The Writer and Her Papa

1926734_10204222512019405_7922414794304983180_nThis is my Papa. I met my Papa when I was thirteen years old. I was already taller than him. And he still had some color in his hair.  Since then we have both grown quite a crop of steely gray hair.

According to legend, he fell in love with Momma over homemade spaghetti.  She didn’t cook it mind you.  He did and he had forgotten to stock up on red pepper flakes.  When he mentioned it, Momma pulled a large container of them out of her purse. .

I am not sure how a large container of pepper flakes made it into her purse.  Maybe she was using them as a cheap version of pepper spray? Throwing the whole container at would be assailants and hoping that her aim was true to hit them in the eye or at least the shock of seeing a flying pepper flake container would slow them down.

A few weeks or months later, Momma came by to pick me up for an outing with Denny.  After Denny came into her life I saw Momma more and more.  If he did nothing else he brought my mother back into my life.  (But, he did do more)

You see a year earlier, we lost our house.  Momma went to stay with friends and I returned from my annual stay at my grandmothers house to live with my father. The separation would last nearly a year.  It wasn’t by choice on either of our parts.  In the meantime, life became a serious of events where I tried and failed to win the approval of my birth father and stepmother.  Every decision I made questioned and denounced as immature and lacking thought.   My interests were weird and I was disrespectful. I didn’t know how to please them and eventually just retreated to my books and imagination.

My father and mother had divorced when I was six.  He told my mother that he didn’t love her anymore.  And she told him to leave. I don’t know what it cost her to do it;  to go against everything that she had been taught about life and marriage. She came from the work it out generation. Her parents were married for over fifty years.  The only way out of marriage was death.  And she let my father go alive. She could have killed him for cheating on him.  She could have raged against him. She never did at least not in front of us kids. She told him to go.  Told him that he had to go that they weren’t just going to go through a divorce sleeping in the same bed or living in the same roof .  She told him to go and where the boundaries were.  I love her for that and everything she did that followed to do right by us. We never made it easy.

Sadly in the months following the divorce I blamed my mother and tried to fight her.  She rocked and held me close until I calmed down.  She didn’t understand that my father had just told me he was going on a business trip not that he was leaving permanently.

My father is not a man known for his sense of humor or love of literature. Actually, I don’t know why people like my father. I do know that he hated my nose was always in a book and wanted me to get out and do things.   I wanted to do things. The things in the books I was reading.  The characters had horrible lives to be sure (I was a huge VC Andrews fan), but their lives were filled with excitement and love.

Love is something  my father still has difficultly communicating to his nearly forty-year old daughter. He rarely says it and every time I hear it, I question whether he is sick or not.  Dying being the event that would induce an out pouring of emotion from his tight lips.

Papa has never had trouble communicating his love, frustration or anger with me.  It hasn’t always been smooth and he has been so angry at me that I am sure he was seeing cross eyed.   I was never the rebellious teen. No, I did all my stupid, worry the parents stuff in my mid to late twenties after I came home to live with them.  When I was a pain in the butt, he let me know.  And while we will never agree on politics completely (so far we both hate Trump), we always agree on the fact that I am his daughter.

Maybe he didn’t provide half my genetic sequence, but he did provide all the love and support a child could wish for. He showed me what it was like to have two loving and strong parents in the home.  He gave me what I missed as a child of divorce the feeling of a strong family unit.

11154866_674372752668042_8297915621730049195_o

 

Father’s day is hard on a lot of people.  Some people like my Papa didn’t know their fathers or have fathers like mine who won’t accept them for who they are.  Papa doesn’t always understand me, but he loves and accepts me.  All of me. It is what a father does.

 

The Good with the Bad

The day began with insomnia

drifted into lateness

and fell into despair

One found dead, the news feed reads

the reaper’s  prize

at last

sorrows grips friends

still other silent cheer the end of the road

two kids in a doctor’s office sick with the flu

 

two strangers cling to life

victims of happenstance

attended by the best

No news is good news or so the fellows say

No news is bad news worries the friends

beloved ones

Victory arrives late

lesson learned, acceptance obtained

a child born

new shoes,  credit extended ,

then end of an abusive relationship

 

No clever words need

or cliques expressed

Just another day

the good with the bad

the bad with good

perspective the only means of definition

 

 

Sometimes I….

Sometimes I write bad poetry and sometimes I write stories that don’t make sense.

Sometimes I just write and write for hours in my head. Lately, I have been working really hard to set a schedule up for myself and it hasn’t been working really well.  I did good up until last Thursday and then I fell off the writing wagon last Thursday and didn’t get back to it until today. Writers must write and they have to write things that sometimes scare them and push the boundaries. Something that I haven’t done a lot of in my own writing. I have tried to stick to safe topics so as not to offend people especially the people I love.

I have tried to be a pillar of strength, but really feel most days like I am falling apart and the duct tape isn’t sticking anymore.  This past weekend, I looked back after a phone call from Momma and my sister, Tish, that I realized that my strength doesn’t come from being strong, but each and every time I got myself back up and kept going.

So I am back at it, but with a difference. I am going to write the stories I see around me. The ones that have been pleading with me to finish them. The ones that scare me.  I will be finishing my April Page A Day posts and then going back to work on next book along with other projects. I want to have it finished by the end of summer and begin the editing process.  There are two or three more books, I have notes for but I am going to focus on the one that began this journey.

 

Not A Real Family (April Page 18 )

He’s not your real father.  So don’t expect him to care. She’s not your real kid so don’t expect her to love you. Step-kids aren’t really kids. And Step-parents are just playing a game that they can stop at any time.

But my Papa loves me. He shows me everyday and has always got my back.

Years ago, Papa made a choice to be a father to my siblings and myself. He didn’t have to do it as I have said many times before, but he did and we are a stronger family for it.   My sister and I needed him in more ways than we can count.

Our birth father is a good man, just not an emotional one. He loves us in his own way.  Sometimes however that way is toxic to his children who want love without judgment and strings. Believe when I tell you that your kids need your love more than anything else. They need to show them how to love, how to maintain healthy relationships and how to stick with it.  They also need forgiveness and second and third chances. They need to be told no a times as well.

I know my birth father loves me and is proud of me, but there is a seed of doubt in me when it comes to accepting that it is real.

With my Papa, there is no doubt. None at all.

Last night, I was blessed to be able to take my parents out to dinner for Papa’s birthday which was earlier this week.  It was a new level of adulthood, paying for their dinner without them fretting at me.  Momma told me how proud he was of what I wrote on Tuesday and that he was going to take a copy of it to the family reunion. Some of our northern family has told him that stepchildren aren’t real kids. They have even gone so far as to tell my Papa that we will abandon him if something happens to Momma.

My sister and I aren’t going anywhere. His grandkids, his grandkids, will not abandon him. He is family and he has made us a strong family by supporting us, guiding us and loving us unconditionally.

It is sad that some people have to hate on the happiness of others. I know that our family is unique and not every blended family is like ours, but we work and we are happy. In the end, isn’t that all that should matter.

If you’d like more information on Lucinda’s work subscribe to this blog, follow her on Twitter or like her page on Facebook.  Her new novella, Blood Child is available on Amazon.

April Page 11

In the mix of all that life offers, it is easy to get caught up and go along for the ride. Seven hours in a math class today and my brain was real and truly fried. It crispy and crunch and best served with tarter sauce.

We all get caught up on the roller coaster of life. Sometimes it is fun. Tonight with wine in hand, I was dancing again. It wasn’t the wine, but the way that today ended that inspired the dancing. Freedom and safety cause me to start dancing. And also to sing. I don’t do enough of either these days, making a living and staying a head of the bill collector’s girl.

The spring for me is a time for balancing and balancing, a time to figure out what I need to bring into my life.  This spring, I feel the need for clarity. There are a lot of things I want and need.

Sometimes the two get confused. Sometimes, they seem like they are the same thing. Maybe they are.

Maybe by taking moments to breathe, we can figure out the difference.

Momma

When Momma goes down

We all go down

When Momma’s not happy

no one is happy

Because Mommas are the glue

that holds us all together

And when they go down

we all go down

Til one of us rises

and the Momma we become.

 

If you’d like more information on Lucinda’s work subscribe to this blog, follow her on Twitter or like her page on Facebook.  Her new novella, Blood Child is available on Amazon.

Thank You, Santa!!!

The best gift this year came with a gold bow on top and wrapped in a DAV (Disabled American Veteran) blanket found in a thrift store.  My Papa put a gold bow on his head on Christmas and it was awesome. Not that my father has never done anything cool or cute before. At 4’11”, he can’t help being adorable although at times he is the charming bad ass.

 I call him Cranky.  He started yelling at the TV a couple years ago and hasn’t stopped.  He is a Fox News addict and while I am grateful that he has started voting, his renewed interest in politics has been some what distressing.

When he is in the hospital, I call him, Sir Crank Pants. I don’t care what the nurses thought of our banter, making my dad smile is one of the best things in life.  One nurse told the doctor that my dad was delusional.  He isn’t. Stubborn as hell, set in his ways but not delusional.  He can learn and grow.  He is slow to trust and loyal to the core; mess with one of his kids then you are in trouble.

 Two weeks ago, Momma and I were sitting down to eat lunch and drink mojitos, our little tradition, when my sister called.  The message which came to us was that Papa had fallen. Our order was cancelled as we rushed out the door waving goodbye to our mojitos.  And not caring in the slightest.

We arrived at the hospital and discovered that he hadn’t fallen. His sodium was so low that our family doctor (yes, we actually have one doctor for all of us) called and told him to go directly to the Emergency Room where we found him. He looked so small draped in a hospital gown. He may be short, but predictably he has never been small.

He has always been huge in my life. A giant.

When I first met Papa, I was already taller than him. He was dating Momma and I was living with my birth father.  Papa’s arrival meant that she could be a physically part of my life. She didn’t have a car and was living in a closet, not a small apartment in New York. She had no way to get to me. No way to see me.  It also meant that Momma had the support that she needed to prosper once again. She got the spark back and started her own craft business.

 He came into my life and I got Momma back. All of her.

 And he is still here.

 My Papa is still here, living and breathing and stirring up trouble and driving us all blessedly nuts.

Thank you, Santa.  

Yet Another Manic Monday

This week, I will turn 38 years old. This past weekend, I decided to celebrate my birthday with a party. Why? Why not? Too much of my life in the past year involved going and going with not much enjoying. So a break was in order.

New phonots 070
The crew.

It was a great break.  Friday, I went to EPCOT with my Mom and Aunt.  It was a lazy day, a wonderful day, with two wonderful whom I love more than life itself.  My aunt and my Mom met in college over fifty years ago.  Aunt Joanie may not be my blood aunt but she has loved me from the moment I stepped foot on this earth.  We ate and chatted and just had a good time.  It was well worth taking the day off work and playing hooky as my boyfriend calls it. Saturday was the birthday party and my house was filled with family and friends as well as music thanks to Mr. Kevin aka the Professor.  He gave me a nifty gadget to record my poetry and other story ideas. Sunday was restful and a trip to the beach.  My feet ended up in the ocean.  Something that I love to do whenever I get near the ocean. I felt great right up until I woke up this morning.

Today, I took off job number one, but failed to take off job number two.  Thus, it really was another manic Monday that I wished was a Sunday.  Even if it did begin at 5:30.  Nap time wasn’t productive. I wasn’t productive knowing that I had to go to work. I wander through this day and made no headway on the to-do list or cleaning up the house after a party. (And to be fair, to my guests, there wasn’t much cleaning up that needed to be done, just putting things back in their pre-party places.) Mostly, I just wasted time which lead directly into my mini manic Monday.  I did it to myself. I failed to plan and ended up driving myself  crazy, which isn’t hard to do since my main profession in teaching.

My only regret is not taking the whole day off. Take time for yourselves and don’t cut yourself short.  Take the whole day off  celebrate yourself even if it isn’t your birthday.

Book Review: Dusk and Summer

DuskAndSummer_JosephAPinto_FrontCover_Large_zps307b1fc0

Dusk and Summer by Joseph A. Pinto

Available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats.

The first time I read this book, it held me captive, curled beneath my comforter until it was done with me.  Recently, it was released under a new publisher and with a new cover. Dusk and Summer kept me prisoner for a second time this afternoon.

The novella published by Pinto in 2008 is a deeply personal metaphysical journey that we are guests on.  The beginning of the novella brought out the English teacher in me;  I wanted to make some corrections.  It seemed to me like he was using to many words when fewer would have allowed the tale to flow more evenly. Don’t allow the rocky beginning to turn you off.  It has a purpose and if you let it, it will take a hold of you.  Pinto is a gifted storyteller knowing which elements of the story to share and which to hold back.

If you are tempted in novels to skip the forward and go straight to the meat of the book; don’t.  You will miss some much needed information about the author and how this book was birthed as well as the love behind it.  All books in one form or another are born of an author’s heart.  This one came from a love grown and nurtured over decades between a father and a son. It is also about letting go and following the wishes of a love one.

There is a villain, one that I have had personal experience with, cancer.  It claws and rakes families with misery.  Some survive, and others goes through what the Pinto family did.  They sit day after day with their love ones doing everything they can to make it though the next day, hour or minute with their sanity in tacked.   Hoping and praying for miracles that never come.  Searching for meaning.

This is a book about one man’s search for meaning; about a son looking for a way to fulfill his father’s last wish and finding strength in his father’s life and death.

For more information on the author please visit: www.josephpinto.wordpress.com

The Days of Gratitude

Some of my friends are posting daily on Facebook what they are most grateful for this year.  Every day this month, they have posted things they are grateful for and each time I have read one of their posts a smile comes across my face. I love them, but haven’t replicated them or create my own this year beyond one vain attempt.

It has been an especially hard November between work,writing, car repairs and doctor appointments.  I haven’t known which way is up for a while now.

We need more gratitude and less attitude in our world. I need more gratitude and less negativity in my life. I have been letting a lot of things get to me. A lot of things that I have no control over which is actually the first think on my personal gratitude list.

1. All the things that are out of my control are reminders that I don’t need to be in control all the time.

2. A neighbor full of friends and colorful people.  The last week or so has been rough on me mentally. I just haven’t had the bounce back that I normally do. My neighbor, Mike, has come to check on me twice. Love across the street reminds me to stay positive and lets me vent when I need to. Joey, our newest neighbor, has been mowing the lawn that we share.  There are also lost of cool characters that inspire characters for my fiction.

3. My parents. I know this one is normally a given, but I lucked out when it came to parental units.  Momma and I went to Ikea the other day and this happened.

Sharky and Drag-Drag chilling in our cart.
Sharky and Drag-Drag chilling in our cart.

The best part is that both stuff animals came home. Momma decided a week or so ago that a friend of mine needed the beagle as a seeing eye dog for the blind giraffe we gave her named Ovid. The dragon was for me because I was having a bad day and he cheered me up.

Ovid the Orphaned Giraffe  on his way to his new home,
Ovid the Orphaned Giraffe on his way to his new home.

4. All four of my jobs. I teach high school during the day, ESOl at night,work at a theme park and read tarot.  While this year has been especially taxing me physically and mental, I am grateful for the work I have.  It is so much better than the alternative. I am able to pay bills on time and am working on getting ahead. Two old bills paid off this month and another one scheduled for next month.

5. Time to breath.  Even though it might not seem like it. I actually do have moments of calm in my day. Each of them is a treasure that I intend to take advantage of more in the coming year.