Letter R – Reality and beyond

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There is a fun side to an alternative reality. I like to live on the edge of it sometimes. That’s why I write. I like to look down a narrow dirt trail and wonder how many people walked there before me. How many footsteps and how many years did it take to carve out this path? Who were they? Where were they going? Did they carry hollowed canoes to the river? Was it a shortcut to town? Was it a path to freedom?

Depending on who my companion is, I can elaborate a life story for these imaginary dirt trailpeople – joys and sorrows included. My friend would say, “yes, and…” to complete my narrative. One of my siblings would say, can’t we just walk without you making things up? Peaceful walks in quiet reflection, engrossed in the sights and sounds are one of my favorite things to do. However, there is a time for everything under the sun, and sometimes, I want to go beyond what we can see with our eyes. As a side note, remember it’s important to choose travel companions wisely to enjoy the moment fully.

When my sisters were young, and the mood was right, they could spend hours “talking” to our mutt, Victor. Victor was some kind of a shepherd mix and quite a storyteller. He would tell them how his day went – who stopped by the house, what he saw each time he went out to “do his business,” what extra treats he got, what he thought Mom was cooking for dinner that made his mouth water. Sometimes he would complain that Fred, the stray cat, had come into through the kitchen window to brag about his adventures in the alley and the mouse that got away. The girls at about six or seven years old, obviously knew I was talking for Victor, even though I never developed the skills of a ventriloquist to throw my voice in his direction. I was almost ten years older, and yet, we managed to entertain each other regardless as Victor sat between us loving all the attention.

Sometimes I would live vicariously through Fred, the stray. I learned to love cats with Fred, despite my dad’s superstitious apprehensions. Fred was big for a cat, furry, gray and quite independent. He would roam the back alleys of our city freely with a swagger and without fear. I would wonder how far his cat feet could carry him. Where did he go and what did he see? Did he stop at other homes? What did other families name him? Most days he would only stop in for a short while to eat. In the winter or hot summer days, he would stay longer to keep warm or cool off. Those days before he took off again, he would rub against us one by one as if to say “thanks”. One time he came back with cuts and scrapes. We tried to keep him in and off the streets, but as soon as he was strong enough, he was wailing at the window to be let out. At times he was gone for days, and one day he never returned. Unfortunately, there was never a shortage of alley cats in our neighborhood, and soon Fred was replaced by Snagglepus and then Mister Magoo.

Not too long ago I was at one of those Brews, Jazz and Funk Festivals at the park by the river. As the tribute band played well-known favorites, a small, lone figure of a dancer rocked and rolled her way to the front of the stage. With her ripped shorts, bracelets, and tattoos up her arm, she personified the saying “dance as if no one was watching.” She was easily in her 70s, but she had obviously transcended time, and everything else around her didn’t exist. She was definitely in the zone and inspired others to step out. Soon she was surrounded by people of all ages letting the music take control. When the music stopped, she was visibly exhausted, but I caught that big smile that slipped across her face. She had a cosmic air about her. Who was she? How many concerts in the park had she attended? Was she a musician herself? In my mind her name was Carole, and she sang and played with the band.

I like to stretch my mind beyond what my eyes can see. It’s great for problem-solving and relationship building because it helps me to have an open mind to see alternative beginnings and endings. As I continue to blog, I’ll share some of the stories of my alternate reality. I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I have making them up and perhaps we’ll learn few things about us along the way.

R is for Reality, the alternative kind.

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A quick review of the first month

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A to Z challenge letter Q.  A QUICK review.  It’s been a month since I started blogging again. My blog and its appearance is still a work in progress though. I like the theme I’m using but need some time to play with widgets and plug-ins. I also need to take more pictures that I can incorporate into my posts. Most importantly is that I’ve managed to write a post almost daily. I haven’t always been in sync my theme or with the corresponding letters of my A to Z challenge, but my personal goal in participating was for me to get in the habit of sitting to write something every day. I think I’m doing OK with that.

I’ve also learned that daily posting may not work for me in the long run. In my daily readings, I found the term “binge writing” which sounds more like me. I generally like to write when something inspires me, but then I also like to research to make sure any references are accurate. The problem is I tend to get bogged down with the research and editing. That’s just my personality style. I need to remember this is a blog, not an epic historical novel.

I’ve enjoyed reading other blogs. I’ve learned a lot by looking at style and content. I found a local “Meet-up Group” of bloggers and partners such as web developers. This group has been very helpful because I’m more of a creative writer and I don’t know or understand all the ins-and-outs behind the screen. Just by listening in on different discussions, I’ve picked up tips for practical things I hadn’t even thought about. They mentioned things like not using all caps in your title so that it’s easier for people to find your post and not starting your title or blog entry with the same phrase each time. I’ve tried to make changes based on the group’s recommendations. It’s too soon to gauge the effects but the group also keeps me focused and motivated to continue to write.

I’ve had my five minutes of fame due to an unexpected opportunity to interview with a reporter from a local NBC TV affiliate. I spoke briefly about why I blog, and she asked why I didn’t just keep a private journal for myself. “Why do you want to go public?” I explained that I like to write but I need the feedback and I like being part of a community of like-minded people. Now I need to work on letting my thoughts flow and getting my “self-censored” blog out to the general public.

I’m interested to hear why you blog. Why did you want to go public with your personal thoughts?

 

 

 

AtoZ Challenge P is for PRECIOUS

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FROM MY MEMORY BOX

PRECIOUS GEMSTONES
(A Tribute to my mother)

Precious gemstones, sparkling blue-green
Embedded in chiseled ivory
Shimmering reflections of the sea
Vibrant and alive; brave and defiant.

Gold sun flecks, intricate details
Dancing on the waves of life
Hidden secrets of tales untold
Projection of love’s warm, gentle kindness.

Behind the windows darkness lives
Barely a flicker of light-hope
Hear the sounds, smell the smells, hands touch,
If only the window could open wide.

The looking glass is just a blur
Where did that young woman go now?
Long dark tresses, smooth satin skin,
Life of the sea and sunlight in her eyes.

I am here, alive in the dark
Behind the windowpanes of green.
Living life with other senses
Sounds of the sea, warmth of the sun, love’s touch.

This dark place has not smothered me
I am strong and willing to live
My loved ones still have need of me
I direct their paths and provide comfort.

The will was there, but the time had come
A Valley to cross, the River so deep
A choir in need of a new voice
Not my will but Thine be done, I bid farewell.

The dark shades were now lifted
The Saving Grace within her sight
At His gates, she marveled.

AtoZ Challenge-NEVER a Dull Moment

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I remember those days when there was NEVER a dull moment in my life. Work, School, church, sports, birthdays, hospitals, friendships – drama at every turn. We spent our days running from one activity to the next, connecting and catching up in the car. No break during vacations either, they were usually jam-packed with pexels-photo-713149.jpegactivities as well. Trying to make the most of our time, how did we fit so much in a 24 hour period? Now I’m exhausted just thinking about it!

Now and then we’d call a timeout. The kids would sleep in, or they’d watch Saturday morning cartoons as they waited to have a leisurely breakfast with all the trimmings. Pancakes or French toast swimming in syrup or eggs and bacon with an Italian breadstick from the bakery in town, where my Dad had stopped before coming over for coffee. Usually, he managed to get it to us still warm from the oven. We’d use real butter and watch it melt on the bread right before our eyes. Just to remember it, my mouth waters.

In the summer we’d pack a picnic and head for the beach early enough to enjoy nature’s sights and sounds before the crowds lined the shore. We’d lay on our blankets soothed by the surf, the birds, and the ocean breeze. Later we would head to the boardwalk for a stroll, some fried dough and try our hand at the arcade games. The most challenging part was choosing a prize with that would equal the number of tickets we had won. At the end of the day were ready to start the week all over again.

It seemed like this was the natural order of things, but I think when we are in the middle of living like that, we forget to pause. I don’t remember the exact moment that I decided to do things differently but somewhere along the way I told myself it couldn’t continue. I was burning the candle at both ends as they say and burning out my kids as well. Years later I read the book The Four Agreements by Dr. Miguel Ruiz, and it validated all my decisions and choices. There was nothing magical about it. There was nothing in that book that I hadn’t heard before, but because it was able to put into words what I had been thinking, I felt enlightened. For a while, after I read it, I was giving that book away to family, friends, and co-workers – anyone who I felt needed to take another look at life.

I still keep those “Agreements” with myself. It is my understanding that in life there is NEVER a dull moment. I believe every moment is special whether they are quiet and peaceful or full of drama and pain. I had a friend who would always remind me “It is what it is.” I agree, but it’s up to us to take whatever “it” is and make the moments count. We fine-tune our skills with each experience and put it towards a rewarding life. We learn to listen to our internal voice and realize that when things are getting out of hand, we need to take care of ourselves first. It’s not selfish, its practical, its common sense. To be there for others, we need to be oK.

Does it make sense?

AtoZ Challenge- MOTHER of an Adult Child

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In my mind, M will always be for MOTHER and the many ways she made our life special. How many cards with acrostic poems did I draw or buy for her birthday or Mother’s Day through the years of her abbreviated life? Today’s poem is not for her but of what I learned and have passed on…

Dirty coffee cup on the counter—again.
Forgot to rinse—again.coffee cup in hand
A sigh escapes me
And like a gentle whirlwind,
Takes me down the path
So often traveled, once again.

Sweet memories at every turn
Prickly thorns around the bend,

A bump in the road
Puddles of tears,
Sunshine after the rain.

Wasn’t it you, so tiny
Who laid in my arms?
Crumpled, wrinkled, helpless
I sobbed, as you wailed.
Did the eyes of our souls look ahead?

Now we stand at a crossroad,
And as I fasten your wings,
I ask. . .
Did I teach you enough?
Did you learn your lessons well?
Only time will tell.