Tuesday Photo Challenge – Light and Dark

Here is my entry for this week’s challenge hosted by “Dutch goes the Photo”

https://dutchgoesthephoto.net/2018/09/18/tuesday-photo-challenge-light-and-dark/

The theme this week is “Light and Dark”

A few years ago…for a brief 3 months, we rented a very small condo across the street from a stretch of Hampton Beach in NH.

It was a temporary home while we waited for our new condo to be finished…after  downsizing from almost 37 years in a 3 bedroom house.  In the interim, we stored most of our belongings and essentially moved twice. First to this rental! It was a stressful time of uncertainty, planning, paperwork, scheduling, packing, unpacking, working…oh and hosting Christmas with 3 more adults and a sweet baby.

However, this cozy oasis on the coast proved to be just that…an oasis in the midst of life’s chaos. Breakfast watching the sun rise. The stunning late afternoon light as the day ended. From dark to light and back again.

The view from any window had been more than enough to calm and restore my rattled self during that mini-chapter of life.

I took this photo the day we left.
One last look.

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Flash Fiction Challenge – Pasta

Flash Fiction Challenge: September 13, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes pasta. It can be spagetti, macaroni and cheese, or any variety. It can be a meal or a work of art. Go where the prompt leads.

https://carrotranch.com/2018/09/13/september-13-flash-fiction-challenge/

My contribution:

Lunch

“I think I know who she is.”
“What should we do?”

They whisper, but she hears.
Crouching in the hall shadows. Hidden.
Disappearing. Like before.

“Lunch time!” the nice man calls.
The little girl and little boy are at school.
She perches on the edge of her chair.
Her very own place at their table.

“Honey…” the nice lady begins.
“We’re so sorry…”
Looking down.
“You can’t stay here anymore.”

The girl freezes. Stares. Forkful of spaghetti suspended.
Fingers clench into a fist snapping the fork upright.
Steaming tomato sauce spatters.
Drips down her hand.
Red spreading. Staining.
Everywhere.

A Photo a Week Challenge: Water

Nancy Merrill Photography is hosting a photo challenge:

https://nadiamerrillphotography.wordpress.com/2018/09/13/a-photo-a-week-challenge-water-2/

The theme this week is water.

I have two photos to contribute.

Did you know that summer squash is 94% water?
Even though it (and its cousin the zucchini) overtake local gardens by the end of the summer, I still enjoy these summer vegetables over and over. Sliced, chopped, steamed, roasted…and in a cheese casserole if so inspired.
One day the light was right and the cut squash cooperated…

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…from summer
to winter…

One February morning, I raised the shade and found this!
Water where I didn’t want it….

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Falling

Falling

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I never worried about it when I was younger. I fell all the time as a kid. Off my bike. Off my skateboard. Running and jumping.
I’ve got the shiny scars to prove it.  On my chin. Forehead. Wrist. Knees. Falling down: bruises, scrapes and sometimes stitches. But that was it. Within days (or less) I was back to my normal fearless self, good as new. Or at least it felt like it.

The bouncing back of youth. I took it for granted.  I was only really scared once: I tripped and fell while carrying a half gallon glass bottle of milk…rushing up the front cement stairs at dusk. That fall – onto broken glass – led to an emergency room visit…and thank god you didn’t cut your artery, you could have bled to death…That popped my eyes open on the ER bed.  I’ve got 2 scars on my right hand & wrist from those stitches. I was 11.

Decades later, it’s all about so much more. The consequences are now totally different.

The television commercial showcasing “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” is not really funny at all. Perhaps it only amuses a younger audience. I used to laugh too. But now I think, There but for the grace of God…

Both my Oma and Opa fell in their condo – the same day – and couldn’t get up; eventually crawling to reach a phone. Back before cell phones. They were forced to call my mother – closest geographically and their only child – effectively ending a 5 year simmering I’m-not-talking-to-them feud. Not quite worth the silver lining. They went from hospital to nursing home.

Within the next 10 years, my mother slipped and fell down the garage stairs, breaking her hip; triggering a decline in her health and functioning. My mother-in-law fell in the nursing home she was living in; broke her hip and then decided never to walk again. My father slipped and fell down an icy driveway, shattering his hand in multiple places. Their stories are not unique.

Now here I am in my “golden years” living in an “over-55” condo development. All the units are one level “garden style” type. We moved here for many reasons, but the biggest reason we chose this particular living arrangement? To reduce the risk of falling. No stairs to climb in our unit.
No guarantees though – stairs or no stairs. One of our new neighbors recently fell in the bathroom and will be immobile for many months. One fall and your life takes a different path. One you wouldn’t have chosen voluntarily. A few stitches or ice packs is not going to fix you anymore.

Of course not everyone “of a certain age” carries the same risk (and catastrophic falls can happen at any age); but it increases as time goes on. Falling can mean the end of having control over where you go, how you get there, what you do. Your world gets smaller and smaller. And often more painful.

But I wonder if worrying about it and being careful shrink your world as well? Where’s the fine line between sensible precautions and obsessive worry? There has to be a balance.

Recent condo association board meetings have had agendas full of “how to decrease liability.” Irate owners shouting We need speed bumps because people drive too fast. Someone will get hit, fall down and we’ll be liable. Others: Get rid of the speed bumps because people are tripping over them and falling and we’ll get sued. Or fix the sidewalk before someone falls…and we’ll get sued.

They are afraid. And not just about lawsuits. I’m convinced it’s not all anger…really. It’s fear. It’s about what can happen when you fall.  It’s fear masquerading as anger – on both sides.

In the backs of our minds, it’s there. I know I can’t be the only one, as I am on the younger side of the demographic here.

One fall and twist of the hip.
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Or arm.

Or leg.

One break.

Life changes.

 

Flower of the Day

My contribution to…

https://ceenphotography.com/2018/09/11/flower-of-the-day-september-12-2018-peony/

On this dreary rainy day, it is time for a flower!

This is a closeup of a type of rose plant given to me a few years ago. Taken on a sunny day in July. My mystery flower! I’m just guessing it’s a rose.

Much to my astonishment I have kept it alive during our move to a rental and then to a condo. Hardy if nothing else. I wish I had not lost the directions on care and feeding…which also included its name. It likes lots of sun. That much I remember.

My 4 year old orphan, nameless flower:

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If anyone knows what it is, please let me know!

The Day Everything Changed

September 11, 2001

In my lifetime, this is the day everything changed.

We are being attacked!
I heard my coworker yelling as she ran down the hall past my office. I worked in a hospital at the time and yelling in the halls was unusual. And disturbing.
Planes are hitting buildings in New York City!

It has become one of those awful “where were you?” moments. The horrific alteration of reality that gets seared in memory.

Must call family. Must connect. My daughter – a college sophomore on the east coast. My son in the 8th grade. My husband at home. My parents called him. My siblings. My friend in DC. My friend in NYC. The need to wrap oneself around loved ones as we watched the horror, the fires, the smoke, the pain unfold on television – over and over and over and over.  Hope draining away as the hours dragged on.

Emails flew through cyberspace.  Are you okay? Are you okay? My good friend who lived close to NYC frantic to help in some way. A doctor, she made ready to go to Ground Zero. But there was nobody to save. Was on call for helping at hospitals but no living to care for…she wrote to me.

Such profound loss.
Since then life has been divided: Before 9/11 and After 9/11.
A whole generation of children are now growing up under the cloud of what happened that bright sunny day in 2001. Its aftermath. Its fallout.

My heart breaks, still, for those thousands of innocents who died that day. And for their families. And for the first responders. And their families.

Soon after that day in 2001, the nation was called upon to light candles together in remembrance and solidarity. It was a time of unspeakable tragedy and for a brief time…there was unity. We stood on our small deck with a candle. A moment of silence.

I drove to work a few days later and saw a big American flag newly attached to the top of a huge crane – at the construction site for the hospital’s addition project. Similar to the ones at the WTC.

~~~

As a child, I hid under my school desk. Practice drills. Crouched low with head down. In case we were attacked. Then we weren’t. And life went on much as before.

That won’t work anymore.

This morning, the news networks held a moment of silence at 8:46 am to mark when the first plane hit.

Today is a Tuesday, as it was in 2001.

We must never forget.

 

 

Flash Fiction Challenge – Epic Workplace

Flash Fiction Challenge: September 6, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write about an epic workplace. It can be real or imagined. Go where the prompt leads.

https://carrotranch.com/2018/09/06/september-6-flash-fiction-challenge/

My Contribution:

Works

“I’m doing my works!”
The little girl demonstrates.
Carefully pouring water from cup to bowl.

The silent visitor watches in surprise.
She’s never seen such a grand school.
Small wooden tables and chairs. A low matching sink.
Sun pouring in on many bright, happy faces.

The little boy calls out “Me too. Look at my works!”
Red cubes stacked high.
A place for important work. For all.
Pouring. Sorting. Counting. Writing.
Girls and boys. Older helping younger.
Just like her.

The teacher, sitting on the big rug, smiles.
Please join us for circle time.
Welcome to Greenwood Montessori school.