Photo Challenge/Tale Weaver: Poem – Free Verse – “Stairway from Forever Winter” #amwriting #poetry #TaleWeavers #PhotoChallenge #MLMM


Thanks to NEKNEERAJ from MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for hosting photo challenge #220. Also, thanks to Michael from MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for hosting the Tale Weaver prompt on the them of a voyage of discovery.


Credit: Silvia Grav


Shivering as if I’m shedding,

As if I’ll never know heat;

Or a belly without ache.

Crisp bacon and sausage sizzles,

French toast with cream cheese;

Clouds of whipped cream,

Maple syrup flowing in valleys;

Sweet strawberry jam,

Tart on my tongue,

The crisp-softness of toast;

Homemade bread devoured.

Orange juice with champagne,

Sweetness and fizzing bubbles.

Chatter, hands passing,

Sniggers and giggles;

Raising the bar; the bets are laid —

Who can eat the most pancakes?

There is plenty in this dream,

Richness and generosity abounds —

Reality’s barren and frosted.

No warmth of hugs or arms over shoulders,

Until a burning stillness settles.

The sensation of hovering above,

Until your firefly soul lifts.

The memory of family, breakfast with ice-cream,

Strawberry sauce and flaked croissants;

Of food so boundless that all gnawing hunger’s abolished.

No daydream with clawing pains,

Only serenity, path into a place —

Where loved ones suffer not.

Where there’s no war to justify —

No battle to survive;

Nor land that will not thaw to grow.

Above, there’s glowing prosperity,

A joyfulness that never pales.

No ice-white skin preserved in chill,

No forever winter.

A flame that flickers and overwhelms,

Sparks and heat spread,

As butter melts on fresh bread.

Reflecting on golden streets,

A feast as none knew before.

Temporality extinguished,

The relief of a forever home

Not hunger nor strife.

It’s unimaginable,

But after all the misery —

This stairway’s an easy flight.


©Mandibelle16. (2018) All Rights Reserved.

Photo Challenge: Fiction – “A Better Life” #fiction #amwriting #writing #vegas


This past week’s photo challenge was hosted by MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie

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Credit: Nekneeraj

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The lights assault my eyes, as they blur past me. Vegas is a beautiful city at night. I had had a table with my friends at the club with bottle service. Slowly, I remember us drinking the vodka shot by shot until the girls had enough.  

 “Were done, I’m already too drunk. I want to be able to shop tomorrow afternoon,” Megan said and her friend Kelly nodded in agreement. 

The other guys and I laughed and jeered, egging the girls on to do one more shot. They refused and went off to dance. After an hour or so passed, I saw them leave the club, removing their heels on the way. 

I noticed my good friend Ryan had passed-out on the cushioned bench around the table, parallel to me. I continued drinking, sipping my vodka shots, determined to finish the little vodka left in the bottom of the bottle. It was expensive after all to get bottle service. 

A concerned bouncer who had been watching me with deep dark eyes, set two glasses of water down in front of me. “Sir, you need to drink both these glasses,” he said. 

“Umm, no. I want more vodka. I’ll pay for another bottle,” I slurred. 

The bouncer shook his head, “You need to drink these glasses now sir. I don’t want you to get alcohol poisoning and die in my club.” 

I sighed grabbing both glasses, I downed them one at a time.”Gees, I was thirsty,” I told the bouncer.

 “I’m calling you and your friend a cab at the back door entrance,” he said nodding at Ryan. ” I don’t have to, I could just throw you out. But, I get this feeling you’re running from something, trying to drink it away. So tonight, I’ll be nice,” the bouncer said. “I get it man, but you’re a grown-up and even in Vegas, you have to have limits.” 

Another bouncer came to aid the first bouncer, guide us out to the cab. I leaned on the first bouncer’s shoulder and the other guy half-carried Ryan out the door. 

The cab driver looked nervous, “I don’t want anyone throwing-up in here,” he announced. But the bouncers ignored him. 

“Where is your hotel?” The first bouncer asked me.

I had to think a moment, everything was such a blur and it was difficult to think. I was so tired and mad at her. Why’d she cheat on me after ten-years marriage? Why’d she leave me for him?

“Um, we’re at Caesars,” I stammered, then reached into my pocket, pulling out a wad of bills; I tried my best to count out $100.00 exactly. I gave it the cab driver. He nodded, “okay where too?” The bouncers shut the cab doors and the driver took off down the Las Vegas strip.

The lights of Las Vegas were beautiful, brilliant, and blurred. But they also made me nauseous. I closed my heavy lids, and opened them as I tried not to sleep. But I couldn’t stop myself and I fell asleep quickly. 

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Ryan was shaking me. “Come on Blaine, wake up. You’re 6’4″ and two-hundred-some pounds, I can’t lift you alone. You need to help me.” 

I blinked in the bright lights at the entrance to Caesars guest reception. It would take us forever to find our rooms because the hotel was so huge and neither of us were well enough to remember where our room was specifically. 

Ryan’s hands shook and his face was pale white. He ran and threw-up in a garbage can. He apologized five-minutes later to a man near by helping guests at the front entrance and gave him a twenty, and thinking this man would have to clean the garbage can up. 

I was slowly, stepping out of the car, but my legs nearly collapsed and I groaned in frustration. I reached into my wallet and pulled out eighty-dollars. I could count money now at least, though my head felt like someone was hammering my temples. 

“Here,” I said to a couple of men upfront working for Caesars. I gave them my cash and asked,”Help us back to my room, please.” 

Two silent men grabbed the cash splitting it and they smiled at me now. “Of course sir, do you have your keycard?” I nodded, pulling it out of my pocket. I gave it to the men and they called for two other men, one whom I leaned heavily against as we made an endless journey to my room. Sometime in there, I fell asleep. 

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It was 3:00 pm when I awoke in my hotel room. Immediately, I went and threw-up in the bathroom several times before I felt better. I took a shower and washed away the smoke and putrid smell of vodka and vomit. I called room service to put some food in my stomach and help me recover. I ordered some French toast, coffee, and orange juice –two orders –one for Ryan as well, when he awoke. 

I saw him lying on the bed and I tried to shake him awake. I thought he only needed more sleep. He wasn’t a big guy, so perhaps the vodka hit him harder than me. 

A day later, Ryan still wasn’t up and I asked my friends what we should do.

“Well, sometimes you really need to sleep it off. We’re not so young anymore, hangovers can last two-days. He’s breathing so he must be fine,” Kyle reasoned and my other friend Maison seemed to agree. We went down to the casino to play poker. 

 On the third day we asked reception to call a doctor for us. It was expensive but my friends and I were worried about Ryan. He was cold and his chest barely moved, his breathing was so shallow. 

The Doctor was tense upon inspecting Ryan three-hours later. “I’m sorry gentlemen, your friend died earlier this morning, about the time I was called to your room. If only you’d called sooner and emphasized how badly he was doing,” the Doctor chided. 

“Ryan had alcohol poisoning so badly he went into a coma. He has no heart beat and isn’t breathing as you indicated earlier. It’s tragic but I guess you’ll understand me now when I say, watch your alcoholic intake; in Vegas especially.” 

I started to cry in front of the Doctor and my friends. I didn’t know how I could tell Ryan’s family he’d passed on. He’d been the one who said we needed a boys trip to help me get out the funk of my wife cheating and divorcing me. 

I remember him saying, “Blaine you need to get out and have some fun. Come to Las Vegas with me and the guys. Forget about your problems for a while. I’ll forget about mine too,” he said. He never told me what his problems were and I never asked, I thought regretfully. 

Now my good friend Ryan was gone. I closed my eyes imagining lights blurring past me. It wasn’t only how I felt when I was drunk. It was how I felt all the time these days. As if I had no control as all the pretty lights rushed by. 

When I did have time, I made the wrong choices. The lights were my escape, but I needed to pay attention now, to move on in my life as Ryan would have wanted. I couldn’t drink the pain away. 

I vowed for Ryan, I would live my life better. 

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©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved. 

 

A List of Delicacies for A Not So Talented Cook. 


Thanks to La Duchesse D’erat and her list prompt of our best culinary delicacies.

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1. Perogies  

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http://www.polishforums.com

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For Perogies: I’m one-quarter Ukrainian and we always have perogies at Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, and every now and then. The secret is to boil the perogies, fry up some bacon and onions, let the perogies warm in the crock pot on low with some becel, and toss in the bacon and onions. The perogies are extremely soft and delicious using this method. Make sure you allow the perogies to warm a good half hour to an hour in the crock pot. Or, you  can visit a local restaurant near us in Edmonton, AB, called Uncle Ed’s, which is a genuine Ukrainian restaurant that has all the Ukrainian food you could ever desire at a reasonable price, with a too reasonable amount of food on each plate.

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2. Pizza – I learned to make this from my Mom, it’s fantastic pizza and much better than take-out. The most important part is the dough:

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http://www.1zoom.net

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To make yummy homemade pizza for a treat:

– 2 to 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

– 2 tsp sugar

– 1 tsp salt 

– 1 tbsp fast-acting active yeast

– 1 cup hot water

– 1/4 cup olive oil

  • Mix  1 cup flour with the sugar, salt, and yeast in a large bowl.
  • Combine hot water and oil. Add to dry ingredients and beat diligently until smooth.
  • Gradually stir in more flour to make a soft dough.
  • Put out onto a floured counter and knead four to five minutes.
  • Form dough into a ball, place into a bowl with a bit of olive oil in the bottom, so the dough doesn’t stick.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and let stand on your ‘warming’ burner on your stove, for 45 minutes or until the dough is double the size.
  • Punch dough down. Recipe makes two – 12″ (30 cm) pizzas or one large one.

Next, you get to make your pizza! 

-We usually make one big round pizza and spray the pan with cooking oil lightly, before spreading the dough out onto the pan pushing it up to make a small rim.

– spread 1/4 cup or desired amount of Tomato Sauce on pizza dough, except at the rim. Sprinkle with oregano, this step is so vital for good flavour!

– cover pizza with grated mozzarella cheese about 1 and 1/2 cups or, however, much you like.

– add your toppings: – I like diced pineapple, thinly cut ham sausage, diced mushrooms, and diced red pepper.

– Sprinkle entire pizza with Parmesan cheese (2 tbsp or more).

  • Bake at 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) for about 20 minutes. You may want to put your broiler on the last few minutes to brown the cheese a little. 
  • Let pizza stand for 20 minutes. Cut into desired size of slices with a pizza cutter. This pizza is excellent and simple!

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3. Spinach Dip 

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http://www.browneyedbaker.com
 

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I chose all low calorie options for food, obviously. Here’s my family’s Spinach Dip recipe. It’s amazing!

– mayonnaise 1/2 cup

– cream cheese softened – 2 –  8 oz blocks (preferably light cream cheese)

– grated cheddar cheese –  1 cup

– frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry – 10 oz. (300 g)

– chopped fried bacon- 6 slices chopped into small pieces

– finely chopped onion – 1/4 cup

– Dill Weed – 2 tsp

– Garlic Powder – 1/4 tsp or one clove minced.

– sour dough round loaf and additional baguette.

To make:

  • Beat mayonnaise and cream cheese together in small bowl until smooth.
  • Stir in next six ingredients. 
  • Cut top off of round bread loaf. Hollow out loaf with knife leaving a shell 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick. Put spinach dip inside loaf.
  • Wrap loaf in foil and heat in oven at 325 degrees F (160 degrees C) for 2 hours.
  • Cut up inside of road loaf and pieces of baguette as needed to use as dippers. As dippers disappear, break off sides of loaf for more dippers. Enjoy, this is heavenly and a tasty treat!

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4.  French Toast 

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http://www.julianbakery.com
 

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 Easy French Toast – healthy and yummy!

– 2/3 cup 1 percent milk.

– 2 eggs

– 2 tsp vanilla extract

– 1 tsp cinnamon 

– 1/8 tsp nutmeg 

– 4 slices whole grain bread

– cooking spray

– berries or apple slices 

– 2 tbsp each maple syrup (per two slices) 

To make:

  • Combine ingredients in a bowl large enough to dip your bread into but don’t add all your spices at once, distribute with every two slices of bread as the spices have a tendency to end up on the first two slices alone if added all at once.
  • Dip a bread slice into the batter and let it stand 30 seconds on each side.
  • Spray a frying pan with cooking spray and cook your first two slices of battered bread at a low temperature, flipping your battered bread slices when the first side is browned to your liking. 
  • Continue with your other two slices of bread, spraying the pan with cooking spray again before adding your next two battered bread slices to your frying pan.
  • Divide French Toast onto 2 plates and add fruit or apple slices. Fry up some bacon if you’re ambitious, as an add-on. Add 2 tbsp of syrup to each plate of French Toast. Voila! 

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5. Pineapple Beans 

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http://www.100recipes.com
 

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A health(ish) combination of ingredients for Pineapple Beans, wonderful for a potluck, a party, game day, (etc.)

– Bacon Slices – 6 

– Chopped Onion – 1 and 1/2 cups 

– Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce – 2 – 14 oz. (398 ml) tins

– Chili Sauce – 1 tbsp

– Mustard – 1 tsp

– Crushed Pineapple, drained – 1 tin (14 oz. or 398 ml)

– pepper – 1/8 tsp

To Make:

  • In a large sauce pan, sauté bacon and onions together until cooked. Drain and discard fat.
  • Add remaining ingredients and bring mixture to a boil.
  • Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or more. You can do this on a stove alone, or on the stove then set on the edge of a BBQ grill, or if you are skilled with the BBQ you can cook the entire mixture on the BBQ. 
  • Serves 8 people.

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Thank you for reading my easy list of cooking delicacies. I hope you found a recipe you can use! And to note, I’m not eating any of this right now I’m on a diet 🙂 

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©Mandibelle16. All Rights Reserved.