Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Old School by Tobias Wolff

I am no longer a Tobias Wolff virgin.  I thoroughly enjoy my first Wolff book until the 2nd to last chapter. The book was engrossing with his literature references, writer cameos and especially the protagonist's story of his final year at an all boys private school. 
Emotions galore about in this book. You laugh at his descriptions of this peers, cry when you realize he must leave the school even before he knows he is leaving. Hasn't everyone thought of adding their name to something so wonderful that it feels s if it is yours? 

As you read Old School you feel the characters jumping out of the book and into your own life. Who has never had a Big Jeff in their school or a Bill White? I know I did. Which is what makes this book so good, and yet disappointing at the same time. That 2nd to last chapter of the protagonist's story seemed rushed and completely different than the rest of the book as if Wolff just didn't know how to tie it all up. Such a let down.

The final Chapter - Master, the story of the Dean and I wished that it had been somehow woven into the meeting with Mr. Ramsey so as not to have it thrown in as if it was an after thought.

I would have loved to give this book a rating of 5 stars except for those last 2 chapters. The storyline in those last chapters were great, but seemed even to be writing as if by someone else instead of Wolff and maybe that is because it is in the protagonist's older voice. It just didn't sit well with me... Sadly, as I adore the rest of the book.

 Four Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Turning Head over Heal Pt. 1

I have sense of these buried lives
striving to come out through me to
express themselves.
                                --Marge Piercy

“Grandma, how do you hold this thing?” 
“See this hole right here?” Her grandmother pointed to the bottom hole on the ball. “That is where you will put your thumb.  The other two holes you put your pointer and middle finger in.”  This time pointing to the top two holes. “Now, you try it.” 

Diana put her three fingers in the adjacent holes and automatically the ball fell and hit the floor. 
I guess that one is too heavy for you, let’s try this one instead, okay?  Her grandmother picks a really sparkly green ball and hands it to Diana. How does that one feel sweetie?
Diana tries this new ball. Grandma, this one is way better!
Now, Diana, we are going to try throwing it down the lane. That is what this area is called before you reach the pins. Never step over the line you are standing at, okay? You are not really going to throw it, but propel it to a fast roll. Ready to try?
Diana moved to the line where she had seen her grandmother standing so many times before. She underarms the ball into a perfect tailspin, the number 9 spinning head over heel down the sleekly shined parquet floor. When the ball gets to the top of the lane it rams straight into the top pin, someone behind her yells, STRIKE! The crowd disrupts into chaos, everyone shouting Diana’s name, she continues standing at the top of the lane, she doesn’t even hear the cheering, she is stuck in the age of 8 years old; the first time she had thrown the ball and made a strike. Her grandmother had yelled her name, but more importantly she had picked Diana up and spun her around in a huge hug. 

Diana, you did it! I am so proud of you. You have worked so hard this past year to get that strike. See how perseverance comes out on top? That isn’t going to always happen, but the steps that you take now to learn the game or anything else you do in life will make you a better, stronger person. The one thing that I would ask you to do is to never compromise your values to come out on top, okay, sweetie?

What the chaotic crowd didn’t see was Diana stepping over the line ever so slightly, just enough to get the farthest reach that she could. She had cheated, she didn’t stick to what her grandmother had taught her, she had done what her coach had told her to do, “Win at all costs, or you’re washed up.” 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

20 Minutes to Pain

Gripping the Dixon Ticonderoga No. 2 Soft black pencil between thumb and pointer finger, she begins to scratch sentences across the faint blue lines on her lavender legal pad. The pain is excruciating. Is it arthritis creeping into her aged hands or something more sinister? 

She hadn’t been able to sleep. Rising out of her bed, she took care of her bladder pressure. Leaving the bathroom, she headed for the kitchen. She grabs her summer plastic cup, pushes it against the water dispenser in the door then adds crushed ice. This is really what she wants— the ice.

She sits down on the couch, it is quiet. The couch conforms to her body and she feels at peace. Her mind is itching to write. The words have eluded her for the last 6 months; maybe even a year, yet this morning the words are pouring out as if her mind is filling Dumbledore’s Pensieve. 

Ah, Harry Potter. Who knew that a children’s book series would have such a deep effect on her soul. So many lessons learned from over 100,000 pages: how friendship is important. It helps you to learn to love, protect and serve other people; what ways to stand up to bullies; how to de-stress your overactive mind, just to mention a few things she had learned.

She wished her demons were more allegory than they really were. Sadly she is not being molded by J.K. Rowling. Her life was being molded by the highest power in the universe. HIS way of molding was by the strong, but loving the freedom of choice. Then she had to deal with the consequences if her choices were wrong.

Her consequences had never been extreme, thank Heavens. Just life attributing. Like the time she lied to her mom about making a homemade bright pink play dough as a child. Her mom found the play dough months later stashed in a zippered sandwich bag deep inside the gold flour container that sat on their kitchen counter when she went to make homemade pizza. Her consequence was a grounding and a babysitter every time her parents went out. She didn’t need a babysitter, she was 10 years old – perfectly capable of watching herself, thank you very much!

The words she had written reached the length of a full page and the backside of another. Her hands ached so much she was prevented from writing further, even though her mind was willing her to carry on. If she kept going she would pay dearly later on in the day, when her wrist would scream out inflamed and throbbing. 

Frustratingly, she picked up the black pencil whose tip sits on the page and laid it down. The pad of paper sat on her lap for a minute more. Resigned, she set it down on the coffee table and headed unwillingly back to bed.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Connecting to Home

“One writes to make a home for oneself,
on paper, in time, in other's minds.
                                                        Alfred Kazin
So many aspects of my life have felt like "home" that I could write more than one post on what creates that sense of belonging.
One is Smell

Fragrant dirt on a rainy day reminds me of my mother Trudy, and her large family.  
Visiting Pennsylvania, always meant time frolicking with my cousins and older brothers. One time we headed out into the wide wilderness of their surrounding property eventually winding up at the pond.  At that small, ribbit-filled spot of water we would catch tiny almost see-through tadpoles. Sliding them gently into mason jars, that felt like they weighed a hundred pounds to my little 5 year old hands, became the focus of the moment. While we were laughing and screaming in pursuit of those little fidgety baby frogs raindrops start softly falling on the earth around us. Bigger drops fall more rapidly eventually clouding over our eyes and soaking our skin. 
(Kids don't care about rain, they just keep going on with whatever they are doingIt's the olders and the adults that make the nonsensical decision to have to get out of the rain because they are soaked.  If they are already soaked why not stay out continuing to have fun? To this day, I don't understand that reasoning.) 
Those care free days of cousins and fun soaked into my soul just like the rain was soaking into the rich, dark dirt. The freshness of the air, the rich aroma of the soil have become embedded in my mind.
I've been working on a short memoir relating to my mother through the depiction of this very exact visit involving the sense of smell.  It has eluded me. It is driving me absolutely batty.  I had my old professor (my mentor) read it over and she had me taking so much of myself out of it that it no longer seemed even an inkling of memoir. 
It ticked me off.  I know that you should write with enough truth to be yours and then fill in the missing imagery to have it be something that connects to the reader subsequently becoming theirs; however, what she was asking me to do was to infuse the blood back in, sew up the cut and act like it had happened to someone else.  How do you write something that doesn't even have an ounce of truth to your soul?  I had to stop writing it, it was no longer MINE.

I really want to finish that memoir, so tomorrow in the peace and quiet of the morning, (hopefully there are no landscape guys to ruin it) I will attempt a fresh start on my memory.

*What makes you feel at home? Is it a smell, a place, certain music, particular people? Home is both a place and a state of mind. 

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Sitting on a Stoop

My early morning is usually spent sitting on my front stoop reading with a big glass of O.J. sitting besides me.
Today that peace was ruined by two landscapers who stared at me instead of doing their job. After staring them down for a what felt like forever but was really only a minute, I wandered despondent to the backyard where the sun doesn't shine until late afternoon.  I love the sun, I need the sun, my day will now be crappy without that morning rejuvenation to my soul.

I was annoyed —I could hear those obnoxious weed trimmers buzzing, overcoming the lovely sound of the chirping of crickets and the songs of the cardinals that usually inhabit my bush and bird feeder at this time of day. 
I am sure that when the cardinals flew away they were squawking at me to go away, just like I was willing the landscapers to.

Those 5 cardinals love the backyard as it is their private domain in the wee hours of late morning. 
Copyright: Life is a Snap! photography 2014

I feel bad— those landscapers are ruining the day for my red headed friends too. Grrr... 

Some how the humidity is more noticeable without the sun being involved. Funny how that happens. Most people complain about the sunshine AND humidity, I'm a tag team type of girl I guess. It's fine when they are together, it's not so fine when it's just the humidity. The breeze playing in the backyard doesn't seem strong enough to change my mind on this point. 

Maybe if I sit real still and quiet my friends will come back? 

All of a sudden another truck drives up to the home which sits kiddie corner from mine (where did the term kiddie corner come from anyway?) It's another landscape truck, then a white truck with a water barrel creeps into view from the road running through off those backyards, great- the fence painters are back!!! 

I have to think, it really is Thursday, correct? Usually all the work guys come on Wednesday to all these homes, why are they a day late? 
Why can't these neighbors do their own yards like normal people on Saturday????

Boy, I really need to find a new place to wake up. I really do love my front stoop though. I guess I better head in so my little friends can play. I am sure the Landscape guys don't bother them.
Five minutes inside and it is quiet once again.  Isn't that the way it always goes? 
I guess I throw on some sneakers and head off for a walk while there is peace in the air.   

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Garden Musings in San Francisco

A simple rhyming sprite visited me while I was sitting on a bench in San Francisco enjoying the flowerbeds on Fisherman's Wharf. Luckily I had a Handy Dandy notebook and pencil in my purse.

Haphazardly wings beat,
black and yellow intertwined
checkerboards in flight.
Yellow fellow
comes along
joining in delight
The two flit side by side,
sucking pollen
with their might.
passion pink roses,
green stems
cause a plight.

Will their wings propel them onward,
or will 6 legs
hold on tight?
Outside I am sitting,
such a sight.

Words that Evoke Feelings of Texture

 "Leaves That Are Green"
I was twenty-one years when I wrote this song.
I'm twenty-two now but I won't be for long
Time hurries on.
And the leaves that are green turn to brown,
And they wither with the wind,
And they crumble in your hand.

Once my heart was filled with the love of a girl.
I held her close, but she faded in the night
Like a poem I meant to write.
And the leaves that are green turn to brown,
And they wither with the wind,
And they crumble in your hand

I threw a pebble in a brook
And watched the ripples run away
And they never made a sound.
And the leaves that are green turned to brown,
And they wither with the wind,
And they crumble in your hand.

Hello, Hello, Hello, Good-bye,
Good-bye, Good-bye, Good-bye,
That's all there is.
And the leaves that are green turned to brown,
And they wither with the wind,
And they crumble in your hand. 
As I was driving home from having lunch downtown with Matt, this beautifully written poem which is sung by my two favorite singers, (and my all time favorite songwriter,) plays on my radio via my IPhone Pandora app. 
My dad played the album, Sounds of Silence throughout my childhood. We sang the songs without realizing it was coming out of our mouths. When I was a young mom, I played this album for my own kids. Our random, crazy, dance parties usually ended with "Cecelia." 
      Now, think about that- my boys were 3 and 6 years old; here I was dancing with them to a song where the girl was swapping bed mates... What the heck?! They grew up knowing real life. Wink.
 All my 45 years have been affected by the wise and poetic words of Paul Simon. Not until today have the words affected me into wanting to act on my feelings.
Sitting in my car, I so badly wanted it to be a Delorean. Then, I could travel to another state, at another time; to land in the middle of Autumn just so I could grab some reddish-brown, almost completely dehydrated, fall leaves and watch them crumble in my hand. 

The feeling was so real that the veins of the withering leaves sat upon the life-lines of my palm; yet, I couldn't crumble them. It saddened me that I couldn't have the texture of the crumble in actuality. I sat there in my driveway despondent. No leaves, No crumble.

The real meaning of the song swimming in my head:
Time hurries on.

The textures of our lives change as we age. As children  we live life simply, playfully. We look forward to being older. Time travels. Finally, like the big kids, we can drive, we can date, and we are almost out of our parent's house. Our texture is like a smooth leather couch- soft, young and eager for wear.

Then we hit our 20's. We are out of high school entering into the world of the unknown adult hood. We thought we knew what it was all about. Didn't Denise Huxtable and Maggie Lauten of A Different World show us what college was supposed to be about?
Maybe we weren't looking forward to life after college, all because we saw how screwed up life could be for Billy and Jules of St. Elmo's Fire. Our leather couch is becoming a little careworn from our friends hanging out watching movies, but the leather still feels good to our bare legs (peeking out below our worn cut off shorts,) because it is softening even more.
We get married, we have kids. Time speeds up way to fast and wham!, the kids graduate and move out of the house. Our leather couch is torn and faded from little jumping feet who became teens who had sleep-overs and fell asleep watching their favorite movies of  The SandlotBatman or She's the Man.

Coming out of my foggy thoughts, I realize the car is still running; my mind still spinning.  I look around me- like the green leaves, my life has withered in the wind and time hurries on way too fast.  

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Why we write

After reading a blog post from The Write Practice, this came to my mind: I think the amount of creative writers in the last decade comes down to the lack of support of this type of creativity and other outlets of creativity in our public schools. 

Hardly any schools focus on the arts anymore, so we get to college and we say things like, "hey, I've always loved to write, (draw, read, whatever) at home. I'm not sure if I'm good at it to make a living, but I think I am. Why not give it a try here in this massive institution?" Or, "Where are the jobs? How do we figure out what we want to do with our lives? We were just given the freedom to be ourselves without a parental pushing." 

These are comments I heard all over campus last semester. These young adults are scared, they see their parents struggling with a crappy paying job (or in our 12% unemployment town —no jobs) and they don't want to live like that, so they turn to their creative outlets. It's easier for students to seek and play with their creativity when they are told they can work part time and use Federal money to live off of. 

The students who played games on their laptops, drew in their sketchbooks, read books, other than their textbooks, sat in the coffee café on campus. This was great because it was where we talked about their lives and what they expected to be able to do after they graduated. Most of the young adults (as we had oldies like me also; never in the café though, they weren't cool like me) I talked to had high hopes for their future, but more than a handful were scared out of their minds; deciding that they would take their time going through school, even if it meant going for more than the 2 years it usually took to get an Associates degree.

They would take their Florida Bright Futures scholarship they earned in High School, which in most of their cases was the lower level monetarily wise; lets say a scholarship that paid only 30% of their semester, and go for as long as those scholarships hold out. These are the kids that don't just drop out because it means that they would have to pay back every single penny of that scholarship and they can't afford that option. 

I was proud of these kids as if they were my own kids. I tried to help them make sense of what they were learning when it came to their harder classes. Never Math though, they, helped me with that. I swear the best musicians as the best mathematicians.  One girl, let's call her Michelle, told me that I was the smartest student in our Political Science class and wanted to know if I was going into that field. Heck no!  Though my professor wanted me to. It isn't going to happen. Too much politics in the hubs job for me already.  I told her that I would love to write for the politicians but not to be one of them.  I can't lie, so I would never be a good one. 


Monday, June 16, 2014

What's a Motto with you? Me, I'm a Brower.

What makes you, you?  Is it your physical features: say your blond hair, your hazel eyes, or your tiny hands? Or is it something deeper? Is it your belief in God, your perseverance or just sheer luck? Have you ever wondered where your values come from?

As children we were taught by our parents what is right and wrong. When we lied, we were punished. Sometimes the punishment didn't fit the crime. Other times, the punishment was non-existent. Parenting is hard. I mean we don't get handed a textbook when the first defiant act comes our way, but we do the best we can. Right?
Matt and I talked about what kind of standards we wanted our children to have. We knew that our religion would back up what values we wanted to instill. The moral fiber of their lives would come not only from what we taught and gave as an example or the church teachings, but also what they considered important to themselves.
We decided that we wanted our children to be proud to be a Brower. Being a Brower meant that you worked hard, shared everything you owned and made other's welcomed into your midst.  So I created a card: a family motto of sorts. I typed up our motto bordered around our family picture and magnetized it to the inside of the door.
This was to be a reminder as they walked out the door that they were loved, even after we kissed and hugged them. I created an emergency card with the same picture and the motto on front, and all their pertinent information on the back. The kids took this card to a sleepover or when Matt and I went on our anniversary trips. A copy of this card was given to the family who was taking care of them. If there was an emergency they would have the correct information.
The family motto: Be kind, loving and respectful to others. Go out and do good. Remember you are a Child of God and a Brower!  This motto helped them while they were playing or at school.  According to my oldest, "no one wanted to disappoint the family. We were Heavenly Father's children AND a Brower, so we tried to live up to that." 
We wanted to remind them to be loving and compassionate to other people in their dealings each day. That was the point of our motto.  Could we do better than that?  Of course. We needed to be a good example for them, so that they knew we really meant what we were saying. As an adult it was hard for me to be what we were asking. I am not even close to perfection.
As I worked on myself it was easier for me to help my children. I knew it would be hard for my children, so they were given leeway to mess up. They are children, they make mistakes, they forget other people have feelings so we teach them and explain to them that we are all allowed to make mistakes so that they don't carry failure on their shoulders if they feel they are disappointing us. 
Yes, they get disciplined if something goes too far, but then we teach again what the expectation is and that trust is an important issue between family.
My childhood family helped me to become who I am, I hope that I have done enough with and for my children to continue being the awesome people they are.

Q: Does your family have a motto, or is your child rearing a-wing-it type of deal?  What is important for your children to carry forward from their childhood?

Friday, April 25, 2014

Friday Morning Musings

I am a reader.

Sitting on the stoop, book in hand, my mind wanders from the dark words written on the creamy white worn library book pages.

My life reflects a different reality than the one I am reading about. My reality is full of the sunshine beaming down onto my body, creating a lull of peace and tranquility. Whereas the words on the page, tells of brutality to all ages, and to anyone who gets in the way of a dictator and his brainless peons.
I truly marvel at days like today, where there is a symphony of nature’s music ringing in my ears— the hidden sounds of life rustling through the leaves, the dirt and the tree bark. I am such an involved reader that even though these sounds are swirling around me, my mind is actually living in the cacophony of machine guns and yelling guttural anger at innocent people who did nothing except be born with the “wrong” blood flowing through their bodies.
My blood flows of that “wrong” blood and yet, just like my astrological sign of the Gemini there is another genetic link that also flows in my blood that was considered, the “elite” properties. The looks that spared your life, the highly coveted proper nose, blond hair and look of what Hitler considered correct. Did it even hit anyone as strange that HE didn’t even have that “look”?

Books do this to me.  I live too deeply in them. I start dwelling on what would it have been like for me had my father also grown up in Germany and not the States where my Grandparents met after leaving Germany. Or, if I had been born at that time and not years later would the Jewish blood still have been detected even though I was a blond haired, brown eyed, button-nosed tike like my mother was?
The endless questions of how people did not see what was going on, twist around in my brain. Was it safer for them to just turn a blinds eye on the situation and save their own families?  What would I have done; would I have helped like so many in the book I am reading, or shut down my heart to those who were suffering?  I don’t think that is something anyone can answer without going through it. These are the days I wish my Grandma was alive to ask her…
I am an adventurer.
Some people, want to push their bodies to the limits, (like my husband). They are moving in a constant state of flux while repelling off mountains, skiing black diamond slopes, sky diving, flying airplanes and jumping off of bridges hooked to only a ginormous, thicker version of a rubber band.  
I, on the other hand, live those adventures in the sanctity of a bound world. I am happy as a clam sitting under a tree, on a bench in the park, a beach chair in the sand, or even on the floor of my room with a book sitting in my lap taking me to wherever I want to go.
Then the Gemini kicks in and I need people. I need to speak with others about the depth that we call life. I need to laugh, I need to cry, to hug those I see struggling in their own little worlds. I need to hear children playing happily in their yards and dreaming up adventures from their imaginations. Most book adventurists don’t need to socialize beyond their own realm of influence. I thrive off of meeting new people. It is not painful for me. I am not an introvert, but an extrovert.
Does that mean that I am like Jay Gatsby trying to create a different reality from the one I truly enjoy? Or, is it the opposite— Do I truly enjoy being social, except, I am too afraid to go out for the adventure so the safe thing to do is experience it through books and I am pretending to love being by myself? 
There might be a truth to both sides. I mean, I don’t know of any other social-loving people that carries a book with them in their purse, no matter the occasion, whether it is a cocktail party, or a hayride picking out pumpkins. 

Such a duel life I live.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Left handed Circles

I have to be honest- I am circle challenged.  I can not draw circles in a delicate, perfect rounded circumference.  I never could, it's not a new development. I remember in first grade (I didn't go to Kindergarten...) my teacher telling me to lift my pinkie to a point and place it on the paper to use as a guide.

That was an odd concept to me, I mean, didn't you lift your pink to a point for drinking from a tea cup?  It didn't help that I was left handed and my teachers all decided I needed to be right handed. They won on everything but my writing, and throwing a ball.
Score one for the teachers. F- for me. It messed up my whole perspective on doing everything.

My poor little seven year old heart was discouraged. Who couldn't draw a circle?! I could draw all kinds of other shapes, and a killer Snoopy to boot, but a simple circle? Nope.

Move on to art class, 7th grade. I learned how to sculpt in Ivory Soap, there is no give in soap for mistakes when making whale heads. Throwing clay into a vase or flower pot design was a failure for me. I could throw box forms (okay, they weren't thrown, they were slabbed.) I could throw ovals into tureens and bowls.  When it came to sketching, I still struggled with circles, but as my teacher wasn't a perfectionist, according to her it was okay for the sketchy lines,  so I faked my way through drawings that included circles. The only problem is that it took hours for me to do cylindered shapes because of the lack of cross over from my left brain to my left hand.

Being left-handed provided challenges in and of itself. Not a single teacher could help me to relate anything artistic, nor learning to writing the alphabet for that matter. They couldn't change the scissor disadvantage. No classroom had left handed scissors, or pencil sharpeners, or even computer keyboards when I got older. So I had to bring my own or learn to use the scissors backwards. I stabbed myself numerous times because of it. Awkwardly, my pencils were sharpened lopsided. I had to reconfigure my brain to remember that the numbers on the keyboard were on the side of my less dominate hand. 

Drawing instructions were given for right-handed people. Even in college I struggled with this. I don't know how many times my professor would stress me out by reminding me that my circles were not good. I would ask him if he was left handed. Of course he would say, "no".  I told him to try to draw a circle, or circular objects, with his instructions in mind. He was a great guy, he started coming over to my table to show me a drawing of what he wanted. My brain was like a fun house mirror —everything was transported backwards. I had to think in the opposite way than what was being taught.

It was like the description of Ginger Rogers dancing in heels and doing everything backwards while Fred Astaire was the one being praised for his brilliant dancing. If only people thought about the challenge thrown at Ms. Rogers. My brain was the same way- everything had be twisted in my mind to get it straight!

In other words, I had to learn to be ambidextrous.

Being Ambidextrous had its perks. I could switch hit when playing baseball. My older siblings were boys, so my dad insisted that I learn to play like a boy and not like a girl. Throwing a ball was done the proper way- over hand and with the proper grip, I learned to mimic my brothers by watching them from the opposite direction if I was throwing left-handed. What I mean by that is, I stood opposite them facing them and watched them throw then transposed that like I was looking in a mirror.
I can throw right handed it just doesn't feel as comfortable. Now, try catching with a mitt and throwing with that same hand. It just isn't done. When I was catching, I learned to catch the ball with the mitt, grabbing it with my right hand, chucking the ball into the air and letting it fall all the while throwing the mitt off and chucking the ball with the now mitt free left hand and making the outs. Yes, it was crazy to see and a lot of work!  It became seamless.

Girls didn't get to play baseball in Jr. High and High school. We had to play Softball, the size difference of the ball and the way that large ball was thrown killed my ability to play a sport in HS.
When I had my boys, I taught them to throw by them mirroring me. They both pitched until they graduated from HS. I was a proud mama knowing that I had taught them to throw so well. Yes, I am a little conceded.

Try being left handed and left footed and trying to dance- No thank you. It just didn't turn around in my brain at all. 

Back to the circles: today, I decided to draw a self portrait  from a photo I took of myself with my new camera. For the life of me, I can not do the lens. Pathetic. This was what go me thinking about how far I have come making my left-handedness work for me in a right-handed world. Yet, still not being able to perfect that little simple circle.

I guess we always have to have some kind of a challenge to keep us humble, but really, the circle is going to be my downfall to what I want to do?  Ridiculous!

I know this is a simplistic problem compared to other people's challenges, but today, it was my little thing and I am determined to over come it!

What hand do you use and what are your challenges that come from using that hand?

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Dangling Metaphors

Dangling Metaphors
by Sandra Brower

They hung

         like spiderwebs in my mind

those little collectives of alphabet letters-

s e p a r a t e






they were the food to my soul

The first words were babbles,

next came the emotion creators-

love, mama, papa, hug

then the words that broke free




in my heart-

the words of a story book,

the magic healing of a garden

overpowered the senses.

"sparkling like the

waters of some lovely bottomless lake,"

was the key that opened up my imagination.

Sounds flew off the page--

                                                                                       The angry quick chirps of a robin;

rippled laughter

                               from an invalid

                                                             the first time walking.

Fragrances rambled



of roses.

Like a rainstorm on the moor,

the "nice, fresh and damp [smell] of th' good rich earth."

saturated through my skin.

These words have never been






                                my soul




Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Peeves, No, Not the Poltergeist
     We all have them- things that bug the living day lights out of us. Things that are like nails on the chalkboard of our minds.  Pet Peeves.

Why do they call them Pet Peeves? There is nothing loving, or hug-able about them. Unless you have a snake with fangs; a spider with pincers or other un-hug-able pet, then maybe pets fit with peeves. So crazy to me that word.

      I have always had a hard time with people who can't spell.  You know, those people who are constantly asking, "how do you spell, such and such, or is this how you spell, blah, blah, blah?" Well, you get the idea. I mean, how hard is it to learn to spell well?  Yes, it just takes some effort. I think that people just don't want to put any time into studying, or practicing words that they stink at spelling because they either just don't care about the ignorance it shows, or they are lazy.

After I married my husband, (whom I had dated for 2 years,) the light bulb lite up with the realization that he did not know how to spell some of the greats: chimney, special, ultimatum.
How can such an intelligent man who was in college, not know how to spell the word- special? His problem was, he didn't care. Well, actually he did, but he had learned the wrong way to spell in elementary school. His teachers taught by phonics. No one I know has learned to spell well through phonics. Our American English doesn't allow for it. Phone is not fone. Special is not speshull. Get my drift? My husband over the years has worked hard to become a better speller. I love him for that.

     Another pet peeve of mine: People being unkind to each other.
A few weeks ago, I saw a couple walking out of a building where the boyfriend was yelling no, screaming, at the gal. She was clearly trying to shake it off with a "whatever," over and over again.

These two young people were engaged to be married. It broke my heart that they could talk to each other so ugly. How was their marriage going to work, if they were like that before marriage?  It was a warning sign to me of what was to come. I wanted to walk up to the girl, give her a hug, and tell her to go to counseling or to RUN.

Now, I wasn't there before they walked out of the building, I don't know what happened before they walked out, so the counseling sounds better to me. Only because this was all done around people who they knew and it was out in public, not a good thing.

Ugliness towards people requires not having any compassion for others. We treat people badly when we don't respect them.

How about those who judge people just by what they look like? How can we even gage a disrespect for people when we haven't even met them yet? 

I love the Facebook page, Humans of New York, or it's acronym HONY . It has taught me about the respect that we need to learn for all people.
Brandon Stanton, creator of HONY, took this picture. What the man said has resonated with me for a while:
"I’m learning to be more careful with my words. Words that seem meaningless at the time can end up having a lot of power. Seeds that you didn’t even intend to plant can fall off you and start growing in people."
I don't care who you are-- mean words always hurt.
      I always thought that when I had children that the little things that peeved me as a single woman would be smoothed over, not that I would still not get annoyed with them, but they would, I don't know, become more tolerable.

Yeah, right. If anything. Some things became even more pronounced: like little kids screaming to get their way. Mine learned quickly that it just didn't work with me. They would act up and I would automatically take them out of the situation. If we were at the grocery store we walked out the door. If we were at church we went and sat in a dark classroom. They learned not to do it.
Reprimanded?: The Co-Ed Call Girl actress appeared to be reading the riot act to her kids while in the dairy aisle of Ralphs
I think I would hate to be an actress . Nothing ever is the way it is in reality as depicted in the tabloids. The caption for this was "Reprimanded?: The Co-Ed Call Girl actress appeared to be reading the riot act to her kids while in the dairy aisle of Ralphs."  They also stated maybe she needed a Nanny. Seriously? Two kids needs a nanny? The woman is grocery shopping even though she is ridiculously rich! I say kuddos to Tori!
I guess that is my 3rd pet peeve- parents who don't teach their kids what the boundaries are. Or, maybe it's when the parents do teach them. but they do not follow through to reinforce what they have taught them. That is just so wishy washy. Not parenting, and kids showing they aren't parented drives me nutty. I give Tori Spelling (whatever her married last name is...) props. She seems to be telling her kids what for.

These are my top pet peeves and I could go on, but I choose not to. I am trying to let them go, and this is where it ends...