Monthly Archives: November 2013

Vignette For A November Birthday

New Baby Girl

My brother is twelve, I am nine, and my little sister is six.  We are playing a noisy board game at the kitchen table, waiting for our parents to come home with the new baby.  My brother is appalled that it’s just another girl when he so fervently wished for a brother.  I’m happy I’ll no longer be the only middle child, and excited to help look after her.  We don’t know how Ann feels about the situation because she hasn’t said much, but we are about to find out.

We think it’s odd when there’s a loud knocking on the farmhouse door.  If it’s our parents surely they would walk right in, and we aren’t expecting any other visitors.  Ann jumps up and runs to investigate.  We hear the door open and immediately slam shut.  Who was it? Who was there? we ask her.  She plunks herself back down, frowns and folds her arms.  NOBODY, she says.

But the door is opened up again and mom and dad are suddenly there in the hallway in their winter coats, stomping the snow off their boots.  They’ve apparently had second thoughts about the planned surprise grand entrance in which all of us were supposed to let them in with a warm welcome and open arms.  They come into the kitchen and Mom carefully unwraps her big pink bundle so that my brother and I can have our first peek at the new arrival.  Ann is looking quite cross and kicking the table leg.

Why did you say it was nobody? Don’t you want to see the baby? Oh, look, she’s all red and wrinkly and she has lots of black hair!  Come see her, she’s so cute!

Ann still refuses to budge.  THAT BABY IS NOT SITTING AT MY PLACE AT THE TABLE she announces.  I roll my eyes. Her place at the table is beside our dad.  She refuses to sit anywhere else.  I tell her it will be months before the baby is big enough to sit anywhere and wonder why she’s being a brat.

But Dad gives her a big bear hug and tells her she has nothing at all to worry about.  No one but our little Annie gets to sit in that very special place. Her arms unfold and the hint of a smile crosses her face as she relents, and leans in to look at her tiny rival for the very first time.  She tells the baby she’s sorry about the door.

But she will never give in about her place at the table.  Never.  We can all see the firm resolution written all over her stern little face.

All My Fears From A to Z

This image was selected as a picture of the we...
This image was selected as a picture of the week on the Malay Wikipedia for the 29th week, 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fear Factor Daily Prompt:  People are afraid of all kinds of things: spiders, the dark, or being enclosed in small spaces. Tell us about your greatest fear — rational or irrational.

I am a day behind with this, so I guess we can rule out the fear of being late.  There is no one major area of crippling paranoia for me.  Just a lot of minor annoying (but, of course, completely rational) phobias which I have decided to organize into an alphabetical list.

1.  Aliens (especially the ones that are cleverly disguised and walking among us.) (Hey, I’ve seen the documentaries, I know about these things)

2.  Bats (the kind that fly around at night wanting to get tangled up in your hair)

3.  Cancer

4.  Drowning

5.  Explosions

6.  Falling (hard and awkwardly enough to break bones) (or down an abandoned mine shaft)

7.  Germs (and people who don’t wash their germy hands)

8.  Heights (rooftops and beyond)

9.  Illnesses of the fatal variety

10.  Job interviews (avoiding them is the reason I’ve been doing the same job for so long)

11. Karaoke (Really, that shit is scary)

12. Lightning bolts

13.  Memory loss and Madness (although if I do go mad, who knows, it might just be a different kind of happy)

14.  Natural disasters

15.  Oceans

16.  Pain

17.  Quicksand

18.  Roller Coasters

19.  Swimming (without a life jacket) (in the ocean) (…which would lead to drowning….)

20.  Typhoons

21.  Unidentified Flying Objects

22.  Violence (physical, verbal, abuse of any kind)

23.  Wasps

24.  Xenophobia (Yes, I know, fear of a fear.  But until we get over our fear of strangers and foreign things,  peace on earth will never happen)

25.  Yeti

26.  Zombies

I probably won’t write a children’s alphabet book based on this list, complete with frightening illustrations, although stranger things have been done with the alphabet.  And many of the things I’ve listed (like the last two, for instance), I have no actual personal experience with whatsoever.  They just seem to me to be absolutely fear-worthy.

What are you afraid of?

Haiku Enlightenment

Sei Shonagon (清少納言)
Sei Shonagon (清少納言) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Weekly Writing Challenge: Haiku Catchoo!

Your mission is to write five haikus — one for each of the five days leading up to this Friday when we will choose some entries and feature them on Freshly Pressed. 

Wise words always sound ridiculously more sage and profound when they’re written in the form of Haiku.  So here’s my five deeply philosophical attempts to attain WordPress fame.  And if Freshly Pressed is not in my future, what the hell.

Not a broken mess –

Beautifully imperfect.

You are not alone.

~~~~~

There’s no good reason

To act your age my darling.

Stay forever young.

~~~~~

Can life be perfect

One fine day, some tomorrow?

Nope, so just relax.

~~~~~

You must learn the rules

Before you can break them all.

Hey, good luck with that.

~~~~~

Afraid of the dark?

What you can’t see worries you?

Kid – turn on the lights.

~~~~~

CalGeisha
CalGeisha (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Purple Dress

Pullip in purple dress
Pullip in purple dress (Photo credit: Hegemony77 doll clothes)

I am nine years old the first time I defy my grandmother.

Everyone is always saying how much they love her, what a kind and generous soul she is, always doing things for other people with never a thought for herself.  It’s true, no one leaves our house without produce from the garden, preserves from our cellar, a well read book, some little knickknack, a few cut flowers or a potted plant. Grandma gives and gives.

This particular day grandma decides to do something nice for my younger cousin Audrey. She rifles through my closet,  pulls something out and holds it up.  Audrey will look lovely in purple, she declares.

I am aghast.  It is the purple dress I love to death and haven’t yet outgrown. I try to protest but grandma isn’t listening. She tells Audrey to try it on.  If she likes it she can take it home with her today. Won’t that be nice?

I think it will not be nice at all. My head is suddenly black with childish rage. I scream NO, rush between them, pluck the dress from their hands and turn and run away with it.

I am clutching my dress and sobbing in the kitchen to my mother at the unfairness of it all.  And to top it off, now I am no doubt in deep trouble for being so selfish and for disrespecting grandma.

But mom surprises me and says I’m right.  Grandma should not have tried to make one person happy at the expense of another. The dress is not going anywhere until I’m ready to give it away on my own.

It’s the first time I’ve ever known a kid to be right and an adult to be wrong.  I feel empowered as I tell grandma how her thoughtlessness made me feel.

Well why didn’t you say something, she asks with a shrug.  Then off she goes to find something else she can give away.  This time with a little less drama.

trifecta button
Trifecta Challenge Week 105:  Between 33 and 333 words using the 3rd definition of the word “pluck”

1: to pull or pick off or out
2 a : to remove something (as hairs) from by or
as if by plucking <pluck one’s eyebrows>
b : rob, fleece
3: to move,
remove, or separate forcibly or abruptly <plucked the child from the middle
of the street>

4 a : to pick, pull, or grasp at
b : to play by
sounding the strings with the fingers or a pick

Dear Breathing Space

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My Dear Breathing Space, Blog of My Life, Disturber of my Good Nights Sleep:

So sorry for blatantly ignoring you lately and being a bad blogging friend so that no one wants to read you because you have nothing to say.  I have lots of great reasons and excuses, but you’ve heard them all before so we’ll just skip that tedious part of this letter and get right to the point, which is my ingenious Plan To Do Better.

1.  Every Monday I will write a poem, giving all of us just one more good reason to hate Mondays.  I will incorporate whatever the Wordnik word of the day happens to be.  I apologize in advance, and will find nice pictures that may or may not be relevant to take your mind off the fact that it’s poetry.

2.  I will do a Just Jazzy 24 Day Advent Calendar from the first of December to Christmas Eve.  It will involve more creativity than putting the numbers from one to twenty-four on twenty-four bottles of red wine.  Although that might also be fun, involving a Christmas I wouldn’t be able to remember…..

3.  I will answer at least one Daily Prompt a week, no matter how hard the topic makes me roll my eyes.  It’s time to stop being such a critic and just answer the damned questions.

4.  Trifecta is brilliant, the writers are brilliant, and it would be brilliant of me to take every one of their challenges.  I will try.  I cannot promise brilliance, but it would be brilliant to have that aim.

5.  I will also try to respond to comments because I love getting them and it’s horrible bad manners not to.  I’m basically a really nice person, albeit a ridiculously lazy one, but being rude is never acceptable.  Why do I keep forgetting that?  It’s not okay.  Smarten up, you inconsiderate moron.

Okay, that’s it.  It’s worth a try.  November was a write-off for a post a day for me.  There was too much to read.  On line and off.  Here’s to a better December 2013 book of days.

Love from your Omnipotent Creator

(who will sleep better tonight, unless she starts worrying about breaking these promises, in which case we can both disregard all of the above nonsense.)

Just kidding.  I love you.

Round Prompt
Round Prompt (Photo credit: creativelenna)

 

Noise of the Day and Night

saturated noise
saturated noise (Photo credit: aalbinger)

I work in a noisy spot.  Sounds are constantly assaulting my eardrums – beeping scanners, crying kids, moms yelling at them, one-sided phone conversations, pages and announcements, random snatches of private discussions in a public place.  One afternoon we had a power outage for half an hour and the sudden lack of the cacophony of all the things usually running was just plain weird.  Sometimes my head feels like it’s humming in an attempt to block out the background pandemonium. My ears buzz.  All that noise makes me irritable and tired.

So the last thing I want to hear when I get home is the satellite radio blasting out freaking Christmas music.  The first thing I want to hear is a big fat nothing, the beautiful sounds of silence.

W, on the other hand, tells me he likes background music.  He has freely admitted this bit of insanity.  He has the radio going ALL THE TIME, night and day, because he LIKES THE NOISE.  I come home to the radio playing upstairs and the volume on the t.v. turned up downstairs.  I’m not even going to begin to try to figure out why, but it’s obvious that we need to come to some kind of noise compromise here, other than having me stomping around turning things off all the time.  I don’t want to get up to put the coffee on in the morning and have some stupid song immediately grinding on my nerves.  It’s not a great way to start the day.

This morning, once again enduring the Christmas music, I made some snarky music/noise related remark which caused W to turn off the radio and go outside to spend quality time with his snow blower.

I suppose that should have made me happy, but it didn’t particularly, so I decided to search for a channel I could tolerate for more than five minutes.  What I found, just this side of giving up in exasperation, is a modern jazz station that plays broadway hits.  Seriously.  So now who’s insane?

This is the piece that caught my attention – The Music of the Night.

The noise has been reverberating ever since.  Like for two hours.  This is some kind of record for me. And so it continues, and W isn’t even at home now.  Maybe I’m coming down with something.

English: This is a written sketch for "Ra...
English: This is a written sketch for “Radio Noise 24”, by PolyNeon. All rights belong to Dywane Thomas Jr. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just Jazzy 163

“Snow flurries began to fall and they swirled around people’s legs like house cats. It was magical, this snow globe world.”
―     Sarah Addison Allen     The Sugar Queen   

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Those first big fluffy snowflakes of the season are indeed magical. It’s the next eleventy billion to fall that seriously mess with my good mood.

What To Do With A November Day

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 This is what it looks like here on my street on this snowy November late afternoon.  It’s hard to get a good shot of giant snowflakes, but trust me, they’re out there falling.   If you don’t have any snow yet wherever you are, perhaps this has made you ridiculously jealous.

Yeah.

It was not my idea to already be stringing Christmas lights on our bare and frozen little tree, but I suppose it does make this gloomy blue day a little more cheery.

I have no idea why I continue to live in this God forsaken climate.

No, that’s not true.  I have one idea.  Weather like this is custom-made for lighting a couple of candles and curling up somewhere warm with a hot drink and a good book.

“In the winter she curls up around a good book and dreams away the cold.”  
―     Ben Aaronovitch,     Broken Homes    

Once Upon a Time

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Because of a personality flaw which makes me susceptible to various (mostly harmless) addictions, I’ve been lost in the enchanted forest and the town of Storybrooke, Maine for days and days.  I’m blaming it on Netflix.  I rarely watch television because of all the wasted minutes in life which are spent enduring commercials, but put a good series of shows together back to back with no interruptions, and I am hooked.

Once Upon a Time is a jumbled up mess of worlds and fairy tales and elusive happy endings.  The best stories always start with those four words, don’t you think?  That was my absolute favourite beginning to any narrative when I was a child, and I loved to add more details and adventures and complications to make the bed time story go on and on.  They lived happily ever after was always put off for as long as I could keep my eyes open.  And then after that on into my dreams. I don’t think I’ve entirely grown up yet.

It started off with mild curiosity and pressing play on episode one.  Then on to the next episode and the next and the next, until suddenly it was midnight and my head had turned into a pumpkin full of magic beans and I did not want this amazing fairy tale to end.  It is well written and it is well-played.  A lot of the casting seems magically inspired.

By sitting glued to my I-Pad lately, (that is every waking moment I’m not interrupted by tiresome things like going to work), I have managed to make it well into the middle of season two. For every resolved problem there are inevitably two or three new ones that pop up, and now ‘happily ever after’ appears to be everyone’s never-ending quest.  Kind of like real life when you think about it.  Eventually you realize happiness is all in the joy of the hunt and the experiences, and not in the outcome you thought you wanted after all.

It’s never time wasted if you learn something, right?  So here’s what I’ve learned so far.

1.  Sometimes you do the right thing for the wrong reason, and sometimes you do the wrong thing for the right reason.  Either way, shit is bound to happen. 

2.  Magic beans create portals to different worlds.  You can also use wishing wells, magic top hats and enchanted wardrobes. And possibly various other things as long as they’re sprinkled with sufficient amounts of fairy dust. 

3.  Not everyone who is bad is bad to the bone.  If you look deep enough you will discover their redeeming qualities.

4.  Powerful curses can be broken.

5.  Always be careful what you wish for and how you wish for it.  When you get it, you might discover that what you said wasn’t really what you meant at all.

6.  Magic always comes with a price. 

7.  Snow White was not just another pretty face. 

8.  People who mean well can generally screw things up just about as fast as those who wish you harm.

9.  When Snow White and Prince Charming are your grandparents on your mother’s side, your other grandfather is a powerful wizard of dark magic and you’ve been adopted by the wicked queen, guess what.  Your life is going to be pretty weird.

10.  Everyone has a story.

Be warned, once you start watching this series it may be very difficult to stop.  It sucks the real life ambition right out of you and glues you to your couch where you will sit mesmerized as if time is standing still.  Chances are, you won’t even try to escape until the story ends.

once upon