Archive for April, 2010
I am physically and emotionally exhausted. I’ve been working late, writing even later, sleeping very little, eating way too much chocolate, and been very moody while at it. I am so glad it’s Friday, although the weekend looks to be more of the same, minus the chocolate eating and the moody bit, I hope, particularly since my husband will be around and I hate picking fights with him. But I am a woman of faith, and I will believe in the possibility of relaxing and enjoying myself. Tomorrow morning we will get up early, go to our favorite breakfast place, chat with the familiar faces, sip our coffees, eat our croissants, and I for one, will daydream of having my own cafe/bookstore, before heading back home and tackling the work that awaits me there.
I am wishing you all a relaxing and lovely weekend!
I’m sure I won’t make any friends by confessing this, but I’m not too crazy about animals, as in pets. Whoever had the idea of domesticating cats did not take into consideration that some people would be grossed out by the interior of cats ears, and that cats need to have their ears cleaned really well as they are prone to ear infections.
Same goes for dogs. Just the thought that they are out there sniffing the behinds of others of their species and then coming to sniff my food puts me off eating for a week. Oh, they are cute! And I am a bit in love with cute, little ones. But what’s with all the sniffing?
And nothing that resembles a mouse for me either. The tails are slimy looking, the beady eyes give me nightmares, and every time I see one I am reminded of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, where Winston was terrorized by rats. When I see a mouse, I scream at the top of my lungs and jump onto the nearest chair.
I don’t like fish of any kind. They really stink up the place when they die. I don’t like any sort of snake or lizard. Nor do I like goats, although I do love goat cheese, and goats are great for using in place of a lawnmower. But since I don’t have a lawn, I really don’t see a need for one.
Bunnies are cute, but messy. Chickens are really only for fresh eggs and soup, as they can’t be house trained and they poop wherever they go.
I do like horses. Maybe I’ll get one. A gilded, carousel one that I can plant in the living room and let the kids ride.
Oh, I know I’m a horrible mother and must allow my children a pet. They have been begging for years and years. There’s only so much longer I can put it off. Any ideas?
My husband and I have a dream of living abroad. We’d love to take the kids and move from one country to another, settling for a time being in each, getting jobs, learning the culture, the ways of that world, knowing the people, and eating the food. Whether we ever will, remains a mystery to us. In the meantime, we’re happy to read about other families braver than we are. Families such as the one belonging to Rebecca Ramsey, author of French by Heart. I marvel at her courage to uproot her three small children from their South Carolina home and follow her husband to France for four years.
Rebecca is as charming in real life as she is in her book. I’ve read French by Heart twice, I love it so, and I also bought an extra copy because I wanted to give it to someone to enjoy it just as much as I did. Please visit her blog: #mce_temp_url# to read more about her, and also go on and purchase a copy of French by Heart. #mce_temp_url# has some amazing deals (don’t they always?)!
The contest for this book is through next Sunday at noon (my time). Everyone who leaves a comment on any of the posts is automatically entered. Have fun!
Congratulations to Corinne of #mce_temp_url# for winning last week’s Writing Home giveaway! Stop on by her place and say hello. She is a wonderful writer.
The witch lived a few houses down the street. She had red hair, a loud laugh, and her eyes commanded to be looked into. As a little girl, my mom warned me against her. I was never to speak to her, let alone meet her eyes. The woman had placed a cursed hair in the walls of our house. That was why my parents argued far into the night. That was why mom cried and cried. That was why no baby boys were born.
When I was five we moved to a blessed house. A house on the opposite side of town, on a pretty cobblestoned street, with a private courtyard no one could peer into. It had a well in the middle of the back yard, with a pail attached to a chain, a pail my dad lowered twice a day to get our drinking water. There were also rows upon rows of vines my grandfather had planted when my mom was a little girl, and they produced the sweetest grapes.
The awaited baby boys were born there, one after the other, and my dad was proud that he had the heirs needed to carry the family name. The arguing between the adults diminished. My mom came out one day and watched us at play and she was smiling from ear to ear, and although I was only six, I stopped in my tracks and stared at her surprised. I had not seen my mom smile before.
The cursed house continued to curse its inhabitants with sickness and poverty for many years. One early morning it caught on fire and a group of party goers on their way home from a night out, rushed in and saved the family before the roof collapsed.
Slowly the house was rebuilt. It was blessed and its walls prayed over, and the family within it who had lived for so long without so much, suddenly found themselves wealthier than they ever imagined. They bought luxury cars, and even an airplane. They grew and they prospered. The spell had been broken.
It’s late at night and the rain is falling, knocking at my window, wanting to share its pleasant scent with me and bless me with its drops. I lift the sash a bit and breath in the smell of damp Spring earth, listen to the sounds of night, the muffled siren of the trains, the pitter-patter of night creatures I’m absolutely terrified of meeting close up. From my upstairs window the tulips and the daffodils are mere shadows, almost lost in the mist that envelops the house.
I love how the rain cleanses the air. I stick my tongue out, hoping to catch a droplet of rain on its tip. I get the feeling of being quenched of a thirst I didn’t know I have.
The house is silent, my lovelies fast asleep. I brew another pot of mint tea, wrap my shawl and tie it around my waist. I pick up my pen and get ready to write. Words are spilling out, tripping over each other in their haste to see themselves on paper, each one greedier than the last. I crack my stiff knuckles and obey their command.
Happy Earth Day! I have been too busy with my writing to join in posting specifically on the subject. Visit Jane’s sidebar at #mce_temp_url# for some wonderful Corner Views from around the world.
Also, all comments are entered for the previous post’s book giveaway.
When I was young my grandmother used to say that children are our inheritance from the good Lord. As we receive them into our families, we inherit their dreams and their futures as well, neither of which we should take lightly. Now, fully an adult and a parent as well, I understand the magnitude of her words.
Responsibilities come and go, but this is one that stays with us. Years and years of preparing them for adulthood, making mistakes along the way, learning together (in my case, at least), yet knowing there’s nothing arbitrary about the values we try to instill in them. We hope to infuse their life with meaning and with joy. We try to be good examples, yet remain true to ourselves. And we get tired along the way, and wish to just give in and let things be.
There are inherent risks in all we do, in life itself. Sometimes the most we can offer is emotional safety. Because life nonchalantly goes on in it’s own way in a blatant disregard to our opinions and wishes, our duty to our children’s future is so vital and so much more rewarding than we can even anticipate.
And with this in mind, I’d like to introduce you to Cindy La Ferle. I read Cindy’s collected essay book, Writing Home, nodding my head at her words, knowing that I have lived or thought about every single issue about motherhood that she brings up. Immediately I went out and bought another copy. It is so good that I know others will greatly benefit from it. For more of Cindy’s words of wisdom, visit her at #mce_temp_url#. You may also purchase the book and receive it within a few days from #mce_temp_url#. This drawing is open to all readers until next Sunday at noon.
Love to all of you. And a beautiful week!
Congratulations and Happy Anniversary to Jane of #mce_temp_url#on one year of bringing happiness in the form of Corner Views from around the world. I am new at this so I have no favorite to post, but looking through Jane’s I was inspired to post a photo of a beach and tell a story of one of my favorite times there.
Years ago, a friend and I took a few sunny summer days to explore the Pacific Northwest coast. Our main goal was to stay off the beaten path and experience life at a slower pace. Antique shops, flea markets, and art galleries were our destination, as were berry farms, deserted beaches, dusty book shops and coffee houses. We had reserved a couple of nights at bed and breakfast places along the way, provisioned ourselves with a picnic basket overflowing with Belgian chocolates, crusty bread, and the best cheeses we could afford, and set out.
She was to be married that summer, and soon after to move away. I suppose, in a way, we were gifting each other a last memory of our girlhood. Ours was a friendship that had carried us from childhood, through the turbulent, self-conscious adolescence, and into our twenties.
The views were stunning. Rolling pastoral beauty giving way to dense emerald forests. We followed a river that shined like mica and came into a village right out of a nautical painting. The sun was setting, all rose and apricot colored over the bay. We parked our car and strolled the heart of the main street in search of a coffee house. With steaming drinks and chunks of cheese filled bread, we made our way to the beach, content to sit on the sand and soak up the beauty before us.
As darkness was approaching, we didn’t linger too long. Somewhere along those dusty roads, the hostess of a white Victorian house was awaiting our arrival, probably eager to lock up and go to bed. Our bedroom, at the top of three flights of stairs, was under the eaves and decorated with a large-scale lilac print wallpaper right out of a Victoria magazine. The brass, queen-sized bed was piled up with fluffy pillows, and in the bathroom a claw-foot tub occupied most of the space. We loved it.
A misty morning arrived too soon. We took our time over breakfast in the ornate dining room, both decided that the food could be better, yet stuffed ourselves nonetheless, and set off for a day of treasure hunting. It seemed that time stood still. The clouds and morning drizzle cleared away, and our minds emptied of everything but the joy of each other’s company.
That night’s bed and breakfast was a far cry from the first. We took one look at it and turned our car around. It was spooky! Our overactive imaginations had us roaming the dark roads in search of acceptable lodging. Finally, after it seemed as though we drove for hours, we found a newly built hotel, devoid of character, as expected, but with views of the silver ocean lapping at the rocks below.
Before we headed home the following afternoon, we stopped into a local bookshop and sealed our three days together by each purchasing a copy of Jane Eyre. It was a favorite book to both of us, and a talisman to remember our friendship and our last adventure before matrimony.
In case anyone is wondering, each comment will be entered in the book giveaway. Now go on and visit more Corner Views!
I picked up and read French Girls Don’t Sleep Alone, long after I was married and was no longer sleeping alone, mostly because I love all things romantic and also because I figured that as a married woman I should maintain my sexiness for my husband so that I will never have to sleep alone again. It is one of my favorite books, and what I consider required reading for girls and women, single and married, in loving themselves, pampering their bodies and minds, and growing more charming by the minute.
The lovely Jamie Cat Callan, author and French girl at heart, sent me two autographed books for two lucky readers, when I mentioned to her that I would use her beautiful book as a giveaway, in honor of the American Mother’s Day celebration. Please visit Jamie at her blog: #mce_temp_url# . Her book is also available for purchase through Amazon, and you can find that here: #mce_temp_url#.
This contest is open to my readers the world over, as long as you leave a comment on any of the posts until next Sunday at noon — my time. Make sure you tune in the following day to find out who the winners are and to participate in the giveaway for that week.
I have a friend who lost her daughter to cancer six months ago. I saw her today for the second time since then, and I am amazed at her ability to go on, to get up and get dressed, put on make-up, go to work, take care of the rest of her family. Her daughter, her firstborn, was just eighteen, so beautiful, so full of energy, so full of life when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She lived for almost a half year longer, giving her family time to prepare themselves with her death. But how can a parent prepare for something so horrendous? I do not know. I know there was a lot of screaming and praying and silent tears and sleepless nights. And I know there was depression, and there still is, a vacant look in the eye, a smile that is forced, the desire to lie down and wake up on the other side.
And how does a child prepare?
I wrote this following piece when I found out the news. My feeble attempt to understand what my sweet friend’s daughter had been going through, while knowing that I never could.
Imagine yourself at eighteen. Maybe you’re a senior in high school. Maybe a freshman at a community college. Maybe you’re taking a year off to rest and decide what to do with the rest of your life. You are intelligent. You are beautiful. And you have all the time in the world, because you are just eighteen. You have a mom and a dad who love you, adore you, really, because you are the baby. And while they want you out of the house so they could downsize and start traveling the world, they also can’t imagine you leaving them. Or maybe you are the eldest, and intertwined with that love is that anxiety parents experience when their firstborn leaves, moves out to try life on her/his own.
Now imagine a visit to your doctor. Your pediatrician. The man or the woman who has seen you every year from the time you were born. This is really the last visit before you move on. You have a bad cough that just isn’t going away, or a bruise that isn’t fading, or a mole on your back that looks a bit strange since the last time you went tanning and fell asleep in the tanning booth, or maybe a headache that just won’t go away.
She examines you, making little noises at the back of her throat. Same noises she’s made while examining your broken nose in second grade when a big ball came out of nowhere while you were walking around the track with your three best friends; or the time you stepped on a rusty nail and had to get a tetanus shot. It sounds like she’s humming, or chirping. In any case, it’s a comforting sound, so you close your eyes and wait for it to be done so you can get dressed and go. You have plans tonight.
Then she sits you down. Takes off her glasses, rubs her eyes, looks at you over her clipboard. And says that you’ll need to go to the lab for some tests. You ask if it could wait until Monday, after all it is three o’clock on Friday and you need to go places. To see people. And there is that shirt, or dress, or shoes that you absolutely need to have for this party you’re attending tonight.
She looks at you and smiles and nods her head, but a sigh escapes. First thing Monday morning, she reminds you. Then she gives you a hug that’s a bit too tight and a bit too long. And your childhood ends. Because you know that something is going on. There’s a war inside your body. Something you have no control over. And all cheer until you find out what it is, is false cheer.
So you call your mom. She’s frantic. She hangs up too quickly, then calls you back. She tells you to wait for her right there, she’s on her way. And you wait because what else can you do? Meanwhile thoughts race through your head: you’re just eighteen; whatever it is, it isn’t fair; there are never any decent magazines in the doctor’s office; maybe you’ll be done quickly at the lab; you hope you make it to the mall; you’re just eighteen…
And the weekend passes in a blur. Your doctor calls on Monday. You need more tests. You go in. You get hooked up to things. Blood flows out of your veins and into countless vials. You hear your mom crying herself to sleep at night. Your dad, so strong, so tough, is breaking apart. So you try to be brave for your parents and for your siblings who watch you with big, fearful eyes. Or maybe you break down and cry with them. You hope. You despair. You pray. You pray for a miracle. After all you are just eighteen. And your whole life should be ahead of you.
If you find it in your heart, please say a prayer for my friend. That peace and joy return to her. Thank you, my dear and lovely readers.
Unfortunately, I haven’t been in any places with vending machines in the last several days, so this photo will have to do. Upon closer inspection, it is a highly appropriate photo as it invites one to choose between a selection of delicious yummies, just as a vending machine would.
I am reminded of the love story of one of my numerous uncles’ girlfriends of years past. This girlfriend kept a running tally of all the young men she had dated. My uncle was number 34, if I remember correctly. It wasn’t that she was a great beauty, she was just seventeen and lacking sophistication, yet already an expert in the art of seduction as some women are taught from an early age. The young men wanted to marry her, anticipating all that her body offered. She got engaged to one man, and on her wedding night snuck out to run off with another.
Choices, choices. And that’s how it is with vending machines. One’s forever second guessing the choices made.
For more on REAL vending machines visit Jane’s sidebar at: #mce_temp_url#.