Category Archives: writing

Focus 52: "Green"

Yes.  I could write a St. Patrick’s Day post for this weeks Focus 52 prompt of “Green”.  That would be relatively easy.  Frankly, I don’t know much about the Irish. I know a lot of their names have an “O” followed by an apostrophe and then some other word.  I know that Irish eyes are sometimes smiling.  I know what “Irish twins” are.  I know what it means to have “the luck of the Irish” and, on the opposite hand,  I know what the “curse of the Irish” is due to some unfortunate dating choices in the 80’s.  I know that Bailey’s Irish Creme is some really good shit to dump into your coffee…or not.  And I know that St. Patty’s day is a day to wear green, run out into the street with a bottle in one hand while simultaneously puking on your friends shoes.  I get all of that. I admit, I don’t know much about St. Patty or why he is so legendary.  Is he a Leprechaun?  Are people always after his Lucky Charms? 

I would like to make a day like that for the Jews.  Like…St. Moses Day.  We can all wear blue and white, the colors of Israel, run around holding up a bottle of Manischevitz and flinging Matzoh at passing cars.  We can go around burning bushes and when the police show up, we can join each other in a merry chant of “Let My People Go.”

I’m not big into cultural and religious celebrations if you haven’t noticed.

So what does “green” mean to me?  It is not envy.  It is not easy being green. In fact, green is the color of my fear.  Green is the color of the worst period of my life.  For me, this is green:

Green is the color of my former addiction.  Those little green bottles that use to house those little white pills that used to ruin my life.  This picture that I took reminded me of how I felt when taking drugs.  Everything was blurry, black and white and then, when the magical green bottle would enter my hand, suddenly, color once more!  And the world would make sense again…at least it did, in my fucked up, addicted mind.

So why would I be thinking of little green pill bottles during a week of green celebration?  Because holidays that glorify drinking and addiction go hand in hand.  I admit, I am scared for my friends this weekend.  They are going out to party pretty hard.  Tonight, the world becomes Irish and everyone joins in the celebration.  People will drink, party, take pills, smoke weed, whatever so they can remember this as “The Best St. Patrick’s Day EVER!!!”

And I will hold my breath until Monday, praying that none of my friends die this weekend.

If you are celebrating this weekend, please…do so in moderation.  Be careful of what you ingest and how much you ingest.  Alcohol poisoning can kill you.  A combination of pills and alcohol can kill you.  If you have to “go green” this weekend, smoke some weed and stay home and giggle at the movie “Leprechaun: 3D” but please, above all…stay safe.

Because I love you.  Because I care.

And because I want to see your smiling Irish eyes for a long time to come.

Focus 52: "Frame"

Frame.

I had a bunch of ideas for this word of the week but nothing really came to fruition.  With midterms going on, I was sort of pressed for time.  The way I wanted to use “frame” wasn’t in the cards…but then, my husband, my biggest source of inspiration said “Why not a door frame?”

And I thought, why not, indeed?

So, welcome to the front door of my home.  If you had any clue or have been reading my blog for some time, you would know why this particular door frame means so much to me and my family.  A year ago, we were being thrown out of our original home due to foreclosure.  Nothing we did, mind you, just victims of circumstance.

You can read the story surrounding it here at “This Old House”, a post I made a year ago. 

This picture, taken one night when we first moved into our new home, means a lot to me.  It was the symbol of a new beginning.  This front door has seen the entry of my grandchildren.  It has been the gateway to many parties, a lot of laughs and of course, a few tears.  But, this new home has also been the source of safety…a place where I now know I will never be asked to leave ever again.  I will never have to come home to see chains on the front door.  I will never have a process server come up to me and say “Sorry, Ma’am, but this house is being seized by the bank.”  I will never have to call my husband in California ever again and say, “baby, they lost the house on us.  We’re homeless as of next week.  What are we going to do?”

It will never, ever, happen again.

So, while this might not be the home where my first granddaughter came home to, or learned to walk in.  While this may not be the house that my husband and I dreamed of buying once upon a time, it is better than what we had, because it is safe.  It’s in a fantastic neighborhood, surrounded by a cop, an ex-marine and a private detective.  It has a much bigger backyard where my grandbabies can run around in.  It is a stones throw from my sons school bus stop.  It is beautiful, spacious with vaulted ceilings and a large, bright and welcoming kitchen.  There is a step down living room with cherry wood floors with an amazing warmth to it.  The bedrooms are large and expansive.  There are windows everywhere, not like our past home which was dark and dreary.  But most of all, it is inviting.  It envelopes all who pass through it like a secure hug.  Surely, it is not the house itself that make a home, but rather, the love contained within.  But this home that we have made fits us like a glove.

Coming home one night, I noticed how it glowed, like a beacon in the dark…welcoming us in and assuring us that we will never go back to where we were a year ago ever again.  It is where new memories are being made, where happiness and love abound and where all who enter through that front door frame are friends.  People I trust.  People I love.  People who embrace me and whom I embrace in return.

It is our home.  And, should you ever be in the neighborhood, it is your home as well.

Drop in.  Any time.  The door is wide open.

Focus 52: "Play"

Playgrounds.

The birth of innocence starts here.  The death of innocence generally starts here too.  Standing outside the chain link fence of a nearby school, I am transported back to the days that I spent in my own schoolyard.

“Fat girl, fat girl,” they used to chant at me.

I would slide underneath a sliding pond, looking for solace, hoping to become invisible.

“Brace face, brace face,” they would scream at me.

I would try to touch the sky in a swing.  Maybe if I could get just high enough, I could fly away.  Maybe if it would lift me high enough, I could learn to rise above this…but their hate spew would still fill my ears and simultaneously, empty my heart. 

“If you would just get to know me,” my heart would cry out to my head.  “If you only knew how funny I am.  How silly I am.  I have the best jokes.  I really could make you laugh…if you would only let me.”  I make my little brother laugh, I would think to myself.  I do a really cool impression of Donny and Marie singing,
“I’m a Little Bit Country/I’m a Little Bit Rock and Roll”.  If you would let me show it to you…you’d forget how fat I am.  You wouldn’t care about my braces.

You might even like me…just a little.  And we could be friends…in secret.  No one would have to know.

I can keep a secret.  I’d make a good friend.  I promise.

There is nothing lonelier than the sight of a little girl alone on a see saw in the downward position, the other end high up in the air.  “The whole class would have to get on the other side to lift you up,” one especially mean-spirited girl would spit at me, venom in her voice and malice in her eyes.

I would close my eyes.  Squeeze them shut tight.  So tight, I would see colors.  I would make up rhymes in my head, jotting them down in my notebook.  Later on, when I get home, I can write a song.  I can write a poem.  I could write a book, someday.  My teachers always said “what a good writer you are”.  And I was.  Alone…in my little world, I could write the words that could bring grown men to tears and cause the coldest heart to defrost.  I had talent.  I had a gift.

But they don’t know that about me.  They can’t see past a fat girl with braces. 

So, I would get up from the see saw.  Walk over to the bench and sit down, eating my lunch quietly alone. I had my notebook.  I had my new pencils.  I had a shiny, brand new Charlie’s Angels lunchbox.  I would happily give you half my sandwich.  Or, you can have both of my snacks.  I would give you the world if only you would be my friend.

“What are you writing,” the teacher would ask.

“Just a poem,” I would mumble.

“You are such a good writer,” she would say with kind eyes that easily translated to “I feel so bad for you”.

“Thanks,” I would reply with a shrug of my shoulders. 

And I would continue to sit on the bench, scribbling notes and words that scarcely make any sense.  I would show them all someday, when I am a famous writer.  I have no time for their silliness.  I am a smart girl.  I am a good person.  I have more important things to do than play hide and seek or freeze tag.  I have plans.  I have hopes.  I have dreams.  I have secrets. 

But, if you knew me at all, if you ever took the time to…you’d know the truth.

All I ever really wanted to do…was play.

Focus 52: "Cold"

This weeks prompt has had me so frustrated.  Cold.  How on earth do I do “Cold” when I live in Florida and the temperature is a balmy 73 degrees?  Florida has been the hold out in the United States as the ONLY state that did not cooperate during “Snowmageddon 2011”.  Every single other state in the union had snow on the ground except Florida.  Not even a hint of frost in the weeks since the holidays.  Nothing.

So, I search my house for the usual suspects.  My refrigerator?  That’s cold.  Perhaps some sort of artsy photo of my fridge which looks more from the exterior like a photo album? It’s covered in photographs of my kids, my niece and nephews.  My grandkids.  My children.  My husband and myself.  Bleah. Not feeling that idea at all.  A photo of my thermostat set at 68 degrees with the air conditioning on “high” because it is so warm in my house?  My photo cannot convey the feeling of cold like that.  What can I shoot that would convey a feeling of cold?

I go to the bathroom in my barefoot.  It’s freezing on the tile floor.  My legs get goose bumps! Oh, a pic of goosebumpy skin for “cold”!  Alas, by the time I grab my camera, the goosebumps dissipate.  My moment of “cold” is gone.  It IS cold in my house though.  My nipples are rock hard glass cutters right now.  My boobs straining against the fabric of my t-shirt would relay the look of “cold”…but hey, Jan is running a family show on the Focus 52 project, so perhaps a set of high beams pointing south is not the way to go. (However, the photo can be sent to whoever has an interest in seeing it.  Simply fill out an email with “erect nips” in the subject line.  For a meager fee of $9.95, I will forward the photo to you.  I accept PayPal.  I will also be happy to supply you with a receipt for your tax returns.  The desire to look at 44 year old erect nipples would clearly be a charitable gesture and probably would earn you a deduction on your return.  Offer not valid in Canada.  Sorry, Jan. LOL) 

I turn on YouTube for some musical inspiration and listen to one of my favorite songs, “Cold” by Annie Lennox.  Didn’t really inspire much of anything except my desire to listen to the rest of the album, Diva, which is arguably one of the best albums of the 1990’s…or like, ever.  She’s an amazing songstress with the vocal prowess of a thousand lovebirds all cooing in perfect harmony.  However, there is nothing “cold” about this moment and so, my idea of musical inspiration falls flat.  I sit here, staring at the screen…empty as the thoughts in my head.  All roads are leading me no where.  I turn to Google Images and pop “cold” into search bar and hit “I’m Feeling Lucky”.  I get this.  Sure. Leave it to me to find the ONE site on the entire internet that has the word “cold” in it…but is under construction.  Seriously?  Billions of sites with the word “cold” in it and I manage to find the one site that is as barren as a woman’s womb post hysterectomy.  Great.  So, I do it again, only this time…I hit “Images”.  It suggests: Are you looking for “cold sores”?  Um, no.  No, Google, I am not and if I were…I most assuredly would have found them during my stint as a single woman back in the 80’s because, well…it was the 80’s.  Think “free love” during the 60’s…only with neon colors, shoulder pads and replace the pot with cocaine.  I politely decline the offer of cold sores and hit Images again…with just plain, old fashioned, herpe-less “cold” in the search bar.  I am presented with this picture:

which is awesome and all because A) it’s true and B) it takes you to the artists site who drew the above picture which is the infamous Natalie Dee of Toothpaste for Dinner.  And, in what can only be described as Six Degrees of Separation/Kevin Bacon style…Natalie Dee is the artist who drew the little princess that adorns my header, sidebar and all the comments I leave for you people.  The irony is just too much to wrap my head around.

The internet is a strange and wonderful little paradise of coincidences and extraordinary occurrences, is it not?

It is at this point that I give up.  I will have to just take the stupid refrigerator picture that I thought of earlier and just be done with it.  Nothing else is coming into my head at this point.  I’m tired, it’s 6:45 in the morning and it is friggin’ freezing in this house.  I leave my office, shutting the light off behind me.  I have to wake up my son for school in about 20 minutes so to go lay down in my bed right now would be the equivalent of foreplay without orgasm.  It would feel good for about a minute but then, I would have to leave before sleep comes and frankly, that’s just a damn tease.  As I am walking down the hall, I circle back and decide to just check in on my sleeping son.  And…there it was.  My picture!  The moment!

I run back into my office and grab my camera to take a shot of this:

My baby boy. All bundled up in his comforter, pulled up to his neck…because he is, wait for it…wait for it…

COLD.

Is it genius? No.  A masterpiece? Not by a long shot.  But, what it IS is real.  A precious, non-pretentious, non-staged moment in time that gave me a heart warming picture to share with all of you.  When our babies become teenagers, it is rare that we have a moment of peace with them.  It’s always something, somewhere, somehow.  They are too busy to slow down to talk to you…or, when they want to finally say something, of course it is always at the same moment that now, YOU are too busy to slow down to talk to them.  But, when they are sleeping, time stops.  You are transported to a time when you held the cards, you had the power, you called all the shots.  You fed them, you bathed them, you dressed them and then, that wonderful moment where you laid them down to sleep for the night.  How peaceful they looked.  How quiet and sweet when their big teenage gaping maw is not blathering on and on in your ear, on the phone, in front of the television or with the stereo playing way too loud…despite the fact they have headphones on.

Right now, at this moment…he is my little boy.  And he is cold.

I put another blanket over him.  Tousle his moppy brown curls, now tiger striped with peroxide orange streaks from his latest teenage whimsical decision to bleach his hair and plant a kiss on the top of his head.  In 5 more minutes, I will be waking him up for school.  He will be a moody, agitated, annoyed teenager again and I will be the screeching banshee standing over him caterwauling “YOU’RE GONNA MISS THE BUS…GET UP!!!”

But shhhh…because right now, he’s still my little angel baby…all wrapped up, snuggled and content.  And suddenly, this really cold house feels warm again…right along with my heart.

Focus 52: "Connect"

So I am mulling over the word “connect” and thinking. Connect. Connections. The way we keep ourselves together with the people we love. The connections we make, even briefly, over a cup of coffee. The shake of a random hand. The connection of a smile. How we all connect in tragedy, like the way we all connected over the shootings in Arizona…

I have a million ideas throbbing around in my skull for what I would like to photograph and write about.

But, always one for new ideas, I turn to the Hotband. “Honey, when I say the word, ‘connect’, what’s the FIRST thing to pop into your head.”

He says….”dots?”

Men.  So simple minded. So sweet.  So…so…boring.

Admittedly, I was at a loss this week.  I started thinking about connection in its most simple, base terms.  I thought about puzzle pieces and how they connect.  I started trying to think modern and considered snapping a photograph of the tangled web of wires just below my desk…the ones that keep me connected to all of you, here, on the internet.  I struggled with this concept as I was walking across the bridge at my college taking me from one side of the campus to the other, where I continue on my path of higher learning.

And then it dawns on me.  Connect.  Bridges connect.  This bridge that I cross every day that takes me from the parking lot, where I stood with trepidation…not exactly sure that I was ready to go back to school, across to the buildings where lessons will be taught.  I thought about the bridges I have built and, naturally, the ones I have burned.

Bridges connect.

I stepped off the bridge, down into the grassy area that runs along the beautiful lake at my college, defying the “Keep Off The Grass” sign.  I stood among the palm trees and the lushly landscaped butterfly gardens that decorate the campus.  I edged closer to the water despite the warning signs that let me know an alligator might be lurking nearby, waiting to take a nice healthy chomp out of my leg.  I waited for the sun to creep a bit below the trees and bathe the bridge in its natural, warm glow.

The sun on my face felt good.   The moment felt right and the sun setting reminded me that I only had a mere five minutes to get to my classroom, to begin the learning process once more.  Back in school once again and on my desired path, despite my detour into forbidden territory.

Bridges connect…and this time, it is taking me where I need to be.  This…is home.