Love will thaw…

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Having watched Disney’s Frozen almost 10 times in the past week, I’m becoming quite an expert on the subject. My girls and I enjoy watching the movie and we can now recite most of the dialogue. I have the Frozen soundtrack in my car too so we have sing alongs whenever we’re on the go.

I think we all feel a special connection to it because my girls have a deep connection as sisters and I’m blessed enough to experience and witness it as their mother.

hip girls

 

There are lessons to be learned in Disney’s Frozen that the girls and I recognize from the very beginning. When the movie starts the two sisters are sweet little girls. Anna is excited by her older sister, Elsa’s magic and begs her to use it. Neither Anna or Elsa are afraid of Elsa’s magical winter powers. Then Elsa accidentally hurts Anna with her powers while they’re playing and how her parents handle it turns the happy story in a much different direction.

Accidents happen, all parents know that and the best parents do their best to help their children understand that it’s okay and everything will be fine. That’s not what the girls’ parents did. The moment their father finds Elsa holding the unconscious Anna in a frozen, snow-filled ballroom he growls “Elsa, what have you done?! This is getting out of hand!” Hearing those words immediately places all blame on Elsa and she’s suddenly afraid of the magic she and Anna had only moments ago found so wonderful and beautiful.

The parents rush the unconscious Anna and the frightened Elsa to the magical trolls for help. Being magical creatures themselves, one would think trolls would be able to convey the idea that being different isn’t a terrible curse. Instead, the head troll heals Anna and in doing so erases all her memories of magic. That same troll takes the scared Elsa aside and shows her silhouetted images of her magic. He explains that her magic will grow and that “There is beauty in it(shows pretty images of her using her magic)…but also great danger(the scene turns red, dangerous-looking and scary). You must learn to control it. Fear will be your enemy.” Way to scare the girl even more! So much for being helpful!

The apparently unfeeling and clueless father then says: “We’ll protect her. She can learn to control it, I’m sure. Until then, we’ll lock the gates, limit her contact with everyone, including Anna.” So their best solution is to show Elsa with their actions and words that they think she’s some sort of dangerous creature? And make the one person who loves Elsa and her magic unconditionally, Anna, forget the truth?

From then on, the once close sisters have barely any contact with each other. Elsa is afraid to touch anyone as her powers grow and her father’s best advice is to “Conceal it, don’t feel it, don’t let it show.” That’s obviously the total opposite of what they should have done, which is to reassure Elsa that she’s not evil, that her magic is good and that’s she deserving of love. Not only that, Anna blames herself for why Elsa doesn’t have contact with her anymore, even though she doesn’t remember what happened. There’s a huge rift between the sisters created by their parents’ (and the trolls) inability to reassure two little girls that there’s nothing wrong with being different.

Several years later, things finally work out happily as Anna proves to her sister how true her love is, no matter the chaos Elsa inadvertently caused with her magic. It’s Anna’s act of true, selfless love that thaws the frozen heart and breaks the spell of fear and ignorance cast over the girls when they were so very young. In the end, Elsa’s magic wasn’t a curse, her parents’ inability to see how amazing she is was the real curse.

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Changing Winds

View across a field on today's walk

Despite the mostly overcast skies and gusty winds, it was a remarkably nice day today! The temperature reached almost 50 and there wasn’t a sign of snow in the air. It smelled like spring and while detergents that are “spring scented” are excessively sweet, to me spring smells like mud. As it warms up, spring will smell like mud, worms and flowers as they eventually bloom. You’re not going to find “worm and mud” scented detergent in the aisles anytime soon because that’s perhaps a bit too natural.

I took Jazz for a walk this afternoon and decided to venture off the road and up one of the hilly fields. I thought because it was a hill it wouldn’t be as muddy but it was still quite soggy. Jazz and I made it up the hill, our feet squishing all the way, and we were treated to a fleeting glimpse of blue sky amid the clouds. The wind was quite strong at the top of the hill but I wasn’t cold.

I walked Jazz over to the tree line by the nearby stream’s ravine and she immediately started sniffing around familiarizing herself with all the deer scents in the area. The water in this section of the stream was still under ice but the roar of the water up stream was almost as loud as the wind blowing through the trees.

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I leaned against a nearby tree and took a moment to breathe in the wind and feel the change in it. March is nearly over and April promises a much-desired warm up but there’s still the lingering feel of winter in the air. The melting snow, the partially frozen ground, the bare trees and the woods devoid of animal sounds are all remnants of winter. It’s been a difficult winter and if we humans don’t make some serious changes, future winters will only get worse.

forest stream

 

We humans forget the cold and snow of winter amid the warmth of spring and summer and that forgetfulness leads many to believe that Mother Earth is just fine. But she’s not. We’re gradually destroying the only world we have because of the endless pursuit of material things. If more people would stop, listen, look and feel as I did today, they’d hear and feel the anger, fear and sadness in the wind. They’d hear it pleading for healing and reminding us that we don’t own the Earth, we’re part of it and when it dies, so shall we. The changing winds are a powerful force and it’s up to us to insure that those changes are positive ones.

Creating beyond words

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I’ve been swamped with freelance writing work this week and that’s a very good thing! By the end of the day, I’m mentally exhausted and my ability with words nearly depleted. That’s when I busy my fingers with enjoyable endeavors beyond the keyboard and start playing with clay. Eventually my creative experimentation will evolve into more polished pieces but for now, it’s just a meditative process and a constructive way to recharge my imaginative energy.

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The skewed concept of “beauty”

Image courtesy of bodyheart.com

I admit, when I was sick I watched a lot of TV. I happily caught up on several episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation as they show it every day on BBC America. I used to watch that show all the time with my father and we even saw the movies together in the theater. So I don’t consider watching TNG a waste of my time. What I do consider a waste of my time is enduring endless commercials hawking cosmetic products and potions for women.

If I were to buy into all the nonsense cosmetic products say to women, I’d believe that in order to be considered beautiful I’d have to have no pores, no wrinkles, no stretch marks, no skin discoloration and no uneven skin texture. I’d also have to have long, dark lashes that stretch out like spider legs, eye makeup caked on so heavy I look like a peacock, lips smeared with so much lipstick it looks and feels like lacquer and hair that flows to my shoulder in perfect, gray-hair-free waves. Well I’ve got news for you, none of that applies to me but I still know with 100% certainty that I AM BEAUTIFUL!

What I found really interesting about the commercials is that many of them say “9 out of 10 women noticed a difference” “90% of women saw less wrinkles” and so on. So basically it’s just women who are worried about how women look. Ask a man if he notices a reduction in a female significant other’s wrinkles, pores whatever and he’ll avoid that question like the plague! Thing is, I don’t really believe men give a flying monkey about women’s pores or fine lines. I highly doubt they want the woman in their life so shellacked in makeup that they can’t even touch her without getting it on their face, hands and clothing.

I believe that the best kind of person thinks that the women in their life are beautiful just as they are without loads of cosmetics and creams piled on. People who see the genuine, inner beauty of a woman don’t notice or care if she looks like a drowned rat from being caught in the rain or that her body isn’t as impossibly thin and flawless as the photoshoppped women on magazine covers.

Seeing the quote by Kate Winslet that I posted at the top of this blog was a slap upside the head for me. I have two daughters and the last thing in this world I want is of them to feel bad about themselves. From the moment I read Kate Winslet’s words, I’ve stopped saying negative things about my body. I told my girls that I love my body and the amazing things it’s done and will continue to do. I don’t care what advertisers try to shove down my throat, I refuse to buy into their skewed concept of beauty.

Why I cook and bake from scratch

My homemade cheesecake topped with sliced strawberries

My homemade cheesecake topped with sliced strawberries and chocolate sauce

Earlier this week I had to purchase big groceries and my shopping experience reminded me why I choose to cook and bake food from scratch. The two main reasons I do it are because I love cooking and baking and because when I make food from scratch, I know exactly what’s in it. I’ve added another reason and that’s the cost of food these days. Prices keep going up on my grocery staples of milk, bread, eggs and meat. Judging by the way the world is going, I don’t see the prices going back down anytime soon. Making meals from scratch is more involved than buying pre-packaged foods but the effort is always worth it in the peace of mind I gain and the money I save.

My latest food craving has been cheesecake and as I said in a previous post, my first ever attempt at making cheesecake came out delicious. I’ve since made a second cheesecake (because the first one was mysteriously devoured by fridge-raiding fairies) and that one came out even better! The recipe I used was a combination of two I found online, with my own unique modifications of course. I modified it further in my second attempt and wrote down everything I did for future reference. My third attempt will be cheesecake swirled with fresh strawberries so I need to do a bit of research on that.

While I was grocery shopping, I decided to see how much the store charged for a full-size cheesecake. I found their plain cheesecake with a sliced up strawberry on top as garnish and my eyes widened in shock as I read the price of $22.00! I couldn’t believe people would actually pay that much money for a cheesecake but considering that was the only plain one in the cooler, they apparently do. There was also a cheesecake made of various slices of flavored cheesecakes and that one cost a whopping $26.00. I snapped a picture of the two cakes to prove I wasn’t hallucinating.

The two store cheescakes

The two store cheesecakes

Not only were the cheesecakes expensive, but I couldn’t pronounce half of the ingredients listed which is never a good thing in my book. Now that I’ve made cheesecakes, I know exactly what goes into them and none of my ingredients were 15 letters long and impossible to say without tripping over my tongue. Upset by the cost of the cakes and the ingredients, I then continued shopping and jotted down the prices of all the ingredients I use in my cheesecakes. The grand total came to less than half of what the store was charging for a cheesecake that was in fact, smaller than the ones I make. Proof that you definitely pay a price for convenience.

Sleeping alone…or not.

Jaycie's stuffed animals and footed sleeper in my bed awaiting her return.

Jaycie’s stuffed animals and pajamas in my bed awaiting her return.

I’m never truly alone when I sleep in my bedroom because Jazzmin’s bed is on the floor and she’s usually curled in a ball, snoring away by 8 p.m., whether I’m in bed or not. Before I adopted Jazzmin, one or both of my cats would sleep with me on the bed but now only Owl does occasionally because Aviendha is content in Jordan’s room.

Aside from furry, four-legged companions, I’ve been sleeping alone in my bed since before I moved out of my ex husband’s house. For a while I slept on one side of the bed but now I happily sleep smack dab in the middle. About a month ago, I stopped sleeping without companionship in my bed…at least on the nights when I have my daughters. Jaycie used to sleep in my bed one or two of the nights I had her but now she sleeps in my bed every night she and her sister are at my house. I didn’t let her sleep with me when I was sick recently but otherwise, she’s my snuggle bug.

Jaycie is seven year’s old and has her own bedroom with a comfortable bed, tons of toys and shelves of stuffed animals. She will sleep in there if I tell her to but why should I tell her to? I’m certain that eventually she’ll want to go back into her room and have her own space. Children grow up far too fast and I dearly miss the days when both my girls were babies and we’d nap together.

I’ve asked Jaycie many times why she likes sleeping with me and her final, definite answer is that she doesn’t like to sleep alone. My house isn’t very big and all three bedrooms are close to each other at the end of the hall so it isn’t as though she’s a wing away from her sister and I, but if she says she’s lonely, I believe her.

While it’s nice having another warm body in bed with me, it has its share of hazards. I’m often getting elbowed in the back of the head and shoulders, kicked, robbed of covers and have plucked a stuffed animal out from under me on more than one occasion. But I happily put up with it all because she’s my daughter, my sunshine and my sweetness.

My bed is so big that I still get to sleep smack dab in the middle with plenty of room for Jaycie to sleep next to me. Would I consider booting her from my bed so a man can sleep with me? Not a chance. There will come a day when she won’t be sleeping with me anymore and that will change things but for the present, this is how things are. When I have my girls they are my focus and the most important part of my life. I will never allow them to feel that they’ve been replaced in my heart by anyone else. I do realize that such a choice isn’t desirable for all single mothers but it’s the choice I’ve made for myself and my daughters.

Signs of spring

Roadside stream near my house

Roadside stream near my house

March in the Northeast U.S. is a month full of Mama Nature’s mood swings. She’s not quite ready to let us have warm, sunny days regularly so she tosses one in here and there to tease us amid cold temperatures and scattered snow flurries. That’s okay though because I make sure to enjoy every moment of the nicer days by going outside on walks, while snuggling inside on the less nice  days.

Thursday is the official “First Day of Spring” but truly, that’s an optimistic notion. I’d be extremely pleased if it was suddenly 55 degrees and sunny out and the muddy, snowy bog that is my yard instantly dried up and sprung to life with green grass. No wait, nix the grass, I’m not ready to mow yet. Flowers will do nicely instead! I’m really just tired of being cold and waking up to dark mornings. The dark mornings will slowly get lighter again as the month progresses but wow, the time change makes it hard to get up early all over again!

I took Jazzmin on a pleasant, two-mile walk this afternoon and was happy to discover that I’m not terribly out of shape from being sick and mostly in bed for the past couple weeks. My legs do still have muscles and my lungs still work up to capacity! A grand discovery indeed! We saw a young fox frolicking in the field during our walk and I grinned from ear to ear because foxes are always a sign of good luck! When he saw us he immediately dashed across the road and into the woods out of sight but I thanked the powers that be for sending me such a positive sign.

The fox was a sign of continuing luck and I welcome it with an open heart, mind and spirit. I’ve had several promising changes in my freelance writing career today and it’s a grand boost to my confidence! This blog is where I ramble about whatever I like and it’s very freeing but it’s also nice to know what my professional writing is appreciated and sought after. Spring has sprung with positive omens and soon it will pop and flourish with warmer days, blooming flowers and leaves on trees!