Not-so-Manic Monday

Today I…
– queued social media posts for one of my employers, through the end of the month.
– wrote two articles.
– wrote chapter 41 of a fan-fiction epic I’m writing for fun.
– made chicken soup.
– recorded and submitted two auditions for audio dramas.
– taught the puppy to stand from sit.
– started teaching the puppy DOWN.
– recorded and posted a podcast.

You wouldn’t think such non-physical things would be tiring, and yet they are.

From the Vaults: Cotton Candy

The old man’s face glistened with the faint sheen of sweat. Beads of it shimmered at his temples, reflecting the Christmas-light colors of the lights along the midway. He was dressed up, as if for a date, for this occasion, in a short-sleeved cotton shirt, striped in Oxford red, with the collar pressed into crisp points, suspenders, and his best khaki pants, breaking just so across the top of his shoes.

They were old man’s shoes: sturdy brown leather, with steel shanks and rawhide laces. He called them ‘work shoes’ – although the only ‘work’ he still did was to putter in the kitchen or the garden, these days.

A woman in a yellow sun dress and matching sandals, her olive skin smooth despite the greying streaks in her wavy black hair, her dark eyes glowing with contentment, walked beside him, her arm looped through his, her body angled toward him. Her red-tinted lips moved rapidly, but her affectionate nagging was drowned out by the calliope music and the incessant chatter of the little girl with them.

The little girl. The apple of the old couple’s eyes, this child danced around them the way young children do when they’re pumped up on fun, her strawberry braids bobbing in time with her innocent chatter. She halted in front of the cotton candy, watching the hair-net clad women spinning colored sugar into fluffy clouds on paper cones. “Grandpop, may I have some?” she asked. And of course he said yes.

Years later, when the old man was older still, and his work shoes never even visited the garden any more, he would smile into space, remembering the buzzing of mosquitoes, the tinny sound of the carousel’s calliope, and the sticky cotton-candy kisses of a little girl long since grown, who never visited often enough.

Sleep Patterns

I’ve never been very good at sleeping. I either feel like it’s so much wasted time, or I’m afraid of what my imagination will run on the movie screen of my mind, so I avoid it, or I’m so exhausted and cranky that I cannot get enough of it.

Last night, I took melatonin way too late. Today, I was a zombie.

But I was a zombie with incredibly vivid dreams, who woke to make dinner, spend time with my husband, and still get a blog post in under the wire.

Tonight? I’m hoping to be in bed by 1 AM.

Leo Rising (Happy Birthday to Me)

I asked the universe (and my mother) to send me a storm for my birthday. I woke yesterday to thunder, lightning, and torrential rain, which subsided into a steady, soaking rain around noon, and lingered throughout the day.

I love it when nature cooperates with my desires.

Turning forty-four was easy and fun, filled with laughter, good friends, good food, and special gifts: goodies from Lush and a bracelet from Fuzzy, flowers and plants from two of my favorite people, and a non-fiction book from my aunt that I’d never have chosen, but will enjoy.

Happy Birthday to Me, indeed.

By the Numbers

My blog-friend Michael (aka WarriorPoet(2)) died last year, a veteran who fell, not to gunfire or missile blasts, but to cancer, at too young an age.

We used to challenge each other with memes and prompts over on OpenDiary, which also died, just a few months ago, of neglect, mostly – not by the participants but by the site owner who had moved on to other things.

I found this meme while sifting through archives, and thought I’d share it here.

10 words you like in your own language:
brilliant, decadent, fractious, glower, nostalgic, susurration, overzealous, tintinnabulation, zesty, zoetrope,

9 words you like in other languages:
allegro, attraversiamo, ciao, guacala, joyeux, melange, noir, pianissimo, scocciare

8 city names that are fun to say:
Albequerque, Boise, Carcassone, Istanbul, Marrakech, Tehachapi, Tuolomne, Waxahachie

7 words that make you uncomfortable:
autistic, cloaca, can’t, death, fear, truth, war

6 words that relate to your job:
creative, emotional, internal, nebulous, scary, undisciplined

5 words that describe someone you love greatly:
affectionate, forgiving, loyal, silly, understanding

4 words you would use to describe yourself:
improvisational, mercurial, sarcastic, vivacious

3 words that describe your pet:
canine, clingy, quartet

2 words that describe your higher power:
divine spark

1 word to end with:
imagine

Dormant

reading in bed

It’s just over a month til my birthday (5 weeks from Sunday, actually) and I’ve entered the period of the year when I’m sort of creatively dormant. I think, I plan, I read, and lift weights, and play in the kitchen, but my writing slows down to the bare minimum.

Once the calendar page flips to August, however – once it turns to MY month – my creativity always comes surging back like a huge wave breaking over a jetty.

Cool, ferocious, blue-green creativity.

For now though, I have a pot of pasta that will soon become a bowl of aglia e olio, and a chilled wine that’s light and neither too sweet nor too dry, and a beachy novel to read.

Dormant? Maybe.

But it’s just part of my personal cycle.

Dancing Fools

Ballerina Warming Up by David Gilbert

“We’re fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.”
~ Japanese Proverb

I’ve taken dance classes on and off since I was five years old. It started, as it does for most little girls, with ballet. Ballet is still my favorite.

Later it became tap, jazz (my second favorite), show dancing (basically lite ballroom meant for actors), and even hip-hop.

These days, I pretty much dance in my kitchen, and my living room. My life is a musical, and I sing and dance my way through every task, and even dance with my dogs. Especially Teddy. Teddy is an awesome partner. He’s part Catahoula, so dancing comes naturally.

I keep trying to convince Fuzzy to take a ballroom class with me, but he’s the quintessential white boy with no rhythm. He will, however, dance with me in the kitchen, when Teddy lets him cut in.

I love that we’ve been married 19 years and we still dance in the kitchen and sing silly songs to each other.

Image Credit:David Gilbert via 123RF.com

Starlight and Whalesong

Whale Encounter by Kareem Alqaq

Last Saturday, I went to see the grey whales, and got to pet one.

This morning, I wrote about it at All Things Girl.

Most of us think of humpback whales when we think of whale watching, but – at least here in Baja – it’s the grey whales you come to see, and it’s evident from their behavior that the whales are also here to see us. Quite social, it’s almost as if they’re trained. We are in the water with four other boats and there are three or four mother-calf pairs. The mothers, massive creatures that you never see in their entirety, stay farther away from us, monitoring the situation, but the calves are like puppies, going from boat to boat, rolling over to blink at you, or meet your gaze with theirs – they have eyelashes!!! – begging for skritches and belly-rubs, smiling and showing off their baleen.

Here’s an excerpt. For the whole piece, click here: Sunday Brunch: The Hottest Blood of All.

Valentine…

valentine coffee

Happy Valentine’s Day. Several years ago, when I discovered this poem, it instantly became my favorite love poem EVER. For many years I posted it in my blog on Valentine’s Day. Last year, I posted a poem by Harold Pinter, instead.

As I write this, my Valentine is away on a business trip, so I won’t see him til tomorrow morning. Still, it seems appropriate to post this rather…earthy…celebration of love.

May this day be full of love and light no matter the status of your relationship.

Valentine
The things about you I appreciate
May seem indelicate:
I’d like to find you in the shower
And chase the soap for half an hour.
I’d like to have you in my power
And see your eyes dilate.
I’d like to have your back to scour
And other parts to lubricate.
Sometimes I feel it is my fate
To chase you screaming up a tower
Or make you cower
By asking you to differentiate
Nietzsche from Schopenhauer.
I’d like successfully to guess your weight
And win you at a fête.
I’d like to offer you a flower.

I like the hair upon your shoulders,
Falling like water over boulders.
I like the shoulders too: they are essential.
Your collar-bones have great potential
(I’d like your particulars in folders
Marked Confidential).

I like your cheeks, I like your nose,
I like the way your lips disclose
The neat arrangement of your teeth
(Half above and half beneath)
In rows.

I like your eyes, I like their fringes.
The way they focus on me gives me twinges.
Your upper arms drive me berserk.
I like the way your elbows work.
On hinges …

I like your wrists, I like your glands,
I like the fingers on your hands.
I’d like to teach them how to count,
And certain things we might exchange,
Something familiar for something strange.
I’d like to give you just the right amount
And get some change.

I like it when you tilt your cheek up.
I like the way you not and hold a teacup.
I like your legs when you unwind them.
Even in trousers I don’t mind them.
I like each softly-moulded kneecap.

I like the little crease behind them.
I’d always know, without a recap,
Where to find them.

I like the sculpture of your ears.
I like the way your profile disappears
Whenever you decide to turn and face me.
I’d like to cross two hemispheres
And have you chase me.
I’d like to smuggle you across frontiers
Or sail with you at night into Tangiers.
I’d like you to embrace me.

I’d like to see you ironing your skirt
And cancelling other dates.
I’d like to button up your shirt.
I like the way your chest inflates.
I’d like to soothe you when you’re hurt
Or frightened senseless by invertebrates.

I’d like you even if you were malign
And had a yen for sudden homicide.
I’d let you put insecticide
Into my wine.
I’d even like you if you were Bride
Of Frankenstein
Or something ghoulish out of Mamoulian’s
Jekyll and Hyde.
I’d even like you as my Julian
Or Norwich or Cathleen ni Houlihan.
How melodramatic
If you were something muttering in attics
Like Mrs Rochester or a student of Boolean
Mathematics.

You are the end of self-abuse.
You are the eternal feminine.
I’d like to find a good excuse
To call on you and find you in.
I’d like to put my hand beneath your chin,
And see you grin.
I’d like to taste your Charlotte Russe,
I’d like to feel my lips upon your skin
I’d like to make you reproduce.

I’d like you in my confidence.
I’d like to be your second look.
I’d like to let you try the French Defence
And mate you with my rook.
I’d like to be your preference
And hence
I’d like to be around when you unhook.
I’d like to be your only audience,
The final name in your appointment book,
Your future tense.

~John Fuller

Image credit: byheaven / 123RF Stock Photo