A Quiet Place

Kid2 is drawing with a calligraphy pen now. Fimo snails.

Kid2 is drawing with a calligraphy pen now. Fimo snails in the tall grass.

On another of my blogs, one that isn’t public, my entries are story ideas. They are bursts of inspiration lingering in the wings of my life, ripening in the background, waiting for their chance to be fleshed out and to breathe. I am more impatient than those ideas. I am tugged in many directions from the moment I wake until the iPhone hits me in the face at night when I’m trying to make my last Words With Friends moves. I visit the site and stare. Brain locked, fingers frozen.

I see this in Kid2, MiniMe. The kid goes great guns when she is first starting a project. Numerous times I’ve uncovered incomplete and late assignments while mining her chaotic room. Each time I do this, I am given a free lesson in what I was and how I need to always be vigilant about the clutter spots I have at home and in my brain. That’s why I have that blog. It helps me make sense of the ideas I have, it is that place I can go when I can finally be a wild writer.

Kid2 is creating an inventory of Fimo swirls for jewelry. One of the many endeavors she launches into.

Kid2 is creating an inventory of Fimo swirls for jewelry. One of the many endeavors she launches into.

When I was a newspaper reporter, writing was done on the fly in a crowded and noisy newsroom. I loved it, and it really taught me how to turn inward, to find that quiet place within my brain, and to focus on the tight deadline writing. I bet if I turned that kind of pressure on myself, I could march those stories out, one by one, and give them the spotlight they deserve.



Distant Journaling on a Bad Storm.


Start the month right. Give each day a little blog entry. Kiss October’s round and orange jack-o-lantern butt buh-bye. Its moon wanes, high, still a bit bright, and it hangs with Jupiter and Venus in the morning darkness when the … Continue reading

A Kiss is Not Just a Kiss.


This gallery contains 1 photo.

@postaday 342; #postaday2011. While reading an article in the New York Times Magazine’s online edition entitled “Operation Seduction,” my editor asked me if I’d write a story about health and wellness and the family and my husband chided me for … Continue reading

A day without earbuds.

@postaday 303; #postaday2011.

I like to talk to my daughters using my earbuds for my iPhone, and I also have a little green Bluetooth device that I use, and if all fails, I use the speaker, and turn it down as much as I can. Fortunately, not many are around when their daily morning call comes. The girls are on their way to school in John’s car, and they take turns saying hi and we discuss their day and our plans for the evening. It’s nice. When they are on break and everyone sleeps in, I don’t get the calls. Kinda lonely…

I have some other loopy headphones that I can use, but not with the phone component. That’s OK. I might not even bother listening to music today while I’m working. I’ve gotten through the morning without them, I’ve been very busy, and here I am writing the blog at lunch time.

Week five of #5kin100days has a suggestion that we not run to music. I haven’t been, because I’ve been running/walking with my daughters. I enjoy listening to them talk or huff and puff behind me. I like being aware of what’s around me, an oncoming dog, a speeding car. The bicycles that go by us are soundless, but I recognize the glow of light that shows up from behind me. Brad Gansberg of the #5kin100days program suggests that instead of listening to music we listen to our foot falls, our breathing, our own personal rhythm, and let those pull us into the zone. My husband John had suggested I not run with music, too. Reluctantly, I gave it up, and now I don’t mind.

I never ride my bicycle with earbuds or tunes, because bicycling requires complete awareness. I dare say it requires more than complete awareness, because that limits you to yourself. You need to be aware of what others are up to,  as well. I watch drivers and I see them not see me and I anticipate that they’ll pull in front of me, so I linger at a light longer than another bicyclist would. I cannot imagine wearing earbuds while riding. I can hear my breathing, I can hear my bicycle as it rolls around and hits the bumps in the asphalt. I can hear the cars and trucks, the motorcycles, the scooters, and the Bible buggies with scripture written on the sides to protect the tourists who probably thought it would be fun riding around Oahu in something about as safe as a bushel of tomatoes that fell off the truck on its way to the Campbell’s Soup factory in Camden, N.J.

I need to hear all that. And I also need to hear the thoughts — and sometimes the snippets of songs — that bounce around in my brain while my legs pump for miles and miles in the morning sun.

I’ll get through today without my earbuds. But don’t ask me to give them up at 24-Hour Fitness Hawaii Kai. If there is one place I need to escape my pain and suffering, the sweat and stink, the fake boobs and the massive egos, it’s while doing my workout on the helliptical!

Modern Meals & Mouth-watering Munchies.

A fine pickle.

@postaday 240; #postaday2011.

I’ve decided to do a little side project for fun using the Instagram iPhone app here on board The Mothership. Each day I’m going to post a selection from our new vending machines here on the ninth-floor lounge. I am further challenging myself with an accompanying haiku. I just like to get my creative juices flowing while I’m here at work. You know how it is when you want to take a break from the wall of words about health and wellness!

A handful of ham & cheese on whole wheat.

I’m a member of the IDEAS team, and I meet with other members to discuss the ideas and comments posted by employees on the IDEAS internal website. Some people hide behind aliases and some people don’t. We’re OK with that. But frankly, if you have a great idea, why wouldn’t you want to own it? But that’s just me, and I know no one is surprised to read THAT!

Here’s how it works: You submit an idea, and colleagues have the option to vote for it with either a thumbs up or a thumbs down. One vote per idea per employee. Once an idea gets 50 votes, we on the team review it and assess the effect it could have on our business practices. Some ideas are for creature comforts, some are designed to improve efficiency, some are thought provoking and either make us laugh or do some soul searching.

These spicy chips are addictive and a dollar!

I’m burying my lead. For quite a while employees clamored about healthy food choices in our lounge on the ninth floor, where people take breaks, gather for lunch, and conduct meetings without having to reserve a room somewhere else.

We heard their tummies grumble! The idea to get better food offerings in the lounge was executed. I learned something through this process. For instance, vending machines are custom made. Employees wanted healthier choices, so these new machines were designed to sell soups, sandwiches, pickles, yogurt, puddings, snacks you’d find in a health-food store, and snacks you’d find at Walmart. Believe me, when I’m jonesin’ for chocolate, I’m glad I can get something on the ninth floor instead of having to go down to the little deli at ground level or risk being seen at Walmart. These machines are really nice! They even take credit and debit cards! When I stand before one, mulling the choices of chips, chocolate and chimichangas, I kinda feel like Jane Jetson deciding on what space-age treat to select!

We got your Mojo right here!

Now we’re hearing grumbles about how expensive the choices are. We expected that, but employees should have expected it, too. Custom-made vending machines cost money, and so does the convenience of having a turkey sandwich on whole-wheat bread or a high-quality energy bar just an elevator ride away. If you like that Mojo bar that’s selling for more than $2 from the machine, then go ahead and buy yourself a case at Sam’s Club next door! These options are handy, and they are an easy way to check out whether you like something or not before committing to buying more than one at the warehouse store.

If we’re friends on Facebook, or you follow me on Twitter, you’ll see these photos via Instagram in my updates. That’s what’s going on. It’s for fun.

Did Verizon give me a drug dealer’s phone number?

@postaday 142; #postaday2011.

“Aloha! This is Paula Bender. If you’re looking for someone else, SORRY! This is my number now.”

When I got my new iPhone4 back in March, I also got a new Verizon telephone number. I don’t blame Verizon. How would they know? Maybe when a telephone number is disconnected, it should stay dormant for a 90-day period so new phone number owners like me don’t have to clean up the slop left by their former owners.

Apparently, this number belonged to a guy named Daniel. Apparently, Daniel was into retail recreational pharmaceuticals. Apparently, Daniel was into it 24/7. How do I know? Apparently, Daniel did not leave a forwarding number.

I don’t work for Daniel, but it feels like I do. I get calls and text messages all the time for Daniel. It’s annoying. I’d like it to stop. I would like all of Daniel’s friends to stop trying to reach him. He’s gone. I have no idea where he is. I do not know if he is in the witness protection program, has amnesia, fell off a boat, moved to Costa Rica, or is in prison.

It’s true, I really do not know whether these people reaching out to Daniel are looking for drugs. Maybe they miss him. Maybe they just wanna hang out, shoot some pool, or down a few beers. I don’t know if Daniel is into guys or into girls. The text all have a ‘boy feel’ to them if you ask me. I could be wrong. He might be a psychoanalyst available to those in distress. When my phone rang last night at about 12:20 a.m., John answered it. He thought that might help put some teeth into the “this isn’t Daniel’s number anymore” message.

Let’s agree that people who call each other at 12:20 a.m. are basically dumb shits and leave it at that. And, yes, those are the phone numbers these calls came from.

Please hang up and try again.

Can exercise keep you young? I’m counting on it!

@postaday 61; #postaday2011

One of my colleagues, a lovely, young, lithe beautiful artist who surfs here in Hawaii, posted a link on Facebook this morning of a New York Times story from Well columnist Tara Parker-Hope in the paper’s Health section. This colleague would debate with me that she is young, but, I see her face, her skin, her shape, the sexiness, the twinkling eyes, and the sharp sense of humor, and I assure you, she could be in her 20s. Take that, Anna!

Can Exercise Keep You Young?

I’m certainly counting on it. Yesterday I posted a couple of links to books I’ve downloaded onto my iPad and iPhone, and I also have Tim Ferriss’s The 4-Hour Body, which is a very interesting and radical approach to fitness. In fact, Ferriss suggests that not everything in his book applies to everyone, and to choose his offerings ala carte. Of course his chapter on sex is a must read. A clinical approach to bedroom steam. It’s true. Not everyone really knows what to do.

I am going back to South Jersey for my 35th high school reunion in June. I’m looking forward to seeing people IRL. Many of us are friends on Facebook, where we are no longer teenagers competing and dying of embarrassment from day to day. Most of the old friends have grown up and are very nice people, although some are Republicans. Many of my peers are quite fit and stunning. One of the guys got in touch with me and let me know he lost a lot of weight and got on the fitness track. He was so happy and I was really honored that he took the time to let me know.

The other day I was thinking about how, when I was a little in the 60s, most of the women then who were my age now spent the day in loose house dresses with deep pockets to hold their cigarettes, matches and Pep-o-Mint Lifesavers. They watched soap operas, they sat on the steps out front and watched the world go by. My mother and her peers, women in their 20s and 30s at the time, sat around in chaise lounges around the swimming pool working on their tans, drinking Tab or Fresca and smoking cigarettes.

When we moved out of the row house in Riverside to a free-standing home in Delran the winter of 1968, I saw something really weird: A guy was jogging in a sweat suit, with a knit hat and gloves on, down the road, between the snowbanks. He was jogging so he wouldn’t fall. In the spring, summer and autumn, he was a runner in shorts and a T-shirt. He was a daily fixture, a wiry and skinny guy in his 40s, a new breed of man in the neighborhood. In the early 70s, when I was in high school, I started to participate in intramural tennis. I had already been swimming competitively since I was 6 years old. Children who run around, ride bikes, and play an impromptu game of neighborhood wiffle ball turn into teenagers who sit around and “hang out” with each other on street corners or record stores (remember those?). The racing hearts of youthful exuberance become bathed in hormones and instead would rather race for love. Adolescence. Why can’t we just skip it?

When I update my blog with my weekend bicycle rides with my Garmin stats, I sometimes state how it felt so good, how it felt like I was that little kid on her Schwinn Varsity 10-speed bike riding along country roads in New Jersey. When I leave 24-Hour Fitness Hawaii Kai about 515 a.m. each morning after my 65-minute elliptical session, I feel like I’m 30 years younger. Pretty soon I hope to be out surfing again, and back out on my SUP. I love ocean sports, and love remembering small-kid time on Long Beach Island.

Does exercise keep you young? If it transports you back to those care-free summer days where the biggest worry was whether you missed the Mister Softee truck or who picked the most blueberries, then I think it does. If it helps you shed some pounds and firm up  your muscles, then I think it does. If it provides you with a little more confidence between the sheets, then HELLAS YES!

My mom often remarks that I must be really fit. I evade her passive aggressive inquiry by responding that we never really are as fit as we want to be. And if we were, would we get up the next day, tune up the bicycle and hit the road for 20 or 30 miles?

I just don’t want to ever be found in a house dress, with deep pockets for my iPhone and dark chocolate Dove Promises.