Saturday, March 31, 2012

31 Slices, 2012

Thinking over the SOLS Challenge of 2012, I feel stronger and more confident about my writing than I did a year ago when I created my blog and wrote every day during the 2011 Challenge.  At that time, I spent a lot of time revising and revising until I was frazzled at times.  This year, I seemed to just write what was on my mind.  It worked!

I worried at first about coming up with ideas, but Ruth started us off with her 31 Slicing Ideas.  I pasted that into my writers notebook and added ideas to the page. 

Before I knew it, I wasn't even looking at that page of ideas but was enveloped in other bloggers' posts and gained inspiration from them and tried new forms of writing.   This year I almost felt like we were writing letters to each other when we commented, creating that community of writers again. 

I still have some ideas that I didn't use for the Challenge, so I'm poised to continue on SOLS Tuesdays.  Hope to see many of you there. 

Friday, March 30, 2012


Things I am grateful for just today.

I'm grateful for:

feeling part of a group.
working at our library's spring book fair.
being with people who love books.
finding 16 excellent childrens books for $8.00.
seeing the little girl hugging a book and saying, "I just love these books."
meeting a neighbor of mine I never knew before.
talking to friends I haven't seen for awhile.
listening to good music all day.
eating a homemade granola bar.
finding and reading a good book.
leaving with a sense of accomplishment and appreciation.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

"Where I'm From"

Inspired by Margaret at Reflections on the Teche and George Ella Lyon

I'm from the Steel Mills of Gary, Indiana where black soot
covered my bare feet in the hot summer months
when I could see the chimneys of fire from the steel ovens.

I'm from a three room apartment on 6th Avenue
where I lived with Momma, Daddy, and my brother
in the same building as my aunt and cousin, uncle, and Baba.

My memories recall Miller Beach and sand,
thunderstorms with lightning, and wading in the waters
that streamed down our alley, sailing our homemade boats.

I'm from a school that went from Kindergarten to 12th
that held the teachers that saved me
with their lessons that taught me to love words.

College lead to teaching and finding true love
and miraculously giving birth to three sons
that lead to four grandchildren and two granddogs.

I'm from a lifetime of jobs--cake decorator, bottle washer,
Bargain Box Assistant Manager, secretary, trainer, substitute teacher,
22 years of teaching 7th graders,
and 2 years of retirement that have lead me
to still love words. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Nothing Special But Thankful

This was one of those fast food visits you didn't plan on but just happened.  My husband and I went about our business for the day and realized it was supper time and no one was excited about cooking, and there were no leftovers.  They were eaten at lunch.  I remember the days when I had to cook every night or no one would eat.  It was come home and slam the frying pan down on the stove in order to feed a family of five--four of which were males--food was priority.  No thinking about it, just get it done, so everyone could go on to the next step in the evening.  It's nice now in retirement not to be tied down to a schedule.

We decided to go to Lowe's to get some gardening products instead of waiting for tomorrow, and so eating out just seemed to make sense.  It was about 7:00 when we got to Wendy's. 

Parking lots all around seemed very empty.  In Wendy's, there were only two other families there eating inside.  Both families left and one single guy came in.  He left and another single guy came in.  So very empty.  Was Wednesday nights always like this?  It made me wonder about the economy.  Are less people eating out even in fast food restaurants?  Why are these other people here?  What are their stories? 

We went to Lowe's, and it was empty as far as customers.  It made me wonder again about the average state of the family.  We returned home at dark and settled in for the night.

As simple as the evening was, I was thankful that we could go out and eat out on a whim, go shopping for what we wanted for our yard and garden, and return home safely.  A lot of people out there cannot do what we did. 

It's being thankful for the little things.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Rocks Offer Surprises

It's well known that I collect rocks.  My neighbor did not know how I really felt about rocks until one day last summer.  I picked up a rock while I was with her, and it was heart-shaped.  I never found one like that, and I remarked how cool it was that I had found it. 

She took it from me, looked at it, and then threw it back into the garden dirt.  "What was that?" I asked myself.   I didn't know what to say.  Why she threw it back, I couldn't imagine.

I've known my neighbor for 23 years now, and you can depend on her for no matter what.  Her boys were my boys' friends.  She took care of our pets while we were gone.  She has a key to our house, and we to her home.  We've worked together at her business, and we've eaten plenty of meals together.

My neighbor looked down a bit and said, "It has to be somewhere near."  We both looked for a short period with no results.  We both laughed it off.  I looked again after she left and many times after that.  It was just a rock--but heart-shaped and pinkish!!!  We never said anything about it again, of course.  It was just a rock but disappointing, more about my neighbor than the rock!

My neighbor had been in Florida for three months this year and just got back last weekend.  She came knocking at my back door as usual and said she had some rocks for me from Florida!!!  She usually brought shells.

She handed me the four rocks, and said, "I found a heart-shaped one, but I guess it got lost."  No matter what the rocks looked like (but they are beauties), I was more than elated to get rocks and made a big fuss over them.  I realized that she really did feel badly about the heart-shaped rock she threw away a year ago.  Why she did that, I still don't know.  Maybe she had a hard day???  It all sounds silly when you think about it, but I was reminded again of what a sensitive and good friend she is down deep.  I wouldn't have been surprised if she came back that night last summer with a flashlight looking for my heart-shaped rock!! 

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Glitter and Shine

As a youth, I liked the tailored look with muted or darker colors--greys, blacks with whites, beiges, light greens and browns.  My favorite color was olive green.  I think these were the colors of my youth, too, when I think about it.

I remember once I bought a bright orange dress (pictured above), a gift from my cousin Sharon in Detroit when she was an airline stewardess and paid for my flight, so I would visit her world.  It was a different world--upscale apartment and restaurants in the big city--a whole new world for me as a college student in a small town.

I remember wearing this dress home on the plane.  I was a different person as I landed at the airport when my fiance picked me up.  I think he looked at me differently in this bright color, unsure of what was to come after this trip, and I had the same feeling.  I felt the whole world was open to me.  That experience/feeling lasted only briefly, but I did eventually break off that engagement.  Life went on and so did my colors; they became brighter/happier.

Funny, as I aged, the colors of my life did become brighter, not as dull as my youth.  My favorite color is yellow now and I love, love lime green--the green maybe being the carry over from my youth?   I look for clothes with bright colors and especially purses.  I like red cars, red candy apple boots (which I sent back because they didn't fit), and red coats.  My home beholds terra cotta, lime greens, yellows, oranges.  But I have added a new dimension to my love of lightness--glitter and shine.

I want shiny and glittery earrings, tops, purses, and things in general.  Really unlike me, I spied a denim jacket with rhinestones all over.  Do I dare?  No, I couldn't, but it would be so much fun to wear it at the right time.  I like diamonds more than I ever have, and I'm working on that angle. 

It's funny what time does to a person.  I do admit time has been good to me when I look back on the whole picture.  Yes, there would be things I would change, but who wouldn't.  From being a child of the Gary Steel Mills, I have found the color and sparkle I need. 


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Brief Reflection

Counting tonight, we have 7 more days to slice in this year's challenge, so this is a brief update on how I feel about slicing this year.  In a nutshell, it doesn't seem as hard as last year, my first year to participate. 

I notice this year, I am not clamoring to find topics as much.  I remind myself what this challenge is all about--the plain and simple and what I take from it. 

This weekend though I felt I needed a break and thought possibly about not writing yesterday or today just because.  But I ended up finding something to write about without too much thought anyway.   Well, tonight I realized that we have only 6 more days.  I even have some ideas waiting for me.   I don't need a break after all. 

Do you suppose I've made friends with my writing so to speak?  My oldest son Eric, my biggest fan and critic, said I write well about stories from the past and with the free verse.  I do feel comfortable writing those.  As far as the children's story I'm writing, one of my BONS friends said she felt I was finding my voice since I started thinking of my grandchildren as my audience for this story.  So is this all about voice?   

Well, hello, Voice, my new friend.  We have a lot of work to do.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Saturday Night

Haystack supper

Remembering one so small

Friends and neighbors

Children laughing, running, swinging

Balloons, candy, popcorn

Raffle, silent auction, contributions

Driving home together

Camp fire under a slice of a moon

Two children with flashlights

Looking at the night with wonder

Shower, snack, then bed

Good times on a Saturday night

The best of times

Friday, March 23, 2012

Life on a Friday

The saying goes, "Life is what you make it."  What if you've been trying to make it, and it just doesn't work out.  What do you do?  Do you go back to where you were or keep trying, and when do you give up or should you never give up?  I know the simple answer to that question--never give up!  But when you're older, what do you do?  It's a value judgement, I guess.  Will it ever make it or maybe just a little bit of it will make it?

Just a mind discussion I've been having with myself forever!!  I guess the answer is, is it worth it? 

The decision is made again.  It's worth it.  Life goes on, working on life and what I make of it.

Awfully deep for a Friday evening, but that was what was on my mind today.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Yellow Roses

Yellow roses unexpected
With baby's breath and fern
All 12 accounted for

You never know
What you do
May bring you joy

Just in the giving
                                                   Or what someone
                                                       Else may give you

                                                          A pleasant surprise
                                                        In either case
                                                        Do what you can

                                                        You never know.

                                                                         Thank you, Bob and Kiwanis

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Writing Group, Part 3: Slicers Extraordinare

As the BONS gathered in the living room after a fine potluck meal of taco salad, fruit cup, and raspberry creme pie, we were pleasantly surprised by Mary Helen awarding us all trophies for the 21 days of slicing we have accomplished.  Thank you, Mary Helen.

The awards were golden cups emblazoned with the words "Slicer Extraordinaire."  No words could express the warmth and laughter we all shared as we accepted these trophies.   The trophies were so unexpected as is all things are at our monthly meetings.  This was the first time ever, however, that we actually wrote separately/together on our laptops, describing the events on this Night of Slices.

Ruth M.'s eleven-year-old son Sam honored us by photographing our group relishing our prizes.  More laughter!  Thank you, Sam.

We felt that all was worth the hours we spent on creating our slices for the SOLS Challenge of 2012.  On to Day 22!!

For Part IV, go to Booksavors.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Delicious Day!

I think this is A Delicious Day!

Delicious is the basics:

Finding out it's the First Day of Spring (even though it feels like summer!)

Munching on Emerald's Cocoa Roast Almonds

Taking a walk in March when it's 81 degrees

Writing a slice instead of a writing assignment

Listening to the cardinal's song

Talking with friends

Eating fresh spinach

Drinking a hazelnut cappuccino

Listening to a story CD in the car

Going out to eat for supper

Taking a picture of a blooming cherry tree

Reading a good book

Watching a favorite movie repeatedly throughout your life

Finding everyone you know healthy and safe for the time being

I'm glad I stopped for these few minutes to appreciate the deliciousness in my life.  Maybe I should carry this list with me just in case I forget what is always waiting for me.

I wish you some deliciousness today just in case you're having a hard time finding some.  Look for your basic creature comforts and take just one.  You'll feel better.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Pineapple-Upside-Down Cake

I'm not giving you directions for a cake, but a recipe for pineapple-upside-down cake appeared on the Allrecipe page for today, and it reminded me of my mother Lillian and part of something I wrote the year she died.  Sometimes you have to be reminded of the good times. 

As a child, you were my shining light
With your long, dark hair that curled around.
"She's so pretty," the kids said in my 2nd grade class
When you came to visit,
Bringing along with you your big, bright, red-lipstick smile.
When I broke the new lamp
And hid under the bed all day,
I hoped you wouldn't be mad at me,
But instead you said, "I never did like that lamp anyway."
Remember the walks to and from the State and Palace theatres on Saturday night?
Sometimes you treated us to hamburgers, fries, and a cherry Coke, and
We stopped at Walgreen's to get the 3 for 25 cents candy bars--
me with black licorice or Dots.
Afterwards, we always walked home under the stars, and
I silently prayed we'd make it safely home past dark Buffington Park.
Your best fare was breakfast every morning before school--
French toast, oatmeal, Cream of Wheat, or a poached egg.
Then came some Sundays with your fried chicken, coleslaw, and mashed potatoes.
Pineapple-upside-down cake was your favorite homemade dessert.
When I became a mother myself, you were there
To help me with my first, second, and third,
Letting me feel all was okay, helping me make up my new routine.
I finally felt safe in motherhood.
I use to think the good times were going to a party, a wedding, a vacation,
Having a new outfit, or another bracelet.
Then I discovered too late that
It was the small things.
Those were the good times.
Why couldn't we have had more of the small things?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Ahead of Its Time

 As I raked the leaves from my herb garden, I just felt like I was disobeying every rule in the garden rule book.  You don't remove ground cover in your gardens until the last frost which could come as late as May 10.  It's March for goodness sake--what am I doing? 

It's been in the 70's for over a week, and this week is going to be in the low 80's, eventually going down to the 50's and 60's next week.  I thought at first I would just wait it out to at least the end of April.  However, plants are up, daffodils are blooming, tulips budding, and tree buds are opening.  Plants have actually pushed the leaves away and are above and beyond the leaf layer.  I caved. 

If it freezes, or we get that spring snow storm, I will be moaning and possibly trying to cover some plants, but I worry about the trees and their leaves the most.  I would hate to go through a summer without those leafy, green, beautiful, shady trees. 

Time will tell.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

"That Lovin' Feeling"

At different times, I like different kinds of music.  I can go orchestral, choir, classical, new age, oldies, and classic rock to name a few.  Heavy metal and rap are not for me and never will be. 

I don't really listen to music unless I'm really cleaning house, it's summer, or I'm in my car when I'm not listening to a story CD.  There's something about summer and my car especially with the sixties music. 

When I'm alone in my car listening to the 60's, I am at one with the road, have the beat, and feel energized.  "Ooh, Baby, it's true."  (Can't find the song or artist I owe this line to???)

I have so many favorite songs and favorite groups of the 60's.  Creedence Clearwater Revival's rendition of "Green River" and "Proud Mary" "keep me rollin', rollin' on the river."

While I'm driving, "My Girl" by the Temptations "Gives me sunshine on a cloudy day."

"I Can't Help Myself, Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch" by the Four Tops is when I'm loving the driving.

Then there was "The Sounds of Silence" by Simon and Garfunkel when I'm "approaching streets of cobblestone."

And "Don't carry the world upon your shoulders" by listening to "Hey, Jude" by The Beatles.

These are just a few of my favorites.  What is really fascinating is that this music is still played and enjoyed today by people of all ages. 

These were the songs of my youth, and they do "bring back that lovin' feeling."  ("You've Lost That Loving Feeling" by The Righteous Brothers)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Some Quirkiness

I think I'm in a Friday kind of mood--ready for a little variety, frivolity, and quirkiness.   So, as I ended my day of shopping today, I decided to write about what was on my mind as I shopped at Kohl's.

It's that time of year again--finding that perfect summer purse.  Some poeple love to buy shoes. I like to buy purses.  Since I've always had wide feet, most shoe choices were never there for me.  I had to get what was available, but as I got older, there were more choices, but buying shoes just never was in my world.  Purses are a different story.

But first, have you seen the latest price in purses?  I have limits, and the purses I could get last year are now $20 more in price!!!  I'm going to have to really love a purse to spend more on it now.

I love certain colors in certain things.  For one example, my cars are red because I think cars should be red.  Don't ask me why I think that, I just do.  Purses should be any shade of red, bright green, yellow, or tan.  If you're going to get a black purse, it should be for evening wear only.  Every day black is boring and so is brown and blue.  White is out of the question because it gets too dirty too quickly!!  Grey is not even considered.  Quirky!!

I bought a gold purse last fall--different for me, but it was a muted gold and was a good winter color.  Oh, and most earrings should be gold tone.  When I think of jewelry, I think of the Egyptians, thus gold.  Sense?  I don't know.  It's just the quirk in me.  My release is in my quirkiness, I guess.  I'm beginning to feel the frivolity stirring in my brain creating just a chuckle. 

Back to the purse.  Let's face it.  I've been looking for purses a mighty long time, and I really know what works for me!!!  I'm really looking for a soft red or tan with some flair.  I haven't found one yet.  After I get the right color and the right flair, it will have to have one short handle--I'm short.  I should have one main compartment with side pockets--I get lost no matter what if a purse has more than one section.  The lining should be light, so it's easier to see inside my purse no matter what the lighting.  There can be side pockets outside, however.  I probably won't use them much if there are more than one side pocket--confusion!!

I've been looking for a new purse for about a month and am having no luck.  Does this mean my standards are too high?  Does it mean I'm cheap because I won't consider going up $20 from last year?  Does it mean I will have to use the yellow purse I bought last year that I had to continually clean because of its light color?  Oh, what started as quirkiness and fun is now weighing on my mind.  I think I'm back.

Enough for one Friday night of silliness, and we're half through the month of this March Madness!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Ides of March

Every March 15, the phrase "Beware the Ides of March" comes to my mind.   Really, it's not a joke.  It's a remembrance of something/someone dear to my heart, and it's not Shakespeare or Julius Caesar!
If you're a Shakespearean or historical buff, you would know the importance of these words.  In Shakespeare's play "Julius Caesar," these were the words of a seer forecasting something bad was going to happen to Julius Caesar, dictator of the Roman Republic, on or by this date.  Historically, Caesar was stabbed on March 15 in the year 44 B.C. 
To further educate, the Ides were a reference point for counting in the Roman calendar.  March, May, July, and October all had Ides on the 15th, and all the other months had their Ides on the 13th. The other reference points were called the Kalends and the Nones.  This calendar followed into the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. (info please and Wikipedia
Now I will introduce you to Mr. DeLeurere (I hope I remembered to spell his name correctly.).  He was my French and Latin teacher from 7th to 12th grade.  I was in a trial class of 10 who were able to take a foreign language when in 7th grade.  French was the only language being offered in 7th and 8th grade.  I took French all the way through high school.  Since I was planning on becoming a nurse, it was noted in high school that Latin would also help me in the medical field.  And what choices did women have in those days?--teacher, nurse, bank teller, and wife?!

Mr. DeLeurere taught ten of us how to grow up in 7th grade.  The minute he walked into our French class, he spoke French only.  He meant business and didn't tolerate any  funny business although he had his own very cryptic sense of humor.  We assumed he told jokes when he paused and smiled.  That was a great class, and we felt very special.

In high school, Latin class was taken by anyone who was going to attend college.  I took Latin all the way up until my senior year which was Latin IV because I loved it.  We all really enjoyed the tall, professor-looking, stern Mr. DeLeurere although we didn't admit to it.  He was a man ahead of his times.  He not only taught us Latin but taught us about the history, art, and culture of the Greeks and Romans and our own lives.  We performed plays in the classroom, and if we didn't get into it, he would show us how to perform as if we were on stage.  At Christmas time, we held a Saturnalia--a Roman festival with hard-boiled eggs, grapes, and togas and more plays!!!    We traveled to Latin contests out of town to see what we really knew compared to others.  We were a great group.  I made the best friends in Latin class, and hard work paid off.

I never saw Mr. DeLeurere again after high school, but he remained in my thoughts and on my lists of gratefulness.   He taught me maturity, responsibility, appreciation of the arts, love of words, and the joy of education.  And he was just one of the best I had in high school.  Thank you, God, for teachers!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hubba Bubba

A new found friend,
Hubba Bubba
Bubble Tape
Bubble Gum.
Spring time brings
Thoughts of sun and bathing suits.
Carbs and sweets tempt.
Carry around the new found friend,
And chew instead of eat.
Taste its sweetness, and
Blow a bubble or two.
Softness won't last long,
But it got you through
Another sweet craving.
It works for me.
And now I can go out and play
Because my post is done for the day!!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


--I'm in that kind of mood when I want to just sit back and ramble a little. It is so unseasonably warm today and will be for the next 10 days. It's like early summer, and it's not even spring until next week. I'm afraid to uncover plants because of potential frost even though they're popping out all over. Can't really garden, can I?
--I don't how to act or dress. All my summer clothes are still tucked away, too. Tomorrow I will probably go into the large chest downstairs to make the switch from winter to summer. Maybe that will settle my mind a little.
--So, where does my mind ramble?

--My ramblings go to my rock pile in the backyard by my herb garden and bird bath. I haven't done much with the collected rocks as far as stories, realizations, or symbolic significances. However, one day it did come to me that rocks for me represent quiet, soothing times. I remember looking for rocks as a child. I was usually by myself just wandering, looking down and around. I became fascinated by all the different colors, shapes, textures, and sizes of rocks. Of course, I didn't put it into words like that. I knew, too, my brother collected rocks, and who doesn't want to do what their older brother does?
--Then I thought about what I was doing/thinking when I found a rock as an adult. I wasn't always alone but did feel at peace during those times, and I alway look for all those different aspects.
--For right now, rocks are a source of wonder, curiosity, and admiration for me. How did they get their shape/color, and how long have they been around? They take me away so to speak when I need to be. I guess they're a form of relaxation, amusement, or diversion.
--The pile grows, and my grandkids love to play with them. They have started to collect rocks now, too.
--What are they thinking when they pick up a rock?
--What are you thinking when you pick up a rock?

Monday, March 12, 2012

More Realizations

It was day two of finding out more about two of my grandchildren. Yesterday, I played games with them at home. Today I visited their schools--it was Grandparent's Day! It was our first G-Day as grandparents.

We first visited Lilly at daycare, and she came right over to us, hugged us, and grabbed our hands--so good. She is in a class of mostly boys, try 2 girls to the rest being boys. That doesn't bother her. When we got there, the class was on their way to recess in the basement since it was raining outside. Lilly did not let go of our hands. When in the playroom, Lilly grabbed a tricyle just like the rest of the boys. Eventually, she opted for the hoola hoop with her friend Addy and playing on the jungle gyms. We took pictures and had to say good-bye. So glad to see her world outside of home.

Next, we went over the elementary school. Lucas, seven, presented himself as quite the gentleman--no racing over to hug us or take our hands!! He went directly to my husband and stood close. He then showed us around his first grade classroom and pointed out who his friends were. When we went to the cafeteria, Lucas introduced us to his principal and made sure we knew where to go and what to do for lunch. After we had our picture taken by the school, Lucas said he would give us a hug here and would go back with his friends to his classroom. I think Grandparents' Day was over for Lucas. He had already missed two recesses due to our visit. So grown up already.

To finish the day, we drove to where my son Tim worked and talked with him awhile and told him about the day at school with his two children. As Tim walked away from our truck, crossed the street, and walked toward his building, I remembered Tim as the small child he use to be and how he has grown to be a wonderful father.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Magikus and Loops and Looms!

Ever play Lego Magikus? I did this weekend with a 7 year old--my oldest grandson. This is one of the new games that require you to build the game and then play it. It has a set of rules and then suggests you can add rules or make up your own. I never thought I would get through the directions, let alone play the game through, add rules, and then make up our own rules.

We had so much fun. We found that some rules we made up made it impossible for anyone to win. Then we had to re-negotiate the rules. We laughed and laughed at our ideas and failures. I've learned he's become quite a brainstormer!!

With my 5 year old granddaughter, I helped her weave her first potholder--Loops and Looms. I didn't know if she would like to do this, let alone enjoy it. She picked up on it right away and was then using the hook to do her weaving. She wanted to finish it in one afternoon, and I told her she didn't have to. She said she never gives up! I told her it's not a matter of giving up but to enjoy doing it. She was getting tired and started making mistakes. I coaxed her this was another reason to take her time. She certainly has perseverance.

Games and crafts are a great way to learn about your grandchildren.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


--Writing on Friday, my words just flowed. I felt like a real writer, staying in my robe until 2:00 p.m. just reading posts and writing a post for Friday and then for today since I'm going out of town until Monday. I will write Sunday, too, however--I hope with no trouble. If the other Ruth can post from a phone on a bus , I can post anywhere. I was happy with my writing, and all was well with the world.
--About 11:30 last night, I discovered I shouldn't have published until today because since my title is not in my URL address, the comment section of Two Writing Teachers just took my next post to be read. So some of you read my blog twice in one day--sorry. This no title thing has occurred since I went to the new Blogger. Should I just post it in today's comments "again?"
--So what to do?
--What if readers think I'm cheating? I couldn't fall asleep. My husband asked me, "Now what is it?" He knows I worry in bed. (Dr. Oz on Tuesday is going to talk about waking up and worrying--gotta see that!) I told him my dilemma, and I know he was relieved when the problem wasn't him this time, or that I had no bad news to deliver. Glad one of us can sleep.
--I've gone back to the old Blogger to post this frustration this morning, so I will have a title and a new post--let's hope! I have a question into the Help desk but haven't received an answer yet. However, I cannot get the old Blogger to produce double spacing where I want it. I asked for Blogger help, and their suggestion worked the first time and no more after that. I love the new Blogger because it has so many more options.
--So, my frustrations end for now. I wouldn't be a real writer if I didn't have frustrations about my writing now and then, would I?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Come Take My Hand

I am attempting "An Invitation Poem" that was encouraged by Julie and inspired by Robert Frost and his poem "The Pasture."

Seeing the warming sun, I take its lead
And gather my gloves, trowel, and seed.
Leaves brushed aside
Revealing tiny, green life
For all to see--Come take my hand.

Smelling the warm earth, I find an empty place
To loosen and forage a small space
A seed to plant with all its might
Will grow, bringing more green life
To fill my gardens--Come take my hand.

Feeling the warm wind, I breathe in deeply
To fill my lungs with fresh air completely.
No breath can be this sweet
Unless it comes in early spring,
With all its newness--Come take my hand.

Hearing the cardinal's call, I look up into the sky
To see more birds fly at will way up high.
The rustle of new born leaves
Leaves me breathless as I look
And see all the greeness--Come take my hand.

Love of Writing

Isn't funny how you sit down to write, look for an idea, start with one, and then change to another?  That's how this morning has gone.  Then it came down to just writing about writing!  Could it be that I just really want to write today?   Where did that come from?  Am I forming a habit?  Is the sun shining that much brighter today?  What?  Ah, the mind of a writer!

I'm in two writing groups now, really 3 if you count SOLS.  We all know how SOLS operates--writing on one fragment /slice of our lives which is worthy of our admiration.  In March, it's a daily process that demands the daily brew of words as it really should be if you love writing. 

Another group that I'm in is called Writer's Corner, meets at the local library, assigns monthly topics, and uses the monthly meeting time to share our writing, praise, and laughter.   It's a diversified group and numbers lessen or increase meeting to meeting.  The prompt may be narrow, but you never know the twist an author will take. 

My other writing group is called BONS (Bits of Nothing or Something), rests on the love of writing and each other's lives and dreams.  Love of writing can include sharing only an idea that may evolve into something larger, or it could be a little piece that a member has conjured up on a whim, feeling it grow when other members throw out  a new slant.  Someone else may ask for an interested eye to look one more time before a professional article is sent out for publication.   Another member shares new chapters of a professional book in progress awaiting approval from a publisher.  Novel writing exists, too.  One is fully written and is being re-written because of the discussion in our small group of five.  Another novel is just taking flight, and a chapter book is for grandchildren only. 

Besides all this, sometimes stories of our real lives trickle out because of the comraderie that has formed over the carried-in soups, breads, desserts, and the love of writing. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Ode to an Apple

A gala affair

an apple a day

planted by Johnny

yellow to orange shade

red striping

heart shaped when sliced

tear drop seeds

crispy bites from 8 slices 

tasting of sweetness

80 calories of 5 grams of fiber

no fat, sodium, or cholesterol

cinnamon sprinkled

from salad to sauce

cider to pie

all 8 slices gone--yum

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Any Way You Slice It

I've been thinking about the title of the monthly challenge--Slices of Life. The word "slice" means something thin, a part, portion, or share. I even like the word itself--it feels slim, easy, and smooth when you say it.
--The title of the challenge is inviting in itself--it's a challenge that doesn't demand a lot of something or something whole, just a piece of something. Then my mind went to "What do you think of when you hear the word "slice?"
These are the wonderful thoughts that come to my mind:
sliced bread. sliced meats, sliced almonds,
sliced cheese, sliced egg, sliced olives,
sliced kiwi and bananas, slice lemon and lime, slices of watermelon and apple,
sliced onion, sliced pizza, sliced beets,
slices of cake, slices of pie
--Oh, yum!!! This word conjures up all kinds of good thoughts. This word can also be a noun, a verb, an adjective, and an adverb. How flexible can a word be?
--Oh, my, does a slice get any better than this? Yes, when you write a slice, and you're proud!!!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Step Up to ISTEP

--Today was the beginning of ISTEP for Indiana schools and my very own former middle school. I was asked to come and help the teacher that took over my 7th grade position after I retired. I was glad Shelley took over my former world and room that I loved--nice windows! She's a good teacher and works hard for her students and the school. I have been back many times, but this is the first time I was back in the scheme of things so to speak.
--I was to help Shelley out any way she needed me and also to go to other classrooms and check to see if any of the other 7th grade teachers needed a break. It was fun to be an outsider looking in for a change. I knew the procedures and felt comfortable in the ISTEP setting.
--Students surprised me with their readiness to take the test. Maybe they are just resigned to the fact that this is the way it is. Half way through the test and during the break, I asked how the test was going for them, and they remarked it was okay.
--None of the students knew me because I've been gone long enough that none of my students I had remain. I forgot how friendly and how much fun it was to talk to these middle schoolers. They didn't know me, but they were ready to share their thoughts and the dreams they had the night before--so funny that they just start telling you stories whether you want to hear them or not. I forgot what great story tellers they are. Time flew by after the second half, and soon it was time to go.
--I'll go back tomorrow and see how they really felt about yesterday. I wonder what new stories I will hear. Maybe one will be good enough to share.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Monday, Monday

Bloggers Log-Day 5: First Monday morning after the launch of the March 2012 SOLS Challenge
--Monday is still Monday whether you have a job or you're retired. Today I called to get insurance information, and my mind went blank on the phone. The next call I made, the person on the other line said their system is down, and they can't help me for another hour. I'm tired after a bad night of sleeping probably being too wound up from the weekend and thinking of the week ahead. The line breaks for my blog are messed up again, and the directions I received yesterday to fix it don't work today!!
--And nothing is coming to mind to write about today either! My "31 Slices" page of ideas in my writers notebook is not speaking to me. I visit posts of others slicers to get some inspiration. This year, I have read other slicers' posts before starting mine. I didn't do this last year. This seems to ease me into my stories--definitely a community effort! Today, this doesn't help me. As a last ditch effort, I go to my email again and see an AARP Bulletin--worth a try. I go from "8 Unhealthy Things to Never Buy at a Garage Sale" to a video on "Marrying at 100 Years of Age." That one catches my attention!
--The 100 year old bride is dressed in a beautiful, long, white wedding dress and veil with white flats, getting around in a wheelchair. The day before she attended her shower and received well wishes along with a bottle of wine, some perfume, and a garter. Her cake says, "You Are Never Too Old," and she comments that "Marriage is not what you got, but what you make out of a marriage." (I wonder if she got her dress at Kleinfeld's in New York?) Of course, the groom is in a tux and remarks that his new bride is the nicest person he ever met. They will reside in the Rosewood Health Care Center in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Their wills will have to be changed and all that other stuff, too. Congratulations, and good luck to them.
--This leads me to videos on the TV show "Say Yes to the Dress." I love this show. Most women I know do, too. I don't know why I love to watch it. My husband and sons worry about me and can't figure out why I watch this show, and I don't try to explain it either. I don't have to when it comes to a woman's world. All I know is, instead of making my dress like I did so many years ago, I want to go to Kleinfeld's and work with Keisha and Randy to find me the dress of my dreams! I wouldn't want to buy it or plan to renew our vows, but I just want to know what it feels like to be in that position. Looks like fun to me! I wouldn't mind just watching the brides and their families either. I worked in a cake decorating supply store years ago and had the opportunity to work in the bridal department with cake tops, wedding invitations, etc. Interesting situations.
--This is my Monday so far--scattered and gears just chugging along. Or maybe, I guess, I just needed to "get away" for awhile and--Voila! I have a post.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

My Fickle Friend

We've had a mild winter this year, not much snow or constant frigid temperatures. We had a sixty degree day last week, and I mean one day! It broke records in some areas of our great state of Indiana, but sorry to say, some warm temps brought tornadoes and bad times for many. That's the nature of my fickle friend Spring!

More precisely, Spring is a prankster, a teaser, a heartbreaker, an unpredictable friend. Yes, a friend because I really like what I see and experience in spite if her impulsive behavior. I know eventually, Spring will bring the sunshine longer and brighter.

I don't think I feel friends with fall, winter, or summer. Fall is just beautiful and predictable. I get excited about the first snowflake/fall and look forward to holidays, and summer--summer is just crazy good. But I don't harbor around the windows at any other season, aching for that change like I do in the spring. I think it's really the coldness that defeats me after awhile and sets me longing for the warmth of the sun. I can take only so many hot showers, sit in so many hot tubs, or bundle up in a blanket and warm socks. I wish I could just fly South.

On that warm sixty degree day, I went outside, got out a lawn chair, and sat in the sun, feeling, smelling, seeing, touching, and hearing--soaking it all in as fast as I could. My spirits came alive, and I moaned with delight. Coudn't you just stay another day, my dear spring friend?

Today the snow is flying, the wind is blowing, and the sun is lying in wait, giving me new hope of more sunny days ahead. So, I'll put on another sweater, sip a cup of hot tea, and lean over and peer outside at my patio chair, imagining when I can see and feel my playful, reckless, and elusive spring friend again.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Lost in Color

What is it about crayons?

If there is one thing I remember as a child, it's crayons.

There was that bright yellow box trimmed in dark green with the same green lettering. Inside were the colors of the world!

Ah, the sharp, unused point of each crayon cried out to be carefully taken out of the box, eased into a set of fingers, and postioned on the coloring page to bring life into a plain, back and white drawing.

I could press very hard to get the darkest shade possible, or I could outline the picture and shade inside the lines. In my hay day of coloring (1949-1957), we could have up to 48 colors--unheard of since 1903 when Binney and Smith first came out with the first 8 colors.

In 1958, we could boast 64 colors, 72 colors in 1972, 80 in 1990, 96 in 1993, and 120 colors in 1998! ("Color Corner, Crayola Crayon Technology." 2000-2012.) Where are you located?

My mom bought me crayons as a child and again after I started teaching. She would say, "Everyone needs new crayons every year." I continue to buy crayons for my grandchildren, now called Crayola Twistables.

I still color from time to time alone or with my grandkids, but there was something about the crayons back in the 50's that is not there now. The colors were deeper and fuller, not as waxy and dull as today. I did get lost when I colored as a child--lost in the picture of the day. Maybe it is I who has changed, not so much the crayons.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Just a Bar of Soap

--It's always fun to discover that a common, every day object you've taken for granted your whole life has become an objection of joy and affection by the very young--namely your grandchildren, ages 5 and 7.
--I was in charge of showers one night and prepared the shower stall with Johnson's head to toe body wash and two wash cloths. There has always been a bar of soap on the shelf but never was an issue in the past.
--It was my granddaughter Lilly's turn to go first. I got her settled in, and she asked for time to just stand in the shower awhile. I let her do that while I got her pajamas ready and tooth brush filled with paste. I pulled back the shower door, and there she was sitting on the shower floor with the bar of soap completely lathered up, coating her legs until they were white. She was completely enamored by the soap's effect. It took awhile to rinse off that little snow princess.
--Next, my grandson Lucas went into the shower and asked for some water time, too. I left the bathroom for a bit, but soon heard a bunch of knocking noises. I returned and opened the shower door. He was using the soap like a hockey puck, sliding it as hard as he could against the shower wall. The harder he smacked it, the higher it bounced off!! He was having a great time. Enough play time again!!
--I asked my son later if L and L had ever used a bar of soap before, and he admitted they never have been given that liberty.
--It's good to know that something so simple and basic can still catch the attention of the very young and create a little clean fun!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

New Beginnings

--So much is going through my mind this first morning of the SOLS Challenge. I thought I was ready for it, but I feel like the person in front of the old fashioned typewriter, ripping out poor attempts at creating a worthwhile piece of writing.
--What's going on?
--I have mentally prepared for these 31 days, and now I find myself overwhelmed as usual. I've been thinking too much. And once again, I'm requiring myself to create the best story I've ever written!!
--"Stop right now! Just write what is on your mind!!!" I say to myself.
--I've been reading a wonderful historical fiction book, The Silence of Trees, by Valya Dudycz Lupescu, and enjoyed a day of sun and warmth yesterday, noticing some bushes and plants that have started to come out of their sleep. Now I must put into words what has become a slice of my life through these two occurrences.
--Briefly, the book tells the story of the character Nadya who is recounting the story of her "secret" life to herself and finally to her family. As a youth, her family was a victim of communism and the German occupation of WWII in her Ukrainian homeland. She recounts not only the persecution that took place during this time, but also the culture and traditions of the Ukrainian people which is so closely related to the Russian culture. My maternal grandparents were from Russia, and as I get older, I find myself wanting to know more about my family's background. Sorry to say, I never asked enough questions.
--What really grabbed my attention was one story (and there are many fascinating ones in this book) told by Nadya to her grandchildren about the pussy willow tree. I have a tree in my front yard, and it is beginning to bloom. It's one of the first signs of new life in early spring. I've always been fascinated by it's fuzzy white buds. I might add, The Russian Orthodox Church my own mother and my grandmother Baba attended, passes out pussy willow branches instead of palms on Palm Sunday. The branches hung on the wall above a picture of The First Supper all year long.
--In the book, Nadya's family would take a pussy willow branch and lightly tap a part of the body of a visiting relative as a welcome on Palm Sunday and say, "It's not I, but the willow that taps you on this week of Easter." She then tells her grandchildren the myth behind that tree. I never heard it before, and I'd like to briefly write about it. As with many Russian stories, it has reason as well as darkness.
--An old farmer owned a small brown cat named Kasha who bore nine baby kittens. Since the farmer was not a good person, he put the kittens in a big brown sack and threw them into the river to drown. Kasha meowed and cried for her little kittens. A willow tree, who we know is kind and helpful, grew nearby and overheard Kasha's cries. The tree extended its branches into the water and pulled out the sack of kittens. Only one kitten survived. "Ever since, willows everywhere bloom with kitten-like buds in memory of the drowned kittens and the sad mother." (Chapter 5, The Silence of Trees)
--"Kitten-like buds." I like that.