The birthday present that keeps giving

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The first phone call today won’t be my mom or my dad calling to wish me a happy birthday but somehow I know theirs will be the first wishes of the day.  That is how it always was and how it shall remain.  And the first face I shall see when I wake up is the same face (or close to the same face) it has been since I was a child.

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My mom made this Winnie The Pooh for my first birthday in 1970 .  Since then he has helped celebrate my successes, been suffocated in my hugs, saturated in my tears and dragged through more drama than a bear should have to face.  But his allegiance to our friendship remains just as strong now as it was then.

Birthday celebrations would not be the same without Winnie.  It may be a childish tradition but that bear represents a great deal of love and a longing to hold on to the memories that mean so much.  He has seen his share of joy and tragedy.  He has undergone facial reconstruction and some botched plastic surgery (thanks to an over-excitable Labrador Retriever that belonged to a roommate) but he never fails to hang in there to share year after year with me. He and I have weathered many successes and many ominous periods together but he still remains the same source of comfort he has always been.

I can’t imagine a birthday celebration without him.  And now that my mom is gone, Winnie is the strongest connection to her that I can still hold in my hands.  His abiding presence in my life not only allows me to look to the future but keeps me rooted in my past.

Happy birthday Winnie.  May we be together, sharing our day, for many years to come.

 

 

 

Allegory of Madness – fiction

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Botticelli-primavera

The longer he stared at the painting, the more his grip on reality began to fragment.  His work had begun so innocently but, now that he had become so captivated by this painting, he knew his collection was far from complete.

He finished his lunch and made his way out of the museum.  Every day he spent 45 minutes, vaguely noticing that he was eating because he was so moved by Botticelli’s depiction of these women.  He was hypnotized by the way they seemed to be suspended in time.  He wanted that for his masterpiece.  He wanted to capture the very essence of life standing still as the famous painter had been able to achieve on his canvas.

The day dragged on and his thoughts turned to his work in progress.  If he put his artwork into perspective, it was a little over half-finished.  He knew he had a great deal of work to do before he could compare himself to the master.

As the office day came to a close, he gathered his artist tools and ventured out into the waning daylight to get inspired.  His black van wound through the streets and he steered towards the park.  He saw her from a distance.  Her blonde hair danced in the breeze and he was mesmerized.  Her had found her.  He had found his Flora.

He pulled up under an overhang of tree branches and, after a great deal of effort on his part, coaxed her over to the van.  He could see she was nervous and he enjoyed the ruse more than the actual abduction.  He had told her how much he wanted to capture her vitality on his canvas and she was duly flattered.  She didn’t see the syringe until it had been plunged into her upper arm.

When he arrived home, he flung her over his shoulder in a fireman’s carry and took her to the basement to meet the others.  The three Graces huddled in the corner, chained together, while the man who would portray Zephyrus lay unmoving in the corner.  Flora had not yet regained consciousness and he placed her gently on the mattress in the far corner, making sure to bind her wrists and ankles and chain her to the wall.

He was so close.  He only needed Spring and Venus to complete the picture.  He, of course, would play Mercury and, when all of the pieces were found, he would recreate Botticelli’s masterpiece in a living, human tableau.  He was convinced he would be able to display his masterpiece beside the original painting in the museum.

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Written for the Grammar Ghoul Challenge to use this visual prompt by Botticelli and the verb form of the word “fragment”.

 

 

Cooking for one doesn’t have to mean Kraft Dinner

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I am the only living creature in my home who consumes “people food”.  Callaway likes to protest as often as possible which results in some fibrous vegetables going into her mouth and subsequently my ruing that decision once the foul odor of processed cucumber and lettuce assaults my senses.

Living alone has its challenges but cooking for one is not even on the list.  I love to, not just cook but, create in the kitchen.  Just because I am only cooking for myself does not mean I take the easy route and buy horribly processed pre-packaged easy to serve meals.  I opt for the more labor intensive, home-cooked, real food.

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This meal took 30 minutes to prepare and was delicious.  Fresh beef, a portion of a bag of small potatoes and an onion created this tasty home-cooked meal fit for one.  It took one pan and two small pots, one for mashed potatoes one for fried, dusted onions.  The preparation was easy, the cooking process was simple and the taste was phenomenal.  The result was so much better than a store-bought meal.

Cooking for one doesn’t have to be intimidating but it does take some practice.   There are a plethora of options that are easy to prepare, that are healthy and that make great leftovers for lunch.  You can even make a full recipe and freeze it for future meals but I spoil myself most of the time and buy fresh ingredients each day.  I find I spend less money doing that than I do buying in bulk and freezing food that I may forget about and never eat.  And fresh is always the best.

What is your favorite meal when you are cooking for one?

 

 

Yes Charlie Brown, happiness really is a warm blanket

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Our friends are like blankets.   They can be an endless string of material woven together with such strength that they completely envelope us or they can be an array of tattered old pieces of what once was a blanket, holding desperately to the strength they once had but unable to fully cover us when we really need it.  Regardless of whether the blanket is old or new, the heart of the fiber is still created from the same cloth and still retains the ability to protect a portion, if not all, of us.

 

Over time, it is inevitable that some cloth becomes distorted from its original plush appearance, but if you delve into memories of that blanket, you can hold on to the soothing feelings you once got from it and realize that it did everything in its power to keep you warm and protected.  It can evoke a feeling as strong as a childhood sense of urgency to hold on to a security blanket.

blanket

(image credit)

Some blankets are indestructible.   Although time may march over that blanket a thousand times, its resolve to stay in its original shape is overwhelming.  It is always consoling when you need to seek comfort, it is never in a place you cannot find it and it will always be big enough to cover all of you.  On very rare occasions, a blanket can be unintentionally neglected but when you rediscover that unique blend of interlaced textiles, you cherish the true strength of those fabrics and know they will never unravel.  Once you wrap yourself in that blanket again it is like coming home but after never really having been away.

 

I am thankful for all of my blankets – the old, the new and the recently rediscovered.  Every fiber of material that makes up those blankets has offered me comfort at some point in my life and I hope my blanket has done the same for them.  I can always take solace in the fact that the material they are made of is genuine and it is readily available whenever I need to feel soothed on those stormy nights.

When there is nothing left to do but laugh like an idiot

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There are a very rare number of glimpses into a perfect juncture in time.  Those precious gifts are brought at unsuspecting moments but, when the mood catches you at the right time, laughter becomes unstoppable to the point that tears begin to roll down your cheeks,  your ribs ache and your stomach muscles become constricted.

I had one of those moments last night.  I was watching a show where an actor was doing an impression of Christopher Walken – not an easy feat but he did it with such impressive articulation it spurred me to go to YouTube to find more impersonations.

I must preface my evening’s lunacy by announcing my love for old musicals.  My Fair Lady was a favorite to watch with my parents.  It is a treasured memory of a time gone by that will remain with me throughout my life.  When our leading lady is learning proper diction, the phrase “The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain” is uttered continuously to help her ease out of her Cockney accent and pass as a well-bred lady.  So when I stumbled on what I thought was a depiction of Christopher Walken, this gem of humor surfaced and had me watching it over and over until I couldn’t see because I was laughing so hard.

Moments like the one I had are hard to come by.  There are so few times that we allow ourselves the reckless abandon to be able to laugh the way I did.  Life hits us with a barrage of reality and it is so difficult to give ourselves permission to be silly but those moments make it possible for us to deal with the hand that life has dealt.

Today will be a bright day for me because I go into it knowing I still have the capacity to let go, to laugh at something so inane but something that was able to break the constraints of my day-to-day existence.  I let everything else go and, just for a moment, laughter riddled my body with the kind of pain I wish I experienced more often.

Allow yourself that moment.  Give yourself permission to throw every responsibility on the back burner and just enjoy life, even if it’s only for that brief moment. These are the rare glimpses of your life that you will carry with you and the pain you will want to remember.

A grudge at rest should remain at rest

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I know I need to let it go.

It’s not even my grudge to hold on to,

not if I were completely honest.

But that doesn’t seem to stop me

from bearing the weight of its memory.

 I feel rage when the cause presents itself,

over and over,

the glaring reminder pokes the sleeping bear,

sleeping bear

the creature who surrendered in my mind,

but not in my heart.

My anger wants to lash out,

to right what is so wrong,

to make the waning memory remain present,

to rub that reflection in the face of the here and now.

But I need to let go.

What has been done,

will never be undone,

not if I had a thousand wishes

over a thousand lifetimes.

 The higher road beckons,

and I will set my foot on that path of rising above.

But taking that road will not erase the memory,

it will not eradicate the anger,

nor will it quell the yearning for vengeance.

I may not be able

to let this sleeping dog lie,

but I know it is the right thing to do.

Sleep, errant dog,

and let those moments slowly fade.

(image credit)