad if I could borrow a pair of his socks, and he said, “Yes.”

After that initial borrow, whenever I needed my Dad’s long black dress socks, I snagged ’em. Sometimes my Dad would go to his sock drawer looking for this pair of socks, only to find I was borrowing the socks – again.

My Dad died 20 years ago. And, every time I reach for these socks, I think of my Dad. A simple pair of black dress socks keeps a memory of my Dad full of life for me.

Today I attended a funeral for a 44yr old man, who suddenly died earlier this week. Among others, he left behind his wife and two boys.

His boys attend my sons’ school. I am lucky enough to spend a few hours with these boys (ages 5 and 11) Monday – Friday in the Extended Day Program, which I run.

I was 25 years old when I lost my Dad, and I felt robbed. My best friend was 16 when she lost her Dad, and I know she felt robbed, too.

These kids – these two boys – they were hijacked.

I went to talk to the boys after the funeral. The 5yr old was ‘happily’ distracted by a game he was playing on an iPad, but the 11yr old wasn’t finding comfort in any gadgets. He was – is – old enough to understand. He is old enough to feel the pain. He is old enough to grasp the immense sense of loss. And sadly, he is young enough to have so many years without his Dad, as is his younger brother.

When I talked with the older boy, I told him I lost my Dad when I was young, too. And, I showed him my socks. I told him they were my Dad’s socks – at least 30yrs old -, and I told him I felt my Dad was with me whenever I wore these socks. He looked at me, smiled, and said, “Really?” And, I assured him it was true.

Now, I realize he was probably more humored by the fact that I was wearing a pair of socks that are 30yrs old vs. feeling a sense of comfort/peace from my sentiment, but he’ll get it.

And, from now on, when I wear these socks to school, I will show the socks to these two boys. Because, there is comfort in remembering. It doesn’t fill the void completely, but it is something. And, I hope I can provide a bit of comfort for these two guys by showing them I haven’t forgotten.

.::.

“Let our faith be our consolation and eternal life our hope.” Prayers of the People, The Book of Common Prayer

The Last Day of December 2014

The last of our Christmas/Holiday cards were put in the mail earlier this week. My 2015 holiday letter gave me an opportunity to sit down and write, which is something I’ve missed. Jobs, marriage, housekeeping, and kids tend to keep me from the keyboard and/or pen and paper. Even now, though the boys are not home, I am trying to write a quick introduction, while juggling five dogs, one of which is a puppy, insisting furniture makes a good chew toy.

The moment I sit down to write seems to trigger a beacon of light that shoots a message out to the world like a ‘bat signal’: “People of planet earth. Lenore is sitting down to write. Please, do whatever you can to distract her. The time is now.” Wait. Scratch that. Being that I am re-watching Doctor Who (the 9th and 10th Doctors), I think the message is controlled by the Daleks and quicker to the point: “AGGRAVATE! AGGRAVATE!”

Perhaps 2015 will bring with it more writing moments for me. We’ll see. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the following letter I sent to friends and family.

.:.

A DAY IN DECEMBER 2014

“Can we decorate the tree now?” Joe and Charlie asked in unison.

I looked up from my game of Candy Crush. I had recently entered Licorice Tower and was struggling on Level 382. “What?” I asked. Their heads looked blurry as my eyes slowly adjusted back to the real world.

“Can we decorate the tree now?” Joe asked alone.

“I don’t know – can you?” I replied.

MOM!” Charlie sighed.

He’d stop calling me “Mommy” earlier in the year. It still felt odd hearing him say “Mom” instead of “Mommy”, but I was getting used to it.

“MAY we decorate the tree now?” He whined.

I nodded, and the boys bounced as they opened the bin filled with their Christmas tree decorations. Charlie wasn’t calling me “Mommy”, but they both still loved decorating the tree, and that made me happy.

As I watched them decorate, I started thinking about 2014. Being that it was already mid-December, I found it harder to ignore the pending New Year. Where had the time gone? What filled our days?

My cell phone chimed, and I glanced at the notification. A cousin ‘liked’ a picture I posted on Facebook. Seeing her ‘like’ reminded me of visiting with her and other family members on her Dad’s deck at the Shore. What a wonderful week we had at the Shore this year. It was different, being at the Shore without Uncle Don, but we spoke of him often – sharing memories in an effort to have him with us. It was nice, too, when we shared memories of Uncle Don and my Dad, who died 20 years ago.

This year we celebrated the 40th year of the Brown/Christie Games. To pay tribute to the early years, we incorporated a few ‘old’ games into the competition. As we talked about which games to include, we reflected on the ones played by our elders like Skeet Shooting, which made my Dad famous. Well, he was famous in my mind.

Yeah. As I filed through the 2014 snapshots in my mind, I found myself focusing most on the memories made during our summer vacation in Amherst Shore, Nova Scotia. The other snapshots seemed run of the mill ordinary days consisting of me working and yelling, Joe pondering and arguing, Charlie charming and scheming, and Rob deliberating and dozing.

I felt myself tighten, as I thought about the time I spent working, parenting, and . . .

“Mom!”

Yep. Mom. I closed my eyes and nodded. That’s the word I hear repeated throughout the day, every day.

“Mom!”

Once again, I find myself trying to re-adjust my eyes to a blurred reality. I notice the tree is decorated, and . . .

“MOM! Did you hear me? Joe didn’t flush OR wipe the toilet seat!”

.:.

Thanksgiving Nov 27th 2014 (2)

Happiest holiday wishes to you. Wishing you flushed toilets
and dry toilet seats in 2015 and always!

The post where I might overthink the dangers of online gaming.

My boys like to play National Geographic’s Animal Jam on the computer. The game allows the kids to create animal characters and live in various parts of the world with other players. Recently and for the first time, Joe and Charlie played Animal Jam simultaneously on separate computers. It was funny watching them get excited about “seeing” each other and interacting online.

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Tattoos, Talenti, and not a Top 10

Yesterday, we took our boys to Six Flags over Georgia. Considering the fact that kids are out of school, the park was empty. We did not have to wait in any lines for any of the rides. In fact, we rode many of the rides more than once, without having to get off the ride. But this post isn’t about the rides or my boys.

People-watching is a hobby of mine. Before terrorism changed how we fly, I loved going to the airport and waiting at the gate for whomever we were picking up at the time. The people in the airport were always fun to watch. Perhaps more fun than watching people in the airport is watching people at Six Flags.
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