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!

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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 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/.

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.

 

 

 

 

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.

Enjoying My Back Yard?

111026_seguridad_spam_XLSo many ideas to talk about today, but am forced to pick one.

Do you ever take a look at your spam? Spam is Spam, no doubt about it. I wrote a blog about this some time ago, amazed by how far back some of these spammies go to dip into my writing well.

Well, I just happened to look at some of them this morning, and I don’t get it. Really.

It’s like there’s a whole conversation going on between commenters that have absolutely nothing to do with me or my blog.

For example: on You Are Not Your Conditioning (http://wp.me/p1pIBL-1os), I found:

2015/12/23 at 3:02 pm….Most wish to think of the premium covers and can avoid getting an insurance coverage cover for their own reasons.

2015/12/24 at 1:24 am….Back to Community Care our son had over 100,000.00 left in treatment. In between centers, health center and flight for life.

2015/12/24 at 3:13 am….Thankfully some working Americans do have medical healthcare protection through their employers.

2015/12/24 at 3:31 am….Although we have excellent coverage in BC it does not pay much out of the country so we have travel medical insurance companies to negotiate with.

12/24/15 3:43 am….Given that she is on an HSA insurance plan through her work, this exercises truly great for her too, considering that she has to fund the very first $2,500.

2015/12/24 at 4:35 am….Prior to responding to that question, it is necessary making sure that you really need insurance.

Who ARE these people? Are they actually communicating with each other? Did they miss a digit along the way and just keep talking?

None of the addresses are the same, and the addresses they DO have are as phony as a landing on Pluto.  But nonetheless, someone(s) are using my blog as a gathering place to share their insurance worries.

I don’t know if I should be worried or not. I mean, I’m sure there are a thousand ways to send spam to every blogger known to man. Maybe they lie in wait, hoping that someone opens and reads them or follows a link to their black hole that drains all the info from your world into theirs. And I’m sure there is a sucker born every minute, which means an extra bucket for them to scoop from.

If these slicksters would only put their efforts into writing something worthwhile, instead of having make-believe conversations in other people’s worlds, think of how interesting their writing would be.

It would sure beat: Unsparing porn galleries (put link here) .in/?facebook_anna
kester elementary school chicas de marruecos gros culs xxx black a$z master rapidshare 1949 indian arrow.

Makes me wonder if I can report any of this. Or if I should just be content being one in six million every day that hits the “Delete Permanently” button for my Spam folder.

After I take a peek, of course…

 

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!

 

 

Where In The World Is….

binocularsI don’t watch “Are Your Smarter than a 5th Grader,” because I don’t want to embarrass myself about how much I really don’t know about the world.

When you’re in school, dates, details, facts, and equations fill your brain. Once you get that beloved diploma, though, most of that stuff falls out of your head like dried alphabet noodles.

I was creating a mailing list at work the other day and I had to add all the world’s countries as part of a dropdown menu. Of course, who doesn’t know where France and China are? Smaller countries like Laos and Thailand aren’t too bad either. But do you know where these countries lie?

Anguilla    Belize      Brunei       Gabon     Liechtenstein      Belarus

     Mauritius      Micronesia      Montserrat     Malawi       Togo

I imagine a lot of you do. I, on the other hand, barely know where Prairie du Chein, Wisconsin is (it’s in upper Wisconsin where the Mississippi and Wisconsin Rivers meet).

It gets worse.

I though Liechtenstein was a made up name from the movie “A Knights Tale.” And the Micronesia was an on-purpose play on the name Malaysia from the movie “Zoolander.”

I’ve spent too much time in front of the TV and not enough in an encyclopedia.

If I don’t have any idea where these countries (and more, believe me) are, I also don’t have any idea of their history, their culture, their arts and their food. Not that in the grand scheme of things I’m missing out on a whole new world of culture, but it makes me feel dumb that I AM so dumb at times.

Anguilla is a British overseas territory in the Caribbean.  It is one of the most northerly of the Leeward Islands in the Lesser Antilles, lying east of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands and directly north of Saint Martin.

Belize is a country on the eastern coast of Central America. bordered on the north by Mexico,  on the south and west by Guatemala,  and on the east by the Caribbean Sea.

Brunei is a sovereign state  located on the north coast of the island of  Borneo in Southeast Asia.

Gabon is a sovereign state on the west coast of Central Africa. Located on the equator, Gabon is bordered by Equatorial Guinea  to the northwest, Cameroon  to the north, the Republic of the Congo on the east and south, and the Gulf of Guinea to the west.

Liechtenstein is bordered by Switzerland to the west and south and Austria to the east and north. It has an area of just over 62 square miles.

Belarus is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe bordered by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest.

Mauritius is an island nation in the Indian Ocean about 2,000 kilometers (1,200 mi) off the southeast coast of the African continent

Micronesia – is a sub region of Oceania, comprising thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean. It has a shared cultural history with two other island regions, Polynesia to the east and Melanesia to the south.

Montserrat is a Caribbean island—specifically in the Leeward Islands, which is part of the chain known as the Lesser Antilles in the West Indies.

Malawi is a landlocked country in southeast Africa that was formerly known as Nyasaland. It is bordered by Zambia to the northwest, Tanzania to the northeast, and Mozambique on the east, south and west.

Togo is a country in West Africa bordered by Ghana to the west, Benin to the east and Burkina Faso  to the north. It extends south to the Gulf of Guinea.

 

So there you go. Countries that watch sunrises and sunsets just as we do; people who work off the land, have families, create art, and live and die by the cosmic clock. Cultures so far away, so removed from our everyday life, that we don’t even know they exist.

At least I didn’t. Until now.

Wonder what they make for dinner in Micronesia?

 

8 (more) Granny Rules

CAM00835 (2)I want to start this off by saying how lucky — and I mean lucky — I am to have my oldest son, his pregnant wife, and my 4-year-old grandbaby living with us for a few months. I will never have this opportunity again, so I don’t want to blow it.

Having said that, I have found that when family stays with you (even if it’s for a week or two), the rules as a Granny change. I find I’m not as freebird-ish as I want to be. I have learned that, much to MY chagrin, you have to be respectful of the parents’ wishes, thoughts, and actions.

So for you other present or future grannies and grandpas, here are some rules you should think about.

1.  Bed Time is Bed Time.

Oh, you may be able to squeeze an extra hour out on the weekends, but during the week, there is no watching TV in bed with Granny while eating an ice cream bar or jumping on the bed with the dogs. They need to calm down before sleep time. (So do you!)

2. Bed Time Snacks Are Different.

No more chips and soda before bed; no more cheese sticks and slices of salami, no more Hi-C or Hawaiian Punch cocktails. Pull that apple out from the back of the frig shelf, or pour a bowl of cereal. Act responsible. (Leave the ice cream bars for before YOU go to bed..)

3.  Ask your Mom/Dad

My grandson used to come over and get just about anything he wanted any time he wanted. Now that he’s under closer supervision, I can’t sneak him string cheese or pretzels and peanut butter  instead of dinner. I find myself saying, “Ask your Mother.” I feel like I’m shirking my Granny duties, but it’s better if the stomach aches come from them, not me.

4.  Kids and Pets

I tend to yell at my 3 stupid dogs a lot. I now have to clean up my language and not sound like a truck driver every time the dog pees or poops inside or wraps the leash around my ankle. My grandbaby adds to the furor by picking up my cats around the neck and parading around with them. When the cats have finally had enough, he takes it personally and starts to antagonize them. My language AND my reprimands are a little stronger now days. Not the Granny Way.

5.  Play Age-Approriate Games

Teaching a grandbaby how to use an axe to cut the string on firewood or mowing the lawn with a riding tractor (although grandpa rode on the tractor too) is not what a mother wants to hear. I am always honest with her — much to HER chagrin. While riding down the little hill on a Big Wheels looks as scary as a runaway train, a vigilant grandparent will be there every step of the way. Trust me — past times like coloring and playing with cars don’t hold a candle to a big squirt gun fight.

6.  Give your kids and grandkids space.

It’s fairly easy to trip over each other in one household. Fortunately my husband is gone in the evening and I’m gone during the day, so our 25 minutes of shared daylight doesn’t get in anyone’s way. But once grandpa is gone and I’m home alone with everybody, I tend to start feeling like a sticky note. I believe that evening times are Dad and Mom times, with a little Granny sprinkled in now and then for color. I usually wind up going into my room and writing/watch TV/fold laundry anyway, giving them plenty of time to cuddle as a threesome and talk about me if they want.

7.  No Hands.

And who better to teach a 4-year-old no hands on the roller coaster? Momma and I get sick just looking at them; then there’s Grandpa. And Dad. But Grandpa is the Instigator who looks fear in the eye and laughs at it. (He has a great laugh). If trying something off-center, try and pull one of the parents into it. It’s easier in the long run.

8.  Be honest.

Grannies are always honest…it just doesn’t always seem like it. Most times we are relegated to seeing our grandkids every other weekend, or, sadly, every month or every year. We have to make the most of our time together; after all, we don’t want our grandkids to forget about us once we’re gone. That’s why I tell my grandbaby (and my kids, but to a lesser degree), how much I love them, how much I miss them when they’re gone, how much I can’t wait to see them the next time. We plan things that might not come to fruition, but it’s the fun and love in planning that makes the difference.  I wear my love on my sleeve. And don’t regret the shredded mess at all.

 

We’re going to have another addition to our family in a few months. I have found as a mother myself that it’s easier to let go (to grandparents) by the time the second one comes along. Parents realize that their parents aren’t one step from the looney bin, they’re not Charles Manson followers, and the craziness that occurs is more in the mind than in reality.

Soon we will have TWO kids to spoil. My kids won’t be living with us by then.

Momma — watch out. Granny’s coming —

 

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?

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!)

 

 

Whooo Are You? Who Who..Who Who?

confusing body painting 2I was going to write about my life feeling like a tornado. But the thought made me dizzy, so I changed directions, and am going to talk about  —  I don’t know what to talk about.

More often than not my life is like that. I feel like I’m going frontwards, backwards, up the center of that tornado, and not making much headway. So I had a long talk with myself on the drive home from work today, and have decided that I’ve got to quit fighting with the world and to just be myself.

Now, I tell myself that every other day. I’m sure you do, too. And yet you go back to work, to your family, hiding the same thoughts, acting like a semi-obedient kid, counting the days until vacation, until Saturday, until retirement.

In my little one-on-one today, my good girl/bad girl really struggled to find a happy balance. Now, I am a happy person. I love my family, my paint-in-the-butt pets, my house and my habits. I’m not what you’d considered repressed — more like befuddled.

I never thought about retiring. I am too young to retire. Retirement is for old people. I know I wrote a blog about that some time ago, and the truth is that not much has changed. And that’s the problem. I haven’t noticed the clock moving backwards any, so all I have is the NOW and tomorrow’s NOW and so on and so forth. I told myself that it’s about time to stop wasting the NOWs wanting things that just aren’t going to change. There will always be worlds that fit like a glove, and others that fit like size 6 spandex. And not being “there” is alright all on its own.

My Goddess self said Knock It Off.

And so I have.

I really am going to (try) stop whining and get to gettin’ on. I have novels to finish, novels to edit, boho clothes to buy, and star roads to wander down. I suppose this wanderlust looks a bit like dementia, but since it’s purposeful, on-purpose wandering, I’m not too worried.

Have you gotten to the place in your life where enough is enough? I’m not saying I’m going to tell my boss off or spend lots of money on foofy things or start ordering from Amazon and Zulilly, but I am tired of feeling the victim of the world all the time. The bullying stopped by the time I was in high school. It started again about 10 years ago, but it stopped last November. So there’s no reason why I can’t live my life the way I want to. Who knows what that will be? I’d like to get to the point where I don’t feel guilty sleeping in on the weekends or having ice cream for breakfast. I want to write instead of do dishes and work on my blog instead of researching pin numbers.

It’s so much easier said than done, isn’t it? I know we all have different learning curves. Some curves have been much more brutal than mine, some easier. But we’re all striving to find out who we are.

No — we’re all striving to BE who we are. And it can’t be that hard.

I think if we were honest, we’d all be some jagged, bejeweled, bewitched, unpredictable conglomeration of blood and bone and pinky guts that is full of love and hope and magic.

I can be that. How about you?

 

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/

Good Intentions Still Need a Disclaimer

peace lillyAs I sit and add images to my newly created Sunday Evening Art Gallery blog, my mind wanders back to a non-incident last week.

I know that, for the most part, showcasing others’ artwork is a step through the thornbushes, to be sure. The reward: fields and fields of fragrant, beautiful flowers. The punishment: thorns that can rip and make you bleed. And that, even with the best, most honest intentions, someone, somewhere, might get upset. Such is the chance I’m willing to take.

I placed a disclaimer on this wandering, unusual blog: not much, I imagine, in the scheme of things. But nonetheless, an attempt at honesty.

Here it is for you all as well.

DISCLAIMER

 

There are so many unbelievable, fascinating, beautiful works of Art out in the world. The intention of this blog, Sunday Evening Art Gallery, is to share this beauty with the Internet Public.

These are creations that most of us never come across. I know every time I find something new and unusual I can’t wait to share it with you. I am taken aback by the genius behind the art. And I believe their passion should be discovered and appreciated by everyone.

Whenever possible, I have listed the artist and their website for your further exploration. In other situations, the topic is so diverse that often there is no one source for the images.

At no time is it my intention to steal or claim as my own photography any image I put on Sunday Evening Art Gallery.

I make no money from this world; I claim only the photography that is mine. My intention is to share the websites of these gifted people so you may further enjoy the fruits of their labors.

If at any time you discover I have taken your image and not given you proper credit, please let me know. My e-mail address is humoring_the_goddess@yahoo.com.

I hope my intention of spreading the beauty I come across has lightened your day. There are so many hard-working, creative artists in the world whose creations most of us never see. I hope to make this blog a melting pot of the unusual, the unique, and the awe-inspiring.

I hope you come along for the ride.

 

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

 

Share Your Island

x3_palm1 (1)Look at the sky. We are not alone. The whole universe is friendly to us and conspires only to give the best to those who dream and work.  J. Abdul Kalam

No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main.   John Donne

You can make it, but it’s easier if you don’t have to do it alone.    Betty Ford

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.   Helen Keller

 

A lot of us have creative dreams that we dream alone. We dream of being a better painter, ceramics-er, quilter, speaker, writer. But we sit alone, dreaming these pipe dreams, afraid to bring our full potential to the forefront.

Yet when we bring out work outside the silence of our own world, amazing things happen.

Bells ring, adrenalin bubbles, and ideas explode. When we share our oh-so-private dreams with others who also have oh-so-private dreams, we find incentive, hope, and support with another living, breathing, being.

And it’s great.

I know some of the greatest writers seclude themselves, isolate themselves, and write torturous and incredible passages; painters hide in dark rooms and airy studios and create gorgeous imitations of life. But sooner or later these masterpieces need a second opinion. An idea of where to go from here. A conversation of how to get their message out there. Feedback on their thoughts and ideas.

Tonight I had hot chocolate with my bff, an incredibly talented and outgoing muse. We talked about speaking engagements and radio shows and blogs and writing contests and it was exciting. Last week I met with two other wonderfully creative and innovative muses whose creative talents lie in the worlds of animals and graphic arts. Over the weekend, a couple of fantastic scrapbookers. Everyone’s fields are different; everyone is engaged in different parts of their lives. But all of us have the desire to do more, be more, to have fun and discover what’s waiting for us right around the corner.

Some of my best friends are people I met when I was a part of the Wisconsin Writer’s Association. Friends that are writers, poets, screenwriters. I miss the camaraderie conferences brought to my life. The natural support that comes from wanting the same things everyone at the table wants. I miss the support of those who are lost in their innovational sphere like I am.

When I get together with other creative spirits, something magical happens. It’s the opposite of what you first envision. Your thoughts clarify. You are free to boast about your accomplishments without feeling self conscious. You share thoughts on how to get your message across. What works, what doesn’t. What’s reasonable and what’s ridiculous.

Blogs are wonderful tools for communication, too. There are thousands of writers out there — thousands of abstract artists and thousands of jewelry makers and thousands of animal whisperers. Sometimes when you see the sheer numbers of those wanting what you want, it can be overwhelming, making you want to throw in the towel.

Don’t.

The numbers don’t matter. All that matters is that somewhere in the Internet world are others who are going through just what you are going through. You can’t be friends with them all. But you can connect with a talented few who are willing to take you along on their ride, and who want to ride along with you. People who laugh and encourage and feel just like you.

Don’t be afraid to dream and to encourage others to dream too. There is always so much room to grow. And nothing is more fun than growing along with others.

Make room on your island!

 

 

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.

 

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CAM00811

 

 

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Shhhh Kitty Kitty Kitty….

Let me start off by saying – I love cats. I love MY cats. They are solace when I am sad, they are loving when I feel empty.

Now.

My cats also drive me up the proverbial wall.

They do the usual “cat” things…they lay on my laptop when I’m typing, sleep by my head when I’m trying to sleep. But they also make more noise than the Park Street Band. Especially Tom.

Tom is my grey and white tuxedo. He is the friendliest, coolest cat I’ve ever owned. He holds his own against my chocolate lab, along with the two other labs that practically live at my house. He allows my grandson to carry him all  around the house, feet dangling near the floor, as his body as long as my grandson is tall. He loves to lay on your lap – anyone’s lap – especially if you are under a blanket.

What’s the problem, then, you ask?

It’s multifold, actually.

First off, his meow is loud and demanding. Not just when he’s hungry, but when he wants a snack. When he wants a bite. When the other cat eats more than her share of breakfast and dinner. He’s not a fat cat – he’s just a slow eater. A bite, a nibble, a nap, another bite. So his eating/lifestyle often leaves his bowl empty, and his meow obnoxious. Relentless. Over the top.

I think Tom must be a vocal kind of cat. For his pestering snacking “meow” doesn’t hold a candle to his…cleaning ritual.

I have never heard a cat be so loud in cleaning himself. Not just a licky here, chewy there. This is a full-blown, groaning, squeaking, icky-sticky ritual. Grunts and groans that would make a sound effects master blush. And he seems to pick the quietest times to take a bath. 2 a.m. 4 a.m. When I just go to bed. An hour before I wake up.  If he can’t lick himself, he licks the dog’s head. Unless I close the bedroom door at night, he is there like clockwork. Cuddling, snuggling, licking and yacking and hacking. If I close him out, he and the other cat play tag from one end of the house to the other. I’m doomed no matter which way I turn.

You say maybe he’s got a mineral deficiency. Or needs more water. Or a bath.  I am of the belief that he is just one big, happy cat, and when he kicks back and relaxes, he thinks, “Hey!  I’m relaxed! Laid back! Let’s get clean!”

My other cat Mysty is the fat cat. I feel bad – I have never overfed either one. It’s just that once she got her plumbing “fixed”, she put on a pound or six. As the joke goes, she never met a meal she didn’t like. Rattle the cat food container and she is all over me like white on rice. So to speak. And once she’s full, she loves to lay and snuggle … on my chest. Ten pounds of kitty makes breathing a little labored. Not that I let her lay around my neck – it’s just that she hasn’t forgotten she used to do that when she was a baby. Three years and ten pounds ago.

Pets are a wonderful thing. Cats and dogs are wonderful companions. They give of themselves 100 percent of the time, wanting nothing more than to be loved in return.

I just wish they’d be a bit more quiet about it.

Inedible Edibles

dog-cookingThis evening my bff and I were having quite a time lamenting/marveling/pondering our lack of drive and motivation during these sub-zero temperatures. Not only am I guilty of non-motivation, non-creativity, and non-energy, but I alternate between sweating and freezing, all within minutes of each other.  Eventually our lamenting/marveling/pondering conversation meandered towards cooking, scattered schedules, and trying to scale down from cooking for 20 (so to speak) to cooking for two. Or one. Or 2-1/2, depending on who visits. And we decided what we needed was to go to cooking school. Not to Le Cordon Bleu or the Culinary Institute of America – what we needed was something a little down-homey. A little more working-woman-centric.

What we need is a Culinary School of Leftovers.

We both agreed it would be great to take a course or two on what to do with those wilty veggies that somehow get pushed to the side of the veggie drawer. Or the leftover meatballs that have already seen Swedish and Italian and aren’t in the mood for sub sandwiches. With the right training, I’m sure we could find uses for overripe tomatoes, brown avocados, and cold fried chicken.

I come from a family of cooking big. Although there were only four of us, I often pictured my boys as underfed. What I lacked in culinary expertise I made up for in quantity. Pots of stew and spaghetti sauce filled the stove, table, and freezer. I didn’t have the where-for-all to use saffron or arugula,  but carrots and potatoes and pork chops – oh my!

Now that my kids have moved out, it’s only hubby and me. He works the night shift, I slave away during the day. So without teenagers to wolf down meatloaf and steak and stir fry, I find my meals lack any real creativity. Never mind the fact that hubby and I only have about a half hour to share gourmet delights between shifts; never mind that between domestic chores and full-time jobs there is little or no time to whip up soufflés and pot-de-feus.

I own plenty of cookbooks – any food dilemma you can think of, I’m prepared for. Crockpot cooking. Meals-on-a-budget. Italian cooking. Chinese cooking.  What the cookbooks lack, though, is the human element. The voice that needles you and makes you feel bad every time you leave leftovers in the frig for over a week. Just because you made Chinese for 10 and 9 people didn’t show up doesn’t mean you should push the container back behind the juice and forget about it for a few weeks.

What my friend and I need is a cooking school that will fit into our budget, time frame, and leftover habits. Wilted celery? No problem! Cheese with blue spots on the edge? Don’t worry about it! The right Leftover Cooking School would not only teach us to cook for two (again), but would specialize in the following subjects:

  1. Impulse buying. Why I don’t need to buy baby corns and an eggplant and a head of lettuce and six ears of corn and a head of cabbage and portabella mushrooms and leeks all in one week.
  2. Portion control. A plateful of spaghetti and Italian Sausage doesn’t mean a platter-sized plate.
  3. Freezing leftovers. How making a stockpot of soup can be turned into six different meals instead of one meal and five science experiments.
  4. That there is life for ground chuck beyond meatballs and sloppy joes.

Just think! I could take courses in “10 Uses for Leftover Tuna Casserole,” “Jelly’s Not Just for Peanut Butter Anymore,” or “Spices Beyond Garlic Powder.”  I could find new uses for the half-bottles of ranch dressing, capers, and horseradish that hang out in my refrigerator door.  I could learn how to throw leftover parties, combining the delights of fried rice, polish sausage and sauerkraut, and expired refrigerator biscuits into something revolutionary and nourishing!

I must admit, the thought of a Culinary School of Leftovers is something worth pondering. With the number of Tupperware containers taking up space in my refrigerator, there would be endless possibilities for lectures and discussions.

And not all in the realm of edible.

And Another One Bites The Dust!

What-are-you-looking-at-animal-humor-9994815-320-294

YOU!!  YES, YOU!!

 

1.  Be safe tonight (and every night)

2. Don’t drink and drive. (easy one)

3. Don’t eat too many cream cheese appetizers

4. If you can’t forgive, there’s nothing wrong with forgetting

5. Make a to-do list

6. Make a fantasy to-do list

7. Rip up lists and do whatever you want

8. Breathe

9. Smile

10. Make a resolution to get better at one thing in 2015

11. Say “hi” to someone you don’t know

12. Watch less TV and read more

13. Say good night every night to the ones you love

14. Know life goes on with or without you — make sure it’s with

15. Happy New Year!

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”..)

 

The Weekend Before Christmas

cats christmas

It was the week before Christmas

And all through the house

The kitties were running

In search of their mouse.

They tore through the kitchen

And under the chair

Then disappeared down the hallway

As if never there

The stockings weren’t hung

I’m nobody’s fool

For all that’d be left

Would be shredded in drool

The doggies were eyeballing

The goodies I baked

They had full intention

of sharing my cake

The tree stood by waiting

For garland and lights

The statues and santas

Were stacked way up tight

Christmas cards were patient

For pen and for stamp

My list just kept growing

There under the lamp

I was cooking, I was cleaning

I was staying up late

Worrying about strudel

And empty Christmas plates

The kitties were wrestling

And howling at night

They were drinking milk from glasses

And causing a fright

Then what to my wondering

eyes should appear

But a Food Network magazine

And a bottle of beer

The recipes flowed

Like snow in the hills

With last minute tips

For stove and for grill

On Candy! On Cookies!

On chocolate pecans!

The holiday planning

Had only begun!

Another beer or two

And I was planning gourmet

Pot-au-feu and remoulades

And salmon pate

After the six pack

The tree decorated itself

The dogs baked a meatloaf

With the elf on the shelf

The cats were all dancing

To Jinglebell Rock

The ornaments were hung

On the dining room clock

The beauty of Christmas

Shown brightly that night

My head did a spinneroonie

But that was all right

The turkey and stuffing

Could wait one more day

I took two more aspirins

And called it a day.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — It’s Okay to Have a Big Head

I can’t begin to tell you the wonderful things I find on my way to other things. Art, in its most banal form, is an expression of emotion. Primal emotion. We all have those deep, basic feelings — we all just find different ways to express them.

Gao Zehn and Gao Qiang

You may say that some just have a “head” for creativity.

City Gardens, St. Louis

What makes artists want to create things larger than life?

Onaway, Michgan

Is it a chance to look into the eyes of God?

Wonderland, Calgary, Canada

Or is it merely a chance to challenge space? To see what our vision looks like fifty feet high?

kelpies-1

No matter what the artist’s vision, grand is grand. Ambition has no limits. No dream is ever too small, ever to big.

Changsha, China

Nothing is more impressive than wearing proudly a head that is too big for your shoulders. For only then do you glimpse the world on the other side of the rainbow.

Beauty IS Skin Deep — And Don’t You Forget It!

I am a deer hunting widow this weekend, lost between doing nothing and doing six things at a time. Laying in bed, flipping through old blogs (I love those old ones!), I came across this one that made me laugh. So, come have an after-Thanksgiving smile with me, and trip back to June of 2013…..

 

Do You Do That Beauty Do?w

This blog is mainly for my GFs, my BFFs, my Peeps, and my YTBM (yet-to-be-met) gal pals. Yes, it’s another “list” for us women who haven’t enough sense to come out of the proverbial beauty rain. It’s a list to remind us girls over 40 not to look like 80 — unless we are 80 — and then we just don’t need to look our age.

So from Yahoo to you, here are six beauty mistakes that make us look like an antique lamp:

 

Dark Lipstick — Deep shades make any surface look smaller, and that includes lips.    I wonder if I should wear a dark shade all over my body, then …

Too sleek hairstyle — This can make your face look drawn and emphasize every pore, wrinkle, and imperfection. Also, keep in mind that helmet-headed updos can be disasterously aging. Stay away from too-voluminous bouffants.    Seems the flat head is dead. Too bad no one seemed to tell my thinning hair that. And voluminous bouffants — I thought the boof was the dead head of the 50’s ….

Over-concealing dark circles — We want to hide those bags and under eye circles, and sometimes we get carried away. What happens if I’m one BIG bag — not only under the eyes but on the other 99% of my body? Can I over-conceal THAT?

Cakey foundation — Heavy foundation sticks to and emphasizes wrinkles.    Oh, come on now — who would want cakey without ice creamy? That sticks to EVERYTHING ….

Lower lash mascara — This packs a double aging whammy by bringing attention to crows feet and making eyes appear smaller and more tired.    I have lower lashes??!!

Short necklaces — Chokers are a bad move as they bring attention to your neck — an area that begins to show aging early on.    Ever notice that actresses of a certain age end up wearing scarves and choker necklaces and turtlenecks? Choking is bad for you in general. Leave my neck alone. 

Now, just to show you that I am all about beauty, I made up my own six beauty mistakes — and the remedies for them.

Red eye — Cameras are notorious for bringing this malady into the forefront. Ideas to reduce this bloodshot look include eyedrops, sunglasses, getting to bed before 1 a.m., and enlarging the type on your computer.

Upper lip hair — Some of us can’t help we inherited Uncle Stan’s mustache genes. Besides plucking and depilatoring, you can be super chic and drink a lot of milk. After all, look what a milk mustache did for Trisha Yearwood.

Thin lips — Except for Botox, the easiest thing you can do to enlarge your lips to either suck on a straw all day, or walk around and pooch them as if you are in deep thought. You won’t look strange, because everyone knows the older you get the harder it is to think.

Mummy skin elbows — Dry, crinkly skin making you want to hide your elbows? No need to wear long sleeves to the beach. Rub a little RumChada or Malibu Coconut Rum on the rough parts — you’ll smell great and everyone will know what you are drinking.

Flat hair — Flat hair makes you look shorter (I should know). To get that “tall girl” look at any age, turn your head upside down. Hang whatever hair you have towards the floor and spray with hairspray. Without touching a brush or comb, go drive around for about 20 minutes with the car windows open (preferably down a highway or freeway). You won’t believe the height that results! Width too!

Dry, wrinkly skin — Even the best moisturizers can’t keep our skin as smooth as a baby’s. So besides slopping on the goo, you can dip yourself in chocolate (and become a Raisinet), or soak in the pool, hot tub, lake, or bathtub, and plump up like a grape. Better yet, forget the soak — drink the grape. Trust me, you won’t notice one more wrinkle.

To conclude this beauty lesson, never forget: those who refer to our well-worn and well-loved bodies as snake skin, pigeon toes, crow’s feet, cat claws, chicken neck, raccoon eyes, and spider veins, know diddle about animals OR women. Rejoice in the fact that you are here today, proudly representing the animal kingdom in its bare naked finery. Your wrinkles, your skin, are just that – yours.

Wear your jungle with pride.

Unclogging the Soul

handsThe news has been pretty overwhelming for my middle aged mind to wrap around lately. The aftermath in Ferguson doesn’t make sense to me, even if you whole-heartedly have an opinion on the decision. The people whose businesses were set on fire and destroyed or sacked did nothing to the victim; the broken communication between sides has done nothing but destroy lives of innocent people who have worked hard for a living, hard for their money, hard for their very survival.

But I stray, because I don’t want my blogging world to be one of destruction. I want this world to be one of hope. Of laughs and rolling of the eye and a tear now and then because you “get it.”

Yet there are more stories. More horrors. More wtf’s going on in this world. And this is nothing new. I follow a couple of bloggers whose lives have been turned upside down by abusers; mental, physical. Their stories are told their way, in a their blog, in their world. And my heart hurts for them, what they’ve endured. Fortunately, my heart soars for the salvation they’ve found, for the fresh start they have made for themselves.

A handful of my close friends have been through hell and back in their lives. Like one, continuous soap opera, you can’t think it can get any worse, and yet it does.  Yet their love of life, of family and friends, has brought them across the burning coals and onto the soft, cool grass of today. And tomorrow.  Their strength has become my inspiration.

And in my naive, white-bread way, I wonder: How did it ever get that way? How were abusers and mind melters and bullies allowed to run rampant through my friends and bloggers lives and get away with what they did? What ever happened to being a decent human being?

I wonder how we can ever keep our head above all this muck. How we can keep our souls from being tainted by all the madness that permeates the world. After all, one’s goodness can only so far. I can understand, I can empathize, I can share my experience and my support and my strength, even if it’s from an armchair quarterback’s position. But all the positive vibes I can share with those I love doesn’t change the way the world is today. And my inability to do anything to change and/or stop the rampage makes it worse. Being an overworked (and overtired) granny doesn’t give me much time to raise the flag and march. Nor would my competency make me much of a leader. I can honestly understand those who don’t turn the TV on anymore.

But I don’t want to be one of those guys. I don’t want to be ignorant of the pain and confusion and absurdity of what happens in our world every day. I want to be there for my friends and for those I don’t really know. I want to find a way to translate the horrors that go on every day, even though I can’t bear to think about most of them. How do I do that? How can I help and run at the same time?

Maybe the best thing I can do on this day before Thanksgiving Eve is stand by what I believe, and to keep it simple.

Stop being a bully when the world doesn’t go your way. Stop abusing those who don’t see things the way you do. Get over yourself. You’ll never change things by violence. Grow up.  Learn to adapt.  Take your complaints and your problems to those who can do something about it. Not to the innocent guy who just opened a snack shop with the last of his savings.

On the gentler side, take one step at a time. One breath at a time. Every day the sun rises is another chance to change your life. Don’t judge your situation by the way others handle theirs. Listen to your friends, to those you can trust. Change your attitude. Change your routine. Live to make others happy. Listen to others. Offer support, a hand. And don’t be afraid to share your own darkness. There is light in friendship.

It’s so easy to say, so hard to do.

But it can’t be any harder than setting a car on fire and flipping it on its side.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Aquariums

Nothing soothes the savage beast (or is it breast?) than watching fish swim. There is something about their slow, undulating movements that simplifies the most pretzeled logic and unties the tightest knots.

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But then again, there are fish in tanks and fish in tanks.

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And as my mind begins to wander, so does my imagination…

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And I begin to wonder — is this still relaxation?

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Are these fish tanks whims of a creative mind?

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Their mind? Or Mine?

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Suddenly, the possibilities are endless. Swimming and relaxing and contemplating all in one place.

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Yet I began to wonder….can you take swimming and relaxing and contemplating…just a little too far?

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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.

 

 

Did you Mammo?

1-purple-flower-bloomingThis is not my usual blog — well, it IS about being middle aged, and it IS about the madness we encounter, and it IS about the magic that saves us — I guess this is just a quickie blog.

But an important blog.

I had a mammogram three years ago September. They found two cancer nodules. I had a lumpectomy three years ago October. I followed that fun with radiation and hormone therapy.

I had my annual mammogram Friday. Went to the doctor today.

And I am CANCER FREE.

The point of this little ditty is Get Your Mammogram. Get one friend/family member to get their mammogram.  Stop being hung up about having your boobies smushed, someone touching and mushing same said boobies, or the fear of what you may find. The smushing lasts only 30 seconds, the results a lifetime.

Grow up. Get a mammogram. Your life will be better for it. And so will the lives of your friends and families.

And just think — you’ll be around 20 years from now — still reading my blog. How much fun is that??

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Stilettos

In the beginning of October I wrote a blog called Magic Shoes (http://wp.me/p1pIBL-Dq) about the debacle of buying gym shoes. The pic I found for that article was awesome.

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But in searching for the perfect image I came across others that made my eyes (and my feet) pop.

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I can’t tell you how many foot-squishing, toe-breaking, gorgeous shoes I came across.

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I have flat feet, so I have never fantasized about wearing shoes like these. I believe you have to have a certain kind of foot, along with a certain kind of personality, to walk out of the house with creations such as these.

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If you can get past the outrageousness of the height, you can admire the creativity of the mind behind the shoe.

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So instead of viewing these heels as foot torture to the hundredth degree, I choose to look at them at creative freaks of nature.

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Just make sure if you think of dancing in these shoes,  you have a paid health insurance policy as well.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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Sunlight, Rain, Shadows. They forever endure.

 

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Of course, Joyce Kilmer said it best:

 

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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.

Fireworks

fireworks

 

Of all the things I shall miss

When I close my eyes for the last time

Husband, children, friends

Laughter and tears

Hugs and kisses

The thing I shall miss most

Are fireworks.

 

Sparkling flowers against a midnight hue

Their splendor reminds me of life

A hundred thousand crystals

Shimmering for one brief moment

Blinding the eye, filling the soul

Symmetrical and perfect

Against the dark blue sky

 

Vibrant sensations fill the warm air

Glittering spiders fade slowly

Leaving a faint trail of memory behind

Reminders of thoughts and desires

Once strong and true

Now nothing more than

Whispers of long ago

 

The beauty of life is reflected

In the spectrum of colors

That dance above my head

The reds are love, the greens are breath

The blues and ambers and silvers

Glittering aspects of a life well lived

That slowly melt with time

 

The glory of fireworks

Dissipates as quickly as they explode

Reflections of life on this earth

Symbols of how quickly it begins

How swiftly it ends

A flicker in the night

A moment soon forgotten

 

Of all the things I shall miss

When I close my eyes for the last time

Husband, children, friends

Laughter and tears, hugs and kisses

The thing I shall miss most

Are the fireworks

Of the existence I once knew

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — M.C. Escher

When you think of M.C. Escher, what do you think of?

I think of college dorm rooms with Escher posters on the wall, symbols of pop culture, statutes of intricate confusion and (no doubt) sources of psychedelic contemplation. They were the kind of images you were supposed to look at and see if the fish move or if the stairs go anywhere. And if you stared long enough, your whole world tilted sideways.

 

 

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As an adult I have revisited his world of lithographs and woodcuts and wood engravings, and have discovered a delightful new way to look at the world.

 

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Maurits Cornelis Escher (1898-1972) is one of the world’s most famous graphic artists. During his lifetime, he made 448 lithographs, woodcuts and wood engravings and over 2000 drawings and sketches. These feature impossible possibilities, explorations of infinity, and the magic of mathematics.

 

 

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Art like this is done every day by those familiar with computer graphics. But the curved perspectives, the stairs to infinity, the play of light and dark, were sketched at the turn of the century. Which, to me, makes it even more fascinating.

 

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When you stop and look — really look — at the thought and planning that went into the impossibilities in Escher’s work, it makes you appreciate his work even more.  Where do those stairs really go? Which angle am I supposed to be identifying with? Is it a fish or is it a bird?

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Minds like Escher’s work in the fourth dimension. It’s as if they look down at the world from a strange angle and record what they see.

 

 

LW441-MC-Escher-Moebius-Strip-II-1963

 

Take some time and visit Escher’s official website, http://www.mcescher.com.  You will find yourself wandering through gallery after gallery, wondering how a human mind could be so creative yet so spiral. Take a few moments and just look at the artwork — you will be enchanted by his point of view, and lost in his sketches.

 

LW344-MC-Escher-Eye-1946

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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?”

 

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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.

 

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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….

the beginning is the most important part of the work…

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…Plato

I don’t often get many responses to my blogs, as most of my readers are very busy and read on the run. For those of you who do like to drop a word or six (for which I am eternally grateful), I have a question for you.

Would the following prologue make you want to read more?

 

       “You cannot live in both worlds.”

      The words echoed in the back of Anna’s mind like waves hitting the breakwater. Soft, rhythmic. They made no sense, at least not in their current context. She tried to hold onto the silver threads, but they slowly faded into meaningless whispers. All her mind could focus on was the slow, continuous beeping that radiated from some distant point.

      Beeping. Then silence. More beeping. More silence.

      God, she wished her mind would clear. That her eyes would open. That the throbbing in her head would stop. A lot of demands for a brain floating in a pool of thick, cold porridge. Anna thought about sitting up, getting up, but her body wouldn’t respond. More pain, more porridge. More voices, more beeping. Red flags were popping up throughout her consciousness — something was wrong. Too many mumblings, too many voices at the edge of her hearing. Voices that had no business being in her bedroom.

      “Anna, can you hear me?”

      Hear you? You are right here in bed next to me, Adam. Of course I can hear you.

      But her husband’s voice had a disquieting tenor she’d never quite heard before. His muffled words echoed in her ears, softly insulating her against the harsh beeping that tried to distort her every thought.

      A different voice followed. A deep, dark, musical voice — a voice rich with temptation.

      Do not close this door we have opened.

      Suddenly a swell of emotions overwhelmed her senses. It was as if the dam had burst; the dam that held back her energy, her very soul, releasing a flood of wordless images that pulsed to the beat of her heart. Anna felt a smile spread across her lips, even though the rest of her body refused to respond. How she wanted to linger in the warmth the memories promised. But the voice, the melody, disappeared as the scent of antiseptics whiffed across her nose. Bleach, perhaps. Or ammonia. What happened to the cinnamon potpourri in the crystal bowl on her nightstand?

      Anna’s head hurt just putting sentences together, and she still couldn’t open her eyes. So willful her thoughts, so unwilling her body. She could feel her pulse rise, her heart beating faster, her automatic fright/flight instinct taking over.

      “She is coming around, Mr. Powers.”

      Whose voice is that? In my bedroom? Who in the world would be calling Adam “Mr. Powers” anyway?

      More voices now. Closer. Louder. A squeaky high-pitched one and another with a sweet southern drawl. A shadow blurred the indirect light that fell upon her unopened eyes as she heard Adam’s voice echo from a tunnel off to her left somewhere.

      Damn, Adam. Speak up! Quit mumbling. And what are all these people doing in our bedroom?

      A moment of silence, an eternal moment, until suddenly a soothing sensation danced across her mind, melting her thoughts into puddles of warm milk. Anna thought she heard Adam say something about dying, but perhaps the word was “crying”.

      Either way, she decided she would try and open her eyes later. Yes, later. She was so sleepy, so content, that she’d rather follow the whispers that called her name.

Scared Straight

scaredA beautiful Sunday morning — a bit cloudy, a bit cool, but quiet, romantic, inspirational. The younger side of me says I should go for a walk, clean out the basement, do all sorts of “active” things on my one full day off. My creative side says it’s a great day to sit and write. You can imagine which one I am going to listen to.

I was all pumped up this morning to write about an article I just wrote for Retirement and Good Living (http://retirementandgoodliving.com/retirement-is-a-10-letter-word/) which is about retirement and the doors that open once you say sayonara to punching a time clock or being a slave to an alarm clock. (It’s really a great article…check it out!)

But on my way here I had to pass through Yahoo, and couldn’t help but stop and peek at the news headlines.  A singer demands a wheelchair-bound member of the audience stand before he continued his concert. Another singer asked the world to “Forget My Weird Butt — Check out my Underboob!”   This sports figure beat his 4-year-old with a switch and this other knocked his girlfriend out. And I begin to wonder — what’s the point?

We struggle all our lives to make it to the golden grounds, only to find it’s polluted with nonsense and outrageous behavior. I know show business has been show business since the first caveman bopped another on the head and a third thought it funny. But I also am seeing how it takes more and more to get a rise out of an audience these days. Things that were off-color years ago are the rage today, and being a close-to-senior makes it even more difficult to fathom where entertainment will go next.

I myself am a parody of the media of today. One of my favorite television shows has turned gruesomely violent this year, and some part of me still wants to watch what “happens” to all of them in the end. As if my moral compass ticks and says, “they’re all so bad something bad HAS to happen to them.” Another show I started to watch has turned into such a screwed up mess that all I want to do is see what the alien baby looks like. I could care less about the drama surrounding the main characters. Just let me see the end product. One of my favorite chefs is a pillar of manners in one show and a cursing madman in another.

The world has become a frightening place of voyeurs watching, not doing. I myself am squirmy at blood and guts. I abhor violence and am a fraidy cat when it comes to people yelling or losing their temper and throwing things (or worse). Yet I find myself sitting on the edge of the entertainment world, watching it from afar, uncomfortable and nightmarish, looking for a silver lining amongst the blood and gore.

Even the writing world has broken its limits as to what is readable and what is not. Everyone around me has read this entertaining novel about a man who murders a family and the girl survivor who unknowingly hitches a ride with him in his camper. I freaked out about half way through the novel, tried to read it again and again, but just couldn’t get passed the kid who was killed and stitched up in the window.

What makes the world rotate like this? Why is humanity such a violent place?

I know this topic is way off the retirement mark. But it’s like I pretend that once I “retire” I can cut off the horror of the world and live in my own antiseptic version of reality. That I can wake up and write and clean a little and go watch my grandson play soccer and the world will be a safe one to fall asleep in.

Which, of course, is a fantasy in itself.

My solution is a naive one, yet I believe it will help me keep what little innocence I still have. Stop watching TV shows that butcher anything but a chicken, let the entertainment world entertain itself, and stick by the simple things in life that make me happy. I don’t need to be involved with the parts of the world I can’t do anything about — I should stick with those parts where what I do DOES matter. Work with disabled children, walk for the Cure, be a shoulder to cry on for friends who are having a hard time of things.  Go to charity events that benefit those I love, help those less fortunate get back on their feet.

Life is too short to be worrying about entertainer’s wardrobe malfunctions or their asinine antics in front of an audience.  Let them live in their world, and I’ll live in mine.

Besides — how funny would it be if MY wardrobe malfunctioned?

 

Camping for Seniors

luxury-campingI just spent the holiday weekend camping up in Door County. It’s an annual multi-family gathering, full of great food, great company, and great outdoors. There is nothing more delightful than being in the Great Outdoors, sharing secrets with Mom Nature, roasting marshmallows over the campfire and hiking down the trails. We don’t do hotels, nor can we afford a pull-behind camper. My hubbie and I are quite content to  use my son’s popup tent. But I have decided that next year is going to be different. At least comfort-wise.

Now that I’m sitting dry and comfy back in my livingroom, I’m going to change my comfort plans for next year. My body’s aches and pains are telling me that this was the last year for army cots and mummy sleeping bags. I think that I am old enough to bring a little more comfort into my camping zone.

I want to go out and get a nice, fluffy pillow for starters. It can be polyfill, but I’m tired of my neck being stiff from flat head. I also am tired of the mummy-bag-look. It was alright when I was in my 20’s and camping with the gang. But with my hot and cold flashes, I can’t breath when I’m a half inch away from poly filling. Besides that, I need to be able to accommodate my Restless Leg Syndrome. I need room. So next year I’m bringing a fluffy, over-sized comforter as my bedding. Floral preferred.

I also need something better than an army cot to prevent stiff bones and joints. Between my tail bone and hips stiffening, I need something that at least pretends to be a bed. A twin-sized air mattress should do the trick.

While we’re at it, this past weekend was a rainy one. Mud everywhere. We do take the luxury of putting a mat outside the tent door, but I think a few wash ‘n wear rugs on the inside floor would be the perfect resting place for my muddy shoes and callused feet. Floral also preferred, although these should be a darker color scheme.

I do set up a little table in the tent, but, alas, my husband’s bag usually takes up most of the room. The table also doubles as a holding spot for glasses, bottles of water, phone, and other oddities that goddesses need throughout the night. So I have to remember not to fill it with silly fluff just for fluff sake. But I need some ambiance, something to keep his stinky clothes at bay. A throw of some sorts should work as a tablecloth, along with  a solar centerpiece or battery operated candle. Nothing bright — just enough light so I can find my way to the door. Nothing like stumbling over stinky dog on your way to the bathroom.

I know you are saying to yourself, Hey — this is camping, you know — not an evening at the Hilton. Camping is made to be a little rough, a little dirty. I so agree. But I also know that my “seasoned” bones need a little more pampering than they did 30 years ago. I have to understand that it’s okay to be a little slower, a little more cautious when it comes to doing the things I love. I can’t run down the road with the four-year-old, chasing him and his bike. So be it. I can be standing in the middle of the road when he circles back, though. That’s what granny’s do.

Granny’s also take care of their surroundings. Both for themselves and others. And this granny deserves to have a little softness in her rough and tough camping world. I don’t think adding an air mattress or a fluffy pillow takes away from the glory of a tent in the woods. These “additions” would bring comfort to my body and my psyche, translating into a happy camper. And isn’t that the point of going?

I might think a little more about throw pillows, though…

 

 

Colorful Language

adjectivesTell me what you think when you read this sentence.

I stubbed my toe today.

What is my tone? What am I saying? Am I crying (I stubbed my toe and it hurts like hell)? Am I laughing (I stubbed my big fat stupid toe today)? Am I rolling my eyes in mock disgust (I — yes, I — stubbed my toe today)? Am i kidding you (I “stubbed” my toe today)?

What is your instant reaction to that two-dimensional statement? Laughter? Sympathy? Lack of patience at such a clumsy move?

Reading another’s writing is a wonderful experience. With one or two strokes on the keyboard you can find out about someone’s day, love life, depressions, and funny escapades. One-on-one or reading a book, words can open doors to worlds only once dreampt of.

But basic, simple sentences are often prime grounds for speculation. Without adjectives or adverbs, a sentence is open to interpretation. Depending upon your mood at the time, you could laugh or get bitchy or get depressed by what you read. Reporters do their best to stay unbiased, but if they have indigestion or are being threatened by a bill collector, their “tint” might be more or less shaded. It’s not bad journalism — it’s just the nature of the beast.

I have often texted or emailed someone, only to get a response that upset me one way or another. I don’t think first — I just assume. Yes, yes, I know what happens when you ass-u-me…but it’s more a knee-jerk reaction. Only with more conversation does the dust in my head clear and I see what’s really going on. When my friend texts “I can’t make it tonight,” all it should mean to me is “I can’t make it tonight.” Not “I can’t make it because you make me sick” or “I can’t make it because my dog died” or “I can’t make it because I have to study for my finals tomorrow.” All it meant was, she couldn’t make it tonight.

It’s the same for writing things for others to read. If I write “I stubbed my toe today,” most of the time it just means “I stubbed my toe today.” But if I’m trying to be funny, “I stubbed my toe today” doesn’t reflect much humor. If I’m angry about the rock on the side of driveway that got in the way of my toe, “I stubbed my toe today” doesn’t translate that, either. If I’m embarassed about my own stupidity of kicking that rock on the side of the driveway with my toe, that doesn’t translate, either.

I suppose what I’m saying is that God gave us creative words for a reason. They are supposed to take the place of facial expression when we can’t talk face-to-face with others. Looking into each other’s eyes, watching body language, hearing the inflection of your voice, all clarify simple statements. Even lies.

But writing just for the sake of writing can be a one-sided world, too. You need to throw some emotion into your statements. Some color. Some emphasis. That’s the only way we, the readers, can know where you’re coming from.

Don’t let us wondering what you’re thinking. Or what we’re supposed to be thinking. If you want to make us laugh, use your words. If you want tears to come to our eyes, use your words. If you want us to feel depression or elation, use your words.  Let the reader feel what you want them to feel. Like…

I stubbed my %@^?>$ toe today!!!

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…

 

 

Writing Process Blog Hop

image-of-animated-book-to-useGood Evening Fellow Writers, Bloggers, Gardeners, Graphic Artists, Publicists, Homemakers, Students, and others in the Creative Art Field!

I have been asked to be a part of a fun, innovative way of introducing blogs to other bloggers, It’s called the Writing Process Blog Hop, and it’s a great opportunity to share my world and those of other writers.

I was introduced to this Hop by Carol Balawyder, a multi-talented writer who is in the process of getting her crime novel The Protectors published. She also is contemplating self-publishing her fiction novel The Dating Club, and is the creator of her fun blog under her name, http://www.carolbalawyder.com. I suggest you check out her site and find the gems waiting there.

The “quest” of this quest is to answer four questions about my writing, my books, my blog, and whatever else this branch of the Arts holds for me. So here we go!

 

What am I working on?

My writing time these days is split between writing for my blog, Humoring the Goddess: Managing the Madness and Magic of Middle Age (www.humoringthegoddess.com), and my current novel, Gaia and the Etruscans. I had a change of mind after my first draft to break my full-length novel into chapters, which has turned the art of editing into a pretzeled confusion, but I think it will make the story stronger. Gaia is a fantasy fiction piece about a middle-aged woman whisked to another world to deal with impersonation, romance, murder, and romance, in what I like to call “Ancient Rome on acid.” It’s fun, it’s intricate, and keeps me up way passed my bed time.

 

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Both my blog and my novels deal with a middle-aged woman’s point of view. At this stage of our lives, our idea of romance, adventure, and curiosity are much different than they were in our 20s. I want to show that middle-aged (and older) women can be as much fun, as emotional, and as clever as those half their age.

 

Why do I write what I do?

I love writing my blog, because I feel it offers a wonderful blend of practicality and possibility. I believe in living every day to its potential, even if one’s potential is limited to sitting on the sofa and watching TV now and then. I believe one is never too old to be creative, and I want to encourage others to find their Muse and follow it through the creative landscape that’s available to all of us. There is so much magic out there in every day life, and I want to write about all of it.

 

 How does my writing process work?

My novels are inspired by the oddest things. My first two books, Corn and Shadows and Time and Shadows, were inspired by  role playing worlds I hung around in many years ago. Another time I wrote a story about four writers who win a writing contest, and I loved one of the characters so much that I created two novels around her. I have written a couple of short stories that are shadows of my father who has passed on, and poetry based on my love of faeries and magic. My blog is inspired by every day things — things I find hard to understand, things I fall in love with, insecurities and rewards that come and go through my everyday life.  I always know the ending of my story before I start writing, but how I get there is another story

 

 

One of the rewards of this Blog Hop is recommend other friends and their blogs who are on the writing bandwagon like me.  Here are two of my favorites who will be posting next week.

 

cropped-Updated-head-shot-in-chair-e1402426272272Jillian Maas Backman is a writer, intuitive, and radio show host. She is the author of BEYOND THE PEWS: Breaking With Tradition and Letting Go of Religious Lockdown, and  has developed her career around her empathic ability to work with people though the worlds of reality and spirituality. Open minded and energetic, you can find her at http://www.jillianmaasbackman.com.

 

 

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Hugmamma’s Mind, Body and Soul (www.hugmamma.com) is a delightful blog written by a woman who embraces getting older with hugs and humor. Huggy, as I love to call her, writes a blog full of love, hope, and laughter.  Her outlook is reflected by something I picked up from her blog:  “Would like humankind to follow the lead of the Venetians who have built a uniquely vibrant and colorful country with an eclectic mix of people, by connecting hundreds of small islands with bridges.”

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.

Not Today

computer-freakout-gifI have finally started to settle down from my week in Eagle River, Wisconsin. “Great Times Come With the Territory” is the ER code. I tend to agree. I went up with my grandbaby and daughter-in-law at the beginning of the week, the Men joining us on Friday. Every day I kept saying “I could get used to this.” Sleeping in late, not much cleaning to speak of, morning walks to the lake, boat rides, naps — you get the picture.

I also found myself slowly melting into a pool of pudding. A little less motivation each day. More of an urge to sit on the deck with a drink (mostly non-alcoholic), making small talk, reading Game of Thrones Book I. Catching rays at the beach. No TV, just DVDs and VHS tapes. I had a slow Internet connection, but it was just enough to check e-mails and Facebook.

And I kept on saying, “I could get used to this.”

But I had a job and a house and two cats four hours south of the “Great Times” town that I needed to get back to. So with a sigh of resignation and a bit of Zen I returned to my ‘real’ ity.  Driving down the backroads to my office computer job this morning, I realized that maybe it was a good thing to come back when I did. Escaping for a week, forgetting after a while to check the clock, staying up late, sleeping later, really warped my reality. I found it so easy to forget about world news and office gossip and all the things that bug me. I didn’t have to compete with anyone, compare myself with anyone, nor push myself past the point of no return. I ran around morning through evening with my favorite four-year-old, screwing up my biological clock and my muscles, not caring about either.

I found myself becoming a Duh. I suppose that’s not a bad thing. If sitting and staring off the deck through the seasons became my daily fare, I imagine sooner or later my A.D.D. would kick in and I’d be rabbiting around town in no time. I’m sure I’d get back into the groove and write up a storm and maybe even put enough energy into it to get published. Or start a real live exercise routine like walking to the lake (and further) and back every morning.

Then there’s the winters up there. From November through April it’s snow boots, snow shovels, and snow flakes (both the water and people kind). Unless you are a snowmobile babe (which I definitely am not), the most action you get during the week is running to the grocery store. Writing time — maybe. Sleeping time — definitely. An easy road to Winter Duh.

So I suppose for now it’s better to be tied to a computer entering data eight hours a day, feeling overworked and under-appreciated, never having enough time to do what I need to do, less what I want to do, having problems sleeping and waking up, trying to find a way to work out my day shift with my husband’s night shift.

Better to be a frazzled, burned out Duh than a sleepy, pleasantly lethargic Duh.

At least for now.

 

The Gazing Ball

gazing-globe-12When you look into the gazing ball, what do you see?

Do you make a wish?

Do you see infinity?

Is it a reflection? Or an inflection?

You are never too old to look into the gazing ball.

The reflection is only the beginning.

I feel a new project on the horizon.

A new chance to

Create

Play

Research and

Wander.

What do YOU see when you look into the gazing ball?

 

 

Oh Solo Mio

tv_gif4I tell you, middle age keeps getting curiouser and curiouser (as my friend Lewis Carroll says). Just as you think your life is as quiet as the morning breeze, a hurricane bobbles along and wobbles your weeble.

My employment has been one joy ride from beginning to end. Well, it’s not at land’s end yet…anyway, this blog isn’t about that.

My husband has been on the rat’s end of jobs for the past few years, and he’s further away from retirement than me. He’s finally found a great job, and is happily in training for a position which will hopefully carry us into my retirement.  But there is one hangup about this job. Training for the next few weeks is 3 pm till midnight, then he goes full blown second shift, 6 pm through 3 am.

I imagine some of you have worked odd shifts recently, a while ago, or ages ago. My closest brush with nights was working the Boston Store 5 until 10. Now, though, those hours were nothing vs. my hubby’s new worldly hours.

Funny thing is…I think I’m going to like it.

I have known many moms who have taken one road while the dads took the other. Two different shifts — it doesn’t matter who does when. It’s a rough time, but they made up for the madness on weekends and evenings and vacations. Lots of love goes into bringing up children when one’s up is another’s down.  I am fortunate that my” baby” boy is 24 and needs no babysitting. I have three pesty dogs and two mauly cats, so there is no problem with company.

There are downs, of course. Not being able to cuddle with my sweetie at night. Or not being able to ask him a thousand questions while we watch a movie. Or me vacuuming while he fills the dishwasher. Being married as long as we have, we have lots of conversations without either saying a word.

But there are strangely attractive things about holding my own five nights a week. We are still in the “dating” phase of two different job shifts; he comes home at midnight, kind of wakes me up, and I tiptoe around getting ready for work in the morning while the dogs argue about who gets to sleep on his legs.  But the dating phase is soon going to turn into serious marriage times, as he takes off for work not long after I get home and slips back home two hours before I get going. We will exchange love and kisses over a quick dinner every night, which is a positive.  And I may be able to squeeze a snuggle or two before I get up for the morning.

But I see the look in his eye. That look of … apprehension. Concern. He is worried what I will do — or not do — when he’s not around. That makes me laugh. Hardy har har laugh. But not for the reasons you think.

I suppose he thinks I’ll sit around and be a vegetable every night.

He’s not worried I’ll go party or shopping or something a wild 61-year-old might be inclined to do the minute authority is gone. (Are you laughing yet?)  He’s afraid I’ll come home from work and sit on the sofa all night and eat and drink and watch TV.  I think he’s concerned I’ll become even more pretzel as time goes on.  And I ask you — what’s wrong with that??

You see, I have a way of doing things that are not always the way others do things. I get them done…I just spread them out. A bit. Lots of little bits. I know it’s not the “right” way…the “right” way is do a project until it’s d-o-n-e. Why not? Get it out of the way. Finito. Then you are free to dance the night away if you’d like.  My problem is that if I finitoed everything at once the only dancing I’d do is in my dreams.

So I fill the dishwasher, then do whatever. I throw a load of laundry in and do whatever. Then when the dryer beeps I unload it and do something else. Maybe I’ll throw in another load of laundry, maybe I won’t. The thing is, I LIKE being sporadic. I LIKE being impulsive. And I LIKE doing it my way.  Something I couldn’t always do with hubby around doing his linear thing.

I admit that I am trying to schedule one “task” per evening. One working task, one play task. I’ve only tackled two nights so far, but I’ve stayed to task. Last night…sewing. Tonight, my blog.  I want to be able to go to bed at a normal time, to be able to take care of my personal hygiene and wardrobe and psyche. I want to take care of myself so I can take care of the man who has changed work shifts to take care of both of us. Some of our dreams have been run over by a locomotive; others are still out there, waiting for us.

So all I need to do is keep my tasks in check and manageable. No more superwoman. No more overachieving. And when we do meet twice a day, we will be connected in so many more ways.

Like — I will be sure to leave a list of what TV shows I’ve already watched. Favorite TV shows wait for no one — no matter what shift they work.

 

 

Escape With An Oldie But Goodie

2013-08-14 16.59.06It has been one heck of a week. I shall not go into the sorid details, but suffice it to say I’ve come out on the other side clean and meek and reformed. So to speak.  I’m going away for the weekend to sit and look at the lake and play with my grandson and go for walks and watch cheesy videotapes (no TV). I don’t get phone service up there, which is probably a good thing (except I’ll have a lot of posts to read when I get back).

So I wanted to leave you with some fun reading from June of 2012. It’s about a disease I still have….Italktoomuchitis.

Happy Memorial Day!

 

 

Chit Chattin’ Chatty Cathy

doll 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.

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. Fortunately, I 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.

I Am (some kind of) A Flower

Banksia-Coccinea_webThe first taste of Spring — REAL Spring — brings an antsyness to me that supersedes any residue A.D.D. I have. Having been cooped up in the house since December, I am ready to take on the world…at least my little part of it.

I have had my share of crap through my life, but have usually come out of it with a fairly clean shoe.  I’ve put up with crummy jobs, crummy friends, and crummy situations. When Spring comes I always want to kick the world in the teeth and strut boldly and successfully into something new. Something exciting. Something different.

But I always run into the same obstacles. Money. Age. Bad Timing. Energy. All the obstacles I swore I’d overcome next time.

I don’t want to confuse the good part of my life with the bad. It’s taken me years to finally be accepting of who I am, flakiness and all. I’m not beautiful, I’m not thin. I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed. But I am happy with my health, my family, and my loves. I’m a fairly decent writer, artist, and cook. I’m a great granny, friend, and colleague. That part is a lifetime commitment, one I think I’ve handled fairly well.  But that’s not the only side of my growth.

I think we all get frustrated at points in our lives. We get tired of taking the bad with the good. Tired of bending like a reed and blowing in the wind. Tired of turning the other cheek.  We tell ourselves we can do better. We deserve better. We’ve worked hard all our lives and we deserve more than this (whatever this is). So we work a little harder, save a little more. Go back to school. Lose weight. Whatever it is that makes us feel we have a say in our future.

And sometimes we make it.

More often, we stall out somewhere along the way. The road is too rocky, too twisty. We really believe we want a new job or a new style. Yet we never quite get there. We send out a few resumes, enter our artwork in contests, buy healthy food. We start walking or jogging or whatever it is we need to jump start our new direction. But the frig goes on the fritz, we twist our ankle. We need to proofread our novel one more time. Legitimate reasons we can’t move on right away. Legitimate. Yet a reason. There’s always a reason.

I suppose that’s why I feel so strong every Spring. It’s a chance to replant those seeds that have been gathering dust all year. I need to believe I’m not really getting older, although all signs point in that direction.  I’ve already started my BoHo chic thing (swingy skirts work better in warm weather). I’m due for a vacation renewal May 13th.  My husband finally found a job.  So things in general are quite good. But I have the desire to do more. Now that the daffodils are popping through the dirt, I should be popping through my own dirt. I need to keep my goals in sight. Even if I don’t get there.

I see shadows on the horizon…they seem to come more in waves these days than ripples. But I’m determined to make it through the rough patches so I can coast when things get smooth. Not only that, but I want to be strong for the others riding this wave with me. Because it’s important to believe that you have a purpose in this world. A reason for hanging around. Every day we achieve something, every day we learn something, is a good day. Never forget that. Even if I can’t find a new job or a new body, at least I can accept what I do have with grace and a smile.

Not to mention that I’ll kick anybody’s bootie if they say different.

 

Art Thou Curious?

thWhen I think of museums, I think of antiquities. Old, musty books. Relics from the Renaissance. Crystal serving pieces from the Russian Dynasty. I am not a Modernist. Or a Futurist. But I have recently discovered that I am a Fascinationist. And what a delight! Through the magic of one of my favorite bloggers, Hugmamma’s MIND, BODY and SOUL, (http://hugmamma.com), and a newly followed blog, Sandra at Third Person Travel (http://thirdpersontravel.com) , my senses were awakened by images of art and buildings that just blew my mind.

The museum was the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain (http://www.guggenheim-bilbao.es), which, in all closed-mindedness, I’d never heard of. The image that caught my fancy is called “Maman”, by  Louise Bourgeois, who, according to Guggenheim, “created a rich and ever-changing body of work that intersected with some of the leading avant-garde movements of the 20th century.” To an armchair museumist, that doesn’t ring home. Ring a bell. Ring a doorbell. But how cool is this?

Bourgeois-281x197

You don’t have to be a modern art aficionado to be able to appreciate a bronze, marble, and stainless steel sculpture.

Or how about Tall Tree & The Eye by Anish Kapoor?

Kapoor-A-357x500 (1)

 

The Gug says, “This illusionistic work continues the artist’s examination of complex mathematical and structural principles embodied in sculptural form. The mirrored surfaces of the orbs reflect and refract one another, simultaneously creating and dissolving form and space.”

That’s a lot of four-dimensional words for a wonderful stainless steel and carbon steel sculpture of shiny balls.

I am an over-the-top advocate of teaching old dogs new tricks. You don’t always have to understand something to appreciate it. To enjoy it. To experience it. I never had sushi till I was 50. Who would have thought? Who would have thought that squeamish me would look forward to watching The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones — bloody, flashy TV shows?

Sometimes your introduction to something new is through your kids. I know my TV voyeurism came from my college son. I just tried quinoa for the first time two weeks ago. That was recommended by my best friend. There are as many types and tastes in food, art, books, and movies as there are fish in the sea. Almost. Why not open your mind to some of them?

I have to admit I would not have wandered to the Guggenheim Museum in Spain had I not spotted that unusual sculpture on another blog. Through other blogs I have seen the most amazing pictures, poetry, and points-of-view. Opportunities I never had when I was younger because we didn’t have the Internet when I was younger. We could be voyeurs by reading books and magazines and taking classes.

But now…

Now the world is open to all of us. We don’t have to age mentally, artistically, or metaphysically. Give something new a chance. You don’t have to live with giant metal spiders in your back yard, but appreciating the creativity that went into something like that takes little effort at all.

I have to admit I don’t get modern paintings that are all one color with a different color circle in the corner, or a plate with a piece of kale and a silver dollar-sized scallop and one drizzle of green that’s called dinner. But then again, not everyone finds fantasy fiction interesting (which is what I write).  There is something out there for everyone. Something new. Every day.

I encourage you to check out the Guggenheim (there is one in Spain, Venice, Abu Dhabi, and New York). Since this blog is about art, why not check out a local art fair?  They’re at  local colleges and in the park and even in the mall. Look at the world through someone else’s eyes.  And, of course, a day trip to a museum would be frosting on the carrot cake of life. Squeeze one into your summer.

It will add years to your soul life. And couldn’t we all use a few more?

 

 

Reposting the Guilty One

9 Hand of GuiltLast Friday afternoon I was supposed to go to Chicago to be a part of my good friend’s Soirée … a magical moment where music and art and writing came together in true spirit. That morning the weather scared me off — rain and thunderstorms and ice storms threatened my 2-hour journey. So I didn’t go. And it didn’t rain. Nor thunderstorm. Nor ice storm. And now I feel bad. Maybe it’s a girl thing.

So in honor of miscues and missed moments, I am reposting an oldie but goodie from December of 2011.

The Hand of Guilt

Raise your hand if you carry around a bunch of guilt with you every day. I don’t mean the extreme, over-the-top stuff — I mean a good, healthy fistful of remorse for things you should have or should not have done. Now, keep your hands up if you would like to get rid of that guilt. Keep them up if you have tried to rationalize and theorize why you shouldn’t carry said-guilt around with you everywhere you go. Now, keep your hand raised if you have failed in shaking off the afore-mentioned guilt that’s still perched on your shoulder. Is your arm getting tired yet?

Somewhere in a woman’s ancient psyche development a seed was planted that all females should have responsibilities and goals that prove their worth as human beings. Back in cave dwelling days, I can see the logic of some of that reasoning. If Urg goes out hunting buffalo or mastodon and is gone a month or so, someone has to keep the cave clean and make sure a saber tooth tiger doesn’t grab junior and eat him for breakfast. But responsibilities have evolved since Urg brought home a trophy yak for dinner. Men and women have turned the responsibility umbrella upside down, and responsibility is more a nebulous outline than a fact carved in stone.

 Most would say that guilt is wasteful and stupid. I would raise my hand to that. When chances are such that you could succumb to pneumonia or be involved in a car crash at any time, dirty dishes in the sink should be the least of your problems. Then why do we feel it? Why is it an effort to tune out the self-reprimands that come with things we didn’t do?

I admit that I feel less guilty about things as I get older. Things that upset me in my 20s are nothing like what upsets me in my 50s. I don’t worry about getting married or getting pregnant or what shoes go with what purse. I used to think that that was some accomplishment. But when I came home from work sick the other day and worried about how much housecleaning I could squeeze in between diarrhea and dinner, I realized I hadn’t accomplished much at all.

 I have never really had a day all to myself — for myself — without wiping something, washing something, or fixing something. Even those days when I am home alone, basking in the morning sunshine, reading a great book, listening to enchanting music, there is always something in the back of my mind whispering, “Why not throw a load of laundry in while you sit here? It can be washing itself…and you can keep reading,” or “Why don’t you call and make an appointment for your son’s haircut before you sit down? It will only take a minute…”

 When did vacuumed floors and folded laundry take the place of listening to the wind chimes outside my window? When did eating the last piece of cake become such a terrible thing? This isn’t about men vs. women or kids vs. moms — this is about that snickering devil who tries to measure my self worth by how many soccer games I attend and how many sodas I leave in the frig for others. This is about looking around and seeing the beauty of the world without caring if my toenails need polish or if there’s toothpaste in the bathroom sink.

Yet, however easy it sounds, getting rid of guilt dust bunnies is a full time effort. I don’t want to feel too dismissive; after all, there are health and safety issues in dirty sink water and science experiments in the frig. I don’t want to be too carefree and punch in late or miss my dentist appointment. Time is a constraint no matter where you are and what you are doing. Perhaps that is where the guilt monster hides — inside the clock.

I feel guilty if I sleep the morning away instead of cleaning or going for a walk. I feel guilty if I pet the dog and not the cat. I feel bad if I promise chicken parmesan and produce hotdogs and beans. Why do I sabotage myself? Why do I let my emotions get so sidetracked? I mean, it would be one thing if I shredded the electric bill along with credit card applications. But what I’m really talking about are guilt trips about everyday things that don’t really matter in the long run. As if someone is going to care if I stop at the gas station for cappuccino instead of gas or if I keep an extra dollar from the grocery budget for myself.  

These days I have a little sign that says “slow down” right on my computer stand in front of me at work. Although this typed message was meant more for multitasking on the job, it should be plastered all over my house. I need to slow down and listen to the birds outside of my window. I need to and stop and watch a favorite movie instead of mow the lawn. I need to sing along with my favorite songs at the top of my lungs, and take a nap on the sunny porch when no one’s around, and throw a candy bar in the shopping cart even though I’m trying to lose weight.

Yet in writing this confession, I see there is another sign I should make to remind me that life doesn’t need to be clean and orderly to be enjoyed. I need to remember that long after I am gone there will still be stacks of laundry and empty soda boxes and overgrown gardens in the world to deal with, and all my guilt about not taking care of them meant diddle in the end. I need a sign that lets me know that the cosmos will evolve the way it will: that dogs will always beget puppies, women will always cry at sappy movie endings, and the sun will always rise another day. I need a sign that says:

Lighten Up.

Fashion No-Nos for Summer

thSummer is much more forgiving of fashion faux pas than other seasons, as the variety of dress and style dances all over the board. Gone are the black and dark browns, in with the peach and lavender. Hats and jewelry and sandals take over the sanity of minds both male and female, as we try and beat the heat by being chic. Even the velvety leggings are put away for the season!

But there are many ways us summer “kids” give away our age and our sanity when it comes to fashion sense. It’s more like nonsense. So here are a few tips to keep you in the game and not locked in the yard somewhere.

Too Much Bare is Hard to Bare.

Unless you are at the beach or in the privacy of your own home, showing more skin than allotted in the Garden if Eden is frowned upon. Showing way more than a healthy proportion of legs, middles, breasts, and other body parts is not safe nor wise. This includes too-short-shorts, too mini mini’s, and too skimpy shirts.  No one wants to see bubba thighs or pooky middles. I’m not saying hide those parts — hey, we all have them. But find ways to cover without confrontation. Besides, getting sunburn on those rarely-shown skins is pretty painful.

Two Piece or Not Two Piece

I am all for whatever kind of bathing suit fits your fancy. Bodies come in all shapes and sizes. Just do the rest of us a favor and wear one becoming of your age and style. Bright fluorescents and too-small tops are just as bad as big, flowery things. A splash of color, a cup size too small, bottoms too big, all can be uncomfortable and distracting. Do yourself a favor. Be pretty, be masculine, have fun, but wear something that fits.

Strap This

I am of the do-not-show generation, but I have lightened up quite a bit the last 15 years. You can’t always hide your bra strap with today’s fashions, especially if the shoulder straps are thinner than vermicelli. But if you are going to show the strap that holds your all, make it a part of the look, not apart from it. With all the colors and patterns of underwear these days, there’s no reason why you can’t color coordinate your straps and tops.  And BTW, straps that fall down your shoulders aren’t sexy…just annoying. To all of us.

Stained for Life

Sloppy is as sloppy wears. Get real. And know everyone at Walmart can see the spot that never quite washes out. Get rid of all positively, slightly, and barely perceptible duds with tell-tale duds. Take pride in your look and know you can do sooooo much better.

Too Small T’s and A’s

Most people are not the size at 50 or 60 that they were at 20 or 30. Face it. Until the day you wake up pencil thin (unless you are pencil thin), stop dressing in the past. Stop wearing shirts that gap, shorts that rise, tanks that squeeze, and Ts that don’t meet your pants. The hot weather may tempt you to wear less, but spare yourself — and us — a lot of embarrassment. We all hate to get rid of the t-shirt from Woodstock or cargo pants from the start of millennium, but you look so much better these days in clothes that FIT.

Grown Up Feet

With all the gorgeous (and inexpensive) sandals around, the last thing the world wants to see are socks shoved into them. Although this is a popular “man” thing, is also is a “silly” thing. Wearing socks with sandals makes you look fuddy duddy, not to mention uncomfortable. If you must sock, white socks with shoes, bare feet with sandals. You are allowed splashes of colors if you want to match your outfit, but, again, keep the shoes tenny or loafery.  (You think I wouldn’t have to mention something so obvious, but you have no idea how many toddling adults walk around looking like that).

Flower Gardens

The sun and shine of a beautiful summer day is often a temptation to bring nature into our wardrobe. A splash of nature’s pattern here and there is bright and fun. Looking like a giant sunflower isn’t. Avoid the temptation to be covered in daisies, sunflowers, or unclassified species. Pin one to your hat, clip them to your sandals. Know that there is nothing more uncomfortable for the viewing public than seeing huge flowers winking at them as you and your body creases walk by.

Getting older is a wonderful time to establish yourself through what you wear and how you wear it. I don’t have a big wardrobe; I hate most of the stuff I have most of the time, so I make quite a few visits to Good Will and  Kohl’s and Aeropostale. I finally am getting used to this body and want to make it stand out in unique and refreshing ways. What I don’t want is someone snickering behind my back because I look like Granny Does Disco or the Writer-Who-Wore-Too-Tight. There are so many opportunities to create a new and sparkling version of the women I’ve come to love through the years.

I just want to be able to breathe while I create that version.

 

 

 

Check Your Stress At The Door

teacherWashing my hands in the company washroom the other day, I was listening to two women talk about the most over-used word/topic I’ve heard lately — stress. They were talking about being “stressed” at their job. Fortunately, they parted on a laugh and a “tomorrow’s another day.”

These days everyone is “stressed.”

It’s your job — you are expected to do everything while someone else does nothing. It’s your kids — once out of sight, you have no idea what trouble they’re getting into. It’s your family — your brother/mother/sister/grandmother is out of control again (probably the me-me-me thing). It’s your health — cholesterol is off the charts, need to lose at least 15 pounds.  It’s your age — I’m too old to do this, I’m not old enough to do that. It’s everything around us. Everything inside of us. It’s as common as salt on French fries.

Were human beings always this messed up?

I admit I am one of the first in line to succumb to this dreaded disease. I’m older, I’m heavier, I’m poorer than I was 20 years ago. I have a hard time sitting still staring at a computer screen all day. I have lost a couple of loved ones recently which broke my heart. I have had other close ones have surgery, lose their jobs, crash their SUV. I get tired of everyone else stirring up hornet’s nests and not doing a thing about it. It’s a mess out there.

How did we get this way?

Life has always been life. Kids have always been a handful, family members too. Jobs have been hard, paychecks small. People we know have been dying since we were little. People have never had enough free time, and appliances and cars have always fallen apart at the same time. But our lives have balanced out, too (at least most of the time). We love our family. We have a job. We can afford cable. We can walk through parks and snowbanks and feel the sun on our face and play in the rain. We have quit smoking or picked up a hobby or made new friends. Yet these positive things still don’t make a dent in our over-reacting to the world.

Were our parents this wound up all the time? Our grandparents?

I am not making light of stress…on the contrary, I’m worried about it. Talking to others, there is not enough time in the day (or night) to do what we need to do. No less what we want to do. Companies are downsizing, so a lot of us are doing the job of two or three people. The cost of gas and food is rising a whole lot faster than our yearly cost-of-living raise (if we get one). The cost of healthcare in one form or another is out of control, as one visit to the doctor’s office can cost us a week’s pay. We are paying for car repairs and mortgages and fixing aging appliances and paying doctor bills all from the same paycheck.

No wonder we are stressed.

I worry about this because, the older I get, the less roses I get to smell. I have at least another 20 years of spoiling my grandbaby and trying to grow a garden and I still want to go to Ireland and Italy. And every ounce of stress — I mean the really mean stress — takes me one step backwards from where I want to go.

We can’t get back yesterday, but we can work on getting to the future.  And to get there we have to get rid of this over-used condition. And the catch is, we can’t get “stressed” about it, either. How do we do such a monumental turnabout? Here are my simple ideas.

* Get a whiff of fresh air every day. No matter if it’s frigid, humid, scorching, or grey as flannel. Get out and inhale, deep and long, every day.

* Talk to someone you love every day. Not just like trains passing in the night — like real people. Ask them how they’re feeling. What made them laugh today. That you’re glad they’re in your life.

*Remember that, for most of us, a job is just a means to an end. Some of us enjoy our jobs, some of us don’t. Some of us will make a career out of our choices, some of will just make it a job. Don’t get involved in scenarios you can’t change. Some things are just above your pay grade. Do you best but don’t bring it home with you. It’s just not worth it.

* There will never be another you. Savor that fact. Learn to hone that self into one that rolls with the punches. You have to. You can’t stop the river flowing, you can’t walk to the moon, etc., etc., etc. Be true to yourself, and flourish within that light.

* Make time for the little things. Watch the sunset, play fetch with your dog. Watch an old movie. Know that the little pleasures are all that matter — that sometimes that’s all you’ll get. And mountains can be made out of those molehills.

We can’t really wash all the stress out of the world. But I truly believe that if we all make an effort we can make it less of a stain and more of a blush. Deal with what you can, let go of the rest.

Your heart, your blood pressure, will thank you.

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.

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.

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….

 

Solstice Resolutions

winter-solsticeThe Winter Solstice was the other day…a prelude to Christmas, the New Year, and all holidays (made up or real) in between. I thought about the meaning of this ancient celebration…the length of the night its longest, on its way once again to the shortest, a new beginning, a new year. Another year older, another year wiser, another year wilder. I thought about going outside and dancing naked to greet the new year, but the 9 inches of snow, the below-zero temperatures, and the thought of my naked body made me choose a bubble bath instead.

In the magic bath, I remembered a poem I had written back in 2006. Instead of New Year’s Resolutions (which are never really kept past the first few days), I wrote Solstice Resolutions. Somehow they felt more ethereal, more arbitrary. Easier to read, easier to keep. And it’s funny — the thoughts, the feelings, the resolutions, all resonate the same 7 years later. I share them with you.

Solstice Resolutions

Take my vitamins
Eat more fruit
Watch the moonrise
Write a great novel
Open my mind
Leave my shadows behind
Define Gypsy Renaissance Style
Dream
Whisper

Laugh
Control my finances
Listen to more music

Hug my kids
Meditate
Slow down

Make a new friend

Find time for others
Find time for me
Do my job
Tolerate the wild ones

Age gracefully

Thank the Goddess
Share my thoughts
Get published
Dance in the rain

Offer friendship

Be strong

Offer strength
Redefine sensuality
Reawaken sexuality
Love
Love
Love

Goddess

JOURNEY 2011-8-16Have you ever “Googled” your name? Your blog name? Your friend’s name? Your address? The world of online fame and personal invasion is amazing.  And, depending upon what you’re looking for, frightening.

I tested my worldwide fame on a few levels this morning, and was amazed at what I found.

First I searched for “goddess” on Yahoo. My blog was nowhere to be seen in the first 15 pages. (The limit of my scientific research). No problemo. I tried the same on Google, and one of my blogs was 6th. Clap clap! Then I tried the word “humor” (almost as broad a term). Nothing in the first 15 pages of Google, the same with Yahoo. Now I know popularity is all in the name, and my name (Humoring) is different than Humor. So I tried MY version. Second page on Yahoo, first page on Google. Not bad, eh? So if anyone in the reading universe is looking for a chuckle, they have to pick the right noun in order to find me. If they are looking for a connection to the Goddess, I’m nowhere to be found.

I then decided to venture into the more personal realm. This is where it gets scary. My full name (who is actually me and not the doppelgängers). My name/blog appeared 9th in Google, Yahoo, not at all. But it starts to get creepy when all these sites tell you they can give me information based on my name. So I tried a few. Spokeo found me. The White Pages found me. USA People Search found me. Some had other family names attached to the info. For just $3.95 or $4.95 you can find out all kinds of things about me.

I typed in my address. There was my house on Zillow, with an approximate dollar value. There I was on Trulia, with a Google map tour down the road I live on and even down my driveway. They estimate the value of my house, my monthly mortgage payment, and how much I paid for it.   For $1 I could get a full report from Property Owners Org. about my house, including code problems, legal problems, square footage, and value of the property. I tried my social security number. E-Verify said they could give me court records, criminal records, phone number, and a half dozen other things about my personal life.

Suddenly free speech and public information isn’t such a great idea. What started out  as a fun search on how popular a name my blog was on search engines turned into a nightmare as I realized that, for a fee, anyone can find out anything about you. It doesn’t matter if the information is old or bogus; your name, your address, even your social security number is floating around in Internet Space somewhere. And if someone really wanted to wreak havoc with your personal (or public) life, it would only cost them $4.95.

It makes you want to become a hermit. Not a goddess.

Look Through Any Window

CAM00209I keep saying over and over again that I’m not getting older, that technology isn’t getting the best of me. After all, I do work in an office; I do code copy for the Web; I do work with spreadsheets and word documents, and do design a website here and there. So it’s not like I’m a rookie here.

But I recently bought a new laptop with Windows 8, and I can’t tell you how lost I am.

There are boxes on the startup screen that mean nothing to me. Boxes I want nothing to do with. Yet it is nearly impossible to figure out how to get rid of them. I’ve been looking for how to open the DVD drive (besides pushing the button on the side), or how to put an icon on the desktop. Every corner is a link to another universe. Is this supposed to be the new wave of enlightenment? The “world” at my “fingertips”?

I am beginning to understand why my father wanted to cocoon himself in his apartment in his later years. I can see why seasoned veterans would rather make phone calls with a flip phone or turn on the telly and have only 5 stations to choose from. Every time I turn around I have to learn something “new” which, to most of us, means “complicated.”

I am all for growing and learning something new. Or reinforcing what we already know. You’re never too young or too old to develop or refine your skills. I know a lady who is learning to speak a new language, a girlfriend who is going to cooking school, and a couple of guys who are building a car practically from scratch. What’s not to learn? So it takes some of us a little longer to put piece 1a3 into 2f6; sooner or later we figure it out, and are (hopefully) wiser for the fact.

But back to Windows 8. Who really needs all this stuff? Who needs three different browsers and two photo saving programs and clouds and Skypes and skies and a dozen game icons? I know – they all have their special place in others’  lives. My girlfriend used Skype to talk to her husband who was in Thailand, and many people would never know what their nieces or nephews or their kid’s friends’ kids look like if it weren’t for downloading their photos into one of the galleries. Listening to your own music from your laptop is really nice, too.

But what I don’t need is to click on four different corners to change screens, or a plethora of icons that will take me weeks to figure out. Am I just lazy? I don’t like that word. Stupefied? No…not that word either. Mystified? Well, I do like that word, but I hate to use it on such a three-dimensional object as a laptop. Maybe it’s more like being … distracted. I am such a sensitive, awakened, seasoned, middle-aged persona (like you) that I don’t have time to waste learning things that aren’t important to me (kinda like the subjects in college).

I already have a hard enough time coordinating jewelry and outfits. Or keeping my laptop files in some semblance of order. I’m not up for figuring out squares and corners. I just want simple word documents and chat boxes and an easy way to get to WordPress. For me and my limited play time, all I really need is a laptop with a smooth keyboard, a bit of Photoshop to play with images, and, okay, I-Tunes. And that mahjong game. And the link to Yahoo TV.  And, okay. The link to my horoscope. You get my drift.

My head’s already in the clouds enough the way it is. I’m not sure I need my laptop there, too….