Friday Fictioneers: Color It a Man’s World

I’m not keeping up with Friday Fictioneers lately; way too much on my plate. But what a fun photo this week, from Jean L. Hays! Check out Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog for more details, then join this highly addictive weekly challenge.

cars-in-sand

© Jean L Hays

Color It a Man’s World

“Darling, come back to the house; take a break!”

“I can’t leave the studio yet; these canvases are nearly done.”

Jemima ran her brush along the horizon, adding bursts of cobalt and cerulean, above a golden field. She stepped back, studying the third landscape– the final in a series her benefactor commissioned.

Her husband John frowned.

“Love, finish tomorrow. You’re running yourself into the ground with this project.”

Mounting bills and pressure from critics ran through her mind as she grabbed a brush.

“Just a little longer, these will buy me respect and entrance to the salon.”

(100 Words)

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GIPYMake me smile; HELP ME REACH MY GOAL:  I’d love to see the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page reach 800 likes in 2015. I’m nearly there! Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter; it’s where I’m forced to be brief.  Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. I love to hear what readers think. Honest, positive or constructive feedback is always welcome. Click Follow

 

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Showered With Love… A Surprise Skype Baby Shower!

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The times they are a changin’, and at fifty-something– with my kids spread all over the planet, this mama has to do what this mama has to do to be part of their lives. So, when my girl announced I’d be a grandmother this summer, my head immediately began spinning all the challenges of sharing this special time with her, when she lives in Israel, and I live on the west coast of the U.S. Not easy! But I don’t walk away from a challenge– especially one that means this much.

Luckily, technology has evolved enormously since I was young, and sending letters to my mother. My girl and I can email whenever we want. We instant message; we text; we enjoy long-distance phone calls that are no longer “long distance,” and we can Skype! I find myself sounding increasingly like my grandmother, in my utter amazement of new’ish things available to us. It still seems like magic that I can Google virtually any question or topic, and have the answer, plus several thousand other options, instantly! It’s beyond magic that I can hit a link and see my girl’s face, and spend real time with her on Skype.

When I realized that I wouldn’t get to have a baby shower for my daughter, it didn’t go down well. It’s bad enough that I have to rely on texts, chats, iMessage, Skype, just to watch her round belly grow, and listen to her as she experiences this huge time in her life, but to not get to Shower her with all the love and excitement that I’m feeling about this baby, was too much to bear. There would be no shower where my girl is, and this grandma-to-be was determined to change that. And so I planned a 21st century solution: a Surprise Skype Baby Shower!

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I told my girl that a mystery friend would be in town on June 28th, and wanted to Skype with her from our home. I made her promise she would be available, but refused to tell her any more. Then I sent out invitations that included her baby registry, and let everyone know that we would be having a real shower: complete with decorations, food, presents, and the mama to be… via my computer screen. Friends and family rallied around the idea and we managed to keep it a total surprise. I had my niece help me with decorating and making food. Having her here was extra special, and let me enjoy planning this with another girl I love. Then, we waited and planned.

The day of the shower we made sure that all of the food was food that our girl could eat: gluten free. We had baby shower balloons, and decorations in gender-neutral colors, as they don’t know the sex of the baby and want to raise their child as gender neutral as possible. There were beautiful flowers, and mimosas to toast her with. We gathered at 10am our time, 8pm her time and I let the ladies all know how we would pull off the surprise. And then I dialed my daughter, on Skype. The room stayed silent as I carried the laptop into the living room, and as I turned the screen around… we all yelled “SURPRISE!”

I didn’t plan well enough to have someone get a photo of her utterly shocked face, as she realized that the room was full of people she loves: friends and family alike. As she lay snuggled up in her pajamas, 7 thousand miles away, her face lit up, as I passed the screen around and it began to register what was happening. What a joyful moment!

We spent 2.5 hours with my daughter, at her virtual baby shower. Each person had the screen when they opened their gift for her, and told my girl what they got for her child and why. Each person got a special moment face to face with her. Each of us shared a piece of advice or some words of love. We ate our food, while she lay with a big bowl of ice cream and we laughed; we cried; we read poems and cards to her; we toasted her, and we all celebrated together the joy of her impending motherhood.

My baby girl- my first, is living far from home, far from so many people who love her, as she prepares to welcome her first baby. So many of those people couldn’t be at this shower, but their love was with us in notes, emails, packages mailed to our home, and a room full of people who wanted to celebrate with her. We let my girl know that no matter how far she goes in the world, no matter how great the distance, our love and joy for her will reach her. We Showered her with love… and she felt it.

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GIPYMake me smile; HELP ME REACH MY GOAL:  I’d love to see the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page reach 800 likes in 2015. I’m nearly there! Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter; it’s where I’m forced to be brief.  Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. I love to hear what readers think. Honest, positive or constructive feedback is always welcome. Click Follow

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From My Window Seat: An Epic Year of Travel

Lucky to say:  Been there done that!

Lucky to say: Been there done that!

Note: This post was a year in the making, and took hours of writing and formatting. I apologize for the length, but it was hard to edit down.

Over the past many months I found myself in an extraordinary whirlwind of travel that evolved bit by bit into a year of travel and experiences. One year ago, we had an exchange student living with us, Germany, and he and our youngest son, Little Man, were both preparing for high school graduation. Our eldest son, Middle Man, had just graduated from college, and our daughter was unexpectedly home from Israel for the summer. My husband, an avid climber, planned a climbing trip for Middle Man and himself, in Bolivia, South America, after graduation, and as winter 2013 passed, I found myself wondering why Little Man and I were sitting at home, while they went off on grand adventures. I began to plot an equally cool adventure for us.

I always choose a window seat over an aisle. I like to see where I’m leaving, what’s passing by, and where I’m arriving. I’ve been very fortunate to have traveled as much as I have in my life. I’ve watched major cities, vast landscapes, icecaps, seas and skies, sunrises and sunsets and inky black nights, out the window of airplanes. Here is the view from my window seat April 2014-April 2015.

Our year began in April, with an Un-Belize-able trip! I knew very little about this small country in Central America, before we went. Belize is bordered by Mexico in the north, Guatemala to the south and west, and the Caribbean to the east. We spent 8 amazing days on a catamaran with friends, and had one of the greatest vacations ever! The gorgeous blue waters, unbelievable sea life, and the fun of cruising was only dampened by the fact that I fell through a hatch in the floor of the boat and broke 6 ribs, on day 2. That’s right: climbing into bunks, riding the waves in a Zodiac, and trying to snorkel with one arm… it was the absolutely the best and worst of times!

On May 1st my eldest nephew graduated from college. My sister and I flew together to Florida to share in the weekend with him. To see him walk across the stage at USF, the first in his family to graduate from college, was an incredibly proud moment for all of us. It really does Take a Village.

Two weeks later on May 17th, my eldest son, Middle Man, graduated from college in California. Our daughter, Principessa arrived home from Israel for the summer, and our entire family flew to CA to celebrate our boy’s big day. It was scorching hot in southern CA as he and his classmates walked across the stage, under a stifling tent. The weekend was filled with celebratory moments, as he and his close group of friends (who met the first week of freshman year, and lived together all four years) prepared to say goodbye to their school and each other. There were dinners, packing up dorm rooms, emotional goodbyes, and the realization that one more of my chicks was getting ready to fly. It was a wonderful and challenging weekend.

June was nothing short of an epic month, for travel and for meaningful experiences. On June 7th Little Man graduated from high school, and so ended an era of PTSA, driving kids around, and being intricately involved in my childrens’ daily lives. Our exchange student, Germany, graduated along side our boy, and we were faced with saying goodbye to another foreign student who will forever feel like family. When you open your door to these kids, no one really prepares you for the inevitable loss of sending them home. The weekend didn’t involve any flights, but lots of family celebrations and meaningful moments.

P1010446 (1)One week later, I flew off to North Carolina for the wedding of my dear one, Becky, to her beloved, Alison. They celebrated the event amidst the beautiful woods and verdant countryside of the Smoky Mountain range, beside a lazy river, and we danced late into the night to wonderful music and the magic of millions of fireflies adding more sparkle to an already beautiful scene. While in NC, I was fortunate to meet and spend a night at the home of blogger, Jennie Saia; I enjoyed a few days with some favorite cousins, and as a giant bonus, I got to experience two of my favorite things: thunderstorms and fireflies, several times!

Two weeks later everything jumped a few notches in super amazingness when Little Man and I left on our seriously epic trip to Iceland, Denmark and Sweden, which we dubbed: The Viking Tour. Each day was filled with adventure and beauty. Iceland, almost an afterthought when we were planning, was one of the true highlights of our three weeks away, and a place I will absolutely return to. In our brief five days, we climbed glaciers, explored icebergs, went horseback riding in the Seuss- like landscape, visited museums, and tackled roads that no rental car should be on, to find ourselves in the land where Game of Thrones had been filmed…and our trip became the (Game of Thrones) Viking Tour.

From Iceland we headed to Denmark, where we were swept up in the World Cup games, time with my other daughter, Denmark, and dear family friends. We soaked up the great food, beautiful landscapes and goodness that is Denmark.

Like Iceland, our three-day trip to Sweden, was so much better than we’d expected–another place I hope to return to one day. We had the thrill of watching the World Cup’s final game, Germany vs Argentina, from a little bar in the Old City– a huge thrill!  Stockholm is vibrant, historical and filled with fantastic places to explore; we enjoyed every amazing moment!

At the end of three weeks’ worth of travel, the flight home included a 3 hours stopover in Iceland. Little Man and I became tearful when we taxied down the runway, and found ourselves leaving that magical place again. The flight home was stunning! Flying over the glaciers and ice of Greenland is breathtaking! Anyone who questions melting ice, need only look out their window, to see the broken shards of once endless icepack… floating in patterns that defy imagination.

I was only on terra firma for 9 days– the jet lag was still crippling me– when I flew off to San Jose, CA for BlogHer’14– my first time there. For those of you in the blogging world, it’s the mecca of connecting and all things blogging, and for those of you who simply read blogs, it’s upwards of 5000+ bloggers, all gathered to celebrate writing, creativity and find sponsors. I was like a kid, meeting bloggers who I have come to think of as rockstars (hello, Bloggess, thank you for being so nice!), and shaking hands with Ariana Huffington. It was absolutely inspiring and thrilling on so many levels! By the time I came home my jet lag had jet lag. This summer, I’ll return for my 2nd BlogHer conference, in New York City to be honored as a BlogHer’15 Voices Of The Year recipient. Pinch me, please.

In September, Smart Guy and I took off for San Diego for three days, where he attended a conference and I explored that beautiful city, and got to meet Mohamud. As a bonus: we got to fly on Alaska Airlines’ fabulous Salmon aircraft!

I was home four days and then flew to LA for a long planned girls’ weekend, with 3 of my besties. We made it the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills tour” by visiting Sur Restaurant, and drinking lots of champagne. What a wonderful few days of utter relaxation and fun! Didn’t get to Disneyland, but saw it out the window!

In October, Smart Guy and I fulfilled a lifetime dream of mine, by traveling  to Fiji! I won the airline tickets in a contest on Bucket List Publications, and we made the most of this big experience over our two weeks there. It’s a long way to travel, and in addition to many, many window seats, I flew in my first float plane. In what was nothing short of a “hold-your-breath” departure, I sat in the co-pilot’s seat, as we took off from Turtle Island, in a storm– our wonderful Fijian hosts and friends, waving and singing to us, in the pouring rain.

In December, Little Man, Smart Guy and I went to New York City to see some Broadway shows and experience Time’s Square on New Year’s Eve DAY. We left before things got truly gnarly, and had a fantastic time! Flying via Chicago’s O’hare (one of my favorite airports), we got to watch the ice on Lake Michigan fracture and drift.

In January I went to Vegas for 3 days that felt like 7, with three amazing women… and well, I can’t say much about it.

In December, we learned that we will be grandparents at the end of this summer. So, in February, I surprised Principessa and went to Israel for her birthday. I wanted to meet her beloved– you know you have a keeper, when he’s willing to meet your mother for the first time in person, at a bus station, and sit with her for 2 hours… and if you know me, it’s that much more impressive that my grandbaby’s dad did that. I also wanted to help her move from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, and I wanted to give my girl a big hug… and caress her belly. My girl doesn’t like me to use her photo here, but believe me: she was glowing!

In March– barely a week after I got back from Israel,  we travelled to Florida for our annual visit with Smart Guy’s father and my nieces and nephews. It was brief and nice, as it always is.

I have not been on a plane since March. From the perspective of this surreal year of travel, it’s both a huge relief and strange… at the same time. I’m grounded for four months, my feet planted firmly. That does not mean things are boring, but there are no jet fumes. I’ll fly to New York City in the middle of July, to attend BlogHer’15; I’ll spend a few days in New England– where I grew up, and then I’ll fly to Israel, to be with my girl when she welcomes her first child. Just typing those words brings tears to my eyes! It’s a long and challenging trip– not something I would normally do in summer, when temperatures in Tel Aviv are often 112, but what a joy this will be.

I always ask for a window seat. I like to see the sky change color and the landscape shift. I like to see where I’m leaving and where I’m going. I’m that way in life. I dig deep: looking back, looking forward and experiencing the moments I’m in. When I travel, I soak up ever jewel that’s offered. Many of the trips I took this year, meant leaving people I love– brief, happy times with them, and then a painful goodbye. Some of the trips involved experiences that can only happen once: I’ll never be with my boy, the summer after he graduates high school, again. They are moments to savor and hold dear. I’m a very lucky woman, from that standpoint. I’m keenly aware that not everyone gets to sit in a window seat, or see the places I’ve been fortunate to see. Not everyone has those moments in life, that I hold so dear. In the end, I feel extra lucky, that when I fly home and look out the window, I see some of the most beautiful views in the world, and I know what waits for me there– coming home is always a joy!

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GIPY

Make me smile; HELP ME REACH MY GOAL:  I’d love to see the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page reach 800 likes in 2015. I’m nearly there! Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter; it’s where I’m forced to be brief.  Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. I love to hear what readers think. Honest, positive or constructive feedback is always welcome. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email, with no spam.  If you see ads on this page, please let me know. They shouldn’t be there.  ©2015  Please note, that all content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, please give proper credit. Plagiarism sucks.

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Reclaiming My Dad, On Father’s Day

Also Featured on Huffington Post, read it here.

Dad, six months before he died

Dad, six months before he died

When life throws you a 100 mph curve ball, that hits you in face… and then another, and another, there are lots of things you can do; if you’re a child, set on survival, you block it out, and move on.

My father was killed in a car accident when I was ten– 42 years ago, June 9th. I’ve said those first 12 words countless times in my life. It’s been a defining detail of my entire life, and something I wrestled with in endless scenarios in my head, since the morning we heard– on a cruel sunny day. I remember the tiniest details with Technicolor precision. And yet, I forgot some of the most important parts… until two months ago.

Life threw another curve ball ten weeks ago that brought all those memories back, and has changed everything. Everything– about who I thought I was, what I thought much of my life was about, how I see the people I’ve loved, and how I want to live my life from now on. I’ve spent weeks unscrambling a world of hurt that I’ve needed to digest and come to terms with– understanding that I may never have all the answers I want.

Before we were broken...

Before we were broken…

When I was 7 years old my parent separated. The oldest of their three children, I had a 5 year-old brother and a two year-old sister then. I remember my parents arguing; I remember them happy as well. I remember that when they separated my brother and I felt like the world was falling in. I remember living with dad and my great-grandmother, Nini, and feeling very loved, surrounded by people– grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and neighbors, who thought we were the most important people in the world. I felt safe; loved, and important. Times with my mother weren’t quite that way, and as young children, we grappled with many of the same things that children of divorce feel as they negotiate two homes and less than ideal circumstances.

My mother took us back east when I was nine. My father delivered us to her apartment, planning to pick us up the next evening. As soon as he drove away, a moving truck picked up all of her things and we boarded a 747 the next day for Massachusetts. I remember my mother told us it was a surprise, and that we shouldn’t tell our dad. It all seemed so exciting and surreal to my nine year-old brain. It never occurred to me that she was taking us without my father’s permission; it never occurred to me that I would never see him again.

Suddenly our world was filled with new grandparents, new aunts and uncles, cousins, and neighbors. They loved us and we loved them, but from that day on there was a hole where my father and his family had been. I wondered why dad never called, why he didn’t come get us, how he could just let us go. My mother told us that he was a “good daddy, but that he didn’t take care of us.” She told us that she “had no choice but to take us away, so that that she could be with her family, to care for us.” Over the years, she painted a picture of a classic Peter Pan syndrome father: who didn’t pay child support, wasn’t there to care for us, but was good when it came to play time and fun. I knew from the way she spoke, that none of this was good, and while it didn’t fit with my own memories of the love and safety I’d felt with him, I too began to describe my father as “a good daddy, but not a good father.” I am sure I said those words 100 times through the years. I said them to friends; I said them to my own children. And over time, I buried anything that didn’t fit my mother’s picture.

I forgot that it wasn’t true.

Taken the year my dad died, I see wariness and grief in these eyes...

Taken the year my dad died, I see wariness and grief in these eyes…

Children do not understand the truly devastating things that adults will do when they feel trapped, and my mother spent most of her life feeling trapped. Even the most abused children cling to the parent that abuses them. They try to be perfect and hope that they will be loved and valued. While I wasn’t the most abused child, things were not good, and I knew that I needed to believe whatever my mother told me, to win her approval. I knew that things seemed much less stable with my mom, that my role went from child to co-parent overnight, and that our father didn’t want us anymore– but most of all, I knew that I needed to believe whatever my mother told me.

And so I accepted that my father had moved on, and that maybe there were other children he loved now. I came to believe that the magical times I remembered with him and his family were figments of a young and wishful mind. When he was killed in a car accident a year later, I grieved– inside everything felt black and empty– but I grew up accepting my mother’s version of him.

Throughout my life I’ve struggled with confusing memories, and details that never added up. In describing time, the years didn’t fit with the memories; the math was all screwy. This seemed really strange coming from a person who has such vivid memories of so many things– extremely detailed memories of so much of my childhood… with my father. And that’s just it, I’ve always struggled with the memories of my mother; there were none, for a long stretch, and that never fit with the stories she told me, and that I accepted. Two months ago, my father’s sisters set it all straight, and I’ve been unraveling the shock ever since.

My mother abandoned us. She left me with my two small siblings, alone in an apartment, for my father to find, and then she disappeared for 16 months. No calls to check on us, no visits for birthdays, nothing. She simply disappeared, and my father raised us with my great grandmother and his family. They celebrated our birthdays, took us to school, and loved us. They never spoke ill of my mother, but they circled the wagons and made sure we knew we were safe and loved.

Still, I was old enough to know that something horrible had happened. Each night I lay awake– hyper-vigilant and afraid that my dad, my great-grandmother, and maybe even my siblings would vanish too. I checked each one as they slept; I sat by the curb in the day, waiting. No one heard anything from my mother as my father and his family tried to make up for that giant missing piece. We all worked on getting beyond that curve ball. We rubbed our bruises and worked on healing.

The day she took us was the first time we’d seen her in at least 16 months. I’ve always remembered how wary I felt with her when my father drove away that day– again, viscerally clear in my memory. For most of my life I’ve felt guilty for that; for being scared when we got on that plane, and when we met all those new family members. I felt guilty for not trusting my mother, most of my life. And yet, I forgot why. The trauma of her abandonment and then my father’s death left me clinging to her version of things, completely burying all that had happened in those critical months when she left us behind. When the words came out of my aunt’s mouth “what else would your dad have done– your mother abandoned you for nearly two years!” it all came crashing back– every missing memory, every dark detail; the math suddenly added up again. I had no memories of my mother for so long because she wasn’t there.

sc086272bcIn the two months since all of this came out, I’ve struggled to come to terms with all of the implications and realities of this shocking truth. My father never abandoned us; my mother did. He wasn’t a careless father, or a man who didn’t pay child support. He wasn’t a Peter Pan caricature who moved on when his wife stole his children; he called and searched. He was a man who “was never the same, from the minute he went to pick his children up and found an empty apartment.” He was “devastated when he couldn’t find them for five months,” because his wife’s parents denied knowing where they were. He grieved every single day, and worked to get his children back, at a time when jumping on a plane was a monumental feat. He worked to save the money to see his children again. He never forgot them; he mourned their absence each day.

My father was killed two weeks before a scheduled visit back east, to finally see us. Is there a crueler irony? We were so excited that he was coming; now I am haunted by what that probably meant to him. I believed my mother’s story that they were going to try and fix their marriage; I’ve clung to that romantic vision. Now I believe his only intention was to get us back. I’ve dug in those sad places and asked questions. I’m searching for truths. I’ve spent these weeks, remembering every detail that has been buried for so long, and talking to other people who remember.

Celebrating with Nini

Celebrating with Nini

I remember. My father loved us. He took good care of us– working long hours and living with his grandmother, in order to give his three young children a safe and loving home. We had a garden we played in; we had dinners with my dad and Nini each night, where we were expected to have good manners and eat every bite. There were boundaries and a safe rhythm to our lives. Baths at night, and long bike rides on sunny days. There were strawberries we planted together and picked in the spring. We walked to school with our friends, with lunches packed for us. We were loved, and cared for.

This Father’s Day I’m missing that father who took such good care of us, who loved us so much, and lost us. I’m missing the father I lost through death and stories. I’m asking forgiveness for believing what I always knew wasn’t true. I’m grieving a daddy that was all of the wonderful things I tried to forget, to not feel the pain of losing him.

If Words Could Make Wishes Come True….

I’m letting go of the stories my mother told me because I don’t need to believe lies anymore. I’m not interested in demonizing her. She was a broken person, who struggled all of her life. I’ve always known that. We did our healing before she died, and I loved her. But, what she did was horrible. She took us from our father geographically, and then filled our heads with stories that took him away from us on a much deeper level. I’ve spent 42 years trying to add things up that didn’t add up, and afraid to trust my own gut and instincts– because all those years ago I learned that survival depended on believing what I knew wasn’t true.

Safe and loved, in my father's arms

Safe and loved, in my father’s arms

This Father’s Day I’m reclaiming my own memories and embracing them. There are so many parents who, in doing what they think is right, leave scarred children in their wake. I am sorry that my mother was so lost and scarred, herself, that she didn’t think about how her decisions and lies would leave me the same way. I understand, but it’s hard to forgive it. But I am not my mother. I’m living with truth now. I was a child whose father loved her very much; I’m a woman who remembers that. Dad, this one’s for you. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sQ7cuYgjzw

“I’ve been afraid of changing, because I built my life around you. But time makes you bolder; children get older … and I’m getting older too.”

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GIPY

Make me smile; HELP ME REACH MY GOAL:  I’d love to see the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page reach 800 likes in 2015. I’m nearly there! Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter; it’s where I’m forced to be brief.  Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. I love to hear what readers think. Honest, positive or constructive feedback is always welcome. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email, with no spam.  If you see ads on this page, please let me know. They shouldn’t be there.  ©2015  Please note, that all content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, please give proper credit. Plagiarism sucks.

Posted in Aging, Awareness, Blogging, Death of parent, Healing, Honest observations on many things, Life, Love, Memories, My world, Parenting, Relationships, Tales From the Motherland, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 59 Comments

Friday Fictioneers: This Day and Each Day Forward

I’m working my way back from some very stuck days. Back to fiction and my wonderful group of Fictioneers. Admittedly, I struggled with this photo; inspiration was limited. But it seems the best way to get unstuck is to simply move forward, one step in front of the other.

If you’d like to join this wonderful group of storytellers, visit Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s blog Addicted Purple for more details. Each week she posts a photo prompt, and members write a 100-word story. This week’s photo was provided by Rochelle.

© Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

© Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

This Day and Each Day Forward

“Say it again– tell me you love me.”

Jessie gazed into Kate’s eyes and kissed her. She giggled– his day old beard tickling her cheek.

“Tell me,” she murmured.

“I love you more than I can say, sweet wife. I’ll spend the rest of our lives telling you that.”

Kate threw her hands across the downy pillows and gazed up at the intricate ceiling and chandelier.

Dappled sunlight filtered through the curtains, as they lay together– the first day of married life.

“One day I’ll be a fine gentleman, like your father, and we shall have chandeliers in every room.”

(100 words, exactly)

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GIPY

Make me smile; HELP ME REACH MY GOAL:  I’d love to see the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page reach 800 likes in 2015. I’m nearly there! Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter; it’s where I’m forced to be brief.  Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. I love to hear what readers think. Honest, positive or constructive feedback is always welcome. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email, with no spam.  If you see ads on this page, please let me know. They shouldn’t be there.  ©2015  Please note, that all content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, please give proper credit. Plagiarism sucks.

Posted in Honest observations on many things | Tagged , , , , | 31 Comments

Friday Fictioneers: Swimming Lessons

Oh how I’ve missed my incredible Friday Fictioneers community! I’m dipping my feet back in the flash fiction waters, and forcing myself to write. This photo just spoke to me on so many levels! As always I welcome honest, constructive feedback.

If you’d like to learn more about this 100- word weekly challenge, check out Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog, Addicted to Purple. She manages to keep us on track, while keeping her many balls in the air! This weeks’ (fabulous) photo prompt was provided by C. Hase.

A giant Mazel to Jennifer/Elmo Pendergast, on the birth of her gorgeous baby boy! What a joy to see his lovely photo. And woot woot to Dawn, who got her story in first! That is a late night, girlfriend!

© C. Hase

© C. Hase

Swimming Lessons

Shackled to the consequences of my actions, as well as those you bequeathed to me, I walk the green forest and hike the sacred shore– soaking up their peace.

I dig into our shared history, seeking moments of clarity.

There are too few.

But I am learning to swim against the currents; I’m reformatting my voice.

I will discard the kernels of poison you left me to hold, and I won’t hold my hands open for more.

I am breaking those chains and tossing them into the salty sea.

I won’t sink; I’ll swim.

(94 words)

Posted in Aging, Awareness, Blogging, Daily Observations, Flash fiction, Friday Fictioneers, Writing, Writing challenge | Tagged , , , , | 64 Comments

Three Steps Forward…

images(nidcd.nih.gov)


Words fail me… piles of words, stuck in my head. 

Writer’s Block is an over-simplified term for what I’m feeling about words right now. I carry them around like more emotional baggage, weighing me down. They taunt me, as I struggle to make sense of things, the best way I know how: writing.

“You haven’t written anything in ages,” my friend pointed out, at lunch. “You haven’t even done your Friday Fictioneers–“ she adds, watching me.

I wanted to cry. Again. I seem to do that a lot lately. Cry.

It’s been a really rough couple of months, on so many fronts. Three steps forward in my efforts to evolve, and five steps back– some days.

Generally, I’d use my words. That’s what I do: write. I figure things out that way; I process; I move forward and through things that are challenging, by putting them down and sending them out. But this time, I’ve been paralyzed. I see the weekly photo prompt for Friday Fictioneers (the weekly flash fiction challenge, that I’ve done for 20 months now, only missing 2) and I can’t even string 100 words together. Stories run through my head, but I can’t type them.

Even the words have failed me, recently.

Let me clarify: I think of a something to write, every day. Every. Day. I frequently lie awake late at night, because the words are clambering to be written, but I sit down and my fingers fail me. A lump in my throat prevents the blood flow from head to heart to keyboard.

There– you can’t tell, but I just sat for 20 minutes after that last word.

You haven’t written anything in ages.

So here I am, in this coffee shop– with its soothing European music, with lots of industrious people typing away around me, and I sit looking out the window… stuck.

Three steps forward and five back.

The words are there; my head is full of them– but they all feel unspeakable, un-typable.

This Voices of the Year is choking on her words.

It’s been nearly 2 months since I learned some family revelations that have rocked me. I’ve been processing it, and finding some peace, but challenge upon challenges rolls in, on top of that, and I am stuck. My past too often drives me; I want to drive.

The ongoing pain of watching someone I love so much struggle with Huntington’s Disease and addiction, and feeling helpless, hurt, hopeless… lost. Unable to reach out and fix anything, or connect. I drift in this loss.

Ten more minutes pass… I see someone I know out the window, and turn away. I don’t want to say hi, or chat about our kids.

My kids. I miss them. I love who they are and what they’re doing, but some days I ache from the distance. My girl is waiting for her first baby– nearly 7,000 miles away from me. Her beautiful round belly is only real in photos. I can’t hug her, or go sit with her, as she deals with the challenges of becoming a new mother, living in a new city, creating a new life (literally, and figuratively) with her partner, so far from us. I ache.

My boy is having the adventures of a lifetime, in Australia and soon in Vietnam and China. He’s with the woman he loves. They are happy and embracing their journey. We’ve shared some wonderful emails, skypes and phone calls. This child I’ve had more conflict with over the years– I have missed him enormously, and enjoy those moments of connection so much. Another 7,000+ miles are between us. I ache.

I smile at their updates, and the photos that bring them into my home again, but then I cry– “Come home…”

Two more people living in my house and another dog– I love these two; I’m so happy to have them here, but I miss my solitude. I miss my freedom to sit quietly and write, or miss my kids, or do any number of things that I did with that solitude. The dog has wreaked havoc. Aggressive and scary one minute, sweet the next. One of the people I love, loves the dog, but her presence is not sustainable. It weighs heavy on me– torn between the boy, the dog, my love and the offer of help I extended, but now can’t fulfill. Frustrated by the omissions that landed us in this place. The options are limited; none of them feel good. I feel boxed in and trapped by my own actions, my own desire to do the right thing.

Boundaries… three steps forward and five back, I feel like I’m always trying to catch up. If you grew up with very little experience in setting boundaries, in unconditional love, in healthy relationships… it’s like inventing the wheel, with feathers and glue.

Staring out the window again, watching teenage mothers on the corner, their young children playing on the busy sidewalk. Today, I don’t feel any more competent than they are. The young girl strokes her round belly, another child coming, as she sucks her cigarette… and I stare out this window.

I’ve written something.

One step at a time, forward, I stumble.

Check out other stories about dealing with our pasts, baggage, and life, here on the Daily Post.

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GIPY

Make me smile; HELP ME REACH MY GOAL:  I’d love to see the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page reach 700 likes in 2015. I’m nearly there! Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter; it’s where I’m forced to be brief.  Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. I love to hear what readers think. Honest, positive or constructive feedback is always welcome. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email, with no spam.  If you see ads on this page, please let me know. They shouldn’t be there.  ©2015  Please note, that all content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, please give proper credit. Plagiarism sucks.

Posted in Honest observations on many things | Tagged , , , , , , , | 50 Comments