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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

One Moment In time


One Moment in My Life

Blogfest #31 hosted by Angela Tjong 

I don’t know that I could ever pick one moment in my life that changed everything, altered my perception, that defined my life or the world, since I have been fortunate to have many.

The first real epiphany I recall?  I was driving my first car in to work.  Heading east.  The sunrise was exceptionally colorful, filled with golds, reds, against the vibrant blue background.  My heart, literally, skipped a beat.  I felt I was glowing.  I was overly warm and yet I had goose pimples. I knew that I was on my way.  To exactly where, I wasn’t all that certain, but I knew that I had recently made some decisions and that those very decisions were setting my feet onto the correct path to lead me to the “rest of my life”.  I was seventeen at the time. 

I awoke one morning and knew I was pregnant with a girl.  I had been a tom-boy all my life.  What kind of joke was it that the universe would give me a daughter?  I could throw the nicest spiral foot-ball.  How was I ever going to pass that on to a girl.  To my surprise and delight my daughter has taught me so much of life!  Without her, I honestly don’t think I would have been given any other epiphany I ever experienced.  Her little life demanded I quit working three jobs and select just one, her life demanded I slow down and smell the roses.  I didn’t understand she had been sent as my teacher until she was about four, until then I had the audacity to think I was to teach her!

The first day I rubbed lotion onto the blue feet and legs of my younger sister, that was the day I felt with my whole body that she was actually going to die.  It sunk into the pit of my stomach like a rock.  She had been battling lung cancer for two years. But, rubbing the lotion onto her feet and legs not only warmed her by moving the blood, it allowed me intimacy with my sister I would all too soon lose.

As my husband pushed the edger up the hill of our sidewalk, sweat running down his brow, shirt as brown as the dirt he was kicking up, snow white hair plastered to his head, I got that warm goose pimply feeling.  Oh, some might call that love.  For me, it was a realization that I been fortunate to have spent the last twenty years with my best friend.  Oh sure, we’ve had some doozies for arguments.  We don’t always see eye to eye.  But we sure make a good team.  When Bob and I work together, we can accomplish anything.  I simply had that old “rush” of emotion and positive feelings drop in for a visit.
Over the course of life, you are given many “one moment in life”.  Savor each of them.  As you fall asleep at night roll them over in your mind relishing each aspect of the moment.  These small moments are the result of your decision when you came to the crossroad.  The path your feet are taking for the rest of your life.

leigh


Ghost Story



Ghost Story

Blogfest#31 Hosted by   Jenn Duffy-Pearson 3

Crawling into her older sister’s bed, Riley placed her cold feet on the calves of Braelynn’s legs.  “Man you are so cold! Snuggle closer so I can get you warm.  You are gonna get sick if you don’t watch it.  Your feet are so cold they feel like you were walkin’ around outside with no shoes on.”   Braelynn was guessing, but she was pretty certain her guesses were correct; her younger sister had been outside walking around and not wearing any shoes or boots.

“I got the lock off the back door.  I scooted a chair over and unlocked the top lock.  I just wanted to see him.”  Riley spoke into the back of Braelynn’s hair as she nestled closer to the warmth of her older sister’s back.

“Turn over.” Braelynn knew they were not going back to sleep until Riley purged her story.  Facing the other way, Braelynn wrapped her arms around her younger sister, kissing the back of her head.  Not only was Riley five years younger than Braelynn so that she felt protective, Riley was special. 

As Riley warmed up, her story unfolded.  She had awakened to the sound of pebbles thrown at her window.  Rising from her bed to investigate, there was no one in the yard.  She knew it had to be him.  He must want to see her as much as she wanted to see him. 
Dragging a kitchen chair from the dining table, and standing on tip-toe, she could just touch the lock her parents had installed to keep her inside and safe at night.  She had a bit of a history of leaving the house in the dark of the night.  Their parents weren’t trying to be mean and hurtful, rather they were concerned with her safety. 

Once outside, Riley forgot all about donning her shoes.  She only had eyes for him.  He made her feel so special.  They investigated the woods together.  He told her about the stars.  She knew before anyone that Grams was gonna get sick, he had told her. 

“I like it best when he shows up in his uniform.  He always smells good, like sugar cookies.  He likes to show me the owls and how they fly through the trees.  Why doesn’t he want to talk to you?”  In her youthful inexperience, Riley didn’t realize she was asking a potentially painful question.  “When he talks to me, he tells me he loves you too.”

Only then did Braelynn finally answer the question.  She finally told someone else her secret.  “I see him too.  I’m just smarter.  When it’s cold outside, I put on shoes before I go see Grampa Dale.  He watches over us.  Some people call spirits Ghosts while other people call them Guardian Angels.  I like thinking he’s an angel who loves us very much.  Now go back to sleep and I’m gonna go make sure the door is locked again.”

leigh

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Weird Food


Weird Food


Blogfest # 30  Hosted by Daphne Steinberg

“No, no, no.  Stop!  You are going to overcook that thing!”  Mother was beginning to lose patience with me.  Grabbing my wrist she pulled it, along with me, away from the flame.  “The meat will be as hard and chewy as shoe leather.  Now keep your skewer further back and s-l-o-w-l-y cook it.”  As she spoke, her words came out more slowly and her voice took a deeper pitch. 

Reluctantly, I took two steps back sighed and pointed my skewer towards the fire.  “What good is cooking over a fire, if it won’t be done quickly?”  I pouted. 

“It’s tradition to cook our meals over the open flame for the October full moon.  You are the one who wanted caramel and chocolate covered bugs.  Now, if I’m to eat that spider you have on your spit, I want it nice and juicy on the inside.  Not all dried out like a raisin.  Do that right, or I’ll ask your know it all cousin to come over here and help us.  She’ll drive us both batty, but the job will be done right.”  Mom turned and began skinning the large snakes she had captured. 

“I think I’m going to be glad when all this celebration is over.  Most kids just beg candy on Halloween, we have to host a whole coven of goofy witches who want to eat the weirdest things.  Who ever heard of eyeball pudding?  I like tapioca, but does it have to be real birds eyes?  I sure did have to unsocket enough of ‘em!  And why do we always have to have bird feet soup just for Nana Holly?  I know she doesn't like it anymore than I do.  All those toenails getting stuck in my teeth. But, she insists we have it just because of tradition?  Cheese!   

My mother simply grunted while she continued to pull the snake out of its skin.  “Can you see the wood pile?”  Mom was trying to look around the side of the tent we had staked up.  “I can’t see around there.  Have those boys collected all the wood?  Is there enough?  I can’t hear them, they must be up to no good.” 

Just as Mom was getting to her feet, the boys rounded the side of the tent, yipping and yelling at the top of their lungs, “Ma, look what we got ya!  Just look at ‘im Ma, ain’t he the biggest thing you've ever seen?” 

My mother put her hands on her hips and tilted her head as though she were really trying to figure if the toad the boys had found was indeed the biggest she’d ever seen. 

“That toad will be especially tasty tonight as a pâté for your guests.  Why don’t you boys just pop that big ol’ toad right here into this pot? I think that will be just delightful.  Give us something good to eat besides the bugs your sister is roasting. Thank you boys.” 

Wriggling to get away from the heat, the toad thrashed about making the boys laugh and jump all the more.  “The atmosphere you create and the foods you serve help create the tradition of the holidays.  Halloween has always been my favorite.”  Mom smiles at me and I know I will always make Nana Holly’s birds feet soup for Halloween. 

leigh


Favorite Halloween Memory - Trick-Or-Treat


Favorite Halloween Memory
Trick Or Treat


Blogfest #29


The year was 1965, I was ten.  It was the warmest Halloween in memory.  It was so warm, there was concern about the little ones overheating during the Halloween Parade.  No jackets needed that year.

I was ten.  I was going to be able to go trick-or-treating with my friends, just like we were “older”.  Before we could take off our separate ways Holly, my older sister,  and I had to take the two little ones once around the neighborhood.  Since pretty much everyone knew our family.  Wanting to get our “chore” over with and quickly join our friends and the older kids, Holly and I decided to split up.

Holly took Sandy, who was then all of four years old, and started up one side of the street.  I took Scott, who was just five, and began ringing doorbells on the other side of the street.  All the while, on my side of the street, I would step up and say “Sandy is home sick, so I’m collecting candy for her.”  Conversely, on her side of the street, Holly was doing the same thing, “Scott is home sick, so I’m collecting candy for him.” 

We buzzed through the neighborhood, our pillow sacks filled to the brim with goodies, and the two little ones exhausted from us hustling them along.  Dropping Scott and Sandy off back at home, we were very welcomed as the two little ones were then shuffled off to a warm tub and then bed, without complaint.

It was my first year as a “big kid” and I relished the idea of participating in the antics I had heard  about from my older brothers, Rick and Brad.  As well planned as Holly and I tried to be, we simply could not catch up to the older kids.  Deciding we shouldn’t let the evening be a complete loss, we started our own candy begging in earnest.  Pillow cases in tow we; jumped hedges, elbowed smaller kids out of the way, and doubled the earlier haul. 
I don’t think I ever had as much fun trick-or-treating as I did that year.  I spent time with my younger brother and my older sister.  It was memorable to be one of the big kids with the responsibility of one of the younger kids.  It was exciting to be able to run the neighborhood with my older sister.  New to the whole nearly grown up thing, it was a relief not to find the “older” kids.

leigh

Monday, October 29, 2012

Patriotism


Patriotism
GBE 2: Blog On

I had said no.  No, I would not do that.  Now I find myself here; shackled, jailed and all but forgotten.  Forgotten until they need to shove an example out on public display.  An example of what being unpatriotic can do for and to you.

Yes, I know it’s war.  But, then when are we not at war?  War has become the largest employer in the world.  The human race has been at war since one early human decided it wanted what the other early human had.  War, it’s all about taking from one entity for the benefit of another, damn the consequences. 

Unlike most wars, this war was not begun in the name of a deity.  This war was begun, in the name of land.  It’s all about who has the land and who wants the land.  The Infinite Powers, at least that’s the moniker they hung on themselves and their corporation, had determined the Islanders, now called the Greedy Green States, should not have direct access to the sea. 

The land bordering the seas can be used to enter the seas and take, without approval, extra life giving nutrients now grown in the largest Petri dish in the world.  The Pacific Ocean. 

The Infinite Powers already patrol the shoreline in boats armed with sub-machine guns.  No one is allowed to set foot into the waters, without express permission.  Permission is never granted.   But, the people owning and living on the land could possibly obtain extra rations.  For this reason alone, the Infinite Powers want them evicted, extracted, and/or eliminated. 

You've, no doubt, see the ads on television.  “Earn credits for compliance.”  What they are actually saying is “turn in your friend, neighbor or relative as unpatriotic and we will give you an extra credit for food.”  Millions comply.  I said no. 

I said no publicly.  A little too publicly.  Perhaps I shouldn't have stood at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to make my speech.  What better place to demonstrate we should work together?  What better place to demonstrate the equality of the individual?  What better place to demonstrate how many had perished that we might retain our individualism.  Perhaps I shouldn't have had a microphone.   

I said I would not be complying.  I would not betray my friends, neighbors, relatives or family.  I would not give over to the Infinite Powers those who sympathized with the land owners.  I would not, if I knew any, give over anyone who provided food to the demonstrators on behalf of the land owners.  I would not be assisting or abetting the Infinite Powers. 

Now, I’m a poster child.  Kept rail thin, kept bruised and battered, kept dirty and disheveled, I am brought out of my shackles and proclaimed to be unpatriotic,  all because I would not lay down someone else’s life for the good of the corporation. 
It matters not which part of the world you live in.  Corporation, who is now considered a person, rules.  The good of the people both physically and emotionally matters very little.  Reproduce and give the Corporation more consumers.  Infinite Powers keeps the human individual out of the “fiscally responsible” story. 

leigh



Saturday, October 27, 2012

Ernesto #2



#2 The Story of Me - Ernesto


As I have told you before, my companion and I have been vying over the glory, and of course the heavy purse of gold, to be awarded for the head of a dragon which had been harassing a village.

After losing a duel to my competitor and captor, we traveled together to the mountain the dragon was rumored to have made its nest. Attempting to stay upwind, we traversed the mountain paths to a location determined to be over the cavern in which the dreaded dragon resided.

I hurried to peer over the edge of the precipice only to be overwhelmed by a dizzy sensation.  I was overcome with throwing up and nearly fainting when my good horse, Caballo, and my companion, Baron Von Bassett, pulled me from my immediate doom.   I lay there gasping. “What, what kind of spell could a dragon weave that would be so potent this far away.  This must be a powerful dragon, indeed.” 

Balancing on his heels, hunkered down tending the fire, the Baron merely grunted his usual expression, “Indeed.”  He didn’t speak much.  Seeming content to communicate through his visual means; glances, ogles, grimaces, or stares.  Laughter didn’t seem to have left any trace of a mark on that face.  We had traveled for two days to reach this destination, we had not exchanged any words.  Silence only.

“Once again my life is indebted to you.  I would surely have been pulled to my demise had you not thought so quickly.  The dragon’s luring spell called to my senses, I wanted desperately to jump.”  My face was obviously bunched up in a show of emotional pain.  I did not want to owe anyone, much less this ogre of a man. Sighing, I rolled onto my side, away from the fire.

Shortly, with the smell of food on the air, I straightened up.  The Baron had made a fine meal over a small cook fire.  We ate in our typical silence.  As the evening turned to night, stoking the fire, the Baron began to talk. “You think you are indebted to me.  Wrong. Actually you saved MY life.  I, too, cannot peer over the edge of the mountainside.  More than once have I had the urge to jump to my death. The mountains of my homeland are steep and unyielding.  I had to leave, lest I be lured into plunging over the edge.  It is not the dragon’s magic.  It is a malady both the clergy and the doctor’s call vertigo.  We need to leave this place.  Neither of us will survive tomorrow if we remain here long.”

Shocked by the length of his speech, I didn’t not question his decision for the two of us to leave.  It was a dangerous trek up and would be even more dangerous for the trip down the side of the mountain especially as night was falling.

After agonizingly slow progress, we came upon a small sheltered level area, large enough for the horse, and decided to stop and rest for the night.  At sunrise, I was surprised at the progress we had made.  I was not surprised that every muscle on my body ached.  I ached from the top of my head to the tip of my toes.  Until I relaxed, I didn’t realize how tensed up I had been.  As tense as the descent was, it was dark therefore neither of us could actually look down over the side of the mountain.  Both more treacherous and safer, simultaneously.  Thankful, albeit a bit shaky, to reach the main pathway, we paused to rest and determine our next move. 

Leaving the horses lightly hobbled, we crab crawled our way over rocks and around scrub to the front of the cavernous lair.  Ignorant of the exact location of the lair, we simply followed our noses and how badly our eyes watered. 

The reek emitted from the cave entrance was not unlike the smell of boiling skunk, alive.  My eyes watered.  Both of us were adding to the aromatic flavor of the air, by sweating profusely.  It wasn’t the warmth of the day making us sweat, rather the odor was so thick, we could taste it. 

The rocks and crags near the cave entrance seemed to have a white phosphorus coating.  The coating, I could only assume was the creatures way of claiming the area as its own as most animals do, scent markings.  Vowing not to touch it when we entered the cave, I pulled the inside of my elbow to cover my mouth. A move that really didn’t help much. 
Unsheathing our swords, we moved closer to the entrance.  Roars and growls rumbled from the interior.  We looked at one another, sweat beading on our brows already, grimaces on our faces, we made ready to enter the cavern entrance.

Huddled closely together, inching forward, we made our way further and further into the dragons lair.  Darkness made the footing treacherous.  The stench made our breath come in short shallow gasps.  Ever so carefully, we stumble over what we thought were outcrops of loose stones.  Stumbling, the Baron dropped our one torch we had engineered.  The flame, flaring momentarily with the draft of falling, flickered and burned out. Now we were without the benefit of any light.  We now had to feel our way forward as the blind in a new location, arms outstretched and small baby steps with our feet. Littered here and there, it feels as though we were walking over brittle brush piles.  Down, ever downward, we shuffle our feet careful lest we fall into who knows what.

Up ahead there seemed a glow in the pitch black.  A glow, that seemed to be coming closer towards us.  A glow that illuminated some of the path that lay ahead.  A glow that both drew us closer to it, yet made me want to turn and run! As it dawned on my feeble mind what the light really was, I nearly yelped with fear. 

Simultaneously, we noticed an outcrop of a boulder and in unison worked our way towards the relative safe harbor.  Hoping to go unnoticed, we waited there; two grown men trying to fit into a space not large enough to hold a medium sized child.  We waited for the thing to pass. 

With words unspoken, we both knew why we had not confronted the thing, allowing it to pass us by.  We wanted an opportunity to size the thing up.  Allow it’s full length to pass us by, look for the things weakness.  A chink in its armor.  At first glance, we saw none.  What we did see was the largest reptile either of us had ever witnessed.  It’s back brushed the top of the cavern.  It was crawling nearly as tenuously as we had walked. 

Even in the half light, we could see the iridescent blues, purples and gold coloration flicker on the tough scales.  The accordion like reptilian walk, did show us that as the dragon strode forward, the scales would have to buckle up over one another.  Exposing a ray of hope for us, a weakness for it.  It waddled past us without glance in our direction.

Letting out my held breath, I could not help but clasp the Baron by the shoulder.  I nearly wept.  I was almost ready to turn tail and leave this awful place.  Try to come up with a plan that entailed being outside of this hell-hole. The Baron, on the other hand, began to move further into the cave.  The dragon was leaving and we were not following, but going deeper into its lair.

Quietly we crept.  Slowly descending into the bowels of the mountain.  The Baron would take a few steps, then stop and listen.  I cast furtive looks over my shoulder as well.  After several of these stops the Baron murmured, “Indeed.”  It was a relief to hear a voice, then suddenly I could hear many voices.  It sounded like singing.  Singing?
Prayer hymns were being sung by small young voices.  Praise the old gods and the new, there were still children ALIVE.  Unsaid, but understood, we did not expect to be a rescue team.  We were there to slay the dragon and collect our reward.

Haltingly, we entered the obvious nest of the beast.  Not simply a worm hole, but a rounded nesting.  It was hot down here, blisteringly hot.  Around the perimeter were the children, the sheep and surprisingly many other animals; deer, elk, rabbits, ducks, geese and others.  Some hanging limply as though shackled to the stone wall, others in strewn in heaps as rag dolls tossed aside by some giant.  The stone carried scars of scorch marks nearly everywhere we looked. My tongue flickered over my lips in vain effort to keep them moist in the heat.  Near the center of the huge room were two oval eggs.

The eggs drew my attention.  I could not help myself, I was mesmerized by the rhythmic glows emitted from within illuminating the room.  The eggs throbbed with life.  Golden, both of them, I was reminded of the story of Jack and the Bean Stalk.  I had always thought it a goose that laid golden eggs.  Never had the thought of a dragon entered my mind, or the tale. 

The Baron and I quickly ran to the nearest child.  The town had lost only three, there were seven alive and many not.  The beast had been plundering other villages as well.  There would be more than one purse of gold to line our pockets.  Quickly, silently, we unfettered the children.  They had been adhered to the wall with some sort of glue-like substance, we could only guess which end of the beast rendered that substance. 

Motioning silence, the Baron began to usher the children out of the nesting cavern.  Even as we hurried, we could hear grunts coming towards us.  We would need luck and timing to make our escape with seven children, two were beyond being able to walk.  We hid ourselves as best we could, in crags along the wall.  The beast waddled in, holding a prize in its jaws.  My horse, Caballo. 

My heart sank.  My blood boiled.  The Baron was quick to stay me with a glance and warning.  First the children must be reunited with their villages.  First we must make our own escape.  Then we might come back to rescue my brave Caballo.

We nine stayed wedged into the side of the mountain while the dragon beast made a place for Caballo.  We stayed while she inspected her nest.  We stayed while she burned the ground around her eggs ensuring their warmth and incubation.  We stayed until she finally lay down, curling herself round the eggs, and fell asleep. 

Then, ever so silently, we crept upwards.  The trek into the cavern had seemed long, carrying children who were more dead than alive.  It was slow moving and leaving the glow of the eggs to shine our path for us, it was pitch black again.  Our lungs heaving with effort, we shuffled and stumbled our way.  Daylight streamed into the mouth of the cave.  Daylight, my heart surged.  Daylight, relative safety.  We had been within the dragons lair for a full day and night. 

We staggered our way back to the fresh water pool we had camped by and hobbled the horses.  Careful to monitor the amount of water each child drank, we built a small fire and began our search for the Baron’s horse.  Hours later, with the Baron’s horse found, food eaten and water skins filled, we determined we needed to start for the village before the beast decided to do more hunting.  None of the children were up to the long trek back to the village. Shedding the saddle, several of the children took turns riding out of the foothills atop the Baron’s horse while he and I walked, carrying the little ones who could not even hold their heads up.  

We entered the village in the middle of the night.  The night watchman sounded the alarm.  We were heroes.  The children were taken to the healing woman.  Prayers to the old gods and the new were sent up.  The children were out of our hands. 

The Baron and I were still sitting at the table, finishing our meal, when the Elders came to speak with us.  It was much sooner than I had anticipated.  I thought they would at least wait until morning. 

One of the men stepped forward.  With the air of self-importance that only old men in public office carry, the fattest most bald man sat down at our table.  He looked at the two of our platters and nodded approvingly.  The serving girl brought a mug for him, which he picked up and downed nearly half in one gulp.  Wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, the old man wheezed out his purpose.  “When are you going back?”

leigh

Ernesto # 3


#3 The Story of Me - Ernesto


We two looked at one another then back at the old man, I told the council our plan. “We had thought to rest a day, replenish our supplies and procure new horses. We will leave it up to you to barter the return of their children to the other villages.” 

The old man bobbed his head up and down approvingly.  “Naturally, naturally.” He went on telling us of how he would negotiate, I could only look at him and not hear his boasting. I had already tuned him out. The glint in his eye told me he already knew what price the other villages would pay for their children.  The glint in his eye told me we probably would not see any of that reward.  I would have left the village then, turned my back on those greedy people, were it not for Caballo.  My oldest friend needed rescue too. 
That night, we slept on soft down filled mattresses.  That night, every woman in the village came to visit us.  That night, the fires of our hearts and our bellies were filled to bursting.  That night, we were given anything a man could want for what might probably be our last night alive.

The village people had replenished our stocks of food, clothing, new horses, and most importantly torches.  They sent us off with a heroes farewell; people lined the streets waving and weeping.  No sooner had we left the confines of the last hut encircling the village, than the weeping turned off and the village went back to normal life as though we had never been there. 

As we wove our way back up the foothills to the beasts lair, we discussed a tentative plan of action.  How we would kill the beast. 

The Baron, an educated man, began to open up.  He told me stories of his childhood in the mountain range called the Alps.  He regaled me with intimate knowledge of the kings court.  He stunned me with his knowledge of unusual creatures both of land and sea.  Then he told me what he had recently learned of our dragon.

The Baron had deduced, from the eggs, that this is a female.  He had taken notice that many of the animals in the nesting portion of the lair were still living.  He noticed the lack of bare bones in the nest area telling him the adult did not feed there. He noticed the thrum of the eggs.  How could he not, they reverberated through you entire being. He had deducted the dragon female laid the eggs, then hunted food for the babies to eat once they hatched.  It did not appear she ate, at least not inside the den, while protecting the eggs.  Therefore, Caballo should still be alive!  My heart rejoiced.  My good friend and companion, Caballo, would be waiting for my return and rescue. 

Within days we were once again at the pool near the entrance of the dragon’s lair.  Once again, the overwhelming stench of the area burned our eyes and ears.  My nose ran and my breath was again short and shallow so as not to take too much of the poison into my lungs.
We rested by that pool, did not hobble the horses, but loosely tied them to some scraggily bushes.   If they were determined, they could get loose and run away.  If the dragon was after them, they would be determined.  Mid afternoon, the sun was on the down slope towards night.  Night time would bring the dragon out of its lair.

Neither of us saw the priest.  We had not anticipated we would be followed to this destination.  Donned in his white robes, shaking a tambourine, praying at the top of his voice, the old man sought to bring ruin upon the dragon with only his prayer.  Crossing myself, I started to running to him.  From my right ear, I could hear his lamentations.  From my left ear, I could hear the growl of the hell-spawn herself.  Knowing full well that I could not make it to him before she did, I screamed for him to stop and take cover.  Hearing the screams coming from my mouth drowned out the yells from the Baron. 
The Baron was telling me to leave the priest and get into the cave behind the she-devil.  As she swooped the priest up, pressing him into her chest with her forearms, she spread her wings and took flight. 

The power of the wind those wings created upon lift off, knocked me off my footing.  Down the side of the boulder I had been standing on.  I bumped my head and twisted my ankle.  Still seeing stars and limping, I found Baron Von Bassett hunkered down near the entrance to the cave. 

Lighting our torches, we entered the cavern again.
leigh

The Best Day In My Life


The Best Day In My Life


Christina and her Gramma Sause


#27 The Best Day In Your Life  Hosted by Ms.Jo (My Wandering Mind) Heroux

Most adults, with children, will say the best day in their lives was the day(s) they delivered their children.  For me, not so much.  My best day is the first time she opened her eyes from a nap, recognized me and smiled.  That smile filled with unconditional love.  That is the best day in my life.  Or when she would stop and say "I love you, Mom".  That is the best day in my life.  Or, when she randomly sends me a text from her cell phone, "I love you, Mom". That is the best day of my life.  


Miss Chris

leigh

Friday, October 26, 2012

Creeping Obesity


Creeping Obesity


Blogfest #26  Hosted by Stuart Fish 2



The creeping obesity?  It didn't creep upon us.  Our waistlines were taken from us in the name of greed.  Why do I point my finger at greed?  There are a few reasons that pop into my mind; the elimination of physical education within the schools systems to “reduce the budget”, fear mongering by political pundits as well as the media, addition of sugars into all processed foods,  and the urban move away from having a garden plot and eating raw vegetables. 

Sugars have been added to foods as long as people could obtain sugars.  However, by utilizing sugars and sugar substitutes as main preservatives food processing companies have seen profits rise considerable.  The commitment in 2009 by Cereal Producers World Wide, to reduce sugar in just cereals plummeted their overall sales by a mere 20% resulted in a 10% reduction in sales.  People are addicted to sugar and will pay a high price to keep large quantities in their diets.  When I was younger, eating a candy bar was a special treat.  Not a part of my daily diet.  Dessert was a Sunday special, not a nightly ritual.

The urban move away from vegetable gardens is, to me, a form of “class sect” statement.  It says “look at me, I can afford to pay someone else to grow my foods”.  Knowing where foods come from, is an important step in viewing what you put into your body as fuel.  Eating has become a mindless intake of; processed, barely discernible from its original intent, devoid of most natural flavors, and often an incorrect texture to the food base.  Eating out has become the norm rather than a celebration.  Portion control is non-existent. 

Some people attempt to blame the television or the computer games.  Who allows their children to play inside that much?  People who are fearful.  Fearing their children will get snatched up by the boogie man.  Rather than spending all that money on computers and gaming devices, fence in your yard then go watch them play.  Know your neighbors.  My parents didn't always know where I was, but they sure knew if I did something wrong either they would hear about it or it would be handled by the neighbor who saw it happen.  Knowing I could be held accountable by every other adult in my neighborhood, also allowed me to know I could seek solace from every other adult in my neighborhood.  The neighborhood children ran races, rode bicycles, played tag and kick the can, swam together and walked to school together.  We moved and grew into our adult selves.

To me the single most important, reason we have become an ever widening waistline, the absence of Physical Education within our school systems.  In the ‘70s we had the Presidential physical goals to meet.  During my senior year of high school, I had to take two classes; one class of Business Management and the other Physical Education.  Yes, there were people who didn’t want to participate.  So.  Movement begets movement.  It was taught to us.  We no longer demand children learn to cooperate within teams.  But then, back in the ‘70s we still felt the Peace Corps was an honorable thing, even though it made no money.  Making the school systems profitable is, in my humble opinion, the worst thing to come from our legislative body. 

We, as a country, are appalled that the ratings of our school systems has dropped.  Of the 57 countries surveyed, the United States topped out on average at number 34.  We are a sedentary country, those other countries, the ones you think lesser of?  Well, they still have physical education throughout school, just as we used to.  Understanding that physical exercise helps build mental neuron connections, therefore helps build mental power is not a science that has been forgotten.  Simply a science that isn't profitable.  Better to have any student who wants to participate in sports, pay for the privilege.  Better to have any student who wants to participate in a marching band, pay for the privilege.  Better to have our school systems be profitable rather than invest in the community, city, township, state or county’s future. 

We, the American people, create chubby people.  We over feed ourselves sugars which triggers cravings for more, not unlike every addictive drug I have ever heard of.  We have eliminated any goals for physical productivity within our school systems in order to cut down on the number of teachers needed.  We have created a set of living standards that are far and away less healthy than our parents or grandparents knew. And then we wonder why we have become a nation of chubby zombies.   
  
leigh

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Now I'm A Lamp


Now I’m a Lamp

#17  Blogfest hosted by Claudia Moser


Wendy had seen Uncle Fester’s workout routine many times.  He would sometimes allow her to help him, or if the workout routine was exceptionally fun, she could join him.  Her favorite was wrestling with the monster in the pit.  He was slimy so they called it “monster wrestling” when some farm people might call it “pig wrestling”.  Monster was getting old, so the times it was up for a good game of wrestle were fewer and farther between. Usually, though, she just stood nearby holding her cell phone preset to 911.  The EMT unit employee knew Uncle Fester very well. 

“Uncle, why do you always end your workout with a few minutes of holding onto the fork stuck in the light socket?”  Wendy twirled her braided pig-tail as she eyed her uncle. 

“When Glinda the Good Witch comes to visit us, she always arrives in the bright pink bubble.  Well, sometimes the glare off that bubble irritates the critters we have living in the dungeon.  So, after my workouts, I go down to the dungeon and light things up.”  Uncle Fester had been holding the fork, ever so slightly did his body jerk as though to the rhythm of an unheard song.  Placing a light bulb into his mouth he said, “See, now I’m a lamp.” 

Scary Scene from Book or Movie


Describe or show a scene from a book, movie or television show (or all three!) that scared you the most.




Stephen King penned  “It” just for me.  I loved and hated the book. The moment that stands out to me the most is when Pennywise is calling for Georgie (Bill’s doomed little brother) from the sewer.  If I am remembering this correctly, this is the first time we hear him say, “We all float down here.” That phrase, fortunately isn't used often in "real life" because it creeps me out!




The clown is the epitome of a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  Clowns are supposed to be happy and funny, not tormenting and evil. Pennywise, captures every fear most children can ever have.  He is present and knowing, eyes on you even in your most private moments.  

How Technology Has Made Traveling Easier Today


How Technology Has Made Traveling Easier Today
Blogfest# 10 Hosted by Kate Benzin

Technology has made many changes in the way people and animals travel.  We have automobiles, trains, planes and ships. 

The venues for purchasing tickets are nearly endless, one can either;  physically go to the local travel agency, call the travel agency to book travel, go on-line to any one of the on-line travel agencies who tout the lowest prices. 

Rail is fast becoming the way to travel again.  As I have yet to experience this mode of travel, I cannot comment on whether or not it is convenient or comfortable.  I do, however, feel it is the most “green” of mass transit we have to date.

Plane rides…well, they certainly are not what they were twenty years ago.  On some planes the first two rows were smoke free.  The entire plane would billow with smoke, burning your eyes even if you weren't actually partaking.  The exhaust system leaves much to be desired today. 

But, I digress.  Technology.  You can select your seat from home.  You have the privilege of loading your luggage onto the conveyor, after answering questions as to whether or not someone asked you to pack things for them.  It seems to me, our transportation system has become more and more like Germany during the cold war.  Policed heavily. 

Is it easier?  I don’t think so.  The time stumbling blocks are simply different stumbling blocks.  Planes still get delayed or cancelled.  In an overt ploy of “safety” you can no longer take your own food on the plane and must purchase from the airlines. 

This is just one person’s take on today’s travel.  People are in a hurry to go nowhere, but they need to get there right now! 

Hot or Cold?


Hot or Cold?



Her hair was snow white, her hands gnarled, and shoulders stooped.  She shrugged the wolf skin higher up onto the back of her neck pulling it taut across the front of her.  She could not move closer to the fire tonight.  It was her position to sit away from the fire, high on the rocks.

She was an Elder now.  She had proved herself on the last migration journey.  She had found good clean water when no one else could.  She had always been able to smell it, not unlike sister horse.  The smell of water wafted on the breeze for her.

When she had dared to interrupt the Elder’s gathered for decision making, she had blurted out the secret she had kept all those years, she could smell the water.  Not only could she smell the water, she could tell if it was good water. 

Those old men had looked upon her with eyes milky with age.  They had looked into her soul.  Not wanting to take the tribe on a wild goose chase.  The Elders had decided to send a few strong braves with skins to fill and return. She had the young men to water.  Good, clean, healing water.  The tribe had been saved.  That was the last time she was known as Woman With Club Foot.  Her new name became, Nose of Tears. 

Many had perished from lack of water on this journey.  The creeks and rivers they had normally stopped by were dried up.  The flowing underground well was fouled.  It had been a sorrowful trek for her kinsmen.

Nose of Tears looked out over her family, huddled in the drafty cave.  The wind picked up a pile of leaves, tossing it at the people hunkered down for the evening.  The bats eyed them warily.  This was not her favorite cavern to camp in, as they traveled north for the warm months.  The wind was funneled and blew out the camp fires as they were started over and over again.  The wind then picked up the smoke from the fires blowing it into everyone’s eyes.

Nose of Tears was to tell her story tonight.  She was so proud.  She would be even more proud if Running Wolf had been able to witness this.  Her husband had been lost on this sad trip.  He had protected the tribe from a large bear.  He had not survived killing the bear with his hunting knife.  She proudly wore the claws of the bear around her neck.
Nose of Tears was waiting.  Waiting for the tribe to settle down, wrap the babies in furs for the night, stoke the fires one last time, and turn their attention to her. 

Noting she was waiting and that the tribe was anticipating, she nudged the young boy sitting next to her, “Would you please pick a spot?  Are you hot or cold?  Move back away from the fire, just a bit, pull the robe over you and you will be comfortable.”
Approving, Nose of Tears cleared her throat and began her story. The story of how she saved the tribe. 
leigh

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Life of The Party



Life of the Party?

Blogfest #1  Hosted by Jenn Duffy-Pearson

Driving home from Pennsylvania, Marty had plenty of alone time to think about what all had transpired.  His trip from Michigan to Pennsylvania had a specific purpose.  One of his best childhood friends was getting married and he was going to the bachelor part.  Thankfully, one of the other fellas from the old neighborhood had offered to host the part.  Otherwise, he would never have been able to slip out of the hotel room unnoticed.

The seven of them had met at the restaurant.  It was Jan's favorite restaurant, Mongolian Buffet.  After an hour of eating and some drinking, the troop moved on to a local micro brewery.  The ambiance was delightful and the beer tasted better and better with each glass full.

He remembered returning to the hotel.  He remembered tipping the waitress with a $100 dollar bill at the beginning of the night so he wouldn't forget or run out of cash.  He remembered making certain everyone was comfortable.

What he didn't remember, and only found on Facebook by chance, was wearing a lampshade on his head.  He didn't recall taking his clothes off and dancing on the table tops.  He didn't remember most of the night.

All that long drive home, Marty thought over and over about the night and how in the world he could have become the life of party?  What would his family think if they saw those?  What will his wife say?
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What Do You Value - Ernesto #1


What Do You Value

Blogfest#24    Hosted by Emily Rose


The blade at my throat was all I could see.  I was certain small rivulets of blood oozed down the front of my shirt.  I was had.  I was doomed. 

“What do you value?”  My captor put to me.  I could barely think.  Sweat soaked my clothing from the exhausting duel we had been dancing.  My own sword had clattered to the floor when I lost my footing on loose pavement.  My captor pressed ever more firmly with the sword hilt into my throat.  Stars and bright lights began to fill my eyes.

“I value my life, I value my honor, I value my family, I value love, I value my friends and I value good health.”  The words poured over my lips before I had time to think.  Was this a riddle?  I had heard the French held riddles in high esteem.  Had I just thrown my life away with my honesty rather than think this through?

My captor, Baron Von Bassett of Burgundy, slowly withdrew his saber from my throat.  He looked me up and down again.  “Indeed.”  Was all he said as he sheathed his sword and strode to gather up our horses.  Leading my horse to me, wordlessly to avoid any attention, he motioned I should follow him. 

Our duel began in the dirty unkempt courtyard, after too many cups at the tavern, over who would be heading out to slay the dragon who had been plundering the village of livestock and youngsters.  I was surprised to learn the children were also being taken, I had thought dragons actually preferred not to eat humans.  As it turns out, this particular village pampers the very young with goats milk and curds long after most children are weaned. This, apparently, makes them quite tasty. 

The trail the Baron had chosen was one to take us above the dragon’s lair.  Over mountainous paths and through barren windswept glens.  Letting the reins slack, Caballo followed our leader with a surefootedness I had not seen before.  Caballo had carried me and my gear across many countries for many years.  I left the heavy lifting up to her.  When leaving my father’s home, all those years ago, I was given Caballo. 

Born the third son of an aristocrat, my youngest brother, Pablo, was given to the Church.  My oldest brother, Ricco, is to inherit.   Leaving my next older brother, Ignatio, and I to leave the family home and seek our fortunes.  A good horse, two pair of boots, a warm over coat,  my sword, and of course a purse of gold; and off into the wild unknown we traveled.

Ignatio and I had wandered the countryside together for three years.  One evening a winter’s storm caught us by surprise.  We hurried to an estate we could see in the distance, hoping to spend the night in one of the many barns.  Much to our good fortune, the Baron Zavala was extremely accommodating.  As it turned out the Baron Zavala, and his devoted wife, had brought only daughters into the world.  While the three senoritas were comely enough, they just didn’t hold the pizzazz I might need to settle down with a wife.  Ignatio was beaming when I left him, I only hope his joy is sustained.

Von Bassett dismounted and moved furtively to the lip of the mountainside.  Assuming we must be over top the dragon’s lair, I too crouched as I moved to peer down the side of the mountain.  The sheer drop was mesmerizing.  There were the occasional tufts of grass trying to garner a foothold and outcrops where one might imagine mountain goats standing.  It was then I learned I suffer from vertigo.  The mountain side seemed to swirl and then move closer and further away.  Beads of sweat crowned my forehead and the back of my shirt was instantly soaked.  The Baron noticed my eyes doing crazy dances in my head.  Caballo, ever vigilant, was quickly at my side.  The Baron tied a lariat around my waist so my trusty friend could back me away from the Cliffside.  We had planned to rappel down to the lair opening. 

leigh


Monday, October 22, 2012

Vacation : Happiness or Headache


Vacation : Happiness or Headach


“The last thing I want is to have to bail you out of jail just because it’s your twenty-first birthday!”  Standing at the kitchen sink, I turn to face my daughter.  We both have our hands on our hips, bent ever so slightly at the waist.  I think we both probably need a “time out” and we both probably aren't going to get one. 

My only child.  My baby, is about to turn twenty one.  I know her friends and that’s what worries me.  I know they plan to bar-hop all night long.  I know my beautiful daughter won’t have to buy a single drink and that’s another think that worries me. Too many stories have aired on the television of young people dying from alcohol poisoning.  Not on my watch.  Besides, the middle of January?  Getting that loaded?  She’s gonna end up in a ditch or worse. 

Determined to do something special for her twenty first birthday I turn to my husband.  He looks at me and shrugs.  We both know it’s going to be tough.  After all, she’ll be twenty one not eleven.  I can’t simply distract her until she forgot about whatever it was, like I used to. 

Later, Bob tells me the “Boys-2-Men” are playing in Vegas.  He also tells me Jessica Simpson is having a birthday party in one of the bars at Caesar’s Palace.  Since we always stay at Caesar’s.  Since we like to go to Vegas.  We decide, what better gift?  How could she get mad?

The Weather Channel was predicting a severe storm for our area.  It was to “hit” just at our scheduled departure time.  With a departure time of 6:00am, and three of us cleaning up and loading up, I had set our alarms for 4:00am.  Bleary eyed I shook Chris who once again stated she did not want to go, just leave her alone and she would be fine.

The winds were really whipping by the time we loaded the plane.  We de-iced twice.  Nervous fingers clutched my book.  I was determined not to show any signs of fear….Chris had awakened with an ear ache.  I could only speculate it was a ruse.  I gave her some aspirin and “the look”.

Leaving a winter storm to land in balmy 90 degree weather, just made my joints want to jump for joy.  We wanted to show Chris the sights; from the fountains at the Bellagio to the sky show downtown.  We only had four days to take everything in! 

Caesar’s Palace is big.  The spaciousness of it all can be overwhelming.  I took Chris through a series of “you are here” scenarios so she wouldn’t feel lost.  I hate feeling lost.  If you see the HUGE statue of David, turn here and there you are.  If you see the spiral escalator, walk across this people mover to the statue of David and there you are.  There were only two exceptions, neither of them should apply to her.  I told her NOT to turn that way….only go to this portion of the casino.  I would only be on this side for her to find me.  She got lost.  She was frustrated and angry.  She did try to call me on my cell phone.  The casino was too loud, I didn't hear the phone ring. 

She had wanted to sleep in.  She said she would find me.  I told her which section I would be in and she said no problem.  She could find me.  She was lost for two hours.  Finally, I went back to the hotel room, she was undressed, red faced, tear stained and huddled back in bed.

We didn't allow her to “make her own way” the rest of the trip. 

On January 15th, we went downtown beautiful Las Vegas for the sky show.  We walked from casino to casino, where she won considerably.  Showing off her license, the small casino managers would by this pretty young thing a birthday drink.  We, the three of us collectively, decided she needed to stop telling the casino employees that it was her birthday.

With her two foot glass of margarita, we stepped out onto the Main Street of downtown Las Vegas to watch the sky show for my beautiful daughter’s twenty first birthday.  She was smiling.  She was having a good time.  My heart soared.

After a whirlwind few days, trying to get every show imaginable crammed into our daylight time, we went through Madam Trousseau’s Wax Museum, The Shark Tank, Watched Jessica Simpson and her sister along with their entourage walk through Caesars (Chris could have gone to the party, but didn’t want to go alone – parents not really cool company) Gaped at the buildings, laughed at each other and the rest of the tourists, lost some money and then won some money. 

Boarding the plane to come home, they told us there was a huge winter storm in Minneapolis they were watching.  Ok, keep us in Las Vegas another day!!  Yay!  Not to be.  We were boarded, about an hour into the flight there came an announcement.  We were going to be diverted to Louisville, Kentucky to await the outcome of the storm.

We landed in Louisville around 11:00pm, the only room available was a forty-five minute drive away.  We didn’t get to have our luggage.  We were given food vouchers for in the morning.  The hotel did not have a restaurant and the closest one was about a mile down the road.  We had to be back at the airport at 6:30am, the bus that dropped us off would be back by to pick us up at 5:30am.  There was no one at the front desk to request a wakeup call with.

Setting two of the three cell phones to alarm, we crossed our fingers that the batteries wouldn’t die overnight since the chargers were in the luggage.  Sleeping fitfully, one of the cell phones did actually wake us up.  And the return bus was on time.  No food and no coffee.  But we are on our way.

Did you know, when you have a “last minute” boarding pass, the lettering is typed in RED which is a flag to get the full TSA treatment?  It is.  And then when four or five of these intelligent being ask over and over WHY don’t you have luggage…well, let’s just say one begins to get “ideas”.  We left Louisville and landed in Minneapolis – same thing – red letter tickets – missed our plan to Michigan. 

Missed our plane to Grand Rapids, Michigan.  It’s now Monday morning.  I’m supposed to be at work.  I have a new boss, who doesn’t care for me already…this isn’t gonna be good.  We are moved to a plane taking us to Detroit and then to Grand Rapids.  Detroit Metro has been undergoing major construction.  We are supposed to take a shuttle from the landing terminal out to a takeoff terminal.   Our plane landed late, we missed the shuttle therefore we missed our plane from Detroit to Grand Rapids.  Yeah, I cried. 

Finally !  The three of us are at the correct terminal.  There is a plane going to Grand Rapids, Michigan from Detroit.  Yeah, it’s gonna get us home about 2:00pm…but, we will at least be in the right city.  Oh yeah…red letter tickets…this time…they hold the plane for us because I am bawling.  Too many pat downs.

The cab driver dropped us off at the end of our driveway, the snow was too deep for him to pull in.  I punched in the numbers to the remote garage door opener.  Dragging our now snow laden luggage into the garage, the door from the garage to the inside of the house is LOCKED.  All of our keys are INSIDE the house!  Crap.  None of us has on cold weather clothing.  Light little windbreakers and sneakers.  Shivering, Bob roots around in his coat pockets and pulls out a key to his car.  He said he just felt he should at least take the ignition key.  No keys to the house but at least we won’t freeze and we can see about getting a spare we had given to one of our friends. 

The three of us pile into Bob’s car and drive to where our friend works, an Elementary School.  We can’t just interrupt her class.  We have to wait.  After what seemed like an eternity, but was probably only ten minutes, our friend informed us that she wasn’t the last to use the key, her daughter had it and was at college.  We then drove across town to the college.  She had the key! 

Since my plant was working 24/7, and I had missed the day shift, since I was the Production Manager, I thought I would clean up and go into work.  It was after I had showered and readied myself for a long night that I noticed I had a flat tire.  Bob had the driveway cleared of snow, we jockeyed my car around so we could change the tire inside the garage and out of the direct wind.  I called my Plant Manager for the fifth time that day and told him I would see him in the morning.

leigh