Soup’s On!

soup

Photo by: Buu Dang, Pixabay (dangquocbuu)

Soup’s On!

I pick up my spoon
And contemplate leaving you
As you slurp your soup.

                                    –J. Amy

Today’s haiku brought to you by WordPress and their Daily Prompt.

If you would like to contact me about this post or about anything else you’ve read please email me: judyamy74(at)gmail(dot)com or tweet me @JudyAmy74.

 

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Stats, Slumps, and Stopping

This poem is in response to WordPress’s Daily Prompt which reads: Go to your Stats page and check your top 3-5 posts. Why do you think they’ve been successful? Find the connection between them, and write about it. 

I don’t usually look at statistics–I enjoyed the end of the year summary from WordPress, which told me where my readers reside (this I find interesting)–but overall, I don’t find them to be particularly beneficial or noteworthy. Not surprisingly, my top posts in the last few days have been the ones I wrote for the Daily Prompt, and the About page, not because they’re the best, but because the Daily Prompts have a higher visibility than my other posts. And the logical next thing to check out is the About page when visiting a new blog.

I’m still working through a bit of a creative slump, so I’m finding these prompts really helpful. It’s like a task for me to complete and even if it’s not my best work, something’s better than nothing.

Enjoy. Or don’t. I won’t check my statistics page!

The Statistical Connection

Seeing my statistics makes me
Think about what I am
Actually trying to accomplish with this blog.
The dream was to share a bit of my writing but since
I have such a fragile writer’s ego I worry because the
Statistics tell me that I have many followers but
That there are way less views in relation to followers.
I‘m not sure if I should keep trying to do what I do or if I should
Change things, but one thing is crystal clear: I need to
Stop looking at statistics.

If you would like to contact me about this post or about anything else you’ve read please email me: judyamy74(at)gmail(dot)com or tweet me @JudyAmy74.

And the first shall be last: A is for Amy.

Note: This is a post I wrote a couple of years ago about my name, but I’ve revisited and reworked it. Today’s Daily Prompt from WordPress, which I like to use when I am short on time and inspiration, is about names. This is one story about my (somewhat confusing) name.

Letters of Latvian (Latin based) alphabet in h...

Letters of Latvian (Latin based) alphabet in handwriting (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many of you who know me in person, or if you have read the About part of this blog, know that my last name is the same as my middle name. My name is Judy Amy Amy. Technically, it’s Judy Amy Amy-Something, but usually I just go by Judy (Amy) Amy to avoid confusion. Here’s a bit of background regarding my name.

Amy is my mother’s maiden name, and there are not many of us left. My cousin is the last of the direct line.  Like every girl in my mom’s family, I too was given the name Amy as a middle name. The difference is that I also have it as part of my last name. My mom’s family hails from the  Island of Jersey a small British ruled island off the coast of France, although the Amys have lived in Canada for several generations.

My father’s last name (the Something) is easily identified as a religious/cultural indicator of sorts in Canada. And my father experienced none of that–when his parents emigrated from the Old Country, they abandoned their religion, their culture, and their language. When my grandparents immigrated to Canada in the 1920s and decided to raise a family, they became (in their words) Canadian. No more, no less. A loss of culture, religion, and language for sure, but this was their choice of how they would adapt and embrace their new country.

It has always been really frustrating for me to have people assume untrue things about me and my family based solely on a name that has absolutely no deeper meaning to me, except for the fact that it belonged to my father. All this does is cause me to groan in irritation as I try to explain once again that I am not a part of this group, and have no knowledge of the language, traditions, or culture.  In this way, I’m happy for the Amy (even if it’s confusing) because it helps denote that I am not merely my father’s daughter, but also my mother’s. I am a sum of the parts. (Which is also why I would like to legally change my children’s last names to include my name, as well as my partner’s, but that would mean cursing my daughter with the First Name Amy Amy-Something, since like all Amy girls, she also has Amy as her middle name. Am I willing to do that? I’m not quite sure.)

If it weren’t for the fact that my father died, and that I feel keeping his name is respectful, I’d probably take a big black marker and cross the Something off my name. Why? I’ve touched on this above with the assumptions, but also because when people see a girl’s name in front of a hyphen, they automatically register it as my first name, with Something being my last name. I guess hyphenated names still aren’t as common as I think they should be. I often hear “Amy Something” called out at Doctor’s offices, as though my first name, Judy, has disappeared. Sometimes it’s the Judy that remains and the Amy that disappears, so that I am Judy Something on letters. Rarely am I Judy Amy-Something. Which is why I introduce myself as just Judy Amy, and leave the Something for the legal stuff. It avoids a lot of the confusion.

So here I am. A is for Amy. I am proud to be Judy Amy Amy. (and legally hyphen Something) I own it. It’s mine. And, for the most part, it’s really not that big a deal. Except when I’m at the doctor’s office, or god forbid, crossing borders:
“Your middle name is the same as your last name?”
“Yes, yes it is.”

Have you ever encountered difficulties or misconceptions about your name? Names are a funny thing–they are one of the first identifiers of who we are, but how representative are they?

If you would like to contact me about this post or about anything else you’ve read please email me: judyamy74(at)gmail(dot)com or tweet me @JudyAmy74.

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Laundry Haikus #3-5

Breathing in deeply
I look at the laundry pile
That’s waiting for me.

Digging through the mound
I find a somewhat clean shirt
It will have to do.

Jumbled together
Are shirts, pants, and the odd sock
Where do I begin?

Notes: This is another response to WordPress’ Daily Prompts. It’s definitely not my best. I was in a rush, but also wanted to commit to writing something. Today’s prompt was: Those Dishes Won’t Do Themselves: What’s the household task you most dislike doing? I chose to write about laundry. Not because it is necessarily my least favourite household task, but mostly because with a family of five, it is a never ending task.

 

Forgiven but not Forgotten: BOGO

Twins. A double blessing. Doubly lucky. That’s how most people responded when I told them I was having twins. My response to this was tears. A lot of tears. What they didn’t realize was that twins were also double the cost. Not only financially (although there is no denying this) but also emotionally.

Space. Or lack thereof. Our tiny, turn of the century home had been getting small for the three of us and we had casually been looking for something a bit bigger, especially when we discovered we were pregnant. Then we found out we were having twins and the whole ball game changed. With the exception of one family, all of the people on our block had a maximum of two kids. The houses just weren’t built for more. There were very few houses big enough for a family of five to live comfortably in our neighbourhood and most were, if not already occupied, out of our price range and/or in need of many repairs. We decided to look beyond our beloved neighbourhood, and moved to a different neighbourhood where the houses were quite a bit bigger. This was hard on us, particularly me. We had really great relationships with all of our neighbours, and although we said we’d stay in touch, I drifted apart from a few friends who found the 15 minute drive to the new neighbourhood too far to travel. And with two new babies, I wasn’t going anywhere for the first little while.

Isolation. Another unspoken cost to having multiple babies at once. Not every mother of twins feels this way, but I certainly did. I was exhausted, overwhelmed, and had not one, but two babies to take care of as well as our older son. I was not able to get out and meet people in our lovely new neighbourhood. The twins were born in November and it was easier to stay inside during the winter months than bundle up three children and wrangle them into the car. That first winter felt really, really long.

Giving up to move on up. I had to give up my tiny Toyota Echo and trade it in for a Honda Odyssey. At the time the twins were born, our oldest was still in a car seat and there was no physical way to fit three car seats into my Echo. After twenty-some years of driving small cars, I had to move up in size. I’m still not particularly comfortable parking the van in tight spaces, even though I’ve driven it for three years now. I usually park on the perimeter of any parking lot and walk to my destination, which I suppose is good for exercise. But I miss parallel parking like a pro in tiny spaces.

I’ve forgiven my double blessings the hardships they unknowingly bestowed upon us because they are wonderful in so many other ways. And I’ve mostly forgotten the costs–that is, until another fundraiser form comes home for two children from the pre-school or when I’m trying to catch two runaways at the park and have to decide which one to chase after first, while glancing back enviably at the two parent, two grandparent, one child unit that has just entered the park.

Notes: I’ve been needing a bit of of push in terms of writing lately so I’ve returned to the Daily Prompts from WordPress’s The Daily Post. Today’s prompt was entitled Forgive and Forget? and the task was:  Share a story where it was very difficult for you to forgive the perpetrator for wronging you, but you did it — you forgave them.

 If you would like to contact me about this post or about anything else you’ve read please email me at: judyamy74@gmail.com or tweet me @JudyAmy74

Bad Date #12 or A Dream Deferred (with apologies to Langston Hughes)

Notes: In my last post I talked about this Daily Prompt thing I had discovered, and I decided to try it again. Today’s prompt reads: We’ve all had exchanges where we came up with the perfect reply — ten minutes too late. Write down one of those, but this time, make sure to sign off with your grand slam (unused) zinger. Again, I can’t quite seem to follow the rules, because I did in fact use the sign off words at the end of this story, but I still think overall it relates to the prompt. This is a story I wrote quite a number of years ago, and I think that aside from a few dated references, it still holds up. G. and I never had a real relationship, per se, but we did end up having better sex than our first encounter. And that’s probably enough, if not too much of an introduction. Enjoy.

“G—? G—C—? It’s me, J—-. J—-A—-”

I can’t believe it. Here I am, in a dark, smoke-filled bar gazing up at the man who has held a piece of my heart for almost six years now. I’m at the S—-, a bar known for promoting local indie bands, with a group of my friends from university, who have decided that tonight is the night to experience Ecstasy. Not me. No thanks. I’m not Anti-Drug girl or anything, but E isn’t really my scene. At any rate, they’re all having fun–the straight boys kissing the gay boys, the gay boys trying to kiss me, and the one or two girls who are with us trying to kiss just about anyone. I’m tired of it and ready to go home. I’ve decided I’ll have one more beer and then call a cab.

I walk up to the bar and that’s when I see him. G—. G— C—. I fell in love with him my final year of high school, made out with him at the prom, and never saw him again. Until now. Five years later. He’s still as handsome as he always was, those cool eyes taking in everyone and everything. I’ve got to talk to him, just to put my obsession with him at rest.

“G—? G—C—? It’s me, J—. J—A—.”

“Yeah, I know.” Always cool, always in control, always in charge. Just as I remember him. but I’m five years older now, with more confidence in my sexuality and beauty then I had when I was seventeen.

“Care to buy me a drink?” I toss off the words as casually as I can manage, as though I don’t really care one way or the other what his response will be.

“Sure. What are you drinking?”

“Fifty.”

“That’s quite the beer.”

“I’m quite the girl.” And so the flirtation begins. I am at the top of my game, and unlike the time I was seventeen, I know I’m going to win. After several more bottles and a little more PDA then I’m generally accustomed to, we decide to go back to his place. I say goodbye to my friends and jump into a cab with G— and his housemates.

Nude couple in bed. The woman wearing the eleg...

Nude couple in bed. The woman wearing the elegant hairstyle of the 70s of the 1st century is giving her partner a passionate kiss. Roman fresco from the Casa del ristorante (IX.5.14, room f, southern wall) in Pompeii. Ca. 62-79 AD. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We arrive at his house and the game continues. Stumbling up the stairs, clothes being torn off, kisses being shared until we reach his bedroom. Finally, I think. The moment I have been waiting for has arrived. My teenage fantasies fulfilled. Kissing and foreplay continue until suddenly, without warning, G— gets up and leaves the room. I wait patiently at first, but start to get worried. I thought he had just gone to the bathroom, but it’s been a super long time. Did I say something wrong? Touch him the wrong way? Or could it be he has just now realized that I’m J—, J— A— from high school and for that reason alone, undesirable?

What do I do? I’m in a bit of a funny predicament. I am lying naked on a mattress whilemy date has gone AWOL. I’d better go find him. I tiptoe to the bathroom. The door is almost all the way shut, but slightly ajar. “G—?” I query quietly, gently knocking at the door. No answer. I decide to push open the door and lo and behold, there he is, my high school fantasy, huddled, well, crumpled kind of, in between the sink and the toilet. “Are you alright?” A rather indistinguishable noise comes from the lump on the floor.

“Would you like me to get you a blanket?” I offer.

“That’d be nice.” he croaks. I come back with a blanket and return to the bedroom to fall asleep. Some night, I think. To think I wasted five years wondering, fantasizing over some guy who can’t hold his liquor. Oh well, at least now I know and can get on with my life.

Nude couple in bed. Roman fresco from the Casa...

Nude couple in bed. Roman fresco from the Casa del ristorante (IX.5.14, room f, western wall) in Pompeii. Ca. 62-79 AD. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At just after six o’clock, the bedroom door opens and in walks G—. He smiles, shrugs, and climbs into bed beside me. Freshly minted mouthwash wafts over me as he proceeds to carry on from where we left off hours earlier. Hey hold on a minute, buddy, I think. I was raring to go at 1:30 last night and you expect me to be just as hot to trot at 6:00 am? I don’t think so. Then again . . . I have waited five long years for this moment . . . and that is the deciding factor.

After some brief post-coital cuddling, I get up to go to the bathroom. It’s early on a Saturday morning and everyone was up late last night so I decide that there’s really no point in getting dressed, only to get undressed a minute later. After freshening up, I walk back down the hall to G—‘s room. Halfway down the hall, a door opens and standing there is a fully clothed guy in his early 20s. I am definitely at a disadvantage. So, what’s a naked girl to do?

I take a deep breath, hold out my hand and say, “Hi, I’m J—-, G—‘s friend” and calmly walk back to the bedroom.

(First draft: 2002)

If you would like to contact me about this post or about anything else you’ve read please email me at: judyamy74@gmail.com or tweet me @JudyAmy74

 *An earlier version of this story was first posted in May 2013 under the title, A Dream Deferred*

 

 

 

 

Gin and Tonic, Extra Lime: What’s your poison?

Gin and Tonic, extra lime.

That’s my signature drink. It has been since I was 20 and tired of drinking sweet so-called girly drinks like Long Island Iced Teas and the like. Ordering Long Island Iced Teas basically tells the bartender that he should check (and double-check) your I.D.

I was tired of this. I wanted to be grown up. So, I asked my older brother and cousin what drink I should order that would be classic and sophisticated. My cousin suggested either vodka and tonic or gin and tonic, but ever since I attended a crazy party in which copious amounts of vodka were consumed, vodka has not been my friend. I turned to my brother who concurred with the gin and tonic answer, advising me to ask for an extra lime.

English: Gin and tonic with lime in a highball...

English: Gin and tonic with lime in a highball glass, with the ingredients behind (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I decided right then and there that even if I didn’t like the taste, gin and tonic would now become my drink. Forever. With an extra lime.

The first time I ordered it, I was a bit nervous. Would I like it? And then as soon as I took my first sip, I had my answer–I loved it. I’ve never strayed in the almost 20 years since I started drinking it. Well, that’s not entirely true. I have on occasion decided to throw caution to the wind and order some new-fangled lychee martini or other such nonsense, but I am always disappointed. And nowadays I’m more likely to pour myself a glass of wine than mix myself a gin and tonic (mostly due to lack of limes in the fridge), but if I go out, it’s always the same: gin and tonic, extra lime.

There’s only been one time that I’ve been disappointed with my drink, and I blame it on myself, not on the drink. I was at The Horseshoe, a dive if there ever was one, where most people either drank beer or straight whiskey. At The Horseshoe ordering a gin and tonic was pretentious. Extra lime even more so. Still, I was 23 at that time and didn’t care. The waitress looked at me with disdain as she brought me my drink, and proceeded to squeeze two large squirts of Realime Juice from the lime shaped plastic container into my glass. Gin and tonic, extra lime, she said.

Aside from that one time, I have never been disappointed in my choice of beverage. To me, the extra lime makes all the difference. I love the feeling of crushing the lime wedge between my fingers and then dropping it in my glass, only to crush it some more with my straw. And then I perform the entire ritual again. Extra lime.

To be honest, it really is best on a hot summer day, but I’ll take it any time of the year, any time of the day.  So I’ll happily raise my glass to my signature drink: Here’s to gin and tonic–clean, clear, smelling ever so slightly of Pine-Sol . . . with an extra lime!

Note: I just recently discovered a WordPress site that gives daily prompts for those of us who sometimes need a little nudge. This was the daily prompt for three days ago, but since I don’t always like following the rules, I wrote it today.

 If you would like to contact me about this post or about anything else you’ve read please email me at: judyamy74@gmail.com or tweet me @JudyAmy74