When the world seems silent, the heart has a voice.

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The whisper of real love

tickled my ears so long ago

and feels like a long forgotten conversation.

Those words,

those sweet nothings,

sadly,

no longer seem to be in my vocabulary.

But the book of love

still has music in it and

every so often I open that book.

Those notes play melodies on my heart-strings.

The familiar phrases of love,

the notes on the scales of romance,

still exist

and play wistfully in my memory.

Perhaps I am meant to hear that music again.

Just maybe the songs I hear from that book

are heard by someone else

and we haven’t yet had a chance to listen to them together.

For just a moment,

 I want to close my eyes and really hear the music.

I want the Book of Love

to play a song for me just one more time

and have it be the only song I truly hear

for the rest of my life.

I followed the crumbs back home

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“A party without cake is just a meeting.” ~  Julia Child

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 I’m not sure how old I was or what passing birthday had just eclipsed my dream of being a child forever but I remember the birthday cake my mom had made.  It was a chocolate cake with homemade buttercream frosting and a bittersweet chocolate ganache.  It was decadent.  It was made with love.  And to a child still in single digits, it was crack cocaine.

Every special occasion I demanded politely requested that my mother painstakingly recreate that masterpiece.  Throughout my childhood, I never deviated from that cake.  It is one of the favorite memories I have of my mother.  I cannot recall whose smile was more prominent when the cake was delivered to the table, hers or mine, but I do know that cake was our moment to share.

Over the years, I lost track of the myriad number of times that cake graced our dining room table but I never lost my love of that cake.  I saw how much effort my mom put into that special treat and, perhaps through osmosis, I garnered the same conviction that cake made people happy.

After being absent for some time, due to unforeseen construction on the path of my life, I am back on the road that leads straight to my oven and my decorating tools.  I missed cakes.  I missed the escape from reality that decorating affords me and I missed the joy in people’s eyes when they had seen what I created for their special occasion.

The piping bags are ready, the cupboards are stocked and the fondant is ready to roll.   Let them eat cake!

Life lessons from a stuffed tiger

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For as much as I voraciously read the written word via novels and short stories,  the true expression of human (and stuffed tiger) nature can be authentically represented in the cartoon series Calvin and Hobbes.  In a few well-constructed lines of  illustration, a precocious 5-year old child with the sharp wit and mental fortitude of an adult can sum up what I strive to achieve in five or more paragraphs of sheer pontificating.

It’s okay to share your feelings.

It’s okay to have an opinion and stand behind it.

It’s okay to dance like nobody is watching.

It’s okay to stretch the boundaries of creativity and individuality to be your authentic self.

And most importantly, it is imperative that you take the time to enjoy your life.

The true mark of who we are as a person is determined by how much we put our full faith into everything that makes us who we are.  Not everyone will understand every nuance of our being but the cherished few who take the time to realize what makes us special carve that deep place into the recesses of our hearts and solidify their presence in our existence. We spend so much time worrying about what other people think, wasting those precious hours and minutes being concerned about other people’s opinions, instead of relying on our own opinion.

With a few shaded lines and some more-than-realistic dialogue,  the rich imagination of Bill Watterson seeped into the hearts and minds of many fans, leaving with them the curiosity and the keen sense of imagination that Calvin represents.  Inside all of us still lurks the wonder of our inner child, the honest feelings we are afraid to show and the sincere desire to be exactly who we are without putting up a false front.

Perhaps we need to create a new story line for ourselves.   Cartoons have the ability to be re-drawn until they portray the feeling of the illustrator.   Why can we not follow that same logic and erase the lines of our first drafts to accurately portray the character we truly want to be, illustrate our lives as we see them?

Be your own Calvin.  Don’t let your imagination be diminished by other’s realities.  Be true to yourself, stand by your opinions and embrace the relationships that you find important, even if others think that they are frivolous.  Hobbes is only a stuffed tiger to those who do not believe in the possibility of anything beyond their reality.

(All image credits to Bill Watterson)

Or sometimes more than a thousand words

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When I first saw it, I was captivated by it.  A simple photo of a friend on Facebook grabbed and held my attention but it was no ordinary photograph.  I had hoped there was more of an explanation to it than mere Photoshop and I was thrilled to hear her tell the story behind the picture.

She had agreed to have her portrait done by her friend who is fascinated by the origin of photography.  He posed her and painstakingly went through the process that photographers went through back in the late 1800’s.  His camera was an antique with the accordion-style lens and the black hood that covered the head of the photographer.

He waited until the precise moment that he thought he had captured her true essence and he let his finger plunge the button that would acquire every detail of her spirit.  The result of his effort was remarkable.  He printed her face on tin to truly encapsulate the original process of printing a photograph.

I stared at her photo for a long time.  There was so much more to it than just a picture of her face.  There was a story in her eyes.  His diligent process captured much more than just who she is now.  This snapshot seemed to hold the story of generations, perhaps lifetimes of moments that led up to her being in his studio and posing for this shot.

It wasn’t a selfie or a picture as a second thought.  There weren’t 100 takes in a minute because that is all we have time for nowadays.  He paused, he let the camera do what it was meant to do and he took a thousand stories, captured them in one single photo and printed them on a piece of tin.

erin

Look at the artwork in this photo and hopefully you can now understand why I was so drawn to my friend’s picture.  Without the use of any computer tricks, this photograph projects so much more than just a face on a piece of paper or a computer screen.  This picture has depth, emotion and a lifetime of moments that led to her presence in our present reality.

If I ever have the chance to do this, I will jump at it.  I would love to see what kind of story my face has to tell and what ghosts from my past linger in the background, searching for recognition.

I’ll take 40-something over 20-something any day

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Arthritic pains, hot flashes, stress and wrinkles withstanding, I would not relive my twenties if you paid me.  That creased, hot-to-the-touch skin cloaks me in a sense of comfort that I was never afforded two decades ago.  In those days, I wore a skin that never felt comfortable.  That twenty year old skin never seemed to feel like it fit on the body that was attached to my brain.

Perhaps these wrinkles are the road map of the journey that led me to where I am now.  Each crevasse that is etched into my skin marks a milestone that ensured, not only a lesson learned but, a memory was created.  Like every foolish twenty something, I thought I was invincible.  I didn’t necessarily feel like the world owed me anything but I felt like it was my oyster and it was my destiny to find that pearl.

It took me that span of twenty years to realize that I am the pearl in the oyster of my reality.  The epic search for the jewel encased in a hard shell was actually the search for my true self.  The walls that I had created in my teens and twenties became the shell of my oyster and the pearl was me.  Slowly, over these many years, that pearl has come to represent the confidence I now have in myself in every facet of my life.

Spending time chiseling away at the outer shell of my oyster has allowed me to gradually peer into the real meat of my reality and open the doors of that tomb that was my shell.  I no longer feel the same constraints I did in my twenties and if some remnants of those constraints still remain, I don’t care.  It is only a matter of time before the sand on the beach of my reality wears away the residue of that shell that still threatens to inter my world.

In my forties the world has become my oyster, once again, but in a completely different way.  I know who I am and I finally can admit to what I want.  My obstacle now is not the boundaries of my shell but the only the boundaries of my courage and my imagination.

It could be really great…..or go completely pear-shaped!

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spare time

Spare time is defined by thefreedictionary.com as “time available for hobbies and other activities you enjoy”.  I had to read that to refresh my memory as to its true meaning since I have not been able to really enjoy any for quite some time.

When you work in the hostility hospitality industry, time of the spare variety is few and far between.  Those waning hours of consciousness after working a twelve-hour day consist of having a libation of your choice and trying to keep your eyes open for longer than an hour after your body pours itself onto the couch.  It is difficult to enjoy an artistic hobby from behind partially closed eyelids.

But all that could change.  The summer staff are arriving, one by one, and my weekly schedule is set.  No more twelve-hour days are in my future, at least that is my conviction at this point, and this fleeting “spare time” could become more of a realistic part of my day.

The weekly calendar begins tomorrow.  The first of many crazy Saturday check ins will come and go and the weeks in between should be routine, in a perfect world.  Life, as I used to know it, should allow me a little more freedom to walk my dog, read the words of fellow bloggers, read a book or just simply enjoy the ever-elusive unoccupied moments of my life.  If all goes well, I will have moments of greatness spent doing exactly what I want to do.

To quote Marthe Troly-Curtin, “Time  you enjoy wasting, is not wasted time”.  (image credit)