P is for Planning

P is for Planning

PI am the first to admit, I am horrible at planning. It’s not that I don’t have goals. It’s not that I’m lazy… okay, sometimes it is. I guess it’s not a priority to me. I’m sure those who are reading this who are planners have a hard time understanding that concept.

I don’t remember dates, so if I plan too far ahead, I will absolutely forget. For example, hair appointments. Instead of scheduling my next appointment while I’m still at the salon, I just wait until my hair is unbearable and then call to schedule an appointment… preferably for that day.

Sometimes plans change, so I take a proactive stance and wait to see if an event is really going to happen before I commit to it.

I’m not going to lie. Life would be simpler if I took some time to plan ahead and being open to improving my life, I plan to plan more. One area I will start planning more faithfully is in figuring out ahead of time what my kids need to do for their school work that day. Then I can write it down and they don’t have to keep asking, “What should I do next?” I used to plan a week at a time when I was teaching, and that worked pretty well. I should try it with homeschooling.

Okay, now I plan to finish this so I can go ahead and plan something for the letter Q.

Thanks for stopping by!

L is for Lucky

L is for LuckyL

Luck (noun): a purposeless, unpredictable, and uncontrollable force that shapes events favorably or unfavorably for an individual, group, or cause (source: Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary)

I don’t really believe in “luck” as it is defined above. If I am going to analyze words, I have to say that fortunate would probably be the better word for me to use. But people relate to the word “lucky” and it’s a big part of our vernacular, so I use it.

Fortunate (adjective): receiving some unforeseen or unexpected good or some good not dependent on one’s own efforts  (source: Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary)

Here is just one way I feel “lucky” tonight. I posted on my Facebook wall that I needed suggestions for the letter “L” for my blog post. What followed was a lengthy string of comments by numerous Facebook friends. Some suggestions were serious and some were funny. I had fun laughing and discussing the suggestions… and it felt good.

I couldn’t help but think how I am blessed… fortunate… lucky to have so many people who are willing to take time out of their night to laugh with me and engage in fun dialogue with me (and each other).

No one suggested the word “lucky,” but that’s how I felt when it was all said and done… lucky!

K is for Kish

K is for Kish

In my last post, the one for the letter J, I wrote about the pros and cons of having the surname “Jones.” Jones is my married name. My maiden surname is Kish.

Simple, right? Four letters… rhymes with fish, dish, wish… it’s probably a good name for a Dr. Seuss book.

Look, oh look! Oh look, little fish.
I think I see a Sara Kish!
Why is she bathing in a dish?
Hear the water go swish, swish, swish?
Put some clothes on, Sara Kish!

I didn’t really like growing up with this name. First of all, no one could pronounce it right. For some reason, people often think it’s pronounced the same way as quiche. As far as how to spell it? I’ve seen all sorts of crazy interpretations. Kirsh, Kisch, Kiss (yep, I’ll talk about “kiss” in a moment), Kush

Then there were the kids at school who thought it was funny to call me “Sara Kiss.”

Or they’d say things like, “Can I kish you?”

Fortunately, the teasing was mostly harmless, but I was a little self conscious about it.

Now, before anyone judges me for not liking my family name—the name that my beloved father bestowed on me and my siblings—know that Kish wasn’t even supposed to be my last name. My dad’s mom married five times. Her first husband, and my dad’s birth father, had the last name Beitlich (pronounced Bite-lick). Honestly, I prefer Kish.

“First I’ll bite you then I’ll lick you…”

Yeah, that would have been a fun one at school.

When my dad joined the Navy as a young man, he decided he didn’t want to use his birth father’s last name, so he chose the last name of his favorite stepfather. The story is that he scratched out his real last name on his birth certificate and wrote in “Kish.” I’m not so sure about the truth of that story, but maybe back then you could do things like that to official documents and get away with it.

However it was accomplished, my dad officially became Dale Kish. An English, German, Scandinavian man with a Hungarian-Jewish surname.

Since the name is not common, anyone who knew my family placed me right away.

“Oh, you’re Dale Kish’s daughter, aren’t you?” 

or, “Ohhh… you’re _________ Kish’s little sister…”

or, “I didn’t know you’re ____________ Kish’s big sister!”

Some sibling associations were positive and some weren’t, depending on the sibling.K

I always wished I could have a cool Irish name like O’Something or McAnother, but in the long run, it didn’t matter; I lived with Kish for 24 years, and I survived, so it must not have been too bad.

J is for Jones

J is for Jones

My last name is JJones. Before I was married, my last name was something else. Now, I’m not going to say what… that’s for the next post.

I like the last name of “Jones.” There’s a certain anonymity about it, as there are a gazillion and fifteen other people with that last name. If the newspaper headlines read, “Sara Jones Arrested for Attacking a Sock Monkey,” acquaintances wouldn’t be able to assume it was me. Close friends… well, they might figure it out since that sounds like something I might do.

On the other hand, I want to make a name for myself as a writer. I don’t want to be famous and recognizable when I walk into a restaurant (as if that would ever happen), but I also don’t want crickets to chirp when (if) someone says, “I just finished a book by S. Jones.”  The reply would most likely be, “Jones? Zzzz…”

That is why I use a pen name. Well, part of the reason. The other reason is because I don’t want everyone in the world to know what I write. Some people I know wouldn’t appreciate my dark stories.

For the most part, Jones is a good name. I’ll keep it.

I is for Impetuous

I is for Impetuous

I try to be honest with myself when it comes to my own faults and shortcomings. For the most part, I am an easygoing, patient person, but there have been times when I’ve reacted out of anger, fear, or pain. Usually these incidences occur 1896728_10152770251447776_3104906129677324187_nwhen I’m overly stressed, overly tired, or feeling insecure.

Impetuous means to react hastily and passionately; usually these reactions have negative results. I recently found myself in a situation where my impetuousness ended with losing someone I considered a good friend. It all started over something so stupid. Emotions got involved and I reacted too quickly out of pain and insecurity. And yes, anger.

I honestly thought it would blow over and we would be able to work things out. I wasn’t the only one at fault in this situation, but it doesn’t matter. Reacting emotionally and quickly—being impetuous—cost me a friend. I’ve admitted my blame in the matter and sincerely apologized, but unfortunately the damage was done.

Good has come out of the situation, as it usually does when life’s circumstances are difficult. I won’t share what the “good” was, as it’s rather personal. I’m sorry it happened and wish I could go back and do things differently, but I wouldn’t change the lessons learned and the good that resulted from it.

Can I say I’ll never act impetuously again? No. I cannot promise that… like most people, I’m human. Will the sting of losing a friend make me think twice before I react out of fear, pain, or anger next time I’m in a similar situation? I think so. I hope so.

H is for Huckleberry Haiku

H is for Huckleberry Haiku

Photo courtesy of my aunt & uncle who live in Spokane. They sent this to me last summer to torment me.
Photo courtesy of my aunt & uncle who live in Spokane. They sent this to me last summer to torment me.

For the letter H last year, my post was called “H is for Horizon Haiku.” I figured I’d do another haiku, but
I’d switch the object of the little poem to my favorite berries. I love huckleberries, but sadly, I live in an area where they do not grow.

Huckleberry Haiku

The taste of summer
bursting out from shades of blue
lingers on my lips






G is for Garnet Ghost Town

I’m a few days behind on the A-Z Challenge. I spent the weekend in Vegas and well… here I am again!

G is for Garnet Ghost Town

I was skimming through my Facebook account this evening, wasting time, when I saw this post from The Missoulian paper based out of Missoula, Montana.

Garnet Ghost Town Seeks Volunteer Resident

Photo Credit Bob Wick/BLM

People who know me in real life, know that I am crazy about Montana. It’s the first place I’d move if given the chance to relocate. I look at the photograph to the right and I see paradise. Hopefully you’ll read the article since I went through all the effort of making the link to it (click the photo), but if you’re like me and would rather have the condensed version of most newspaper articles, here’s the summary with a little added background:

Garnet was established in the mid-1860s, when gold and silver was discovered in this little valley, forty miles east of Missoula. At its peak, there were about 1,000 people in the valley and it was a thriving boom town. By 1905 only 150 people remained. In 1912, many of the miners had moved on and fire destroyed most of the town’s buildings. It was revived slightly during the Great Depression but was deserted soon after.

Now it is a preserved historical site and managed by the Bureau of Land Management. During August and September, the site opens up to tourists and school groups. The ghosts of the Garnet Ghost Town aren’t very reliable, I guess, because the BLM is looking for a volunteer to stay on site, guide tourists, sell souvenirs, and do some light maintenance when required.

A cabin is provided, but there is no electricity, wi-fi, or running water. The cabin is equipped with a propane stove and refrigerator and the position comes with a small food stipend.

What do you think? Would you do it?

F is for Fear

FF is for Fear

For the most part, I am a brave person; I always have been. Everyone is afraid of something, though, and I am no exception. For example:

  • I used to trail run alone and then one of our local girls made national news when she was assaulted and killed while running the same trails I ran. I now fear being alone where there are places for people to hide and potentially hurt me.
  • I’m not afraid of heights… unless my kids are with me. The thought of one of them getting too close to the edge of a ledge, ridge, or cliff makes me panic.
  • I never used to be afraid to die… until I had kids. Now the thought of leaving them for any reason horrifies me.

Healthy Fears

Some fear is healthy. Fear keeps us from doing stupid things… like playing with rattlesnakes, breeding black widows in the closet, and using port-o-potties.

Irrational Fears

Some fear is irrational. My irrational fears are:

  • Storm drains. You know, the kind along the curb? I go out of my way to avoid stepping over those. When I have to, I break out in a cold sweat, my heart rate increases, and I can hardly breathe. Why? I don’t know.
  • Dirty restrooms. And yes, port-o-potties are included in this category. I literally have nightmares about having to use dirty restrooms.
  • Clowns. Okay, maybe this isn’t an irrational fear. Unless you’re a clown, of course.
  • Dolls. I hate them; I know they hate me too and will kill me when they get the chance.

Facing Fears

I’m a firm believer that some fears need to be faced head on. It’s hard to beat the feeling of overcoming fears—it’s exhilarating! Sometimes it’s best to expose yourself to your fear just to show that there was no reason to be afraid. It’s very empowering. Does that mean I’m going to jump into a storm drain that is filled with clown-dolls and requires that I use a port-o-potty to hide from said clown-dolls when they chase me with their sharp teeth and bloody claws? Oh, heck no! What it does mean is that when I fall, I get back up and try again. It means when I want to do something, I try to not let fear hold me back… like writing, snorkeling, and mountain biking.

Fear. We all fear something. Fear can protect. It can hold us back. Some fears are silly to other people. Some are shared. Sometimes facing them can reap invaluable rewards.

What are some of your fears?

D is for Dress

DD is for Dress

I don’t wear dresses often, so when I do, I remember why I got the dress and where I wore it. I have a dress in my closet that will always have meaning for me.

Less than a year ago, I had to go to the mall to find a dress for my dad’s memorial service. I was grieving and recovering from a hysterectomy; all I wanted to do was find a dress and get home. I remember the pain I was in, both physically and emotionally, that day.

I walked into Nordstrom and saw “the dress” right away. I didn’t buy it when I saw it because I wanted to see what else was available. I was emotionally numb and moving slowly as I went from store to store, looking for something that would work for the service. It had to be comfortable and loose so that it didn’t put pressure on my surgery site. After a couple hours of searching, I ended up going back to Nordstrom and getting the dress that caught my eye as soon as I started my dress-hunting venture.

I wore it the day of my dad’s service; it was what I wore when I got up in front of a bunch of people I didn’t know and bawled as I shared my memories of my dad and what he meant to me.

Yesterday, I wore the dress again. This time I wore it to a “celebration of life” get-together for my Aunt Sheila, who passed away last month. I didn’t have the honor of knowing my aunt for very long. I only recently reconnected with my mom’s side of the family. I immediately felt accepted by her. I’m not used to that and it meant a lot to me.

Now, when I look at the dress hanging in my closet, I will remember my dad. I will remember my aunt. I will be reminded how fleeting life is and to prioritize what matters.