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.

 

 

 

 

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!

I underestimated myself (and my boys)

I am not alone in the nightmare. All one had to do was look out his/her car window to see others experiencing the same misery. We were all stuck.

Due to a snow and ice storm and a mass exodus to reach home before the roads turned treacherous, the roads were filled and full fast: highways, interstates, side streets, back roads, etc.

My story is not the worst; but, it is my story, and I want to share it with you.
Read more

Could this be a comeback?

This morning, I posted the following thought on Facebook: “I think I am going to start blogging again. And with that mention – my stomach became filled with butterflies.”

Could this be a blogging comeback for me? Is it possible that I will dust off the cobwebs of my blog, open the curtains, and once again let the world read my words? Do I even have words worth reading?

Read more

Respect: Have it. Use it.

I haven’t written in weeks, perhaps months. I fear if I take my time and really think this through, my life will pull me away from the post, and it will remain (like so many others) in draft form. So I am sharing a stream of conscious with you. While I will try to write correctly and coherently, I am not trying to win any grammar awards or accolades with this post. In advance, I extend my apologies to the grammar police.

My name is Lenore, and I watch Big Brother. That fact is tough to admit, because my husband despises reality television – and when he finds me watching Big Brother (or Survivor), he expresses his displeasure with my choice of shows to watch, over and over again.

I’m not here to defend the time I waste spend watching Big Brother, instead I am here to applaud the producers/editors of Big Brother for showing what appears to be more complete conversations between the houseguests vs. the typical sound bites shared in the show. Plus, I am here to share my thoughts regarding racism and general lack of respect.

Surely you are in the know, right? Surely you are aware of the fact that there is at least one houseguest within the Big Brother house unafraid to share her feelings about the people around her. Specifically, this houseguest will openly disrespect her black and gay co-houseguests.

(Side note: Am I the only person to find sick irony/coincidence with the fact that this houseguest’s name is Aaryn? Her name is so very close to “Aryan”, as in the Aryan Nation.)

My friends will tell you – my black friends, Indian friends, Armenian friends, Jewish friends, white friends, etc. – I like to be of the opinion that racism does not exist. I like to be of the opinion that we all get along far better than the media implies. Alas, Aaryn’s behavior has made it difficult for me to “unsee” the truth that exists.

So, in addition to admitting I watch Big Brother, I will also admit that racism exists. HOWEVER, the bigger issue, in my humble opinion, is a lack of respect. Regardless of your race, religion, creed, nationality, stature, weight, hair color, etc., individuals seem to spew disrespect towards anyone that is different and/or disagrees with whatever is being said or done. Outward differences seem more easily overlooked when folks are in agreement with one another.

###

Ducking to avoid all that will be tossed my way, I ask: Isn’t calling someone a dumb blonde similar to stereotyping a redneck or black person?  Easy. Easy. Yes, I understand – the history that exists between whites, blacks, slavery, and segregation makes the disrespect deeply personal and more hurtful. I get it, and I agree completely.

But…

At one point, Aaryn dismissed her lack of respect by saying her housemates call her a dumb blonde and judge her by her looks all the time.

Okaaay. So that makes it right? Heck no. HECK no.

But…

When we peel away the layers, isn’t it within our nature to pick on those different from us? Isn’t it within our nature to pull from stereotypes?

I realize the above statement may sound like I am defending Aaryn. I am not defending her. I am suggesting we are becoming desensitized to the lack of respect that is spreading like a bad rash.

The line between being funny and being hurtful is blurred and growing wider until – BAM – we are hit in the face with something that seemingly caught us off guard.

We are becoming more and more disrespectful as the years go by.  And, as my friends probably expect me to say- I blame part of this on social media and the no-filter and knee-jerk responses that fill Facebook and Twitter.

I won’t discuss the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman story, except to say that Trayvon’s friend who testified at the trial made me cringe when she used the word “cracker”. That word disgusts me, because it reminds me of the horrific treatment of the slaves. I am not a “cracker”, but because I am white and living in the South – it is a word someone could call me if they were mad or looking to hurt me. Dare I say, for those whites born after slavery, the word is as hurtful to us as the “n” word is to blacks. Both words conjure up an awful piece of history. Both words should be buried once and for all. As long as both words exist and are used in hate or in play (between people of the same race), an ongoing division will continue as a side-effect.

Can we get rid of “bitch”, too? I cannot stand how freely that word is used.

Folks, we lack respect for history, respect for elders, respect for families, respect for people, etc. We lack respect. Period.

###

To the producers/editors of Big Brother I say “Thank you.” Thank you for bringing the reality of racism and disrespect into the homes of millions of viewers. May we walk away from this with a greater awareness of the need for respect, and may we provide the respect all people deserve.

###

This morning during breakfast, my 8yr old asked me a question. Unfortunately, I don’t remember his question, but I do remember the dialogue that it sparked.

“You know, Joe. There was a time when blacks and whites
were forced to – “

“I know. I know. Blacks couldn’t do the same things whites could. I know this already.”
“Okay. Well, sadly there are some people that still have those ideas.
And –“

“Stop, Mom. You’re embarrassing me. I know all this.”
“Just promise me you will never treat someone differently because they look one way or another.”
“Mom! You know I won’t.”

I’ll make sure to continue to embarrass Joe (and Charlie) as they get older. Their embarrassment with my reminders is a small price to pay to know they will not judge a person’s outer-appearance. After all, they always show me respect, and I wear socks with sandals and flip-flops.

Shoes