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Day #345: What Have You Done Today?

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The Story:

Little girl, little girl

What have you done today?

I have done nothing,

Nothing but play.

Young lady, young lady

What will you do this week?

Not that it matters- I choose to do nothing,

My life is so desperately bleak.

Hello ma’am, hello ma’am

Tell me about your year?

Honestly sir, there is nothing to tell…

Can you believe it’s already the New Year?

 

Grandma, Grandma

Tell us about your life in past decades?

 Hmmm… nothing comes to mind…

Now who’s up for a game of Spades?

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The Not So Fantastic Reality:

The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:

ONE:      Ever have those moments where you think about your life and you wonder, “What the heck have I been doing all this time?” and the answer sounds something like, “A whole bunch of nothing, that’s what I’ve been doing.” Today was another day that will probably go down in the books as one more wasted for yours truly. I’m feeling a bit under the weather, both physically and emotionally- I’m flat out drained. After 9 hours of having to be ‘on’ at work and have all the answers at the drop of a hat, by the time I get home, especially when I’m not feeling well, the last thing I want to do is…well, anything. The little ditty above is a version of a dialog I have with myself from time to time, and encapsulates my underlying fear, a fear I think we all share on some level, that life will pass me by and I will not have done anything of consequence. I’d like to think that when I’m gone, or even while I’m still around (preferably) I will have done something of import, I will have impacted someone or something, I will have lived a life worth living. Today, I feel like I let myself down. Luckily, tomorrow is only a few hours away. See you then.

Love & Squirrels.

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Day #314: Time Is Drifting Away…

The Story:

I don’t know how much time I have, but I know it’s not much. This reality alone is sobering, but I cannot think too much on it, for I would surely collapse into a blubbering mess. I cannot feel the effects yet, so there may still be time- time to do even a fraction of the things I’ve put off for so long, confident I would get to them some day. I’ve run out of ‘somedays’, as we all must I suppose, it’s down to hours, minutes, seconds.

My senses are on overdrive, as if they grasp their impending end and are putting forth herculean efforts to take in as much of life as they can before the darkness comes. Their sensitivity is almost painful, I wince at the fading light of the sunset and cover my ears as a dog barks down the street. Perhaps it’s better we walk around dulled to all that the world shoves into our bubbles of existence, I fear living with the heightened hearing, sight and touch I now am experiencing would have driven me to madness, or perhaps to direct my own ending prematurely.

There is so much undone, so much never started or even thought upon. I won’t bore the powers at be with pleads for more time, I know that is time wasted and with a finite amount of it I have better plans for the few hours left to me. First, to set my affairs in order, I put away my laundry; even iron a shirt or two before placing them in the closet. Dishes go in the dishwasher, which I set to ‘heated dry’ and listen as the water begins to coat the plates and silverware from the past few meals. Funny now, to think I’ll not be needing them again anytime soon.

I’m starting to feel a little tired now, but will myself to press on. There will be plenty of time for sleeping soon. I think my dog knows something is off, he keeps barking at nothing and won’t leave my side- he seems to me a pacing and whining anthropomorphism of my anxious and feverish mind. I catalog my day and beyond, all the questions unanswered, ideas unheard, time poorly spent, priorities misplaced, dreams set aside. What could I have done with that time?

Guess I’ll just have to wait to find out…until tomorrow.

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The Not So Fantastic Reality:

The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:

ONE:      Change is abrewing… mostly in the weather causing some awfully fun sinus pain for yours truly. Battling a sinus headache all day is one thing, but it’s a whole other ball o’ wax when the bugger won’t heal to the powers of IB profin and continues to plague me well into the evening.  So, I did something I don’t normally like to do… I took two Tylenol PM in the hopes they will alleviate the pain in my skull and face and begin to lull me into a semi-conscious-better-get-to-bed-before-I-have-to-be-carried state. As I took the two blue and white pills, I started thinking of all the things I needed to do tonight before they ‘kicked in’ which, in my over-dramatic brain reminded me of what someone might think when receiving the ultimate bad news that their life was coming to a quick close. Morbid, maybe… but so is ironing in my book. On to house chores before I crumple into a useless heap.

Love & Squirrels.

Day #293: The Fabric of My Life

The Story:

This was from my first nose bleed as a kid. I was so freaked out my mom wrapped me up in it and promised a surprise if I remembered to hold the Kleenex to my nose. I fell asleep before she came back with the surprise ice cream sundae and this is where a little bit of blood fell from my uncovered nose.

Click for original image

This is from when my brother and I were building a fort and the broomstick doubling as the main support beam pierced right through the material. Freddie thought we should fix it with a Band-Aid and you can still feel where it’s a little sticky around the edges of the hole right here.

This was when I stayed out all night, laying on the hood of my beat-up pinto watching the planes land with my high school boyfriend. They were so close and so loud the first plane scared me and I covered my head with the blanket, smearing blue eye shadow and shimmering pink lipstick on the corner here.

This was when I went to my first outdoor concert as a sophomore in college. High as a kite, I’d roll myself up in it like a burrito a roll down the hill, the watery notes of Dave Matthews rolling on the heavy air in the background. Got grass stains all over this side of it from that day. Good times.

This was when I cried for days after Billy left. I didn’t move for days, just cried and slept in a ball on the couch, not even bothering to get dressed. By the time the divorce was finalized, the mascara had set in like black scars on what was once the snowy backdrop, see? Here and here? Like little nails in the coffin of that terrible time- the stains are a reminder that helps to keep the lid securely closed on those days.

This is from my beloved dog Rosco. He loves to make the blanket into his little nest on the couch and would sleep all day at my feet or in my lap as long as I was under the blanket. One day, before I could stop him he jumped up and got muddy little paw prints all over this corner before I could get him off. You can kind of see the outline of his paw here.

This is the chocolate ice cream I shared with the man of my dreams on our first date. He was so cute and I was so nervous I dropped a whole spoonful of Ben & Jerry’s Everything But The… all over the blanket I brought for our impromptu picnic on the dock, under the stars. I knew he was the man of my dreams when we both locked eyes and screamed, “Five second rule!”

together we make an ice cream cone!

This is from my first days home with Rachel. I was so tired and she was so cranky, I thought we were both going to wind up hating each other. But as soon as I sat down in the rocking chair with this blanket snuggled around us she stopped crying and almost instantly drifted off to sleep. She spit up a little when she woke up, it never really came all the way out, but I was so glad she slept I didn’t care. She has your eyes.

So you see grandma, I haven’t misused the blanket you crafted so expertly, although it may not look like much anymore. But every stain, every tear, every unraveling is a memory- a moment in time captured forever one this beautiful and well-loved canvas you made for me. And, it may sound silly, but I like to think of it like a roadmap of my life, something you can look down on with pride and think, “my granddaughter has lived… and the evidence is splattered all over that once-pristine quilt I gave her before I passed out of that world”.

"Me and Moner" (my great grandma, aka THE quilt maker :o)

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The Not So Fantastic Reality:

The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:

ONE:      I have a routine when I write, and as I’ve mentioned it several times before, a large part of that routine is curling up under a raggedy quilt my great grandmother made many, many years ago before she died. I’ve always loved this quilt; it’s made appearances throughout my childhood, traveled with me to college and helped me survive my divorce. Call it an adult security blanket, if you will, but it’s one of my most treasured belongings. Never mind the dozens of gaping holes, the faded flowers, the unraveled and separated seams, the catalog of unidentifiable stains. I plan on repairing some of its more desperate tears and holes, but part of me wants to just cherish it “as is”. A battle-worn shield, a TV tray, a writing desk, a cure-all, a protective barrier from the everyday injustices of being an adult- and, perhaps most importantly, a connection to my beloved great grandmother who showered me with her strength and generosity while she was alive, and continues to do so even now, more than ten years later. Love you, Moner. Miss you.

My brother and I under THE quilt several Christmases ago...

Love & Squirrels.

Day #272: The Death of The Senator

The Story:

The air, laced with a hint of smoke tickles the nostrils,

And bore proof of your sad fate in each gust.

Statuesque, you stood a permanent fixture as the rest of us spun around you like ants.

To think that I will now outlive you- you who have looked down from your heights over so many generations, it seems improbable.

Natural disasters and those brought on by men, you survived them all- all but one.

Fire hollowed you out and brought you crashing down in the dawn.

Thousands of years and today, today was the day.

God speed, Senator- God speed.

Andy in front of "The Senator"

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The Not So Fantastic Reality:

The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:

ONE:      It’s a sad, sad day for Central Floridians and everyone, really. Today, one of the largest and oldest bald cypress trees in the world at over 3,500 years old and 125 feet tall (17 feet across) fondly known as ‘The Senator’ fell to the ground after catching fire overnight. While authorities do not believe it was arson, it’s crazy to think that something that’s been around longer than all of us is now- no more. Thankfully, Andy and I had the chance to visit ‘The Senator’ last year on one of our random adventures and it really was something that took your breath away. The sheer size of the thing is crazy; and if you stare too long at the top you were bound to get a crick in your neck. Fires are sprouting up all over the state thanks to especially dry conditions lately, and with the smell of fire and smoke hanging in the air each time I ventured outdoors I was reminded of The Big Tree.

WESH news report of ‘The Senator’ on fire

Love & Squirrels.

 

 

Day #177: I’ll Drink To That

The Story:

“Let me guess,” Cynthia sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose, “you’re all out”.

“Sorry ma’am, we just ran out,” the clerk said without the slightest remorse. “Maybe you should try the liquor store up the block,” the pimply 19-year-old continued with the kind of apathy that had become the hallmark of his generation.

“Yeah, ok thanks,” Cynthia mumbled without the slightest intention of going to the recommended liquor store. She had already tried them as well, with similar results. “How is it that everyone is out of PumpySpice Brew?” she wondered to herself with growing frustration. Ok, more than frustration, if Cynthia didn’t get her annual six pack of the delicious concoction she was going to have a full on meltdown.

For almost thirty years, ever since her 16th birthday when her father had snuck a sixer of the stuff past her mother, she and her pop had shared a bottle or two of PumpySpice every year, every birthday. Since her special day fell on another special day- Halloween, father and daughter had clinked bottles as ghost and cowgirl, Dracula and Catwoman, Superman and angel, cop and callgirl among others. And then everything changed last year. Her father had been diagnosed with terminal cancer- he had three months, maybe four. Their last Halloween/birthday drink of PumpySpice was two weeks before his last day, he had joked that his ‘cancer patient’ costume was his best ever. And then, he was gone.

This would be a her first birthday drinking alone- and she couldn’t even find the horrid stuff (why they had stuck with that awful-tasting beer was beyond her). She had been to every grocery store, every liquors store, even a few bars. No one could help her, PumpySpice Brew seemed to be disappearing off the shelves- quite in keeping with the seasonal theme, as pointed out by an annoyingly-perky bartender. Having spent her entire birthday on the unsuccessful quest, Cynthia was ready to call it quits and head home for a long bath (and a longer cry). What a horrible day. “I miss my daddy,” the forty-six year old whispered before forcing herself to focus on the road before she made the mistake of joining her father prematurely.

Parking the car in the driveway, Cynthia shuffled to the front door. Fumbling with her purse, keys and junk mail just collected from the box, she finally managed to unlock the door and make her way inside. Seeing that her husband was not yet home, Cynthia sighed and went to the kitchen. “Guess I’ll be making dinner again tonight,” she complained to the empty house. Normally cooking was something she enjoyed, tonight it just seemed like one more thing she had to do alone.

“Hey babe,” a voice from behind her said lovingly. Bret was home. Turning from the pot of boiling water and the frying pan of sizzling sasuage, Cynthia was ready to take her foul mood out on her unsuspecting husband. Hands on hips she opened her mouth with a snarky remark at the ready and then- she saw it. A few feet below the look-i-did-something-good smile on her husbands’ face, cradled like a newborn was the familiar black and orange box and six dark brown bottle necks peaking out- PumpySpice Brew.

A little unsure of how to proceed in light of his wife instantly bursting into tears at the sight of the beer, Bret relaxed a little when Cynthia began to smile through the tears. Handing her the beer while wrapping her in his arms he said a little shyly, “Happy Birthday, love,”. Somehow, despite never being a part of her father-daughter tradition , Bret had uttered the very same words her father had said on this day for the last thirty years. “Thanks Pop,” Cynthia thought blinking back more tears and hugged her husband even tighter.

Sorry honey, they were all out of Strawberry Shortcake...

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The Not So Fantastic Reality:

The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:

ONE:      Being that it is the fall season and Hallows Eve is mere weeks away, I have been on the lookout for the reappearance of a very special seasonal brew- Shipyard Pumpkinhead. This stuff is fall in a beer. For serious (or for cereal as my mom always said) its uber delicious. Unfortunately, it appears that the rest of Orlando feels the same sentiment and as such, finding a bottle, or even a pint of this stuff has been harder than a beaver’s tail. After two weeks of searching for the adult beverage, I all but gave up, resolving try again next year. And then the boyfriend came home. And what’s this? NO…. he has a six pack of yes, it is-  Pumpkinhead. This amazing man, who doesn’t drink, I might add, found and purchased my most favorite autumn beer. Now that kids, is true love.

Love & Squirrels.

Day #166: The Watch, The Witch & The Wolf

The Story:

“But I don’t understand, I didn’t see any of the signs you said I would, not a one. How can this be true?” McLane boomed in his most menacing voice. The mystic slowly stood and returned the large, brutish man’s stare, seemingly unaffected by the legendary McLane temper, which has been known to reduce even the most courageous of warriors to a quivering mass of cowardice. Seeing the mystic would not be cowed by his usual tactics, McLane warily considered his current options, and was immediately discouraged… and if he was being honest, he was exhausted.

For the last fourteen months, Blane McLane had scoured the Scottish Highlands in search of The Three Signs, as charged by his dying sire as he clung to McLane’s arm before finally succumbing to his wounds. The Three, as they were known amongst the Highland tribes, were magical objects that possessed incredible power and when they were found and brought together there was nothing on earth that could contest their power. As explained by the now deceased Laird McLane to his eldest son and heir, The Three could save their people, if only they were found and brought to their lands, otherwise the McLane line might be obliterated from the face of Scotland by the dastardly English who were set on securing their coastal lands (and crucial ports). That day loomed ever-nearer, and, on the day of his father’s death, McLane was charged with finding The Three and in doing, saving his family and his people.

That had been over a year ago and McLane was no closer to protecting his home and people now as he was that fateful day. The agony of being away from his lands and unable to fend off the encroachers had slowly eaten away at the mighty man- leaving a hollow-eyed shell on the edge of obsession in his stead. For better or worse, McLanes didn’t know the meaning of failure and Blane was no different. So, he had returned to the bowed little man who had, he thought, provided insight through his otherworldly powers on where he would find The Three, ready to split the man in twain if he did not produce what McLane believed had been promised. Before he could even question the man, the mystic had turned to him and said, “So, you have found them. We are saved”.

“What do you play at, old man? I have found nothing, as I told you,” McLane spat.

“Oh, but ye have. There, in that leather pouch around your waist,” the mystic pointed a gnarled finger at the small carrying pouch on McLane’s hip.

“There’s nothing, just some coins and a small keepsake given to me by a child in one of the villages we passed through,” McLane said as he emptied the contents of the pouch onto the table in front of the man. Plucking the keepsake from the pile of coins, the mystic peered closely at the small, round object. It appeared to be forged from a type of alloy or perhaps even silver and was about the size of a large pebble or small stone. Turning the thing over and over in his hands, the old man closed his eyes and worked his finger to one of its edges causing it to suddenly spring open with a sharp metallic ‘click’.

“What the devil!” McLane exclaimed as he watched the object transform in front of his eyes. Turning the thing towards McLane, the object had somehow transformed it’s and split down the middle. One side looked to just be the shell, or protection of the other side which seemed to be some sort of display.

“This, Laird, is a clock- a time piece, a watch. It can tell the hour of the day or night by counting each moment that passes mechanically and mathematically. It is one of The Three- the watch,” he said with reverence.

McLane had never seen anything like it in his life. Something that could calculate the hour without even conferring with the stars or the sun? The impossibility of it almost overwhelmed him. Where had this strange watch come from? Or… when? Not allowing the improbability of the watch’s existence detour him from his purpose, McLane gathered his wits and asked, “Ok, so I have found one, even without knowing of its true nature. But what of the other two? Do I also possess those in my little pouch?”

“No, no McLane,” the mystic chuckled despite himself, “not in your little pouch, as you call it, but one does stand behind you,” he said and nodded towards a young maiden just outside the mystic’s tent. Confused, McLane turned to where the old man was pointing and had to suppress his own chuckle as he saw that the man was indicating his fifteen-year-old cousin Brìghde, who had joined his convoy several weeks ago after her family fell to the scourge of Britain.

“There must be some mistake, one of The Three cannot possibly me my sweet cousin, she is but fifteen and I know these signs are older than time itself!” McLane declared.

“Ah, but there you are wrong, my Laird. Come child!” The mystic called to Brìghde who quickly did as he bid and timidly entered the tent. “Tell me girl, what be thy name?” he asked. Turning to face his cousin, McLane waited with frustration to see what game the mystic might be at.

“Brìghde,” the young lady answered modestly.

“And do ye know for who ye are named?” the mystic asked.

“Ay, for my mother and her mother before her. But, we all are named for that powerful goddess of the Highlands, wisdom and all things high and good- the goddess Brìghde,” she said as if she had memorized this bit of knowledge for just such an inquest.

“Very good, my child. And, pray tell me, how came you by that lovely pendant that hangs from your neck?” he said and pointed to the item of his interest.

“This?” the girl clutched the pedant in her hand protectively. “It has been in my family for generations, it is very old,” she said proudly. “My mother gave it to me just before-“, Brìghde was quickly overcome by emotion and very nearly began to sob as she thought of her family- all now gone. But, like all McLanes, she was resilient and continued, although chose to skip how she came to inherit the item. “It has a secret,” she said to the mystic. “Mother said if I were ever in trouble or needed to be found if lost, I was to place this to my lips and blow,” Brìghde said as she raised the curious pendant to her lips, and blowing softly into one hollow end, produced a melodic note from the other end.

“Do you know child, that your namesake, that high goddess had a whistle just like that one? In fact, she is the one who crafted such a device. Would it surprise you to know that pendant, the one that now hangs round your neck, is in fact the very whistle forged by the hands of the goddess Brìghde?” the mystic smiled as the girl’s eyes grew huge with surprise. “It’s true, my dearest one. Many have forgotten Brìghde, and those who have not have disgraced her name by calling her witch. But the goddess has not left us, no. She is sleeping, sleeping away until there comes a time when the people need her once again. And do you know how she should be called, when that time arrives?” he asked the girl.

“I must blow this whistle from the highest peak, three times,” she said, her voice pssessing a trance-like quality.  

“That’s right. Your family has served the goddess well to continue her teachings so fastidiously. Well done,” the old man said. Turning to McLane, who had stood in quiet disbelief during this exchange, and said, “You see? That is two of The Three”.

“And the third?” McLane was almost afraid to ask, should his belt somehow reveal itself for a magical lasso or serpent.

“Your belt is safe, McLane,” the mystic said with a chuckle, having read McLane’s thoughts. “But what of that pup I saw chasing its tail by the horses? Might I see it?” he asked obtusely.

Knowing better than to question the man, McLane had his man retrieve the dog. “We found it just yesterday. Half-starved and completely wild. My men thought it could make for a good hunting dog if properly trained, although I have my sincere doubts,” McLane said as the pup was brought inside the tent on a rope lead.

“You have done well to bestow your charity on this beast. And you shall be rewarded. This mangy pup, this wild and starved dog is in fact the final sign of The Three,” the mystic said as he knelt in front of the dog. Covered in dried mud and matted fur, it was hard to get a good idea of the dog’s size and breeding, but by all accounts it looked more than a little like- a wolf. Grabbing a pitcher of water from a bench behind him, the mystic poured some of it on the animal’s chest and began to rub some of the filth from its fur. McLane didn’t have long to wait before he understood what the mystic was doing as the dirt and grime was removed, a large white patch of fur in the shape of a five-pointed star was revealed.

“Just as I knew it would be, this is the one, the final sign- the wolf,” the mystic said and bowed slightly to the animal. As if being acknowledged awoke it’s ‘intelligent self’ the wolf pitched its head forward slightly to return the gesture.

Standing up slowly, the mystic turned to McLane, “Bring The Three to your lands. Brìghde knows what she must do, and she will do it without any time to spare. Once the girl has returned, place the witch within the whistle, the watch and the wolf in a circle of stone during the next full moon. Do these things and your people, your lands, your family will be saved”.

And so the McLanes were able to stay off the English invasion that overtook the lands of their neighbors. To this very day, that coastal patch of land in the Highlands remains the only Scottish land to remain in Scottish hands, in McLane hands.

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The Not So Fantastic Reality:

The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:

ONE:      Ok, so this one turned into something I wasn’t expecting (serves me right for reading too many ‘historical romance’ novels a few years back). Honestly, this story sprung from three things that happened to me today: I found a watch I have been looking for for like, uh, ever.

Seriously, I have been looking for this EXACT watch for about six years.

I started reading Wicked, by Gregory Macguire (I think his Scottish name might have somehow subconsciously influenced me).

Only on page 49, but totally diggin it so far.

I took our wolf(dog), Zorro, for a walk today, just me and him, for the first time.

What a lovey!

I have kind of a thing for alliteration (I think all word-lovers do) so the idea of writing about a watch, witch and wolf really appealed to me. And boy, did it take off from there. Whew, I’m a little exhausted to tell you the truth. Time for some sleepy time.

Love & Squirrels.