What Had Happened Was…

Now mind you, every other day I pick a room or two and clean. At times it’s a quick sweep and dust. At times it’s a full out clean. I’m in a two bedroom apartment. Within any seven days, I’ve cleaned at least at two-thirds of the place, so it’s never really dirty. However, every now and the the stars align on a sunny day – it’s always a sunny day, never an overcast or rainy one – and my mind, without any consent from the rest of me that had other (non)plans, goes into domestic goddess mode. Today turned into one of those days.

I woke up at 9am. I lollygagged a bit and rose at a 9:15am with the intent to shower and have a nice relaxing day where I’ll figure out a slice for today and then some vegetating, because gosh darn it I deserve a mindless day. I reached to get clothes from the dresser before I shower, when I touched the top and it felt a little sticky. Oh right, a squirt of the lotion I used yesterday had landed there. I had wiped it away, but a slight residue remained. Well, that just feels gross, let me clean it properly.

Go to the kitchen to get proper cleaning materials and see the cereal bowl I left in the sink before I went to bed. That’s a no-no, let me wash this, but hey, I haven’t had breakfast let me do that, wash everything and be done with it. Okay, get myself some French toast and sausage, check emails, scroll Facebook, and call my bestie while I eat, then return to kitchen to clean dishes. Sink hose starts to slip and in my rush to not let it recoil, squeezed harshly wetting the dishes, the sink and the floor. Sigh, finish the dishes, get the mop and clean up the water.

The wet kitchen floor turned into the floor looks dull, turned into full clean of sink, stove, fridge, mop floor and then mop-n-glo the floor to appropriate shine. That turned into the bathroom being scoured and the linen closet being reorganized, turned into the sheets being changed, the bedroom being mopped and shined, turned into…turned into… turned… You get point.

Now over twelve hours later, the apartment has been cleaned aft to bow, port to stern. I’ve even taken out meat to defrost so I can cook tomorrow. Want to guess what haven’t I done?

Showered. Dressed. Sliced. Or vegetated.

I’ve got to shower before I go to bed, because the dirtiest thing in my apartment now is me. I’ll be switching from one set of PJs to another and I’m slicing now. So much for what I deserve today, huh?

Let’s see what vegetation tomorrow brings with one less hour to do it (dang, I think I may have just jinxed myself).

Slice of Life Writing Challenge
Two Writing Teachers

“She Was Just Walking Home”

On March 3rd, Sarah Everard, 33 of Clampham, south London, UK left the home of her friends to walk home. She never made it. Police confirmed that the remains found in a woodland area yesterday was hers.

“She was just walking home.”

I remember it was an early summer afternoon, a school day. I was on my way home from the public library; book bag slung over one shoulder, wearing dark jeans, sneakers, a white t-shirt under a red, white and blue plaid with tiny silver metallic threads shirt. I was standing at the curb, under the elevated train tracks, waiting for the traffic signal to change. I noted the car slowly creeping forward as some drivers do when impatiently waiting for a light to change. I was not in the way, I paid no attention to it when I heard a male voice.
“You so pretty, bet you’d be even prettier naked. You should let me see.”
This was from a man, not a peer – not some boy around my age being horrible, but a man. A grown man who in no way could have thought I was an adult. I had not developed boobs yet. There was something about him. Yes, it was broad daylight, but I was at the corner by myself. There nearest person was a half block away in the opposite direction. I remember worrying: Do I wait until he drives off? Is he going to follow me? Do I need to change directions? What if he gets out of that car?

It was the first time I felt danger from a man. I was twelve.

In my twenties I was married with two sons. I went to the laundry every Saturday morning. One Saturday a man entered and decided he wanted to chat. I decided I did not want to. He insisted in asking for my name. I insisted I was married and not interested, so knowing my name was not any of his – good-bye. He showed up again the following Saturday. Clearly this was my neighborhood. I was pissed-offed, but not entirely surprised he suddenly showed up in my local market. I informed my husband, but naturally my wannabe Lothario was no where about the next Saturday at the laundry. As it turned out within the following week, as I was heading toward my building, a friend spotted me and started yelling my name to get my attention. Naturally, I ignored him because I HATE that, worse – guess who I spotted within hearing distance? However, the damage was done as the friend had reached me and it was clear he was yelling for me. The only saving grace was that Bill was exiting the building as I was busy cursing-out the friend out for being an asshole and why. Bill came up from behind, putting his arms around me, and yelled at our friend
“Why the fuck are you screaming out my wife’s name in the middle of the street like that? Have you lost your damn mind?”
At that point Bill saw the guy. He looked me, he looked at guy, he looked at me and I tapped the arm that held me in our code we had for problems. He let go of me and headed in the guy’s direction. Suffice it to say the guy was already backing away at the confirmation that I had a husband and said husband was not an exactly a small guy. I never saw him again. While relieved, it pissed me off anew that the asshole did not accept my rejection. He had followed me. He had my address and because of my asshole friend, had my name. It took seeing my husband’s physical presence before he stopped. I had to wonder were I in fact a single woman how long before I may have been attacked. I wondered if he moved on to another woman who was not as fortunate.

When portable music players became a thing, CDs first, then MP3 players, I learned to keep headphones on my head when so I could pretend I did not hear the nonsense thrown at me when in the street. But I never, ever have music playing in case I needed to deal with someone more aggressive who would not take the hint of simply being ignored. But that does not always help.

In my thirties, I texted my husband to meet me at the train station late one evening after hanging out with friends because of the way a man kept staring at me on the train. I had never contacted my husband with such a request before in all the time we were married. The man had exited the train when I had. He was about to follow me down the stairs when Bill appeared at the foot of them and greeted me. I heard as the man turned and went back up the stairs. Neither of us saw him come down the other side, as far as we could tell, before the stairs were out of sight. But we knew, he was going to follow me.

Twice as a widow in my mid-forties I have gotten off the train and jumped in a cab to ride the four blocks to my home because of that feeling. I will say both times, when I explained the situation, both drivers refused to take my money. All in the name of safety.

Many girls learn from a young age to change their behavior in order to try to feel safe when walking alone, because there are going to be times we will be walking alone. That onus is not on boys as such. Personal safety is a constant self-awareness in our daily lives. One we modify constantly. All in the name of safety.

Do I wear a dress or slacks? Do I wear heels or flats? If I wear heels, do I need to switch to a bigger purse to carry my flats? Questions I must ask each time I go out, in case I have to run. All in the name of safety.

Now in my fifties I don’t go out alone if I think I won’t be home before midnight unless I have taxi money. That also curtails where I go because a late night taxi ride across the City can run me up to $70 on top of whatever expenditures incurred while hanging out. All in the name of safety.

Once, I was meeting my husband for dinner at a friend’s apartment after work. I exited the train and headed towards my destination when I heard whistling behind me. I ignored it and continued walking. It became clear that the whistling was directed at me, coming from someone in a car on the street. I refused to look, because that can be seen as an invitation. A car suddenly turned the corner in front of me and I realized it was my husband and he was pissed I had not responded to him.
“Why didn’t you answer me when I whistled?”
“Do you have ANY idea how often I am whistled at? I can’t afford to so much as look!”
That took him aback.
For even the men that love us, that care about us, that know us, just do not understand, because the constant harassment rarely happens in their presence.

Some men still do not realize we single women share our addresses – or the addresses of the bars/parks/date locations of where we’re going – with each other via text or WhatsApp, to keep ourselves safe. We set up calls with our friends. “If you haven’t heard from me by X time, call me. If I don’t answer, call the police.” It is every female’s right to not fear walking alone; it is not our reality. Being a woman is constant worry for our safety — walking with keys between our fingers, being on high alert always — it is fucking exhausting.

Photo of a female's hand with keys pointed out between fingers.
A tweet yesterday posed this question and response. Its UK based, but it is an question and response known by women globally.

When we hear/read of such attacks we each live with the susurrus that could have been me. So many women have lit up Twitter in the past few days on the many ways they have harassed and/or felt unsafe. And a constant theme throughout many of the tweets were the words “She was just walking home.”

“Not all men” attack but all women experience the fear of it. And we are so, SO DONE with being told we just need to avoid certain streets or areas, don’t be out certain at times or don’t dress a certain way. Sarah Everard was in bright colors, wearing clothes comfortable for walking the less than hour trek to her home. She was simply living her life. “She was just walking home.”

I’m sure Sarah Everard was aware #NotAllMen, also. She was on the phone talking to her boyfriend during part of her trek. She was not attacked by #NotAllMen. The only thing she did wrong was encounter #TheWrongMan. The one who could not respect one fact:

“She was just walking home.”

Argggh

Fighting migraine all day. Tried to post earlier, couldn’t concentrate and crashed again; means a near literal last minute post tonight. Can’t even pretend. Going back to bed, try again tomorrow.

https://twowritingteachers.org/2021/03/11/day-11-of-the-march-solsc-sol21/Slice of Life Writing Challenge
Two Writing Teachers

Oh, Now You Tell Me…?

A bit of a under the wire whinge…

screen capture of utility bill that reads: Your electricity us is projected to be 33% higher this billing period. Compared to same time last year

Riiiiiiiight! Because nothing warms the cockles such as one’s utility company sending an email warning you they are about to empty your wallet for having dared to warm more than one’s cockles. I’m amused to see this now.*

Amuses me as we are now at the tail end of winter. By the calendar, a little over a week from the official start of spring. Yes, we have a few couple more weeks or so, of cold days, but things will be decidedly warming up in another month. I will not require as much gas/electricity to warm the apartment and can look forward to the bill finally going down. Yet, it annoys me to no end. for I have paid out ridiculous amounts these past four months for the basic privilege of not turning into a Raivenne-sicle. Well, I’m just peachy.*

The same time last year part annoys me. Until one year ago, like most of the office working world, I was not in my home Mondays through Fridays because I was at work. Thus, there was no need for my home to be heated for eleven hours out of the day. That changed almost a year ago with the onset Covid and we were quarantined. It was almost spring, thus the increase in my April utility was a little higher, as expected, but nothing egregious. It normalized after after, so I’m okay with it.*

This lovely information should have been sent in November, where it might have done some good. A little, hey customer, just a heads-up – we know it’s Covid, it’s winter and and all. And you’re home all day now. And even with wearing turtle necks and hoodies in the house to help compensate – it’s going to cost you a couple, oh fine, more than a few pennies more this winter would have slightly offset the surprise of that first bill in December. Let’s not talk about the sticker shock of my January bill once winter temps really kicked in. These past four months of being home 24/7 were an eye opener. Dropping that little tidbit in the email with my current bill four dang months too late is -well- cold, but I’m good with it.*

Even the contrasts in typeset galls me. Nice big darks letters to subtly inform me my bill is going to higher. Then, in lieu of parenthesis the, “Compared to the same time last year”, of the last line in a much smaller and lighter color font. Were we not supposed to notice this year that we’re paying more than last year? What was the point? It may be a reliable 10-15° rise in temperatures, but that is still 10-15° lower than what is presumed comfortable for most humans in NYC. Which means, unless we have an unexpected and extended warm snap (Oh pretty please Demeter(!)), I’m still going to need to heat my home for another month. So nice to understand it’s projected to cost me 33% more. I’m feeling so much better for knowing.*

*I’m really not.

Simply Speaking

We talk about wanting things to be simple, we all seem to know what it’s not, but what is simple really?

Simple

sim·ple simpəl/ adjective

1. easily understood or done; presenting no difficulty.

“The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple.”
― Oscar Wilde

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.
― Confucius

We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.
― Mother Teresa

All that just to say, I’m having a busy day, so I’m keeping this post simple while I remember to post at all. Gotta go!

Oh! And One More Squirrel…

Some lovin’ from Raivenne oven

I am blaming this one squarely on you, my fellow blogger and slicer, Arjeha. Yes, you with your memory of bread, and then baking homemade biscotti.

Darn, and I don’t mean the thing one does with socks or sweaters, your hide.

Those who read my post yesterday know about the squirrels that distracted me from the work I planned on doing. I was minding my own business, being a good blogger by posting and responding to other random bloggers/slicers as is my wont, when someone, who shall not be named again(!), posted memories of the warm homey smell of baking, and then making homemade cinnamon biscotti. Why, oh, why did I then have a hankering for homemade biscuits? Unlike the gazpacho desire from a previous post, all the ingredients were readily available. I knew in the amount of time it would have taken me to get dressed go to the market, return and make them, I could have made them on my own, so to the kitchen I go.

Two things: 1- I have not made biscuits from scratch in over a decade because 2- I don’t know how to make small batches. I have been single for fifteen years now; yet I still cook somethings, like lasagna and biscuits, as though I’m feeding a horde. I was ever so grateful when Pillsbury started making the smaller containers for their ready to bake biscuits because the standard size one was too many for. But I wanted homemade cinnamon biscuits. Can’t get that prepackaged.

And yessiree Bob, (heh!) the aroma of cinnamon and butter wafting through the place was very delightful indeed! Fresh out of the oven, with melted butter, a spot of jam and tea – oh my! I could have been any age between 7 and my current 57 when those flavors hit my tongue. Still, what the devil am I to do with over twenty biscuits? (What? I said I don’t know how to make small batches.)

My best friend, and a few of my neighbors unknowing thank you, Arjeha. (Fine, so do I.)

And I did eventually get some work done on that project – whew!

Squirrel!

I have been up since 7:30am with the intent to give some time to a writing project I’ve let slip by the wayside for a couple of days now. I changed my sheets, had breakfast and sat down around 8:15-ish to begin. But first took a phone call. Then shot off a couple of emails. Then got coffee. I’m ready now. It’s now after 11am and the only thing I’ve done is open the Word file to review where I left off in the work. To be semi-fair to myself I needed to reference information I had bookmarked. Unfortunately, I’ve tossed a lot of things into the bookmark folder for this project, and others, over time. It was a mess. Notice I say was.

If I were Sherlock Holmes, then Bookmarks are my mind palace. I can find any piece information stored in my bookmarks, provided, like any filing system, I have stored it properly first. Regrettably, I’ve been doing a lot of just stick it here for now. A. Lot. Speaking of Sherlock, for instance, I have no idea what I was thinking when I dropped a bookmark of the Mars rover named Sherloc, with an assistant aptly named Watson in the midst of bookmarks for medical and forensics, but there it was. [Don’t ask, I (like to?) imagine I’m one of those people on a government watch list for the things I research.] A link to a YouTube video on the Maned Wolf was mixed in a folder on fencing, which also had a link on Wari Tombs (I said don’t ask). Suffice it to say the reorganizing of one folder, turned into an overhaul of several before my mind palace of bookmarks is a cohesive system up to my standards again.

An excellent sense of accomplishment on one end, but not what I set out to accomplish on the other. And in the midst of it remember I need to slice today. So this is me, now looking at noon creeping up on the clock, posting in the hopes that, after lunch, I have no other distractions and can buckle down to – wait- what was I doing again?

Flash Back Friday

Today I find my mind thinking about past slices while perusing other blogs in search of inspiration for today. Because as of right now, it looks like a complete blank for something to slice about other than it’s Friday, yay!

This is a lovely that idea I saw on another blogger’s site and it’s one that I want to incorporate into mine: Flash Back Friday. With eleven years of blogging under my belt, I still find that incredible and I’m the dang blogger (!), there are a lot of earlier posts that may not have been seen by newer followers. Or perhaps I’ll find something to remind some of my long term followers of posts since forgotten. So, each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on that exact date in a previous year or the post closest to it if I missed that date.

What about you? Reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this day or on a Friday in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected to reminisce upon. If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 5th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.

As it turns out my very first post on this date (March 5th) was in 2012. It also has the distinction of being the very first Slice of Life Challenge I posted which made it a Tuesday. It’s a poignant one in the 20/20 of hindsight.



Him: You will never be as bad as you’d like people to think you are.
Me: True, but I will never be as good as you’d like to think I can be.

Had to “Friend Zone” someone who truly did not want to be there. Worse, by putting him in that friend zone, I may I have lost him as exactly that.

I know far too well how it feels to be on his side of unrequited. Knowing that I’m doing the right thing, instead of the easy one, does not make being on this side of it any easier.

SOL - Slice of Life March Challenge 2012


Unfortunately, as it eventually turned out, I was right; the friendship faded to the wayside never to rekindle now that he’s gone. It’s one of the few times I am not at all happy about being right.

Eat This and Like It, Dammit!

Busy day of virtual trainings. + Combatant in a passive-aggressive email battle that pretty much went like THIS (I’m the one in bronze in that scenario).+ Set up more classes for next couple of weeks.+Resolving a kitchen sink that decided it wants to drain sssslllloooooooooooowwwwyyyy.+Working on an overdue, by my standards – plenty of time for theirs, assignment.+ A phone call with a friend who is going through some things. = A Raivenne who has subsisted on coffee and a bagel, both of which were consumed before 10am, and is a little beyond a bit peckish.

Nearly eleven hours later my stomach has made its displeasure at its treatment, or more precisely the lack thereof, quite known.

So, do I desire the pork tenderloins, spanish rice and broccoli? Nix. Or the italian sausage and pasta? Nein. Perhaps a not so simple crack monster (croque monsieur for those of you who insist on calling it by its proper name)? Nyet. All of which, and a few other tasty little options, are within easy access of my fridge, my microwave or my oven to satisfy me within sere minutes, but do I want any of it? Noooooooooooooooooo.These taste buds of mine get a hankering for gazpacho of all the blessed things.

Gazpacho? Really? I mean, why on earth should my taste buds be reasonable when I’m hungry? (And on National Pancake Day nonetheless!)

To be fair, the erstwhile spanish restaurant were we last enjoyed gazpacho came up in conversation, so I fully lay the blame there. Still, the idea was planted and that was that. So now what? We’re in the midst of COVID, yes restaurants are open to limited capacity, but everything is reservations only. Even were I willing to drag myself downtown, which I most certainly was not, the establishment in question no longer exists. So what’s a Raivenne to do? It’s gazpacho, not DNA encoding or rocket science, to the Google!

Screen capture of three gazpacho recipe options

I admit it has been a couple of years since I’ve had gazpacho, but if there is one thing I know, it does not take nearly three hours to make. My brain, heedless of my belly went off on a tangent in a fruitless attempt to determine why something that’s not even Best or Authentic, would take so long. And I say fruitless because even with the 15-20 minute options, without moving from my computer, I realize I do not have the have key ingredients: tomatoes, let alone my preferred Romas, and fresh red onions. So, now my taste buds, my belly, and I myself are mad because we all know I am not dragging myself to the 24 hour supermarket because all the local ones are now closed.

I’ll tell you about it over the weekend, I had to begrudgingly force down that absolutely delicious the pork tenderloins, spanish rice and broccoli, washed down with a nice sauvignon blanc. Oh, the hardship (!)