Books: My Not So Secret Love

books and carMy not so secret love affair began when I was just a girl.

Short stories, diaries, articles, quotes, novels, poems, journals, monologues, plays, blogs, letters – Style and form are irrelevant. I love them all.

Dick and Jane | See Addison learn how to read.

I didn’t always have this deep abiding love.

Times are different now than they were then. Now a days, attending preschool is normal and often expected, but it wasn’t when I was a child. A child’s education didn’t begin until kindergarten, but education was important to my parents. They wanted to give me and my sister every advantage. Enrolling me in preschool, they hoped to start my education off on the right foot. And it did. Preschool taught me everything a kindergartner needed to know.

My school didn’t quite know what to make of me and my advanced knowledge. Worried that I’d languish about and be bored in kindergarten, the teachers recommended I skip kindergarten and start the first grade. Hesitantly, my parents agreed.

Sadly, this leap seemed to halt any progress I’d made. Struggling through the first grade, I quickly fell behind the other students. Seeing my frustration, Mom took matters into her own hands. Every day after school, she’d sit me down at our Formica kitchen table, and we’d read out of her old Dick and Jane books.

I hated every agonizing moment. It was my own torturous hell. The last thing I wanted to do after a long day of school was more work. No, I wanted to be set free to run and play and eat cherry flavored Popsicles. Instead, I was forced to sit side by side with Mom reading about Dick, Jane, and their dog Spot.

Delving into the pages of a story, I live a thousand lives.dr seuss

Attending a tea party with queens and kings, I sip on tea and sample sweet cakes. Crouched down in a corn field, I silently pray that I’m not discovered. Slicing through the warm waters of the Caribbean, I swim among the fishes. Heartbroken, I’m wracked with gut-wrenching sobs at the sudden death of my mom. Journeying to the farthest lands, I camp out under the stars and desert moon. Tying on an apron, I learn how to make candy from snow. Hanging upside down from a tree branch, I hold court with my friends, discussing the true meaning of friendship.

If only I’d known the wonderful world reading would open for me, maybe I wouldn’t have put up such a fuss to learn.

Isn’t a library supposed to be available for everyone?library

I’m at the high school with my two of my best friends. We are in middle school now, but we’ll be starting high school next year. We thought it would be fun to sneak into the school to see what it is like before we start attending here. Walking along the hall, we come to the library. It is twice the size of our school library. I’m in awe. There are so many books. Books run from floor to ceiling along all the walls and the seats are plush. Selecting a book from the stacks, I sink into a plush chair and begin to read. My friends aren’t as impressed. Quietly talking and giggling, they soon attract the attention of the librarian. We are asked to leave. Sadly, I put my book away, promising to come back another day.

Fun in the sundandelion

Summer stretches out before me. Holed up in my room, I’m surrounded by piles of books. Now that it is summer, I’m free to spend every waking moment with my nose buried in a book. Long after I’m supposed to be asleep, I use a flashlight and read late into the night.

My Mom helped me replenish my stockpile of books by regularly taking me to used book stores, second hand stores, and the library.

Spending so much time inside, I began to grow pale. Watching this go on day after day, my dad implores me to go outside and get some sunshine. Not a reader himself, he has a hard time understanding my fascination with books. One day, he finally had enough. Picking me up, he deposited me outside. Locking me out of the house, he told me I could come back after I’d spent the afternoon getting some sun.

Pounding on the front door, I beg for him to let me in. He stands firm. I need the Vitamin D. Finally, I give up, and ask him to at least let me have the book, I was reading. A few minutes go by…before he opens a window tossing my book out to me. Happy again, I snatch it up before he can change his mind. Heading off, I find a soft grassy area in our backyard before loosing myself back in my book.

My not so secret love affair began when I was just a girl.

 

 

 

 

 

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Cleaning Days

mom-funny-quoteSaturdays often remind me of my childhood. This beautiful Saturday morning is no different. Growing up, Saturdays were cleaning days.

Like most families, it took both my parents working to make ends meet. Dad would work day shift and mom would work nights. They alternated their work shifts, so we wouldn’t have to be with a sitter for an extended period of time. My Mom would drop us off at the babysitter’s house before heading on to work. About an hour later, Dad would pick us up before taking us home again. My parents always put me and my sister first.

On this beautiful Saturday, I’m reminded of these earlier days. I had a wonderful childhood.

What I hated – what I could have done without was our Saturday cleaning days.

On cleaning days, our loving home became a war zone. Dirt and mess and chaos were the enemy. It was my Mom’s personal mission to eliminate and destroy any filth that may have built up during the week. Nothing was safe from inspection and her Saturday cleaning regime – she cleaned under furniture, scoured the fridge, washed curtains, scrubbed walls, shampooed rugs, organized closets, and went through every bedroom.

These Saturdays were a day of trouble for me and my sister. It never failed, our bedrooms were never up to par. Truth be told, we were sloppy. It’s almost as if we delighted in creating chaos.Thinking back, I remember a few of our worst infractions – a raw egg cracked open and left to dry on my sister’s plastic kitchen stove, every toy and book we owned torn out littering the floor of our bedroom leaving anyone entering or exiting our room the distinct pleasure of taking their life in their own hands, walls decorated with drawings in bright colors of crayon, a broken closet bar rod that we used to swing on.

It wasn’t until I became older that I began to learn. Cleaning my room while Mom was busy systematically scouring the rest of the house cooled her wrath. It kept me out of my Mom’s hair and saved me a scolding or a restriction. Being a kid, my room was never quite up to her standards, but my efforts helped.

I tried sharing this trick with my little sister. Although, she never quite learned. Her and Mom would continue to war over the sheer disaster that was her room.

Saturday cleaning days were the bane of my existence. However, I must admit there was no better feeling than the one I would get after we’d weathered the storm of a cleaning day. After the day was done and the house was sparkling clean, I’d be filled with a sense of calm relief. I’d lay in my fresh laundered bed listening to the sounds of my quiet house, happy to be done with another cleaning day. As I would slowly drift off to sleep, I’d think about what Sunday would hold. Sundays were our family’s fun day.

House, work, kids, and marriage – my Mom juggled it all. Dad was always there too, but Mom ran our ship. To this day, I don’t know how she managed it all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unlimited Possibilities

 

 

imageWe have nothing to do, nowhere to go. The empty afternoon offers unlimited possibilities. The day beckons to us, inviting us to explore. Hopping in the car, we set off to find an adventure.

A slight breeze offers relief against the powerful Florida sun, making the afternoon pleasantly comfortable. Munching on our packed lunch beneath a picnic shelter, we’ve decided to spend today at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park in Homosassa, Florida. The park promises to fill our empty afternoon with beautiful scenery and amazing wildlife.

Taking advantage of the complimentary boat ride, we glide along Pepper Creek in a pontoon boat. Listening to the Park Ranger’s informative introduction, I take in the beauty of the park. It is breathtaking.

Purchased in 1940, this fifty acre park has actually been a popular attraction since the early 1900s, when trains would stop allowing passengers to enjoy the view of Homosassa Spring. Over the years this beautiful natural park was used to house trained exotic animals that were used on television shows and in movies.  However, animal education, understanding, and compassion have since changed how the park manages captive wildlife. A participant in Manatee rescue and rehabilitation, the park has helped rescue and rehabilitate more than forty injured manatees in the span of thirty years.

Exploring the park, we saw manatees swimming, stunning wildlife at the zoo, met an artist, rode a pontoon boat, and learned little something about animal rescue and rehabilitation.

What started out as an empty afternoon ended in a beautiful adventure.

 

Daily Prompt

Perfection in a Bowl

 

 

PhoRarely captured, perfection is fleeting. Few and far between, perfect moments leave a lasting impression.

It has been nearly ten years, but I remember the afternoon perfectly. It was soggy. Rain had surged in making for a wet, damp day. This was nothing new or unexpected. Washington State averages 147 days of rainfall a year.

Josh and I were work friends. We were as tight as any two work friends could be. It had been a crazy day, and we were in need of a break. Grabbing lunch was the perfect opportunity. Josh wanted Pho. He was coming down with a cold, and hoped the soup would help ward off his cold before it really set in. I’d never heard of Pho, but I was up for an adventure.

As luck would have it, the restaurant wasn’t too far from work. Walking through the door, we were greeted by delicious aromas. Sitting down, we were served tea and water as we looked over the menu.

Knowing what he wanted, Josh put his menu aside. Looking over the selections, I felt my apprehensions grow. I was starving, but nothing captured my attention. Seeing my struggle, Josh urged me to just have what he was getting. He assured me I would love it. Nodding in agreement, I warned him it had better be good. I was starving. He laughed, and told me not to worry. He ordered us each a bowl of chicken Pho and an appetizer of spring rolls to share.

The spring rolls came first. The translucent paper thin skin of the roll showcased large plump shrimp, glass noodles, and slivers of cabbage. They were delicious. Although, I must admit I didn’t care for the peanut sauce accompanying them. It was too sweet for my liking. Preferring a little spice, I dipped mine in a little Sriracha sauce. While we ate our spring rolls, the waiter brought us a platter of Pho garnishments: lime wedges, fresh jalapeno slices, bean sprouts, and Thai basil. The rest of our lunch took no time at all, and soon the waiter set before us two large bowls brimming with a scrumptious broth, meaty hunks of chicken, and rice noodles.

Unsure of what to do, I watched my friend. Adding the garnishments to his soup, Josh told me everyone has their own preferences for Pho. This being my first time, I thought it best if I simply try it his way. Copying him, I squeeze one of the limes releasing the juice into my broth, float two fresh jalapeno slices into my soup,  before topping it off with several bean sprouts. He warns me that the jalapeno’s will heat up my soup. Not as brave as him, I forgo the chopsticks. Only on our lunch break, I didn’t want to slop Pho down the front of my suit.

Spooning up a bit of broth, I took my first taste and find perfection. Perfection in a bowl of Pho.

Daily Prompt

Seeking Solitude

TypeWriter ImageThe outside world looms larger than life. The television blares. People talk and laugh. A car alarm sounds off. A dog barks.It is in moments like these when I struggle. All, I want is a moment of quiet where I can become lost within my own mind, focus on my thoughts, and capture the story running through the recesses of my mind.

Quieting my exterior, I immerse myself in my writing. Pounding away at the keyboard, I have somehow effectively managed to remove myself from the life happening around me.

It’s time. I am ready to converse and laugh, but the silence is deafening. My world is quiet. Everyone around me seems to be submersed in their own activities. Restless, I prowl about. Like a precocious two year old, I want to throw a fit and harass my family into paying attention to me.

It’s a fine line to walk. As a traveler and a writer, I have a need to experience life. I have a need to – feel the wind on my face,  experience the stifling muggy heat of Virginia, smell the dank mustiness of an earthy farm, hear the story of the woman who works at the five and dime store, suffer through the agony of defeat, wade in the waves crashing against the pristine white shores of the sandy Florida beaches, laugh until I cry, navigate my way along the hustling city streets of New York, and to be overwhelmed with gratitude. I have a need to do it all, to see it all, to experience it all.

I’ve had enough. Bursting at the seams, I’m ready to implode. My body needs rest and my mind needs relief. Armed with my laptop, I squire away. I’ll be better once I spend the next few hours, days, or possibly weeks pounding away at the keyboard.

Daily Prompt

 

 

Liebster Award

Liebster Award3

Thank You for the Nomination:

I’d like to sincerely thank Mom and Me Publishing for nominating my blog. Please take a moment to check out their amazing blog: Mom and Me Publishing. This mom and daughter duo are a lively, creative, and funny writing team that offer beautiful insight. 

The Official Rules of the Liebster Award 2016

  • Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog. Try to include a little promotion for the person who nominated you. They will thank you for it and those who you nominate will also help you out as well.

  • Display the award on your blog – by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a widget.

  • Write a 150-300 word post about your favorite blog that is not your own. Explain why you like the blog, provide links.

  • Provide 10 random facts about yourself (optional).

  • Nominate 5-11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have less than 200 followers (*You can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets readers know this information.)

  • List these rules in your post.

  • Answer the 11 questions you were asked by the blogger who nominated you.

  • Create 11 questions for your nominees to answer when they post their nomination. 

  • Inform the people/blogs that you nominated them for a Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post.

A Blog I Like Reading: 

Hill Top Heaven is a creative and imaginative blog written by Cathy Holdsworth. Cathy has a zest for life which is powerfully portrayed in her blog posts. She uses her blog to explore her passion for life, travel, food, decorating, and writing. I happened to stumble upon Hill Top Heaven by chance, but it immediately captured my attention. Cathy’s perspective on life and her travels continue to draw me in.

While I enjoy Cathy’s travel adventures, I think my favorite post in her blog is ‘The Painting – A Short Story.’ This short story transported me into the marriage of Frank and his wife. This story brought me to the verge of tears. Year after year, this wife endured endless abuse at the hands of her husband. Using her imagination, she escaped by jumping into a Monet landscape. In this landscape she was everything she’d ever hoped to be – young, beautiful, and loved. One day, her dream came true. She finally escaped her husband, and found her hard earned happiness.

10 Random Facts About Myself:

  1. I’m a traveler who explores the United States in my 34 ft RV, I have affectionately nicknamed The Beast.

  2. I’m a mom who homeschool/roadschools.

  3. I’m short – only five foot.

  4. I love coffee, and I tend to be cranky without my morning cup.

  5. I’m afraid of heights, but I love to fly.

  6. Like most bloggers and writers, I love to read.

  7. I’ve never milked a cow, but eventually I will.

  8. I hate bananas.

  9. I absolutely adore New York City.

  10. I love listening to loud music while driving.

 I Nominate the Following Blogs:

Answers to the 11 Questions I was Asked:

  1. What is your favorite genre to read? Why?
    • My favorite books are autobiographies which have been defined as authentic texts. I love reading about other people’s lives and experiences.
  2. Coffee, Tea, or neither?
    • Coffee – Definitely coffee.
  3. Are you a dog person or a cat person?
    • I prefer dogs. I have a Beagle and a Scottish Terrier.
  4. What’s one of the most moving experiences you’ve had?
    • The most moving experience I’ve had is giving birth.
  5. What makes you whole-heartedly happy?
    • Traveling – I love traveling.
  6. What book turned you into a “reader”? Or- What book has had the most impact on you?
    • I can’t name a specific book, but there are two authors that strongly impacted my love for reading: Dorothy Allison and Maya Angelou.
  7. What is your day like?
    • My average day depends on whether or not we are traveling. On travel days – I wake early, rush to get ready, and hit the road. On non-travel days – I sleep late, wake, explore my surroundings, and write.
  8. Briefly, describe yourself.
    • Writer. Blogger. Traveler. Mom. Daughter. Sister. Aunt. Reader. Amateur Photographer.
  9. Why did you create your blog?
    • I was inspired by Casey Neistat, a YouTube Blogger. He started his vlog to constantly be creating and honing his craft. I loved this concept, and knew my writing would benefit from the same.
  10. Do you have a suggestion for us fellow bloggers on how to promote our page?
    • My only advice would be to read other blogs and interact with other bloggers. I also use social media to promote my page.
  11. Which tag do you search the most?
    • Travel and Life – are my two favorite tags.

Questions to Answer:

    1. What is your favorite place in the world?

    2. Why did you begin blogging?

    3. What is the worst nightmare?

    4. What is your overall strategy with your blog?

    5. What is your best memory?

    6. What was the scariest moment you’ve ever experienced.

    7. What is your favorite food?

    8. Who inspires you?

    9. What do you do when you aren’t working on your blog? 

    10. What is your favorite quote?

    11. Where do you find inspiration for your blog?

Sakura-Con

sakura

An annual anime convention, Sakura-Con takes place at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle, WA.

Excitement hangs in the air. Costumes decorate the city streets. Sakura-Con is here.

My daughter has spent months planning, crafting, and sewing together her costumes. She loves anime, and this particular convention holds a special place in her heart. It is the first, she attended.

Walking into the convention center, I’m instantly transported into a world of imagination and make believe. It is a world, I struggle to understand.

There are throngs of people everywhere. Hesitantly, I follow my daughter’s lead through the crowd. I don’t know what to make of the scene around me.Looking around, I wonder if saying “yes” to this event was such a good idea. People are everywhere in various states of dress – women and men in skimpy outfits, furry creatures, people decked out in armor, women and men in beautiful gowns, and anime characters galore. Moving about the crowd, I’m struck by the overwhelming sense of friendship and camaraderie. People talk, laugh, and pose for pictures with the characters they like.

Picking up a schedule, we map out our day. There are numerous activities, we can participate in – various panels, costume contests, fashion shows, meet and greets with different voice actors, band performances, anime video premiers,  gaming competitions, and more. The options are endless.

The stamina needed to keep up with it all is insane. Constantly on the go, the events run from early in the morning until after midnight.I’m exhausted by the end of the first day.This anime world is a crazy, but I’m comforted to know it is all in good fun.

The stamina needed to keep up with it all is insane. The events run from early in the morning until after midnight, entertaining everyone and keeping them on the go.

On the second day, I know what to expect and better prepare myself. Bringing my laptop and camera with me, I sit myself at a central location while my daughter goes to the events with her friends. Sometimes, I join them. Surprisingly, there are events that hold my attention. Other times, I simply wander about taking pictures.

By the third and final day, I’ve learned a few things. The panels have helped enlighten me. The anime videos have entertained me. The detailed work put into the costumes have astonished me. The friendly open people have helped to welcome me into their world.

We’ve attended several Sakura-Con’s over the years, and I still struggle to understand the world of anime. I couldn’t begin to tell you which character belongs to which anime. However, I have fun every time I go.

More Information on Sakura-Con