Tag Archives: family

My Creative Mommy [repost]

If love could have saved you

When I was a kid, I didn’t think it was anything special that my mom single-handedly remodeled our homes. No, I don’t mean she went shopping and had furniture delivered, hired men to paint, and found contractors to install new flooring. I mean she stripped wallpaper, put up new paper, painted walls, redid floors herself, built shelves, planted gardens with fences, created fancy dollhouses for me out of moving boxes, etc. Didn’t all mothers do these things?

I spent a lot of time walking with her through hardware stores, yet for whatever reason she seemed to avoid teaching me to help her. I’m not sure why this is, but I suspect she didn’t want to impose her interests on me because she wanted me to find my own. While she was busy with her DIY stuffs, I would be reading or drawing doggies or making bead necklaces or embroidering a denim shirt… not that there’s anything wrong with that.

In New Jersey, she experimented quite a bit with recipes. We had a large garden and the typical zucchini megacrop. That was fun. She also went through a homemade soup phase and a Jell-O mold phase and a DIY ice cream phase… and of course a breadmaking phase. We also had a summer of candlemaking. I wish I had photos. See, if I’d made candles with my kids, that would definitely have generated a scrapbook spread, but my mom didn’t do scrapbooks, and photos were mostly taken on vacations. I have no tangible evidence of our candle phase, except the memory that it was fun. I know I made a few colorful mushrooms that could have festooned a set of Alice in Wonderland. There was also at least one frog and possibly other woodland flora and fauna.

Later on, whenever I was interested in something, my mom found a way to help me with it, if she could (or if I would let her). I didn’t appreciate this so much at the time, but isn’t it a nice quality of someone who cares about you? I appreciate that now, when a friend offers the gift of their time unexpectedly. It’s such a generous thing to do. I’m trying to be more that way myself, remembering Mom and what a kind, caring, generous person she was.

I will always miss her.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. Love you forever.

mom

~*~

Last image is mine; first one’s source is unknown.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

April

birthday cupcake sprinkles candle lonely

Is it truly the cruelest?
I mixed memory and desire
And ended up with banana bread,
In a year where we all
Baked too much
And didn’t hug enough.
Soon I will be 60,
Sharing my birth month with Hitler
And Valerie Bertinelli.
One day at a time,
Hours melted away,
In a year where weeks blended
So seamlessly,
No events to mark
One month from the next.

“You’re still young!”

Many people turn 60
And 70 and 80,
But not everyone.
My mother didn’t make it to 80;
My father did, more or less.
I remember his 60th
A birthday party up in Saugus,
Near Magic Mountain,
Where they’d bought a new house
And sold it a year later for a loss.
My dad couldn’t find work—
The insurance companies
Wanted fresh grads with MBAs.
But 60 isn’t old, they say.

Thanksgiving week I drove by,
On my way to Alameda;
The roller coasters stood silent,
Like dinosaurs in a tar pit.
But the rides will come alive again,
Restaurants will open,
And this year will slide into the muck
Of memories best forgotten.

“Think positive!”

I chant my list like a mantra,
Grateful and selfish,
Wanting to keep what I have.
A sky full of cold stars
Shrugs as it does
Over these wastelands,
Increasing waistbands,
Indifferent to lists.
Time spins out to infinity,
Where numbers collapse
And the present is past;
In one shining moment,
It all makes sense…

But mostly it does not.

~*~

Poetry form: free verse.

Image is mine.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Backstory [repost]

Paula at the beach in hat

Alt title: Why Use One Word When 700 Are Available?

I wrote a prose poem about “who I am” that was really “where I’m from” a long time ago for a prompt, though I’m not sure if we called them prompts then. It might have been on Usenet, which we used to deride as a sewer, before every other form of social media became awful too. (I still think blogs are the best of the bunch.) The poem was short and not that deep, but then I pulled it up again and fleshed it out for another venue.

I’ve been thinking about Rory’s question (“who are you really?”). It’s a pretty easy question for most people to answer superficially. We generally give answers about who we are in relationship to other people. I’m a mom. I’m a wife, or not. I’m a good friend of so & so, a loyal employee of XYZ Company, yada. We’re plotting our position on axes of family and work, then friendships, maybe next our relationship to interests. I’m a fan of such and such sports team, rah! Or I love to garden, knit, read, write, pull the tails off little blind mice. Whatever.

We tell the world who we are in this multi-dimensional GPS system. Locate me here, in this spot: mom, ex-wife, legal secretary, poet, cat lover, Game of Thrones fan. This is me, right here. What if there are other humans occupying that position? I might have to refine it further. But does this actually even answer the question? Does this explain who I am? Do you know me from these factoids? Could you tell someone about the essence of me from my GPS position?

The other week I was playing a board game with some good friends I’ve known for a long time. It was called ImaginiFF. A question came up: “ImaginiFF Paula were a movie. Which movie would she be?” There were 5 random movies and then Doctor Zhivago, which was obviously correct in my mind for a variety of reasons. Everyone chose it, and this surprised me. I wouldn’t have expected them to know. But they did. And this made me unreasonably happy because most of the time I think people don’t even understand me at all, not even people to whom I’m closest. But I don’t think you would get the correct movie from a bunch of disparate facts about me; you’d have to spend years orbiting my weirdness.

Anyway, here is my GPS poem about who I am via where I’m from. I take the long way around.

Backstory

I am from the Big Apple, take a bite, glitter lights, lemon ice, museums, zoos, art and news, Coney Island hot dogs, Jones Beach sandy sweets, sharp shells stab soft carpet feet.

I am from the place where you pull the blinds, someone’s looking, where you smell your neighbor’s curry cooking, he makes you sweet tea with cardamom, next day Jamaican barbecue mon, the Filipinos have one record, sugar sugar aw honey honey, your father brings home Saturday pastries from the German bakery, “schwartzwalder kirschetorte,” it sounds funny, say it again, and the Japanese girl doesn’t know your words but can show you how to fold paper squares into gentle birds.

I am from the thorny Jersey berry bushes, blackpurple bursts against tanned sunfingers, slipping stones in backyard creek, crick, algae slick, willow fronds sweep redwood table pirate ship, hopscotch sidewalks toss a chip, Sunday French toast sausage brunch, leaves turning orangecrunch, rubber masks hiding smiles fake, the quickmelt of perfect crystal snowflakes.

I am from big city and small town, remain unclaimed, cheer for no team, believe in no crown, blood flows only down, I look out to starless airless zerodark, time past seems tissue-thin, walk back in, an afternoon of bubble toys, uncaring joy, turquoise dresses rhinestone sunlight, just once, golden flash, one more pass, because I am from a yard of girls with summerdrip popsicles, before the apple, before the crash.

I am from disconnect and strife, feudglue of life, mashed crookedly together, a puzzle I failed to see until I broke apart, alone, jagged on my own, and now I know why people stay, bicker low and graceless, get physical redangry splashwine in faces, because they can’t bear the abyss, yes, I missed, I get it all now, too late.

~*~

Image is mine.

Poetry form: prose poem.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

My Wild and Crazy NorCal Adventure!

Paula and Diane

Last weekend I drove up to Alameda to spend a few days with my daughter Diane and her hubby Sam, plus their critters Rory and Zizi. I stopped frequently to stretch my legs so my back would not freeze up. Took me more than 8 hours (supposed to be about 6.5), but I was okay with that.

Friday night we ordered a strange pizza with ricotta cheese blobs… Diane and I loved it! Sam, not so much.

Pizza

To get even for the pizza, Sam kicked our butts at Scrabble. Next, we decided to watch a movie and chose Out of Africa. None of us liked it much, and Rory woofed at the doggie on screen. I fell asleep and we didn’t finish the film. Got a good night’s rest without being awakened by Gatsby’s howls.

On Saturday, we went to a mall in Walnut Creek to mosey around (everyone masked). Then we headed to lunch at Kabab Burgers in Lafayette. Everything was crowded, so we took our lunches to Sam’s parents’ house in Orinda.

Mediterranean sampler

Omg so delicious! The food was excellent and it was a beautiful day to dine al fresco. Then, the real adventure began. The lovely Orinda house is secluded in a gorgeous woodsy area, and I asked Sam where this path led I saw from the porch. He said there was a tiny old wooden schoolhouse back in the forest from like 100 years ago. Of course, Diane and I wanted to go see it. Sam led the way…

Sam in forest

Turned out there wasn’t much of a path and we had to hack our way through the wilderness like explorers in the Amazon. There were birds and bugs and probably salamanders, toads, and snakes. Bobcats and bears too! Finally, after an arduous 7 minutes or so of intense hiking, we found the schoolhouse.

But two things happened simultaneously. One, we saw that the building had collapsed into a pile of rotting wood. You couldn’t even tell what kind of structure it had been. Sad. Two, I lost my phone somewhere in the jungle. Oh no! Sam said we’d find it and not to worry. He took a pic of Dee and me with his phone.

Diane and Paula

We began to trace our steps back and search for my phone. Nothing. I looked around and realized what a vast woods it was, teeming with life. An eagle could have already swooped in and taken my phone, or a rattlesnake might have eaten it, or it could have sunk in a pile of quicksand. I was starting to panic in a major way. How would I get home sans GPS? What about my Scrabble games in progress? I’d miss out on all the Messenger chats! But then Dee called my number and it rang. Sam spotted my phone going off in a patch of leaves and handed it to me. Whew! What a relief!

We headed home and proceeded to play board games: Carcassonne, the Castles of Mad King Ludwig, and Ticket to Ride. I lost all of them. I wasn’t too hungry that night because of the big lunch, but I managed to try my pre-birthday cake and pie selections.

Birthday cake and pie

There was carrot cake and red velvet cake, both with scrumptious cream cheese frosting, and there was my favorite pie… key lime in a graham cracker crust. So yummy! No movies that night; we all read books on Kindle. Sunday morning I slept in even later and had cookies for breakfast. Lunch was a variety of dim sum (delivered) and later we took a walk with Rory.

Alameda geese

We saw lots of ducks and geese on the other side of the island, but it was windy and freezing, so we stayed out only a short time. Warmed up at home with some wine and baked brie, plus two rounds of Catan and two rounds of Lanterns (lost all, keeping my streak going). Doggo was happy to be back in her cozy bed.

Rory golden retriever dog
Zizi orange tabby cat

Kitty is older and not feeling well, so she mostly stays snuggled in a soft blanket. Poor sweetie. Sunday night came around so quickly… and then Monday morning when I headed back down south. Easy-peasy trip home with little traffic and a bit of drizzle in the middle of the journey. Visits with family are always too short! Already planning to return for Turkey Day. Hopefully I will get a chance to redeem myself at board games… will practice on friends in the meantime.

This trip is definitely my smile for the week.

~*~

Images are mine.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Spring Reflections

City buildings lights reflect water

Spring is a time of love and sorrow for me…


March brings me reminders of my father’s death day and also the anniversary of my marriage to the ex. Happy and sad memories are triggered in both cases. There’s also the joy of my youngest daughter’s birthday.

April blossoms with the dates of Dad’s birthday, Mom’s death day, and another ex’s birthday. My own birthday falls at the end of the month, and, again, reflecting on that event conjures up a mix of feelings. A few weeks later in May is Mother’s Day, summoning joy and grief all at once.

June is another emotional tangle, containing my sweet little granddaughter’s birthday, Mom’s, the ex-hubby’s, Father’s Day, etc. That’s a lot of mental snapshots to sort through and process. There are times it’s a pleasure; other times it’s a trial.

Mom was a huge fan of Johnny Cash and passed that love onto me. He had such enormous talent that he transcended the country music genre. For a while, I kept my fondness for country on the down low, since so many fellow rock fans proclaimed a flagrant loathing of it. But I don’t care anymore and will shout that I like the sound of country comfort!

Today, Jim Adams posts about one of my favorite JC songs “Man in Black.” It feels appropriate to listen to right now because of my own memories and also because of all the sadness and injustice throughout the world. I share with you a cover of “500 Miles” (aka “The Railroader’s Lament”) by Johnny’s eldest daughter Rosanne Cash, who is successful in her own right, has had many No. 1 hits, and writes books too.

The writing credits to this song are a bit murky, but it is generally credited to Hedy West. There have been many versions, including Johnny’s. The 1963 cover by Bobby Bare was the most commercially successful.

Written for Eugi’s Weekly Prompt and Jim Adams’ Thursday Inspiration.

Image from Lovethispic.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Blossom [repost]

“Bloom where you’re planted,” they told her. And she did. She adapted and persevered, thrived and blossomed. She was a country girl with the greenest thumb, but she could sparkle with the best of them under the city lights. She grew herbs on a tiny terrace in Queens while listening to Johnny Cash. She took a tract house and made it her own, with purple paint in the bedroom and a vegetable garden in back. And there were always flowers wherever she roamed. She gave bouquets of kindness to everyone she met.

I miss you, Mommy. Rest in peace.

~*~

Written for the Carrot Ranch.

Reposted for the 13th anniversary of Mom’s death.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Happy Birthday, Dad [repost]

Dad and Diane

It was fun looking through the box of unsorted photos and finding this gem from around 27 years ago ~ Dad and my eldest in the backyard of our old Huntington Beach house. If he were still around, I’d probably be baking his favorite fudgy brownies for a birthday celebration tonight. Miss those days. Love you, Dad, RIP.

~*~

Image is mine.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Muddy Puddle Doggy Smile [repost]

Golden retriever

Last year when I was up north I got to hang out with my sweet little grand-kitty and my energetic grand-puppy. We took Rory to the dog beach, but the tide was all the way in, so we opted for the trail instead of the shore. The trail was full of puddles however, some small ones and some lake-size. The humans and normal doggos naturally avoided the puddles because who wants to get all wet and cold when it’s barely 60 degrees?

A retriever, that’s who! There could be sumpin’ in a puddle to retrieve, and Rory was determined not to leave a single puddle unexplored.

Golden retriever
Golden retriever

Happy wet and dirty doggo! I don’t have actual splashy pics because Rory liked to jump on us after each puddle foray, so I didn’t have my phone out the whole time.

I’m looking forward to my next visit.

~*~

Written for Trent’s Weekly Smile

Images are mine.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.