Posted in Blog challenge, Daily Post Writing Challenge, Mi Vida Loca, nonfiction, postaday

Things I’ve Learned This Past Year

The Daily Post Weekly writing challenge is to write a list;

For this week’s challenge, I invite you to breathe new life into the established genre of the end-of-year countdown list. Sure, you’re welcome to share your top-20 books, songs, or obscure craft beers of the year. But you could also try something a bit different.

 

My grandmother once told me that I should learn one new thing a day. I think that was wise advice and I have always tried to keep her words in mind. Learning new things keeps me young and I hope, sharp minded.

There are different kinds of learning though. You can learn new facts about a subject, new ideas, new words, all kinds of new things. As long as I’m learning, I’m happy.

This past year was not an easy  year for me. It was a learning year, though. I found out more about myself, my life, my choices, my wants and my needs. So for this writing challenge I am going to list all the things I’ve learned this year.

  • I’ve learned that life can be a bitch. I all ready knew that one, but it was reinforced this past year with a vengeance.
  • I’ve learned that I am much stronger than I thought I was.
  • I’ve learned that I am much weaker than I knew.
  • I’ve learned that you can trust some people. Believe me that is a hard one for me to learn, but yes, I can trust some people and they won’t turn around and stab me in the back.
  • I’ve learned I can be trusted with secrets.
  • I’ve learned I can be a really good friend. I know this sounds strange, but sometimes I wasn’t sure about myself. Now I am.
  • I’ve learned that change doesn’t scare me. I kind of knew that about myself anyway, but it’s nice to learn it over again.
  • change_image
  • I’ve learned patience. Or I should amend that, I AM learning patience. I always thought I was, but this past year has put it to the ultimate test. Sometimes I failed. I’m honest enough to admit that, but then I try again.
  • I’ve learned that people in constant pain are very strong people, they have to be.
  • I’ve learned that people in constant pain sometimes wish to end it, a final end. My husband has hinted at it a few times, that scares me, but now I understand a bit more why he would have those thoughts. One day he might follow through with those thoughts and put it into action.
  • I’ve learned that my depression is trying to take hold once more.
  • I’ve learned to fight that depression, every single day.
  • I’ve learned that trying to work with government bureaucracy is an ongoing test of my patience and temper.
  • I’ve learned that my mother and I can become friends. We still hit a rough patch now and then, but it’s getting less and less that we do. More and more we are learning to appreciate each other and laugh with each other.
  • I’ve learned that I love writing even more than I thought.
  • www.fromoldbooks.org
    http://www.fromoldbooks.org
  • I’ve learned that the people on WordPress on the whole are a wonderful, loving, nurturing group of people. Sure, you might find the odd asshat, or an attention whore, but this community is strong and vital and I am so glad I’m here with you all.
  • I’ve learned that blogging is the best therapy I’ve found.
  • I’ve learned that I still have the capacity to love, I thought I lost that along the way.
  • I’ve learned that I need to give myself a break now and then.
  • I’ve learned that some life choices were very hard to make, but I’m glad I did make the choices I made.
  • I’ve learned that my bad knee hates weather that is -25c.
  • I’ve learned how to walk with a cane, not be ashamed of it, and to find other uses for a cane that I would never have thought about before!
  • I’ve learned how to forgive myself for not being a better housekeeper, there are more important things in life than getting rid of a layer of dust somewhere.
  • I’ve learned that I actually like writing poetry, who would have thunk it?
  • I’ve learned to keep my sense of humor, even in the most trying of times. It saved my ass a few times this past year.
  • I’ve learned that I’ve learned a hell of a lot this year!

 

There you have it. I’m sure I’ve missed something, but I believe I got the most important lessons down that I learned this year. I’m sure I’m due for some more teachings along the way next year.

 

What is the one most important lesson YOU have learned this year?

 

 

Posted in Blog challenge, Daily Post Writing Challenge, NaBloPoMo, Nano Poblano

Around the World in Pies

The Daily Post Writing challenge this week is about pies. Now, I don’t eat pies, not the sweet kind anyway, not because I don’t like them. I don’t eat them because I’m a diabetic and pies made without real sugar just isn’t the same to me. Ah, but savory pies. Now that’s a pie I can sink my teeth into.

I thought, since I’m not much of a baker, I’d talk about the different pies of the world. Don’t you ever wonder how a pie came to be? I mean, who would have thought to make a pie out of nuts off a tree? See what I mean? Or who first thought to make a pie with lemons? Or limes? Or with meat and vegetables?

So lets take a quick trip around the world in pies.

So lets start with the humble but glorious Apple pie. Apple pies have shown up throughout history in many forms since the Middle Ages. The first apple pies were not made with sugar as only the very rich at that time could afford sugar. Also, from what I found, pies were not made with a crust, what held the pie was called a ‘coffin’ and used only as a container.

There is also a town in New Mexico that named themselves after pies. It’s called Pie Town, New Mexico.

notsohumblepie.blogspot.com
notsohumblepie.blogspot.com

Then we have one of my favorites, Lemon Meringue pie. It’s said that the modern lemon meringue pie was first made by Alexander Frehse, a Swiss baker from Romandie (Switzerland). I learn something new every day.

landolakes.com
landolakes.com

Now we go to the Pecan Pie, some people love it, some don’t. It’s pretty sweet the ones I’ve tasted. It is believed this nutty dessert was invented by French settlers shortly after they arrived in New Orleans and were introduced to the nut by Native Americans. Yeah ancestors! Attempts to trace the dish’s origin have not found any recipes dated earlier than 1886, so who really knows? Some say it’s a variant of the Chess pies which are very similar.

Pecan Pie. Photo by @joefoodie
Pecan Pie. Photo by @joefoodie

 

How about some savory pies? Like the meat pies of Australia and New Zealand? According to Wikipedia: An Australian or New Zealand meat pie is a hand-sized meat pie containing largely diced or minced meat and gravy, sometimes with onion, mushrooms, or cheese and often consumed as a takeaway food snack. The pie itself is similar to the United Kingdom’s steak pie. Sounds good to me!

Via Wikepedia
Via Wikepedia

Or Natchitoches Meat Pie. Again via Wikipedia;

The Natchitoches meat pie is a regional dish from northern Louisiana, United States. It is one of the official state foods of Louisiana.

Ingredients include ground beef, ground pork, onions, peppers, garlic, oil, and a pie shell. Natchitoches meat pies are often fried in peanut oil because of that oil’s high smoking temperature. A number of restaurants in the historic district in Natchitoches serve meat pies, and frozen pies are available from grocers in northern Louisiana. Restaurants in the historic district in Natchitoches serve the pies and you’ll also find them at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

An annual Meat Pie Festival is held in September and includes pie making demonstrations, a meat pie cook-off and live music.

Via Kimberly Vardeman
Via Kimberly Vardeman

 

How about Spanakopita? What’s that you ask? Spanakopita is a Greek savory pie made with  a filling of chopped spinach, feta cheese, onions or scallions, egg, and seasoning. The filling is wrapped or layered in phyllo (filo) pastry with butter and/or olive oil, either in a large pan from which individual servings are cut, or rolled into individual triangular servings.

While the filo-dough recipe is most common, many recipes from the Greek islands call for a crust made of flour and water to form a crunchier, calzone-like exterior in place of the flaky filo dough. The pastry is golden in color when baked, the color often enhanced by butter and egg yolk. Other white, fresh, preferably salted cheeses may also be mixed with, or substituted for, the feta cheese.

I think it looks pretty tasty.

Tanya Bakogiannis
Tanya Bakogiannis
Posted in Blog challenge, Daily Post Writing Challenge, Fiction, stories, writing

Writing Challenge~~~ Tracks Backward

Source:Cheri Lucas Rowlands/The Daily Post
Source:Cheri Lucas Rowlands/The Daily Post

 

I had been here before, a long time ago.  Deja Vu.  I was about 10, just a damn kid. The world was all ready a hard place to be in.

Abandoned by a good-looking, smooth talking traveling man, my mother ended up eight and half months later with me. I was impatient to come into this god forsaken world back then. Came early, some say I sent my mother to her grave. I say, to hell with them. My mother sent herself to the grave. I was eight when she finally had enough of the hard life and just laid down and died. She gave up. I won’t ever give up. It’s not in me.

The group of misbegotten, ragtag bunch of idiots that my mother had hooked up with were a superstitious lot. Took it out on me. A small red-headed girl with one green eye and one blue eye. They said I was the product of the devil. For a couple of years after my mother died, I just hung out on the fringe of the group and tried to survive the best I could. They took turns throwing me scraps to eat and cuffing my ears when I let them get too close.

I had just turned 10 when they decided to get rid of me. They weren’t brave enough to kill me themselves, so they thought the wolves in the wild would do their dirty work for them. So they gathered a few of my belongings up, a bit of bread and rotten cheese and left me at these railroad tracks to fend for myself.

In the middle of damned nowhere. Just a set of rusty, disused rail tracks and me. If I wouldn’t have let my guard down they never would have had the drop on me. I was so tired. I drifted off to sleep and a couple of brave men of  the group put a sack over me and tied me in it. They tossed me over a rough boney shoulder. I didn’t yell or scream, I remember that. Never was one for wasting my energy on something that wasn’t going to work anyhow.  They walked what seemed like forever in my mind, barely talking to each other. When they got to these tracks they tossed me to the ground and just walked off.

Took me  a long time to finally work myself out of that damn sack. By then my anger was burned deep inside of me. I swore I would get revenge. First though I had to survive long enough to figure out how to get that well deserved revenge. When I got out of that sack it was coming dark. I found my pitiful bundle of belongings laying a few feet to the side of me. I ate the bread and moldy cheese. I was always hungry back then. So a bit of mold didn’t bother me none.

While I ate, slowly chewing the tough bread I took a look around. All I could see in the dusk was trees, lots of trees and those old railway tracks. I knew the trains weren’t running anymore. I had overheard some of the group talking about the trains not running after the last world war pretty much desecrated the country, hell the world from what I heard. Bands of people got together after the war and survived best they could. Too bad my mother hooked herself up with one of the worst.

For some reason I remember not being scared. Nothing much frightened me back then. Still doesn’t. I was more curious than scared. I knew about the wolves of course. Anyone who spent anytime out here knew about them. But they fascinated me. The group with their stupid superstitions were terrified of them.

I used to sneak out in the woods at night and watch the wolves. I would lay still as I could for hours and just watch and learn.

Who knew that all that watching, that learning, would help me survive. Those wolves turned out to be my best friends. My family, my survival.

Now I was back. I was older, smarter, and deadlier. My revenge would happen soon.

 

 

This story was done for the The Daily Post’s Weekly Writing challenge. Let me know what you think. I may add on to it on a later date.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Blog challenge, Daily Post Writing Challenge, Mi Vida Loca, nonfiction, Stories of my life, writing

WRITING CHALLENGE Honey versus Vinegar

Weekly, Daily Post Writing Challenge: Honey versus Vinegar

Small moments of kindness peek through our everyday lives, from your neighbors’ “Good morning!” to a surprise “I’ll take care of that for you” at the office. This week, we want you to explore what that kindness means to you, and share it with others.

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

 

She had white hair, a round wrinkled face, kind blue eyes and a big toothless grin. I was a skinny, shy kid with white hair, an angled face and inquisitive gray eyes and a big gap toothed smile.

We were best friends.

Her name was Minnie, I was told to call her Aunt Minnie. She lived two doors down from where my family lived. We had just moved into the house that week when I met her for the first time. I was about 6 or seven, she could have been anywhere from 60 to 90. I know she was old when I first met her. She always wore dresses, silk stockings that she would sometimes roll down to her calves. Clunky, serviceable black shoes with think rubber soles. She wore glasses to read, otherwise they lay against a sagging bosom from a silver chain around her neck.

When she hugged me tight she smelled of dusty lavender, face powder and that morning’s breakfast.

She was married to a man who was a quiet soul. He would sit in the living room and read the newspaper as Aunt Minnie taught me the ‘proper’ way to take care of the house. She was the one who taught a shy little girl how to sweep floors, dust, and iron clothes. As we worked side by side, she would tell me about her only child. A daughter she would tell me, just like me. A cherished child that drowned when she was 12, many years ago. Aunt Minnie never got over the death. She never had any more children.

Aunt Minnie said she had me now, that’s all she needed.

This kindly old lady befriended a small skinny child who needed a friend so much. She must have seen something in me one day that I didn’t know about. I was living a nightmare I couldn’t tell anyone about. I was living a hell of sexual abuse, also my mother and I didn’t get along. So I clung to kind Aunt Minnie as much as she clung to me.

I would help her with her chores, while she taught me so much. She taught me more than she ever knew. She taught me to have pride in what work I did. To have pride in myself. She taught a quiet, introverted book nerd that it was all right to make mistakes. She was patient, kind and never scolded if I did something wrong. She taught me that even if there was many years difference in our ages, two lonely people could be best friends. She taught me to trust again. Hesitantly, but trust her I did.

Aunt Minnie also taught me that it’s the kindness in yourself towards others that will fill a void, a need. Not nastiness, not jealousy, not hatred. Kindness was something that brought us together, a young child and an older, wiser woman who had so much love in her to share. A child who soaked that kindness up so many, many years ago and now that I am older, is trying to give some of that kindness to others that might need it now.

Thank you Aunt Minnie for being kindness personified.

 

Posted in Blog challenge, Daily Post Writing Challenge, Fiction, Uncategorized, writing

WRITING CHALLENGE A Lost Art ~~ The Future Looks To The Past

The Daily Post: WRITING CHALLENGE A Lost Art

For this week, we want to hear your thoughts on the hand-made, the tangible, about all those things we experience when disconnected. Are we losing them, or learning to savor them more?

  • Tell us about a lost art or skill that you know, or that you think needs to be revived.
  • For fiction writers, craft a story that centers around a slower pace of life, where there’s always time to talk and Smartphones stay in your pocket at dinner. Or, better yet, tell us about the extremes of our fast pace of life. What would it be like if we never stopped to smell the roses?
  • What’s a skill that you think needs to be replaced by something better or automated? Use your imagination! Who knows, maybe someone else agrees that grocery shopping robots are the way of the future.
  • Tell us what it means to really lose something. Once something is gone, can it never come back?

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

This writing challenge got me to thinking of the future and what it might be like. What if we were so far into the future we no longer had need of paper, trees were sacred, the government was out of control (not that they aren’t now but it could get so much worse). What if letter writing was a thing of myths? That is how far into the future, I wanted to go with this. So here is my take on that. It’s in the form of the lost art of letter writing. A woman writing in this lost art that she heard of from an elder that only read about it once in a long forgotten ancient tome, in a world that has revolted against the monitoring of all communication and oppression of the government. Yeah, it created a spark of creativity and this is what came from that spark.

 

source
source

 

Hello Mike,

I hope this writing finds you. I know it’s a very old-fashioned way of communicating. In fact, I always thought it was a myth. But we happened to find an elder who vaguely remembers their elder talking about this way of communicating with people. So I’m giving it a try in the hopes it will find its way to you.

We need to find a way of communicating all over again. After the devastation of our world from wars and natural disasters. The people don’t trust the government anymore as they continuously monitor all our other ways of communication. They arrest people on whims of ass kissers and people who have the money in the world. So most of the people have left the monitored cities and are now trying to survive in the wastelands that are outside the city bubbles. Some of the brave men, women and children have all ready either lost their lives through accidents or been picked up by the government drones as spies and been killed.

We can no longer trust the ways that we have known, so we need to find new ways. Or go so far back we use arcane ideas of our distant past. This is one of them. It’s called ‘letter writing’. Yes, I know, it’s not letter writing really, it’s more word writing. I’m just telling you what the elder called it. She called it ‘letter writing’ and said the people of the past used pens or pencils (still not sure I understand what those are) and something called paper. The paper came from trees! Can you imagine that Mike? Now the trees are so protected one doesn’t want to kill it, just to turn it into something else. The idea is ludicrous!

We, of course, don’t have paper, so I am writing this on cloth. I’m using a white shirt I found and a piece of stone that the elder said would work. It does too, it’s amazing! It is very laborious writing this way, as we were so used to just talking into our wrist units to talk to anyone, anywhere. No one really wrote to people. But we have to do something that won’t be tracked by the government of the world.

We are asking volunteers to carry these letters to different places to pass them on to the next person till it reaches its destination. We’ve been making plans for this for months. We discussed with a few elders that remember reading about ‘post offices’ way in the distant past. These post offices had people who delivered these letters to the people they were meant for. Of course, having post offices is unthinkable, but the eldest Elder remembered reading a book once long ago about what they called “pony Express”. They actually used horses for this! Can you wrap your brain around that, Mike? Animals! The only horses any of us have seen have been in controlled zoos. We could never get our hands on one of them. So we will use what we have plenty of resources of, people.

It will take months if not years to deliver this letter. And then it’s only if the person carrying it does not die from some horrible accident or get caught by the government drones. We can only hope for the best.

So Mike, I am hoping this letter thing does reach you at some point. So you will know that your life partner is well and alive and where I’m at. I will wait for your reply or for your coming to me in person which would be the best scenario. When we revolted and made a run for it, I couldn’t get in touch with you when you were half way across the world. It had to happen that quickly. But I knew where you were and that you were making a run for it at the same time. It’s just I’m here and you are there, but we are free Mike, free! The government will not find us, we are certain. I can only hope that you are just as safe and will make your way to me, if you haven’t all ready.

Let’s just hope this thing called letter writing actually works. The elder has assured me that she has read the it did indeed work, even though it was so terribly slow in it’s getting anywhere. So I am sending it your way. If you start this way and I start your way, maybe in a year or two we will finally be reunited. I am hoping the powers that be help us in this. Stay safe and I will try to do the same.

Till we are reunited. I bid you farewell.

 

 

 

Posted in Blog challenge, Blogging, Daily Post Writing Challenge, nonfiction, poetry, postaday, writing

Things That I Appreciate Now That I’m Old(er)

The other day I had visitors. A couple and their 3-year-old daughter Jazzy (Jasmine). She’s into asking “what’s that?”, about everything! As younger children are she’s very curious and full of energy. My dog Sam loves her as she is always eating something and is more than willing to share! LOL

But after they left, I sat and thought about her innocence and her curiosity. I thought how I envied her those things and wish sometimes I was that innocent for just a little while. Then I thought about getting older and what I appreciate about that process. The things I’ve learned, seen, felt, done.

It made me feel better actually. I’m aging and that’s ok. I’m probably older than most of my readers think I am. That too is ok. I’ve done a lot in my life. I’ve HAD a life. (Not that I‘m done with living yet! Far from it.) Now it’s Jazzy’s turn and I wish her a life full of adventure, love and learning.

Today’s Daily Post weekly writing challenge is called ‘List Lesson’This week, girl in the hat writer Anna Fonté challenges you to write a list that transcends its orderly or numbered format.

So my ‘list’ is going to be all the things I appreciate now that I am old(er).

 

whenyouareold

 

Things That I Appreciate Now That I’m Old(er)

The beauty of nature in all its forms
The fluffy white clouds in azure blue skies
Gentle rain on the roof, or thunderstorms
Flowers swaying in a breeze, diamonds in the snow

Quiet times, lazy days, a book in my hands
Music to set my foot tapping, daydreaming
Messages from friends, far away or near
Slowing down enough to appreciate just being

That first cup of coffee, a cold drink of water
A long hot shower, no place to hurry to
Memories of childhood, letting go of anger
Wisdom well-earned, not having to eat peas

Silver in my hair, yes, I even appreciate that
Learning to say no, being out of debt
My father’s wisdom bless his soul, saying thank you
Having time to write or to watch a sunset

Accepting myself as I am, it’s ok to be me
Knowing my mistakes past is just that, in the past
Not caring if my house is a bit dusty
Making decisions on my own

Living this long, there were days when I didn’t think I would
Love, companionship, trust, kisses, holding hands
Poems well written, stories well told
People I’ve come to know in other lands

I appreciate being old(er), when you are young you take
living till you are old for granted, when you reach this age
you no longer take it for granted, you just appreciate having
another day, week, month, year to keep getting older yet.