Day 10 Blogging U – Writing 101: Happy Birthday Cheryle

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MEAL

I am skipping the assignments for Day 8 and 9, I will get to them later.  Today, I am going to complete Day 10 in an effort to catch up and not put myself further behind.

Day 10 Prompt: Tell us something about your favorite childhood meal — the one that was always a treat, that meant “celebration,” or that comforted you and has deep roots in your memory.

Feel free to focus on any aspect of the meal, from the food you ate to the people who were there to the event it marked.

Day 10 Twist: Tell the story in your own distinct voice.

My favourite Birthday Meal?  HMMMm- What I remember most is that all of my birthdays, at least, until I was six were spent camping in various countries, Germany, Switzerland, Holland and Scotland.  One year I got a pair of Dutch clogs for my birthday, the wooden ones with the toes tips painted in red, yellow, white and a touch of green.

For all my Canadian birthday meals I remember eating hot dogs, served with fries on the side, chocolate milk and chocolate cake with Ice cream.  I never ate hot dogs with ketchup, just mustard and relish, when it was available.  Hot dogs were different then, not so many chemicals in them.  My mother would boil them, we didn’t BBQ like we do now.  My sister used to eat her fries with mayo, Yuck, something she learned in Germany.

While in Germany, instead of hot dogs, which I believe were Canadian or American, we had Bratwurst, or Brockwurst.  I can’t remember which and I get the two mixed up anyway.  One year my Mom made cupcakes in the trailer, I was so happy it was like she had created them through magic.

My birthday is in the summer, so it is always hot, sunny, and everything is green. So much better than a winter birthday, cold, grey and white.

Back then we didn’t have hot dogs all of the time, Ice cream only at celebrations, chocolate milk once in a while and fries, which as time went by eventually became potatoe chips, were a rare treat.  We would drive my mom crazy as we moved around the kitchen like kittens mewing for milk waiting for her to finish cooking so we could eat. mmmm

Now, my birthday meal is either BBQ something, shrimp or something at a German Restaurant.

That’s my birthday meal story, what’s yours?

Cheryle April 2015

Day 7 – Blogging – Writing 101

Give and Take Dialogue

Today’s Prompt: Write a post based on the contrast between two things — whether people, objects, emotions, places, or something else.

Today’s twist: write your post in the form of a dialogue.

Background.  The assignment didn’t request a background, but I felt I needed one in order to pin down the characters of the dialogue.

Cha-Cha, A 20 something sales clerk working in her family’s store, fast, impatient, uses her cell phone constantly, bored, wants to be anywhere but where she is.

Mrs. Glaikit,  An 80’s something women, long time resident of the neighbourhood, slow, specific, well mannered,  shopping at the corner store.

Cha-Cha is working at the store today, a day when all of her friends have gone downtown to watch her favourite band play in the park.  She can’t believe her mother made her take this shift, just because she was late getting home from her cousins house earlier this week.  It is Saturday, she has been looking forward to this outing, hoping to meet up with a music group she and her cousin Tanny met online.

Cha-Cha stands behind the counter, leaning against the shelves that form the back wall, texting furiously, her fingers flicking from letter to letter forming abbreviated words complaining of her lot in life, how hard it is and how difficult her mother has been.

Mrs. Glaikit, an old woman, approaches the cash, a long counter located at the front of the family run corner store.  She shops here on days when she doesn’t have the time to walk the extra three blocks to the SuperMart on the main road.  Today she needs crackers, cheese, extra tea, milk, luncheon meat and a readymade marble cake.  She is expecting visitors this afternoon and wants to make sure she has snacks for her daughter and treats for the grandkids.

So absorbed in her conversation, Cha-Cha fails to notice Mrs. Glaikit approach, stand and wait patiently on the other side of the counter.

Mrs. Glaikit, unloads her basket, one item at a time, placing each purchase just so, one after the other on the glass covering the lottery tickets.

Cha-Cha finally looks up from the phone, enters the items into the cash register.  Without missing a tap on her tiny keyboard Cha-Cha states “That will be $28.35.”

Mrs. Glaikit looks up at Cha-Cha, standing on the riser behind the counter, “Good morning Cha-Cha,”  “How are you today?”

For a millisecond Cha-Cha stops texting and responds “Fine,”  “How would you like to pay for that?” and goes back to her hand held discussion.

“I’ll use cash,”  “How is your mother?  Dear.”  Mrs. Glaikit asks politely. “I haven’t seen her in a while.”

Cha-Cha rolls her eyes, takes a deep breath, drops her shoulders, and as she exhales replies, “Fine.”  “She’s been busy.” Then in the same breath adds “Do you want a bag for this?”

Smiling, Mrs. Glaikit accepts the offer “Yes, Cha-Cha, a bag would be helpful,”  “Thank you, I was so excited my Daughter and her two girls are coming for tea this afternoon, I forgot mine at home.”

Hesitantly Cha-Cha places her phone on the counter with a plop, grabs two plastic bags and pops the crackers, tea, ham and chicken packages into one bag and quickly fills the second with the cheese, cake and the carton of milk.

Proudly, Mrs. Glaikit continues “Dorthea is a busy consultant and doesn’t get to visit often.  I haven’t seen the girls in months, they must have grown inches since then.”

Cha-Cha interrupts the excited speech, “That will be $28.35 cash, Mrs. Glaikit.”  Cha-Cha keeps looking at her phone, incessantly vibrating, bouncing on the counter.  One hand on her hip the other held out waiting for payment.

“Oh yes, $28.35,” “I have it right here.”  Mrs. Glaikit rummages in her bag, worn by use, overfilled with Kleenex, notes, envelopes, and at least one small paperback. As she digs, Cha-Cha bounces from leg to leg, grabs her phone, scrolls through the texts, breathes loudly and flutters her eyes impatiently.

Mrs. Glaikit exclaims, “Here it is, I found my change purse!” as Cha-Cha mouths “Oh my God.” and rolls her eyes, yet again.

“Here we go dear” Mrs. Glaikit counts out the $28.35 as she places each denomination onto Cha-Cha’s outstretched hand.  “One ten, three fives, a toonie, a loonie, three dimes and a nickel.” “There you go, $28.35, the exact change.”

In one swift move, Cha-Cha drops the money into the register, hands the bags over to Mrs. Glaikit along with the receipt.  “Thank you for shopping at QuickMart.”

Taking hold of the bags, Mrs. Glaikit gaily chirps “Thank you Cha-Cha, please say hello to your mother for me.”

Already back texting on the phone, Cha-Cha responds without looking up “ya, ya, I will.”  Lost in her conversation those were the final words she utters as Mrs. Glaikit ambles to the door with her groceries, she turns, smiles, waves, and leaves the store.

Cheryle – April 2015

Day 6–Character Building-Blogging U–Writing 101

Day 6  Prompt: Who’s the most interesting person (or people) you’ve met this year?

Day 6 Twist: Turn your post into a character study.

I must confess I could not recall the person which captivated my interest this year.  In light of my lapse in memory I created a character from my imagination.  I hope you enjoy him and I hope it meets the criteria of  the assignment Character Study.

A Character of My Imagination:

I can still hear his laugh.  Gravel rubbing against his throat, raw from smoke, overpowering the sound of the wind. When I close my eyes I see his wild hair, untamed, uncombed flying free in the wind blowing across the prairie.  Large eyes, painted blue from the sky, filled with salted water as he considered his options.  Hands, rough from cutting, carving, shaping and sanding, cradled a small bird gently, sharing his warmth with the tiny body.  Confused, the baby peeped continually as he carried it away from the carnage that was its’ mother. Food for foxes, the mother diverted the predator from her burrow, protecting this one and only fledgling.

Later when the baby grew into its wings, he would carry it on his square shoulders.  Sweaters, crafted from clean, undyed wool, kept the cold at bay and gave the bird a soft seat.  Inseparable, he held his feathered friend in high esteem.  His voice rumbled on about the day, where they were going, what they were doing as the owl nodded its’ head, rolled its eyes and chippered as if it understood every word.  Bits of meat, raw before cooking, were held out as treats, grabbed by the beak and gobbled down quickly. . The rest was turned into sandwich fillings, stews or meaty soups.

At nights on the bench, built from pine, he would sit, contemplate the world, smoke home rolled cigarettes and watch the owl as it flew hunting its’ dinner.

The last time I saw him, he was raising a maul splitting wood, the owl sitting on a branch above watching his every move.

The owl now sits alone on the bench waiting for that voice, that shoulder those hard hands full of love to reach out to gently caress his feathers.  I see him in my dreams or hear his laugh when the wind blows wild.

DAY 5 – BlOGGING U – WRITING 101 – BREVITY

The Letter

Tears roll unbound down my cheeks

I refold the page, its paper worn

Re-read many times, many years

 .

The letter fell

Lost

Left alone and cold

On the street

 .

I look up,           around

There,

Rounding the far corner

I glimpse

A woman of a certain age

It is her name typewritten in black

Her heart held by the words

Her life bent over backward

 .

My fingers brush her shoulder

Padded for protection

An illusion of strength

Her head turns

Our eyes speak

My tears tell the tale

She knows

Her history struck my heart

 .

I clutch her tightly

Hold her close

Tears flowing freely

She tilts my face to hers gently

Her rough thumb

Wipes away my pain

She whispers softly

It’s Ok, – I survived

 .

She lets go

I am left

Alone and cold

She disappears into the fracas of people

Rushing along the street.

 .

Cheryle April 11, 2015

DAY 3 – BLOGGING U – WRITING 101

COMMIT TO A WRITING PRACTICE

3 SONGS OF INFLUENCE

It has taken me forever to do this assignment.  Partially because I am avoiding it and partially because I am having difficulty picking the three.  For some reason this assignment has me running a little scared, a little too close to me for me.  It is a simple request.  I’m not sure, but regardless of my hesitation I am committing to my writing practice and will push forward to complete the assignment.

As the Police sing “I was born in the 50’s”, grew up in the 70’s, attained my independence in the 80”s.   The 70’s was a time after the drug craze and sexual revolution of the 60’s, when the ideals of the Hippies, the Feminists and Beat Generation began to filter into the minds of young women.  Middle class women began to question their role in life, wanting more, more freedom, more independence, more equality and much more of everything.

I did not pick The Three Most Influential songs of my life.  I couldn’t decide what they were.  I did however, select three song which I still love to hear, continue to make me think and teach me of the big old world out there.

I am listing these in chronological order, not necessarily in the order I discovered them.

The House of the Rising Sun – The Animals – 1964

A widely discussed folk song.  Some say The House of the Rising Sun is an Americanized version of an 18th Century English ballad. The first known American recording is dated at 1934 by Clarence “Tom” Ashley and Gwen Foster.  It has since then been performed throughout the years by many artists, notably, Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly, Pete Seeger, and most famously The Animals.

I was drawn to the sadness, the struggle and the failure of this cautionary tale. His mother a tailor, a strong hard working woman, raised him on her own. Yet, she loses both her husband and her son to the mysterious House of The Rising Sun.  In despair, he begs mothers of the world to warn their children not to follow in the footsteps of his father and himself, gamblers and addicts. We know he struggles, yet he gets back on the train to New Orleans.

I was curious about The House of the Rising Sun it was so very mysterious and somewhat romantic to me. I imagined it as part of the hippie scene similar to Haight Ashbury, filled with stained glass windows, velvet curtains and wisps of smoke. I was a young romantic and naïve at the time.

It was also the very first “modern song” I learned on the guitar.

Musically, I was intrigued by the organs scream, the smooth pluck of the guitar, theTap tapity tap of the cymbals & drums and overriding it all, Eric’s voice of despair

Lou Reed Walk on the Wild Side 1972 – Transformer

The subjects and the raw honesty of Walk on the Wild Side were my introduction to the wild side of life. Having spent most of my first 14 years moving around Canada every few years and once to Germany and back, I was curious to know what was the wild side?  What did it mean he was a she?  What was the hustle?  I believe by the time I heard this song, the hustle was a dance.

Take a Walk on the Wild Side showcased Lou’s raw velvet voice, poetic language, juxtaposed against a smooth pop rhythm.  It inspired in me a curiosity for the other side of life and a tolerance for alternative lifestyles.  It offered me the opportunity to question what I had been taught was socially acceptable.

Pat Benatar, – I Need a Lover – written by Johnny Cougar  – 1979 – In The Heat of the Night

In the Heat of The Night is an important album because it is the first album I purchased in which I solely relied on my own musical instincts.  No one told me it was a good album or who Pat Benatar was.   I heard the music on the alternative radio station, liked it and purchased the album on a weekend holiday.  I was impressed with myself for having such a musical ear. Pat Pat on my back.

I Need a Lover, is a brave song for the time, and still has a message for young woman today.  It is an empowering song for women, who were supposed to go from their father’s house into the house of their husband. Something, I did not want to experience.  This is a strong modern woman who chooses her own lovers, even specifies the criteria, the relationship is on her terms and not permanent.  The raw desire of a strongly independent modern woman empowered to behave as she deems fit.  Up to that time, only a man was allowed to behave sexually independent, without impunity.

This song intrigued me for its independent spirit.  I wasn’t surprised to find out it was written by a man.  When I went to Sam’s on Yonge Street in Toronto looking for more music by the songwriter, no one at Sams knew who Johnny Cougar was.  We now know him as John Mellenkamp.

Cheryle April 10, 2015         citation – Wikipedia

BLOGGING U – WRITING 101 DAY 4

DAY FOUR;  SERIALLY LOST

Yes, I am posting the Day Four assignment before I have done Day Three.  I am having difficulty deciding which songs I want to showcase in the commit to writing assignment.

Day Four’s Prompt: Write about a loss: something (or someone) that was part of your life, and isn’t any more.

This is to be the first of three connected posts, I therefore chose to resurrect a sonnet I wrote a number of years ago while taking classes at the Alexandria Writers’ Centre Society in Calgary.  I hope you don’t mind.  I plan to create two new posts in response to the serial aspect of the assignment when those segments are presented.

For Maggie

Bonnie Magnificent, Puppy Galore,

Teddy bear Beardie  –  not up to standard.

Picking you out of the litter – not hard!

Hide your fright. Deeper in my coat you bore

.

Looking for love  – giving me much more.

With your wizard eyes, the soul of a bard

Touching my heart made loving you –  not hard!

Seasons grow, mature and seasons expire.

 .

A dark sun fell from the sky and stayed

Clouded your sharp bright eyes, silenced your song

Menacing tribulations set you free.

From six years of Addison’s – you – so brave

 .

My heart reveals a hole –  Maggie-dog long.

Still you teach me from beneath the pear tree

 .

Cheryle Baker        Jan 26/ 06 edited  Feb 2/06       Petrarchan Sonnet

DAY 2 – BLOGGING U – WRITING 101

A VIEW FROM A WINDOW

The prompt for Day Two – “If you could zoom through space in the speed of light, what place would you go to right now?”

I would jump into the 1974 drivers’ seat of what I call my cabin, wiggle my little nose.

POOF!                 10351250_10152442787311280_6509159616268359082_n[1]         I am on the road just outside of the “Bella Pacifica Campground” Tofino, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada.

I draw in a big deep breath of relaxation and anticipation.  Driving past the camp office, my heart jumps with delight, while my nose twitches at the unfamiliar fresh scents of salt, sand and seaweed.

Slowly I back into campsite 108.  I scan both the ocean and the forest, a place of bliss and solitude.  The whisper of the tall cedar trees as they caress each other and the splash of the waves as the salty water breaks against the sandy beach greet me in unison.

I selected this site because it is the furthest site from the entrance and at the far end of the campground road.  Private, isolated and perfect for an introvert wishing to celebrate the sunshine, forest and ocean spray.

Leaving the unpacking and organizing until later, I walk down to the beach, kick off my runners and slide my socks onto the rocks on the edge of the sand.

Stepping forward, my foot sinks into the white granular crystals.  I can hear the ahhhhh my toes sigh when the sand warmed by the sun envelopes them.  I almost drop down and make a sand angel, I am so happy to be here.  Heel, toes, heel, toes, heel, toes – curl the sand between the foot pad and the toes.  The sand gently scrubs my feet, the skin feels brand new.

At the lintel, the sand is wet, cold and packed.  The imprints of my heels are deep, gathering seawater.  The tidal water rushes forward freezing my feet right up to the ankles.  I jump back with a squeal.  I land in the dry warm sand. Oh heavenly bliss!

Cheryle – April 7, 2015