Mitchell Kyd: Word Smith and Tale Weaver

See more of my stories by visiting my WordPress blog at Dead Mouse Diaries.

Eight Reasons to Get Out of Town Before Summer is Over

Posted On: Mar 01, 2024

At last look, much of the summer still sprawls ahead of us taking us
well into September. That means there are plenty of vacation days
ahead. I've had some great staycations in recent years but the idea of
getting out of Dodge for a week while it's hot will always hold some

Let's agree; going anywhere is not quite the same as when you were a
kid. Back then, your only job was to make sure you were in the car.
Now you are the one responsible for executing all those annoying
logistics before you can even get out of the driveway.

Somewhere in the middle were those glorious teenage years when getting
away from home for vacation offered grand possibiities of late night
adventures and summer romance, real or imagined. The reality is that
if we had known then what growing up was really all about, most of us
would have refused to do it. Author Judith Martin offered this
perspective in her writing as etiquette expert Miss Manners: "The
invention of the teenager was a mistake. Once you identify a period of
life in which people get to stay out late but don’t have to pay taxes
— naturally, no one wants to live any other way."

But here we are. Thank goodness vacation dangles a carrot, a chance
for us to put some of our grown-up rules on hold for a week and tone
down the stress of adulting. As kids, we could never have imagined how
gratifying the smallest delights could be. Here are eight vacation
perks that might get overlooked but for which we can be grateful.

1. You can be whoever you want to be on vacation; the people you meet
do not know the you you left behind. I pretended to be a celebrity
once with my family as entourage. That was lots of fun and generated
another story in my collection, one I called:  Lifestyles of the
Middle Class and Fabulous.

2. There is no "to-do" list on the fridge, and sometimes, no fridge.
If that's the case, there is zero likelihood that you'll have any
peucliar odors filling your room from a slab of mystery meat slowly
going south behind all the pickle jars.

3. There is no crammed-full bill drawer, not even a bill basket, in
your vacation fantasyland. I know; I've checked. After you make that
one convenient payment during check-in, you're good for the duration.

4. You get no telemarketing calls. The room phone never rings unless
it's housekeeping with information you really want, such as offering
freshly laundered towels--or advising you to head to the basement due
to an impending tornado.

5. Every breakfast promises a smorgasbord. It is presumed that you
will eat out on vacation -- and often.  Dining-in for breakfast could
mean Cheerios and cheesecake, pulled pork and cole slaw or crab
fritters and asparagus.

6. Nap is an actual agenda item -- with TV on or off.

7. Sex is frequent, long and languorous-- or so it seems based on the sounds coming from the room next door.

8. You can live in your bathing suit for days which means underwear is optional.

Here's to your fabulous vacation! If you've just come back, remember
you  are now that much closer to leaving for the next trip. If there
isn't a getaway on your horizon, you can always pretend. Lie around
without underwear surrounded by fresh towels as you eat leftovers.

10 Reasons to Love a Beach Vacation When You're Over 50

Posted On: Mar 01, 2024

I’m back from my annual trip to the beach. Every summer, five women friends and I escape together to unwind for a weekend at a friend’s beach house. The trip is an amazing three days of catching up, slowing down, and most of all, laughing.

My friend Cathy is a laughter wellness instructor and she told me recently that 10 minutes of laughter has the same benefits as 30 minutes on a rowing machine and that 15 minutes of laughter a day can help you lose four pounds a year. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather laugh than row or diet. I’m happy to report that our one weekend in June covered two months of aerobic workouts and offset all the calories we noshed, savored or imbibed.

A lot of things have changed since our little group formed 12 years ago, the long-term effects of gravity among them. Dolly Parton put it this way in the movie Steel Magnolias: “Time marches on and sooner or later you realize, most of it is marching across your face.”

But as women often do, we’ve learned to celebrate the changes our life journeys bring and welcome the freedom that comes to women of a certain age. It’s a powerful leap forward to learn to care more about what we think of ourselves than we do about the opinions other people hold of us. It’s also great to know that as the years roll by, you learn to lighten up and let go. That means enjoying some perks of a beach vacation you never saw coming in your 20s. Here are just 10 of them. 

#1. The hell with fashion trends. You can finally buy a comfortable swim suit that feels great and has the right coverage no matter how you turn, reach or bend. Love it for the fact that it won’t require constant adjustments and know nothing will ever slide down, ride up or fall out.

#2. Sunbathe with impunity. No one will be looking at you and if they are, it doesn’t matter and you don’t care. 

#3. Nap luxuriously and forget the constant vigils. As you lie down, you won’t give a thought to whether the maple butter blondie your ate last night is going to appear evenly distributed across both thighs. You can relax completely and turn off your radar. When a dozen little voices start chirping “Mommy! Look what I can do!” you don’t need to squint, scan and identify the one calling to you. 

#4. You no longer have to pretend you enjoy cavorting in the broiling sun to play volleyball, fly a kite, toss a football or otherwise expend any energy that might whip up some perspiration. These are all cruel tricks invented by beach guys to show off their pecs or evaluate the jiggle of beach babes. You are past the point of selling anything so you don’t need to advertise

#5. When you say the maid will do something, you mean the actual maid in your hotel room, not some sarcastic euphemism for you as mom or wife.

#6. You can enjoy watching young families sculpting sand tarts and building sand bakeries knowing there won’t be any grit in your britches at the end of the day. You can relive all your happy memories of beach trips with your own kids without having to clean up anything when you get home.

#7. It’s finally okay to make your own shade by wearing a hat, no matter how dopey. 

#8. Your beach accessories are limited to a chair, a book and a towel. You no longer have to drag along a U-Haul filled with sand buckets, shovels, inflatable giraffes and all the items necessary for every kid contingency including Band-Aids, Pampers and a parachute.

#9. It’s expected that you will go bottoms-up when the big wave rolls in so crash with style and roll with it.

#10: When you tell your significant other that you want to feel the earth move while you’re on vacation, he will know you simply want to stand in the surf — and nothing more.

Enjoy your beach vacation. If you’re over 50, flash those senior discount cards. Take full advantage of your status; you’ve earned it.

Who's Writing YOUR Story?

Posted On: Mar 01, 2024

   Who's writing YOUR story? We all love to read and to listen so we can peek inside another's world, but who's writing your story?  Memories fade and knowledge disappears in just two generations if we don't record our experiences as a legacy for others.

   From the smallest and craziest family traditions to the history behind the family heirloom - or family feud! - it all combines to make us who we are.  And more importantly, it  influences who the next generation will become.

   Much of what you read in this space is exactly that - my story.  And if I could magically impart just one lasting thought as you leave this site, it is that your stories are important, too.  Write them down. Share them with others. Revel in the retelling.

   People often reach out to me in frustration because the idea of capturing a story is overwhelming. There are too many details, too many events, too many tests of memory and semantics.  My guidance? It isn't as important to begin at the beginning at it is simply to begin.  In that way it's a lot like  that old joke: How do you eat an elephant? The answer of course is that you do it one bite at a time!

   If you'd like some help in getting started, I'd love to talk with you; leave a comment for contact.  Whether you've never scribbled a line in a crisp new journal or whether you are already visualizing your first book signing, we are connected and I would love to meet you here.

   If your group or organization would like to do a workshop, I can offer you some fresh inspiration on ways to capture your own story for generations to enjoy.  I will  also share  observations on what others are doing - on paper and electronically - to make sure their stories get heard.

   Who's writing your story?  There is no one better equipped to tell it than you!  MK

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