Posted in Life Writing, Stream of Consciousness Saturday

Signing it Over for Stream of Consciousness Saturday

Yes, that’s right. We’re ready to sign it over. It can mean lots of things, but, in this case, it refers to my car – an elderly-and-then-some 1998 Subaru Outback. Oh, and it also means our almost-old-enough-to-qualify-as-an-antique Dodge Ram ¾ ton truck, Gus.

My Outback had just over 288,000 miles on it when a control arm snapped Tuesday night. Oh, did I mention that it happened at about 55mph, on an interstate? Or that the resultant “equal and opposite reaction” sent us skidding across all three lines of the highway before I was able to get enough control through steering into the skid and gradually braking?

I just about wrestled that car back across the three lanes and then as far off the shoulder as I could get us. The control arm was dragging and scraping the entire way.

Did I mention that “us”, in this case, was me and my not-quite-sixteen year old son?

He was impressed at my calm, and my getting the car off the road. He is an even-tempered, safety-conscious, level-headed kind of young man – but this made an impression on him, I think, that no amount of lecturing or studying the driver’s manual could. It was sudden, unexpected, completely taking over the evening.

There were no other cars on our stretch of interstate throughout the trip over and back. Given that we were passed by at least twenty semis once we got to the side of the road – whether it was divine intervention, or just a matter of extraordinarily good timing, we didn’t collide with anyone else, or endanger anyone. Fotunately, I got my license here in upstate New York right around the begiining of the winter when I was 20 – I learned quickly how to handle skids and slides.

We were lucky. But my car?

Not so much.

I did mention that it’s a 1998 (yup, from the last century!)? And that it was edging in on 300,000 miles? I don’t think that I mentioned the significant rust, the phantom electrical gremlins, the transmission whine….

In short, it’s become a more feasible financial decision to sign the title over to the garage it was towed to. As my Accomplice said, it was hard to imagine a new car in a driveway that already held two cars….

Oh, and it also holds that old vintage pickup – the one at least three men have stopped by to see if we were willing to sell.

My Accomplice had been determined to keep old Gus. You see, Gus is, in some ways, the symbol of our relationship. He was the first thing we ever bought together, back at the Grand Canyon, before we were even married. My roommate told me I was making a mistake. I didn’t know this guy very well, after all.

Gus is also our history. We used him for traveling to backwoods places to camp – and then to pull our two travel trailers – the 21 foot one we bought for our first home, and the 30 foot replacement, where our son came home four years later. Between those events, we used Gus to drive around the country three times.

And then we drove back to upstate New York with our newborn baby boy in the wake of September 11, 2001, and parked Gus at my parents’ until we bought our own home up the street.

Gus never went far, after that, and, for the last eight years, he’s been at the foot of the driveway, undriven, and needing work we kept saying we were going to get around to, someday.

The shift that came with the loss of my car cast our rather precarious recent financial situation into potentially becoming disastrous. And, at the same time, the nature of our marriage is shifting in the way some do, when women in our mid-to-late forties realize that we’ve been complicit in our own unintentional subjugation.

My car is gone. For the moment, then, I have less freedom than I did a week ago….

And yet, it’s also liberating.

Gus will go, sooner or later, to someone who wants to take the time and spend the money needed to make him spiffy and roadworthy again (but we’ll keep his Wyoming plate). With him, we release a physical symbol of our relationship’s beginning, as we muddle our way through this transition – our youngest child soon to be a teen, our eldest only a few months from being old enough to drive…my Accomplice’s hot sauce business taking its first tentative steps into the world, and me learning more and more about how to help him, and how to turn my writing from a passion to a business I can call my own.

So, we’ll sign some things away, but there will also be room for growth, and change, in the signing. And that’s something of a sign of the times.

Have you ever found liberation in something that at first seemed like a setback?

Please share your experiences in the comments – life’s more fun when we share!

This post is part of Linda G.Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday meme -an unedited stream of consciousness piece that ties into the weekly prompt: “sign,” used any way we like.


If you’d like to dip your toes in the Stream of Consciousness, click the prompt link or icon above.

Posted in #8Sunday, Blogfest Entries, Life Writing, Writing Samples

Deeper Than Thought for #WeWriWa #8Sunday

Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors’

Eight Sentence Sunday!

It’s the weekly hop for everyone who loves to write! We’ve got a variety of genres and talented writers just waiting for you to come sample their wordy wares. Come read one, or all!

If you’re inclined to share your own 8-10 sentence snippet, follow the link and sign up. It’s a great community to be a part of! =D

Monday Morning Coffee” has been with me since I was sixteen. A local boy with schizophrenia wandered away from his family at a large outdoor event. Several days later, he was found, deceased.

From that story came this one – the connection might not be clear to anyone but me – but it’s there.


A shabbily dressed man returns kindness with kindness, and a connection has been forged.

Deeper Than Thought

The 6:53 pulls in – and he says, softly, “It’s time for you to go back to your own life, now, kind Rose.”

“Will I see you again, Jeremy? Please say yes!” I sound as breathless as the three girls chattering about Hunter and his dimple.

“Perhaps, dear Rose. Perhaps.” He leans in, wafting a faint note of cologne– another grace note; another mystery. I want to nuzzle him, to press against him, to offer myself to him. The desire runs deeper than thought, from hidden animal places within me.

Will Rose finally get on a train?

What will she do with the newspaper rose Jeremy made for her?

Is she going to tell him how she feels, and what she wants?

What’s next? 

Any guesses?

“Monday Morning Coffee” was originally published in the 2015 edition of World Unknown Review, edited by L.S. Engler.  Since I retain all rights beyond first publication, I intend to revise the story and use it as my initial self-published offering.

This week went a little topsy-turvy when I had a frightening car breakdown with my son in the passenger seat, but I’ve more or less recovered from the resultant chaos.

I’m moving #8sunday back to my blog – some folks are having a hard time commenting on my Squarespace website. Until I can figure out why this is happening, it’s better to move it to a place I know is working as it should (although I’m not exactly getting to comments as quickly as I should…this is an extremely busy time IRL – but I will get to them, as soon as I can.

Until then….

If you’re looking for more #8Sunday, click this link, or the icon below!

Posted in Challenges and Contests, JuNoWriMo, Just for Fun!, Life Writing, Parenting, Unschooling, Weekend Coffee Share, Writing in Freedom

The Countdown to Thirteen Edition: #weekendcoffeeshare

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that we’re on the final countdown to a major event – the girl I’m watching Gravity Falls with is in on her last month of being a preteen. So, today, once we’re settled in with our beverages of choice, I’d like to take you on a little journey into the life and times of Annalise (who, these days, goes by simply Lise).

It seems like just yesterday she was a baby, wearing the bunting that was mine when I was a baby. Or nine months old, speaking her first words and giving us a hint of how articulate she was going to be in a matter of months. One of her first words was, “happened.” She used it for an impressive variety of purposes. It could mean something was funny, broken, inexplicable to her inexperienced mind, or that she wanted me to think she had nothing at all to do with whatever had gone wrong…

Or she’s fourteen months, throwing herself on the floor while yelling, “I’m FRUSTRATED!” It took me a while to understand that being able to name the emotion she was feeling didn’t mean she had any capacity at all to deal with the emotion rationally.

She might be two, able to quote Shakespeare or repeat anything we challenged her with. She might be giving the chemical formula of DNA – almost: “deoxyribonucleic BACID”. From a very young age, she had a facility for wordplay that has been a constant ever since. She brought me a folded piece of wrapping paper and “read me a story.” And yet, she said, ‘aminal. Algalator. Psghetti.’ like so many other tiny children. The combination was absolutely endearing, and I missed those mispronunciations when they were outgrown.

She might be three, staring up at the airplane that didn’t answer her pleas of, “Wait for me!” The to me, and the words that revealed a broken heart a mommy couldn’t fix. “Mommy, I’ll never really be able to fly, will I?” How hard to have to tell her she wouldn’t. And how surprising to hear her, all alone in her room that same year, spelling out “A-N-N-A-L-I-S-E”, and seeing her writing it – by herself, when no one had “taught” her.

Or at five, taking her first lessons in Parelli Natural Horsemanship, fearlessly leading animals many times her size, or directing them with a stick, learning their habits and how to befriend them.

Or making her first steps into independence at age 6, at an unschooling conference. Losing her first tooth.

The world opening up at 8, when she went from non-reading to reading at warp speed.

At nine, when she wrote her first poem, without really meaning to, and could read pretty much anything.

And then a whirlwind of growing up and up and up, and all the things that happen as girls transform, as if by magic, into women.

Yes – she’s transforming. New curves, a face grown more beautiful than cute, a fresh maturity in the way she sees things….

And yet, she’s still wonderfully a child. Not quite ready to be an adult just yet.

I’ve been here before, in another form. Her older brother is closing in on sixteen, now – but it wasn’t so long ago that he was where his sister is now – just at the threshold to the foyer that leads to adulthood, with all the possibility ahead, and the inner stormy chaos of hormones and physical and intellectual growth that is greater than at any point since infancy.

It’s an interesting and sometimes challenging time. But we all survived it with my son – and learned some things along the way. Even though it’s different, and maybe even more chaotic with all the added extras of impending womanhood, we have learned a few things that are easing the transition for all of us.

Self-portrait by Lise Burton, June 2017

And I have the example of that boy, now very near to manhood. He’s – impressive. Seriously. Helpful, kind, thoughtful, and testing out the waters of adulthood in ways that are, well, more and more adult.

No, I don’t think my daughter will be just like him when she moves into her teen years. But she will be her own kind of teen, and, eventually, her own kind of woman.

And there’s a magic in that.

This post is part of the #weekendcoffeeshare, hosted by #nerdinthebrain. Clicking the link will take you to more conversations – and please leave a comment in the box below, because it’s not a very good conversation if I’m the only one talking. =)

As you venture out on your way, I wish you a week that’s filled with all the joy you can imagine – and then a little more!