Music Memories

I was running errands yesterday, doing a bit of Christmas shopping and preparing for the rain storm that is bringing us much needed rain.  I had the Christmas tunes on and something came on that I wasn’t too fond of so I switched over to my favorite local 80’s channel.  It was perfect timing.  I heard the beginning of a familiar song and within a few seconds, I launched into Rapper’s Delight.  I know every hip hop the hippie the hippie to the hip hop part of the song and I love it.  It’s such a fun song to sing and it put me right back on the bus, riding to school with my friends, the music blaring from my boom box that I took everywhere with me.  I go into full hand motions and acting out the song while in my car, not caring who’s looking, hoping that everyone can have as much fun as I can by myself, listening to the radio.

I thought about talking with my friend “Ron” from my book.  I just spoke with him last month.  It was good getting caught up with him.  He said that when he first stepped on that same school bus so many years ago, his life was changed forever.  We laughed.  He said he walked down the isle of the bus and saw me with my friend “Taylor”.  We were sunken down in the oversized bus bench seat, with our knees up on the back of the seat in front of us.  We both had sunglasses on and Taylor’s hair was blown out.  We laughed again because it was so right, our memories.  I could see us all.  When the two of us saw Ron, I flipped my sunglasses up and said “hi”.

Back in my car, I could see all of this in my head without missing a beat or a word of the song.  It was such a long time ago and the regrets pained my heart.  I introduced “Ron” to more than two crazy girls and rap music.

The song ended as I pulled into the grocery store parking lot.  Sheila E. came on.  I was transported from the bus to my living room, practicing dance moves with “Faith”, my best friend.  We were inseparable.  I sang about the Glamorous Life and pictured us, always clowning around, eating and forever dancing.  Best friends forever was really best friends for a little while or maybe best friends until things get tough or indifferent or complicated.

When I returned to the car, I was heading to the mall when Jam On It came on. Yeah, yeah, we know, we know.  I’m not the least bit embarrassed that I used to break dance.  I saw myself “popping” and wished I was still as good as I was then.  As each year passes in my life, I wonder what the oldest dancer has ever been to start a career, not considering endurance, flexibility, skill or any of the other important requirements that are needed to be a dancer.

There’s lots of things I want to be.  There’s lots of things I’ve been.  I’m going to go make dinner.

  • Want to hear more?  Check out my book ‘A Series of Events’ available in trade paperback and on kindle from Amazon at 

Something’s rotten

When I moved to California, one of my requirements when looking for a home was that it have fruit trees.  I wasn’t greedy by wanting every kind of fruit possible.  I simply wanted a lemon and a lime tree.  I love lemons and limes.  I used lemons all the time but thought that limes were so exotic and smell so incredible that they were always a treat for me.  Being in a warm climate with very little freezing weather, it was a no brainer to me to have some citrus trees right in the yard to walk out and grab some fruit from.  When we moved into our house after a few months of searching for just the right place, I was so excited that the yard had several fruit producing trees.  There was not only a lemon and a lime tree but also a pomegranate, orange, avocado and apple tree.  It sounds excessive, I know but let me just clarify that they were new, little trees so the pomegranate and avocado had yet to produce fruit.  But the lemon, lime and orange trees all had fruit on them.  I’d never had fruit trees before and the only thing that had come close was that my dad had a couple fruit trees in his yard when I was growing up and I hated them!  When I’d cut the grass, the bees were so bad that it was terrifying to go near the trees for fear of getting stung.  Luckily, with these trees being so small, I don’t have that worry.  What I didn’t know was how the fruit trees work.  I guess I thought with the weather being warm, the trees would just constantly produce fruit.  That’s not true!  I picked and used all of the lemons within the first few weeks and then that was that.  I moved on to the lime tree but I don’t like limes in the same applications that I like lemons so I didn’t use them as much.  I picked the three oranges that were on the orange tree and then that was that as well.

We moved in at the beginning of November.  It was getting cooler but not cold.  By the beginning of the year, we did have a couple of freezing nights to which I covered and protected my precious trees.  In the spring, the lime tree immediately got buds on it and is now once again full of key limes.  I thought at one point I was going to lose the lemon tree but nurtured it and just got the first lemon off of it a few weeks ago.  There’s four or five more lemons on it.  The orange tree didn’t bud or bloom and has no fruit on it as is the same with the avocado and pomegranate.  I’ll be patient with them.  I hope that they produce before we end up moving from here.  The apple tree did bud and bloom and get a bunch of apples on it.  I picked them all, ate them and made applesauce out of them.  It was awesome.  We ended up buying a cherry tree as well to which I hope will fruit one day too.

Now, to the reason that I wrote this post.  I took some pumpkin muffins over to my neighbor on the left a few weeks ago and she gave me a grocery bag full of giant lemons from her tree.  I mean, those things were the size of grapefruits and had such a great flavor.  The ironic thing is, I’m not crazy about the lemons that my lemon tree produces.  I think they’re meyer lemons but my neighbor says hers are meyer lemons and they’re not the same so maybe mine are something other than meyer.  They’re like a cross between a lemon and an orange.  They have a strange taste to me.

Anyway, I loved that my neighbor gave me lemons.  I didn’t even realize she had a lemon tree.  It’s a massive tree in her backyard.  Not like my little tree that comes up to my waist.  She used a ladder to get her lemons.  Now, that’s my neighbor on the left.  My neighbor on the right has a huge orange tree in the front yard that is overloaded with oranges.  When we first moved in, I was excited that I’d be able to get fresh oranges once we got to know one another.  There’s also another fruit tree out front that my neighbor across the street informed me was a kumquat tree.  I told her I’d never used kumquats before and she said that unless I was going to buy them, I still wouldn’t be using them.  Apparently that neighbor, the one to the right of me, won’t share their fruit.  My neighbor across the street had asked them once, many years ago, if she could have a couple of their oranges and they simply said no.  I understand, or at least I thought I did.  It’s their fruit.  They can do with it what they want.

We’ve lived here for a year now and I don’t understand.  The oranges fall on the ground, rotten.  The tree is so overloaded with oranges that the limbs are sagging and they will not share them.  It is obvious that they don’t use them just based on the look of the tree.  What’s awesome is that the kumquat tree has started to grow around the fence so since it’s on my property, I pick the kumquats on my side.  I’ve not gotten any protests so I think everything is still kosher with them.  As I sit here, I can see a towering persimmon tree over the back fence in the neighbor’s yard that must have 100 or more persimmons on it, many of them rotting on the tree.  What a waste.  Why would people want to be that way?  Is it a, ‘I don’t want them but I don’t want you to have them either’ scenario?  What is that?  I think if I had that much fruit, I’d either have a fruit stand or I’d be bartering for other goods from more neighbors.  Not to mention that the homeless would probably love some fresh fruit.  It just drives me crazy and when things drive me crazy, I write about them.  I think I’ll go make me a limeade.

Elder Enigma

I talk to my Granddaddy on the phone every so often and each time I do, we talk about the same things.  First, we cover the weather.  He tells me all about what’s happening in his area, as if I needed a weather report for a town that’s 3,000 miles away, and it’s never good.  It’s too hot, too cold, too rainy, too dry, too wet.  Then he asks what it’s like where I’m at but since he can’t hear too well, I give it a few tries to which he gets frustrated with because he doesn’t understand what I’m trying to say.  He attempts a few times to repeat back what I’m trying to tel him and after a mild screaming match, we reach consensus on the weather.

The next topic that always follows the weather is how we’re both doing.  He always hems and haws about one thing or another.  It used to be his sinus’ and arthritis but ever since he had heart surgery, it’s been that he has shortness of breath.  There’s nothing wrong with him.  He goes to the doctor once a week to doctors that he rotates through.  The closest determination is that it’s anxiety.  But since none of the doctors talk to one another or will take the time to figure out a solution, he continues his rounds.  One doctor actually did provide him with an anti-anxiety pill but they told him it was for his nerves so he won’t take it saying that there’s nothing wrong with his nerves.  Would it be wrong to lie to him?  He takes his heart pill religiously because it’s for his heart.  Why not just tell him that he needs an additional pill for his heart because of the shortness of breath?

We then roll into the old memories that he has of me and him playing in the garden.  It’s the same every single conversation.  He misses me but even if I visited him tomorrow, he wouldn’t remember it.  But he’d call me and reminisce once again about when I was a little girl and would visit him and my Grandma.  He’s been tested for Alzheimer’s and doesn’t have it but his tests for dimensia also come back negative.  I don’t know if there’s a way to fool the tests but when given simple things to remember, he can’t.  His primary care doctor knows that he’s getting worse but it seems that there’s nothing we can do.  He was scheduled to have a series of memory tests done but when he was told that they were memory tests and that they’d take 3 hours to perform, he got angry and left, huffing that there was nothing wrong with his memory.

Lastly, we discuss how lonely he is.  He has a companion that we’re sure is taking advantage of him but we can’t convince him of it.  I’ve researched elder abuse and spoken with elder service people and as long as he’s willingly making the decisions, there’s nothing that can be done.  We urge him to keep an eye on his finances but when approached about it, he doesn’t remember so our discussions go nowhere.  We toured some senior communities but they’re for “old people” which he thinks he’s not.  He is in good shape for 86 years old but he in no way feels that he’s old.  It’s a good thing but not.  So, we go round and round about him wanting to stay in his home but that he’d be so much happier in a community but he’s stubborn and won’t listen at all.

It’s frustrating for everyone.  It drives me crazy that housing for elder people is so expensive and that there’s no way to convince him that he’d be so much better off.  I can understand wanting to remain in a familiar place but I don’t understand sitting there, day in and day out, alone.  My Granddaddy does have a job but he’s gotten so bad physically and mentally that the church that he’s working at is having a hard time accommodating him any further.  I know everyone goes through this.  I just thought I’d write about it.  If you have suggestions or ideas, please leave them in the comments.GrandDaddy and Baby Missy

50K Words In A Month

So, I finished the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).  I didn’t write every day and in fact, went on a four day vacation and never wrote on weekends except the final day.  I’m not bragging.  I made the commitment without even realizing what the contest was to be honest.  But it ended up being like Weight Watchers.  There’s something about getting on that scale in front of another person.  I made the commitment and so it ate at me.  I thought for sure I wasn’t going to finish many times but I didn’t let the feeling get me down.  I would wake up thinking about it.  The final day, I wrote just about 8,000 words.  I was so excited.  It brought me to the finish.  I wondered if that was like a professional writer’s word count.  Whatever it was, I sat and wrote until I finished.  Really proud.

My first book was over 180,000 words so this one is a good start to another book but I think I want to take a break from it.  It’s hard because I feel dedicated to it now and stopping in the middle of a story is annoying.  I have more to say.  It’s like pausing a movie and going to the bathroom.  Upon returning, the movie doesn’t get turned off, it’s continued.  But I feel like there’s no need to continue with my life story in the form of a novel if I can’t get the first one sold.  So, I think I’m going to stop and try and do some short stories.  That’s my plan today anyway.