Write Em Cowboy

I am starting to work in earnest on my upcoming blog series “So You Want To Write A Book.”  (or some other wonderfully colorful fictitious title).  I think it will be informative and helpful to readers at every stage of their writing.

It will be free, a part of my blog. I may put together a package of worksheets and references and samples and offer that for purchase. Still working on that.

As I put together this series I also did the final read through of my first book. I said final — I HAVE to say final — or I will be nip and tucking this thing for the next 10 years.

This last nip and tuck a few days ago yielded a cut of 243 words. And those were just the same words I used too many times.

You see? We all have positive and negative writing habits that we cannot see. We read and reread and proofread and still miss the bigger picture; a smooth reading ride on the Writing Railroad.

The advice I will share is good for all lengths of writing: novels, novellas, short stories, magazine articles. Memoirs and science fiction. Romance and mystery. It doesn’t matter what you write — you have to proof it with a fine tooth comb.

My comb is always full of hair. Pity.

But that’s what makes the final work worthy. Worthy of publication, of entering into contests, into being a story in a magazine or a column in a newspaper. Clean, entertaining writing.

I am living proof you have to put in the work.

Some may toss off stories like trick-or-treat candy. Maybe they’re that good. If you are that good, I envy you. For it’s not easy to get exactly what you want to say out and down on paper the first time around. The first ten times around.

Practice, practice, practice. Edit and change and stand back and do it again. That’s one of the tips I’m going to share in my blog come Christmas time.

One of my favorite movies is Tombstone. I love Kurt Russell as Wyatt Earp. And he has the best line about cleaning up your writing.

“The Cowboys are finished, you understand me?! I see a red sash, I kill the man wearin’ it! So run, you cur… RUN! Tell all the other curs the LAW’S coming! You tell ’em I’M coming… and Hell’s coming with me, you hear?! Hell’s coming with me!

Hehe….bring the brimstone down on your writing. You won’t be sorry.

Just don’t set your computer on fire…..

How Do You Know What To Write?

I have to be careful this sounds like a helpful post and not a journal entry.

Do you ever confuse the two?

I have read blogs that read like journals, rambling thoughts, working out problems, hypotheses, assumptions about the world that have no beginning nor end. They are just … for better or worse .. venting.

Then there are those blogs that pose a question, a hypothesis, that seek an answer. What do you think? Have you ever done that? How do you do that? That’s more looking for direction in your own wonderings.

There also are blogs that share unique experiences, connecting to those who wonder if they are the only ones who think this, feel this, experience this. I call these affirmation blogs. They don’t always offer answers, but the assure the reader they are not alone in the things they go through.

The first example is usually the weakest style. You want to share your angst, your amazement, your purging and affirmations. There is nothing more to gain from rambling thoughts than just an acknowledgement that someone has read your thoughts. After all, there is no cosmic space to really allow for an answer or an additional ramble.

The second can be more popular, especially if you have followers who love to write back. As you all can tell, there are more readers than there are commenters, so one can never take feedback from their suppositions (cosmic or real) too seriously. A hundred people may shake their heads “yes I hear what you’re asking but I don’t have an answer for you.” Only one will write that response.

The hardest to write, and the most rewarding for all around feedback and expansion, is the third example. Sharing meaningful experiences that others can identify with. People need little encouragement to share their experiences back, but it has to be the right encouragement. You have to learn how to write in an inviting way so that people feel comfortable writing back.

We balance our reading time between all three types of bloggers/writers. But those who really enjoy writing enjoy writing back. It’s just hard, sometimes, to respond to someone whose prose is wandering aimlessly through the countryside.  It’s easier to pick a subject, a particular thought, a particular experience, and to focus your blog on that one (general) thing.

You will get more feedback, which is really why we all blog, and less nodding and moving along.

I haven’t quite mastered this technique yet, but I’m working on it. I see many of you are, too. You are leaving me space to respond to your thoughts, which encourages me to pass your thoughts along to others.

And really, isn’t working together and moving forward together what blogging is all about?

Look! Look!

Today I am really overwhelmed with beautiful, fun, magical posts. Color! Poetry! Philosophy! You don’t have to follow them (although you will be glad you did), but go take a peek and see if you don’t come out with a smile on your face!

 

Rich Impressions

https://rothpoetry.wordpress.com/2019/05/20/rich-impressions/

 

Each day…..is a little life…..Purplerays

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://purplerays.wordpress.com/2019/05/21/each-day-is-a-little-life/

 

Apple Blossom Breeze — Brenda Davis Harshman

Apple Blossom Breeze

 

Flows — My Monkey Mind

flows

 

Dancing Birds – Make Art – Magic Happens

Dancing Birds

 

Miracle — All of It… — David Kanigan

https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/28060549/posts/48754

 

Each Leaf In Its Own Time — Leaf and Twig

https://leafandtwig.wordpress.com/2019/05/21/each-leaf-in-its-own-time/

 

What Do You Yearn For? — Jan Beek

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Do You Yearn For?

 

Not What I wanted to Hear — Walt Page

https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/127080456/posts/4554

 

How Do You Get Others to Read Your Blog?

It’s a question all of us bloggers have. 

We have a point we want to get across. A message. An adventure. We want to share our wisdom, our mistakes, our discoveries. But sharing these “important” milestones in our lives does not always increase our readership. As I’ve said before, the average blog reader only has X amount of hours/minutes/seconds to read what you have to say. 

How do you get them to read YOU instead of/along with others around you?

As you know, I also write a blog at work. At first it was for announcing new publications and nothing else. I took it over three years ago and have been working on it ever since. It was/is a business blog, and I always put that spin on that in my writing. Always tried to keep it sounding a bit formal.

Today I had a talk with my boss, someone who is experienced, articulate, and has his finger on the pulse of the proverbial social media world. And he told me it was time for the company — me — to change the sound of our blog.  That today’s reader wants conversation. Wants to be part of the conversation. Not dictated by it.

Now, it’s funny. I’ve made my personal blog casual and friendly. I have always treated my readers as friends. But I always thought work was supposed to be different. That it was supposed to be slightly conservative and formal, friendly yet polished. It was “the company” giving advice, not the writer.

But the world has changed. Successful companies listen to their customers and followers. They understand they don’t have all the answers, but want to give you what answers they do have. And often what they offer is just what you are looking for. 

So how does this advice help us every day bloggers? How does it help us get more readers, more followers, more friends?

I think the most important thing to remember is that it’s the tone of the conversation that matters, both in person and on the Internet. You still have to have a professional approach to proper grammar, sentence structure, and a beginning, a middle, and an end to your story. You need to make a point.

But you also should be having a conversation with your readers. Make them feel comfortable about what you write. Even if they don’t agree with your point of view, an inclusive conversation makes them want to read to the end.

I am looking forward to being more “casual” at work in my approach to connecting with readers and customers. I want them to know I care, the company cares. There will be no sales tags at the end of each blog; only information that can hopefully make their life easier.

That’s the approach I’ve already taken here. And thought I don’t have a lot of followers, every day brings a surprise, a smile, and a chance to make a new friend. 

How do you approach getting more readers of your blog?

Bloggers Are A Unique Breed

I think that a lot of the time bloggers spill their secrets to their followers so they can get whatever it is out of their system. You can’t see the facial responses or audio cues through this two dimensional world…no one can really judge you face-to-face, so why not tell your tales of woe?

I know I do a lot of that. I used to be a lot worse when I kept a journal. I’m older and less a drama queen, so the tits and tats I share on my blog won’t rock the Rockies.

I do a lot of counseling to myself every morning on my drive to work.  Every morning I say “starting today…” or “from now on…” Early morning I’m full of piss and vinegar. The world is mine, I can do one of a hundred things that I’ve been meaning to do but haven’t gotten around to doing.

But often by my evening ride all I can think of is writing and laundry and picking out clothes for tomorrow. So my blog seems to be a perfect outlet for my stumbling tumblings.

We bloggers have to be careful, though, about how much we whine and emote through our writing. Readers can take adversity only in small doses. Considering the average attention span of blog readers is three paragraphs,  us bloggers have to use a lot of discretion in what we share, how we share it, and if there is a solution to our problems.

To me there is an energy when someone reads something and says “Yeah! me too!” I’m not really looking for understanding as much as camaraderie. My mess ups are your mess ups. Your misunderstandings are my misunderstandings.

I also think that life is too short to beat yourself up for your mistakes. You are you, after all, and there are quirks to all of us. I manage to laugh at my goof ups…that is, after I feel embarrassed and remorseful. I figure if I chuckle and learn something from my misconceptions, you can identify more with your own similar guffaws.

We all have our reasons for blogging. I follow all sorts of blogs…poets, painters, writers over 60, writers under 60. I learn about living with a chronic illness, being homeless, and life without one’s partner. I watch the steps it takes to create a painting, write a novel, or grow a garden.

But I also know my role in the blogging world is to give my readers a wry smile now and then. When I say I’m a semi-colon queen they know what I mean. When I write how awkward it is to climb up into my husband’s old pickup truck they know what I mean. And when I say I’m obsessed by my grandkids they definitely know what I mean.

So don’t be afraid to share your quirks, your puzzlements, your amazements, and your foibles. Don’t be afraid to whine, wonder, or wish. We are all human. We all have to get things off our chest. You will find what you’re looking for in your followers. A little tea, a little sympathy….

…an the realization that you use too many damn semi-colons…

 

 

Do We “Get” Each Other?

There is a certain responsibility as a blog writer and a blog follower.

You need to write content that is entertaining, whether it be sad, provocative, funny, or informative. But you need to read the blogs you follow, too.

I’ve been lax in that department.

I always manage to read the first few that pop up in my reader, but it takes a few thumbing motions downwards to see what all I have missed. And often it’s alot.

I follow blogs that haven’t had anything written for 6 months or even a year. I always figure they will come back sometime. I follow writers who post every day. I sometimes feel bad I don’t connect with either of them as often as I should.

Which makes me wonder. I wonder if those who have 5,000, 10,000 followers, how many blogs do they follow? Do they read them all? Respond to them all?

I’m a believer that you shouldn’t “follow” someone unless you are really following them. Learning their story, enjoying their painting or photography. Maybe you don’t have to comment on every post you read, but it’s nice to say something nice about what you’re reading.

I get to wonder about those who have thousands and thousands of followers. Especially on places like Twitter. If you’re not online when someone else tweets, what does it matter? Their important words will never be picked up by your reading public. I sometimes try to go into Twitter and pick someone I follow and read all their tweets going back a few weeks. But time is of the essence, and I’d rather read other’s blogs.

Then you circle back and wonder if all the people who follow you really read you. Really look at your images. And do numbers really matter.

I hope you write because you love to write, and have found an outlet for your emotions in the form of a blog or a tweet. You will find those who really click with you commenting over and over again. Those are the people who make me feel special. Liked. Like they really get me.

Get your blogs ‘a blogging and get someone!

Nothing Else Matters

What is the purpose of a blog?

Is it to inform? Entertain? Do you use it as a diary? A podium?

I started this blog in 2011 to entertain. I have a great connection to the Goddess and I wanted to share her upbeat, positive message. That we only go one way in life, so we might as well fill that way with all the positives we can.

I suppose our blogs drift one way or another as time goes by. Perhaps the two of us weren’t funny enough. Or clever enough. But as she and I got older the posts became more melancholy. More shadowed.

Everything came full circle the other day, though. Something that snapped me back into beautiful reality.

I just became a grandmother for the third time yesterday. And that in itself is all the magic, all the blessing, one could ask for.

I want to live long enough to attend my newest granddaughter’s wedding. To go fishing with the boys in the summer and build snowmen in the winter. I want three kids calling “granny granny granny!” for years and years to come.

Nothing else matters.

This is my life. I am here. Like that poster of the galaxy with “You are here” over this teeny tiny dot. And this is where I want to be.

So hug your kids, your dog, or your stuffed unicorn. You have a choice in life to be positive or negative. For yourself, for your family, for your friends, pick the positive. Even if you slip and fall you’ll still be going in the right direction.

Happy Saturday and beyond!.

 

Never Give Up Hope

I have a secret to tell you.

First a disclaimer: if you are a workmate of mine, don’t tell anyone. I don’t want anyone at the company to get the wrong idea.

Most artistic people hone their skills at home, alone, evenings and weekends and days off and vacations. The 9-5 gig that we all adhere to tends to take over any creative urges we have. You know — accountants by day, abstract artists by night.

I am one of those who have, after 47 years of working, finally gotten a glimpse of what it would be like to do what you love.

I may have told you before, but I’m a data conversion specialist by day. Fancy title for working with my company’s database. A good job, a boring job, a busy job. Just like everyone else’s.

No one had written on the company blog for a year, and when there was a post it was every three months or so. Being a writer, I saw an opening and I jumped at it. Since it originated from my department, I asked if I could write a blog now and then. After all, I was a writer.

Although no one at work really knew that.

My boss took a chance on me and let me do a blog now and then. I would pick a theme and talk about it and throw some product in. What started as once a month turned into every two weeks to every week.

I was in heaven.

Then new bosses came in and the blog stopped.

I was so excited to have been able to write a casual, friendly informational blog, as my own blog is also casual, friendly, and informational. I wanted to write more, but I was a data person, after all.

This is where I emphasize don’t give up…if there’s a hole in the wall somewhere, jump through it.

The new boss must have liked my infomercials, for we started the blog again. The door was propped open, and opportunity teased me from the other side. In working with the new bosses, I was given some suggestions for story ideas that I jumped on. I interviewed managers to see what they wanted the world to know about. I scoured catalogs and publications for ideas that were fresh and relevant.

And now I write two blogs a week.

Our company blog isn’t big, isn’t famous, isn’t global. It’s just another niche in the world of social media.

But for two years it has been mine.

I don’t know the future of my writing contributions to the company. For all I know they could hire a media writer tomorrow. But that would be okay too, for I have been able to turn my love of writing into a positive contribution to my employer.

If I hadn’t kept insisting that I was a “writer”, I wouldn’t be where I am today. If I didn’t believe that I had the talent and the voice they needed, I wouldn’t have written more than one blog.

Find a way to get your passion into your day job. Whether you’re a writer, a painter, or a calligrapher, find a way to edge your talent into the working world. Don’t give up.

And if you don’t get to get your toe wet on the creative side of work, you can always write one hell of a story about your co-workers.

Just change their names to protect the innocent..

 

 

#AppreciateYourCreativeFriendsWeek! Finale

I wish I could keep this celebration going on forever! I follow a lot of fun, interesting bloggers, each deserving a direct link for you to dance along.

There are thousands and thousands of bloggers out there. You may follow three or three hundred. The purpose of this made-up week is to encourage you to interact with those who write/paint/travel/share with you. If you like what you read, click that little LIKE button. REALLY like what you read? Drop a comment! We/you/they love to hear back from you!

I love reading your blogs Leah, Ann, Ray, Jackie, Jan, Crissouli, Blue Settia, Walt, d Marie, Suzanne, Patrcia, Mary J, Nick, Marion, Patty, Dawn, Annette, Denise, Jeremiah, CJ, Joel, Jan R, Marie, Norm, Alan, Waterdove, Glorialana, Tess, Gwen, Craig, Pirate Patty, Doug, Craig, Austin, Peter, Anne, and all those names I’ve left out. You all rock! Keep it going! I look forward to following more bloggers, and you should too.

BE a part of the creative world. Appreciate your creative friends this week — and every week!

#AppreciateYourCreativeFriendsWeek Part 6

Darlene Foster writes the kind of blog that plays to the voyeur in me. She travels, she writes, posts on other blogs, does book signings — what is not to envy?  I have been following her blog Darlene Foster’s Blog for a while now, and am loving her excursions since she moved to Spain. Darlene turns her sight-seeing jaunts into experiences we all can relate to. A little history, a lot of pictures, and I’m walking through the beautiful Ta´Pinu Sanctuary on the Island of Gozo or through the streets of Cordoba.

Looking for a little getaway that is more in line with your lifestyle (rather than the latest magazine)? Take a walk with Darlene and tour the countryside at your own pace!

*********************

Three Days in the Charming City of Cordoba

Posted on: July 13, 2017

During the visit of my aunt and her friend, we took a bus trip to the Andalusian city of Cordoba, about five hours from where I live in Spain. Originally built by the Romans, it became an important location during the Moorish occupation. The ancient city of Cordoba held some of the world´s first known universities and medical schools. The fascinating architecture throughout the city reflects the Moorish, Jewish and Christian cultures.

********************************

More of Darlene Foster’s wonderful blog can be found at https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/. You’ll love your journey!

#AppreciateYourCreativeFriendsWeek! Part 5

My next salute to wonderful bloggers is really a two-fer. I don’t really remember how I found Tom von Kap-herr and his blog Cats at the Bar, but the moment I dug into his posts I was hooked. I love cats. Seeing that my own cats are all over me when I’m at my laptop, Cats at the Bar was their choice of reading materials, too.

I noticed that Tom often reposted posts from another great Kat site, Katzenworld. Katzenworld is everything cats. Pictures, information, a kitty goods shop, funny stories — everything a Kat person could want! You really need to stop by both blogs and check out their talent (although I’m told the cats do most of the posting…)

Cats at the Bar (https://catsatthebar.org/)

 

 

 

 

 

Katzenworld (https://katzenworld.co.uk/)

 

 

 

 

#AppreciateYourCreativeFriendsWeek! Part 3

I love following Dave Whatt because he has a quirky sense of humor that can only be found in the UK. I must admit there are times I don’t quite understand the lingo, which makes his blogs all the more appealing. Dave says he is “… a grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil…” Being not so much a brainiac as a researcher, I had to look up plectrum and learned a new word to boot! (it’s a guitar pic, so to speak). I love to listen to local lingo, and Dave’s posts are full of them. Throw in a British accent, and reading suddenly becomes more fun!

Some overheard and misheard snatches of cafe conversation…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s doubled up simile is – He was as happy as two sandboys…
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
‘No, I think it is plom David…’
‘It was a non-G bear?’
‘Join in a while with a leading heart!’
‘Eye-vade, eye-vade, and ill lucid!’
‘And the sauce easily drips out.’
‘I studied it for ears…’
‘Dometzy-doos!…’
‘Na na na na! In a pig’s eye!’
‘It was wire thinking Tom!’
‘But how grazing is it?’
‘What?… Tremors this day?’
‘We are all juicing out our world again.’
‘A weekend car-wave! Oh my god!…’
‘Whereas everything is boyfriends now!’
‘Me, I love the grey shots!’
‘You need to grow new parts David.’
‘Never say enough is words!’
‘Not even wiggy?…’
‘Sunny nay-gish, that’s only roughly though.’
‘Have a word with Donna Dominoes tomorrow.’
‘She ass me in tens you know!’
‘But I feel as though we aren’t aren’t.’
‘It was two more with that on the flight!’

https://davewhatt.wordpress.com/2017/08/13/some-overheard-and-misheard-snatches-of-cafe-conversation-46/

If you want a bit of the Brit and walk away with a smile on your face, go check out Dave and his blog at https://davewhatt.wordpress.com/.

#AppreciateYourCreativeFriendsWeek! Part 2

A number of you may know (and follow) my second creative friend. David Kanigan creates his blog Live and Learn with thoughts, quotes, research, and philosophy. I mean he’s amazing. I have no idea how he finds the quotes he does. All are thinkers and feelers. He is light and he is deep. I can see his feelings and thoughts through the pictures and stories he shares.

*   *   *   *   *   *    *    *    *

Lightly Child, Lightly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The love a parent feels for a child is strange…

It’s like trying to describe sand between your toes or snowflakes on your tongue to someone who’s lived their whole life in a dark room.

It sends the soul flying.

~ Fredrick Backman, from Beartown: A Novel (Atria Books; Tra edition, April 25, 2017)

Notes:

  • Photo: Kristy G. Photography (via Newthom)
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

Lightly Child, Lightly.

 *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Ethereal and fun, I look forward to his writings every day. You will too.

Check out David at https://davidkanigan.com/.

Not ANOTHER Idea…

Here I am, Friday morning, reading posts and surfing the Internet during my break time, thinking about yet another topic I can blog about. I’m getting so A.D.D. about wanting to post something, blog something that I want to share with the world.

Part of me wonders — who cares?

It’s not like I’m sitting around with nothing to do. I have a busy day job, then most nights I’m either working around the house, writing, or spending time with family and friends.

It’s not like I have hours and hours of down time.

With WordPress telling me daily that there are billions of blogs to check out, why would I want to start a new chapter of this one?

Am I stifled? Bored? Creatively stunted?

I think about all the blogs I follow, and all the blogs I peek in and read — life stories, poetry, artists, travel. They are varied but in the same vein. Just think of all the ones I DON’T follow — cooking, parenting , single life, quilting — the line goes on and on. Wouldn’t someone rather follow an expert in writing or publishing than someone who dabbles in a half-dozen pursuits?

All this jibber jabber means nothing other than I’m thinking of a weekly Friday edition to my never-ending flow of oddities and irrelevance.  So what should it be?

Fat Friday —  Pictures of great looking food.

Fabulous Friday — Unique places to visit

Food Friday — Same as #1

Faerie Friday — Pictures and Poems about Faeries and their Kind

Fashion Friday — Strange hair, nails, shoes — anything you wouldn’t wear going out on Friday night

Free Friday — apps, websites, anything that’s fun and free

 

Do you see my dilemma?  I think I’ve got too much space in my head. It’s filling up with silly stuff.

P.S. If you like any of the above ideas, let me know. I’ve got to put my Creative Muse to work somewhere...

Sharing Is The Best Kind of Blogging

Every now and then karma comes back and makes me feel great.

Karma refers to the spiritual principle of cause and effect where intent and actions of an individual (cause) influence the future of that individual (effect). Sometimes we hope karma comes back and kicks butt to the meanies of the world. Other times we hope that because we’ve been good or loving that we can win the lottery.

Sometimes something I’ve blogged circles around and shines sunshine back in my face. Last December my Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog showcased Collin van der Sluijs , a muralist painter from the Netherlands. A few months later there was a comment from the website Life in Maastricht who asked if they could use info from my blog to showcase Collin, as he was from Maastricht too.  Their  website has been part of the Netherlands social media communities since June 2015, covering news and stories about one of the most beautiful cities in the Netherlands. Of course I said yes.

They later stated, “…contacted Collin and he’s happy to participate, thank you for your post, otherwise I wouldn’t have found him.”

So imagine. I got to learn about a town named Maastricht in a country half way around the world, and helped their website find and highlight a homeboy. To me, that’s karma.

Check out their great website — https://lifeinmaastricht.com/ — and share the magic!

THAT’s what blogging’s all about.

Don’t Let The Day Ruin Your Day

as-long-as-i-dont-write-about-the-government-religion-politics-and-other-institutions-i-am-free-to-print-anything-pierre-beaumarchaisIt is as if I am handling a puffer fish or prickly bush with my bare hands.

The world of politics is truly doing a whirling dervish these last few months. A lot of my friends are afraid, angry, embarrassed, and/or happy with the state of affairs.

This has led to very charged postings lately, both here and on Facebook and Twitter.

I am happy to live in a time and a world where I can express myself freely. That the Feds or the KGB don’t show up at my office or my house to have a “little talk.” But freedom of speech also can lead to heart attacks, headaches, palpatations, high blood pressure, dizzy spells, acid reflex, and a whole lotta other maladies.

And that’s what I fear will happen to all my friends and contacts if they don’t stop raging.

Let me make this perfectly clear — I AM concerned. I AM stressed. I AM worried. Every morning I drive to work and listen to the news I want to smack myself on the forehead and say “What NOW?” But I tend not to talk about it on social media.

I wonder if all this absorption into the ways of the world are preventing my friends from writing their blogs, poems, short stories, recipes, and whatever else. If it’s draining the desire of crocheters so that all they can do is one looonng doublestitch. If all painters want to do is whip paint at a canvas, ala Jackson Pollock.

I’m sure this madness is not limited to the U.S. I bet if I ask my Australian friends (waves to the few I know out there) or my blogger in Spain or the U.K. or in Germany (keeps waving) I’m sure their country is messed up too. Maybe not as obnoxiously, but just as particularly.

I’m not saying don’t get involved. I’m not saying don’t get emotional. We all need to have our voices heard.

What I am saying is we need to have our creative voices heard too. Don’t let the politics of the moment curb your appetite for self expression. Funnel your emotions into something other than — or besides — social media.

Use your passion to create something that will outlast the politics of the day.  Write something marvelous.Paint something inspiring. Play an instrument like an angel. Show the world you are better than the nonsense around you. 

Because you are.

 

 

 

 

Where Have My Bloggers Gone?

admin-ajax-phpMy method of reading/following blogs is of my own design. I don’t read every day, but rather pick an evening and read through as many as I can. Sometimes I click on “Manage” Reader and go through the list of names I’ve followed since I started blogging.

I was kind of sad this evening, for I clicked on a number of names and found a number of people who haven’t written in quite a while.

Where have they gone?

There are millions of bloggers one can follow out there — who knows what prompted me to follow A instead of B. What caught my interest as opposed to those that didn’t. Be honest. You can only read so much, follow so many people. You owe your allegiance, your attention, to the writers you really enjoy.

So what happened to those whose prose I enjoyed? Whose opinions I shared?

I imagine it’s what happens to most of us.

Life.

Our career changes, our family changes — our place in the writing world changes. Maybe we have burned out our point-of-view. Maybe our style has changed. We’ve turned into painters our needlepointers or quilters, our creativity exploding in new directions. Maybe we’ve had babies or found a new job. Maybe we’ve moved or got bored or started a new blog somewhere else. I don’t  think about the ultimate reason people have stopped writing….I like to believe in happily ever after. Like being immortal.

I’m always adding new reads to my list — but I do miss the old reads. I understand the need to move on, but I still like to linger in the shadows of the past.

There are times when I get the urge to just stop blogging, too. Like I’ve said all there is to say. That my readers really don’t get much from my writing. Yadda yadda. We all tell ourselves the same crap when we hit that plateau. But I soon come to my senses and see how much my writing in here helps me out there. Because of my continuous writing — here, there, and everywhere — I have become a better writer, and am now being given a chance to write at my place of employment.

Others continue writing because they’ve found redemption, release,  and rebirth through their words. They share information, research, spiritual thoughts, funny stories, poetry, recipes — whatever makes them happy. And we love them for it.

The world of creativity is a huge place. When you close one door, another opens. To those who have moved on from their blogs, go for it. Make your now the best you can make it. To those who are still looking for their place in the writing world, keep on blogging.

And  hey — drop me a line if you come on back.

 

 

2017 Starts With a Whisper

As I sit on my sofa this first day of 2017, smooth jazz in the background, dogs sleeping on their doggie beds (along with Tom the cat), I am surprised at the strange swirl of thoughts that have threaded through my brain the past few days.

Many are glad 2016 is over — a lot of stress and bad juju last year. Others are building on the positive bridge they started last year. A lot of different ways to go for this supposedly first-day-of-the-rest-of-my-life.

I’ve spent the last several days reading the blogs I subscribe to through WordPress. I feel bad I can’t read people’s thoughts and emotions the day they are published, but I make it a point to sometimes just sit and read. Not glaze through the posts, but really read them. And I found myself responding to quite a few of them.

Some pledge to write every day. One blogger just popped up after a six month absence. Some write poetry, some write tragedy. Some talk about cats, some talk about painting. It’s an amazing mix of talent, and I enjoy getting to know all of them.

I’ve learned to reply with questions if I don’t understand something, or comment that I can’t find the right words to comment. It’s all encompassing — there are bloggers that pop up every couple of months, and I find myself so excited to read something new. Others write every day, and I find myself looking forward to their next view of life. I even go back into the “manage” part of the Reader and click on names I haven’t seen in a while to see what I’ve missed.

This type of diligence makes me wonder about my own blogging. Why do I do it? Is it to achieve fame? Popularity? Do I write to test out my own verbal prowess? Do I do it to share my view of middle age and beyond?

I think we all go through identity crises … all the time. Rarely do I meet someone who has been whole from the very beginning and knows the cosmic truth of inner peace. We all look for approval. For validation. For the acknowledgement that we do exist. In all worlds. As an office worker, as a mother, as a friend — we all try to make the other person proud. We all want that “best of” medal to show that all our mistakes and missteps didn’t mean a thing, because we ultimately turned out to be the “best.”

We all may or may not have natural talent. Most of us just go through the daily grind of work and bills and driving through the snow, telling ourselves that tomorrow will be better.

Well, here it is, 2017. A new year. Is it better?

I hope I am hearing a “yes” from all of you. The more we learn, the more we grow. And the easier it is to circle back to our own soul for affirmation.

My daily job has…is…changing. I have been tapped to be a social media writer, which means that my rhetoric and vocabulary needs to be top notch. It’s a lot of work — much more than I thought. But it is also a chance to show that all my hours of writing blogs and novels and poetry and short stories has paid off.

Anybody can have big numbers of followers on their blog. I am still scraping off the notion that more is better. What is really important is how many people stop and say something afterwards. How many really get what you’re saying.

Take the time today to go into your Reader and read something you missed before. Take a minute to step into their world.

It will truly help you in your own creative journey.

Angels and Witches and Dreams

s-l1000October is for Dreams

 

Ever since I started this month-long series on Dreams and Nightmares, my night life has really been cranked up. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been focusing more on my crazy dreams, wanting to remember them more, or are just fascinated by the worlds that are only accessable through those states.

I want to end the month with more light and fascination.

I really love the bloggings of Austin and his blog The Return of the Modern Philosopher. He is funny and creative and talks to gargoyles, THE devil, and other various characters about life, love, politics, and everything inbetween.

The following blog is from way back in 2013. It is based on a supposed “fever”, but, knowing Austin, it could be just another state of reality. But it does tie in wonderfully into my October is for Dreams segment. Enjoy!

 

Delirious Ramblings Of An Angelic Man In A Cauldron Fever Dream

Posted on November 10, 2013 by Austin

I remember waking up on the porch of The House on the Hill, Modern Philosophers.  I was still in my pajamas with my Magic robe pulled tightly around me.

I was soaked in sweat as I slowly opened my eyes and glanced out upon the falling snow.  Why was I sleeping with my glasses on?  Why was I out on the porch?  Was I shivering from the cold or from my fever?

“Why are you out here, Austin?” came the sweet, soothing, familiar voice to my left.

I glanced over, and the mere act of moving my head sent a violent pain throbbing through my skull.  My tired eyes focused on the most beautiful creature I’d ever seen, Rachel the Archangel.  Her wings were still visible and she held her mighty, flaming sword in her right hand, a sure sign that she sensed a threat.

I told her I didn’t know why I was on the porch.  She strode towards me, her eyes constantly checking to make sure there were no surprises.  After what seemed like an eternity, she finally arrived at where I sat.  Her big, brown eyes looked down at me, she sighed, and then finally smiled.

“You don’t look so good,” Rachel advised as her wings vanished and the flame extinguished on her sword.  “Judging from the sweat pouring off of you and that deranged look in your eyes, I’d say you have a fever.  Let’s get you inside.”

She reached out and offered her hand.  The second I grabbed it, I felt a chill race through me.  My body temperature immediately began to drop as goose bumps popped up over every inch of my 6’3″ frame.

I told Rachel how beautiful she was, and that I knew she would come for me.

“I’ll always come for you, Austin,” she cooed and that was the last thing I remember. The next time I opened my eyes, I was in my bed and saw my three closest Witch friends staring down at me.

“He’s finally awake,” Ti-Diana whispered to Waltzing Matilda and Volcanica Ivy.  All three of them approached the bed with caution.  “How are you feeling?”

My throat was dry and extremely sore, but I managed to ask them where Rachel was.

“The Archangel?” Volcanica Ivy asked as she looked down on me with concern.  “She wasn’t here when we arrived.  Are you expecting her?”

Why had Rachel left?  Did she just bring me up to bed and vanish?  Then I saw it.  Rachel’s sword was leaning up against the wall in the corner of the room.  She had been here.

“Gary the Gargoyle came to fetch us,” Waltzing Matilda explained as if she thought the perplexed look on my face meant I was wondering how the three most powerful Witches in Maine had come to be in my bedroom.  “He told us that you’ve been extremely ill and wandering aimlessly around the house.”

“We’ve come to cure you with Magic,” Ti-Diana assured me as she squeezed my shoulder.  “There’s a cauldron of Feevahbraykor Elixir bubbling down in the sun room.  Once it’s ready, we’ll give you a dose and all will be well.”

“Just rest for now,” Volcanica Ivy suggested.  “You need sleep.” The next time I opened my eyes, I was on the couch in the living room.  I was in my pajamas with my Magic robe wrapped tightly around me.  My fever was gone, and The House on the Hill smelled as if an apothecary had exploded in the next room.

I got up to wander into the sun room and find the source of the smell, but the room was empty.  The only thing I discovered was a dark smudge in the middle of the floor, as if something large, round, and hot had been set there.

I trudged up the stairs, crawled into bed, and settled in under the covers.  I looked over to the corner, expecting to see something there, but there was nothing.  I couldn’t quite remember what I thought would be there, and my mind was too tired to form any further Deep Thoughts on the topic.

I’m pretty sure I fell asleep the second I closed my eyes…

Remembering Italktoomuchitis

giphy1Greetings!

Although I think all my past blogs are funny/magical/clever, I don’t often repost them for the fear that thousands of likes rather than an appropriate few will jam the WP system.

Keeping that in mind, I was wandering through the rocky mountains of my memory and thought about this blog from June 2012. It hits the bullseye once again.

 Chit Chattin’ Cathy

doll Chatty CathyI subscribe to a few blogs where the author has broken out of their silent shell, finally finding a voice that is sparkling and true.  It’s not easy sharing something as personal as one’s self ― especially if that “self” has been suppressed for longer than one can imagine. I appreciate their efforts to finally let the world know who they are.

I, on the other hand, suffer from Italktoomuchitis.

I don’t remember when I contracted this disease.  It certainly wasn’t in grade school (too ugly), nor high school (too busy trying to get pinned). I worked in downtown Chicago for a PR department, but trust me, it was far from glamorous…or talkative ( I was rather submissive in those days). Found love, got married and had babies. I didn’t think of myself as overly verbal back then. But now I wonder — when did I become so…chatty?

Chatty is a relative word. Those of us old enough can remember the “Chatty Cathy” doll.  Pull her string and she’d say a half dozen things. What a novel idea at the time. For those of you a bit younger, this phenomenon was a highlight in Steve Martin’s tirade in Planes, Trains and Automobiles: “It’s like going on a date with a Chatty Cathy doll. I expect you have a little string on your chest, you know, that I pull out and have to snap back. Except I wouldn’t pull it out and snap it back – you would. Gnah..gnah…” Well, I’m beginning to think I’m that doll — and I’m the one pulling the string.

These last few years I think I’ve carried the chatty thing a bit too far. One question and everybody knows what I had for dinner last night, why I think my cousin’s child is out of control, the cramps I had this morning, and how much my dentist charged for root canal. I spill my son’s secrets to his wife, and tell my customers not to buy today for it goes on sale tomorrow. What is wrong with me? Since when have I become this effervescent fount of non-interesting information? I find I want to respond to everything. I have an answer for everything. Whether or not it’s informed. I find I have little patience for opinions other than mine, and need to comment on every and all things that come my way. I try and keep my mouth shut most of the time, but believe me, sometimes it’s a struggle.

I wonder if it’s that old person syndrome. You know ― the older you get, the less you care about what others think.  That seemed like such a cliché when I was younger. All those old fogies saying what they want to, not caring if they offend this person or that.  Most over 70 were a little crotchety and unreasonable, but hey, maybe they just weren’t thinking straight. Pre-Alzheimer’s and such.

As I got older I started to get where they were coming from. Now that I’m teasing the 60 mark, I’m finding those outspoken 70-year-olds weren’t so far off the mark after all.  Having spent a lifetime trying to get my thoughts and opinions across to others, I can see why caution is thrown to the wind and oldies say just what they think. I’ve been questioned and second-guessed more times than you can count; I’ve been unsure of my choices and bothered by the choices of others. I sometimes wonder if I should have turned right instead of left, if I would have made a difference, if I should have said something back then.

And I have gotten to the point where I’m tired of not being listened to.

I’m not saying that my opinion is any better than anyone else’s. We know the world by what we’ve experienced. I have kept my thoughts and opinions respectful and private. But in suppressing the nonsense that runs constantly through my head, I find myself talking and sharing more than when I was 20. It’s like the filter is broken. And I wonder — is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Through this need to reveal more than the neighborhood stripper, I find myself volunteering information that no one is interested in. Well, maybe they are, but in a superficial sort of way. I think we all do that — we listen to others babble their life stories, their grocery store nightmares, their crazy family history or their list of illnesses. We listen because we really do care. Not that we can do anything about their stories, but because we know that sometimes others just need someone to listen.

Often the babble that comes out of other mouths has nothing to do with what’s really going on inside. Maybe the storyteller suffers from insecurities, or illness, or loneliness. Maybe sharing the story of their kid’s accomplishments is a way to assure them that they did a good job as a mother or father. Maybe all they want is to be noticed. To be cared about. To be liked.

Many things fuel our chatter — or lack of. Where we’ve come from is not nearly as important as where we are headed.  If chit chatting about great recipes or the knucklehead in the cubicle down the hall gives us a little clearer sense of self, I’m all for it. We all need to get the chit out of our heads so we can think clearer and feel stronger. And as long as the chat is not destructive, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of babble at the bubbler.

Alas, sometimes I think my only solution is to wire my jaws shut.

Trying To Keep Up

thanks_for_reading_cat_2This is ridiculous.

Yesterday I purposefully started going through the roll of bloggers I follow, determined to read at least the last thing they blogged.

Like all of you, I have other responsibilities in my life that get in the way of reading and writing all the time. When I come into WordPress, it’s either to blog or reblog, and read about the last 5-10 blogs in my Reader.  I would follow more bloggers, but I feel it’s a disservice to sign up to follow someone you’re never going to have time to read.

And I have come to the realization that it is the group you keep in contact with that makes your writing worth while, anyhow.

My statistics say I have 943 followers.Or 445, depending on the statistics. In truth, I bet less than half of them read my writings on a regular basis. Which is sad but truthful. How could they? If they follow 30, 50, 70 bloggers, AND if they also have a life, there is no way they can give all the bloggers their full attention. Unless you are a wiz at multitasking or a speed reader, you just can’t read them all. Especially if some people blog more than once a day.

The same is time for Twitter. I suppose I follow 90 or so, and that many may follow me. Do you ever come back a few days later and the little button pops up and says “more tweets” and you click on it and the tweets scroll past you like a roulette wheel?  How can you follow  40 or 4,000 Twitter accounts and read every tweet? Do you think that your followers read your Tweets several times a day?

The importance of social media is an illusion.

Yes, getting your name out there is important, It can be a well-developed strategy for getting readers and writers. In some cases, high numbers may mean your word is getting out to the masses. Like the prophets, thousands of people are taking your words to heart.

More often, though,  numbers are just that. Numbers. Eenie, meenie, miney and moes clicked on your name like chits on a voting card.

Back to going through the blogs I follow.

Some blogs show a sea serpent with the words “No Recent Posts.” I can only hope they have gone off on other writing paths, other ways of self expression. Then there are bloggers who haven’t written in a while, but come back just often enough that the sea serpent doesn’t get them. Next are writers who write once a week or so. it’s easier to follow their journies because they let one message sink in before they start another. Finally are the daily bloggers, ones who have learned the way of images and poetry and short whispers that can be digested in one sweep.

I feel I owe those I follow my attention and my emotions. I would take on more birds and butterflies, but common sense tells me I can never grow if I’m busy doing nothing but following.

The purpose of today’s blog is perfectly clear. I say this all the time. Quality is so much more important than quantity. You can major in philosophy for 20 years and still not understand it if you don’t go out into the world and create your own reality. Don’t be fooled by the numbers. Movie stars and singers and top book writers have thousands of readers following their every breath, their every Tweet. Are they better off having all those followers if their messages don’t resonate in people’s souls?

I’m not saying don’t expand your reading base.  I have often read someone’s comment and gone off to find their blog and read their posts. Sometimes I follow them, sometimes I comment, the least I can do is like. There is so much to learn in the social media of today.

But don’t be fooled by the numbers. I wouldn’t trade the heart-felt comments on my work for all the thousands of glances I catch. Those who like or comment or just come and read and silently disappear mean more than any amount of checkmarks on the wall. If someone likes my stuff, they’ll repost or tell a friend. That’s what I do with the blogs I like. The same is true for Twitter. I should be tweeting 30 times a day, but I only retweet comments that mean something to others like me. Other artists, writers, purveyors of The Arts and the Unknown.

There are a million great blogs out there — a million great writers. A million great photos. A million great emoters. Find the ones that make you feel good and stay with them. But don’t stretch yourself thin. Make the most of your reading time.

Many a truth comes through a whisper as well as a shout.

Unicorns and 2015

Well, here it is, December 29th, 2015. Two more days/evenings until New Years Eve, three more days until we roll on over to a new year.

Soon our favorite bloggers will be writing beautiful prose and poetry about letting go of the old, embracing the new, Father Time, memories, love, sentimentality washing over us until we feel bad about feeling so good about feeling so sentimental.

What I want to do now (seeing as New Year’s Eve I’ll probably be playing Gauntlet (video game) with my kids, I’ll play my Tarot cards now.

Two of Pentacles.  My two grandsons came to live with me/us this Fall, the pentacles of love and childhood. Soon they will be off in their own house, but, I tell you, as much as I adore them, I understand why childbirth and childrearing is left to women under the age of 50.

Queen of Swords. I admit I’ve gotten sucked into Game of Thrones, including the hype and spoilers (after I’ve watched the episode). I raise my sword in salute of poisoning, White Walkers, the God of Many Faces, Sand Snakes, incest, dragons, wights, High Sparrows, and the Wall. A bit of mania wherever you look.

The Hermit. Can’t tell you how many times I just wanted to burrow into my bed and not come out until a week later. I take the role of Drama Queen seriously, you know.

Nine of Wands. This reflects the number of edits on my novel. The wand is the pen/typewriter, and the nine is the number of times I gave up and went to my Art Gallery instead. Next year is the year.

Wheel of Fortune.  Riding the highs and lows of work, I look forward to the days of getting snowed in. Oh darn. Car is stuck in the driveway. Let’s go back inside and write a blog.

Ace of Cups. Got my lack-of-sleep thing under control this year, cut back on some meds, and generally back on the middle-aged road to energy. The Ace of Cups toasts my clean mammogram. Did you get yours??

Two of Dreams. Not a real Tarot card, this card represents the continuation of my two favorite blogs. I love writing, I love unique art, I love magic and I love the shadows between the stars. I love my family, my music, my books, and my followers. And the blogs I follow. And sunrises. And warm summer breezes. And IrishFest in Milwaukee. And cats. and spaghetti. And chocolate.

Wait — that’s more than two dreams.

Hope you are thankful for more than two dreams, too!

 

 

Let’s Go There Together

two-old-ladiesIt is truly the beginning of Summer — 85-90 degrees, thunderstorms out of nowhere, sweaty body parts and streets that wave in the heat (who ever thought?)

Trying to find time to finish my Sunday Evening Art bloggeroonie, along with cleaning, cooking, watering the plants, catch up on Game of Thrones, play fetchie with the dogs, and run around with my grandson. I don’t remember being this busy 30 years ago when my own kids were little. All this running around with lists and markerboards and post-it notes full of things I don’t want to forget make me begin to wonder.

I sometimes wonder if I am at the beginning stages of dementia — I forget names, I forget occasions. I get turned around at the drop of a hankie. I was talking to my bff in the car on the way to the Art Fair Saturday: we were in this big, fun, heavy discussion and I had this great point I wanted to make, and suddenly I drew a great big blank. A white 50 x 50 foot wall couldn’t have been more empty. I KNEW where I was going seconds earlier; it’s just that something (who knows what) distracted me, and before I knew it I was sitting with my mouth open trying to catch flies or something.

The only saving grace was that my friend chuckled, started her own story, and hit that very same 50 x 50 wall. She’s several  years younger than me, and maybe it was contagious, but we got a good laugh out of that one.

How would you know if you were losing your mind?

I laugh at that thought, but it’s just as serious as any other disease or accident that may or may not befall you at any time. When does the joking become real? I mean — when does it get serious?

I am able to do my job fairly proficiently still; I am able to write sentences and make my readers smile and collect unique art and talk on the phone and sketch and stencil and read long, windy books with the best of them. I remember how to get to most places, how to balance a check book, and how to do Excel and Word.

But I also forget names, recipes, and directions. I forget how to reprogram the stupid TV/Dish recorder if I hit the wrong button, and I sometimes stare at the computer screen because I’ve forgotten the next step.

I’m sure it happens to all of us. I only hope that I can make a creative moment out of every mistake that takes me in the wrong direction. I’ve already decided that there is no wrong direction (except walking into traffic). Coordinated outfits and hair styles that last the day are more like a crap game to me. If they work, fine. If not, don’t worry about it.

I often get tired of others telling me what to do, and do make strides to “do it myself.” Which I do. Most of the time. The rest of the time I nod and smile and go into my creative world and do things my way anyway. I go off on writing jaunts and unique art jaunts and kinda don’t care anymore if my family goes with me or not. Heck — I’m even singing “My Way” with Frankie now and then.

I don’t know if that’s the beginning of dementia or Alzheimer’s  — and it really doesn’t matter, does it? if I get there I get there. In the meantime I want to leave my own little legacy behind. Lots of pictures of whatever on my phone. Unicorn collections and fancy, second-hand-store wine glasses. Sappy novels, blogs, short stories, poetry, love notes, unique artwork. And, by golly, forgetful or not, I’m going to have a great time doing it all.

Someday someone will go through my laptop and smile at what was left behind.

(Oh Good Lord — did you see this?!?!)

READ THESE (gimmicky) GUIDELINES NOW!!

dos-donts-celebrities1The world is full of gimmicks — full of one-liners and sensational promises for everything from growing hair to making money while staying at home.  Just do this. Pay a fee for that. Follow these 5 rules and 10 guidelines and you’ll be smarter, prettier, richer, and so on.

Well, I want to cash in on that rigmarole, too. Every blogger wants to be popular. Well read. Recommended. Vital to the survival of the planet. Admit it — we don’t care about statistics, yet every time we get a new follower we do the Snoopy Dance.

So in that same (silly) vein, here are tried-and-true rules for you to follow if you want to be a popular, magnetic, P’s and Q’s type of over-the-top blogger.

DO…

*  Write about kittens/cats and puppies/dogs. No one can resist the cuteness of baby animals. Even if they poop in your lap or chew your new pair of shoes, there’s something cute about the whole thing.

*  Pictures. People love pictures. Nature’s a good one: flowers, trees, paths. Can’t beat Mother Nature for a Stress Buster. Makes ya just wanna go out and do the Irish jig, doesn’t it?

*  Use pictures of food. Even if your recipe/story/antidote doesn’t have anything to do with the pic, who can resist an image of ooey gooey caramel or creamy, cheesy lasagna or a bead-sweating glass of whatever? Makes my mouth water just to think about it.

*  Quotes. People love stories that start or end with quotes. Surely Mel Brooks or Clint Eastwood carry the same charisma as Dali Lama or William Shakespeare. Try a “Roses are Red, Violets are Blue” kinda lead in. You’ll knock ’em dead.

*  Lists. People can’t resist lists. The top 5 to 10 of anything is enough to hold their attention. Now, no one says these lists have to make sense — no one pays much attention to the rules once they leave your blog anyway. But they certainly are eye-catchers!

* Talk to make-believe characters. People love being entertained. I know of a blogger who talks to cheeseburgers and gargoyles. Why not you? And, who knows? They may be more informative and entertaining the evening news.

 

Don’t…

*  Go overly long on the length of your blog. I know you want to unburden your soul, explore the possibilities, make new friends, share recipes, etc., etc., etc. But  you and I know that the attention span of most readers is less than that of a gnat. At 600 words you’ve still got an audience. By 800 people are starting to open a second window on their computer. 900 to 1000 words people are throwing a load of laundry in between sentences. Anything on it’s way up to 2000 words might well be voted “Novel of the Year.”

*  Steal — borrow. The Internet is full of ideas. Borrow what you like and make it yours. If you DO borrow directly from someone, give them the credit they’re due. Readers don’t necessarily care if your words sound familiar — they just don’t want to get sued for reading them.

*  Talk about the same thing over and over. If you are sharing pain, share it. If you are sharing music, or thoughts on television shows, share it. Then talk about something else. Show your progress. Your research. Your over-vivid imagination. People love getting lost. Let them get lost in your mind.

*  Give up writing the best blog you can. Make sure every sentence counts. You want to reach as many readers as you can with your message, no matter what that message is. Good bloggers are followed, not by the quantity they pump out, but by the quality. A story that makes you think, makes you feel, makes you chuckle, will stay with the reader a lot longer than one that flashes in the night.

And — (wait for it…) Who needs hot flashes in the night anyway?

The TRUTH Behind Cats and the Strawberry Moon

hdAlright. Now that the Strawberry Moon thing is over, I can tell you the real story of my last blog.

You see, I was walking down the tractor trail along this huge, long cornfield. It happened that sunset and moonrise were at the same time that night, and with MR — I mean Mercury Retrograde (I can say it now) in full swing, I was prepared for anything.

Or so I thought.

As the huge moon crested over a barn in the far distance (a real Kodak moment), I started to hear strange sounds from the center of the cornfield. Now, mind you, the corn is really only stubble; 4-5 inches max. So I should have noticed something strange down the row from the get-go. But you know me — into the Goddess “thing” and blah blah blah-ing to the moon about writing and getting published and all that, I just didn’t notice.

I didn’t notice a gathering of moving things dancing in a circle.

Now, you know me. I’m more pretzel than logic, and my creativity takes me to places I’ve never been before. But I was standing on a dirt road all by myself a quarter mile from home, so I instantly switched to my logic gear (also known as survival mode).

I stood very still, trying to figure out what the commotion was. If it was a band of gypsies or satan worshipers, I was gonna take off faster than Dale Earnhardt. But the “gathering” wasn’t tall at all. Not like human beings. Not even tall enough to be kids.

No — the noise was coming from something no bigger than a cat.

Wolves, I thought. Coyotes. Eating, devouring their prey. Howling and growling and sacrificing to the Strawberry Moon. I felt adrenelin flush my whole body. Yet I had to know. Curiosity was suddenly my deadly companion. So C and I tip-toed closer to the group making all the noise.

All I could hear was, “Mrrrro brrrreeerrr Mrrrrro! Mrrrrro breeerrrr Mrrrro!” Over and over. Chanting. A mantra. Surely they were calling up the spirits of the Strawberry! I would be a gonner if I wandered any closer. But, you know me. I couldn’t resist.

Louder and louder they chanted. The moon kept rising, bigger, fuller, flushed with red, not unlike the Strawberry it was named after. The cold wind blew around me, bringing goosebumps to my under-dressed body. But the chanting got louder and louder.

What in the #($*#@ was going on?

Suddenly the chanting reached its pinnacle, and all in one voice they screamed, “MRRRRO BEEERRRRZZZ MRRRROOOOO!” The moon shook, the wind swirled in a final tornado, and suddenly 7 or 8 cats ran off into the night!

They had been dancing around something half buried between two corn stubs. I was terrified. But I had wandered this far — what could it have been?? Stumbling over the last few rows of corn, smashing a stalk or two (sorry, farmer John), I saw what the commotion had been about.

Half buried in the dirt was a little dark blue football, a big orange “C” facing the Strawberry Moon that now had turned orangy itself. And I knew.

Go Bears Go.

The Chicago Bears needed all the help they could get…

(I told you there was a story there somewhere….)

Welcome to my 5th Dimension

greatestgifeverWell, I think I’m over my vacation. And I’ve gotten the Art Gallery stuff out of my system (at least until Sunday).  I’m following a few blogs that do “Wordless Wednesdays,” and I’m really enjoying their pictures. And I think — maybe I can add that to my blog, too.

In the next second I think — what’s wrong with me? What’s with this “over-achiever” thing I seem to be going through?

It’s worse than puberty. Or maybe just LIKE puberty. When you blossom into a young lady (or young man), your thoughts are obsessed with sex. Wanting it, thinking about it, dreaming about it.  Fifty years later, your obsession turns from what used to be to what can be. (And trust me — it’s not sexually oriented). Lost between a tedious job and dreams of retirement, your psyche reaches out to do MORE. Whatever MORE may be to you.

I suppose that’s where “too much of a good thing” comes from.

Like too much chocolate or too much lasagna (can there really be too much of either?), too much variety in a blog is not only confusing to the reader but to you as well. Most bloggers have a theme, a direction, a reason for sharing their thoughts. And those who identify with those themes/directions/reasons follow and share and (hopefully) get something positive out of it.

But when you go this way one day and that way the next and over there the next, there tends to be a bit of confusion on the direction part. I could have started my Sunday Evening Art Gallery as its own separate blog, but I found that I wanted to share these discoveries with YOU, my friends. Knowing how eccentric a middle-aged woman (say…62-ish) can be, you can maybe connect my looking for older age direction with odd, unique art.

Thin though that line may be, I’ve worked hard to keep it strong. Introducing another dimension to this already multi-dimensional blog might be the bonie that made the doggie fat. Too much of a good thing leads to a predicable end.

Getting fat and lazy. And that’s already a struggle.

So my friends-who-have-wordless-Wednesdays — go for it. I love trying NOT to say anything to your unique pictures. And I love the added dimension it gives your blog.

As for me — I’m already bouncing around in the 5th dimension. And there’s no no place out there for being wordless.

Point Me Towards the Kingdom

wavinggifThere is an eerie sense of calm around the Goddess’s home realm these last few days leading up to my vacation at the world’s most expensive playground: Disneyworld. It’s that ethereal world one slips into right before something BIG is about to happen: a wedding, Christmas, or, in my case, vacation.

It’s like I have all the time in the world to do laundry, shop for food for my house sitter, change the kitty litter — you know what I mean. Seeing as I have a mere 35 hours, 42 minutes, and 56 seconds (minus 8 hours for work and 45 minutes travel time) before I’m up in the air heading to sun and sweat  and overpriced everything, I’d better get back into my reality pronto.

Since I won’t be able to hang with you all for a week or so, I thought I’d leave you all with some funny stories about — food.

Who doesn’t like food?

So this week, when you’re bored or hungry (or both), come and check out the following oldies but goodies:

Bread and Butter Badlands  http://wp.me/p1pIBL-CK   bread

A decadent descent into pushing away or towards the table, depending on your end goal.

 

Incredible Edibles  http://wp.me/p1pIBL-MKdog-cooking

What better business to start than opening a Culinary School of Leftovers?

 

When Is A Cherry Not A Cherry  http://wp.me/p1pIBL-AT  cherry

Not so much about food as it is about my sophomoric sense of humor with words.

 

Until then, just keep in mind — I’ll be singing “It’s a Small World After All” for the next three months after this trip…

Passion on Hold?

To thine own self be true.Friday

~~William Shakespeare

 

That is no truer than this evening.

I have the weekend to myself. Hubby and boys are hunting, grandbaby up with the other grandparents. Lots of time to do my favorite thing in the whole world.

Write.

I have a lunch date tomorrow; washing the kitchen floor and doing some laundry are on the list as well. The rest of the time is mine, mine, mine.

It’s Friday night and I’ve already made my goulash for dinner (some sort of meat and some sort of noodle and some sort of sauce…catchers-catch-can, so they say). I brought out my laptop, threw some towels in the dryer, fed the dogs, let the dogs out, watched the finale of one TV show, caught up on two more TV shows, am looking out the window at the soft rain falling, and still haven’t written a word.

Do I sabotage myself all the time?

In my own defense — I did write a fantastic blog for this coming Sunday, and did some research on a wonderfully creative art and artist that I will keep for another day. So I have been moving forward, albeit in a crookedy sort of way.

I could blame my very busy, very mind-numbing day. I get home, I am tired, my dreams dancing and fading away into the sunset.  But the “why” doesn’t matter.

I believe that when you have the passion, the seed, the soul of creativity, it will never leave you. It is your source of joy, of your angst and your celebration. The mere thought of getting to do what you love lightens your day, and keeps you up at night. No matter what you love to do, you can’t wait to get back to it. Any side track, any sideways slip, any attack from kids and grandkids and friends in need/indeed are only temporary.

Love will find a way, they say.

Don’t worry if you get distracted. If your heart is in your Art, you will never wander far. Your breaks won’t last long, and your creations will be bigger and better and more fun than you ever imagined.

I’m turning the TV off right now….well, right after I finish watching my pre-recorded Bones.

(whispers…Ooohhh!! ! It’s a double Bones!)

 

 

It’s A Small World After All

mickey_mouse_tired_wallpaper_-_1024x768In a couple of weeks my crew and I will be heading for the sunny confines of Disneyworld. Besides the fact that for the first time ever I’ve been able to pay for my vacation ahead of time, I am looking forward to visiting the world of Peter Pan and Lightning McQueen. The last time I paraded through those hallowed gates, the father of my grandson was barely older than my grandson is now.  Cosmic synchronicity aside, I am so looking forward to a week of not making my own bed and no extra charge for air conditioning.

Alas, the world of vacation in general and DW in particular is not the same as it was 22 years ago. This spritely body is not as spritely as days of yore. So I think I’d better update my To-Do List.

  • Be prepared for average day temperatures in the high 80’s and lows in the mid-60s. No sweats needed, as DW’s lows equal Wisconsin’s highs.
  • Bring a small, portable container of baby powder. No reason to stick together more than necessary.
  • Less is more. A week’s worth of underwear (Plus 1 method) is okay; 7 pairs of jeans, not.
  • Get a haircut now so that it has a couple of weeks to grow into something civilized.
  • Moving is relative. I can still cross distances as I did in the olden days. It just takes a little longer. Therefore, map out bathrooms and misting stations ahead of time. Note air conditioned venues as well.
  • Food rules from home count double here. No creamy, spicy, or burpy delights. Stock up on imodium and Pepto.
  • No need to try the lobster look the first day. Xtra duty sunscreen at 200+ suggested. ChapStik a bonus.
  • Reinvent your idea of what water play is. A 4-year-old does not hang around the shallow end of the pool for any length of time.
  • There are enough adults in the group that each one can schedule a time out. Use it. On yourself and others.
  • The Smartphone is the new camera. Keep it close. Preferably in your pocket. Also doubles as a patience-building tool, as in Jet Pack, Jewels Saga, and Swamp Attack.
  • Water is the lifeforce of DW. Pack many and refill often. Leave the imported beer until you get home.
  • You will undoubtedly leave one important thing behind. Put something to the side (that you can buy down there) and purposely forget it. Break the curse early.
  • Give up any idea of bringing a purse. No need to always take up two spaces. If it doesn’t fit in a fanny pack, you don’t need it.
  • Granola bars are your best friends at the park. Just make sure to get your system used to all that fiber about a week ahead of time.

I’m sure you have your own dots you can add to my list. Any thoughts, experiences, or reality checks are appreciated.

Let’s hear it for the Mouse.

Trial and Error is Better Than a Bottle of Whine

trialI had almost a whole blog finished this evening, one about deer ticks and broken teeth and watching Face Off. But when I reread it, all I saw was creatively written whine.  The beautiful thing about typing on a computer is that with one sweep I can delete it all.

But what about second thoughts? What if I destroy something that one day may be my Pulitzer Prize?

I imagine my friends in other arts have the same dilemma. Graphic art, photography, writing, pottery — there’s always those pieces that you gave your heart and soul to and it still sucks. So you redo it. Rewrite it. Re-form it.

But how many times to you redo it?

I would love to hear from my graphic artist friends or sculptor friends or my scrapbooking friends. How many times to you redo something to get it “perfect”? And if you DO redo it, HOW do you do it?

Writing is simple yet complex. Often my stories, novels, poems, and other ditties start out with notes or research of some kind. Not like the Encyclopedia Britannica, but I try and create an ocean of information so that I can eventually reduce it to a cup full of water. Quite like my research for my Sunday Evening Art Gallery. Writing about Doors? Collect images of 30 different doors so I can choose 8. Writing about Nail Art? Download 20 images so you can share 7. Writing about life in 1880? Better check out things like electricity, transportation, and currency, even if the reference is only a couple of sentences long.

I keep every other version of my creations, cutting here, adding there, rearranging when needed. As the years go by I get rid of the middle versions — I’ve either moved forward and created a masterpiece, or it just hasn’t “done it” for me. I have a computer full of half-formed ideas, research that goes nowhere, poetry that needs real work. I decide what I want to work on, what I still need to research, and what was a great idea at the time but now, no thank you.

How do you deal with developing your craft? Do you network? Do you draw a basic image and then play with that same image until you get what you want? Do you you have pages and pages of canvas that hold various versions of your final masterpiece? Do you have stacks of pottery that look nothing like what you wanted to create?

My notebooks are glimpses of my thoughts through time. I’ve kept some since I started writing in earnest years ago. It’s fun going back and seeing my thought processes through the years. Sometimes I go back and reignite the embers that once burned brightly. Other times I just smile and see why the ideas are still only in a notebook.

I think beginner crafters can learn from our paths of trial and error. The thrill of creating something unique is made from the sweat and love and honesty that comes from somewhere deep inside. Some pick one idea, one idea, and stick with it from beginning to end. Others have trial and error experiences, realizing a particular path was pretty much a dead end from the beginning. So we choose a different path. A different path in the same endless woods.

I feel so much better when I write about the Craft. If I ever unlocked the door to the Hallway of Infinite Doors, I would find worlds that I love almost as well — drawing, stenciling, jewelry making, gardening. I would never have a life because my life would exist in the next dimension — the ethereal one. The Creative Arts one. I only hope you feel that way about your Craft too.

Oh, btw — the tick bite wasn’t infected, my broken tooth gets fixed in the morning, and Face Off is down to its final three.

Life is good.

Fashion Rule Number Two

CAM01211I didn’t think I’d be adding to my Fashion Advice Blog (my FAB blog…heh…) so soon. After all, I just packed two paper bags to give to Good Will.

But dressing this morning Lesson Two dawned on me:

Don’t let the crabbies dictate your outfit.

Now, being on a different shift than my other half, I’m often looking through my closet in the morning with the flashlight app on my smartphone. Yesterday I woke up crabby, and neglected — no, downright ignored — the outfit I had picked out the night before. I couldn’t fall asleep, I didn’t want to wake up. So why should I look fresh to the world?

Because of that frumpy choice I felt off-center all day. Even my bling of a necklace couldn’t push me left or right of the funk. By the end of the day, though, the temperature outside was near 60, the sun danced between the clouds, and I had a great time outside with my grandbaby.

Just think that I could have had that feeling all day long if I’d just dressed in what I had originally chosen.

We’re not big dresser-uppers at work; the younger generation does wear great outfits, but the middlers and post-middlers don’t often follow suit. Well, I want to follow suit. As I said in my earllier blog (Be a Fashion Plate — Not a Platter, http://wp.me/p1pIBL-ZR), I don’t want to be that monochrome person (paraphrasing, of course…)

This morning I was again crabby. Not the I’ll-knock-your-socks-off-if-you-talk-to-me crabby, just a why-do-I-have-to-do-this-five-days-a-week crabby. The sun was rising over the trees out my back window; the promise of 60 degrees in the air. So I went back and picked out yesterday’s outfit: a blue top and flowered skirt, and a pair of blue sandals.

And I feel young again.

Now, I hear many of you say, “I’m not a skirt/dress person.” During the winter I’m not either. But there’s something in a flowy skirt blowing in the breeze that makes me feel fresh. Different. Lighter. As if my cares have fluttered away. Lightweight pants and flowy tops can do the same. Or colorful scarves.

Kinda like church on Sundays back in the old days.

So that will be Lesson Two. Pick out your outfit the night before (when you still have some fun left in you), and don’t be swayed by the grump you can sometimes be. Lighten Up. Take a Chance. If you can’t do the night-before-thing, take an extra three minutes and do it right in the morning. Don’t go searching with the flashlight app. You may pull out blue bottoms and a different blue top.

Think of the horror of mass boredom you might create.

Be a Fashion Plate — Not a Platter

giphyFor all of you who are tired of making sure your blues are all the same blue and you wear only one pattern at a time:

This morning I complimented a girl on the color combinations of her outfit. She was wearing a purple t-shirt over a pink shell, with a bright green jacket. I didn’t notice her pants, because I’m sure they were the basic black/navy/dark brown. And that’s point number one.

I didn’t notice her pants because they were very basic.

Despite the fact that she was half my age and weight, she carried off the rainbow pretty well. And I told her so. (I like to give out compliments when I can.) That led to my second thought — if I were dressed like that, I’d look like I was heading off to the circus.

Tada dum. An instant putdown to a healthy thought.

Now, the outfit wasn’t offensive in any way. It wasn’t too short, too small, too tight, too sloppy. It was a play on colors I had not seen together. And — I liked it.

Yet I hide in my black-on-black and silver-and-black and pink-and-black. Summer may throw in some whites and greens, but it’s pretty much old lady old. Last year I wrote a blog called Old Lady BoHo (http://wp.me/p1pIBL-uu) where I was going to lighten up my wardrobe and wear flowy skirts and peasant tops and whatever felt good.

And here I am, writing this blog, dressed in black pants and a black-and-white mosaic shirt.

Woo hoo.

And I think — I can’t do this any more.

I know there are plenty of women who are perfectly happy in the monochromes of the world. But deep inside I am not. I think I’m so afraid of “stepping out of the (color) box” because I’m afraid of looking stupid, so I pass on a lot of fun, comfortable, ME things.

I’m not totally helpless yet — I do have tops with promise, and I have bought a few of those cotton dresses from India for summer evenings.  But I sure could use some advice — and a boost of confidence. I’m sure there are other readers out there who could use a boost in the wardrobe department, too. Or who have taken the plunge and never looked back.

I want to be that person.

I’m sure I’m not alone with this.

I know I can’t (nor do I want to) dress like I’m 20 or 30. I might have the legs for mini skirts, but my buttocks and stomach aren’t quite as accommodating — or forgiving. But there has to be fun colors and patterns out there I can put together and not look like the a haushalterin. But my color palate is like the image above and right. Always moving, always confusing

The first step is stepping over the conservative barrels your youth set out for us. Catholic schools are at one end of the horror spectrum, big city public schools the other. We have to shed this heavy coat of conservatism and find a middle ground.

And I really do want to start this today. I only have 20 or 25 years to get this right.

Better start sooner than later.

How about you?

 

Breezy Books Make Reading a Breeze!

I love a good book; I love good blogs and good company.51d0NQj9swL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

I seemed to have found all three at Breezy Books.

I also love free books, and that’s what Maddie Cochere is offering. And, from the sound of things, that’s just what I’m in need of.

In Maddie’s own words:

I’ve always loved the name Susan, so I chose to use it for my main character. I decided to write about some of my life experiences from working in a weight loss center by day and playing racquetball at night, but I would have everything play out in a much more interesting way in Susan’s life.

… I completed the fourth book in the series. I know! Isn’t that crazy? But I was having fun – sailing along, writing, laughing, and self-publishing. My books are a fun, easy read. There is mystery, a little humor (sometimes madcap), and a little romance. They are pretty squeaky clean with nothing to make you blush.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of blushing and shifting in my seat every other page. Sometimes I just want to read something fun, something real, something that feels more like me than the color grey.

I’ve downloaded my free books — and can’t wait to start reading. And the great thing is that there’s more to come.

Come check out the Susan Hunter Mysteries!

https://breezybooksblog.wordpress.com/

Are You Or Are You Not?

writing girlSome of the best advice, the best posts, are posted by others. If you are on Facebook, you know what I mean. The following post was shared on my FB by my very special friend and writer Jane O, who found this on Author’s Publish (www.authorpublish.com), who published it from an article submitted by Chantelle Atkins (http://chantelleatkins.com/), Chantelle also is a fun writer, and she hit the target with her article, “How to Know if You Are a Writer.”  It’s a little over a thousand words, but it’s soooo true! See how many are you!

They say that everyone has at least one good book in them. Does that make you a writer? Or is it more than that? Is it something you decide to be, something you learn to be, or something you have always been whether you liked it or not?

The following statements are what I believe marks someone as a writer. The following factors distinguish writers from other individuals. You don’t have to agree with every statement except the last one. It is the ultimate defining factor, but all the others are key factors that inform why I am a writer

You stare into space. You gaze out of windows. You fall into trances. You drift away. Reality jerks you back. People get impatient and roll their eyes. Get your head out of the clouds, they said when I was young. They told me to stop daydreaming. Don’t stop daydreaming.

Your concentration is variable. Sometimes it is like a dog with a bone, fixed and savage, eyes narrowed, teeth clenched, hands like claws, fingers pounding at the keyboard. Nothing can break you. You keep going until your back aches and your neck cricks and your bladder protests. Other times you are in and out, like clouds in the sky, drifting and aimless. This is because people want your attention and your mind is somewhere else. Sometimes it is because words, images, and voices are forming and joining in your head. You have to sit back and be patient. Don’t try to force it.

Real life gets in the way. This is annoying. Especially when you are on a roll. Housework, real jobs, phone calls driving places, and shopping can all interfere with your writing. You’ve got to do all these things, because real life dictates that you must. But these things are often a chore, something you resent and rush through. Just to get back to the story.

You can’t sleep at night. Your head is full of it all. All of the time. It is relentless. Their voices are getting louder. They are drumming at your door. Kicking their feet against the wall. Moaning and whining. They want their turn. When is it going to be their turn? They’ve told you so much now. You know what they look like. You know what they sound like, how they speak, what slang they use, what their mannerisms are. You know their stories and their dilemmas. You just want to get some sleep! But you can’t, not until it is done. Not until things are settled. They are in control and they know it.

Inspiration comes at strange and wonderful times. Dialogue springs into your head. Characters grow and change, becoming more real. They sneer and jostle and roll their eyes and seep inside your consciousness. Plot twists you never knew you were capable of dreaming up. Oh my God! Where did that come from? Who would have thought? But of course…that would be brilliant…that would work, that would tie in and make sense…and then…and then…You have to get home quick. You need a pen. A phone to tap into. Anything. You must not forget. You must not lose it!

You people watch. You don’t know you are doing it. It is not on purpose. You are often a loner, an introvert, someone who carries things around, cradles them inside until writing sets them free. You think people are not for you, not really. But they are. Because they are the life and soul of the stories. And they are everywhere, doing what people do. They are sloshing drinks and swearing under their breath. They are wiping oil stained fingers down their shirt. They are sighing in the queue at the store,  biting their lips with some secret unknown worry. They are shiny with sweat, frantic with unrealized dreams and potential. They have whiskered chins and nicotine fingers, fat thighs, and newspapers rolled under arms, they have backpacks and are going somewhere, but where and why? They pass you on the street, they look through you, they are chatting on the phone, they are always living lives, secret and unknown. They could be anyone. They could have a story.

You suffer from crippling self-doubt. It has plagued you for years. You don’t blow your own trumpet or beg for attention. You swallow the words you really want to say. You don’t know why you write, I mean, who are you? Who are you to write anything? Who wants to know? Who will care? But you do it because you have always done it. One way or another. Sometimes life gets in the way and people tell you to wake up and stop dreaming. Make money, work jobs, pay bills, care for kids. They wonder why you care about writing. What is that? It doesn’t get you anywhere. It doesn’t make you any money. But you know why you do it. You do it because you would go crazy if you didn’t. Because the voices would get too loud to bear. Because the people inside your head would feel lost and let down, be voiceless and alone. Because of all the things you don’t say in real life, all the things you have stood by and watched and heard and felt and thought, because all those things need to come out. All those things. They need to be heard.

You write. Ultimately it comes down to this one fact. This is the crux of it. If you are a writer, you write. Whatever it is. Poems, fiction, non-fiction, blogs. Whether you share it or not, whether you publish it or not, whether you think you are good at it or not. You do it anyway, there is no choice.

Read This Right Now!

10410939_10203578780099885_8715010658202880461_nTo all you current and wannabe bloggers, I came across some interesting statistics the other day, courtesy of Statistic Brain http://www.statisticbrain.com/attention-span-statistics .

As far as us lovers of blab go:

The average attention span in 2013 was 8 seconds.

The average attention span in 2000 was 12 seconds.

The average attention span of a gold fish is 9 seconds.

I just imagine the statistics for 2015 are even more mind blowing. What does that hold for us chatterboxes? Are we full of hot  air? Do we think we are Shakespeare when we are merely Rocky?

I tried to think of things you can do in 8 seconds.  You can:

Glance over one’s resume

Count to 8

Delete your Facebook account

Deseed a pomegranate with a spoon

Speed dial Japan

Make a bologna sandwich

So what the article was saying is — keep your message tight, short, to the point.

Right — and Abraham Lincoln wasn’t really our president, either.

I looked back at my blogs. I’ve been chatting away since 2011. I must say I have cut back on my rhetoric. Back then, Dinner with the Queen (6/22/11) was 1015 words. Chocolate and the Tuscan Sun (4/23/11) was 1016 words. My last few blogs have been more reasonable. Incredible Edibles (686).  Evidence was 452 words. BFFs was 564 words. Shhhh Kitty Kitty Kitty was 686 (am I pushing it here?). I am trying to heed the warning that these days it’s really easy to bore people. To numb people. I have them flip past your book/page/article and move onto the next. And the next.

Some articles I’ve read say you should be able to tell your story in two sentences. Anything else is wasted work. (Of course, that particular article was over 1,000 words long). I know we are all used to Yahoo headlines. After all, that’s how many of us get our news these days.

But how do you know if you’re missing anything of substance? How do you know if you’ll enjoy what you read if the story is only 20 words? How do you know what the person(s) is feeling or thinking or doing in less than two sentences? I think eating only one piece of chocolate is easier.

I could shorten my blogs to a couple of sentences:

Evidence: My cat steals things from my purse and leaves them on the dog’s pillow. She is naughty.

Incredible Edibles: Going to a Creative Leftovers School would be fun. You could learn what to do with leftovers.

They just don’t have the same panasche as the thought process of the sneaky fat cat or the  truth behind impulse buying and portion control, do they?

I suppose that’s what Facebook and Twitter are for. Short, sweet spots of information. Glance and forget. Or glance and send to yourself so you don’t forget it. I have about 15 recipes on FB that I’ve sent myself so I wouldn’t lose them in the plethora of information spinning past me every day. Don’t ask me if I’ve ever gone back to look at them, though.

I think writing, like anything else, is done half way in the middle. Sometimes it takes paragraphs to describe scenery or someone’s evil thoughts. Other times, a few words will do. You will “get it” no matter which you choose. Just be careful the tone in which you convey your message.

You may be describing a decadent desert and someone will mistake it for porn. Worse yet, you may be describing porn and someone will think you’re talking about strawberry shortcake.

 

7 Activities to Keep your A.D.D. Busy

circle-back-oI find that I’m always on my way to talk about one thing when I get turn around and talk about something else. I usually attribute this to my adult-onset A.D.D. Not making fun of the condition; just acknowledging that I have most of the symptoms.

I am learning to work with my short attention span. Sometimes it’s waving my arms like an orchestra conductor, forcing myself to slow down and breathe; other times it’s doing the whirling dervish, looking for the TV flipper that I just set down somewhere. There are other odd things that contribute to my upsidedownness — hubby working a different shift, too many dogs underfoot, having to sit still eight hours a day in front of a computer screen. The winter blues are hitting all of us full force, too. Tired of below zero, slush and piles of snow, boring browns and blacks as wardrobe colors.

What’s a feisty granny to do when she’s lost her zest?

I’ve come up with a list of activities that will combine my inability to sit still with my desire to nap half the time. See if you can identify with any of them.

1.  Multitask.  Now, most of you already do that. But if you orchestrate your movements, you can flow from one room to another, putting things away, running a dust rag across the TV on the way to the bathroom where you pick up dirty towels, drop the towels in front of the washer as you continue towards the kitchen, emptying the dishwasher, taking a clean glass to your bathroom where you stop on the way to fold a couple of shirts in the laundry basket. By the end of the night you’ll have cleaned several rooms and burned off a few hundred calories!

2.  Exercise Class. It’s never too soon to start an exercise regime. I’m not much of a class person, but I have an elliptical downstairs that I can move right in front of the TV. Maybe one day I’ll be able to watch all of Gone With the Wind on the thing.

3.  Writing.  Now, I know you wonder, “How can sitting and writing in the evening help with my antsy pantsyness?” Well, no one writes quite like me. I know Stephen King hides himself in a room for eight hours a day, others have great studies, library desks, even a comfy chair in a quiet corner. Not me. Half the time I’m plopped onto my favorite corner of the sofa, TV going on in the background (mostly Sirius radio), laundry rollin’ in the dryer, flash drives and laptop and spiral notebooks and my phone all within reach, a glass of milk, (sometimes a cookie), and a blanket for the chill. It’s amazing what I can get done with I just sit. What also helps is that I have ten things I want to do and only a couple hours a night to do it.

4.  Be a Granny. Although this task is usually delegated to weekends, there is never a slow, dull moment when I get together with the world’s cutest 4-year-old. Often there are other grandparents around too, so we all can take a breather when duty calls. But I find trying to keep up — and ahead — of him, especially mentally, is the perfect outlet for my whirling dervish moments.

5.  Research. I know when I say that word you think of  putting together 30 references on the bottom of a 50 page research paper on the life of a paramecium. But that’s not true. No matter what your hobby/career/dream, there is always something you can learn from. Learn about. Some take notes; some have great memories. When people say you can’t be a writer unless you’re a reader, that’s true. Even if it’s Yahoo headlines. But your curiosity should take you places that inspire you. Surrealistic artists, wire sculptors, quilting patterns. Ancient ruins. Alien ruins. You can learn from them all.

6.  Organize. Yes, I know that’s akin to cleaning, something many of us are allergic to. But especially now that winter is thinking about leaving, what better time to rearrange your closet or jewelry box or kitchen cabinets. It’s funny, but organization does bring a slowing of the heartbeat and the feeling of accomplishment. After all, how many bracelets or blue shirts can one have?

7. Music. This is my final go-to when I find I can’t slow down. A piano sonata by Beethoven can work wonders. So can smooth jazz or even a visit to the New Age station. No words, no pounding beat (I leave that for Saturday mornings). Just a steady rhythm, a mysterious melody, to a beat that slows down your racing pulse and forces you to relax. Dim lights help, too. Incense. Candles. Just don’t fall asleep and burn your house down.

We all have hobbies/careers/passions that make our blood boil and our ideas clamor to see the light of day. We have busy days, meetings, conferences, data entry and countless other responsibilities. If you are retired, there is still a list a mile long of things you want/need to get done. And the last thing you want to do during the evening or on weekends is to keep running at that breakneck pace.

Yet your love of your craft won’t let you rest, either.

Your best bet is to channel your energy into a positive force to be reckoned with. You may find yourself writing down thoughts for your next story as you mix cookie dough while watching “The Walking Dead” in the background, but, hey! Isn’t that what life is all about?

Get ‘er done!

 

The Sunday Evening Art Gallery has Opened!

its-not-about-me1I am not sure where the wanderlust for unusual art came from. It might be from stumbling across the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao; it could be from looking at Mount Rushmore in person so many years ago.

But once I opened the door, I was Dorothy discovering the Land of Oz. Shapes and colors I’d never imagined appeared before me. More than that — creative minds reached out and touched the creative muse inside of me.  Art that was just a little — different. Unique. Art that brought discussion and engagement to the world.

I found that once I stumbled around and discovered these unique creations, I collected more images than a normal blog attention span could handle. So what better way to show even more examples of the creative mind than to create a gallery dedicated to them alone?

The Sunday Evening Art Gallery is a newly created site that is an expansion of my Sunday Evening offerings. It is an expansion of my weekly gallery — a place where you can enjoy additional creations from magical minds.

Including mine.

I will be adding new galleries every week, so please come and visit often. If you know of other artists/objects/representations of any form of Creative Art, let me know that, too. I am always open for more magic!

http://www.sundayeveningartgallery.wordpress.com

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Colors

Alas, writers always write faster than they think. And here it is, Sunday evening, and I’ve been doing a lot of thinking.

I so want to open an additional page on this website to highlight all the extraordinary images of Art I have come across through my travels. Images that add to the Sunday evening blogs I’ve been creating for you. But I’ve been dissatisfied with my progress, my ideas, my inability to put my thoughts onto the page in just the right way so that I can share them with you.

Like all of you creative muses out there know, you can’t put something out there until it feels right. Yes, there will always be something that needs to be tweaked; thank goodness there is no such thing as perfection.  But it it doesn’t feel right *here* you shouldn’t put it out *there*. You need to take your time. You need to get it right.

So instead, I am going to offer some my own photographs on my Sunday Evening Art Gallery blog…photographs I took. I am in love with color, so that is what this gallery is called. Colors. I hope you enjoy them.

 

CAM00812

 

CAM00809

 

CAM00716

 

CAM00811

 

 

CAM00719

CAM00724

 

CAM00498

 

 

Squirrelly

Today has been one of those “squirrelly” kind of days. You know those kind — I’ve misplaced more things today than I have in the past week. I suppose it’s because I’m always in a hurry. Sagittarians never seem to finish their current project — they always find something more interesting to do, and leave things half-way done.

I decided the best therapy was to either come home from work, eat, and head straight for the bed, getting up only to let the dogs out; or to come to the library and use their WiFi to work on my blog’s photo gallery. I kidded my friends on Facebook that I’m always tired, achy, ready for bed (even at 10 in the morning), and yet  all I can think about is writing and researching and brainstorming with friends. They all told me it’s Writer’s Syndrome.

I wish I could say I was in the middle of my breakout novel — that I was working on an article for work or for my friend’s website. But it’s not. I’m kinda done with the novel thing for a while; I’ve thought about working on getting my Gaia and the Etruscans  published, but here in the middle/end of January that just seems like too much work. So I spend my time with ways to enhance my blog.

There is no doubt that that ambition leads to quite a bit of squirrelly-ness.

I come across dozens of articles a week that promise to help me build my reader base, get picked up by search engines, make money by blogging (or writing in general), enhance my blogsite…enough to fill Dumbledore’s Goblet of Fire. There are a million blogs out there; a million ways to build/entice/share/follow — so many that I’m dizzy talking about it. I follow about 30 blogs, and could easily follow 30 more, but with a full-time job I barely have time to read my own writing.

This past year hubby has gotten a new job that is from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. Bad for him — great for me. You would think. It is turning out that he doesn’t mind these hours, and I don’t have enough of them. Ah, you say — hours and hours of alone writing time! Peace and Quiet! Inspiration! Musing! Researching!

It’s a nice thought, but for someone like me who can’t sit still for 20 minutes, it’s a circus.

During the day I’m busy entering data, my Muse coming and bugging me now and then with new ideas. She is an Irish Wench, you know, and has no problem speaking her mind. And often times her ideas are great. But not when I’m entering HTML code. So we make a date to meet after hubby goes to work.

By that time I’ve been up 13 hours, let the dogs out three times, washed the dishes, thrown in a load of laundry, wiped the dust off the TV, and set up my writing corner on the sofa. By then my ambition has waned. My energy level slips minute by minute, and what seemed so exciting at 11 a.m. now seems like a mountain I’m too tired to climb. I manage to get a little work done so that pulling out my laptop isn’t for naught, but most times my mind is a blank.

Then about 9 p.m. I get my second wind.

Now, I have to get up in 8 hours, and old people like me are supposed to get at least 8-10 hours a sleep at night. But the great ideas of my Wench sneak back into my consciousness and I’m up writing and researching and downloading until 11:30 at night.

No wonder I’m so squirrelly.

I’m really trying to get into a schedule, a pattern, where I can do a little of everything and still get to bed at a decent time. But it doesn’t seem to be working. I escaped to the library this evening just so I wouldn’t have to let my dogs out three times and give them cookies and push the cat off my lap and look at the dishes I didn’t do or walk around the laundry I conveniently forgot to do.

Sometimes all I want to do is write.

But sometimes wantin’ ain’t gettin’.

How do YOU do it??

Top 10 … no, 20 … no, 5 … List

56179-cat-on-keyboard-typing-gif-hI43I have a love/hate relationship with the end of the year. I cannot keep up with all the “best of” or “top ten” lists that collect this time of the year. I’ve already scanned the Top 100 Wines of 2014, Highest Paid Celebrities of 2014, the Most Disappointing Movies of 2014, and 9 Actors That Make Nothing But Bad Movies. Heck — there’s websites full of top ten of anything you ever wanted to keep track of.

There are sad lists (Celebrities we Lost in 2014 ) and obscure lists (10 Fascinating Facts about J.R.R. Tolkien). There are goofy lists (Top 10 Influential People Who Never Lived), and beauty lists (5-, 10-, 25-, 75-Top Beauty Tips). Enough to make your head spin.

So, in the Holiday Head-Spining spirit, I’m going to add my own 3 cents worth of a list. Here are my ___ Favorite Humoring the Goddess Blogs of 2014 (I’ll leave it fill-in-the-blank until I see how many I pick…)

 

 

thFashion No-Nos for Summer (5/28/14)

http://wp.me/p1pIBL-yP

Companion to the original “Fashion No-Nos For Goddesses of All Ages” (3/1/14, http://wp.me/p1pIBL-yP )  or its predecessor, “Goddess Tips for Women and Men!” (6/18/12, http://wp.me/p1pIBL-fr),  this blog  encompasses everything that is wrong with Flair after 50.

 

1950vogueI’m Too Sexy…for my (too small) Shirt  (6/26/14)

(http://wp.me/p1pIBL-zE)

This kinda goes along with my Fashion Nonsense blogs, i.e., getting rid of things I’ve held onto longer than my college graduate has been alive.

 

 

 

cherryWhen is a Cherry Not a Cherry? (8/27/14)

http://wp.me/p1pIBL-AT

My sophomoric mind gone even more childlike when I hear old words that have new meanings.

 

 

 

Nike SB Dunk High Heel Shoes 126034Magic Shoes (10/3/14)

http://wp.me/p1pIBL-Dq)

Who knew that buying a pair of gym shoes could be so stressful?

 

 

 

 

And, okay, last (but not least)….

 

doll Chatty CathyChit Chattin’ Chatty Cathy (6/12/12)

http://wp.me/p1pIBL-eQ)

I know it’s from 2012, but I still suffer from Italktoomuchitis. And it hasn’t gotten much better.

 

 

 

Do go back and take a peek at the world that was 2014 — heaven knows what the New Year will bring! (Maybe I should start writing something like, “20 Things You Can Do With Chalk”..)

 

Go Granny Go Granny Go Granny Go!

thOn my way to other things —

A happy post over at Retirement and Good Living about being a Granny. I love it. You will too!

 

I always thought I was a good mom. I attended every teacher/parent conference; endured freezing cold, blistering hot, and life-threatening thunderstorms just to watch soccer/baseball games; stayed up all hours of the night finishing last-minute (they said) homework projects; and did all other ups and downs a parent is supposed to do.  I adored my kids (still do), and there’s not much I wouldn’t do for them. But I find that is nothing compared to what I wouldn’t do for my grandson……

Read the rest….

http://retirementandgoodliving.com/go-granny-go/

 

8 Reasons to Dissect Your Birthday

 

glassDo not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

~~Dylan Thomas

 

Yesterday was a day just like any other day. Work, a quickie visit with my husband before he went to work on the second shift, a little dishes, a little TV, then bed.

It also was my birthday.

Not a big deal these days…especially when the digits have long risen above 30. Or 40.

Yet it was such a big deal that I didn’t want to talk much about it. It was a slightly traumatic view of life both before and behind me. I fluctuated between being happy with a good life to panicking that I may not wake up tomorrow morning. Roller-coaster nonsense, to be sure.

But through these emotional states, a stronger, calmer, younger goddess has emerged. And this is what I’ve decided.

  1. I’m not going softly into any dark or light night. By the time I get to be 90 science will have developed an immortality pill that extends one’s life for at least 50 more years. Until then I’m going to kick ass and put myself out there.
  2. I am going to stop thinking of my day of birth as the day John Lennon died. There is some sort of macabre connection between one’s celebration of life and another’s death. It’s just plain creepy. I’d rather think of it as National Brownie Day or Pretend to Be a Time Traveler Day. Which it was.
  3. Presents are overrated. Sure, it’s nice if you wake up your birthday morning and there’s a pair of diamond earrings waiting for you at the breakfast table. But just as likely is a hurricane blowing out of the Gulf of Mexico, up the Mississippi River, crossing the state of Illinois and hopping to Lake Michigan, having landfall in Milwaukee.
  4. On the same subject, presents come in many ways. The problem is we don’t always see a present as a present. We see it as a symbol. E = mc2  is a symbol too. So are the Golden Arches. And the middle finger. We all know what those symbols mean. I’m not the real thing, but I represent a real thing. A substitute. The real thing couldn’t be here so I’m the stand-in. Looking at it from out here, it’s really pretty hollow.
  5. Face it. No one at my age likes their job. I just turned….(drum roll…heavy breathing…dramatic rolling of eyes…) 62. Too late to start a new job, too old to just quit. Too tired to argue, too slow to be a super star. I have so much on my personal plate that I don’t have time to reinvent myself. I never thought I’d ever want to see retirement through my front window, but it’s a hell of a lot more exciting than looking out the back window, spending 30 more years doing what I’m doing.
  6. Everyone loves birthday cake. I myself enjoy birthday lasagna, birthday cheesecake, and birthday Moscato. I can’t really digest two of those three. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to eat my favorite foods and drink milk out of my favorite wine glass. Don’t let your food limitations limit your fun. Celebrate your birthday every day.
  7. People always tell me age is just a number. Society has limited itself by drawing the line of existence at 60 or 70 or 100. It’s hard to get over a life’s worth of judgment. But it can be done. We have to remember that age – numbers – are limited only by this planet, this galaxy, this reality. So why waste time counting? With all the alternate reality, alternate universe and alternate lives theories floating around out there, I’m sure there’s one where my cosmic clock is really ticking backwards. And I can live with that.
  8. And lastly, the biggest thing I learned is that a day is just a day. Birthday, Christmas, Valentines Day, are all arbitrary darts on the dartboard. You don’t need presents and ceremonies to make your day special. If it’s too cold to celebrate your day of birth in December, celebrate it in June! Christmas in July! What does it matter? Don’t make the “day” more important than any other day you live and breathe and laugh.

I hate getting older. That’s a fact. But until that immortality pill gets invented, I don’t have much of a choice. So instead of letting my hate rule me I’m gonna fight the world with love.

All you need is love. Which reminds me of John Lennon. Who will forever be associated with my birthday.

Here we go again….

TunnelVision

xListening to some mellow middle-of-the-road music yesterday, I began feeling a little melancholy.  A little sad. But not for the reasons you — or I — would first think. A few fellow employees have retired these past few days, and I find that I’m saying goodbye, not to those who are moving into the glorious sunset of the future, but to my own last days before into that same glorious sunset.

The retiring of two more “oldies” was an inevitable step towards the future. The changing of the guard, so to speak. Stepping out the door were two more of the microfiche and typewriter world, making room for the tablet and Bluetooth generation.  And while that is the natural order of things, I found my dreams of being someone, something, more, walking out the door with them. And I didn’t like that feeling.

The working world is built for the fast, the curious, the nimble. It moves too fast for those who grew up on record players and black and white TVs. The harder I try and keep up, the further behind I fall. Which is also the nature of things.  But when I looked at the picture poster boards of those who have left, I saw young workers, bright workers, working and laughing and making the working world a better place. Forty years worth of working and laughing and making the working world a better place. And suddenly those 40 years were gone in a heartbeat; a glance backwards to that ever-growing tunnel of used-to-be.

Through their 40 years I see my own timeline. I see flashes of my kids playing soccer, or sitting on Santa’s lap, or singing in the grade school choir. I see my first job as a linofilm typist and my most exciting job working in downtown Chicago and my failed job as a bed and breakfast owner. And as the retirees walk away from the only life they’ve known for 30 or 40 years, I wonder where my own past 30 or 40 years have gone.

In the melancholy of the last few days of their structured work place, I find a lifetime’s worth of struggle and passion disappearing in a puff of smoke, replaced for a moment by a cake with too-sweet frosting and a card signed by well wishers. How can one’s life achievements be reduced to a single goodbye? To a “thanks for the memories” speech?

I want to stand in the middle of the street and scream, “I am so much more!”

Yet looking backwards it seems I never got a chance to prove it. The fog obscures my vision, 20 or 30 or 40 years looking the same as 2 or 4 or 6 months ago. The mistakes I’ve made, the choices I’ve made, may have brought me to this place, but so would other mistakes, other choices. Life is really a game of craps, throwing the dice a symbol of pretending to have a say in anything. We are our DNA; we are our chemical imbalances and out superstar achievements. So we have to work with what we’ve got.

The tears that stung and blurred my eyes were not so much for the old guard passing as they were for my own life passing. Wondering if all there is to life is 40 years and a super sweet cake. Guess I’ll just have to wait until my own super sweet cake comes along to see how I weather the foggy storm of retirement.

Suddenly the music changed. Kick Start My Heart. I cranked it up.  And all I wanted to do was smush that retirement cake into someone’s face.

Damn, I love being me.

 

 

Bird Brain…Again?

I was driving to work this morning, and once again I came across a murder of crows — actually, three murders. (Would that be murderers?) And it got me thinking — and remembering — a little post I did back in September of 2014. So, while I ponder the meaning of life and and crows on the asphalt, have a smile with this —

 

 

BIRD BRAINcrow

I was driving to work this morning when I passed a bunch of crows on the side of the road (who ever decided to call a group of crows a ‘murder’ anyway?), doing whatever crows do. A few seconds later there was a single crow on the side of the road, doing the same thing.  Now, being the kind of gal I am, I started to wonder — what was that single crow thinking?

Now, I didn’t necessarily want to become on of those people who anthropomorphize (give human characteristics and emotions) animals. The crow was probably not thinking at all. But let’s let reality fly to the wind and let fantasy take over.  I started thinking of what he/she might be feeling:

(a)  oh…woe is me….no one wants to pick the gravel with me…no one likes me…I’m sooooo aloooonnnneee…

(b)  man,  I am so glad to be away from that group of big mouths. They’re such know-it-alls. I don’t need crows in my life like that…

(c)  won’t you flyyyyyy……freeeee bird…..

(d)  what do you mean there are other crows around here?

When you start to think about things like this it starts to look like a Rorschach Test — everyone sees something different.

Me — I kinda wanted to pick all of the above. A … no…B! Mmm…I’d like it to be C. Or most likely D.  I’m so confused! Just like my life!  When I’m feeling down, I would pick (a), cuz I’m convinced no one likes me; when I’m peeved at the world it’s definitely B; when I’m feeling great there is no other choice but C; but most of my life it’s probably D, cuz I often don’t know what’s going on around me.  It may seem confusing, but it IS fun.

What do YOU think the crow is thinking?

Sundy Evening Art Gallery — Trees

The beauty of Fall brings trees into the spotlight. The glory of golds and reds and browns dazzle the eye and the heart. But there are other incredible sights that we call trees.

amazing_tree2

The poet Leonora Speyer says:

The trees are God’s great alphabet:
With them He writes in shining green
Across the world His thoughts serene.

 
amazing_tree11

And so the usual becomes unusual. Or is it the other way around?

most_unusual_trees_38

Never underestimate the beauty of nature. She will fool you every time.  She doesn’t need golds and yellows and reds to be breathtaking.

socotra_dragon_tree

A step back into time, or a step forward — these magnificent entities will be here long after you and I are merely memories.

amazing trees image (4)

 

 

Sunlight, Rain, Shadows. They forever endure.

 

amazing_tree13

 

 

Of course, Joyce Kilmer said it best:

 

amazing_tree6 (1)

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Not Again

smacking headIt’s only mid-October…the leaves are glowing in their spectacular colors, evenings bring a cooling atmosphere for sleep, the nights are getting longer (more time for sleep and TV!). We begrudgingly  pack away our summer duds and bring our our winter ones (although, in my case, I pack away less and less so I can deal with those hot flashy moments). We look forward to hoodies and joggies and fuzzy socks. The transition is usually painless.

But it is only mid-October…and the outfit is back. The number one no-no for fashion divas of all ages. And it hurts my eyes. It hurts my eyes and pushes my buttons and shivers me timbers.

And it makes me want to repost a warning from April of this very year.

 

SEVEN FASHION NO-NOS FOR GODDESSES OF ALL AGES pants

During these doldrums of Winter, I’ve been planning my new fashion statement. Or rather looking for one. I’m up for the Boho Chic style. But I can’t really BoHo now, because there’s something about wind chills of ten below and snow two feet deep in every direction that discourages peasant dresses and shawls and beaded whatevers. I figure between now and Spring I’ll gather up some fun things and have fun being a fun kinda woman.

But lately I’ve been seeing a few “Middle Age Magic” women following their own fashion muse, and, well, the sight is not a pretty one. I am all for comfort, fashion, and practicality. My BoHo is not your BoHo and all that. But good taste should always be good taste. I am all for the “this is who I am” state of being, too, but there are some things Middle Age (and older) women should really think twice about.  Here are a few of my humble fashion suggestions:

1.   Leggings and long sweaters and boots can look good on some women. Velvety purple leggings can not. Ever.

2.   Pigtails should only be worn by women under 10 or those who want to play the baby doll thing with their loved one. In private.

3.   Makeup is not a necessity. A fresh face is. Cleopatra’s eyes looked good only on Cleopatra. On older women it just looks scary.

4.   I know it’s sometimes necessary to run to the store in jogging pants. It’s just the nature of the beast. But jogging pants and chuggie boots and parkas are not a fashion statement now or ever. Remember — you are a woman first. Don’t ever be mistaken for the football player down the street.

5.  The office is as good a place as any to try out a new look. Just don’t be the one to test the dress code every time you do. You do nothing but create army punishment for the rest of us, making us unhappy co-workers and fashion enemies.

6.  Did I mention the thing about leggings and sweaters and boots? The older you get, the more you should think twice about it.

7.   Know you don’t have to spend a lot of money to try new looks. Just use your head. Don’t wear shoes that pinch, pants that bulge in the butt, tops that show too much of your endowments, shoes your father would wear, tops that make you look like a sausage, colors that make you look like a clown, or earrings bigger than your head.

There is fashion, and then there is fashion. And then there is no fashion. And then there is deliberate no fashion. Don’t let your steadfastness close your mind to the colors and sensations of the world. But in the same vein, don’t let your need to make a statement as you get older make you say something you’ll regret later. If a look works, great. If not, make sure you have a great look to go back to. Be proud of who you are and how you got there. Don’t let others dictate the colors of your feathers. But don’t forget you’ve GOT feathers.

And they never look good in velvety purple leggings.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Clark Little

Water. So soothing. So refreshing. So tumultuous. A friend one day, an adversary the next. Yet it makes up 70% of our bodies.

 

clark little7

 

I have seen hundreds of beautiful images of water. Waterfalls, lakes, oceans. One is as  breathtaking as the next. But when I came across Clark Little’s take of water, I found a new inspiration from it.

 

clark little4

 

Clark not only takes pictures of water, of waves, but takes them from an angle only surfers can see. And in his creativity, he captures not only the force of water but the peace that lies just beyond.

 

clark_little_sunset_barrel_wave

 

Whenever I see pictures like this, I imagine a story to go with it. But then again, any extraordinary image can have a story to go with it. I love pictures that make me ask, “How do they do that?”

 

SWNS_WAVE_110010008.jpg

 

Alas, like the magician and their tricks, if you knew how it was done, a bit of the sparkle goes with it. I would rather look at something in awe and keep the childlike wonder of how it works.

 

clark_little_sandy_barrel_wave

 

 

You can find more of Clark’s wonderful photography at http://www.clarklittlephotography.com/. And go ahead — take your time — wander through the waves. A whole new world exists just on the other side of it.

 

 

 

Something New!

The older I get (I never get tired of saying that!), the more I am taking time to discover corners of the world that I’ve never seen before. Now, that statement is all encompassing, all omnipotent. Yet for me, it’s very simple. I can only explore one line of extraordinary at a time. There is fantastic scenery, scrumptious foods, unusual land formations and mystical forms to be discovered.

For me, it is Unique Art.

What does that mean?

There are thousands of fantastic images floating around the Internet. Blogs and websites dedicated to all branches of the hallowed world of sculpture, photography, painting, sketching. I couldn’t possibly visit, showcase, and recommend all the beauty that exists outside my middle-aged sphere.

So I have decided that once a week I will showcase creativity that stands outside of reality. Outside the every day. Now, everything can fit into those parameters. So I hope to show you images you’ve never seen or imagined or saw somewhere on Facebook and let pass. Some will have links to websites; others will just be visions that have passed my way. I will honor the sites I borrow the visions from, and I do hope you take a few minutes to visit their homeworld.

If you’ve come across any unique worlds, let me know. Let’s make our next 20 years as out-of-the-box as we can make it!

And if any of my wanders tickle your fancy, let me know that, too. For I’d love to have company along the way….

A Way With Words

Glass Textures 067Like many or most of you, I love the written word. When used correctly, words can expand three times their height and width as they push their way into your thoughts and heart. Of course, we all like different words. That’s the beauty of freedom — we can nod at one and shake our head at another, yet appreciate both.

One of the blogs I follow is written by a very creative and talented writer and visual artist. I was struck by her imagery and imagination. I just love the images that pop with each turn. Unfortunately, this creativeness was brought about by a migraine, not the sort of writing prop we look for. While I wish her swift healing and relief from what can be a debilitating episode, I asked (and was granted) permission to share her creativity. It’s a little over 1,300 words, but I think you will appreciate them all.

If you enjoy what you read, pop on over and check out her website: Inner Focus (www.katmphotography.wordpress.com).  It’s a wonderful combination of poetry and art.

 

Delirium

a new fever has me in its clutches… i can feel her long, bony, icy fingers twist my spine and contort my brain… i need paracetamol… i need a glass of water… i need to sleep…

but sleep won’t come easy…

paracetamol… a glass of water… bed.

i climb into bed… i am shaking… my hands are tingling… am i hungry..? am i over-tired..? i feel exhausted… i feel sick… nausea rushes at me like a jealous mistress… my head feels twice the size it should be… my forehead is hot… my feet are cold… i am shaking… i swallow the pills and wash them down with a long drink of water.

i climb into bed… the pillow feels cool beneath my heavy skull… i close my eyes and then it starts… i must ride this out until it breaks…

micro flashing neon lights spark inside my minds eye, igniting visions… visions… murky, but i look deeper… deeper into the grain and chaos… i see a face… a man’s face… it is Stalin… he is standing outside an old house… a house on a wild beach… a house with a red door… suddenly, he vomits all over himself… then dissolves into a puddle on the ground… i look out to sea… but the sea is not a sea… it is a vast expanse of rippling silken fabric, billowing in the breeze… i look up to the sky… a pterodactyl swoops in low over the water towards me… i duck for cover and close my eyes tight, anticipating being snatched up by the giant predatory bird… nothing… the wind has picked up the pace and snatches my breath… i gasp and open my eyes… i find myself atop one of the steel eagles that grace the lofty Chrysler Building in NYC… i am terrified… the wind is strong… my hair whips my face… i am too scared to look down… but i do… and now my palms are wet, sweating… i cannot hold on, i lose my grip… but wait! i am typing… i am sat at a desk, in the middle of a forest, and i am typing… typing incoherent words on a sheet of stiff, white paper… The typewriter is old and battered and clunky… a pale blue Olivetti electric typewriter… my curious eyes follow the flex… it is plugged into a giant snail… the sound of my fingers tapping the keys rattles my brain… the words make no sense… the words make me shiver… i open a cupboard… an old farmhouse style larder- just like the one my Aunt Mary had at Fullerton Farm… i open the door and find hundreds of tins of Baked Beans… i close the door… but the door is a mirror now… i stare at my own reflection… i smile to her, but she does not smile back… she is naked… pale, gaunt… two headless horses appear behind me… one black as night, The other white as snow… the white one speaks to me in a language i cannot comprehend… but we start to dance… the floor beneath me turns to silver sand… the sun is beating down on me… i pull the quilt around me and nestle into the comfort and familiarity of my bed, despite the madness of these visions… visions i have no control over… i cannot make them stop… they come, in a flood… my mind is a fairground… i look at my hands… six fingers on each hand… i cut off the tips of my fingers with a large pair of shears… they are bleeding… i put on a pair of bright yellow rubber gloves and go outside into the night… there are two moons in the sky… both are full and resplendent… the night is cool… i am alone… i look to my left and the buildings start to crumble and fall… an apple falls from the sky and rolls towards me, stopping at my feet… It speaks to me… beckoning me to take bite… i pick up the lilac apple and bite into its soft, juicy flesh… it tastes salty… so i throw it away… it explodes on impact… in the distance, i hear a child’s voice… it is my lover’a son… he appears out of nowhere, wearing a flappy bird t-shirt and red jeans… he is barefoot, as i am… he takes my hand and tells me to follow him… i do… suddenly, i find myself, alone, inside a computer… i look at my hands… i am made of pixels… i peer through the screen and see a morbidly obese man, sitting on his sofa with a boxful of donuts… he is playing a computer game… he is controlling me and my movements… he is controlling the CGI world i now find myself locked in… i like it here, but i cannot stay… i call out for my lover’a son… but he is gone… he has left me a note… it reads “gone fishing, be home Tuesday!”… i smell coffee… i look down and find myself in a bathtub full of warm, steaming coffee… it stains my skin… my lover appears… he dries my wet skin with a cloud, gently patting it dry… he lovingly combs my wet hair and strokes my face… we kiss… and float out the wind into space… we swim through the stratosphere and look back at Earth… it looks radiant and blue… i take a bite… it tastes like battery acid… the shock cuts my tongue and i spit out blood and a chunk of France… “it never used to taste like this…” says my lover, his eyes filled with tears… he spits a mouthful of India out into the blue stratospheric air… he fades into the night… “soon…” he says, blowing kisses as he dissolves into the ether… i find myself in a deep, Belfast sink… the cold tap is turned on and the sink is filling up with tiny sea horses and goldfish… they sparkle and shimmer and swim around me… but i need to urinate… i open my eyes, climb out of bed and make my way to the bathroom across the hall… my legs are shaking… i feel weak… perhaps sleep will come soon… i hope for a dreamless sleep… but instead, i find myself in a field full of rabbits… hundreds and thousands of rabbits… rabbits of all different colours… the pink ones are my favourites… odd… i hate the colour pink… but they are the friendliest… i reach up to the sky and reel in the sun… i hold it in my hands… it burns, but only momentarily… my cold hands chill its fire and it turns from burning amber to brittle blue… the sun shatters in my hands… i am left holding fragments of turquoise glass… i throw the shards up into the air… they tinkle and twinkle against the sky, like dying light… The tranquility of their peaceful chimes turns into an ugly chaos as the fragments of harmless light turn into bullets… they rain down all around me… everything has turned to dust… children lie dead around me… women scream… another bomb goes off… the ground shakes, like the thunder of the apocalypse… there is no colour… everything is grey… the course of death… i hear the wail of an electric guitar… someone, somewhere is playing a guitar… it wails, like a wounded animal… i cover my ears and crouch down, holding myself… crying… i open my eyes and see a young deer, chewing a leafy twig, at the foot of my sweating bed…

the pillow is damp… i turn it over and, with trembling hands, i gulp down a glass of cold, clean water… i close my eyes… please let me sleep… a dreamless sleep… please… these rapid fire flashbacks of former trips inside my minds eye and visions of my subconscious’ innermost thoughts and fears, as surreal as they are, are raping my brain… i am exhausted… i want calm… i want to feel well again… i look at the time… three hours have passed… i have been away for three hours…

i take two more pills, and water… and close my eyes…

but wait! my feet are covered in sand…

 

 

Curiouser and Curiouser

writing-a-bookI have been having a Renaissance of sorts lately in my writing world. I’m having a blast with my blog, fine tuning a few older poems and short stories, but most of all, editing my latest novel. I think it will be a blast-off-the-planet sort of book once it’s published, throwing together a little sci-fi, a little romance, a little murder, a little sex — you know — your run-of-the-mill blockbuster.

Of course, I’m only on my first edit.

I wrote the story back in 2010. Unfortunately, a lot of interruptions, distractions, illnesses, and depressions got in the way between then and now. But I always knew I’d come back to it some day, fresh and ready to do business. And boy, does this novel need some business.

I’ve decided to break my full-length dissertation into chapters, using quotations to introduce each chapter. A heady idea, seeing that I need to edit the book at the same time. So the Great Revival of Art and Writing  movement (a.k.a.Renaissance) has started in earnest. And I’m having a great time.

So the question for you is: Do you ever revamp something you’ve created? Keep the basics but rearrange the frills? Did it make it better? Or just mess it up more? It doesn’t have to be writing — it can be designing jewelry or designing a quilt or changing the emphasis in a poem.

Most things I write I keep the same. Maybe a tweak here, a sentence there. I do a lot of clean up — I do have a bad habit of over-using certain words or phrases. But for the most part structure remains structure. So this is a new thing for me.

Let me know if it worked for you.

Granny and the Beast

CAM00332My husband picked me up last Friday after work so that we could head to the big/ger city and go to Menards to pick up some shingles for our roof. In most cases that is nothing to take notice of. People pick up their own building supplies all the time. But few drive there in the most pathetic of pick up trucks you could find.

He came and picked me up in a 1986 green/gray pickup truck that had seen better days by 1996, yet still keeps on rumbling. Various parts are welded steel making up for other various parts, the step to the cab dips every time someone puts a foot on it, and the tailpipe is practically falling off. It’s got a weird smell to it — like something found its eternal resting place somewhere in there where the sun don’t shine. It’s the kind of vehicle that I would never follow on the highway. It’s got an up-to-date license plate and insurance. According to my husband, it “runs good.” I suppose that’s true, as long as you don’t sit at a stoplight too long. It’s loud and kinda lopsided, and during the winter has a snow plow bolted to it. Since the controls for the plow are a little shaky, we often get road rut instead of road plowed.

I have to tell you, I was embarrassed for anyone from work seeing me climb into that beast. I mean, here is this 5 foot 1, kinda round granny trying to put her foot up on a step that was more knee-high, grabbing the seat and door frame, trying not to stick my derriere out for public inspection. We rumbled away, reminiscent of the bomber cars I used to watch crash into each other at the raceway up North. It does have seat belts, so at least if the door popped open I’d still be in the cab.  Climbing out of the front seat was a treat, too. I’m too short for my feet to land delicately on the ground; it’s about a 7 inch difference between my dangling tootsies and the ground, so there’s not quite enough room to get into a landing stance. So each exit is has a weird and jolting landing pattern to it.

Why do we drive such run down things? Why do we endanger the public — and ourselves — by driving down the highway in such…luxury?

I’m sure we all know someone who owns and drives a beater. I haven’t owned a brand new car since I graduated from high school. In 1970. My husband and I have done well with used vehicles, often bought from one relative or another who gets to buy that new car smell. I haven’t had a car payment in years, and with our finances up and down like Wisconsin weather, this is not the time to try one on for size. So I have no problem with used vehicles. But there’s a difference between “used” and “beat up.”

The Beast is meant for country work.  It plows, it pulls cars out of ditches, and it carries heavy loads, saving us (and others) hundreds of dollars on delivery fees. It’s not pretty, but it’s practical. At least in the barest sense of the word. It’s not scary small (like some of those one-person crash cars), and you sit high enough to see the road long before it curves. I pat it every time I climb down from its heights, thankful that we have such an enduring vehicle that year after year gives its all to make our lives easier.

But I’m thinking that pat is more in thanks of getting me home in one piece. Keep patting.

 

Seven Fashion NoNos for Goddesses of All Ages

pantsDuring these doldrums of Winter, I’ve been planning my new fashion statement. Or rather looking for one. I’m up for the Boho Chic style (Old Lady BoHo http://wp.me/p1pIBL-uu). But I can’t really BoHo now, because there’s something about wind chills of ten below and snow two feet deep in every direction that discourages peasant dresses and shawls and beaded whatevers. I figure between now and Spring I’ll gather up some fun things and have fun being a fun kinda woman.

But lately I’ve been seeing a few “Middle Age Magic” women following their own fashion muse, and, well, the sight is not a pretty one. I am all for comfort, fashion, and practicality. My BoHo is not your BoHo and all that. But good taste should always be good taste. I am all for the “this is who I am” state of being, too, but there are some things Middle Age (and older) women should really think twice about.  Here are a few of my humble fashion suggestions:

1.   Leggings and long sweaters and boots can look good on some women. Velvety purple leggings can not. Ever.

2.   Pigtails should only be worn by women under 10 or those who want to play the baby doll thing with their loved one. In private.

3.   Makeup is not a necessity. A fresh face is. Cleopatra’s eyes looked good only on Cleopatra. On older women it just looks scary.

4.   I know it’s sometimes necessary to run to the store in jogging pants. It’s just the nature of the beast. But jogging pants and chuggie boots and parkas are not a fashion statement now or ever. Remember — you are a woman first. Don’t ever be mistaken for the football player down the street.

5.  The office is as good a place as any to try out a new look. Just don’t be the one to test the dress code every time you do. You do nothing but create army punishment for the rest of us, making us unhappy co-workers and fashion enemies.

6.  Did I mention the thing about leggings and sweaters and boots? The older you get, the more you should think twice about it.

7.   Know you don’t have to spend a lot of money to try new looks. Just use your head. Don’t wear shoes that pinch, pants that bulge in the butt, tops that show too much of your endowments, shoes your father would wear, tops that make you look like a sausage, colors that make you look like a clown, or earrings bigger than your head.

There is fashion, and then there is fashion. And then there is no fashion. And then there is deliberate no fashion. Don’t let your steadfastness close your mind to the colors and sensations of the world. But in the same vein, don’t let your need to make a statement as you get older make you say something you’ll regret later. If a look works, great. If not, make sure you have a great look to go back to. Be proud of who you are and how you got there. Don’t let others dictate the colors of your feathers. But don’t forget you’ve GOT feathers.

And they never look good in velvety purple leggings.

Get the Growth Going!

thCA2UU93SToday is the day.

Whatever February 18th is, this is the day.

On my way to work, the translucent, waxing gibbous moon winked at me.

I checked my horoscope. Scopes. (1) Move forward with confidence; there is support behind you. (2) No creative projects today. Might have mental blocks. Put projects aside for later when you have clear mind. (3) Take control of things that might slow you down. Learn about yourself. Understand those around you.  I figure if I throw all three in a bowl and stir, a positive, move forward message will float to the top.

I checked my online one-card tarot. Knight of Wands. Essence of fire. Filled with passion for life. Absolute sincerity. Daring. Sexy. Exciting. Boundless creativity.  I’ll take that one. My phone tarot slipped me a different card. Nine of Wands. Wisdom and strength through experience. Learn through personal experience. Well, after what I’ve been through the past through years, this could just as well been the Piece of Cakes.

My Chinese horoscope. The Dragon. I may be experiencing an unusual wave of doubt or confusion today. It could be hard to make a choice between multiple options today. Well, no worry. I don’t have multiple choices today. One choice. One direction.

Time to water and fertilize that creativity seed that I planted in my head somewhere last fall. I can tell you, there hasn’t been much growth this winter. Death, unemployment, sick cats and bad weather have put a hold on my energy and my creative spirit. But no more. Water that puppy and get it barking!  I can’t sit around and wait until Spring to correct this or add to that. Life is flying by as it is. And my calendar is filling up.

I wrote a blog at Retirement and Good Living called Planning Ahead (http://retirementandgoodliving.com/planning-ahead/). It’s all about writing things down ahead of time. Your life is zooming past the way it is; it doesn’t hurt to plan some things ahead and write them down on a calendar.  Now, I don’t necessarily write my writing goals on a calendar. But I belong to an email list that gives me oddles of contests that I can enter, and another one that tells me about places that pay for writing. So it might help if I schedule some of those cash cows on my calendar, too.

The e-mail address addy for contests (free and fee) is crwropps-b-subscribe@yahoogroups.com .

The little-more-professional outlets for writing comes from Freedom With Writing http://www.freedomwithwriting.com .

So the planets are in alignment and for better or worse my horoscopes are in alignment too. (I’ll just jam them into line). I am ready to start reaping what I’ve sown in my head.

Better that than the nonsense that grows there already.

Winter Crabs

Im-CrabbyI have a question for all of you, young and old, hot and cold, here, there, and everywhere.

But first, my turn.

I often think the older I get the crabbier I get. I find I have less tolerance, less worldliness, than I did years ago.  This lioness of emotions seems to rear its head during the cold, dark, snowy days of winter.

Does anyone out there find themselves turning into sulking, bulking creatures this time of the year?

I feel bad about this. I really do. I have a job that I can tolerate for another 7 or 8 years, great co-workers, and a short commute to and from work. I have a family that’s fun and loving, I’ve got great friends that ride the roller coaster of life with me all the time, and right now I have a chocolate chip cookie and glass of milk to keep me happy. I’m cancer free (as far as I know), I walked away from a rollover, and my sick cat has turned the corner and is getting better.

Yet still I walk outside and hate the weather, hate the freeze and the snow and the gray. And I find myself saying the “hate” work more often than not. I personally believe hate is a strong word and should be reserved for truly evil people and things, but it seems to slip out on a frequent basis these days. I have little energy to do the things I love, and have insomnia to the max. I feel fat and dumpy and don’t want to deal with either.

This isn’t me — is it?

I am a lover of life, lover of friends and chocolate and watching movies with my grandbaby.  Yet a lot of the time I feel I’m wandering aimlessly through the cold, not caring if I’m entertained or not. What a contrast of emotions. Which, in turn, messes me up even more.

I really think the older I get the more the weather affects me. I don’t remember feeling this cranky when I was younger. Maybe I was, yet I was too busy with kids and soccer games to pay attention to it. I mean well — I am still nice to people, and I do find my way to the computer now and then.  I know this mindset isn’t set in stone, but I do feel it’s stuck in a snowbank somewhere.

So let me know — are you affected by the depths of winter? Are you a Dr. Jeckyll waiting to turn into a Mr. Hyde? Or are you a fluffy snowflake having a wonderful time turning into a diamond?

I’d love to hear your side of the weather. And, if not, you can always growl…

Some Good Reading Back There!

Paths 7I have a few blog ideas floating around in my head, but I need to do a little research first. So it got me thinking….I bet you’ve missed some really great stuff from the Goddess through the years (two, but who’s counting). So how about a little explanation and a little link to send you back through time?  Not too many though — too much humor might distract you from the seriousness around you.

They Said WHAT??      http://wp.me/p1pIBL-n8   th

Famous people are always trying to stay in the spotlight…but being in the spotlight doesn’t make you smart.

Everyone’s Life is a Best Seller    http://wp.me/p1pIBL-gk

27 Everyone's Life is a Best Seller 1

Ever think you have a family worth writing about? We all do! Let’s compare crazies!

Harry Potter vs. Hannibal Lecter       http://wp.me/p1pIBL-5P

Comedy Tragedy masks - Symbolic represe

Okay…so I alternate between simple and savage. Does that make me unstable?

Have fun and read well.

A Little More Sprinkles

buddiesI am getting ready for a Celebration of Life this Friday for my younger brother whom I lost to the “big C” recently. The Grim Reaper has always been around us — me — it just seems the older I get the closer his scythe is getting to me. To have a younger brother cut down quickly by something no one knew he had is just one more wake-up call. Not that I’m not awake — I have treaded on thin ice a couple of times the last few years, and I realize that if I don’t pay more attention (well, even if I do), that that scythe can sneak up on me, too.

I wrote this blog a couple of years ago after the “Big C”. I think it’s an appropriate thing to repost this week. Pay attention, my friends. To your body, your mind, and your soul.

A Little More Sprinkles

The past few weeks have been the bottom of the roller coaster ride for me. After a bit of a medical drama, I am well, back into whatever groove middle aged women get into, trying to build my energy back up to see what trouble I can get into. How much trouble can a goddess like me get into? We won’t go into past details, but there have been times in the past that I have stepped over that preverbal line, most times with no consequences, other times being dutifully chastised and set back upon the straight and narrow.

The funny thing about my misadventures is that, in the eyes of the world (especially to those under 40), the things that I’ve gotten in trouble for are powdered sugar compared to what others have done. I have never hung with the “wild” crowd, never gotten arrested, reprimanded by principals, or been asked to leave.  I’ve led a pretty vanilla life and stayed fairly happy and clean cut. I try not to compare my life, my ups and downs, with others. For, as you know, you will always be overblessed in one way and underblessed in another.  My dirty laundry is someone else’s humorous fluff.

Going in and out of the hospital changes your perspective on a lot of things. Suddenly losing those last few pounds doesn’t seem so important. Or finally losing weight to get healthy rises to the top of your list. Your family becomes a priority, along with your health, your pets, and your pastimes. You sit and wonder why you’ve wasted so much time setting unrealistic goals and then were so hard on yourself when you didn’t achieve them. Your desires and your timelines seemed to have gotten crisscrossed, a Celtic design that has no beginning or no end. You will do A as soon as you accomplish B. You will buy outfit C as soon as you lose D pounds. You’ll go visit someone as soon as you (fill in the blank).

I know you’ve heard this story a thousand times a thousand different ways. Don’t wait until trauma and tragedy arrive at your doorstep before you learn to live your life.  Well, what do you do if that dynamic duo arrives at your door and you’ve already been living your life? Are you supposed to go further off the deep end? Are you supposed to  throw away the restraints of society and be a wild and free sprite?

I was lucky, not only to have a good prognosis, but to have wild and fun things to come back to. Our Polish Sausage Making Party has been going on for 14 years, an annual madhouse that seems to be growing every year. I had a laptop, waiting for me to create another fantasy, another out-of-the-box story. I have kids to bug and a grandson to spoil and friends to compare drinking stories with.  I have a room full of second-hand books waiting to be read, sweaters that need sparkles sewn on them, and sushi that  needs to be shared with girlfriends.

I decided long ago that I was tired of being on the outside looking in. I was tired of being vanilla in a rainbow world. I’ve always respected my bosses and the law, always been polite (sometimes to the point of nausea), and given money to charity or to my kids (sometimes the same thing). But I also found out that if you want something in  your life, you need to be the one to go for it. You can’t wait for those things to come to you. That goes for friends, restaurant reservations, and health issues. Sometimes “going for it” makes you a little more aggressive than you usually are. Succeeding at “going for it” makes you feel stronger and smarter.  It makes you raise your own bar a notch or two higher. And you have yourself to thank for it.

Going through a health predicament only reinforced the importance of finding out who I am and what I want in life. That what I wanted in my life is nothing more or less than anyone else wants. I just make sure I made lemonade every time I can. I make a point of getting together with friends often, and family birthdays become family reunions a  dozen times a year. I don’t want life to pass me by and at the end be filled with thoughts of why I didn’t do this or that.

You are never going to be rich enough, thin enough, smart enough, for A to really ever meet B. So take the victories you make along the way and celebrate them. Don’t spend days and months and years waiting for the “payoff.”  The payoff is here and now. If you pass up picnics on the beach with the family because you want to lose weight first, you’ve done nothing but miss a great picnic. If you wait until your kids are in college to go away for the weekend you’ll never get away, for most of the time they come back to haunt you. Turning down an invitation to walk through a festival with family members because you need to clean your house does nothing but toss another fun time into the twilight zone.

There is always room in your life for adventure. To cross some lines. To speak up. To stand up.  There’s always time for you to change your direction, your health, your dreams.  To be proactive. Not inactive. If the jester hat fits you, wear it! If bling is your thing, bling!  Always wanted to try and cook Thai? Go for it ― even if you’re the only  one who will eat it. Don’t wait for someone else to initiate a pizza night or drinks after work ― call, plan, and do it. Don’t sit around waiting for someone else to “take their turn.”

This is the only turn you’re going to get. Don’t let anyone else take your turn for you. There’s nothing wrong with vanilla, but just think of how much better it is with chocolate syrup and whipped cream.

And me?  I think I’ll try rainbow sherbet with multi-colored sprinkles. Can’t get enough of that color thing…

Comments 101

spam2Good morning fellow bloggers, potential bloggers, friends, and curious ones!

I had a totally different blog in mind, but I feel this topic needs to be readdressed, with tips for those of you who are just starting out.

Everyone who writes a blog does so because they love to write. Some have pictures they want to share. Some share therapy. Some thoughts. Most everyone writes from experience, sharing what they’ve learned with others who want to learn.

Bloggers also enjoy the responses and interactions with those who have read their writing. This is where friends are made, ideas are shared, where we feel good about what we do.

Then there are the spammies.

Spammies usually attack e-mails. But blogs are also open season to those with nothing else to do than create chaos. I addressed this topic a month or two ago, and wound up deciding to moderate all comments before they get published. Things quieted down, and all was well.  But the spammies are back, and I want to share with you what is a real comment for your hard work and what is nonsense.

Here is a real comment from a real follower:

Very nice! I hear you on the “creaks from my joints and the squeals from my muscles.” I definitely want to work on those this year, too. Happy New Year, Claudia! I wish great things for you in 2014! Maddie Cochere breezybooksblog.wordpress.com.

And another:

Some how I missed the yellow brick road last time :-)  I loved your story!  Thank you for repeating… Deb Hathaway debhathaway.com

And even shorties:

Great story!   ittymac  ittymac.wordpress.com

Subscribers and nonsubscribers alike usually refer to something specific in your blog. There are times when you do get “I really like this!” or “Great post!”, but usually those are from followers you already know. (I know I sometimes use less than 5 words).

But a spammie is always from someone you don’t know, usually has no image or legit link, and often talk about things that either have nothing to do with your post or use the generic praise for you to keep doing what you’re doing.  In the last two days I received 20 such “responses.” That doesn’t include the 93 comments in my SPAM folder.

Your writing is certainly extremely persuasive and that is probably the reason why I am making an effort in order to opine. I do not really make it a regular habit of doing that. Secondly, even though I can easily notice the jumps in reason you make, I am not really sure of extcaly how you seem to unite the ideas which produce the actual final result. For now I will, no doubt subscribe to your position but trust in the foreseeable future you connect your facts better.   Tata

Another:

Thanks for the comment and shanrig this story. Somehow when this stuff is going on, I tend to attribute also and to myself. Like I’m a faulty adult or something. But having done workplace advocacy for a long time and so to I’ve come to realize just how often this nonsense is taking place, not to mention that many people think that simply ignoring a co-worker they don’t like is so acceptable… Roman

Those are just a few. You can see right away they have nothing to do with your post. I’ve seen tons of others where some nebulous person says, “Your blog is very helpful. I am grateful you are writing these things.”  They are generic and aimless. They usually pick older blogs where no one goes anymore. I’ve seen conversations go on between two different people about a totally different subject right in my comment section.

I don’t know how they get in there or what they want in there. I don’t know if they are just messing around or if they’re pulling information from my blog or just trying to get me to respond so they can continue to fool around. I mean, how do I know they’re not using MY past posts to share secret or illegal information? I’m not behind-the-scenes savvy when it comes to Internet privacy — or piracy. But I don’t appreciate invasion of my personal space by people who are playing in my back yard without my knowing what they’re doing (or talking about).

I’m not saying you should moderate all your comments. Strangers stop by all the time and comment and go on their merry way. You don’t have to have a liege of followers who hang onto your every post. But if you keep an eye on how many people comment on your posts (I think everyone does to one degree or another), be aware that not every comment is a true comment about you. Most of these spammies just sit in your e-mail notifications as someone who commented on your writing. They don’t have viruses or attachments, but yet when you click on their name to see who they are, who knows what that does?

I know anyone can type anything anywhere, and anyone can type your email address into anything. My husband was a victim of the recent Target scandal, and all he did was buy a Christmas present. So all this blog is about is keep your eyes open. If it’s too incredible, it’s not. If you’ve received a ton of comments on your blogs and you usually get a half dozen, sniff around. Something’s up.

But don’t worry — Big Granny is here looking out for you — and reading your stuff — so keep on reading and keep on commenting.

Fakey Spammies Always Get What’s Coming To Them….

 

What’s Back There?

book4Greetings! I did a little “rollover” dance with my Explorer the other day. All is well, thank the Goddess, but I thought a little backwards glance into my glorious blog might entertain you while I recuperate a little…

Chocolat and the Sun 

Escapism with a Reality Check.  http://wp.me/p1pIBL-2w

2 Chocolat and the Tuscan Sun1

Life is a kaleidoscope of feelings: it is pain and death, birth and life. Because the cosmic implications of these things are way above my head, I would rather contemplate my own daydreams.

I Can’t Believe I Believed That

Legends are So Much Fun…  http://wp.me/p1pIBL-6g

Dolly-Parton-with-Crossed-Eyes--58695a

Urban legends are as old as Medusa turning those who look at her to stone — old as dirt.  The more society has matured, the easier it is to decipher falsehoods from the truthhoods. Or is it? Here’s a list of ditties I found on my wanderings while doing research for my Great American Novel #3 (let’s hear it for the Internet and a few spare hours!)

Fashionable Hobos from Hoboville

Dressing comfortable is one thing … dressing like a hobo another … http://wp.me/p1pIBL-67

31 Fashionable Hobos from Hoboville

Are you one who enjoys presenting your best side to the viewing public?  What I mean is, do you spend time fixing your hair, pants, shirt, purse, shoes, the whole bit?  Not that you strive to strut your stuff down the Chanel or Yves St Laurent runways ― it’s just that you want to be presentable. Most women who take care of their heart and/or soul take care of their appearance, too.  What I’d like to know, then, is why is it when we are away from the public eye, we look like hobos from Hoboville?

I Didn’t Know I Spoke Chinese

Parents and their kids often speak two different languages. http://wp.me/p1pIBL-8N

chinese_symbol_for_laugh_postcard-p239398313843791555trdg_400

Do you believe that children and their parents speak two different languages?  Do you ever try and communicate with someone who hasn’t a clue as to what you are saying?

You Make Me Dizzy Miss Lizzy

Ever feel like you’re always doing the spin-a-roonie?  http://wp.me/p1pIBL-jt

dizzying

Not so long ago I wrote a blog entitled, “I Make Myself Crazy.” You know ― it’s the on-sweater, off-sweater, hot/cold thing.  http://www.humoringthegoddess.com/2012/04/07/i-get-on-my-nerves/  Nervous ticks aside, I now try to slow down and think before I flutter.

Movie Stars Apply Here

rhettI am an avid reader, along with being an avid writer. I love stories that jump out and surround you from the very beginning, making you feel what the characters feel, understand why they think and feel as they do. Writing is an arduous undertaking, cutting volumes of text in order to be able to turn on a dime.

Many great movies were great books first. Some movies, such as the Bourne Series, were nothing like the book. But both were great in their own way. Others, such as Shogun and Gone With the Wind, took a highlighted version of the facts, toning it more towards a visual, rather than a cerebral, experience.

Certain movie stars had the ability to assume and consume the main characters until you couldn’t tell the difference. For better or worse, Rhett Butler will always look like Clark Gable, Harry Potter will always look like Daniel Radcliffe.

Now. For all you writers of novels, poems, short stories, and blogs. Have you ever had an actor or in mind to play YOUR main characters?

I have written three novels (unpublished…any one know a publisher?  Ha…) Two of them are a set of stories about a middle-age woman who crashes her car and wakes up in 1880, and falls for someone half her age.  My wandering mind always tosses this guy or that girl around as to who would be perfect for Anna and Darren. But there’s some blockage in my brain that I have yet to find someone who matches my daydreams.

My third novel is about another kinda middle age woman who travels with a visitor to his planet half way across the galaxy to help him find a murderer (see a pattern here?)  Also a  zero on those two, although a younger Derek Jacobi might work for the man; one of the King’s Consuls looks like Jafar, and the King could be an Aragorn lookalike. But the woman?

Well, for me, I can’t see my leading lady looking like Angelina Jolie or Kiera Knightley. I just can’t see those women playing women with age issues or body issues or insecurity issues.  They don’t seem … vulnerable. Plus they’re way too skinny for my books.

What about you?

Who would you like to see play your leading man or woman?

Have I Got a Deal For You

vectorSmileyWinkSlipping in and out of a boring football game, wondering what to write about this evening, I took a stroll through my blog’s spam folder. I have to give con artists, embezzlers, virus junkies and idiots their due.  The do so try to get your attention — often with a hilarious premise.

You obviously know what youre talking about, why throw away your intelligence on just posting videos to your blog when you could be giving  us something enlightening to read?

At least they acknowledge I am intelligent…

This post gives clear idea in favor of the new viewers of blogging, that really how to do blogging.

Translation, please?

The effect will happen to be an awesome pop of wow in an unexpected put in. If you have sandpaper or some nail file, it is possible to give the card shoe a quick sanding.

They may be talking about a light bulb or a shoe…it’s hard to tell.

I was suggested this blog by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my  problem. You are incredible! Thanks

Since I mostly deal with middle-age madness, I’m glad I hit all their nails on their heads.

ロレックス マスター

時計 相場

Again, translation please?

I won’t bother you with the dirty, suggestive spams…I’m sure you all get them. But Even my Goddess e-mail isn’t free from the hustlers and bustlers.

Dearest…Therefore, I decide to seek for your help in transferring the money into your bank account while I will relocate to your country and settle down with you,

Invite yourself to my bank and home, would you?

RE: YOUR INHERITANCE FUNDS OF $80M.
This is to notify you that your over due inheritance funds has been gazetted to be released, via key telex transfer (KTT) –

Just think — this was from Bangkok…I have inherited 80 million dollars! Who would have thought?

As you can see, there are  others who have plenty of time on their hands. Me, wasting hot bath time reading spam that is destined for the garbage, and Them, wasting time telling me things I already know — that I’m intelligent, an intuitive, can sandpaper my shoes, and have a wealthy relative in Thailand who just happened to leave me $80 mil.

I wonder if there’s a bridge in Manhattan I can buy, too?

The Ball is not Crystal

??????????????????????????????????????What is the purpose of blogging?

I imagine you will get as many answers as there are construction barrels in Wisconsin.  But I ask myself that a lot.

I wonder why it is I chose to write this sort of blog. I subscribe to others, and they, too, run the gamut. Some are funny, some are inspirational. Some get personal, some are spiritual. I think of the scope of this blog. Is it too long? Too short? I see lots that are under 300 words. I see lots that are 900 words. I see blogs that have thousands of followers. What makes a person follow one and not another?

At one time I thought about writing a funny blog. My friend at The Return of the Modern Philosopher (http://moviewriternyu.wordpress.com) mixes writing about talking to Zeus and aliens and all the weird goings on in Maine with personal glimpses of the writer behind the madness.  Then there are others like David Kanigan  (http://davidkanigan.com) who makes you think and feel, sometimes with as little as a couple of sentences. My friend Itty( http://ittymac.wordpress.com/) is a font of inspiration and strength pulled from her life experiences. I am a fan of so many others, just like you.

We all read blogs for all kinds of reasons. But how do I figure out what others are looking for?  Yes, we write for ourselves. The more we tap into our “talent” the more believable — and readable —  we are. But what do readers want? How do you get to the thousands of followers mark? And does that necessarily mean you have a good product?

And, as you all are saying back to me — what does it matter?

I don’t really have an answer to that. I want to entertain, I want to encourage, I want to make people laugh.  Do I want to be a famous blogger? A famous writer? Do I want to dazzle the world with my keen insight into getting older?

Or do I just want to write?

Entertaining friends and family, both old and new, means more to me than having hundreds and thousands of followers who never open an e-mail. Having fun writing is more important to me than forcing words out just to make a dollar. Writing is therapy in a hundred different ways — I am no different.

So tell me,  friends, readers, writers — what makes you follow a blog? What do you look for?

Digging Around

dachshund-digging-5449136_sDigging around for some of my blasts from the past? Dig no more!  Here are a few fun ones you might have missed…

 

 

 

 

doll Chatty Cathy  Chit Chattin’ Chatty Cathy

https://humoringthegoddess.com/012/06/06/chit-chattin-chatty-cathy/

I subscribe to a few blogs where the author has broken out of their silent shell, finally finding a voice that is sparkling and true.  It’s not easy sharing something as personal as one’s self ― especially if that “self” has been suppressed for longer than one can imagine. I appreciate their efforts to finally let the world know who they are.

I, on the other hand, suffer from Italktoomuchitis.

 

pig_toy_pigletBuh Buh  Buh Blues

 https://humoringthegoddess.com/2012/02/15/the-buh-buh-buh-blues/

(Base guitar)

da da da thump…

Don’t wanna write ‘cuz there’s no light…

da a da thump…

Don’t wanna sing or work on my bling…

da a da thump…

Don’t wanna jog in my new tennis shoes…

(Loud and bluesy)

Don’t wanna do nuthin’ cuz I got the blues….

I’ve got the (loud) no-sunshine, no-energy, don’t give a whack ‘bout nuthin’ wintery bluuuueeesss..

.

4 Feng Shui Inside the Cubicle 1  Feng Shui in the Cubicle

https://humoringthegoddess.com/2011/05/04/feng-shui-in-the-cubicle/

One day I was sitting at my desk at work, green computer screen glowing, honky-tonk music spurting out from a speaker not far above my head, trying to concentrate on a long list of numbers that needed to be entered into the computer, glancing at pages waiting to be proofread and images to be downloaded, when a word drifted across my consciousness – Feng Shui.

38 Dinner with the Queen   Dinner With the Queen

https://humoringthegoddess.com/2011/06/22/dinner-with-the-queen/

In the mundane throng of your very predictable life, don’t you now and then want to just break out of the box and do something different? Now that you have the experience of all those years behind you, don’t you want to make that experience mean something? Don’t you ever want to be bigger than life?  Just for a day?

51 On Base of Bony Orbit  On Base of Bony Orbit

https://humoringthegoddess.com/2011/11/08/on-base-of-bony-orbit/

When not being busy as a Goddess Gypsy Irish/Polish Writing Queen (I’m not really sure what that is…), I also spend 40 hours a week working on catalogs. I enter data, order images and copy, and proofread everything from the original description to the final glossy prepress page. One of my catalogs is dedicated to health care. Besides pages being filled with replicas of every body part (inside or outside) you can imagine, I also come across some extraordinary vocabulary.

 

41 Merlot at the Lake HouseMerlot at the Lake House

Quick. Name a handful of your favorite movies. Not the “great” ones that are in your library ― the ones that define you. The ones you don’t admit entertain you time and time again. Are you what you watch? Are you big enough to admit that you are what you watch?

`

Madness Feedback Time

thCACKVOVZI really love my Goddess followers.  I may not have readers that rack up into the hundreds or thousands, but those of you who take time to read these middle age ditties (or tell someone else about them) really help keep the magic alive.  Some of you I know personally; others I have the pleasure of reading your blogs. Some of you merely peek in now and then. I hope all of you “get” something from these posts and use them to make your own magic.

I don’t know if it’s the “getting older” thing, or the “being in a hurry” thing, but lately I feel the stress of not having enough time to do what I want. Oh, you say, join the crowd! The whole world is like that! And it’s so true. But there is something lurking deep in the deep recesses of my subconcious cerebral cortex telling me I’m running out of time. Not in the most direct sense, mind you — I plan on being around another 30 years. But that’s not the same as being around another 40 years. Or 50 years.

I try not to live by the “If I only knew then what I knew now” motto, for, obviously, I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t been there.  It just seems that my NOW is a lot more crowded than it used to be. During the birthing babies stage, my life was split between work and children. Outdoor activities? Soccer or baseball games. Moving up the corporate ladder? More like moving up the playground ladder.  Dinner parties? Hot dogs on the run. I didn’t know what I was “missing” because there was no time to “miss” anything. Back then I really wanted a career. I did spend a number of years working in downtown Chicago, but to me it was more of a job than a career. (Like there is a difference).

Now that I’m suffering from middle age madness, I feel a second wind coming. But that’s just it…it’s somewhere around the corner, behind the neighbor’s barn, stuck in the bushes with empty frito bags and dried fall leaves. I keep thinking that as soon as I catch up with the dishes or mowing the lawn or organize my dresser drawers or reading my favorite blogs that my time, my body, and my life will be “organized” enough to be expanded.  

But it’s just not happening.

So I’m looking to my Goddess followers to give me a few tips. I’m serious. In a funny way, of course. How do you choose? 5:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. is taken by the Big Boss. But what next? How do I find time to sit down and write (my favorite past time) and cook great meals (I love to cook) and clean up from said great meal and vacuum every other day (with dogs and cats it should be three times a day) and spend time with my family and wash and put away laundry and mow the lawn and catch my favorite TV show and take the dog for a walk and clean out the basement and write a blog and do research on the Internet and….

Okay. You get it. Do I let housework slide to do the things that I love (and who knows..maybe make me money in the future)? Do I get on the hygene horse and get super organized in my house so that everything is always done (so we don’t have to call the health department)? Do I record all my favorite television shows and leave them for  one snowy day when I’m 88 years old?

Give me your thoughts. Help me not feel guilty about being Superwoman. Give me an idea on how to get that second wind blowing straight into my living room window. I promise not to stand there naked to catch the breeze.

No one should have to go through something like that.

Grrrrr Woof!! I’m Baaaaaacckkkkk!!!!

big-nose-dogChange is a wonderful thing. You and your friends and the lady down the block and the crazy driver behind you are ever evolving…even if the moron behind you is up your bumper and the lady down the block recycles dog hair for her art projects. It’s just one of those “getting older” things. And whether you are concerned about turning 30 or turning 60, the shadows of change forever dog your steps.

I had taken a “hiatus”, if you will, from blogging. Too many other things to do; too many blogs to read, too many 7:30 to 4:00 work days ,too much housecleaning, too many buzzy bee activities to be involved in anything personal. Reading? I tried Fifty Shades of Grey, but I lost interest in about Shade Six. TV shows? I am still trying to catch up with the finale of House. Dealing with employment issues, dog and cat issues, hot flash issues, all took a bit of zip out life of my daily 24 hours in the past months.

But I really missed blogging. And I figured – if I’m going to angst about getting older, why not get back in the get in the groove and angst with others my age? With others of any age? I found that teeth gnashing and deep, dramatic, sad sighs about getting “older” were not limited to my own private sphere. One girl at work was struck with the painful reality that she was now 40, and even my 30-year-old son is having flashbacks to carefree days in high school. Life is rushing by for a family member that just turned 70, and I can barely think about my own turning 60.

No one is immune to the effects of aging. Whether it’s crows feet (I’ve seen some in women as young as 35), the groaning ache of getting up out of a chair, indigestion from something as simple as mushrooms, or hitting the mute button on the TV because the noise has finally become too hard on your ears, age creeps up on us whether we want it or not. Our ability to handle the madness of middle age becomes just another brick in the preverbal wall, if you get my drift. So why not handle it together?

Come back and play with me ‘n the Goddess!! Let’s celebrate with the Goddess the fact that we are at least coherent enough to feel the aches and heartburn and dizzying pace of the world around us.Whether you’re in your 20s or in your 60s, tell me your funny “getting old’ stories, your “senior” moments, your attempts to regain your rock-and-roll youth. You’ll find your concerns aren’t nearly as bad as you thought…that getting older (and, if we’re lucky,  wiser) isn’t half bad when you see that everyone else around you is getting older too.

As one famous terminator once said, “I’m baaaaaackkk!”

What Is True Success?

So many things make us happy; so many things make us sad. So many times we wished we  had turned left instead of right; so many times we are soooo glad we did turn right instead of left. Sometimes I get really sad that I’m soon going to turn 60 — where has my life gone? Other times I look back and am sorry my mother never made 54. I’m sad that I had breast cancer; other times I’m so glad they found it when they did.

Life is packed with highs and lows, yellow and blacks, snow and scorching heat. That’s what it’s all about. That’s what it’s always been about. For us, for our grandparents, for George Washington and Kublai Khan and St. Joseph. I’m sure they all had a hundred things they wanted to do at one time, too.  Just like us. We all want to be appreciated for what we’ve done. What we’ve become. We all would like to think that our time here on Earth has been for the Greater Good.

This is not a confessional blog; this isn’t a tell-all or a bad news bomb.  I’m sitting on my sofa this cold Sunday afternoon, looking at the bare treetops in my front yard. Of course, you know me — I’m also watching football, eating lunch, doing laundry, getting ready to write some in  my latest novel, wondering what I’m gonna wear to work tomorrow. I’m also thinking about the fun I had with my grandbaby this weekend, thinking of taking some drugs for my achy legs, and feeling guilty I haven’t played fetchie with my dog today.

That’s really what this blog is about. Sometimes I feel I should be pushing this blog harder, trying to share the Word with more readers. Other times I think I’ve run this horse to the finish line, and should start a new creative venture.  Yet more often I think  I’ve let my writing simmer on the back burner for so long it’s started to dry up and stick to the pan.

How do you know if you’ve succeeded at what you tried to do? What is the measure of success? Big paychecks often are an indicator;  good health, always. Waking up every morning is a success all on its own. Family? Kids? Making the perfect apple pie? All of the above are successes if never done it before. Success has always been measured from the heart first, from the masses second. And often it takes on a meaning more cosmic than one thinks. I think I make the best spaghetti sauce this side of the Mississippi. If you don’t agree, does that mean it’s not good? Of course not. All it means is that I can eat it all myself.

Writing is the same thing for me. What is being a successful writer? Have I ever been published? A short  story here or there in the past 10 years. Have I won awards for my creativity? No. Have I ever I gotten a call or email from a publisher? No. Do I think I’m a successful writer? Yes. Definitely.  I’ve had people say positive things about my stories; I’ve brought smiles and tears to readers.  I’ve written 4 novels, 1 novella, 32 short stories, 42 poems, 84 blogs, and 3 novels in-progress. I think that’s being successful. Why? Because Ive continued to do what I love, no matter what the  result. I’ve had fun making friends, creating worlds, and trying things that make me uncomfortable. I encouraged people to believe in themselves, given life to middle-age heroines, and never killed off  the main character.

There are still so many paths to follow, worlds to explore. And that’s only after I play with my grandbaby, fetch my dogs, pet my cats, cuddle my husband, go to work 40 hours a week, clean my house, grocery shop, get together with family and/or friends, and dozens of other responsibilities. Life has only so many hours, and I’m still struggling on squeezing a few more out of every week.

So what this all boils down to is that I’ve driven the Humoring the Goddess train long enough. Hopefully I’ve encouraged you to believe in yourself, have fun with your life, and laugh as much as you can. There are so many things you can’t change, so why not toss your hands up and laugh and move on? You’ll know the things you CAN change..that little voice in your heart/head/soul is always there to remind you. Your job is to listen.

I have enjoyed entertaining you all these years more than you know. I have learned so much from you. I might try another blog, or finish one of my novels, or sit and spew poetry until I feel nauseated. I’m sure I’ll be back and visit sometime. If I start something new I’ll post it. I will look foward to hearing from you and YOUR projects. You will always find me at my email world…  humoring_the_goddess@yahoo.com.

There is always a path ahead of you. Always. It’s up to you which one you take, or how often you turn left or right. In the end, none of that matters — the only thing that matters is that you keep walking.

Keep Humoring the Goddess…and Loving your Life…

Claudia Anderson

You Didn’t Read Which One??

With the Madness of Summer burning the bottoms of our feet, there is not often much time to do any deep reading. A news headline here, a gossip column there, is about all one can squeeze in between State Fairs and Renaissance Faires and Italian Fairs.  So I thought I’d make it short and sweet this time around…come along and check out some of my oldies-but-goodies and see for yourself how fun managing the madness and magic and middle age can be!

Sharpening the Tool  — https://humoringthegoddess.wordpress.com/2012/03/10/sharpening-the-tool/

I hate it when people say that many middle-aged people “aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed.” It’s condescending, insulting, naive and just plain wrong. What I hate even more, though, is being one of those dull tools. Alas, there are times when I feel I’m struggling to stay in the shed, period.

Dancing in a Too Tight Tutu — https://humoringthegoddess.wordpress.com/2011/10/15/522/

I was sitting around the other day with my gal friends, sharing tales about the weekend. We all seemed to have gone through the same delightful experience, albeit in different ways. We all were relaxed, having a good time, and probably drank a little too much, for we all said, “I’m too old for this.”  One sat with friends and sipped with friends all day, one went to an outdoor concert, and I party hopped.  I’m sure the situations were on the same astral plane as many others “my age.”  Time flows, excitement and comfort wraps around us, the atmosphere make us feel good, and before you know it we are waking up the next morning with a headache, saying, “I’m too old for this.

Dinner With the Queen https://humoringthegoddess.wordpress.com/2011/06/22/dinner-with-the-queen/

In the mundane throng of your very predictable life, don’t you now and then want to just break out of the box and do something different? Now that you have the experience of all those years behind you, don’t you want to make that experience mean something? Don’t you ever want to be bigger than life? Just for a day?

The Importance of Unicorns and Bratwursthttps://humoringthegoddess.wordpress.com/2011/06/01/the-importance-of-unicorns-and-bratwurst/

The Importance of Unicorns and Bratwurst. This is one of those ethereal, out-of-body titles that try to connect the cosmic to the ordinary, the magical to the mundane.  I was hit by this title some time ago, not having a clue as to what it meant or what I would eventually write about.  Even now, as my fingers hit the keys, I have no idea where this storyline is going.  But isn’t that so much like our everyday lives?

Merlot at the Lake House — https://humoringthegoddess.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/merlot-at-the-lake-house/

Quick.  Name a handful of your favorite movies. Not the “great” ones that are in your library ― the ones that define you. The ones you don’t admit entertain you time and time gain.  Are you what you watch? Are you big enough to admit that you are what you watch?

The Diamond Goddess Award

Equal to my desire to become a famous writer (move over, JK),  is my desire for others to enjoy my work. While my first desire is right up there with winning the lottery and swimming in the Mediterranean, the second actually seems possible.

 The other day I stopped into the Goddess Hood and found I had been nominated for the Sunshine Award on WordPress. I don’t know exactly what that is or where you go to find out about it, but just knowing that someone actually READ my blog and thought enough about it to submit my name really made my sun shine.

 I was nominated by  seventhvoice.wordpress.com, who is, among other talents,  a very good, sensitive poet. I thank her – and you – for letting me know my posts make a difference in your lives. I think I’m supposed to nominate other blogs for other awards, but there are so many floating around out there I don’t know where to start. The Inspiring Blog Award, the Beautiful Blogger Award, The Very Inspiring Blogger Award, the Sunshine Award ―  all are accolades that reward the determined writer with a bit of recognition…and appreciation.

 I feel bad because I don’t have as much time to follow blogs and enter contests and write stories like I used to. It seems the older I get the busier I get. How did that happen? I subscribe to a handful of blogs and really want to subscribe to a few more.  But even today I opened my mailbox and found 523 emails waiting for me. Where have I been?

 I realized that asking you to read my blog or get my email blog puts you in the same situation that I’m in. We all are trying to put 10 pounds of sugar in a 5 pound bag.  And I thought ― how can I pick out one or five blogs that catch my soul so much that I nominate them for all the awards floating around out there? What makes a blog about spirituality any more enjoyable than one about divorce? How do I know if your blog is an Inspiring Blog Award or a Beautiful Blogger Award?

 So what I have done is nutty and escapist…something those of you who know me have no problem believing.  I’m creating my own award:

  • The Diamond Goddess Award

Who is to receive this precious honor? 

 All of you.

 All of you who take time to listen to my babble, all of you who send your thoughts and comments my way, all of you who strive to be more than you are today.  It is for those of you who peek in once a month or wait impatiently for my next ditty. It’s for those of you who like me but never have time to read anything. And it’s for those who don’t care for my style but put up with me anyway.

 And you know the best thing about this award?  YOU can pass it on!  Pass it on to anyone who makes you smile, anyone who makes you feel.  Take my dancing diamond and send it to your best friend and the chick you barely know. Let them know you’re thinking about them and that you think they sparkle  like a diamond.

 You’ll feel better for it. I know I do.

 

 

 

Happy Anniversary, Humoring the Goddess!

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO MEEEEE!!!

Yes, I’ve been blogging and blabbing and sharing the magic and madness of middle age for an entire year now, and it’s been great. I hope you have taken some of my magic and turned it into your own. You are all powerful — you are magical, crazy, lovable friends, and I wish you all the best in the coming years.

My blogging contest has come to an end; I thank you all for your thoughts and your entries. I will announce the winner next post.  In the meantime, enjoy the story that started it all…

MY MUSE IS AN IRISH WENCH

Everyone has a Muse in their life — a spirit guide, an angel, who nudges them forward; an invisible energy who inspires us to be something more than a slug on the couch watching TV or a potato chip-eating machine.  I have one friend who insists his guardian angel travels with him wherever he goes; I have another who contacts one spirit guide for meditation and a different one for balancing her checkbook.  I know one woman who never leaves home without St. Christopher, and a fellow writer who swears he consults Shakespeare’s ghost every time he gets stuck writing his novel.

St. Christopher and Shakespeare are fine and dandy, but what do you do if your creative muse is an Irish Wench?  The stories of leprechauns on St. Patrick’s Day are bad enough, with their drunken rowdiness and stealing of gold for their pot at the end of the rainbow and all that.  But what if your Muse turned out to be a woman with a heart as green as the Emerald Isle who hangs around with those drunken leprechauns?

A Muse is supposed to be your inspiration, your guide, through whatever creative endeavor you undertake.  Venus inspired Michelangelo; Cleopatra inspired Marc Anthony, Athena inspired Odysseus. The original Muses were daughters of Zeus, who presided over the arts and sciences. It just so happens that my inspiration is a fiery Irish barmaid is named Fiona who comes complete with cleavage and clover.  She pops up at the most inopportune times, standing and dancing on my shoulder or steering wheel or computer, rattling off in thick Gaelic who knows what, hoping to jumpstart my creativity.  Dressed in her flowing gauze dress with the girdle that pushes up her breasts in the most obnoxious manner, my little sprite demands attention right then and there.  And I’d better stop and acknowledge her, or she will turn everything upside down.

For instance, one of my favorite short stories popped into my head while I was at work.  The push to get this written came across loud and clear – write me now Couldn’t my Muse have at least waited until lunchtime to rattle off her idea?  I tried to stall my creativity until noon, but it only got worse.  I’m sure some of my creative metaphors got mixed up in whatever I was typing.  Or how about the time that one of my book’s most romantic interludes hit me right in the middle of my son’s soccer game? It was pretty hard to make mental notes when I was screaming encouragements to his high school team.   And what about the poem that hit me driving down the highway at 65 miles per hour?  Or the full-blown idea of a murder mystery that hit me while  I was mowing the lawn?

I am all for inspiration.  Sunsets are wonderful inducements to creative arts, as are walks through the woods or lying on a sunny beach.  Classical music or mellow jazz or even mind-numbing hair band rock can fine-tune one’s creative edge as they sew, paint, crochet or design.  The sight of children at play or two seniors holding hands can unfurl pages of creative prose and poetry.  But how can you write or draw or knit or paint with a foot stomping, sing-along Irish wench dancing on your shoulder?  How can you sit still and concentrate when her Celtic jigs blast through every thread of your body, forcing you to bob your head along with the tempo or sing along with the oh-so-familiar lyrics at the top of your lungs?

Don’t get me wrong – my little wench has brought me much pleasure through the years.  She has encouraged me to write some really intense interactions and deeply emotional poetry. Her Wild Irish Rose attitude inspires me to write out of the box, to reach deep inside for feelings and fears that normally don’t see the light of day, and to let those feelings influence my writing.  She tosses out ideas for short stories or chapters when I am stuck; she helps me smooth through the rough patches of dialogue when they don’t make sense.  She encourages me to do research about places and history and mechanics, refusing to let me slide along with made-up assumptions.

But I have to admit her timing needs a little work.  Driving a car or typing numbers in a computer is not the most opportune time to become inspired.  Nor is when I mow the lawn (a true instance of inspired genius, I must admit). I can’t be pulling over to the side of the road every other block or flipping the light on in the middle of the night just because she throws an idea towards me that I cannot resist.  I do appreciate her help ― I really do.  But I have to teach her to work on her impulsiveness.  There is a time and place for everything ― even inspiration.  Great ideas often have to ferment in one’s psyche before they become full blown masterpieces.  And there’s no doubt that you have your own muse dying to catch your attention.  All you need to do is listen.

Now, if she could serve me one of those Irish brews as often as she jumped on my bandwagon…on second thought, maybe that’s not such a good idea.  If she served me beer as often as she demands attention, I’d be drunk before I started.

The Writer in You

I hope your minds are trying to take a break from your madness — at least long enough to enter my contest.  In case you need a refresher moment:

The contest is simple: write me a blog. You know me, you know my style. Life is wonderful, scary, crazy, monotonous and a hundred other verbs. But there is something to be learned from everything we do. Share one of your magical moments of madness.  Keep the entry around  900-1,000 words (I figure readers don’t have all day to read my ramblings).

The prize:  First place will be publishing your blog on my blog. I may not have a million readers, but the half-million that peruse these halls (ha!) will be able to taste a little of your desert as well.  And wouldn’t it be great to see your name in print? Then you can call your grandma and your brother-in-law and tell them you-are-published! The winner will also receive a brand-new, never-been-opened, cookbook from the Southern Gateways Bed and Breakfast Association called “Beyond Breakfast” (from the days when I was a bed and breakfast owner. That’s a blog or two all of its own…) It may be from 1998, but hey — you can never have enough cook books!

Second prize will be a trio of beautiful note cards.  Writing is a lost art – these will enable you to send someone a note the OLD FASHIONED WAY.

Send your entries to:   humoring_the_goddess@yahoo.com 

Entry deadline is April 16th

It would delight me to no end if you’d give it a whirl!  Come On!  Yooouuuu  Can Dooooo Eeeet!

An Anniversary! And a Contest!

Huzzah! 

I can’t believe it! As of April 18th I will have been blogging one whole year!  Look at all the places we’ve visited; all the laughs, all the tears.  We’ve astral travelled, dressed up in mink shawls,  and spoke Chinese. We remodeled kitchens, found the cosmic meaning of unicorns and bratwurst, and talked a little about the “C” word.  You know what we should do?

Have a contest!  With prizes!

The contest is simple: write me a blog. You know me, you know my style. Life is wonderful, scary, crazy, monotonous and a hundred other verbs. But there is something to be learned from everything we do. Share one of your magical moments of madness.  Keep the entry around  900-1,000 words (I figure readers don’t have all day to read my ramblings).

The prize:  First place will be publishing your blog on my blog. I may not have a million readers, but the half-million that peruse these halls (ha!) will be able to taste a little of your desert as well.  And wouldn’t it be great to see your name in print? Then you can call your grandma and your brother-in-law and tell them you-are-published! The winner will also receive a brand-new, never-been-opened, cookbook from the Southern Gateways Bed and Breakfast Association called “Beyond Breakfast” (from the days when I was a bed and breakfast owner. That’s a blog or two all of its own…) It may be from 1998, but hey — you can never have enough cook books!

Second prize will be a trio of beautiful note cards.  Writing is a lost art – these will enable you to send someone a note the OLD FASHIONED WAY.

Send your entries to:   humoring_the_goddess@yahoo.com 

Entry deadline is April 16th. I may take a wee-bit of editing privledge — after all, I am a proofreader — but will keep your words as you write them. So be articulate! Make us smile! Make us nod our heads like Ryan Braun bobble heads!

Come celebrate with me!  You have made writing so much fun for me – I just want to return the feeling.

And please – don’t let me down – don’t let it look like I’m the only one who came to my party –

Claudia Anderson

Humoring the Goddess