Bloganuary: Jan. 27, 2022

For the month of January, I’m going to be doing my best to participate in Bloganuary, a daily blogging challenge. I know it’s a divergence from what I typically write, but participating in this challenge is on my Memory List for this year.

Today’s prompt:

Where do you go when you need solitude?

The word “solitude” makes me think of a scene of serenity, of calm, of peace. I suppose I have an image of someone meditating in a forest. That person knows solitude! So, I was a bit taken aback when I went to a thesaurus to look it up. The top 3 synonyms of solitude are: emptiness; isolation; and loneliness.

All of those evoke a negative connotation to me. Those words don’t jive with my picture of someone on their journey to find inner peace amongst the harmony of nature. Have I carried the wrong interpretation of “solitude” around with me my whole life? Off to a dictionary!

Merriam-Webster has a non-partisan definition, that I completely agree with: the quality or state of being alone or remote from society.

Even the dictionary’s examples coincide with the positive essence of the word I hold:

  1. She wished to work on her novel in solitude.
  2. He enjoyed the peace and solitude of his cabin in the mountains.

Well, now I’m calling into question whether I see the synonyms as negative, even though they perhaps aren’t. Am I just emotionally averse to being alone to such an extent?

Wow. This prompt has certainly taken me on a journey, of which I was ill-prepared this morning. Perhaps some solitude is precisely what I need. Touché, Universe. Where will I go to find that? Today, it will be my couch, when I meditate. Other days, it will be with Mother Nature, typically among the trees.


Follow along and make memories.

Bloganuary: Jan. 26, 2022

For the month of January, I’m going to be doing my best to participate in Bloganuary, a daily blogging challenge. I know it’s a divergence from what I typically write, but participating in this challenge is on my Memory List for this year.

Today’s prompt:

What is your favorite part about yourself?

Superficially, it’s my arms. Yesterday’s prompt was about what makes me feel strong, and I really like having strong arms. And it doesn’t matter that I’m not great at arm wrestling. I just like my arms, especially now that I have them painted with tattoos.

Ok, that’s enough of that. I like to dive deeper with these questions.

My favorite part about myself is how easily I care about others. I don’t feel like I’ve put up walls around my heart, afraid of being hurt, and that allows an effortless flow of caring. I basically have my own Care Bear stare.

And in no way does this mean I’m immune to the pain of heartbreak. It’s just that the grief that goes along with it is not something that gets in the way of me continuing to care. The world needs more compassion and love, not less. So, it’s lovely that this part of me is so easily shareable.

One of the ways this caring manifests in the real world, outside of my head and heart, is in the form of a figurative Rolodex™. If someone important to me says something, even in passing and even with the slightest importance, my brain has this magical way of storing that information, without me having to do anything in particular to ensure its safe storage.

It could be a doctor’s appointment, or a birthday, or an ingredient that needs to be picked up for a recipe, or the arrival time of a flight. If you say it out loud around me, my little brain minions write it down on a cue card and add it to the Rolodex™.

The weirdest part, and the part that, admittedly may seem super creepy if you don’t me, is when one of those minions alert me about what’s written on a particular card for someone, out of the blue. Then it leads to some apparently random texts, sometimes weeks after things were mentioned in passing: “Hey! I think you said you were doing an escape room tonight. Did you get out in time?” or “Did you need me to pick up lentils for the dish you’re making, or have you already got them?” or “Good luck on your math test!”

I promise, I’m just as surprised as you are that I’m able to recall these details. It just happens. And I think it’s incredible, because it helps me a) stay in touch and b) show how much I care.


Follow along and make memories.

Bloganuary: Jan. 25, 2022

For the month of January, I’m going to be doing my best to participate in Bloganuary, a daily blogging challenge. I know it’s a divergence from what I typically write, but participating in this challenge is on my Memory List for this year.

Today’s prompt:

Write about what makes you feel strong.

On days like today, when it’s chilly, grey, and rainy, and my PMS hormones are making me sad and grumpy, I just feel like curling up under the fleece blanket on the couch and binge-watching something.

On days like today, I have trouble tapping into anything that even comes close to resembling strength. And that makes it hard to remember times when I do feel strong. But, I suppose the fact that I’m still writing this post is a testament to at least my mental fortitude. Or perhaps it’s just stubbornness to ensure I keep my Bloganuary streak alive. Regardless, I’m going to brute-force this answer, with all the strength I can muster.

I feel strong when I do bicep curls with my free weights.

I feel strong when I get a hit that goes over the head of an outfielder.

I feel strong when I’m able to open a sealed pickle jar on my first twist.

I feel strong when I use power tools (even though I know they’re doing most of the work).

I feel strong when I get up and go to work, on chilly, grey, and rainy days, when my PMS hormones are doing everything they can to keep me in bed.


Follow along and make memories.

Bloganuary: Jan. 24, 2022

For the month of January, I’m going to be doing my best to participate in Bloganuary, a daily blogging challenge. I know it’s a divergence from what I typically write, but participating in this challenge is on my Memory List for this year.

Today’s prompt:

Write about a dream you remember.

It’s so rare for me to remember my dreams. And then if I do happen to recall them when I wake up, they don’t stay in my conscious memory for long.

I can remember a terrifying snippet of a dream I’ve had since childhood: I’m being chased by a never-seen man with murderous intentions, and my inevitable inability to run, as if my limbs are too heavy to move. That one sucks.

I consider myself lucky I’ve never had a falling dream. I don’t think I’d like that, given my experience skydiving.

And with slightly blushed cheeks, I’ve had a handful of sexy dreams that still manage to live rent-free in my mind. But, no, dear Reader. I’m not sharing any of those scenes with you.

I went to bed yesterday knowing that this was going to be today’s prompt, which most likely influenced my ability to remember my dream. It wasn’t very interesting, so I apologize in advance if you were hoping for something with more of a plot.

It felt like I was in a high school gym, although I couldn’t tell you who was there with me, if anyone at all. I didn’t feel alone, but I also don’t remember seeing anyone. I left through the double-doors, and then found myself in an empty lounge area. Or maybe it was the waiting area of an Olive Garden. I have no idea. All I do know, is that I was the only one there, and it was quiet. There was a black and red basketball on the reception/host counter, and I don’t know why, but I picked it up. Holding it in my hands, I saw that it had a signature on it. (Clearly it was by someone important!) Then a work colleague, who’s currently on sabbatical, magically appeared at the door, and she was standing there, shaking her head in disapproval. Apparently, she could read my mind that I wanted to dribble the ball, but since it was autographed, that would be inappropriate.

And then I woke up, feeling a tiny bit of shame. But, at least I had a dream I could remember, and would be able to answer today’s prompt.


Follow along and make memories.

Bloganuary: Jan. 23, 2022

For the month of January, I’m going to be doing my best to participate in Bloganuary, a daily blogging challenge. I know it’s a divergence from what I typically write, but participating in this challenge is on my Memory List for this year.

Today’s prompt:

Interview a fictional character.

I had to sit with prompt for a bit. Having never been a big reader, I don’t feel I know a fictional literary character well enough to interview him or her. But maybe there’s a movie…


Mindy:Nice to meet you, Mr. Dufresne.
Andy:It’s a pleasure having you here. How do you like the place?
Mindy:Oh! It’s absolutely gorgeous! I can see your vision of it gave you hope during your darkest days.
Andy:Indeed.
Mindy:Your boat doesn’t look outfitted for deep sea fishing any more. What are you up?
Andy:Red’s great-niece, Jenna, joined us twelve years ago, and she’s now our boat captain. She’s the one who changed our business model. We offer the best dolphin and whale watching tours in Zihuatanejo! I’ll ask her to take you out on one.
Mindy:Just load me up on anti-nauseants, first, and I should be good.
Andy:Oh, the water’s calm here. You won’t get seasick.
Mindy:Well then, yes! Sign me up! So, you’re officially retired now?
Andy:I guess I have been for the past 20 years or so. But, the work down here never truly felt like work. I put in my time, more than most men. And, being my age, my time is coming to an end.
Mindy:You put in much more time. More than anyone else I know.
Andy:It puts one’s life into perspective. Aging forces you to consider your mortality.
Mindy:In many ways, I always see you as immortal. Your character is, at least.
Andy:Very true. The redemption of the innocent. Good triumphing over Evil.
Mindy:Have you ever considered the legacy you’re leaving?
Andy:I see it every time I look at Jenna, and I can see her smile in wonderment at this beautiful life ahead of her. She’s the legacy now, and I love knowing that I played a role in helping her achieve it.
Mindy:Good has definitely won here! Thank you for your time and hospitality.
Andy:You’re very welcome. And you’re welcome here any time.

Follow along and make memories.

Bloganuary: Jan. 22, 2022

For the month of January, I’m going to be doing my best to participate in Bloganuary, a daily blogging challenge. I know it’s a divergence from what I typically write, but participating in this challenge is on my Memory List for this year.

Today’s prompt:

What is your favorite quote and why?

Over the course of her life, Maya Angelou shared an immeasurable amount of wisdom to the world. Her words often give me a sense of strength, of understanding, of compassion. So, it’s unsurprising that it’s one of her quotes that reverberates within me more than any other:

I did then what I knew how to do.
Now that I know better, I do better.

Maya Angelou

This quote gives the space to assume that I, and in extension, everyone else in the world, are doing the best we can with the information and skills we have at hand. And then it also provides the room to expand and improve, as we gain new knowledge.

Life presents countless challenges, and each of them is an opportunity to learn. To be open enough and brave enough to take this new information, and change your opinions, perceptions, and behaviors, is a path of self-improvement.

This quote succinctly explains why I’m vegan. It’s how I know I’m not going to slide into 2nd base again. It’s why I work with therapists. It’s how I know how frequently I need to feed my sourdough starter. It’s why I listen to people who have different beliefs.

I want to be a better human. And, more than ever, this world could really benefit with more improved humans walking around.


Follow along and make memories.

Bloganuary: Jan. 21, 2022

For the month of January, I’m going to be doing my best to participate in Bloganuary, a daily blogging challenge. I know it’s a divergence from what I typically write, but participating in this challenge is on my Memory List for this year.

Today’s prompt:

If you could, what year would you time travel to and why?

This is a prompt that caters to the fiction bloggers, the fantasy writers, and the history enthusiasts. My mind first goes to the different ages in the past that would make for an incredible story, like the medieval period or the Jurassic era. My story likely wouldn’t be very long, though; I’d probably meet my fate very quickly!

Also, I really enjoy my personal hygiene routine. I like being clean, and going too far back puts that regular cleanliness in jeopardy. Oh, and the whole lesbian thing. I greatly appreciate being able to be out of the closet, with the freedom to love another woman openly in public, and not be terrified it will get me killed.

So maybe traveling to the past isn’t when I would want to go. Perhaps I should look to the future.

Is it an acceptable answer to say “when COVID is done”? I’d love to fast-forward to that year, especially since I’m sitting here at my computer, on my 5th day of self-imposed isolation, after a softball teammate from the tournament last weekend tested positive this week.

Looking further into the future, I’m not sure I have a good answer. If humankind is able to reverse global warming, maybe I’ll consider it. But I suppose I won’t know unless I visit the future. I’m just not overly keen to take that risk.

Maybe I should be stubborn and simply refuse to answer today’s prompt. Maybe it’s more important for me to stay in the here and now. That is, after all, what I’m struggling with the most when meditating. Ach, but that response feels like a cop out.

Thinking sentimentally, I have my answer. I know when I travel to: 1999. I would visit Baba, my maternal grandmother, before she got sick with progressive supranuclear palsy.

I would let her know that even though she never talked about her experiences surviving the Holocaust, I’ve learned her story. I would tell her I’ve learned how she was an incredibly strong and brave bad-ass young woman, who fought in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. And how I’ve learned that she kept her tales of horror a secret from her family, not to keep us in the dark, but to ensure that we were able to live in the light.

As a kid, I always saw my Baba as a weak, worrying woman. Today I know differently, and I would love the chance to go back in time, give her a knowing hug, and thank her for the strength that I carry in my genes because of her.


Follow along and make memories.

Bloganuary: Jan. 20, 2022

For the month of January, I’m going to be doing my best to participate in Bloganuary, a daily blogging challenge. I know it’s a divergence from what I typically write, but participating in this challenge is on my Memory List for this year.

Today’s prompt:

What is your favorite photo you’ve ever taken?

I love photography. I love appreciating beautiful photographs, with their color, their composition, or their subject. And I love taking photographs, especially scenic landscapes and flower close-ups.

I’m an avid traveler, having lived in or visited 36 countries so far. I have taken countless pictures of the beautiful vistas I’ve seen. Like watching the clouds roll down the mountains as a river would, from my vantage point on the Great Wall of China, with dawn about to break. Or that time I peered across a perfectly placid Lake Atitlán to the rising volcano on the opposite shore. And climbing to the top of the travertine terraces of Pamukkale, witnessing the setting sun paint the sky gorgeous oranges, pinks, and purples.

But there’s been one photo I’ve taken that stands out from the rest. It’s the photo that I think of first, whenever I’m asked about what I like to take pictures of. It’s of Mount Everest.

I remember being out of breath, and suffering from a headache and persistent nausea. I had “mild” altitude sickness. I was cold, uncomfortable, and grumpy. I look back on my visit to Everest Base Camp, taking for granted how much of an incredible opportunity it was to see the peak. Mt. Qomolangma, as she’s known in Tibet, is frequently cloaked in clouds, so being there to see her peak is rare.

I remember clambering up a small hill, looking out over the tents of trekkers, acclimatizing to the altitude for a couple weeks at Base Camp 1. Buddhist prayer flags are ubiquitous, draped liberally over the Himalayan mountain range. I saw one particular thread of flags, and I saw how they would frame a picture beautifully, with Everest’s peak, peeking back at me.

With short, shallow breaths, I kneeled down and composed my favorite photo I’ve ever taken:


Follow along and make memories.

Bloganuary: Jan. 19, 2022

For the month of January, I’m going to be doing my best to participate in Bloganuary, a daily blogging challenge. I know it’s a divergence from what I typically write, but participating in this challenge is on my Memory List for this year.

Today’s prompt:

Write about something mysterious.

I have been staring at this blinking cursor for what feels like hours. This prompt has stumped me. What’s mysterious? My mind is a complete blank. Is it too meta to admit that it’s a mystery to me how I’m going to write today’s entry for Bloganuary?

Wow. I seriously have nothing today. I’m just not feeling it.

I’ll just answer in the form of a haiku:

Mysteriously.
I have no answer today.
Maybe tomorrow.


Follow along and make memories.

Bloganuary: Jan. 18, 2022

For the month of January, I’m going to be doing my best to participate in Bloganuary, a daily blogging challenge. I know it’s a divergence from what I typically write, but participating in this challenge is on my Memory List for this year.

Today’s prompt:

What book is next on your reading list?

Had this question been posed to me a couple years ago, I would have laughed it off, slightly embarrassed. I had never considered myself a reader. The thought of having a reading list would have been preposterous!

The number of books I managed to read as an adult, in my post-university days, very likely could have been counted on my fingers.

But 2020 changed things. And my reading habit was one thing that shifted.

It started with Untamed by Glennon Doyle, a book that changed my life. The lessons I learned through her telling her life story, led to my first tattoo, and my more optimistic outlook because I know I can do hard things.

As COVID forced the globe to slow down in those early days of the pandemic, I found myself picking up more books. I read beautiful fictional tales like Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown, The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters, and The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily Danforth. But most of the books were in the self-help category, which makes sense, because I definitely needed all the help I could get in 2020.

I’ve turned the pages of numerous Brené Brown books: Daring Greatly; Rising Strong; and most recently, Braving the Wilderness. I’ve thumbed through Single On Purpose by John Kim. And I’ve been working on breaking some dysfunctional habits by reading Codependent No More by Melody Beattie.

But lately, I’ve been taking advantage of my library card, and listening to audio books on my phone. These fictional novels accompany me on my many walks with Toby, and I love it! Over the past months, I’ve listened to the entire Harry Potter series (which was amazing!), the beautifully written Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, and the heart-wrenching Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo.

Currently, I’m a couple hours away from finishing the novel The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer, an account of the Holocaust, told from a Polish viewpoint. And it’s a great story of survival!

The next book on the list? It’s The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave. I have no idea what it’s about, but I’m looking forward to listening to the story as it unfolds.

Do you have a book I should add to my list? I’m open to any recommendations!


Follow along and make memories.