Saturday, July 25, 2009

A walk in the neighborhood

When I was a child, I remember walking in my neighborhood with my grandmother. She was patience with me as I stopped numerous times to exclaim over various trees, flowers, nuts, their beauty, size or shape. I pointed out the blue of the sky and we guessed at what the cloud shapes looked like to each of us. She walked me past several factories and we delighted in the smell of the bakery one in particular. Further along, we came to the building where the trolley ended and when the doors were open wide and no activity going on, we were able to peek and the big railings inside where the trolleys were actually turned and sent back in the opposite direction. That was fun to see and wonder at.

As an adult, I can remember walking in the same neighborhood on my way to the subway station. I would hurry along, always a little behind schedule and not really paying much attention to my surroundings. I'm sure the pretty flowers, lively green trees and beautiful blue sky painted with white puffy clouds were still there but I never took the time to examine them and enjoy. It seemed there was too much to do, too much in a rush to get somewhere else.

Now as a senior citizen, I walk my neighborhood this time with my eyes downcast, watching for cracks in the sidewalk or small twigs that could trip me and make me fall (God forbade to break a bone). I do stop often along the way though to enjoy the beauty of nature. I exclaim again over the tiny leaves, which we called "Polly noses" lying on the ground and remember how we used to open them and put them on our noses as children. I stop to watch the squirrels running quickly away with acorns to hide. I stop to watch a formation of birds flying south or busily gathering good for their nests. Once again, I find I find time to study all on the earth that we often take for granted.

Diving in! (a writing prompt)

What the heck can I write in five minutes about diving in?

What the heck can I write in two minutes about diving in?

I can't even come up with a thought for one minute at this time!

I have so much to do and so much that needs doing! The movers will be here in three days and I haven't even starting packing. I've gone about this move all wrong.

When John came home and told me we would be moving to another army base (the third one in five years), I thought whoopee, great, I'm excited (not). Where now?

Then I started to think, well now would be a good time to declutter, get rid of all the unnecesary items we all tend to collect, sort through important papers (at least they had seemed important at the time), straighten up our lives in general.

Wow, guess I got so involved in that and here it is three days and I have not gotten on item packed. Bummer!

What do I do now?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

So much more - a writing prompt

Is this all there is? Seems like there should be so much more!

I thought my school's fiftieth reunion would be wonderful. I expected more people, more greetings from former friends etc. I thought I'd be hearing from former classmates by phone, letter or e-mail wanting to know all the details and signing up fast and furious to attend.

A week went by and then two. Not one phone call, no letters dropping through my mail slot and certainly no deluge of e-mails arriving. What was wrong? Why was no one responding?

I never thought to check with my son to be sure he had actually mailed off the invitations.

The day before the reunion, he came to me with a sheepish grin on his face and told me he had just found the invitations in the trunk of his car.

The reunion of one should have been so much more.

Pessimist or optimist

Perhaps at times, my family would say I'm a pessimist but I think of myself as an optimist.

I tend to believe that each day will be sunny and pleasant. I expect good things to happen and trust people completly and take them at their word.

Many times, I have seen that people may say one thing and do another but I can always find a reason to excuse their behavior and expect that the next time,they will be real and true to what they have said or promised.

My toes - a writing prompt

I have extraordinary, weird toes. My second toe on each foot is longer than my big toe.

Growing up, I thought that this was unusual and weird. Later, in life I realized many people have this phenomena. The toes on my right foot turn very much to the right caused by a bunion on the side of my big toe. A friend told me years ago, if I didn't have this operated on, one day the bunion would be as big as a nose. Wouldn't that be horrible and ugly? So far, it hasn't happened although the toes and foot are far from pretty.
My left foot has a toe, I believe the middle one with a slightly blackened nail. I can only guess that I either stubbed it or dropped something on it but I have no recollection of doing so.

Two people who pretend to get along, but secretly despise one another

Nothing harder to look at then two people who pretend to get along, but secretly despise one another.We see this daily as we go about our lives.

There is a couple down the street who fight almost nightly. We know, because when the weather is good and our windows are open, we hear the bitterness of their voices as they hurl insults back and forth at each other. Yet, on a Sunday, if we happen to meet them entering or exiting church, we see his arm circled around her waist and smiles on their faces both as they look at one another or other parishioners.

How nice it would be if the smiles were real and tenderness of his arm around her was an act of love.

Recently we switched doctors, due to conflicts going on with staff. Although, they were pleasant toward us, the patients and properly pleasant toward each other while in our presence, this was not the case when they thought no one was around or within hearing distance. The nurse would snip at the receptionist and vs versus. The implication that each felt as if they were doing more than their share of the workload hung in the air, often unspoken but again at times expressed quite nastily to the other person.

Most of the time, the doctor was pleasant and professional within our hearing. There were occasions though when she would be short with either the nurse or receptionist.Perhaps in this case, she was feeling overwhelmed and overworked but sometimes, we got the feeling that there was conflict there as well.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Being trapped under a mattress with dead body on top-a prompt to write

The day started in the usual fashion. I had my coffee and breakfast while looking out the window of my small motel apartment. When finished, I gathered together my cleaning supplies and started knocking on doors to see which were unoccupied and ready for cleaning.

Once a week, today being the day, I would not only change the linens but do a through cleaning in three of the rooms. The first two rooms went smoothly, usual garbage to be picked up that people leave behind and the cleaning done. In addition in rooms one and two, I took the time to flip over the mattresses on the beds. When I got to room three, all was going well until I went to flip the mattress on the first bed.

As I flipped it, I was suddenly knocked over by the mattress and trapped under it. Strange, I do this all the time without a problem and wondered why I had lost control of the mattress this time. I've dropped them at times but just had to work at evening up the edges to the box spring in the past. Never had this occurred before where I was knocked over and ended under the mattress. Well, no big deal, I thought, just pull the darn thing off yourself and start again. But wait, I couldn't push it off! Something was weighing it down. Since I had landed on my stomach, it was difficult to get leverage to push but still I've been slinging these things around for years, so it shouldn't be this hard! Well, it wasn't budging and neither was I. My hands crept up and out from the mattress and when I felt around, I could feel something very cold.

I laid there for what seemed like hours until my boss came looking for me, curious as to why I was not finished and back to the office.

It wasn't until she came in and screamed that I realized it was more than just a mattress gone crazy trapping me.

On top of the mattress was a very dead body!

Now it would be time for me to really become upset, realizing that I had been laying under a dead body for quite some time and time for the police to figure out how this person got there, who he was and of course, why someone had killed him to begin with.

After the rain-a prompt in writing class

As we watched the sky before the storm, we felt great apprehension that perhaps the weekend wasn't the best time to be camping. We had pitched our tent near the creek and out from under the trees. We wondered if the wind become worst then it was now, if the tent would remain up. Also, coming to mind, was if it continued to rain for a period of time (once the rain did start), would the firewood be too wet to start a fire? Would we be able to cook the food we had carried in our backpacks and make the coffee to go along with it or would dinner consist of granola bars and bottled water?

Who knew the creek would quickly spill over it's bank, flooding the tent and sending the firewood moving downstream like toy boats?

Did we ever imagine that we would learn to climb a tree, some of us for the very first time as the ground flooded?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A gift that goes very wrong- a writing excise

I thought I had picked the perfect gift for my sister's twelfth birthday. Since her birthday was May 13th, I bought her a cute little two piece bathing suit with an adorable skirt cover-up to match.

Although we live near the beach, the rule in our household was that we could not go to the beach without
1) permission from a parent
2) having someone with us (sort of a buddy system which was a firmly established system in our household).

Usually there wasn't a problem getting a buddy since there were 10 of us in our family, four boys and six girls. Mom had given permission for the beach outing with the usual part two- take a buddy.

My sister had asked me and I promised her that I'd be her buddy. Just as we finished putting sunscreen on and gathering up our necessities eg. beach bag with book to read, towel to sit on etc., the phone rang. I grabbed the phone and it was my best friend on the other end with some juicy news. We chattered obviously much longer than I realized and when I got off the phone, I couldn't locate my sister. I ran to the beach and found her towel and beach bag along with her flip-flops near the water's edge. No sight of her in immediate vicinity though. I called her name but got no answer. She was not a strong swimmer and although I alerted family members, we could not find her. We waited all night along with neighbors and friends. The next day her body turned up as we all stood by the shore's edge.

For the rest of my life, I would regret taking that phone call but even more, I regretted ever buying her that bathing suit.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The sound of corduroy

My brother and I walked to school together everyday. I hated the cold weather and part of it was that my brother wore corduroy knickers(pants that came just below the knee).His socks were knee high and met up with his pant bottom. the corduroy made a very annoying sound as the pants legs met as he walked along. I hated that sound. I would tell him to walk ahead of me or behind me to avoid hearing the noise it made. Since I was the older sister, I was suppose to be holding his hand when we crossed the streets but I would send him ahead.

My first baseball games

One of my first memories was of being taken to baseball games by my father. He would go to see the local team in Brooklyn sometimes, in the evening after work.

For some reason, he would often take me. I was very young, probably barely two years old since I know we moved from Brooklyn before I was three. I can vaguely remember him putting me up on his shoulder and leaving the game before it ended and walking home. I would always fall asleep during the game. In my later years, I wondered why he took me since I was so young. Perhaps he took me to give my mom a break or maybe because I carried on so when he was leaving. I'll never know but of one thing, I'm sure, it wasn't because I was a big baseball fan.

My thoughts on snow

Standing by the window watching the snowflakes drift slowly down, many thoughts run through my head.

The scene is beautiful, the trees, shrubs and ground are covered in white and the world looks so clean and pleasant.

Then the practical side of me kicks in. What does the snow mean to others? Children are watching gleefully or perhaps are already outside dancing about, making snowballs and/ or snow angels. A few of the more ambitious ones may be trudging down the street going door to door in the hopes that someone will hire them to clear sidewalks and driveways for them. Business people, who own their own plows are busy scurrying from job to job clearing parking lots. Men employed by their village or county are out working extra hours clearing the roadway for commuters and in the process on occasion plowing driveways back in, not as a deliberate act but unfortunately the way things go. Children and teachers alike are hoping for the snow to continue in the hope that schools will be closed tomorrow. Deliverymen and postal workers are struggling to complete their jobs and get home not too much later than usual.

I've just gotten done paying someone a handsome sum to clear both my sidewalk and driveway and realize if this snow continues, tomorrow I'll have to hire someone again.

In spite of this, I am enjoying the scene through my window and am thankful that for today, I can remain inside and warm myself by the fireplace.