Posted in Blog challenge, Blogging, Daily Post Picture Challenge, nonfiction, Stories of my life

PHOTO CHALLENGE Contrasts

The Daily Post photo challenge this week is: contrasts

Here is my contribution.

 

(c) JLPhillips 2013
(c) JLPhillips 2013

 

My dog Sam and my cat Pouncer sharing the same sunbeam. Now they are a contrast as their personalities are such that this sharing is a very rare occurrence.

 

Mother Natures Art (c) JLPhillips 2013 A Canadian sunset
Mother Natures Art (c) JLPhillips 2013 A Canadian sunset

 

I love this picture I took last year of a sunset off my patio. The bare trees are a sharp contrast against the beautiful fiery sunset.

 

JLPhillips 2013 (c)
JLPhillips 2013 (c)

 

My mother, who will be 85 this year. A woman of many contrasts. She can be the nicest person in the world. Just don’t dare cross her!  My mother and I have had our difficulties in the past, but she is the strongest woman I know as she has overcome so many things in her life. She is only 4’11, but she is a giant in personality.

Posted in Blogging, Guest posts, Mi Vida Loca, nonfiction, Stories of my life, writing

I’m Doing a Guest Post!

Hello people!

Hope everyone has been having  a wonderful week!

I just wanted to let you know, today I am guest posting over at Stories That Must Not Die. It’s not a pleasant subject that I wrote about. Childhood sexual abuse. It’s also one that I don’t talk about much on my own blog. It’s a true story. It’s my story.

It’s raw, it’s brutal and it was a part of my childhood. I would really appreciate it if you would go over there and give it a read. Or not, because I would certainly understand if you don’t want to read something so unpleasant. But the only way we can stop child sexual abuse is to talk about it, make it so it’s not taboo anymore.

I’m not ashamed of what happened. It was NOT my fault. But too many stay quiet and continue to hurt. It’s not right. I wanted to show those others that went through what I did that they don’t have to feel ashamed, or scared, or hurt anymore. There are people that understand. There is help.

So let’s make this an open discussion, let’s not hide anymore.

My story is called, The Night I Became Terrified of the Dark

Go read, go discuss.

Thank you.

Posted in Blog challenge, Daily Prompt, nonfiction, poetry, postaday, writing

DAILY PROMPT Seasonal Scents ~~ A Poem

Today’s Daily Prompt is about seasonal scents.

S’mores, salty ocean breezes, veggie burgers on the grill, sweaty people on the bus — what’s the smell you associate the most with summer?

Here is my take on this in poem form.

 

summerflowers

 

 

Summer Scents

 

Summer is here, smells are in the air

Fresh cut grass, flowers blooming,

Leaves blowing in sweet wind

Even the sun has the smell of warmth

Grills lit around the neighborhood

Meat cooking, corn grilling

Sounds of children laughing

As  chlorine clouds drift from the pools

The smell of a summer storm comes ever closer

Rain cleaning the air

Leaving behind smells of damp earth

Puddles to splash in

Drives to summer fairs,

Hot pavement smells lead to

Cotton candy sweetness, fried oils

Turkey legs, sausages and beer

Summer fun has its own smells

Sweaty bodies packed close together

Swaying to your favorite band

A few short months packed with good times

Good friends, great smells

Go out and enjoy!

 

 

 

Posted in Cee's Challenges, Cee's Share Your World, nonfiction, postaday

Share Your World – 2014 Week 25

Another week is going by fast people! Now, it’s time for me to do Cee’s Share your world. Cee from Cee’s photography does this every week. She asks 4 questions and we answer them best we can. Why not go see what it’s all about and join in? It’s a wonderful way of getting to know your fellow bloggers or maybe some new bloggers.

 

What is your favorite type of dog?  (Can be anything from a specific breed, a stuffed animal, drawing, cartoon or character in a movie or TV show)

I love all dogs. I’ve owned all sorts of dogs, but I have to admit my favorite breed is the German Shepherd. They are smart, loyal, playful and easy to train. I used to raise them years ago. Another lifetime ago. I have to say though that Sam, who is a bishon/Shih Tzu mix is super smart too. He is my buddy, my confidante, my little clown. He loves me unconditionally.

Sam (c) JLPhillips 2013
Sam (c) JLPhillips 2013

 

Name one thing not many people know about you.

That I lip read. I’m very good at it too. I lost my hearing when I was 16. It was a slow, gradual loss that wasn’t detected till then. During that time I became expert at reading lips, just so I could figure out what everyone was saying. I was told in the beginning that my hearing loss could not be corrected. That hearing aids were not a solution as it wasn’t nerve damage that did it. At the time they weren’t sure what caused it. I was told by the time I was 20 I would be completely deaf. It was devastating. In the meantime, I graduated high school with one of the highest grades in my class. I got a job. Life went on. At my job I finally was able to receive insurance and so I decided to have my hearing tested once more by the leading  Otolaryngologist (ear doctor) in the state of Wisconsin. I was lucky in that he was practicing not too far from where I lived in another city. He did a battery of tests and confirmed that one, yes, I was almost completely deaf in both ears. But…..he could fix them! With an operation, he could replace the middle bone in my ear and fix it, hopefully. It was still a fairly new procedure where I came from and I was given a 50-50 chance that it would work. If the operation failed, they never could fix it and I would be deaf permanently. Needless to say it worked! I remember the first words I told the doctor when he was talking to me after the surgery and wanting to know if I could hear him. I drowsily told him to stop yelling at me. He wasn’t of course, but it seemed that way LOL.

Have you ever gone scuba diving?  If you haven’t, would you want to?

No to both questions. I have never had an interest in scuba diving. I am slightly claustrophobic. I do not want to be under water that way.

What was the most important event in your life last week? (Anything goes it can be a good night’s sleep, finished a reading book, winning the lottery, or getting married)

The most important thing last week is that it finally stopped raining. Yeah, not much, but I’ll take what I can lately. Oh, and speaking of sleep, I finally did have one night of half decent sleep. For me that is an unusual occurrence. I wish I had won the lottery, but alas, that keeps eluding me.

 

winninglottery

 

 

 

 

Posted in Blogging, nonfiction, writing

Summer Solstice and TToT #53

Today in my part of the world, it is the first day of Summer and therefore the Summer Solstice. So today I thought I would combine my love of the Summer Solstice with Ten Things of Thankful, that Lizzi over at Considerings has going on every weekend. Why not give her a visit and maybe even join in! Or read a whole bunch of thankfulness and feel better.

So much to be thankful for! I’m sure everyone can think of a few? Right? Right! So let’s get going shall we?

source
source

 

 

1. Summer Solstice. The longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. I love the long days. Here where I am in Alberta, the daylight can last till 11pm. For some reason I love that. I like to get things done during daylight. With the longer days I seem to be able to get much more accomplished. Or maybe it’s all in my mind. Either way, I love it. So it’s all good.

2. Midsummer Day, near the solstice, was said to make old people look younger. It was also thought that walking barefoot in the dew would keep one’s skin from getting chapped. Hell if I would have known that sooner I would have taken advantage of that! But, I’m ok with how I look. I don’t look my age and I certainly don’t feel my age, especially lately so I’m thankful for that.

3. The summer solstice, was a time to celebrate renewal, life, fertility, and the potential for a good harvest. It was celebrated through outdoor feasts with singing, dancing, and bonfires. I’m all for celebrating life. So let’s dance, sing and make a big bonfire! Well, ok, or just sit back with a favorite brew and relax. I’m thankful that I can do that. Relax, enjoy life, because life is good right now.

4. Midsommardagen is Sweden’s traditional midsummer festival, observed throughout the country and in full bloom during the month of June. On Midsummer’s Eve, which is always on a Friday, young girls place nine different flowers under their pillows to dream of their future husbands, while on Midsummer’s Day, flower wreaths are worn while men, women and children dance around the maypole. When I was young I never dreamed of who I might marry. I never thought I would. I didn’t want kids, I didn’t want traditional marriage. I always was the odd one out. At the time when I was growing up, there wasn’t a lot of options for women. You either got married and had kids, like my sister did. Or you tried to have a career. I did neither. I went exploring life, I traveled a long ways from home. I made mistakes and corrected them. I was my own person. I”m thankful for that time to grow, to see life and become the person I am.

5. The summer solstice was especially important to the ancient Egyptians since it signaled the annual flooding of the Nile River. To keep track of the day, the pyramids were built so that the solstice sunset fell exactly between two of them when viewed from the Great Sphinx. I can understand that, with all the rain we’ve had in these parts, I wish there would have been something to warn us if there was any flooding. But I’m thankful there wasn’t anything major. My front yard was flooded, but the house sets up high, so do danger of it flooding.

Glen Allison/Getty Images
Glen Allison/Getty Images

 

6. Perhaps the most remarkable solstice landmark in the U.S. is The Medicine Wheel, located in Wyoming’s Bighorn Mountains. Built several hundred years ago by an unknown Plains tribe, the arrangement of stones is perfectly in line with the solstice’s sunrise and sunset each year. I’m thankful for traditions, new or old that celebrate nature and everything in its glorious splendor.

7. New York welcomes summer with a collective ohm in the middle of Times Square. On June 21, thousands of participants will roll out their yoga mats at The Crossroads of the World to celebrate the longest day of the year with an all-day yoga fest. Free classes will be held from 5:30AM to 9:15PM. I’m thankful for easy exercise. I’m not into yoga, but I do believe we all need some sort of exercise in our lives. I’m just thankful I still can do it.

8. Since 1974, Santa Barbara, Calif., puts on an extravagant summer solstice parade, complete with over-the-top floats, flamboyant costumes, brilliant dance ensembles, creative street performers and eclectic music. But unlike other parades, this one is about getting back to basics; even the floats are man-powered. This year’s theme, “Creatures,” promises not to disappoint. I’m thankful for people coming together for a good time. For thinking of these wonderful things to do and celebrate. For good old-fashioned imagination.

9. Sunrise Celebration is an ethical living and organic arts and music festival powered by 100 percent renewable energy. Held on an organic farm in England, the festival has a site-wide organic food and drink policy and promotes a positive feeling of heartfelt gratitude. It’s a celebration of summertime, community and creativity, featuring 13 music stages, performances, healing arts, crafts, talks and workshops. This makes me thankful for people who want to have a better healthier life. Not only for themselves, but for the planet too. Because this old planet needs our help people, no doubt about it.

10. Pull from any of the above traditions or start your own: Pick wildflowers, tend to your garden, watch the sunrise, have a picnic, light a sacred fire, and gather with friends and family on the longest day of the year. I”m thankful for good friends. Now and in the future who will be there for gatherings of talk, laughter and good times.

Damien Gadal via Flickr
Damien Gadal via Flickr

 

 

 

Posted in Blogging, Humor, Mi Vida Loca, nonfiction, poetry, postaday, writing

A Rainy Day Poem

Hello People!

Hope everyone is having a great week! Today I decided to write a rainy day poem, as today is about the sixth day in a row that we have had rain in my part of Alberta Canada. My front yard has a new pool! But I didn’t put it there. Mother Nature decided me and Sam needed one and has so generously added one there. So kind of her, don’t you think?

We are supposed to get a couple more days of cool rainy weather. Anyone have a wetsuit I can borrow? Ha! Then it is supposed to get hot and sunny. Oh joy!

 

raindrop

 

 

Rain, rain go away

The children’s poem does say

I don’t need a pool

So please stop playing the fool

Leave some moisture for other times

And I’ll leave off writing the rhymes

I don’t mind those rare cozy rainy days

As I sip my coffee and gaze

Upon the drops coming from the skies

I just sit back and sigh

Now, though it feels like I’m drowning

While my old bones are chilling

I need some sunshine please

Mother Nature stop being such a tease

Give me what I need

With all due haste I plead

 

 

 

 

Posted in Blog challenge, Cee's Challenges, Mi Vida Loca, nonfiction, postaday, Stories of my life, writing

Share Your World – 2014 Week 24

Cee from Cee’s Photography has this really nice thing she does every Monday. She posts 4 questions and asks us to answer them in a post. This way we get to know each other a little bit better. Her questions are always interesting and make me think. So why not come join us!

Here is this week’s questions.

share-your-world2

 

What makes you feel the most secure?

Interesting question there. As I have been poor most my life I think having a bit of money in a savings would make me feel secure. There are so many ways to feel secure. Financially, physically, spiritually, how do I pick? There is even emotional security. So financially, savings would be nice. Physically, I always feel secure when I have a dog with me, they alert me to things going on outside. Spiritually, I’m always secure in that I know myself and my beliefs and I feel secure with that knowledge. Emotionally, I’ve never felt secure emotionally. Until lately. People have always let me down. I have always put my love in the wrong people. I think I’ve finally got it right. Took me my whole life so far, but for the first time, I feel emotionally secure in myself and others.

If you were a shoe, what kind would you be and why?

I’m not a shoe person. So I’m not sure how to answer this one. I own one pair of sneakers and a pair of sandals. Well, I told you I wasn’t a shoe person! I guess I would be a comfortable pair of sneakers. Don’t ask me what brand, because I would just give you a blank stare. haha.

source
source

How many languages do you speak? 

Does sarcasm count? Ok, I suppose that’s really not a language. Then I speak one, English. I understand some Spanish, French and German, but I don’t speak any of them. On and off I try to learn my Native American tribe’s language (Potawatomie) but damn that’s a hard language to learn!

What was the largest city you have been to?  What is the one thing you remember most? 

This answer depends, I mean it could be population size, metropolitan size, geographical size, what?? I’ve been to a few big ones, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Chicago, Dallas, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Houston, Calgary in Alberta. To tell you the truth, they all look the same to me. Full of people and cars and everyone seems to be in a hurry to get someplace. The traffic was bad. People drive crazy. People are rude. Just plain too many people!! That is what I remember about all of these places. Too many people in one place.

Calgary AB traffic
Calgary AB traffic

I do remember the Museum of Natural History in Chicago though. I’ve been there a couple of times, but not since I was a teenager. That place was fascinating!

Can you tell I don’t like big cities?

 

Posted in Blogging, Mi Vida Loca, nonfiction, postaday, stories, Stories of my life, writing

My Story of Dad

I posted this story last year in honor of my Dad on Father’s Day. I liked it enough that I am posting it again this year. 

Happy Father’s Day to all those who celebrate it today!

 

 

My Dad was a man of mixed impressions. He could be quick to anger and yet he loved animals of all kinds. He was soft-spoken yet when he did speak it was with authority and conviction. He was a meticulous man, very neat in his appearance and surroundings. Everything had a place and it better be in it kind of man.

He wasn’t particularly mechanical. He wasn’t the kind of man to tinker with cars. His passion was gardening. I think my dad could grow anything. I remember the time he and I had a contest with each other. Who could grow a certain kind of plant the best. We gave each other a month. I had a room upstairs and was growing plants, he had a room downstairs where he grew his. He won of course. The man just had a special touch with growing things. It was a fun contest though with lots of laughs and good times.

My Dad, Russ.
My Dad, Russ.

 

My dad died of prostate cancer years ago. He died on Father’s day weekend that year. He held on for as long as he could because he always took care of my mom. He was afraid of leaving her alone. In the three months he was in a hospice dying slowly day by day my mom never missed a day visiting him. Through all sorts of weather, my mom would be there as soon as visiting hours started till they kicked her out at night. Every day my dad would tell her things that she needed to do around the house. He would tell her what bills she needed to pay. Who to talk to about insurance when he passed. He tried to ready her for when she would be on her own.

That’s the kind of man he was. When he died, I was 1500 miles away and not on speaking terms with my mother. Unfortunately, I didn’t find out my father had passed till sometime in September of that year. It broke my heart in more ways than one.

My dad was the kind of man you could count on. He was reliable, thrifty, and smart. I don’t think he ever saw himself as smart. But he was. He was always reading something. Granted, most of those books were westerns.  His favorite author was Lois L’Amour. But he had a small library on organic gardening also. He was organic before it was ‘cool’. He was always trying new natural ways to keep pests out. He didn’t like chemicals in his garden.

My dad and I had a lot in common. Or I should say I took after my dad in many ways. I too love to read. I always feel more comfortable inside a book than socializing. That was Dad too. I’m on the quiet side, until I get to know you. My friends may be laughing about this one, but it’s true! I also unfortunately have a quick temper like my dad. I flare up, burn out and never hold grudges. Like Dad. I have my eyes and hair from my dad too. He was 100% German. I got his coloring and not my Native American mothers.

I used to love having discussions with Dad. We could talk about anything. From discussions about God or no God. Discussions on having sex before marriage (for the record, he was all for it… ha-ha). Nothing was taboo. I loved that about him. I miss that about him.

Him and I could be in the car together going someplace and not say a single word. It was okay. We didn’t have to say anything. It was a comfortable silence. Him and I communicated when we needed to and were all right with that.

I know I disappointed my Dad too many times in my life. But, I also think he knew I tried the best I could. I don’t think he was disappointed in me as a person, just some of my personal choices. Like my ex. Oh boy, my dad did NOT like my ex! He never said anything to me though. It was all in HOW the quiet in him was, his body language. It was different when he was disapproving, then when he was just his usual self. I remember when I finally decided to divorce the ex. I went home for a while with my parents. To sort my thinking out. To get away from the ex. My dad never said anything but this,

“You have to do what is right for you, even if others don’t understand.”

I never told my dad about the abuse I suffered from my ex. I never told my family much of it at all. He would have been so hurt by it and I wouldn’t do that to dad. I loved him too much. My dad was a firm believer in that a real man never hits a womanno matter what! He lived by that rule. I remember when my sister, then I, turned 13. My dad told us that we were young ladies now and that ladies didn’t get hit. After that we never so much as got a swat on the butt if we were bad. Believe me, his disappointment was enough punishment! That and his yelling. hahaha

Today is the day for Dads. If my dad was still alive, I would have called him this morning. And if I was lucky he would have talked to me on the phone, at least long enough to tell him “Happy Father’s Day!” My dad hated talking on the phone. Today would have been a good day for both of us.

I love you Dad.

 

Posted in Blog challenge, Daily Prompt, Mi Vida Loca, nonfiction, Stories of my life, writing

DAILY PROMPT Antique Antics

Daily Prompt: Antique Antics

What’s the oldest thing you own? (Toys, clothing, twinkies, Grecian urns: anything’s fair game.) Recount its history — from the object’s point of view.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

grandmasckbk

 

Ah, I remember the day I left my sister cookbooks and was mailed off to my new owner. Such a glorious day that was. I was new, fresh, smelled like newly printed paper. I was so excited to be whisked off to my new home. I just knew I would be put to good use.

Inside of my shiny new covers was one thousand recipes, tested and proved at the Priscilla Proving Plant. I was even a special edition! I was so proud! Class of 1928.

Now 86 years later, I’m still going strong. A lot older, yellowed with age, lots of brown spots. My binding might be weak, loose, but I still have all my pages. I have a few handwritten notes on some pages in different handwriting. I’m into my third generation of owners, all from the same family.

I started with the grandmother. She was so happy to receive me in the mail. She was a young mother then with six children, two more would be born after I arrived. She had a hard life, poor, with a stern husband. She ordered me through a catalog in the hopes of finding new dishes to please her young and growing family. Always an excellent cook had been Martha, always wanting to improve. She used the recipes in me for many years. Her youngest son Russell, would be my next owner.

Russell received me after my beloved first owner died. He too had a young family to feed. He loved his mother very much and wanted the one thing that was so special to her. Me! So there I was, in a new house sitting in a cupboard, bored, neglected. The man was so distraught over losing his mother it took him years before he would even look at me again. I stuck around, waited, patient, for his grieving to end. He enjoyed cooking and baking, so I knew if I was patient, I would be used once more.

Then one day it happened. The cupboard opened and he took me in hand! Oh my that was an exciting day for me. He wanted a bread recipe. He knew his mother used a recipe in me that was simple yet so good. He felt like baking. So I was used again and it felt wonderful!

For many years this family used the recipes inside my covers to make satisfying meals for their family. I opened up to find new cookie recipes, new casserole recipes. It was during those years that many new stains were left on my pages. New comments were written in my margins. I was happy and fulfilled my duty well.

Then the man died. He fought a great fight against cancer for years, but just grew tired. The cancer spread and took the mans life and I was once more put in a cupboard and forgotten. Or so I thought I was forgotten.

One day the cupboard door was opened once more and the widow took me out of the dark. I was packed into a box with many other mementos of the family’s life. I was being shipped away from the family! I was so scared. Where would I go? Who would cook my recipes now? It was such a sad, dark time for me. Till I arrived at the door of my new owner.

She is the youngest daughter of the man. I was still in the family, but a long ways from home. I was even in another country! Canada is where I ended up. I remember the woman taking me out of the big dark box. She lovingly opened my covers and looked at all the favorite recipes that her grandmother and father used to cook. I remember the tears that fell upon my pages, the soft caress as she saw her father’s handwriting.

She made me famous as she blogged about me. She used recipes out of me just as her father and grandmother had done. I might be old, yellowed, a bit brittle with age. I have a few new stains, like the tear drops that fell on me those few years ago. But I am in the same family, being used once again.

And truly, a cookbook cannot ask for more.

 

 

 

Posted in Blog challenge, Cee's Challenges, Mi Vida Loca, nonfiction, postaday, writing

Share Your World – 2014 Week 23

Cee from Cee’s Photography has asked us 4 more questions this week. It’s up to us to answer them. It’s a lot of fun and a great way to get to know fellow bloggers. Why not come and join us?

Thanks Cee for some great questions again this week!

 

Would you rather be stuck in a small plane with mild turbulence for 2 hours or be a passenger in a car racing the Daytona 500?

I think I will have to choose the racing car in the Daytona 500. I’ve been in small passenger planes when they hit turbulence, it’s fun for about the first 5 minutes. Sort of like a carnival ride. But not 2 hours worth of fun. I think I would really be nauseous by that time. So I’ll take the race car, plus I like to go fast. So it’s a good choice for me!

alonechair

Would you rather be alone with nobody in the vicinity for one month or never be alone, not even for a minute for one month?

This one is easy to choose. I would much rather be alone with nobody in the vicinity for one month than never be alone for even a minute. Oh wow, talk about a way to drive me freaking nuts! I mean no alone time at all? Not even to go to the bathroom? No thanks! I would hurt someone.

I’ve been alone for long periods of time before and it doesn’t bother me. I like me, so I’m not afraid to be alone with me.

Would you like to sleep in a human size nest in a tree or be snuggled in a burrowed spot underground?

Another easy choice for me. Definitely in a human size nest in a tree! I hate the thought of being underground so much I am not even going to be buried when I die! Cremation is the way to go for me and then scatter my ashes either in the woods, or if you can’t find the woods, a lone tree will do. How about the tree with my nest in it??  Works for me!

source
source

In a car would you rather drive or be a passenger?

If it’s a long trip, taking turns driving is good. Or to be a passenger. I love to look at things during a long trip. For short trips it can be either way also, if it’s a place I know how to get to. I have a tendency of having ‘little adventures’ when I drive to someplace new. I don’t get lost you see, I just have small adventures. Ha!