Happy Friday! I quickly penned this sonnet in between work projects this evening. It’s feeling a little bit like winter this evening, dark and the wind a bit gusty. The wind seems to speak to me here at our home in Virginia. We get a very strong western wind that comes straight down the road and hits the front of our home, as we are at the bottom of the cul-de-sac. Sometimes it whispers, but other times it howls like a banshee! I almost think the wind is one of my muses. I mean, after all, I am a Gemini an air sign. Maybe that’s why the wind evokes my senses. I have sensitive but strong lungs, haha.
I can’t believe it’s already March. The winter has flown by. Are you ready for spring? I certainly am – and my daffodils are already starting to bloom. I hate to complain about the weather too much, but it sure has been finicky lately. One day it’s 30 degrees, next day it’s 70! The highly variable temperatures are confusing the spring bulbs, and also wreaking havoc on people’s health. I think it’s safe to say most of us are ready to embrace some warmer weather and enjoy the sun a bit. And on the bright side – daylights savings time starts next weekend, so it will be lighter later in the day. Yahoo! I can’t wait for that, as it gets old driving home from work in the dark. It can be a bit nerve wracking, and I’m always paranoid I’m going to hit a deer or something.
Nothing else new here. Dan and I are pretty busy with tax season, so we haven’t been doing much but working. One of these days we’ll get out for a winery visit, but not this weekend. Lately we’re lucky to go to the grocery store together, lol… We need to plan our next vacation, as this is the first time ever we don’t have specific plans in the books. A tropical getaway sure would be nice! Hmmm…. time to start daydreaming. But more likely, it will be a trip to Florida to visit the grandkids, whom I miss dearly. Have a great weekend, everyone.
Ecrits Blogophilia Week 35.14 Topic: Whispering Wind Hard Bonus: Incorporate a lyric from the band New Order (“when the rain falls to the sea”) Easy Bonus: Include a gymnastics event (rings)
To Dad… I know you are watching over me. I miss you and love you so much!
Happy Saturday, everyone! I started this poem on the 20th anniversary of my father’s death, which was February 17, 2023. But for some reason, I needed some time and space to finish it, so I put it aside. I have been so busy at work, and I was aware this day was coming soon. But when I looked at the calendar that morning it hit me like an anvil to my heart. I started to weep, tears of sorrow falling for the man who gave me life. I couldn’t seem to shake it, so I let the emotions out.
Dad was our rock, a gentle giant, a silent man. However, when he had something to say – you listened! I feel like he was my protector, as most of siblings undoubtedly feel, too. He realized that I was young, stupid and was going to learn things by my mistakes in life. Yet he stood by me and loved me throughout these challenges. Both he and Mom have been there for me through many difficult times, my darkest days. I am ever grateful to both of them for giving me the best possible childhood, even though we struggled financially at times. I have the happiest memories to carry me through life.
Trains have a significant meaning in my life since my Dad worked at the railroad yards. Growing up, he would take me to some of these locations, let me explore the parked caboose and roam around the yards. I would clean up the office space, even cooked a baked bean dinner on a small gas heater one time at Cumbo, a remote rail yard in West Virginia! That probably would be considered taboo in this day and age, but I loved it. Every time I hear a train whistle, I think of him. I don’t hear them often where I live now or when we lived in Florida. But at my Winchester office, I hear the nearby train whistle several times each day, and it is such a comfort to me. I feel as if it’s my Dad telling me he is just fine.
Naturally, we all wish we could have had more time with him. He died way too young, only 68 years old. It was small cell lung cancer, as he was a life-long smoker. It was absolutely heart-wrenching to see how that disease consumed him. It really hit me thinking how Dan and I are inching ever closer to that age, and facing our own mortality is frightening. I guess we need to try to make the most of every day we have on this Earth! I think that is a message we should all take to heart.
The video I am posting from Neil Diamond is a song Dad loved and played often. It has a special place in my heart and evokes memories each time I hear it. Have a good weekend!
Ecrits Blogophilia Week 34.14 Topic: Freedom of Choice Hard Bonus: Write a Kyrielle Sonnet (my writer’s choice) Easy Bonus: Include a train whistle (my writer’s choice)
Haha, I know what you’re thinking after reading this sonnet. This sounds like an anti-Valentine’s Day poem, doesn’t it? But it’s really not. I’m not against Valentine’s Day at all. In fact, Dan and I got married the day before Valentine’s Day on February 13, 1988 because it happened to fall on a Saturday that year.
As it turns out, the number 13 evolved to become our lucky number. We were engaged and wed on the 13th, and the lot we built our current home on was lot number 13. That number has surfaced throughout our lives in good ways, so I’m not superstitious about it.
As for gifts, well… we don’t really buy each other Valentine’s Day gifts or even anniversary gifts anymore. We celebrate our anniversary more than Valentine’s, as it is more meaningful to us. We very rarely go out to dinner on our actual anniversary, because in our experience it’s always a huge Valentine’s day rush. Noisy, crowded restaurants, jacked up prices, mediocre food, impatient waiters just trying to rush you through, bench seating (hate it) ….no thanks! We celebrate with a quiet meal at home and go out a few weeks later when it’s less crowded (and warmer). And wine, of course – well, we always have wine! LOL
So is this poem fact or fiction? It’s more fiction than fact. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like fine diamonds or money, haha. Who doesn’t? And we certainly do not drink sweet wine, we prefer the dry reds. As much as I love flowers, Dan doesn’t buy them for me anymore – and there is a really good reason for that. It’s because my cats never fail to sample the flowers, whether it is roses for Valentine’s, hydrangea for Easter, sunflowers or even a simple houseplant! It’s so wonderful to receive a flower arrangement, but within minutes, Bobby is jumping on top of the kitchen island and nibbling on the leaves. I don’t want to risk them getting sick and destroying the flowers in the process. So I have had to stow flowers in my office, or way up high on the entertainment center. That’s no fun, I feel like I don’t get to really enjoy them. So I guess Dan and I have kind of given up on flowers for now. It’s funny, Jordan also used to love to nibble on flowers – but Tommy did not care for them one bit.
Because it is tax season, both of us worked very full days on both our Anniversary (13 hours for me, lucky 13!) and Valentine’s Day. C’est la vie. Things have been super busy, but in a few weeks we’ll probably venture out to have our dinner celebration. I hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day, roses or not!
Ecrits Blogophilia Week 33.14 Topic: Don’t Bring Me Roses Hard Bonus: Incorporate a lyric by the rock band Heart (Mistral wind, where the fog lies kissing the mountainside, long winter nights we sang in tune) Easy Bonus: Use words found on candy hearts (Love me, Be mine)
This was written for Tommy Breuning, my furry soulmate who died from lymphoma on September 12, 2020. He was 15 years old. He was my animal spirit, my furry soulmate, and he completely stole my heart from that very first day. Here is the story of how we met in 2005.
It was September 11, 2005. We were on a mission to rescue a cat. There had been a huge influx of stranded kittens into Florida from Louisiana, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Kate and I went down to the Broward Humane Society, and it was jam packed with folks wanting to adopt the plethora of dogs and cats in need of a home. The local Channel 10 station was even there, covering the news. We had looked at some of the Louisiana rescue kittens, and even stood in a long line to get a chance to meet a few. We held Lucky and another white cat from New Orleans that were from this import, but they were skittish and we really didn’t seem to bond. I knew that we both had to feel something in our hearts, that would be the sign that kitten was the one for us. I was trying to be patient and determined to get the right match.
We went back into the large cat area of the shelter to check out the other kittens waiting for adoption. There at the very back, I spotted him. A little tiger tabby, desperately trying to cover up his poop with a shred of newspaper! He was so tiny and so adorable, and we watched him playing with his little brother behind the glass. His name was “Titus” from the Rome mini-series. It was most definitely love at first sight! We requested a meet and greet. There the little shelter room, he came to us with hesitation and snuggled up to our necks, purring loudly. He had a very loud kitten voice, and we knew immediately we HAD to adopt him!
It was an easy decision, but now the problem was…. would we get to him in time? Once we filled out the application and put in a bid for “Titus,” we were given a number to officially adopt the kitten. But we quickly discovered there were 90 people ahead of us in that packed waiting room!
Frequently, the shelter workers would call out a number and that person would be so disappointed to learn that the pet they hoped to adopt had already been adopted, sometimes minutes before. Many left disappointed, some children in tears. Katie and I were becoming more anxious as we waited. Would we get to Titus in time?
We chatted with an older couple seated next to us who were much further ahead of us in line. They were hoping to adopt a certain dog. Another family was called up, and their dog was already adopted – the same dog the couple next to us were hoping to adopt. The husband turned to me, stealthily slipping me their ticket and whispered, “Here, take our ticket. Good luck getting your kitten.”
I felt like an outlaw, a cheat, at accepting that ticket and “jumping the line.” But at the same time, I could see the hope and anticipation in Katie’s eyes. The mere thought of not bringing this little boy home was more than I could bear. I knew he was my soulmate, and I just had to have him!
About 10 minutes later, our new ticket number was called out. Katie and I approached the desk, hearts pounding. Our application had been approved…. and Titus was still available. He was ours! Tears misted our eyes as I completed the paperwork and paid the $75 fee. They said they were having a “2 for one” special, I could take another kitten home for the same price. I was very tempted to adopt his brother as well, but I did not want to push my luck and take on too much at once! We could go back and pick him up after his neuter procedure was complete. I always say that was the best $75 I ever spent.
On the drive home, we decided to change his name to Tommy, after my beloved father who had passed away two years prior. Tommy Titan. A perfect name for him! There was an immediate bond after bringing him home. I have so many funny stories and beautiful memories which I will continue to share on this blog. Tommy Breuning became a bit of a social media celebrity. He had his own Facebook page, wrote the infamous “A Tommy Blog” and sparred with his sister Jordan frequently. The Blogophilia writing group seemed to really enjoy when Tommy took over my weekly blog! I miss those Tommy blogs, and I have saved every one of them. Maybe some day I will compile a book of them. There are over 40 of them! Below is a video we created for one of our Blogophiia posts.
There ought to be a law against stealing hearts. Tommy stole mine from the very first day, but I love him eternally for that. Rest in Peace, my sweet Tommy. There will never, ever be another cat quite like you!
Ecrits Blogophilia Week 32.14 Topic: There Ought to be a Law Hard Bonus: Incorporate a quote or line of Sean Connery Easy Bonus: Use the phrase “in a pickle”
Hello! A late post again, and y’all know why….. Work, work, work! That’s all I do! You know the old saying. The overtime at work has been crazy this month, and I’ve barely had time for anything else. There is so much for us to push out in the month of January it is insane. I’ve been logging 20-30 hours of OT every week this month. I think I already wrote that last week. But just THREE MORE DAYS until things ease up. We are an amazing team, we’ve got this. *BREATHE DEEP*
I have gotten so much done and learned so much this past month. I really love my work, and definitely enjoy serving our clients at my accounting firm. It has been such a tremendous experience! But you know the saying “All work and no play makes Jack a dull, dull boy.” (I think that is from The Shining, one of the best movies!) Yes, that’s kind of how I feel this month. DULL, lol. Dan and I are both so busy that we have not done one social thing all month – except go to a holiday work event, which was very nice indeed! I have worked every single day, including weekends, this month except New Year’s Day. The overtime pay has been nice, but I’m ready to at least get my weekends back.
I started writing this last Sunday, but then got super busy and did not get back to it until this evening. I really miss writing more often and especially reading my fellow blogger’s blogs. I feel guilty about that, even though they probably understand – if not, please bear with me during this season. I miss photography. I miss going to a winery on weekends. I miss seeing my family and friends. I miss Face Timing with the grandkids more.
But it’s all good. Life is good. I actually have two outings planned for next weekend – woo hoo! I don’t really have anything else to say. I wish you all a wonderful weekend, and hope you stay warm. Sending love to y’all.
Ecrits Blogophilia Week 30.14 Topic: Hope Springs Eternal Hard Bonus: Use a line or quote by Walt Whitman (“Give me the splendid silent sun” and “I accept time absolutely”) Easy Bonus: Include an aqueduct
Hello, family and friends. Sorry I’ve been a bit MIA. I’ve been offline much of the week due to work. I’ve worked more overtime the past month since my days in the 80’s working at Arthur Andersen & Co during tax season. Of course, that was 40 years ago when I was in my 20’s…. Suffice it to say, I’m exhausted – because I am, well…. older! My life is: Drink coffee, work, eat, exercise, drink wine and sleep. And repeat. That’s about it lately!
I’ve been trying to stick with a healthy diet through all this, and that has been tough. I have managed to resist the sweet treats and temptations at work, and at home. However, tonight after my 6 mile run, my body was craving some comfort food. So I whipped up a quick meal of Boboli pizza crust, with sauce, parmesan, mozzarella, freshly cut basil, green/red/yellow peppers and seasoning. Yum, and Dan was happy about that too! A guilty pleasure that was, but I think my body just needed some carbohydrates, even if they were not good ones. You just need to give yourself a break after eating oatmeal, salads and soup every day, ya know?
It was really nice this evening to exercise the right side of my brain with a poem. It was a stress buster. There actually haven’t been clouds in my coffee, there are NUMBERS in my coffee LOL!!!! I dream about processing 1099s, W-2s, 941s and running my 10 key calculator. I still have one, and yes, I tape footed numbers to my workpapers just like back in the 80’s. That’s how I roll. My eyes can’t take reconciling bank statements from a PDF online. I have to print them and tick off transactions. Yeah, I am old school.
Well, that’s all I got. Only 10 more days until January ends, then the overtime will ease a bit. I can do it! Have a great weekend. xoxo Colleen
Ecrits Blogophilia Week 29.14 Topic:Clouds in My Coffee Hard Bonus: Incorporate a lyric by Moby (“I pray like falling rain and light;” I don’t want to fight this tide;” “the sky is broken.”) Easy Bonus: Include carbohydrates
There is a calm before the storm Beyond the place where black winds form. Miles away from cacophony, Where the soul finds serenity.
Breathe in the pristine country air, Observe the beauty everywhere. Blue skies stretch for infinity Where the soul finds serenity.
Here in the mountains I shall stay As the winter sun fades away. Resting here for eternity, Where the soul finds serenity.
There is a calm before the storm Where the soul finds serenity.
Colleen Keller Breuning @ 2023 January 14, 2023
Today is my sweet Posie Mae’s third birthday! It is hard to believe she is already 3 years old. We were unable to travel to be with her this year, but we did FaceTime with her this morning. We got to see her open the presents we sent. She loved the pretty pink princess dress with accessories and the ballerina music box! She even modeled the pink dress for us, and was absolutely in heaven. I love her more than words can say!
I’ll be honest, I’m feeling melancholy and sad in every cell of my being this afternoon. I wish so badly to be with Posie on her special day. Even though FaceTiming is great, it does not even compare to being there and celebrating with her. There were several reasons we did not make the trip this year. First, my busiest work month is January. Hell hath no fury, compared to an exploding workload of client year end filings, W-2s and 1099s to issue by January 31! Second, the airfare that I researched was completely outrageous and we really can’t afford it right now. We had some major expenses in 2022, just like 2021. Third, I’m not retired and rich, nor will I ever be. LOL
This year we are planning to spend Christmas in Florida with the grandkids, so we probably will not be able to make another trip there for Posie’s birthday in less than 2 weeks next year either. That is life – we must make hard choices. I’m sad that I can’t be there for every single milestone for the grandkids, but in reality my kids’ grandparents certainly did not make it down to Florida to celebrate every birthday, holiday or milestone either. It’s just not physically or financially possible. I need to remind myself of that occasionally. But I’m human, and I admittedly have FOMO. I want to share every special moment with them, but we don’t live in Florida anymore and can’t really afford to retire. Wah! Okay, time to snap out of the pity party, Colleen lol!
Wishing you a wonderful weekend, and hoping that your year is off to a grand start.
Ecrits Blogophilia Week 28.14 Topic: Hell Hath No Fury Hard Bonus: Use a Clive Cussler book title (Black Winds) Easy Bonus: Mention something you might see under a microscope (cell)
I hover in darkness looking for light the minutes tick by waiting with bated breath countdown to imminent death from the graveyard, the spirits cry hanging in the icy air of night reality shines, eyesight to the blind shivering as memories cloud my mind leaving my loneliness unbroken heart ravaged by words unspoken hold on ‘til the bitter end my spirit shall transcend standing in the fray with the heart-felt promise of New Year’s Day
Happy New Year! It’s my first blog for 2023. I am glad that 2022 came to a close, there were lots of ups and downs for our families last year. Many happy memories were made, but we experienced the shocking death of Dan’s brother Bob in April and his oldest brother has been suffering with major health issues since July. It really opens your eyes to our own mortality and the realization to live life to your fullest.
We are all getting older and experiencing our own aches, pains and illnesses. In the past 13 months I’ve had COVID, pneumonia, bronchitis, multiple sinus infections, and gall bladder surgery. I am extremely healthy and very active, but experienced long COVID with lingering respiratory and fatigue issues. All the other sickness followed COVID, which makes you wonder how badly it affects our immune systems. Those of you who know me know that I don’t have a lot of patience for being under the weather. I don’t have time for that but have learned this year that I need to make time. Self-care is so important. Even doing little things like making sure you get enough water to drink each day can make a huge impact on your general health and how much energy you have!
I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions, I just believe in always striving to be the best I can be, whether that is in my home life, my health, my job, etc. One thing I did achieve last year is that I lost about 15 pounds last year using the Noom app, and I feel great. It was a slow, intentional loss that happened over several months. It is based on the psychology of eating, and helps you identify eating habits and make changes. You basically log weight, food, exercise and water into the app, and progress through the course. I want to keep that weight off, because I feel so much better in my skin. There were no food restrictions, keto, paleo, intermittent fasting or crazy diets involved. It was more of an intentional mental shift to eat mindfully and healthy, in moderation, and cut down on portions and be accountable to yourself. That being said, I gave myself grace and still splurged over the holidays, enjoying the things I love: Christmas candy, cookies, wine, champagne, shrimp and cocktail sauce, mashed potatoes with gravy, corn pudding, etc. I just did it in moderation, and I tried not to continue a binge of these things.
This weekend is dedicated to one of my least favorite tasks: undecorating the house. Yep, all the Christmas decorations are coming down, the tree will be dismantled and the “gift shop” closed until next year. (That’s what Dan jokingly calls our house when it gets fully decked out for Christmas). It is always kind of sad, but it’s necessary. I feel the urge to get everything back to normal now. Busy season is already upon us, and I’ll be working major overtime beginning next week. I wish you all a Happy New Year and lots of love!
Ecrits Blogophilia Week 27.14 Topic: Keeping Up With Time Hard Bonus: Include an Edgar Allen Poe line or quote (“hanging in the icy air of night” and “leave my loneliness unbroken”) Easy Bonus: Mention shrimp and cocktail sauce
Well I have written yet another Kyrielle sonnet this week. I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah! It was a very low key Christmas holiday for us. We spent it with the cats in the morning, then up to my Mom’s and my sister Sarah and her family for dinner and gifts. Next year, we’re definitely planning to spend Christmas in Florida to see the grandkids and both Vince and Katie. We’re kind of glad we didn’t follow through with it this year. As it turns out, the flights were exorbitant, and the cancellations were massive due to the crippling winter storm! Next year will be our year.
I finally got an opportunity to run outside today, the first time in over 3 months since having my gall bladder surgery. The day was sunny with high temps in the low 50’s – perfect running weather in my opinion! However, I was giving myself some grace, since it had been so long. But I am happy to report that I did my usual 6 mile run without stopping, 6 laps around the beautiful lake in our neighborhood. The geese were congregating in the middle of the lake, and some parts were frozen. I observed a herd of deer grazing in the lot across the lake. The sun was beginning to set, and I snapped some photos of the reflection on the lake. It was a delightful run, and I’m looking forward to getting back to a regular routine with running once again.
Tonight Dan and I went out for an spur of the moment early New Year dinner at the country club. It was delicious, and not crowded at all. We usually stay in New Years’ Eve, have some shrimp and champagne, and call it a night at 12:05 lol. We don’t care to be out on the roads on what Dan calls “Amateur Night!” There will probably be some Scrabble games, maybe even a fire pit since it is supposed to go into the 60s tomorrow.
I wish for all of you the happiest 2023! May you know many blessings and experience peace, love and happiness.
Ecrits Blogophilia Week 26.14 Topic: The Spirit of Christmas Hard Bonus: Incorporate your favorite Christmas Carol or holiday song lyric ( “Silent night”) Easy Bonus: Include 3 shades of red (crimson, blood red, scarlet)
Merry Christmas to all! I was trying to incorporate a lighter Christmas mood, but Jack Kerouac kind of rained on my parade today. Haha!! Researching his quotes, the two lines I chose stuck with me and fit into this Kyrielle sonnet scheme as the repeating final couplet. As I’ve said before, writing a sonnet is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle of words!
Actually I was thinking of how this past year was very difficult for so many. On a personal level, seems like those close to me have gone through a lot this year (or the past 3 years, I should say). This morning I was reflecting on the loss of my dear brother-in-law Bob this past April. It was on both Dan and my mind, we happened to talk about it upon waking this cold Christmas Eve. We both have such wonderful memories of Bob, his tales of adventure, Sasquatch, goofing off in Michigan with the kids. If you knew Bob, you can just imagine! All kids absolutely LOVED him! Our kids loved playing pranks on him, one year they woke him as he was sleeping in the basement with a robot contraption featuring a vacuum cleaner! I have some hilarious pictures of him – what a sense of humor and a beautiful heart he had. He was the youngest of four Breuning brothers, and the loss was very sudden and tragic. It left us all stunned and devastated, we are still saddened by his early departure from this Earth.
It is also that time of year when I reflect on special Christmas memories from my childhood, and how lucky I was to have the parents and siblings I have. We didn’t have a lot of money growing up, but we always had special family times and memories. Some of them were crazy funny, and it’s always so much fun to repeat those stories when we are all together (which unfortunately is getting rarer these days). Christmas has always seemed less special after losing my father in 2003. It sort of jolts you into this alternate reality: your parents are actually not going to be immortal like you secretly hoped. I cherish all the time I have with my Mom and look forward to seeing her on Christmas!
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas, may you spend it surrounded with your loved ones, making more cherished memories. Stay safe, and stay warm!
Ecrits Blogophilia Week 25.14 Topic: A Cherished Memory Hard Bonus: Incorporate a quote or line by author/ poet Jack Kerouac (“My witness is the empty sky” and “It all ends in tears anyway.”) Easy Bonus: Mention your favorite herb or spice (cinnamon)