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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

just

sounds


together

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


dangling


like


diamonds



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

                        round

            rainbows

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

shelved

gathering

dust.


Reverberating

                     through

                                my soul

                                            they

                                                  live

                                                      on.