Monthly Archives: June 2014

I Know I’m Finicky

 

dinner 10

 

I have always been a finicky eater with a picky tongue for as long as I can remember. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that while I was growing up, our father insisted that we eat everything on our plate, whether we liked it or not, but I don’t know if that’s the best way to raise children.

For instance, when I was a child, I had a terrible aversion to peas even to the point that whenever I ate them, I would gag. But my father insisted that I had to eat them anyway. I can recall several occasions on which I would have to sit at the kitchen table long after supper was finished, trying miserably to swallow the now stone-cold peas, while my father observed, making sure I didn’t miss a single one, and gagging the entire time. To this very day, I still despise peas and can’t even stand the smell of them.

When raising our children, I used a totally different approach just because of the traumatic experiences of my childhood. I always insisted that they try every new food presented to them. Then, after trying it, if they didn’t like it, they didn’t have to eat it. I never believed in forcing it upon them. I am happy to say that they appreciate many more foods than I ever did.

I’m not big on condiments, either. That’s right. I don’t care for ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, relish, pickles, barbecue sauce, or anything in that category.For some reason, I’ve just never cared for the taste. My husband calls me a “plain Jane eater.” I do enjoy using salt and pepper, however – especially salt, which is probably my biggest vice when it comes to food because I know it’s not good for me, but I do love my salt.

But when it comes to flavors: Sweet, sour, bitter, salty, unami (which I had to look up because I never even heard of it before), or spicy, my favorite among these is sweetness. Sweetness is such a delight to the senses. Perhaps that’s because it’s probably the first thing that a newborn tastes, isn’t it? I mean, when you think about it, doesn’t a newborn first taste milk, which is sweet? Yes, I love sweet things, especially, first and foremost – CHOCOLATE! I can’t live without my chocolate. It makes me happy. It relaxes me and soothes me. Yes, there’s just something about chocolate . . .

But if I had to choose one flavor that my sense of taste would no longer be able to distinguish, I would choose bitterness. I don’t like the shiver that goes through my body when that taste of bitterness hits my tongue. It makes me want to get rid of it as quickly as possible and just erase it from my mind. No. Bitterness I can definitely do without.

After all, life shouldn’t be bitter. What we all need is a little more sweetness in life.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:  “That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet.” ~ Emily Dickinson

 

 

 

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A Lover’s Search

 

ocean shore 1

Memories of her flashed through his mind

As the ocean waves crashed upon the shore.

Her beauty surpassed all that lie before him.

He was angry that she’d been taken.

He would travel to the ends of the earth to find her.

 

Crystal Clear

 

The rules for English grammar

Can be tricky, it is true.

A person must be careful

Not to understate or overdo.

 

If you forget a comma,

It may leave someone confused.

And using several question marks

Is a case of being overused.

 

I must admit that I’m not perfect

When it comes to punctuation,

Because I have a tendency to use

Excessive marks of exclamation!!!

 

I’ve heard it said that “less is more,”

Perhaps I should apply this here.

Because all a writer really wants

Is for their message to be crystal clear.

 

Written for Daily Prompt: By the Dots

 

 

A Place To Be Alone

Girl in bathtub

Throughout the years, it was difficult to find a place to be alone, especially as my children were growing up. While contemplating this, I couldn’t help but laugh, because I remembered where I used to go to find that precious solitude.

I was a full-time working wife and mother, having a position as a registered nurse in the operating room of a local hospital.  I rose early in the morning because I needed to be at my job by 6:30 a.m.  I also had to be on-call at least once a week, which meant extra hours at work. In addition to this, I had to work my share of weekends and holidays. This was the lot of being a nurse, and I knew full well what I was getting into when I entered this profession. But still, I missed the time away from my husband and children, although it did mean that I was among other people, which was a nice change sometimes. I loved my job as a nurse, mostly because it meant I could help to change people’s lives for the better, sometimes even saving their lives. But it could be stressful, and when I came home after a long day, I often wished for time alone and a place to spend it in.

If you have ever raised a family, then I’m sure you know how difficult it is to find that kind of peaceful environment within the home, and it was no different for me. My children demanded my attention, which I gladly gave to them; however, I often wished for some solitary time.

Then I discovered that there was a way for me to be alone, and you may be surprised at what I did to accomplish this goal. Or, if you are a parent, perhaps you won’t be surprised. I knew that there was one place in the house where I could go off by myself, a place where no one would follow me.

The bathroom! Yes, the bathroom was the one place where I could escape to in order to have time to myself! Silly, you say? Well, it wasn’t at the time. But alas, it didn’t take long before my family figured it out, and before I knew it, my kids would knock on the door and yell, “Mommy!”

Now the years have flown by and our children are grown. Our son is out on his own, our oldest daughter is married, and our youngest daughter is away at college, save for the holidays and summer vacations. You would think I would have sufficient time alone now, wouldn’t you? You would think that since I have almost the entire house to myself (except for my husband) that I’d find lots of places to be alone, wouldn’t you?

But even now, when I go into the bathroom and close the door, it’s not long before I hear scratching on the door and the whimpering of my toy poodle Lucy, as if she’s crying, “Mommy!”

Some things never change.

 

Mom is Another Word for Sports Fan

My first reaction after reading today’s prompt regarding an interesting memory from a sporting event was that there was no way I’d be able to answer it. After all, I must admit that I’m not a great sports fan. It’s just not my thing to attend football, basketball, baseball, or hockey games. My husband and son attend these sorts of sporting events together, but I’d rather go to a movie, the ballet, an orchestra concert, or the museum.

But then I remembered, I’m a mom! What about all those years raising my kids and attending their baseball, football, hockey, and soccer games? What about all the trips to their karate tournaments and gymnastic meets? Surely there must be some interesting memory lurking in the back of my mind.

As I thought more about it, I realized just how many there were. There was the time that our son Joe hit a grand slam home run in a baseball tournament, resulting in the winning point for the game. The memories of this moment  brought back feelings of pride and joy. I also remembered the time that unruly parents were ejected from our son’s hockey game after an argument broke out between parents, coaches, and game officials. Talk about drama! But the interesting moment that I’d like to tell you about happened at our daughter Sarah’s karate tournament.

Sarah karate photo

Sarah, Karate Tournament, Age 8

Our daughter Sarah began taking instruction in karate when she was seven. We were quite surprised that our little girl, the one who was such a beautiful dancer, turned out to be the one who would be a fierce karate competitor. Sarah learned how to kick and deliver karate blows, chops, punches and moves like she’d been born to it. She practiced day and night and quickly became one of the leaders in her karate class. When it came to handling the karate bow, she was fast, smooth, and graceful. She also loved learning how to use the karate nunchucks and soon became adept in their use.

It wasn’t long before Sarah was ready to enter karate tournaments, and she was quite willing to do so. Sarah has always been a competitor at heart, eager to face any opponent to test her skills. I guess she takes after me in that respect.

At this particular tournament, Sarah found a place to sit next to the other girls her age waiting for their turns to compete. Sarah’s always been a very outgoing and social person and makes friends quite easily, so on this occasion, it was no surprise that she was chatting with the other girls around her as they watched the tournament together. There were smiles and giggles and you could tell from watching them that their impression of Sarah was that she was a nice person, and certainly no threat to them whatsoever. Then they called Sarah’s name. It was her turn to compete.

She picked up her karate bow and entered the ring. We watched as she took a deep breath, let it out, and then her entire demeanor changed. Right before our very eyes, the sweet, smiling, friendly little girl we had watched only moments before vanished and in her place was a fierce karate competitor. Her eyes were steely with cold and unfriendly determination and the only way I can describe the expression on her face is mean. She began her karate routine and every kick, every lunge, every move with the bow was fraught with determination and accuracy. Her karate yells were loud and deep. All I could think was that I wouldn’t want to tangle with her in a dark alley. And then I shifted my gaze over to the girls that Sarah had been conversing with only moments before. You should have seen the looks on their faces. They ranged anywhere from shocked to nervous to worried. I think they were shocked because Sarah had never given them the impression that she would be this type of competitor, nervous because now they’d have to follow her performance, and worried because maybe they wouldn’t have a chance of winning.

Sarah was amazing. But what was even more amazing was that as soon as she finished her routine and took her karate bow, her beautiful little girl face reappeared, as if by magic. At this point I will tell you that our daughter Sarah graduated with a bachelor’s degree in theater arts. I think she must have been doing a little bit of acting when she was in that karate ring! Well, it certainly helped because she won that karate tournament, and many more that followed.

Remember when I wrote at the beginning of this entry that I’m not a great sports fan? Well, as a mom, I guess I was. I think that when you’re a mom, you wind up being a little bit of everything – secretary, chauffeur, nurse, housekeeper, cook, maid, teacher, coach, and the list goes on. You might as well add sports fan to the list.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:  “Any mother could perform the jobs of several air traffic controllers with ease.” ~ Lisa Alther

Summer Delights

I live in Minnesota, the “land of 10,000 lakes.” This means that we have four seasons: fall, winter, spring and summer; and believe me, when the Summer Solstice arrives, marking the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, it is indeed a cause for celebration for us. After all, most of the time, we Minnesotans are just bouncing back after coming through what has usually been a long, cold winter with dark, short days, and the thought of  a summer filled with warmer, brighter, longer days is very appealing right about now. Trust me, I absolutely take full advantage of summer while it is here; and while I love Minnesota because of the four seasons, as far as I’m concerned, summer is not long enough.

I love the earlier sunrises that summer brings. Many people might complain about this, but not me. I love to rise early, make my morning cup of tea, and take it with me out to my back yard deck. The early morning is the best time of the day to have a bit of peace and quiet, when all that surrounds me is the nature in my garden. I enjoy listening to the cheerful morning song of the birds and the busy chatter of the squirrels in the trees. It’s such a wonderful way to begin my day.

I spend a lot of time on my deck during the summer. My husband built our deck ten years ago, and it was the best addition we’ve ever made to our home because we use it constantly from May to October, or from the time the weather becomes warm enough until the time the weather becomes too cold. As long as I have plenty of mosquito repellent, I’m good to go. Yes, that is the only downside to Minnesota summers – the mosquitoes. And for some reason, they absolutely love me as a host, even more so than my husband. So I have my own personal bottle of mosquito repellent. I spend my days on our deck writing, reading, listening to music, talking on the phone, playing games on my phone, watching movies and shows on my laptop, and even napping. And my little dog Lucy loves it because it means she gets to romp around in the back yard chasing the squirrels and the birds. Of course, she never catches them, but she loves trying! We’ve also spent many happy hours with our children having barbecues, playing games, and just sitting around talking. I just love it when they come over to visit and we spend a summer day together on our deck.

I take advantage of the long summer days as much as I can because I know that in what seems like a blink of an eye, winter will be here once more, with its darker, shorter days. But then again, I probably wouldn’t appreciate the summer if I didn’t have the winter. And that’s why I like having four seasons – it gives you so much more appreciation of what God was thinking about when He put nature together.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:  “What good is the warmth of summer without the cold of winter to give it sweetness?”  ~ Unknown

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