The portal of wants and wishes

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I love dreaming.  I love waking up in the morning and putting together the pieces of colors and images that have splashed themselves onto the blank canvas in my sleep.  I thrive on spending time over coffee attempting to put together the jigsaw cut-outs and make sense of what they are trying to tell me.   Mornings are a constant source of recollection, collaboration and interpretation.   The maelstrom of the previous day becomes a masterpiece in my dreams that only I can put together the next day to make any sense of it.

Does that ever happen to you?  You spend so many conscious hours with something or someone at the forefront of your brain that they unwittingly seep into your nocturnal hours and wreak havoc in your dreams?  And it may not be the type of havoc that has you waking in a panic, covered in sweat, but the thought of them is left lingering in your mind to chase you around for another day.  It happens to me quite often with a myriad of things I encounter during my day.  It could be work or it could be a person I just can’t seem to shake from my thoughts.  I spend so many minutes of my day thinking about those things that I carry them into my dream world in a back pack that seems to open of its own volition and spill out into the landscape of my REM sleep.

(Image courtesy of Google)

And it is not that I go to bed with these thoughts whirling around in my head.  I have found a way to relax my brain before I drift off into that long-awaited slumber and wipe the stress and experience of the day from my mind.  But no matter what good intentions I have as I let the night pull down the shades of my eyelids, those waking thoughts transform themselves in my nightscape and travel through that mystical door of my dreams.  The invisible portal is opened and a new world of ideas and scenarios creeps into my subconscious.

And sometimes, if I wake early with the dream still lingering in the realm between awake and asleep, I long to get back to the dream.  Cherished moments, although created in another dimension of my reality, seem so real that I can live there again if I could only drift back into sleep.  My wishes wait there for me.  My desire holds firmly in its place to anticipate my safe arrival back through the portal of my dream world.

However, the invasion of my reality into those dreams is anticipated.  On occasion, work and family are now holding the seats in the front row of the performance of my dream to watch as the scene plays out for those final moments of my reanimated sleep.  The panorama that I had so carefully constructed in the previous hours of my dream world becomes interrupted with more genuine actuality than was originally anticipated.  Somehow that carefree abandon is now speckled with a plethora of reality and the dream that I truly wanted to dream about is invaded less by my unconscious and is now dominated by my conscious waking moments.  My dream is now a host to real life.

What about you?  Do your dreams take you on an adventure or do your dreams consist more of your reality?

The real reason we should celebrate

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If this past weekend taught me anything, it is that you don’t have to see people everyday to be reassured that they will still spend a moment to think about you.  It was my birthday on Saturday and I was overwhelmed by the number of messages I received from people who I am unable to see on a regular basis or have never even met face to face.  There are still a few people in this world who may look down on social media and digital communication but the numerous birthday wishes I received through those forums meant just as much as the messages I received in person.

I took the time to read each birthday greeting and every word that each person sent meant so much to me.  It is almost effortless to ignore the constant reminders in our hand-held, digitized lives but I have realized during the many years that I, too, have been a slave to the cyber-enhanced face of reality that it takes an infinitesimal amount of time to reach out.  It is the same small fragment of time that it takes to ignore that electronic reminder and, if the recipient is anything like me, a simple string of words can have a profound effect.

At one point during the afternoon, I was overcome by gratitude.  I, admittedly, had been feeling the effects of the long winter and the very distant signs of Spring and was a bit down about the snowy, barren landscape that greeted me on the morning of my birthday.  But each notification, each acoustic announcement of an incoming message, turned that desolate panorama of my morning into a garden painted by Monet.

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 (image credit)

Because of the wonderful blend of the real world and the cyber world, I got to celebrate my birthday with everyone.  I had a glass of wine with the family I work with who has become like my own family.  I was able to hear from friends near and far and I was able to have a great night with good food and lots of laughs with my brother, sister-in-law and my nephews.  What started as a day to celebrate the day I was born turned into a day of celebrating everyone who has joined me along the way.

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.