About Me

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A working professional and part-time writer, full-time Mom and modern day Alice in Wonderland...

Thursday, April 28, 2016

"Blogging Circle of Friends "
Day 1261: April 28, 2016
prompt: today is a free day.... I give no direction on what to write.... but right something fun.

I was thinking this morning, that I might be a bit quirky.

Now that I've reached a comfortable middle-age, I feel I can examine my life with a little more honesty. I think I have a pretty good handle on my flaws...and they are not small in number. I have a bad temper for one, a quick to fire response that burns hot and fast. I tend to be bossy and controlling, fallout from honing a type A personality for most of my life. I also tend to be too trusting, a personality trait that has often transformed me into a doormat too many times than I'm comfortable admitting. I'm too easily frustrated and I yell too much. While that's not a comprehensive list, it represents a few of the "biggies". So flaws yes, but also there is that quirkiness thing...I find myself thinking or saying things lately that make me briefly wonder about myself...and how these little eccentricities have managed to take root in my otherwise practical and normal routines.

For example...I am highly suspicious of yogurt. I force myself to eat it to fend off occasional threat of yeast infections during rounds of antibiotic treatments...but I loathe it. I can't get past the fact that its a living organism or that it can appear runny and weirdly smelly and still be perfectly ok to ingest. Or, and perhaps even more telling, my mother-in-law routinely makes homemade yogurt from expired milk. Yes. Yuck. No thank you.

So aside from the yogurt thing...I am completely creeped out by anyone touching my belly button. When I was pregnant I remember hating idea of someone rubbing my belly and inadvertently touching it. I had a friend who once told me that I had a special scream reserved for whenever he would try to touch my belly button. He really found humor in tormenting me with that. Quirky, right?

Then there is my absolute fear....okay if I'm being totally honest it qualifies as a phobia...of praying mantis. If I find myself in the vicinity of one, I become almost completely incapacitated, immobilized in visceral fear. I break out in a sweat, my legs buckle and I feel sick to my stomach. Eventually, I will bolt, screaming to put as much distance between me and it as possible. I know that they are a mere bug. I know that they are harmless, even beneficial. I know that they are also illegal to kill and that some say they bring good fortune. I know all that and it doesn't matter. My response is as involuntary and immediate as taking a breathe. As you might imagine, members of my family find this spectacle extremely entertaining. During the long summer months, a praying mantis appearance at one of our family parties is akin to a gift from the humor Gods. The last time, my mother and Uncle called me over under the guise of needing my help, only to step aside and reveal a tiny praying mantis sitting on the hose reel. Their peels of laughter echoed my screams and followed my hastily running feet. I nearly took down my own toddling child in my effort to get away. Funny? Not really. Not if you are me and you can't enjoy those humid days of summer without looking over your shoulder or glancing constantly up into the eves of porches and under picnic tables. I have always been more of winter person, I half wonder if this is the reason why.

These are just a few of my quirks. I discover more and more as I age...I supposed that is only natural. God bless my good friends and family who accept me, quirks, flaws and all.

"Blog City ~ Every Blogger's Paradise"
Day 782 April 28, 2016
Prompt: Have you had any bad experiences with gardening or planting flowers? Let's talk about them.

I am, at best, a novice gardener. I enjoy it though, the planting and eventual harvesting of my own string beans, tomatoes, baby eggplants and more. My daughter loves eating the cherry tomatoes and green peppers right off the plant. For the most part, our family has had good experiences with growing our veggies and keeping our property pretty with perennials.

The only bad experience I've ever had with a plant would be the summer I discovered that I was highly allergic to poison ivy. It was during my first marriage and we were bent on clearing the yard of our new home. We worked for hours to clear the overgrowth around the detached garage and under the porch. Because we were newlyweds and concerned with such things, we took a break to cadoodle and mess around at bit. Anyway...a few hours later I began to feel funny down there...actually, everywhere. Within an hour, both my eyes had swollen to slits. My lips burned, my tongue felt too big for my mouth and everything south of my belly button raged with an insanely, ravenous itching. The rash was ugly, aggressive and wheeped yellow pus. We must have come into contact with the plants while we worked and our other activities had spread the awful oils all sorts of inconvenient, painful places.

The doctor felt terrible for me. He said the shots would give me some immediate relief but that it would take some time for the oral medications to reduce all the swelling, stop the rash from spreading more and drive the itching away completely. It took four full days, one bad reaction to Cipro, countless oatmeal baths, a pair of dark sunglasses and a whole lot of angry cursing to get through that experience and come out on the other side. Never again. I steer as far away from anything remotely resembling poison ivy as I do praying mantises!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

 Stretching the muscle this morning a bit....not sure where it goes...

Isabella Ranking sat alone on a cold stone bench contemplating the ruin of her life. She thought there was a slight chance she was being overly dramatic about things. Still, sitting alone in the almost rain by the ragged edge of the coast watching the somber gray waves, it certainly felt like her life was over.

Behind her back, the impressive façade of Graystone Mansion rose up into the colorless sky. Five Stories of old New England elegance perched high on the prettiest stretch of coastline, Graystone had made the transformation from a once-upon family residence to the administration building of an accredited state university. She had loved that building once. Today, Isabella could barely bring herself to look at it. She felt it’s presence bearing down on her shoulders and knew she would no longer find any beauty it its dark windows and sharp angles of unforgiving stone.

Isabella felt the wave of nausea hit her and turned her face into the wind to fight the sour fit in her stomach. She breathed deeply of the salt air. Her newly minted sense of super smell also picked up the cloying scent of decay from the seaweed clumps rotting between the rocks exposed at the low tide mark. She coughed, and spit. The taste of rot suddenly metallic in her mouth. Not for the first time, she found her hands folded protectively over her middle, covering a phantom bump that was not visible. How had she managed to end up here? With all her ambition and drive? She had been the first of her family tribe to go to college, the shining example to her younger siblings. Isabella imagined the look of anguish on her father’s face when she told him she was dropping out, when she told him about the baby. She felt as if she was going to vomit and the urge drove her to her feet and into motion.

She began walking the brick path that wound along the coast and through campus. Forcing herself to keep moving while she wiped at the silent tears coursing down her cheeks. Fortunately the campus was almost deserted on this eve of the trimester break and she could pass unseen among the few students who raced about making preparations to leave. She was stalling, not ready to go home and face what was coming. She had briefly considered putting it off, she could go another few months without her pregnancy becoming too obvious. Isabella had quickly abandoned that plan. Her mother would take one look at her and know everything. It had always been that way. Her mother had an uncanny ability to ferret out everything little thing her children had ever tried to keep hidden, especially her oldest daughter.

Isabella had reached the door of her little red Subaru. Heavy-hearted, she pulled it open and sank down behind the wheel. She looked out over the sound before her. White caps roiled in the choppy seas now, mirroring, it seemed, the tempest raging inside her. She took one last, long look and turned the key feeling the car shudder to life underneath her.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Gender Bathroom Debate and R.I.P Prince "Blog City ~ Every Blogger's Paradise"
DAY 776 April 22, 2016
This seems to be a very controversial issue here in the states, I've included a link for you that do no see the craziness in our news.
What are your thoughts about this occurrence? Do you agree or disagree?

Like most of the nation, I've been watching this news and trying to decide where I sit with the issue. As it is with so many things, this issue has been heavily politicized, with soundbites, news stories and video clips designed to support the agendas of one group or another. My feelings are mixed because I've personally known a transgendered person and I came to believe that to be born transgendered was a form of birth defect, and not, as many speculated, brought about by abuse, trauma or social pressures. I learned about what it means to be diagnosed with Gender Dysphoria. I place a lot of faith in science and I feel the scientific community may be very close to proving that the process of determining gender identity as birth can be biologically corrupted in the same way that produces other birth abnormalities. The fact that transgendered births exist in every culture since the dawn of time further supports that evidence. I believe that a true transgendered individual can be born with the sexual organs of one sex while mentally identifying as the opposite sex. I believe for these people, existence is a challenge few of us could ever comprehend. This is a route issue I have with politicians passing laws restricting the use to restrooms to one's gender as assigned by birth. I believe transgendered people are born of both sexes, one physical and one mental. I'm uncomfortable with anyone claiming the authority to decide for any one group what laws and standards are placed on something I believe we only marginally understand.

Having said that, I understand the counter argument as well. I can see that by removing the restrictions for one group, limits the perceived protections of another. I'm a mother of a young girl myself and while I would not be concerned with her using the same restroom as a transgendered person, I am extremely concerned about those individuals who would take advantage of such laws to indulge their perversions. I see this legislation allowing for loopholes for the undesirable and criminal acts by people merely posing as transgendered and that is not acceptable. That will not work, not for the transgendered community nor anyone else. These people using the law as an excuse to perpetrate crimes against others, they are vile opportunists, anomalies in the system, a system that has given them a unique opportunity. These people propagate the misconception that gender identity has something to do with sexual preferences or perversions...that simply isn't an accurate assessment of truly transgendered people in my opinion.

Several years ago I was approached in a human resources capacity, by a long time and well respected employee who was about to begin transitioning. It was my first introduction to someone transgendered in an industry that could not be more old fashioned and patriarchal. This individual was over fifty, married and had adult children and grandchildren. He talked a great length about having struggled his entire life to conform to a gender that was assigned to him at birth but did not match what was inside. He had made the difficult decision to transition to female in what I believe had to be one of the hardest environments to do so. It was journey we were all to participate and one that proved to be very revealing for me. Over the course of two years, he transitioned to she, in a very public and very physically demanding ways. There were painful conversations, difficult confrontations, multiple surgeries and very hard recoveries. There was a lot of trepidation and fear but also there was joy. There was fulfillment. For each thing she endured, she emerged stronger and more truly and completely the person she always believed she was. The bathroom issue came up in our company as well. The solution came from the employee herself who felt it would be most comfortable to everyone is she simply used the unisex single bathroom at the top of the hall for the time during her transition. After her gender reassignment surgery, she sometimes used the same bathroom as I did and I honestly I never thought about it even once. It was just a bathroom and she was there for the same reasons I was, to use the facilities and then go on with her day.

As these laws are written, they are not going to work. In an attempt to resolve an issue, as a society we have over-corrected to the point of generating a bigger problem. Designating an additional bathroom as unisex or gender-free respects the transgender community in the same way having a Family restroom respects Dad who don't want to take their daughter's into the Men's room or Moms who have young boys. It is an alternative. It makes sense. I fail to see the issue with having a unisex bathroom added to the choices available. Why take something away? Why not simply add an alternative, inclusive choice? And for those transgendered individuals who have fully transitioned to male or female by undergoing sexual reassignment surgeries, why do we even need a law? They should be entitled to use the restrooms corresponding to their biological sex even if it came to them, not at birth, but through their choice and medical science. Just my opinion...

Friday, April 22, 2016

The building was hard to miss, looming high above the colorful landscape of the theme park. Even if you managed to overlook the nearly electric pink paint or the cleverly constructed façade, you would be hard pressed to ignore the screaming. Even thirteen terrific stories above the ground, the screams emanating from the Tower of Terror seemed somehow amplified in the gloomy afternoon rain.

“Jen, that doesn’t look like too much fun.” I said.

My friend tugged on my arm. “No, it’s great! You’ll love it.” she assured me.

We reached the gate. The screaming was more muffled here. From this new vantage point, I could make out the large holes in the side of the edifice. Through these holes, I caught glimpses of horrified faces as they hurtled straight down, thirteen stories in a dark freefall.

“Jen…” I started, but she cut me off.

“It goes so fast. You will LOVE it,” she insisted.

Before I could protest, the line surged forward. Excited riders weaved around partitions and were deposited in front of what appeared to be a massive elevator doors. I stared for a long time at the “last chance” exit ramp on my right. A few steps in that direction and I’d be back on the outside, safe…

Jen must have anticipated my plan. She grabbed me by my shoulders. “Melissa, remember why you are here? You are celebrating the start of your new life. This trip is about new experiences, facing fears and doing things you’ve never done before and you made me promise not to let you back out.”

Jen was right. After three long years, my divorce had been final just a week. This trip not just a vacation, it was a rebirth. I just hadn’t expected freedom to come in the form of abject terror.

“Its not going to be as horrible as you imagine.” Jen assured me. The door opened and we were ushered inside.

My hands shook as I belted myself in. I turned to Jen and threatened to kill her if it all went badly. She laughed. Doors opened and we lurched forward. We traveled along a hallway, passing the hotel scenery while the ride’s story line was narrated over our heads. The voice stopped and the carriage began to shake. The lights when out.

Until that moment, “pitch black” was an expression I had used but its meaning had never been pressed upon me with such clarity. There was nothing in front of my eyes except an expanse of black so deep and thick, it was as if I had been blindfolded with velvet. There was a sensation of being suspended and then we plummeted. The carriage came briefly to rest in front of one of those gaping holes. I caught a glimpse of a blue sky and a few passing birds, before we plunged again. I could feel the unforgiving displacement of my internal organs as we dropped. This time our descent was interrupted for mere seconds before becoming a harrowing ascent, at the rate of several floors per second.

I think I must have been raving in terror though the speed at which we were now being dropped, stopped, shot upward and dropped again, made it difficult to catch my breath. We moved fast but I was conscious of everything. My body, and worse, my mind, knew every fraction of gravity we cheated, faked and fumbled. Every movement in our jagged and horrific progression registered in painful, conscious vibrations across my heart, my stomach, and knotted intestines. Each time we came to rest, my chest fluttered with hope that the horror trek was finally over, until we jerked into movement again. The relief faded as quickly as the light.

Then it was over. How long had it lasted? My throat felt raw and my tongue was stuck to the roof of my mouth. My legs began to convulse. Jen waited while I composed myself and rose unstably.

“That was the worst thing I’ve ever done.” I croaked.

“Seriously? You hated it?” I marveled at the surprise in her voice. I started to respond but we were already on the move, herded out through the exit gates and through the gift shop.

“We should get you a tee-shirt.” Jen exclaimed.

How could I wear something on my chest that said, “I survived the Tower of Terror”, when I obviously had not? I was convinced that I had left some small, virtually insignificant organ back there on the carriage that had been shaken, shocked and forced lose.

We filtered past a bank of screens, each displaying a digital picture taken at a specific point in the ride. I found our section of the carriage and we broke into wild peals of laughter. In the shot, I am not scared straight into my seat with my eyes screwed tight in fear. Instead, I am pivoted toward Jen, facing her with my eyes open, shouting at her. I didn’t look terrified, I looked pissed off. The camera flash had illuminated my features. My cheeks were flushed and my eyes so bright, they seemed to spark in the darkness that surrounded me. I was entirely animated. I looked, I realized, with a sudden rush of gratitude, free and alive.

Suddenly, I knew two things with certainty; I would NEVER go on that ride again for any reason known to God or man. And most importantly, I would never treasure something more than those few minutes when I had surrendered all my troubles and completely gave into the fear and the freedom of freefall. Everything I had sought to free myself from, had fallen away. For the first time in a long time, my heart had ached from sheer rush of adrenaline rather than the pain of heartbreak.

“Ready for the Aerosmith’s Rock and Roller Coaster now?” Jen asked, a little warily.

The stream of curse words I had planned to hurl at her died on my tongue.

 “I’m gonna need a few minutes.” I said instead.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The summer before I started college, I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Australia and New Zealand as part of a People to People youth science exchange program. The trip consisted of roughly eighty science students spending three weeks overseas participating in a variety of biological and cultural activities from bird tagging and sea lion research on the remote Kangaroo Island to visiting a Maori village for a ceremonial feast. The itinerary would take us many places and expose us to many rich and wonderful experiences. The highlight for me, and really the entire reason for my signing on, was a true once in a lifetime chance to dive on the great barrier reef off the Queensland coast of Australia.

The night before the dive, I remember I could not fall asleep. My body felt charged with an almost electrical excitement. From as early as I could remember, I had been enchanted with the underwater world. My bookshelves teemed with books on marine biology, thick volumes with colorful images of fish and aquatic wildlife. I was particularly intrigued by the great barrier reef, home to thousands of species, a living laboratory where I could see first-hand the creatures from my books. I had gotten my scuba license at fifteen, the youngest member of my dive class. I took my certification dive in the frigid, dark waters of Long Island Sound, a far cry from the clear, tropical waters that were my inspiration.

The morning of the dive, I sat with about a dozen of my traveling companions on the metal bench of a bobbing pontoon boat as the dive master gave us our instructions and advisories. There were a few nervous snickers when he described a shark drill that involved us forming a circle around him. It was hard to pay close attention, distracted by the combination of turquoise water all around us and the dive master's hot pink speedo. Before I knew it, he was inviting us to chose our dive buddies and suit up. My partner was a girl named Nicole. She was a loud and outgoing girl from somewhere in Oklahoma. She had spent the entire time making lewd comments to me about the pink speedo and I doubted she had heard a word of the dive master's speech. We helped each other into our neoprene suits and fins, double checked our hoses and air supplies. The one word of advice I had taken to heart was to stay with our buddies at all times. I was determined not to lose Nicole down there in all that blue.

I stood, waiting for my turn to step off the boat. The tank and vest felt awkward and heavy, it was steaming hot in the bright sun. I shuffled forward until at last my fins were in line with the edge. The surface of the water looked a little rough and I had my first and only twinge of fear. After only a moment's hesitation, I took a wide step off the pontoon. The moment I hit the water, I felt myself drawn back to the surface by my buoyancy. I let some air out of my dive vest and felt myself sink back down, the ocean surface disappearing in my bubbles. My heart was pounding so hard it hurt. Nicole had entered the water before me, I began to look around frantically for her, breathing in what felt like harsh gasps, sucking down my air supply. All of a sudden, Nicole was beside me, her black hair flowing around her head, her eyes wide inside her dive mask. She made the "ok" sign, and waited for me to return it. I did. She turned and began to swim off, I followed trailing just behind her fins. It took me a few more minutes to regulate my breathing and begin to take in my surroundings.

Until that moment, my diving experience had been all based in cold waters off New England. I had often had to battle tough currents and limited visibility. The world I found myself in could not have been more different. The sea here was clear. I could see all the way to the sandy floor, it had to be over thirty feet down. The sand looked soft and white, punctuated here and there by large, free standing corals covered with pink, purple and blue anemones, some as big around as truck tires. As we moved on, the reef became more dense and populated. Schools of reef fish darted past. There were large Parrot fish and deep blue Surgeon fish, bright yellow Butterfly fish with their long, tapered snouts. Bright purple sea fans swayed in the current and there were places were colonies of spiny black sea urchins covered the sea floor like a black carpet. Nicole stopped short and pointed to coral outcropping where a large parrot fish was gnawing away. You could hear the grinding noise as he worked at it with his file-like teeth, turning the water around him murky with dust and debris.

The more I looked around me, the more I saw. It was as if the pages I poured over suddenly all came to life in an amazing parade of color and movement. Nicole was trying to talk to me, her excited jumbles making no sense as I pointed to a sea turtle coasting by about six yards from us. I swam slowly, watching the life thriving below me silently naming each species I saw and trying to memorize a few I'd never seen before. There were thousands of nudibranchs and marine worms in every possible color combination imaginable, with large crabs and rays dotting the sea's floor. I got lost among them, hovering just a few meters above them. I swam into pockets of fish. I extended my hand, feeling the vibrations as they shot past my fingers. Suddenly, just below me, closer than I had anticipated, a large ray extracted itself from the sea bed and launched up inches from me. It startled me into a kind of consciousness and I realized I had wandered away from Nicole. With a bolt of panic, I began searching the waters around me and saw a speck of black in the blue beyond that I prayed was my partner. I took off after her in powerful strokes, trying not to think about the dangers of being left behind. Nicole was moving quickly, probably thinking that she had lost me. I reached out and grasp the end of one her her flipper, giving it a big tug. She swirled around, and was momentarily masked by a cloud of bubbles. I gave her the okay sign, and she returned it. Her eyes were smiling, she looked as relieved as I felt. We turned together to make our way back to the pontoon and came face to face with a giant grouper.

Nicole squealed into her regulator. This fish was enormous. It was just hanging there, barely moving, twirling its fins in lazy circles, watching us with great round eyes. The mouth gaped, thick-lipped and dark. It's body was greenish brown mottled with white spots. Looking back, I'm certain it appeared larger than it really was, given the fact that the ocean seems to magnify most things. It had looked to be at least the size of my bedroom's double dresser and the sheer size of it was alarming even if I knew groupers to be largely docile. I could see the dark shadow of the boat on the surface and was suddenly eager to be back on it. After a few more moments of reflection, the grouper seemed to become uninterested and shot off rather suddenly into the depths. Nicole and I finished our ascent.

After shedding my tank and vest, and dropping back down on the benches, a strange euphoria set in. I was filled with the knowledge that I had just done something few people have the opportunity to do. Filled with a powerful gratitude, I turned my face to the sun, smiling and feeling as if I was glowing. The happy chatter all around me died off and for a brief second, it was just me and the sound of the waves lapping against the pontoon.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Leap of Faith or Let it Go...

Family. For the past two months the concept of family has preoccupied my thoughts and permeated my dreams.  I’ve had a dichotomy playing out in my heart as to whether or not to try to have another child, which at my ripe age, is likely more fantasy than reality. I’ve been agonizing over my daughter’s future and whether or not being an only child would be beneficial or just lonely later on. I’ve also been struggling pulling away from my family, to self-isolate, in an effort to preserve feelings – mine as well as theirs. I used to feel like an integral part of the system, one of the cogs in the machine that kept us all together. Now, I feel villainized.  But, is family so important that you let it fundamentally affect you? To influence the decisions of your life? To alter plans?  The complexity of my feelings these days are making me question everything about my life and about the people who have occupied the prominent places in my life like the features of the most familiar landscape. 

I try very hard to be authentic. I write as I breathe. I don’t use other people’s words or witty meme’s to express my own feelings and thoughts. I don’t enjoy gray areas of understanding and I reject the almost humanly desire to be passive aggressive whenever possible. Writing is how I process, how I reason and rationalize.  Writing is how I reflect and how I keep myself anchored.  I make mistakes. I am as flawed as the next person, weakened by my fears but also strengthen by battles hard fought. I am not always the person I want to believe I am. I am constantly learning about my vulnerabilities to being hurt and my capacity to forgive. Still, it is easy to take on someone else’s assessment of you and wear it for a while, like a cloak of shame or a robe of penance. I’ve had to tell myself, so often in the past weeks, that I am only responsible for my own feelings and perceptions.  The beliefs and experiences of my life are the only things I can every honestly take ownership of. That’s it. 

Contrary to what some may believe, I hate drama. Who wouldn’t want to live in a rose-colored world where everything is wonderful and everyone is the best version of themselves?  Who would want to intentionally seek out conflict, generate ill-will and discontent? There is enough of that filling television screens and Facebook statuses every day.  Life, however is messy. It is not vapid. It is not phony or idealized. It is colorful and chaotic. It is fluid. To truly live this life you sometimes have to get dirty. You have to step up, speak out. You sometimes have to engage the visceral truths and acknowledge the unpleasant. You have to seek answers to questions you hadn’t wanted to ask. You have to face the things that built you as well as the things that threaten to tear you down. You have to aspire, to dream, to fail, to disappoint, seek redemption and say, “fuck you” to your fiercest critics.  You also have to lose yourself from time to time, I think, so you can find another version of yourself…. a better, more Teflon-coated, “fuck-all” unapologetically real, version of yourself. Some days you just have to hope the people who love you the most will still love you the best no matter what and if not, you have to learn to let go.  Some days you have to consider walking away or take leap…

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Sacred Places and Camping Spaces

Sacred Places and Camping Spaces "Blogging Circle of Friends "
DAY 1239: April 6, 2016
Prompt: "Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again." Joseph Campbell Where is your sacred space?

Not far from my office is the college campus of UCONN, Avery Point. Its a coastal campus with wide green lawns and extensive, unobstructed views of the sound. The gray mansion on the hill houses administrative offices but serves as a photogenic backdrop for weddings and events and you can occasional catch a glimpse of a bridal party or prom couple. A brick pathway runs all along the edge of the property and that takes you to the foot of an old yellow brick lighthouse. Benches and stone and metal sculptures dot the beautiful landscape and there is a viewing platform where you can watch the boats and look out over the ocean. There is often a collection of rod and reel fisherman on the outcrop of rocks going after porgies and rock fish. This place comes as close to sacred for me as any. I walk there in the summer, taking in the sights and sounds. In the heat of July and August, there is always a breeze and plenty of shaded benches to catch my breath. When I'm feeling adventures and have the time to spare, sometimes I'll venture out onto the rocks, catching the sea breeze on my face as I get closer to the water. I attended my last few classes of my college career here and I loved reading under the massive weeping willow before lectures. Later, it was the place I met my friend for lunch or long walks where we would planned a future that would never come. When my daughter was a toddler, I would sometimes bring her for picnic lunches. We did one of her early photo shoots here and I remember her running through the green grass dressed in an angelic white tulle dress, the ocean flat and blue behind her. One day, Spring will come again to my part of New England and I am sure I will find the time to once again walk the path to the lighthouse, clamber over the rocks and take the time to appreciate this lovely place.

 "Blog City ~ Every Blogger's Paradise"
Day 760 April 6, 2016
Prompt: Is there something you like and love but not what comes with it? Like I love tea pots and tea cups but I don't drink tea. Got the idea? Write about it.

Camping. I love the outdoors. I love sleeping under the stars, roaring campfires and being out in the open space but I hate camping. I hate spider-web filled outhouses and sticky tents. I hate dirty bare feet kicking around the campsite before crawling in under the tent flaps. I hate bug-filled walks to shower blocks that only operate on coins. I hate camp showers that go cold halfway through. I understand the appeal of the experiences, those "get-back-to-nature" and "family-fun" concepts. I get it. I just prefer to do my camping at 4-star camp grounds and with a stock and comfortable RV where shoes are not optional and the bathroom is two feet away.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Flying Monkeys and Water Balloons

It's April 4th here in lovely, white New England. I'm contemplating several things this morning as I watch the snow fall and I defy my IT department by downloading Spotify. I've ignored their warnings and abandoned Pandora as it doesn't give me the ability to play God and Master over my musical selections. I'm filled with contentment as the world goes white and Bowie fills the air in my work space. This morning I am thinking of that novel I've not started...that's the one that I am convinced will catapult me to the stop of the best seller lists, subsequently causing me to go into hiding as my acquaintances discover their uncanny and unflattering similarity to my characters. It makes me smile a bit. Who am I kidding? There is no novel, despite the oodles and oodles of inspired material I could use. For now, all are safe from the poison pen of truth. I will have to be contented to read their passive aggressive posts and ponder the fantasy...
Speaking of judgmental people, I'm also delighted with the notion that Trump's campaign of idiotic misogyny appears to be loosing steam. Faith in humanity maybe restored after all...dare I hope we move to a contested election when the GOP may elect a worthy candidate, new and untainted by the garbage pail race to the white house we've all been forced to audit? More fantasy? And lastly, flying monkeys. I'm thinking how much easier life would be if I had unquestionable command of my own army of flying monkeys...

And now for the daily prompts:

"Blog City ~ Every Blogger's Paradise"
DAY 758 April 4, 2016
Prompt: “It's the sides of the mountain that sustain life, not the top.” Robert M. Pirsig
Interpret this quote in any form or style you wish.

Sometimes I aspire to climb mountains. I want whatever spoils await me at the apex but I always abandon the climb in the end, getting lost instead in the rich mountainside villages that offer vivid colors of life in progress. It is often lonely at the top. I would rather surround myself with life in all its splendor.

"Blogging Circle of Friends "
DAY 1237: April 4, 2016
Prompt: Water Balloons. Take this prompt anywhere you want.

Torrential rains suddenly broke and yielded to July summer sunshine. Four sets of feet clambered across the porch and launched into the still wet yard, shedding socks and shoes in their wake. The leader John, his body tanned and lithe, was the first to reach hose on the far side of the house. Cranking the spigot, he began barking orders at his soldiers. Georgia, the oldest girl was dispatched to get the bucket. Riley was instructed to gather the bags of ammunition. Bella and Ryan were sent to edge of the yard to watch should any of the enemy venture out prematurely. They began working, efficiently filling, tying and stacking. They worked, a nearly silent contingent, building their reserves as the sun beat down on their bare backs. After fifteen minutes, their bucket was filled to the top. "Would it be enough?" Riley looked at John, the question burning in his round eyes. John looked back as his ragtag unit, their bodies were almost vibrating with the anticipation of battle.

"Go," he ordered Bella and Ryan. The two youngest set off running for the house, raising the alarm with loud, whooping voices.

Riley and Georgie moved into position, flanking John. They reached into the bucket, ready.

The decoys came racing back on pumping legs, trailed by a good number of the enemy, still clutching cocktails and wearing masks of concern.

John waiting, letting them draw closer, into range.

"FIRE!" He suddenly shouted, tossing the heavy bombs as far as he could into the approaching enemy. Georgie and Riley echoed the war cry, letting loose their own barrage of fire power.

The water balloons connected with the group of adults, exploding across the broad chests and surprised faces. Screams filled the yard. Bella and Ryan fell behind their lines and took up arms, pumping fists and shouting in between throws. The four of them soaked the advancing adults, reloading again and again until the balloons began to run low. Uncle Leo snatched little Bella, tossing her on his hip falling back. Too late, John realized he was going for the hose.

"Retreat!" He shouted to the remaining members of his squad. They scattered but where soon captured by the adults.

Uncle Leo commended John on his battle plan and bravery of his team before turning the hose on the captive regiment, all except Bella who had turned traitor. She clapped and squealed with delight as her older cousins were hosed off their feet.

The victors returned to their armchairs and red solo cups while the losing squad traversed the yard plucking the colorful remnants of burst water balloons from the grass. The sun quickly dried their working bodies. They had fought hard, they had fought well. The summer was long, they would fight again.