Friday, February 12, 2021

Tender Trappings in Tiny Totes: Use Your Words

Use Your Words, a multiblogger writing challenge | developed and run by | #MyGraphics
Today’s post is a monthly writing challenge. If you’re new here, this is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once. All of the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the recipient will take them. Until now.

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.
I'm using:  tote full of kittens ~ scale ~ towels ~ pictures ~ toilet paper
They were submitted by Sarah of The Crazy Mama Llama.


I told Sarah, I think I tell her every time as a matter of fact, that I always love when her word prompts for this challenge come in, they make me laugh. What I don't tell her is that I also, in my head, hear Mr. T saying "I pity the fool . . ." Because her words are really fun and funny, but they're also challenging (which, I suppose, is the whole point of a writing challenge). But tote full of kittens? Really? Smh, what the hell am I going to do with that? 
I guess we're both about to find out.

Lillian was actually middle aged, but knew she looked much older that day as she walked out of the grocery store. Grief will do that to you, tear at your looks. She didn't care. She used to pride herself in her appearance. All the pictures around her home bore witness. Stylishly cut hair, long curly lashes, a hint of blush and lipstick, matching purse and shoes. Not any more. It was all meaningless now. Everything was meaningless now.

Truth is, the only reason she was food shopping is because she'd given away all the "well meaning" casseroles. It's not like she could eat a whole one herself, and she refused all attempts to join her, to engage her in any way. She wasn't ready. Wasn't ready to talk, wasn't ready to be around people whose lives still had joy in them. She probably never would be. Jonathan had been the love of her life and he was gone. In a split second. Heart attack.

So here she was, buying, she thought, foods for one. Sustenance, nothing more. Looking down at the cart she was pushing out the supermarket door she saw a few bags, but honestly had no idea what she'd just purchased.

She looked up from her cart just in time, she'd almost bumped right into him. He seemed to have appeared right in front of her from nowhere, this strange little cherub looking man, carrying some kind of tote. As she stopped short, he reached into his bag and brought out a kitten. "Last one," he said, looking at her. 
Tender Trappings in Tiny Totes (i.e.: good things come in small packages) | Graphic created by and property of | #MyGraphics #ValentinesDay

"No," she wasn't trying to be harsh, she just wanted to be left alone, get home. "Actually, I'm a dog person," she lamely added. "That's OK," he calmly told her, "the kitten won't mind." "No," she repeated, but as she maneuvered her cart around him, he gently placed the kitten inside and began walking away. "NO," she yelled this time, not caring about harsh. She started to chase him but she was pushing a cart full of food, bouncing and scaring the kitten.
Furious, Lillian removed some towels she had in her trunk, loaded the groceries inside, then settled the kitten on the towels in her front seat. As soon as she put the perishables in the fridge and freezer, she'd have to go to the animal shelter and drop off the kitten. She couldn't even take care of herself right now.

She placed the towels with the kitten inside on the floor of her kitchen and got the groceries onto the counter but that was as far as she got. She lost it, eased herself to the floor and sobbed. And sobbed. And sobbed. Nothing new, she was doing that a lot lately.

What actually was new was the kitten curled up in her lap when she stopped. A kitten she'd been petting, it seemed. And the purring appears to be what had finally calmed her.

Lillian wasn't sure at what point she'd decided to keep Val. Maybe when she finally gave in and named her, or maybe even, subconsciously, that very first day. But at some point she visited a vet and bought some essentials, so despite not knowing when, it was clear that she had.

It wasn't easy, the adjustment, but Lillian soon realized that even the curtains she had to rehang and the toilet paper she had to re-roll served a purpose. Each minute she dealt with a mischievous kitten was one that she was concentrated on something besides being locked in grief. 
It was a long process, months and months, but she even eventually even started to cook again. For the first time in a long time, she stepped on the scale and the numbers had stopped going down.

Orange Chili Shrimp, large shrimp are pan sauteed, add in a sweet and spicy sauce and dinner is ready in 20 minutes.  | Recipe developed by | #recipe #dinner
Orange Chili Shrimp 
Orange Chili Shrimp, large shrimp are pan sauteed, add in a sweet and spicy sauce and dinner is ready in 20 minutes.  | Recipe developed by | #recipe #dinner

Grief is fluid, it comes in waves. Val was just the company she needed, no longer feeling so alone in the house, but even considering being around people again remained unthinkable. She would still sink to the floor and sob now and then without any warning.

But the day came. Close to a year after she'd lost Jonathan, and after considering it for months, she'd decided to join a widow/widowers' grief group. Not join, she told herself, just try it. Once. For so long she'd hated the word widow, cringed when it even crossed her mind, knew she did not have the strength to hear others' stories similar to hers, felt she had nothing to offer them, fought against being one of them. But she was. And she knew it. Now she'd face it. She would go.
The meetings were held once a month at the local community center. She stopped just outside the door, took a deep breath, and walked into the room. With a tote full of kittens. Maybe she had something to offer them after all.

Wishing you all a Valentine's Day full of love, in any and all of its forms.

Here are links to all the other Use Your Words posts:

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Orange Chili Shrimp        
Printable Recipe

1/2 cup Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
1/4 cup orange marmalade
2 TBSP orange juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 tsp dried red chili flakes
2# large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 green onion, sliced
2 TBSP toasted sesame seeds

*Whisk together the Thai Sweet Chili Sauce, orange marmalade, orange juice, minced garlic and red chili flakes. Set aside.
*Spray a large skillet with non stick cooking spray. Heat to medium. Add the shrimp. Cook the shrimp completely, until they are pink and no longer translucent. Drain.
 *Stir the sauce into the pan with the shrimp. Cook for 7 - 8 minutes, stirring now and then so all the shrimp is completely coated.
*Sprinkle with sliced green onion and toasted sesame seeds for serving.


  1. Major aaawww story! ♥
    A cute little fur baby sounds perfect in a situation like this.
    PS: For a moment I thought the kitten was going to grow up and become a lawyer. An attorney who attends Zoom meetings ;-)))

    Happy Friday!

  2. This is delightful. Absolutely delightful!
    And I have to tell you...I have a middle son who suffers from severe anxiety. He spends his days locked in his little apartment out on Vancouver Island, resisting all attempts to 'bring him home'.
    I've been considering getting him a kitten (he LOVES cats!) so he has someone else to consider other than himself.
    This sweet story has convinced me I need to try it! Thank you, my friend!

    1. I can relate to the severe anxiety thing, I love someone who suffers like that too. Do get him the kitten, it's worth a try.

  3. Wow! A different path for you. Your story spoke to me. I have my tote full of kittens in Maggie.

  4. Replies
    1. Thank you, Kathy. With these words, the story definitely took me in this direction.

  5. This was different and it was absolutely a fantastic read. Alana

  6. This post s poke to me, thank you for sharing this

  7. Precious story! Yes, a pet can help you concentrate on something besides the pain.

  8. What a precious pet story. I saw a woman walking her dog in 33 below wind chill, my passenger said she knew the women and that she always walks her dog tell she has to pick the dog up. The snow gets packed in their paws.

    1. I can't imagine walking in 33 below wind chill would be safe for the woman or the dog.

  9. That was hard! You did a great job as always. Now, the shrimp! Have I told you how much I love shrimp?

    1. If you're a shrimp lover like we are, hope you try this recipe.


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