Sheryl Crow said it best

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It’s a super sunny Tuesday, though a cold one, it’s only 20 F right now, and I have changes on my mind. Big changes, small changes.

Changes.

Maybe it was the election that got me thinking about them; maybe it’s because Thanksgiving is around the corner, which means New Year’s Eve isn’t far away.

But sometimes we need changes. For variety, because circumstances dictate. I’m an adaptable person but slow to change. I have to give myself a push to shake things up. Last week when I was sick, I ran out of yogurt, my usual breakfast.

I did not enjoy it.

But life itself is always changing, and either it can change around us or we can dive in, headfirst.

Well, don’t dive in headfirst unless you know exactly how deep it is, because we’re talking change, not recklessness.

I don’t know yet what my change will look like, the form it will take, it’s shape or depth. Only that it’s time to try something different, take on something different.

To evolve.

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Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

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It can sneak up on you

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Alexander Kanoldt [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I have a plant I received as a gift almost two years ago. I’m not sure what kind it is, and apparently it thrives mostly on neglect. I’ve been keeping up my end of the bargain nicely, watering whenever I think, huh, it’s been a while since I watered.

It’s shed a few leaves here and there, and lost an entire…stalk? at the beginning. One drooped like it was going to die, but hung on and there it is still, draping downwards, lreclining as though that was the way it was meant to be.

And then about a week ago, I noticed a sprout.

In all the time I’ve had this plant encamped in its spot by the window, I’ve never seen a sprout. And then there were two.

Soft, new green and tightly furled, they’re half as tall as the established branches of the plant. I have no idea if they’re new stems, if after a long, long fallow stretch the pant is ready to grow. Or if they’re flowers I never knew this plant could have.

But I do know this. They’re proof that change can come at any time. That growth can come at any time, springing like unexpected shoots from a plant that was only waiting.

Check out my recaps of the hit new show “All My Traitors.” Recap of episode 2, “Lock Him Up” is available now!

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

Try Something New and the New Keeps Coming

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This weekend, one of my writing class classmates had a staged reading of her television pilot. A bunch of us went to support her and to give her feedback on her work, and then hung out afterward with her, her girlfriend, some of the cast and a few of her friends. Two of the members of our class were reading, something I didn’t realize until I saw them there.

While we were sitting outside on the patio, some with drinks, some having just had some food, people talking and laughing as a breeze swirled the humidity, I had a sharp, singular thought.

Taking one risk brought me to that spot so outside of where I would normally be, and that was good.

The thing is that I wouldn’t have met any of the people in my class in the normal routine of my life. I certainly wouldn’t have spent an evening with them; I am definitely the oldest person in class, and have been since Writing 1.

And if I’m being honest, I don’t know if I would have thought I’d connect to 20-somethings in this way, enough to hang out with them on a Saturday night, but I genuinely like and respect them. Maybe the facelessness of the internet has a positive side effect in that you can see the value and essence of a person without the external trappings, and once you adjust to it virtually, you start to change your perception in the day-to-day.

Besides, they’re a talented, mature, grounded bunch. And they’re freaking hilarious.

In life, it seems that we see what what we expect. We have to fight complacency, fight routine, fight inertia before the haze parts, even for a second, and we see a glimmer of possibility.

Odds are I’m not gong to be a sketch comedy writer. But I’ve done more with this course than learn how to fill five minutes on stage, and I didn’t even have to pay extra.

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

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The Uberfication

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I ubered my first Uber. For anyone unfamiliar with it, Uber is basically an unlicensed taxi service, more euphemistically referred to as a “ride sharing service.” It would be ride “sharing” if the driver were, you know, already going where you’re going, but they’re going there because you ask them to. And then you pay them for it.

As I said, an unlicensed taxi service.

Given the lack of the cost of a medallion and any of the other requirements for taxis in a city, Uber is, unsurprisingly, often cheaper, unless you use it during a “surge” time, meaning a time when demand is high. Then they really nail you.

Everybody up to speed? Excellent.

I was reluctant to try it, but I went to dinner with friends for my birthday last week and one of them, an Uber aficionado (how fun of a language mix is that?!) insisted on sending one for me. And then she got one for me to go home, as the empty cabs filed past (we were in a very cabby part of town).

It was a lot like taking a cab, but without the divider. The cars were both very clean and comfortable, and I sat in the back as the driver drove. One was chattier than the other, but again, that’s like a cab.

But I may try it again. Why? Because I can get one without having to have cash. Yes, all cabs in Chicago take credit cards now. In theory. I’ve heard the horror stories when the cabbies refuse them, and I’ve never felt comfortable using those card readers.

With Uber, it’s all handled online. And although I live in a cab-rich area, you can’t always find one everywhere.

So there it is. I was reluctant, and if I’m being very honest — and I do my best to be — scared to try something so completely foreign to me. I was so used to doing things the way I’ve always done them that branching out, even slightly, seemed unsettling.

But I did it. Really, I was nudged into it firmly, but that still counts, right?

Evidence of Tulips

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IMG_6209So I woke up this morning to another round of snow on the ground. We’d had a thaw, though a colder one than they promised, and then last night, on my way home, I caught the glint of snowflakes in the headlights of a cab.

So much for the warm up.

If there’s snow again, you ask, what’s with the tulips? Well, hypothetical reader, thank you for asking. You always know the perfect question to keep the conversation rolling.

I took this photo at the Chicago Botanic Garden, which, interestingly, is not actually located in Chicago, but in a north suburb. It was last year, and though it was still very chilly — there’s a wind that cuts through the garden on cool day that can ruddy your cheeks and redden your ears — there were the tulips. It didn’t matter what the weather wanted, the tulips decided it was time, and there they were, a whole field of them.

Last winter was much worse than this one. It was colder and snowier and grayer and leached the heat from everywhere until you couldn’t be sure how to be warm.

But it ended.

These flowers are proof that you might not see change while it is happening, you might not sense it. It might not feel like much or as though it’s measurably better than what came before. It can be slow, and plodding, and have to fight the cold as though battling to the end.

But still it comes. The tulips were not deterred, their heads bending as the wind blew across the pond. They didn’t have to feel the spring to know it was spring.

If that could happen after last winter, it will happen again.

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

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Time, Don’t Go Changing

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I don’t want to offend any time-change aficionados out there, but it just has to be said. Time changing is stupid. It’s just plain stupid.

And yes I’m cranky. I lost an hour and I haven’t quite gotten over it yet.

I will intellectually accept that the time displayed on the lower right-hand corner of my screen is the correct time for my little spot in the world. But my body is protesting, and it’s not letting this one go. I tried to get to bed earlier last night to make up for my previous lack of sleep/hour loss, and all that happened was a I watched TV in bed for a while. Somewhere around the point when I normally would go to sleep, I did.

See what I mean? It’s my body who has the problem.

It was nice driving home yesterday with the sun starting to set, turning the sky above the lake varying shades of pinks and purples and other pastels, all over the soft white remaining ice. I suppose that was a perk of the change, a sunset I otherwise wouldn’t have gotten to see.

But don’t think you’ve won me over, time change. I have no problem with you in the Fall, when you give me an extra hour. I’d be fine with just that, the gift of an extra hour every year. We could probably even adjust the timing of leap year to deal with the gain of an entire day every 24 years. Of course, there would be times when things got a little off-kilter, as the sun probably won’t keep track of our time shenanigans, but I’m willing to deal with it.

Oh well. At least it means it should be getting warmer. In theory.

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

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Don’t Fight the Power of Power

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Today they were doing routine maintenance on the electrical panels in my building. I say “routine,” though, to my knowledge, they’ve never done it before, at least as long as I’ve lived here. It required them to turn off the electricity for about 15 minutes.

I got the notice about it late last night, and I felt a sense of rising panic. No electricity. For fifteen whole minutes.

Fifteen minutes.

It sounded like an eternity to me. What could I do for 15 minutes? Yes, my laptop has a battery, but I would have no internet. The horror.

What if the work took longer? What if everything didn’t fire up correctly? What if I had to go longer without power?

Boy, am I ever dependent on the grid. Never mind that I have a place stuffed to the metaphorical rafters with books; forget my battery-powered ereader that’s all charged up. Or my phone that’s all charged up. Or my laptop that’s all charged up.

The idea of not having power, even for that short amount of time, seemed crazy. How could I possibly get through it? It would feel like forever tied to eternity with very knotty string.

So how did it go, this mini apocalypse? My test of being able to survive without modern conveniences? It turns out that I was on the phone when the power went out, and I really didn’t notice much of anything, because it was back on before I finished the phone call.

The lights went out on the various things that have lights, and then a few minutes later, I heard the fridge kick on as I walked past it. A few things beeped, and the printer yawned, then jumped into some printerly calisthenics. And then it scolded me for not properly turning it off.

As though it was my choice.

So there it was, my dreaded electricity break. I worried about it, and it turned out to be nothing. I wish more of life was like that.

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!