favorite

Pisan Zapra

It starts with picking just the right one. So many to choose from. Not too green; it shouldn’t be crunchy. Too brown and it’s mushy and hard to swallow. It’s a texture thing. It’s got to be just right.

Then comes the peeling. Start at the stem and work your way down. No need to rush here. Take your time. Relish this common but extraordinary moment. Sometimes it seems like magic. When you’re done with the peel just toss it in the bushes, or place it discretely in somebody’s path for a hilarious display of slapstick.

Now all that is left is the fruit itself, the tender, delicious inside. Isn’t that just like so many things in life? If you can figure out a way past the unsavory outer covering there are precious treasures hidden within. Isn’t it funny where we can find these lessons?

The fruit is delicious yes, but also nutritious. Vitamin C. Potassium. Manganese, Vitamin B6. Enjoy it. Make it last. Give thanks to whatever you choose to thank, for supplying such earthly delights. Giving thanks is an important part of appreciation. Studies have shown that the act of giving thanks helps us truly appreciate things more. Do I even have to remind you to enjoy it?

See, that didn’t take too long, and we aren’t really in a hurry anyway, Maybe there is time to eat another.

Just one more.

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Pisan Zapra – Malay (noun) – The time needed to eat a banana.


Number 1 of the Lost in Translation series

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Lost in Translation

For Valentine’s Day this year my wife gave me a book titled Lost In Translation, by Ella Frances Sanders. It is an illustrated book of untranslatable words from around the world. It really is a thought provoking and beautiful book. You can find out more about this book by clicking HERE.

My wife told me that she thought each word could probably be its own story. So I decided to try to write a story for each word. I am going to try to publish one story per week, based on one untranslatable word taken from this book.

Finally, something worth writing about. Lost in Translation.

Mork from Ork

mork

This photo came to me in a box of my father’s stuff. My stepmom had collected a bunch of my father’s belongings into a cardboard box after his death, which she then gave to me. It was filled with some of the random and wonderful things he had collected in his later years, including autographed baseball paraphernalia, antique stock and bond notes, random old movie posters, strange prints and artwork, and some wonderful photos of him and me together. Most of these photos were framed and were pictures I had given him for his birthday or Christmas or father’s day. This one was a card I must have made him for Christmas, which explains the ribbons and frame made out of wrapping paper. I’m sure the inside read something witty, such as… like father, like son. You see in the picture we both have casts on, him on his ankle and me on my arm. Hilarious irony.

This particular photo sits on my desk, and seeing it everyday has somewhat diminished the memories it dregs up. So many memories I don’t really want to talk about. I don’t want to talk about my dad’s amazing red pants and matching turtle neck, or the crazy blonde mop of 80’s hair perched on my head like a wig, or my patriotic tube socks. I don’t want to talk about the thumb cast that I got after badly dislocating my thumb while trying to roller skate down the paved cliff in front of my house with ski poles. I don’t want to justify what I was thinking at the time, having witnessed my cooler than cool neighbor place skateboard trucks on an old Rossignol ski and go plummeting down that steep hill numerous times, and my own sad attempt to replicate the feat with cheap roller skates and ski poles, which ended tragically for both my thumb and one of the ski poles.

I don’t want to talk about the Mork from Ork shirt that I’m wearing, or the rainbow suspenders (thankfully not pictured in this photo) that I just had to have to show my affinity for the crazy alien from Ork. I’m guessing this photo was probably taken around 1980, and I don’t want to talk about how my father would have been roughly the same age as me now. Mork and Mindy was one of my favorite shows, not only because Robin Williams played this amazing and hilarious alien that made funny sounds and flew to Earth in a giant egg, but also because my younger sister’s name was Mindy. Hilarious irony once again. I would pretend I was Mork and then we would became our own sad little version of the show, even though my sister never wanted to play along. I would say things like nannu nannu, shazbot, fly be free while she played with her Barbie dolls. When Barbie landed on her head at least she didn’t break open like an egg. I don’t want to talk about my parents’ separation and eventual divorce, about how my father and mother argued so much and with such venom that I was glad when he eventually left. I don’t want to talk about how I saw less and less of him as time went on. I don’t.

I don’t want to talk about how much I miss my father , and definitely don’t want to talk about the bicycle accident in 1994 that left him a quadriplegic, leaving him bed ridden and confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his days. I don’t want to talk about the grief and depression I felt after the accident as I watched him spiral closer and closer to the proverbial drain. I don’t want to talk about how he had such a profound effect on my outlook and life that went largely unrealized until it was too late. Sometimes we don’t realize how important such influences have been until they pass tragically out of our lives, and a different point of view provides us with perspective that is simultaneously enlightening and heart breaking. After they’re gone all we have left is a box of random stuff which we go through again and again trying to decipher some deep profundity and meaning. I don’t want to talk about that.

I don’t want to talk about how I was looking at this photo when I learned that Robin Williams had killed himself, or about how affected I was by it. I don’t want to admit that, much like my father, Robin Williams had a profound but unrealized affect on my perspective in life. Judging from the tributes and stories being shared across the interwebs I sense I was not alone in this connection. I don’t want to talk about how depression is an unrelenting bitchslap, or how someone that could have brought so much joy to so many millions of people could be so dark and troubled inside.  I don’t want to talk about how this makes me realize that our time in this life is limited and a thing to never take for given. I don’t want to talk about how the world can suddenly seem so much smaller when someone with such profound unrealized impact is suddenly gone, and all we are left with is a box of Mork and Mindy, Dead Poets Society, and Fisher King to sift through and try to remember and forget at the same time.

And above all, I don’t want to talk about how these two tragedies will now somehow be linked in my mind because of this picture.

I just want look at this photo and appreciate that moment, without all the other stuff it brings up.

Shazbat!

RIP Ralph Hager (1939 – 2006)

RIP Robin Williams (1951 – 2014)

 

Pass the Ketchup

 We’d been driving all day by the time we pulled into town, and my dad was even more pissed off than normal. We were all hungry and tired. The motel sign read no vacancy, and the only restaurant still open was a hole in the wall Chinese joint.

“What the hell is this?” he asked. “First no fries or cheeseburgers, and now this shit?”

“They’re chopsticks, Henry,” my mom said. “Use them to pick up your food, like this.”

“I don’t do friggin chopsticks,” he said, stabbing his orange chicken with one chopstick. “Now, pass me that dang Chinese ketchup.”

PHOTO PROMPT Copyright – Marie Gail Stratford

Written for Friday Fictioneers – hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

My 100 word story written about the photo prompt above. Read more below.

Is it today yet?

Yesterday is uncertain,
distorted by memory and the
unreliability of eyewitness reports.

Tomorrow is unpredictable,
a glittery bauble dangling
like a carrot on a string.

Today is all we are assured,
so pay attention and
make it count for something.

Is it today yet?

…Time… (by ĐāżŦ {mostly absent}) on Flickr – (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Today’s rant was a piece of philosophical nonsense that had snuck its way into a story I was writing. I was about to erase it into the ether of the delete key when I decided that it sounded slightly poetic. Rather than delete I should post it as a sappy poem here instead.  But the question remains.

Is it today yet?

One Block Past Sunshine

Depending on which direction you’re traveling, our street is one block past Sunshine Drive. But the direction of approach is important. One block past Sunshine from the wrong direction and you end up in front of a long line of rent controlled apartment complexes, the check cashing place, the laundromat Señor Burbujas, and the shady liquor store my wife is scared to go into. There is also a dive bar called Catfish Charlie’s. Every time I pass by I must fight the urge to go in.

At first I thought it might be a fish market or a sporting goods store, but when I finally found the courage to enter and explore all I found was a dingy hole in the wall that smelled like a stale bar mat. The two guys sitting at the bar each had an eyepatch. What was the chance of that? I wondered briefly if Catfish Charlie’s was actually a pirate bar, which didn’t seem that unusual at the time.

The inside of Catfish Charlie’s was greasy, smokey, sticky. It felt if someone tried to light a cigarette the entire place might ignite, including the two dirty pirates bellied up to the bar. At least the bartender had two eyes. I slid onto the sticky barstool and ordered a Captain and Coke. I wanted to blend in. When the bartender brought my cocktail I realized that one of his eyes was a glass eye that seemed to be pointed in the wrong direction, like a pirate in disguise. I gave him a wink and he gave me a look like he might poke one of my eyes out and make me walk the plank. I pounded my drink and got the hell out of there.

I’m no pirate.


DP Weekly Weekly Writing Challenge: Blog Your Block

Saint Lucy

DP Weekly Photo Challenge: Monument

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Blessed by Brugmansia. Taken in Santa Cruz, CA.

In almost every depiction I’ve seen Saint Lucy is carrying a feather quill, and I was hoping she was the patron saint of writers or something cool. Turns out she was just a virgin killed by pagans in Sicily. The patron saint of virgins? No not even that. The patron saint of eye disorders. Eye disorders? What kind of monument is this?

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From americancatholic.org:

If you are a little girl named Lucy, you need not bite your tongue in disappointment. Your patron is a genuine, authentic heroine, first class, an abiding inspiration for you and for all Christians. The moral courage of the young Sicilian martyr shines forth as a guiding light, just as bright for today’s youth as it was in A.D. 304.