Here’s to grit in my eyes

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Dear Mr. Sandman,

This is a difficult, yet necessary, letter under the circumstances.

While I respect the fact that your position among the Counsel of Legendary Figures (COLF) may be on a lower rung of the power ladder, I must respectfully submit this letter to share my disappointment in your abilities of late.

I have been seemingly self-sufficient when it comes to nodding off after my head has initially hit the pillow.  I know you are busy with others who have difficulty finding that evasive snooze-zone so I have learned to manage that on my own.  What I fail to understand is how you neglect my needs after I have come back into full consciousness and am wide awake at 2:30 in the morning.

sandman

I am a relatively patient person and have been using my time creatively to come up with story lines and blog post ideas while I wait for your arrival, but to no avail.  You have been a repeat offender when it comes to being a no-show and I am beginning to take it a little personally.  I mean, come on man, it’s just a little sprinkling of magical sand for goodness sake.  Surely you can swing by and drop some of that precious powder on my eyes so I can find that whimsical dream world once again after waiting for several hours.

I certainly don’t want this to sound like a threat but, I can only imagine how displeased the COLF would be to find that you have been slacking in your duties and misrepresenting such a prestigious mythical body of great legendary figures.  I’m sure Santa Claus, Cupid and the Tooth Fairy would be slightly easier to deal with but Mother Nature has been a real bitch lately!  (Even Father Time cannot keep up with her shenanigans)

So, for the sake of fairness, I shall refrain from sending a copy of this letter to the COLF in hopes that we can come to an agreement.  I shall eagerly await your attendance the next time I find myself staring at my ceiling in the wee hours.

Come on, Sandy, just a little sprinkle.

With the utmost respect,

Susan

 

 

 

Dancing with the dead

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The aroma of braised beef, compliments of her trip to the local butcher, and potatoes from her garden permeated her nose as the stew continued to boil on the old-fashioned wood stove.  The atmosphere was serene, as it always was here, and the fading sun began to cast shadows across the graveyard.

Cille Choirill

The jagged streaks of light began to play tricks in the looming darkness and she could feel a presence lingering just on the edge of the shadows.  The rolling hills on the other side of the cottage had already been swallowed by the darkness and she knew the night was laying in wait.

The pot continued to simmer as she poured herself a glass of wine.  In her mind, she mulled over the conversations that saturated her ears during her trip into town.  Surely the words she heard were meant to be out of her range but they settled on her like a scratchy, wool blanket and she tried to shrug them off.

“Crazy, she is, living in that place all alone.”

“She must be out of her mind, being so secluded, especially in that place.”

But if they only knew the truth.  She would never be alone, especially after the sun had been absorbed by the horizon and the eyes of the sky looked favorably upon her.   The night was her favorite time.  She took another sip of wine and spooned the beef medley into a bowl.  With her wine in one hand and dinner in the other, she pushed open the screen door and sat on the porch to eat.

The last remnants of the day slowly faded into the black of night and she ate her meal with only the kitchen light tracing her outline from behind.  She had just taken a sip of wine when the first orb appeared.  Its dim light caught her off guard since it appeared so close to her porch.  The spirits were timid, by nature, and they usually stayed closer to their grave markers but this one seemed overly curious.

The others appeared slowly, as if they were performing a show meant only for her.  They moved cautiously at first but, realizing she was the only audience member once again, they began to move with the pattern of the wind.   She could no longer eat.  She felt transported by the energy and left her chair to join them in the yard.

With her arms held high like a child with reckless abandon, she danced with the combination of all the souls who had gone before her.  She felt their very essence as she moved through them like the wind moved through the trees.  She thrived on their energy as they blossomed with hers and the dance continued until the rising of the sun soothed the night into a restful sleep and the blankets of their gravestones once again shielded them from the day.

She would sleep fitfully, waiting until the dance began again.

~~

Written for the Grammar Ghoul Challenge #18 – using the word “stew” and the picture shown above.

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I will love you until…..

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I’ve been thinking about my mom a lot lately.  Her heart was certainly bigger than her chest and she would continually think of little things to do for people just to see them smile.   She would spend weeks leading up to Christmas baking until she could bake no more.  Her house forever had the essence of cookies and squares and the Christmas tins were piled high on her dining room table.

Her favorite day was not Christmas day but the day that she would drive, or later be driven, to all of the places where she would deliver her wares.  The local Hardware store, the post office and the local veterinarians would excitedly open the tins to see their favorite type of cookie and their reaction was the only present she truly wanted.

My mom was the type of person who would learn those little things about you and she would make sure your favorite cookies made their way to you during the holidays.

yellow rose

I was reminded of this wonderful quality when I was rearranging some things in my kitchen.  There in the midst of my jar of utensils was a lone yellow rose.  I had long forgotten the bouquet of flowers my mother had given me for no reason.  Attached to the fragrant arrangement was a simple card that read, “I will love you until the last flower dies”.  I thought it was an odd message until I saw the flower in the middle of the bunch.  It was a lovely yellow rose, but it was artificial.  It would never die.

That was my mom.  And those little nuances that made her who she was are the things I miss the most.  Some days I’m fine, a phrase we are really no longer allowed to use in my family, and some days, like today, the emotion sneaks up on me and I cannot control the flow of tears.

But it is not just the rose that reminds me that she will always be with me.  My mom is somehow still able to pull strings and make wonderful things happen in our lives that we never expected.  And it is these things, the things that only my mom would know, that make the gesture so special and so meaningful.

To say I miss her is a gross understatement and I hope she knows I will be holding that same yellow rose when we finally meet again.

 

 

 

 

 

Who’s hiding behind your walls?

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Today I have contributed a post at Stories That Must Not Die.  It is a brief synopsis of alcoholism and growing up with two parents who were haunted by that very beast.  Click here to read the story.  My post here was prompted by the post at STMND combined with a conversation I had yesterday.

~~

There are moments that sneak up on you and make you realize how much a life growing up with two alcoholic parents has insidiously ingrained itself into your way of being.  My endearing character traits and my flaws are directly related to the life I lived as a teenager and a young adult.  If you read my post, you’ll understand that ours was a very loving home but I grew up much more quickly than I should have and learned, very young, how to build walls around myself.  I created a hard outer shell to keep myself soft and emotional on the inside but tough on the outside.

It was during a very interesting conversation with a male friend yesterday that the subject of dating came up, specifically dating websites and the basic instincts of humans regarding the laws of attraction.  He had taken a rudimentary stab at what qualities I would say I look for in a man and he was off the mark, but he was also guessing from a man’s perspective on what he thinks a woman would want based on the opposite of what a man would want.

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I had all-but forgotten about the primal instincts of men and I am not saying that in a negative way.  In my quest to protect myself and build my walls, I had potentially buried the softer, more feminine side of myself and let the tomboy be the dominant, protective personality.  It was how a teenage mind dealt with a difficult situation and potentially how I have removed myself from the desirable end of the dating pool. That simple awareness was like an awakening.  It is a rare but divine twist of fate that can take an outside force and use it to help you discover an inner truth.

Our conversation really opened my eyes.  I will never try to be someone I am not just to go on a date but perhaps that little girl inside of me is a part of who I really am and I just never gave her a chance.  I built my walls so high that she had no choice but to peer over them and wonder what was on the other side.

Walls are only effective if you know who you are protecting and who the real enemy is and, in this case, I became my own worst enemy.  I may have protected myself from a big part of who I was really meant to be but at least there is still time to find her and give her a chance.

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Removing the obstacles – a lesson in housekeeping

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clutter

I would never describe myself as a minimalist.  I do love some of the comforts I have afforded myself.  But the bits of collected stuff that seemed to have congested my life have been eradicated, tossed, vanquished.

I live in a small home that suits my needs and the needs of my dog.  We have a vast amount of space outside and ample room inside to be quite comfortable.  I have never been one to have rooms just for the sake of having rooms.  Our life is simple, our life is comfortable and our life is manageable.

The largest room in our 600-square-foot home is the kitchen.  This is why I chose this house.  I remember standing on very high snow banks to peer into the windows before I began renting.  As soon as I saw the kitchen, I knew this was meant to be my home.  My kitchen is my haven.  I love to bake and I love to cook.  And even though I am currently cooking for one, creating food is a passion and not just a necessity.  When I finally bought this home from my landlord, my renovation money was easily focused on the kitchen.

Over the years the clutter began to accumulate but, it wasn’t just the physical pieces that had been stashed into the corners, it was the collected bits of memories and regrets that had also been piling up in the invisible spaces in my house.  These piles of intangible things had been standing between me and the life I was willing to move towards.  It took a small dumpster and a great deal of courage to rid myself of the physical and mental obstacles in my life and be able to live free of the clutter that had been threatening to topple over and bury me under its weight.

After a few hundred dollars and several hours of intense labor, I was finally free of the clutter – all of the clutter.  The physical reminders of a life that had failed and the mental reminders of things that were never meant to be were finally gone.  For the first time in a long time, I felt free.  I truly felt that the life I wanted now had a way to find me without having to circumvent all of the barriers I had created.

A little Spring cleaning can go a very long way and it can eventually clear the path that you were meant to follow.

 

 

 

 

The “Dobler” Effect

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“I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that.” ~ Lloyd Dobler

Lloyd Dobler

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I stumbled across a blog a while ago that was singing the praises of the movie “Say Anything”.   This 1989 classic has always been one of my favorite movies.  John Cusack as Lloyd Dobler was one of the most epic male movie roles of my generation.  He was a guy every guy could relate to and most girls wanted to date.

Lloyd isn’t the macho, overly muscled guy oozing with too much bravado and too little sense.  He doesn’t say things just because he thinks you want to hear them.  What he does say is anything that comes into his mind.  Girls watching him on the big screen fell in love with that charming albeit occasionally clumsy quality (see above quote about what he wants to do for a career).  But in his clumsiness, he stole the hearts of many girls, including me.

There are not many movie characters who have story lines written for them without them having some egregious character flaw to make them interesting.  Lloyd Dobler is one of those few who didn’t need the flaws.  What made him interesting was how wonderfully normal he was.   In 1989 we all wanted to find our own Lloyd Dobler.   I’m still looking for mine.

I want that prescription just for the side effects

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I was wasting more precious moments of my life on Facebook when I came across a friend’s status – it read:  “Why do medications always have side effects like ‘stomach bleeding’ and ‘suicidal thoughts’? Why not ‘invisibility’ or ‘spontaneous orgasms’?”  It makes me laugh every time I read it.

I have never been a pill-popper.  Even when I am sick, I will only take pills if my symptoms are at Defcon 2 and I have no alternative.  It seems every commercial for any “wonder drug” spends more time touting the ill-effects of the drug rather than the benefits.

side effects

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It makes me happy that I am not a fan of taking over the counter or prescription medications without serious deliberation.  Unless, of course, the side effects become much more beneficial.  🙂