I typically enjoy my morning smoothie, but this morning’s addition of barium to it wasn’t my favorite ingredient. Give me spinach, carrots, and kale any day!
Check out the #OneMillionProject blog post by Raymond St. Elmo entitled On the Borderlands of Fantasy. It’s a great read by a writer whose humor and storytelling I truly enjoy!
I suppose entitling this blog “Girl Talk” is a bit of a misnomer because I think guys like getting together without their feminine cohorts and hashing things over with the rest of the testosterone set as much as the ladies do. I lived (as the only female) in a male-dominated household for over twenty years, and at times, I craved hanging out with the gals over margaritas — or any alcohol-based beverage, really — laughing and chatting about topics I’m sure the men in my life would do anything possible to avoid.
Today my sister and I went out for lunch over pomegranate margaritas and chimichangas, we giggled, groused and reminisced as only two women who’ve known each other for 54 years can do. So what if we talked nonsense about manicures, wrinkles, and old boyfriends, we also caught up on each other’s families, our dreams and our concerns about our mom.
In honor of my bit of girl time, I decided to publish my short story “Girl Talk”. Hope you enjoy it!
Girl Talk ~~~ by Kate McGinn
The outdoor cafe was a favorite spot for the young and successful to gather on a Friday afternoon. Vanessa Wallace sipped on her cup of black coffee nodding at the appropriate times to the buzz of conversation at her table. She had been meeting the same group of friends on Friday afternoons for the past 8 years. Their conversation points were essentially the same — work, men, fashion, men, bitchy women and men. Vanessa’s mind was occupied with something else entirely.
She’d worked her way up the corporate ladder to become a successful financial analyst. Vanessa loved her job, money wasn’t a problem, and she didn’t fret about bitchy women, because she was one. It was the age-old problem in the city — more eligible women than eligible men. And just because they were eligible didn’t mean they met her standards. Vanessa had very high standards.
Her boss had invited everyone and their significant others to his latest dinner party. No way in hell was she going alone. Vanessa had one day to find the right date. Tonight, she was scoping out the possibilities.
“Nessa, are you listening?” Hailey asked. “I don’t know why you even came tonight if you aren’t going to participate.”
“Sorry, Hailey. I have a bit of a work problem.” The group commiserated with her by nodding their heads and making sympathetic comments before heading onto the next topic. Men.
“Well, you just won’t believe who’s back in town.” Anita smoothed her skirt, performed a hair flip which she followed up by biting her bottom lip. Vanessa thought Anita had the simpering female act down pat. The girls leaned in with their heads hovering over the table to hear the latest gossip. Vanessa leaned in along with the others, mentally chastising herself for doing so.
“Matt Summers.” A chorus of “No!”, “You are kidding!” and “What an ass!” followed Anita’s news.
Vanessa leaned back in her chair with a slight smile flitting across her lips. Matt Summers was a pretentious ass. A handsome one. He’d asked Vanessa out multiple times in the past, but she always said no. He had a reputation, and she was focused on her career. Maybe he had some potential as a dinner date. Matt was wealthy and business savvy, so he would be a perfect fit for her work crowd. She turned her attention back to the girls.
“I heard he might be here tonight,” Anita informed. Vanessa chuckled as her friends tried, unsuccessfully, to scope out the cafe for the man of the moment. It didn’t mean Vanessa wasn’t on the watch with her friends. Vanessa ordered a glass of red wine hoping it would relax the knot in her stomach.
Halfway through her glass, her companions exhibited visible signs of shock. Their eyes locked on a point behind Vanessa. She wanted to turn around but forced herself to stay relaxed and face forward. She felt a touch on her left shoulder as a familiar voice spoke softly in her right ear.
“I was hoping I would run into you again, Vanessa. Can I sit down?”
“Matt Summers — I didn’t know you were back in town.” Vanessa had found a dinner date to rival her colleagues’ trophy wives.
I wasn’t an athletic kid. I stumbled, couldn’t hit a baseball if my life depended on it, and dodgeball was my personal hell. I wasn’t the last kid picked for the teams but I was in the bottom 10%. I really wanted to run like the wind and be decent at sports (note: I didn’t say “good at sports”. My goals were realistic.).
I was pretty good at making baskets whenever we played Horse on the playground. Finally, something where I could achieve a modicum of success! The first week of basketball practice in middle school and a six foot tall Amazon landed on my foot and broke at least one of my toes. It was the end of my basketball career. I realized at only five foot three inches I was at a disadvantage. Besides, my foot turned black and blue, swelling so much my toes curled under my foot. It wasn’t something I wanted to repeat.
One of my friends ( another writing nerd) informed me she was trying out for the golf team. It isn’t much of a tryout. Everyone makes the team unless they decide they don’t want to do it anymore. Golf wasn’t a contact sport, and I didn’t need to run. It sounded like a win-win to me.
My dad was pleased I was trying something different. He bought me a set of golf clubs with the understanding I needed to persevere and not give up since “golf clubs aren’t cheap!”
And, play I did. I played on the golf teams through middle school, high school, and college. My first date with my husband was playing 36 holes of golf. We walked the hilly course and carried our own golf bags. Ah, youth…(wistful sigh, insert here).
Through the years, we continued to play but the frequency depended on how busy our lives/jobs were and how strapped financially we were at the time. And for some inexplicable reason, I stopped playing seven years ago. That is, until last week when I picked up my clubs and headed to the driving range to hit some golf balls.
Truly, I was worried. I was in much better shape physically than I was the last time I’d played, but I was also much older now. It went fairly well. Some balls responded exactly as they should have, and others rolled a few feet away leaving evidence of my inconsistency and my sloppy swing.
Undeterred by my less than stellar performance, I told my husband I wanted to play a few holes of golf. I proceeded to bogey and double bogey multiple holes. Most of my puts were laughable, but I did sink a forty-footer (smile). I ended up in not one, but three bunkers.
Nine holes later, I was smiling, sunburnt and had stiff and aching shoulders. It was great fun. I didn’t let my poor putting or uneven play depress me, because golf IS only a game and with more practice time and rounds of golf under my belt, I know I will improve.
See you out on the links!
I just love Mark Huntley-James’ style and his take on being a “Pantser” when he writes. Being a “seat of my pants” writer as well I couldn’t keep from chuckling — via Blog Posts
I’ve always been pegged as a serious person by my family. They had nicknames for me — ‘Queen Katrina’ and my fav — ‘Doom and Gloom’. I am aware that I can be very intense and analytical at times, and I suppose it’s those same qualities which made me a good nurse. But I’m also fun-loving and like to joke around, oftentimes at my own expense.
Sometimes, you have to let go, joke around, and get a little crazy. Other medical people will tell you, when things get heavy all you want to do is scream or cry at the pain and heartache you’ve had to witness, it helps to lighten the mood.
Yeah, sometimes the humor is dark, and given the circumstances, how could it not be so? I spent some time away from my home, recently. I had some eye-opening experiences while I was away which saddened me. I needed to come to terms with how I looked at a person I loved as well as what type of role I now play in their life. I wasn’t sure I was ready for the changes.
I needed something to lighten my days. Snapchat became my way of goofing around as I stumbled through the unpleasant realities I faced. I figured I’d share some of the photos of myself that made me smile and chuckle.
Sometimes you just have to let go…and smile.
Jalopy is kind of an old-fashioned word. I just bought a twenty-one year old Jeep Wrangler. I have fondly dubbed her “My Jeeplopy”. I had a choice to pick out a newer model or a brand-new vehicle, but there was something about buying it out-right that appealed to my penny-pinching side.
I know many women who would look at the tattered and stained seats, dents and missing parts and say, “No way am I going to be caught in THAT piece of crap!” But, I could see the beauty in her. A little cleaning and a few additions would have her looking respectable. The engine looked good, and it started right up.
I felt like a teenager with their first car when I drove to the car wash and washed and waxed the Wrangler. I pictured driving with the top off during the summer with the wind blowing through my dark — wait, a second — my silver tresses as I drive along the Great River Road.
Boxes of new accessories for my baby are delivered almost daily as I give her some tender loving care. No worries, though, I tend to stick to desert camo and black accessories and avoid the pink and teal components. I’ll save the bright colors for my Jeep-themed t-shirts and caps.
I’ve also received feedback from a fan (you know who you are!) that I can never get rid of “Clare’s Jeep”. Trust me, I won’t, at least not for a very long time.
The following excerpt is from one of my WIP (Works in Progress) — Not Mama’s Little Girl, Anymore! The main character, Natalie, is describing how she approaches love.
The easiest way to describe my point of view about love is that I’m the human version of a Labrador Retriever. I love to eat, play hard, and have a need to get down and dirty in the mud. When I love someone, I live for the time when I’ll see them again, when I’ll hear their voice, and when I can cuddle up beside them–or better yet—sit on their lap. My big soulful eyes reflect your pain or sparkle with your happiness. My heart belongs to only one.
I’m different than the French poodle type of gal. She primps and postures for the masses looking for her next trophy. She’s all curly hair and pink bows but her facade is only window dressing and a bit of mud will destroy the illusion.
(This is not a put-down of poodles of any kind or the French. I love them both, but an analogy of how different women can be from their counterparts.)
I have a love/hate relationship with my elliptical. It wasn’t even that I’d paid a king’s ransom to purchase one. My sister and her boyfriend carted it about 200 miles in the back of their SUV — FREE!
I was so excited at first… Then I realized I preferred walking outside to being inside on a machine, but I live in the frosty North which translates into “I either workout indoors or I get fatter over the winter.” My dilemma was simple. I’m a wimp and it was too easy to get off the elliptical when I got tired. When I’m walking I can be four miles from home, and I don’t have a choice but walk back.
I’d made great strides in my training over the summer and I didn’t want to regress. I paced back and forth by the dusty gift contemplating whether I could succeed where I was unsuccessful for (Wait for it!) years. Yes, it isn’t a typo. YEARS!!
I’d tried several times over the years but after I exercised on the elliptical ten to fifteen minutes I’d stop stating that it was too hard. Which is a crock of expletive. I was in the Army. I was a brown belt in Tae Kwon Do. True, that was years ago, but I’d done the tough stuff. I would walk for two to three hours in the heat until I was so tired I could barely put one foot in front of the other.
I wasn’t going to let a big, old, gray instrument of torture get the best of me. I armed myself with my water bottle and my secret weapon — a music playlist. I also prepared to go all drill instructor on myself if I tried to wimp out again. My goal was to remain on the thing for thirty minutes. Double my longest time. I hit play on my phone put the earbuds in and preceded to conquer the gray devil.
I listen to many artists and different genres. It’s music that makes me move, helps me to write and relax. Here’s a sample of a few songs I listened to this morning. I’m also happy to say I tamed that gray beast and I exercise for over 60 minutes at a time. And yes, I did have to go all drill instructor on myself that first time. It was ugly…