Weekly Writing Challenge

Another week and another writing challenge. The topic  “Now for something completely different” is designed to push the blogger out of their comfort zone.  For example, if you write fiction, try non-fiction. Which is what I did, a personal essay of sorts, and believe me, this introvert is so far out of her comfort zone, I might actually be in another time zone.  Anyway, here goes it:

Green aware, nature shy.

I live as green as I can, I really do.  I live in a neighborhood where I can walk to most places.  I clean everything with vinegar and baking soda.  Our house is insulated well and we set the thermostat to regulate our heat so that we use fewer natural resources.  We drink shade-grown bird-friendly coffee. We drive a Prius.  The protection of the natural world is important to me.  Nature is important to me.

Clean and green.

But at a distance.

It’s not that I’m afraid of wild animals; it’s just that I like to admire them from afar.  I do, after all, live in the city for a reason.  I like concrete and manicured yards, paved sidewalks and public transportation.  I like my animals in a park, down by the lake, and if push comes to shove, in the backyard.

I admit, I do have a problem with sharing my living space with what some call local wildlife and what I call vermin.  When it comes to mice in the house I show no mercy.  No I don’t use humane traps and let them go in the woods.  I use the time-tested standard neck-breaking trap.  Until someone does invent a better mousetrap, it’s the best and least cruel way of getting rid of the dirty little rodents.

Fully loaded and ready to go.

Don’t even get me started on raccoons.  The battle we have over the green food-waste bin is what legends are made of.  That raccoon proof latch never worked.  I’ve tried putting it in the shed, hanging it from the deck, securing the lid with bungees, weighing it down with large bricks and even elevating it on top of our large garbage bin.  Nothing works.  Not even a well-aimed shot with a Super Soaker (or so I’ve heard).

My mother-in-law on the other hand, is a local nature nut.  She feeds her backyard wildlife and is always attracting more.  She fed the local skunk for a while too — until she overheard neighbors wondering why they kept seeing so many skunks.  Old broken branches form part of her landscaping so that small mammals have a place to live.  Multiple types of bird feeders and even a squirrel feeder hang off of her trees.

Dead animals are on her radar as well.  I remember sitting in her living room listening to the kids’ excited conversation about the bird in grandma’s freezer.  I’m thinking we’re having chicken for dinner.  Turns out grandma found a dead baby bird and placed it in a freezer bag.  Why waste such a good opportunity to see all the details up close?

While grandma is very hands on, I’m very hands off.  While I am all “Eeewww, don’t touch that, she is all “hey look at this.” I admire her for that even if it gives me the creeps.  It takes a community to raise a child and if for her that means a community garden then so be it. It’s good for the kids to have some kind of balance, her ying to my yang.   Her yeah to my yuck. As I resist the urge to pull out the hand sanitizer, I remind myself that as parents we need to expose our kids to a variety of ways to view the world so that as adults they can be independent thinkers, not followers.  And who know, maybe we’ll learn something along the way too.

Currently my in-laws are camping in Florida.  We received a hand written letter for the kids.  It stated We found a dead crab.  We froze it and will show it to you when we get home.

Can’t wait.


This week’s DP Writing Challenge, Easy as Pie, challenges the writer to use metaphors and similes.  For those of you who have read my blog before, you probably know, I am a sucker for a good metaphor.  Today’s post is longer than my usual 50 words, but I was having such a good time with this one, I just couldn’t stop. Enjoy.


Baring myself to him, I let his smooth hands shape me like clay. Gentle but firm, he created contours where there were none. Until this moment I had felt shapeless and ill-defined.  In my malleable state, I begged him, Make me yours.  And he did. He worked long and hard, molding me into his dreams and desires. I was pliable and willing under his touch and oh, the heat we generated…

I let it consume me.

But when the fire went out, I was left brittle and damaged.  And he – disappointed by my fragility – moved on to a new project.

A typical summer morning goes like this: You wake up early, walk to the outdoor pool, drop off the kids for their swimming lessons, then buy that much needed coffee.  Now normally, you go to the grocery store and pick up a few items but today, well today, you are surprisingly organized so you buy a latte instead of the house blend and then sit on the grass near the pool.

Sighing a relaxing sigh, you look up into the sky you realize that it is perfectly blue, the kind of sky you would draw as a kid with that big triangle sun in the corner.  The sun would be shining down and all the people in the picture would be smiling, the girls would have stick legs and feet appearing from underneath their triangle skirts and the boys always wore shorts.  The grass was a brilliant green with a few random flowers thrown in for good measure.  Maybe there’d even be one or two of those birds made out of Vs that were so easy to draw.

In those pictures, summer was always perfect.  And as you smile and wave at your kids and they smile and wave back you realize that the beauty captured in those pictures is still there.  The pool is a brilliant turquoise; the grass still has that early fresh green.  Lake Ontario glistens just behind you and sailboats trickle by, one by one.  Your coffee is just the way you like it and high above you in the sky, the gulls fly and squawk.

In this moment, life is picture perfect.  In this moment, you realize what you sometimes forget when there are bills to be paid and laundry to be done — that your life is pretty damn good.  You are, without a doubt, a lucky person.  You have everything you could ever need.

You have everything that matters.

Indeed, the world is a wonderful place and you are fortunate to be a part of it.

In fact, even as you pick up the kids and they fight all the way home, you don’t let it get it you.  Instead, you walk in front of them, simply happy that they’re yours.  And when you get home, you get everyone organized around the kitchen table, get out the paper and markers and say, “Okay, let’s draw.”



(This post is part of the Weekly Writing Challenge : From Mundane to Meaningful and has been so much fun to write.  Hope you liked it.)

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