Writing 101: And the inspiration word is: Teapot

Gee, thanks. The word that jumps off the page is teapot. Not the much more interesting words: bewildered, puzzled, arrest, pronounce… teapot. I don’t even drink tea!

That’s not entirely true. I will, on rare occasion, drink tea. If it is a flavor I like, and if I am out to dinner where everyone is ordering dessert, apertifs and warm beverages, and if it is cold enough that my nose is cold. Then, I’ll have some tea.

My mom loves tea. As I’ve maligned her in past posts, here’s one for/from mom:

Dear Well-Traveled Teapot:

Hello, old friend. You have made the rounds of three houses. You’ve resided in every room in each of those homes. A few times a year, you are picked up and relocated, thereby getting to “travel” our little world. But you are not used, as you are impractical for use. You are pretty, in all your faded glory, and I don’t have the heart to sell you, so you should be proud. You were given to me by someone much beloved, and by extension, you are loved as well.

I’m not sure if I am opening up a can of worms telling you this. You may think you are popular, always being one of the ones chosen as I shuffle the display items in the house. You may love meeting new friends or revisiting old ones from my collection as I move you into new places. The reason you get to do this, is because I am always finding new favorites. My family and friends buy me new, wonderful teapots that need to hold places of honor, and then I have to carry you about the house, searching for your newest spot, otherwise you will be relegated to my eBay pile. And I just can’t do that to you, one of my first teapots. We are moving again soon, and I’ll wrap you up carefully, and ship you in a box amongst the others. Don’t worry, you’ll find yourself still with me at the end of the journey.

Love,

“Mom”

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Writing 101: The long and short of my childhood home

Today’s challenge is to write about where you lived when you were 12 years old, using a variety of sentence lengths to lend interest to your story.

If I (had the money and) were about to buy a house today, I would not be likely to choose a Cape Cod-style home. I love Victorian homes and Craftsman-style homes. I live in an area where Victorian homes are very popular, and we have a huge amount of registered historical Victorians in town. We don’t have any Craftsman style homes here. Our loss! I would prefer a Cape-Code style home to a ranch-style or a contemporary style home, though.

The reason I mention home styles is that I grew up in a Cape-Cod style home. It used to be the typical shape, with a pointed roof, but we later modified it by blowing out the attic on the top floor to be one large master suite instead of a slope-roofed area. Most of the houses on our block were the same type in various whites, beiges and pastels.

Our pale yellow house sat in the middle of our street. (Our House, in the middle of our street. Our house…) The skinny driveway led to the backyard, and my bedroom was on that back corner. Our small front yard was a little patch of grass. There are no sidewalks on my street, just a curb. In the over-developed region I live in, we shared a tree with our neighbors. Now I live in the neighboring town, which is the “Borough of Trees”. Weird. There was a little patch of grass in the backyard, but it was mostly pavement, the swimming pool, the grill, and the garage. Underneath my bedroom window was our little garden where we grew basil and tomatoes. To this day, I still miss going to pick these fresh while cooking.

My sister’s bedroom was in the front of the house, next to the Living Room. My parents were upstairs and used to troop up and down to use the bathroom until the above-mentioned renovation. The kitchen was parallel to my bedroom, and contained the back door to the yard. I have fond memories of the way coming inside looked and felt after hours in the pool and the sunshine. We had a fairly large dining room, and a super half-finished basement.

We spent a lot of time in the basement. We were not allowed to “live” in our Living Room. That room off the front door was kept pristine and formal. We also didn’t “live” in our bedrooms. My sister and I did not play with toys or with friends in our paneled green and yellow bedrooms, we played downstairs. That is where mess was allowed, though temporarily. If my mother was on the main floor, she knew when it was getting too messy downstairs. I guess the noise level grew when the mess grew. Also, we could only have one mess at a time. If we were playing Barbies, only Barbies and outfits and accessories were to be out in the play area. There was no cross-pollination with other toys, or other lands. Barbie couldn’t play school, or go to the dollhouse. If we decided to play Lite Brite or Fashion Plates, we had to put Barbie and all her stuff away first. Believe me, the mini-tyrant upstairs knew about it. Barbie was also not allowed to play bartender, but come to think of it, neither were we. We had a bar in the basement, but I could hardly piece together any memories of what it looked like back there. The all-hearing dynamo could hear that door opening and closing all the way upstairs, and quite possibly, all the way up the block.

In my teenage years, dad scrapped his big Ping-Pong table in favor of a big-screen TV. Half of the basement was turned into a real living room, and we spent even more time there. Upstairs became even more formal, and eventually, we got too old to make a mess.

Writing 101: A Whisper in Each Ear

I may be “cheating” a little bit with challenge’s twist today, but this is what I’ve come up with, after dismissing “Acts Like a Pump, Looks Like a Sneaker” in favor of this similar theme.

I am standing in the bedroom, wearing a bra and panties, listening to my two clothing choices war with one another. Even though I just got out of the shower, I am already sweating on this super-hot August day. We are going out in a little while, not anywhere nice, but we’re not going to the gym or the park or anything either. My summer-long debate continues. Let’s tune in.

Sundress: “Wear me, you know you want to, you won’t sweat (much) wearing me. And, of course, I make you look so pretty!”

Cutoffs: “Pshaw, you’ll be annoyed in Dress ‘cuz your thighs will sweat and chafe, and you’ll be miserable, wishing you tugged me on.”

Sundress: “That’s just it. She has to “tug you on”. Me, I just slip right over the head and float down like a gentle breeze over her body.”

Cutoffs: “Gentle breeze is right. You think I don’t know how annoyed she gets always having to make sure you aren’t flying up while she’s walking somewhere?”

Sundress: “At least I’m not tight in the waist, thereby restricting movement! Who wants that, where she’s going?”

Cutoff Sweat Pants: “Hey, don’t forget about me, I’m shorts and I’m not tight!! Pick me, please oh please”

Sundress and Cutoffs: “Give it up sweats, you are not even in the game today! Close your drawer!”

Sundress: “Oooooh… I think I’m getting picked, yes!”

Cutoffs: “Don’t do it, you’ll have to sit like a lady all day!”

(pause)

Cutoffs: “I win! I win! Neener, neener!”

Writing 101: The Letter

“I’m so proud of you.”

These words were scrawled on a sheet of white paper, the sort of office supply-wholesale recycled white paper that is bound at the top by a bit of glue on a pad of 300 or so sheets. Since the sentence appeared at the top of the page, I had to wonder if there was more to the letter, and this was just the closing, and the signature was implied.

Everyone needs to know that those they care about and love, or even work with and respect, is proud to know them. I wish I could make sure that this person received the letter that I found in the parking lot. Where did it come from? Who wrote it? Who was it intended for, and did they receive it? Did it mean the world to them, but just got misplaced, or did they never even know how this person valued them?

I can’t just drop the note back on the ground where I found it. I also can’t bring myself to throw it in the garbage can in front of the store. I feel dumb keeping it. Maybe I will take an ad out in the paper:

Found: One sheet of paper that could change a person’s perspective in life. To all readers: someone out there is proud of you. Have a wonderful day!

Writing 101: Lost, in three parts

A few days ago, I wrote that I had my A to Z alphabet challenge all planned out, and I was only going to write about this topic twice, one for Depression and one for Loss. Yet, here is a Writing 101 challenge to write about loss. So “L” is back up for grabs… I am probably going to divide my blog into a couple pages/topics and have this major issue in my life be just one of my focus topics.

Lost, Part One: Delusion

I should have known. I’m kind of an unlucky person, and I was a “mitten” long before I ever dreamed of referring to it that way. An outsider, but not truly. Only slightly different, not a quirky, offbeat, or outwardly strange kind of different. I should have known, should have looked deeper into some family history. I should have known, I matured at such an early age, had so many horrible, painful episodes of endometriosis. I even had laparoscopic surgery in my early twenties. Some doctors even told me it was going to be very difficult to get pregnant in a natural way. I should have known.

At that point in my life, I was much like everyone else, completely naïve and blithely ignorant, just assuming that there will be time and of course I’ll be able to have kids if I decide to do so. ‘Decide’- hah! ‘Of course’- double hah!  I should have known.

I also had yet to fall completely in love with someone as to picture myself a mother at that point. Some girls grow up dreaming of weddings, and marriage, and motherhood. Sure, I guessed it would probably happen, but it was more of a “Sure, I know if I keep straining my eyes to read in the low light, I’ll probably need glasses” kind of eventuality. My family is full of wonderful role models of marriage and happy households full of children and love. My sister, friends and cousins kind of dreamt of their own future and saw a wedding at a young age, followed by as many kids as they wanted. Me, not so much. I spent a long bit of my adulthood passing from relationship to relationship,not completely committing, looking for built-in loopholes and obstacles because I was never struck by a beacon of knowledge that any such man was to be my husband/father of my children. All that changed when I met John. Still, I should have known.

My periods have been regular only in their irregularity my whole life. I could go a month or two with nothing, then the next cycle could be shorter or longer, or more painful, or less painful than usual. It’s just a complete crapshoot. When I was late, a little over a year into our relationship, I didn’t even realize. When he brought up the possibility that we were pregnant, I knew there was no way this could happen by mistake. No, we weren’t NOT trying, but we certainly weren’t trying either. I was told this wasn’t going to occur for me without a whole lot of assisted trying, if at all. I should have known.

After taking a test and confirming at the doctor, we went for an ultrasound confirmation. The dates did not line up from the time of my last cycle to the baby’s growth. The doctor adjusted the due date many times over the next few months, I visited the office every week for new ultrasounds due to the spotting issues that everyone tried to tell me were normal. I should have known.

At around 10 weeks, the concern of possible fetal development issues was growing. I was told I would need to schedule an amniocentesis for the 14th week. That landed in the beginning of January. The concern was never my ability to hold onto this baby, I think that every time we heard a heartbeat and saw a good ultrasound after panicking about spotting ended up spoiling us all. I should have known.

I focused all my fears on the possibility of this child being born with any number of health concerns, and of course, I dreaded this January 9th appointment with the gigantic needle. Like any expectant first-time mother, I panicked over the whole delivery situation coming up in July, and what would be in the future. What would our beautiful baby be like? I never feared that this child would not be born at all. I should have known.

I thought my trouble was getting pregnant, not staying pregnant. I should have known. For a long time after I lost the baby, I wondered just how long I was pregnant before I got the confirmation. Was it a week? A month? I wanted that extra time of happiness, knowing this baby was inside me.

I should have known…

Three Songs

I agonized over this decision. Only three songs. I’m a person that relates music to everything, and everything to music. I really have six songs that mean so much to me that are perfect for a post about songs are personally meaningful. I have so many songs that feel like anthems, that evoke memories, and that feel like I could have written them. Just three, though:

Karma Police — Radiohead

I am a huge believer in Karma. I have the word tattooed on my person. I also have a bit of a perverse mind that delights in schadenfreude and irony, displayed wonderfully in the video. I often write pieces of these lyrics down for various reasons, I post them on FB sometimes, I even tack them up on physical bulletin boards, and scribble them in notebooks. I really wanted to tattoo most of the lyrics on my shoulder, and still may at some point.

Hallelujah — Jeff Buckley

I love all versions of this song, but I think the Jeff Buckley version is best, because his voice in particular hits a chord way down deep inside me. I am not a religious person. However, everyone has a right to believe anything they want to believe and I won’t judge them. I only ask the same in return. That’s all I’ll say on the matter. I do believe all souls, regardless of what they believe in, acknowledge the existence of an ultimate glorious feeling within themselves. This song inspires such a feeling inside of me, not because of words like “Hallelujah” and the first verse’s references to David and the Lord, but the meaning of the song. The longing for a feeling of peace (whether good or bad) at long last, and the grateful aching release it brings to arrive at such a place.

Here Comes The Sun — The Beatles

This is such a happy song, and I’m not a bubbly person (see above, and reference anything you’ve learned about me from previous posts). However, it is the happiness that comes after either a period of sadness, of the sun finally warming your skin after a “long, cold. lonely winter.” To me, it is even more so about a thrill that is tinged with the sadness of what came before, and the fear that happiness will be taken away again. I cry every time I hear this song, which is ironic, and very, very Mitten.

Honorable mentions go to: American Pie by Don MacLean, Sunshine of Your Love by Cream, and Runaway Train by Soul Asylum.

A Room with a View

Yikes. I’m approaching this challenge with trepidation. I’m not really a very fanciful person, I can’t seem to come up with much to write about. Too bad I’m a writer and equipped with a good imagination… oh, wait. I’m not sure if I want to imagine a place I’ve never been, or take the much more comfortable route of going back to a place I have been.

Where have I been? My first home was an apartment in my current town, we moved the next year to the house I spent my childhood and teens in, then I went to college, and sometime thereafter, I moved here. I’ve traveled up and down the East Coast, have been to Canada, some islands, California and Las Vegas. I really enjoyed a few executive conferences in Arizona, because when we weren’t working, we were spa-ing and hanging out in palatial hotel rooms.

My favorite room is any room in Key West, Florida. I could write a whole post about that abandoned houseboat we saw in the middle of the ocean. I could write about visiting a quiet place in a remote corner of the world that I can only imagine, or I could write about my dream-home in Texas. I can’t decide, because I still can’t get that Duran Duran song out of my head, even though the words are “A View to a Kill” not “A Room with a View”. It does not seem to matter to my flabbergasted brain today.

Okay. In 5…4…3…

The sprinkle of rain on the windowpane next to my head wakens me. As I regain consciousness, I am aware of the following; my eyes seem crusted shut, it is stuffy in here (maybe I’m sick? Do I remember going to sleep with this flu?) and this bed feels small because, yes, there’s the wall. That’s funny. My arm can reach the wall. My bed is nowhere near the wall, and I can’t reach across a full-sized bed with my T-Rex arms anyway. Have my wishes finally come true and I’ve grown overnight? Have I grown overnight AND John has let me switch sides in the bed? My eyes fly open, and I’m in my twin bed, in my green- and white-paneled childhood room. It is quiet like it has never been before. It looks so small. Where’s the noisy household? Wait a minute.

Did I go back in time? I don’t believe in such things. Okay, look at yourself. No. Still 40, not 14. So, what am I doing here? Did I knock on the door, a la Miranda Lambert’s “The House That Built Me” and ask the people that presently live in my old house if I could come in and nap in my old bed? Why do they have my old bed? Maybe my present self went back in time. This room is like a shrine to my teen self with the Metallica and Guns ‘n Roses posters covering almost every inch of that horrible “eyeball” wood paneling. Spooky. Did my ancient stereo, my teetering piles of books, and my silly ruffled tablecloth-covered vanity always look so untidy? Wait a minute, let’s check the mirror and make sure I’m not my mother. Long brown hair, check. Super-pale skin? Check. T-shirt, sweats and sneakers? Check, check and check. Okay. Phew. Definitely not my mom. Back to the more pressing concern, if this is the present-day version of my old house, why have they never updated this horrendous LSD-fueled-nightmare paneling? Is their Dad refusing to rip it out and re-drywall too?

Speaking of dads, I’ve noticed that the aforementioned rain on the window is more of an intermittent shower. I’ll know for sure that I did time-travel if I peek out of these little curtains with the pom-poms on the fringes and see a young version of my Dad watering the tomato and basil plants. He would always spray my window annoyingly while he went about the yard work. Nope. Not my dad. It’s a sprinkler. And that is not our little Italian garden. There’s some flowers, instead. I wonder if they still get an influx of bees every summer and smell the grapes from the time he used pressed-grape mulch as a fertilizer? Our house smelled like a winery all through my teenage years. Come to think of it, it isn’t warm enough out to check if our mark on history still exists at good old number 242. Guess I’ll head down along the river to my present home, a song away from here (literally and figuratively!), and do a drive-by maybe in July or August. This was only a journey of the mind, but, where’s my car?