iscribblings

Charting life's circuitous path


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Scratched Lenses

“Merry Christmas!” says a smiling face as I take my packet I bought for a good friend. The carefully chosen doll was weighed against the other items in the shop and had won out by a cuteness factor of ten.  It was so cute, I was tempted to keep it myself.  🙂 My startled gaze creates an odd juxtaposition with the presents in my arms.  While I obviously had Christmas on the mind, I didn’t seem to have wholly absorbed the fact that Christmas was, in fact, only 2 days away.  Mind and body or even mind and mind do not always align.

Camera360_2014_12_23_052954_jpgWe’re spending our holidays at my in-laws in a country not my own.  Everything is lovely, familiar and new.  We’ve visited a few times now, but this is the first time where I’ve felt confident about going out on my own and exploring the town.  The winding roads that dead-end, the narrow sidewalks and magically appearing cars around corners no longer frighten me like the times past.  Striding down the street purposefully made me feel more like I was at home than most anything else.

Camera360_2014_12_23_053533_jpgJet-lag means tiredness and odd wake-up times, but it also means a giant hammer striking against your fragile self-esteem.  Inadequacies are hard things to ignore when your rose tinted glasses are scratched blind.

But they’re so much easier to deal with when you’re able to breathe and take them off for a bit.  The world is full of bumps and slight dips but nature and people have a way of filling them in with color, life and novelty.  When we’re running about our day-to-day lives we miss the details.  The things we do notice, ripped up roads, piles of leaves and broken verges are usually taken with a cringe, a frown and a general air of obstruction.  What ought to be beautiful, our own lives, are relegated to the mundane and chore-list of life.

And the only thing I can do is remind myself to lift the scratched lenses from my eyes.

Camera360_2014_12_22_074327_jpgAnd finally see.

Camera360_2014_12_22_074123_jpgIf only for a bit.


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Happy Anniversary! You fool…

April isn’t my favorite month. Even though the flowers start to pop out of the cold ground and the sun begins to thaw frozen joints, April is fickle.  Temps fluctuate like hot flashes during menopause and the rain creeps up on you from behind a bright sun.  It’s not the worst month (February gets that honor), but it isn’t all that.

It starts off with fun and games – I pulled a prank on both my parents with a “look what we bought!” pic of a random car.  They both fell hard and my mother even tried zooming in the pic I had text to see the odd sticker on the bumper.  Little did I know that my “April fool’s!” was a bit too spot on.

I was really excited about our upcoming 10th anniversary.  We had a cabin rented, a hot tub awaiting us and a LOT of food packed for a four day break.  I couldn’t wait to sit cuddled on the couch in front of the large screen tv and watching the latest Sherlock episode.  We had been holding back from watching it for our trip.  The cabin promised secluded trails and we both liked the idea of being away from it all.

Except the gods of April had other plans. 😦

Those plans didn’t involve a warm log cabin with heaping plates of warm saag.  They didn’t include Cary Grant movies or long dips in the hot tub.   Instead, they involved a two day stay in a town we never heard of, a broken timing belt, and a damaged engine with a freak snow storm tossed in for fun.  Ha. Ha.

Happy Anniversary!

hotelWe tried to make the best of it as we waited for the bad news from the mechanic.  There was a thrift store within walking distance of our hotel where we picked up some cheap paperbacks.  The fried cheesecake was also helping.  Just a bit.  😉

dessertSo after a nail-biting hour trip back home in a car with only 3 cylinders and no trip and no hot tub, I do get the chance to say:  I got a new car for my anniversary!
Course,  that statement comes with a few caveats:  a new car means a dead, old car.  A new car means a new monthly bill and a new car means bye, bye house down-payment.

Well, they do say that April is a time of change and renewal.  I just didn’t think it took it so seriously.

priusMeet Luna!  Our new Prius C.  I wasn’t sure about the purchase at the time, but now I love her.  Enough to actually name her!  We picked Luna as a name due to her “moonglow” special coloring.  It’s actually just sparkly white, but we thought Luna fit her.  Our old car still needs fixing or trading, but at least we can tackle that when the whirlwind that was April settles down.

May, however, is looking up!  Starting it off with a huge plate of millionaire bars certainly doesn’t hurt.  These were all the rage the last time we went to visit England and I had wanted to try out the recipe, but was scared off by the ingredients.  While the 4 sticks of butter is still so scary I try not to think about it, the small 1 inch square pieces and sharing most of them with coworkers makes them a bit better.

Course, hearing that these were the best my hubby has ever eaten made them an instant winner!  🙂

millionaireThe recipe involved homemade caramel and shortbread.  Sounds daunting, right?  Actually, it was really easy.  This was one of the easiest bars I’ve ever made, even if it did involve three steps.  Just mix, pour and set.  They were so soft yet firm, sweet yet mild and so delicious that I put this on my “must repeat” list of desserts.

You can find multiple versions of the same recipe all over the web.  I used this one with great success:  Tracey’s Culinary Adventures.  The only changes I made was to use half semi-sweet chocolate and half dark chocolate in the top layer.  This gave the layer more weight without adding more sweetness.

In like a lamb and out like a lion?  They’re not kidding!  Still, with April showers we do get May flowers, so hopefully we’ll get some brilliant blooms.  It’s my favorite month, after all. 🙂

 


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10:30 am Rapid Ride

seattleThe tall, triumphant, disk rising to blue swathed heavens
competing with steel, glass and the footsteps of thousands.
Bundles of bright blooms, bags of earthy produce,
spontaneous showers of protest
rights, rights for all! rights for me and you and them!
subdued to a murmur of energy as water
ebbs and crests with the caws of black, ancient eyes.
A hazy peak slides in and out of life’s daily chores –
majestic, grand, eternally situated at the corner of the eye.
Sweet, peanut layered toast mornings
Filled with pre-run milky tea reflections.
To be there is to be caught in a daze
a high that reaches to gray snowy caps
with the sea tugging us down.
Stay, just a little longer.
Rise high with us just a little bit more.
Stand tall with the tips of the marching trees
along the highway that takes you into the emerald city.

 

Two weeks after our vacation to Seattle, I’m finally coming back down to my Midwestern reality.  Our weeks have been filled with post-break appointments and chores as daily life comes back in full force.  I want to end my Seattle series with a few last tips.  If you ever plan on taking a break to Seattle, here’s a few things we’ve learned:

  1. Rent a vacation home for a real city experience.  Our rental home was cheaper than any hotel and it was well stocked and felt like home every time we came back from a full day of sightseeing.  It’s definitely the way we’re going to plan our vacations from now on.  Just be sure to shop around a bit to find the best deal and the best location.
  2. In amongst the ins and outs, the goings on of every day sightseeing, take breaks.  LOTS of breaks.  With coffee and preferably a nice sweet bun on the side.  Those are the moments that you’ll really remember because life seeps into your skin and you absorb not only the moment, but the day-to-day life of the city.  Some of my favorite moments were when we stopped, sipped at a cup and watched life walk by.
  3. Be prepared to be surprised.  We knew that Seattle was known for being progressive and socially conscious, but we didn’t know just how nice the people would be.  Strangers would ask us if we needed directions on the street.  Overworked grocery store clerks were efficient and nice as they trusted us when we told them the price of our unscannable cheese.  Even bus operators chatted over the intercom about the weather and wished us a great weekend at the end of a Friday!  If a city that gets rain 9 months out of the year can still be happy, then why can’t the rest of us?  A smile and a friendly face makes life easier, nicer and welcoming.
  4. You will eat and you will eat a lot.  Be ready to put your diet on a brief hold (unless you have a will of iron) but make sure that you’re still taking every opportunity to exercise and eat only what you’ll not regret.  I experienced some of my best runs on vacation as I ran along wide sidewalks, past succulents and mountain skies.  I ate some of the best food and while I regret the extra pounds, I don’t regret the wonderful flavors that crossed my tongue.  Taste and smell are both critical aspects of memory.  When that museum fades into the misty shadows of memory, the joy of sinking teeth into a sweet, chewy bun will not.

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