Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Another Blog to Check Out: QuinnCreative

I am so incredibly lucky to live at this time in Earth's vast history!  The Internet is something I hope we never lose but keep making better.  It has opened so many doors for me and introduced me to so many wonderful, thoughtful, intelligent, and creative people.  And I could gush on for hours.

Within the past month or so, through one of the many (many) blogs I subscribe to in Google Reader, I was led to QuinnCreative.  Quinn lives in Arizona as do I.  Her posts have always been great reads - until today. 

Today was incredible.

Today she told me that she knows "me" - or of my life.  Being told which way to go - not asked what I wanted to do.   As a teenager who dreamed of college, I was told that was not going to happen.  My parents could not afford anything but a trade school after high school graduation.  (No one, not even my school guidance counselor told me of grants or scholarships.)  We had to learn something that would get us a job, not a career.  It had to be practical.

My sister, who was a very talented artist, was told the same.  She went into the army to earn that college journey and suffered for it, too.  Now she doesn't have the time for art.  She has three daughters, one with a life threatening disease, two grandsons that she watches quite often, and a husband who needs her close by.  Still, at 56 years of age, she is taking college entrance tests over and over again to get accepted into nursing.  Because it is practical.  There is no room for art.

I'm lucky that I have a job that I like a whole lot - especially in this economy!  Yet, I spend most of my weekends writing, or drawing Zentangles, or collaging pages.  I cannot afford to shuck it all to do art full-time and frankly, I'm not that good at it.  But art makes me very peaceful, happy, and the most like the real "me" that I can be.

Check out today's post at QuinnCreative.  See what I mean.  Read the comments, too.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

I am Sam. Sam I am.

And we have cooked Green Eggs & Ham!  (When my daughter was young, on Dr. Seuss' birthday, we made green scrambled eggs & ham steaks for our dinner that night.  It was great fun.)

So, now I stare at the major portion of a spiral cut ham and try to remember all the recipies I know that would take ham.
"Eternity is a ham and two people”  -- Irma Starkloff Rombauer (October 1877 - 1962)  the author of The Joy of Cooking.
I look at the index of my New York Times Cookbook and see only a handful of recipes.  All of which my family probably wouldn't like to begin with.  Next I go online and find tons of recipes - all variations of the same things.  How many different bean/lentil soups can one person tolerate anyway?  Or scalloped potatoes?  **sighs deeply** 

I can't freeze the ham as it was already frozen once.  So I guess we'll be having ham sandwiches, salads with ham, bean soup, scalloped potatoes, denver omlets, ham salad sandwiches, fried ham, diced ham, slivered ham, lentil soup, fried ham and potatoes, ... 

You see the pattern, right?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Looking Out the Window

My office is next door to a mortuary. We usually get to see all sorts of ways to see someone off to the next phase of their journey. Beside the usual crowds of people, there have been bagpipers, military officers, and once, even a full-fledged tent-filled fancy-catered parking lot party.  With a band.

Today, December 23rd, I looked out our window in time to see a flag-draped coffin being loaded into the back of a hearse. The whole parking lot showed only a half-dozen cars slowly circling around into position to follow it out to the cemetery for the graveside service. My heart went out to that handful of people. Judging from the more than a few flower displays being carried out of the mortuary, this was a well loved person who had the misfortune to leave this side of life at the beginning of the holiday season so not many mourners could be present to lend comfort to the family.

My heartfelt wishes of peace and comfort go out to them.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Season's Greetings and All That Stuff

I'm not in a great mood.  We were supposed to have a rainy day today, but it all went to the north of us.  Major bummer for me.  Plus, it was 69 degrees F when I walked home from work.  In short sleeves.  Not very Seasonal, IF you know what I mean....

The Holidays are approaching rapidly and I find that although I no longer consider myself a Christian (click here), I'm getting pulled into the whole mindset anyway.  How do the Jews, Muslims, Pagans, and other non-Christians deal with this?  While we have not put up a tree, there is still the matter of the Presents and the Food and the Eve and the Day that we still must work around.  Very confusing and somewhat depressing.

However, I have come to the realization that Christmas is a secular holiday.  Let's face it.  It is economically driven if nothing else.  The retail establishment counts on it.  Jobs count on it - especialy in this horrible economy.  And, yes, I gave something to every bell ringer I passed.  I wasn't able to last year, but this year I had my travel/expense money from work that I saved up just for the season.  So we will go through the motions with family and friends and coworkers. 

2011 can only be better for us, eh?   By the way, are you going to make any resolutions this year?  Let me know in the comments.

Happy Holidays, my friends!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

My Characters Have No Character

The smoke from his mouth disappeared into the stiff breeze that ruffled his hair and played with the hem of his long coat. He pulled hard at the last bit of the cigarette and then with his latex gloved hand, he ground the stub into the ashtray. Nodding at a passerby, he stripped off the glove and stuffed it into the trash can under the ashtray. Shrugging his shoulders, he eased his overcoat to a more comfortable fit and walked on.
I love watching people. Over the years, I’ve seen quite a few interesting and downright quirky people (as was the guy above) that I would love to put in my writing. But I have problems finding the words to describe what I see. And, when it comes to making those characters “pop” in the scene, I fail miserably. I think my problem is that while I see what people do, I don’t understand their “why.”

My favorite books have characters that by the end of the story are almost solid. They are consistent. They have plausible personalities. They could be your neighbor (god help you). It’s like the author climbed into their bodies and hijacked them. I envy that. So, I’m off to try yet another character writing exercise.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

And ANOTHER Giveaway: Goulet Pens!

Head on over to Goulet Pens to check out how to enter Brian's fantastic giveaway!  Thank you, Brian!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Giveaway at Notebook Stories!

Notebook Stories has a great giveaway in the works.  Daycraft has gifted several diaries and notebooks to Nifty.  Check them out and enter to win!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Poetry Open Mike: Phrases that Grabbed Me

Indian summer of my life

Is your imaginary friend really your spirit guide?

A head shake hits the reset button

Why is it that we can feel someone looking at us?

The teaching goes on

Random insults to someone I don't know

Wishing the ghosts would come back

Reflection of my shadow

Southwest of Americana

Mad scientist of Idaho

Saint Pantomime

Beauty to the Blues

Darkness where morning is already there

Pop culture the moon to the earth
and my favorite:
The Pope's stage name is Kevin

Friday, December 10, 2010

To My Hubby: I Love You!

Hubby and Chubby (me) are celebrating 22 years of marriage today.  They haven't all been bliss and bling but when I'm really honest with myself, I have to admit that I said "I do" to the right guy.

Happy Anniversary, Babe!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Reflections on Change

As I walked to the store yesterday, passing house after house, either abandoned or for sale, the cold wind pushing at my face seemed to say, “I’m coming. My name is Change.”

Yes, the “c” word. Make that a capital “C”.

One of the main concepts I took from a brief foray into Buddhism is that nothing remains the same. Everything changes; be it the rocks under your feet, the car in your driveway, or the planet earth itself.

I’m a 54 year old woman. Change unsettles me. Yet, at this point in my life I welcome it. Why? Because things cannot go on as they were or are now. My family struggles financially. My husband of 22 years with a few health issues and my 20 year old daughter in great health **crosses fingers** are both uninsured. None of us has been to the doctor or dentist for several years. We cannot afford to go. Even though I am insured through my employer, I cannot afford the co-pay. 

That also points out how quickly we could add another house to that list of vacant houses in my neighborhood.  It wouldn't take much to push us over that edge.  I don't care what your political leanings are, it is grossly evident that we have to do something.

Yes, I look forward to change. Yet, I’m one of those people who avoid confrontation. I back down rather than fight - unless I see a grave mistake (like SB1070 was/is).  So the inclination right now is to pull in my oars and ride it out. Still, I won’t be completely passive. I will use my personal center of gravity, to lean this way or that, to steer my craft through the turbulence of change.