Lion vs Lamb

Head lowered and eyes closed, my hands splayed for balance, my fingers feel the rough lines of grouting in the smooth tile of the wall. I marvel in its continued coolness under the fleshy pads of my palm and fingertips even as the hot, hot water of the shower crashes down on the sore muscles of a body that has somehow slept crookedly for the second night in a row. The muscles had tightened to the point that I was walking nearly hunch-back this morning, it was so unforgiving. The pulsating jets of the shower are tiny sharp heated needles rapidly, consistently, sadistically beating at the knot in my shoulder-blade.  Tentatively flexing  and relaxing the muscle, knowing it is going to hurt, a lot, and it does, I do it anyway and moan in masochistic pleasure as I feel the first microscopic synapse of relief.  Another moan comes, but this time it is not me. 

The classic totems of March, the lion and the lamb, duke it out for supremacy of today’s weather. A harsh wind tears around the sharp brick corner of my building. Somewhere in the near distance, a neighbor loses a lid to a trash can, the crashing metal as starling as thunder in the otherwise quietness of the early morning save for the wind. Its low moan steadily increases into a roar, thrashing against the window. Safely ensconced inside for now, its making its presence known, letting me know I won’t be for much longer.  The first hints of that potential chill striking my forearm as I let my fingers trace along the surface of grout line until it strikes the polished surface of the cabinet. Reaching out a little more, my fingers find my towel and I sink my nails into the nubs of soft thick pile.  I’m rewarded with a whiff of flora from the fabric softener as I quickly wrap its plushness around me.

Yesterday’s lovely temperatures may have been the lamb’s day, but as I wrapped the soft cotton of the scarf around my neck a little tighter when I stepped outside this morning, I know today definitely belongs to the lion.

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In a different Two Writing Teachers challenge we’re invited to Write Without Sight it was too good of a prompt to not try, and it’s my slice for today.

Come see how others are using their sense and senses through this 12th day of the challenge:

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I’m Done!

The last vestiges of cabin fever or seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or the winter doldrums or whatever one wants to call it have exerted themselves in my psyche. My soul is clearly done with this tiny bit that is left of Winter 2014 and has officially balked.  I’m done.

I should have known this was coming – last week it was  snowing, still I bought iced drinks from Starbucks – twice.  I’m done.

I decided I am done with anything and everything down. My oh god it’s freezing long down coat, my shorter heavy wool coat, my heavier hats, all sent to the cleaners or the laundry. That final step before being put away for the season.  I’m done.

Yesterday, I went without a hat. I did not even have one stuffed in my pocket just in case. I’m done.

Today has an expected high of 50 degrees and I am planning on doing something that has not happened in months – wear a dress. Do you hear me? I’m done.

I have five living plants on my desk at work – that is not enough. I am buying a bouquet of flowers because I need the sight of flora near me, I need it now.  I’m done.

I normally do not get into such a tizzy like this until mid-April and if it snows again, which is still quite possible, I am going to be mightily ticked-off, mightily, but right now I don’t care. I feel the longer I keep holding on to my winter gear the longer Ol’ Man Winter keeps his grips in my mental space and he just needs to GO! I’m done.

So you hear me Persephone? We’re sick of your mama Demeter taking her yearly seasonal affective disorder out on us poor mortals. Dionysus must have had her seriously lapping up the vino this season. Have you seen what she did to Boston?!  Girlfriend, I know Hades is your boo and all, but it’s just time honey. Time for you to get off the man’s hot pocket and bring your hot seat back surface side so your mama can can start warming some stuff up around here, like now. We’re done.

Oh yeah, when I start kvetching with the Olympians you know what’s up? Yeah, you guessed it – I’m done!

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Hello Sunshine

It comes with the territory of winters in New York City. From early December until late February I have few chances to walk in the sun during the work week. The way my work hours run, I head to the train station in the mornings in the dark, and same thing when I head to the train in the evenings for home. Depending upon the weather I may bask in a piece of sunshine from the train to the office in the am, or perhaps a moment or so during lunch. But for the most part, once the holidays are over I am plunged into a dark gray, dank world for several weeks. I get a little tiny bit happy each year come late January when my trains ascends from the bowels of the earth and I spy a few minutes of sun before it sets. It is my first harbinger of the days getting longer, even if only for a few minutes and I’ll take it.

It’s only in late February that I start to get the same treat again in the mornings as I head to work. Last Friday, I caught myself squinting on the elevated platform as the sun rose was just over the roof line of the platform on the opposite track to blind me. I was so happy, I did something I had not done since November. I pulled out my sunglasses, put them on and simply basked in the glow for the scant minutes until the train arrived.

Then daylight savings time kicked in. I did not notice it on Sunday as it was the weekend and by the time I arose the sun was already out, but I sure noticed going to work in the morning.

The weather said sunny and 40 degrees. After the freezing temperatures and snow of last week, this was almost sultry. I walked out of my front door this morning prepared to don sunglasses again only to find myself plunged back into darkness. I mentally grated my teeth in frustration. I had momentarily forgotten about this nasty little side effect of the time change for the next couple of weeks. Boooooo!

Yes, I know by the end of the month the early morning sun will be cresting over the jagged horizon of the cityscape in time for me to catch it in the mornings once more, but for right now the sudden darkness again is jarring. As I do twice each year when the time changes, I wished we were like Arizona where most of the state does not observe daylight savings time and is not bothered by such trite annoyances. But as my buddy Elaine was nice enough to point out to me, this means more sun in my afternoons now and that’s a huge plus.

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Let’s see how this Day 10 is shining on the rest of the slicers:

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Like A Good Neighbor

I’m a city gal, born and bred, and proud of it. While I have lived in a private home, I have mostly lived in tenement buildings, so I have had my fair share of neighbors over the decades. I have no idea what television show or movie I initially got it from in my impressionable youth, but I personally like the old-fashioned notion of welcoming new neighbors. Imagine my disillusionment the first time, new neighbors moved next door to our apartment and my mother did not so much as say “Boo!” in greeting in that first week. Luckily for me, by then I was learning just enough of the ways world to understand my mother was anti-social for her reasons and had enough sense to not openly question her about it. I simply thought it was just something with my mother and made friends with the new little girl next door on my own.

A few years later, when the time came for my family to move, our new neighbors had even less to say to us as we moved in. Not even the ones who shared the same floor. I was in my early teens by then and had learned the innate sense of mistrust bred into many inner-city neighborhoods.  You moved where you could afford and where you could afford was rarely someplace you’d be comfortable letting people you do not know into your home. And other than the ConEd man (the person who came to read your utilities meter each month, which back then was always a male), anyone knocking on your door uninvited was thought of as a potential scout secretly casing your place to rob it later. Thus, greeting new neighbors was a suburban thing done only by whites, it just was not something we (inner city blacks folks) did.

And to be honest, there was much truth to that. It was the middle of the crack infested 80’s in The Bronx when we moved.  Back then, any of your neighbors could either be friend or foe. We had a dog named Smokey; she was one evil bitch and I mean that in the nicest way. The neighbors on my floor could enter and exit their respective apartments without a peep from her because she understood the concept of neighbors. However, anyone else in the building was treated to anything from her low growl to full-out barrage of bark and we lived on the first floor of a five-story tenement with five apartment on each floor. If you did not live within the walls of our apartment you were the enemy and she let you know it. So, yes that was a whole lot of barking. The kids in my building would knock on the door and run just to set her off.  When we had company we had to lock her in my room, because you were not getting in otherwise. Though other neighbors were periodically robbed, it never touched us because of Smokey. I walked her twice a day, everyone saw her size. No one was messing with us while we had her and we had Smoky from when I was about six, and she was already full-grown and evil then, until I was eighteen when she got sick and died. It took less than three months for people to figure out she was gone before we were robbed the first time.  We were robbed twice more within a year of her death. Eventually, my father booby-trapped the place in such a way that on the last attempt, we eventually heard from the street that the would be robbers were seriously hurt, as in needed to go to a hospital for stitches, hurt. Since they were not able to steal anything, nor admit how they truly sustained their injuries, the word got around, because we were never robbed again. That in a nutshell said nearly everything about our neighbors and neighborhood.

Even with all of that, I still remember thinking to my self that when I had a home I would welcome new neighbors, at least the ones right next door to me, because it just seemed a nice thing to do. It took over another decade before I could test that theory. We moved into a semi-detached home in spring of ’99.  No, no one greeted us, when we moved in, but holding our own wedding in our new backyard a week later apparently drew attention. Neighbors from doors down the block greeted me in the street for several days afterward. “You’re the girl who got married in your back yard last week right?” (Never mind that I was in my mid-30’s by then.) Eventually, my neighbor next door moved out and after a couple of months a new family moved in.  I was determined I would be the exception to that rule and chose to welcome them.

And, no, I did not show up bearing pies. Hello? City gal? Let’s not get crazy. Besides my pie baking was restricted to holidays only, and you had to be proven worthy for me to go through the effort of making extras. However, I did knock on their door the next day, introduced myself, spoke of my family, our dog and offered them take-out menus for the better delivery places in the area. Not surprisingly  she looked at me as though I were crazy, because who does that in the City right?!  I remember I made a point of saying I did not want to come in when she grudgingly offered because I knew they were not anywhere near ready for entertaining anyone, that I was just saying hi and that our door was open. While we never became good friends, eventually, we did become good enough neighbors in the traditional sense. Open invitations to each other’s barbecues, borrowing tools and cups of sugar, picking up mail when the other was on vacation etc. That was more than good enough.

I only had the opportunity to be a one-woman welcome committee twice more while I lived there, and I could tell it was a genuinely welcome surprise each time.  I’d like to hope that once we moved, my now erstwhile neighbors greeted it forward to the family that moved in after us, though the truth is I sincerely doubt it and I still really don’t understand why not. The neighbor branch is either accepted or not and the potential for a neighborly relationship, if not necessarily a true friendship, develops from there or not.  Still, even if you do not become the best of friends, I’ve learned it rarely hurts to at least nod one’s head and say “Hi” now and again. Because like the lottery – unless you don’t play  – you never know.

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Saw a commercial where a woman (why is it almost always the woman any way?), greeted a new neighbor with a pie.  It reminded me of the few times I’ve had the pleasure of being the greeter.

Come see how others welcome this 9th day of the challenge:

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A Moment

Can we just chill for a moment please?

Let go of our burdens big, our troubles tall
Close our eyes for a moment
Before the moment’s gone.

Just chill for a moment please.

Take the load off our shoulders
Take a deep breath to breathe
Feel the good air slide in
And your worries exhale out

Chill for a moment please.

To put our worries down
And our feet up

For a moment please.

And remember that
Life is less about what we have to lift
And more about what we find uplifting

A moment.

Please.

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It’ was one interesting day that started nor ended as expected. A moment was needed.

dVerse ~ Poets Pub | OpenLinkNight : Week 146

 

Elevate Your Shenenigans

A few months ago in the early fall, I get on the elevator at my office one morning and press the button for my floor. A colleague who works on a different floor presses the button for his floor and we nod at each other in greeting. Others enter the elevator and press the buttons for their respective floors. I noticed a pattern emerging on the panel as buttons were pushed and smiled to myself at the coincidence. At this point it needed only one more button pushed to complete the array. The doors were slowly closing and I had mentally brushed off the disappointment of the pattern being left undone, when a hand thrusts in to bounce the doors open. One more person gets in the elevator.  Silly bird that I am, my thoughts quickly race.

Is it going to happen? Is it going to happen?!

My eyes widen in anticipation as his finger reaches towards the panel.

Yes, he’s really going to do it!

I start to smile as the finger draws nearer to the goal only to suddenly shift and press a different button than hoped for.

Noooooooooooooo!

“Aw man! You messed it all up!” Yes, I said that out loud.

“What?” The gentleman quickly withdrew his finger nervously laughing, and totally confused.

“Look! Look at what you’ve done! You’ve ruined it! You’ve ruined it all! Even you can see the tragedy of this now! Even you! Even!” I mock cry dramatically, putting heavy emphasis on the word even while gesturing to the button panel where numbers 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 were lit in an orderly line waiting for 12 to join them.  Had he pressed the button for the twelfth floor it would have worked out that all the of even floors and only the even floors would have been lit by pure chance, but noooooooooo! What could have been a moment of pure serendipitous perfection is now trashed by the glaring light of 11.  There are tiny titters of laughter as the other riders start to get it.  Two of them know me well and quickly become a Greek chorus bemoaning the poor man’s fate.

“Oh no, not the odd floor!”
“Oh, you done done it now man.”
“It was nice knowing you.”

“Oh, no! Oh my! Egads! Such an undignified transgression! I shall remove myself from here immediately!” He played right into the scene.

“Oh why bother, the damage is done, you unthinking cad!” I wailed, while quickly fanning my eyes with my fingers to deter the tears that would never fall. “You sir are a scoundrel! A scoundrel I say!”

All of this to the bemusement of the captive audience of the other riders forced to endure this elevated melodrama. The lucky worker on the second floor already escaping before the bloodshed.

“Oh dear lady, however can one so lowly as I make this right!”

The next floor is mine and as the doors begin to open there was only one thing that could be said in the face of such an onslaught.

“How you ask?! By having a nice day, sir! That is what I wholly wish for the likes of you! A nice day!” I say this with all the teeming passion of a Fake-sperian actor casting a pox upon one’s house. Turning with a dramatic huff, I fling my non-existent fur stole over my shoulder as I exit all Norma Desmond style to full-out laughter as the doors close behind me.

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Now let’s fast-forward to today as I get on the elevator this morning  and a gentlemen follows immediately after. I press the button for my floor and step aside so he can press the button for his. He reaches out an extended finger almost about to push the button, but withdraws it quickly.

“Is it okay if I push it this time?” He inquires of me.

I presume my expression spoke volumes along the fortunately un-uttered lines of why the fuck are you asking me?  for he quickly added “The last time we rode an elevator together you called me unthinking cad so I’m just checking first.” His smile makes me actually look at him this time and I take a moment to scan through the various elevator shenanigans of which I’ve always only been a mere bystander to – as you can tell by the encounter above – until recognition dawns and I press the button for the eleventh floor for him.

“Thanks! You remember!” He laughs.

“Why yes I do, you scoundrel!” and then proceed to press every button between his floor and mine, finishing just as the doors to my floor open.

“No, you did not just do that!” If he was even mildly irked, it is totally swallowed by his hoot of laughter at my antics as I exit.

“Have a nice day!” I grin and wave my fingers as the doors close on his continued laughter.

Yes, I have many issues, and clearly no damn sense, and still no idea who he is.

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Come see how others are elevating their slices this month:

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Tagged

WordPress recently reminded me that I have passed the five-year benchmark. Sometimes I think I feel every single day of it, but most times it still feels as though I’m just getting starting. It’s also March, time for renewal and re-awakenings as well. I figure it’s a good as time as any to participate in  the 8th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge which is to post everyday for the month of March. Along with other writing challenges of which I am a part of I think I can finally ace this thing. (I failed miserably my last couple of attempts at this.) It’s day five and so far so good – yay! And sometimes, when blogging, you have to take things easy and back to basics…

So let’s start with whyRaivenne-lations”?

The name is just me being cute, a portmanteau of Raivenne and revelations, from back when I thought this blog would be less about me revealing things in my life and more about how the things in life reveal themselves to me. It has instead morphed into something part semi-stream of conscious and part the abject randomness of my mind as I relate to things within my oh so small microcosm of this world-at-large.

And the tag line? “Doing what you like is freedom; liking what you do is happiness.” That is there to remind me that one -doing what I like- is just as important the other -liking what I do- and to constantly strive for a balance of both within my life.

See? No lofty goals here.

I post – some of you read, some of you comment, every now and then I strike a nerve or a smile, and hopefully all of you enjoy.  I, the Gods, and likely a handful or so of you must be crazy, to paraphrase the classic line. Thus, I am very appreciative of those of you who arrived, read and have chosen to follow along this ever winding trail with me.

Thank  you!

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This Morning I Woke Up

This morning, I woke up…
To invisible hands
Covering my ears, eyes, mouth
At news of conflicts,
Sights of damage,
Speaking of war
My mother trying to protect
What’s left of the innocence within me
From the evil around me
…and picked up my pen.

This morning, I woke up…
To grit in my clothes
That no amount of shaking out
Can ever seem to set free
The fine silt of cracked walls
That permeate  the very air itself
It becomes a part of the ink
That is my bloodstream
…and picked up my pen.

This morning, I woke up…
To shattered windows,
The latest of blasts bursting the last of panes
In the former still of the night
Too much to bother cleaning then
Now a glaring hazard in the early light of dawn
Still it’s almost a relief,
No longer having to worry
About breaking what’s already gone
…and picked up my pen.

This morning, I woke up…
To wishing those invisible hands
Were still there to provide the bliss
Of the ignorance of youth
For now they know I know
And there is no going back
To the unseen, unheard, unspoken
…and picked up my pen.

This morning, I woke up…
To one hand holding a pen
The other a rifle
Pondering
Which holds more power
The o
ne for fighting what’s without
The other to keep it from becoming
What’s within
…and picked up my pen.

This morning, I woke up…
To remember my only choice
…and picked up my pen.

This morning I woke up…
…and picked up my pen.

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At dVerse  we’re invited to write poetry against the world today when the outspoken are being killed. It has been a subject at the back of my mind for a while now, brought a little closer since the death of Charlie Hebdo, but with the recent deaths of Avijit Roy and Boris Nemtsov it’s moved to the front.

dVerse ~ Poets Pub | Poetics: Make our voices heard

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Time Keeps On Slipping…

March has been an odd month for me these past few years —

Except for the staunchest of my winter loving friends, most of us in the Northern Hemisphere have all reached our saturation point of cold and snow by now and want it all gone already. The hope of the longed for First Day of Spring finally arriving lightens my mood.  Even though there is still several inches of snow on the ground, with more expected tonight, the thought of soon being able to put my down coat away for the season warms me immensely.

Of course, there is celebrating the birth of my first-born. Like all mamas of adult children I can still see the wide-eyed sparkle of those newborn eyes brought home oh so many years ago in the very eyes that roll, yet again, in some annoyance that I’ve -probably  happily – inflicted upon them.  Pretty much as I am sure I will do so again tonight when we meet up for birthday dinner. I’m Mom – it’s in the unwritten job description.

What has caught me off guard this year is what usually has been at the forefront of my mind on March 1st, these past few years.  I got to today, March 3rd, before the now 9th anniversary of my late-husband’s passing registered. I mean, it is not as if I did not know it was coming, after all his birthday – only a couple of weeks ago – is an automatic reminder.  Not to mention, I’ve had nearly a decade of it now. Yet the day itself came and went without so much as a blip to my conscience. I only noticed this morning, because someone else brought him up in conversation, that I had not noticed it even in passing thought. It truly was just another day.

I am not sure how I feel about that.

One hand, it is as clear-cut of a sign as can be that I no longer grieve for him. But, in reality, I stopped grieving years ago, because I am not the kind to wallow in such an emotion for so long before I make my own self sick of it. Which is a good thing, I know it is.  Still, there is this tiny little part of me that for the first ever wonders does it mean that I am slowly forgetting him? And while that bothers me just a little, very much like the month of March, my emotions on this are a fluid thing.

It has been nine years – isn’t it the way it should be? I think so, I think…

After all, how long do I continue to mark time in this way? Yet only a few days ago I was conversing with a friend about a certain point in recent time and what was my immediate point of reference? Whether or not Bill was around at that point and to calculate from there.  Clearly, I have not forgotten him and won’t be anytime soon.  Yet March 1st came and went without thought of him. Didn’t think that would happen either.

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Easy Does It – A Lullaby

I found this in an old composition book. I wrote this many years ago for a baby who is turning 33 minutes from now. Time flies indeed…

Easy does it, my child, my sweet delight
Be not afraid of the deep dark of night
Even in the dark His love shines so bright
Do not let bad dreams fill you with such fright

Trust that your Father’s arms do hold you tight
He holds you in His palm and in His sight
Close now your eyes and have faith in His might
Easy does it, my child, ’till morning light

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