Plinks in the night

Last week, I knocked a wall vase off the wall. It didn’t break, but I couldn’t find the hook it was hanging on anywhere. Even Frank looked. Ah, well–it’d turn up. Last night, around 4:30 am, it did.

Plink. Plink. Plink. Over and over. Something metal hitting something hard. I listened. Ah, Toulouse is at the food bowl. But no. While he’s crunching away–plink. Plink. Plink. Gyro was at my head. Roxie was under the bed. Plink. Plink. Plink. We have no other animals in the house except the fish, and I’m pretty sure they were in their tanks.

Plink. Plink. Plink. I sat up. Plink. I turned on my iphone flashlight and went into the kitchen. There, in the middle of the floor outside my bedroom, right where it should have been after coming out of the wall, the little metal hanger.

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Now, I’m not saying it was anything besides strange. I’m just putting it here because it was kind of eerie, kind of cool.

Happy Bastille Day!

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A Little Something Fun (for a change)

This is the result of a ten-minute* writing prompt in my writing group. It’s cute and silly, and right now, I can really use a little cute and silly.

(*I did edit a little just before posting this up.)

The prompt was: A brother and sister only one year apart in age; what happens when they’re teenagers and dating one another’s friends? When in doubt, go immediately to fairy tale!

***

“Hansel? Who is he?”

Hansel leaned around his sister. The sigh escaped before he could suck it in. “Leave it alone, Gretel. You won’t like him.”

“But will he like me?”

“Everyone likes you. Why do you even ask? Even the witch liked you better.”

“Oh, don’t be silly. She didn’t like either of us. She was just hungry, and you were a little more plump.”

“You were the one with boobs at nine. I was like an orange on a toothpick.”

“Forget about her.” Gretel flipped her flaxen braids. Flaxen. Was that even a word anymore? None of the girls, flaxen-haired or otherwise, would even look his way since the oven incident. In his circles, rescuing was done by a dashing prince, and the rescued a fair damsel in distress. He was totally screwed.

“Come on,” his sister nudged. “Tell me about him.”

Hansel took a bite of his sandwich, stalled by chewing it those 30 chews he got into the habit of making, back in the cage, when every minute outside the oven counted. “His name is Jack. He’s pretty dumb. I heard he traded his mother’s last cow for a sack of beans.”

“Beans? That does sound dumb. He’s kind of cute, though.”

“You’re going through my friends a little fast,” he said. “I won’t have any left after you’re done breaking all their hearts.”

“Don’t be so selfish. I offer to fix you up with my friends all the time.”

If there was anything worse than being the fair damsel in distress, it was being set up by his dashing prince. Hansel took another bite, another thirty chews. Anyway, Thumbelina was a bit small, Belle was into big, hairy guys, and don’t even get him started on Goldie. What a bitch. There was only one girl he’d even had any interest in, and she’d been sleeping close to a year now. He was pretty sure it was going to last a while more. Maybe Ovengate will have simmered down enough by then to give him a shot.

“Just introduce me.” Gretel smoothed her braids, pinched her cheeks. “Come on. Please?”

“Fine.” Hansel flopped his sandwich onto the tray. He slid along to bench to Jack’s side. “Hey, Jack. Want to meet my sister?”

Jack looked up, a little dazed. “Uh, the blonde over there? Sure. Why not?”

Hansel waved Gretel over. “Jack, Gretel. Gretel, Jack. Now I’m going back to my sandwich.”

Sliding back to his place at the cafeteria table, he listened in, just to be safe. Jack was all right, but Gretel was his sister. And, embarrassing as it was, he did owe her.

“Beans?” Gretel laughed, tossing those braids. “Why would you do such a thing?”

“I’m not sure,” Jack answered. “The old guy was just so convincing. My mom tossed them out the window. This morning, there was a beanstalk the size of a tree. I think there’s something to it.”

Hansel went back to eating. Jack was one of the last of his friends to escape his sister’s attention. There was still Quasi. His place was kind of noisy, but at least they were both outcasts. And thank goodness he had no worries about his heroic yet slightly shallow sister ever being interested in him.

 

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The things you learn

Reading through my feed on Facebook, I’m always struck by how angry people get over EVERYTHING. Yesterday, I had this thought (because I think in Buddah-esque quotes.)

The surest way to close a mind is to assume it can’t be open.

downloadHappy Thursday, all.

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Food of the Gods

Sugared-Grapes-from-This-Silly-Girls-Kitchen-main I made these for Book Club last night. They were so insanely good, I’m making them again for Free Float Wednesday. So simple.

Marinate seedless grapes in a dry-ish prosecco overnight, in the fridge. Drain. Toss them in sugar and set them on a plate so that they’re only a single layer. (If you pile them, the sugar turns to syrup.)

Crunchy, sweet, wine-y deliciousness. Perfect for summer. Enjoy!

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Two Years

I have no words for this. I tried to find them, to set them down, to find some meaning, some emotion, some anything. And I can’t. Not about this. I live it every day. It’s not like there’s anything new this day of days. The significance is surprisingly small, in the scheme of things.

Two years. Only two. So many more to come, just like these.

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Strange Dreaming

Sometime between Wednesday and Thursday, I dreameddownload

my house was under siege.

I walked beside Hyppolita, discussing tactics

While burly men in furs and leather

Put out fires on my roof.

*

Sometime between Thursday and Friday, I dreamed

my father, and my grandfather (dead these many years)

walked side by side in the woods behind my house,

along the river, chatting and watching my grandson swim

close to the bank. Every once in a while,

Dad pulled William back from going too far. William, for his part

only laughed.

*

Sometime between Friday and Saturday, I dreamed

Chris was being held in a church, down on the Green.

The same church he used to attend AA meetings in.

They were holding him for execution,

because he’d overdosed. How ironic, that lethal injection.

Why? I screamed outside. Why are you doing this to him?

*

In the early hours of Saturday morning, I woke

confused, bolting out of bed so I could get to the church

before they killed my son. It took a few minutes

between sleep and awake

to realize I was still in bed,

in the early hours of a Saturday,

of this after, not the before.

*

I saw Wonder Woman on Wednesday

My grandson on Tuesday

On June 22, my son will be gone a full two years.

How the brain mashes up the everyday with

its inner-workings. How marvelous.

How utterly extraordinary.

 

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Chocolatiest chocolate ice cream

  • The texture is the thing! I have made lots of ice cream in the last few weeks, and they have all been awesome. This, however, makes all the others shyte in comparison. The egg yolks are key. Absolutely worth the extra effort.

 

2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder

2 cups heavy cream

2 cups whole milk, 2% works too

8 egg yolks

1 1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Put cocoa powder and 1 cup milk into a sauce pan, whisk over medium heat until incorporated. Add cream and the rest of the milk. Bring to a simmer stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until the color of the yolk lightens. Temper cream mixture into egg mixture a little at a time, until about 1/3 of the cream mixture is incorporated. Pour it all back into the remaining cream mixture, and return to a low heat. Cook and stir until it thickens, reaching a temperature of about 170°. Pour into a clean container and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Add vanilla, whisk it up, and set it in the fridge for 6 to 8 hours or overnight.

Use whatever ice cream maker you like.

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Weezer, of all things…

I had an earworm last week, a song that kept playing through my head, but not the actual lyrics, just the dah-dah-dah, dah-dot-dah-da-da-da bit from what turns out to be Weezer’s, Feels Like SummerOver and over, the dah-dah-dah… For days. And why the hell was it making my heart all twingy? I waited for it to come on the radio during our driving about, but it didn’t, so I took the chance and googled the dah-dah-dah and found it.

(Pertinent bits italicized.)

“Feels Like Summer”
Climbing up the tower
Just a boy and his computer
I’m still in my bathrobe
Hiding in the shadows
I’m not used to losing
Bye, bye, sugar blue eyes
Go home with the angels
Thank you for being so kind

I’m holding on and I don’t want to let you go

Yeah it feels like summer
Yeah it feels like summer to me
Yeah it feels like summer
Yeah it feels like summer to me
And she was a lover to me, to me, to me, to me

Which way is the graveyard?
I’m an iceberg with a warm heart
I’m spiritual, not religious
I’m a Libra, if it matters
Shattered by an email
Your words will fade away
Castle built in the sand
Will only last one day

I’m holding on and I don’t want to let you go

Yeah it feels like summer
Yeah it feels like summer to me
Yeah it feels like summer
Yeah it feels like summer
Yeah it feels like summer to me
Yeah it feels like summer
And she was a lover to me

June bride, shine so bright
Flowers in her hair, but it just ain’t right
June bride, shine so bright
Flowers in her hair, we look good together, oh yeah
We look good together, oh yeah

Yeah it feels like summer
Yeah it feels like summer to me
Yeah it feels like summer
And she was a lover to me
Let me see the smile, stay with me awhile
I cried for you, you were the song in my life
Let me see the smile, stay with me awhile
I cry for you, you were the song in my life.

Obviously, this is a song of loss, but of a lover. Still, those other bits and pieces apparently stuck with my subconscious. Once I looked it up and read the lyrics, I got it. Earworm went away, but I’ll never hear this song again that I don’t consciously KNOW why it got stuck in my head and made me all emotional, despite the song being Weezer’s.

It’s June. That month of months. The countdown to the end. Thanks for listening.

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Roaring Girl

There are “always” we dolls do in Virginia Beach: a Sunday gathering to set goals for the week; a superhero movie and dinner out on Wednesday; dollbaby chocolate cake; craft Thursday; share something of our work on Friday.

We also do a reading of our Medicine Cards early in the week. It gives us something to reflect upon, whether in our lives or within our writing. A useful focusing tool, for anyone. This year seemed to be the year of various tarot decks. Besides the above-mentioned Medicine Cards, another doll bought a deck of Kuan Yin Oracle Cards. Absolutely gorgeous. Another great focusing tool. I recommend the method to anyone, whether you believe in the mysticism aspect of it or not. Pull a card, read what it has to say to you, and it will spark thoughts you’d not have otherwise had. The whole storyline for Heroically Lost was sparked by a tarot card

This craft-Thursday, we created cards for our own personal tarot. It’s was really fun, and informative. It relies on both the conscious and subconscious mind to create them. Simply, find images that speak to you, whether printed out from online or cut from magazines. Each card needs a background, and a focal point. You can add other elements, but overdoing it confuses the focus. The background and image get glued onto cardstock, whatever size you wish. Once you have done that, there are a series of questions you must answer without thinking too hard about it.

I am __?__. I am __?__. I am __?__. My purpose is__?__. I want you to know__?_. My name is __?__.

This is one of the two I made: Roaring Girl screaminggirl

She said, “I am wild. I am powerful. I am full of light. My purpose is to speak. I want you to know you are not invisible. My name is Tee.”

I had a dream last night. Someone (don’t remember who) pummeled me with disparaging remarks about my pink hair, my general appearance, my everything. A surge of confidence welled instantly up in me. Not even a second of pain or humiliation. I said, to the best of my recollection: “I am practically perfect in every way. I’m beautiful, intelligent, talented–very talented–and nothing you say can change that.”
It wasn’t the words so much as it was the feeling that welled up and radiated out of me. It was like my roaring girl, all those colors shooting out of her, the sparkle uncontained. She didn’t wilt, even for a second. She burst.
I consider myself a confident woman. I believe those things my dream self said. I really do. (See the name of this blog, if you doubt.) But creating this card showed me there still exists that little girl in black and white, roaring silently from my past, lingering in places, unexpected, but loved.
I love her, that little girl. I love her so much. She didn’t know what to do with all the brilliance inside her. The world didn’t want it, didn’t know what to do with it. But I do, and I’ll hold her hand while she roars.
Peace.

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Another Beach Week, Another Mother’s Day

VAB

Dollbaby Week is always the first week in May. It has been so for fifteen years. Fifteen years. It’s hard to believe that first trip to Bald Head Island was in 2002. There are ten of us now, sometimes eleven. Only two of us from that original week still head to the beach every year, and two more from year two. Some dolls have only been coming a couple of years. Some five, six, seven…it doesn’t matter. Once a doll, always a doll.

The week is sublime, restorative, and full. We count the days down starting the minute we leave the beach (347 days as I write this,) and yet we’re ready to go home when it’s over. Being together is all the more cherished because our time is brief.

2015 was the first time I went to Virginia Beach in many, many years that I didn’t go with my heart in my throat. Things were all-around good. We’d survived addiction’s turmoil as a family, and had come out a bit scarred but definitely on the other side. Chris was out on his own, working a job he loved, doing well, it seemed. The cycle of chaos that typically poised to spiral out of control every spring wasn’t hanging over my head. I went to Virginia Beach secure in the knowledge no doom would fall while I was gone.

I was wrong. Only I didn’t know it.

It had been building, but Mother’s Day 2015 started Christofer’s last downward spiral that ended–finally, completely–on Father’s Day. These “holidays” will never pass without that knowledge, those thoughts. I came home from Virginia Beach this year, last year, facing Mother’s Day, and the countdown to my son’s last days. I hope, in time, it isn’t as raw; I know it will never be blissfully, bittersweetly overlooked.

I have never been a huge fan of Mother’s Day. I’m a mother. I have a mother. My daughter is a mother. How does one celebrate Mother’s Day without disappointing someone, right? Forgoing the day was not a huge sacrifice for me to begin with. Now, I’m glad to ignore it completely. It doesn’t change the bookended countdown, or the knowledge of it, but it does remove some of the emphasis. My kids celebrate me every day, with phone calls and texts and messages on Facebook. I don’t need a day to know I’m loved.

Now I sit here at my desk, absorbing Dollbaby Week in my mind, my heart, while trying to be at peace with the rest that comes at me this time of year. Leaving it all here on this page helps me do that, even while it makes it seem as if I need consoling, or a Xanax. I don’t. Honest. It’s because I have a place to put it all that I don’t. It makes me wonder how people who don’t write (or paint or make music…) manage to uncrowd their heads, unburden their hearts.

We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers
And sitting by desolate streams;—
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.

With wonderful deathless ditties,
we build up the world’s great cities.
And out of a fabulous story,
we fashion an empire’s glory.
One man, with a dream, at pleasure
shall go forth and conquer a crown.
And three, with a new song’s measure
can trample an empire down.

We, in the ages lying,
in the buried past of the Earth,
built Nineveh with our sighing
and Babel itself with our mirth.
And o’erthrew them with prophesying
to the old of the New World’s worth.
For each age is a dream that is dying,
or one that is coming to birth.

~Arthur O’Shaughnessy

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