The good, the bad and the nails on the chalkboard

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As my friend The Hook can attest to, working in the hospitality industry produces great blog fodder.  That, and it provides limitless material for a comprehensive sociological study into human behavior.  My mother used to tell me it takes all kinds to make the world go ’round but I don’t think she knew the extent of all of the “kinds” when she issued that seemingly harmless statement in my teenage years.

When you work in the hotel and resort business, you become accustomed to adjusting to many sorts of personalities.  Some are completely harmonious with your current state of being and some are like the ‘Lee Press-On Nails’ to the serene chalkboard of your life – although they may look beautiful on the outside, there is a spine-chilling quality that is undetectable upon first impression but makes its presence known very quickly.

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After only a brief glimpse of elapsed time following the summer solstice, I have already had the pleasure of experiencing the opposite sides of that personality spectrum.  My heart has been warmed by familiar faces and genuinely caring hugs.  My face has been creased with new wrinkles from so many smiles and so much laughter and the pool of new connections has become much deeper.

But the harsher side of reality has also made its presence known to our unpretentious sanctuary .  It has hidden in a well-packed suitcase and freed itself to roam our pathways.  It has infected the minds of children and made them question things that should not concern a child.  It lurks in the corners and it has the potential to become those aggravating fake nails careening down a piece of porcelain enamel.

Regardless of which side of the spectrum I find myself, I continue to love my job because I love being around people.  It’s in my blood…it’s in my heart….and I can only go into work each day hoping that the good will always outweigh the bad.

 

 

Denial isn’t just a river in Egypt

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I haven’t been writing much lately.  Whether that is a matter of dried wells of creativity or life getting in the way, I have been denying the reality when it comes to my lack of imagination.

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I wish, with every fiber of my being, that I could plunge back into that benevolent ocean of words and ideas and feel buoyant in those familiar waters.  I wish I could ride on the waves of imagery and fantasy and surf on the crest of that elusive swell of inspiration.  But lately the words evade me.  I am a helpless surfer sitting in the middle of a tranquil body of water with no tides to move my motionless board.

I need a storm in my brain to strike and gain some momentum.  I need the winds to tickle the chimes in my stagnant imagination and create a funnel cloud that gathers stories in its fury-filled path.  I need that still ocean to become animated and my lifeless board to carve its way through a sea of new tales.

Or maybe, I just need to write.

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Empty Chairs – 100 Word Song

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chair

Vague memories cling to the fabric,

permanent indentations show in the cushions

of the now empty chairs you once sat in.

As time marches forward I hold tight to the moments created while sitting in those chairs.

Your laughter is embedded in the cloth.

The fiber of your being is woven into the stitching.

The very essence of you lingers in the shadows,

hiding in the nooks and crannies of those chairs.

It will never cease to amaze me how something so inanimate

can breathe such life, can represent so much love.

An empty chair can speak if you listen.

~~

Written for the 100 Word Song Challenge at My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog.  Check it out and add your own.

Beginning a new type of cleanse

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Today is my first day off in twelve days.  I had envisioned being horizontal on my couch for a large portion of the day but an important task that I have continually buried in my brain has burst to the frontal lobe and changed my plans for the day.

Everyone collects things as they go through life.  Eventually you begin to share your life and you welcome another person’s things into your collection.  But sometimes those unions fail, for whatever reason, and after the division of that union some things get left behind.  Today is the day I begin the process of no longer possessing those things.

My entrance way will no longer be a storage locker for junk.  My plastic shed will no longer hide the numerous boxes that have since become apartments for families of rodents.  It’s time to claim my space and make it mine again.

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The bug jacket is ready and the 14 yard waste bin is in my driveway waiting anxiously to be filled and, although the mosquitoes may carry me away before I’m finished, I’m really looking forward to this cleanse!!

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Energy never dies, it just changes…..

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“As long as there is one person on Earth who remembers you, it isn’t over.” ~ Oscar Hammerstein, Carousel

~

I speak aloud to them and their faces later hover in my dreams,

those gone before me.

Perhaps it was their time.

Maybe they were taken before I was ready for them to be gone.

They leave a void on my plane of reality,

a chasm of memories that I jump into during random moments.

I bathe in the forgotten sound of their laughter,

I warm to the memory of their embrace.

But energy never dies.

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They yearn for me to engage them.

They delight in the moments that I recall our past together.

I keep their memory alive with every thought of them,

each recollection of their journey with me.

If I take that moment to remember,

to seek what I saw in them in the physical world,

I give those reflections a new vitality.

When I look into the darkness,

I see beyond the black veil of loss.

I see the light they brought to my life.

The case that once held those beautiful spirits may be gone,

but the mark they left on my soul never leaves me.

They remain in my heart for as long as I allow them.

Each time I look into the stars,

I know they are looking back at me.

Energy never dies.

~

(image credit: totalreikimastery.com)

 

Comfortably caged

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She sits in her cage,

singing because she finds joy,

she finds happiness in her solitude.

There is peace in her time alone.

Alone will never mean lonely,

and song is her companion.

She sings the notes

as they fill her heart.

~~

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Written for the Gargleblaster Challenge:

And so we turn to this week’s ultimate question. There are a million reasons a caged bird might sing, both literally and figuratively. Maya Angelou gave us one in her beloved poem. That leaves at least 999,999 for everyone else to explore. Tell us:

Why does the caged bird sing?

Give us your answer in 42 words, but be creative. Don’t go where we expect you to. Don’t write down the first thing that comes to mind. Think, craft, edit, and craft some more. Give us your very best.

100 Word Song – Passionate kisses

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Passionate kisses,

lingering in your memory,

long after lips reluctantly parted,

long after skin had grazed skin,

long after the hand had caressed your cheek.

Passionate kisses,

leaving subtle images in your mind,

bookmarking the first page of romance in your story,

creating a smile that will give away your wish-filled thoughts,

leaving the rest of the pages open to be written.

Passionate kisses

that were the beginning of a wistful romance.

Kisses that would dapple the remaining chapters

of a grand story of love with their depth of emotion.

Passionate kisses

that would tell a tale like no other.

~~

Written for the 100 Word Song Challenge at My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog.

Making sense of scents

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Growing up, the smell of bacon always made me recall the nights my father insisted we have Liver and Onions for dinner.  My mother would try to mask the smell with bacon to fool us into a false sense of security but we were on to her very early.  It wasn’t until many years later that I learned to associate that smoky smell with far more pleasant and savory tastes.

It made me ponder how a single smell can elicit such powerful memories.  The olfactory bulb switches on at a moment’s notice when a familiar scent touches an odor memory that has been etched into our brain.  Smells are one of the best ways to reconnect with our past.  During the cold January nights when I am forced to stand outside because my dog has yet to learn how to use the toilet, the smell of that bitter, cold winter air takes me back to the ski hills at Alpine in Collingwood.  I’ve lived in Muskoka for most of my life and experienced some extremely biting temperatures but, still, the memory that is brought to life is that of being a kid at a familiar cabin on a busy ski hill.

My mother’s purse, laden with the essence of Spearmint gum, the fragrance of a certain perfume or the whiff of something as simple as a laundry detergent has the power to create such sentimentality.  We are transported back to a glimpse of something from our past that has left such a lasting impression.  It may not even be a conscious memory but something about that lingering scent brings to mind a time that has long since passed.

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I was given a bottle of white wine recently that I haven’t tasted in years.  When I opened the bottle and that first aroma hit my nasal passages I was immediately transported to an apartment that I haven’t seen in decades.  The scent of that Verdicchio took me back and the flood of nostalgia overwhelmed me.

Smells, feelings and memories become so intimately and easily intertwined that a person can be overcome with emotion.  Odoriferous messages flood the senses.  Good or bad, we are ferried to an alternate dimension of our own reality and held as a captive of our experiences. For the past few wedding seasons I was a cake maker.  I loved the artistry that I was able to create but, better than that, I loved the smell of the cake baking.  The aromatic smell of chocolate cake will always be the smell that reminds me of my house.  And though I don’t create those cakes anymore the smell of unscheduled cupcake baking sessions transports me to a happy place.

Of all of the senses that I am blessed with, smell seems to be the front-runner when it comes to reliving a sense of the past.

What smell takes you back in time?

Follow my heartbeat

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There is only one way to go, and that is forward.  Everything else in my earthly path of existence seems to disagree, but I forge ahead, ignoring any warning signs.

Life is a contradiction in terms.

I pick and choose my meanings.

~~ Written for the Gargleblaster #162.

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Which way to go?

Give us your answer in 42 words. Don’t go where we expect you to. Don’t write down the first thing that comes to mind. Think, craft, edit, and craft some more. Give us your very best.

A little music was all it took

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I have been purposely not posting over the last few days because, as I look back, my last few posts encompass the overwhelming, undulating emotions one goes through after a loss.  Although it has been slightly cathartic, it also made me realize I need to snap out of this feeling of wallowing and focus on all of the positive feelings I experience when thinking about my mom.

Last  night was a very healing night for me.  While working on the scrapbook and decorations for  her celebration I began to make a playlist of many of her favorite songs to listen to during the reception after the service.  That music took me on a journey I never anticipated and I got to experience my relationship with my mom all over again.

The road trip of memories lay stretched before me and I hit the gas, negotiating the turns and rolling into my early youth.  Music was always playing in our house and, as I recalled the many nights of games and puzzles as a family, the sounds of the 70′s classics drifted back into my mind.  I could see and smell the old family cottage in my memory as if I had just walked through the door.  The strains of music lifted my spirits and helped me float back to a place I hold so dear.

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This song is just one of many.

I made a brief stop in my young adult life, remembering how I used to sing the songs from Annie ad nauseam and my mom never tired of listening.  I secretly wished I had red, curly hair and freckles and I’m sure my mom knew that about me but the songs, to her, sounded just as sweet coming from a child with brown hair and green eyes.

We grew together through music and, although my mom admittedly had trouble carrying a tune, we shared a love of old musicals.  The clock raced forward and those old musicals would come back, time and time again, to play an important part in our relationship.  After my dad passed, my Christmas Eve was spent with my mom watching The Sound of Music, every year.

Those songs last night, those happy memories hidden within those soundtrack scores, were all I needed to be lifted above the fog that has been weighing so heavily on my heart.  A few well placed notes on a page and suddenly I feel like it’s okay to be happy when I think about her.  I don’t have to be sad all the time, nor would she want me to be, and that is the message she sent to me through song.

I’ll never stop being sad, but those precious moments of being able to smile again are worth every tear I’ve shed.

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