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Food for Thought: Real Intimacy

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The first great real intimacy between two people begins when secrets are told.
Jonathan Carroll
PS — The first three chapters of my book are now live — you can find them all here!
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Photo Challenge: Favorite Color

favorite color purple clmannarino

Fun fact: I didn’t like purple for years. I equated it to being similar to blue, which also isn’t my favorite color and which I spent years vehemently wanting nothing to do with. I had a friend who loved purple and I just could not understand why. Pink is such a great color, I thought. Why wouldn’t people prefer that one?

Time mellows things out, I think. There are very few colors I don’t actually like and many more that I go for that aren’t purple. It just so happens that when I gravitate towards something, it has purple — or some variation — in it. My room is green, for instance. I wear mostly black and white, or some form of green. I have gold rings. I even like blue, on occasion.

PS — The first three chapters of my book are now live — you can find them all here!

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Food for Thought: Tears

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When someone is crying, of course, the noble thing to do is to comfort them. But if someone is trying to hide their tears, it may also be noble to pretend you do not notice them.

Lemony Snicket

PS — The first three chapters of my book are now live — you can find them all here!


Of Not Being Ready

It’s dark now when I wake up. I want to open my arms to the sun through the trees and say, “Come back, Summer.”

I’m not ready for it to go. I’m not ready for longer nights. I’m not ready to get in the shower with the lights on, the way people who have to catch early morning flights across the country do.

I’m sure I’ve said this on here, but I love fall. I love October. It’s the God of all seasons for me. There’s nothing I enjoy more than when I can curl up in a sweater on a cool day and drink hot cider. Every single stereotype surrounding this season? That’s the stuff I love.

After last winter, though, I’m so not ready for it. No, I’ve never loved humidity so intense you sweat while you’re sitting down. I love light clothes, though. I love how easily they fold up in my dresser, lying flat and stacking easily and leaving so much space for the rest of my things.

My winter clothes are bulked up in the back of the closet. Their wrinkles have wrinkles from where I pushed them into shape and left them without a care for what it would be like to see them again later on. “I’ll worry about those next September,” I told myself when I put them away.

 Without a doubt, my first thought upon unearthing them will be, “Why did I shove this in here so carelessly?”

I blame the heat. Random hot spring days when I decide to clean out my closet lead to laziness. Wool is so itchy and having to handle it at high noon in an enclosed second floor room isn’t ideal. By then, I rush. I wanted to enjoy the day, not think about the next season when I’ll need to bring my heavy jacket out again.

But lo, here it is. Mom’s gone back to school. Sister 1 is in classes already. August is slipping away, sneaking off like a Dune sandworm, only it’s taking the heat and the season with it.

September is here, with its promise of new school years that I won’t be attending, and the return of hard, heavy work. Why does it feel like the year is ending?

I don’t feel ready for it. I feel like lots of things are starting to happen that I didn’t plan for. The world will shake off its heavy summer slumber, clap its hands, and say, “All right, let’s increase progress, let’s make things happen.” I, on the other hand, am still grasping my floaties and staring at the ocean.
 “B-but,” I say, drooling at the sight of the beaches and the breeze, all nice and warm and reminding me of the season. “It’s so nice out. Can’t that wait a little longer?”

I don’t feel like I get much of a summer in corporate. Sure, you can take time off, but there’s not a lot to take. Everything has to be planned, and you need to work that plan even if it’s crappy weather when your plan is set to take action. There’s no solid month of space to put office stuff aside and enjoy what you have.

That’s why I’m not ready for fall. I’m not ready for days where I have to battle the cold, rearrange my clothes so I can trek out in the snow, and tally the time between now and my next office holiday. I want a solid week of no thinking. I want a solid week of just having good food, spending time resting up, and remembering what summer always means in this country: vacation.

Before we moved in, Boyfriend talked like we wouldn’t be having a vacation for a while. The house was going to be here, we needed to do stuff with it, and the whole event would be a debacle to last the rest of the year. Now that we’re in? We’re planning a way to get away again and make up for what we didn’t do earlier.

I’m so ready for that.

How are you feeling now that summer’s gone? Or, if you’re not enjoying summer at the moment, how do you feel now that winter’s going away? Are you happy? Sad? What does the new season bring that you’re either dreading or excited for?

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Within Temptation: Memories

I love this band, and this song is so apt…I never would’ve heard of them if my friend Mel hadn’t told me about them in high school. So yes, the title of this song brings back just that: memories. I loved gothic music, I loved drama and dramatic settings. I loved her outfit, her angelic voice. (I cried the first time I heard Enya, which is unrelated to this, but just a fun fact.) I love this whole thing, especially for the orchestration.

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Photo Challenge: Hands

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I love rings. I used to wear as many as I could fit on my fingers. The only issue I had was making sure they never got stuck. For some reason, the idea of them getting stuck on me was the scariest thing — not even if I was trying them on in a store and got caught wearing them, but mostly when I was playing around with them in my room. All of a sudden, I’d get one ring that hurt to shove over a knuckle and boom! I panicked trying to get it off.

I still love rings. I have so many. These are from my parents: the stone is from my mom, the band is from my dad — it’s a claddagh ring (inverted on my right hand). Because what American girl doesn’t have some sort of claddagh ring? Yes, I do have some Irish heritage, so it makes a little sense.


Of Never Ever Ever Watching Ghost Shows Again (Probably)

I didn’t sleep well in the new house. I don’t sleep well in new places, period, but this felt different. The apartment was good — I knew there were people beside us and below us and walking down the street. I could hear the cars and especially the motorcycles, with their modified mufflers and tendency to linger at the stop sign just a moment too long. These were all good places because I didn’t feel alone.

I’ve never actually been alone. Boyfriend was with me. He’s always making sure I’m safe before we go to sleep.

But this house, it wasn’t new. 1917 born and refurbished a few years after 2000. Not like the apartment was much younger (in fact, newer homes are too quiet for me, with their pre-programmed central air and perfectly enclosed spaces — I’m so damned picky, you just can’t win), but he’d lived there for a year before I knew him. He could tell me about its past.

I dreaded the moment everyone left. I dreaded the moment the sun fell so far behind the tops of the houses that we’d have no choice but to put on the lights and call it a night. I dreaded having to go to bed, even though bed was precisely what I wanted.

All because of ghosts and ghost shows.

Boyfriend used to roll his eyes at me. He couldn’t believe I was serious. He learned fast, though. Last summer, he promised I could cling to him if I woke up and felt uncomfortable staring at the dancing shadows on the wall, or stayed up too long listening to the silence — the absence of chirping birds or crickets or cicadas. I used to listen for them before bed at the apartment. They would signal when it was too early to be up, late enough to be awake still.

I depend on them to be up with me when I know Boyfriend’s fallen asleep.

They’re not the most dependable, though, when you wake up just before 2 AM and remember how many hours you have to go until you can move.

I kept my eyes closed, the covers bunched between my fingers so that nothing could pull it away from me without my knowing. I’d seen the shows, the specials, the Halloween primetime movies. I knew how this worked. I knew what ghosts could be like.

I wouldn’t open my eyes. I didn’t want to wake up to see a shadow figure standing over me, or glowing orbs floating down the stairs. I avoided looking at the mirror so that they wouldn’t appear there, corporeal at long last, just to warn me not to stick around.

I even took pictures with reluctance — what if we discovered something strange about the way the light fell on the stairs? What if you could see the hazy outline of a face reflected in the mirror where I hadn’t seen one before?

After being awake for at least four hours, I managed to get some sleep just after 4 AM. My brain heaved a massive sigh of relief. The witching hour was over. Dawn is coming.

Sunlight always feels so protective, even when we know that bad things can — and do — happen regardless of the hour. I depended on it to keep the ghosts away. The watchful part of my paranoia knew better, though. I didn’t go anywhere near the earthy, rocky basement.

As I stumbled over my words during a trip to the store, Boyfriend studied me, his green eyes shining. “Did you sleep at all last night?”

“No!” I told him with a laugh, “I didn’t. Don’t let me watch ghost shows anymore. I’m not allowed. I can’t do this — it can’t be like this anymore. I’m cutting myself off.”

I’m not sure he believed me, that I’m actually going to go through with it. I love the paranormal and supernatural too much. Maybe I’ll write a story where all these bad things happen so I can stop worrying and get it out of my system. That way, I’ll be able to sleep in our own home without wondering what that mysterious, patternless dripping noise is, and where it’s coming from.

Plus, once we get furniture, the house will stop echoing.

How do you sleep in new places? Do you have trouble getting comfortable? My old Spanish teacher, the former Mrs. Piscia, said she could sleep anywhere. Do you have that talent? Or do you believe in ghosts like I do and scare yourself silly at night?