Daily Prompt: Take Two – In and Out

I am late getting to the Daily Prompt at WordPress.com because I slept late.  Now the why of sleeping late is rather embarrassing but it goes something like this:

Yesterday I ached

And knowing it must be

From the warm front

Moving in.

So as I finished

The last of my three

Library books,

I laid

All day

Reading.

By the time

I should have

Been sailing off

To the Land of Nod

I was wide,

Wide Awake.

Anyway now for the prompt: Run outside.  Take a picture of the first thing you see.  Run inside,  Take a picture of the second thing you see.  Write about the connection between these two random objects, people, or scenes.

Grabbing my camera I ran outside.  Literally ran since that was the instruction and I am basically a rule follower.

Snow going!

Snow going!

The first thing?  Yup.  I mentioned warm winds the other day and the thirsty force of nature gobbled up my snow.

My  winter

My winter

It’s a far cry from the photo I posted the other day (as above).

Next I ran again. (instructions and rules you know)

 

Windows open

Windows open

 

And this is what came up on the second look: Open windows, every where in the house beckoning in this false spring.

Birds are singing.  Residual snow in the first photo is even less this few minutes later.  The darned old Magnolia tree is again in bud as are so many other trees.  False springs are such a danger for crops due later as a freeze is certain to follow and the rhythm of nature will be off and in the long run it will mean more failed crops, less food and higher priced food in the future.

BUT on such a day (it is 12 cenlsius which in real language is 53.6 F) it is impossible not to let ones heart soar in the glorious warmth.  Yup for Canucks this is almost shorts and Tee weather!  Because after all we Canadians are a hardy lot!

This Writer: Facing the Fear of Excellence

Some of you have noticed my sporadic attendance in posting these last few months, and I thank you for your encouraging words.  I have been occupied by an annoyance of sorts: no not defending the universe from hoards of bad guys, not working out twenty-five hours a day to qualify for the London 2012 Olympics, and certainly not sitting in my vault at Gringots counting my wizard gold.

I have been facing an impenetrable wall called The Fear of Excellence and trying to figure out a way over, under or through.

When I first started posting on WordPress.com I had no idea what I was doing and frankly the first couple of months were nothing.  Aimless actually.  Then in February 2011 I started getting comments.   Well first it was ‘comment’ and that came from Tricia at the domestic fringe on February 25, 2011.  Then Joss popped in, then Pat Cegan and then Colleen.  That original group is still with me along with a few others.  That’s when I started writing to an audience.  So for the rest of 2011 I started posting whatever popped into my cranium.  I cheered on my blogging friends who achieved the sacred Freshly Pressed status and began to toy with the idea that I too might make The List.  Then the persistent thought became rather annoying and I decided not to focus on it at all.

I kept reading successful bloggers trying to determine exactly what ‘successful’ meant.

The IT happened.  The Wall.  The Wall of Excellence.  Well I was thrilled!  I spent days reading every post, my heart pounding with excellence as I viewed HER body of work.

First emotion – Joy – – Inspiration, excitement.
Second emotion – Laughter -Yes!  That is the standard I seek!
Third emotion – thread of caution  – um….maybe
Fourth emotion – Fear – I can’t do that! (this one lasted quite a long time)

Convinced I wanted to raise the bar, but gripped by The Fear of Failure or The Fear of Success I stopped regular posts. And even worse I stopped working on my novel, ‘Propagation’.

Have you ever lost your footing? Your grip? Your mind? Due to fear?

That Fear, that Excellence has a name and it is Cecilia at thekitchensgarden.

After wrestling with the demons of the dark side I finally found inspiration again.  I discovered I wasn’t afraid of Celi or her talent.  I was afraid of myself but succeeded in calmly thinking things out.  Now it might seem that calmly thinking took but a few minutes but it took ages.  Simply ages.

Finally going full circle I decided I could raise the bar by working at getting better.
First I needed a theme and to find it started a series of FITFS – following in the footsteps – writing about bloggers I admire and discovering what makes them successful.
Second for the ‘Oh The Plots We Weave’ series I looked at news stories and considered the possibilities for fiction.
Third I discovered a desire to do a ‘This Writer Series’ for all other subject matter.

Next I needed to commit to a schedule.  Three Themes – Three days.  It will look something like this:

Monday Mayhem – Oh The Plots We Weave
Wednesday – This Writer
Friday – FITFS

With a number of changes, challenges and events I have not been able to think about Propagation for months.  Characters and story lines sit patiently waiting to be given a voice.  Now that I am doing all this bar raising I have a sense of purpose and direction.

So what bars are you raising?

*I know this is Tuesday not Wednesday but ‘This Writer” just could not wait one more day.  When a plan comes together, one simply must act.

More Questions Than Answers

Mommy Dearest

More Questions Than Answers

I happened to be leafing through one of those supermarket rags the other day.  You know the ones that claim Angelina Jolie is really wicked, Jennifer Aniston will never recover from Brad, the Kardashians are actually people of importance and George Clooney is truly in love this time.

These things have not changed in the decades since rags became reading material but what has changed is children.  Most notably ‘star’ children – and a suspicious number of twins who are ‘star’ children.

There are whole sections of magazines devoted to toddler fashion declaring that Jennifer Garner’s child out fashions Sarah Jessica’s.

And the one thing in common with all the smiling parents is how much they adore their children, or out adore compared to others.  The sign of good parenthood is no longer teaching, guiding, or God forbid, disciplining.  It’s all about adoration.  And it is not just the stars but those more common folk who mimic fake magazine people; in fashion, food and music who are into the whole adoring thing.

So just a few questions that come to mind:

1)       When your children are grown and they are not the center of everyone else’s universe will you make provisions to hire an Adorer because in time, a very short time you Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Sarah…Jennifer..etc etc are going to get pretty sick and tired of giving, giving, giving?

2)      When you are spending your life adoring your children are you going to invest in bubble wrap to protect their poor psyches from a cruel and harsh world that might actually expect them think of something other than themselves?

3)      How will we gauge who the better adoring parent is?  Could it be by smiles, gifts?  Or could it be by how they turn out?  I guess we would need a standard, a gold standard for that.  Paris Hilton comes to mind. And Lindsay Lohen. And……

4)      When you have praised every word, every action, every little burp, how are you going to continue the praise when there is nothing left?  Perhaps complimenting what isn’t there…’Good for you that you do not have an extra toe..that’s a good girl and at 23 I don’t think you will ever develop one.’

5)      If push comes to shove will you sacrifice your own self-respect to make your child feel good about themselves?  ‘Oh you are so wonderful, much more than I am.  I am so lucky to have you, blessed by your very presence.’

I can only hope that all these babies of adoration will someday live in their own city, perhaps called Centerville so that all the real children who learn that you have to actually earn points by hard work, that life is hard but can be mastered and that not everyone is going to like you let alone adore you, can get on with their life in the real world.  Children, who will know that in spite of hardship they are loved, and that adoration is nothing, except a façade setting up unrealistic expectations for these wee ones.

Besides, all that smiling and reporters saying, “He/She adores their little one so much.  It is proof how well loved they are.”  Adoration has never been an indicator of love and too much smiling just makes me wonder how many Mommy Dearest books are waiting to be written.

Thoughts on Reusing the Reusable

Thoughts on Reuse

I was looking at pill bottles the other day.  You know, the little round ones the pharmacists put your medications in.

It wasn’t the bottles themselves that first caught my attention, it was the labels that are stuck on with cement and cannot be removed with heat, water or a force of nature.  It occurred to me that when man is done with life on this planet, when all other plastic finally disintegrates, those little brown bottles with a two inch piece of paper stuck to them will still be floating around.

The worst of it is the private information that cannot be destroyed; your name, your medication, your doctor.  You can shred your mail to keep information private but your life sustaining secrets cannot be destroyed.

So that got me thinking about reusing those little brown bottles.  Why can’t they be reused?  Why do  we have to throw them out after one use?  It strikes me that it is a waste to the millionth degree.

Just stop to think about how many bottles we are talking about.  I have one prescription a month, a minor medication but a necessary one.  So for me that is twelve wasted bottles a year and in the last fifteen years there are 180.  That still may not seem like much to you, but I did an informal survey among my friends and acquaintances and the people that I know get three to eight bottles filled a month.  Never mind the exorbitant cost of the medication itself, just think about the container cost.

Now I bet that if all these wee bottles were recycled and reused we could save money on the over all cost.  And if for some reason these particular bottles cannot be reused then surely there are some bright bunnies out there that could design a reusable bottle.

The fact that I can use a permanent marker to obliterate personal information is of no consequence.  Somebody must be able to explain why the waste, why the clutter?

On a Much Lighter Note..Mama Kat’s First Slow Dance With a Boy

Thank Goodness for Mama Kat and her Thursday blog challenge. This week’s prompts:

2.) Tell us about your song.
4.) Slow dancing with boys…talk about one of your first school dance experiences.

It’s a two for one kind of deal!

Once upon a time, long long ago, say around 1959, my public school, J. F. Carmichael held a dance every second Friday in the evening. It was called Club 87 as it was only open to these two grades. Our parents took turns chaperoning the event which from time to time could be embarrassing if they tried to actually dance because not one of us could imagine people that ancient actually dancing.

Not exactly how it was but...

Now the interesting thing about our age group is that many of the girls were taller than the boys who had not yet reached their growth spurt. If you ever saw the movie Grease (and I hope all have) there is a dance scene in the gym where the girls line up on one side and the boys on the other each group getting support from their peers, girls tapping their feet and boys shuffling theirs and doing their best to appear manly in dress slacks and ties. All being very shy and all shucks about it.

I don’t even remember his name but he was dashing in his slicked dark slicked back hair. As we danced in proper form he drew me closer and his head was at the level of my mouth. Turning his head I got a mouthful of Brylcreem as I was about to speak. Brlycreem..a little dab’l do ya…so the advert went but in his desire for the ultimate cool he had used way more than that little dab.

A small matter because the song they were playing was Paul Anka‘s ‘Put Your Head on My Shoulder‘. Well at least he could put his head on mine.  And it was perfect.

It doesn’t matter where I am, if I hear that song I am immediately transported back to that gym and my first slow dance with Mr. Brylcreem…..sigh.  It was wonderful.

hmmm I was taller he was shorter

PAUL ANKA
“Put Your Head On My Shoulder”
 

Put your head on my shoulder
Hold me in your arms, baby
Squeeze me oh so tight
Show me that you love me too

Put your lips next to mine, dear
Won’t you kiss me once, baby
Just a kiss goodnight, maybe
You and I will fall in love
(You and I will fall in love)

People say that love’s a game
A game you just can’t win
If there’s a way
I’ll find it someday
And then this fool with rush in

Put your head on my shoulder
Whisper in my ear, baby
Words I want to hear
Tell me, tell me that you love me too
(Tell me that you love me too)

Put your head on my shoulder
Whisper in my ear, baby
Words I want to hear, baby
Put your head on my shoulder

 

Thank you Photobucket.

Skating on the Thin Ice of Life

Skating on the Thin Ice of Life
 
“You’re skating on thin ice girl!”
 
Life is full of warnings, some overt and some less so. This one is pretty clear and was more serious than, “Stop, or you’re going to your room.” or even, “You’re cruisin for a bruisin.”
 
Skating implies movement, action, direction and a path or destination. Thin ice implies danger, warning, risk …high risk and a calamitous outcome if direction is not changed. Skating is smooth, continuous whether it is a forward, backward, figure eights, it is a confident motion that would seem not easily stopped or altered which increases the danger of being on thin ice. Once your motion carries you far enough there is no turning back and the only choice is to deal with the consequences of your action. This is a pretty good argument for thinking out plans beforehand.
 
But it strikes me that as we age skating on thin ice takes on a new meaning. Our footing may be ( literally ) less sure due to any number of circumstances including weak fragile bones or eye sight problems with depth perception, muscle weakness, blah, blah, blah. The older we get, the thinner the ice and our big rink just plain putters out.
 
 
Sometimes I think a zamboni is the only answer.
 
FYI….Wiki says…Zambonis do not really “melt the broken ice” in hockey arenas. The process of resurfacing the ice is the Job of the Zamboni at an ice rink between groups on the ice or periods of a hockey team. A Zamboni actually has a blade on it that cuts or shaves the surface of the ice (not much because the ice is only 1.5 to 3.5 inches thick!) This way the grooves and uneven surface from skaters is brought back to a more even surface. Then the Zam floods behind the cut with hot water (approx. 140 degrees) which fills in any leftover grooves or odd spots in the ice, freezes up and makes a fresh surface for the next group of skaters.

The Queen of Hamilton gets to Know the Local Gentry

The Queen of Hamilton Gets to Know the Local Gentry

It’s been a busy time lately sorting through years of storage accumulated, most of which needs shredding or dumping or giving away.  I thought when I started rising earlier in the mornings to get to the walking track I would have hours and hours extra a day to accomplish tasks and read and write blogs and books and all things wonderful.

I left for Hamilton this morning to visit and see how renovations on my new abode were coming.  Getting out of the car I notice the front driver’s tire was flat.  Very flat.  So for the first time ever I had a chance to use my roadside service.  The fellow arrived within 5 minutes; he came, he saw, he changed my tire and diagnosed my air valve failure and directed me to the nearest Canadian Tire.  

So here I sit, a lovely and very welcome breeze blowing as I wait.  The service itself will apparently not take long however there appears to be quite a long waiting line before my Fusion gets admitted to a bay.

I’ve been looking for time to catch upon my blogs and comments and thankfully the time is now!!

As soon as I arrived G2 proudly told me he is finished with diapers and he pees and poops in the toilet!  Then he proudly  took me into the bathroom to demonstrate but did not have to really go. He then let me know that when he does number 2 he gets a sucker.

G1 turns 8 next Saturday and his passion right now is collecting Angry Bird stuffies.  Seems he has the birds and now is completing his pig collection!
Now I am off to read and comment!  When you get lemons……

Writers Resources Do You Use a Writer Software?

Help!

My book/novel is getting cumbersome.

Tracking scenes and characters and locations and dates.  The story is so clear in my head and notes but good grief it is pulling it all together!

Do you use a software program?

If you use a program and are willing to share your favorite software it would help immensely.

Before my poor brain explodes!

First Failed Flush of Love – Actually

Ah First Love

First Failed Flush of Love Actually
 
These slightly overcast hot humid July mornings sometimes serve up, in addition to a light sprinkling of temporary rain, a particular memory from a land far away, a time long ago. Actually a time long ago not so much on the land faraway, except it does seem in my mind to have been a million miles away. A land distanced by time I guess.
 
We were going on vacation to a cottage probably somewhere in the Haliburton or Muskoka region of Ontario where lakes meet forest meet city dudes for a limited week or two each year. It had to have been the late fifties, a time before, air conditioning, seat belts, road service and car radios that could receive signals outside a city limits.
 
Cars broke down all the time, or at least threatened to, but were easily fixed with a patch, hot air, or a good smack along it’s frame. I remember one trip where the engine kept overheating and the only solution was to drive with the heat blowing on max on the hottest day of the year.
 
There were seven of us that year, two parents and five kids and I cannot remember what kind of car it was but it easily accommodated four or five wee bodies. I’m thinking we were between twelve and six years old. I was the oldest and considered myself a diva of sorts without knowing that word existed, and for sure possessed that false prepubescent sophistication where really, nothing associated with family was good enough for this princess and Mom and Dad became Mother and Father and really, what kind of car we drove and where we went was below my level of interest..sigh.
 
I don’t remember much about the cottage except it must have had walls, enough bedrooms and probably and indoor loo as that is one memory that would have caught my royal attention.
 
One day on the beach, no, not white sand, probably a stony beach with large rocks lining the shore, I found myself talking to a boy. There was none of the discomfort or awkwardness that preteens often start to feel, just nice pleasant conversation. It turned out that he lived very close to my house and knew my brother. Then the conversation took a turn that screamed, ‘hormones at work here!’ but of course I would not recognize that message for a few years.
 
“How old are you?” he asked.
 
Not sure what to say here as all of a sudden it occurred to me that I did not want him to know I was just a silly kid (it seems the diva devil flees in the face of true love). After a pause I countered brilliantly with, “How old are you?” feeling much like Baby must have felt when she uttered the words, “I carried a watermelon.”
 
“Fifteen,” he replied, head down, hands in his pockets and kicking dirt with his right foot.
Whew, I knew it was safe to lie since he obviously was not fifteen.
 
“Well I’m fourteen,” and he nodded. He said that his family was going home the next day, (and mine still had a week to go), and asked if he could call me for a date sometime.
 
Our week passed and I soon forgot about the encounter but a few days after returning home I got a phone call. Now phone calls back then were rare. No one actually phoned unless there was a specific purpose to said call. And there were party lines so every conversation could be heard by most of the neighborhood.
 
Anyway, the call came on a Saturday morning and he asked if I could go to the matinee that afternoon with him?
I asked my Mom, and explained who this fellow was, and my brother corroborated his decent character, and Mom said yes.
 
I was a bit in awe at the potential of a first date but was pretty cool and calm about it, while my mother made me put on an actual dress and comb my hair (I was pretty much a tomboy like Trixie Belden then so gave no thought to ‘dressing up.’
 
Then I waited. And waited. And waited. I was not particularly upset, just a little confused maybe but I had not invested any hopes and dreams in this guy so it was no biggie, although looking back; it probably was for my mother.
 
Later that day a hurried whispered call came from my suitor who apologized for not showing up because his Mom had gotten mad at him and grounded him. He sounded totally humiliated and embarrassed.
“No problem,” said I, quite sincerely and meaning it. And then I promptly forgot about it, except every now and then on a hot humid overcast, July morning, my mind does that little time travel thing, where I find myself standing on a stony beach.
 


*The ‘Actually’ series are stories of childhood and family and memories.

Thanks to Photobucket for providing photos.

We’ll Have No Whining or Sniveling……Ah Really?

We’ll Have No Whining or Sniveling…. Ah Really?

Well perhaps a little as everyone is entitled to a rant now and then.  Why I believe I may even have posted one..or two..no just one …I think.

Assuming whining and sniveling gives us a chance to vent then I can only assume it then leads to a) feeling better b) the opportunity to perhaps diagnose the itch stuck in our craw, if that is where itches of this nature reside and c) do something about it.

As long as the W&S is not of the woe is me sort then it seems to be of a useful purpose or at least a non-malignant one.  I believe that dipping into that pool of negativity too often can poison our creativity.  Or at least mine.

Unless you are Rodney Dangerfield whose tales of woe brought chuckles combined with a few winces it is difficult to achieve satisfactory humor.

Occasionally folks will post a W&S on not getting Freshly Pressed and it is good to get that out of their systems so they can get back to writing their truly enjoyable blogs.

The nice thing about blogging is giving free expression to our thoughts, which come to think about it can be of a W&S nature and still be very entertaining.  Nuts..I just shot down my whole premise.

Well I will just go on reading y’all if you just keep on writing!

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