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Secret Hiding Spot (For Mommy Only!)

I recently redecorated most of the upstairs of my house. I turned what used to be a craft/hobby room into a train station bedroom for my son. You can see pictures here: https://imnotstalkingyou.com/2015/08/05/ms-train-station-bedroom-my-new-upstairs/

But I didn’t stop there.

I also repainted the area (landing?) at the top of my stairway that used to be a heinous beige pink and had been driving me crazy for years.

I was sooo happy with the changes I made. My only regret was not having done them earlier.

But, well, in this shuffle, items that used to be in about four rooms was moved into three. When all was said and done, my husband decided to turn the old nursery into a “man room.”

This left me with a bedroom upstairs filled with my hoarders delight of boxes of crafts and paperwork. What was the first thing I did in the room?

I made a secret hiding spot. Just for me. So that no one could find me. Not my son. Not my husband. Not even my dog.

I put up a three-paneled screen (that I have had for years and had no idea what to use it for) to block off the rest of the room that was still cluttered with boxes. It has a window for sunlight and fresh air, a mini alter with colorful stones and tarot cards, and a fairy garden. Best of all, it has a hidden corner with pillows to read or nap.

Secret hiding spot by the window

Secret hiding spot by the window

When I am really stressed (if I remember), I can run to my corner and just chill out for a few minutes. I actually have fallen asleep in there a few times.

My husband takes my secret hiding place as some sort of insult. But I pointed out that he heads out to the garage for house to tinker with stuff. That is his spot. I just wanted a little spot to myself. Just one problem with the secret hiding spot…

Secret hiding spot reading corner

Secret hiding spot reading corner

There are toys left there that are not mine. The blanket will look as if a dog made a nest out of it. And when I am there, sometimes a man who looks suspiciously like my husband will come and assault me with real life.

The son found it. The husband found it. Even the dog found it.

I guess the best secrets are very hard to keep…

I heard the latest trend was “she sheds.” Hmmm… Maybe I will have to get me one of those.

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
The Wind Could Blow a Bug – AVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It NEW RELEASE!

Driving Home

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Driving Home
Darkness
Speed
Wind
Radio turned up Loud
My ears dost protest
But my body wants to dance
Belted into a seat in the car
No chance.
Singing at the top of my lungs
The Music drowns out my off-key notes.
Miles & Music
Music & Miles
The Orange Moon watches me
Country road rides like a roller coaster
A shiver down my spine
from the Music, not the wind.
I want my Music to escape out the open windows
And infect others.
I feel young again
I forget that I am not.
Bugs could fly in the open window
try not the think about that.
Close to home
Must turn volume down
Don’t wake the baby.
At a normal volume now
Can barely hear it
Over the ringing in my ears
And the music still playing in my head.
–JLS
7/22-23/13

Dead Dad Movie (Non-Feature Film Edition)

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(Click here to see my previous post about Dead Dad feature films.)


[This the only footage I have of my dad. My dad died before I was born. My mom said that her dad (my grandpa) died in December 1973. She was using up the film on his movie camera, so this was probably taken in 1974.]

Family movies. About once a year, when I was young, my mom would force my Gramma to get out the films (Super 8?) and the projector and we would watch them. Usually this was a few months after it was first discussed, because it seemed like my Gramma always needed to buy a new light bulb for the projector. There were about 15 reels of film. My mom always wanted to watch the one with my dad on it first. No one could ever remember which reel it was on.

The family movies contained relatives I had never met and would never meet. Relatives that my mom and Gramma had (it seemed) endless stories about. There were movies of my Gramma’s house before the porch was built and before it was screened in. There were movies of my mom and Gramma helping to build my uncle’s house. An uncle I did actually get to meet before he died, but he moved out of that house before I ever saw it.

In the movies, there were many scenes of dogs pooping (Ginger, who was our dog when I was young, and Suzy, my Gramma’s dog that died shortly after I was born, and my Great Grandpa’s future dog, Rusty). There was a flood rushing through my Gramma’s front yard. There were boring movies of driving out West to Yellowstone, taken from car windows. There was a more endlessly boring boat trip to Lower Tahquamenon Falls, which sort of blends in to another at Pictured Rocks. These trip movies also featured everyone walking from the car to the restroom and back again.

I was always disappointed that I was not represented in those movies. Here were my mom and Gramma and uncle, who I actually knew, fraternizing with all these strangers. They were living lives I would never know anything of, except for their stories and these movies. My lack of representation bothered me so much so that in college, studying Communications-Radio & TV Broadcasting, I checked the video camera out one weekend and shot my own home movies. One problem, my movies had sound. My Gramma’s did not. When I watch my home movies now, I watch them on mute. I prattle on about this and that. What I really want to see are my old clothes and furniture and posters on my walls. And I love on the video when my asbestos friend and I go to the gas station (which in a year would be the site of my first real job) and gas is $1.24. She says “$1.24! I should be able to put gold in my car for $1.24!”

In the late 1980’s my mom decided to have the films transferred to VHS. We numbered what order to transfer them in, placing the film with my dad first. At the time, Sears was running a promotion where they gave you a free extra VHS copy to send to America’s Funniest Home Videos (The new hit show:P). It even came in a cardboard box with the show’s address on it, all ready to mail. (Of course, our only funny scene, of a bear trying to get into the sunroof of a Volkswagen Beetle, had long ago been lost to the unfortunate break and scotch tape repair.) So, we kept one tape and my Gramma kept the other. My mom and I could watch it whenever we wanted. We would watch the beginning, with family and dogs. We stopped it when the Mackinac Bridge came into view, always skipping the boat trips.

In the 2000’s, my work had a discount offer to get film/slides/VHS converted to DVD. I decided I should torture the old footage and have it converted one last time. But, what to convert? The film had continued to deteriorate in my Gramma’s hot apartment. So then, which VHS? The one that had been kept in our hot trailer or my Gramma’s hot apartment? (Boy, analog is sure fragile.) I believe I chose my Gramma’s VHS tape, because it had been viewed very few times, as she had given us her VCR, which is what we watched our copy of the tape on.

Yes, the quality is iffy. And all the ritual is gone out of it. No setting the date, buying the light bulb. No guessing what was on each reel, no popcorn. No narration by those who had lived it. But it still feels like preserving history. My history. And now my son can watch them too. He can see the few fleeting seconds that are captured of my dad.

Then, he will know him as well as I do.

Looking to convert your own memories? I recommend The Archival Company. Who do I NOT recommend? Walmart.

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