Switching Things Up…

I’m switching things up today on Tales From the Motherland… I have a brand new, original piece featured on Huffington Post right now. If you are supporter of this blog, and my writing, please stop by HuffPo and show some support. Hit Like, Share, or leave a comment… hell, feel free to do all three! I could use the support of the piece. I am so grateful that the editors continue to publish my work, but it all comes down to stats in the end. So, please take a moment and go check out the new piece: 10 Things To Do Or Know When You’re A Tourist In New York City. I appreciate any and all support, and also understand if you choose not to. Thanks!

Just follow the magic link:

10 Things To Do Or Know When You’re A Tourist In New York City

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Friday Fictioneers: Only This Golden Moment Matters

I have been absent, and missing my Friday Fictioneer friends! However, it has been a very hectic few weeks: traveling to NYC, visiting friends and family on Cape Cod and in Boston and then getting to Israel. It’s VERY hot in Tel Aviv, and we are still waiting for a baby. I reassure my daughter that babies come when they’re good and ready… preparation for all the years when our kids determine so many other things, but she is tired of waiting. Alas. So I saw this beautiful prompt and have grabbed a few minutes to write. Thank goodness the inspiration came instantly.

Friday Fictioneers is a wonderfully eclectic group of writers from all over the world, who write a story, 100 words or less, in response to a weekly prompt. Please visit Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog Addicted to Purple, to learn more. Join us or just enjoy the other stories! As always I welcome honest, constructive feedback is welcome. Please leave a comment.

© G. L. MacMillan

© G. L. MacMillan

Only This Golden Moment Matters

As he swirls the amber liquid in the glass, Gerry’s thoughts wander.

He hasn’t seen his ex-wife and kids in three years. There was a time when that would have mattered.

His daughter is getting married, he heard, but Gerry knows she won’t ask him to walk her down the aisle. His son has joined the marines; he salutes others, not his father. Any love that Mary Alice once felt for him is dead, like their marriage.

It all mattered once. Not now. This golden glass, this buzz, the warm feeling in his legs–– that’s all that matters now.

(99 words)

*dedicated to all of the families who struggle with addiction, alcoholism, and loss. 

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GIPYThrow me a morsel; Help Me Reach My Goals! I’d love to see the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page reach 800 likes in 2015. Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter, where I’m forced to be brief. Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. I love to hear what readers think. Honest, positive or constructive feedback is always welcome. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email, with no spam.  If you see ads on this page, please let me know. They shouldn’t be there.  ©2014  Please note, that all content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, please give proper credit. Plagiarism sucks.

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Peru or Bust

Dawn Quyle Landau:

I am currently in Tel Aviv, Israel, awaiting the birth of my first grandchild. Just three years ago, our family was on the trip of a lifetime, to Peru– including Machu Picchu and the Amazon. While I have plenty to blog about right now, I go thinking about all the changes we’ve been through since that trip, and thought it would be fun to share those posts again. Many of you were not following Tales From the Motherland then, so enjoy; it was a magical few weeks!

Originally posted on TALES FROM THE MOTHERLAND:

Note: There is NO way I could share the details and wonder of our recent trip to Peru in one post. No way. So, I’ll start with the beginning and share the rest over the next few posts. After a full month off, I’m working to find my groove again. Please be patient.

I don’t do re-entry well. I never have. For two and a half weeks as I travelled around Peru, I thought of titles for posts, ways to start them, how I would describe what I was seeing and experiencing. For those two+ weeks my writer’s brain worked out how to express all that I was taking in. Yet now that I’m home I’ve found myself unable to focus, and put thoughts to page. My head has been slow to re-engage in the “real world” of daily life here.  I’m still processing amazing things we saw, amazing things…

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Putting Your Best Foot Forward at BlogHer’15

 

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Note: All feet were photographed with permission. No feet were hurt in the making of this post.

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I’m a shoe girl. Some might even suggest I have a problem… perhaps a small addiction.  I prefer to view it as a deep appreciation for floor-level aesthetics. Admittedly, I’ve been known to meet new friends, based on their shoes. That may seem a tad petty to some, but I would argue that you can tell a lot from shoes; they’ve rarely steered me wrong. I’m not a hater; I don’t judge. I do like some shoes more than others, and I tend to be interested in the people who wear them, but I’ll give any shoes a chance. Let’s be honest here, I’m not alone in my pedal-ardor. (Yes, I did make that up). I know that there are other women who enter Nordstrom’s shoe department with the same glassy, possibly drooling expression. There are plenty of women who spend much more on their shoes and have a much bigger shoe collection than me, and, there are plenty of women who don’t. But in the big picture, I don’t feel any need to apologize for this. To each his own shoes.

Last year I was totally new to the BlogHer experience, a complete BlogHer virgin. I had no idea what I was doing and found a lot of it daunting. My hotel was a few blocks from the Conference Center; I didn’t know anyone; I was a deer in the headlights all weekend– but I had a great time, and left ready to return this year.

This year was a very different experience from BlogHer’14, in San Jose; in so many ways! I came prepared, having downloaded the mobile app, connected with people on-line beforehand, and ready to hit the ground running. I learned last year that shoes are very important–– there’s a lot of walking at the BlogHer conference! This year there were more people, more networking, more choices, and shoes beyond my wildest dreams! In addition to comfort, your shoes say something about you, and the women of BlogHer bring it! It was clear that attendees put some serious thought into their feet. Pedicures in every color, shoes in every shape, size and style!  It only took me about an hour at BlogHer15 to start gawking.

Then… I started taking photos. Some people remembered me from last year: “Oh, you’re the shoe lady!” (Um, not really…) Most I had to start fresh with: Excuse me, can I take a picture of your feet– “My feet?Well, your shoes? This is BlogHer; these ladies are open and curious– willing to play along. Many asked right away if I blog about shoes– they are also a savvy, sassy group. No, not really… but for BlogHer I do, I told them. Others were confused, unsure, or simply unwilling to go along– “My feet look horrible!” (None did). “Oh, I don’t have a pedicure.” (Who cares? Not me!) But most smiled and planted their feet together; a few posed for good measure–– again, sassy! Groups of women moved in together and shared their collective foot portraits. The few men I asked, were amused, but game. A New York security guard was stoopified: “Uh, you wanna take a picture of my shoes? Like these shoes? There’s nothin’ special about them, but sure.” I gave him my card, but something tells me he won’t be trolling the internet for the shot of his feet!

Admittedly, I had a much better time at BlogHer15– for several reasons beyond shoes:

  • I wasn’t new, and so I wasn’t as overwhelmed. I had a game plan and it worked well for me. A little planning goes a long way at BlogHer Conferences.
  • I was honored and really thrilled to receive a Voices of the Year award from She Knows Media and BlogHer. It’s a gorgeous trophy, and the VOTY’15 awards (find them all here) were really diverse and interesting this year! Loved the Always’ Like a Girl Campaign (it made me cray) and Sport­ England’s Girls Can ad (lit a fire in me!), and the First Moon video had us in stitches! It was a fabulous VOTY ceremony, all around, but made even better when I finally met and sat with Katrina Ann Willis of Table for Six– I’ve followed her blog for ages, and we were looking forward to finally meeting in person. Sitting next to her and Julie Tarney of My Son Wears Heels (who can rock a pair of heels almost as well as her son), was butter cream icing on the cake!
This is a sweet prize to take home!

This is a sweet prize to take home!

*I might have been a wee bit disappointed when we went out to the main hall and my piece On My Father’s Birthday, A Letter To The Man Who Killed Him, was not mounted on one of the sleek boards that so many other award-winning posts were on. My face might have fallen, as I searched each board with Kelly and other VOTY honorees… I might have wiped away a single, dejected tear… My piece was on a small screen that flashed through the posts way too fast for anyone to read… Ok, maybe I was very disappointed, and maybe I sound like a big ungrateful baby, but just bein’ real here. Ultimately, the trophy went a long way in fixing that brief moment of silent temper tantrum.

 

And even more reasons:

  • I was smart about my shoes and didn’t get any blisters. Praise.
  • I danced like a maniac for hours at the #McDBlogHer closing party, and had the best time with the kool folks from WordPress. Those kids can dance! *I am old enough to have been every one of their parents, so I can say “kids.”
  • I was interviewed by Danielle Barnett Herzog of Martinis and Minivans, for a new TV show Moms Everyday– And even if my interview goes nowhere, because I’m an older mom and I think they were more interested in the young thangs, it was fun and cool to do it.
  • This is key: I had friends coming this time. Emily from The Waiting and Kelly from Are You Finished Yet kept me company all weekend, and added extra fun. Emily and I met in person last year , but it was great to finally meet Kelly as well. It was awesome to see Julie Christine of Fabulous Blogging/Fabulous Life? (and trust me, she can really help you blog fabulously!) and meet the hot husband and gorgeous baby she’s had us drooling about. Alex was a delight, and little man is the yummiest little guy every! Didn’t get to see much of them (because they’re wild and crazy ladies) but brushed shoulders with Aussa at Hacker, Ninja, Hooker, Spy and fellow VOTY, the gorgeous Hedia of Gunmetal Geisha.
  • I made lots of wonderful new connections and had a blast with: Julie at My Son Wears Heels; Lucy at My Life as Lucille; Chrissy at Quirky Chrissy; Molly of A Mother Life; my buddy Tonya at Women Do Everything (and she’s expanding, to do everything!) And drum roll please… I was totally surprised and psyched (read, screamed like a banshee) to meet Samara of Buick in the Land of Lexus… and yes, she’s as interesting, sexy and dynamic as you imagined–and hella nice person as well.
  • These are all ladies I’ve shared with on line for years– or just got to know, but either way, it was epic to hang out and add 3 dimension to my online crushes and fantasies.
I was excited to finally meet Katrina Ann Willis at BlogHer'15

I was excited to finally meet Katrina Ann Willis at BlogHer’15

I’ve read posts from others who think BlogHer sucks, or who feel like it’s all hype, but for me–– in my 2nd year, it only got better. I learned a lot at the sessions; I enjoyed the opportunities to meet and connect with other bloggers; I had a blast in NYC, and I had fun with new and old friends alike. I may always feel a little bit out of the loop; that’s my baggage, but overall, I found BlogHer15 inclusive and inspiring.

And, again… there’s the shoes. Last year I was shyer; I wasn’t sure how to approach people. I didn’t give out my card to every person I met or every person whose feet I photographed. Some of those people found my post anyway, and some of them found me this year: “Hey! You photographed my feet last year, but I couldn’t find the post! Can I have a card?” (Here’s the post from last year, find your ’14 feet) This year, I handed them my card and told folks to check back in a few days; so here it is: This post is a “share the wealth” post. It’s as sisterhood of BlogHer’15 shoes thing. Find your feet in the post and leave a link back to your blog in the comments. Which feet are yours? Share a few words: tell us about your blog if you want, how you felt about BlogHer’15, or something about your feet. Those feet got you to the conference and they probably left tired and sore–– give them some recognition! And thanks to each of you for playing along and letting me take a snapshot of your tootsies!

An epic dance off with the kool kats from WordPress, me, Kelly and Emily

An epic dance off with the kool kats from WordPress, me, Kelly and Emily

Final note: this post would have been up days ago, but sometimes shit happens. After hours of typing, loading photos, adding links, editing (yes, this was cut down), the wifi at the crappy quaint Cape Cod hotel I’m staying at, crashed… and at 2:15am, I lost this entire post (because I thought I’d hit save draft, but hadn’t) and had to start all over. Labor of love, folks. LABOR of love!

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GIPYThrow me a morsel; Help Me Reach My Goals! I’d love to see the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page reach 800 likes in 2015. Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter, where I’m forced to be brief. Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. I love to hear what readers think. Honest, positive or constructive feedback is always welcome. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email, with no spam.  If you see ads on this page, please let me know. They shouldn’t be there.  ©2014  Please note, that all content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, please give proper credit. Plagiarism sucks.

 

 

 

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Friday Fictioneers: On The Day You Were Born

This Tuesday I will fly to New York City and accept an award from BlogHer as a Voices of the Year, 2015. I’ll get to meet lots of other bloggers and enjoy a few days in a great city. From there I’ll spend a few days with family and friends, and a few ghosts. And then, then…. the icing on the sweetest cake possible: I fly to Israel to become a grammy. My little girl will have her first baby, and I can think of little else. When I saw this photo, I knew just where I’d go. As always, honest, constructive feedback is welcome.

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction challenge, which draws in writers from all over the world. Visit Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog Addicted to Purple to join in or read more stories.

© Stephen Baum

© Stephen Baum

On The Day You Were Born

As I wipe her forehead, and stroke her sweaty hair, I remember the moment I first held my daughter. Her mop of dark hair was shocking, and gorgeous; her tiny face– the most amazing thing I’d ever seen.

I watch my baby breathe and push, breathe and push, preparing to meet her own child, and my heart swells and bursts–– sending glittery joy all around.

Sweet baby: come toward the light. Join this circle of love. There’s a spot right here in the middle, with your name on it. I can’t wait to hold you close. Come toward the light.

(100 words)

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GIPYHelp Me Reach My Goals! I’d love to see the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page reach 800 likes in 2015. Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter, where I’m forced to be brief. Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. I love to hear what readers think. Honest, positive or constructive feedback is always welcome. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email, with no spam.  If you see ads on this page, please let me know. They shouldn’t be there.  ©2014  Please note, that all content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, please give proper credit. Plagiarism sucks.

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Marriage On Wheels

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Rapprochement: an establishment or resumption of harmonious relations

Being married for nearly 30 years hasn’t always been smooth. My husband and I met when we were barely twenty-one, and now we’re about to be grandparents! We’ve been through so much together, good and bad, and we’ve worked hard and done what we can to strengthen and improve our relationship. We work at it. We’re very different people: I’m outspoken; he’s more reserved and quiet. I’m creative and emotional; he’s practical and logical. I’m a fast walker and yoga lover; he’s a climber, runner, skier, mountain biker, cyclist and just about anything active and physical… Me, not so much. I’m perfectly happy with a quiet day to write and chill; a day like that drives him crazy.

My husband has asked me to go biking with him for years, and while I’ve given it a try, over and over, it’s never really been my thing. So, when he asked me to try a tandem bike, I wasn’t exactly enthusiastic. I saw it as one more ploy to pull me into cycling. In fact, I may have been a teeny bit passive-aggressive when I agreed to go for a few rides. We borrowed a tandem and something strange happened… I liked it. In fact, I really liked it! Next thing I knew, we were ordering a custom bike and committing to cycling… together.

Because of our height difference, a custom bike was virtually required, but we also thought about future details that might contribute to biking success. We bought a Co-Motion™ bike that includes couplers. These allow us to take the bike apart for traveling. The whole bike fits in 2 special suitcases and can be checked, like any other luggage. My husband bought me a Bodyfloat™ seatpost that makes bumps in the road virtually non-existent! Having sampled regular seats and posts, it’s like riding a cushion! This contributed enormously to getting me on board, as seat soreness was my number one complaint.

Tandem bikes have been called divorce cycles, and I can see why. Every time we go for a ride, it’s a bit like a couple’s therapy session- No doubt a “bicycle built for two” is not for everyone. Riding a tandem requires communication, above all else. When you ride a single bike, you steer the bike and pedal and there you go. When you’re on a tandem, if you’re pedaling in front, your partner’s feet are going to spin too. Like marriage, if you don’t communicate tandem cycling doesn’t work.

With tandem cycling, the person riding in front is called the “Captain,” and the person in back is the “Stoker.” Who sits in the front is based on weight and control. You want the person who knows how to stop and control a bike best, to be in control; they should be in the front. But weight is critical. Turning and breaking is initiated from the front. The back is weight to be pulled; the heavier person needs to be in front, to help balance that out. There’s no doubt: being Captain has certain advantages. They can see what’s coming, and they get to decide speed and direction. Ultimately, they’re in control.

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My husband is the Captain. I don’t love the title, but I’m stoked to be a Stoker. I’m not a good backseat driver, but I’m learning to surrender and let him drive. My husband is 6’4″ and I’m 5’3″; I can’t see anything in front of me aside from his trim back and his nice butt. By the time I see something it’s passing by. That can be a scary feeling: not knowing what’s coming. When we’re zipping downhill, I sometimes panic a little- it’s kind of like being on the downhill of roller coaster, in the dark. He spends hours every week on a bike; he’s at ease on a bike, and I have to just trust his decision-making and his control of the bike. That isn’t always easy. However, I went into this knowing that he’s the expert. I also accept that I’m nowhere as strong as him, and I have to rely on my husband to pull me along. My feet are clipped in, so I pedal as much as him, but I can’t exert as much power as him. The fact that I have to call him Captain is softened by the fact that he works harder than me. Hands down. And he knows that if he pisses me off, I may not pedal as enthusiastically, as I will when we’re getting along.

I'm Stoked!

I’m Stoked!

The stoker doesn’t have to worry about steering, so there’s lots of opportunity for hands free riding. I’m constantly pulling out my iPhone and snapping pictures (that are often blurry), as we ride. This isn’t doable when we’re pushing up a hill, or moving fast; it’s important to keep things steady, and turning to snap pictures throws off balance a little. One of the things I love best about tandem cycling is that it’s time for us to connect and catch up, while I enjoy beautiful scenery.

We’re literally clipped in together, so we have to deal with whatever comes up; neither of us can just walk off in a huff or go in another room. Riding the bike gives us a chance to discuss things and work through issues. The fact that we have to cooperate on the bike lends itself to cooperating on tough topics. We’ve noticed that we can talk about things that might ruffle feathers normally, when we’re on the bike. We listen better and we’re more likely to see things through to a peaceful solution.

Aside from these connecting factors for my husband and I, tandem cycling is a very social activity. Tandem cyclists often ride in groups; it’s a fun way to talk and get to know people. It’s become something we love to do with friends, generally including a good meal somewhere. This past weekend was the Pacific Northwest tandem rally, and 490 tandem (as well as trio and quad) bikes descended on our little town, along with nearly 1,000 riders! There were organized rides, of varying lengths, each day– organized to highlight the beautiful landscape in our area and bring riders together. People came from all over the country– some in costumes or with themes, families, couples and groups. We met wonderful riders from all over, and we all had fun on our bikes.

(Lots of fun at the 2015 Pacific NW Tandem Rally– we felt under dressed!)

If you had told me a year ago that I’d be asking my husband “want to go for a bike ride,” I would have laughed and rolled my eyes. However, I’ve discovered that tandem cycling is a wonderful way to connect with my husband, get some exercise and see scenery as well as life from a new perspective. Things move at a slower pace and are closer up on a bike– very different from racing by in your car, or sending a text. Life is hectic; as a couple it’s easy for my husband and I to get caught up in everything going on around us, and feel disconnected. On our tandem, we laugh a lot; we’re able to talk about all kinds of things and catch up; we socialize; we get fit together, and we reconnect. It’s marriage counseling on wheels, and I’m a convert!

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GIPYMake me smile; HELP ME REACH MY GOAL:  I’d love to see the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page reach 800 likes in 2015. I’m nearly there! Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter; it’s where I’m forced to be brief.  Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. I love to hear what readers think. Honest, positive or constructive feedback is always welcome. Click Follow

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Friday Fictioneers: Color It a Man’s World

I’m not keeping up with Friday Fictioneers lately; way too much on my plate. But what a fun photo this week, from Jean L. Hays! Check out Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog for more details, then join this highly addictive weekly challenge.

cars-in-sand

© Jean L Hays

Color It a Man’s World

“Darling, come back to the house; take a break!”

“I can’t leave the studio yet; these canvases are nearly done.”

Jemima ran her brush along the horizon, adding bursts of cobalt and cerulean, above a golden field. She stepped back, studying the third landscape– the final in a series her benefactor commissioned.

Her husband John frowned.

“Love, finish tomorrow. You’re running yourself into the ground with this project.”

Mounting bills and pressure from critics ran through her mind as she grabbed a brush.

“Just a little longer, these will buy me respect and entrance to the salon.”

(100 Words)

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GIPYMake me smile; HELP ME REACH MY GOAL:  I’d love to see the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page reach 800 likes in 2015. I’m nearly there! Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter; it’s where I’m forced to be brief.  Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. I love to hear what readers think. Honest, positive or constructive feedback is always welcome. Click Follow

 

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