This week's writing prompt in the #MFRW 52-week Blog Challenge is "What is your favorite indulgence?"
I'm sure MFRW didn't intend that to be a loaded question, but ... wow ... that could go in so many directions. Since this is a public forum, I'll keep the answer suitable for polite company.
And now I've got you wondering, haven't I?
My favorite indulgences are actually pretty tame: naps and certain comestibles. I'll start with naps. Of all my wallowing in self-indulgence, this is probably the more precious.
I do not remember a time when I did not appreciate a good, long nap. Even as a child, I enjoyed that midday snooze. I know it's time to ease off the workload when the urge to nap becomes overwhelming.
I never understood the concept of a "power nap." Getting to REM sleep takes me longer than the 15 or 20 minutes dedicated to a power nap. How does anyone actually get any rest in such a short time?
The next indulgence has to be alcohol. I enjoy wine. I enjoy beer. I enjoy hard liquor. I especially enjoy 21 year old Lagavulin single malt scotch whiskey. Mmm. <insert happy dance here> Laphroaig 15 year old French cask is good, too. The fine liquors I enjoy come at a pretty penny, so I don't buy them very often.
I received my first bottle of aged Lagavulin years ago as a thank-you for catching an entire class of cheaters taking an exam for certification. By that time, the directors of the organization knew I enjoyed scotch.
"What do you like?" the certification director inquired.
"You don't want to know," I answered.
He insisted. I told him. A few weeks later, a bottle of some very fine scotch was delivered to my desk.
It's nice to be appreciated.
And then there's chocolate. I'm not as picky about chocolate: I like pretty much all of it, from Hershey's milk chocolate to Lindt to Ghirardelli to Esther Price to the boutique stuff. It's all good.
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This week's writing prompt is "Do you keep a diary or a journal?"
The short answer is no. Now for the long answer.
I never saw the point of keeping a diary or a journal. With a nosy family and a toxic school environment, I saw no need to maintain a a written record of my experiences or the angry and depressing thoughts that accompanied them.
This does not mean that my childhood was one of unrelenting misery or exclusion. I had many good moments that I treasure. But these are private and not for public consumption.
That's the problem with diaries: they're supposed to be private. However, anyone can break those flimsy locks that only keep out the incurious and the honest. Putting down my most private thoughts and feelings into something someone else could read that said someone else wasn't supposed to read--no, that makes no sense. I don't need what's in my head revealed to all and sundry, except as I choose to reveal it.
That's a risk I still have no desire to take.
This week's writing prompt focuses on the one item we can't live without. The answer to that rather depends on the stage of life.
In my younger years, I would have said that the most necessary item concerned feminine hygiene, something no one really likes to discuss and few men ever think about. Really, how often does a woman's menses get mentioned in those stories of quests and journeys and other adventures.
Mystery writer Dick Francis shows a man's enlightenment in his book The Danger. The heroine, Europe's top female jockey, is kidnapped and held for several weeks. In describing her captivity to the hero, she mentions the distress and humiliation of enduring menstruation without the proper sanitary supplies. The hero acknowledges that a woman's inevitable biology is something he hadn't considered as an added complication in such situations.
At other times, I might have answered a horse. Since my mid-teens, equine companionship provided a good dose of mental and emotional support. When I was 22, my mother, who dislikes horses, mentioned when that first horse died that getting the mare was the best thing I'd ever done for myself.
However, with adulthood comes adult concerns and obligations an an increase in life necessities: a house, groceries, a functional vehicle, a functional computer, an internet connection. I also include indoor plumbing.
My complete and utter dependence upon indoor plumbing makes me a poor camper. I loathe camping. As one comedian once quipped, why spend 50 weeks a year to pretend to be homeless for two weeks? Nope, my idea of "roughing it" is room service that ends at 11:00 PM and no mint on the pillow.
I suppose, when we get right down to it, that indoor plumbing is the one necessity I absolutely cannot and will not live without.
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In my 50-plus years, I have received many gifts; but which is the best? Unfortunately and despite the MFRW writing prompt for this week's blog challenge, I can't quite decide. I will, however, focus on the material (instead of the spiritual or intangible) and narrow them down:
When I was a kid, there were no such things as cell phones. We had a landline. A single line. Every phone in the house plugged into a single line. Younger folks may boggle at such primitive conditions. However, it was a measure of indulgence and privilege to have an extension in the bedroom. When I was around 12 years old, I desperately wanted my own phone so I could have private conversations with my friends. Not only did I want my own phone, I wanted a princess phone.
Sometimes, it's good to be the only daughter among a houseful of sons.
As a youngster, I had friends who owned horses and begged my parents to let me, too, have a horse. Several weeks before my 15th birthday, my mother agreed to float me a loan to purchase a horse with the agreement that I would pay her back, support the animal (boarding fees, farrier, veterinarian, etc.), and keep up my grades. She found Suzie, a 15-year-old, Morgan-Arabian crossbred mare with a pot belly, ringworm, a swayed back, and a reputation. The horse didn't like sheep and had killed one. But that mare also came with a saddle, two bridles, brushes, and more. I took that loan and enjoyed several years riding that old mare everywhere. She died when we were both 22 years old.
When I graduated from college, Suzie had since been retired from duty due to arthritis in her spine and I was riding my youngest brother's horse, a big Appaloosa mare named Sassy. My brother discovered cars and girls and lost interest in all things equestrian. Upon graduation, my mother gifted Sassy to me, signing over the registration papers. Two weeks later, I got married and discovered we had no money to support a horse. But I clung to that mare and enjoyed my years with her until equine cushing's disease forced a humane end to her life.
As Sassy (rapidly) declined, I fell in love with another horse, another Appaloosa mare. My husband took out a loan to buy that horse for me. A black roan, she boasted a large, elegantly chiseled head and an arched, swanlike neck. And a nasty case of arthritis that crippled her by the time she turned fifteen. We remember her for her protective attitude toward our children, her hatred of pigs and my husband. Lots of stories accompany memories of that temperamental mare.
In January 2006, my husband took me and our kids to a shooting range, determined to introduce me to firearms. I'd never held a gun, much less shot one. He rented a .22 pistol, loaded one round in the chamber, and showed me to hold the weapon. He instructed me to pull the trigger ... gently. The gun fired. I screamed and dropped it. Which was why he only inserted one round into the chamber. The man knows me well. Fast forward to May. I'd developed a liking for firearms. Because my birthday and Mother's Day often coincide, he enrolled me in a general gun safety course and purchased a 9mm pistol for me. It's a grand pistol, perfect for my hand. The next year, he enrolled me in a course to acquire a concealed carry permit and gave me a .32 caliber pistol, small, lightweight, and enhanced with a laser site. Fun stuff.
(No, the pistols linked are not mine, but they are the same models.)
The telephone and the horses mentioned are nothing but fond memories now, but the equestrian experience comes in handy when I come across a book or manuscript or ghostwriting project that includes horses or guns. I can say, "Nope, not real." I can identify writers who haven't done any research and don't know whereof they speak. And I can better identify those who did and can. I know enough to be dangerous.
This week's writing prompt is "favorite social media platforms."
OK, let's be brutally honest: I'm a hermit and limit my social media presence because I don't particularly like social media. I acknowledge its increased importance and the necessity of it in marketing; but, that doesn't mean I have to like it, especially when all too often it feels as though a double standard is applied and never in my favor.
I become flustered when I put out a statement of the sort other people (like my oldest brother) post and catch lots of flak for it. I hate when people argue against something I, for whatever reasons, cannot find the words to defend.
One of those issues concerned the U.S. ban on horse slaughter. I support horse slaughter in the U.S. where we can control it and enforce humane practices. Someone else bemoaned that such beautiful animals were being killed and that someone ought to take care of them. It just wasn't right to kill them.
Anyone who knows me knows that I love animals, horses being chief among them. But I also recognize they're livestock, not companion animals that occupy the sofa beside me while I read or watch TV. This particular person viewed horses as akin to unicorns, practically magical and sparkly and all things wonderful.
My more pragmatic attitude did not stem her protest. I brought out the statistics: 96,000 unwanted horses every year were sent to slaughter. That's a lot of horses. Where would they all go?
Well, someone had to take them in, she insisted.
"Who?" I asked. "Put your money where your mouth is. I did."
Indeed I did. I adopted a horse, not just any horse, but a foundered horse that cost me a lot of money to care for. We had to euthanize him less than two years later. Euthanasia and hauling away of the carcass for proper disposal cost nearly $1,000--and that was 10 years ago.
The bleeding heart complained she couldn't afford a horse, didn't live on a farm like rich folks like me.
"So, board it. There are plenty of boarding stables around here."
She didn't like that suggestion either, because saving those unwanted horses was someone else's responsibility and expense.
Yeah, my overall experience with social media has been mixed and it tends toward the less pleasant. It's also a good way to waste time. But it's also a way to keep in touch with extended family. It's the lazy man's method for keeping in touch, for connecting with people without spending a lot of time on maintaining relationships.
That said, social media is useful. I won't deny that. Neither will I profess to any sort of proficiency in using it.
That's one of the upsides to being a diehard introvert as well as a "crotchety old woman." Imagine what freedom from social conventions and expectations I'll have when I'm 80.
Hard boiled, scrambled, over easy, and sunny side up: eggs are the musings of Holly Bargo, the pseudonym for the author.
Looking for a place to swap blogs? Holly Bargo at Hen House Publishing is wanting to Blog Swaps in 2018. For more information:
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