Plinky Prompt: A Gift That Is Bittersweet And Nostalgic. What Is It?

  • An almost burnt-down lit candle on a candle ho...

    An almost burnt-down lit candle on a candle holder. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • You receive a gift that is bittersweet and makes you nostalgic. What is it?

    See all answers
    • A bit of nostalgia
    • A candle.

      My father, when he was alive, would buy me one red rose for my birthday every year and a candle each year for Christmas. He died eleven years ago and I still remember how special I felt with those gifts. You would think it would have gotten old but it never did. It was a tradition between a Daddy’s girl and her Dad.
      After he died, not right away, it probably took a year or two, my mom bought me the first candle. I wept out of sentiment and nostalgia. Every since then, my sister, my daughter, my son buy me candles for Mother’s Day or my birthday or for Christmas.
      Each one is bought and given with great love. They know I love candles but I think sometimes they forget why I really love them. They give them to me for the sole purpose to make me happy, I know that, but yet they forget that what made them so special was the relationship I had with my father and as much as I love each candle given to me, it does remind me of my dad who isn’t here. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about him. I know love never dies, I will always love him, as I know, (and I do believe in messages from beyond) he will always love me too.

    • For others who believe in messages from the beyond, you are not alone and no, you are not crazy.
    • Visit my blog at hibernationnow.wordpress.com for more posts about it. I do believe in signs and
    • have received them. You will too, keep your heart wide open and believe.
    • Tea Rose in North Garden

      Tea Rose in North Garden (Photo credit: bill barber)

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Come what may (Carry on Tuesday)

Old Man Grieving - Vincent van Gogh

Old Man Grieving – Vincent van Gogh (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Life can be very scary. In one second your entire world could change, blow up into tiny, little pieces. Destroyed. The world you once knew would become Before and After. Usually, unless this change is winning the 22 million dollar lottery, this does not usually occur in good situations. Am I right? In everyday life there are always tragedies that come unexpectedly,  probably things completely different from what you worried about and it never is good.

It’s called growing up. Realizing that sometimes there is fear hiding around the corner, which eery corner you have no idea but for a time it will be dark. You tend to forget about the dangers in life for brief periods of time when things go along swimmingly until something happens and then you realize “yes, it’s been quiet for too long.” As John Lennon used to sing “Life is what happens, when you are making other plans.” The unexpected, the things you didn’t plan for, the strong red slap stinging and leaving an imprint across your pale, white face.

Hold on to someone tight, a best friend, a spouse, a partner, a sister or a brother, anyone. Because, when bad things happen you will need someone who you trust and love, someone who loves you back. A person who will try to soothe you even though you think it may not help. Let them try, accept their offer to make you a hot cup of cocoa with marshmallows to comfort you A person that will make you lie down and force you to rest no matter if you can’t sleep, a person you can cry in front of alone or just someone to hold your hand and cover you in soft blue blankets.

Life is not easy, though we don’t realize that until we are older, but come what may, having someone, to share it with, makes it just a little easier to breathe because you have them and their support.  While your heart is still literally in pain and skipping beats eventually your own heart starts beating at a similar rhythm you had before. You are still alive. You will grieve your loss in your own way, take your  time and try to let your feelings out.  Mourn YOUR way. There are no steps to follow to make it easier for you.  My sister once told me after our father died, that I was “grieving too much.” I knew I wasn’t, I was just grieving louder, and expressing my grief differently than her. We also had a very different relationship with our dad. There is no right or wrong, no time limit, no book to follow.

Sooner or later, with time, you will see that while the pain never completely goes away, it becomes less potent, it happens less often and with less severity. You might even find that one day, you will talk about the loss of a person you loved with a smile of fondness and love. You might think that you had the opportunity, the blessing to love someone and have them in your life for so many years instead of focusing on them dying and leaving your life.

Just two weeks ago I held up a new pen that I knew my father would love for Father’s Day. I picked it up and smiled broadly with delight. I was on my way to the register when I remembered I had no father to give this to. Life will get better, with time, after loss. Truly, it will, I know that. But don’t let anyone tell you that you will never have any tough moments. I can’t lie to you, once in a great while, you will.

M is for Mom (Kelle Elmore, Free Write Friday)

Mother and Infant Bond

Mother and Infant Bond (Photo credit: Steve Corey, O.O.T.)

I was six weeks premature and the first words out of my mother’s mouth were “she looks like a plucked chicken.” Not the kind of bonding experience you want to brag about but while she held an important role in our lives I wouldn’t call her the “nurturer.” In a different time, in a different place I have no doubt my mother would have been a CEO of some Fortune 500 firm. But, in the 50’s that just wasn’t done. She had my sister first and five years later she had me. Being premature meant I had to stay in the hospital for four weeks or so and the touching stories really came from my dad, who visited me, on his way home from work. He was the one who stopped by the hospital every single night, knocked on the glass, to see his baby girl.  My mom was home with my older sister, about six blocks away, it wasn’t like it is now, what could she do? She couldn’t touch me or feed me, “there was nothing she could do.”

My mother, to this day, shares too much, has no boundaries and is sometimes incredibly blunt, she has no filter. At her age, we don’t expect her to change. I held a lot of resentment towards my mother when I was younger because she wasn’t the “motherly” type whatever that means. I know she would rather have had a career, she used to call my sister and me her two schnauzers, now her two ducklings. I’m not sure when the name changed or why but I think my sister was the one who promoted us.

At parent-teacher meetings in grade school she would walk with her European flare and sense of style that made me want to crawl into the nearest locker while my friends, their parents and my teachers just cooed and complimented her charm. Me? I wanted her to be like Julie’s mom, wearing an apron and baking cookies for me to share with my friends after school. So not my mom.

But all that matters really, is that she would do anything, ANYTHING for my sister and me. That she loves us completely and would save our lives before her own. She would gladly give up her life without thinking to help my sister, me or our families. She didn’t bake cookies or bake bread, she hated to cook, she never knit or sewed ( guess where I got that from?) and she didn’t want me to go to Girl Scouts because she would have to be a Troop Leader one day. I became more like her than I thought. However, I do bake a mean banana bread with chocolate chips and raisins and nurturing really is MY thing.

Was she a bad mom? ABSOLUTELY NOT. She was an independent thinker and taught both her daughters to be the same way. Funny enough both my sister and I kept our last  names and while there is not that much money in the accounts, she taught us early on to keep an account of our own, something I have already passed on to my teenage daughter. My mother is a great mom, not a mushy mom for sure, but she loves us just as much if not more than any quilting bee/Suzy Homemaker mom. She was just ahead of her time. I needed to grow up and once I did I’m delighted and proud to call her MY mom. I love her to pieces just the way she is.

Smooch, Smooch, Kiss, Kiss

My Little Golden Dictionary, 1949

My Little Golden Dictionary, 1949 (Photo credit: m kasahara)

This morning, on Valentine’s Day, the first person I saw was my dog. I was so happy to see her that I wished her a Happy Valentine’s Day out loud and yes, we kissed. Valentine’s Day gets too much press in this country, it really does. I’m waiting for the haters to say “that’s because you’re single blah blah blah” but, I am not single, in fact today is my 25th engagement anniversary. My husband proposed to me (sigh) in Hawaii, 25 years ago. Yes, we’re still together.

I just don’t like a holiday where you know that some people feel miserable because they are alone. Hell, why not have an Unmarried Day when all those who single can celebrate and all the married people can keep chewing their stringy pot roast with undercooked egg noodles? Why isn’t there THAT kind of holiday? Let’s keep it equal people.

Before I got married I too was single and I remember feeling miserable on Valentine’s Day, thinking I would never find that special someone to share my life with and woe is me, I would be alone. I know several people who are single and they are NOT alone. They have plenty of friends (more than I do) family and they have wonderful, enriched lives. I understand their pain, I truly do. I’ve been there, done that but looking back it was just a night of sitting in my rocking chair with a spoon and a pint of my favorite flavor of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, watching whatever girl movie I wanted to watch. The pain was in the loss of hope, that I would never meet anyone who I could love or who could love me and yes, that was extremely difficult. Even now, do you think we are not aware of  potential loss in the pit of our stomachs, every single day and night?

Valentine’s Day, a very commercial holiday for Hallmark, chocolate makers, flower stores and for some people (me not being one of them) expensive jewelry stores. I know my husband loves me, and he knows I love him too. We say we love each other often, we don’t need a special day to remind us. We also don’t need presents but because today is special for years  we decided to celebrate and go out for a nice (not a rip-off) dinner. I hate the fact that on Valentine’s day, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day the same food you would have eaten the day before has increased by at least another ten or twenty dollars. I just want the fudge brownie, I don’t care HOW it’s shaped.

You know when I loved Valentine’s Day the most? When my children were really little, they would come home, clutching in their hands a Valentine made in school, encouraged by teachers for “Mommy.”and “Daddy.” Was it forced, sentimental and incredibly mushy? Yes it was and I LOVED it. I bet it would be hard to find a mom who didn’t. I truly miss that. But, then again, I could make that universal, I do miss when my children were really, really young and that the only things important to them was their dad and me. I admit it, once in a while, I miss that feeling and those feelings will never come back albeit in memories.

*Carry on Tuesday: A few of my favorite things

English: Breat Cancer ribbons

Wherever I go, I arrive early. Not on time like most people but about twenty minutes before my scheduled appointment. Don’t get me wrong, I am in no rush to be in any doctor’s office, especially this doctor. I think ‘I just want to be there and get it over with.’ The walls are pale pink, the chairs alternate between fuchsia and plum, first one than the other, all around the room. When I am here I just want to re-arrange the chairs, put all the fuchsia together and then the plum or put all the chairs in the middle of the room and stack them up. I know this room well. This morning I sit in the waiting room with a woman named Mary, she is here alone too. Once in a while a husband, boyfriend, lover, brother comes too. I sit here with my anxiety waiting for the nurse to call my name.

My doctor is the product of two old hippies, his first name is Pond. No really, I couldn’t make that up if I tried. Pond enters the examining room and I automatically sit straight up, with the blue hospital gown open in the front. He is a breast surgeon that I see every every year. He examines my breasts, first one than the other; I wish he would close his eyes but mostly he stares into space. He starts talking about his vacation in the Hamptons and I shush him, telling him to concentrate. He laughs and says “It’s a good thing I’m not chewing gum, right?” I say a quick, terse yes. I am waiting for him to say, the usual breezy, “it’s all good” but this time he goes over and over one spot on my right breast and kneads it as if he is making bread. I become perfectly still and feel freezing cold in less than one second.

I pick up on another vibe in the room that has changed; I know something is wrong. He straightens up and in his bright blue eyes there is a new hue of concern. His face is still unreadable but his forehead now has deep wrinkles. I have never seen that before but I have always dreaded it. “There’s a mass, ” he says. He has me feel what he feels, but I barely want to touch my body since there seems to be an intruder there, a most unwelcome guest. This is a feeling I had before when I needed a biopsy of a lump, thirty years ago. I was very young then and very naive.  I remember my parents drove up from New York to Boston to stay with me while I waited for the results. Dear God, those feelings of fear and panic come back immediately.

Now, I am a postmenopausal woman but before I was a youngster, a youngster in shock. I remember going to the doctor with my best friend. ‘It would be nothing,’ we thought but I ended up needing surgery though the lump turned out to be benign. I remember staring into the mirror and drinking coffee, day by day, early in the morning of my one bedroom apartment and wondering how I could still drink coffee normally and function at work with this huge secret.

I have to focus now but I can’t; crazy things go through my mind like the scene in Mary Poppins with the chimney sweeps dancing. I see Lassie in the closing credits where he puts his paw up and remember that my sister and I always loved that part the best. I try to remember the lyrics of a song I just bought on iTunes that reminds me of my teenagers but my mind goes blank.

The nurse schedules me to come back in a few days for a needle biopsy, that is familiar too. I try to remain perfectly still, trying to clear the thoughts and panic clouding my mind but it is virtually impossible. What can I focus on, I ask myself? My daughter’s blue eyes, my son’s olive complexion, my husband’s kiss on top of my head, my sister and I posing for photographs on a rooftop in Brooklyn Heights, my mother’s soft hands. I try to picture my puppy Lucy but the images change to my deceased dog, Storm, who died unexpectedly and dramatically of cancer of the spleen. I can only try to remember highlights of my past favorite things. It’s my only chance of survival: I remember the free trip to Hawaii when we were upgraded to first class, the small town of Roses near Barcelona, Spain. My favorite memory, sunsets at  Cape Cod when the children were young, when we were all young. I try to imagine these things to steer my mind away from the doctor and nurse talking to me about scheduling a possible biopsy of my breast tissue yet I can’t remember one thing they said. As soon as you feel like you are a patient, you become one. I feel weak and tired, sore, and very, very cold even though it is 93 degrees outside and humid.

I need to drive home, alone, in my car down the parkway that winds and bends dramatically. How can I calm myself down enough to do this and not crash my car into a tree? I have no idea. I turn on the engine and on automatic pilot, I just point my car in the right direction. Luckily, the car seems to take over and I am just a passenger at the wheel, driving slowly, steadily, on my way home.

*I wrote this last night before my appointment. While some of the facts are true, the end and some details are all FICTION.

Not Everyone Is Happy On Mother’s Day

Yellow tulips Deutsch: Gelbe Tulpen

Yellow tulips Deutsch: Gelbe Tulpen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mother’s Day, like Father’s Day is not necessarily a happy holiday. Either holiday is miserable and sad for MANY people. My dad passed away nine years ago and I still head to the card section in June every single year. I miss him, it’s hard not to have a living or nice parent or a child on either of these holidays and people are often insensitive. So when I say Happy Mother’s Day, I include pet owners, aunts and uncles and women who love others.

For my Mother’s Day my daughter gave me a bunch of yellow tulips, a very sweet card and the stomach flu. I know she didn’t give me the flu on purpose but yesterday as I kept running for paper towels and bringing her buckets I figured I had a good shot at getting something. So far, my husband is safe. Our son is still in college and will be back this week, he sent a very loving card.

I took my mother to brunch this morning even though I felt horrible and could barely eat a bite. It’s not in me to cancel and I wasn’t feeling that bad in the morning. Mothers know, of course, and she asked me what was wrong, I just wasn’t hungry as I excused myself to the bathroom a couple of times. I didn’t want my mother to be alone on Mother’s day and the setting we had picked was beautiful. The food? So-so. The scrambled eggs were stone cold, (I admit it, I complained) and there were various breads, muffins, slices of turkey, pasta salad, fruit and chocolate and vanilla cake. I could eat none of it.

I dragged myself home in my car, not wasting time to get gas, which I sorely needed, headed quickly for the highway. I longed to put on my soft green v-neck  tee-shirt and crawl into bed. I e-mailed my husband to cancel the reservations (that I had made) at a local restaurant for my own Mother’s Day celebration. The truth of the matter was I felt so sick I didn’t want to go, my son was not yet home from college and there was no reason to force ourselves to go out because of the name of a day.

I’ve been in bed all day, my dinner consisted of an American cheese sandwich and a can of Diet Vanilla Coke. Mother’s Day can wait until I feel better and together. That’s the thing about Mother’s Day, it is a commercial holiday that I buy into every year for my mom because I want to acknowledge her, she deserves it and I don’t know how many more years we will have together.

Apparently, after I left, she was home alone when a mutual friend called her and she was sobbing and feeling “very sorry for herself.” You can’t make people happy all the time, no matter what; Mom missed my dad, she felt very alone and she is getting older. She made a remark about “how many more years would she still be my mother?” which concerned me but it’s natural too; she’s a young 85. For that reason alone, I wanted to be with her today.

I can’t solve all her problems, like she can’t solve all of mine. I could just attempt to make her morning a bit nicer, a little less lonely, even when I wanted to stay in bed. I’m saying good-night to Mother’s Day by sitting on the couch with my hubby, sipping on flat Coke with crushed ice and munching quite happily on ginger snaps watching the Survivor Finale.

Who Am I?

I’m a young female who loves to drink, I’ve been very thirsty lately. I shouldn’t like alcohol, everyone said I would hate it but I have to admit I kind of like it in minimal amounts. Not me. I hate to admit it but I’ve been hungry all the time too. My new favorites are Greek yogurt (plain) bananas, and coffee. Oh I know I shouldn’t drink too much coffee and I don’t but the smell overwhelms me and the pretty mug with the bright colors on it make me just want to lick it all up.

You want to know what I look like? I’m a honey-colored blonde with some brunette streaks, I like my nails to be long and stylish. I’m into athletics and I love to run, the faster the better. I’ve been dying to go on races with friends but I have to wait for some injuries to heal. I’m not a very patient being. I have tons of energy but also like to nap, I’m not ashamed of that. Napping, when you can do it, is utterly delicious. Do you want to nap with me sometime?

I don’t like chocolate, though my parents sure do, but I’m a peanut butter addict. The scent of peanut butter intoxicates me. I lick it up as slowly as possible to make it last just a wee bit longer. I like to dance, to cut up a rug, as the “old people” used to say, and I have the most fun playing frisbee. I am an outdoors person and I can’t wait for the weather to be a little warmer so I can swim, just being near water makes me happy. Water, sand, sunshine? LOVE IT!

I run around a lot, I need to be social, my parents don’t like that as much as I do, they worry about me. Today, my mom fell and she lay in the grass but as much as I was tempted to run, I couldn’t. I stayed by her to make sure she was alright and she got all teary-eyed and she kissed me and thanked me. I could tell she was emotional though I am not sure why.

Tomorrow is something they call Mother’s Day and I think, somehow, that should have a lot of meaning for me. Do you give up? Huh? Huh? Do you know who I am?  Aww, by now you must have guessed it, or did I fool you??? It’s me, Lexi, Laurie ‘s (I think that’s her name) puppy but I just call her Mom. Without her and Aunt Sarah picking me from the animal shelter I could still be there, lonely and tired all the time, all alone in my cage. They saved me, and they wanted me, only me! So, even though that holiday that is special is tomorrow, I don’t know why I have to wait till then to say: Mama, Happy Mother’s Day, you saved my life and I hope in some way, I saved yours. Love, from your daughter Pup, Lexi

Father’s Day Without Fathers

Potato Salad

For those of us whose fathers are deceased or for people who never knew their fathers at all, Father’s Day is tough. Just like Mother’s Day is for people who do not have a mother any longer or who did not know their mother. I am inundated with advertisements and gift suggestions to get my father: electronics, shavers, cologne, new tv sets, ties. I wish I could get my father a gift but I can’t, he is dead. People say “I lost my father ten years ago.” Lost somehow implies the possibility of him being found and unfortunately, we all know that is not true. I did not lose my father like a wallet or a cellphone, he died.

This isn’t a blog for ideas for gifts but rather a suggestion on what you might do to remember your father. Honor them, not with flowers or chocolates (unless your dad had a penchant for some special type of chocolate.) Honor them with your memories. I go to the cemetery around Father’s Day to pay my respects. to clean the gravestone, to rearrange the stones that adorn it, to talk to my dad. This year I went four weeks early because my mother was having a procedure done and I visited the cemetery at that time. It’s okay.  I gave thanks for him being there, in spirit, from signs and messages I received from him.  I knew he was watching, I knew he cared. I don’t doubt that for a second.

Make a collage if you like to do that, sit and sip your father’s favorite drink, eat food that you both used to love to eat; eat his favorite food (German potato salad) or something the two of you used to share. Share a memory with someone who cares or just tell it to yourself, or your sibling. Siblings add details to each other’s lives that perhaps one of you has forgotten. Talk to your dad, you can go to a quiet place or you can go to a favorite place that you used to go to with your dad,  it doesn’t matter. After you talk, listen. Be aware that you can get messages from those who have passed if your heart is open and YOU are open to receiving messages.

This year my son’s High School Graduation falls on Father’s Day. I couldn’t be happier. I know my dad will be there with his grandson that he adored. I know that he will be watching him cross the stage for his diploma. His spirit will be there with love and pride, of that I have no doubt. Love comes in many forms, in different ways; leave your mind and heart open and I guarantee, you will feel the love. It can be in a form of a soft breeze on your cheek, the shape of a heart in the clouds, a memory of a time that was special to you and your dad. Honor those who are no longer with you. Hold up a glass and make a toast to the past, to the person, to the memories that live in your heart.

The Lex (A Foodie Blog) *My 100th BLog!!!*

What better way to celebrate my 100th blog than to talk about one of my favorite topics: food. Glorious,  delicious, dance in my mouth food. I confess, I love food. Not just any food but good food, preferably in a restaurant with no dishes to wash after the meal. Due to the economy we go out rarely but this was a special day. A worthy celebration; this was Mother’s Day!  To moms everywhere,  I applaud you, we know how important we are, every day.

Just thinking back at the Mother’s Day dinner at The Lex makes me drool excessively.   We hadn’t been to this particular restaurant in years, often commenting that the food was always good but it was always the same. No specials, nothing new, ever. Much to our incredible delight (and I’m talking about my audible squeals of excitement) the menu had been expanded.  The quality of the food, was always very good. I honestly can’t say that I’ve ever had a bad meal there. Consistency is one of their virtues. Waiter/Waitress service, not so much, but we were here to linger and enjoy.

As soon as we sat down they brought us a bread basket with a sour dough/Italian type bread, bread sticks and crackers topped with poppy, and sesame seeds, and a dish of olive oil for dunking. How can you NOT be happy right away and yes, they do refill graciously  (ask my teenagers). My daughter and I shared a  delicate chopped arugula salad to start. It was simple, fresh and very light. It was served with slivered almonds, goat cheese and I want to say small pieces of hearts of palm. The crunchy and the smooth all wrapped up in one perfect bite.   They even divided the salad into two plates which is really, a very nice touch. The dressing was lovely, (olive oil? a hint of lemon perhaps?light balsamic vinegar?) I’m not sure but  a perfect partner to the salad. The salad did not drown in the salad dressing nor did we have to pick up individual leaves to see if there was dressing on it. It may seem like a small thing but perfectly dressed salads are not that easy to come by. It was a first course that seemed to cleanse my palate and make me hungrier for the main dish. Luckily, we were not in a rush.

I ordered lobster ravioli in a light cream sauce with peas and mushrooms, delicately intertwined and the combination of the flavors made me crazy happy and I swooned. My daughter, who is a vegetarian, ordered butternut squash ravioli that was served with a sweet, apple cinnamon sauce. Sound crazy? Maybe. It was out of this world. Tender, sweet, the consistency of the ravioli played so nicely with the thin apple cinnamon sauce. The staff also went out of their way to make this dish for her because it was not on the menu that night. Nice.

My husband and son shared the Thai lettuce wraps with chicken for an appetizer and the small tidbit I got was flavorful, and spicy.  My husband ordered lamb for his main dish (could have done without seeing the lamb leg) which he said was excellent but looked like something Fred Flinstone would have eaten happily.  It came with roasted asparagus and mashed potatoes.  Our son ordered a nicely done steak that he devoured, it came with a baked potato and broccoli which, of course, he didn’t eat but i did. Teenagers.

For dessert,  our son had the apple-cinnamon crisp, the thick crumbly topping sweet and the texture perfect, hard but moist.  A perfect balance.  Our daughter ordered the brownie sundae which looked more like an elaborate cake than any ordinary brownie. Judging by the scrapes of her fork on her plate, she approved heartily.  She ate it so quickly there was not a piece available for me to taste.  I wouldn’t ordinarily order dessert but (ok, stop roaring with laughter now)  what could I do? It was Mother’s Day and I didn’t want to appear anti-social. I also couldn’t  resist a piece of red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting served with vanilla ice cream. The texture and the smooth flavors melted into my mouth; the cold vanilla ice cream, the rich, moist, smoothness of the red velvet cake. I don’t really know why they call it red velvet and I don’t really care, it was exquisite; that’s all that matters.

I wish Mother’s Day  would come around more than once a year. I desperately want to go back to the Lex for dinner. Thanks to my family and The Lex for a lovely Mother’s Day. Next year, same time, same place, great love.