How I Single-handedly Ruined Thanksgiving Dinner…

At least according to my 16-year-old daughter. (I wanted to start with some journal entries to feel like I’ve caught myself up on my blog so thank you for hanging in there with me) First and foremost…I know my mamaw was rolling over in her grave the minute that I received the confirmation email. Being a southern woman, wife, and mother there are some things that are expected of us and one of those things is cooking a from scratch holiday meal, every holiday,  until the day we die. Before we die we are to also make sure to pass down ANY AND ALL cooking knowledge to the next in line which is learned through cooking every holiday. This year I did something so completely radical that my kids are ready to throw out the ENTIRE Thanksgiving Holiday. It went something like this once I got the kids home from school, dinner started, homework in progress and answering phone calls:

ME (to kids): Announcement Everyone!! (I’m all smiles so they know it’s not bad news)
KIDS (gather in the kitchen)
ME (still smiling): I will not be cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year. (still smiling)
KIDS (uprising officially commencing): OOH WHAT!! Now we have to go to grandma’s and PRETEND to like her food and PRETEND to like her boyfriend. Then have NOTHING for leftovers when we get home! I don’t want to let’s back out!
ME (wishing I had the ability to yell ‘SHIELD WALL’ and have the Vikings to back me up): No No…we’ll have leftovers.
KIDS (uprising paused and puzzled looks): Are we cooking?
ME (Still wanting that shield wall): No one is cooking?
OLDEST DAUGHTER (takes lead with fire in her eyes): Are we not doing Thanksgiving at ALL?!
ME (she is my mini me…I can take her if she rushes me): I ordered Thanksgiving dinner so all we have to do is pick it up, heat and serve the day of.
KIDS (in unison): What!? *Moaning and groaning noises*, its tradition! You ALWAYS cook dinner and WE eat it!
OLDEST DAUGHTER: *Steps forward, Thanksgiving is RUINED! *Stomps off.

This is the basic rundown of the conversation. I didn’t need that shield wall but I did need to explain to them the reasoning behind the break in tradition. Time, my employer only allows one day off for the holiday and I would spend an entire week of prepping, cooking, and clean-up. With the hectic schedules that are in my house, I would be up until midnight or later. Budget is another reason for my decision. I can easily spend $200-300 on all the ingredients needed to make my authentic from scratch southern Thanksgiving dinner but ordering the already made dinner I am spending less than half of what I normally would. BONUS of ordering…unfortunately the place I ordered from is about an hour away. I know you’re thinking why waste time and gas? My husband and I haven’t had a decent night out without the kids. We are treating this as a little date night and the town that we are traveling too has a bunch of shops that we have been meaning to visit.

My oldest girl has been sulking since I told her what was happening. I compromised and agreed to use the china (She has to wash it since I wanted to use paper plates but this will also appease my ancestors). Instead of me running around, exhausted, and irritated with everyone we can have a nice meal and spend the quality time together that we have been missing. My advice to mom’s EVERYWHERE…make it easy for you. Break tradition if you have too. You are not ruining ANYTHING for your children. Looking back they’ll see that you were there and in the moment instead of in the kitchen killing yourself frantically trying to recreate your great grandmother’s recipes.

Image from Cracker Barrel

What is wrong with me?

I find that I’m asking myself more and more this month. I had HUGE plans for everything that I wanted to do and complete. The goals that I’ve set for myself are falling by the wayside. I sat down to write yesterday for Fenton and it was GARBAGE! Nothing made sense and it seemed like it was dragging on and on and not going anywhere. Is Fenton even worth pursuing? I would like to think so but I wasn’t feeling it. Was it because I’m not feeling good? Distracted?

I’m behind on my painting and doodles and it all just feels like I’m drowning. Then to throw in the mix learning about Norse mythology, gardening, weaving PLUS dieting; I think I bit off more than I can chew. Or did I? Do I just stop writing altogether and let my blog go dormant? (I REALLY don’t want to do that.)

I need to figure out what I REALLY want to do…priorities. Is there a way I can earn a wage, stay home, and do what I love? If I wasn’t at work all day I might be able to get everything done that I want along with exploring new things. Write or not to write?

Zero Flashes

I decided that I needed to write something…anything. Today’s word prompt for the 6-Word Story was time and thought why not continue it to something longer. I edited it and rewrote parts trying to keep in mind what I have learned so far in my writing class. I focused on a character’s description trying to use as few detailing words as possible. The end goal was for the main character not to live hour by hour but rather moment by moment. This was achieved by force from an outside source. I think I may have failed at this. It feels generic and boring. I haven’t really written anything in length in a while and lost my train of thought more times than I can count. I know it’s the pain in my jaw but it’s less today and I need to get back into the swing of things… especially ones that I love. The prompt was, ‘All the clocks stopped working’.


sundialSam ran her life by the clock. The little timepiece on her wrist, on her phone, in the car, and even in her bathroom added numerical values to her daily life. Sometimes it was stressful and sometimes it felt like time would drag on. Some days she would have everything completed while others she had nothing but time left over with nothing to fill the tick-tocks between numbers.
5am- Run for half hour
5:30am- Shower
6am-Dress, gather and pack purse and lunch
6:45am-Breakfast
7:30am-Arrive at work
Sam’s mornings were always like this, day in and day out. She was a creature of habit and completely ok with her life, all while checking what time it was.

It was late fall when she woke up to her alarm clock flashing zeros. She panicked a little knowing she woke up late and behind schedule but also concluded that the electricity had gone out. Picking her phone up she realized the time face on her device was flashing zeros. Now confusion was added to her panic. She thought her watch would be able to tell her which number in the day she was really at but the little thin gold hands weren’t making their rounds. As she went from room to room all her clocks stopped and that’s when she thought her brother was playing a prank on her. The previous night she told her brother that she would have to check her calendar to see if she had time to meet him for dinner next week. When she was looking through her phone’s calendar app she told him that she could set a reminder for 7pm next Wednesday. Her brother laughed at her, ‘You have to make time to see your family?’ he said laughing at her. Dismissing the memory of the conversation, she turned the TV on to find the time. Nothing.

It was light out already, not yet bright and Sam thought it was past time for her daily run and shower. She shoved a hastily made sandwich and water into her purse and ran out the door. The clock in her car wasn’t any help either. Some people sped past her and some she had to pass. Once she was at her office she noticed it was absolute chaos and confusion. Some of her coworkers were present and some were not. She sat at her computer discovering all her programs and internet were working correctly but the clock. That damn useless clock displaying zeros. Was her time up? Was the world’s time up?
‘SAM!’ she turned to see her little round boss red, sweaty, and out of breath.
‘Yes, Mr. Timbalt?’
‘Do you know what time it is?’
Knowing this couldn’t be a trick question and that she wasn’t in trouble she answered honestly. ‘No,’ she said in a lost voice.
Mr. Timbalt’s face dropped and he took off in what would be considered fast for him but regular pace for Sam. A newspaper runs on deadlines but there was a story. They are ALL living it right now.

The news channel in the office sputtered to life with both anchors looking disheveled and unprepared. They couldn’t give answers as to why no one could tell time but it happened all over the world and all at once. They explained experts were going to come and help tell what time it is by the sun during the days measuring light to add back a semblance of order to the chaos. These experts were actually hunters, farmers, fishermen, and astronomers to name a few. Sam thought it was unusual to refer to this method as a lost art but in reality, the confusion the entire world was going through proved that it was.

A year later, life was still productive and scheduled but it was relaxed and prioritized with the essentials. The world wasn’t thrown back into the Stone Age and technology still advanced. Time was a gift now appreciated and not live by. Sam still works at the newspaper and still makes deadlines but isn’t a slave to her watch. All around the world, the clocks that remained in place stand like statues with their hands resting at 12 and one seconds over. Some speculated that the time loss was due to a magnetic phenomenon while other’s suggested that it was an act of God. Sam thought it was an answer to bring life back to what’s important no matter what caused the zeros.

Photo: Sundial

6 Word Story: 8/8

I made it into work. I really don’t want to be here but couldn’t afford any more time off. So far, I’m really starting to second guess my career choice. I’ll try to doodle on my breaks and see what else happens.


Time

Time is precious; use it wisely.

 

6 Word Story: 8/2

I decided on adding this prompt word to the list as it is what I think of as a versatile word. I am trying to save my more horror genre stories for October and instead decided on a life lesson learned too late. I wasted so much time on all the wrong people or events and learning what is important now. I think this is a good reminder.


Prompt: Steal

Caution: Stolen time can't be returned.

 

Permanent Mistake

Here we are at the letter I of the A to Z challenge. I novel, Japanese watakushi shōsetsu, or shishōsetsu, form or genre of 20th-century Japanese literature that is characterized by self-revealing narration, with the author usually as the central character. The first and most important rule is it’s often written from the first person perspective (and this is where the “I” of I-Novel comes from). Obviously, I can’t write a whole novel but I can do a short-nonfiction. I have many profound memories and circumstances that have happened in my life from my first, ‘I Do,’ to the first breath my first born ever took. I stopped and took many breaks during this. There is one I rarely discuss. Names have been changed as this does cover the sensitive matter.


We all have first loves, true loves, platonic loves, and soulmates. They all come in our lives teaching us some sort of lesson, I just didn’t realize my lessons from Axle were until I was a lot older. I used to think that my first love was also my soul mate. What do you expect from a teenager? We first met in kindergarten. Axel loved the cupcakes my mom would make for my class birthday treat so we became fast friends. We grew up through the years and in middle school, he asked if I wanted to be his girlfriend. I still get butterflies after all these years thinking about the day he asked me out.

We were insuperable. The first time he came to meet my family my dad was sitting at the table cleaning his gun and sharpening his knives. I don’t know how Axle did it but he sat down and asked my dad if he needed any help. That moment I realized he could read a situation but my father saw that Axle was going to be an important part of my life. Axle was my first kiss, my first argument with a boy, the first reason I really cried, we were in a car wreck together and he even had to take my side over his childhood friend’s aggravated opinion of me. He was also my first breakup.

That should have been my lesson. Learn to move on, accept pain, grow from it, and evaluate myself. That wasn’t it. Over the next couple of years we both dated other people and grew apart. It was a fall day and I had just gotten out of band and needed to rush home to get ready for work. Axle stopped and asked if I needed help carrying my flute and books. I was stunned and handed my books over into his arms. He never just came out of the blue and asked if I needed. It was mostly a nod or even an occasional, ‘hi, Jo’.

We walked beside each other in silence at first, then he asked, ‘You know, I’ve missed being able to talk to you. You understand everything I’ve been through and why I act in a certain way or do certain things.’ I could feel dread flooding over me. I was worried. He was the one that found his father after he shot himself. ‘I’ve been here, you just chose not to talk to me. I tried many times but you were either busy, embarrassed by me, or with your flavor of the week.’ I remember biting my lip. I knew I sounded like a bitter ex but face it, I was. ‘I miss you, Jo.’ My feet stopped moving and all I could do was stare. He walked over and put his arms around me. I felt so stupid as my face grew hot and tears started running. I couldn’t make them stop. ‘SHH, it’s ok Jo. Our break-up wasn’t because of anything you did. It was because of me. I couldn’t lose you so in my mind you would always be safe.’ Yup, you guessed it, I cried harder.

We started walking again and I asked him about his new girlfriend and that’s when he stopped. See, his girlfriend had parents that were never around, she stole and was into drugs. I’m not talking about marijuana but cocaine was her poison of choice. I also knew that she introduced her lifestyle to Axle and he spiraled down fast. ‘She’s good,’ he replied. ‘Then why are you here with me?’ I asked. ‘Truth is Jo, Lisa’s drug habit is getting worse and I don’t want to break up with her until she get’s help.’ ‘You can’t help anyone that doesn’t want to help themselves.’ And at this point folks, this is where I fucked up. Instead of seeing that he was actually reaching out for me to help him I did this, ‘Axle, I miss you and I wish we could spend time together but I need to get to work.’ I gave him a hug and told him that I would see him after work or that better yet he can come and get a burger on me. He gave me a hug, ‘She’s not you. I love you, Jo,’ and those were the last words he would ever whisper in my ears.

That night I waited and hoped that he would walk in for a burger but customers came and went but no Axle. I asked the cook to make a burger for me to go. I was going to stop by Axle’s house so we can talk but my plan never came to be. I pulled into his driveway just in time to see my first love’s body in a body bag and put into the back of the ambulance. At that moment, there was no sound, no taste, no time. His mom was on the front porch in a fetal position in Axle’s older brother’s lap. I couldn’t move except for engaging my 5 speed into reverse and then 1st to start heading home. I got home and my father was already on the porch waiting for me.

I ran to the one man that always made me feel safe. ‘Axle’s brother called, you have a note but  I figured you couldn’t wait so here is what it said:
Jo, I didn’t know how to escape the drugs, unhappiness, and Lisa. I love you and will always love you. Live the life you want not what someone else wants.
Axle.’ My father handed me the note he scribbled on a paper towel.

I didn’t leave my room for a week and I couldn’t bring myself to go to the funeral. I later learned that Axle was high on cocaine and needed gas for his car and started to siphon some out of his neighbors which led to him going to his room to take some pills. If I had called in, if I had talked to him, if I had only told him that I love him and miss him too he might still be here today. We may not be together and I would have been ok with that. At least he would still be here. Later, Axle’s older brother came in the burger place I worked and asked if he could talk to me in private. ‘Here is the note Axle wrote for you.’ My mouth went dry, ‘I can’t take that. It’ll make everything real.’ Looking back that was a selfish move on my part. He lives his ‘real’ every day.’ He gave me a hug and told me he understood.

I learned to listen when people are asking for help without asking. I learned that time doesn’t heal, it just makes the pain easier to deal with. I learned to accept that I failed my first love. I learned that a goodbye can be permanent.

6 Word Story: 2/25

I had to look up the definition of this prompt word and found that there were several and a couple of different point of views:

noun
1.

the instinct by which one’s actions are directed to the promotion of one’s own welfare or well-being, especially an excessive regard for one’s own advantage.
2.

conceit; vanity.
3.

narcissism(def 2).
Is it narcissistic to do something for yourself? What if the only love that you feel is the love for yourself? There were times that I didn’t feel loved in my past and learning to love myself helped me through some really awful times. I’m still learning to love myself. I learned that it’s ok to love yourself and to take time to do something for yourself. It makes me feel alive and that I matter. If not to anyone else I matter enough to me. 

Prompt Word: Self-Love
Her choice was life and left.
Self-love. (n.d.). Retrieved February 25, 2018, from http://www.dictionary.com/browse/self-love

6 Word Story: 2/24

Time is something that holds more value than people realize and it’s also something I would give people that abused it. Learning to take time to myself and not feel guilty about it is something that I am trying hard to accomplish.


Prompt Word: Time Given

Years entrusted to become immeasurably wasteful.

 

January 28th, 2018

I was sitting at work on Friday dreading the weekend. It’s not because of having nothing to do or being bored. It’s because I have an obligation to my daughter to take her shopping for her semi-formal dress and it’s coming up fast…next weekend fast. My second job is prohibiting a lot including dress shopping with my daughter, doing her hair and makeup, time with my kids and husband, my writing, and a side project I started but cannot find the time to work on.

I picked up what I had decided my last check that afternoon. I prepared a speech as to why I’m quitting with no notice and before I could say anything my manager told me that there was another party and I would not have help. This has happened more than once and when I do have another bartender on duty with me she is incompetent. So I’m left with doing the work of two bartenders plus running up and down the stairs carrying two cases of beer at a time or to change a keg because my other bartender doesn’t want too. I left angry.

I woke up yesterday morning to my daughter asking when I’m taking her dress shopping and what the budget would be. I already had groceries shopping to do and I promised my son that he could go and get the toy he earned for doing his share of the chores. But with everything that I had to do yesterday, my daughter would feel rushed trying to find her perfect dress for a magical night and to have my son grab any old toy not teaching him the value of money and the decisions he makes. I already had to run to my day job for a couple of hours to work on some software so I had to also factor in that time as well. So, I texted my manager (because that is the only way he contacts me) and quit. 6 messages later he got the hint.

The rest of the day I had mild panic attacks. This was something new, something I have been doing for years, a third income that I provided to my family and the unknown. I was able to be distracted by the fun I was having with my kids and the time we spent together. Also something I haven’t been able to do in 3 years.

So, here I am enjoying my coffee and enjoying writing. I’m waiting for February’s writing prompts to come out and for the kids to wake up so I can make breakfast. I keep reminding myself that it’s going to be fine, we are going to be fine. My time is worth more than $60 a day and my body is getting too old to do that kind of work anymore.

August 17th, 2017

 

Just when I think I’m getting back in to the swing of things—my effing internet goes down! It happened city wide and I’m going to need to post my scheduled posts late. UGH! Hopefully between dinner, kids, dogs (update on my baby bells as well) and anything else I have going on-I will be able to find the time. Last night I had the time just not the internet. Good Grief!

Adventures-DOGS

Ok, here’s what is going on with Clover’s, Dublin’s, and now Bailey’s training…EVERYTHING is going on! SO-it only seems fitting that it is now dubbed,’Adventure-DOGS’. We have a lot going on but the money, time, and training is worth it.

Clover

Her final class of OBEDIENCE 1 was last week. She was supposed to ease into the next phase but it would only be her. Her training and I both believe that clover needs to be around other dogs to become acquainted better with training around other dogs and other people. Face it, she is going to have to complete all commands out in public. She is smart, I’ll giver her that. I need to focus my energy on working with her more outside the home. Her classes will pick up September 27th-every other week. I think this is doable. I need to make more of a commitment to her training on my part. How else is she going to get through this.

Dublin

Dublin had his first evaluation and training a couple of weeks ago on a Friday. She came to the house to meet him and the rest of his pack. We discussed his feeding schedule to his interaction with other people. We learned that most of what is happening is his anxiety that turns into aggression because he doesn’t know where to take his feelings. First things first, we had to take his ego down a notch. He is now on a feeding schedule. Once in the morning and once in the evening. He is no longer allowed to sleep upstairs with his mama (my daughter), no longer allowed on the couch AND has to earn his lovings. This is a picture of him AFTER he threw a pitbull sized tantrum and then tried taking the blanket from my daughter. When I say tantrum-he tore through bags that were packed for overnight camping trips, took things off the tables, running through the house like a bull in a china cabinet-just about anything he could do to get attention. So yeah, the house was a mess. He is now on a supplement to help calm him. We also purchased his clicker, calming spray, special blanket for a portable safe spot, Baskerville muzzle (this allows him to eat, breath and even take treats) and we bought special toys to encourage play time. He is doing wonderful with his clicker and play time. He didn’t really care that he was on a strict feeding schedule (which we changed his diet as recommended as well) but it’s the bedtime that he doesn’t care for. Well, truth be told-neither does my daughter. We have noticed a calmer pup and starting to get more into the roll of being a dog and not one of the humans.

Bailey

Then there’s Bailey. Bless her little heart. Dublin’s trainer suggested that she attend a puppy play date. The way I thought it would go was that she would go and play with a small group of diverse pups. Small group was actually a LARGE group. She was growling and snapping at certain pups. Mainly two little dogs that were snippy, you know the one’s with little man syndrome. She was segregated from the group a couple of times so she could regroup and when let back out into the arena she would do great but would get swamped and would need to be placed back in there. All we could thinks was, ‘OH NO! Not again’. We were proven wrong when she had her vet appointment this past Thursday. She had no problem meeting all the old women there but also NOT a problem one with the dog. The cat on the other hand was not having Bailey anywhere near her. I think this little girl will do great!


So, hopefully I can post weekly updates about our pack and their journey through learning and training.

Day 4 – Late Posting (my hands do cramp with pen and paper but it works)

Write a bit about your favorite time and place to write.

In the evenings are my favorite time to write as of right now. I already have ideas flowing through my head while I’m cooking dinner and can’t wait to get them out on paper (and right now it’s writing for the boot camp, wondering what the next day’s topic) I would love to try and write, on the front porch with coffee in hand, morning robins singing, and a light blanket on my lap but my day job doesn’t allow that to happen. Maybe on Saturdays? In the evenings though, I am able to curl up on my bed with my bully clover (pit bull) curled by me side, and typing and clicking are the only sounds that come from my space. Evenings are the best. My pit bull, lap top, and a million thoughts running through my head only able to escape one at a time as the others build world’s of their own in my head.

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