Sunday Scribblings # 56 - Rooted

Roots ~

The word immediately brings to mind gardening in the springtime. It is a luxury that eluded me in Colorado due to the high summer temperatures and constant drought conditions.

Better Half and I relocated to Ohio two years ago, where my family has roots. The child of Italian immigrants, my mother was born and raised in Steubenville; we still have one of her sisters and several cousins living here. My mother left the state to live in both Arizona and California before eventually moving to New York City in order to pursue a successful theatrical career (where she met my father.) They in turn eventually relocated to California and later Colorado.

My roots began in California, although my spirit always wished I could travel back in time to the place of our “American origin.” I took holiday in Steubenville on summer as a youngster, returned here for my Nonna’s funeral, and later visited for a wedding. I fell in love with the area.

The wholesome hometown attitude, lush woodlands and fresh air have nourished us. We can not return to the times of yore to revisit history but we can permit ourselves to grow into the future. We have taken root since our transplant, and we are thriving.
To see other "rooted" stories, please visit Sunday Scribblings: #56- Rooted.


Sunday Scribbling #55: The Secret Identity.

John awoke as the sharp crack of thunder reverberated off the walls of the room, rumbling deeply into his chest and invading his very core. A brilliant burst of lightening flashed across his bed not more than a thought’s breath later, and he cast his terrified gaze across to room.

Two terrified eyes peered back at him out of the darkness; he could almost make out the pale face and gaping mouth of his five-year-old brother. A second boom rent the air and the tussled brown head dove under the covers.

John tried to call to the small form, but he found that his mouth had become a dry cave. His tongue rattled around in it like a bulky dragon too large for such confinement. The next flash of light sent him scrambling under his own covers. He began to count, and reached only three before an ear-splitting peal drove his hammering heart into his throat.

Seconds passed and John trembled. He could hear his brother’s tiny whimpers. His own face was hot with tears. There was no logical reason to be afraid of a storm, yet John suspected that facing every werewolf and vampire on earth would not be as terrifying as peeking out from the safety of the coverings to look at the storm. A tiny cry echoed down the hall and John heard his mother’s footsteps hurrying to check on Grace, his baby sister.

John began to cry a little harder, the sound muffled by the sudden onslaught of rain lashing upon the windowpane. Thunder rolled over the roof but, mercifully, John could not see the horrid lightening.

“Dad?” The whimper came from the muffled confines of the twin bed across from his own. There was urgency to the call, a plea for comfort. It tugged at John’s heartstrings.

Dad wasn’t here. It was a cold reality that ate at John at every waking moment. Dad was hundreds and thousands of miles away, camped somewhere in the Persian Gulf with the rest of his unit. It was on John’s shoulders now. He was the man of the house. Dad was never afraid of storms. He marshaled his courage and threw the covers back.

Lightening burned into his retinas and the answering rumble did not give John the courtesy of allowing him to count. He hurled his nine-year-old frame from the bed, skidded across the blue throw rug, and ducked down beside the other bed. He reached out and touched the lump huddling in the very middle of the bed.

“Dell?” he called softly. “You okay?”

“No,” came the shaky reply.

John shivered slightly in the cold room, and then said, “It’s going to be okay.”

The small form inched away from him stubbornly, and John felt a small pang of guilt in his heart. He knew Dell was scared, and John just wasn’t old enough or big enough to protect him. He looked about the room, trying to find something to coax Dell from his hiding, and his eyes fastened upon the picture on the dresser. A handsome man smiled back at him. Happy blue eyes were framed by a boyish face and plenty of brown desert.

“Dad,” John whispered. He drew resolve from saying the name. He gently poked the hiding lump and said in his bravest voice, “Well, you know where I am, so come find me if you need me.” It was something Dad used to say whenever they tried a new task.

John walked bravely back to his bed, accepting the noise of the storm and bearing it as a cross, only to be chased back under his own covers by a sudden flash from the skies. He breathed rapidly for a moment, listening to the odd mix of his sister’s cries and the storm, then slowly looked out into the room again.

Dell’s tiny form scuttled around under the sheets and two small bare feet emerged and dropped to the floor. Dell raced over and leaped onto John’s bed and John could smell his brother’s shampoo and Spiderman bath soap. He wrapped his arms around Dell, drawing him closer as they leaned against the headboard together.

“You’ll be okay, Dell,” he said softly. “It’s only a spring rain. It’ll pass. You’ll see.”

Dell nodded and pressed his face into John’s chest. He cried softly and allowed his brother to comfort him. They listened to the storm together, and Dells’ tears eventually faded. John began retelling stories that Dad had told him about the rain, laughing about angels bowling and God taking pictures in the middle of the night. Soon Dell was chuckling right along with him, adding bits to the story – just as John had done one night, long ago, when Dad comforted him. The storm began to pass.

A loud knock at the bedroom door made them both twitch, but it was only Mom poking her head in to check on her sons. She smiled at them and walked over to tuck them in.

“My brave boys,” she soothed as she kissed them both. “John, you are such a brave soldier.” She kissed him a second time, and whispered “thank you” as she brushed his bangs out of his face.

John nodded and his mother made her way back down the hall, leaving the door cracked open slightly. He looked down at Dell, who was now nearly asleep in his arms. He knew Dad would approve of him taking care of Dell so well while Mom was busy with little Grace. He was the man of the house for now, but his own secret identity was the truth: he was, in fact, still a frightened little kid.

“Only no one can ever know,” he finished his thought out loud, and laid his cheek on Dell’s head.

This week's prompt is: Sunday Scribblings: #55 - Secret Identity.

A Pittsburgh View

We had another “Pittsburgh Day” again. Better Half’s CPAP test machine had to go back to its selected clinic, which entailed driving for an hour, dropping the machine off, and returning back the way we came.

(I suppose that setting up a small tent upon the VAMC lawn would save on the cost of gasoline. We already have a PA cell phone number. The dogs ultimately will familiarize themselves with living on a leash or small tether; surely the cat can be kept in the Vue.)

All kidding aside, I do not mind the trek to Pittsburgh. Traffic was very light today and the clear skies meant several perfect views of the skyline.

Oil of Olay Regenerist

An excerpt from an email to a dear friend:

"I did discover that daily facials make my skin look better. I ran the whole gambit of expensive products only to discover that I have allergies to them. My mother, bless her heart, told me to suck up my pride and use her Oil of Olay. I scoffed. She insisted, and added an Italian guilt trip (“What I use is not good enough for my daughter?”) I relented. No allergic reaction. I am suitably impressed with the brand’s newest products, which are designed to compete with high-end brands. Laugh and mock all you want, OoO has earned a place on my bathroom countertop as the only products that have not caused me to break out in blistering hives."

In all seriousness, I do highly recommend the new Oil of Olay Regenerist product line. I am rather impressed at how well the product Thermal Polishing Creme works, and the accompanying lotions and gels perform exactly as the manufacturer claims.

The products run the whole gambit: cleansing cloths and soaps to "finishing touches" (pre-makeup) application. They have eye creams, wrinkle creams, tough-spot creams - all designed to preserve our youthful qualities (anti-aging) while stripping away the years of abuse we have done to ourselves. (As an ex-tanning goddess, I can tell you that my enhanced aging has diminished greatly.)

To all you cosmetic snobs out there (especially those with manly skin): don't diss it until you actually try it!

For product information, I suggest you stop by their official web site: Regenerist Home

Happy Easter and (belated) Passover greetings

Happy Easter and Passover greetings to my dear Readers.

Better Half and I made a lovely day of it. I kept myself busy with Eastertide services and then spent the afternoon and evening relaxing with my housespouse.

“Oh my God, Aut, you’re Christian?” Will wonders never cease?

I bought a bouquet of flowers for Better Half after the Easter Vigil last night, which can be seen in the entry below this. This graced our table alongside carved eggs from our Ukraine exchange student, Vlad (who has since returned to his country and is enrolled in a University in Kiev.)

The lamb turned out perfectly, as did our freshly sautéed green beans and shallots, and the rice pilaf. We selected an inexpensive yet tasty merlot for our table wine and toasted each other.

I am fairly depleted mentally so I will include some photographs with brief captions instead of descriptive paragraphs.

The cross and fountain at Easter Vigil.


The table, simple and hearty.

We always serve premium fresh dog at Easter.

Only joking! He was hovering around awaiting a morsel of lamb.

If you look closely, you can see the swirling snow outside the window


Think Blog Award

Think Blog Award
AnnieElf nominated me for a Thinking Blog Award. (Annie, your music is absolutely delightful!)

I routinely visit numerous blogs, however some of my favourite haunts are currently stalled as their owners are on sabattical. In their place, I suggest these five places:

Ron Oliver's Fabulous Life! is the place to visit for a quick perk-me-up. His humor is off the wall. I know that you've heard me promote his blog prior to this, but when you discover something fabulous, you flaunt it.

Where on earth would I be without my daily fix at All-American Girl's Roadtrip? Autrice loves Roadchick almost as much as she loves finding a pair of black mariachi pants with silver chains on sale at Goodwill. Given the fact that I actually WORE black mariachi pants with silver chains off and on during my Junior year of High School (it was a gaudy punk thing to do), you know that my expressing of love comes from the bottom of my heart!

In contrast, Starting Afresh from Christ is a place of inspiration. Sister Eva-Maria has taken the time to remember Pope John Paul II this week. This beautiful Sister never hesitates to answer a question about the life of a nun, and she never shies away from showing her human side. Such a blessing to have her as part of our blogging community.

As I am Catholic and in an Easter mind frame, I also want to point you towards The Benedict Notes (Annie, please do not feel as if you are burdened to find five more people to promote on your secondary blog.) I have learned much from this blog.

Finally, we come to Vintage Moon Studio (at her new home - I have yet to update my link on the right.) I tend to meditate on Deb Lewis' work. Her artistic creativity knows no bounds.

The origin of the "Thinking Blog" can be found Here!

The participation rules are simple:
1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,
2. Link to Ilker so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,
3. Optional: Proudly display the 'Thinking Blogger Award' with a link to the post that you wrote (here is an alternative silver version if gold doesn't fit your blog).

April Greetings

Insomnia is a wicked eight-lettered word that deprives us of our REM whilst guaranteeing that we will exhibit a beastly disposition the following morning. Insomnia has cast its cruel spell upon me tonight. I am relatively awake despite an ample dosage of sleeping meds.

I accomplished some painting over the weekend; the downstairs stairwell, landing and upper hall are roughly complete. I still have some cut-in painting to do as well as the very top of the landing (which is over twelve feet in height.) I allowed Better Half to select the color (after I narrowed the choices down to a few samples), and I am delighted to find it works well. It did not help to hear Better Half’s comments after I had completed 95% of the job; he quipped, “It reminds me of baby poop.” Need I remind him that he chose this color?

I also changed out the ancient light fixtures in the stairwell and upstairs hall. Cloth wires are sinister to work with.

I have occupied some time (and padded my wallet) with a part time job. This had kept me fairly busy, much to the annoyance of several of my friends (whom seem to be of the opinion that I am at their beck and call whenever they are in need of me.) I should quantify that: only one person is giving birth to kittens over the whole affair.

My body is not tolerating the physical exertion well. My feet, already a source of pain due to skeletal and tendon issues, keep my in agony (which is also contributing to my insomnia tonight.) Finding shoes that fit well and give the support that I require is easier said than done. I am basically working through the pain until I can find something that will alleviate the problem.

Better Half has endured his own trials. His cough, persistent since January, affects his quality of life to the point where he can not do much of anything. His twit of a primary care professional (a LPN with poor bedside manner) actually suggested that he cease taking his HPB medications to alleviate the symptoms, as a side effect of his particular med is a dry cough. This irked me seven ways to Sunday, dear Readers, as his high blood pressure is barely controlled with the med. To suddenly stop taking it without any other medication would be detrimental to his health. I put my foot down and demanded that he call the clinic and explain his BP readings prior to taking his normal med; the nurse on duty panicked and contacted the LPN, who promptly ordered him a new medication.

He has a week to go with the “borrowed” CPAP machine and then they will assign him his own unit. I enjoy villains of all walks, but sleeping with Darth Vader is unique. The machine itself is absolutely silent while running, however Better Half has to wear a mask and headgear. It’s rather cute, I must say.

We have been benefiting from our front porch; bird watching in early spring is always a treat. We have a Downy Woodpecker pair that seems to enjoy our food offerings. Our doves returned, as have the various finches and wrens. The grackles also returned but they seem kept at bay by a pair of feisty cowbirds.