Thursday, March 24, 2011

It drives him NUTS

I love Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop! Here's this week's prompt:

Mama’s Losin’ It

Something you do that drives your significant other CRAZY.

That's easy.


I guess I haven't adequately explained to him how much I enjoy all aspects of it.

Obviously the act of writing and creatively expressing myself are appealing to me. I guess it's kind of like having a diary or journal as a kid. Blogging is a way to get those feelings out.

The whole reason I started blogging was to document our lives. Honestly, I cannot wait to turn my blog into a book or books. I hope my kids will look back through it and recall all the good memories they had growing up.

And who knew I'd love creating cute headers and little blog buttons. It's like coloring for adults! And those plug-ins and widgets? I thrive on figuring all of those things out.

But when I try to explain all of those things to Alex, he would still rather me spend my time doing other things.

How about you? Does your spouse support your blogging? How do you handle it?

Friday, March 18, 2011

The test.

This week's Red Writing Hood assignment is to write - fiction or non-fiction - about a time when you took a detour. Where had you intended to go and where did you end up?

As soon as I read this prompt, I knew exactly what I would write about. It's my true story.

We had been dating about 4 months and were completely in love.

Alex & I discussed moving in together once I finished teaching that school year. We hadn't figured out where just yet since I lived in Chicago and Alex lived in Danville.

I told my roommates about my plans to live with Alex.

Then Alex took a Harley trip all the way to Daytona.

I was so worried about him. Riding a motorcycle across the country didn't sound very safe to me.

The 3rd day Alex was in Florida I told him that my period was a few days late and showed no signs of making its appearance.

When he eventually made it back safe & sound a few days later my period still hadn't come.

I was scared.

No, terrified.

I couldn't believe I was actually buying a pregnancy test.

I took it with me when I went to see Alex that weekend.

Alex tried his best to reassure me that we weren't pregnant, and that we would be okay if we were pregnant.

So first thing in the morning I meticulously followed the instructions of the pregnancy test and laid down with Alex for the longest 5 minutes of my life.

Tick, tick, tick.

We didn't say much. Just stared at the walls.

Tick, tick, tick.

What would I say anyway?

Tick, tick, tick.

Finally it came time to see the results.

I had left the pregnancy test in the bathroom and didn't want to go look.

Alex inevitably got up and walked into the bathroom.

He said nothing. Not one sound or word. Absolutely nothing.

I knew what that silence meant, but I had to see for myself.

So I took deep breath and walked into the bathroom. I saw Alex standing there, still and silent just staring at the test on the counter.

I took a few more steps and stood next to him.

I looked down.

And saw two pink lines.

I was pregnant.

In that moment my mind went blank.

This was not the plan.

This was not the plan!


If the current 35 year old Jill would have told that scared to death 24 year old Jill how things end up, I don't think she would have believed herself.

That detour 11 years ago? Yeah, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Because now Alex & I are married with 3 kids and loving life.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My own boutique

Prompt #3.) I often daydream about…

Mama’s Losin’ It

Having my own store.

Bags by Jill has been in my basement for 4 years now.

It's usually a big mess because personal stuff gets mixed in with the business stuff. And I have a small space to work in.

I try my best to keep things organized, but it's not easy. At all.

A revamped ribbon rack has helped a ton!

But what I picture in my head is...

A wall of ribbons - about 10 times bigger than what I have now.

That room is filled with fabrics, large tables, cutting boards, and cutting tools. The fabrics would be on bolts just like in fabric stores, because this is the easiest way to store them while easily cut them too.

Next to that room would be a room with a nice, big embroidery machine and all the thread & tools needed for embroidering.

The sewing would all take place in a room next to the embroidery room. I imagine 3 machines with nicely organized, easy to access thread, rulers, fabric pencils, scissors and more.

These 3 rooms would all have an iron & ironing board in them. (Nobody ever told me ironing was such a big part of sewing.) I wouldn't necessarily need 3 different rooms - 1 huge room would work too.

But there would also be a front room for the customers. This is were I would display large fabric & ribbon swatches. I would also have many products ready to sell, shown on shelves & display units. Like a small boutique with a handful of employees.

I would also need an office. We can't forget about the accounting/bookkeeping part of it!

Can you picture it too? Anyone what to give me a few $100,000 to make my dream come true? Anyone? Anyone?

I girl can dream, right?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pour some sugar on it

Growing up I remember going to local strawberry patches with my mom & 2 sisters.

The fields were usually soggy and muddy, sometimes suctioning our shoes right into the ground.

Google image

Then there was inevitably the all-too-swishy strawberry. As soon as I touched it, I immediately dropped it to the ground because it was rotten. I would scream and refuse to pick any more.

But eventually I did pick more. Usually only the strawberries from the top of the plant. Until I picked up one with a spider on it.

Without fail, by the time we finished in the field my younger sister's face would be completely red. Who knows how many strawberries she ate while we were out there.

Once home, we (meaning my mom) cleaned the berries and our dirty feet and hands.

Google image

Before my mom even had a chance to cut the stems off, we each had our own bowl of strawberries. Just good ole, plain strawberries.

Right next to 3 bowls of sugar! One for each of us.

Nobody had to teach me the most effective way to get tons of sugar on my strawberries. The inside wetness was perfect for sticking the grainy sugar to the scrumptious strawberries. Those second and third bites were the best!

It's a tradition I've passed onto my own children. Even though sometimes Blake asks for just a bowl of sugar!

This week, we'd like for you to write about your favorite fresh fruit or vegetable.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The fall

I'm not going to lie.

It wasn't pretty. Honestly, it was down right ugly.

Last year she fell down the stairs.


Debbie was at work when she slipped. And as usual she was multitasking; talking on her cell phone, carrying an armful of files, and trying to find her keys in her purse.

The poor woman really doesn't know how it happened. But before she knew it, Debbie was face up looking at a blizzard of papers flying around the room.

"Holy crap! Did anyone see that? Can they see my underwear?" were her first thoughts.

And her shoulder hurt. "How the heck did I hurt my shoulder? Sheesh!"

As she made her way back to her feet, the last of the papers finally landed.

Debbie scanned the area. She was looking for her phone and praying nobody was nearby to witness her nasty faux pas.

But she wasn't that lucky. A man was coming her way and obviously knew what just happened.

Debbie quickly avoided eye contact, still visually searching for her phone.

"Are you okay?" asked the man as he picked up & handed over her iPhone.

She had to suck it up & look him in the eyes at that point. She was mortified. Humiliated. Completely embarrassed.

But the man was a real gentleman and helped her gather everything together. As they did so, they chatted to fill the awkward silence, and Debbie learned his name was John.

Within a few minutes the chit-chat turned to giggles. Debbie had to laugh at herself. And after John knew that she was fine, he couldn't help but laugh too.

The two were there for quite some time. And once Debbie had all of her things, John walked her to her car. They stood there talking until Debbie had to go. But before John let her drive away, he asked for her phone number.

So you see, had it not been for that brutal fall, Debbie & John would never have met.

:: That was the story of how John & Debbie met. That story was also the Maid of Honor speech I gave at Debbie & John's wedding last night.

This week's assignment is to write a short piece, either fiction or non-fiction, about something ugly - and find the beauty in it.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

She left me speechless

This week, Mama Kat offered 5 awesome prompts. I could think of good stories for most of these:

1.) Write about a time a friend left you speechless.
2.) What would it take for you to pick up and move?
3.) A memorable neighbor.
4.) Write a poem about that time you were left behind.
5.) A song with significance.

So I'm going to start from the top today and save the rest to use later on.

Mama's Losin' It

Write about a time a friend left you speechless.

Immediately, one moment comes to mind....

I was in college, so I was probably 19 years old.

A group of us were out one night. There were maybe 5 or 6 of us.

We had been drinking (but I have no clue who got us our beer). Being the sneaky girls that we were, we poured our beer into empty McDonald's cups.

We ended up at a bowling alley. This was not something we normally did, but we had a blast. I was not the DD and was feeling pretty tipsy.

Two of us went to the bathroom, because teen age girls can't seem to ever go to the bathroom alone, right?

As we were finishing up and washing our hands, my friend sat up on the counter. She said, "I have to tell you something."

I was smiling & giggling from drinking the contents of my McDonald's cup, and I naively said, "Okay. What?"

"I had an abortion."

~~~ buzz kill~~~

I was speechless. I thought I knew this person but evidently I did not.

"My boyfriend & I went out of town last month & had it done. I wanted to tell you, but I knew I wouldn't have enough nerve unless we were drinking," she said.

Still, I stood in silence. All I could do was give her a hug.

I can't remember what was said next or even how we awkwardly left the restroom to rejoin our friends. I was so blown away with her news!

We never mentioned it again, and our relationship was never the same.

I have still, to this day, never told another person.

Remember my The "A" word post? I wonder how my friend feels about her decision now, 15 years later.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Christmas 1997

Family is so important to me, and back in 1997 for Christmas break, I returned home from college.

I was 21, a few months away from graduating, and life was great.

With a total of 6 kids between my mom & step-dad, the house was chaotic, loud, and so much fun! I always looked forward to coming home for the holidays.

By the time I got home, my older sister & her boyfriend were already there.

I put my bags down & popped open up a beer. I barely sat down at the table when my sister smiled and lifted up her left hand, palm facing her so that I could see the beautiful engagement ring on her ring finger! I couldn't get to her fast enough and nearly spilled my beer trying to dive across the table.

Oh! It was such an exciting time!

Many of us invited our boyfriend/girlfriend over to celebrate the holiday with our family which led to seating 14 people at our dinner table.


Some of us had to sit at the corner of the dinning room table on old rusty folding chair. The last ones to the table got the shaft. It was great!

Dinner conversation turned towards crazy stories from my step-brother who was still in college. Interesting how things always seemed to happen to him when he was completely innocent. We didn't buy it for a second.

My younger sister was the youngest of our herd and became an easy target for teasing. It was a role she didn't initially like, but over the past 6 years since being a blended family, she accepted the part as a symbol of love.

That was the last Christmas before we 'kids' started getting married. In 1997 we ranged in ages from 19 - 26.

We were all young adults.

We were all equals.

We were all in transitions in our lives.

We were all not-yet parents.

Between 1997 and 2000 marked a great time in our large family.
In the year 2000, we had 2 babies join us for Christmas. By 2010, we had 8.

Imagine you are meeting someone for the first time. You want to tell them about yourself.

Instead of reciting a laundry list of what you do or where you're from, please give us a scene from your life that best illustrates your true self.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The River

Every other weekend was their time to be together. Sam hated the custody agreement. Four days a month wasn't enough time for him to be with his teenage son, Justin.

But that day, the two of them were spending the day fishing with friends.

Some guys at school had told Justin about a hot spot along the river just outside of town. Sam & Justin usually fished in ponds, and the river wasn't a place they were familiar with. But they were excited to try something new.

Google image

The guys didn't waste any time once they got to 'the spot.' Hooks were baited. Lines were cast. Life was good. It nice for them to just hang out.

Everyone was standing barefoot in the shallow water.

It had rained the day before, and the river's current was strong.

They were only a few feet into the water, and Sam was standing right beside Justin.

Then Justin walked a little further into the water & stepped off of a sudden drop-off. In less than a split second, Justin was down in the water.

Sam felt Justin grab for his legs, but the current was too strong.

Justin was gone.

Water gives life. It also takes it away. Write a short piece - fiction or non-fiction - inspired by one or both of these statements.

*Unfortunately, this story was loosely inspired by a true story that happened last year here in town.