Duck Heart Day

20141120-230455.jpgOffers of love, most

Fowl stilled from claws meow

Pond  made quackless

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©2014 Stephanie Abbott. All rights reserved.
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Friday, November 21, 2014. Inspired by a prompt from Writing.com, “A gift is left on the back porch,” The haiku and the image commemorate the day when our cat presented us with a morsel from his prey. It was only the heart from a duck and a few feathers. Since we could find no carcass, we figured he must have devoured his meal elsewhere. Our cat was a good hunter, and he loved us. I created the image using ArtRage 3 and Photo Wizard on my iPad.

Gaze Into My Crystal Ball!

20141119-221438.jpg
Simple sphere reflected

Shadows cut around glass eye

Fooled gazes sold

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©2014 Stephanie Abbott. All rights reserved.

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Thursday, November 20, 2014. Yes, that is my crystal ball pictured here. I do not practice divination. It is simply a prop I used years ago for a magazine cover image. I wrote the haiku “Gaze Into My Crystal Ball!” inspired by a prompt from Writing.com: “As they peered into the crystal ball, the foggy glass cleared and an image shimmered into view…” I created the image using Photo Wizard and ArtRage 3 on my iPad.

My Salad Days

My Salad Days
My Salad Days

When I hear someone reference their “salad days,” I envision a younger, successful version of that person. Or, in terms of lifetimes, I think of a bygone era of upright, suburban subdivisions filled with well-adjusted families, nice lawns, practical cars, and financial security. I might envision my own idyllic childhood.

However, today I am thinking of a particular and brief period of my life filled with far less love, home, or security. It was filled with actual salads.

Nearly 30 years ago, I left home, moved to another state, and shared an apartment with my boyfriend. It was a nice place but expensive. Not long after arriving, I had to pick up a second job. I worked 60 hours a week just to earn enough money to cover my share of the bills. I had no extra cash for luxuries like concert tickets or dining out at the local burger joint. And my reality was so much better than those who were living on the street and unemployed. I just wasn’t prepared for such a dramatic change in my life, and I had no understanding for how much in my life that I took for granted. I was overwhelmed. So, while mine were just #firstworldproblems, I soon found myself exhausted, stressed, and looking for a way out.

In fact, I ended up looking down the wrong end of a gun. A huge gun. I think it was a .44 (but it could have been his 9 millimeter). Honestly, I wasn’t focused on which model my boyfriend was pointing directly at me. I was begging for my him not to pull the trigger. Without going into detail, let’s just say that whatever caused the showdown, it did not validate the brandishing of a loaded firearm. I had no weapons and was physically disadvantaged. I had only my wits and a strong bladder. Leaving alive was the only other option provided at the time, and I took it. That very night.

Newly single and in a town with no family, no friends, and too proud to return home. I soon found myself living paycheck-to-paycheck and week-to-week in a large residential hotel. I paid my rent in cash, weekly, to a creepy guy on the first floor. While I had no view, it was relatively clean but spare. My room had a bed and a sink. There was no kitchen and “no hot plates allowed.” I shared a bathroom with everyone else on the floor. I was the newbie and quickly figured out the order of things. With no seniority, my bathroom privileges meant that my showers were late at night and luke warm at best.

But I had a roof over my head. I was sober, focused, and healthy. I had a job on the night shift at an ice cream shop near campus. Best of all, I had a new chance at life.

And, for a few months, I lived on only one meal a day. I could afford one, fresh, healthy meal. So, I made it special. Each afternoon before my shift, I would walk to Cafe Intermezzo and order a salad.

This was not just any salad. The broad bowl overflowed with a healthy mass of vegetables tossed in a delicious house-made poppy-seed dressing and was topped with a hearty slice of freshly baked whole grain bread. I considered it the food of the gods.

I enjoyed those meals. Usually, I sat near the window to watch people going about their lives. I believed that my life could only get better, and it has. Now is the period when I have felt the most loved and secure. Now I am blessed with a home where I can prepare a meal for my loving family.

But 28 years ago? Those were my salad days.

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©2014 Stephanie Abbott. All rights reserved.
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Wednesday, November 19, 2014. I wrote “My Salad Days.” I was inspired by today’s writing prompt “Salad Days” from Daily Prompt “Is there a period in your own personal life that you think of as the good old days? Tell us a story about those innocent and/or exciting times (or lack thereof).” I created the image using ArtRage 3 on my iPad.

My Twelve Minute Brain

Short-Attention-Span-Brain-by-Steph-AbbottEach day, I follow a certain schedule. Change is infrequent, but I am flexible and only to a point. My patience has limits.

In fact, there is a specific window of time before my patience has met its limit—twelve minutes.

Twelve minutes is about as long as I can wait for just about anything:

  • Waiting to be seen by a doctor
  • A cup of coffee
  • A pot of spaghetti
  • A batch of cookies
  • A movie’s exposition
  • Crying
  • Complaining
  • Folding laundry
  • Searching for the other sock
  • Internet searches
  • Doodling
  • Planning for times when an activity will take longer than 12 minutes

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of all the things for which I might wait minutes. It just reflects the amount of time I can stay focused to write this blog post.

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©2014 Stephanie Abbott. All rights reserved.
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Sunday, November 16, 2014. I wrote “My Twelve Minute Brain” this morning. I followed a writing prompt from Daily Prompt, “Waiting Room”: “’Good things come to those who wait.’ Do you agree? How long is it reasonable to wait for something you really want?” As my patience was about up, I created the image, “Short Attention Span Brain” based on a pencil sketch of a brain done by my son for his own short story, “The Land of Knowledge.” I created this doodle using ArtRage 4 on my laptop.

Wait, Before You Go

Cup of Life by Steph Abbott
Cup of Life by Steph Abbott

Wait, before you go
Savor friends and sip of stress
Become family

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©2014 Stephanie Abbott. All rights reserved.
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Saturday, November 15, 2014. I wrote the haiku “Wait, Before You Go” this morning. I followed a writing prompt from Daily Prompt, “Good Tidings”: “Present-day you meets 10-years-ago you for coffee. Share with your younger self the most challenging thing, the most rewarding thing, and the most fun thing they have to look forward to.” I created the image “Cup of Life” using ArtRage 4 on my laptop. Also, on a related note I found this previous post I made that touched on a similar theme.

Flower Pins to My Heart

Side View of A Bunch of Enameled Flower Pins
A Bunch of Enameled Flower Pins

Prickly posies
Poked bunches painted—Ouch!
To stick my heart

A Bunch of Enameled Flower Pins
A Bunch of Enameled Flower Pins

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©2014 Stephanie Abbott. All rights reserved.
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Friday, November 14, 2014. I wrote the haiku“Flower Pins to My Heart” just this evening after a crazy-busy week filled with all those crazy-working-mommy tasks. I found myself gazing at this shadow box. Hand-made by a dear friend, it is filled with enameled flower pins (or brooches as some ladies might say).

When I look at this bunch of lacquered metal flowers, I remember the many times that we spent combing sidewalk sales and thrift shops in San Francisco looking for some such funky find.

I followed a writing prompt from Daily Prompt, “By Hand”: “What’s the best present you’ve ever received that was handmade by the giver, not store-bought? Tell us what made it so special.”