Tag Archives: mothers and daughters

Why Bakeries Were Invented

Why Bakeries Were Invented

I’ve baked the cake, but cannot get the damn thing from the pan—
the problem being, mainly, that sticky layer of flan.
My daughter had demanded it, persnickety like her dad.
How had she ever heard of flan? I guess it was a fad.

I poured the custard in the pan and covered it with batter,
not sure whether the flan went first or if it was the latter.
Ten minutes in the oven and the glop began to rage
as though it was an animal, intent to leave its cage.

It roiled and fluxed, formed bubbles and spouted like fresh lava.
I lit a cigarette and poured another cup of java.
Although it was her birthday, I rued the day I’d asked
what kind of cake she wanted, for in this I’m sorely tasked.

But surprisingly, this devil cake did not escape its boundaries,
in spite of all my puzzlements and all my gross confounderies.
Now that I’ve finally got it out, I really am exhausted—
only to hear her next request. Now she wants it frosted!!!

Prompt words for today are exhausted, cage, flux, persnickety and cover.

The Drying of Sheets in the Wind

                                      photo by Jason Briscoe on Unsplash, used with permission

The Drying of Sheets in the Wind

When the world seems in a mess and you wax sanctimonious,
railing at the ills of those who make it less harmonious,
remember that life’s curses are only temporary.
When world events eat at your mind and the world feels scary,
remember bed sheets on the line, drying in the sun—
the sound of flapping in the wind as their drying was done.
The smell of bright clean sunlight on each wind-softened fold,

or the cracking of their ice crystals stiffening in the cold.

Remember their warmth around you, fresh from mother’s mangle?
Snapping them out in the air, her bracelets’s harmonious jangle?
Her even movements folding them, then spreading them once more
 for you to slip into your bed as she stood at the door,
storybook in hand for that nightly big procession
through story after story, read in that grand progression
of venturings into a world that seemed so vast and magic,
long before you knew the world to also be so tragic.

Let memories of your mother still be a comfort to you—
with memories of fresh white sheets. And let them both renew you.

 

Prompt words are sheets, temporary, curse , sanctimonious. Wow. What a list. How are these going to come together?

Mistakes in Parenting 1: Teenage Fashionista

 

Teenage Fashionista

She layers on her makeup, gussies up her hair,
then faces indecision over what she is to wear.
It is an epic battle, trying to decide
inside which current fashion her body will reside.

She asks no one’s opinion. She’d rather try and pile
garment after garment, not quite today’s best style,
on bed and chair and carpet, in crumpled little heaps
until she finds the outfit that she will wear for keeps.

There is no dearth of choices of every hue and kind,
which makes it even harder—this making up her mind.
Crop tops, skirts or Levis ripped in the right places
are surveyed in the mirror as she strides off her paces.

Lip poochings and selfies help to make the choice.
When she finally picks her costume, all of us rejoice.
Into the car and speeding to get to school by nine,
both of the  kids delivered, back home I guzzle wine.

Raising a fashionista is something short of fun.
I swear I won’t go shopping with the younger one.
I’ll build her fascination with reptiles or bugs,
go hunting in swamp waters for snakes or frogs or slugs.

I won’t encourage fashion sense or darling little dresses.
I’ve had enough of posturing and daily costume messes.
Making mistakes in parenting is not part of the fun,
and for sure the next time, I’ll make a different one.

 

Prompt words today are help, dearth, epic and indecision.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mother.

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My mother, whose maiden name was  Eunice Lydia King, went by the name of “Pat” Dykstra for all of her married life. She died at the age of 91 in 2001, which means she would have been 109 this year. She kept her youthful sense of humor, her keen wit and her independence for her entire life. I thank her for all of the meals cooked, white blouses pressed, animals trained, constant support, laughter, for creating such a beautiful and secure home and for instilling within me a love of books and rhyme. I would give anything to be able to spend this Mother’s Day with her, floating in the pool and drinking frozen daiquiris, which if I recall correctly, she called “Daktaris!”

The Vocabulary Lesson

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The seven-word prompt was to make use of as many of these words as possible in a short piece: knickers, oneiric, cigar, shenanigans, cold-cocked, finish and sun-dried. You needn’t check.  I used all of them. The November writing prompt was “Lipstick Lover.”

The Vocabulary Lesson

She was more than irritated. Pissed, really, as she thumbed through the dictionary in search of the word “oneiric.” Any word that needed to be looked up didn’t belong in a “Dear Jane” letter anyway—as though to the very end he was trying to demonstrate his superiority—her inferiority.

BASTARD! She slammed the dictionary to the floor, picked up the half-smoked cigar he’d left in the ashtray last night, relit it and surveyed the new paper cut on her index finger. Just one more of his shenanigans, she thought. Right after he’d cold-cocked her with the news that he and she were finished—that he was leaving her FOR HER MOTHER!!!!!!, he’d lit up his Cubano for one more puff before grinding it out and handing her this letter, telling her not to open it until he’d gone.

His finish had been pretty much like their beginning—with him ending up on the floor. But this time she was standing over him rather than lying on top of him. Idly, she flicked an ash into his open mouth, hitting him squarely on his tongue. The sun-dried blood on his lip looked like the smudge of a lover’s lipstick. Around his head were the remains of the crystal candlestick her mother had given them for their wedding.  She sucked at the paper cut, then at the gash across her palm that she had gotten from a shard of the candlestick that had taken a far smaller part out of her than it had out of him.

Far away in the kitchen, the phone rang and rang. Probably her mother. Well, let her get her knickers in a bunch waiting for him. Let her think (for as long as she could put off coming to investigate) that her daughter had reclaimed her property. She was in possession for now and everyone knew possession was 9/10ths of the law. She took another long draw before examining her wounds again.

Then, her curiosity getting the better of her, she moved back to the dictionary to thumb through the o’s. When she’d found the word, she chuckled and looked back at her lost love. Gone from this world, but no one would ever know it if she just shut his jaw and wiped off the bloodstain. As a matter of fact, he’d look downright oneiric!

 

The Nov. 8 Nov. Writing Prompt is Lipstick Lover.

Cold Weather and the Subtle Art of Wooing

 

Cold Weather and the Subtle Art of Wooing

A frozen little nose and frigid little toes
plague my teeny-bopper everywhere she goes,
for she does not cover tender little parts
when the winter comes and when the snowing starts.

Flip-flops on her feet, face naked to the air—
she seems to need to show us everything that’s there.
Little mini-skirts and a tiny cotton blouse
with nary a parka as she journeys house-to-house.

She says the weather’s nothing. She says she isn’t cold,
and she will not listen. She simply won’t be told
by her mother or her father that she should bundle up.
We try to give her mittens, hot cocoa in a cup.

Now once again she’s out of here with a new boyfriend
but without a coat or sweater to protect against the wind.
But then I see her logic. for when she subtly sneezes,
he drapes an arm around her to shield her from the breezes. 

So even though my daughter might seem naive and daft
not taking due precautions against the cold and draft,
there’s a method to her madness. She knows what she is doing.
Instead of dressing for the weather she is dressing for the wooing.

 

The WordPress prompt today is frigid.

Scissors, Tissue Paper and General MacArthur

Before I leave to get busy with paper, scissors and glue at Campamento Estrella today, I want to share this crafty tradition passed on by my mother.  It was my favorite family tradition.

The Daily Post prompt was traditional.

lifelessons - a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown

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Every year, my mom helped us make May baskets to fill with candy and leave on the doorsteps of our friends. As mentioned in an earlier post, we’d ring the doorbell and run. If the recipient caught us, they could kiss or pinch us—their choice.

Some years we bought fancy handled nut cups from the dime store and used them, but I liked best to make my own. One year, my mother showed us something special to use for May baskets. Her family knew how to make these incredible tissue-paper ornaments that, with a cupcake liner filled with candy glued into the bottom, hung down in a web-like form. We’d pin them at the top and when you held them up they would fall down in a lacy accordion effect so they were a foot or two high. The only way you could really get the effect…

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NaPoWriMo 2017, Day 7 and WP Daily Prompt: Outlier

Outlier

Born to privilege, propelled to fame.
Everybody knew her name.
Medals and trophies filled her shelves.
Her friends regretted they were themselves,
not wanting to be who they were,
wanting to be just like her—
noted for her style and grace—
slim of figure, fair of face.

Yet all her silver, all her gold
could not dispel the biting cold
of her mother’s distant smile.
She could not purchase or beguile
or win that thing that she most wanted.
With craving it, her dreams were haunted.
The lack of it cut like a knife.
She could not win her father’s wife.

 

For NaPoWriMo, the prompt today is to write a poem about luck or fortune. For WordPress, it is “outlier.”

The Emperor of Chocolate

                                                                             image from internet

The Emperor of Chocolate

I am the emperor of chocolate. I conquer every bar.
I can detect its presence in wrappings or in jar.
When there’s no chocolate to be found, I simply can’t abide it.
I can find it anywhere—wherever you might hide it.
My tendency toward chocolate is a tale I hate to tell;
but I cannot help it, for it’s congenital.
My mother abused substances—namely, Russell Stover.
She could not close the box lid until eating them was over.

She couldn’t resist chocolates, though she was not a glutton
when it came to other foods like hamburgers or mutton.
She received a box of chocolates on every holiday—
on her birthday and for Christmas, and for sure on Mother’s Day.
When it came to appreciation, my mother never failed them,
for when it came to chocolates, she always just inhaled them.
One time my dad decided that he would have some fun.
He bought my mom some chocolates to dole out one-by-one.

He hid them underneath the cushion of a chair
to give her one piece daily, but she knew that they were there.
She ate the whole box in two days. It really was disgraceful.
Every time I saw her, it seemed she had a face full.
Only with my father did she manage to save face,
For she bought chocolate-covered cherries and put one in the place
of every chocolate she stole. My father never knew.
She was not tempted by the cherries—a taste she could eschew.

My father always thought he’d pulled one over on my mother,
although I’ve always known that the true jokester was another.
When the box was only cherries, and he offered them to her,
she’d say, “I’ll save it for later,” or sometimes she’d  demur.
To resist chocolate cherries, she was fully able,
and I was fully loyal to preserving mother’s fable.
That’s how my addiction was learned at Mother’s knee,
because the chocolate-covered cherries? She gave them all to me.

 

Here is a link to my favorite photo of my mother, plus other stories and poems about here: https://judydykstrabrown.com/2018/08/01/parental-support/

The prompt today is conquer.

“I Imagine” dVerse Poets, Prose Poetry

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I Imagine

I imagine one more holiday.
My mother sits at a large picture window
looking out over a broad beach,
watching dogs fetching sticks.
Then, because she cannot help it,
she takes her shoes off to walk through packed sand.
I imagine her sighting the offshore rock
where puffins nest.
I imagine footprints—hers and mine
and the paw prints of the dog—
someone else’s—
who joins us for the price of a stick thrown
over and over into the waves.

My mother could count her trips to the beach
on one hand,
and most of those times have been with me.
Once, in Wales, we sat on the long sea wall
under Dylan Thomas’s boathouse.
A cat walked the wall out to us,
precise and careful
to get as few grains of sand as possible
between its paw pads.
As it preened and arched under my mother’s smooth hand,
its black hairs caught in her diamond rings.

The other time we went to the beach
was in Australia.
We stayed out all afternoon,
throwing and throwing a stick,
a big black dog running first after,
then in front of it,
my dad sleeping in the car parked at the roadside,
my mother and I playing together
as we had never played before.

My mother and the ocean
have always been so far divided,
with me as the guide rope in between.
I imagine reeling them both in toward each other
and one more trip.
My mother, me, a dog or cat.
Wind to bundle up for and to walk against.
Wind to turn our ears away from.
Sand to pour out of our pockets
to form a small  volcano
with a crab’s claw at the top.

So that years from now,
when I empty one pocket,
I will find sails from by-the-wind sailors
and shark egg casings,
fragile black kelp berries
and polished stones.
The bones of my mother. The dreams of me.

From the other pocket, empty,
I will pull all the reunions I never fought hard enough for—
regrets over trips to the sea we never made.
And I’ll imagine taking me to oceans.
Walks. Treasures hidden in and hiding sand.
Someone walking with me—
someone else’s child, perhaps,
and a dog chasing sticks.

Note: I never took that last trip to the ocean with my mother, but I think of her every year when I come to stay at the beach on my own, and this year in particular, every time I throw the stick for Morrie and every time children come to play with us. Here is a link to my favorite photo of my mother, plus other stories and poems about her.

Written for the dVerse Poets prompt, Prose Poetry.To play along, go HERE.