I haven’t done one of these #5things posts since my refresh, but I can’t resist listing some fall faves, not to mention having an excuse to use this fun image in homage to the first line of “Hotel California.” Thanks, Dr. Tanya, for the prompt.
1. While I adore the summer sun and warmth, I am much more productive when there’s less daylight. Why? I dunno. I’ve already started working on another half-finished book that’s been languishing on Google Drive. This makes me happy!
2. Pumpkin everything. Bring it on, haters! Er, not the oatmeal… that was disgusting. But pumpkin spiced coffee, cookies, cupcakes, and pie? Hell yeah!
Apples and honey are on the table Because it’s Rosh Hashanah; Cakes and treats abound. Do you know why? Easy! It’s to symbolize a sweet year, From our house to yours. Go down to the shore and Hold some bread to toss on the waves— It’s tradition (casting away sins). Just like fasting on Yom Kippur, which is ten days Later. This is the special time that Marks the start of the Jewish New Year, and we all hope Our names are inscribed in the Book— Perhaps atonement will help. Quirky thing in Judaism: Remember to apologize and forgive directly. Shofar sounds to inspire us— Temple-goer or no, Unless you’re oblivious, you’ll Vibe to the candlelight, maybe even Wear white. It’s hard not to get X-cited about the High Holidays. You all have a sweet one, whether in Zion or Anchorage!
Happy Labor Day to Americans! Happy first Monday of September to everyone else. Tonight is the start of the Jewish New Year ~ Rosh Hashanah ~ and I wish all my readers a sweet one. I wrote a special poem for the occasion and it will post in a couple hours. For now, I’m excited to dive into Melanie’s Share Your World…
1. Do you believe in soul-mates? (my definition of ‘soul mate’ is the IDEAL partner romantically).
I don’t believe in “souls” in the religious sense, or any sense really. But I do believe that some people meet a romantic partner who is absolutely right for them in every way, and for those lucky folks I would say they found their “soul mate.” Sometimes people change in different ways though as they age, and the person who was once a perfect match no longer is. Then what happens? Some put in a colossal effort to stay together, while others drift apart and search for someone new. Can we have multiple “soul mates” in a lifetime? Why not?!
As far as me personally, I used to believe I’d find my soul mate, but that didn’t happen and I’ve learned to be happy on my own. I no longer look for a soul mate, or any kind of mate. I wouldn’t be willing to make the necessary changes to my life to be in a successful romantic relationship now. Would I have been happier if I spent my life with a loving partner who complemented me sexually, intellectually, and emotionally? Probably. But I accept that not everyone gets to have that. I also believe that you can make it work, at least for a while, with someone who is nearly your soul mate, if you’re both willing to put in loads of effort and compromise on stuff. It may or may not last anyway however. After my divorce, I wasn’t willing to put in that much effort again.
2. What are three scents you like?
I love the traditional spiced fall scents of cinnamon, apple, pumpkin, clove, etc. That combo is a natural mood-lifter for me. I also love vanilla and lemon. All foods, lol! Most food smells good while it’s cooking, especially if you’re hungry. I’m not a fan of floral and musky scents ~ even roses, as beautiful as their scent is initially, will make me nauseated if they’re sitting around for a while. I start picking up the traces of a mold smell and can get a headache from it.
3. What are some things that you might be considered too old to do, but that you enjoy?
I enjoy coloring (either on my phone or with crayons/markers/colored pencils) ~ in fact, I may start that up again soon, as it’s so relaxing. I’ve put my paints away because they’re so messy and time-intensive, plus I’m generally not thrilled with the result. I like doing small, fiddly things such as making bead jewelry and playing with Barbie dolls. But generally I won’t do those things unless there’s a child around. Of course, it’s fun to do most anything with my grandkids, even bubbles!
4. What is one food you absolutely refuse to share?
Er, I don’t know. I’ll generally share anything, though in a non-germy way. I don’t like drinking from someone else’s glass or vice versa, but if I can cleanly separate some food from my plate to share, I’m happy to do that. There’s always more food!
5. Please feel free to share something positive!
I had a lovely session in our jacuzzi yesterday, which helped my back a lot.
Lately I’ve avoided some of the standard prompt questions in order to create a more poetry and fiction-focused blog, but today PCGuyIV asks about our favorite holiday treats and, well, I can’t resist talking about cookies.
While I adore lots of special occasion nummies, from pumpkin-shaped Reese’s PB cups to heart-shaped Reese’s PB cups to Christmas tree-shaped Reese’s PB cups… to, um, other stuff… there is nothing more delicious in this world than buttery, sugary Spritz cookies. Of course, they must be made in a old-fashioned metal press, with some dough colored red and other dough green and some left plain, and then sprinkled with colorful doodads when done. They should look exactly like the pic above I borrowed from Life, Love and Sugar. No frosting! No choccy! My mommy and I used to make butter Spritzes every year. So so so good!
Mom also used to make rum balls, which I love, but they’re so heartburny to me now. Mostly they’re smashed vanilla wafers smooshed up with rum and more sugar, shaped into balls, and left to ferment for a few weeks. I think it was the lure of “those aren’t ready yet!” that made them so enticing. I also like gingerbread a whole lot.
Chanukah provides yummy treats as well, and while I hate the jelly doughnuts, I love the latkes and applesauce. Gelt is also delicious (chocolate coins), especially if you buy it from See’s. This is how I prefer chocolate anyway: by itself. I’m not a fan of chocolate frosting or dipping cookies into chocolate unless they’re almond crescents, which seem to be available only in New York. Of course, I love chocolate chip cookies, but you can have those anytime and this post is about holiday yums.
What about other holidays? Meh. Valentine candy isn’t anything special you can’t get throughout the year. I’m not a big fan of hamentashen (Purim triangle cookies), and Easter candy is pretty barf except for the aforementioned PB cups (egg-shaped in this case). Passover food is hideous, and I’m not into any of the meat-grilling rituals of Memorial Day and July 4th.
That brings us to Thanksgiving, which is many people’s favorite food holiday, but I don’t like most of the traditional items, with one exception ~ stuffing! I love love love stuffing, especially if it contains mushrooms or oysters. Turkey is meh. Mashed potatoes meh. Sweet potatoes OK. Cranberry sauce ick. Etc. Then there’s pie, which is OK. I mean, of course I enjoy pie… I’m not a psychopath! But compared to Spritz cookies? No contest.
I celebrated this July 4th by flinging off my self-imposed yoke of fiction writing tyranny. Hurrah! Instead of dumping tea into Boston Harbor, I spilled it all over my laptop and destroyed my keyboard, thereby depriving myself of the means to gaze at the screen wondering why a best-selling novel authored by me doesn’t materialize while I screw around reading the news. Tuesday I had a meltdown while visiting my daughters because I’m so frustrated and stressed over my lack of writing progress and success, so I suspect the tea spill was a subconscious rebellion.
Of course I could buy a new laptop, but I don’t want to. My hard drive is fine and safe, if anyone cares, and most of my stuff is backed up, but I can’t write fiction on my phone. I feel relieved. I spent the day watching movies and doing NOTHING. I’m tired of telling myself that the minute I get home from the office, after typing on a computer all day, I have to start working on a novel or else I’m failing at life. Most nights I don’t even write ~ I just sit there, tired and miserable, staring at the screen, until I crash into sleep.
Maybe my subconscious was also at work when I titled my last book of poetry All She Wrote. At the time, I meant it about a specific situation… or so I thought. In any case, I don’t intend to stop blogging or tweeting, or even writing the occasional poem, all of which are phone-friendly. I’m only talking about giving up the agony of fiction writing and the hopelessness of self-promo. These nowhere goals have been adding to my depression. (I probably shouldn’t use the word depression, but since I allow people with regular bad headaches to call them migraines, I figure I can have a pass.)
These are the movies I watched yesterday:
1. Spaceballs! So freaking funny. I can’t believe I never saw it before. Loved it. Just what I needed to cheer me up. And whatever happened to Daphne Zuniga? So pretty! She was in a sweet romcom with my honey John Cusack back in the day. What was that? Be my google.
2. Winter’s Bone. Yikes, what an intense movie. I can see the appeal of Jennifer Lawrence now. She is incredible in this utterly bleak yet fantastic film.
3. The Age of Innocence. Generally I don’t like narrated movies, but there are exceptions to every rule, and this is one. What a lovely film. Everyone was superb. Daniel Day-Lewis is such a gifted actor ~ what a shame he retired.
I plan to feast madly on movies and books from now on. Other people have created delicious art and I’m simply going to nom up theirs and shoot down any idea that I need to write a novel, should such a crazy notion ever raise its nasty serpentine head again out of the tangled jungle of my mind. Begone, slithery, sanity-stealing, ego constrictor of doom.
Happy Independence Day to my USA readers, and happy Sunday to everyone else! Jim gave us a topical theme today and I’m going with that wonderfully talented and prolific American songwriter Neil Diamond. Neil was born in 1941 in Brooklyn, NY, and he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1984 and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011. In 2011, Mr. Diamond was also an honoree at the Kennedy Center, and in 2018, he received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. [Wikipedia]
“America” was released in 1981 for Neil’s album The Jazz Singer, which was also the soundtrack to the movie. I recently watched the film and enjoyed it very much. One of my friends posted the entirety of the Statue of Liberty poem (“The New Colossus”) on Facebook this week, and I suggest everyone read it. Or simply watch this video…
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.
Last image is mine; first one’s source is unknown.
A few months ago, I went on a jolly Christmas binge and watched several holiday romantic comedies. (I wrote about my reactions on Medium.) One prevalent theme was the glorification of rustic simplicity. So often our protagonist can’t find love until he or she leaves a city and heads for the countryside.
Usually the departure is an impetuousone ~ or a complete accident. The protagonist doesn’t even realize they’ve been rushed, overworked, rude, cynical, etc., until they find themselves forced to relax in some charming small town where everyone is kind and helpful and filled with generosity. The message is relentlessly hammered home that city life is bad and rural life is paradise.
This theme annoyed me. I say people are the same everywhere and you can find nice folks in cities as well as bullies in small towns. I should know: I went to high school in a crappy little suburb and had to deal with a lot of jerks. Not to discountthe idea that there are mean people in cities! But according to the holiday romcoms, not only are cities bereft of any holiday spirit, but also you can’t find love until you leave.
I guess those scriptwriters never heard of “Silver Bells.”