Sunday, August 31, 2008

On Labor Day Harvest:

The end of August, September is upon us and it is Labor Day Weekend. Most people are staying at home for this vacation weekend. It is the last hurrah of the summer. School if not started already will start soon. The weather is still warm. Towns and communities have things going on for the people to have a local gathering to go to if they like. Everyone is getting in one last gulp of summer fun. Almost everyone.

My daughter the Princess Daughter and her boyfriend Prince Charming are in the process of moving him to a new place. And since she is in the health care field ‘Work’ looms ever large for her.

At home we are canning and freezing vegetables with a vengeance. Corn, cauliflower, and tomatoes for the most part are all vying for attention and there are others wanting time too. Thank goodness the root crops like beets and potatoes can wait.

I shudder to think of the amount of tomato juice that would be on our shelves if I could eat the stuff too. I am allergic to tomatoes I’m sad to say. Mountain man drinks it daily so many quarts of tomatoes go through the canner each year.

The cauliflower you see in the picture is much larger then it looks. I should have put something in the picture with it to show you.

Here it is half way cut up. You can kind of see how much it is by the opened news paper it is on. I got five quarts of frozen and two quarts we ate from that one head. And It’s not the biggest one out there.

This weekend you can find me either in the garden or kitchen like at this time every year. I hope you are having a great weekend whether or not it is Labor Day for you.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

On So Much to Read, So Little Time:

After talking about Edgar Allan Poe yesterday I got to thinking that I haven’t updated you on my reading for a while. This is mostly because I have been reading for my writing class.

Magazines and periodicals from cover to cover. Things like The Writer, Writer’s Journal, Writer’s Digest, Writer’s Market and the like. Then there are all the magazines I’ve been reading to find out if my writing style and interests would fit if I wanted to try to submit an article.

On the book front I finished ‘Ring World‘ by Larry Niven a good sci-fi I can see more men liking it then women though but don‘t let that stop you. I read ‘Knit Aid’ by Vickie Howell which is a fun read even if you are not having knitting troubles, ‘The Tiger Rising‘ by Kate DiCamillo which is a kids book my daughter gave me. And I started Real Vampires Have Curves by Gerry Bartlett, I am also still working my way through ‘The Dead Sea Scrolls.’

This is on top of my reading regular blogs that I like, my regular magazine reading and just articles of interest on the web. Then there is my writing at least two thousand words a day then editing the previous days writings. I won’t even get into my reading of catalogs, patterns and poems or the things I re-read yearly also.

I like to read. What can I say? If you are reading me you probably like to read too. I hope to have more reading of interest in the future.

Friday, August 29, 2008

On the Sixth Writing Class:

Things are coming to a head. Time is up and decisions must be made. The writing piece we are going to try to have published must be presented for a final polish next week before it is sent off with our best wishes for it’s success.

I have made many new discoveries about myself and my writing skills in the past weeks. Some hurt but others brought on some warm fuzzy feelings. I want this to go on for a longer time, a few more rewrites and edits please before my newly birth baby is ready for publication. But class must end and we must move on.

The most surprising thing to me is my abilities for writing in the horror/ghost/ suspense area. I had never attempted it before this class. I guess I felt that since I was not Edgar Allen Poe I shouldn’t try to be. I have loved his stories from the time I was eight or nine and first encountered ‘The Pit and the Pendulum.’

Yesterday I went to Barnes & Noble and I treated myself to a new copy of his works. The black leather bound edition with it’s gold tipped pages and it’s embedded ribbon bookmark. The cover looks back at me with its blood red frippery around the title ‘The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe’ in silver embossed lettering.

Mine all mine. I tore off the plastic covering and lovingly opened the pages all before we left the parking lot. The familiar words waiting to tease my senses once again.

My old paperback copy of some of his works has long since lost it’s luster and some of it’s pages have slipped away. It will be disposed of on his death day anniversary of October 7 in a blaze of fiery warmth in my woodstove. A fitting end I think.

Meanwhile, I will be trying to have one of my short stories published in a magazine in the horror genre category. And then I will be in waiting mode, wishing my story baby luck in the wide world of publishing, while I sit in perfect impatience for an answer to come while reading Poe by the fireside and cursing the clock wondering if it will be among the chosen.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

On Energy Ebbs and Flows:

Mountain Man and I have been sick. I have been in bed with a headache, body aches, sore throat, ear ache and a fever. Mountain Man had a fever for six hours and tells me he has aches and pains.

I have managed to knit half of a wash cloth while he has built a waist high stone wall across a good part of the north side of the garden.

The arbor you can see in the garden is for his gourds. Those are mostly birdhouse gourds in the picture.

And the damaged bush like thing in the foreground is dragon flower.

How does he get off with being in bed for six hours and I have been in bed for a few days? Where does he get his energy from to build a wall when I break out in a pant walking to the bathroom and back?

Yes, he slept through the mouse ordeal while I was awake that night before we became ill. No, he doesn’t wear his hearing aid to bed. And I get rewarded from my sleepless nights by getting sicker because I wasn’t well rested to fight it off.

I am feeling much better this morning. I’m going to class tonight but I’m heading to bed as soon as I come home. I’ll let you know how it went tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

On Things Important:

Please don’t be turned off because I won’t be doing this often at all so bear with me this time. This is important! And for those of you who already do this I thank you.

I don’t know if the immediate need of the web site itself is still strong. But I do know it is a good cause so I’m getting behind this. Free Mammograms for those in need.

It is free to do and all you need to do is point and click once a day to this website The Breast Cancer Site. Once there click on the large pink button and wait a moment for conformation. All done for today. You just gave a free mammogram to someone in need.

The site is filled with advertising that is paying for the mammograms. You don’t have to buy a thing. (You can if you want to of course.) These business’ are paying money to place their advertising and that money is paying for the mammograms.

So even if you never think about it or just don’t like to, cancer is out there and people need your help. It only takes a few seconds of you time.

Please bookmark the website and click it each day. If not, you can always use the link I have on the left side of my blog. You will be saving a life. Because if the cancer is not caught early with a mammogram it will spread and it can kill.

I know some of you are thinking, ‘Lady Deathwatch behind saving a life?’ But that is the beauty of the thing. We all die in the end, we don’t get out of this alive, but we don’t all have to died from breast cancer if we get it.

On another subject, I am still sick in bed but I promise pictures tomorrow. And don’t forget to click the link.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

On Playing Simulated Games:

I have been using spare moments to play my Sims 2 computer game. I like this game on many levels. But I have to say I like building the houses the most.

I select a empty lot size, contour the terrain, and move into the house building tools.

My foundation goes up then the walls. Stairs, doors, windows need to be chosen. Wall coverings inside and out. Carpets and floors. Furniture, lighting and pictures for the walls. Throw rugs, beds, dressers and desks. Appliances, tables and chairs, bathrooms and porches to fill. Games, exercise equipment, hobbies and bookcases, house plants and knick knacks galore.

I move out of doors and work on the land. Walkways or foot paths, green lawns or browning. Concrete around the in ground pool, or should I just put in a pond. Flower beds, bushes, trees in the yard or maybe a green house or garden patch. A gazebo, a basket ball hoop or soccer goal for the family to come.

Most of my houses are Victorian in style. Some are modern or just odd. I’ve built castles and cottages, houses I’ve lived in and houses I wished I had owned. I try to make them all functional for the simulated people to come.

I spent a lot of time during my cancer treatment playing this game and it helped me feel normal again. Mostly because the Sims in the game can be so weird at times.

I like making people happy and once I learned a few tricks of the trade I can keep my Sims happy most of the time. So if you wondered how I kept sane while being stuck at home for most of the summer? It was having a simulated place to go for a while and old simulated friends to visit. It’s not the same but better then crying in my tea cup about something I can do little about. I may not play it again for weeks on end but when I do it’s always fun for me.

But today I woke up sick. The mouse is gone from the house. I think I'll Sims 2 until I feel better again.

Monday, August 25, 2008

On The First Signs of Autumn:

Autumn has officially arrived at my house. I know this to be true because although the leaves are still green and bugs still abound, the birds have not flown south, and the days are still warm. The nights are getting cooler.

This causes a shift in the way we do things. We like our little animal friends collect food for the winter and find a warm place to sleep. We sleep much better on these cooler nights and get more done in the days. With the exception of last night for as I said it is official. It is the first of Autumn at our house.

This occasion is marked by first a noise then a great flurry of excitement. The noise is not large but distinct, a small scratching followed by our dog Lady Long’s growl. We have a mouse in the house.

Now I don’t begrudge the mice of the world finding a nice warm place to stay for the winter. Nor do I stand on chairs until the extraction of them from my house has taken place. But they are germy and must go.

Lady Long is a proud hunter. She does not fancy herself a cat. No she fully believes she is a people. A princess people in fact. But in her heart of hearts she is a hunter. She is a very good hunter and hunts all things scaly and furry. She will defend her hearth and home from such things. She is a mouser extraordinary!

The mouse is in my closet. The one with no door just a curtain across the opening. The large walk in place with all the clothing and shoes and crafting stuff and storage. Are you getting the picture here. Stuff lots and lots of stuff all crammed in. And there is scratching and dog growling and hunting and it is night time and we want to be sleeping.

I sit here tired and bleary eyed after a hard night. I was up if I shut the bedroom door and kept the dog out, as Lady Long scratched and barked at the door. I was up if I let her in and she growled at the mouse and whimpered for me to help her extract the stuff from out of her way in the closet. No, I didn’t clear the closet in the middle of the night. I left that for the morning listening to the hunt all night long with my head under my pillow.

The mouse will be caught today. Mountain Man will fill the breach so none of the others can follow suit. And then I will take a nap. After I put everything back into the closet again so I can find my bed again from under the pile of stuff. Happy Autumn first everybody.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

On Fright or Fiction: (or Not Suitable for Children)

Once upon a time most all stories had a frightening element. They taught a lesson, frightened for the fun of it or just to keep the reader awake, they all had the element of fear. Peter got in trouble for not having a healthy fear of the Wolf.

My mother had a children’s book from her childhood I got to see once. It was full of lessons Like Johnny Suck-A-Thumb, he came in the night with his giant scissors to cut the thumbs off of children that sucked their thumbs at an age too old to do such a thing. The picture was of a ugly gristled old man with scissors the size of hedge clippers jumping around in triumph, holding a child’s thumb in his other hand presumably for his supper.

In the days before Disney got a hold of fairy tales: brownies hurt people and did mischief, ogres killed and maimed, good guys made mistakes and good people died. Cinderella was a gory story of people willing to mutilate themselves to try to win the prize deserving or not. All the sisters cut off large chunks of their feet to get into the slipper and the blood trailing behind them was the give away. And by the way the fairy god mother was a talking bird. (Go ahead and get an original translation of Tales of the Brother‘s Grimm.)

Hans Christian Anderson wasn’t much better but considered the Disney of his day because his stories weren’t so gruesome. But since when did stories have to have nice sweet characters and have sunshine and roses endings. (Ann Rice and Steven King aside.)

The point of all this is a family member (an aspiring children’s book writer) is afraid I’m going to hell because I write stories about ghosts, witches, death and suicide. Pardon, but have you read your bible lately? They’re all in there. Religious beliefs are a personal thing in my way of thinking. And you can believe what you like I’m not a spiritual leader. But I do think Disney went to hell for telling lies to children and left them unprepared for a real world of child molesters and madmen.

Fear has it’s place in our lives and helps keep us out of trouble. We need it or the afore mentioned authors wouldn’t be so wildly popular. A lack of it in our youth maybe? But rest assured, I’m not trying to be the next big thing in horror on the book store shelves. (Nice if it happened though.) Did you forget how you raised me? I just don’t believe in sugar coating the world in pink fluffy frosting and pretending everything is all right or will soon be for all time. All rainbows and unicorns get tiring after a while and too much sugar rots the teeth. Fear is just a tool to an end. I don’t discount it because it doesn’t come in a box with a pink ribbon on top. Or doesn’t it sometimes?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

On Homework Disruptions:

Even though we didn’t have writing class we did have homework. And Thou I’ve been faithful in this homework stuff, this one doesn’t work for me.

We are to keep a pad of paper and a pen next to the bed and write down our dreams first thing while we can still remember them. Aside from the fact I am an older person with a weak bladder. (Do not get in my way when I get up and head to the bathroom or you will be run over.)

I have carefully placed rituals of morning to start my day with. This is for efficiency and maximizing my time. I get up, do my morning bathroom stuff, take my pills and slowly wake up for this thirty minutes emptying my mind before I hit the floor and do my Yoga for an hour. This is followed by a breakfast at the computer to blog and emails. Followed by a shower and changing my clothes to start my daily chores and after lunch I sit down to write for a few hours while listening for the canning pot to finish each batch and being doorman for the dogs.

I can think out side of the box. I know that the exercise is to get us to think about creating 24/7. That ‘Any time is a good time to be creative.’ stuff. And I have paper and pen at my bedside for ideas that come in the dark of night. I have written whole chapters in the dark in large child like printing so I could read it when the light of morning came. Some nights I couldn’t sleep because of an idea I didn’t want to loose. And I’ve utilized a few dreams as I’ve gone through the years also.

But doing this homework is disrupting my day. I didn’t get to do my yoga this morning and will have to fit it into some other part of my busy day and a shower afterwards too. And I don’t have that fresh energy to start my day with that I get from starting my day with exercise. I’m dragging already.

I’m not the only person living here and can’t just change the schedule at will. And if I had a job outside the house my employer wouldn’t find it fun to change things around for my homework so I’m not even going to ask Mountain Man to accommodate me.

So from now on I’ll jot a note for myself down after I get out of the bathroom and try to remember what it means in the afternoon. My Yoga is too important to me and the homework will have to accommodate it. I Have a faulty memory and will probably not remember one more dream this week but a woman’s got to do what a woman’s got to do.

Do I tell you this dream I had last night?…..

Friday, August 22, 2008

On Class Postponed:

Last night was supposed to be my writing class. I got a call a few hours before it was to start that it would be moved back a week.

So not wanting to let time go to waste I grabbed my knitting needles and tried to finish my February Lady’s Sweater. I am short 3/ 4 of the last row on the one sleeve.

This was my first attempt at knitting a sweater for myself. Not that I don’t like to knit sweaters, I do. I don’t look good in sweaters. Few short fat people do. Add to this the fact that I am well endowed and it makes knitting a sweater to fit a nightmare.

I fought this battle with a smile on my face because this sweater was just too cute to pass up. I had three restarts and I fought on. I fixed and fussed with it for weeks.

I tried it on without the needles last night. I looked like a poorly packed sack of potatoes. It’s not the sweaters fault. You can see for yourself that it looks quite nice in the picture even thought it hasn’t been blocked yet.

I will box it and retry to knit it again in a smaller size, in a year or two, after I loose say thirty pounds.

Love the sweater but not the body I made it for.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

On Reflections of Beauty:

Yesterday was my cancer group meeting. We usually just go around the circle of people and talk about how we are coping with our post or current cancer selves. This one has had a new pre-cancer removed in the last week. That one is new to this type of cancer. The other is still trying to get every good moment out of life they can.

But yesterday we had a beauty day. The American Cancer Society came and taught wig care and gave us makeup kits with a complete make over inside.

It was a nice change of pace. I like getting things. Who doesn’t? I didn’t do the makeover there (Not everyone did.) but brought my goody bag home. I was surprised at the amount and quality of the products. The companies that donated the makeup were across the board and I thank them.

The guys of the group got to make jokes to fill their time while the ladies got all pretty and some of the group had their picture taken for the local news paper. (No, don’t bother to look for Lady Euphoria I was not in them.)

It did get me to thinking about beauty as a concept with my cancer group. I think of all the people in my cancer group as beautiful spouses included. I’ve seen some of them twisted in pain and in some really tough mental anguish. Some scars are more out in public view and other are not but we all have them. And these people have never so much as dulled in the glow of their inner beauty. They have a strength of soul that comes through when body, mind or both are in a weakened state. I love them all.

In that place of the cancer group we are all deathwatchers. This is a different kind of deathwatch then my cemetery walks or ghost stories. We walk with the stain of death on our shoulders. We have touched cancer and experienced the change it carves into our bodies and lives.

We are beautiful.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

On Seasonal Transition:

The shift has started. I am getting ready to drag out the winter things and put away the summer. The winter bedding is being freshened out on the clothes line.

This was started no surprise by a chilly night under the lack of covers. The thermometer dipped down below the comfort zone just for one night but that was enough.

Plans are now underway to move belongings out and around. Sweaters replace tank tops in the drawers. And in reverse in the plastic boxes under the bed.

We have no attic or basement storage so the shift is from inconvenient place at the bottom of the stacks of boxes to a more convenient place higher up the pile in the corners of the closets.

And the things that have out lived their usefulness in our lives will be thrown out, recycled or moved on to a new owner.

Autumn is my favorite time of year. No, not just Halloween and falling colorful leaves. It’s the nesting. The getting ready for a long winter snuggle down. Pulling the parts of my life that have wondered away, back in to set and mellow. Once the harvesting and canning is done the feeling of a job well accomplished. We did it ourselves again this year pride.

For the next few weeks I’ll be over worked but the end result is worth it. I get to settle in and relax. My canning shelves full of food we grew ourselves and a fire crackling in the wood stove warming my tea. I can’t wait.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

On Leaking Nothingness:

Today when I sat down at the computer after my yoga workout I didn’t have a firm idea about what I was going to write about. This doesn’t happen to me often. The blank head.

Usually I’m a buzz of thoughts and ideas. One part of my brain is working on writing a story and another is planning a shopping trip. All the while I’m crafting or doing dishes.

Even now as I’m typing, I’m also singing along with Alanis Morissette and bopping in my desk chair.

Not that I can’t empty my head. I do meditate on a regular bases. I also do the eraser board wipe off of my thoughts when they get too cluttered. A regular restart and move on.

I woke up with a few stories playing out in my head. But unlike other days I didn’t take notes right away so I wouldn’t loose them. Of course I did. Lost every one of them to be exact. So in being empty headed at the beginning of my day I quietly moved into my yoga.

I sat down ready to dazzle you with my insights and information, (Ha Ha!) and nothing was there. No projects to show. No silly stuff happening in the house with the dogs or Mountain Man. In fact they slept in and didn’t wake until I was half way through this.

It’s not writers block, it’s writers blank. When I’m blocked I’m in a tangle. I am having a hard time getting through a sticky bit of writing and can’t put it down to think about anything else.

Finding myself at the bottom of the page with nothing to say is not new to me. I do that all the time. I’m just not used to being there at the top. Tapped out until tomorrow I guess.

Monday, August 18, 2008

On Projects Mid August:

I finished the lap robe I was making for the VA Hospital this month. It measures 28 X 28 inches or 70 X 70 cm. It’s made out of six 2.5 oz. or 70 g. balls of Super Bulky (6) Yarn. I used Lion Brand Yarn’s, Lion Boucle’ Yarn. It’s a 79% Acrylic 20% Mohair 1% Nylon mix. And I couldn’t resist the picture of it all rumpled only because the name of the color is Taffy and it looked more like a pile of taffy candy that way. Oh, and it was knitted up on the size 12 needles I made for myself a few months ago. It is just straight garter stitch so it is reversible. The colors do the rest. It’s 75 stitches across and I have to admit I didn’t count the rows.

It is time to get back to the casket basket. Being one of those projects that requires a litter clean up every time you stop working on it, I put it in a box and ignored it for a while. I’ve said before that I have trouble with my hands hurting me if I do any project for too long at a stretch and I go from one thing to the next and back again repeatedly thru out the day. Well cleaning up pine needles ten times a day took some of the fun out of the project.

I do want to see the project finished on a lot of levels. I want to see if I can do it. I need to bury the dog in something when she dies and she is not getting younger. I like making a basket this way but my trouble is it is such a large project. So it is back on the top five ‘to do list.’ (See Lady Euphoria on her knees on the floor cleaning up errant pine needles every day.)

The Lady Sweater is coming along despite the lap robe being made along with it for the last week and a half. Which of course used up some of my knitting time each day. I’m working on the sleeves at this point. I didn’t finish off the body only because I’m not sure if I can get another repeat out of the yarn I have. So it will have to wait until the arms are done.

Now that the lap robe is done I’m hoping to see more progress on the sweater. The days are getting a nip in the air in early the mornings and I can’t wait to sport my new sweater in the cemetery on my walks there this autumn.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

On Simulated Holidays:

Yesterday I posted about how I had sat at home for the most part and the summer was almost over and how I was finally getting myself in gear and going on a day trip vacation.

Well we did the big ‘hurry up and stop.’ We rushed around collecting our things jumped in the car and nothing happened. The battery was dead. A short somewhere drained the battery over night.

I will not get into the car issue. You can go back and read about the car saga if you like. But I was tired of not having a working car for most of the summer.

Mountain Man did his thing and I went Simulating. That is to say I headed for my computer and loaded ‘The Sims.’ First ‘Sim’s One’ then ‘Sim’s Two.’ I have them all. They helped me get through all the down time hours of my cancer without going crazy.

I hadn’t been playing the game for well over a month. Summer is a busy time around here as it is and I have been using my down time to write.

The familiar music came on and I was away. Away from cars that need way too much care. Away from canning veggies and fruits. Away from exercise and diets. Away from my life. Away from home.

For those of you who don’t do ‘The Sims’ I can’t explain it here. It is a different world I can go to and come back loving my life of realities.

I visited old friend and made some new ones. I built houses and expanded neighborhoods. I played with ghosts and vampires, werewolves and charlatans, aliens, Bigfoot and the indomitable Mrs. Crumplebottom. I birthed babies and business’. I burned down houses with my pet dragon, cast spells, and played with garden fairies. I did it all until the day grew dark and my eyes were strained and bloodshot.

No, I’m not getting addicted to video games. Yes, I know it’s not good to escape my life into a computer game. It was the better choice then calling out Mountain Man and having tiffs all day about things I can’t do anything about.

Will I play today? No, I’ve had enough for awhile. But while I was ‘there’ I did have fun instead of letting my whole day be shot because of a car that wants to die and Mountain Man won’t let it.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

On Summer:

It may not be over on the calendar but Summer is getting old. The leaves have lost that vibrant color and they sound different in the breeze. They tap and clack instead of the hush and swish of a few weeks ago.

The sun’s slant makes it come into the windows again. Shadows are getting longer in the middle of the day. And it has another quality I can’t describe other then to say it feels like a school sun.

The crops are coming in. The veggie goodness is coming to a peek. We eat from the garden for more of our meals.

School buses are showing up on the roads. Children have that back to school look to them in stores and on the streets. The volume of their play has changed.

The nights have gotten a bit cooler and sleeping is easier. The fireflies are gone and the katydids are starting to sing.

Labor Day is coming and summer spots are getting ready for the big push before they close for the season.

I won’t miss the hot days or the bug bites. I’ll be free to walk in the woods without panting from the humidity. Outdoor work will get easier again without the sun baking my back and brain.

What I will miss is the people. Visiting while vacationing or just stopping by. Bringing the kids to fish in the pond, picking berries and watching wildlife.

But there is so much left to do before the Summer is done. So I’m off to have some fun. See you tomorrow.

Friday, August 15, 2008

On Fifth Writing Class:

Did you ever have one of those moments that you feel like your totally out of step? Like you showed up on the wrong day? That is how writing class started yesterday.

I got there on time. Okay, So I’m first tonight. Good. I set up my laptop, got out my file of my copies for everyone to go over in class, pulled out my dictionary expecting the door to open at any moment. I pulled out a writers magazine and started reading an article.

Five minutes, no one came yet. I asked at the desk if it was in fact Thursday? Yes. Was the class canceled? No. I went outside to see if the others had met out there and were talking before coming in. No one was in sight.

Ten minutes, no one came yet. I’m feeling like I did when I was lost in a department store at the age of five. I went from the department my mother was in to the department my father said he was going to be in. When he wasn‘t there I went back the department where my mother was and she was now gone. I knew where I was. But where were they? How could I fix this? Back in the present and tired of staring at the door I went out to the parking lot where Mountain Man was reading the newspaper in the car waiting for me to come out when the class ended. He came back with me to wait because my laptop was in there and it was more comfortable.

Fifteen minutes, the teacher walks in looking a bit like death warmed over. He had had a diabetic issue and had to stop for something to eat on the way. (He did look a lot better after another fifteen minutes.) He told me of the phone calls of the others late or no show messages. We got started without them.

Having him all to myself we really went over the trouble I was having with the cancer piece. It is too short for submitting to the magazines but any attempt to lengthen it to the required 2000 or more words really watered the thing down way too much. I am keeping to the original and we are looking for another venue.

The other man in the group showed up and we moved onto other things. We went over two of his songs that he is working on. Then I got to read two other short stories I came up with this past week that they liked.

We went over time to make up for the late start and I barely made it to the craft store after the class. I needed some more clearance yarn and size six circular knitting needles. They were calling all shoppers to the check out as I grabbed my last 2 and a half ounce yarn in the bin for purchase. A good end to the day I think.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

On Volunteerism:

I have volunteered a lot in my life. Time and money, help and information. Anything that helps other you don’t personally know is volunteering. And that makes the planet a better place.

I have started to make some things for my local VA Hospital. The one that is closest to my place is in Wilkes-Barre PA.

I’m not pro or anti military. I feel it is an individual’s choice. The world as a whole needs more peace but as it is not a peaceful planet. Defense is necessary.

What I saw was a need and I chose to help. There are beg-a-thons a plenty out there and you can choose to put your money or time where you feel is best. I was looking for something that didn’t hit the popularity radar in my area. Unfortunately around here people seem to feel the military should take care of it’s own. Out of sight, out of mind.

My commitment is to knit or sew something for them, at least one a month. Lap robe’s, wheel chair/ walker tote bags, socks, hats, and mittens for winter. I went on a Tuesday. The room was set up for Bingo. I saw faces looking to be unforgotten.

Over my years of employment I have had more then a few jobs. In my late twenties when I was back in school to further my education I worked in three nursing homes over those years as a nurses aid. So recently looking in at the veterans there at the VA I could see the need.

Need is everywhere. Every organization, group, or individual could use a little help in something at one time or another. All you need do is open your eyes. The trouble is in finding the fit. In narrowing down the areas you are going to place your time and/or money. I’ve gotten help when I’ve needed it so I turn and help others in return.

If I’m going to sit and knit/craft/sew to avoid the refrigerator anyway. Why not make something for others at least once a month? It also reduces clutter at my house because I really don’t need another shawl or say, pair of socks.

I give a gift to the world at large when I volunteer. Little or big. It all helps make the planet a better place. And who can’t get behind that? If you volunteer already, I applaud you. If not, maybe you should look around for some way to give back. But if you have ever felt good when someone you didn’t know remembered you with a gift of their time or help. Make time to remember someone else. Volunteer.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

On Aug 13 th Fun Day:

Today is the Annual Meeting of the Socks in Sandals Convention.

We at the Socks in Sandals Society have been working all year to unveil our new plan to help others enjoy the beauty of our fashion statement.

We have come up with a three step plan to indoctrinate the barefooted sandal wearers into our numbers.

This will take the industrious of our ranks to take up their knitting needles and complete a set of training socks.

The first level starts the wearer off with Sock Bands.

After a few days to a few weeks the next stage is the Demi Socklet.

Then the progression is to the Semi Sock.

From there it is only a short step to the full Socks in Sandals experience.

The beauty of the project is that most any sock pattern can be employed. Little yarn is needed to get started. And for a beginning knitter it is a very good practice project to get started with sock knitting when you are new to the craft. Just think of the gifts that can be made to all those who are sock impaired. What better gift to place in a Christmas stocking then a set of training socks.

By next summer people around the world should be converted to the Socks in Sandals fashion and geeks everywhere will rejoice.

Next month on the Thirteenth: Identify a Fart Day!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

On Progress Lost:

Those of you in the know are aware that I hurt my foot. This has led to a non-exercise cycle of late. Okay, I was sitting on my posterior and snacking. We all know that this leads to no good.

I have gained three pounds. That is three weeks of work down the tubes.

Horrified, I knew that something had to change and since the exercise and weight loss was not going to come to me, I had to get going and get back to it.

Today was the first day back doing the yoga this morning. Slipping on my foot brace. (Okay, yes I was on my back on the floor struggling to get the thing in place for ten minutes before I could get started. I did find some things the dogs had lost under the furniture while I was convalescing.) I managed to complete the hour of exercise but I just wanted to go back to bed I was so tired. I have lost a little flexibility but that will soon come back. Reference the third sentence of this paragraph.

Breakfast: one cup cereal, Toasted oat rings with a half cup of low fat soy milk and two Tablespoons of fresh picked blueberries. My tongue is hanging out with hunger.

This is the same breakfast that satisfied me for months a few weeks ago. Now after falling off the wagon I want boxes of cereal with gallons of milk and buckets of fruit. And sugar, give me sugar! To heck with the hot flashes and joint aches. I want the sugar high back.

How do I fall so fast and so far? My body and it’s cravings have taken over again and left me this weakened fatter self. Gotta’ get my head back on strait and my caboose back in spandex.

Today’s mantra is ‘Sugar is bad, Exercise good.' Can you hear me mumbling it with the cookies in my mouth?

Tomorrow is the thirteenth and silly day. Join the fun.

Monday, August 11, 2008

On House of Cards:

We all do it every day. We make plans expecting to accomplish things, getting from one place to another, or just plain relax. And then something happens. The day is shot, you’re sent off track,

You Have Been Detoured into the land of Playing Card Houses.

One thing happens, and it can be a small thing, and everything to follow tumbles to the ground. Some times you can fairly easily find your way back with only a small delay. Shore things up, even bubblegum and rubber bands can work as a temporary solution at times. And then there are the bigger ones. The ones that cause a major reconstruction or cause a series of collapses that string the troubles out to a greater extent.

We are having car troubles. It’s a ‘one thing after another’ type of thing. Mountain Man is in the ‘fix it one at a time and eventually it will be whole again’ approach and I am of the ‘time to scrap it and move on’ variety.

It has been over a month since we have had a reliable car. More of this time then not it has been in the shop. Mountain Man is a complete home body and does not mind being stuck here. I am not. I like to know that I can jump in the car and get that needed toilet paper or some such thing.

Now things are making a turn. Because of the inability to get out to shop other things are starting to fall apart. The lack of a screw here, a nail there, a do-hicky, thing-a-ma-bob, and a whats-its are all making my life harder then it should be.

I feel the house crumpling down around me. (Okay, that last statement was not literal.) But… How far will this all go? And how does one get ones spouse to change direction and to ones own point of view?

Maybe I’m in panic mode only because at times in the past he has used a car up to the bitter end leaving us car-less and in a borrowed car to look for another. I’m getting too old for this again. It’s in the cards Mountain Man. We need a new used car.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

On What’s Up in August:

First: I didn’t post this on time because we were having a bad thunderstorm here. Sorry about that but you can't do anything about the weather.

I will show you how far I have gotten on my lady sweater to date.

I haven’t been working on my knitting as much as I had been. My writing is taking up so much more of my time. The writing itself is going very good thou. And with Halloween coming I’m working on a few pieces for that also.

Good, bad news: My niece had her baby a month and a half early by emergency C-section. The baby is doing good for a three pound one ounce, sixteen inch very little man. He is breathing on his own.

Our dog, Lady Long, hurt her front leg and is needing to be carried around until it heals. She of course loves all this attention. I’m getting tired of doing the carrying.

My daughter is coming for a visit again today before going back to where she lives and she is going back to school.

Mountain Man is moping around the house because of the rain. He is wearing the socks I knitted last month and didn’t get around to show you. Mostly because he didn’t want to model them. As you can see he has his feet up on a box turned into doggy steps so the ladies can get up on the window seat. I got this picture last night when he was on the computer.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

On Discovering New Goals:

Okay, so after going cross-eyed reading a whole lot of information on getting written works published I’ve decided it is what I want after all.

Yes I know. Despite what I said yesterday and all the information about how hard it is to actually accomplish. I want it. I really do want it.

Once I opened myself up to the possibilities I wanted the brass ring. I want to see my words in print on a bookstore shelf. I want to see someone sitting and reading my ideas on paper. Consuming my creation. Dare I say, ‘Enjoying what I have to offer.’

I might even be persuaded to have a small picture on the inside back cover. And if I had to do it to get my stories published? I’d do it. I want this.

I’ll write but I’ll do it under a pen name, pseudonym, non deplume. I like my anonymity far too much. I’m not ready to leave my slow simple life in the woods. Just because someone did something out in the public eye doesn’t mean they want to give up having their own life.

No, I don’t think I’ll be the next J. K. Rowling. Not by a long shot. But while at the checkout at the bookstore, with the Writers Market 2009, I was asked to do a book signing when my first book comes out. I laughed it off but I had a tremble inside at the thought that I would have to come out in public to do such a thing. Not that I wouldn’t sign my books for those that wanted me to. I’d just have to wear a few coats of stage makeup and a wig to hide the real me. So I could have my own life back as soon as the last book cover was closed on my illegible handwriting.

Yes, I know I’m getting way ahead of myself, but knowing how I feel I had to take it into consideration. Is it worth fighting my fears? Absolutely.

Friday, August 8, 2008

On Forth Writing Class:

I am trying to narrow down a piece to have published but each new assignment I write sends me in a new direction. At first it looked like I was going to try to get something in a local newspaper for Halloween. Now it looks like I will be trying to get one of my breast cancer pieces in a magazine instead.

I’m so confused. Apparently I’m good at what writing I have done to date for this class and I should reach higher then I was trying to when I started the workshop. I was only taking the class to improve what I write for myself. I really didn’t care about the publishing of a small piece for the end of the class requirement. (Like a Letter to the Editor.)

I’m still afraid I’m a medium fish in a small pond and there are much bigger fish in the wide world out there ready to eat me alive. Not that I need to be the biggest fish in whatever pond I am in. The writing of my stories has always been something I did for myself alone.

The other reason is I have no need to see my name in print. I had and still have every intention of using a pen name. You are not going to see my face on a book jacket any time soon. I grew up with a spot light jumper in the family and I’m revolted by the thought I could ever become famous, recognized, or in the spotlight myself.

Yes, I did jump in with both feet when I decided to take this class. I purchased Writing Magazines and the latest Writers Market 2009 once it looked like, to quote my teacher, “Your stuff it too good for any local newspaper. You need to try for a national woman’s magazine. Start at the top and work your way down until one of them publishes your work, and one of them will I‘m certain.”

So, now it seems I’ve got my work cut out for me. It’s in my stars to be a writer. Who knew? I’ll let you know how it goes. Today I start to reach high while holding on to my low expectations. I’ve had too much rejection in my life to let go of them yet.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

On The Anti-Mom:

I am not a clone of my mother. You can’t confuse us, or my sisters, daughter and nieces either. In fact we have all tried to be as different from each other as we can be.

There are days I wish I had someone to share all this Victorian/Goth fun with. My daughter thinks I’m a little nuts. But I take that as a complement. Not so much in the goth vs. non goth sense but in a mother/daughter type thing. I am the anti-mom. That is to say I am not like my mother. My sisters (I have three.) and I agree that we have spent most of our lives in pursuit of being the opposite of our mother but in our own unique ways. Of course when we look hard enough we find the similarities. But we try not to look too hard. And I can lie like a rug to myself about it and the many times I embarrassed my mom and she me.

My daughter is of course the anti-mom of me. This stems from a mixture of teenage angst, older generation embarrassments, and the need to be an individual by the time we reached our teens. It becomes part of the self by then as we define ourselves, declaring ourselves as ‘Nothing like our mothers.’

You would think that my mother and my daughter would be like book ends to me but they are not. We are individuals all, mothers, sisters, daughters and nieces included.

Entertainer, artist, hectic woman - my mother
Gothic, creative, yoga woman - me
Mall mom, craft, nervous woman - sister one
Intelligent, stylish, eco woman - sister two
Soccer mom, knitter, mother woman - sister three
Traveler, pet keeper, nurse woman - my daughter

Not that we haven’t all worked for a living but most of us have not defined ourselves by our jobs.

We are different. And in that lies the rub. I have no one to share my Victorian/Goth dress up self with. My friend are just not into that. Where does an elder goth find like minded friends to play with if she can‘t even find them in her own family?

(The picture is one I found in a yard sale a long time ago.)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

On Company and Procrastination:

I didn’t get any crafting done but I felt the trade off was worth it. My Mother came for a visit yesterday along with her friend and two of this friends grown children. I like these people. Nice home grown folk.

I got a chance to help my mother out with a craft project. She needed something printed up on the computer as an Iron on transfer and it needed more adjustments then her local copy place was willing to do. So we talked and tweaked. My mother is computerless so I don’t get to do these things for her at her house.

We had a nice luncheon and visit. We also walked down to the pond and back despite my hurt foot. Oh, didn’t I tell you, I tripped on the door mat the other day and twisted my foot dislocating a bone in it. I’m wearing hard tie up shoes or boots to keep it in place until it heals. But for now no high heals or sandals for the duration.

I do still have to get my homework done for my writing class tomorrow. I usually get right on it and have it out of the way the next day. Now I am having procrastination issues. Why do I do these things to myself? I wasn’t avoiding it. I just didn’t get down to business.

So, you can find me typing away at the computer for the rest of the day. My brain slowly leaking onto the page because what was once just a homework assignment is now a procrastination debacle. Which when boiled down only means the deadline hanging over my head is squashing the creativity out of me. (Help, can’t breath. Need the freedom of more time.)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

On Memory:

What was I talking about? Oh Yah, remembering things.

I have never been good at names. And not just people, things too. Whatchamacallit’s (what-cha-ma-call-it’s) and thingamagig’s (thing-a-ma-gig’s) grace the landscape of my house. There are whosit’s (who‘s-it’s), whatsit’s (whats-it’s) and thingamabob’s (thing-a-ma-bob’s) galore. I have even been reduced to calling objects ‘It’ ‘that’ or ‘thing’ while pointing.

This is quite annoying and frustrating to me. Still I hear the titter of laughter of others daily as I struggle for the right word to come out of my mouth. I say things like. “I do know what I’m talking about, really.” And or I go into lengthy descriptions of said item, like. “The blue thing over our heads, we breathe it, and the sun comes up in it every day. You know what I’m talking about the, the, the, somebody help me here, please.”

I know how to do many complicated things. Making many kinds of lace and computers comes to mind. I can even walk and chew gum at the same time. But don’t expect me to remember your name.

What was the point I was getting at again? Right. What brought this about is that I have a large handbag and I was digging for coupons when the checker said, “I never understood why some people have to carry around so much stuff. Is it a security blanket thing?”

I looked down at my bag and said, “Not for me. For me it is a communication tool. I have flash cards and pictures I can point to so I can talk to people without it escalating into a game of Charades.”

She laughed. But I was sincere. How else do you communicate with others when your tongue doesn’t work right. Oh, I spent years learning sign language only to find most everyone else out there is clueless. I did meet some very nice deaf people thou I couldn’t tell you their names.

Now I’m getting a backache from carrying around my, you know, that thing you put things in to take with you. It hangs on a strap from your shoulder. Makeup, cell phone, flash cards….

Monday, August 4, 2008

On Epitaph Sharing:

First off I’d like to thank Cemetery Searcher for this weeks Epitaph of the Week. You can find it on the left hand column of the screen under the blank headstone.

I was glad that it was a good one as no one else has sent in an entry.

I don’t know about you but growing up, with out my bidding, we made up these things. A school essay on the subject. A getting to know you segment at a gathering of a new group of people. We were asked to write our epitaphs.

I didn’t think I was asking something so difficult or distasteful. It was all meant in fun you know. I’ve even changed the headstone picture as the weeks went by to help spark interest.

Do I have to start putting things up like the old stand by: Epitaph of an Atheist - All dressed up and nowhere to go? Groan.

Death doesn’t have to be a dark and depressing subject all the time. We will all do it someday. So why not lighten up about it?

I know there are closet poets out there just wanting to give it a try. It’s that or have to deal with my bad poetry for the duration. I felt the rules were simple and straight forward. You can find them again below.

So I will appeal again to you my dear readers to Please send in your epitaphs to the comment link at the bottom of this days blog or email me at or by clicking on the headstone. How easy is that?

Here are the rules for writing your own headstone epitaphs and having them shown here.

1. No more then 8 lines, but the shorter the better.
2. It does not have to rhyme.
3. Just words. No pictures, cartoons etc.
4. Nothing ‘overtly’ sexual, violent, disgusting, or racist will be considered. (That means nothing over the top. I do not want to loose my blog privileges just to post a joke. No matter how funny.)
5. Leave a name of who sent it. (It doesn’t have to be your real name.) But it will be attributed to that name. No name no entry.
6. If the words are not your own. Add the original authors name if you know it. Otherwise just add ‘Anonymous’ and add ‘Sent in by’ and your name after that.
7. Spelling counts. Please proof read it before you hit the send button.

The ones I like best will get a posting in the ‘Epitaph Spot of the Week’ on this blog. Along with a link to your blog or web site if you have one to submit.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

On Extended Family:

Good news. Mountain Man is a Great Uncle for the third time on his side of the family. His nephew had a second boy last week. This nephew’s brother has a daughter. This makes ten great nieces or nephews because of the seven on my side of the family. And there is another in the oven that we know of. The next generation is growing.

Mountain Man is the oldest of three, a brother that has two boys and a sister with two boys of her own, these are the ones with children.

I am the oldest of six plus two: Me a boy and a girl, Sister 1 two girls and a boy, sister 2 a girl and a boy, brother 1 none, brother 2 a boy and a girl, sister 3 a boy and two girls. (The first sister‘s kids are the ones with the seven kids between them. Two girls and five boys.) Step sister a boy and girl twins, Step brother two boys.

(I say boys and girls in the sense that they are of a younger generation not that they are children. All but seven of the next generation are out of high school.)

My parents and step mom are all still alive. And if it wasn’t for the miles between all of us we could start our own small town. With spouses that makes forty-one still alive on my side, thirteen on Mountain Man’s. And when you add us the family is fifty-six strong. All spread out over seven states.

I have to say I’m glad that they don’t all visit at once. I just don’t have the space in my small house. I am expecting a visit from my mother with some of her friends and a visit from my daughter this week. I’m still not sure which days yet. Who knows they may get here on the same day.

Family. They drive you crazy and you love them anyway. Even the ones you hardly ever talk to because of distance.

Good luck to the up and coming generation. Happy baby cuddles.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

On Acoustic Levels:

Noise. Sound. Ambiance. Atmosphere. Mood.

I grew up with a cacophony of sound.

Setting: Within a five mile radius of New York City. A number of airports. I was alive before they outlawed sonic booms. Suburbia. Lots of kids, baby boomers, almost every house had them, lots of them. I was the oldest of six. The Television was never off. Music came from radios and stereos. Our house was less then three blocks from a highway.

Mountain Man likes his quite and hardly ever puts his hearing aid in except for church. He grew up in the country.

I find that for most of my life I have had music playing in the background. One of my personal philosophies is that everyone should have a musical score playing in the background of their life like in the movies. I like to set the mood of my day and change it when necessary. I’ve been known to put the TV on for company occasionally. Not that I need it. No we can go for days or weeks without it. But it doesn’t happen often.

On Nine Eleven the quiet was deafening out in the country. The birds stopped singing and the bug’s noises hurt my ears. You could hear for miles and miles through the stillness. No planes, trains or automobiles. No lawn mowers or work noises. People talked in hushed whispers. I could hear the few occasional vehicles all the way down in the valley. It was creepy strange. I never want to experience that again.

But I am ready to listen. I will pick a day each week to hear the quiet in my life. I will take the ear phone off my head and listen to the music of life around me. If I’m lucky I might even hear a Wood nymph dancing in the woods one day.

Friday, August 1, 2008

On Third Writing Class:

First I will say that the Daughter Princess was in town and I spent a lovely afternoon with her. We visited for a while at the house then went shopping. Ending up at the bookstore where I bought her a knitting book she wanted to help get her started on the craft.

Daughter Princess is crafty but has been busy working and advancing her career. She makes beautiful candles, quilts and embroidery. She is now taking up knitting and will soon be addicted I predict.

Back to the writing class: Another woman has swelled our numbers. The class is now six. We start with a ten minute writing on a given subject as a warm up. Then get down to business of our individual writing projects. We were to present the project we want to polish off for publication. That is the goal of the class. ‘To publish a Letter to the Editor, small article, story or piece in a news paper or magazine.’ The group is still more undecided about said individual projects at this point. But say they are narrowing it down. I am down to two pieces.

More then half of the group are also into poetry writing and it was suggested that they enter into the poetry contest at the County Fair coming up this autumn. Forms were handed out and excitement grew. Homework: To come up with a list of writing prompts. (Ideas for subjects to write about for ten minutes.) And to write a paper with a hidden message. Start with a phrase of 25 to 30 letters long and write it by the letter along the left edge of the page and starting each line with that letter.

We took turns reading chosen works. I chose a bit of a longer piece that I will save for later. I will share the piece I read in the first class as I haven’t as yet.

Sitting Quiet by (?) aka Lady Euphoria
She sat watching dust motes sail lazily in the shaft of sunlight coming in through the window. Were there ‘Who’s’ on one of them? The man in the front of the room kept talking and she was getting tired of sitting in one place for so long.
She adjusted herself in her seat but it didn’t help. She looked at her purse, looked inside for nothing in particular; handkerchief, money, chapped lip stick and some candy. She closed it and set it in her lap again.
She watched the dust some more. Little tiny partials of dust floating, dancing slowly around in the sun light and disappearing at the sun beams edge. Someone in the room coughed followed by a flurry of people shifting in their seats. The man up in front droned on talking about things beyond her understanding.
The sun was warming the room to an uncomfortable level now. Why did it take so long for the air conditioning to catch up and turn itself on?
A man in the seat in front of her kept falling asleep. He wakes when his head falls forward. Then he pulls it up fast and looks around to see if anyone has noticed but not far enough to look at her. His movement stirs the air a bit and the dust starts to dance faster then it had before. It twinkles and winks as she watches. Can the ‘Who’s’ on the dust speck hear the man? Do they understand him? Do they care?
She wants to be home, comfortable, maybe take a nap. This wasn’t any fun. Not that everything had to be fun. It would be nice if it held her interest but she couldn’t understand and didn’t care either. She thought about her dog sleeping in the sun puddle in the hall. Barking in his sleep and his feet flicking like he was running in the air. Dog dreams. What do dogs dream about? She wished she could ask someone about it. She wished she could talk about anything interesting but she had to keep quiet so the others could listen.
The dust was moving slower again floating, just floating. Her eyes were getting heavy now. She had to blink them to stay awake. She shifted in her seat again and was surprised when everyone else stood up. Daddy was leaning down to pick her up and said, “There’s my big girl. You did a good job being quite in church today. Now let’s go home and have dinner.”