The Thing About Windmills

Remember the car games your parents would start to keep you and your sibling(s) from fighting, arguing, or screaming, “MOM, HE’S TOUCHING ME!”?

Most of you probably played the plate game, where you look for license plates from all 50 states; or maybe “I Spy,” which was always really fun to piss the other players off by changing what you “spied” because DUH, the car was moving; or maybe Cruiser Bruiser, or Slug Bug, or..or..yeah, that’s all I’ve got.

The point is, you were always looking for something.

We never stop looking for things: a sign from the universe or God that you’re in right place or making the right move or with the right person, the meaning to something you don’t understand (like, life), the lowest gas prices, or the best deals on groceries.

At some point, looking becomes habit. You start to see things, but don’t absorb them. What I mean is you see something but it holds no meaning to you, no significance, because you’ve seen it a hundred times before. For instance, you come to realize that the gas prices at Casey’s General store drops $.05 on Thursdays (it used to, anyway) so you begin to regularly go to Casey’s every Thursday to fill up your tank. But you don’t think about what that means for you – that you’re saving five whole cents every week.

Then something happens, a spot of cold water in the warm pool, that gets your attention. You’ve been a robot for who knows how long, doing the same thing every day for every thing. What’d you miss? What happened when you weren’t looking? What didn’t you see?

Windmills. Windmills were what I always looked for when I drove to Colorado from Nebraska and back. There are plenty to see, with a wind farm in the eastern part of Colorado. Looking for them also gave me the to chance to see the beautiful hills and fields and pastures of the countrysides.

But then my momma passed away . . . a cold spot in my water. On the way back to Colorado after her funeral, I saw a windmill and my body started to lean toward my husband, “Windmill!” almost sneaking out of my mouth.

“Windmill” was the car game mom told my brother and I about: “When you see a windmill, you have the kiss the person you’re sitting next to.” I think she did that because that was how she made my brother and I make up: a kiss and a hug and tell each other sorry. It was a preventative game to keep us from fighting in the first place. We didn’t like that version, for obvious reasons, and changed it to punching each other when we saw a windmill.

Now that I’m married and have someone to play the original version with, my husband and I have a jolly good time searching for them and shouting it out and leaning over the center console to share a smiling smooch.

Windmills don’t have the same meaning for me anymore. I don’t want to play “Windmill” with my husband. I don’t want to win by spotting the most of them. I don’t want to kiss him when I see one.

When I see a windmill, I think of my momma standing in front of that windmill in the middle of bumfuck nowhere with her eyes closed and a smile on her face, arms out wide, free of pain, feeling the wind.

That never happened, but I like to think that’s what she’s doing right now.


Today’s Daily Prompt: Off The Shelf

Off The Shelf

Books. I love books. The collection in my possession is rather small, but mostly classics: Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, Virginia Woolf, J. R. R. Tolkein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, etc..

Discovering the best of the best is due to my high school teachers and college professors; the only reason I have the books I have is because they were required for a course. Each of them were enjoyable, in their own way.




There are a few I’ve picked up with wholly self-motivation to re-read on my own, to enjoy with a new lens of experience, to leave re-unfinished back on the shelf: Wuthering Heights, Northanger Abbey, The Hobbit.

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is my favorite out of the author’s and of the classics. Actually, the movie with Keira Knightley pushed me in the way of the novel. I loved the setting, the characters, the elegant outfits, the formal dancing, the prolonged confession of love and determination of man. . . the entire thing. 


To shed some light on my love of the book, I have: the original (motion picture-covered) book, a complete Austen novel collection giant book, Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies, and a spin-off trilogy by Pamela Aiden of Darcy’s perspective of the whole Bennett throwdown.

Although Aiden’s series sounds appealing, it doesn’t quite hit the mark for me. Of course, they were written in the mid-2000’s, not 1813. (The first of the series is one of those that I picked up with determination to plow through in a day but put it back on the shelf, half unread.)

In conclusion, to answer the question posted by the daily prompt, it would definitely be Pride and Prejudice, the original.

You know why.

Mother May I

Mother may I take your hand, the one you waited for me to hold?
Mother may I spend hour after hour, day after day with you?
Mother may I fill your cup to the top with ice and pour you more pop?
Mother may I drive you to town and buy you every glittering piece of jewelry you lay your eyes on?
Mother may I clean the house until it makes you smile?
Mother may I call you anytime, day or night?
Mother may I fix all of your pains?

Mother, may I have you back now?

A Short Post

Sure, I don’t have many followers. Sure, many won’t have noticed my lack of posting.

But for those who may have noticed, here is why.

July 1st my husband returned from deployment. All of my time has been getting to relearn and re-enjoy being with him.

August 8th my momma passed away. Today was her funeral. She was 43.

Time alone will give me the ability to think and reflect and process on perhaps the biggest physical and mental shock I’ll ever live through. Someday I hope to post something like what I’ve done with my dad’s death (Waiting to Die, not yet posted in entirety).

Waiting to Die, Part II

Catch up by reading Part I here.

“Oh, my. Oh my,” Coach Dunnigan repeats, “You need to go home,” pinching his eyebrows with concern and pain for me. He stands up from his desk and gives me a hug. My arms wrap around the top of his belly – barely – and he smashes my head into his chest. Black mascara leaks onto his yellow sweater. He pats my head with his massive rough hands, the kind that most guys aren’t blessed with unless they were raised on a farm or have worked hard or are just genetically blessed for women like myself who may or may not have a hand fetish to enjoy.

Nothing I can do will stop my dad from dying, nothing I can plead to God will keep him here . . . nothing. I feel small and unsure of what to do, and I don’t want to leave Dunny’s office. We take a few steps out of his office and he gives me another hug, and another once we are out in the hallway, and another before he sends me on my way back to my room.

Once back in the suite, I try so hard to pack a suitcase with a weeks’ worth of clothes, but I end up getting a small workout in: walking to the closet, turning around to open all three drawers in the dresser, walking out of my room to my desk and pulling out all of its drawers, just to return to my closet, never finding whatever it is I’m looking for. My brain? It’s like I don’t have one. My ability to plan ahead and handle multiple tasks is the one I put the most value on, and it’s failed me.

Some time later, back in the class that I got that first phone call from mom, my professor spilled his coffee and semi-frantically said, “Keep calm and carry on!” and skip-ran to the paper towel dispenser. That was my dad’s favorite quote, which was neatly printed on his favorite coffee cup. He would say that the British or English or whoever would say it during a war. Or something like that, during a time when it was definitely difficult to stay calm. But somehow, dad was always calm, no matter what was happening. Obviously not like me and my reactions in the course of the day. Finally, Grandpa calls me back and says that, no, Mom was not exaggerating and yes, dad has pneumonia. His request was that he not receive any kind of treatment.

“ Dunny told me to go home,” I say.

“Just hang tight for a bit,” he says gently, “Let me see what Grandma thinks and what your mom wants. I’ll talk to you in a bit, sweetheart.”

While I wait, I shuffle around the suite relocating clothes and shoes and shampoo but not actually getting anything packed.

Why? Why is this happening? Why now? Why me? The “poor me” syndrome is taking effect, and it’s burning every part of me. My life is a mess, my family is crumbling and old and ill. Why can’t I have a normal life, with normal parents who aren’t almost 30 years apart age-wise, who aren’t emotionally unstable, who aren’t dying so fast.

Grandma calls and says that dad is not well. She was a home health and hospice nurse for twenty or thirty years and watched people die daily. She was calloused to this stuff. But at the end of the phone call, she started crying. Shit was real. I was going home to wait until my dad died.

How Embarrassing. . .

An early morning sun shone through the tiny south-facing window, replacing the green and orange and red from the street light at the end of the block that flashed all blessed night. Icicles hung from the window pane and a thin frost had gently froze over the light brown grass. I sat up slowly, being careful not to move too quickly. My sinuses were threatening to explode, so I sat there with my mouth wide open sticky-dry and eyes swollen.

The bed had felt like sleeping on a linoleum floor with only a blanket for padding. I rolled from front to back to side to the other side for eight hours trying to find a way to breathe. And to add a cherry on top for a splendid night, Hobie had stolen my pillow. Come to think of it, he had taken all three: the mostly flat one, the lumpy one, and the wafer-flat one. So it really didn’t make a difference anyway.

Once upright, I swung my legs off the edge of the bed as my head pounded at its barriers. Hobie and I had been engaged for maybe a couple of months, so should I still be in that phase of worrying about how I look when I sleep? Well, I’m not. In Hobie’s giant gray P.T. shirt emblazoned with ARMY in reflective letters across the chest, no bra, a pair of red and black 2-XL basketball shorts, black cotton tube socks which weren’t close to being at even locations up my shins, and thick curly blonde hair going who knows where around my oval head, I looked as pretty as I felt.

I bent over to rest my head in my hands, palms on forehead, elbows on knees. These simple  movements caused a tumultion of creaks and moans within the bed, waking Hobie. He rolled over and rubbed my back, asking if I was okay. I grunted an affirmative, hoping to give the impression that in that moment, life sucked. I stood up, shuffled to the crammed and dirty bathroom, and peed. At least my bladder could feel less pressure.

Hobie was under the one blanket we had available for a room without heat, naked, when I return. He’s six foot two, two hundred forty pounds, and covered with about half an inch of hair. Everywhere. So even though there wasn’t a heater in the room, there was one in the bed. I pulled the cover back and crawled into the center of warmth. Hobie pulled me close and, thinking that I was simply in a bad mood, began to tickle me.

Nope, not happening. Crossing my legs and sitting up, I took all of the blanket with me. That made him curl up into a big furry ball. Since laughing hurt too much, I just smiled. Apparently that was some sort of cue for him to force out some built up gas. His aren’t just any typical fart though. No…no, they sound like a duck quacking into a porcelain bowl.

That did me in. I sent out silent roars and plugged up snorts, rolling around on the bed, out of the general area that his gaseous expulsion was blown into. Not that I could smell it. I rolled back into my cross-legged pose, still laughing like a little girl in a giggle-fit, when it was my turn. A tiny little “Pffttt” came out from between my legs. Heat rose in my cheeks and my eyes watered. I looked at Hobie, biting my bottom lip, hoping to God he hadn’t just heard that.

He was just staring at me with his eyebrows pinched trying to figure out where the noise came from. When he saw how red my face was, he knew what happened and started his own laughing fit. Still sitting, I wrapped the blanket tighter around me and ducked my head and told him to stop laughing, it wasn’t funny. Between his laughing and throat clearing he said my toot was cute.

CUTE?! A cute…toot. Right. Well, I suppose this is where I put in my two cents on love and soulmates. Women, if you can find a man who claims he finds your first fart in his presence to be “cute,” hang on to him. He’s a good one if he accepts you for your gross bodily functions as well as your beautiful face and body. Men, don’t embarass your lady if she accidentally lets one slip out. Yes, accidentally. We women are very good at covering up, hiding, and dispelling gas without you even knowing about it. But if it does happen, she will be very very embarrassed. Yes, insignificant things like a toot will blow our cover of carefully constructed likeablility more than pictures of a crazy night out. In the end, if you stay together long enough, it will become normal. Don’t believe me? Check out this site of other things that become normal in a long-term relationship: 23 Words That Mean Something Totally Different When You’re in a Long-term Relationship.