A Thought for Every Word

Posts tagged ‘living alone’

Lost and Found

My vacation began Friday, August 26th.

I live by myself. I could say alone, but I don’t live alone.  I have neighbors. They influence some of my behavior. I open and close my windows to their voices. I travel the same road to work each day and see the same people walking in the early dawn.

Living by myself also means I vacation by myself most of the time.  I have taken a day or two to visit with out of town family and friends. But rarely do those friends and family have nine days to spend in one place with one person.  This vacation would be spent alone. I had originally planned to tent camp for four days beginning Sunday the 28th.  Plans change. Things happen. Life, gets in the way.

My original plans changed when my car decided she needed a new part. Actually, two parts. It happened three weeks before the start of my vacation. I received the diagnosis. Called around for the best deal and then put down a huge chunk of money for parts to be ordered. It would take a week for the parts to come in.  Okay so far.

Two weeks before my vacation and the parts came in. Great. First appointment available to replace the parts was Tuesday, August 30th. Right in the middle of my vacation and my tent camp reservation. Plan change. I agreed to the date. Cancelled my reservations for my camp site. And spent the next week wondering what I was going to do now on my long anticipated nine days off. Thursday the 25th arrived and though I still didn’t have an idea what I would do on my vacation, I was ready for the time off.

I slept in on Friday. Usually I’m up at 4:30 to get ready for work and spend a little time with a manuscript. I commute to work and my travel time is anywhere from 40 minutes to 60 minutes. Weather being the culprit and not traffic. I got out of bed at 8:30. Four extra hours!  I wanted this first day to be full of the mundane things. Things I would do on any given first day of two days off. So, I did have a plan for Friday.

The first thing I wanted to do was get a haircut. My hair was becoming unruly.  A cut was in order. While waiting for my turn at the chair I leafed through the magazine at my elbow.  It was a fashion magazine. Not something I even look at in line at the grocery. I didn’t bring my cell phone with me since I was two blocks from home and had no other plans but to get a haircut. The magazine had a line on the cover that caught my eye.

“Summer is the time for experimentation.”  Sure, it’s August and summer where I live will be over in a matter of days, not weeks. Something about the line hit me square in the face. I found the article and though clearly written for fashionistas, of which I’m not, I liked the idea of doing something different.  I set the magazine down, went to the receptionist and told her that I changed my mind.  I don’t want a haircut.  I want a perm.  She told me that I’d have to wait until one of the stylists had an opening since only one in the shop did perms.  Okay by me.  This is day one of my vacation and my plan was to come here.  I’ll wait.

Three hours later I had my perm.  Curls cascade down my head and I look like a wet poodle. Don’t worry said the stylist. This is a new perm, it will relax.  Oh, I’m not worried. It’s only hair.

I played with my curls and decided since I spent four times as much for the perm as I would have for the cut, I needed something to keep the curls from becoming a mass of frizz. Off to Walgreen’s for a cheaper lotion than the one hawked at the salon.  Found what I wanted and took it home.  I spent the afternoon playing with my hair.  Absently pulling at the curls while I started the other things on my list for the day. 

Yes, even on vacation I had a list.

Laundry was on that list.  Get the work clothes cleaned, dried and put away for the next eight days. And grocery shopping.  I wanted a couple of things that I don’t find time for during the work week.  Like something to grill.  Then there was a need to clean up the place. I didn’t want to think about cleaning after Friday so I did the usual household chores of vacuuming, dusting, and general tidying up.  Funny how things look different when you actually have to pick them up and move them to dust under them.  I spent a good hour looking over things I see everyday. Shells from the beach, rocks and driftwood. Tangible, touchable memories. 

Friday evening I ate half a steak.  The rest would go in a salad or paired with eggs. or maybe a fajita.  Day one came to a close.

August 27th:

I was up by 9:00.  The weather was cooler today. The morning fog lifted to overcast skies. The temperature was mild but we didn’t see the sun today.  And today, I finished my manuscript. Shieldmaiden Book Two: Jewel of Fire is now ready for clean up. I put it aside to work on a little each day, cleaning up all those things I forget to watch for when writing.  Like commas.  My editors can tell you, those little things have a way of multiplying something fierce in my work. See reddened face. Book 3 is already forming words and pictures in my head. 

I got the closet cleaned out.  Loaded a bunch of stuff in the car for Goodwill and I’ll take that over to the donation center on Monday.  Threw some stuff away too.  I still have too many boxes of things I don’t want but just can’t give to Goodwill.  I may try to eBay or otherwise sell the dishes.  They were once very popular in Europe.  I no longer want them.  Not even to give to my family.  They are a very particular pattern.  Hard to pass on something with a specific pattern.

I was going to wash Kelly today, but didn’t get to it. My girl will have to go to the dealer with a dirty dress.  Maybe they’ll wash her when they’re done.  Oh, Kelly is the name of my jeep.

It was a long day.  I didn’t get to bed until after 2 a.m. 

August 28th:

Today was the day I was going to drive up the coast to a small campground right on the sand. I was to have spent four days with my tent, the sea and no distractions. I didn’t get out of bed until nearly noon.  I was a little depressed about the loss of my ‘quiet time.’ I’m sure you’ll understand.  You’ve made plans before.  Plans that sounded like a little slice of heaven, only to have something happen to change those plans.  Inadvertently you alter your perception of what remains.  I started Sunday the 28th with a foul taste in my mouth and a headache.

I started on the manuscript. Looking for inconsistencies. Too many commas. Too few words of dialogue. I’d stop now and again to look out my window and sigh deeply.  I really wanted to be someplace else.  I was tempted to put on a movie as background noise. But resisted the temptation and put on music.  There was a growing dissension among the troops.  I was getting restless.

My previous publisher decided to call it a day and my stories, three with this publisher, reverted back to me.  I spent the evening of Day three uploading my stories to the self publishing side of Kindle.  I was in bed just after midnight.

August 29th:

Day four. 

It was colder today.  The sun was supposed to make an appearance later but until he does, the wind is chilly.  The landscape team for my apartment complex tried to keep up with the falling leaves. Mother Nature had something else in store.  I do believe our summer is making an exit.  Unless we get a late reprieve early next month, it will be time to pull out the long sleeve shirts and heavy socks. I’ve already moved my little heater to the bathroom.

I spent the day reading my manuscript out loud for errors.  It’s one way I go over the material. If I hear it and it doesn’t work, it gets changed.  I’ve done this for everything I’ve ever written.  Used to drive my parents nuts when I’d be reciting my homework over the tv. 

I was in bed early.  Kelly has her appointment tomorrow.  I have to drive her 45 minutes south to the dealership.  My plan is to hang around town, walk over to the beach and the beach front shops, lunch at a local cafe and then head back home.  There is still plenty of week left for me to take my jeep and get away, if only for a day at a time.

August 30:

Day five. Up early enough to get to the dealer by 10. I was there at 9:45. Dropped off my key and started to walk around. It was still early for the shops on a Tuesday.  Most don’t open until 11 on the weekdays. Made for a nice quiet walk around the small shops and cute beach front cottages.  I got down to the sand to walk the beach and my cellphone goes off in my pocket. Yep, took the phone this time because I was away from home and well, Kelly was in the hands of strangers.  I’m rather fond of my jeep.  She’s gotten me through some really rough times. She’s been dependable. And I’m not going to give up on her because she had a part run foul. 

I digress.  The call was from the dealer.

Seems the service desk scheduled two cars for the 10:00 slot. My car, which needed extensive work to replace the parts, was going to take longer than the two hours first quoted. I hadn’t expected to be in town for several hours or even the whole day.  I was offered a loaner car for free and would be called when my Kelly was ready to be picked up.  I figured that since they were offering a loaner the work was going to take all day.  I accepted the loaner and drove back home knowing I wouldn’t get my car back until the next day.  Instead of one day for car work, I was now looking at two.  Good thing I was on vacation.

I drove home slowly in a car I was unsure of.  I parked it in an open spot in the complex and not in my parking stall.  That stall is reserved for my Kelly.

I worked a little on the manuscript but my heart wasn’t in it.  I was depressed.  I felt cheated. By 2:00p.m. I was back into the manuscript.  I completed it as far as I could.  I submitted the manuscript to the publisher.  Gone. 

I went to bed thinking about the rest of the vacation and how I might salvage it.  I still wanted to go somewhere but now it would have to be close to home.  The car repair ate up all the money I saved and then some.  The rest of the vacation would have to be spent very close to home.

August 31:

Day six. Good timing.  The contract for the second book in the series was in the mailbox today.  I signed it and then read where my publisher was going to have to close for a couple of days because of Hurricane Hermine.  Here, we are having wet weather too because of a tropical storm. This one in the Pacific.

I headed south to pick up my jeep.  It was raining when I arrived at the dealer and after paying the remainder of the repair costs I headed back north and home.

I stopped at a public parking lot in the middle of my own town and decided I needed a walk. I spent the early afternoon walking in the rain looking into store fronts I usually drive by and pay only the littlest attention. I talked to some of the shop owners and when they learned I was a local their tunes changed and their smiles became more genuine.

Tourism, the bread and butter of my town, is sometimes embraced and sometimes not. It’s cyclic. Some years we have wonderful tourist trade. Good mannered visitors who appreciate the slower pace of the town. Then there are those off years when the tourists are loud and ill mannered. More police sirens to stop the speeding cars.  More petty theft. More vandalism on the beaches. And more trash. During the summer it’s usual to see locals carrying plastic bags on the beach to pick up after the tourists. Sad but true.

The sun came out around 4:00p.m. and it was warm and slightly humid.  I headed for the sand.

I walked for a long time. Picking up little things to examine and then put them back down for others to see.  Shells broken by the gulls, agates the color of sunset and driftwood carved by the storms and left high up on the beach. My apartment is adorned with some of these treasures. 

I was home by 7.  Hungry from the walk and pleasantly tired. Day six of nine and it was a good day.

Sept. 1:

Was going to wash Kelly today but it’s still drizzling.  I’m a little angry with myself for not just taking off and driving up the coast or someplace inland.  Today, I really feel the end of the vacation coming and I admit I am disappointed. I should have made a plan B.  Or a plan C.  I didn’t.  Feel like I wasted the whole week.  I’m sluggish today.  Something I haven’t done all week I’m about to do.  Sit on the couch and watch a movie.

Which turned into three movies.  I could have read.  I could have written.  I could have walked.  I didn’t.  The day moved to night and I felt a deep regret.

Sept. 2:

Day eight.  I didn’t get out of bed until mid morning. I’ve tried to keep upbeat about this vacation. After all, I couldn’t help what happened to the car.  The money was well spent and she’ll run well again.  Only, I don’t really feel upbeat.  Still, I did rest.  I did manage to put work behind me. Sure, it was replaced with other distractions, not all pleasant.  I did manage to meet some nice shop owners.  Carol, Tim, Linda, Bob, Bob, Hannah and Chris. I plan on stopping by their shops again in the off season when a friendly smile is needed to buoy a sluggish tourist trade. Perhaps karma intervened and I was supposed to have this side trip this year.  Discovering the people who work and live in my town.  If anything I was renewed with a sense of ownership of my little community.  It has also renewed my desire to stop my commute and work closer to home. This is a seed that will take a while to find fruition. Work in a tourist community is closely tied to the whims of the economy as well as the weather. I’ll keep my eyes open.

Supper was fresh halibut steak.  The sunset was muted today.  The remnants of the tropical storm still hover over the coast.

Sept. 3:

Last day.

I started the day at 8:00 a.m.  My family back in California are backpacking in the Sierra this weekend.  It’s the last real weekend to do this as the weather in the Sierra will change quickly to fall.  Summer leaves the Sierra as quickly as it arrives. 

I put together my lunches for the coming work week.  It’s something I do on my last day off every week before returning to work.  Today is no different.  Work clothes are washed and hanging ready.

Some will see this vacation as a waste of time. Some will see it as a respite from a frenetic work schedule. I did accomplish some things I meant to do. I got those stories back out in circulation for others to read. I did finish a manuscript and sent it off to the publisher. I did sign a contract for that manuscript. I met new people and saw things in town I didn’t know were there.  It wasn’t what I set out to do.  I’m still restless.  I still want to go somewhere.  Do something.  Tune out. Disconnect.

I’ll spend the afternoon updating a few things on social media. This will go to my blog. It will get emailed to a friend in Arizona. It will go into a digital journal. And hopefully, when I feel the need to read it again, I’ll remember not the broken plans for this vacation but the new friends I discovered.   

Day Six ~ Eating Carbs and Writing

Day Six:

I woke knowing what I had to do. During our chat, my friend had posed a solution, and realizing that if I did not take the advice, I would spend another day sobbing and eating poorly, not writing, and sleeping far too much. I microwave scrambled and egg, slapped it on toast, then gulped down a large glass of water, and headed for the shower.

I got dressed to go out, but before leaving the apartment, I went to the fridge and tossed all the things that were depressing me and making me sick. The rest of the browning avocado, the last of the canned tomatoes. The cream cheese, that by now was growing its own penicillin farm, and the last of the spelt bread that was really rock hard. The fish was still frozen so it stayed. The remaining bit of soup was still good and I found I could not toss it out. The last tortilla was pretty brittle so I tossed that too.

Then I got on line and went to my banking site and transferred money from my savings to my checking.

I know, you are thinking, why didn’t I do that in the beginning. For a couple of good reasons, well, to me anyway: One, I am single, living on a fixed income and my savings is my only lifeline between me and living in my car. I hold every single cent in that account as precious, and it should never be touched. Two, I’m stubborn. I knew that I could sustain myself on what was in my apartment. I hated to think I was going to capitulate and break into my savings, just for food money. It irked me to no end. All along I knew I had the $21.00 in my wallet, and I could have, should have gone out an purchased some vegetables. I didn’t though and looking back, I believe I had gotten caught up in my own stubbornness. Seriously stressed and not thinking right contributed in no small way.

I did finally capitulate, and I transferred a small amount into my checking from my savings. I then made a list of items I would buy to complement the food I still had in the refrigerator and pantry.

Grocery shopping under such circumstances could have been disastrous, so I vowed not to deviate from the the list. If I added anything, it would be a vegetable or fruit that was in season. No pasta, no bread, period.

I came home with a satisfied feeling. I had spent my money on vegetables, fruit, almond milk for my cereal, and more fish. I hauled the loot up the stairs and into my apartment and then sent a quick email to my friend, stating that the mission to re-stock was accomplished with a minimum of stress and anxiety. I knew I could replace the money I took from my savings, it was only a matter of time. I hummed as I put the groceries away, munching on an apple while doing so. I brewed another batch of tea for the pitcher, and then settled down in front of my laptop to see what had happened to my story while I was away.

I had managed to get all the groceries on my list, with only one addition, strawberries. They would be great on top of my shredded wheat.

* * *

Depression whether brought on by outside sources, or internal demons, is not something that should be taken lightly. I am lucky that I have good friends and family that keep in touch. Having them to discuss the ups and downs of being single, on a fixed income, and living a very long distance away, has made all the difference. I owe them much, especially a dear friend of mine who never lets me stew over anything.  Persistence is that friend’s middle name I am certain.

GL Roberts is the author of Scar Tissue, a M/M Romance novella published by Seventh Window Publications. GL has also written a short story for the Goodreads M/M Romance Group Love is Always Write event titled A Pharaoh’s Promise, which is a FREE READ on the Goodreads site. The work discussed in this posting is titled Target Acquired and is currently out looking for a publisher. A second novella Light and Shadow is due out late summer from Seventh Window Publications.

Day Five ~ Eating Carbs and Writing

Day Five:

After eleven hours of sleep, I was not only feeling very lethargic but I was ill. The meal issues, the money issues, the writing, all of it left me exhausted. I couldn’t function. My friend, whom I try to chat with daily, was concerned. I had clammed up. I wasn’t my usual chatty self. That triggered a flood of emotions that even the Three Gorges Dam could not hold. I cried. I cried upon waking and reading my friend’s concern in an email. I cried as I dressed. I cried as I moved my laptop from the bedroom to the living room where I worked on my manuscripts. I cried as I looked at the refrigerator. I had no idea what was happening, but I cried regardless.

I did eat breakfast. A hard boiled egg. I choked it down between sobs. I made a cup of Earl Grey tea and sat down in the living room trying to cope with the massive emotional meltdown. Really, I was not eating much less than normal, and granted, I was used to a much greener diet, but to have this incredible gut wrenching mass of emotions was just not right. I tried to write. What I did write was tripe. I deleted everything I typed. I then did something I rarely did. I lay down on the floor with a pillow from the couch, put my back against the couch, and fell asleep. After eleven hours of sleep the previous night, I shouldn’t have been tired. I was exhausted and I had no recourse but to sleep it out.

When I woke, it was late afternoon. My stomach was growling and so I made another dish of pasta. This time adding an egg yolk to the dish of linguini, fire roasted tomatoes, tomato paste, onions, and garlic. I ate it all, then went to my bedroom and turned on my laptop. I watched old reruns of Night Gallery until it was time to chat with my friend. That was a bad night. I cried nearly non-stop and felt so bad about putting my friend in the position of having to try to make sense of the words that came out between the sobs.

I went to sleep right after our chat. I slept straight through again waking after nearly nine hours of sleep. This was not good and something had to be done.

Day Five over.

Day Four ~ Eating Carbs and Writing

Day Four:

I awoke with what felt like a rock in my stomach. I could not decide if the food I was eating was causing the ache, or if I was just anxious over not having the money for groceries just yet. Stress can be so debilitating and if it causes you to eat poorly, it can be a killer. Luckily, I usually eat much better than this and my resolve to eat right will carry me through this situation. It was one of the reasons I was so diligent in making sure I stuck to the right portion sizes. How easy it would have been to make twice as much pasta, or have a full two slices of bread for a sandwich, but I didn’t need it. My body does not need that much fuel. It would be like putting petrol in a Ferrari and watching the toxic liquid spill over the sides and ruin the paint job. No, I only need so much at a time. That, I was sure, was going to keep me from making the rest of the week a food nightmare.

Breakfast was the last of the grapefruit, a microwaved egg on top of a slice of toasted spelt bread. As you can see, I have avoided all cheese. The gouda and the cream cheese sit in the refrigerator awaiting their turn to be consumed. Not on your life little gooey bits of goodness, not until the inner workings start working. A cup of tea and a big glass of water accompanied the breakfast fare.

Today’s writing was all about the characters. Giving them a back story, a history. I like to interject bits of history into my stories. It is what I do best. Little factoids that help the reader get into the story. With my first short story, a M/M romance novella titled Scar Tissue, the story takes place in Washington D.C. and the year is 1976. I had a great muscle car in the story, and the descriptives helped place the characters in that time, replete with rotary dial telephones, and loud clothing. For this current work, the time was contemporary, but the characters needed a history. Day Four would be spent giving them a past.

Lunch today was another choice. I really did need to finish the precooked vegetables as they were not frozen after cooking and I DID NOT want them to go to waste. Then again, the avocado was turning a little brown even with the lemon juice I used to keep if from doing just that. I decided on the avocado. I spread avocado on another slice of bread, this time realizing I had eaten more bread in four days then I had in the previous four weeks. Paired it with water and went back to writing.

Supper approached and I was not really hungry, or so I thought. I didn’t feel hungry. I had plenty of water during the day and was frequenting the bathroom regularly. I should be hungry. I plated the last of the vegetables and sat down with a small glass of red wine. This time I skipped the water.

As I started to eat the vegetables, something kicked in. I was ravenous. I devoured the vegetables and headed for the fridge to see what else I could snag. Nothing appealed to me, so I opened the cupboard and took out the can of soup. I heated the soup and doled out the right portion (half a cup), then sat down to finish my meal. The soup was a mistake. I should have had more water instead of the soup. I felt bloated again, and very uncomfortable. I took myself to bed and slept 11 hours. That is not normal for me, at all. My usual sleeping pattern is six to seven hours. Any more and I am groggy. Eleven hours was not a good thing.

Day Four over, and the real trouble begins.

Day Three ~ Eating Carbs and Writing

Day Three dawned and I was not hungry, and I did have a little belly ache. For those of you who do not eat a lot of vegetables, this may not happen to you. For those who do, like me, the little belly ache is from all the carbs and no vegetables. Read this as constipation… That got me to thinking about what I had left and what I might do to alleviate the ache.

Breakfast consisted of a slice of spelt bread, toasted (I was hoping fiber would help) and a fifth of the avocado smeared on top, paired with another section of grapefruit, a cup of tea, and a big glass of water. I was still achy when I sat down to write and that was a huge distraction. I was beginning to think I needed to spend that $21.00 on vegetables.

I worked through the morning laying on my stomach, on the floor, with a pillow under my stomach and my laptop in front of me. That was a little better, but only a little. Come lunch time, I plated some of the pre-cooked vegetables, warmed them up in the microwave, and paired them with water. Getting back to work seemed like a chore. I was losing my concentration, and I was getting bloated.  Oh, swell (literally).

I spent the rest of the afternoon going through my medicine cabinet for some relief and found two things, some really old tablets of Pepto-Bismol, and two round disks labeled Gas-X. Yep, I chewed the Gas-X. I wondered what it was that made me feel so bloated. I took stock of what I had eaten. Looked over the canned stuff (the fire roasted tomatoes, and the tomato paste) to see if I had grossly overestimated their shelf life and all were okay, still well before their expiration date. I didn’t believe it was the vegetables. I roast them and eat them that way all the time. I could only point to the pasta and the bread. There was a good reason why I had a whole box of linguini and a nearly full loaf of bread. I don’t eat many carbs in that form. I keep the pasta around for a quick meal for company, and I have the bread around for when I am really craving toast or a sandwich. But having that many servings in one week, was in my mind, the culprit.

I did get some relief from the Gas-X. Enough to go back to writing and get a little more accomplished on the story. Supper was a choice between more pasta, or a fish fillet and veggies (but that would be the end of the veggies), or the fish as some sort of wrap in the tortilla. I opted for the fish in the tortilla. I cooked the fish in a skillet with a little olive oil. Added a little chopped onion to the skillet, then placed it all in a tortilla. It had a lot of flavor and the fish is a good source of all manner of good things. I felt a bit better and even found I was ready to write again.

I spent the evening writing and did not stop until after midnight. I guess I was trying to make up for the amount of time I spent lamenting over my stomach ache. I turned off the light just after 1 a.m.

Day Three over, thankfully.

Day Two ~ Eating Carbs and Writing

Day Two:

I awoke a little hungrier than usual, but I had expected that.  I got out of bed, showered, checked my email…well okay, I admit, I checked my email first, then I showered.  This morning breakfast would be the last of the shredded wheat, a half cup of the almond milk and some grapefruit slices.  The day was gray and damp, and promised to be a perfect day for writing, and it was.

I managed another 3k words on my short story by lunchtime.  Lunchtime for me is when I realize I haven’t eaten it.  I can get so involved in writing that I will forget to eat, pee, and if I haven’t showered that morning, I even forget to change out of what ever it was I wore to bed. This day, was one where I forget to stop and eat lunch, so lunch was at 2:00 p.m.

Lunch consisted of one slice of spelt bread lightly toasted.  I toast it because it resides in the refrigerator to stay fresh longer.  It toasts nicely.  After toasting the slice, I applied one tablespoon peanut butter and one tablespoon of jam.  Seriously, have you ever seen how much there is to a tablespoon? I was surprised when I spread the nutty spread over one half of the toast and still had some left on the knife.  No wasting the serving, I wiped the excess on the other side of the bread. Then did the same with the jam.  It was a very good little sandwich.  I made a pitcher of ice tea and had a glass with my lunch.  It was filling enough.

My short story, needed some research before I went any further, so after lunch I hit the internet to read up on the event of which my story was centered. That was fun.  I love research and can get really into what I’m reading.  I got the data I needed, and another thread for the story.  First, supper.

Let me take a moment and discuss the word supper. The way I use it will be for most, interchangeable with dinner. For me though, supper is the evening meal that is less formal. A family affair as opposed to a formal dinner with guests. When I spent time on the farm with family in Kansas, dinner was around 2 p.m. and supper was a later snack consisting of leftovers from dinner. Today, I refer to my last meal of the day as supper.

Supper consisted of one serving of linguini pasta and a sauce of fire roasted tomatoes, tomato paste, sautéed onions and garlic. I paired it with a glass of red wine and a glass of water. It was a filling meal. I went back to my story for another hour, then decided to give my eyes a rest. I turned off the laptop, made a cup of tea, then took my self to bed. I don’t have television as I sacrificed both cable and satellite for straight internet. My stories are submitted electronically, and I needed, wanted, the better speed for the internet. With that choice I opted not to get any television. I have found several sites on the internet where I can watch a movie for free (Hulu is my current choice). I turned on the desk top in my bedroom, navigated to Hulu and watched Notorious with Cary Grant.

Day Two over, and I’m still smiling.

Day One ~ Eating Carbs and Writing

I am one of the many underemployed. That is not to say that I am struggling like some of my fellow man, but I do have to watch where the money goes and be sure it goes to the things that are the most vital. Like food. Making every cent count is not a new concept, but it is one I found to be challenging. Sometimes that challenge is fun and rewarding, other times it can be a stumbling block that sends you in to a head first fall.

A point came late last month where I had to tighten my belt and readdress my situation at hand. I checked the larder and discovered I have plenty of stuff to eat. Two cups of olive oil, roughly two cups of balsamic vinegar; a half of a jar of peanut butter; a half jar of jam; six eggs; some dried linguini pasta; a can of soup; a tin of sardines; three frozen tilapia filets; a round of unopened gouda; half a brick of cream cheese; a head of romaine lettuce; a crown of broccoli; one sweet potato; one carrot; 12 spears of asparagus; an avocado; half a loaf of spelt bread (roughly seven slices); two tortillas; a can of refried beans; a can of fire roasted tomatoes; a can of tomato paste; a grapefruit; a lemon; an onion, and several cloves of garlic. Over a dozen bottles of wine, plenty of tea bags and coffee; roughly a pint of almond milk, enough shredded wheat for two more mornings, and — I discovered $21.00 in cash in my wallet. I vowed I would live off that food for as long as I could,only resorting to using the $21.00 in the direst of emergencies.

I first started by looking at the serving size on everything that had a label.  Then I measured out those proportions.  I put twist ties around the linguini so that I only grabbed a serving size out of the box.  I knew what amount equaled a serving of tomato paste and diced tomatoes, and wrote in black sharpie on the label, making it easier to see. That gave me an amazing five servings, FIVE!  I could eat the pasta meal consisting of garlic and onion sautéed in olive oil, fire roasted tomatoes, and tomato paste for five meals. I was elated.

I roasted all the hard vegetables (sweet potato, carrot, asparagus, half the cloves of garlic and half the onion, and the broccoli, then divided them up into cup sized proportions with roughly one sixth of the vegetables in one cup, then put them in plastic containers to be heated throughout the week.  That gave me three servings. Those would be pared with my tilapia frozen fish filets.  Okay, now that all the prep was finished, I was ready to see if I could make this work.

Day One:

I decided I would eat what would spoil quickest. Didn’t want anything to go to waste. I ate a bowl of shredded wheat with almond milk. That gave me plenty of energy to keep working on a couple of my short stories. I have one that is already published, another in the hand’s of my publisher, one published as a free read, and one out in search of a publisher.

I try to work on one storyline per week. With several works in progress, I need the weekend to shake loose the previous week’s work and concentrate on one of the other works. That is my routine. One week a short story, the next week the novel, followed by the short story and so on… This particular week I was working on a short story to be submitted and hopefully chosen,  for an anthology to be published late this summer.  So, thoughts in my head, and breakfast cheerfully eaten, I sat down to write.

Lunch was a tortilla wrap with a fifth of the avocado smeared over the wrap, lettuce and one sixth of the gouda cheese, and one egg white. I saved the egg yolk for the pasta. The writing was going well. I managed nearly 3,000 words that morning alone. The theme of the anthology was Going For Gold, short stories with an Olympic bent. I chose my sport and the characters, and found the story coming at breakneck speed.

Supper that night was one serving of vegetables reheated in the microwave, and one pan fried tilapia fish filet. Each meal was served with eight ounces of water, with four ounces of wine served with supper. I felt pretty good about the whole day. The meals, and the writing. I closed my laptop, made a cup of tea, then grabbed my Kindle and headed for bed.

Day One over.

Solo Balance (NC17)

breath

expelled openly upon skin

pleasures

dark moist spaces

 

gasps

lavished on lust hardened pillows

penetrate

sweat stained air

 

cries

hit pain driven desired hands

faltering

finding release

 

moans

mewling under twin sized sheets

dissipating

orgasm heat

 

sighs

laden heavily with remorse

acknowledging

abandoned limbs

Single Heart

When night falls upon
cerulean crowned silence,
A lone heart beat is
as the peal of a single bell
A clear note impeded
not by the dense night,
nor the veil that settles
over the sleep seekers
It echoes in the hollows
of empty stalwart corners,
keeping sentry still
in the shadows
Held on the air
among the silver tips
of slivered moonbeams,
carried on the backs
of caped night owls
Heart beat tolls 
and falls
like rain on the ocean,
and disappears beneath
leviathan wings of
cerulean crowned silence
 
 

Brutal Silence

the sharp edged, brutal silence of living alone, is often softened by the sounds of the live’s of others.  the elephants that live above me, who march the length of their flat, as if in search of the next watering hole. the car alarm of the little metro, parked at the edge of the drive, that goes off when someone sneezes.  the laugh of the children that live down the hall and make each pass by my door a parade.

i have my own noises too.

a whispered i love you to photographs.  a hum in the shower; some tune i remember from my youth.  the incessant march of kilowatts from an ice-maker not producing ice. the rolling boil in the kettle, another cup of tea for one.

if i did not live alone, these snippets of life would not be heard.  the elephants march unnoticed, the car alarm unheeded, the laughter undiscovered.

even in it’s brutality, the silence is not unwelcome.

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