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Rated: 18+ · Book · Writing · #1197218
Reflections and ruminations from a modern day Alice - Life is Wonderland
Reflections and ruminations from a modern day Alice - Life is Wonderland

Modern Day Alice

Welcome to the place were I chronicle my own falls down dark holes and adventures chasing white rabbits! Come on In, Take a Bite, You Never Know What You May Find...

"Curiouser and curiouser." Alice in Wonderland

I'm docked at Talent Pond's Blog Harbor, a safe port for bloggers to connect.

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November 18, 2019 at 9:46am
November 18, 2019 at 9:46am
30 Day Blogging Challenge
PROMPT November 18th
What is something that most people misunderstand or wrongly assume about you?

I honestly don't know. These days its hard for me to tell if what I perceive in other's is a general lack of interest in me or lack of concern in my well-being because they wrongly assume I'm fine.

I have this one friend, we have been friends forever and she is the most kind-hearted, selfless person I know. I'm blessed to have her in my life. I can not count the times I have received a text in the morning just checking in on me or wishing me a good day, or words of encouragement. This small gesture has made all the difference some days. She knows what has been going on in my life and she has been a real source of comfort to me.

Her care and concern magnifies the indifference that others show me though. I don't think I've had any conversation lately with my sister than hasn't revolved around her and her life. My siblings never ask me how I am, I don't think they even consider it. I used to be close with my sister but in the last year, she seems not to see me at all. I thought us having Roo was going to deepen our relationship, that would bring my daughter and I closer into her world but in truth, it has been only to lead me to feeling more isolated and apart. I don't feel welcome very often and though I try to help out and be supportive, I feel her resentment and disappointment like a incoming tide sometimes. At a time when I could really use someone to talk to, my texts and phone calls rarely get answered. She has no real idea of how I've been feeling, how much I am struggling with my life at this time.

My mother and I are estranged and my relationship with my father is very complicated for me at the moment. My brother has never been a support system for me. Phone calls and visits with him revolve around getting our kids together and not any real sibling comradery. I don't think he's ever given thought to what I may or may not have going on personally. He just doesn't work that way.

This past year my youngest brother and I had a falling out. No, that's being generous. He snapped on me and sent a blistering series of private and public messages to me. He is an addict, and I have come to expect the up and down with him over the last few years. He has frequently said things or behaved in ways that lead to our temporary estrangement. This was different. He broke my heart and what is worse, he made me afraid. I have worked very hard in my life to overcome the imprint of fear left on me by another man...something he has first hand knowledge of. The fact that he brought me to a place of that kind of fear again by his own violent threats...is unforgivable. I cut all ties to him. It has been a devastating loss I have largely born in private. I felt mortally wounded by it all, and months and months later, I still feel the rage and grief of it all. If I had to pinpoint a time when I first felt my spirit weakening, it was when he told me I was a "piece of shit" and he hoped someone would "burn my house down on me". I had no words for how it felt to read those words, no way to equate them with the little boy I loved as if he was my own. I cut him out of life and as a result, I think I lost something of myself...something I will never be able to get back or replace.

In my family, I have always been a bit of a fixer. I've taken up the slack for others who are less engaged. I'm never one to ignore the phone or the needs of others in my family. I regularly get drawn into dramas to support or back someone else. However, I have come to understand that I am rarely the person they think about. I am not the person they call just to "check in on". Maybe they assume I don't need anything, maybe they think I've always been okay? Maybe they don't see a world outside their own? I don't know. It is making me dread the holidays all the more because my heart is 100% not in it. I live closer to my two remaining siblings then I have since we all lived under the same roof. I think I believed it would make us closer. I thought, given the parents we share, that it would make us closer. It hasn't. It is seemed only to magnify that the opposite is true.

Maybe they just assume I am okay with it all but they would be wrong.
November 18, 2019 at 8:54am
November 18, 2019 at 8:54am
30 Days Blogging Challenge
PROMPT November 17th
There are 45 days remaining in the year. What do you want to do or accomplish before 2019 is over?

I would like to get through even one solid week without falling into the slumps. I would like to get firmly ahead of my depression, at least far enough to see clearly through a holiday season and happy new year. I'd like to stick to my diet, and get all my blog entries written for the challenge. I'd like to avoid having any more arguments with my husband. This prompt is making me realize, even though my decorations are already in place, I'm not mentally prepared for what comes with the season and the fast-approaching end of the year. At a time when I am typically starting to feel festive and joyful, I'm weighted down by anxiety and prone to random days where I wake feeling extremely sad and overwhelmed. I am dreading the next 45 days because I don't feel equipped to handle all the typical family drama and the hustle and bustle of our typical holidays. That's really all I got today. I am particularly out of sorts this morning I think.
November 18, 2019 at 8:38am
November 18, 2019 at 8:38am
30 Day Blogging Challenge
PROMPT November 16th
If you had to spend one million dollars in one day, what would you spend it on?

A million dollars for one day sounds like a movie plot. I think I would pay off our home and all our outstanding debts. I'd put enough into a savings account for the my daughter's college. You never know what life has planned for you so paying things off and preparing as much as possible while you can afford to do it, seems like the smarter way to spend any sudden windfall. I'd make an investment in something for myself, something I could build into a business of my own one day. Self-reliance feels like something I could really get behind at this time in my life.

If there was anything left, I would finally take myself on a European Viking River Cruise, the 15 day one...the creme de la creme of them all.
Then, I would look for my own modest horse property where I could bring Roo home too.

I'm sure there are countless things I could think of to do with a million dollar payday. I could fix the roof of my sister's barn for her or help my uncle with my grandmother's old and aging home. I could sit and think about it for another hour but my coffee cup is empty and I still need to catch up on one more prompt from the weekend as well as settle up with today's prompt too.

November 15, 2019 at 8:34am
November 15, 2019 at 8:34am
30 Day Blogging Challenge
PROMPT November 15th
In your entry today, write about focus. Use the following questions to guide you. At what time of day are you the most focused? When you need to focus on a task, how do you prevent distractions? How do you manipulate your environment to keep yourself focused? How else do you practice focus in your life? Any tools or techniques you can share?

Normally, on the mornings not following a night of insomniac insanity, I have a razor sharp focus. I am, by nature, a morning person. I am up early fussing about, making my daughter's lunch, taking out the dogs and preparing for the battle I must forge each morning to get her out of bed. My daughter is not a morning person. I typically get to work about an hour before anyone else. That is the best time for me to focus on the prompts or polish off pieces I'm looking to submit. The office is quiet and there won't be anyone hanging about my door for a few hours yet.

If I have to work on something that requires my focus during the workday, that can be challenging as I am prone to get frequent interruptions. Also, my secretary is a bit of chatty patty who likes to narrate her tasks outside as she works through them. I find I can focus significantly better with my music playing. The only drawback is that when I get in the zone, I will sometimes catch myself singing along out loud. A bit embarrassing when your CFO catches you singing along to Hole or the soundtrack to Wicked when you are supposed to be finalizing closing statements for him to review.

As far as other techniques...I'm not sure I have any. Mostly I just blast the tunes and go...
November 14, 2019 at 9:36am
November 14, 2019 at 9:36am
30 Days Blogging Challenge
PROMPT November 14th
Think back to a moment in your life when you were faced with making a difficult choice. (Which city to move to, which college to attend, what to ask Santa for, etc) How might your life be different if you had made a different choice than the one you did?

Feeling especially mentally taxed today. I feel like the field of difficult choices I've had to make is pretty vast actually. I'd had to make so many of those in my life it seems. If I had to rank the hard choices as most life altering...one in particular rises to the top of the heap.

Over ten years ago, I was in a relationship with someone. He was my best friend and the person I had envisioned building a future with. He was a live-out-loud, kind-hearted, giant of guy and I was madly in love with him. He was the kind of guy everyone loved; jovial and fun, generous and goofy. It had also became painfully clear fairly early on that he was an alcoholic. He had become adept at managing it though, holding down a successful career for over ten years and living a relatively stable life.

Nevertheless, three years into our relationship, his illness had begun to become less and less manageable. His control over his disease began to slip. He was in and out of programs and bounced from one period of shaky sobriety to another with an alarming irregularity. With each failed attempt, I saw more and more of my dreams die away. With every broken promise, I felt more and more of my spirit breaking along with them. He had wonderfully supportive family who worked tirelessly to get him into the best programs. None of us could bear the thought of this amazing, fun-loving, generous soul being lost to his demons. There was so much waiting for him on the other side of true and lasting sobriety. He wanted that life so badly, but none of us could have imagined how powerful his disease was or that he was fighting a losing battle.

To make a long and tragic story short, he was suddenly hospitalized after what we all believed was a solid year of continuous sobriety. Apparently, he had been drinking all along and his liver was failing. Three weeks in a medically induced coma, and one, Hail-Mary-8-hour-life-saving surgery later, he was released back to us. The teams of doctors who had worked to save his life rejoiced with their successes. I remember the head pulmonary doctor clapped him on the back and told him to, "go make your life, marry this girl and make beautiful babies." He also had given him an dire warning. He told him if he never took another drink, his liver would repair itself completely and he could live a full and normal life....but if he drank again, even once, he would be dead within a year.

It deeply saddens me that the doctor's warning had not been an exaggeration. Less than six months into recovery, he relapsed. My heart had at last given out, all my last hopes had been dashed. The last five years had been such a trying, heartbreaking ordeal and it had taken such a terrible toll on my spirit and my faith. I was in a very dark place and one night I realized it had simply had come to the point when it was going to be him or me. If I did not move on, he was surely to take me down with him.

So, the hardest choice I ever had to make was to leave someone that I still loved deeply. The hardest choice I had to make, was to choose me. I broke off the relationship. I pulled away and focused on my life. His siblings kept in contact. We had grown close over the years and they knew I how much I cared and wanted to be kept updated. They checked in with me but also encouraged me not to look back, not to hold out hope. I think they must have known by then that the miracle he needed to turn things around was somehow just beyond his reach.

After some time, I started to date. It was miserable and painful but it was also necessary. Slowly I began to fill my life with normal pursuits and routines. As love sometimes does, it came back into my life when I wasn't looking. I met a man who seemed to be able to heal all the raw places in my soul. He was patient with my wounded heart, and with the drunken messages left on my machine that we would sometimes come back to after a night out.

By this time, my ex was in full and rapid decline. Word soon came that he was in the hospital again, and this time he would not be leaving. He was dying and his tormented body was giving in to his disease finally and horrifically.

So much about my life with him shaped me in such permanent ways, good and bad...but none more so then that visit with him before he died. I remember every moment of our last moments together with heartbreaking clarity. There is too much to unpack there and this blog is already far, far too long. Suffice to say, amends were made and best wishes bestowed. He released me from the burden of my grief and guilt. He told me, "Life your life young Cricket, the one you are supposed to have, and I will look down on you and be so happy for you."

I was able to say goodbye to my dearest friend and walk into the light of my new life with his blessing and it meant the world to me. He died less than two weeks later and the world was somehow forever dimmed by his passing.

I have no way of knowing what my life would have been like had I not left him when I did, but I know I would not have met my husband. I would never have known the joy and challenges of marriage and of building a life with a committed partner. I would never had known the amazing wonder of my daughter and the sweet and awesome honor it is to be her mother. So, sometimes it is the hardest, most painful choices that put us on the road to our best decisions, to our best life.

Incidentally, sometimes hitting "save" on an entry is a hard decision, especially when I' feel as if I've left so much on display in electronic ink. I've pushed myself to be candid and accepting of whatever comes out when I write so I don't have a choice, but I'd by lying if I didn't admit some blog entries leave me feeling more vulnerable and exposed then others and it gives me pause to put them out there sometimes. But I respect that level of openness and honesty in my fellow bloggers and appreciate that all of us here regularly take such risks for the sake of being authentic and real.
November 13, 2019 at 8:41am
November 13, 2019 at 8:41am
30 Days Blogging Challenge
PROMPT November 13th
In what circumstances do you believe it is okay to fib or tell a white lie?

As much as I would not make a habit of it, sometimes telling a fib or white is necessary to preserve harmony in life. Like the morning my almost 10 year old woke up with her first pimple, prominently protruding in the center of her forehead. I calmly assured her that, "no you do not look like a unicorn," and "it's not that noticeable", tried my best to dab on some concealer and blend over her aggressive blemish. She went to school a little less anxious and it was worth my minor deceptions.

I tend to lend toward "white lies of omission" more than anything else. For example, I conveniently sometimes forget how much the new blanket for horse costs or that I committed to supporting my sister in one venture or another. It is largely an avoidance technique for warding off another circular argument? Yes. Is it likely the reason I've managed to stay married for over 12 years? Also, yes.

The truth is, when I met my husband I was open and brutally honest about my past, my quirks and my limitations, and there was A LOT to unpack there. Over the years, we've managed to build a life around some pretty ticket items that might be obstacles for many couples. Our truths for each other are what have managed to keep us together through tougher times. A little fib here or there to keep the peace, isn't going to have much effect on our marital scoreboard. Sometimes it is better to tell him that the haircut he did himself for free, does absolutely look as good as the one he typically pays $30.00 for at the barber. Sometimes its easier to get through the workday if he tells me, "that my ass doesn't look at all fat in my pants."

Such is life....

November 12, 2019 at 8:52am
November 12, 2019 at 8:52am
30 Day Blogging Challenge
PROMPT November 12th
What is one thing (sight, smell, sound, object, etc) that, when you encounter it, instantly brings you back to your childhood?

Maybe it's because I am a bit hungry this morning, but when I read the prompt both things that came to mind were food-related. They are both connected to my great grandmother Claudette.

My father's grandparents were first generations French Canadians who immigrated here from Quebec when they were newly married. My great grandmother Claudette was a northern beauty who's heavily accented French became beloved part of the soundtrack of my youth. She had perfect alabaster skin and delicate, perfect teeth and delicate features well into her nineties. She had this gorgeous, thick white hair that she kept tucked up under these fabric caps with a lacy ruffle around the edge. When I was a child my father bought her little house on the hill and she moved just down meadow to us in a pristine little trailer with a red wood porch out front. We would visit her once or twice a day, bringing her sprigs of golden rod or whatever else we would manage to find growing around our property. She would throw open the door with a bright and cheery, "Ahh-lloooo, my prince and princesses!" and beckon our broad inside, delighted by whatever meager thing we'd brought her that day.

She would settle into her floral rocker for a few moments, reaching a hand down to pet Peso, the ancient French toy poodle who was a constant presence at her feet. She would politely listen to our chatter for a few moments before suddenly clasping her hands together in mock surprise and and asking, "But who wants a wish?"

My great grandmother's "wishes" were chocolates, Whitman's chocolates to be exact. She loved all sweets and but chocolates were her absolute favorite. She always had one of the big yellow Whitman's boxes on hand and she would jump up and fetch it. She would pass it around, just as eager to watch her guest chose as she was to sample her own once everyone had had their turn. You only got one shot and you had to eat what you chose, so you did it carefully. We grew adept at avoiding the orange cremes and coconut ones over the years. Those icon Whitman's boxes always remind me of these visits with my great grandmother Claudette, and the warm and welcoming presence she was in my life.

a box of whitman's chocolates

Ironically, the other sweet I associate with Gramma Claudette does not evoke those same sentiments. In fact, the mere memory of them brings me to the brink of nausea.

My great grandmother had a bowl of pink and red carnival glass she kept on her dining room table. It was filled with a old fashioned confection called circus peanuts. These were pastel colored treats shaped to look more or less like their namesake. On one particular visit with the family, I sat absently working on one of the massive puzzles she had spread out across the table. These puzzles had thousands of tiny pieces and you could work for an hour and not get one to fit. My parents were involved in a lengthy discussion about something that failed to hold my interest. I sat, halfheartedly trying pieces with one hand, and stuffing circus peanuts into my maw with the other. At first, I remember they tasted like marshmallows, nutty and a bit chalky but still marshmallows. After the fifth one, I began to notice an unfortunate aftertaste that soon blossomed into a full, all up in my mouth sickeningly sweet tang that made my mouth water and my eyes burn. The skin of my face was suddenly slick with sweat and I was overcome with the powerful need to vomit. I rushed past my startled family and threw-up in a bush of my grandmother's deep purple dahlias. I remember that I felt like I was going to die, but also that I was oddly impressed to find that the circus peanut vomit looked just like rainbow sherbet against the dark foliage. I was sick for hours after, plagued by a queasy stomach and bitter taste in the back of my throat I could not get past. So powerful is that memory, even seeing a bag of circus peanuts can provoke an almost visceral reaction from me today.

old time candy

My great grandmother was a remarkable women who has inspired me very often through the years. If you are interested, several years ago I had a piece published in the 2013 Summer Edition of the River Poet's Journal about her called, "Claudette's Lovely Dementia" An earlier version of that piece resides in my port:
 Claudette's Lovely Dementia  (E)
Published in the Summer 2013 Edition of the River Poet's Journal.
#1731728 by MD Maurice

November 11, 2019 at 10:48am
November 11, 2019 at 10:48am
30 Day Blogging Challenge
PROMPT November 11th
Today, your prompt is one word: Transformation.

I feel oddly burned out by the last few prompts...it doesn't help either that I've had to catch up on them all this morning following a busy weekend. None the less, they've somehow all forced me to be more introspective than I am comfortable being at this stage in my life. It has to do with me, and not the prompts of course. I think for this one I will take a different tack and flex some creative writing muscles and give my tender ego a break.

The whistle blared suddenly, a shrill sound that cut through the late October air. Elson saw with some dismay that she was the source of the penalty. She had been off sides, again. She wasn't used to playing a forward. She'd been on defense all season and that had suited her just fine. She knew her position well, she moved freely within the confines of her defensive box. It was the last game of the season though and her coach had one remaining chance to claim all her players had scored at least one goal before their run ended. Elson was the one player yet to score and so, reluctantly she was playing well out of her comfort zone as a striker.

She had known to expect this. The team had drilled goal kicks with her at last night's practice. They were all working hard to set her up so she could bring it home. It wasn't that she didn't appreciate their efforts, she just didn't see the importance of needing to score. Elson liked playing defense. She was good at it. She knew she had one job, to clear the ball. Most of the time, she connected with a solid kick that would send it soaring back away from the net, back up the field. The attention on her was only focused for as long as it took her to do her job, then the crowd moved on, moved off her and back to the offensive line. Elson did not like being the center of attention for longer than was absolutely necessary.

Yet here she was, on the front line. The crowd was intently invested in her every move. She felt out of sorts, pressured in a way she was not at all fond of. She counted down the remaining minutes in her head, hoping the game clock ran out before she would be passed the soccer ball again. Then, it happened. Jacob got the ball and everyone was shouting for her to "get up with him" as he moved it up the field toward the goal. Elson drove her long legs forward, closing ground and coming alongside Jacob. There was no one around them and the goalie looked anxious.Elson shouted for him to shoot. In answer, he looked at her and passed the soccer ball directly to her, right in front of the goal. He smiled and said, "Here you go Elson!"

It was lined up perfectly. Elson barely registered the screaming crowd over the sudden thunder in her ears. She saw her coach and team on the sidelines, jumping up and waving their arms frantically at her. She felt the sun on her back and her skin felt oddly hot and prickly. Elson closed her eyes and kicked as hard as she could. She felt the toe of her cleat connect and opened her eyes in time to watch her goal kick soar over the goalie's head and into the net.

The sideline erupted with hoots and screams. The coach called her and Jacob off the field and the team met them with hugs and cheers. Elson turned to thank Jacob who was celebrating his beautiful assist with a wide, proud smile. She had not anticipated how good it would feel to score. It transformed her in the moment, took her from the backdrop and out into the light. She welcomed the attention this time, basking in the look of pride on her mom's and Dad's faces. It had taken all season but she had gotten the moment she had not know she'd wanted, and she for just this once, she was happy to claim it.
November 11, 2019 at 10:16am
November 11, 2019 at 10:16am
30 Day Blogging Challenge
PROMPT November 10th
What do you find yourself insecure about? Are you able to overcome your insecurities? If so, how?

Before the last six months of my life, I would have said I was most insecure about my body...or more accurately, my weight. I have struggled with it on and off for most of my adult life. I have trouble sticking to regimented diets and instead try to focus on healthy lifestyle choices instead. Lately though, my weight has slipped pretty low on the "things I feel insecure about" totem pole. I find myself second guessing just about everything I do, especially at work. I struggle to find the confidence I once had. I know it goes hand and hand with something that happened, some deceit I accidentally uncovered...but it's opened a much bigger can of worms for me. I'm having issues with this prompt even...I feel like its only adding to my anxiety this morning. I'm certain I will eventually overcome my insecurities, I have to force a confrontation first and then I can rebuild hopefully. I'm just struggling with finding my way just now.
November 11, 2019 at 10:02am
November 11, 2019 at 10:02am
30 Day Blogging Challenge
PROMPT November 9th
Write a stream of conscious entry starting with the words “I wish...”

Once again I am catching up...but I'm determined for myself to check off each day on this challenge. I need to develop some discipline as a writer so this challenge affords me a chance to work on that.

I wish that it wasn't already Monday. I do not feel as if the weekend provided adequate down time enough to prepare me for this week. I'm not ready for the departmental meeting Tuesday morning, nor the PTO meeting on Wed evening, or the family dinner with my husband's family on Thursday. This morning I ordered a large coffee. It is only 9:50am and I only have two fingers of cold coffee remaining. It is not enough to get me through this day. I have this lovely secretary. She is an older lady, a real sweetie but she likes to talk to herself, narrate her tasks and read me joint emails before I have a chance to open and read them for myself. She is reliable and always willing to help so I get upset with myself for having so little patience with her quirks sometimes. I am just someone used to working alone I guess. I've been at this job now for over two decades...twenty-two years. I was kid when I started, literally. Now I am old and jaded...not really but I am dealing with a bit of career crisis and there is a large confrontation brewing that I have tried to stave off with busy work. It makes me anxious though. I know I have to bite the bullet and say my piece soon, I'm slowly gearing up and fortifying myself I guess.

I think I do much better writing to a prompt. These days my conscience seems overtaxed and distracted. This lame attempt isn't helping me to feel better unfortunately so I think I will just stop here.

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