Country Girl moves to the City

This year has been a wild ride so far. There were times during it where I have to admit I wasn’t sure what was happening or how it was all going to work out.

I had been actively searching for a job throughout last year and the start of this one. It was depressing the amount of resumes I sent out with no response back. My decision to enroll in school again came after several years of debate. I wanted to make more money and I wanted to give myself skills that would give me the opportunities I was looking for. I also hoped it would show as a plus on my resume. Months of sending out resumes and barely getting any feedback led me to feel like failure. When I finally reached out to several staffing groups that is when I landed myself the job I am in now.

Not in a million years did I think I would finally be in a place where I have my own cubicle and my name plaque on the side. I take the train into town to work, which has been both exciting and claustrophobic at times. Each day I stare up at the tall buildings with awe on my face like a dope. It is crazy to admit but this is the kind of excitement I have been looking for. I can finally dress like a professional instead of the uniforms I had worn in the past or the really casual laid back atmosphere of the job before.

It happened so fast that I barely had time to take stock of all of the stuff I would need for the new job. I interviewed on a Friday and I got the call the following Monday.  My one year anniversary with my wonderful boyfriend was during the second week of my training. He had recently started a new job too and was looking forward to getting his career on the fast track himself. We both were starting out fresh, but together which made it not seem so foreboding. To celebrate our anniversary from one of the tallest buildings in the city was fabulous. But, to have him ask me to move in? Well, now that is even better.

I finally feel like my life is coming into its own. Perhaps this is what they mean when they say “good things come to those who wait.”

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Measurement and Scales

And I was weighed that day silently. I could tell from the look in your eyes that there was something wanting. That among all my freckles and hair, my graces, you had segmented me out into black and red lines. I was missing the parts that mattered most to you. I was absent of the things that you had hoped for. The things I did have, were… just…not enough. I was at a loss of course, because that phantom invisible scale had found me again. The one that everyone uses but doesn’t like to talk about at parties. I was ranked in each category unbeknownst to me, while dinner was being served. I was given a grade next to each on the list. But those numbers, they just didn’t add up for me. I had a remainder you see, I didn’t fit in those clean cut boxes. I spilled over and out of some and I barely filled the box on others. I was a recipe all gone wrong, and you were expecting a culinary masterpiece. I was a disappointment. The weights were heavy and not in my favor. The saddest part, the scales you use and those boxes you fill will never really equal the happiness you seek. But, yours truly with my remainders, my frizz, and my half full boxes will be all the better for it. Thats a sum you can’t figure with numbers and scales.

I apologize for my hiatus. Sometimes it is important to reflect and I needed time to do that.

Phoenix Rises

The phoenix is probably one of my favorite mythical creatures. I can not say it is my top favorite because the mermaid is still number one in my book. In life we can see examples of phoenix everywhere. I admit probably not the bird you have pictured in your mind’s eye, but a rising from the ashes if you will of someone or something. A person who comes back from the brink of death perhaps, or the person you know who under terrible strain overcomes something most thought insurmountable. Nature in its own right can be a phoenix. Fires that rage and eat forests reducing them to ashes, lay the groundwork for nature to be reborn. Perhaps the thing I like the most about the phoenix is this symbolic creature can represent anything but the message always remains the same ” From the ashes I will rise. ”

Phoenix Rises

Grey ash floats to the floor

The once brilliant colors

Have faded into dullness

Wilting and weak

Sad eyes reflect tragedy

One last effort produces

A brilliant spark of light

Slate molts to charcoal black

Charred ashes gather

Collecting in neat piles

A gentle refreshing breeze

Starts to blow–

Specks carried on the air

Begin to change

Black ash turns to white

Whirling in funnels 

A miniature tornado

White dots form an oval

Producing a shiny egg

Out of darkness comes

A pillar of strength

The translucent orb vibrates

Forcing a zig zag crack

Between the fracture

A tiny beak emerges

Forcefully it pushes through

With brilliant turquoise eyes

A head of iridescent shades

Red, rose, orange, feathers

Drape her frame

A glint of gold shines in the light

Blue talons with onyx scales

She is a rare beauty

Forged from fire and ash

Once more she is reborn

But never the same as before.

 

Copyright. Phoenix Rises.

 

Ghost of She

This poem is meant to pose the question to the reader.. In the face of loss and despair over the death of a loved one do we become ghosts? What I mean by that is emotionally does the living become trapped in the past?  As ghosts haunt and revisit the places they once left and never move on does the living in its own reality plane do the same? Can both be ghosts? This poem is meant to challenge the ideal that to be a ghost you must be dead… I don’t think you have to be dead to be a ghost.

Ghost of She

My ritual walk begins
Down the path we used to travel
Blustery winds blow the tricolored leaves
I march on past the old fence gate
Creaking it swings to and fro
Loud crunching of leaves
Begins to cancel out my thoughts
Reaching the end of the road
Street lights flicker and hum
Turning to the right, from memory
Pavement old from wear
Crumbles and crunches under my boots
Seeing my mark
I slow to a stop
The house is vacant
Full of dark emptiness
Standing under the elm tree
Leaning on its branches
I wait patiently —
Chimes from the church begin
Ringing in the hour
A soft light appears
Glowing the once bedroom window
The light travels slowly, dutifully
Down the long hallway
Spilling into the void living room
That’s when I see her
Brilliant and white
A delicate face stares out the window
I watch her a moment
Resist the urge to wave
Slowly her features fade
Luminosity dims and vanishes
My walk back is long
Contemplating the reasons why
We both are ghosts
One living and one dead
But of the two —
Who is haunting who?

Homage: Deuxième Partie

The conclusion of my Poem Alzheimer’s (My Homage to The Wasteland)

Part III

“I never meant to cause you trouble, I never meant to cause you harm…”

The dream is real
The danger is near
I am in the tempest of fear
I walk in and there she is
Radio is alive and she’s on the floor
Maybe this too is a dream,
Maybe I am insane?
No one believes me
“I am what I am, I’ll do what I want…I can’t hide…I won’t go…I can’t breathe..”
She is gone in the white van with lights
I am left lost
I know this is the beginning
Of the end.

In and out she goes
Where she stops no one knows
Nursing home, place, assisted living
All adjectives I am sick of
All lost their feeling
Locked ones unlocked ones,
Doors with locks but no key
My mind is a swirl
Why so many times?
Why so many places?
“You used to speak so easy…your afraid to talk to me….it’s like walking with the wounded… out there with the wounded… and were missing you…”
My life is a tempest,
I am the continent being battered
By the storm
My personal El Nino

“Sometimes it takes a long time for the candle to burn out… sometimes it takes a long time for the bird to fly the coup.” (CAH)
I sit there in the dark
Listening to her chat
She and I are from the same cloth
Same blood, same bone
We were on the same page always
But now things are different
The pages are ripped and torn
The book works backwards
Erasing words, thoughts, hopes
I race to read its contents
All that’s left is lost phrases to a song
In my mind I recall a time when we read it together
I am left to read it alone.
The book of life is mine to discover

I walk alone now on this road
With her notes in my head
And his words in my heart
Why can’t I replay time?
I wonder if the choices I make are right
Would they exclaim “Oh, NO!”
Would they say “it will be alright ?”
Time will tell for me
If this book is the one that will save me
Or damn me.
I fill its pages now with hope.

 

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Notes from the Writer: The music mentioned helped form the backdrop for this piece. In Loving Memory of CAH

  1. Christmas in Killarney – Bing Crosby
  2. White Christmas -Bing Crosby
  3. Cheek to Cheek – Fred Astaire
  4. Trouble – Coldplay
  5. Here with me – Dido
  6. Wounded – Third Eye Blind

 

Alzheimer’s (My Homage to The Wasteland)

   One of my favorite writers is T.S. Eliot. When I first read his classic The Waste Land I was stunned by the imagery and creativity that he used. The poem was like no other, and in my opinion it still is. His ability to collect thoughts, ideas, music, and memory in a written work made the piece a fascinating mosaic. In my personal experience, watching someone go through the maze of Alzheimer’s Disease is very much like The Waste Land. At first there is confusion and then a sense of clarity and understanding emerges.                            

   Part I

    She is scared

    She doesn’t know why

    So am I

    What lies in the shadows?

    I remember when she wasn’t so lost

    I wasn’t lost then

    I hold her hand in the dark

    But she can’t remember..

    

    “Did you get your money? I was always worried that you wouldn’t?”

     “Sometimes you just have to let them stew in their own juices,

     If that doesn’t take, then let them go.”

     I wonder if she will remember me?

     She forgets the names, faces, and places

     We are a collaboration of colors in her masterpiece

      I hope I am in green

      She is a shell of her former self

     And I grab on to her coat tails and go for the ride

    “How much is that doggy in the window? The one with the wagging tail?”

     “Maybe you should write a story about it, and then read it to me?

       I said “I don’t want to, it will take forever.”

       “We all don’t have forever.”

       “I love the holidays it’s the only time that I feel my family is together, whatever family I have left that is.”

        I watched her in the doorway

        Eyes lit with unshed tears

        The tree was up and lit like always

        The ornaments her children had made

        And her children’s children

Part II

“Christmas in Killarney where all the folks are home…..”

      “I am dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones we used to know

     Where the tree tops glisten and children listen….”

        She has her hand against her chest in a sigh

         It is the tree of strength

          It is grandpa

         It is a monument to our family

         It reminds me of the years past

          She exclaims at last

         “It is the most beautiful tree I have ever seen, Kaite.”

        Continue reading

Did You Just Gaslight Me?

      Many people associate the fall with pumpkins, lattes, and comfy sweaters but the month of October is also National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Typically this month is when I see numerous Breast Cancer “Pink Ribbon” Campaigns. We see pink ribbon memorabilia, donation pink commercials on TV, and walking for awareness. I think very rarely if ever have I seen awareness events or commercials touching on this issue. It appears that society is finally okay with the concept of discussing breasts and the need for screenings but still remains quiet on issue of abuse, rape, and domestic violence. This issue has remained a taboo subject that is known about but seems to be as illusive as unicorns as far as public interest is concerned.

       I think the general consensus in our society is that the definition of  “domestic violence” or “abuse” is mainly physical, this is simply not true.  Abuse can be any number of things to include the controlling of finances, manipulation, and verbal abuse. A form of abuse that I just learned about while watching the movie Gaslight is the phenomenon of  “Gaslighting.” Gaslighted or Gaslighting is the process of causing “ a person to doubt his or her sanity through the use of psychological manipulation”   Gaslighting is more than just moving picture frames and dimming lights as you watch Ingrid Bergman in the film desperately try and remember where she put the broach. Gaslighting is a slow psychological break, which leaves the victim feeling as though they are unable to function normally without others help. The victim often finds themselves lacking the confidence to make simple decisions, the ability to think for themselves, and as you watch in the film the victim often secludes themselves for fear of making mistakes.

gaslightmovieI know most people will exclaim “oh that will never happen to me!” But, gaslighting can happen between more than just a significant other and yourself. It can happen between parent to child, boss to employee, and friend to friend. Can you honestly say that you have never met a toxic person? A person that somehow managed to make you doubt every choice you ever made? This person is someone who can get into your psyche because they know you and your weaknesses and make you feel like you are a constant screw up. Perhaps it never reaches the extreme of becoming completely helpless as Bergman does in the film, but if you have answered yes to any of scenarios above then you can acknowledge that it is indeed possible. It can happen to anyone. Abuse is not gender, race, age, or sexual orientation specific.

  As I look back on some of my early dating experiences I can say I made some bad choices. One in particular stands out from all the rest. He was smart, talented, witty and we seemed to be a good match. But, as most people know abuse doesn’t start out as abuse. The person is usually a narcissist and in this case that definition fits the bill. He made me feel like a piece of garbage. There wasn’t a thing I could do right. Things that I felt so confident with like cooking, writing, and being a people person I started to question. He would often remark “ you know, for a smart girl you can be really stupid sometimes.” Then we ended up moving into an apartment that was farther away from my family. I would get in trouble for calling my mom, or for wanting to go visit. Thats when I knew something was truly wrong. The reality was I was young, and he was my first real boyfriend. I cared for him, and I wanted him to be happy. If only I had washed that pan correctly. If only I could iron a shirt like he showed me.

It took a break down over french toast at a breakfast joint with my mom one morning to make my decision. I had to get out of where I was, and I had to leave now. I think within two days time after a major argument I had gathered all my belongings in trash bags and a UHAUL was called.  Sadly, for some people this process is not so easy. The guilt of leaving coupled with the failure you feel for not realizing sooner I can honestly say is crippling. But you learn a lot about yourself in the next couple of months. You start to discover who you are again, and although the situation is terrible you gain a strength that is unmatched.

octoberawarenessThere is no question that awareness has helped educate people about Breast Cancer. The same can be said for Skin Cancer when every summer we see articles and commercials on moles, sunblock, and wearing protective clothing. Why would awareness not be just as effective with this issue? I believe that society has come a long way but we are not where we should be on this issue. It shouldn’t take a celebrity to remind us that it happens and that its real.  Lucky for Bergman she gained the help of a Scotland Yard detective and was able to free herself of her prison. But, for those of us who don’t have a detective watching our backs knowledge is power. My hope is that society will come to accept this is a real and current issue and treat it with just as much gusto as we do with all our other causes. Perhaps most of all, I wish for the stigma of yesterday to be forgotten.

Notes from the Writer:  If anyone is interested in watching the movie Gaslight, which I highly recommend the link below gives the synopsis. If anyone would like to learn more about gaslighting check out the links posted.  

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0036855/

http://narcissisticbehavior.net/the-effects-of-gaslighting-in-narcissistic-victim-syndrome/

http://counsellingresource.com/features/2011/11/08/gaslighting/

 

 

photo credit: oneredsf1 Charles Boyer & Ingrid Bergman (1) via photopin (license)

Transitional Beauty Poem

In this time of seasonal transformation it seems natural to look inward and observe our own personal “seasons.”

 

img_4213Change is always there

On the horizon

Golden gilded hopes of sun

To faded wilted petals

withered leaves of loss

Bowing to the inevitable

Defeating slowly they fall

The crunch of crushed days

Rotting away, to decay

Cold winds cut like knives

Blankets of white fall

Dark days and long nights

Ice creates a shiny illusion

Green peeks out of white snow

Water rushes down over rocks

Nights begin to dawn

With promises of warmth

Hot sun yields blossoms

Bright kaleidoscope petals

Blue skies and patchwork clouds

Warm hopeful rays

Pledging happy moments.

Devil Came to Tea Poem

The devil came on a passer by

I invited him in for tea

He said the choice is yours

The choice for what?

To come follow me

If the world has been cruel and the future bleak

Then perhaps what I offer you can seek

With a spry smile and a twitch of his lips

He announced why I may enlist

For every hardship that has broken your soul

I will give you the tools to take control

If ever the garden flowers wilted to you

I will provide forever warmth and comfort for you

If ever the hearts of others have left a scar

I will show you how to truly mar

If the truths others have spoken, made you a fool

I will lead you to a drowning pool

If the nights are dark and full of sorrow

I will speed it up to tomorrow

But devil surely payment would be due?

His pigment bright and full of flush

He laughed loudly as if it was too much

Oh child what I ask is simple you see

Just follow my instructions to the T

When a kind person greets you

Turn yourself away

When the world needs you

Go off on your own and play

If a loving heart does touch you

Burn it slow and deep

For those sentiments are weak

If a truthful word be spoken

Twist those yarns into lies

If a caring touch reaches you

Learn to despise

And if an angel comes calling

Turn that fellow out

For what else can he talk to you about?

Continue reading

Daddy Issues: I Wish my Dad was Macgyver 

My mind is melancholy because I know soon enough it will be your day. I am reminded that another year has passed; another year of not knowing you. I am reminded of all the things we missed. The conversations we never had, the dinners, the milestones, and the fact that we never will. I wonder at times if given the choice you would have changed? Would you have traded it all for an hour of time with me? Would you have made a deal with the devil for just one week? If you had known the outcome from the very start would you have continued down the same path? I have been wondering about these things my whole life.

I can say with all honesty growing up was hard. I spent half my life not being able to relate to my friends and peers because of you. Remember that Christmas play I worked so hard at so that you and mom would be proud? I never saw you there. I watched as my friends would embrace their dads and stings of anguish and sadness would fill me up inside. As young as I was I knew in my heart that those feelings would never be mine. I remember all the dads that came to my swim meets cheering the team on and then I looked over to an empty space. I watched the dads of my friends hug their daughters tight as they cried over some “stupid boy.” I watched the look of elation on my peers faces as we graduated and both parents would exclaim “ your father and I are so proud.”  Would you have been proud dad? I can say I truly don’t know. You were gone too soon for me to ask. You were gone because of your selfish choices. You missed out on many things dad, but I was the one that missed out the most.

So many unanswered questions. Would the knowledge that you will never be there to wipe my tears change your heart? I wonder would you have let me go to Prom? Would you protectively wait for me to come home safe and sound? Would you stand with pride at my ceremonies? Would you hug me tight at my failures? Would you have chosen to give me away at my wedding? Dad would it break you to know that every second of time you wasted broke my heart? Dad did you know I kept the lion you gave me? One of the few gifts you ever bought me and I gave it a hug every night. But, there were no “tuck ins” from you and no bedtime stories. I was left waiting in my room with Lion-heart (thats his name) and the nightlight on hoping you would come back. But, you and I know the truth of the matter. You were not coming home and consequently I would never be the same.

I can say that dating was tough too. It still is actually. They say the first guy a girl loves is her father. I have spent half my time dating the wrong people and then running away from the rest. I was never shown how a girl should be treated. I was never told “ no matter what you are worthy.” You taught me the opposite in fact. I made up how you should be in my mind so many times I have lost count. You will be smart like Angus “Mac” Macgyver, funny like Magnum PI, and loving like the father from Full House. But, a girl shouldn’t have to “make up” her father. It is a cold comfort to create an imaginary parent so you can stomach the truth of reality.    

It has been 21 years without you. I have grown up quite a bit since the girl with the nightlight and stuffed lion. But, there are some things you can never grow out of. Things like wishing just for a moment I had been important to you. Sadly, as it turns out wishing is all you have left me with. So on that same vein I will simply say, “I wish you a Happy Birthday.”   

Diary Entry 101

A book I have always related to is Bridget Jones’s Diary. So here’s my version.
A Hypothetical Diary Entry:

Coffees: 2
Making Situations awkward: 7
Brushed my frizzy hair today: check
Hair looks like Ronald McDonald now: check  Number of cats: 1 for now 

As a dating 30 something the outside world can be merciless and cruel. I feel like at this stage in the game when you start dating someone you have to put into perspective quickly if that person is worth the time. Bluntly put, is this someone I can wake up next to for the rest of my life? Or is this a fling where we both are dating someone so we don’t go to our friends’ weddings alone?

Case in point family functions. I dread them. I am the only one who is of marital age who isn’t married. I am either in between dating someone or rolling stag again. Then the questions start to flood. What are you doing now? Seeing anyone? I am doing the same thing I was doing last time you saw me. Then comes the barrage of unwanted advice. ” You need to meet a nice boy, maybe I can introduce you to someone?” Or there’s the ” a friend of mine’s daughter met a really nice boy online.” If I could crawl under the plate of steak and rice pilaf I would. I start to push the rice into thin lines on my plate hoping that organization will help drown out the conversation. This proves ineffective. The conversation usually ends with me being told I “need direction” and I usually want to get out of there before dessert.

If that wasn’t enough then you have your blissfully married friends complaining to you about not starting a family. Texts like “I want to start a family but he said he doesn’t think he is ready yet.” Well at least he married you and is honest. They make comments like “wouldn’t this look cute in a nursery?” Yes. Yes it would look nice in one, but that is far and away from where I am right now. I am starting to wonder if that large abandoned farm with a bunch of cats and bunny slippers is in my future.

Then there is social media. My newsfeed is continuously flooded with photos of engagements, baby ultra sounds, and wedding anniversary updates. Friends post pictures from their beautiful weddings and honeymoons. Then the babies in bonnets with cute expressions, it’s enough to make you think your in a virtual baby calendar. I wish everyone well of course, but I wonder what the heck am I doing wrong? How did I fall so far from the mark?

image

 

A few hours later…

Not sure if the wine helped or the chocolate covered pretzels but I am feeling uplifted. I am fine..everything is good. It’s the little things that matter. Although…my hair still looks a wreck.

 

These images I found while on Pinterest on a tumblr. If these images are copyrighted and the owners would like me to take them down message me and I will.

Pound of Flesh

While listening to the radio I formed the idea for this poem. The message of the song was an ending relationship but the lovers desperately tried one last time. I think most of us have been in that place at one time or another. Enjoy!

Pound of Flesh

And you said okay
And I said alright
We will do that dance
One last time tonight

I will pull you under
Into my skin
Press you closer
Feel you within

I will utter the words
That once filled me
I will listen to your voice
That once thrilled me

My pound of flesh
You will take
One more time
To fill the ache

You will dig deeper
Right into my center
I will embrace you
To make it feel better

My soft wet tears
Will slowly run free
Turning my head away
So you can’t see me

One last dance
One last night
One last time
For us…tonight

Written for me by me. Copyright. Phoenix Rises.

 

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Hope Poem

 

Hope
Concrete walls with spiraling wire
High perimeters guarding her
Fortress of strength
A woman’s defense
Encasing the shards
Protecting a fragmented heart

Burned tissue with eroded holes
Scars covering a wounded soul
Slowing beating wanting more
But the jailor remembers
Whispering in the night

Her jailor tells her to guard
Covet and protect us
In the darkness voices are heard
Remember the dreams we had?
Remember the plans we made?

Plans of girlish fantasy
Girlish dreams of dresses and dances
Flighty love and long romances
Once her heart longed for them all
But age and heartache came

After each of those losses
Walls were built
After every failure
Another wing was added
Sharp glistening metal
Encasing her heart

The loud thunder that once was
Has been muffled to a soft echo
The thrum of beating has slowed
Lights have dimmed
The guard at the door has left

Until a loud knock was heard
Sounds bellowed through the tomb
The heart began to beat once more
A slow steady thud of a hopeful heart

Written for me by me. Copyright. Phoenix Rises.

My Visit with the Cheshire Cat

imageMy absence is due to my fall into a rabbit hole, in a matter of speaking of course. Life sometimes makes things happen all at once, instead of spacing it out for good measure. It seems like going back into my journals I have discovered that around this time every year some change occurs. Perhaps the change in season is to blame or maybe I become bolder when the sun hits its highest point, whatever the reason I have been standing at a cross road.

I have felt like Alice from wonderland these last few weeks. I caught myself wandering around in this strange world trying to discover who I am again. I had to be cautious and careful and discover who is friend and who is foe. I have had to come to grips with the reality of an almost two year relationship coming to an end. It wasn’t that I didn’t care about him or I didn’t wish things were different, I just came to the reality that it was never going further then what it was. I wanted something more from it, and we ultimately wanted different things. As Alice remarked once to herself ” she generally gave herself very good advice, (though she very seldom followed it).” This is a familiar adage, one that I usually voice but never follow. Imagine my surprise however when I do follow it, and it seems like the world is mad and full of empty tea cups.

imageThe trivial things like having all the roses red seem to feel insignificant. I am sure the cards could paint the white roses red but as we all know the “painted” truth will drip away in time. I wish on this journey I could have had a grinning gleeful purple cat, but alas he must have been off reminding the rabbit how late he was. As I walked one Sunday morning through the forest I began to reflect on things. The ending of my relationship has led me to some curious thoughts and even “curiouser” places. I have never truly done anything in life I really wanted. I have hobbies, I have traveled a bit but I long for a purposeful lifelong pursuit. I want to wake up in the morning albeit I am not a morning person, and enjoy my work. But, what work is best for me?

This is when I wish I could have tested it out first like Alice did with the “Eat Me” cookies. Her trial and error was much more immediate and allowed for her to know instantly if it was a mistake. Real life on the other hand reveals rather slowly the result of your choices and most of the time it appears too late to change them. At times in the past two years I have felt like an oyster marching to the Walrus and the carpenters dinner table. Alice and I have found another commonality for “..I could tell you of my adventures…but it’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.” I have long wanted to go back to school for my Masters degree but I have struggled with picking a single focus and concentration for my degree. My new found freedom has allowed me the clarity that was once so hazy.

imageThe “floating” grin of the Cheshire Cat greets me as I approach the opening of a field and things begin to take shape. The confusing maze of topiaries and rose bushes become a simple straight line. The path before me is one that I can travel at my speed. I want to be able to get things back on track for myself. I have spent way too much time already on doing what makes others happy. I want to focus on what will enrich my life and what makes me happy now. That has been something that has been very difficult for me to do in the past but something I feel I must do now. It is at this moment that I wake up next to the river bank listening to my “sister” reading a lesson aloud. I grab my faithful cat Dinah and go in for afternoon tea and as the tea is being poured I think to myself these empty cups won’t be empty forever.

My Mermaid Heart Poem

This poem I have revisited several times over the past few months. The meaning is just as strong to me as it was when I first wrote it. I hope you enjoy it.

Mermaid Heart

Hidden dangers scatter my path

Cobbled stones filled with wrath

But I see the diamonds that glitter there

One is loose, one in a snare

Silence is the keeper of all dreams

Passion is the breaker of many things

But two locks always seem to find

The keys have run away with their minds

And who’s ship did I see go down?

The bust of maiden has run aground

I pillage it till it lays vacant inside

Organizing treasures as if I died

Once the sea starts turning its gown

Then my quiet heart is found

For all the oceans gifts to me

Start to fill their vacancy

I swim just under the wave

A hint of hair a hint of fin

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How do I plan my blog post?

A good friend of mine asked me last week how do you plan a post for your blog? In the beginning when I started this journey I would try and write on the fly. I picked a topic out of my head at random and posted based on that topic. I would say this came with mixed results. Now that I have been posting for some time now, a tool that helps me is my chart and my Happy Planner.

I know that they have fancy charts online to use but I have been using a simple chart I made myself in Word. It is something I used when I was in college and I found it useful for my writing. The chart is like a web or a spider with the center circle being the main topic. Then each line coming off of the middle another topic or subject goes in the attached shape in this case a circle. I have simplified this one but any number of subcategories or shapes can be added.

 

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I love my Happy Planner. When I started writing I was using a regular agenda book, and although it was okay, the space wasn’t enough for my taste. Happy Planner is great for me because of all of the areas it allows me to write in ideas or topics for my blog. It is like a regular planner with a calendar, but it allows you to put in inserts for notes, graphs, pictures etc. I am a very visual person so when I am out I add little inspirational quotes to keep my mind open to new ideas.

 

I think the most challenging part of blogging is staying true to your goal you set for yourself. I have really seen my progress throughout this process. I feel that I have grown not only as a person but as a writer. I am excited to continue along this path and see where I end up.
Disclaimer: I am not receiving any payment from Happy Planner. I just enjoy using this journal and I am excited to share my success with others. If you are interested in the Happy Planner there are plenty of photos on Pinterest to look at for ideas.

 

 


 

 

 

My Faithful Gardener 

His callous hands that are the product of hard work and diligence dig into the soil. He has just unearthed a giant chunk with his pitchfork and placed it to the side. He delicately frees the wiggling captives from the soil and places them into a bucket. The rocks that he sees go into a neighboring bucket. The rest of the soil is heaved onto a makeshift window frame that has been adorned with mesh wire and placed on a wheelbarrow. He uses the prow to carefully separate the soil and slowly sifts it free and clear of any blemishes. This is a tedious and careful affair but every year he preforms this ceremony.

The garden that blooms every year is one of his hobbies, but more than that it has become a living symbol of the person he is. The leaves he carefully collected during the fall will be placed in the giant hole he has created and then with a toss the worms join in. He will place the fine sifted soil on top and turn it over several times. The garden always yields a variety of fruits and vegetables. There are always two rows of tomatoes, two pepper rows one red and one green, squash, and green and wax beans. The strawberries are always designated a row, the blackberries line the outside of the fence next to the raspberries. The chives are always close to the gate, as a final afterthought for any salad maker.

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The two apple trees always provide shelter for hot summer days, but the peach, and plum tree are nothing to sneeze at. The two walnut trees in the front yard do yield a good deal of nuts, but the competition with the squirrels is fierce. He has added several rose bushes next to the front yard fence, and the honeysuckle bush has attracted quite a few little visitors over the years.

The garden was always a fascination for any visitor but most especially to me. The garden was a perfect showcase of his talents. He was always dutiful and consistent, two qualities that allowed for his garden to flourish year after year. These qualities were not the only ones he was gifted with. He was always patient, loving, gentle and kind. Anything he found lost or foundling he tried to mend. My mom always said this is how she ended up with their lamb Eddy. Eddy was going to be put down, when my grandpa heard this he decided to adopt the lamb. There were other animals along the way a couple of dogs, a cat, and some bunnies.

It should be no surprise to anyone that he came to mend me. I was only six when my parents got divorced and I was 11 when my father passed. Grandpa had already raised five children he certainly had earned a chance to rest. But, I was a foundling and he saw in me troubles that he thought he could fix. He was careful like always with his first sprouted seeds. Protecting them from the harsh sun and providing them with nutrients and care. He would keep a quiet eye on their progress but never quite left them alone. He was always a constant warmth even on the coldest of days. I miss him always but especially as the spring weather arrives and the flowers start to bloom. I want to thank you Grandpa for being my faithful gardener. I am sure I would not be half the person I am without your loving care. Happy birthday grandpa.

Blank Poem

Blank

She was an image of beauty
The singing bird
A freshly bloomed flower
Her eyes full of earnest
Her heart pure
Everything she should be

When opening the envelope
Peeling back the skin
She is a broken one
A wounded soul
Full of festering disappointments
She feels rotten inside

A bit of highlights here
A contour of color there
Shadows and lines
An ever changing disguise
She is a constant chameleon

Her foe is a shiny surface
It mocks her with its presence
Stalking her at every turn
Blue eyes and her enemy meet
Truth is hard to digest

She quickly glances away fearful
Barely knowing herself
Silently she whispers
Who am I supposed to be?
Telepathically her twin answers
You are undone
Just a sketch
Of the portrait you could be.

imageWritten by me and for me.

Copyright. Phoenix Rises.

Iridescent Heart

Oh my iridescent heart. Today while walking along the beach I heard a quick splash and hurriedly looked for the source. My mind which is always playful hoped I might see the fin of a mermaid. I have always looked for them. I think the quest began shortly after seeing the movie The Little Mermaid. I bought the VHS tape myself, with my money from chores and I considered it a sound investment. I didn’t realize how much it would change my viewpoint.  image

Ariel spoke to me in ways that most of the other Disney princesses did not. She was from a world surrounded by the ocean, like me. She had an incredible curiosity for discovering new things and places. This reminds me of when I used to look for artifacts in the backyard. I would plot out where to start looking and dig into the dirt searching for items left from a lost world. She wasn’t content in the ocean, she wanted something more for herself. I have always wanted this, “the something more” part. As most movie heroines goes she faced adversity. There was the fact she was a princess with rules to follow, she had the concern of letting down her father, oh and lastly the sea witch.

Ariel was a determined woman. She wasn’t going to let her sea friends stand in her way or let them convince her she couldn’t get what she really wanted. She was a true risk taker. I might also add she was the only one to make risks up to this point in the Disney princess world. Princesses like Belle (1991), and Mulan (1998) came much later. She was in a sense a lot like me. I would stay out all day and night building lean tos out of fallen trees. Playing capture the flag with the boys, racing my bike around the neighborhood like I owned the place. I never let the fact that I was a girl and most of my friends were boys get in my way. I always imagined my adult life would be the same way.  image

I suppose reality hit hard when I realized how many obstacles life and other people place in your path. I can say on quite a few occasions I have had to deal with the concern of letting down my family. The friends that seem so caring and wonderful, but also want to hold you back from what you really want. Then there are the sea witches. I used plural because I have met more than a handful of those. Ariel gave up everything she knew for something more. There are critics that will say she’s a sell out. I debunk this whole heartedly. Ariel made a choice to leave the known and to make something out of herself. The something in this case just happened to be turning into a human and a prince. She had dreams and she was willing to make the change. That is something I think everyone can identify with; especially girls.

Perhaps the Disney creators when building the character of Ariel had no idea the impact of her on others. Ariel to me as woman who grew up during the 80’s was someone I could respect. She was a rebel but she had a purpose. She wasn’t complacent and she didn’t lay there and wait for someone to rescue her. Ariel rescued herself. That is perhaps the biggest reason she is my favorite. I think that without realizing it she became a modern symbol of strength. She knew who she was and she knew it was now or never. I think in life at times I have been more like her pal flounder who was content to swim along the currents. It may be time for me to shed my fins and discover a new part of the world. ❤️

The Remote Isle of Lady of Shallott

 

 

I had the chance to visit several beautiful landscapes this past week. One of the    locations was the  Herring Run which is exactly as it sounds. A place where herring make the migration or ” run” up stream. I could not find any fish in any of the pools but the scenery reminded me of one of my favorite poems The Lady of Shallot by Alfred Lord Tennyson. An excerpt to accompany my pictures.

” Underneath the bearded barley,
The reaper, reaping late and early,
Hears her ever chanting cheerly,
Like an angel, singing clearly,
O’er the stream of Camelot.
Piling the sheaves in furrows airy,
Beneath the moon, the reaper weary
Listening whispers, ‘ ‘Tis the fairy,
Lady of Shalott.’

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The little isle is all inrail’d
With a rose-fence, and overtrail’d
With roses: by the marge unhail’d
The shallop flitteth silken sail’d,
Skimming down to Camelot.
A pearl garland winds her head:
She leaneth on a velvet bed,
Full royally apparelled,
The Lady of Shalott.”

Part II
No time hath she to sport and play:
A charmed web she weaves alway.
A curse is on her, if she stay
Her weaving, either night or day,
To look down to Camelot.
She knows not what the curse may be;
Therefore she weaveth steadily,
Therefore no other care hath she,  The Lady of Shalott.                              image

She lives with little joy or fear.  Over the water, running near,  The sheepbell tinkles in her ear.
Before her hangs a mirror clear,
Reflecting tower’d Camelot.
And as the mazy web she whirls,
She sees the surly village churls,
And the red cloaks of market girls
Pass onward from Shalott”

Enjoy the day! ❤️

My Trinity

imageEven though living in the northeast has made me skeptical of spring I was happy to see the sun this past weekend. Easter is usually when we see more sun and warmer weather but this year it has been slow coming. This time of year has always been a time of renewal for me. The chance to get my flower beds in order and clean up the yard. The frequent cold weather and dreary days have put a damper on my spirits.

Perhaps it is only circumstantial but my health hasn’t been the best either. I have been battling for a little over two years now an auto immune disorder. When I get flare ups it takes several days sometimes weeks for me to feel like myself again. My health was always something I took pride in. I was always working out and living a health lifestyle. The strict regime and diet they have me on often makes me so exhausted that the idea of working out seems impossible. It is a hard thing to have to relearn how to be yourself again. I am in mourning for my old self, that’s the only way I can describe it. I keep thinking I am going to wake up one day and things will be the way they once were.

imageOnly a few things besides sleep have helped make me feel better. I was lucky this past holiday weekend to experience those elements that make the days bearable. Family has always been one of the elements that allows me some comfort especially when I get to go out and enjoy their company. Another, is my cats. I live in an apartment that doesn’t allow pets so my cats live with my mom. When I go home and see them it helps me feel alive again. They always come and sit with me, purr in my lap, and look at me with their beautiful gold eyes. Sometimes the look they give me is a knowing one, their eyes say “mom we know you don’t feel well.” It is these times that they help me the most. They follow me around and watch me anxiously waiting for me to go sit so they can come sit next to me. The minute I sit on the couch they are there laying near me trying to say in their own way “things will get better.”

imageThe last and final thing that has helped me is the beach. I can think of thousands of times I have gone to the beach for one reason or another and all of them have been because I needed time to regroup. This weekend I was able to get out and go to the beach. I stood on the jetty and let the wind blow through me. The constant and never changing water that leaves and returns from the shore. The water that splashes and sends spray into the air always leaves me mystified. The air smells and feels different at the beach a pure untainted smell. It has been these things that have helped me get by. I long for the day when I can be more like myself again, my resurrection. Until that day comes I’m going to hold on to my trinity and try and get through the day.

 

North Country

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I had an awesome weekend. I always enjoy making the trip up north. The smell of the fresh air, the scenery and the feeling of discovery. We made our way up early Sunday morning and as we drove I felt such a sense of relief. Work has been very busy and stressful and the calm tranquility of the drive was a welcome change.

We passed by beautiful rushing streams and lakes and as we slowly climbed we saw chains of mountains. The mountains had beautiful colors with mist circling like halos. The small winding streets made each mountain dwarf our car. As we approached our home for the next two days I started to get really excited. The view from our condo villa would be well worth the wait.

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We had passed through the quant little town of North Conway and on the way we had remarked about how many wonderful shops, and restaurants it had to offer. We entered our villa and once we had unpacked we set out to find a place to eat. We ended up in a tavern with nostalgic pictures inside and moose heads and antlers hanging on the wall. The dinner was topped off by an awesome apple tart desert. We decided to head home to the lodge to sleep because the following day we were going to cross-country ski.

That next morning the mist had gathered outside and as we looked across a giant cavern the mountain that was visible from our porch had a white cap. We got dressed and went to eat breakfast before skiing. Our breakfast spot had trains everywhere and model trains on tracks flew above our heads. I have to admit I ate quite a few carbohydrates but later I would discover they would come in handy. The snow had started to fall while inside and it made me restless to start our adventure.

I felt that I looked like a giant marshmallow as I climbed out of the car and into the ski place. We rented our skis, boots and poles, and with a hopeful heart we headed out to the ski. Cross-country skiing is good once you can latch your boots to your skis and providing you can stay in your track. My boyfriend, mother and I through a bit of trial and error finally got ourselves in a rhythm. We decided to take the path that lead into the forest. The skiing inside the forest and up and down the hiking trails was fantastic. The snow was lightly falling and the rivers and trees made it a beautiful landscape. We skied for several hours and when our legs and arms started to become numb we decided to turn back. image

We celebrated our success at another wonderful tavern. All of us felt a bit sluggish and when we returned back to our abode mom decided to rest while my boyfriend and I went to the outdoor hot tub. It was fantastic sitting outside and looking up at the stars. I was feeling sad that the next morning we would have to leave. The two of us regrettably returned to our lodge and started to pack up for the morning. I think once we all laid down we fell asleep instantly, the day had been fun but exhausting.

In the morning we got our bags packed and stared out the window at the sun shining brightly. It was warmer then the previous day and the warmth was a nice change. We ate breakfast at a beautiful place in downtown North Conway. When we had finally stuffed our stomachs full we started our drive home. While driving we glanced at the mountains and the melting snow. It looks like we chose the best time to go skiing. The Ides of March are a precarious thing but this past weekend they were in our favor. ❤️image

For the Love of Coffee

I love coffee and if your like me a cup of coffee can make or break your day. I love the smell of coffee so naturally if I smell it I instantly perk up. The smell of this wonderful elixir I connect with home, family, and Sunday mornings. I think sensory memory plays a major role for me in my life. I have always connected the smell of coffee with my grandparents. My grandfather and my grandmother both drank coffee, preferably Folders Crystals. I have to say instant coffee has never been my thing. I gave it a valiant go during my various trips to Europe but alas Starbucks became my kindred spirit.

I haven’t met anyone who drinks instant coffee since my grandparents and so the smell struck me as odd one early morning in my apartment. Ironic as it may sound I only own a Keurig and I am ashamed to say I don’t use it much. It was about 3:50 am in the morning when a strong coffee ground smell filtered into my room. I am pretty confident of the time because I had gone into the kitchen to get a glass of water and glanced at the microwave and noticed it was 3:00 am. I returned to bed and finally fell asleep.

The dream that was currently playing was about a family function and someone had mentioned they were going to go make coffee. The logic of a host offering coffee made perfect sense and unlike other dreams I have had the sequence of things seemed natural. The face of the host was a blur but they brought out mugs, sugar, milk, and a coffee pot. I think it was when the coffee was being poured that the overwhelming smell hit my nose. I remember thinking wow this is some strong coffee I’m going to need more sugar when I woke up. The smell filled the room and it was intense. I woke up my boyfriend and he lay there for a minute confused.

I exclaim ” do you smell it??” “the coffee smell?” It took him a minute for him to register the question but finally he responded “yes I do.. That is odd.”

We have lived in this apartment for a year and some change now. The tenants that live in the building with us have been our neighbors for several months and never have I smelt this before. The window was not open and as I said before we do not use our coffee machine.

I lay there astounded and the conviction in my mind was clear. We were experiencing something that can’t be explained. We were being visited by someone.

I remember saying ” someone is here..someone came to see us.” “Who is it?” My boyfriend usually is a skeptic but this experience seemed to intrigue him. ” I think it might be my mom,” he responded. A fellow coffee lover herself, and certainly someone who liked strong coffee. I thought of my grandparents and wondered, could it be one of them? I finally said out loud ” well whomever it is, thank you.”

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That night I slept the best I have slept in a long time. I usually struggle to fall asleep and stay asleep for the whole night. This experience however, was a calming one a sense of warmth filled me. I am not sure if my memory manifested the smell or if we were visited by someone. What I can say is that there is no way we both would have smelt the same thing without it being present in some form. Could we have been visited by someone as a reminder? Was someone in either of our families trying to reach out to us? Maybe to let us know they were watching over us? I can honestly say I am not sure. What I can say is I have experienced things like this before and every time I am left wondering about it. I suppose these types of experiences are up to the individual person to decide. I am content to think that it is a visitor. A friendly family member stopping by for a cup of coffee. ❤️

 

Mr. Groundhog you were wrong!

Blog Update: Well that darn marmot was wrong! We were hit twice with a storm shortly after my last Blog post. It looks like I won’t be wearing tennis shoes for awhile. It was a pretty low key weekend considering the blizzard warning we were given. I spent most of it reading and listening to music, two things I always enjoy doing. I would occasionally glance outside and watch the snowflakes fall haphazardly on street lamps and cars. The snowscape that we were encased in reminded me of being inside a snow globe.

I know most people dislike the snow. In fact, people often leave areas prone to snow to live in warmer climates. I on the other hand enjoy the scenery of a snow covered ground. It reminds me of a white wedding dress, Mother Nature’s trousseau. It gives the surrounding area a soft blanket of pure white. I wasn’t able this year to get and take pictures. Last year we had exceptional snow storms including several blizzards. I was able to get out a few times and take photos of the landscape. When I happened on these pictures again it made me think of this storm. I think they are worth showcasing.

 

Pumas and owls and soul food oh my!

February was a spontaneous little flirt this weekend. The usual cold brisk wind and grey looming clouds with snow cleared and made way for sunny blue skies. The temperature hit mid 50’s which for the North East is a rare phenomenon. When I woke up I opened the windows to the bright sun and rejoiced by moving my miniature herb garden closer to its heaven.

image My boyfriend and I celebrated by going out for a drive along the highway with the windows down. We drove to a small zoo and walked around looking at the animals sunning themselves on rocks and trees. The bobcat was coy and only peeked at us through a tree. The puma as graceful as he was, paced about climbing on the fallen trees in his cage. The black bears were sleeping in the sun with little smiles on their faces. I have to say my favorite was the owl who was sleeping in the corner and every once and awhile would open one eye for a status check. image

It was a wonderful day. The drive in the sun with the windows down made our Sunday dinner even more delicious that night. The previous week we had to postpone due to snow showers. The wait for my mom’s pot roast was worth it, as always she never disappoints. Then on Monday we drove up north to see my boyfriends aunt and uncle. We had a great afternoon of homemade meatballs, spaghetti and talking. These two days brightened my spirits more than any tangible gift ever could. I was happy to see on Groundhog day that Mr. Groundhog didn’t see his shadow. I have never put much stock in marmots and their effect on the weather but this year I am hoping he’s right! ❤️

A Test of Wills

I have been writing since I was young. A hobby which was encouraged by my grandma. If time had allowed her I believe she would have gone to college to become a teacher. As a consolation prize however, she became my early tutor. I learned to read at three years old, mind you this wasn’t an easy task. She would set the timer and read to me easy books and then when the timer was up I would have to read the book back to her. I fumbled a lot, I remember it being really frustrating. She had a way with words, a flare if you will that made listening easy. She was probably one of the best story tellers I have ever met. She had a natural talent for writing and poetry and she encouraged me to write my own. I can boastfully say I grew up with homemade children stories read to me. She proceeded J.K. Rowling but a few decades. The stories varied between animals, fairies, people or whatever she decided to write about. She always wrote everything with such imagery that you felt you could touch the scene or the character.

I went on to write stories, poetry and taking creative writing courses all through school. I think there was no one more excited than her about this. When I would enter my poems into contests she would always support me and make me feel like I could write anything. So of course in the off chance they were published or won it was just an added bonus. It didn’t matter what she wrote about, sad times or happy ones she managed to give of herself to the page. This was a skill I wanted more than anything. I would always have her read them, and she would offer her advice for which I was always thankful for.

Then my poetry muse and matriarch started to get ill. She started to forget things, events, and people. Small things at first of course like the toast in the oven and the glass of milk in the cabinet. But, it began to progress in a cruel tortuous dance. The poems that she would write during the afternoons while bored started to lose clarity. I found myself offering advice, which was a precarious place for me. I had become the “teachers aid” to her writing. She would drift through a forest of confusing thought and just like life she would stumble on a clearing in her mind. Then she was just as before, talking about past days, and trips to the beach. But, the clearing would soon fill with fog and her vantage point would be lost once again, and me with it.

One of the last times I visited her while she was in hospice care she asked about her writing. It was as if she finally realized her life was finite and she wanted a piece of her genius to remain. I told her that she had given me all of her writing awhile back and I had it in safe keeping. She laid back and closed her eyes and seemed to relax. I watched the tension that had temporarily been placed there removed. I knew at this moment that I would try my best to maintain her work and if I could I would find a way to keep her writing going. I would write for the both of us, and for awhile I did. I had under estimated one thing though, not being able to show her my writing would become the hardest thing of all. Overwhelmed I decided to take a sabbatical.

Years later while searching through copious magazines on a magazine rack. I came across a magazine cover that sparked my interest. I was no stranger to this particular bookstore but I had never seen this publication before. It was for writers and poets and on the cover stated ” Over 115 Writing Contests with Upcoming Deadlines!” This was perhaps the jolt I had been searching for. I had been annoyed with my writing and coming across the magazine cover had given me renewal. The feeling reminded me of times lost. When I would fuss over my poem or my short story and my grandma would tell me it’s great. After much deliberation I have decided to enter one of the poetry contests. My only hope is wherever my grandma is she can send me her reassuring energy one more time. ❤️image

New Year Cliche

I have been ready for the New Year since the start of last month. Perhaps it was the minor car crash I got into the week of Thanksgiving that started it off? Or maybe it was the insane chaos at work that didn’t seem to end until New Years Eve? Or the holidays having their usual anxiety and over consumption of food? Either or any of these could be the catalyst but I think the actual reason is it finalizes the year. I’m not going to bore you with the “new year new me” shtick. The ending of last year and the start of this one allows for everyone who had set backs or plans on improvements to feel hopeful. Plain and simple. Even if that positivity only lasts a month. I am sure many people in life have wanted a second chance or a chance to start with a clean slate, the New Year is an iconic symbol of that. Sadly, yes I am no exception to this hope. But, when I evaluate the past pitfalls of the previous year or mistakes I have made I am realistic. I will always like cake, I drink coffee with too much sugar, and I will always enjoy a quiet evening at home. So my goals for this year are simple. I am going to continue forward, with the potential promise of good things to come. And frankly how can anyone expect more than that? ❤️ image

Few of My Favorite Things

Usually I spend my holidays working both Christmas and New Years. This year with my new job I finally have the opportunity to spend the holidays at home with family. I have been scouring the pictures I have taken throughout 2015 and I would like to share them. After all a picture speaks 1,000 words. Here are a few of my favorite things.

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#chocolate#pinterest#fan

 

Pinterest is addicting! I started out on a whim based on a conversation I had with a friend. On Pinterest, I found some recipes and ideas I liked for crafting.  My enjoyment for Pinterest has since escalated. Pinterest is by far one of my favorite search engines. I get a lot of ideas, tips, and inspiration from Pinterest especially at this time of year. One great recipe that I found on Pinterest is a recipe for Dark Chocolate Pecan Pie Bark. When I clicked on the post it brought me to the Ziplock website which had several great ideas for the holidays.

However being a chocolate caramel fan my original choice beat out the competition.

Ingredients are simple: soft caramels, dark chocolate chips, microwave safe bowl, parchment or wax paper, baking sheet, spatula, and pecans (or any nuts).

 

I don’t always have the best record when it comes to deserts but this was a great success!! This recipie is fun, easy, and yummy.

TIP: I followed the recipe exactly as far as using 16 oz dark chocolate chips and 15 caramel chews. In my opinion, there didn’t seem to be enough chocolate once it was melted. Also, the caramel seemed to still be sticky even though it was refrigerated for four hours. If you have plenty of time to let the caramel set then use the amount per the recipie. I think if you were in a rush it would be harder to package. The caramel was still sticky when I was placing it in bags for gifts.

Good luck and enjoy!! ❤️

 

 

Thankful Memories

Perhaps it is customary at times like these to think of memories. You always carry around the knowledge that people are gone but it is never more evident than the holidays. I spent most of mine at my grandparents house. My grandparents would spend the week before cleaning and preparing for Thanksgiving day. My grandmother would fret over not having enough food even though at the end we always had way to much. My grandfather was meticulous about the bird and would continue to get up and peek at it though the window.
I would watch the parade in awe on the TV and wish I was dancing on the floats. I would exclaim about the giant balloons and call my grandmother out of the kitchen to see. I would wait till the very end when Santa appears waving from his sleigh. I would smile and wave at the screen thinking for certain he saw me. These times were magic for me. The smells of food would fill the air. Rolls, turkey, potatoes, gravy, pies and more would enter my senses.

imageMy grandparents, my mom, my uncles, aunts, and cousins would sit down at the large table. I was always so happy to sit down with my family at the grown up table. I would eat my first plate super fast and then reach for more bread and munch on it while my family discussed politics, school, holidays, memories etc. I never much participated in this particular part but I always enjoyed listening to their voices. Grandpa would always finish eating last and we would all wait for him to be done. He would then help clear the table and we would all help washing and drying the dishes together.  image

Then we would all put coats on and walk around the neighborhood. Sometimes we would go down to the pond and feed the ducks, other times we would just stroll about looking at houses. When the walk was complete, we would go into the house and warm ourselves with coffee, teas, and deserts. It is these small moments that I miss the most. Over time the table became more vacant, the chairs left without a companion. Thanksgiving started to become a thing we did in restaurants. My grandparents house was sold and they both passed. We stopped cooking meals and started eating out. The things I loved so much about the holidays seemed to fade and pass too. There was no anticipation, no walks, no real conversation. We ordered ate and left, and it became just like any other day.

Today however, I am happy to say I am spending Thanksgiving eating with family. I ate French toast and watched the parade. I watched in awe at the floats, the balloons and the bands. I waited till the last and waved at Santa and as I started to smell the food cooking I was transported. Transported to a time and place that had been almost forgotten. I am thankful for my memories of the past because they have always carried me through. But, today I am thankful for the new ones I will have because those will be all the sweeter.❤️

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Purple Ribbon

Amongst the colorful leaves and the upcoming enthusiasm for fall, a dark shade of purple emerges. This color purple is the spreading bruises on the skin and hearts of the victims of domestic violence. October isn’t just Breast Cancer month it is also Domestic Violence Awareness month. Domestic violence like Breast cancer affects everyone, all races and genders, but unlike the pink ribbon memorabilia and Avon Walks it is rarely talked about. The definition of domestic violence is defined as “… violence and emotional abuse are behaviors used by one person in a relationship to control the other. Partners may be married or not married; heterosexual, gay, or lesbian; living together, separated or dating.” Domestic violence and abuse doesn’t always start out the same way for everyone. Sometimes it starts out with just over protectiveness or jealousy and other times it starts out with verbal abuse. The key is to learn the warning signs not only for yourself but for your friends and family. imageThe Hotline website breaks down each method used to gain power and control.  The domestic violence and control wheel covers eight major areas: using emotional abuse, using isolation, minimizing denying or blaming, using children, using male privilege, using economic abuse, using coercion and threats, and using intimidation.

This topic hits home for me in a major way. I watched my mother become a victim of verbal and physical abuse by my father as a child. He managed to take everything she had prided herself in and destroy it slowly like acid. I watched him name call,  control her contact with family, threaten her, and threaten me. She felt ashamed of her situation and felt as if it was her fault. She was afraid to reach out to friends and family for fear their judgement would be worse than staying in her marriage. She finally did ask for help but it was a very difficult thing for her to do. Victims of this type of trauma feel as if they deserve it and that feeling comes from the mind control and manipulation of the other person. The abuser gets into the victims head and makes a very sound logical person feel like they can’t make any choices or decisions without them. That is all part of the issue with domestic violence.

The stigma about it and the shame that is associated makes it difficult for people like my mother to leave these situations. Nothing makes me angrier than when I hear someone make comments like “well she should have left sooner” or “she stayed so she gets what she gets.” The psychological damage involved in many of these situations is almost worse than the actual physical abuse. The body and the skin heal eventually but the emotional and mental scars sometimes don’t. There was a point where my father would threaten to take me and kidnap me from my mother if she ever left. My father didn’t like to make idle threats. As a reinforcement of his threat, he showed up at my school and made it very uncomfortable for the teacher and my grandparents who always picked me up. I don’t think I need to tell you how alarmed and frighted this must have made my mother. This is just one example of manipulation and abuse that my mother experienced. There were endless fights that involved flying objects at our heads, fists being thrown through walls, through glass and at us. We lived in a war zone. My mother, myself and others are just a growing statistic that seems to be falling by the wayside. Why is this still a taboo topic? We can watch commercials about endless herbal sexual stimulants but we can’t discuss abuse? Where is the public outcry?

imageThis type of abuse and violence has been going on for centuries and the fact that it is still an issue today is nauseating. The statistics about domestic violence and abuse are staggering. According to a 2010 CDC National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence survey, “More than 1 in 3 women and more than 1 in 4 men in the US have experienced rape, physical violence and or stalking in their lifetime.” The CDC estimates that around ” 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have experienced severe physical violence by a partner ( examples include hit with a fist, beat with something, slammed into something or beaten).” How can we call ourselves a civilized society when we have numbers like this? There needs to be as much enthusiasm for this cause as every other. Only recently on TV during football games have I seen commercials for NO MORE which is a slogan from the National Network to End Domestic Violence. I have no doubt this was sparked by the scandals of domestic violence committed by professional athletes. Why does it take a celebrity to take a topic like this and make it real to people? The victims of domestic violence and abuse often feel as if they have no way out, they are alone, or trapped in their environment. One of the biggest things that helped my mother survive was having a network to reach out to. I can say as her daughter I am so proud of my mother for her bravery and strength. Unfortunately, some people are not as fortunate as us. We as a society need to be the network for these victims. If you or anyone you know is a victim of domestic violence please know that you are not alone. If you feel comfortable enough talking with a friend or family member do so. If you prefer talking to someone who is unknown to you they have great confidential hotlines that are available 24 hours a day. You are not to blame for what is happening. You ARE stronger than you think and you DO deserve happiness and to feel safe.

Be well and be safe!♥

Here are some great sources of information: http://www.thehotline.org, http://www.nnedv.org, http://www.nomore.org

National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE(7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224

Bits and pieces

Something I discovered during my adolecence and adult years is I am a pack rat. Some examples of this can be seen in the dozens of old cards I have recieced from family over the years, boxes of photos, even numerous ticket stubs in my purse. But, fear not my friends I found the perfect outlet for my “collections,” scrapbooking. Scrapbooking is an awesome theraputic experience not only creatively, but my purse thanks me too! I enjoy using many mediums for my scrapbook, paper, stickers, fabric, ribbon, and paint to name a few. As fall has finally arrived and the nights seem to get shorter I have returned to scrapbooking.

Since Halloween is just around the corner I have started making a backdrop for my Halloween page, and wanted to share it with you!

I used: Black paper, Acrylic paint ( black, white, grey, orange, yellow and a dark green), Stickers, photo

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I usually start with a basic wavy paint outline in a lighter color( for this one its grey). I then make it wavy all the way to the bottom of the page and then add black to some forest green to make the highlight color for the dark grass.

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Then I  add more white to black paint to make a lighter grey and start making thin oval loops. These oval loops work great for clouds. They don’t have to be even since clouds in nature are not.

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Then make a space in between the clouds and paint two half circles in a bright yellow or orange – yellow color. Once it dries make two small loops over the moon to add to the spooky effect for a Halloween backdrop.

Once your back drop is dry you can start to add your embelishments like stickers, pictures etc.imageScary picture

I hope you enjoyed my how-to guide and I hope the pictures were helpful for your own scrapbook pages.♥

Trip to the Fair

Big E The GPS announced in three miles we would reach our destination and I was overwhelmed with excitement. The car crawled in a procession past large signs proclaiming “Big E” and arrows pointing straight ahead. The day had finally arrived, I was going to the Big E. The Big E or the Eastern States Exposition is one of the largest fairs held today and its history goes all the way back to the early 1900’s. It boasts a wide variety of food, culture, tourism, animals, crafts, history, and much more. Joshua L. Brooks the founder of the exposition started it as a place to educate farmers in new methods of farming. His hope was that this exposition would encourage an interest in farming and thus revive New England’s dwindling agriculture.
Brooks wanted to incorporate all six of the surrounding New England states and had a building built for each of the following: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. The collection of state buildings make up what is known as the Avenue of States. Inside each of these buildings it houses crafters, vendors, and tourist information from their respective state. The fair along the way gained more culture by adding nine original historic buildings. Helen Osborn Storrow an exposition trustee and philanthropist decided to search the six surrounding New England states to find original historic buildings. Her vision was to add to the history and culture of the exposition, and thus has helped further the “living history” programs that go on today. The buildings are available for touring and have costumed guides that allow you further understanding about life from 1700s and 1800 era.

As I walked up to the iron gates that surround the grounds the smells and sounds of the fair illuminated me. I could see the bright flashing signs announcing delicious treats, I could hear the clomping of hooves on pavement and I could feel myself turn into a child again. I grabbed a map from the booth and I scoured the many options. I decided I should walk towards the Avenue of States first and then work my way back. I passed dozens of crafters tables located in barns and little cabins along the walk. I passed dozens of fair food trucks, Belgian waffles, stuffed baked potatoes, BBQ, popcorn, cotton candy, funnel cakes, fried dough and more. When I reached the first building a line had grown outside but we quickly moved in and I could smell the blueberry pies cooking. I had reached the Maine building first. Blueberry pies, seafood chowders and other delights were being offered about the room. After each turn there were more crafts, sweaters, flannel, leather products, and jewelry. It was fascinating to see the many types of products in each building. Vermont had a Ben and Jerry ice cream stand. Rhode Island had local foods like a giant whoopee pie. Connecticut had a Lego station and Dino exhibit inside where most of the children were found. New Hampshire had real maple syrup for sale among artisan cheeses, breads, and beer. The Massachusetts building had apples for sale in bags from local orchards, pies, and cakes. The entire process took about an hour and a half to walk through and with each turn it was hard to resist the kind people leaning over to hand me samples.

I had heard about the spectacular shows the Big E puts on and when I noticed a free circus was going on, I knew I had to go. As I headed to the big top I noticed a small sign: Clyde Reynolds & Brooke Evans “Circus in Miniature.” imageMy curious nature got the better of me and as I stepped inside I was glad this time it had. Surrounding the room were miniature detailed displays of circus scenes. The first display had a wagon parade with several horses frozen in march pulling a circus wagon. A plaque above showed the proud Reynolds positioning his creation. The circus wagon and horses were crafted and painted by Reynolds using pictures and drawings. The remaining buildings, people, and animals were hand crafted and painted by Brooke Evans. The detail captured by both these men add to its enchantment. Miniature men taming lions in cages, circus trains with animals peeking out from the inside, rows of animals marching with bright painted designs. Mini Circcus  There wasn’t a detail missed in any of the scenes. The little boy holding his balloon and even the grumpy teen waiting at a booth was added to the diorama. Miniature people serving breakfast in tents, and people sitting in the stands under a miniature big top. I left the exhibit excited to watch a real live circus.

While I sat on the bleachers under the large tent I was reminded of seeing the circus when I was a child. Men and women yelling “Popcorn, soda, cotton candy here” surrounded me and as the men set up the high wire I felt a hush go over the crowd. The circus had high wire acts of men and women doing daring tricks with bikes, flips, jumps, and more. There were trained Doberman dogs that came out on a bike in a sidecar. circusProbably one of my favorite acts was the four women balancing bowls on their heads while riding unicycles. They lined up in a row and one at a time, they would ride the bike with one foot while placing a bowl on the available foot. Then they flipped the bowl up in the air and it would land perfect on the woman’s head next to them. Chinese dancers in two giant gold and red dog costumes. A funny clown act that even made the announcer laugh in spite of himself. A juggler who juggled seven tennis balls so fast while doing flips and jumps they seemed to form one large ball. An areal silk dancer balancing with just his strength alone did flips and spirals while using two long columns of fabric to hold him up. The last act involved a pair of acrobats spinning on an elevated trapeze. As they glided through the air they did splits and balancing acts. I was so impressed by the show that I couldn’t believe it was over.

I was famished and as I ate my big baked potato with veggies piled on top I walked over to where the barns were. I observed large paddocks with beautiful clydesdales, llamas, pigs, goats and rabbits. I gasped at the giant pumpkin contest and was in awe of the carving winner. I walked through the many rows of crafters looking at the homespun detail on many of their products. I managed to make my way over to the amusement part of the fair and gazed up at the large shadow of a ferris wheel. As afraid as I was of ferris wheels I knew this was an experience not to be missed. Armed with my camera in hand I took several shots of the park. When I finally was able to get off the ride I laughed at myself, all that fear for nothing. I decided to make my way over to where the historic buildings were. History was more my thing anyway. image
The buildings were amazing from the outside and even more so from the inside. The guides clothed in costumes were adept at commanding your attention. The little school house had a school teacher who enjoyed elating us with its history. It was lucky enough to have a covered stove and not an open fireplace and an indoor necessary or bathroom. The walls were covered in chalk boards and she explained that the small room had ages from four all the way to eighteen. The Captains house across the way was brought to the exposition property piece by piece and was not replicated in any way. They had a blacksmith, and a regular farm house to tour, a quiet little church and others. I liked the historical aspect immensely, it helped me appreciate all the innovations we have had along the way.
The end of the day was closing in and even though I was sad it was over I was happy to have had the experience. I finally understood why the fair was so popular and why people flock to it time and time again. I stood for a few minutes and admired the marching band playing various songs with majorettes. The band began to file out while still playing the drums and as it left I took that as my cue to head out too. I took one last look at the signs and one last smell of the food and smiled. Until next year Big E, I will definitely be seeing you again.♥

The historical information about the Big E was found on the website. If you would like to do some research of your own about it for a potential trip the website is great. http://www.thebige.com/ese/about/history/

http://www.thebige.com/things-to-do/educational/

Dairy Entry 102: Target you get me

Ohhh Target… you get me! I don’t know how you know me so well but you do. I have discovered a good portion of people including my boyfriend are unfamiliar with it’s glistening “golden ticket” quality but for me it brings about the nostalgia of Bradlees, Ames, or Caldor. I realize those name drops are giving my age away but in comparison I am not far off. The presentation of the aisles the red colors all remind me of entering Bradlees or Ames and thinking“ I can get everything I need right here.”

Case in point: It is the only store I can go in for two items and leave with a cart full of stuff wondering did I forget anything? The other day I went into target for soap, some makeup, and a jacket and left with Christmas ornaments, plates, food, pants, and socks. I felt good about it though, like I was productive. I swear they release positive vibes from the air vents or something as soon as you pass that cute dog mascot on the way in.

Why do I love them so much? They anticipate and know my needs instantly I mean example one: dinner plates. I didn’t mean to get plates but as I was rolling by to get my bagels I noticed the winter theme set up. On an end cap I saw these plates with prancing reindeers and thought to myself “ wow do I have winter plates at home?” “What if I need these?” Clearly a concern around this time of year with entertaining. I stared at the display and wondered “ what about bowls?” Wait a minute look at this matching bowls and obviously you cant have plates without matching bowls right? I mean who wants to put out a nice spread for the holidays with friends without matching bowls? The answer folks is, no one. I glance at the napkins and I resist thinking to myself “ don’t get ahead of yourself you have wonderful gold napkins you don’t need those.” Oh but look at these goblets? Well, heck I know I don’t have goblets. I mean if I am going to get the plates I clearly need these goblets. I just kept thinking of how useful they are, for beverages like mulled cider, frappes, iced tea, and look how nice they are? I mean, four goblets thats not a lot right? I mean when I get right down to brass tax all those cups I’ve thrown out over the years probably bought these goblets 10 times over, it’s a done deal in my cart they go.

They know that I had more of my list than I had originally written down example two: Bargain bins in the front. I don’t know what it is about me and crafts but I love them. Perhaps in another piece I will enlighten you with my withdrawals from Michaels but for now, bins. I love those things! I usually shop there first. I mean where else can I find cute little cut outs and stuff for a 5 bucks or less? I know my dollar store fans are going to cry out but have you tried the cut outs from the dollar store? Some of them are not even worth the dollar. I decided like last year I am making my own Christmas tags, so clearly these cute cut outs are key. Oh snap, they have bottles of Mod Podge? Well, I mean I don’t even think I have any at home so these two bottles are going in my cart. Woah what is this? Ceramic little houses for painting or for decorating? Ohhh Target you…you are good. I have many of those plug in houses at home, but the issue is many of them are targets for my cats. Apparently my furry friends decide to demolish my little village by crushing my trees and trying to bite through the cords. But these little houses, small enough to fit on my mantle and I can put a flameless votive inside! Okay calm down just get one, I mean you have to pace yourself.

Sighs Something that matters to me is neatness with the stores, and variety and so Example three: variety. Look, I am well aware that most don’t appreciate like I do variety in lactose free milks but for me that is key. I have found more choices for flavored almond, soy, and cashew milk at Target than I have at a local grocery store. It doesn’t stop there though they always have more options for household products, beauty products etc. I don’t want to make a bunch of stops to find the products I need, and often Target has items I need that other stores don’t.

After my plate purchase I got home and realized not only do I not have enough room to entertain people but I don’t know enough I want to entertain. Eh it is the thought that counts. If I go back there I will just return the items and think“ do I have ritz crackers at home?” Then before you know it I have small serving plates with little cheese knives and fancy cheese. I’m not saying that I have done this I am just giving you an example. (Right!) I am embracing what is I love Target and there is nothing I can do about it. Target you complete me.

 

Feature Image Courtesy of: http://www.fullredneck.com/funny-target-memes-buying-too-much/

Merman Poem

Mermaids have fascinated me since I was a little girl. This is a twist on the traditional story. The photos are from trips I took to local beaches near me.

Merman

Reflections cast in a mirror

But, it’s not me I see

A girl with hair of gold

Eyes like the sea

Darkness, shadows in my eyes

As storms rage and then subside

Waves crash on the rocks of my heart

Pale as the sand the ocean wears

I search for him I call with eyes closed

 

Praying for him

He is the other half of me

He belongs to me as does the sea

He caresses me like the rain

Soft gentle kisses to numb my pain

On the rock where we met

I wait for him

 

In the strongest storms

I can feel him near

I taste him on the air

I run to the water

Hoping he’s still there

 

But, as I reach where he might have been

The calm of the water says

I’ve missed him again

And just like before

A white shell as promised,

I find 
 On the shore —

 

My rescuer has swam off again

Where he commands all that share his ocean den

His subjects do not reveal his place

On a bed of seaweed sleeping

He waits …for me.

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