I’m Baaaaack!

Yesterday was my first official day back in the office. I am one of the first people on the floor and it was lovely to see one of the other early birds whom I have not laid eyes on in over a year. After the pre-requisite elbow touching in place of a hug, the first few minutes are spent catching up. It was a routine repeated as others came in. I spent the day in a bubble of working, reconnecting and organizing as we also make ready for a floor wide restructuring.

Some of it was very familiar: Coming in early, jumping into work, plugging up to my music to focus, not taking a proper break for a few hours; rolling my eyes at the one colleague who insists on wearing ill-fitting shoes that squish and clomp noisily as they pass my desk, staying late to work with a client having an issue, even the extra-long commute home was an annoying comfort of the familiar.

Still, for all its familiarity something about yesterday that felt off and I could not identify it until today.

Yesterday… 🎵 Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so fa… 🎵  

Huh? Oh, wait sorry, sorry… brain wandered off for a musical moment, I’m back.

Yesterday, because I was distracted by several things, I had not taken my mid-morning coffee run.

Today I remembered. So off went I to my home away from home, away from home.

While the trip itself was done by almost by rote, it was once I was back at my desk and sipped that did it.

My Starbucks special order, the one thing I cannot get in my neighborhood, was in my grubby little talons once more.

There was a new staff from when I was there last; no familiar faces at all. I handed my phone to the barista and watched her face as she glanced from the phone to the register to place the order and then gave me a silent but definitive are you fucking serious(?) look as she handed the phone back. I especially enjoyed the look of resigned yet annoyed belief when I informed her of the irony that it was a former Starbucks barista who worked at that location, which gave me the recipe.

Starbucks cup
Yes, I erased my insane recipe from the image.
It’s MY recipe! 😝

I have a Keurig with Starbucks k-pods at home, and I love it, but it’s still not quite the same thing because I have that ridiculous order. Yes, my favorite order is one of those orders. When I cannot mobile order, I amuse myself by watching every new barista I hand my phone read the order and then tries, but inevitably fails, to not make a face as they re-read it a couple of times before they make it.

Whether it’s the fancier machines or their precise measurements for the base, it’s just something that I cannot duplicate in my kitchen.

As that first sip slid past my palette and settled oh so warmly in my tummy, I felt it. It’s a small thing, but a needed one.

Ah yessssssssssss! I was back…


Slice of Life logo


Slice of Life – Tuesday Writing Challenge – Two Writing Teachers

Come see how others are slicing it up today.

Got It Write This Time

For the past near sixty-one days, I have blogged every single day. Last month for Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Writing challenge was arduous enough. That self-promise of thirty-one days straight of blogging, especially when I had posted barely a couple dozen times from all of May 2020 to March of 2021, was truly diving off the deep end to see if I can swim. [I actually did that dived into a 16 foot deep pool without knowing how to swim.] No, I still cannot swim – don’t ask. Luckily I was much better at following through on immersing myself into regularly blogging again.

Because it is following right behind the March challenge, April is its own war as it is all about poetry. Each year for National Poetry Month I look around and enjoy the work of other poets. Each day I also post original work of my own, honoring National Poetry Writing Month. At least I’ve tried to. I admit I in previous years I have been a spotty poster during April at best. If a dozen new works happen it was a good year. C’est la vie.

As I had naught else to do, I also challenged my self to try more of a poetry form I was not fond of the Villanelle. I absolutely knew I could not do thirty days of them, but I have managed one new one per week, the most recent as of today which I published this morning. Which means I now have five villanelles in my poetry portfolio. Having written four more it is better than the single one that has existed for nearly decade by itself, so that is a huge win in my book.

2021 is the only year in which I have participated in National Poetry Writing Month where not only have I not bailed halfway through the month from writing exhaustion. Granted some were posted late, like yesterday’s coming in at nearly 11:30pm, but I will have thirty new poems under my belt, including four new villanelles! With the finish line a mere three days from now, I am confident I will complete it. I cannot begin to tell you how proud I am of myself for this!


Slice of Life logo

Slice of Life – Tuesday Writing Challenge – Two Writing Teachers

Unimited Funds and Instant Travel….

A year in quarantine has squashed my poor travel bug which is as antsy as a jumping bean right now. Reminiscing/Lamenting past travels brought good conversation and a good question.

Question:

If you had unlimited funds, and instant travelling with you and anyone you want to bring along at your disposal, what would your perfect day (24 hours, live it up) look like?

My Response:

Teleportation and some serious Red Bull/5 Hour Power would be likely needed, but I would bounce around the world.

This is a rough estimate timeline as I have no idea of sunrise/sunset times are for most of the places listed and would have to adjust my schedule accordingly.

* 9am – Breakfast on the Nile, with a tour of the Pyramids and camel riding included.

* Noon – Zip over to Antarctica for an hour of up close wildlife watching because I just have to step foot on that continent, not just see it from a cruise ship.

* 1pm – Warm up on Ireland and Scotland coasts mid-afternoon; I want to personally see the beautiful vistas and at least one of the ancient castles I’ve only seen in movies.

* 3pm – since we’re so close, a quickie bite at the Eiffel Tower (and perhaps a different sort of quickie afterward should I have a S/O by then).

* 5pm – New Zealand, The amazing forest shown in Lord of the Rings I believe was shot there.

* 6pm – Machu Picchu – for the amazing history.

* 7pm – Rio, Brazil, Statue of Jesus and the divers – self explanatory.

* 8pm – Sunset dinner in the Potala Palace is in Lhasa, Tibet. Can you imagine how glorious a sunset that must be at one of the most amazing architecturally impressive structures and at one of the highest points in the world!

* 10pm – Tokyo, Japan – Just to see the only place brighter than Vegas at night – lol.

* Midnight – Tromsø, Norway, Aurora Borealis – self-explanatory.

* 2am – Dubai (UAE) – for some serious late-night night life in an unexpected place, gotta get my partay on!

* Twilight/Dawn – Tonga Island – one of the closest places to the International Date Line – to be on the cusp of yesterday and tomorrow simultaneously.

* 5am – Sunrise on Uluru (Ayers Rock) Australia. For the sheer beauty and reverence of the place.

* 8am – New York, New York – because There’s No Place Like Home.


Slice of Life logo

Slice of Life – Tuesday Writing Challenge
Two Writing Teachers

Wasted Time?

“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”

Though often (mis)attibuted to John Lennon, the earliest certain source of the popular quote was by Marthe Troly-Curtin in her novel “Phrynette Married” (1912).

I used this exact opening a couple of weeks ago when I attempted to have a day vegetating. Today I use it response to a complaint.

“God! Every time I call! Why are always writing a story, or working out a poem, or you’re painting something. Pick something, ONE thing and be good, really good, perfect at it. Maybe you could make money off it and stop wasting your time.”

My pithy response: “I write and I paint because I like it and because I have no space for carpentry workshop and a kiln.”

Oh, there was so much to unpack with that loaded statement and her not understanding why I was offended by it.

What is with limiting a person to one form of expression? The whole pick one thing and be good/perfect at it nonsense, is in a word nonsense. Dion Sanders and Bo Jackson excelled in both baseball and football in their heydays. Venus and Serena Williams are both phenomenal tennis players and wonderful clothing designers. Several of Hollywood and UK actors also excel in other creative outlets. It’s Art. You know that thing like beauty is in the eye of? So who determines what’s good or God help us perfect creatively anyway? Who determines its clock value? Is the pursuit of a second passion for pleasure only limited to those those who can afford it? If it’s not making money, it is waste of time?

As I understand it Art students study other art to learn what’s good. Though they both use pointillism, no one is going to confuse a Seurat with a Lichtenstein, but they’re both good. Rembrandt, Warhol, Monet, Max, Michelangelo, Haring, Picasso, Van Gogh, Pollock, are all amazing artists, not one looks like the other and none of them did what they did to be “good.” The artists painted what they wanted, the way they wanted – period. That others cottoned on and made some of them renowned during their lifetimes was a lucky bonus. Some of the names mentioned were not famous, until after their deaths. It likely wasn’t perfect, to some of them. It may not have even been “good” to them, but you know what it was? Good enough to make them happy or they tried again until they were. They did it for they were inspired, because it pleased them. I am 10,000 percent sure someone had said to each them at some point “stop wasting time.”

Why must damn near everything in life sans breathing, and bathroom functions, can only be considered worthy of one’s time if it can also potentially line one’s wallet? Stop that nonsense! Elizabeth Barret Browning, Alex Haley, e.e. cummings, Arthur Conan Doyle, Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Nikki Giovanni, Ernest Hemingway, Sylvia Plath, Octavia Butler, Stephen King, Diana Gabaldon, Andrew Wilmot, Amanda Gorman: none of them wrote their very first stories and poems, because they were out to make money, they wrote because they had stories to tell. It just so turned out that eventually others liked the stories as well. The rest is the luck, ill or otherwise, of the draw. But we know their names in the first place solely because they had a story they needed to tell. The story got told. It was not a waste of time.

We blog, and some of have regular followers, but the mass majority of us are not, nor have any intent to be “influencers.” Still, we blog because we have stories to tell, in words or in art or both.

I create because it pleases ME. The moment it becomes something I have to do to make money, it becomes a job. And knowing me – it will no longer be something I enjoy. I create the ways I do because I want to. I’m not trying to be good, I am having fun. That others enjoy it is wonderful, but is never the impetus for me to type out pixels or pick up my pencil or brush. It is always time well spent, even if I hate the result. On the outside I am an adult exuberantly expressing my creativity through mixed media. On the inside I’m a four-year-old happily making a mess scribbling and finger painting. Ask any preschooler…

…That is never a waste of time.


Slice of Life logo

Slice of Life – Tuesday Writing Challenge
Two Writing Teachers

This Time Together…

I spent most of this day wondering how I would close this month out. March has, as it does each year, dragged and flew. At the beginning of the month I knew I would make it to the end. Granted, I also knew there would be some very late night close encounters, which there were. And 2021 will forever hold the asterisk for when I published yet fell asleep before I could post as hubris, but I did it.

Most of all WE made it!

Whether you made all the way through all the slices, or missed a slice or two, or more, as always…

🎵 I’m so glad we had this time together… 🎶

* tugs on ear * [Some of you will get this]

We have survived an entire year of Life in the Times of Covid! It has not been an easy year for any of us. But with the vaccinations happening slowly but surely we can finally see the better days coming ahead. I imagine next year’s challenges will be sprinkled with the things we get to do again compared to now and it will be great.

Being that today is Tuesday, it seems fitting as we know return to our usual Tuesday slices.

It’s Day 31 of the 2021 Slice of Life Writing Challenge. And then there were none.

Slice of Life logo

As It Concerts Me

Yesterday was all about Broadway, but I also miss concerts. I have a long history with them.

First concert: The Spinners with Dionne Warwick, NYC 1970s (don’t remember the venue, I was nine or ten years old with my mother).

Last concert: Tituss Burgess at Carnegie Hall, NYC February 2020 (Thank you D-Fab!)

Best concert: Queen, Madison Square Garden, NYC September 1980 (First rock concert, saying I was underage and had NO business being there doesn’t cover it, but by God IT WAS GLORIOUS!)

Worst concert: I’m happy to say I’ve never been a bad concert, not even a ho hum one.

Loudest concert: Oh that’s an easy one – Metallica 2009 at Prudential Center. My ears rang for nearly three days.

Seen the most: Metallica and Jay Z, three times each.

Most surprising: Isaac Hayes live at Prospect Park Bandshell – June 2008. Surprising solely because of the gut punch of his passing away two months later.

Wish I could have seen: – Hands down Prince #1 I don’t know how I let that sexy motherfucker slip through my concert wish list unseen, *deep spiritual soulful sigh of regret*. Also, Nirvana is another one I really wish I could have seen.

Grateful I had a chance to see: Linkin Park in concert at NYC’s Madison Square Garden in July of 2008. LP had to cancel part their 2015 concert tour which included its stop in NYC. In July 2017 we lost Linkin Park’s lead singer Chester Bennington to suicide.

Linkin Park 2017 ticket stub

I still have the tickets for the “Welcome to Blinkin Park” concert at NYC’s Citifield Stadium that was scheduled the following week.

Next concert: Live in person? Who knows… Stay tuned…

Slice of Life logo

Slice of Life Writing Challenge
Two Writing Teachers

Sudoku Who?

I am the first person to admit, while I do well enough at English – I am a writer, poet and blogger after all – my skill in mathematics leaves MUCH to be desired. I never cared about my X and don’t you dare ask me about Y I’m that way. Surprisingly, geometry and I got along. Acute, obtuse, isosceles, squares, and pretty much any dang thing that suffixed in “-agon” were good buddies of mine because it was shapes – my artist brain understood those type of figures. Other than that? Fuhgettaboutit! I get confused looking at math problems in TV and movies. “Good Will Hunting” became a foreign language every time Matt Damon’s character, the eponymous Will, stepped to the black board. Hell, a depiction of high school Trigonometry would have been/still remains out of my depth of comprehension.

Suffice it to say when Sudoku became a ‘thing’, I saw numbers, heard you have to do math and promptly said “Uh… noPe.” To be fair, over the years I have looked at a game or two, tried to fathom it out, but the (il)logic behind them seemed as variable and numerous as, well, numbers. I am not a fan.

Thus, I am not quite sure how on earth THIS happened last night…

Sudoku game finished
A messy win, is a win nonetheless.

A friend online mentioned sudoku and yesterday became one of those weird times where I thought to myself, Meh, why not? I googled “easy” sudoku games, hit a random link and printed one out. I assumed by easy it meant I could complete it in about 30 minutes. HAH! Did I say HAH! ? What I meant was *snort-chortle-snigger-HAH!*. That nonsense took nearly 90 minutes, and as you see from the various scratch outs and overlays; I did not have an easy time at all. However, unlike every other game I attempted in the past, for once I saw the pattern. I had more than half the game done within the first hour. It’s the most I had ever done and it made me determined to complete this miracle. The remainder was correcting my mistakes in order to figure out the rest of the game.

I did not find this fun or relaxing. I still do not understand the appeal. It will likely be a few more years before I am thus intrigued to try again. Still, I was so stunned that I had finally, Finally, FINALLY completed my first sudoku game I took a picture for prosperity. A memory I get to share now, with no plans to try it again in the immediate future.

Slice of Life Writing Challenge
Two Writing Teachers

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!

It’s No Sacrifice

I am not Catholic, but I like the basic idea of Lent. Well, my interpretation of it anyway. The idea of sacrifice, of giving up something. Sometimes, I’m surprisingly good at it.

The year I gave up chocolate was stunningly easy by the Friday after Lent started, Snickers candy bars and I separated from our daily habits. Separated to the point, that once Lent was over, I didn’t pick the habit back up again. It was not a conscious decision, I simply stopped.

On the other hand, the year I attempted to give up my potty-mouth…? I woke up at 5am that Wednesday morning, and by the time I reached work at 8am that same morning – well… Let’s just say, the the less I say about that bullshit the better.

Then was was the year I gave up meat. Not just beef and poultry, seafood as well. I good thing right? How is it I wound up in Atlantic City for a friends birthday for a weekend in early April. A weekend that included an All-You-Can-Eat Seafood Saturday at one of the restaurant. A restaurant where the ONLY thing that did not have some form of flesh in it was a salad. Not the salad, that might have indicated choices. No it was literally A single salad, for the rest had some form of meat mixed in. There was something like seven different salads available. I could only eat ONE in the entire buffet. My friends thought I was insane as I stuck to my miserly guns as they cracked open crab leg after crab leg after crab leg. I was proud of myself, because I did not cave. For any of you who read may have read my About Raivenne page – you know how I suffered.

This year it was junk food.

Because yes, leave it up to mean to give up comfort food the year of Coronavirus. At work it would have been easier. There I have to make an effort to get up and go to the vending machine or the concession stand if I want to munch. I did not realize how much garbage I consumed daily until I noticed had a little something of a surplus in my finances. Thanks to self-isolation that bump also included how much I have saved by not being able to go to Starbucks..

From the files of Good Deed/Unpunished : Lent started on Ash Wednesday as always – my order of Girl scouts arrived that Friday. The following week I had to give away a cake because I could not eat it. I also was gifted a variety snack box of the chips. And because Fate and than wretch Karma like having fun, I was reminded by a friend that it is technically 46 days of no cakes or chips or cookies or…or…or…because why not?

Every single day I glared at the Thin Mints, Dipsy Doodles etc mocking me from atop the refrigerator, and the Häagen-Dazs giving me the cold shoulder for ignoring it in the freezer. All the while thinking to myself how they were going to be Alllll Minnnnnne. Oh I relished sinking my teeth into the salty savor of chips, the sweet goodness of butter pecan, come Easter Sunday.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the Junk food.

Easter Sunday came and went and I have yet to touch any of it. Not even to sniff the plastic.

They say it takes 21 days to break a habit, a minimum of 90 to break an addiction. It’s now Tuesday night, 48 days since Ash Wednesday and I just started thinking about it. Now I wonder if my junk food days are behind my like Snickers. Let’s see how long it lasts.

<>==========<>

Let’s see how others are slicing it up this week – Slice of Life Tuesday

Calm in the Midst of Covid

I went to my office to work. On a much needed break to …

  • get coffee
  • rest my eyes and
  • absorb some sunshine to replenish my Vitamin D stores

… my work wife and I go to the only place that is open around the immediate office area.

Until this past weekend, we have had back-to-back rainy or at minimum dreary days. This did absolutely nothing to ease to ease the cabin fever that was beginning to sink in. Another reason I was grateful when my work wife offered a ride as she was going in as well.

Let’s see… Be in a car for 40 minutes with a person I know is not sick or spend over an hour on mass transit around who knows how many strangers who either are not able to observe the at least 6ft of social distancing being asked of us while riding the subway or who simply refuse to observe. I think you can guess which path I chose to take to work.

Three weeks ago in the New York City before Covid-19 there were scant signs heralding the early spring season; not so any more.

Tulips in The Commons ar Metrotech

The very first of the tulips planted annually had begun to bloom! Even better was the sight of these…

Cherry blossoms in The Commons at Metrotech

The Cherry Blossom trees had blossomed! I had not realized how much I missed seeing these annual harbingers until I saw them. For a moment it felt like a normal spring day. Then a masked person walked into view.

Still, I smiled at the reminder that THIS is what’s normal and we will get back to it soon enough.

Slice of Life Tuesday Story Challenge.

Slice of Life - Two Writing Teachers