Hope, faith and gratitude

You can’t go on with the business of living without hope tucked securely next to faith and gratitude.

Faith, that what is meant to be will also turn out to be the right thing, at just the right time.

Gratitude, that, no matter what, so goes your life, ever onward.

Hope, that if it all comes falling down, you’ll somehow have the will to adjust, and then carry on.

And, at the end of the day, if you get to sit down to a incredibly delicious plate of shrimp fettuccine with an excellent glass of wine, and get to look out at a beautiful view of boats, water and blue skies, then you know you must have done at least one thing right.

No idea where that came from today, but there it is.

Oh, honey. No judgement here (Or, Martinis and Candy Crush)

An Irish Public House near my home. The joint is always jumpin’ and street parking is near impossible to find. Nevertheless, it’s where my neighbor and I like to meet from time to time after work.

My neighbor begs off chatting for a while until she gets through a some emails she ought to have replied to before leaving her office. I take the opportunity to look around.

Two women with their infants snuggled close to their bodies preciously nurse their glasses of wine. I’m taken with their babys’ calmness. Not a single fussy peep from either of them. It’s as if they know it is a bit of a risk for mommy to be in a pub at happy hour with a baby, to say nothing of drinking a glass of wine without daddy here to be the designated driver. Best not draw too much attention.

The table next to us is a man in his 60s and a 20-something woman. Their body language tells me this is not a romantic relationship, so I figure dad/daughter. Because they are close to us, I can easily eavesdrop on their conversation. They are clearly not related. Co-workers? Fellow students, maybe? He talks about his work, his kids, his “buddies,” his lot in life. She talks about her work, her friends, her family, and her lot in life. It’s not sexual, really. They are not physically communicating anything “hey babe” at all. Yet, it’s something quite intense. They are very engaged with each other, but oh, so casual. What is their story?

The man and woman behind us order another bottle of wine. Lots of laughs, lots of back and forth chattering. The 2nd bottle of wine is an expression of not wanting to end the date, but too early in the game to assume they are actually a thing. My guess? They met online and this is date #3. Date #4 will be this weekend, maybe next, and he will most likely be in her bed at the end of it. His bed will be Date #6.

While I’m waiting for my neighbor to finish her work day, I pull out my laptop and start playing Candy Crush to bide my time. Two minutes later our waitress arrives with our drinks.

“Which game are you playing?” she asks me as she sets my Martini down.

I awkwardly half close the lid. “Oh, I don’t know. The one with ‘Soda’ in the title?” I lift my glass and give her a ‘cheers’ gesture. My neighbor laughs.

“No judgement, here, honey, uh-uh,” the waitress says. “Won’t even tell you what level I’m at! No, way. No judgement at all.”



withbookoncouchNo, the title of this post is not the dimensions of someone’s inverted pyramid-shaped figure. I’m drawn to write a blog post incorporating the three recent prompts—-OLWG #34, Cubing Stories #14 and Objects in a Box #4—-as if a giant cartoon magnet is pulling me to it. Remember those? In all those Looney Tunes cartoons with Wile E. Coyote? The ACME Company sure had a monopoly on gadgets and such in those cartoons, didn’t they?

Come to think of it, when was the last time you saw an old horseshoe-type magnet, or played a game of Monopoly? I’m afraid they’ve gone the way of other throwbacks, like cathode ray tubes, metal ice trays, and banana seat bicycles. What was the purpose of a horseshoe shaped magnet, anyway?

Oh, I shouldn’t go any farther down memory lane. I mean, it’s a long way down a bottomless pit of never-ending nostalgia.  Take my decorative box collection, for example. I acquired most of it as a child, and I can tell you how and where I obtained each box. The wood inlay one was a gift from an aunt, and the cream colored Lenox china one with the gilded leaf handle used to sit on the coffee table in my parent’s living room, next to a cut crystal ashtray. I used to love opening it to see the cigarettes neatly stacked side-by-side. Talk about your throwbacks to a long-gone era.

I didn’t put it together until well into my adulthood that, as a child, I was enthralled with anything miniaturized. Hence, the small box collection. I still love tiny things. I prefer a notebook sized laptop to a desktop computer, and I’ll take Apple’s Nano any day over a larger player. If I see a demitasse tea set, I go a little crazy. A small, mother-in-law cottage makes me giddy. I used to love to play with my father’s 1/43 scale model cars. I couldn’t tell you a thing about the cars, nor really cared to know anything about their engines or what made them wonderful vehicles, but I loved to point out how some manufacturers paid precious attention to detail, so much so you could see teeny-tiny mufflers attached to itty-bitty exhaust pipes. Another of my favorite toys was a perfect minuture scale teepee that came with an accompanying Native American doll. She was my Barbie’s best friend. In fact, I always wished Barbie was a bit smaller. Not in that way, but shorter. Smaller scale. Then she would have fit in my dollhouse, as well as the teepee.

But, I said I wasn’t going to wax on about the past, didn’t I? Yes, well, looking into the future these days makes me wish I could wave a magic wand and make all the insanity of the world go away. The closer I get to the time in life when the notion of using a cane doesn’t exactly offend, the more trepidation I feel. It’s enough to want to wrap safely up in an old throw blanket, curl up on the couch with a good book and escape into someone else’s world; let some wonderful fiction author’s words and ideas plant seeds of thought in my mind for a change, rather than all those bloviating snollygosters (my new favorite word!) blathering away on the TV, radio, internet and in the papers (hey, this nostalgic girl still reads a newspaper or two). Or, better yet, I should escape into my own wacky world and write a rambly-ambly blog post using a bunch of seemingly unrelated prompts, as I did this afternoon. Nothing like unlocking my creativity to put my mood in a better place.

Before the proverbial last bus leaves the awake and alert station (it’s Sunday afternoon and there’s nothing more wonderful after cozying up on a couch with a book than immediately following it with an afternoon nap), I want to tell tnkerr and April how much I enjoy playing writing games with them and genuinely appreciate their contributions to TBP. We’d love to see all the other 170-ish TBP followers join in the fun!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll … I’ll jus… (zzzz….zzzz…zzz…)

[An hour and a half? I think. I kept dozing off 😉 I’m sure I am well over the WPC. I choose 17!]

Who gets married on a Thursday?

It’s gloomy, cold and cloudy, with the occasional passing rain shower day in my hometown today. And, it’s a Thursday, like so many before and so many to follow. A banal, flat-line, work-week day. A banal, flat-line, infuriatingly long work-week day that falls before the happy, light weight Friday that proceeds the always wonderful Saturday and Sunday. Monday’s a drag, but Thursday? Thursday’s a bore.

So, who chooses a Thursday to get married? Complete with wedding gown, veil, tuxedo, attendants, tiny children carrying flower baskets, bouquets, a photographer…the works! Who?! Apparently, the couple next to me.

The restaurant staff was whipped up into a frenzy about 20 minutes after I was seated. They moved tables around into a large party set up in the middle of the dining room. Shortly thereafter, people dressed in I’m-going-to-a-wedding-today outfits, complete with well dressed babies and children, took the seats. A polite, quiet cheer went up when the bride and groom walked in.

Who gets married on a Thursday? And then celebrates with friends and family in the informal neighborhood joint? These two people do, grinning non-stop from ear to ear, constantly touching, entangling finger tips, and completely unable to resist gazing into each other’s eyes. Because this neighborhood restaurant is part of what you would consider “home” if you live here, most especially if you are a fisherman (which I’m guessing our groom is). But probably more importantly, the 1st of September is, was, and always will be, the 1st of September to them, no matter the day of the week.

Summer + Clothing = Not Always a Good Fit.

beached manWalking up the sidewalk, I see a man that is a sight to be seen. 6’5”, at least. Not an ounce of fat or muscle. He’s all sinewy legs and arms. Long, easy stride, and stooped at the shoulders. Silver grey hair.  I guess him for approximately 70 years of age. He wears an old-fashioned tennis hat, the sort I remember my father wearing, but this gentleman’s hat is made of a brightly colored fish patterned cloth, something my father would never be caught dead in. His plaid short sleeved button down shirt is equally brightly colored with all the pastel hues of cheerful summer, and his un-faded denim shorts, pressed with creases in the front and back, are, well, short. Way too short by today’s standards, but on-trend for, say, 1978. Black mid-calf socks and decidedly au-courant, fashionable day-glow chartreuse running shoes. He makes me think of a clip art cartoon of a retired man on vacation at the beach.

Young woman crossing the street at the light. She’s in her 20s. Brassy bleached platinum blonde hair with black roots is haphazardly tied up in a high ponytail, contrasted by a precisely combed swirl of bang placed flat on her forehead, just so. Giant “Jackie O” black rimmed dark, dark sunglasses mask almost all of her small face, and bright red lipstick exaggerates her pout. Sheer black blouse with a flouncy Peter-pan collar and little cap sleeves worn with a lacey black camisole underneath. High waisted, form-fitting, cherry-bomb red pencil skirt, hemmed perfectly just below the knee. Long slit up the back so she can walk. Sheer black hose and a pair of little girl’s patent leather Mary Jane tap shoes, complete with large satin bow on the straps and taps. I feel my body tense when I notice the taps. Experience taught me those things are slippery on hard surfaces, like the asphalt on which she is walking.

He’s three. Maybe four. Shirley Temple curly blonde locks, and dressed in a sky blue Baby Polo shirt, mint green Baby whatever-label plaid shorts (worn like the big kids wear them: a bit baggy, waist right at the hip and hem below the knees), no socks and Baby Vans in a matching blue/gray. Momma clearly knows her expensive Baby clothing brands. He’s trailing behind Dad as the two of them make their way up the hill to where Dad parked the car. Today is the kind of hot summer day that makes Northwesterners feel like wilted lettuce, and this little guy is having none of it. Arms and head flailing about, he screeches at his father to stop walking. “C’mon bud,” Dad encourages. “We gotta get in the car and go home!” Confident his son is keeping up behind him, he marches on. Our little friend, however, stops in his tracks. “HOT!” he yells, and in one swift move, pushes down his shorts, diaper and all. Leaving shorts and diaper at his ankles, he then goes to work on his shirt and has it mostly off when Dad finally turns around to see his son doing his best to get naked. Dad jogs back down the hill, scolding his son to stop undressing. The boy screams and then starts crying, “HOT!! NO! HOT!! NO NO! WAAAA!!!” He keeps screeching as he fights off his father’s attempt to redress him. Finally put back together, Dad scoops the boy up in his arms and once again begins the trek to the car. He sheepishly smiles at me. “Sorry,” he says. I laugh. “Oh, well, I’m menopausal, so, believe me, I get it. How many times a day I wish I could just tear it all off!”

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: Jean-Louis Lebris, John Ernst and Samuel Langhorne walk into a bar

wasabi and classicsI used to have a goal to read all the classics in my lifetime. I mean all of the classics. When my ex-husband and I split, one of the first things I took was his abridged set of the Harvard Classics. He brought the books into the marriage, but I was that determined to read all the classics, and that pissed off with him to claim the books as mine. I wanted to become so well versed in literature that I could hear someone tell the one about Kerouac, Steinbeck and Twain walking into a bar and actually be able to laugh at the joke. Without irony (everyone always seems to end a statement like that with, “without irony”).

I sincerely admire smart people, so I wanted to develop the sort of intellectual capacity that can work out an answer to the riddle, “Define the universe, and give three examples,” like my sister’s super-smart PhD brother-in-law did that time when we were gathered at her house for Christmas. I used to love to use that phrase as hyperbole when characterizing the complicated magnitude of an issue or situation. My sister’s brother-in-law ruined it forever for me when he answered, “Oh, well, there’s the universe as you see it, the way I see it, and the way another sees it.” He chuckled at his reply. I’m pretty sure with irony.

I’m nowhere near reaching my once-held goal of reading all classic literature. As it turns out, I enjoy contemporary authors far more, and I prefer the short story to the epic novel in four volumes. And, as embarrassing as it is to admit it, I struggle with poetry. So, my ill-gotten collection of Harvard Classics sits in the bookcase, on the bottom shelf, along with four volumes of Shakespeare’s plays given to me as a birthday gift, The Bible, and an odd variety of first edition publications of various dramatic works my mother took with her when she divorced her first husband. I guess I subconsciously followed her example. Anyway, there they all are. Pretty to look at, but otherwise undisturbed.

Speaking of my mother, today would have been her 89th birthday. One of my favorite stories about her is the time she mistook a small bowl of wasabi for guacamole, scooping a large dollop into her mouth with a corn chip. She literally sobbed in pain for the next hour and suffered acute heartburn for the next two days.

TBP’s Online Writer’s Guild #20 challenges YOU to write a piece using the following prompts: Kerouac, Steinbeck, Twain; Stop me if you’ve already heard this; Wasabi. I wrote/edited over the course of the morning, but I wrote the 1st draft in 40 minutes. The final version is about 10% changed from the first draft. I try to keep to the 25 minute rule, but always fail!