Tuesday, November 30, 2010

NaNoWriMo Drop-out!

Here it is, November 30th and I can officially tag myself as NaNoWriMo ‘Drop-Out! I’ve ‘dropped out’ of a few things in my life; failed relationships, a pick up volleyball game, a few rambunctious parties, and even a church that just wasn’t my niche. Once I got ‘Kicked-out’ of Sunday school and even 4-H club but don’t be too hard on me, I was only ten or eleven and I was just trying to blend in on both accounts.

But golly, I truthfully never meant to be a drop-out of NaNo. That surely rings out like I’m a quitter; ugh! Typically, committment means a great deal to me so when I make one, I follow through to the end, I soldier on and all that stuff...well, that was until; hmmm...

For those of you who don’t know what NaNO is, let me explain. The entire month of November is dedicated to writing a novel of a minimum of 50,000 words. Individuals, who are writers, or aspire to be writers, work diligently to wrap up the arduous task of crossing this goal line before midnight on the last day of the month; I aspired as well!

I signed up for the contest and anxiously awaited for opening day. For the first week, I typed, I typed and typed some more. My diligence led to an accomplishment of 6,393 words. Although temporarily, I was neglecting my husband and my son as well as ignoring the book I had just signed a contract to complete. My Life as a Dog… manuscript needed to be wrapped up so it could be sent to the editor. What was a gal to do?

Something had to give…so guess what it was? Yes, NaNoWriMo…hence, I’m a drop out! However, the dictionary defines a drop out to mean to withdraw from participation or membership. Gosh, that sounds so much better, doesn’t it? I had such high aspirations, too.

But here it is, closing day of the challenge and I’m no further along than the 6,393 words I’d compiled the first seven days. Again, UGH!!! I try my very best not to live off of Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda’s…I could’ve done it had I just not slept, I should have just sucked it up and plunged through to the end or I would have finished if I’d sacrificed everything; family included…

Even though I didn’t finish, I congratulate all my friends and those in the blog community who did complete the goal! Hurray for you! I mean that sincerely! You have a great deal to be proud of, so CONGRATULATIONS!

…and in closing, a toast to next year’s competition! Furthermore, may I not be a Drop-Out!

Here contains an earlier post to my quandry: http://thinkingspot-tracy.blogspot.com/2010/11/happy-writing.html

Monday, November 29, 2010

Honey, he's HOME!!!

I had the best sleep last night I've had since my son, Nicholas left last Saturday. If you stopped by last week, you caught my post on my boy being away from home for the holidays. If not, you can catch it here: http://thinkingspot-tracy.blogspot.com/2010/11/blessings-abound.html

As you can imagine, I could hardly contain myself or focus on much of anything until his plane touched down Sunday at 3:50pm. As much as we longed for his laugh, smiles and endless chatter, he had a marvelous time! I continue to gather such evidence from stories and experiences he shares from days in Ohio. And pictures...he loves to take photos so the following are memories he important to him that tells of his week with family!

a journey begins with a thousand steps...

Maddy, his best friend~

Golden Trees...
The cabins they stayed in; check out the wagon wheels...
...along the way...

A blanket of leaves...

Glassy wonder...

I love the beautiful sky...

And you can NOT leave the great Buckeye state without a donut
with scarlet and gray sprinkles...

As for this Mom, I'm sure glad he's home!

Every parting is a form of death, as every reunion is a type of heaven.
by Tryon Edwards

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Three Things I think I think....

“Truth is one forever absolute, but opinion is truth filtered through the moods, the blood, the disposition of the spectator.”

by Wendell Phillips.

I don’t often dole out my opinions as a result of another fitting quote ‘Opinions are like ass-holes, everyone has them!’ ...while I am NOT a fan of that quote, it serves its purpose and typically if no one really cares to hear my opinions enough to ask, I don’t by and large serve them. So to share these things I think, is an opportunity for individuals to either agree, disagree, or sustain; take your pick~

1.) I was bid ‘good morning’ with the following AOL headline, German Zoo Forces Gay Vultures to Mate with Females. Really? Are we as humans so hungry for authority and control that we can’t allow two birds who have a strong desire to co-habitat alone to honor their natural instincts? Needless to say, I am irritated! Karen Carpenter said it best through her song of the 70’s, Bless the Beasts and the Children, for in this world they have no choice, they have no voice…

Not only are humans discriminating against these specific birds, but isn’t it enough that we abuse animals by forcing them to participate in wretched and vicious behaviors such as dog-fighting and puppy mills? We mistreat them by not taking responsibility to spay and neuter our animals then proceed to cast the puppies and kitties road-side as if they’re garbage. Many mishandle their animals by leaving them alone in the extreme elements to fend for themselves, beat them and starve them. I don’t know about you but whenever I see those SPCA commercials on television, I can’t dive to the remote fast enough to turn off the sadness. Have supremacy craving individuals grown so weary of bullying community members who are different that they’ve now become focused on innocent animals? Well, it infuriates me!

2.) I teach in a year round school and have been ‘tracked out’ for the last two weeks with one more week remaining including two workdays. I’ve developed a suitable routine of checking e-mail while I sip my coffee, then go to my blog and check comments; get my husband off to work. I take my walk and give thought to my writing and settle into the actual writing, then post.

I have had a superlative time meeting new people through the blogging community who possess incredibly innovative and talented skills. These people take astonishing photographs that tell stories of vast complexities, as well as people who eloquently write with their heart. I will truly be sad to return to work where my time and focus will be less than desired to cultivate these new relationships. So to all of my new followers, I welcome you into my blogging world; a humanity that allows me to share reflections of who I am as an individual. While there are too many to name specifically, if you'd like to escape in their wonderful talents please go to the plethora of blogs on my blog site; you'll be glad you did!

3.) Although Thanksgiving has passed, I never did make that list of things I am grateful for. Perhaps it is because I don’t need a specific day to declare my gratitude toward people or things; I hope my daily actions prove my thankfulness. However, I am truly thankful for the social network Facebook. Where else can every distinctive individual who has invested in me and comprised my life show up in one place reading quips of daily happenings, looking at photos of today’s loved ones and partaking in heartfelt emotions? I have facebook to thank which has connected me with all some childhood friends, previous teachers, college buddies, and connections from my world travels. From the help of Facebook, I have co-workers, past students and their families and my own personal family. All these people have felt the pulse of my life, and I have had the opportunity to keep track of the heartbeat of folks who have truly enriched my life!

And these, my friends are not things I think I think, but three things I know I think!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Photo Friday...

Long story short:  I say my husband forgot my birthday because he bought me a new Nikon SLR3100 camera but since he gave it to me nine days prior to my actual day and then made no mention of any such greeting on the actual day, well, you could conclude he forgot it, right? That morning, I hung onto every minute until he departed for work; I waited for coffee in bed? Perhaps the newspaper to go with it? Maybe even a simple wish or a kiss?
Nope, nothing…my husband of fifteen years had forgotten my birthday! So I sent an e-mail to his work on sweet muted purple paper with the glow of candles and plastered the words, ‘Happy Birthday to me!’ across the page.
He immediately responded and apologized profusely and although I’ll forever tease him about 'forgetting my birthday!', he’s right, he gave me a gift I’ve always wanted…now to learn how to use it.
The following photos are my trial and error examples:
Rollin' Along!

Line Up!

All dressed up and nowhere to go...

Pink Pinwheels...

What a beauty...
Basketball Heaven~

Last one to leave, turn the lights out please...

If you have any suggestions, I'm open to learning!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving?

Oven Roasted Turkey

"The human spirit is stronger than anything that happens to it."


I recognize you are most likely reading the above quote and thinking what does that have to do with Thanksgiving. Well, I’ll tell you. Growing up we had a house full of family for the Thanksgiving feast; aunts, uncles, cousins, Grandma…you name ‘em and they were gathered in our small ranch home.

The ceremonial dinner was planned for noon as always and my mom took immense pride in preparing the turkey dressed in its finest! The night before rituals commenced with the production of the homemade dressing and shoving it inside that colossal bird enough to feed near thirty people. She enclosed that fowl and placed the roaster within the oven and set it to activate at 4:00am. Swollen with pride and pleased with her labor we went to bed in anticipation for the gathering of our family the subsequent day.

The next morning I awoke and got a whiff of that brilliant smell of turkey roasting and grinned as I made a momentary look toward the clock: 7:00am. I rose out of bed and meandered into the kitchen and was shocked at the words gracing my ears, coming out of my mother’s mouth, a staunch Christian woman. ‘God-damn son of a b----, well sh—‘ words I am most certain I had never even heard before!

The smell of the bird had truly been in my year’s past mind. The oven failed had to turn on! My mom skittered around the kitchen slamming cupboards and the oven door, throwing pot holders and anything else she could get her hands on. She was swearing at the oven as if that would miraculously make it turn on or say, ‘Gosh, I’m sorry. Let’s try that again!

Meanwhile my sister and I took shelter. It was a wonder that raw bird and all that was stuffed up in it didn’t go flying through the kitchen, living room and any other room of the house…tears, curse words and flurry filled that humble abode and we were taking cover!

Well, no harm no ‘fowl’; hee hee! We may have had our Thanksgiving feast later than planned but it certainly made for amusement for the day and every gathering since. Each year following began with a ‘Ummm, that turkey sure smells good! Did you turn the oven on?’

So on this blessed day, may your oven turn on and everything go planned accordingly!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Blessings abound...

I miss my Nicholas, my little ‘Bug’ as I have christened him.

He is in Ohio spending time with family and friends. We exchanged him on Saturday and what I can gather from the thrifty phone calls he is having a great time with his Grandma, his Aunt Dawnie and his cousins. Although my heart aches for him, I am joyful they have the opportunity to get to be acquainted with him more as a person than from stories I share or pictures I send. It is at those times I inadvertently censor what they discover and hear about this young man of eleven. Now they have the chance to wrap themselves in him and experience the instances of his laughter, his smiles, his quips, his wit, perhaps his tears.

I adore my son, as most mothers do but I forever felt he actually belonged to God and we as parents were given him ‘on loan’ because such great promise was endeared to him. I wanted to be worthy of my role since the mere thought of him was my rescue from the savage battle of eating disorders and depression. Therefore, my joy and my life exists for nurturing the person he will grow to be.

I admire my son for his compassion and empathy at such a young age. This year his teacher e-mailed me that a new student had entered the classroom and Nicholas immediately offered to help the student get acquainted with the classroom routines. He had an extra binder so he gave it to the boy and helped him get organized for the rigors of the classroom. His teacher hoped it was okay.

I think highly of him for his honesty. A different teacher told me that he had handed back tests which Nicholas received a 100%. Nicholas went up to the teacher after class and told her that he couldn’t have gotten a 100% because he missed a question by forgetting to answer it.

I love him for his incredible sense of humor and his ability to see the positive in situations. He has to wear a face mask at night until January to pull his upper jaw forward. When the orthodontist was fitting it in the office, Nicholas quipped, ‘I feel like I’m in jail!’ He continually meets disappointments such as not being able to spend the night at a friend’s house with, ‘well, at least I get to spend more time with you and Dad!’ …forever the optimist.

My sister wrote on her facebook page after Nicholas went to spend the night at his Grandma’s house ‘I miss my nephew already and he is only 2 miles down the road. He’s such a sweetheart! Everyone deserves a Nicholas in their life. I love you Buddy!’ How can a parent not be proud!

He is traveling today to spend the remainder of his time until Sunday with his best friend Maddy and her family, or ‘his other family’ as he states. He is fiercely loyal; they have been best friends since second grade but despite the distance from Ohio to North Carolina, their friendship has remained strong and steady! What a blessing both of those children are to us from all who know them.

So I miss him deeply and when contemplating a ‘Thanksgiving’ theme for my blog today, what better way to present the holiday than with a massive proclamation; I am thankful for my little boy and the person he is becoming! But also, I thank you for listening to mother brag about how endearing her son is and how much I adore him. May you all be blessed with someone as special in your life, and until Nicholas returns home I must keep in mind;

“Missing someone gets easier every day. Because, even though it is one day further from the last time you saw each other, it is one day closer to the next time you will”

Ahhh, Amen to that!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

the Morning Moon and Missed Moments....

Full moon oak
No, this is not my photo, but portrayed the one I was trying to capture...

Before daybreak I was taking our dog, Hurricane out to go potty. He is afraid of the dark so someone must escort him to the deck stairs and linger while he does his business. Mind you, he watches us the entire time so we won’t leave him. Well, hah unbeknownst to him, I gazed upward and caught a glimpse of the most incredible moon peeking through the bare limbs of the trees.

I audibly gasped at its splendor and dashed into the house to get my camera. Well, CRIPES, when I found my place again on the deck, the moon had vanished behind a cloud.

I waited. And waited. And waited…while I remained still continuing to wait I pleaded with God to make it reappear once more so I could capture its image, it occurred to me that this was a moment of missed opportunity. How many of those in my lifetime have I failed to notice? What direction might my life’s journey proceeded if I’d been more prepared? Or more willing? Or more courageous? Or more something...

A few came to mind: I remember the 1984 Olympics when Mary Lou Retton performed in gymnastics. She received a perfect ten and won a gold medal for the United States. I played her identification number she wore on her back #105 in the lottery for weeks and weeks. I was sure it would come up with her good luck. Well, it didn’t and I eventually stopped playing it but still curiously glanced at the lottery numbers. One week later it appeared and the winner won thousands of dollars and it wasn’t me!

I met my adoring husband when I was thirty two years old; we married at thirty five while I continued to battle the eating disorders of anorexia and bulimia. I was approaching forty and felt my time ticking away to have children. I delivered Nicholas six months before I turned forty. If I hadn’t been so old, he may have been blessed with siblings instead of being the only child.

However, there were opportunities I was glad to have missed such as this one: when I was nine or ten my mom worked so we waited for our school bus alone. As I hung around the garage, a decrepit old car turned into our driveway. A filthy dirty man with meanness in his eyes was behind the wheel of that vehicle. He eerily stared as he invited and encouraged me to enter the automobile; he’d deliver me to school, he assured me. Something told me to back up and go inside the house. Once told, my mom called the police who came out to talk to me. When I hear of children being abducted and missing the alerts frequently take me back to that moment and seemingly enters my thoughts; what if?

We all have those moments of turning left when we should have turned right, zigged when we should have zagged, said ‘YES’ when we should have said ‘NO’ and vice versa. Some would identify it as making choices and conceivably they could be right. Conversely, what about those happenstances when there is/was no choice to be made such as not having my camera available? What are those moments entitled?

It happens, the moon did re-emerge and in my hurried pace to capture the reflection before it could once more evaporate, the picture blurred. While it is still striking, or maybe it’s the one I envision in my mind’s eye, it was gone…it was irretrievable.

Nothing is so often irretrievably missed as a daily opportunity.

~Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach

Monday, November 22, 2010

I need your opinion...

I must purchase a new pair of winter shoes since the gray flannel clogs I bought from L.L.Bean more than ten years ago finally have become so tattered and torn, wetness can seep in and soak my socks from the top. This is a bummer especially since they don’t carry them anymore, probably don’t even make them either which is a shame because I’m a creature of habit; I like comfort over what’s in style or in vogue. I can easily admit I am NOT the epitome of fashion so this decision requires much thought and deliberation! So I thought it would be rather nice if you stop by and offer an opinion, or two.

So I thought I’d do a little research as to what could or might be my next pair of shoes and then, well maybe you can offer your opinion. You know tell me what you think.


Ummm, well, if I was going to Alaska to participate in the Iditarod race or maybe to the Yukon Territory for a great bear hunt, perhaps these would be the shoes for me, but perhaps I’ll keep looking.

Oh my…if I had a strong desire to take a trip to the emergency room for a broken hip, ankle or otherwise, I certainly could buy these shoes.

What do you think of these? Perhaps these classy heels could be worn when I take off on my excursion to Africa for the Big Cats convention. Darling, they would be absolutely divine!


Or, I could consider one of these which might be my choice for those dresses I wear to educate my elementary school kids. I’m sure they would love the added entertainment to their day because certainly, I wouldn’t be able to walk across the room!

Oh and these foot coverings…do you have an opinion you’d like to share? I would no longer have to hire a pet sitter to come and feed my hamsters’ day in and day out. I could just take the critters with me! How convenient~

How can I possible resist these shoes; they are absolutely perfect for my bird-watching outings.

Feathered Footwear

This excursion through the on-line store has certainly opened my realm of possibilities. Such as this pair...There's no place like home, There's no place like home...

Seriously now, this pair I thought I could wear for those close encounters I might have while riding horses. You see, the horse wouldn't know if it was trampling on me, or well me!

Do you like these? These platform sneakers are just what I need to enhance my work out attire. I’m positive I’ll be standing tall with these on my feet!

Now this pair… They are my absolute favorite color and would match most of my shirts and sweaters so practical or not, they’d get plenty of wear for my money. My only concern is in the winter, if we happen to have snow in North Carolina my toes would get a tad cold.

I’m afraid I’ve just complicated my decision by exploring my alternatives in the shoe arena. For now, perhaps I’ll just wear my dilapidated and frayed pair of clogs. At least I won’t draw attention to myself!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A moment of clarity...

Did you ever have one of those moments of crystal-clear clarity? Thanks to a quote placed on Kenju’s blog, http://imagineomit.blogspot.com/ I was blessed this morning with one of those precise moments in time that was inititated with the appraisal of these words:
 “We are not the same persons this year as last; nor are those we love. It is a happy chance if we, changing, continue to love a changed person.”

Yesterday my family, whom I have not seen in two and a half years met halfway between Ohio and North Carolina in Beckley, West Virginia to exchange Nicholas so he could spend time with his family in Ohio.  Time, distance and busy lives keep us apart physically but emotionally I had forever perceived myself as the stranger.  There are a plethora of reasons but basically my mother and sister for whatever reasons needed each other more than they needed me.

 I was the youngest of five children and my mother was the product of a gentle soul and a fragile psyche compounded by three husbands who used her as their punching bag in every sense of the word. The domestic violence she encountered occurred behind slammed doors unlike today where it appears commonplace in the media.

However, at a young age the realization that I was on my own led me to reach out to the first of many surrogate mothers such as my PE teacher and Coach, Mrs. Stephenson, or Mrs. Houck my music and choir teacher. My cluster of friends in athletics, choir, yearbook and the overabundance of activities to keep me away from home became my sisters; titles none was aware they held.
Life happened, as life often does. I went searching for my purpose of being out of the state of Ohio; Florida and North Carolina and experienced my share of personal moments of trauma, growth and understanding independent of my family. I was blessed with a wonderful husband and an adoring son while meanwhile, my sister Dawn became a Mama Bear fiercely protecting her cubs at all costs and trudging through a day to day existence as a teacher giving of herself to others.
My mom is eighty-two and continues to golf, read, volunteer and work; awarded top employee of the year. She travels and is active in her church. She has a heart of gold and is filled with compassion. I believe she has made amends with her choices in life and finally realizes she did the best she knew how to do enduring the circumstances she was subjected to; I’m proud of the person she has become.
I’m a true believer that things happen for a reason and the planets line up specifically with one purpose in mind, basically God presents circumstances in our lives for us to continue to learn and grow. My mother and sister are NOT the same people they were when I was growing up; just as I’m not the same person. But it is with this love and empathy we continue to love the changed people in our lives.

I’m not only extremely joyful my sister and my mom are my family, but I’ve learned to love them; with all their perceived flaws and alleged faults because I’ve learned to love me—with all my short-comings and imperfections.

William Somerset Maugham, writer (1874-1965)

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Trip to the Past….and a Tribute!

a high schooler...
 The well worn yellowed pages with a rusty staple clinging to the corner , remnants of ink smudges on erasable typing paper and a musty odor that hovers with aged paper; verification of years gone by…thirty four years to be exact.

Linda Stoner was my freshman and sophomore English teacher who had a penchant for creative writing. Unbeknownst to me she thought I could conquer and triumph this seemingly insurmountable task or perhaps she just sensed my perpetual state of sadness; at least it seemed to me with her soothing words and gentle prompts.

I unhurriedly began supplying her slips of notebook paper that carefully conveyed skillfully handwritten poetry that wouldn’t reveal too much of my inner makings. One by one, she’d return the dispensing of my heart with words of encouragement or suggestions I could do to enhance my writings.

This morning I crawled into our closet to search for the prose tucked away in a 1976 folder displaying multihued ragdolls with blissful expressions. The file was entitled ‘Psychology’ carefully designed to be a disguise for my inscriptions. Upon opening the sleeve, I became twelve, fourteen, and sixteen once again explicitly disclosing those words.

Below are a few examples of those raw early writings and unedited... as difficult as that was:

Poem 1~

Butterflies represent change and growth.
Growth at one’s own personal level and inner self.
A Caterpillar transforms into a butterfly
A butterfly…

Poem 2~

This was dedicated to my Grandpa who had died…
As I sit and watch the ocean
It appears to be calm, but it isn’t always.
I notice the sea gulls, waiting in anticipation
Of something-food, a storm, perhaps a companion.
They watch me closely,
As if in some way, I would provide for their needs.
In the west, the sun begins to set,
Losing its brightness like a burned out fire.
The tide inches in toward me.
I feel it’s closeness as it caresses the rock
Upon which I sit.
The splashes feel like cold tear drops
Against my arms and face.
The sky, which was once blue jeweled with the sun setting
Is turning a dark grey.
Clouds rumbling like the rushing waves.
It’s getting late now.
The tide’s moving again.
I feel cold and lonely as it ebbs away.
Losing the tide’s closeness
Waiting for it to reappears
Soft and calm.

I reflect upon my writing; past and present. Visibly I’m not a world renowned author who is on Oprah’s Book Club or the New York Times Best Seller list; however I AM swollen with pride and gratified with the progression of my past-time.

For this, I thank Linda Stoner, wherever she may be that she challenged and presented me an outlet for the angst of a teenage girl. When My Life as a Dog… is published this spring, I will honor her place in my life; a true beginning... Thank you Mrs. Stoner!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Happy Birthday to me...and Facts of Five!

ahhh, wasn't I cute?

I presume once you hit fifty, and creeping on the other side at fifty-one as I am today it’s only proper to reflect, ponder, wonder, and question your life; at least that’s where I am on this calendar day; November 18th. Like numerous people around the world the birth into my family resulted in a great deal of heartache, distress, and immense suffering. However, in the company of a few superb therapists; Barbara, Martha and Tanya I found healing.

So today, on my birthday I am choosing to spotlight five gifts I’ve blessed myself with and no, they weren’t enclosed in fancy paper with lavish embellishments. They are most extraordinary gifts because they come from within and continue to be years in the making. What's more, aren’t we are all searching for gifts from within? …at least this ‘old lady’ is…

1.) Self-Acceptance: So I finally realized, although it took me this long, that I don’t have the perfect body, need I say more? Although on days, I continue to strive for that elusive goal…Would I like to lose that extra twenty pounds I carry? Do I wish my hair were fuller, more manageable, and more beautiful without 30 or so minutes in front of the mirror? And to add a cherry to the top of the mound of beauty; sore knees, bad back, the gray hairs, hot flashes, restless nights AND wrinkles! Life, you insist on all THAT too? Again, self acceptance- this body has endured and carried me to this day so imperfections and all stay if you must!

Of course, forever getting my hair 'just right!
 2.) Compassion: and all that this entails; good listening skills, empathy, insight, patience, sympathy, blah, blah, blah…Indeed forgive me if I sound like I’m bragging, but this is one of my best qualities. The heartaches have carved a path to be the rock and the giver to others and herded me into my vocation as a special education teacher. I love this job which I can say because I'm on vacation!

3.) Sense of Humor: Don’t we all need the ability to laugh at ourselves and our blunders and bloopers? I certainly do thank God I have this gift…I definitely need it on a day to day basis! And just when I forget this little treasure, God is sure to jog my memory me with an incident of attempting to put the milk in the pantry or forgetting why I walked into a room; ummm, yeah, thanks for the reminder!

I tolerated THIS, didn't I?
 4.) Tolerance: The dictionary describes tolerance as sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one's own. I love my spectrum of friends for their vast diversities and unique contributions to this world. How blessed I am to have all these exceptionally goofy people in my life, and yeah, I’m probably talking about YOU here~

5.) Creativity: Not only do I appreciate my talents of writing, scrapbooking, photography but more so to use this innovation to view the world in all its heartaches of death, disease and destruction and see it for what it is; every individual on this Earth at any given moment is doing the best they can with whatever trials and tribulations they possess. It is in paramount proportions that I remember this in the most basic sense in order to not go mad with the insanity of our world today.

So I conclude with this; with all these gifts, who needs presents?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

An Ode to Autumn~

Autumn is my absolute beloved time of the year with its inherent splendor and anticipation of promise.

Yesterday happened to be the day I look forward to the most with its gusts of wind and gentle breezes’ persuading the release of the vibrant leaves onto the land, creating a patchwork of paving stones. A day where the rains antagonize the foliage to carry out cartwheels across the pavement pushing to settle in a carpet of paint; ahhh, this show is worth the wait of twelve months.

In addition to the spectacle of beauty, I make the acquaintance each morning with the cool crisp air that shares the promise of warmth. Within me, I anticipate reuniting with the envelopment of long sleeved coverings tucked away when heat assaulted our breathing space. Most often, this renewed familiarity is accompanied by memories of an earlier period that have slipped from our minds.

I find myself remembering the lovely summer day with my loved ones meandering around the shops at the Oceanside purchasing the soft pink sweatshirt with fair-haired letters; Emerald Isle. A smile hovers as I reach for the burnt orange wrapper titled, Shawnee State Park; a time when our family including our son’s best friend Maddy spent a long weekend surrounded in the fall grandeur.

Moreover, the season brings apple picking, pumpkin carving and leaf jumping. It brings gatherings of family and friends with cooking as its attraction, planning ahead and celebrations.

It’s an occasion of change that insists upon rest and respite before welcoming the fresh, the re-birth of flora and nature’s awakening.

So, greetings to you Autumn and my sincerest appreciation for your offerings and gifts of magnificence!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Response...

I’ve been enthralled by other writer’s blogs basically because I’m curious OR call it nosey as to what other writers think is important enough to put in writing! What is it that captures their imagination and causes their words to sprawl upon the page?

Through my search I happened upon:


On Monday, November 15 she blogged about her obsession with boxes and what it signifies about her as a person. After reading her words, I chuckled to myself; one as a result of her honesty and two because I also have a fascination with boxes.

I had to pose the question to myself, ‘What DOES this say about me?’ As I noted on Kenju’s comments, my attraction appears to be with containers on the small side such as the boxes Nicholas’ toddler shoes came wrapped in or the old cigar boxes that have since been replaced by plastic to be used for pencil boxes at school.

I have numerous boxes in my drawers that I’ve accumulated trinkets from prior students that may say, ‘World’s Best Teacher!’ or ‘Class ‘A’ Teacher! There’s one holding letters from old friends and family members; when that art was still in vogue.

Another box-type was actually my mother’s old metal lunch box; a rusty Christmas green that contains old portraits and cards sent by my Dad who is now deceased, and cards from my loving husband and son. I even have one with no lid that contains my son’s baby brush, and scraps of paper with book titles inscribed that I just couldn't wait to read, but I have yet gotten around to reading them.

Back to Kenju’s question: What does all this mean? I presume most of us like to keep reminders of who we are and where we came from. In my case, reading my Dad’s old cards is bittersweet since he was not a good father and we went through an estranged period but reconciled before his death. Things strike a chord and return recollections to the forefront of our minds and if we aren’t ready or willing to re-visit those times, they continue to be neatly tucked aside. At that moment and only IF we are dressed in suitable armor do we allow the memories to stake a claim to our hearts.

The box merely serves as containment; a holding ‘in’ of the feelings; good, bad or indifferent that connect us to a past world, a former friend, an earlier time and place. Therefore, if you are lucky, may you be blessed with many boxes of memories that have molded and shaped your life. I know I feel blessed by my own.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Now what?

Now What?
It appears I’ve just given birth to my second child. No, not literally, but literary is more like it.

This past weekend I went over my manuscript for My Life as a Dog…with a fine tooth comb scrutinizing every single word, syllable, conglomeration of words and phrases to make sure it was perfect! Hah, not sure what perfect means in this case or even if I can strive to have it but the attempt was there nonetheless.

So this morning, while I made a few changes and added some additional details noting that even if I went back to it, I’d probably make even more changes. It’s just the way the process is. But then I wondered…what next? I’d become one-dimensional… it seems my entire world has been wrapped up in completing this book and now that it is ready to be sent away, now what?

It IS like giving birth metaphorically. I nurtured, prepared, fostered and developed the words in preparation for a final product and it has arrived! I am giddy with the prospects! However, at the same time, the apprehension resonates with future possibilities, the success or failure of what has already been accomplished and anything less than the first child, so to speak, will not be adequate.

I think I’ll take my son golfing and fully enjoy his company once again since my mind is no longer consumed (hah! Yeah, right!) with the pages of my book. Perhaps I’ll even add a dimension or two to my daily existence and re-connect with my first born!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

It's fun to look back...

When contemplating what to blog about this day, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011, I thought I'd glance back and see the focus of my blog a year ago.

Imagine my surprise to discover I was completing my book and now, a year later, my book has just been released and I have two book signings scheduled for Ohio in four weeks.

Life certainly is full of surprises!
Enjoy the piece from twelve calendar changes...

Happy Writing?

Okay, so I’m not a realist!

I had to chuckle to myself as a result of my lofty goals. I am attempting to complete My Life as a Dog… so it can be sent to the editor/critique person so the publishing of my book can come more quickly. Currently, I have 24 stories finished and have ideas for at least four more. So it would only make sense to devote all my time and efforts to this ambition, right?

In addition, I joined National Novel Writer’s Month (NaNoWriMo) which to goal is to complete a novel of 50,000 words in one month. That sounds obtainable, doesn’t it?

Well, both would have they not been on variant roads to crash at the intersection of November. I realized this morning when my husband Scott came back from running with me at my usual sitting place, the computer room. He puts his nose in the air and said, ‘Oh, I thought I smelled grits, but I guess not!’

SLAM…’But I thought you wanted me to write?’

‘Yes, but I also want you to pay attention to me!’ Ahhh, so he wants the best of both worlds; as do I. It is not easy taking time away from my family to devote to writing, plus teaching, plus whatever it is I do all day. I’m not a self-centered person so this is not an easy path to navigate.

So what if I want it all? Would anyone like to add additional hours to the day so I have time for everything? What will it be that is put on the back burner? I’m at 6,393 words on my novel for NaNo, and My Life as a Dog is at 14,668. No, I didn’t write all of those 14 thousand words but probably a third of them within the past week which should account for something.

Meanwhile, I have clothes to wash, the floor to vacuum, and bathrooms to clean so if you’re looking for me, that’s where I’ll be; obtaining my lofty goals~