Posts tagged ‘family’

Painted Pumpkins

by: Rebecca Taylor

Leaves rustled overhead as Tania Hanson and her daughter Mariah walked outside to their pumpkin patch. It was time to choose one and take it inside to decorate it. Tania had several stencils of cats, leaves, witches and other Halloweeny things that she knew her daughter would enjoy. Tania always liked painted pumpkins better than carved ones because they lasted longer.

“This is so much fun, Mom,” said Mariah.

“I’m glad that you like it, honey,” said Tania, “I’m glad we can do it together.”

“Me too,” said Mariah, “I just wish that Dad could be here to do it with us.”

“He told me he should be home next week and we can skype him to show him what our painted pumpkins look like,” replied Tania.

“Alright,” said Mariah, “I want to paint a special one for him.”

“I think that’s a great idea,” said Tania.

Together the mother and daughter duo selected their pumpkins and then they put them in the wheelbarrow to take them closer to the house.

It was moments like this that Tania lived for. She enjoyed creating special moments with her daughter, and with her husband when he was home. He traveled frequently for business and she didn’t get to see him as much as she would have liked. She, however, didn’t let that get her down. Instead, she felt incredibly blessed that technology kept them connected so that she and Mariah could share their everyday lives with him even when he was away. She knew that his face would light up with a smile and that his blue eyes would twinkle with the love that they carried when he saw what she and Mariah had been up to. Painted pumpkins and hot apple cider, what a better way to spend a Saturday in autumn.

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All in Moderation

by: Rebecca Taylor

“All the news ever talks about is fat free this and organic that,” complained Monica Moulton to her friends. It was Friday night and they were having their monthly get together, this time at Simone Vien’s house.

“I know, sometimes you just don’t know what you should and shouldn’t be eating. Researchers are always changing their minds, one day you should be drinking milk and then a few days later there is something bad for you in it,” replied Carmen Philips.

“Funny that we’re talking about this now, at our monthly pig out,” teased Simone.

“I think we can all agree that chips, pretzels, and fudge brownies are not something you should be having every day, but once in a while isn’t going to kill you,” retorted Carmen.

“All that talk about putting the nutrition content on the menu and the calorie count, who wants that? If I go out for a meal at a restaurant once in a while, I’m going to choose something that I want to eat, not the item with the lowest amount of calories in it,” said Simone.

“I can make an edible spinach salad at home but I’m no good with those fancy pasta dishes. Macaroni and cheese is about as fancy as I get,” said Monica.

“Well you’re a single mom working two jobs, it isn’t like you have the time to cook, and I’ve had supper at your place before, you manage the four food groups,” replied Carmen taking a handful of pretzels from the bowl on the coffee table.

“Yeah, bagged salad and pizza,” retorted Monica laughing, “some cook I am.”

“Pizza has all four food groups, you probably wouldn’t want to eat it every night, but it’ll do.”

“I hate packing lunches for my kids and I’m home all day and have the time to cook,” said Carmen. “I never know what to make and so many things contain traces of peanuts which aren’t allowed because of the possible food allergies. I’m so glad some companies are starting to put the peanut free symbol on their boxes, it makes shopping so much faster.”

“These get togethers are great because it gives us all a chance to relax and have fun once a month but what we should be doing is getting together and making meals that we can freeze, then our lives would all be so much less stressful,” said Simone.

“It would make things faster wouldn’t it but how much would we cook?”

“We could make enough to last a few weeks, and some nights we could throw things together like we are now,” said Monica.

“Some of those cooking shows say meal planning is the way to go,” answered Carmen pouring herself another glass of wine.

“I don’t know how much more planning I want to do in my life, I seem to be living from my agenda with coordinating all my work shifts, babysitters, soccer practices and piano lessons, to have to plan meals on top of it all,” replied Monica sighing.

“We could get our kids involved and maybe Carmen and I could get our husbands involved too. We could all get together and make the plans and then us ladies could go grocery shopping and then we could cook together and on the nights we aren’t using our meals maybe the kids and husbands could help out.”

“It’s worth a try. It’ll help us all have healthier lifestyles and then maybe the kids will be able to apply it throughout their lives and it won’t be so hard for them when they’re our ages,” answered Carmen.

“We can’t cut out all the foods that are supposedly not good for us because eating should be fun, not all calorie counted, measured portions,” replied Monica between bites of her brownie.

“We can do this, none of us will give up our favourite foods, and I don’t think any of us are going to go overboard and become tofu eating vegans,” replied Simone her blue eyes twinkling.

“To each their own,” teased Monica, “I guess the tofu eaters are entitled to their own opinions.”

“Like my little Charlie’s love for peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwiches. I understand peanut butter and jelly, the thought of PB & mayo isn’t appetizing to me but if he’ll eat it,” laughed Simone.

“Hopefully we can find a way to get my two to stop being such picky eaters. With the little bit of time I have to cook and the fact that they hate any kind of vegetable that isn’t a French fry,” answered Monica.

“We’ll hide the veggies, don’t you worry, and as long as you bake the French fries they’re vegetables,” answered Carmen.

“We can do this, we’ll get it all figured out and we’ll all be eating the things we like in moderation. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the taste of junk food occasionally.”

Monica, Simone, and Carmen got themselves organized, they got together more often and planned and cooked together. They got their families involved and learned how to make some fun new dishes like a grilled veggie and pasta dish, rice and meat wrapped in grape leaves cooked in a tomato sauce and a quick and easy stew recipe. They learned how to manage their time, their menus, and their lifestyles while still enjoying their favourite foods. The three friends still got together once a month to pig out and have fun together, sometimes they just talked or watched a movie but more and more they were sharing new recipes, ideas and takes on cooking. They learned how to cook and have fun all in moderation.

Just The Two (Part Two)

Continuation of last weeks post (Just the two (part one))

“Hey, get off me!” the boy cried, trying to push her away. “I said, Get off me!”

She smiled, rubbing her cheek against his like a mother would. A few seconds in, and several curious stares later, she let him go, still smiling.

The boy frowned, but it held much less hostility than before. “What’s that for?”

She wanted to say it was because he looked like he needed one, but she knew his pride would force him to react negatively. Instead, she simply said, “Because.”

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Just The Two (Part One)

Part one of two

This is a short story I wrote, based on various childhood memories, and lots of creativity. Enjoy~

She came across the young boy at the park, scrapping at the dry dirt with a stick. If this had been years ago, when she herself was his age, she would understand why he was here, alone, and not spending his time with other children on the slides or swings across the way. Then, most of the fun areas had either been neglected or overrun with children much bigger than herself, playing basketball in the courtyard on the side. But years had passed, and the park was once again the perfect place to race around with friends, or hang from the long metal poles like monkeys. So why wasn’t he?

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L O V E/E V O L

By Christian Sopkowiak

“I love you. That’s all I said. Three words. I am telling you this because, well, you seem to listen. It was a bright day, and we had just walked out of the restaurant. It was our third date; even though she insists it was our second. Sitting together, just us two, doing nothing, counts as a date right? I mean, I like to think dating is that easy. It should be. But it isn’t. It has to be the most painful process of relationships. Stupid gestures, stupid clichés, and even worse: stupid people. I can’t say I have seen it all. Hell, at that moment, I was still pretty inexperienced. But hearing the stories told from others, it always makes me think the best part of love is that it’s just a little different with that person.

See, I could go on a date with a girl, enjoy myself, and call her up again. We could go out for a while, eventually begin to distance, and then go our separate ways. That’s most of the stories I’ve heard and stories I’ve lived. But I have also heard stories of true love. Of the way you meet and something clicks. You immediately enjoy each other. You smile when they are around. You wish you could see them everyday, and sometimes you do. But most of all, you want them to be happy. And that something that clicks, why I cant explain it. The spark in love cannot be defined, only felt. And I have felt that only once in my life, and I told her I loved her a week after I met her. Anyways, back to that story. So she stared at me, pursing her lips, and trying to get the hell out of there. But I stood up for my feelings; I didn’t let her think too much. I told her that I have never seen someone so beautiful, someone so smart, someone so thoughtful, and someone so driven in my life. I told her why I loved her, how she laughs when I make bad jokes. Or how she smiles at me while I talk to my friends. Or how she couldn’t stop from twisting her hair when we sat across from each other that night. Or how she always giggles when she smiles. I loved her. She smiled at me after I was done. She kissed me on the cheek and left.

It was the worst night of my life. I guess, that might be a lie, but you don’t know that. You haven’t had too many bad nights, have you? But, she contacted me the next morning, saying how much fun she had. She wanted to do it again. Love is not easy, nor is it hard. It’s somewhere in the middle. When that spark, that something is felt, nothing can stop you from getting together. Love can be really dumb. But, I like to think no matter how bad love can make you feel, it can always brighten your entire day in a moment’s notice. That’s what happened that morning. And I married that beautiful woman. And I guess, after all of this cliché stupid romantic stuff, I just want you to understand love is natural. Just go for it. And I’m telling you this, I guess, because it worked for me. And because, I want you to be the best person you can be, son.” My three-week-old son then smiled at me and giggled, just like his mom.

The Pastures and the Fields

By Christian Sopkowiak

Using the prompt for this week: “Our writing prompt for this week is to write a story using the following five words: bottle, balcony, strawberry, conversation, values.”

Inspired by the biblical story of Cain and Abel

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His mind drifted away from the fields, the stalks, and the sun. He thought of his brother standing in the pasture, the pepper-grey sheep surrounding him. His brother would always herd those sheep. They would always listen to his brother but the one time Carl tried it, the sheep scattered. He thought of the balcony on which he stood, a wooden thing high above the ground. He had his arms on the rails and his eyes on his fields. He thought of his brother once again, this time Abe was standing with him on this balcony, with a bottle in his left hand. It was always his left; he said it helped the alcohol flow down his throat when he drank with his left.

Carl and Abe were brothers by blood but not in truth. For when the two brothers ventured to visit their grandfather’s, Grandpa Gabe never once asked Carl about his fields. Only Abe’s sheep piqued his interest. The conversation droned on with the talk of the sharp, soft wool and tender meat. Carl left that day, knowing he seemed lost to his only other family besides his brother. The balcony began to creak a bit as Carl again tried to spot a flaw in his fields. He had corn, beanstalks, potatoes, apples, and so much more. Yet, Gabe chose Abe’s sheep. Carl saw his brother before him, a smaller man with dark hair and a clean face. There was never any hardness there. He had tried his best to forget that.

The day after their visit with Gabe, Carl approached his brother. He blamed Abe for Gabe’s neglect. Gabe had told Carl that if he kept trying, he may be able to change. But Carl knew Gabe was trying to soften the hurt. The brothers screamed at each other, neither stopping to hear the other. Carl and Abe fought about food, family, culture, values, and finally, life. Carl had brought a knife, no longer than his index finger. It was curved and smeared in oil and dirt. He had used it in his fields. That day, he used it to kill his brother. During their talk, Abe turned to look at his pasture and heavily sighed. Carl drove the blade through him. It went through his heart in one swift motion and Abe began bleeding. The blood reminded Carl of a strawberry: foolishly crimson but eloquently beautiful. So much, like the sun.

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The Blueberry Rebellion

by: Rebecca Taylor

Blueberries, plump and juicy waiting to be eaten, or baked into a pie or cooked down into a thick delicious sauce, August was the time for all of these things. Sadness was in the air, like rain on a cloudy day that just didn’t want to come, you knew it was there but couldn’t see it. The one person who had relished in the season of fruit ripening on trees and bushes, gathering and creating was no longer with them. Her sudden death left a void, one which made Joe Tanner and his daughter Sarah sad when they looked at the bushes in the garden. They knew what they had to do, like it or not, life had to go on, and that meant picking berries. They both knew that Jenny would be unhappy if they neglected the chores, especially the ones she loved most. Without saying a word, Jenny’s husband and daughter went to the old shed behind the house and brought out the baskets. Then, they went to the garden and harvested the fruit for a full three hours. There was still some ripe fruit left on the bushes and more green berries were sure to turn soon, but for the moment they were exhausted both physically and emotionally.

“Now what?” asked sixteen year old Sarah, her voice barely audible.

“We’ll freeze some. It’s the fastest way to get them out of the kitchen.” Freezing berries is easy, thought the distraught widower as he opened re-sealable bags and poured berries inside. I wish I could freeze the void I feel.

Busy days followed as more berries made their way into the lonely, sad home. It was nearing the end of the week and Joe couldn’t take it any longer. He grabbed the blender from its place on the shelf where it had sat waiting since his wife had been taken from him. He threw berries into the machine and after securing the top pressed the start button. The blueberries splattered around making a sea of purple-blue juice. They’re spinning like my stomach, all “wishy washy.” But can I really fix anything by taking out my anger on the helpless blueberries. “They didn’t kill her,” he repeated over and over again tears running down his face.

“Daddy,” said Sarah reaching over and hitting the off switch on the blender and then wrapping her arms around him in a hug.

“What are we going to do?” he asked, “nothing will ever be the same.”  I hate looking at these blueberries, I cannot stand going to bed anymore and staying up all night is an accident waiting to happen. I cannot let this continue, I need to be here for my daughter and here she is comforting me. “I’m goingto figure things out Sarah, I’m going to be the dad you need me to be. I know I’ve let you down these last few months.”

“No, you haven’t Daddy, we both have a lot to learn. Mom did so much, some stuff I didn’t even realize until it wasn’t done or not like the way she did. We’re rebelling at the blueberries but really that’s not it at all. We’re mad because she’s gone and the blueberries are taking the hit.”

“You’re smart, Sarah, and maybe too grown up for your own good. Your mother’s death has made you lose your innocence about life.”

“Daddy, we’re going to get through this. Just like Reverend Frank said, every day it will get a bit easier. Sometimes we’ll have setbacks but we can do this. We both have to eat and sleep and go out and do things with our friends. Even though the outside world killed mother doesn’t mean we can hide from it.”

“Your mother’s death was an accident, a very unfortunate car accident, but the sun still rises and sets and we have to learn to enjoy it again. One day at a time. You should call your friends and go see them. It’s okay for you to leave me home alone.”

“Not today,” said Sarah, “but we could watch a movie once we’ve got the kitchen cleaned up. I’ll make popcorn.”

“Sounds good to me,” said Joe.

The next morning when Joe woke up from his brief slumber, he could smell coffee and blueberry muffins cooking. Sarah was at the kitchen table reading.

“You’re up early,” said Joe.

“I felt like cooking and I needed to make peace with the blueberries.”

“The muffins smell so good, I think I can make peace too by eating them.”

It was another day and while there would be many more struggles, at least for now, they had gotten over one hurdle, they had battled their emotions from the blueberry patch to the kitchen and had lived to fight another day.

 

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