PROMPTuesday #102 – Upon My Return

DaGoddess @ 03:55

“Who did you think you knew but didn’t?” asks. Simple question, with a very complicated answer these days.

I thought I knew myself better. I thought I had a handle on everything. I thought I was feeling stronger. At the very least, I thought I’d found level ground. So color me surprised when, following a wonderful weekend full of laughter and smiles, I discovered that my “it doesn’t matter if I worry about it or not, it’s going to happen anyway and I plan to enjoy every moment while I can” attitude let me down. I feel a little weepy and I feel stupid for feeling weepy. The situation is what it is. I’ve straightened out all the details to make what needs to happen…happen. It’s all cool. But I’m stupidly sitting about and wiping tears away for naught.

Who else did I think I knew? Many of those closest to me. Many of those I’ve counted on and looked to for comfort, support, and understanding. Oh well. I can’t change anything or anyone except how I respond to things as they arise. I have, too. But yesterday has shaken my confidence in my ability to “maintain”. Sigh.

Today will be a day of shaking off the melancholia and digging in a bit deeper, finding new resolve. I will inhale. I will exhale. I will repeat that all day long. And I will hold my head up high knowing that I am moving forward without a “poor, poor pitiful me” sandwich board weighing me down. I’ve already taken care of business…now I must get BACK to the business of LIVING. And I shall.

Go check out Deb’s PROMPTuesday. I’ve not participated in a long time, but this hit me over the head in a big way and provided me the perfect opportunity to rearrange the tables at my pity party. Guess what? The party is OVER. Thanks, Deb!


Reading-Inspired Haiku

DaGoddess @ 04:00

Gaze travels outward
To the singing emptiness*
Heart filling with joy

* From The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

Isn’t “the singing emptiness” a lovely phrase? Sometimes as I read, I’m struck by beautiful passages and try to use those words as inspiration for poems, song lyrics, or even as prompts for short stories. I often wonder if many authors realize just how much they stoke the creative embers in others. Two of my favorite authors these days are the aforementioned McCall Smith and Walter Mosley. Michael Connelly isn’t far behind. His work just tends to draw me inward in other ways — at the moment. But McCall Smith and Mosley…their writing…McCall Smith paints brightly colored and occasionally wistful images in my head, whereas Mosley’s words often conjure up rich, inky notes that sometimes float around and sometimes jab at my brain. Interesting how two very disparate styles can stir up such emotion and desire within me, causing me to break out pen and paper and start writing. Perhaps one day I’ll share the song that came from a Mosley turn of phrase. Perhaps.

As for their books, I’m slowly amassing a collection of their works. I tried going the public library route, but they really frown on you dog-earring and highlighting the way I prefer. Only way to get around that is to buy the books. Thank goodness for eBay and used book stores!

Now, my next move is to take the bits that have inspired words and turn them into images. Doesn’t that sound like a fun project?


Brownian Motion

DaGoddess @ 05:59

Imagine rhythm
Ricocheting like matter
Time remembers us

As written on the refrigerator by me at 4am (we play the magnet haiku game a lot around here). I’m a firm believer that exhaustion and happiness can produce interesting results. Individual mileage may vary.


Charming Rules – The Remember When Edition #4

DaGoddess @ 04:00

Since I’m several weeks behind on our When meme, allow me to offer this little fairy tale of sorts to you. And I’ll admit, I was very much one of those girls who wanted a Prince Charming and a happily ever after. I’ve met a couple princes, but the happily ever…I’m still after.

Please link up with Mr. Linky comments below or at Fractured Toy so we can come visit you!

It's always lovey dovey at firstHere’s the deal, boys and girls: I know we all love fairy tales and we all want to believe that they’re for real, but guess what? The only way to mix fantasy with reality is to play by the rules.

Damsel in Distress: The damsel must truly need rescuing. None of that manufactured drama to get a boy’s attention. That’s just game-playing. The damsel must also be willing to be rescued. Once rescued, she must thank her hero and be prepared for the wrath of princesses, divas, virgin hookers, and other damsels when she gets him. This means she must develop a bit of grace and poise. Also, learning all the prince’s favorite foods, games, and ways to unwind will serve her well.

The Charming OneFor the Charming Prince, well he hasn’t escaped with merely rescuing the damsel. No, now he has to follow up with the proper feeding, care, and maintenance of his damsel. This is especially important if he wants to keep her which he should since he likely had to battle a dragon, a giant, a wizard, an evil witch, and a bunch of angry, odd, little men to get to her in the first place. He may have even had to fight off her ugly step-sisters and then had to deal with her mom, step-mom, dad, or perhaps a pimp (if she is, indeed, one of those virgin hookers like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman).

So, once the Charming Prince has saved the Damsel and put her up in a wing of his castle, he makes her comfortable and they begin to decide whether or not the prince got the object of his desire and still desires her. She has to figure this out, too. After all, the queen is likely going to frown upon her anyway since she was weak enough to get herself into some rotten predicament in the first place. Mama Queen only wants the best for her boy. The king is leering at the damsel, causing even further friction between the queen and the damsel. The damsel is also not going to press the prince to tattoo her name or physiognomy on his arm, back, leg, chest, or buttocks. She will not demand from him a larger allowance, cable TV in every room, filet mignon every night, nor will she make him sit through a fashion show each evening where she asks if the bustle on the gown makes her ass look fat. She simply finds out what the man likes and keeps right on doing those things, occasionally spicing things up with an extra bath each month and a bit of berry juice to stain her cheeks and make it appear she is, indeed, ready for his advances.

The prince wants the damsel.

And of course, once the prince makes the decision to keep the damsel, he’s going to struggle with the age-old question of what to do with his last damsel/s. Here’s how this works: If this particular damsel is the sort that fills all the prince’s needs (and saves him right back), he should get rid of the other damsels. He can keep a couple as friends as long as the damsel agrees (she does, after all, need girlfriends for retail therapy and royal bath days). The prince must stop rescuing other damsels during this time, even when former rescuees need his services again. This is due to the very high risk of losing his life in some vicious battle to save a former rescuee. He could be killed by a dragon. Another Uh oh, trouble for the prince!prince. A troll. An evil witch. A powerful wizard. A poisoned meal before he heads out the door. An ambush by a band of charming prince conduct enforcers (which never, ever goes nicely) sent by the unhappy damsel. Or he could save the wench and return home to discover his newest and best damsel ever has decided his antics were those of a fool (he was on a fool’s errand, if you will, after all) and she will pack up her bags, including the new items he purchased for her, and she will return to living with dwarves, trolls, ugly stepsisters, evil stepmothers, blood-thirsty wizards, and spooky trees intent on taking over the world.

Let’s face it, the care and maintenance of a damsel isn’t easy. But if done right, if done sincerely, if done with true affection, the rewards are great. He has all his needs met, he will likely knock her up and while she’s in her indelicate state, he can go out to the local tavern, swig some ales with his friends, slay a few dragons for sport, and maybe she’ll even encourage him to pick up his lyre again and start a new band. She’ll barely notice he was gone.

That seems like a pretty good trade off for both of them. Sure, there’ll be arguments over whose leggings were left lying on the floor and who forgot to empty the chamber pot, but those are common conversations heard throughout the kingdom.

If you were the charming prince, what would you do? If you were the damsel no longer in distress, what would your response be?

You would think this is all too complicated a story to come from the mind of a young girl, but this is the simplified version of the crazy stuff I used to think up. I think I missed my calling. I should have been writing Snowella or something.

Share your fairy tale rules with us in your own Remember When post. You can grab a copy of my photo from Flickr.

Remember When along with us


Remember When #3 – On Record

DaGoddess @ 04:07

Each Monday, we’d love to have you join us here and at Toy. We feature a visual prompt that will hopefully stir you to remember something — something grand or something simple and plain — write what you feel. Just let yourself go and rememebr when.

Please link up with Mr. Linky below or at Fractured Toy so we can come visit you!

It started with Fisher Price
Music. It’s been a part of my life since Day One. My grandfather played music for us all the time. Live music. He could play just about any instrument. And he did. But at home, I recall our little Fisher Price Music Box record player with the five plastic records and songs like “Hickory Dickory Dock” and “Edelweiss”. We also had a regular record player and I’m pretty sure I drove my sister crazy with my endless playing of “Waltzing Matilda”. Of course, that all changed when she got me hooked on Bobby Sherman, the Partridge Family, and the Monkees. Yeah, I listened to all that. I sang along, daydreamed about meeting my music idols, and kept the music playing as often as possible.

Still, despite the records and all, I’d keep going back to the time spent with my grandfather. There was something about the interaction, sitting side-by-side at the organ and being taught middle C, how to play “Alley Cat” (when to chime in with “meow”), and then having little concerts for my grandmother after a lesson. Records didn’t and couldn’t compare to that, but in a way, they served as an extension of the musical education my grandfather gave us kids.

And it didn't end here
Like any kid, however, I grew up to develop some diverse musical interests. My older sister (once she hit her teens) introduced me to Tommy Bolin, Journey, Led Zeppelin, Foghat, Fleetwood Mac, et al. (At one point, she took me to see Pablo Cruise at the fair.) Then there was my own exploration into rock and I’m sure my parents rolled their eyes as I placed Blondie’s Parallel Lines on my Christmas list, but they bought it for me anyway. Back then, I’d also walk down to 7-Eleven and buy lyrics magazines (they had those!) along with my teen mags and the occasional 45.

Because I had a big sister, I oftentimes found I was ahead of the curve musically. And I definitely wasn’t afraid to branch out. I’d listen to the local college radio station or watch Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert and soak up everything I could. I discovered Frank Zappa, Cheap Trick, the Ramones, John Cougar (back when he went by that name and I became a fan of his version of “I Need A Lover” instead of Pat Benatar’s) and a million other bands that my friends had never heard of.

I’d go to dances down at local swim and tennis club (that’s SoCal for “rec center”) and request songs from bands the DJs didn’t know. Same thing with mainstream local radio stations (there were nights when I couldn’t get the college station because of where we lived). I’d call, I’d ask, I’d beg and plead and the DJs had nary a clue. Eventually they caught up. As did my friends. I stayed somewhat ahead of the curve until just after high school, when I got too busy to pay attention. (Notice how I virtually ignored any dabbling I might have done with disco beyond anything that appeared on Parallel Lines? Yeah, I did that on purpose.)

At some point, work (and money) became more important than music. Oh, it was there in the background. I was still buying albums and tapes like crazy, with Cheap Trick and Jimmy Buffett (an unlikely pairing, but whatever) leading the race more often than not. Concerts weren’t a priority unless I went with a boyfriend (to see Buffett, the Who [their first Final World Tour], John Cougar [Sky Show], Simon & Garfunkel [1983…and I was so sick with a fever of 103 that I remember very little of the show] and more than I can recall thanks to faulty wiring in my brain). It wasn’t until I got tickets to see Fleetwood Mac and took my sister (yes, my big sister!) to the concert, that I once again felt that surge, that thrill of live music run through me the way it should. First, it was the fact that I took my sister. Second, it was because I took my sister. But there it was. I had started that concert thing again and I went every chance I got.

At some point, I saw Bob Seger twice in one week. Once in San Diego, once in Los Angeles. Rod Stewart…I could have seen him every night of the week and been happy. The thrill of live music was in me and I couldn’t not go.

I also went to a few concerts down at the old Bacchanal (it’s now a computer store). The best of all shows was Mick Fleetwood (swooooooooon!) with Pete Bardens. The worst: Tanya Tucker. Don’t ask.

It makes me a little crazy to think of how much music there’s always been in my life and how much I have missed out on because of work, finances, kids, or just plain occasional disinterest. But there it is.

Now, music is often at the center of what I’m doing to the point where I’m so busy doing things, that I miss out on the actual performance. That’s sort of what happens when you’re helping out behind the scenes. Still, I work to find a way to get my fix and I’m very fortunate to have friends who make that possible (you know enough people in bands and there ya go).

For me, the real reward with music is being able share it with others. I love to bring music of all types into my children’s and friends’ lives. Even my mom and dad and I (I was going to say “play musical CDs”…as in “musical chairs”, but that’s silly) occasionally share music. It’s nice to have a broad enough love of music where that can happen. That’s what I want for my kids. They don’t have to like everything I like, just as I certainly didn’t go for everything my dad played (Herb Alpert’s Whipped Cream & Other Delights and anything Chuck Mangione, anyone?). But it did give me a foundation, as did my grandfather’s big band, ragtime, dixieland music did from which to grow, and somewhere I could return for comfort and familiarity. I want my kids to have that, too.

Boy, when I get down to it, I can ramble, can’t I? And this certainly isn’t as eloquent as I’d like it to be. Whatever. It was absolute free association that drew me through it beginning to…well, right about here.

So what about you? When you think of records, what comes to mind? Play along on your blog and Remember When. Hit up Mr. Linky to add your story so we can remember along with you.


Remember When #2 — The Nuts and Bolts of It All

DaGoddess @ 00:21

Each Monday, we’d love to have you join us here and at Toy. We feature a visual prompt that will hopefully stir you to remember something — something grand or something simple and plain — write what you feel. Just let yourself go and rememebr when.

Please link up with Mr. Linky below or at Fractured Toy so we can come visit you!

Nuts and Bolts

There are always all these nuts and bolts holding our lives together. Keeping us from being flung from cars, off bikes, or from falling down from the treehouse. Did/do we pay attention to them? Or were/are we only interested if it meant time helping Dad?

I loved helping my dad with anything and everything when I was a little girl. There was something special about it and it felt like a great big fun secret when we’d run out to the hardware store to buy something, or to the junkyard to see if something else we didn’t necessarily need but might someday come in handy was available.

The hours spent driving around, digging through dirty and greasy-smelling hardware doesn’t really seem all that girly, but I didn’t care. I was spending time with my dad. If I was lucky, our outings included a donut or a milkshake, a stop (that would allow us to linger) to see friends, hot dogs, and usually some little trinket unrelated to the project that was meant solely for me. Maybe it was a rock or a sprocket or a spring or a candybar. It didn’t matter. It was from my dad and it was all about the day we spent together.

One of my favorite memories were of us working on one of my dad’s antique cars. My job was to hand him tools, which meant I needed to know the difference between a flathead and a Phillip’s screwdriver and to know what a hammer, a torque wrench, and a grease gun, etc. And then there came the moment for my favorite job of all: bleeding the breaks. That put me directly in the driver’s seat. Okay, due to my age, it was more like me trying to sit on the seat and reach my legs far enough, but more often than not resulted in me sitting on the floor of the car and pushing pedals. I loved the quick and easy push push push of the beginning of the job. As the air was bled out, though, the resistance increased and I’d have to push harder — puuuush puuuush. Then there’d inevitably come another round of push push push, followed but puuuuuuuush puuuuuush. The whole time, I’d have to listen for my dad’s voice so I would know what was coming up next.

There were days when we got very little done and other days when it seemed like we’d just built an entire car from the ground up. The memory allows what the memory allows.

This was a bit of a ritual with my dad, though when we moved to California, we definitely spent less time together in the garage. Still, when the opportunity arose, I was there because it was “our time” and I didn’t want to give that up. I’d even fight my little sister for the easy, meaningless jobs just to hang out.

Of course, it wasn’t always fun and games. There was an incident. Whilst waiting for my dad to come out and get to work, I did the one thing I was told never to do: I pushed the button that started the car. (Yes, a button starter.) The car started and I jumped! My dad came running out of the house, knowing what I’d done and praying I hadn’t hurt myself or anything around me (the car, mostly). I lied, I cried, I wanted to die. In the end, I got a mild grumbly lecture on safety and listening to my parents and then what passed as a hug.

Life moves quickly as you start growing up, though, and time for working on cars with my dad fell by the wayside as my world began to include things like softball and friends, more friends, and later with trouble. To be fair, my dad was busy trying to keep food on the table and his schedule became crazier over the years.

I miss those days. I miss those opportunities to spend time with my dad, to learn basic car repair, and to be the princess of the garage. It was OUR time and it was special. I never want to forget it either. These days, every nut and bolt and air filter and bottle of oil reminds me of a simpler time, a happier time.

Remember When


Remember When #1 – The Uniform

DaGoddess @ 04:42

Today is the day we begin our project. Remember When (technically, Remember Whenning, based on something my mom’s friend used to say…another topic for another day, apparently) came about after reading one post after another on site and realizing that our memories and deep nostalgia can be triggered by a toy or a word or a house… I wanted to share those recollections with more than just another commenter or two here or there. I wanted us to gather together and create something special in that we could find common threads that run through our lives regardless of how different we may be or how different our upbringing may have been. We were all young once and we all have memories or dreams from those days back when.

I do hope you’ll play along. I can’t wait to read your stories and to learn more about you.

Thanks to Mannequin for the lovely uniform photo (which I’ve doctored a bit for my own purposes) and for taking lead this week. Now, on to the races!

Don’t forget to trackback to our posts
and hit up Mr. Linky!

The Uniform

Freshman year. Red velvet vests with gold trim. White wool skirts that barely made it past mid-thigh. Little white dance panties to ensure our delicate bits were properly covered. White-ish blouses with frilly jabots that would have made Shirley Partridge beam with pride. White go-go boots. Red hats reminiscent of some very bad 1970s fast food/disco/stewardess fug. Hose to mimic the very cliché Southern California tan. Even on the girls with darker complexions.

And then there were the flags. The flags themselves weren’t bad, but the covers were yellow (Sundevil Gold, to be exact) and with all the red and white were were wearing, it made us look like we were carrying giant french fries. Oh, the horror!

Everyone wore the same color eyeshadow and lipstick. Black/gray/silver/white for the eyes. Tacky red for the lips.

Hair: up in a bun or tucked up neatly somehow.

Being that we were all in this together, you’d have thought “flag team” would have somehow made us an actual team. But we weren’t. Mostly because of one girl. Kim. She wanted to be queen bee and wasn’t, which pissed her off mightily. So she did what any bitter high school bitch would do: she took out her frustrations on everyone around her. At one point, our captain almost kicked her off the team, but that never quite happened. Suffice it to say, our long rides to and from games, field competitions, and parades were torture if we happened to be her bus. There was always wrangling going on behind the scenes to be assigned a different bus. ANY bus. Even if that meant we had to ride with the boosters (which meant that anyone who had a boyfriend or girlfriend would be under constand scrutiny and the under-blanket-handjobs simply wouldn’t happen until after the grown ups fell asleep).

Ah yes, you knew I’d get there eventually, didn’t you? Band geeks and sex. Regardless of the fact that EVERY bus had adult supervision, there was stuff happening all over the place. Roaming hands going more places than any gnome could dare to dream. Mouths finding things to keep them busy. There was even full on sex going on from time to time. Off the bus? Even worse. If we had to stay overnight for tournaments, that meant hotel rooms. At one point, we’d been put up at a rather large tower-type hotel. Boys and girls NOT on the same floor. Chaperones posted at elevators and stairwells. So what did the boys do? Scaled down the building from balcony to balcony. All for some booty hi-jinx.

If anyone lost their virginity on a trip, it was instantly known. The boys were bragging. The girls desperate to find out what it was like. And there’d always be a way that Kim would work her way into the middle of the conversation (or at least eavesdrop enough to get details) and then she’s make sure the chaperones knew, made sure EVERYONE knew. So much for a personal rite of passage.

There were also plenty of tears shed while wearing very uncomfortable and mostly unattractive clothing. Tears were shed for breakups. Tears were shed when we’d lose a competition (which didn’t happen often, thankfully). And tears for the wins. We had a good run that year and we took more wins than anyone thought we would. There were tears shed as we pulled away from the school for a trip. Tears as we said goodbye to host families and new friends. Tears upon our return. And sadly, there were tears shed because some people were just plain old mean.

Still, when I think back about my time on the flag team, I think of my friend Joy. My dear, darling friend who spoke Valley as proficiently as I did, who irritated Kim as much as I did, who was the only other freshman, and who also didn’t have the stereotypical anorexic body like most other girls did in high school. We were kindred spirits. She taught me to love the Boston Red Sox and how to triple a dose of Midol while also avoiding embarrassing leaks during our periods (remember, we were in short white skirts). I remember, too, the Saturdays spent driving around, picking up newspapers for recycling. Mostly it was me and my dad. Sometimes it was me and my mom. Occasionally, it was my friend Monty and I. No matter who was with me, it was a challenge to get those papers loaded and then drive them up to Sony where the big trucks were and where we unloaded. There was a method to the madness and it took a whole Saturday to do it. We’d be worn out and yet, sometimes we’d still have to head back down to the school and put on a show.

Of the show, I remember with amazing clarity the big sweeps of the flags during Dvořák’s New World Symphony (our opening number). I can still recall the snaps and twirls, the sweeps, and then…the big flag toss that we never thought we’d perfect, but did! I remember the pride in a show well done. Hitting our marks. Staying in step and in time. Those were the moments we were a team. It didn’t take long for it to fall apart after with Kim’s mouth going, but during the show…we were a team and it felt damn good. We were a force with which to be reckoned. We were good.

Still and all, at the end of the semester, I knew I wouldn’t be back for another year. Kim would be gone, but I knew there’d be someone else to take her place. Sadly, my decision not to return meant I missed out on new uniforms (with longer skirts, capes, and awesome hats!) and an extended flag season (two semesters of flag “P.E.” instead of one…and damn that stupid freshman P.E….tumbling? Does it sound like I was into gymnastics? No! I had breasts and hips and would have gone to class with a foaming mouth just to bite the coach on the leg to prove I was rabid and therefore NOT to be trifled with nor to be forced into gymnastics — to no avail).

Of all the various parts to our uniforms, I never brought one home. The boosters had them cleaned after every weekend. The only thing I got to keep were the boots, and those lasted a few years longer as Halloween gear.

Memories though…I have those. More than I can share here. So many more than I can share here.

And there it is, my entry into this week’s inaugural Remember When.

Thank you, Mannequin, for hosting this week. Now I have to start thinking about next. Yikes!

Remember Whenning - a special type of nostalgia


PROMPTuesday #74: A Day in The Life – Simon’s World

DaGoddess @ 04:51

The begins like this:

Simon was angry. He didn’t understand why everyone was laughing…at him. At least, that’s what he thought. It ruined his song and his dance, which he thought was quite charming. It wasn’t often that he felt like singing and dancing anyway, but when the urge came upon him he figured he should be allowed to let loose. After all, if you can’t bring a little music into the world when you’re 89, when can you?

When he was a younger man, Si (as those closest to him often called him) had performed semi-professionally. He knew all the words to all the popular tunes of the day (and there were many “days” in there), occasionally picking up gigs with the big bands as they landed in town minus a singer. His subtle, but nevertheless strong voice was always true and clear. More than a few women had swooned when he took the stage with his dapper suit, slicked back hair, and his fancy footwork. Only one of those women caught his eye. Dearlie wasn’t the prettiest girl, nor the the best dancer on the floor, but she had a light deep within that would shine when she smiled. More often than not, he escalated his antics onstage just to see that smile. Between sets, he’d mingle, always making an effort to mingle wherever she was.

It took two years of late nights in clubs before Dearlie and Si had their first kiss. It only took another two weeks for them to get married after that. They knew, though. He sang and she appeared. His mingling took him closer and closer to her and they gently flirted, became friends, and before anyone could speculate, it was a done deal.

When Dearlie died three years ago, the light went out of Si’s world. Gone was his love, his light, his life. She was the reason he awoke each morning with a smile on his face and a song in his heart, a spring in his step. There were some mornings, while she was still alive when they’d dance their way to the kitchen, around the table, into the living room, and back to the table, where they’d sing their grace to their food. But when she died, getting up in the morning seemed pointless to Si. His daughter tried to convince him otherwise. So did his grandchildren.

Darlene was much like her mother in that she was not the most beautiful woman in a room, but somehow she still managed to draw attention with her effervescence and general kindness to all she met. She’d asked her parents to move in with her after her divorce under the pretense that she’d feel safer having them with her and the kids; but really, she wanted them close because she saw the gradual decline in their health coming and it just made sense to keep the family together where they could all look out for one another. Darlene knew the kids deserved a chance to observe a true loving relationship gone right.

Tonight: It was one of those family dinner scenes that started off with a little joke that led to another, which led to a song, and that, of course, brought on the dance. The laughter that built from the whole silly exchange was full of love and spontaneity that sometimes happens when all the stars align. But Darlene noticed the change in her father’s demeanor. Just a moment ago, he’d been laughing and having fun, too. Now, there were tears in his eyes and he was beginning to shake. Something was wrong.

“Daddy, honey, what’s wrong? Your stomach hurting from laughing too much?” she asked.

Si’s watery eyes cast a hurt look her way, and he said, “laughing! I wasn’t laughing! I was being laughed at! Apparently none of you appreciate the song my lovely wife loved most in the world; the same song we’d sing each morning as we danced about the kitchen. You were laughing at a stupid old man…”

“Daddy!” “Grandpa!” “No!” came the various cries from the family. “We were laughing because of the jokes you told and the song and dance were perfect! We could imagine you and Grams as if she were here, dancing alongside you.” “We were laughing with you, not at you, Dad!”

Somehow, that’s not how Si remembered it. Mostly. Or were they right? Seemed like he was reading situations wrong more and more often these days. And that made him sad. “I’m sorry, kids. This old man is obviously too far gone to keep up with reality sometimes. I’m going to head off to bed. Good night, my dear ones.” And he started to walk toward his bedroom.

“Not so fast!” his granddaughter Marla said, taking his hand in hers. “Would you mind if I danced you there?”

“I’d love it, Dearli…err…Marla. Thank you. Have I ever told you how much you look like your grandmother? You shine when you smile, you know. That ginger hair of yours is just the same color as hers when she was about your age, too. Are you sure you want to do this? Shouldn’t you be out finding a young man to love you and make you as happy as your grandmother and I made each other?”

“Grandpa, I’ll go out later. Right now I get to spend time with the handsomest singer and dancer in Baltimore. Why would I want to rush through that experience? Can you tell me? No? See? I’m right. Now let’s dance!”

Si reached out his slightly cold, wrinkled, thin, liver-spotted hand and Marla clasped it in her young, warm, flawlessly pale white, unblemished hand, looking up at her grandfather with the sort of adoration and respect you see only between the young and old who understand each other. They began singing Si and Dearlie’s song, dancing lightly about. Darlene instinctively grabbed the camera and took a few photos, knowing all too well that these moments were in short supply. Her father’s test results bore that out all too painfully earlier that morning when Si’s doctor called. Not entirely unexpected at 87, but shocking to a loving family who enjoy one another’s company.

Marla finished the dance and planted a gentle kiss upon her grandfather’s cheek, linked her arm in his, and led him into his room. As she walked back out, she saw the look on her mom’s face and a tear escaped. “More bad news…I can’t do it, Mom. That man deserves some peace, doesn’t he?”

“Shhh, shhh, honey. We’ll talk about it later, when he’s asleep. For now, let’s upload these photos to the computer. I think I got some good ones. For his birthday next month, I want to print out the best and make a book of them, along with all the old photos my mom saved. What do you think?”

Marla hugged her mom tightly, “Brilliant! He’ll love it. And you’ll have to work in the lyrics to their song, you know…”

“Exactly what I was thinking!”

And for the next hour, while the rest of the family cleared the table, mother and daughter worked side-by-side looking through photographs and planning a book for the man who made them laugh and cry and laugh again. Their hero was going to have proof of their love, the love of his family…those physically present and one present in spirit.

In his bedroom, Si combed back his hair after changing into his pajamas, did a little quickstep followed by a ronde de jambe, and then folded himself into bed, taking care to not wrinkle the sheets because it had always bothered Dearlie to have the covers yanked quickly. She wasn’t here, but some habits are formed in love and remain in love. Turning out the light, Si whispered, “I miss you, my love. I miss you. Great family we have here, taking care of us, of me now, but I miss you. I hope you don’t mind if I hang on here a bit longer. I think they need me still. The doctors don’t think I’ll last more than a few months, but I’m here until I know Darlene can manage on her own. I know it’s okay with you, but I have to check anyway. That’s how we’ve always done it, haven’t we? God bless you, my dear. In the morning, we’ll sing and dance some more. I love you.”

In the darkness, he thought he heard her say, “I love you, too.”

* Obviously the real assignment didn’t have anything to do with this or with me. But I did include a computer. So I think I deserve bonus points for working it in on a story of an 89 year old man.


PROMPTuesday #72 – We’ve Achieved Time Travel!

DaGoddess @ 01:17

The Prompt shifted to Wednesday in some places and in others, it mysteriously appeared on Thursday. Weird, huh? Crazy! Fun!! All sorts of wacky shenanigans happen when you’re creative, stuck in P.T., dealing with hives of unknown origin, and when there’s homework.

This week, we’ve been challenged to include the words: folder (yes, it must be used twice or you lose mega points and you’ll make Toots cry. NOBODY GETS TO MAKE TOOTS CRY BECAUSE I WILL HUNT THEM DOWN AND MAKE THEM CRY TOO!), ice, pet, money, stick. Are you ready? Set? Go!!!!!

On a rather hot day this week, I noticed something amiss in the folder in which I normally keep my list of tasks to be done. This is not the be confused with my folder in which I keep my list of things that someone else needs to do things. Yes, there’s a lot to be done, but it takes two folders to keep everything organized. My “to do” folder is a pretty pink with brown and green dots. The other “to do” folder is brown with blue and green stripes. I keep both those folders in a large mint green file folder. You know, to be all tidy and stuff. Also in the big file folder, I have several more folders for various items. One holds signed model releases. One holds orders. One holds receipts for everything related to orders, shipping, and supplies. One holds an envelope with money for when we’re out at events. Another holds a small stick which was brought to me by someone’s pet monkey which was eating ice cream on said stick when I encountered them in the park one day. About the only thing missing from the big ol’ folder is a photograph of the ice cream eating monkey. I do possess such a photograph, though, and it’s very special because the photo of the person’s pet monkey eating ice cream won me money in a contest. I do, however, carry the certificate of my award in the main folder and a copy of the check, as well as a copy of the actual money in another folder.

I think I need to find these people again because I think they have the photo of their pet monkey, which is the item missing from my folder. I guess I better give them a call. Maybe we can meet for chocolate dipped ice cream bars on sticks on the day we make the exchange. Hopefully, they’ll bring their pet again, too. I’m hiding my folder, especially the part of the folder with the money in it.

And there you have it. My brain on a blog after P.T. (which I started again yesterday).

P.S. Can someone send me an email or comment and remind me about Jimmy Mack, please?


PROMPTuesday #70 – Blind Date

DaGoddess @ 04:49

I have been on blind dates. Several. But one sticks out most in my mind and that’s the one that will feature in today’s PROMPT.

rules for this week: Make it up or give us a little truth is stranger than fiction. Bonus points and adoration from afar: If you make it up, include “Finland”, “chenille robe”, and “casserole” in your submission.

I was working at a local home electronics store not too awfully far from home. We had a great spokesman for the chain and it was a place at which everyone wanted to work or to at least visit. We were busy. I was working as a cashier. Nothing spectacular, mind you, but it was a job and I liked it. The salespeople were a mixed bag of nuts: St. John (obviously the religious guy who was cute but shy); Dave K (who had dreams of management dancing in his eyes); EMT Matt (who was part John Cusack, part Jon Cryer and who adored me but I couldn’t see that for the longest time); Candy (an actress/model who was killing time until she could make the big move to Hollywood); Beth (the rocker who had a band and was tough as nails); a handful of others, and Dan (he ruled the salesfloor from his wheelchair). Of all the blathering, gum-chewing non-sequiturs out on the salesfloor, Candy, Beth, and Dan quickly became my crew.

Candy was my shopping, self-improvement, goofy as hell buddy. I’d accompany her to modeling sessions and we’d obsess over our thighs on a regular basis as we split a sliver of cheesecake, dooming ourselves to even wider thighs (and at that time, I was crazily thin — I don’t know why I worried). She’d laugh at me as I’d pick my feet before we’d cross railroad tracks — a silly superstition I’d picked up somewhere. Then she’d tell me of a friend of hers from high school who also did the same thing. Except one time. And then that friend died. “Just one more reason for me to continue picking up my feet, Candy. I’m not ready to die yet.” Then she’d be off giggling like crazy again. Then she moved. To Hollywood, which may as well have been Finland, but whatever. Sigh.

Beth would be the one to drag me to band rehearsals because she hated being the only girl there. I liked music, so it worked out well. We’ll forget the drummer I dated for a while as he really has little bearing on the story. Let’s just say that this is the time I started learning about lighting for bands, sneaking into clubs because I wasn’t yet 21 (I was barely 19 at this point), and I also got to hang out with Beth’s friend Laura who was a photographer. I got to play model for a few sessions and I loved it. I’d lounge about in a chenille robe, jeans, and nothing else (yes, I did a few nude shoots) prior to the session, feeling pampered as the girls worked their magic on my makeup and hair. I also loved learning more photography tips from Laura because she knew studio lighting. Beth was also the first friend who hosted an adult toy party. I went and blushed the whole time. But I laughed hysterically when some of the (slightly) older guests mimed outrageous acts with some of the props. It was always fun with Beth around. Until she moved. Sigh.

Dan was something else altogether. He was funny, smart, geeky, and goofy. Never once did you get any sense of him hating being stuck in a wheelchair. It was just his base of operations. He had a few girlfriends who’d stop by from time to time, all of whom were cute and sweet, but just self-absorbed enough to not put in any real time with him. The rest of the time, he had his posse of guys over to his apartment for cards and beer and music.

One night, I went to a big party at Dan’s place and met the cutest, sweetest guy I’d met in the longest time. His name was Kip. From Idaho. Dark hair in the pretty much standard uniform of the mid-80s — the mullett. But he was cute. His eyes were bright and clear. His smile was genuine and toothy. His laugh…a man with a good laugh is always a bonus and man oh man, his laugh was great. We hit it off right away. We spent the whole night talking and laughing, holding hands, just enjoying each other. He asked me out. And I said yes. So, the next night, Dan had us over for dinner, a casserole, wouldn’t you know. Because Kip was picky about his food, we set up his plate extra special for him so he could eat his food in the way he liked best. You see, Kip happened to be blind. Not 100%, but enough to be considered legally blind. Hence, the blind date (quit groaning…I can hear it from here). Dinner went great until after the drinks started flowing and somehow one of the other guys ended up throwing up on the table during cards. I did my best to help clean up (I didn’t like vomit even then), and then Kip and I got the hell out of there. We went to sit out in a hill somewhere, talking, laughing, holding hands, and finally kissing. He was a good kisser.

The three weeks he was in town went awfully quick. We spent as much time together as we could. Many nights were spent watching movies like Monty Python, Kentucky Fried Movie, etc. I was the designated reader since Kip couldn’t see the smaller print and the rest of the group was generally too blitzed to do more than burp or barf or throw cards. Still, it was fun — except for the casserole reappearance (nobody likes to see green beans a second time like that, though, have you ever noticed that green beans always seem to show up in vomit even if you haven’t eaten any? I think there’s a special reserve somewhere inside us that stores them indefinitely).

The most fun we had during his time with us was taking Kip out to drive. Yes, I said out to drive. Essentially he was gradually losing his vision and the little he had left was peripheral. It wasn’t easy for him to drive well, but he could do it with help. On the farm where he lived in Idaho, it wasn’t really a big deal as they had lots of room. But in the city, we’d have to wait for early mornings and then head down to the shopping mall parking lot. With Kip behind the wheel, Dan and I would position ourselves to cover the angles we knew he couldn’t see. And then we’d begin.

It was hard to say goodbye to this man I’d only known for a few weeks. He was absolutely wonderful, cute, funny, loving, and a great kisser. But he had to go back because college was starting up again soon for him and because his family felt he’d do better on the farm. We made promises to stay in touch but after a couple months the calls and letters slowed to a standstill.

I don’t know if he ever thinks of me, but I sure do think about him. My favorite blind date.

If for some reason you know blind Kip from Moscow, Idaho, whose best friend Dan in the wheelchair lived in Escondido back in the mid-80s, tell him I said hi.


UM #343

DaGoddess @ 04:00
  1. Disguised :: meaning
  2. Big wheel :: in the sky keeps on turning
  3. Irritating :: people
  4. Care :: giver
  5. Grandpa :: Jones
  6. Shooting :: blanks
  7. Sunglasses :: at night
  8. Stampede :: Road
  9. Painstakingly :: detailed
  10. Terrible position :: (it answers itself)



PROMPTuesday #69 – Tell Me Who Are You? Who? Who?

DaGoddess @ 11:40

Last week’s PROMPT sat in Deb’s comment section by sheer dint of my own laziness. week, I’m actually going to try to do something with her question beyond a quick response. For ill or for good, here we go:

1. Who are you?

2. Where did you come from?

3. Where are you going?

I am, I am…I think I am…dare I go all Nacho Libre? No, I suppose not. I am…just me. I’ve never tried to be anything other than who I am. I’ve always just tried to be the best me I can be. Even when I’ve come up short in that respect, I was completely myself. I guess that means that I’m perfectly imperfect. Flawed in the most innate and honest way I can be. I live, I love, I hurt, I cry, I try, I succeed, I fail, I try again, I just keep going. I pray fear doesn’t hold me back. I pray I do as little damage to others along the way as possible. I pray. Yes, I do pray a lot. I put a lot of stock in those prayers because I’m human and entirely too fallible. I would hope God is along to help guide me.

I come from…well, I believe I was asked and I answered that back in PROMPT #28. More literally — because I’m having a little fun and because I’m a smart ass — I am originally from Ohio. Cleveland area. From a family of circus performers. Okay, maybe not circus performers. But we do manage to act oddly at times. We do a weird dance of drawing together and pushing apart, like many families, I suppose. Sometimes I feel like I fit, somtimes I don’t.

Where am I going? Forward. Other than that, the Witness Protection Program won’t let me say.

So, who the hell are you?



DaGoddess @ 05:00

Darkness creeps in and takes hold. Gripping my throat tightly in its cold, bony claws, I feel the air leaving my body, leaving me breathless.

My heart beats faster, skipping, then galloping, then skipping again.

Sleep doesn’t come. My eyes close, yet all I get are twisted visions of what might be, what could be. Things I’ve never seen, things I never want to see. Things I have seen that morph into the unthinkable. Rows of headstones becoming teeth, ready to gobble me up, slowly…ripping flesh from my bones, which crunch with alarming clarity and intense pain. Vultures swooping in to peck at my eyes. Worms with razor-sharp fangs, working their way into the core of my body and then gnawing their way back out.

Despite the fans cranked up full power, sweat pools around me. Skin sticking to skin. The smell of my own restlessness and fear is cloying and makes breathing even more difficult.

My head is pounding. There’s a sensation of it being squeezed out my eyes and ears. The lump in my throat — is that from my head or is that from my stomach? It’s hard to tell any more.

Light starts to creep around the curtain edges. Yet it does little to relieve the weight on my soul. It matters not how many pills I’ve taken. Perhaps a whiskey chaser would have been more effective; but then I’m far too sensible for that, I think. Then again, when exhaustion and panic envelope you so completely, is sensibility really all it’s cracked up to be?

I rub my eyes and try to blink the gritty feeling away. I try to swallow though my throat is so dry it sticks together and temporarily restricts my airway even more. I find myself praying the claws dig in deeper. They don’t. I can breathe again. A little.

With a jolt, I’m suddenly wide awake. In those few moments of slumber, I’d managed this nightmare. It takes longer for me to calm down than I actually spent asleep and I wonder if it’s even worth it to try closing my eyes again.

I imagine this is what Poe felt as he wrote his tales of terror. Did he spend endless nights awake and then think the worst? Or were his dreadful visions what kept him awake? I’m not sure which is the case with me. Does it really matter?

Sometimes you should just skip the iced tea at dinner and stick with water. Caffeine isn’t always your friend.

Deb. Because she’s not the only one with a vivid imagination.


PROMPTuesday #67 – Duos of All Sorts

DaGoddess @ 05:59

1) A small church brings in a new pastor. He’s fresh out of ministry school and is determined to lead this church to salvation. As he reviews old records, he finds that this little town holds a secret that they don’t want known. What is the secret?

The secret is they’re all massive fans of J0hn M@y3r, whose name will never be typed out fully here because he’s obviously made a pact with the devil to achieve the level of popularity he has. The young parson understands this and realizes that he can forgive almost anything except the worship of a barely talented attention whore barnacle. The new cleric opts, instead, to transfer to the deepest, darkest, most remote part of Colorado (Broomfield) and work with the crazy odd Up With People people at their headquarters. At least there he can work with real young people with real talent and see a bit of the world.

Iconic Me
2) Iconic me: breasts and cameras. I should just go ahead and have lenses implanted into my nipples when the time comes to make the camera an official part of me. Then it’ll be like a twin lens reflex in my bra. I’m hoping the card slot is my cleavage because I refuse to have to fiddle around elsewhere to get it.

I hope I didn’t the scales of propriety too much this week with my answers. If I did, well, fuck it. Not to be rude to Debbie or any of her or my readers, but, damn if this hasn’t been (and still is) a very stressful week. My head’s all ‘splodey and I can barely formulate actual sentences when I interact with others. At least I’m not running with scissors though, right?

And what’s going on? Same old shit, different month, except this time the ante’s been raised to a level where only one of us can win. It comes down to this: I need to be packed up and moved out of here by the end of the month. My roommate and I cannot inhabit the same domicile any longer and it’s just better that way. My problem is that I don’t currently have a regular income beyond sporadic ad revenue and the odd photography job that comes along. I’ve been doing some casual under-the-table work for a couple friends, but they don’t have a whole lot to offer me at the moment. I cannot have a regular job until my case is settled. Needless to say, I have to scramble to get as many photography jobs as possible (or other work: copy writing, copy editing, reviews, event coverage, data entry, invoicing, contract writing, nannying, cooking, laundry, cleaning, live-in home health aide, elder companion, etc) just to get the bills paid right now. I don’t have steady income (and won’t until my case is settled…no, no idea WHEN that will happen) to show a prospective roommate either. Which makes people very uncomfortable. They figure I must be a drug dealer or something, to which I reply, “sorry, no, my drugs are only consumed by me”. Even rent of $400 (which I did find in two places) cannot be guaranteed paid each month at this point. Additionally, having a 12 1/2 year old son who is good looking, smart, kind, healthy, thrifty doesn’t go over well with most people. ElderHelp has now officially said they cannot place me in a home because of my lack of income and my increasingly (disappointing) dismal credit rating.

I’m basically fucked.

I have had an offer from two different sets of friends for temporary accommodations. Both are generous and exceedingly kind. One is for longer and is in a lovely home, but it’s far from P.T. (for which part II of the more intense and major sessions soon start) and Little Dude. For P.T., it would take 6 hours round trip. For LD, it would be a case of only seeing him on weekends. Forget taking a photography job — no car of my own.

The other offer is just across the street and would be for a couple weeks. Long enough for me to get LD registered in school again. I would be helping out a very good friend with her mom and we all get along well. But it’s only a couple weeks and then I’d be back to searching again.

I’m currently selling off as much as I can to raise some cash so I can pay for a storage unit for the rest of it. I’m keeping very little. Only that which is family heirloom-type stuff.

There’s no changing of minds this time around. This situation can no longer continue. It’s time.

As the narrative goes in Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont (my happy spot these days): “…there were signs it was time to move on. However the question this time was, ‘where to and what for?'”

I just hope my fate doesn’t include a broken hip, pneumonia and other complications, and death as hers did.

If you have friends in the Southeast Poway area, please ask if they have a sofa or at least a beanbag chair on which I might find a bit of sleep (which I desperately need). And I need to bring a kid along.

That’s the big pile of crap I’ve been climbing the past week or so and I appreciate all of you checking in on me. Thanks for listening to the constant whine emanating from this corner of the world. You’re good friends and I love you for it.

And for my roommate who’s undoubtedly reading this: stop, okay? Just…stop. All it does is piss you off and make you even meaner and shittier to deal with. You want to know what’s going on? Ask me. Or leave me alone. Either way, this’ll be over and done with soon enough and I would prefer to not be cyberstalked any longer.


PROMPTuesday #66 – Send my Mix Tape to the PO Box

DaGoddess @ 02:45

Easy stuff: kind of mix tape are you makin’ and for whom?

The number one tune on this tape? (And yes, you do have to watch the video)

All the rest are just so “practical”.

This goes out to all my friends with sofas, a spare room with just enough space to fit me, a blanket, a bag, and a pillow, to those who need someone to watch their kids, prepare meals, unpack boxes, dog sit whilst they travel, water plants, look in and help re-orient old Aunt Rose each morning. Or who know people who have need of such services for we are about a week or two away from:

Mix Tape #1

Paul Simon – “Homeless”
Homeless, homeless
Moonlight sleeping on a midnight lake
Homeless, homeless
Moonlight sleeping on a midnight lake
We are homeless, we are homeless
The moonlight sleeping on a midnight lake
And we are homeless, homeless, homeless
The moonlight sleeping on a midnight lake

Zio yami, zio yami, nhliziyo yami
Nhliziyo yami amakhaza asengi bulele
Nhliziyo yami, nhliziyo yami
Nhliziyo yami, angibulele amakhaza
Nhliziyo yami, nhliziyo yami
Nhliziyo yami somandla angibulele mama
Zio yami, nhliziyo yami
Nhliziyo yami, nhliziyo yami

Bruce Hornsby – “That’s Just the Way It Is”
Standing in line marking time, waiting for the welfare dime
‘Cause they can’t buy a job
The man in the silk suit hurries by as he catches the poor ladies’ eyes
Just for fun he says “get a job”

That’s just the way it is
Some things will never change
That’s just the way it is
Ah, but don’t you believe them

Huey Lewis and the News – “Bad is Bad”
Went uptown to see my cousin
Plays guitar, sounds like a chainsaw buzzin
In the crowd, I see his mom and dad
I said hey, hey uncle, man your son is bad

But sometimes, sometimes bad is bad
Cool is a rule, but, sometimes, bad is bad.

Across the street, a neon sign
All you can eat for a dollar ninety nine
Aww, that old stew is the baddest in the land
But one dollars worth was all that I could stand

But sometimes, sometimes bad is bad
Cool is a rule, but, sometimes, bad is bad.

Back uptown to see Marie
Nobody home, I opened the door with my key
I love you, Huey was the note I read
But theres a strange pair of shoes underneath the bed

But sometimes, sometimes bad is bad
Cool is a rule, but, sometimes, bad is bad

Bessie Smith’s “Poor Man’s Blues”
While you livin’ in your mansion, you don’t know what hard time means,
While you livin’ in your mansion, you don’t know what hard time means,
Poor workin’ man’s wife is starvin’, your wife is livin’ like a queen!

Please listen to my pleadin’, ’cause I can’t stand these hard times long,
Oh listen to my pleadin’, ’cause I can’t stand these hard times long,
They’ll make an honest man do things that you know is wrong

Joe Bonamassa – “Woke Up Dreamin'”
Devil’s risin’,
You don’t have a chance.
Devil’s risin’,
You don’t have a chance.
Where there’s fiddles playin’,
Shake your bones and dance.

I just want to,
Live another day.
I just want to,
Live another day…

James C. Fox – “The Homeless Blues”
I ain’t got no place to sleep.
I ain’t got no place to go.
I’m feeling kinda cold & wet
Right down to my toes

I’ve got the Homeless Blues.
I’ve got the Homeless Blues.
I’ve got the Homeless Blues.
And I Don’t Know What To Do

I ain’t got no money.
I ain’t got no job.
I ain’t got nothing to eat
Can’t seem to get on my feet.

Watermelon Slim – “Hard Times”
I’m too poor to pay attention,
I’m too hungry to eat,
too sick to see my doctor,
and I’m too tired to sleep,

I couldn’t catch a cold,
I couldn’t pitch a fit,
I’m waist deep in alligators,
sometimes I’m neck deep in bullshit,

Hard times — Lord, hard times have come at last
If you want to see me on my good side baby,
you had better look fast

I’m too frustrated to see my psychiatrist,
I’m too toothless to chew,
too far down to ever get even,
I’m too hard up to screw,

I can’t see to put my pants on,
I can’t hear myself sing,
I can’t always taste my whiskey,
and I just can’t feel much of anything

Joe Bonamassa – “Bridge to Better Days”
You sit in your big house baby
you drive your fancy car
you treat me like I’m not there
but I guess that’s who you are

I’m on the bridge to better days
better days are coming now
tired of asking all my friends
please help me once more
this old life that I’m leading
got me down the floor

There are more songs that would fall in on the mix tape. But I’m running out of time tonight. You get the point.

So, I’m officially advertising for two week stints (or longer if possible) on a sofa, extra bed, clear spot on the floor, backseat of a car. Gotta do what I gotta do, man. And yes, I’m serious.