Monday, March 05, 2012


This week's challenge: Between 33 and 333 words from (and including) the third definition of the word:
1: generally used, applied, or accepted
2: vernacular

This was big -- her first client lunch back. The first time she had entertained out-of-town business associates since returning to the workforce after two years off with Rosemary.

She had done her homework. This restaurant, Altus, had received raves from Wine Spectator and Fodor’s, so if her guests Googled it, they would see that she had brought them to one of Chicago’s finest.  When she made the reservation she specifically requested a table with a view so her clients could watch the boats glide along Lake Michigan.

And, oh, the care that had gone into choosing today’s outfit! After considering everything in her closet, and in her best friend’s closet, she slipped into her black and beige linen sweater dress, topped with a (borrowed) textured beige jacket. Thank God her reliable black kitten heels still looked just right. The overall effect was understated quality, as though she dressed like this, lunched out like this, all the time.

She appeared poised and sounded confident. Like she belonged at that table, in this restaurant, with these people. So why was it that as she savored the Lobster Portuguese and sipped a 2006 California Chardonnay, she really wished she was having Spaghetti-o’s and apple juice with Rosie? It made her smile to think of the sturdy plastic play table where they lunched together at home. The bright purple, yellow and green would have looked vulgar in the refined atmosphere of Altus, but it was the perfect complement to the Dora the Explorer décor of their family room.



  1. This brings you into a really sweet mindset. The juxapositoned of refinement versus comonality is really well done.

    greta job with the prompt. Thanks for giving me an idea.

  2. I have a feeling this is exactly how I am going to feel when I go back full time. The last few lines made me tear up. Your attention to detail was perfect!

  3. Very lovely. You do such a lovely job of capturing a parent's emotion. And, which, really, is the more vulgar? The restaurant or the kitchen? Sorry, I'm in my contrary mood today. Think I'll have some Spaghetti-o's.

  4. Yes! This exactly how it is when you re-enter the rat race. Wonderfully written.

  5. I only existed in the rat race for very short periods of time. The older I get, the more I'm likely to be too vulgar for the surrounds. It helps that I have no plans to go back!

    But when I did take clients for lunch, I have to admit, it was perfect for that time in my life. I enjoyed the opportunity to experience it immensely.

    I think this is a lovely piece.

  6. That's a perfect tribute to the conflict so many working mothers -- even the ones who truly love their jobs and would be wretched without them -- feel.

  7. Thanks for linking up to Trifecta this week. Someone else already noted your attention to detail, but it really was nicely carried out. I love the uncertainty and the borrowing--it all feels so relatable. I wasn't sure where you were going with it--what the crisis would be--and then there it was. Dora. :-) This is really nice. Hope to see you back on the weekend.

  8. Really like the way you tied it back to her home life at the start and finish.
    Fun read!

  9. What can I add? Love this - really gets down to what life is all about for many working moms. Thanks

  10. I love this, I can so feel her mixed emotions... Proud of herself to return to a career she rocks, yet yearning for those special moments that had become mundane after a while. Beautiful portrayal of a mother's life!


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