Wednesday, November 26, 2014

HOPING FOR A THANKSGIVING MIRACLE

The snow is falling rapidly, coating everything at a steady and even rate.  It is the day before Thanksgiving and I am thankful that I got everything that I need right here at home.  It is quiet in the house, only the sound of steam coming up from the radiators is penetrating my ears.

Thomas is fast asleep on the couch, Richard is working at the studio and I am working on what little I have to do for my holiday prep in between playing games, reading and writing.  It is going to be a quiet Thanksgiving this year, unless I get unexpected visitors.

My eldest son has to work and my middle son is punishing me.  Still I remain hopeful that he may come to his senses it being a holiday and join us for the meal.  He is stubborn, as his Dad told my youngest son a couple of weeks ago, of course he gets that from me, so I am not going to hold my breath.  I can only hope that he finds some love in his heart and some hunger for Mom's Thanksgiving dinner!

I have so much to be Thankful for this year, as I do each and every year.  My family, my health, a roof over my head and new and true love (not to be mistaken with what passed for true love during previous times in my life)

My children are healthy and I have a secret that I can't share (which the thought of puts me over the moon!) I hate to even count my blessings aloud for fear that they will somehow be taken away from me.  Suffice it to say that I am blessed this year more than any of the previous years of my existence.

I am debating calling and making amends with my son, although I have done nothing to him personally.  I understand his reasoning which is fear based (I assume.) although he would deny it.  I feel responsible since I have taught him this behavior by the simple fact of my life and how I respond to things.

So many times during his life my family chose not to accept decisions in my life which led them to stop talking to me and me to them, so how could it not be normal for my son to do the same to me?  I miss him very much however and can only pray that he will come to a different understanding than the one he currently possesses.  I can only hope by some miracle that my stubborn boy will soften a bit.  Here is hoping for that miracle!

I would like to extend the warmest of Thanksgiving love to you all and hope that you too have everything you need during this time.





Sunday, November 23, 2014

CONFESSIONS OF AN ADDICT

Being an addict is difficult.  I must confess, although some of you know this about me, it may come to a surprise to a lot of you to learn that I have a huge addiction.  I didn't plan on it, it just kind of happened.

One day I was an average single parent.  Raising my three sons, living my life, working 60 to 80 hours a week.  I was up at 6:30 a.m. and worked non stop at my family, my job and keeping a very neat and orderly home and going to bed around 1:00 a.m. each and every night and waking up and doing it all over again, day in and day out.

That all changed.  The funny thing is that when everything changed for me I had a premonition five minutes before and then boom ~ be careful what thoughts you think since they just may come true.
My life changes occurred when I was pulling out of my driveway.  I had done this numerous times, as a passenger since fourth grade and then as a driver since the age of 16.  We used to joke about getting hit occasionally and I am surprised that it took so long for an accident to happen at the top of our driveway which was on the end of a street connecting to a major route.

One minute I was driving a car length and a half to the stop sign, the highway was all clear when I started and then out of nowhere I was hit halfway to the stop sign and my car was being pushed thirty feet down the road.

I remember looking at the driver of the car as my car was being pushed and thinking 'You can put your brakes on anytime now, during my non carnival ride experience, when she finally hit her brakes and I came to a stop in front of my neighbors house and almost to my mailbox which was on a pole across the street from their house.

My car got banged up a little my body a little bit more so as it had taken the impact of the force of being hit on the drivers side between my front wheel and my door, hitting my head and getting whiplash in the process.

I spent the next few hours in the hospital and the next few years getting treatment through the Pain Clinic, taking medicine and doing as much as possible to get my life back.  The pain took over my life and the medicine made my brain more fuzzy than it did to control the pain.

I quickly went from a person capable of doing anything that I wanted and needed to do with a type A personality to having many limitations and a fuzzy brain to boot, losing my talent of naming songs within three notes along with being able to focus, concentrate and put sentences together properly.
I could not deal with that so in my spare time (of which I had ample quantities) I began to play games to improve my small motor and brain function.  I had recently gotten a computer so my choices were unlimited as to what I could access and I remember developing quite a routine playing time management games and doing research.

My children have been gamers for many years before my accident, me not so much.  My time being a gamer, I thought, was different from theirs until recently. Sure, I liked my time on the Internet and I use it to distract myself from pain now that I am not taking medicine (and haven't since 2008).
My pain didn't go away.  My problem didn't go away either.  I use video games to distract myself from excessive pain and boredom.  My life is fuller now and my brain thinks in a straight line once more but I still use video games to keep sharp.

The problem seems now to be that the limited time I have on the computer since my computer has been broken for a few months and I have to share my sons computer when he is not using it, I now spend a majority of my time keeping up with games that I used regularly which makes it seem like that is all I do.

My problem has caused me to lose friends (on Facebook) who are not gamers and who do not understand the use of said platform to distract myself with my video games when I have the limited opportunity to solve my puzzles, feed my virtual dogs, earn my gold and beat people who are ahead of me.

I have developed a serious competitive side which I have never had before and strive to get higher scores than my teammates.  True, I used to be on longer and space out my game postings but life isn't perfect and my recent surgery has left me with less ability, some more pain, writers block and limited focus leading me not to get a working computer up and running.

I could be addicted to pain medication but I am not.  I could be addicted to booze and drugs, but I am not.  No ladies and gentlemen,  my name is Jennifer and I am a video game addict.

TALKING BOOKS AT THE WHITNEY CENTER FOR THE ARTS ~ REVIEW

It may be cold outside but that isn't stopping Ghazi Kazmi from bringing sizzling hot culture to the Berkshires with his newest venture "Talking Books" with Stephanie Abrams.  She is a Travel Expert Radio Host and Author of "Rumors."  After she read it over for the fifth time she decided "Rumors" was worth putting her name on.  It is a must read and hard to put down from the reports I have heard!
 
Add to the mix Sandra Howell a West Springfield resident whose love in life is the American Curly Haired horse. The American Curly is a  rare horse that she breeds.  She also helped to reestablish the line in Sweden by sending over her mare for breeding.  She has mixed her love of horses with her love of writing.

Sandra wanted to write her memoirs but friends and her writing club encouraged her to share her stories of her horses since they loved to hear about them.  This led her to  write the "Equine Mysteries" among other writing endeavors.  Sandra loves to inspire people, and promotes Therapeutic Riding Programs and Rescue Horses.

Malachy McCourt was also in the house and had the audience roaring with his Irish accent and his excerpts from his book "A Monk Swimming." Here are the links to the reading, it is not to be missed! (Click highlighted links for part 1 and part 2.)

The three writers shared their styles and processes with a large crowd of writers and book appreciators during a two hour period. "Talking Books" is going to be a regular feature at the Whitney Center for the Arts with a second scheduled for December 6, 2014 at 2:00.



All of the writers present agree that anything you write begins with the things you know ~ interesting or unresolved issues.  They develop characters from people they know and then modify them. Both Stephanie and Sandra use outlines and Sandra knows how her book will end before she begins.

Stephanie received feedback from a neighbor who had questions and suggestions. While she doesn't always follow the advice she said one needs to be open to listening and understanding and then just go with your gut.

Stephanie shared the fact that when she writes, something happens during the process of writing and she is taken over and the characters "come through her." She often writes through the night without even realizing how much time has passed.

Malachy McCourt was born in Brooklyn but grew up in Ireland.  He writes about his wild life and drinking days.  He said "I don't write, I write things down."  He insists the mind is like a computer which retains everything.

Although he did not finish school, he said it doesn't matter as long as you can tell a story, and tell a story he does!!  He writes longhand and dictates his story into the computer. As a child he listened to the older folk who told stories in the oral tradition and recommends you just "Tell the story!"

Time passed quickly as we were entertained and schooled by the first three writers in this ongoing series. The evening ended with a song "Will Ye Go Lassie Go" and the audience chimed in at parts. Malachy's parting words were: "Live everyday as if it is your last, cuz one day you will be right."




.


Monday, November 17, 2014

MAKING THE MOST OF MY TIME

Monday and the view out my window is dismal and dark.  Fitting since I woke with a knot in my stomach which I can only hope is a passing thing.  The sky spitting rain to go along with the pain.  I think back over the past week to ensure that it is not from nerves.

My week went pretty well with an amazing night Wednesday at the Whitney Center for the Arts and a new program "Talking Books" with Stephanie Abrams hosting.  Three very diverse writers on the stage sharing their experiences and giving me food for thought and some wonderful laughs from Malachy McCourt with excerpts from his life and his book.

This is going to be a regular thing at the Whitney, with different Authors, of course, and Stephanie Abrams hosting.  I really enjoyed listening to published authors go through their processes and share with a room filled with people, including my own sweet cousin Marguerite, who insists that I have a book inside me which she cannot wait to read.  Someday I hope to prove her right!

The two hours of sitting was killer on my back for a change instead of my neck and I spent the last 30 minutes praying for the night to be over ~ the stabbing pains down both of my legs driving me to distraction and straight to bed with some medicine once I got home.

I had too much to do to let a little pain get in my way.  My granddaughter was due on Friday for a long overdue sleepover, the first since my surgery.  We were both looking forward to it.  I had to pull myself and my house together for her visit.  The house was in better shape than I was but I managed to get everything done and feeling fine by Friday night when she arrived.

I took the easy way out and ordered pizza and wings to be delivered.  She arrived with a book on Archaeology and a kit to excavate a dinosaur from two hunks of rock.  She and Thomas set to work in the dining room (after covering the table with newspaper).  Unfortunately Thomas' hunk of rock held most of the pieces of dinosaur "bones" but Ainsley was a trooper and the next morning she busily tried to piece the dinosaur skeleton together.

It took me back to the days when her Dad was younger than she was and naming all of the dinosaurs and whether they were meat eaters or plant eaters and even knowing how to spell those names at four years old!  Ahh the memories!

When the pizza arrived I packed up all the rock pieces and dust (and was there a ton of dust) and the tools away and we all sat down and enjoyed some delicious dinner together.  I was surprised to find my boyfriend had never eaten a hot wing before ~ so I exposed him to something new for a change!

After dinner Ainsley decided it was time to play her favourite game and that is being a banker.  She took out her computer and hired Thomas before the rest of us got involved in the game which saved Thomas at which time he escaped to the safety of his computer.

I had baked brownies after ordering the pizza and we were all anxious for them to cool for dessert, which was made even better with the suggestion of Ice Cream to go on top which was promptly picked up.

My boyfriend introduced a new concept to the banking game by making a paper check to be deposited into his "account" in addition to having the bank send out his car payment.  Ainsley got a kick out of that and made me make a check for deposit as well.  This game seems to be progressing into a possible career.

In the morning we (Ains and I),  had to play bank again since Ainsley herself wanted to deposit a check and even included the car payment deduction.  It was fun, as it always is, hanging out with my monkey girl.  She had me in stitches while she played WII Resort as she delighted in knocking her opponent off of a tower in Sword fighting and yelling at the game while she played ping pong when she felt she got robbed points!

Finally, she was ready for breakfast and I made pancakes which is our usual Saturday morning ritual when she is over.  With the addition of some frozen blueberries in a bowl and some fresh pineapple she was set.

I still felt like crap when I woke up, but I learned long ago how to push the pain out of my brain and focus on something else.  I had promised Ainsley that no matter how bad I felt we would do this sleepover.  I tried not to show how bad I felt through it all.

After breakfast we set to work on baking some coffee cakes I had been putting off making.  Since she was too busy to bake brownies with me the night before I figured there was no time like the present and I love to use cooking to distract myself.

She set to work chopping the walnuts and I set to work measuring and mixing up a double batch of bread and topping (which also goes into the bread).  She patiently waited for me to put it in the oven in order to challenge me yet again to some more sword fighting and ping pong and even golf which it turns out she doesn't like.

Noon came too quickly and my son and his wife were at the door.  This time we were ready.  I made sure she was dressed for a change.  While she was getting ready I packed up all of her rocks and tools again, found her discarded socks, made sure she had her toys loaded up her backpack and she was ready.

We had to wait for my son to get in a few games on the WII before they departed.  I do love visiting with my family and we all laughed at Jeff's WII character he made so many years ago, which looks so much like him it isn't funny!

When they left I decided to lay down.  I was supposed to go to a performance that night and it was clear to me that I was probably not going to make it.  I was sent to bed to take a nap (which didn't work) and even the hot water from the shower seemed not to work the magic I was hoping for.

In the end I missed the performance guilt free since they were packed I got the feeling that it was okay that I would not be able to attend.  I guess I have to learn my limits all over again, something which has been a constant thing over the past fifteen years.

Now, since the new surgery it is a whole different ball of wax.  I feel good in a way, but when these new symptoms come on I am not really too sure how to deal with them.  Fortunately I will be seeing my neurosurgeon this week.  At least today is just a minor stomach ache and not anything stress or spine related!

I am getting a little antsy without my computer.  I think the under abundance of information is dulling my brain a little bit.  I hope that will motivate me soon to try to piece something together so I can get back on track and kick start that little voice in my head once again.  I am beginning to miss it's endless chatter and being able to write when it does speak up.

Until next time, have a great day and don't forget to smile!


Friday, November 14, 2014

UNEXPECTED PARTS 1- 9 (AND AN UPDATE)


In light of being really busy today and not having time to write before my granddaughter arrives for our fabulous and long overdue sleepover and to have my story all in one place so I don't lose anymore of it accidentally, (long story ~ me and the nook do not get along)(notice part 8 is different than the original!) I decided to share the entire story to date in one place up to the newest part 9 which I wrote the other day.

I do hope you will take a moment to read, comment, like and share.  I hope to be back up and running soon, since I have been feeling better and may be able to get my own computer up and running before too long.  

Without further adieu, my unexpected 9 part story which began from a 500 word photo challenge off of Glipho, whom I love!!  This piece, written and posted as cliffhangers  has taken me to a whole new place as far as writing goes.  I also have more fiction which deviates from my "normal" blog writing which I had been doing regularly.  Feel free to check it out.

I also have decided to opt out of the Novel in a Month during November since I do not have regular access to a computer, so for now this is the best I can do ~ Part 10 is in the works and who knows after that!!

UNEXPECTED
Jennifer M. Gallant aka GClawdia


It was getting dark as I walked down the wooded road.  I was not afraid.  Being alone in the woods was only scary if you let yourself be scared.  A twig cracked to my right.  Okay, maybe I was  a little scared.

After escaping from the basement of the house I was held up in I had less to fear out here in the woods than what my captures might have done for me if I hadn't of used my head and taken the one opportunity to escape.

What a freaky day it was turning out to be.  I  was minding my own business when I found myself thrown into a car and dragged into a house I had never seen, to be left alone in the creepy basement.

They should have tied me up if they didn't want me to escape.  Thankfully they were not that smart. Now I found myself on this wood road as night fell.  I should be more concerned that they might find me, but I was more concerned about trying to figure out where in the hell I was.

The car ride wasn't that far, so I can't be too far away from where I had been snatched up.  I thought as I walked.  Crossing the stream and heading as far and as fast as I could away from my prison, I was happy to be away from there.

Since I had left in a huff, storming out of my house and swearing I would never come back, I doubt anyone back home had even begun to worry that I wasn't home yet.  They probably wouldn't worry for a couple of days and it had only been a couple of hours!

No service on my cell, what would I say to anyone if I did have service?  Hey, would you come get me?  I am in the woods but I don't know where - I could see how that would play out!  Safer in the woods ~ I thought to myself.

I had a feeling if my captures were looking they would be driving on the road, not searching the woods, thinking I would go to where I could flag someone down and escape more quickly.  No stranger to walking, and knowing it is better to be off the main roads, I chose the woods.  After all I didn't look like I would be an outdoorsy girl, but looks can be deceiving!

I saw a solid stick along the path, that would make a good weapon I thought, in case I was wrong and they did run into me.  Chances are ~ I was okay, but better to be safe than sorry.  I continued deeper down the wooded road.

Night fell.  Now I was beginning to get scared.  I kept walking, listening for voices, noises in the woods.  Any signals which would alert me to be ready for fight or flight.


Unexpected Part 2

I noticed an outcrop of rocks off the path.  It was up high so I decided to check it out and have a rest after walking for what seemed like days.  I gratefully sat upon a nice smooth rock, back up against a tree and feet up.

I was glad I had my sneakers on and not some stupid pair of uncomfortable shoes.  I lit a smoke and looked around.  Not too much to see, and now it was even darker!  I finished my smoke and explored my surroundings.  

There was a little shelter under one of the rocks.  Maybe I should take a rest here and start out in the daylight, I thought to myself.  I was very tired.  Nothing had looked familiar.  No idea where I was.
Better not to light a fire ~ in case they were in the woods looking for me.  A fire would be a dead giveaway to my location.

The woods were quiet as I gathered some dried leaves to make the hard ground more comfortable. Glad I had my gloves and hat with me to say the least and my fleece under my coat.  I took my coat off and used it as a pillow.

As I lay there, I began to think about what the hell had transpired.  All I did was get into an argument with my son, storm out and maybe if I wasn't so mad I would have noticed those sketchy people before they grabbed me and threw me in the car.

I wish I had been more observant!  Getting mad at myself would not change the situation that I was in.  I thought back to the basement of the house I was put in.  Not much to go on there either.
They had blindfolded me after putting me in the car so I don't even know what direction they took me ~ or if I was headed in the right direction towards home.

What I wouldn't give to be home right now, sipping a tea, laying in my bed watching t.v. with my son.  I hope he isn't too worried, I thought as I fell into a semi deep slumber.  I woke with a start ~ a twig broke very close by.  It was darker than it had been when I sat down to rest.  I could barely see my hand in front of my face.  What time was it?  Was that an animal - or a person??

I listened.  Thankful that I had found this little cave under the rocks.  I held my breath and listened harder.  My eyes adjusted to the darkness, but I still did not see anything.  Maybe it was just an animal ~ I thought.

I was too wired to go back to sleep.  After ten minutes I did not see or hear anything else.  I decided to keep walking and maybe I could make it to the road and flag down a car ~ would it be safe?
Were they still looking for me?  Why had they taken me?  These and many more questions flooded through my brain as I walked back toward the path.


UNEXPECTED PART 3


Should I knock and find out where I was, perhaps use the phone or should I head toward the road and try to get a location marker, I wondered as I neared the house.  I decided to knock.  At the very least I could call home and let them know what had happened to me.

My son should be worried by now.   He usually called me if I was gone more than an hour.  With no service he was probably frantic by now.  Hell, I was beginning to be a bit unnerved myself.  I knocked on the door.

I heard noises inside the house as someone approached the door and slowly the door opened.  I am sure no one expects visitors before it is even light out and I probably looked a mess after sleeping under a rock in the woods.

Before me stood a middle aged man, coffee in hand.  He did not seem too surprised to see me.  I did not recognize him.  I explained I was lost and needed to use the phone if he had one.  He invited me in and offered me a cup of tea.

The phone rang while he was in the kitchen making my tea and I could here some of the conversation from the other room.  " ...she is here."  That was enough for me ~ I quickly ran out the door ~ my heart was pounding a million beats a minute.

Fuck!  What the fuck did he mean "she is here?"  Who the hell was that and who was on the other end of the phone.  I ran!  I did not know what else to do!  Shit!  Now they had a location on me and it was getting lighter by the second.

Things were not looking too good for me at the moment!  I needed a place to hunker down before they located me.  The road would not be safe ~ why hadn't I just gone to the road in the first place! Just my luck the one place I see is a danger zone!


UNEXPECTED PART 4

I stopped running to listen.  Scanning my surroundings for shelter ~ safety.  Someplace to stop and think and get my bearings on not only my location but the entire situation.

I didn't hear anything ~ no dogs barking tracking ~ not yet, mainly I could hear the sound of my heart pounding in my ears over all else.  I hadn't run like that in 30 years and I felt like I was going to have a heart attack!

Looking behind me, I saw nothing, heard nothing.  Good sign?  It was hard to tell.  Knowing now that two separate houses of people were involved in snatching me up and bringing me to this desolate place ~ which was not too far a drive from my local neighborhood store~to an area which I was unfamiliar with!

To my left ~ up the hill ~ I remember thinking to myself ~ why is the option always up????  I saw another crop of rocks which might offer some shelter/safety and give me some time to think to catch my breathe and to figure out what my options were here.

I headed up.  I was glad that the ground was firm and there were no tracks being left to give me away. Had it been the week before with all the mud after the rain I would not be so lucky.  The shelter of rocks would do I noticed as I reached my destination.

I sat down and listened some more.  Not  hearing a peep ~ including birds I noticed, had they gone silent because of me, or did they know something I was not privy to yet?  I took a chance and lit a smoke and grabbed some broken branches which were laying around the rocks to make my hiding place less evident.

I lit a smoke and settled into my little cave.  I could see the wood road I had come off of below me through my "doorway".  I felt pretty secure for now.  I rummaged in my bag.  Checked my phone again ~ still no signal, damn mountains!  

What else was in this bag that could be helpful??  Some gum ~ good, unwrapping a piece of Spearmint gum and popping it in her mouth.  I got a rush from the sugar and some saliva. My stomach grumbled as a reminder of not having eaten in two days, and wished I had gotten that tea before the phone rang.

He probably would have drugged it, I thought, and then I would not be free in the woods (hiding in a rock cave).  I would take the rock cave over a basement ~ or who knows what would have been harsher conditions since I had escaped the first time.

Not for the first time the words "What the fuck" flashed through my brain.  This indeed is the most bizarre situation and did fall in that category nicely.  Focus ~ I thought to myself, as I chewed my gum.

Noticing the birds had begun their music once again seemed to reassure me that the men were not looking in the woods at this moment in time for her.  My heart was slowing to a more manageable pace now.

Good, calming down, I thought.  No one  could think with their heart pounding like that ~ not clearly anyhow, and I need to think.  I needed not to know what this was all about, more immediately, I needed to think about how to get out of these damn woods and back to home (safety).

Maybe they thought I had gone to the road and got a ride.  I wished I had done that earlier, now it did not seem like an option.  Maybe not right away ~ maybe later.  I will play it by ear.  I rummaged some more.  Nothing to eat ~ I had only bought some cajun seasoning and gum at the store.

I had long ago stopped carrying the knife and the pepper spray since the dog was gone ~ they had been protection from other dogs after the two attacks of her dog while they were walking in the city.
I thought about my dog ~ a source of comfort and sorrow combined.

I wish he was here with me now, just to have companionship, petting him always made her feel better ~ and those teeth would be good protection.  But he was gone now, I never got used to the idea of my fearless protector not being there protecting me.

Not that I had ever needed protection before ~ not like now!!  Focus ~ don't start getting all sad and mushy ~ I reprimanded myself for straying off into loss and sorrow.  I had no time for that right now!


UNEXPECTED ~ Part 5



Carefully I removed the door from the rock cave, crawled out and got to my feet.  I needed to stand and stretch after the refreshing, yet cramped nap.  I still had no idea what to do.  I looked around and noticed a paper on the ground about twenty feet away.

I walked over and bent down to pick it up.  It was a couple pages of the local paper.  I looked at the print and then looked at the date. Well, how could that be?  I thought to myself?  The paper was dated two years later than it was in reality.  Was this some kind of a joke?  I wondered.

The implications of the date on the paper were lost on her.  How could it be two years later than it was when she walked out of her house and to the store?  That was messed up.  I had no clue!
Damn, I thought, my sons really must be wondering where I was!  Two years?

I was having trouble processing this information rationally.  It must be a joke paper...I thought to myself again.  I tried to remain calm and process this new information.  I walked over to a tree and relieved myself and headed back to my shelter and lit a smoke, processing this news.

Where had I been for two years?  Who were those men and what did they want with her? Had she been in that basement for two years???  I wanted answers, but I needed to find my family.  Needed to get out of these woods and back home.

I smoked my cigarette as I thought, enjoying the normalcy of smoking a cigarette.  The only normal thing that I could grasp at the moment.  Stay calm, I thought again.  Don't freak out ~ that paper could not be right!

I could feel myself losing control ~ reacting emotionally and that was the last thing I needed right now.  At least I was not in immediate danger.  Then I heard a branch snap down the wood road from whence I came.

Quickly, I took shelter and put up the door...did they see the smoke?  Did they see me?  Was it them? Panic rose inside of me.  Stay calm, I thought, calm, peaceful, Quiet!  I held my breath and waited for them to find me or walk on by.


UNEXPECTED ~ PART 6



I watched from the safety of my small opening as a boy and a dog took a stroll in the woods.  If they were with the people she fled from and the house whose door she knocked on she could not pick up on it by the body language ~ they appeared harmless enough.

My heart once again began to slow down to a normal rate.  With this new realization that I had been gone for two years I was at a loss for what to do.  Now, not only was I somewhere I had no clue about, but it was suddenly two years later?!!?

Someone sure had a lot of explaining to do!  That could wait, however, until I could pinpoint my location and  family.  I thought about the day I had left in a huff ~ a minor misunderstanding ~ yet, hadn't I said I was never coming back as I stormed out?

Suddenly, I became concerned about my family.  What if I couldn't find them?  What if they thought I really had planned this and no one had noticed or cared that I was gone.  Sure, I said I was never coming back all the time ~ but I always did after a brief cool down ~ but two years!

Now the desire to get out of these woods seemed more urgent.  I decided then and there that I would find the road and find out where in the hell I was and try to get back home.  Home, would I even find it?  

What if my kids thought I had left ~ would there be anything but anger to go back to?  They were going to be very angry with her indeed!  As a Mom, they should realize that she would never go to such extremes over a stupid fight which quite frankly she could not even remember!

Had anyone been looking for her? Where had she been for such a long time?  I waited for the sun to drop down, but not completely set before I got on the wood road to try to find a main highway, knowing that I would get no answers hiding in a shelter in the woods.

I was worried, hungry and tired.  Now she was something else as well ~ determined to get back to her family safe and in one piece and find out what I had missed over the course of the previous two years.

When I was on the wood path again, I began walking in the direction of the boy and the dog.  I was fairly confident that I would hear the noise of the traffic or see street lights ~ something to indicate the road.

I remembered when I was knocking on the door the day before that the driveway led to a road ~ so one could not be too far away.  With any luck it wouldn't be a secondary road.  At the very least I hoped for a sign so I could get my bearings.

Was I even in my hometown?  This question and a few others filled my head as I walked through the woods.  The birds were still making noise, despite my presence.  That was a very good sign indeed.
As night fell, I was grateful for the warmth of my fleece and my coat.

The night air cooled as the night sky deepened first orange slowly changing to pitch black.  It became very dark indeed.  I listened and heard what sounded like running water.  Just in time ~ I thought ~ I sure could use a drink.

I continued to walk towards the sound.  Down the path and further down the hill ~ I saw the twinkling of headlights in the distance ~ a road!  I began to get excited ~ thoughts of water completely out of her head now ~ warmer thoughts of home and my family occupied my brain instead.


UNEXPECTED PART 7
Tuesday, 15 April 2014 11:53 PM

 I made my way in the direction of the headlights careful to be aware of my footing as I made haste to get to the road before dark.  I wanted to be able to (hopefully) assess the drivers of the stopping car to avert another poor choice in judgement.


I was still careful to be mindful on my way through the woods  down the rocky and rooted way towards the direction I had seen the car lights coming from.  I took a piece of gum out of my bag, forgoing the water I had originally planned to scout out and I looked around to make sure no one was around.

Ten minutes later I made it to the road.  It was a secondary road, not quite dirt but close to it.  Hmm, which direction should I head?  Since the house I had knocked on was behind her, I chose to move forward and stick to the edge of the road in case I needed to duck into the woods if my intuition kicked in.

Pretty quiet, somewhat warmish evening with a pretty sky was before me.  Soon it would be full on dark.  I didn't mind walking, keeping my eyes open for any signs or landmarks I might recognize along with trouble as I made my way down the road.

I thought some more about the boys.  Sure they were grown men, they had been when I left but they would always be her babies.  I wondered what they thought about my "disappearance" as I made my way, hopefully, in the direction of home.

I  hoped I was heading in the right direction.  I needed to find out where I was.  Why was there never any signs when you needed one?  With any luck she would hit a main road soon.  There were sure to be markers on a road bigger than this.

A phone would come in handy right about now.  I took mine out to see if I had a signal.  I was surprised I had battery life.  Still no bars on the phone.  Oh well, maybe once I broke free from these mountains...

I remembered how on one stretch of the road the phone would just be dead ~ no warning, no service and then just as suddenly good to go, that was in a car not walking.  I wondered how many steps I would  have to walk to get service!

I began to count as I walked on down the road.  "Think happy thoughts", I thought as I counted.   Check the phone after 100 steps.  100 steps and still no service ~ no traffic either.  This really was a remote road, must have been someone coming home from work.

I wondered if I would be lucky enough not to have to walk down this stretch of road without getting a ride and some answers as to just where I was.  I began to think about how to bring that up without giving up to much information.

Too much information ~ now that was a joke considering that I had 1) no idea where I was 2) no idea how I got there and 3) what had happened in the two years!  I would have to be tactful.  I would also have to be super cautious.

I knew that two separate entities were involved by the fact that I escaped the basement in one house and knocked on a door for help at a second house and those two places/people seemed to be connected somehow.

I stopped to check the phone again ~ no signal.  I decided to have a cigarette as I walked.  I liked to walk.  I used to walk to think ~ driving to think was her favourite with the radio blasting... I was lost in thought when I saw a car approaching.

I could not tell if it was friend or foe but I tried to flag it down.  My luck could not be all bad.  Think positive ~ happy thoughts~ trust your instincts ~ I thought to myself.  The car slowed down and pulled over just ahead of me.

I cautiously approached the car.  The driver put the passenger side window down "Hey, you look like you could use a ride." said the driver of the car.  I ducked my head down to get a look at the person speaking to me.

A young man around the age of her sons.  Okay, that was a slightly positive non threatening greeting. "Hi" I said, "Where are you headed?"  Hoping his answer would give me a clue as to where I was.
"Heading to the city" said the young man.

No help there, but I did live in what was the "city" so with luck they were on the same page. Anywhere was better than that basement or the woods.  I had enough of sleeping on the ground for a while.

"Hop in, I will give you a ride."


UNEXPECTED PART 8




I hopped into the car, sat down and put on my seat belt.  I did not sense any danger from this curly headed young man.  "I know how horrible this road is to walk ~ it gets long." said the young man.
The radio was playing quietly and the car was warm and cozy after her days in the woods.

"Where are you headed?"  I asked.  "I am meeting some friends in town to see a play at the Theater."  he said.  I could only hope it was my city.  I would soon find out.

The young man seemed to sense that conversation was not something I wanted so he turned up the radio a little and soon the sound of the tires on the road lulled me to sleep.  I wasn't sure how much time had passed when he said "We are almost there."

I opened my eyes and rubbed the sleep out of them.  It was the best sleep I had gotten in a while. Good thing he wasn't one of the bad guys I thought to myself as I looked around.  I was relieved to see a familiar sight ~ the lake she grew up on was to her right.

I tried not to let my excitement show at the sight of it.  Relief passed through me.  Perhaps I would see my boys and get some answers to the mystery of what had happened to me.  They arrived on the Main Street of the city where I had been taken from.  A very familiar sight indeed.

Closer and closer to home and family.  I was excited!!!  "I hope this gets you closer to where you need to be." he said.  "It is perfect, " I replied, "Thanks for the ride ~ I totally appreciate it!  Have a great time at your play."

"You're welcome," he said.  They both got out of the car.  He headed to meet his friends and I lit a cigarette and contemplated whether I should call home first or just show up.  I was still a little groggy from my nap so I decided to walk in the direction of my son's residence.

Not too much had changed in the two years I had been away.  Perhaps that paper in the woods was not accurate ~ I was less concerned about the passage of time and more concerned about seeing my family.

I wondered what they thought about her disappearance and if they would be angry with her for the millionth time.   As  I walked nearer to their home I got nervous about their reactions.  Maybe I should call.

I took out my phone and began to dial and hung up the phone.  What would I say over the phone to them?  Maybe I should just show up.  It was early, just beginning to get dark and it wasn't too much further now.

I became more anxious and excited as I neared the boys home.  I decided to phone after all.  I dialed the number and the phone rang and rang.


UNEXPECTED PART 9
Wednesday, 12 November 2014 3:53 PM


The phone continued to ring as I walked towards the last place I knew the boys were.  I hoped that they were still there.  I was so nervous as I anticipated seeing them and their reactions to seeing her.

I began to wonder just how angry they would be.  What could they be thinking?  I did leave the house angrily, but not so angry that I would leave and have no contact for a couple of years and I hoped they knew that.

I walked the familiar roads not passing any other pedestrians as I went.  Now that I was in familiar territory I was not afraid at all.  First things first, I thought ~ see the boys and find out what they know.

After that all I wanted was a shower and some food and a real bed to sleep in.  I was sure that their anger would be minimal and that their relief at seeing her alive and well would override that anger. Time would tell.

I arrived at the street where the house was located, passing the second elementary school I had attended years before, which was now converted into condominiums.  The house was halfway down the street, I could see it from where she was on the corner.

It was difficult to tell if anyone was home due to the angle of the house.  I dialed the phone again to give them a heads up and to feel out their reaction.  Still the phone rang and rang.  I dialed the other numbers I had for them.

Still no answer.  That was odd ~ or was it?  Sometimes they neglected to answer the phone when they were busy.  I continued down the street  trying to keep my nervousness at bay.  This was almost as intense as walking down the road and waiting for a ride!

I tried to clear my mind. I had no idea what I would or could say to them to explain my absence.  I knew that they would not believe me, yet some part of me hoped they had developed some compassion in the time I had been gone.

Each step closer made her more anxious in anticipation of seeing them and about their reactions.  I lit another smoke and approached the house.  The house looked the same and as I walked up the driveway towards the front entrance noticing a familiar car in the driveway.

I took it for a good sign and my nervousness abated somewhat.  I took a final drag off of my smoke and tossed it to the ground and crushed it out with my foot before I walked up the porch steps onto the enclosed porch.

Everything looked the same so I could only hope that they still lived there and that someone was at home.  I had figured her youngest son would have moved in with his brother and his Dad after her sudden departure, otherwise I could not even begin to imagine where to find him.  I wondered where all of my belongings were as well.

Knock, knock, knock on the door.  My heart was pounding and my pulse was rapid as I waited for signs of life.



Tuesday, November 11, 2014

UPDATES AND UPCOMING EVENTS

Finally!  Time on the computer in a quiet house and an urge to write.  Since my computer has been down for I don't know how long anymore it has been a challenge to have the urge to write while I have access to the computer.

It seems so long ago and truly far away since the days that I wrote every single day without fail. With life's challenges and distractions getting in the way here and there.  Lately I have been recovering from my surgery and over the past few days have been feeling better than ever.

I am managing to get through days without pain medication, muscle relaxers and even my neck collar for support.  I haven't begun to over do it yet and throw myself into a bad place health wise, despite having the desire to do more around the house.  I am waiting for the all clear from my surgeon.

The incision is healing and I have a less frightening mark on the back of my neck as was confirmed the other day via photograph since I can't see the back of my neck any other way.  I know that when my fingers trace over the incision it feels totally repulsive to me so the photo helped a little bit (very little) to reassure me that is less horrible than my fingers lead me to believe.

I am looking forward to my first overnight in a while with my sweet granddaughter.  I cannot wait for Friday!!!  It has been too long with time passing much too quickly into the winter cold and snow. Our playground time past for yet another season with the prospect of a revised new playground with a wading pool ~ I for one cannot wait for spring to see how this huge project in the Common pans out.

I walked through the other day for the first time in a couple of months having been spoiled with rides everywhere I need to go.  The sidewalks are being put down and actually run into each other again. The basketball court moved, a new gazebo and a stage, along with a new bathroom ~ it does look promising.  Time will tell.

I have been keeping busy with cooking.  Last week I made a few major things at once ~ Crock Pot Turkey Chili and a nice Italian Pasta sauce and another Chicken Soup.  One thing I love when the weather gets cold is to fill the house with the warmth and fragrance of food.  Cooking for me is also a low energy activity.  With less computer time I don't mind spending the time chopping, sauteing and simmering food, especially with people around to appreciate it.

I had been a little bothered by the fact that my little writing voice seemed to be quiet.  I can't remember the last time that I didn't have constant thoughts and chatter running through my head be it an idea, a worry or writing a mental list of all of the stuff I feel I need to do.  

It made me look at the past couple of months to evaluate what has been going on.  Should I be worried?  No ~ I realized everything (or just about) is A-O-K.  I had been so worried waiting for my unexpected surgery and had been running on some kind of nervous energy, followed by the relief of surgery and the painful recovery and a calmness following that.  Life is good.

Waking up each day this week I have felt not pain but the absence of pain.  That is not to say that I don't feel it as the day progresses, at which time I take a little time out lie down and watch t.v. or read and let those muscles relax, sometimes  having to resort to wearing the neck brace but mostly not, I am glad I made the call and got evaluated by a doctor I trust.  

I got out Friday evening to enjoy my First Friday ArtWalk and found myself a bit disappointed at the lack of participation with only a half a dozen artists showing their work ~ most of whom I had never seen or heard of before, with some stores closed earlier than the scheduled time and the streets mostly deserted I got a feeling that things were just not right in the city of Pittsfield.

When I went into the NU Arts Studio's and there were only four or five artists in attendance it really felt like a change was in the air.  When the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts was closed down and lights off even though they were on the Map and supposed to be open I really began to worry.

My spirits were lifted when I arrived at the Whitney Center for the Arts where their was Art on the walls and people in attendance for the After ArtWalk Gathering I felt better once I had a glass of wine in hand ( my first since surgery since I wasn't taking meds).

I had a fun time chatting with the girl who makes the ArtWalk Maps and learning there was also a Newsletter.  After securing assurances from her that this was just a fluke (no art and no people on the streets) I felt better ~ or it could have just been the wine!

I felt I was in the right place and learned that Wednesday evening there was a big to do coming to the Whitney Center for the Arts .  Ghazi, the director was so excited about having Stephanie Abrams  Malachy Mc Court and Sandra Howell for a Talking Books @ the Whitney Center.  

All three writers will be in attendance with Stephanie Abrams leading the panel discussion with the writers.  I have not read any of the books and that is the lovely part ~ it is not a book club kind of thing, but an opportunity to meet, greet and ask questions from these three published authors.

As a fan of writing and as a writer of reviews for the Whitney I for one am eager to learn from other writers their process and experiences. The event is open to the public and FREE (unless you want to buy a book that is). Check out the link and maybe I will see you there!

That will begin my weekend a bit early followed by my sleepover with my Monkey Girl and then another great musical performance on Saturday at the Whitney with Ron Ramsay and Sam Talora 

That should be a full weekend with a semi busy week with a trip to Springfield on the 20th to see my totally awesome and favourite Neurosurgeon.  If he was surprised after my two week visit then I should really blow him out of the water with how awesome I have been doing since I last saw him!  He didn't become Chief of Neurosurgery by accident ~ he totally deserves it!

Anyway ~ for someone with no little voice buzzing in their head I seemed to have much to say ~ it really had been too long.  I will be back just as soon as I can and let you know how these two great events at the Whitney were (if you don't find out for yourselves that is!) 



Saturday, November 8, 2014

TUTTO ITALIANO AT THE WHITNEY CENTER FOR THE ARTS

I attended Opera Notte at the Whitney Center for the Arts on Sunday afternoon.  The room was filled with fellow Opera fans for an afternoon of Italian Arias.  Kara Delmer put together a wonderful show
along with Ron Ramsey on piano,  Courtney Clark on Violin, and Jessica Passetto, John Delmer, Joe Sicotte and Kara Delmer singing.
As the guests were seated and ordering from the Bistro Menu in preparation for the show I noticed John with an apron on, pouring wine and serving guests. knowing he usually sings I asked him if he was  singing today?  He replied "Not today".  I was amazed when he began singing "Bella Notte" as a waiter.
Ghazi Kazmi came out and introduced John Delmer after his performance, welcomed the audience and thanked them for being there and announced upcoming shows.  He then introduced Kara Delmer who spoke about the book "24 Italian Songs" leading into a performance of "Nel Cor piu Non Mi Sento" where she involved an audience member as she sang as she often does.
Tenor Joseph Sicotte then performed "Sebben Crudele" accompanied by Ron Ramsey on Piano and Courtney Clark on Violin after which he introduced guest singer Jessica Passetto who sang "Se Tu M'ami". It was really an enjoyable day for Italian speakers and non speakers alike.
The newest addition to the Whitney Center family ~ Courtney Clark from New Hampshire, played Verdi's  "Va Pensiero" on Violin accompanied by Ron Ramsey on Piano.  This piece of course wasn't vocal but Courtney made her instrument sing!
Jess Passetto followed by introducing four Mozart Arias.  She began with "Voi che Sapete" followed by Joe singing "Un Aura Amorosa".  John Delmer then came out and spoke about Don Giovanni, giving us background before entertaining us.

Singing to Elvira as Leporello, he exposes his masters numerous conquests.  As he sings he coyly  shows images from his tablet  of various women to the audience from Marilyn Monroe, to Paula Dean and Betty White to name a few, which got roars of laughter.

Jess and Kara followed with "Duet of Sull Aria" from Figaro. Accompanied by Courtney and Ron on violin and piano after which Kara introduced the next phase of the show which was a series of popular Neopolitan Songs.
Ron Ramsey delighted the audience with various renditions of songs from "The GodFather" from his seat at the Piano singing "Promise Me You'll Remember" and sharing little tidbits of information about the songs.

Kara and Joe followed Ron with a Duet from the movie "The Quest for Camelot" which was just spectacular!  John Delmer was very theatrical with his rendition of "That's Amore" once again engaging the audience before all of the members gathered to sing "Finiculi, Finicula".

What a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon for Opera Fans old and new!



Monday, November 3, 2014

RECOGNIZING PERSONAL GROWTH (WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS)!

Sunday was quite interesting for me, as I sat at the Whitney Center of the Arts prior to the performance and looked around I saw faces from days or shall I say lives gone past, as I, in  my mind consider each transition of my life a new chapter as one stage passes to another, or another life as it were.

I personally have transitioned more times than I care to recall, sometimes passing from one lovely experience or time period into another without passing go and collecting 200, instead passing through a shit storm of  horror and yes I will say drama (usually not mine), although it is usually directed at me.

If you have read my writings and my shared personal experiences you might realize that I do all that I can do to avoid conflict and drama.  I have lived through my share of it.  What you may not realize is that each traumatic and dramatic experience causes me to erase all experiences good or bad from those times.

As I looked around behind me and I recognized a face from my past with whom I spent some great times volunteering at my children's elementary school long ago, but I could not place a name to the face without asking it felt good to remember the good times without a hint of memory of the drama which made me erase those memories at all it felt good.

Looking in front of me and recognizing the owner and cook of a Restaurant I used to eat at weekly with my Mother and my Stepfather and my eldest son and then my middle son on the weekends and before work ~ recognizing and being recognized ~ a good feeling came over me again, and once more without any of those bad memories (not related to the person just during that time period) I once again felt good.

Looking to my left I saw a good man who believes that I have skill and talent enough to write reviews for performances at the Whit ~ something which I am totally enjoying and it makes me feel good as well.

Looking at the man seated to my right I find love like I have never experienced before in my life and which I know will not be drama filled.  Instead my life is full of mutual consideration, respect and understanding.  Any conflict resolved with communication and understanding and not anger, turmoil and abandonment.

Waking up this morning I was reminded indirectly that while I judge myself too harshly at times and take responsibility for the actions and guilt of others, I am remembered by many as a good person. That in itself makes me feel good as well.

I have been working very hard over the past 15 years or so to get to my core self ~ the person who lives and loves and has a great outlook despite the obstacles which I have personally created for myself, alone and with the help of others and I realized as I woke up that I have come a long way and I am thankful and grateful for that.

Normally I wouldn't even recognize this in myself but for some reason I am on this day.  I seem to have taken off the blinders which keep me from seeing myself clearly, as others do and it makes me feel good.  I feel like I have entered a new chapter in my life.  I recognize the growth and progress which I have worked so very hard to attain.

Some people may not understand or accept this stage of my life.  One or more of my children and maybe a few friends may think I am making a mistake yet again and look for me to fail without justification or compassion, but that is not my cross to carry it is theirs and theirs alone.  I will not judge as I am being judged,

I will and am sure that someday they will realize that I have changed and am able to make good choices (something that I wasn't able to do at times throughout their lives.)  I understand the fear that they possess with love and compassion and know they do this out of love for me.

As I continue to grow and strip those layers that have covered my self and uncover my true self it is a great time for me.  I am learning each day a new and wonderful facet of myself, gaining more confidence and strength and it is good!