Mom’s Draconian Rules!

The Ragtag Daily Prompt for today is DRACONIAN. I’ve concocted this tale as a response. I’ll admit that, like Tanelle, I’m still learning this lesson. 😉

Tanelle sighed into her cell phone. “I can’t go to the rink this morning, Marnie. Mom says I gotta clean up my room first.”

“Can’t you just tell her you’ll do it after you get home. I mean, she has to be reasonable. You aren’t a little kid anymore.”

“She says work has to come before play.”

“You can’t come roller blading because you have to clean up your room? That’s like…archaic! That’s a draconian rule!”

“Yeah, well, that’s where it’s at. I better go now. Talk to you later.” Tanelle clicked off her phone and went into the kitchen to grab some breakfast and maybe try one more pleading session.

“Marnie’s really choked that I can’t come this morning. She thinks, too, that I could easily clean up my room when I get back.”

“No doubt she does,” Mom replied. “Great minds think alike, right?” She grinned at Tanelle.

Tanelle grabbed a box of cereal from the cupboard. “You realize that my friends are all going to think your rules are draconian.” She poured some cereal in a bowl and got the milk from the fridge.

Mom was quiet for a minute. “Okay,” she said, “Let me ask you something. Imagine a young lady living on her own, in her own apartment, let’s say. And she has all these bills to pay: rent, electricity, maybe heating and water. Plus she has to buy groceries, maybe furniture and clothes. If she has a car she’ll need to pay for gas and licence; if not, she may have to buy bus tickets. Would you call it “draconian” that she has to pay all those expenses?”

“Of curse not. That’s just life.”

“Suppose she spends her money on fun things. She may want to pay her bills, but there are so many fun things waiting to be done and the money doesn’t last. So the bills pile up and credit card companies start calling, demanding payment. She hasn’t paid her rent, so the landlord is ready to kick her out of her apartment. She has no money for gas so she has to walk. Would she be in a big mess? Would she find her situation depressing?”

“Probably.”

“Wouldn’t it be smart for her to pay her bills first, and then use what’s left for fun things?”

Tanelle heaved a sigh. “I think we’ve had this conversation before – or something just like it.”

“So work and play need to balance, just like income and outgo. If you spend your time at play, the work piles up. Learning this lesson is part of growing up and becoming responsible for yourself, your space, your messes. You may say, ‘I’ll do the fun thing now and work later,’ but there will always be some fun thing calling to you. The work left for ‘later’ piles up and in time you don’t know where to start. Like a stack of unpaid bills, the mess will finally depress you.”

“Mom, I know all this!” Tanelle protested.

“Then why is your room in such a mess?”

Tanelle got up with a huff and carried her bowl to her room where she could eat in peace. Tossing yesterday’s clothes off her chair, she plopped down at her desk and cleared enough space for her bowl of cereal.

“Why do moms have to nag so much,” she wondered as she finished her breakfast. Looking around she admitted that, yeah, her room was a tad messy. Then she remembered she needed to find that Style magazine and take it along to show Marnie. She’d been looking at it late last night; it was probably under the bed.

The scene her mom described flashed through her mind. She pictured this really messy apartment with a stack of bills on the table and the landlord pounding on the door. Gross! Well, that wouldn’t be her. She was smarter than that.

Block-Ed + Poetry–A Trial Run

I won't let Block-Ed frustrate me
I'll practice 'til I'm proficient
So here's a bit of poetry
to see if I've learned sufficient...

I see that Sheryl at Your Daily Word Prompt 
is having her trials switching to the new Block editor,
too. Her word for today is FRUSTRATE.
A CHOICE
by Edgar Guest

Sure, they get stubborn at times;
they worry and fret us a lot,
but I'd rather be crossed by a glad little boy
and frequently worried than not.
There are hours when they get on my nerves
and set my poor brain all a-whirl, 
but I'd rather be troubled that way than to be
the man who has no little girl.

There are time's they're a nuisance, that's true
with all of their racket and noise,
but I'd rather my personal pleasures be lost
than to give up my girls and my boys.
Not always they're perfectly good;
there are times when they're wilfully bad
but I'd rather be worried by youngsters of mine
than lonely and childless and sad.

So I try to be patient and calm
whenever they're having their fling,
for the sum of their laughter and love
is more than the worry they bring.
And each night when sweet peace settles down
and I see them asleep in their cot,
I chuckle and say: "They upset me today,
but I'd rather be that way than not."

From his book, Collected Verse of Edgar A Guest
© 1934 by The Reilly & Lee Company

Conclusions:
Selecting the Verse block and writing poetry works better with this editor, since single line spacing is automatic; I don’t have to hit Shift + Enter to get that, like I would otherwise. On the other hand, I now have to count Categories & Tags to be sure I don’t exceed the WordPress limit of fifteen. And poetry is automatically italicized.

PS: Now that this is posted I see I’m not so proficient after all! 😦
Now, how to fix it!

The Cooking Adventure

Sue, over at JibberJabber, has issued a mega-challenge: to use as many words as possible from the May daily prompts. So here’s my tale, using most of them:

The Cooking Adventure

Sherry, a lively, active thirteen-year-old, was late coming home from school one day. Her mom was already home from her job at the office when Sherry walked in carrying four large books.

This surprised her mother, who’d never seen Sherry do that much reading before. “Do you have a lot of studying to do this weekend,” her mother asked, eyeing the books. “Or some essay to write?” Then she took a closer look. “Cookbooks?”

“I am going to learn to cook,” Sherry announced.

Mom looked through the stack Sherry set on the counter. “Old Time Favorites. That sounds good. Baking: The Science Behind Success. Explore Mediterranean Cuisine.” Mom’s eyebrows arched. “What brought this on?”

“I got a letter from Marlys yesterday. She said…” Sherry’s tone was frosty…”I’ve never had to anything around the house. She thinks I’m so pampered because we have a housekeeper. She says I’m just like a flower in a greenhouse: if I had to keep house or cook, I wouldn’t know where to start. Well, I’m going to show her. I’m going to create some fabulous dishes and invite her over to try them.”

“I suppose your cousin has to help a lot at home and may be a bit jealous of you, but you shouldn’t let her comments grate on you. Still, it would be good for you to learn. I’ve been so busy with work all, I just haven’t had the energy to give you cooking lessons, but I’m happy that you want to learn. I’ll give you all the support I can. I see you brought A Beginner’s Guide to Cooking. That author has made a name both as a celebrated chef and as a class instructor. I think this is an excellent book to start with.”

Sherry’s first creation was a lemon soufflé. Mom showed her how to break the eggs and separate the yolks from the whites and whip the whites to stiff peaks. Sherry followed the recipe carefully and soon had the smooth batter in the pan, ready for the oven. She slid it in and turned on the timer. Mom gave her a short lesson on how to tell when the pudding was done, then went to do some laundry.

Sherry was delighted with her success thus far. She had to call her friend Heather to relate the story of her new cooking adventure. She was still on the line when the timer went and she didn’t hear it. At one point Mom rushed by and a moment later Sherry smelled something burnt.

Sherry hurried to the kitchen, but the damage was done. The soufflé had risen as it was supposed to, but now it was ruined. Sherry let out a wail of anguish

“There. You’ve just had a free cooking lesson. Distractions can spoil the best food.” Mom put an arm around her shoulder. “Don’t worry. You’ll have better luck next time. Learning to cook is a challenge, but if you stick with it and don’t give up, you may be a great chef someday.”

Prompt words used:
old, time, create, food, line, letter, relate, smooth, story
luck, free, explore, break, light, science, hurry, flower
name, short, carefully, support, book, challenge, happy

For Your Child

Here are some thoughts from 19th century American evangelist Billy Sunday. He’s speaking about the concern of a parent for his child, as well as sharing a memory from his own childhood. I believe what he says here applies to all parents.

“As a rule a man wants something better for his children than he has had for himself. My father died before I was born and I lived with my grandfather. He smoked, but he didn’t want me to. He chewed tobacco, but he didn’t want me to. He cursed, but he didn’t want me to. He made wine that would make a man fight his own mother after he had drunk it.

One day a neighbor was in and my grandfather asked him for a chew. (The neighbor bit off a chunk and) He went to hand it back and I wanted some. (Grandfather) said I couldn’t have it. I said I wanted it anyhow. He picked me up, turned me across his knee and gave me a crack that made me see stars as big as moons.

If there is a father that hits the booze, he doesn’t want his son to. If he’s keeping someone on the side, he doesn’t want his son to. In other words, you would not want your son to live like you if you are not living right.

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An old general was at the bedside of his dying daughter. He didn’t believe in the Bible and his daughter said, ‘What shall I do? You don’t believe in the Bible. Mamma does. If I obey one I’m going against the other.
The old general put his arms around his daughter and said, ‘Follow your mother’s way; it is the safest.’ Man wants his children to have that which is sure.”

From BILLY SUNDAY, The Man And His Message by William T Ellis L.L.D. (© 1914)

Note re: Editing
I started this post with the Description + Image block pattern, then went to Paragraph for the quote, inserting an Inline image. You can regulate the image size, but there doesn’t seem to be much control over where the image goes. This is a Superscript.

Happiness is Home

Today’s prompt at Jibber Jabber with Sue is HAPPY, which brings to mind this verse by Edgar Guest — and I think it’s suitable for Mother’s Day.

H.Roses.Rebekka
Happy Mother’s Day to all you mothers out there, to all of you who’ve borne and raised children, also to those of you who have been a home-maker and/or mother-mentor to someone in need of help.

The Joy of Getting Home

by Edgar A. Guest

The joy of getting home again
is the sweetest thrill I know.
Though travelers by ship or train
are smiling when they go,
the eye is never quite so bright,
the smile so wide and true,
as when they pass the last home light
and all their wandering’s through.

Oh, I have journeyed down to sea
and traveled far by rail,
but naught was quite so fair to me
as that last homeward trail.
Oh, nothing was in London town,
or Paris gay, or Rome
with all its splendor and renown
so good to see as home.

‘Tis good to take these lovely trips,
‘tis good to get away,
there’s pleasure found on sailing ships,
but travel as you may
you’ll learn as most of us have learned,
wherever you may roam,
you’re happiest when your face is turned
toward the lights of home.

From the book, Collected Verse of Edgar A. Guest,
©1934 by the Reilly & Lee Co

Disagreeable

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is DISAGREEABLE

We have — on once had — an expression in English to the effect of “He already had his gloves off.” Which means that as he approached the other person, he was already expecting this was going to turn into a fight and he’d be prepared by having his gloves off, ready to throw the first punch at any sign of aggression.

My mind goes back to a mother-daughter situation of long ago, neighbours to us, who almost typified this expression. I told my own daughter, “Those two seem to be functioning on a NO level.”

Disagreeable
Image by MoteOo — Pixabay

That is, the mother, a real go-getter, would order her more laid-back daughter to do some task. However, Her tone of voice indicated that she was anticipating resistance. The daughter obligingly resisted. This sounded something like:
“Jane! Clean up your room once.”
Jane, reply dragged out and unwilling, “I’ll do it later. I have something else I wanna do right now.”
“I said, Clean up your room. This means right now!”
“Do I have to, right this minute. Can’t it wait until…?”
“No it can’t! Now get busy.”

I’m not sure how they fell into this type of interaction, but by now it seemed like a standard between them. Had Jane always been so unwilling? Or was she simply responding to the cue given by her mom? Maybe the mom’s tone was warranted. But it was clear she expected a “No” of some sort and was prepared to argue the point.

The tones weren’t all that bad and the daughter did do what she was told. In a worst case scenario a listener will get what sounds like a whiny daughter responding to a whiny mom.

This poem, written in the old long-winded style by Canadian poet Archibald Lampman, refers to people in general, but I think it has a good message:

GENTLENESS

Blind multitudes that jar confusedly
At strife, earth’s children, will ye never rest
From toils made hateful here, and dawns distressed
With ravelling self-engendered misery?

And will ye never know, till sleep shall see
Your graves, how dreadful and how dark indeed
Are pride, self-will, and blind-voiced anger, greed,
And malice with its subtle cruelty?

How beautiful is gentleness, whose face
Like April sunshine, or the summer rain,
Swells everywhere the buds of generous thought?
So easy, and so sweet it is; its grace
Smooths out so soon the tangled knots of pain.
Can ye not learn it? Will ye not be taught?