Sunday, August 23, 2015

[Reading] Slow on Sunday Morning and I Never Want to Leave*

It's Sunday morning, laying in my snugly white down duvet I scan through my emails; I notice The New York Times Books Update is still unread in my inbox. Odd.  I never miss my Friday read of the Books Update. How did it get overlooked? Scrolling through the email I speed read the opening letter from the Editor of TNYT Book Review. She is a capable writer. I enjoy reading her weekly letters. I envy her job. What catches my eye though sits at the bottom of the email, The Short List.  I click on the link and it brings me to The New York Times Books section on their blog. Click on the same link in the blog, and it takes me to the Sunday Book Review ON READINGI read the article, clicking on various links for each book they are reviewing, adding the titles to my planner list for new reads. Somewhere along the line I am linked to the online print of the paper.

There I glance at a picture of Judy Garland dressed as Dorothy. I love the Wizard of Oz so I click on the picture. "Wonder of Wonders, Miracle of Miracles," the link takes me to an original scan of the Wizard of Oz movie review.  I look at the year 1939.  I'm intrigued. The year has a special connection to me.

Reading the review I am taken to a flat in New York, a little family of four sitting at the kitchen table, I imagine my Grandpa Field reading the review to my grandma before he heads off to work. My grandma listening while she feeds my uncle Bob. A sleepy 9 month old version of my daddy laying in the stroller next to her.
The twinkle in my grandma's eye from the delightful review echoes off the spoon entering my uncle Bob's mouth.  I wonder if she wants to go see the movie now that she has heard about it.  Was it talked about in her chats with other women on the block?  Did they view it as only a "children's" movie?  I wish I knew. I can't ask my grandma. My daddy is not old enough to remember... or is he???

I read the ads, the other reviews located on the page. I dabble into looking at the other pages of the issue.  I miss the feel of a newspaper in my hands.  Even when we got a paper on our front stoop or in the mailbox I didn't find the descriptions from the reviewers as entertaining as I did the writing of Frank. S. Nugent. Didn't he have such a great way of "Showing" us the movie?

This goes to one of my arguments of writing today in papers and print. We have ruined the English language. We make words that are harmless evil and politically incorrect to use, like the word Gay (see one of the ads on the side of a movie caption): which when reading the definition used to have it's number 1 description as: lighthearted and carefree.  This has been moved to #2 with the negative, demeaning definition: of a person, especially a man) homosexual.  Sad.  I loved the word as a meaning of lighthearted and carefree..

If you just graze over the movie review, please go back and read it. It's, as I said before, delightful. Next read the other articles on the page. Informative and entertaining at the same time. 

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the August 18, 1939 edition of The New York Times. I will venture to say that I was born in the wrong era. I am more a "literature" reader and writer than a "fiction" one.  Gobbling up words from the past sometimes puts a damper on words of the future. I guess I need to stop complaining and appreciate that I can read editions of various papers online thanks to the futuristic capabilities of the Internet and computers. Can you imagine if you told my grandfather there would be such a thing what he would say?  I think he would say, "only time will tell."

A normal habit of reading my emails sent me on a journey of discovery, and that started my Sunday out perfectly.

*title comes from Maroon 5's, Sunday Morning.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Fenway Feature: Life Lessons from a dog's view of life.

An hour ago, Kyler and Fenway headed back to Las Vegas. As they drove out of the apartment complex I started getting a little misty minded:  There goes my baby boy and the most adorable puppy I have ever been around. sorry dad, even more adorable than Cherokee, and that is saying something, I know.

Walking back to our apartment past the Rosemary bushes, the shade trees, the green grass, I started thinking about the last week and a half I was blessed to spend with Fenway and realized I had learned a few life lessons from him. 

Lesson #1 No matter how scared you are of new places you still have to poop and pee when you get the opportunity.

     Seriously, my little grand puppy gets freaked out by the weirdest sounds. He likes his routine. Then again, who doesn't?  He loves being in his backyard. Finding a spot for him to go to the bathroom during the day was a tough choice for him.  First we brought him to the designated spot for the dogs in our apartment building. He didn't like this. He didn't like doing his business, so to say, when other dogs were around.  He liked his privacy.

The lot across the street from us is being dissected into a major roadway, there are hundreds of feet of dirt trenched ditches where machines, that his human father was awed by as a child, were burying ginormous black pipe. These machines made a certain little puppy nervous. He doesn't like bulldozers and backhoes. still trying to figure out how he is Devin's doggie...
This made him not want to do his business even if other dogs weren't around. The air conditioners kicking on had him hightailing it back to the stairwell of our apartment building. Funny things like that. 
We tried walking down the intersection of the finished part of the road way and seeing if he could go there, one side is all dirt waiting for another apartment complex or whatever gets built there. Yeah that was a good place for Fenway- in the really nice bark of the brand new planting strip between the road and the sidewalk. That didn't work for me. I can't have him desiccating on new stuff even with the poo bags in tow. 

Fenway noticed day three and a half, that there was this worn out path right off the stairwell. So, he started following that each morning. (we found out that this was a path humans and bunnies used to access the property after doing their daily exercise routine, or in the bunnies situation where they hopped on to eat the green grass.)  I let Fenway lead. We headed to the other side of the construction trailer where there is nothing going on, just a great big acreage of empty land. Finally, he had found the place he felt safe, the place he could do his business and not be distracted by noises, dogs and machines. Yippee a place to pee! 

What I learned from this trilogy of scoping out spots was that no matter where you are situated there is going to be a place for you. Some place that helps you feel secure, comfortable, or less distracted. A space to call your own. 

Lesson #2:  You may have the idea that you are in control of all situations. Humans aren't as dumb as you might think they are little puppy.

When we would go out for Fenway's daily business breaks, I incorporated a nice mile, or so, walk into the routine. Fenway didn't want anything to do with this. Remember, I said he likes HIS routine. Walking a mile, or so, isn't one of them. He usually goes out into his back yard does his business and goes back into the house. Not with me little puppy.  We both needed the exercise, or maybe I just did. He would play fetch inside all day long if I let him so he was active enough. The first few days we would walk the route that we had tried for his bathroom breaks. The new roadway, past the construction trailer to the empty field back to the entrance of the apartment stairwell via the bunny trail. This way got boring and honestly too hot in the afternoon.

After walking back up the worn out bunny trail one morning, I turned left instead of head straight up the stairwell. Surprisingly, I found a sidewalk route that went around the perimeter of our whole apartment complex. Matt didn't even know it existed. I love when I find new places! Such a beautiful peaceful trail. Most of it overlooks acres of wheat filled fields with a green nature preserve filled with cotton tails (or punks as we called them in our family) and tall breezy grasses. Speckled through out the preserve are small ponds complete with egrets.  For a second I thought I was in Florida. I didn't even know Egrets lived inland.  Such a nice surprise. Off the sidewalk to the apartment side are gorgeous Quaking Aspens with their papery bark peeling off in tiny sections, bee buzzing blue flowered Rosemary Bushes, various grasses, rocks, grass and Crape Myrtles with their flaming hot pink firecracker flowers.  It became my favorite walking path. Fenway loved it only for seconds.  Along the path is a stretch of grass with a great shade tree. Before reaching this area Fenway would be trotting along, looking around and sometimes getting nervous with the hidden barks of big dogs in their tiny apartments. I thought ha ha, the jokes on them, here is a little doggy outside enjoying the open air. In Fenway's head, he had other thoughts. we would reach the aforementioned grassy area, he would sniff around and then plan himself down in the shade.  When he didn't think I was paying attention (the Egret is across the way) he would start inching his body around the opposite direction and try to turn me around as if it was my idea to head back towards home. I look at this adorable puppy and think: not always do you get to go back to the apartment when you want, no matter how tricky you think you are being Fenway. Ha, stop for a rest on the grass and then hightailing it back the opposite way doesn't work for all humans, especially this one. Muhahaha... 
I would turn him back around, jump start him back onto the sidewalk with a little pull of his leash locked into place so he had no excess leash line and start walking until I hit that half mile mark then turn around. From here it was all pull on the long leash line and Fenway running as fast as his little legs would move until we reached the stairs where I would have enough time to shorten the leash line again in case the darn cat next door was wandering outside (that's a whole 'nother story) all the while being ran up three flights of stairs his little haunch muscles straining in pursuit of his goal of getting to the door and having it close tightly behind him.
Man, I need to thank that little guy for kick starting me onto a great healthy fitness path.

What I learned from those walks were, no matter how much control you think you have over situations you don't. Sometimes you will be prodded, pulled and poked into a different route because someone else has a higher plan for you that will take you out of your comfort zone, open your eyes to new experiences and prod you to a better life. 

Lesson #3Your food always looks better when someone else wants to eat it.

This morning was my final lesson. I was worried that Fenway wouldn't want to eat his food in the time that it would take before Kyler was ready to leave for Las Vegas. Usually Fenway eats after he plays catch which is always after the morning business break, his lapping of early morning water and a good ear scratching.  This means he doesn't eat until around 9 o'clock.  Kyler was anticipating leaving at 9. I tried to talk Fenway into eating, but he just wanted to play.  My mind wandered back to when the kids were little and didn't want to do something, like do their chores, eat, or just go out to play.  I remembered how I used to trick them when it came to eating that I was going to eat their delicious food all gone and would start forking up the food and pretending I would eat it. They would in turn get super upset that I was eating their food and take it away from me and start eating it themselves.  I decided this might work with Fenway. Brilliant- worked like a charm. Imagine me, laying on my stomach, mouth towards the bowl saying, "yum, my food," and this long wiener dog brushing my face away with his little wet nose then diving into his own dog bowl to eat his food. When he would walk away, I would go back to the charade of being over his bowl saying, "my food. yum."  Back he would come, look at me with his accusing glance, nose his way in and push me out.  Dogs, like children, are so easy sometimes.

How many times do we need to do something, yet we want to do it on our own time, not on the time of another?  Your boss needs a brand new project completed, before another project; you have been working on the aforementioned project for weeks. You want to finish the first one, yet, you know your job is probably on the line if you don't do the new one he wants completed first. How do you change gears? Like me changing Fenway's plans, we have many ways to encourage ourselves to do what we need to do, even when we really don't want to do them. There is that old saying "fake it 'til you make it." 

I guess I faked it, 'til Fenway ate it.

Lessons Learned.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Early Morning Gutter Drain

Have you ever noticed that the best writing you’ve ever done is never underneath the sun? It’s always in the pitch of night. The timing never, ever right?

This is where I currently reside, standing at the kitchen counter, barefoot and rocking some coral chevron pajamas; microwave digits glowing green at 3:17.  Its dagnastic early, my eyes are heavy, but my brain is a flurry of thoughts, lyrics, and meaningless emotions until I put them down on paper. I’ve already bled out one poem, meant only for me to read. Sorry folks.

As writers, you know those poems, the ones that speak so clear of your emotional state that if other people read them, they might get frantic about what you will do to yourself after they read all the darkness formed in the couplets. Yeah those.

Forget it you tell them, it’s just feelings. Not always your feelings, just ones you somehow picked up when you were out and about participating in life. If those don’t get spat out, they will bobble like a toy boat sitting on the edge of a sewer drain after a heavy rain. Never actually going down over the edge, but bucking and pitching until you type them out. They are never a permanent pain. Yet, they need to be released or you will sink like the titanic drowning in other people’s emotions.  Empathy is the one thing you can never completely release down into the sewer. It lives, breaths, and builds inside every single day until once again your fingers touch the keys. Your heart, a vessel for other people’s pain. Hopefully, they believe you.

Now, I’m drained, the night has passed. Back to sleep or just relax??

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Tuesday Theorization

Cash for the merchandise... July is one of those months that I delve into foot stomping, sappy singing, productions of eras bygone. In other words- musicals. The first is always viewed on Independence Day.  The ultimate drum banging, trumpet tooting, marching uniform, library dancing, piano teacher vs. con-man. It is the epic musical of all time. I love the Music Man. I fell in love with it the minute that Robert Preston turned around his suitcase and all the salesmen found out he's the con man who is giving a black eye to all their careers.

I sing songs from Music Man all month long and I think it drives Matt nuts that he has to hear Good Night My Someone every night before he goes to sleep.  Sap runs through my veins, not so much his. If I could find somewhere that actually had dances with old-tyme dancing and someone like Buddy Hackett singing Shipoopi i would spend the whole night dressed up in ruffles and bows.

Imagine my happiness when I became an ensemble member in St. George Musical Theater's theater-in-the round production back in the early 2000's. The opening sequence to Iowa Stubborn sent shivers down my spine.  Seeing my little girl dancing in the library during Marian the Librarian was like a dream come true.

The message that musicals gave me was no matter how much you screw up your life or "con" people, you can turn your life around and make good.

I always want to sing my way through uncomfortable situations. People look at me oddly when I open my mouth and the tune to Pick-A-Little, Talk-A-Little comes out of my mouth when so much gossip is going around in my vicinity. Thank heavens most people don't know what they heck it means, sometimes though, they do: one of two things usually happen,either quiet snickers are heard or dirty looks are shot my way. I prefer the quiet snickers. One time though, to my surprise, some one joined in with my annoyance and sang out when I reached the end- pick-a-little, talk-a-little-cheep!  Boy, that was a super duper good time. We both laughed in companionship although I had no idea who the man was. I suppose he was just a man after my own heart- sarcastic and a lover of musical goodness. 

Life would be so much easier if others just learned from all that song and dance. West Side Story would teach us that hatred isn't worth going to war over especially when we don't even know what it was that started the hatred in the first place. Carosel would teach us that no matter your situation you are still worth so much more than how people treat you. You have to believe in yourself or you won't ever be truly happy with life. Yes, life throws us crap. It's how we face it that makes all the difference.  

Musicals might be boring, annoying and idiotic to some people, but to me, they are something fun through song, dance and instill life long lessons through their stories.

Do you like Musicals?  What is your favorite and why?

Monday, July 20, 2015

Writer's Block

Writing always makes me feel better, so why don't I do more of it?  What is it about the fear of bearing my soul to the world here on this blog, when I unwittingly accomplish this every time I open my mouth? Have you ever heard the saying,"too much information" or the acronym TMI? Yeah, that is me.  I share too much, so what makes it unbearable to put it down on the screen?

I don't have a problem writing in my journal, where it is a crawl to put the words down on the page; side palm gliding against the white paper ever careful not to smudge the ink with my left-hand.  You would assume there would be an ease to typing it all out, no halts from my tired fingers grasping a pencil; sharpening it when the lead breaks or dulls; worrying about smudging the graphite unreadable.

Usually, that would be true. The words smoothly flow from my brain through the keys onto the screen. I was born to type. I have always aced my timed typing tests, the 10 key number exam and the programming computer assignments. Home is anyplace my laptop is. Not right now though. My fingers hover over the keys aimless. Imagine the little yellow birdies flying around the head of a Warner Brother’s cartoon after someone hits their head. I don’t even get that. Greyness swirls between my ears. All I hear is crickets. I sure wish he was the talented one on Time Square.

Ultimately, I imagine it comes down to my need for perfection.  I desire to write something clever: a short story, poem, limerick, pun, or joke. Pepper, my muse, alludes me. Am I delusional? Is Pepper even real?  She hasn’t helped with anything creative: painting, drawing, sketching, writing- nothing, in what feels like an eon.

Instead of writing, I read. Lately, it’s been Neil Gaiman's 2 paged short stories. What he does with a string of letters, forming them into paragraphs; mirroring whatever scene that shutters into his mind equals brilliance. I crave for that ability.  

However, reading makes me doubt my talent. Do I have the flair to attract readers? Debatable. Scratch that. It's deplorable that I would even consider myself a writer of any kind. My writing is amateurish. No wonder Pepper's locked her door and hid the Key. I don't deserve her anymore.

Anyone have a metal detector?

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Delightful Next Blog Click

Today I decided that I would click on the "NEXT BLOG" button at the top of the Blogger heading on my blog.  What a great surprise came when the first blog I stumbled upon was called "Susan's Literary Café". 

Susan looks like a prolific reader. I love reading so I felt an instant liking to this woman, even though I, myself have not even finished reading her first blog entry.  I don't know if it is the fun and colorful blog heading or what but I had to read more. 

Then I found out that she has two blogs, the other of which is called "Bagels, Books and Schmooze"  all devoted to her Jewish Faith.  Another great reason to like her; as I have some Jewish blood flowing through my body. 

Wait, I wonder which part of my heritage is the toxic, unreasonable blood that won't absorb iron?  Is it the German or the Jewish little stinkers that are being stubborn? 

This blog is so educational for me.  I have not delved into any of the books reviewed on the blog and so I am looking forward to reading them. For instance Rebbe, feels like something I would completely enjoy.  My sister and her family live in Southern FL. Her kids have been able to immerse into the culture of our heritage and I love it. This is a good kicking off point for me to explore more of what made my Grandfather Field who he was.

Onward to reading more in Bagels, Books, and Schmooze

What happens when you click the Next Blog button?  Care to share in the comments?  Enjoy the fun of what you find.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Empty Nesting Syndrome or Identity Displacement?

As I pack the house, I find myself crying for no apparent reason. Well, to some it might be for no apparent reason, for me it's the fact that in 4 1/2 days I will be leaving all 4 of my children. Yes, three of them I have nurtured since they were tadpole size; the other has been born in my heart the day that she left on a school trip with my middle son and then started dating my oldest son a year later.

It might be said that I am having empty nesting syndrome, but that would be only part of the truth.  I believe that yes, I will miss my children, yet, I know that they are going off and doing the things that they are supposed to be doing.  Devin and Aliza are creating a home, a life and a marriage that would be an envy to many. They are doing things right. I feel confident that they are doing what they are meant to be doing: loving and living with each other as best friends.  Kyler is on his way to being so successful and I am not shocked by it. He has been a born leader since he started first grade.  People love him. His humor is contagious. His personality endearing.  He is an amazing man with so many wonderful ideas.  Mckenna Marie has the whole world in front of her and if she grabs onto her dreams she will soar.  I have no doubt about that. Will they struggle in life? Indubitably, everyone does.  Will the two youngest have heartbreak?  Absolutely, it's part of learning who we are most compatible with.  I don't envy them these experiences. Those are the things you look back on and go, "whew, I made it through my 20's and all the craziness that those growing years entail."

I do envy them their opportunities, and this is maybe where I am having the most struggle leaving them...
It's not about them (or me leaving) it's about me losing my identity, my heart and my soul.  I have been a mom and wife for so long that I (like I have said in a previous post) I don't know who SANDI is. 

What are my strengths?  What path am I supposed to be on now?  Like my kids my opportunities are limitless~ to a point. Age limits it more than it is limited for them. Me not having a degree limits it even more. What I had planned on doing in life will be gone when I walk away from that choice of being a stay at home mom. What I wanted to do for a side career is not in reach.  I will not be living the life of a book editor, a writer, a school teacher or even a child psychologist.  Some of these things I've been able to do just being a mom. What a blessing that has been, but other dreams have been swept to the wayside.  Am I brave enough to make them reality?  I am not even sure I know what those dreams are anymore. So, what do I do now???

These are things that I get to figure out. How do I do this?  Reading self help books aren't my thing.  Researching on the computer might be helpful.  Writing my thoughts out might be even more helpful. To me writing has always been easy, well at least writing about my thoughts and memories.  I am not sure that I could make money doing anything with my writing. It might just be a talent.  My English professor a few years back said I could, but I don't believe her.  Maybe I am too hard on myself? 

It's been a year since I truly wrote anything that has touched my soul.  I have lost touch with my inner writer. 

So, what else do I want to do?  My husband says that I should do research on starting a business. One that we can do as a family with a few of my middle child's entrepreneurial ideas while he is finishing college.  I mean I do have all the time in the world...  But, will this truly fulfill me?  I don't know.

What to do, what to do???

Identity displacement stinks...

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford

Songs of Willow Frost- a book I ordered before its release because of Jamie Ford's first book Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. I waited to read Willow almost a year after receiving it because I didn't want to compare the two stories, of the way Mr. Ford used what seemed like real memories though out the first book, though in reality it was just great historical fiction. 

I was excited to find out 12 year old William's story, to find out who Willow Frost was, to drink in the foundation of a 1920's Seattle's China Town history. I long to find a life entrenched in the pages, some chapters I did just that, others I felt like I was just being told descriptions. When the book was in the present with William as its narrator it could be far-fetched, his years were lower than his wisdom, yes, had been though some pretty tough stuff, but was he really wise beyond his years? Maybe. Maybe I'm just basing his 12 years from observing my children's life up to12 and not being fair to the fact that the times were different, he lived in an orphanage, he had to pretty much do for himself something my children never had to, maybe that made him wise... It just didn't sit right, when the story of Willow was in focus: of her past then the story soared!! The details so deliciously written that I could smell Uncle Leo's sweat and the dirt surrounding Auntie Eng. I could feel the pain, the shame and the sane steps that Willow took to care for her so deeply loved child. This was the meat to the book, the part where Mr. Ford pulled me in. When the present day came, I had to be sucked back up to the surface kicking and screaming for more of the good stuff. I didn't want to be reading the more superficial writing, I wanted to drown in the memories. 

Over all this book is well written as most of the book is steeped in the memories, I just can't give it a 5 because it didn't give me a complete escape.

This book is tragic in a totally different way than Hotel on the Corner. It is filled with the shame a girl receives when perceived as one who has done all the wrong things. Poor Liu Song's only wrong was being born into a loving family that was destroyed by an epidemic and stuck in the world of an "uncle" who was a sick, twisted individual. One who raped her, threatened he,r and gambled away her life for his own selfishness. 

The one true disappointment I felt for this book was the finality of Liu Song's relationship with Colin. I just didn't see him as the type of person who he ended up being. Such a horribly wrong directed twist. It would have been better if he has just never returned as it destroyed all the love story aspect of the book. 

In hindsight I guess I shouldn't have been so invested in the love story between two adults. I should've only focused on the true theme of this book: a Love Story of a mother, and of son's longing for the love he remembered. Very fitting to a read leading up to my own Mother's Day. 

One of Willow's acting peers Stepin sums it up best for me, "The things that we do, that makes us so black, and leave us feeling so blue."  


Wednesday, April 01, 2015


Long curly dishwater hair waves in the breeze
She pads along the sidewalk net in hand.
Not a fisherman’s net –
long and flowing,
one that you would cast into the sea.

On the contrary,
her small tanned hand wraps around
the handle of a dainty pink ,
tear-shaped, perfect-for-her-size net –
one she hopes to trap a fluttering
beautiful Butterfly in before long.

She doesn’t care what color
as long as she can bring a smile
to the little one that
trails behind in his
red and black web-covered
spider pajamas.

I find it ironic that he,
who is clad in such a deadly snare
wants to seek out the beauty of
a butterfly and snare it too.

Chatter emanates from down below,
“I wish I had a house this big,”
a little voice sighs as they pass
clone after clone of stucco mud-brown
houses with false dormers.

His sister keeps walking,
“I wish we could do this every day,”
“…What every day?” the little wanna-be-spider-man asks.
‘Not have to go to school,” was her reply.

A few more steps,

bodies fade away.
Their pattering feet and voices
linger behind.
 I hope they catch their butterfly.


Sunday, February 15, 2015

A Valentine's Day Unanticipated

It's valentines Day.  My sweet Matt is super sick. He feels terrible that I traveled hundreds of miles to visit him in California and now I'm having to take care of him instead of the weekend he had planned. 

I'm grateful that I'm able to be here even if we just watch MASH and GILMORE GIRLS (when he's sleeping) in leu of worrying about him hundreds of miles away where he's alone and miserable.

We ventured out before everything went totally pear-shaped. We had breakfast at KIM'S, where Kim handed out ginormous chocolate covered strawberries as the appetizer,  then a quick trip to the GYPSY CHIC VINTAGE MARKET for my Valentine's Day gift.

We wandered through a few Open Houses after driving through the most fantastical golf course subdivision I have ever seen! A lot of the homes had their own grape vines, pools and amazingly huge yards for a California non-mansion.  The St. George Parade of Homes had nothing on these houses.

All in all it was a good Valentines Day, for me, not poor Matt. Hope everyone else has a good day no matter when your relationship status is. ❤️

*not completely done with content or edit as I'm typing on my tiny phone but wanted it posted. 😉