Free Style Writing Challenge

My topic: A time you had victory over a problem or fear

Probably the first thing that comes to mind was one of the scariest things I faced, though at the time I didn’t quite acknowledge it because I was heavily medicated.

You see I’d torn my rotator cuff in my right shoulder, had bone spurs that had severed one of my bicep tendons and the only solution after MRI’s, X-rays, physical therapy etc – was surgery.

Thinking, “it’s only laparoscopic” I nearly didn’t call my Dad in Florida so as not to worry him. “Oh honey” he said “that’s no small surgery”.

Undeterred, I went in thinking positively, accepted the offered shoulder block which would essentially make my right shoulder and arm like dead weight. I was wheeled away and remember my surgeon (who I call Dr. Cutie Pie) saying everything would be fine.

When I awoke however much later, the first thing I recall is two male voices seemingly right in my ear stating “I don’t mind telling you I crapped my pants a bit when she flat-lined”.

“Who are you talking about” I mumbled, as my eyes opened.

“Oh welcome back, you gave us a little scare” they said.

“I flatlined?”

They confirmed it and by a stroke of divine intervention, my cardiologist who was on the floor was called after the code blue and agreed that they should finish the surgery but that I was to go to cardiology intensive care after recovery.

The following day, I coded again and now it became not if but when they’d give me a pacemaker. In my heavily pain-medicated state, I worried about missing work with two arms down and said, “can you put it in the right side?”

The better answer would have been “no honey, your heart is on the left” but they took my question as my wish and proceeded the following day to do one and a half hours of torture inserting a pacemaker into the bad shoulder – without anesthesia. It was not good and I recall asking someone to find my mom as I was being wheeled back to my room.

Now seven years later, I’m still ticking and have made peace with this chunk of metal that resides in my shoulder, a reminder of what might have been a surgery gone wrong.

376 words in ten minutes


I was recently invited by another blogger to participate in a Free Style Writing Challenge.

“Sure – how does that work?” I asked.

Here’s the way it works.

Free Style Writing Challenge

Here are the cut-and-pasted rules:
Open an MS Word document (or Pages)
1. Set a stop watch or your mobile to 5 minutes or 10 minutes whichever challenge you think you can beat. (Not sure what that meant so I just set the timer for 10)
2. Your topic is at the foot of this post BUT DO NOT SCROLL DOWN TO SEE IT UNTIL YOU ARE READY WITH A TIMER.
3. Fill the word doc with as many words as you want. Once you began writing do not stop even to turn.
4. Do not cheat by going back and correcting spellings and grammar with spell check in MS WORD (it is only meant for you to reflect on your own control of sensible thought flow and for you to reflect on your ability to write the right spelling and stick to grammar rules)
5. You may or may not pay attention to punctuation and capitals. However, if you do, it would be best.
6. At the end of your post write down ‘No. Of words =_____’ so that we would have an idea of how much you can write within the time frame.
7. Do not forget to copy paste the entire passage on your blog post with a new Topic for your nominees and copy paste these rules with your nominations (at least 5 bloggers).

I’m now going to follow suit and nominate 5 fellow bloggers to participate.  And I hope they do.  This may not have been my best work but it stretches the writing muscle like the writing class I took last year which required us to write, on the spot and then share with the class.  

I nominate:

mangoes to mutts

cupid or cats

Bali info

the view from the porch

lucile de godoy

I will reach out to these five bloggers, if you’d like to participate, great – I will send you your prompt.  If not, I get it – this may not be your thing and if so, that’s cool.  Just know that I enjoy your writing and thought of you! 

Okay, for those who accepted the challenge, here is your topic. First however, set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes, then scroll down, get your topic and go!




Your topic:  What is the best quality you possess?

59 Candles, 59 Things – Part Four

On our wedding day.
On our wedding day.

Seventh thing: As I said when I started this series, my 59 things are in random order.  Just wanted to be clear since the reality is that I put my marriage at the top of the list of things that make me happy.

It took a long time to find the right man and longer still to marry him. I was so afraid that things would change. And guess what – they did.  After eighteen years together, our wedding day created a shift in our world. I felt more nurturing and protective of our relationship and this life we’ve made. I’ve never regretted it for one day.

Marriage is work, love, compromise, passion, more work, silliness, health crisis’, exploration, love, discovery and knowing you belong to someone else.

Simply the best decision of my life.

59 Candles, 59 Things – Part Three

Fifth Thing: Rain makes me happy.  Not in the winter when it’s cold, dreary and amplifies every ache and pain. Not when I was working and it rained on my days off.  But Spring rain is like magic. It causes trees to bud, bulbs to emerge from the ground, grass to green-up and flowers to bloom. Fall rain creates a heady aroma of wet leaves and cooler temperatures, signaling another change of seasons.

As I’d mentioned in an earlier post, there is something magical about the rain we experience each year at the cabin we rent in the mountains of Tennessee.  Bordering Great Smoky Mountains National Park, we are totally surrounded by the woodlands. Every year at some point, we hear the rumble of thunder in the distance and share a smile.  “Here it comes” we say to each other.  We’re usually out on our covered balcony, anticipating the storm as the breeze becomes a wind.  The sound as the leaves start receiving those first rain drops is like a little melody, soft at first and then it picks up tempo.  I’m not sure if you can hear it, but I wanted you to see it.

Sixth thing: Before I retired, I don’t recall the last time I saw fireworks.  It had been years. Not because I don’t love fireworks, I do. But we somehow never sought out the crowded Fourth of July celebrations and the traffic jams that followed. I could hear them to be sure, just not see them.

After retiring last year, I noticed that at the most unexpected times, fireworks would find me. Once, in August when my former roommate BFF and I were in Kentucky, following a festival held on the Ohio River. We’d attended the festival, eaten lots of fair food and then walked up to a movie theater  to watch a movie before heading back to our hotel in Cincinnati.  As we walked out on this balmy summer evening, suddenly fireworks! We had arrived at the onset of a show that was spectacular   The Cincinnati skyline was a beautiful array of colors and reflected in the river below. There was a band playing below that just added to the moment.  We stayed until the end, amazed by our timing.  A brilliant end to a fun day!

What a night!
What a night!

In November, Spence and I traveled to Buffalo to see Jethro Tull in concert.  The night before we stayed on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls and supported the casino.  Having given ample support, we were making our way back to the hotel room when we saw the sign for a rooftop bar and decided on a nightcap.  We no more than got our drinks and SURPRISE – fireworks – in November, over the falls. See what I mean – it keeps happening.

59 Candles, 59 Things – Part Two

Here is second installment of 59 random things that make me happy to mark my newly minted 59th year on earth.

Third thing: I mentioned yesterday a rainbow that appeared to me a few weeks ago on a sunny day.  It made me think of how many rainbows I missed when I was busy working, worrying about sales goals or life in general.  Not living in the moment. Since I retired (and also took up yoga and meditation) I’ve slowed down and seem to notice more.  Which made me remember this moment from our trip to Sedona last year. We were renting the most incredible house, on a hillside overlooking a valley – and all windows.  The night before we experienced a magnificent thunderstorm that was at once terrifying and magical, protected only by the windows surrounding us. We awoke the next morning to a steady but calm rain followed by brilliant sunshine streaming in.  I grabbed my iPhone telling Spence, “there’s got to be a rainbow” and went in search, looking up.  No rainbow.  Then I looked below me and there it was.  We were “over the rainbow”.  How cool is that? You simply need to know where to look!

In Sedona after the storm, the rainbow appeared below us, in essence, we were
In Sedona after the storm, the rainbow appeared below us, in essence, we were “over the rainbow”

Fourth thing: The next thing I have no picture of except as an indelible memory.  It was when we first traveled to Costa Rica.  Spence was renting a little house that had been made into a duplex in a barrio outside of Quepos.  It was on the main road and we would walk a mile into town – then back, three times a day.  We walked next to the ocean on one side and the mountains on the other so that when they lost power (at least once a day it seemed) and it was nighttime, we were plunged into total darkness on our walk.  Except if you looked up.  Then you saw the most miraculous sight, millions perhaps billions of stars.  Like diamonds sparkling against black velvet, I was transfixed and couldn’t look down.  It made me realize that the stars are always there but are masked by lights from below them and remain hidden.  The beauty of those stars left such an impression on me and I’m grateful for that glimpse of heaven.  Amazing.

Photo Courtesy of Pinterest
Photo Courtesy of Pinterest, to the photographer that captured this, I thank you!