Baseball may not have a lot of action

But it sure has a lot of drama.

redsoxEspecially when My Boston Red Sox are playing against their arch rival. The hated New York Yankees, This is especially so since the Yankees are in contention for a playoff spot and the Red Sox are not.

The Red Sox may have the worst bullpen in all of major league baseball. The Red Sox are so bad this year, they don’t even count, as they weren’t mentioned in having one of the top worst bullpen. I did notice that Toronto was listed as having one of the worst bullpen, but it looks like it’s not hurting them as they sit in first place above the Yankees. Toronto Blue Jay fans you are welcome for the Red Sox to cover up for your loss.

Today’s game against the Yankees was a well-played game. The Red Sox didn’t fold Fenway_Park04and give up when the there were bases loaded. Three different occasions. And twice without outs. Doesn’t get any more dramatical than that, does it?

Tazawa was demoted from being the closure to being the set-up guy, and he filled in the outs without too much trouble in the eighth inning.

Going into the ninth inning, the Red Sox are holding on precariously to a two run lead over the Yankees. Red Sox nation are reaching for a touch up of their deodorant. Number 64, Jean Machi comes in from the bullpen and gets a strike out. His fast ball is working and the splitter is his bread and butter. Heater. Heater. Splitter in the dirt. Runners advance. The Yankees have the tying run in scoring position. Go ahead at the plate. One out. Top of the ninth.
Machi2-2 count. Walk the bases loaded. I’ve almost yelled at the television as if my Mitsubishi had something to do with the Yankee runners. The commentators are talking about how the pitcher struggled in San Francisco. The Giants waived him; didn’t want anything to do with him. The Red Sox were desperate and picked up this giant man with great velocity, but not such great control. What magic did the coaches in Boston think they would do to cause Jean to become the unsurmountable force he was a couple of years ago.

JeanmachiI will want to turn the television off if he walks a run in. Machi does, but I don’t. I’m going to ride the horse to the very end. The Red Sox were home, so they would have that chance to do some walking off miracles if Machi doesn’t hold onto the lead. But he does finally get the last out and get his fourth save of the year. Red Sox Nation can sleep well tonight.

Home work

melookaway8-31-15 at 3.21 PM #4Some things don’t change. Or should I say there are some things that don’t change very easily. Old Dogs and Tricks. Those sort of things. Behaviors that I have held on to without reason, though I believe everything has a reason. Not that long ago, I was having a friendly argument with my friend Joyce Watts, and I kept stomping on her Why questions. The why doesn’t matter. After about a half an hour of going round and round, I finally changed my opinion. You win. Yes, the why does matter. So, why do I do this thing when it comes to homework, though there’s a lot more not doing than doing. The dance I do kicks up a lot of sand, and dirt, and dog and cat fur, and whatever is around when I am metaphorically throwing a temper tantrum on not wanting to do my homework. I am just like Pig Pen from the Peanuts Cartoon. Even though my favorite is main-pigpenLinus, I resemble Pig Pen.

Last Tuesday, the hour of my Life Coaching, had quite a of stuff swirling about me; the usual dog and cat fur and dirt and fleas, and whatever else they bring in, but I also had a lot of tension circling me like a mini funnel, the funnel caused by my not doing my homework.

The storm didn’t last long, and I was gently placed in one of the rocking chairs in the living room.  For a moment, nothing was trying to consume me, and I managed to sit quietly. I could see clearly the life that I want to live It helps to walk a path that is clear of debris. Sometimes fires and other things in my life happen that I am not in control of, and I have to learn how to make due and keep pushing forward. Sometimes eyes to the ground, sometimes looking at the horizon, and sometimes looking at the heavens.

me8-31-15 at 3.19 PM #2Don’t you love how easy it is for me to skirt around the topic of homework. I didn’t do the homework for last week, and on this Monday afternoon, I still don’t have that done nor the homework that’s due tonight.

I have thought about the homework. That must count for something, doesn’t it? No is the answer I give to myself. I no longer accept my favorite “but” card. But I write so much better when I am under pressure. That’s how I roll. I’ve said this to myself so many times, and I believed it. Hook. Line. and Sinker. Obviously I still believe it since this is the strategy I’m employing. I might be doing it right now, though I may end up tying in homework with this blog, and then I’ll feel really good about doing my homework.

Eleven years ago I began the Teacherdom quest when I began graduate classes at Pacific University, the Eugene Branch. I had been out of school for fourteen years. I was older than most of my Graduate Clan, but that didn’t matter a bit.  We all had the 50233_133130022558_3507_n1goal to become teachers. Teachers that would make a difference. Isn’t it rather ironical that a person who detests homework and assignments would turn into someone who assigns it? Maybe Irony isn’t the word. There’s definitely a misalignment going on.

A lot can happen in fourteen years. I surprised myself at how voracious I was with my homework when I first entered graduate school. I remember one of the first papers; I revised three or four times, and still worried that it would be torn apart. I had taken some graduate courses at the University of Oregon, and my papers would get shredded by those professors. Stoddard Malarky mwmr2vtpb2Wwh3M7f87qtbwwas not about to accept any malarky from an undergraduate; he probably detested teaching to us non scholars. There was one professor that gave me the impression that I was not worth his time; he had books and scholarly research to write. Teaching wasn’t really why he was there. I’m not sure why I have a couple of his books. I don’t really understand them.

With horrible experiences swirling, I was sweating bullets when I passed in my first paper to Bob Bumstead. It didn’t help me that he was crowned the hardest teachers at Pacific. I also felt really good about the assignment. I hadn’t left the assignment to the last minute. I was proud that I had worked on it a lot.

To my dismay, most of my cohort group were writing their paper on the fly, right before class; just throwing down whatever. Well, perhaps they are better writers than I, but we were all given A’s, and there were hardly any marks. Word got around quickly that A’s were given out generously. As the work load increased, I could afford to give every assignment my invested interested. Sometimes  getting things done is what is needed. And in the whirlwind of what a teacher has to go through during the school year, know where one’s time is allocated is a serious situation. If the day’s not planned well enough, there will be no food.

Maybe I was  ready to be a serious student by the time I was thirty-four. I really was that young? I’m going to have to retract a statement I made about being old enough for my classmates to my offspring. Anyway, I had a lot to prove when I started graduate school. The voices from the past telling me that I couldn’t do this had to be silenced. In so many ways, it was easy since I had this main question of myself: How could I be an effective teacher, an influential teacher, if I still played the part of an average student? Those things don’t jive. There are times in my life when things can be fine in a disharmonious manner, but this was not something I wanted to be out of integrity. How could I encourage students to shoot for the stars, to go for the best schools, the best grades, the best thoughts when I wasn’t willing to push myself?

I’m  being way too hard on myself. I was thinking that I hadn’t been a very good student up to the year of 2004. Some high school students call Lane Community College, the Last Chance College, but it was at LCC that I discovered what could happen if I actually did the work, did the studying. No, I didn’t get an A in Chemistry, but I had a solid B and a lot of effort had gone into that grade, so it really didn’t matter what the grade was. I learned that I had to work a lot harder than some, and once I realized this, it made being a student that much more fun. I learned that to get the biggest bang for my buck was to not only do the homework and have an invested interest in the assignment, but to participate in the class. Contribute to class discussion. There was one graduate class where I was older than the teacher, and the students could have been my children, and I noticed that I was the only one raising my hand. I talked to the professor afterwards, telling her that I was self-conscious and didn’t want to discourage my classmates from talking. She just laughed and told me to continue on. I know that for me the class went so much more quickly and I learned things with that strategy.

In the teaching world, my transition went from depending on intrinsic rewards to the more internal and self-rewarding extrinsic rewards. Prior to LCC, my success or failure depended upon the subject or the teacher or a classmate that sparked my desire work hard. I might as well throw junior high into the count as that’s where I stopped caring From 1972 to 1984,  there were classes that I didn’t care in the least and felt nothing after failing them. No one should ever fail Modern Rhythm Gymnastics, although that has got to be my favorite college story. It didn’t matter.

Little did I know that my transcripts would haunt me for the rest of my teaching career. You mean I have to show them my first, second, and third try at college? The first teaching job that I applied for asked me for transcripts of Ithaca College, Northeastern University, Lane Community College, and the University of Oregon. It only took me twelve years to get my B.A. in English from the University. And add the decade I spent on a Gerbil Wheel at The Register-Guard.

Lately I have transgressed. I think I have mentioned that I’ve signed on a Life Coach to guide and direct me as I begin my last, though lengthy, life trek. Why can’t the next fifty-five years be absolutely amazing, breath-taking. Awe-struck? Why can’t everyone have this live. They can. I can.

Tomorrow will be our third conversation. If that conversation were to happen now, I’d be sheepish and ashamed that once again I have’t done my homework. I’ve done some, but not everything. Maybe it is time to step onto that mechanical bull. Cinch the belt. Get a good grip of rope with gloves, and hold on until all of the homework is complete. This is possible.

I might as well invite my WordPress and Facebook friends to this process. After claiming that I’ve not done my homework, I do feel accomplished with what I have done. I want be more encouraging of myself than I tend to be. This is a hard habit to break. There may be readers who might be agreeing with me.

One of the first things that I did was come up with a list of ten things that I can do every day that will support me to have a great day. Most are basics that some people have built into their routine that it is now second nature. Water intake stands tall on my list. I forget about drinking water. I have to work at getting the recommended sixty-four ounces. My new thing is I keep water glasses all over the place, and when I pass by the water, I have to drink.

t went downstairs to get the notebook with my homework notes. Do you really think I came away with the spiral? I did come back upstairs with a pile of books, mostly library books, thinking about how am I going ot read all of these books, and do I have to? I could have gone downstairs for that spiral, but instead I sat down at the kitchen counter. On the tablet, I listen to Pure Essence by Maneesh De Moor. Thank you Pandora for that suggestion. I don’t think that there’s anything on the Heart Meditations Pandora Radio station. Except for the ads. I detest the advertisements, but I’m stubborn. I don’t want to pay to listen to this station, so I put up with the interruptions; they don’t happen that often, and I’m using them to suggest a time out from writing or reading or cleaning. Usually, cleaning involves a wide spectrum of Rock that blends into folk and pop and never leaks into heavy metal. There are some categories I don’t understand. Indie? There are others, but this is all I can think of.

The ride of that bull is going to be especially rough if I don’t end this blog and move on to what I need to get done.happy me8-31-15 at 3.21 PM #3

If I were a batter and not a blogger

20150830meI’d be ecstatic. In the month of August, I have written thirty blogs. If that were thirty hits, I’d be buying everyone rounds after the game.

I’m ecstatic anyway. For someone who has been trying so hard to be regular with the blogging, with my life, it’s been a long battle. When I start to listen to the voice of write than to the one that says I have nothing to write about. I’ve not heard that voice all month. Soon, I’ll forget. I can only hope.

The Red Sox always give me something to write about. They came so close today. They had me and most of Red Sox Nation at the edge of our chairs.

The drama doesn’t get better than this scene in baseball. It’s the ninth inning.This is is. The game is on the line. (How many Clichés will I be able to squeeze into this paragraph? Baseball and Clichés go so well together.) In this case,20140326_257213.xml-20140320_shaw_2 Travis Shaw steps to the plate and he’s looking at a pitcher who has three blown saves to his record. Four is a much better number I say aloud to the television. I think the television is talked to more in this house than anything else. There are two on, and the Red Sox are down a run. What is Shaw thinking? Did I mention the count. It’s three balls to one strike. He can’t be thinking swing. The ball is low and outside and no one thinks it a strike except the guy in blue, and his opinion is the only one that matters. Shaw knows to not argue balls and strikes and he touches the plate with his bat, straightens his helmet, and digs in.

Shaw did make contact and at least the ground ball to short didn’t turn into a double play, and it did move a runner over. Two outs. Who is after Shaw? Mr. Betts. Mookie Betts is the top of the Order.

I hope that when I see the Red Sox play again, I can have the kind of lens that can capture this picture. Hey maybe the next time I’ll be in the first row. I can’t imagine that. I want to learn how to imagine things like this.

092414-MLB-Red-Sox-Mookie-Betts-JW-PI.vresize.1200.675.high.28Mookie Betts can be King or Crow. No, that’s not right. King or Goat. Poor Goat. Why does the goat always get the blame. Goats and Lambs are probably sacrificed more often than other animals. How does this tie into baseball with Sacrifice being an important aspect of the game. Moving a player over in exchange for an out is a stoically thing to do with a bat.

I don’t remember what stats Betts had prior to this ninth inning when Mookie stepped to the dish. He’s been batting well, all of the Red Sox have been, even though it’s a little late. Betts watches a ninety-nine miles per hour fast pitch. Did he even see a blur? How much of batting is just guessing. Is it going to be a right down the middle fastball that dares you to go after it, but it’s confident it’s going to cause a breeze. And it does. Betts swings with all of his might, but the only contact is air. The only sound is the baseball thumping into the glove making the hand inside of leather just become numb. Can numbness be number? I must be spelling something incorrectly. Yes, I do have to come up with a prize to see if anyone can fix my mistake.

Every kid that ever played baseball probably had this scenario run in their brain whether the game was pickup or organized. Two outs. Full count. Your team is down. Third base holds the tie score. Ninety feet away. First base contains the go ahead run, and the batter can change things.

Mookie strikes out and the Red Sox have lost the game. Not a great feeling, but there’s a lot more failure in baseball than there is success. There definitely has to be a lot of thick-skins in baseball, in sports.

My skin’s not thick at all. My first stage of defense. I ought to look at why I have such a good defense system. Might due me some good to take the walls down. I don’t foresee a battle in the near future, perhaps never again in this life. I doubt it, but I could use some optimism.

HomerMy thirtieth email feels like I just hit it out of the park. Did I win or tie the game? I know I didn’t lose it.

Quilts

Every so often I give Sylvia a blanket Yes for the day. Whatever Sylvia wants to do, I want to do. No questions asked. In a way, these are no sense days. I don’t have any senses alerted to as to what I might be getting myself into. I also think that it’s my of saying to itself, reminding myself, that it is nonsense for me to not always say yes.

Yesterday I had this rare inspiration of going out to listen to local music. After I asked Sylvia if she’d be into it, she said that she had hoped we could go the Cottage Grove 1382556931Theatre instead. Sylvia didn’t know that had guaranteed Yeses for the day. She was surprised that I said yes and said it without any hesitation. All I knew, what I was about to participate in has something to do with theater and might be in Cottage Grove. I also knew that the title was Quilters. I’ve read quite a bit about quilters, and novels that have quilting as a main activity.

I hate it when I know I read a book, but the most important details evade me. It was about a family who quilts to keep their stories alive. Sometimes they had to hide the quilts because they were against the law. The Quilts marked the typical family happenings. Births, marriages, deaths, but in this quilt, there  stories about family members, especially babies being sold. Stories of the daily and routine beatings. And the story about the lynchings and other deaths to those who would not stand down to the dominant race. No where in my memory are the author and title of book or even when I read it. Could have been this year or even three years.

I’ve learned to rely on GoodReads to keep track of the books I have read, the books I am reading, and the books I want to read.

Maybe I need to go back to indexing my journals. Back four years ago or so, when I printed out my journal, bounded by three to four inch three ring notebook, I always indexed each month. If I indexed could happen for just one index for the year, that might help me. I’d still have to remember the year. Just a thought.

This is a reminder to myself that when I journal or blog, I need to lay down more information. It doesn’t do me any good if I just write down the title of the book I am reading. I want to know what the book was about and whether I liked it or not. This isn’t asking for too much, is it?

I did get lucky in that the Automatic Say Yes Day happened to land on a off-day for my beloved Red Sox. Or was it. What am I thinking, they were on. It now occurs to me that I watched some of the game in the car as we traveled I-5 South. Undo the lucky  notion. I didn’t get lucky on much of anything yesterday.

3811101_origWe got to the Cottage Grove Theatre early. At first I thought the play must have been cancelled; things have been cancelled due to the smoke in the air from the dozen or so forest fires that are happing all over Oregon. There weren’t that many cars in the lot. The play didn’t start until 8. I think we got there almost two hours early. Okay, I was lucky in that I had what I needed to watch the Red Sox game while sitting in the Subaru in a practically empty theater parking lot.

I got lucky to watch the Red Sox bullpen let the team down again. So lucky to witness the wheels falling off the bus. I keep yelling at the television that they need to send the entire bullpen down and let the Minor leaguers fill the spots. Tazawa is horrible. I love the guy, but not right now.

I wasn’t lucky enough to watch Swihart to hit the inside the park home run to win the game. But perhaps by my not watching the game, they were able to win. Reverse-curse call. I don’t think the Inside the Park Home run. Now, if I were to turn that into an acronym, would it be: I.PHR? Does inside get one or two words? Home run doesn’t help me since the words stand alone even though I want to write homerun. I have to make the text stay that way as the auto correct just cleans up my mess, and I don’t even realize it.

Swihart’s miracle hit was not a walk-offer. Red Sox were the visiting team. And this is where luck or no luck comes back. I wasn’t lucky to see the Red Sox bullpen hold down the victory and not cough up a loss.

Luck and Unluck stuck with me all night. I was unlucky that the play turned out to be a musical. Somewhere I was conditioned to fall asleep during musicals and other Performances. Maybe it’s genetic. I remember going to the theater with my dad and his mother, my grandmother, and those two would not only fall asleep, but they snored loudly.  This happened every single time.  My memories are vague as they are, which probably mean that this didn’t happen all that often. I don’t recall my sister Deb playing an instrument aside from the Piano. It had to be Deb’s performances we were seeing. Perhaps she sang in one of the choirs.

I fought sleep the first half of the show. Luckily, no one could tell that I was asleep, at least that’s what Sylvia said. I guess no one doesn’t include her. At the intermission, we both vaulted out of our chairs. I made a bee-line to the snack counter. Coffee. I must have coffee. I never drink coffee after two in the afternoon, but it was about ten, and I had not only an other of the musical, but we had a half an hour drive home. Staying awake became an emergency, and the most important thing. I was surprised that Sylvia ordered a cup of coffee also; the seriousness of this  is she stopped drinking coffee many months ago and isn’t supposed to drink it. I sucked my coffee down as if it were luke warm. I almost went for another cup.

I was correct in knowing that one cup of coffee wasn’t going to do the trick. I nodded off  during the second half of the performance. Going in and out of consciousness was hard. My brain was a ping pong ball.

If I had done the things I felt when I realized the play was over, I would have yelled Yipee and run around the room hunting people. I would have been thankful that I survived. Relief isn’t strong enough to show my Thank God feelings.

5635336_origI did enjoy the play. Please don’t get my nodding off as any indication that I didn’t like it.  It was a good community production. There were some really sweet and amazing voices. There were funny moments. It was everything and then some of what I expected from a community theatre production.

This is where my night was to dive into the cesspool. On the way to Cottage Grove, I saw a sign advertising someones swiss mushroom burger. I had to have one. Since I couldn’t convince Sylvia to get up in the hour we had before the performance, I was determined to get one on our way home. I was convinced that I deserved a burger.

Sylvia asked me if I was sure I wanted to do this as if she knew something I didn’t know. Yes. I was adamant. All of my tastebuds had gathered and were ready to feast on a fast food mushroom and swiss cheese burger. It probably had been two or more years since I have had a fast-food hamburger, so I only had a slight notion of what it would taste like. No, I take that back. Once a month I do it a fast food burger when I bowl the Firs Trio. I miss Wendy’s. I don’t remember where we’ve been going.

cburgerallnaturalmushroomswiss030215Anyway, Carl’s Junior didn’t let me down. It was messy and tasty and I devoured every morsel. I hadn’t gotten a combo. No soda or fries. I would have liked them, but I didn’t need them. I needed the burger. And it didn’t matter that it wasn’t rare.

I did tell you that this evening would turn into a really bad night. Okay, predictors, what do you think I am about to write about. Don’t worry about me, I’m just practicing teaching reading. An engaged reader will be trying to predict what is going to happen. Also teaches critical thinking. What does the author not say.

It was after eleven when we got home. I was tired, but not really. the caffeine was doing it’s thing and was waking up all of the senses that had turned in for the night. I could hear everything in the house, especially the stupid fan that has a ticking sound. There have been times where I’ve had Sylvia turn it off so that the fan doesn’t set me off.

As I looked over my daily wellness chart that I’ve created, I hadn’t accomplished the ten. Maybe. One was to meditate for a half an hour. Well, I suppose I could use the nodding off during the performance as meditating. I hadn’t read for a half an hour. I hadn’t even read the program. So, it it didn’t matter that I was wide  awake at midnight and I was still reading.

And then I started to nod off while reading a book on my phone. The thud that it made every time I dropped it out of my hand and onto the carpeted floor, would wake me up. Even though I knew I had fallen asleep while reading, and even though I dropped my phone,  It took me four or five rounds of this little dance until I finally gave up and shut the phone off.  I should have been so happy that sleep was trying to take over. Between the late time caffeine intake and my tendency to have insomnia, Sleep is a good thing, but for some reason I tend to fight it.

I don’t think I had been asleep for very long when the “Back-At-Ya” happened. Was it the coffee or the burger or something in the burger that came back for a curtain call. Nasty. Nasty. It’s been happening more and more, but last night’s was the worst. If you don’t know what I’m  talking about, be thankful you don’t know and enjoy ignorance while you can. For those who know exactly what I am talking about read on.

I flew out of bed with the sensation that my septic system was backing up. My through burned. I drank three glasses of water with no relief. I brushed my teeth, but the burn continued. I chewed a cough drop. Nothing. Sylvia suggested something yo balance the acid, like milk. Almond milk was all we had. I polished that easily. I chewed gum. I drank more water.

I don’t know what’s going on with my body. My throat still hurts. I do know that I’ll return to not drinking coffee after two p.m. And I won’t be eating any mushroom burgers just a few hours before going to bed.

9543271_origIn terms of the play, I didn’t know this: “In conjunction with our production of Quilters, the Cottage Grove Museum will hold a special exhibit of historic quilts from their collection. Cottage Quilts: Piecing Together Our Past features 100 years of quilts from the museum collection dating from 1840 through 1940. Special museum hours during the run of Quilters are Thursday, 4:00-6:00 pm; Friday & Saturday, 1:00-6:00 pm; and Sunday, 1:00-4:00 pm. The museum is housed in a unique, octagonal, National Register listed building constructed in 1897 and located just blocks from Historic Downtown Cottage Grove at 147 N. H Street. Admission to the museum is free. ”

So, Eugene, Springfield, Creswell, Cottage Grove, Roseburg Facebook Friends, don’t let my nodding off discourage you from going to this play; at least check out the display; the quilts were amazing.

Backwards or Forwards.

I always pull in to park. When I get to slide ahead and skirt the responsibilities of backing up at all.
I have always hated backing up long before I backed into a speeding Camry
As I sit in the Subaru Forester in the parking lot of Cottage Theatre in Cottage Grove, I notice that most of the cars in the lot. It takes so much longer to up into a spot. There is all of this wiggling and dancing to to, pulling in and out a few times before that target is but.  Sylvia doesn’t believe me. She alway back’s up. 
Do geographic locations predict the characteristics and probabilities of backing up. 
Not only does it take more time,  but being in someone’s way is very likely.  And if they are seniors doing the backing up,  you got some waiting to do.
For the last half an hour I have been watching and collecting data except now I have two characteristics that are the indicators of who and who does not back their vehicle into a parking spot, especially the out laying spots that are only one car wide.  Small country folks or senior citizens?

Writing Drills for Writing Skills

Friday, August 28, 2015

imagesWhen it comes to being a writer, I feel more like a chameleon. Since my main tools in learning the trade are other writer’s writing, I get pulled in different directions, which is more like being a piece of taffy, but I get bewildered with the question as to how many commas or dashes I should use, especially when I’m not all that confident on where to put them. I came late to the Grammar is Good party and didn’t really start using any sort of punctuation marks correctly until my junior year of college. You can either blame or thank Lacrosse for my transition. Writing well is not a prerequisite for being a Physical Education teacher, but It’s the golden rule when it comes to being a Language Arts and English teacher. I have so much to learn about the style of writing that I force myself to  read a wide spectrum of reading material.

gopnikEarlier today, I was reading an article by Adam Gopnik in the New Yorker, one of my favorite magazine, and I was blown away with the number of commas and dashes he employed in order to make his sentences at least three lines:

“Away from the world for August, in a house without Internet or television and only spotty, the-satellite-must-be-passing-over phone reception, I was, until Wednesday, thinking more or less benign thoughts about gun owners, if not guns.”

Maybe that’s where I should practice and work on writing, long-winded sentences that seem to go on and on, and there never seems to be an end in sight, so you just keep writing and hoping a period comes along before you pass out  due to the lack of oxygen.

To me, this style of writing is similar to picking up a ten pin in bowling consistently, the hardest pin for a right-handed bowler. Coordinating comlex-compound sentences are so hard for me. Just one slip and I’ve got a Sentence fragment, but even worse, a comma splice. Come to think of it, the run-on sentence is a worse offense, violation of the Grammar Code of Conduct. Sometimes all of this gives me a headache, but now I’m starting to realize why so many authors took to drinking. There’s a lot of think about.

grammarImagine a life where you have your own things to think about. Some of you are feeling overwhelmed in your own stuff with that idea, but as an author, not only do I have my own stuff to think about like where am I going to get insurance in a month, and how am I going to pay for it on a substitutes salary, but what are my character’s thinking, all of my characters including the narrator can be the straw that broke the camel’s back.

As I said earlier, at least I think I did, it’s important for this slow-budding author to read as much and as many different books as possible. The last time I peeked at GoodReads, social media for bookworms, I had 89 different books active, but that’s a much different story, so I won’t go into detail. But to give you a contrast of the windy style,  another book that I’m reading is choppier. Simple Sentences. Commas are not quite a rare commodity, but the emphasis is on simple. Perhaps in the following passage, the complexity of the 1e2xitfirst sentence contrasts the simple sentence that the reader can’t help but to not only see, but hear the short, simple sentences, comma-free. The simplistic simple sentences is this author’s Modus Operandi:

“He nods at the font of the bus, arms crossed at his chest, dressed in his leathers and wearing his best frown. He’d just turned fifty and the lines had grown deeper on his weathered face. King was wide in the shoulders and narrow in the hips. He shaved his head each day and wore a drooping mustache, which he now colored once a week. A jagged white scar ran across his forehead and down his cheek. He was an imposing figure and he knew it.”

Right. To. The. Point. There’s a different rhythm between the New Yorker article and the Nicholas Antinozipassage  that Nicholas Antinozi wrote in Desperate Times. For me, these sentences are so much easier to construct, or deconstruct depending upon your reading methodology. I don’t have to worry about coordinating conjunctions and all of that rigmarole. Maybe that’s my ticket. My speed. My mode. Maybe I should practice writing with this style.

The voice of Reason is always sticking her nose in where it doesn’t belong, but she tells me I should listen to what the readers want. Do you want  Virginia Woolfesque?

“Mr. Thornbury as usual sat saying nothing, looking vaguely ahead of him, occasionally raising his eye glasses, as if to put them on, but always thinking better of it at the last moment, and letting them fall again.”

Sometimes I get caught up in the tide of the a sentence, like this one about Mr. Thornbury’s glasses, and I loose out on the meaning of the sentence. It’s like skiing. I get down the mountain, and I gotta climb back up. So, I climb back up and I re-read the sentence, hoping a clearer picture will develop. I own the fact that I have to work hard at reading comprehension and recall. I was never given much capacity to begin with and some of the things I did in college weren’t necessarily kind to my Neurons. My mental spark plugs aren’t always firing in other words. As I re-read  the suspenseful sentence as to whether Mr. Thornbury will ever say anything, I start to think about Mr. Thornbury. Why doesn’t he talk. Is is self-conscious. But then again, how are raising one’s eye glasses connected to conversation?

It seems as though the more commas or hyphens or dashes there are, the deeper I delve into the text.

Getting back to Adam Gopnik, and his sentence, “spotty, the-satellite-must-be-passing-over phone reception.” It took a minute or two to visualize the satellite floating around in space, unteathered and free to go where it wants.

By the way, did you know that there are fourteen punctuation marks? I should have been referring to the dash by it’s proper name, the endash, not to be confused with the emdash.  That’s the Kansas version. What really gets my goat is that the endash and the hyphen look exactly the same, but they do different things. Who in the world created this system of communication? Did they hate us and wanted to get revenge for something?

In my quest to learn the secrets as to why I am a tortured un-published writer instead of published, The reception is indeed sporadic. Maybe it’s because I can’t settle on a style. It’s bad enough to not know what genre I want to write. Fiction, non-fiction, historical fiction, creative non-fiction, historical non-fiction, science fiction, horror, etc. Since I don’t read romance novels, I’d be hard-pressed to go in that direction.

All of these choices are cascading over me, like a torrential rain fall or a perhaps even a metaphoric tidal wave. I’m feeling swept away and I’m way over my head, as well as my targeted word count. I apologize to my readers that prefer shorter and much easier to digest material rather than my twisting, and winding, and more confusing than complexing. Perhaps I’ll continue with this whatever you want to call it in another blog, but with shorter sentences.

Why

I am a clothes hoarder

Yesterday, I wrote about aggravating my back while trying to remove the heavy and very out-dated blazers from my closet.

Recently I read a story about a snail, a year in the life of a woman and a snail. Well, I’ve got a book idea. I’m a snail when it comes to organizing my house, which is why it took a year.

mound of poloToday I tackled the Polo Shirt population explosion. You better pay closer tabs to those innocent shirt that has worked hard in staying in fashion. No, none of my polos are Izod, though those might be worth something these days. Back when the polo shirt collar had to be worn up. Always made me think of vampires, but I probably did it anyway.

polos have taken overFour piles later, I counted that I had 49 polo shirts. The winter counterpart, Turtlenecks, probably are at a similar number, though T-shirts are going to dominate the race. I mostly have more Tees to wear than days in a  year. Several drawers.

kettle korn shirtThere was one out of the forty-nine polo shirts that had to go right back into the closet. I think it is next week or the week after that I become Kettle Girl, supper seller of sweet delectables at the University of Oregon football game. Believe it or not, the first home game is right around the corner, so make sure if you want to get the best-tasting kettle korn, come on and see me September 5th. Don’t have six bucks; no duck will ever be turned away; ask for a sample.

Two shirts from the sentimental journey made their way back into the closet.  First of all, I think there’s a law against a fan to toss a shirt that represents one’s team. This Duck shirt doesn’t really fit me. The second shirt will stick around a lot longer than anything else, perhaps even longer than me. When my dad bought his dream boat, he bought Polo shirts for the crew. He wouldn’t give me the first mate one. And he probably didn’t give me this polo either. I was probably supposed to return it to him before returninsentimental polog to Oregon from Florida. The boat wasn’t’ in his possession long enough in the same way that he wasn’t in my life long enough. Who says cleaning a closet can’t be therapeutic? Who would have thought that a blog about Polo Shirts would cause me to shed a tear.

On the flip side of things, there were two polos that didn’t geprettyt a second look. I like them, but they really aren’t my cuppa, if you know what I mean. And Good God, I have 49 Polo Shirts. Some have go to go regardless of how I make the decision.

I wasn’t making much progress until I got to the solid color collection. Eighteen shirts were just plain solid colored shirts, if you count white and black. I had four white and four black. The other half were a 20150827_135954range of colors. All but one black shirt made it onto the team. The white ones got the ax. White is a magnet to my sloppy eating habits. Not bad. Yes, the black one was Mickey. Not sure why. I have never been to Disney World and don’t even know how I got this Polo. There are quite a few shirts I have gotten along the way.

Then there were the few colored spectrum shirts. The Yese’s and No’s weren’t as hard asI expected. I don’t wear pink and orange. Am I supposed to? I kept the blue ones. I even kept the teal blue one, but that’s on the verge of going.colored polos

Basically I am talking about a collection that covers thirty perhaps forty years of collecting. Some made it from Boston to Eugene. I would hate to think of the number I would have if I hadn’t made that drastic move to Boston where most of what I kept is what fit in the Plymouth Volare with me and Kahlua Dog.

strippedAs I worked on whittling the numbers down, I found that the decision to pitch was getting easier. I didn’t keep one stripped Polo. Not a single solitary one. Please don’t tell me that Stripped Polos are back in fashion…At least don’t tell me before I get rid of them. I worry about these things. For those who are using this blog as a math word problem, I had seven stripped Polo Shirts.

bowling shirtsSince I like to flip and flop, the flip side of the stripped were my bowling shirts. Even though I never was sponsored by Track or other ball manufacturing, this didn’t keep me from getting a shirt to match my bowling shirt. Having appropriate accessories are important.

The ten bowling shirts can be divided in half. Half have some sort of logo. Five have my names and city on the back for the few years I played against the big girls in the Pacific Northwest Regional Professional tournaments. Once a month found me driving the I-5 Corridor. This level of competition was my barometer. In the beginning, I flat out stunk up the place. After coming in dead last or just out of contention, I would tell the bowlers to have a good life and that I’d see them in the next life. This manure-style bowling only pushed me to practice harder. Maybe I ought to wear these shirts to remind myself just 20150827Absterhow much I have to push myself to be the writer I want to be.

Writing. Why do I Write

Thursday, August 27, 2015

I am starting to feel comfortable about blogging. I imagine there will be a time when I spend more time blogging than I do journaling.

I have always wanted to write, and I have always written. I have vague recollection of typing out nasty things to say to my sister. I think the typewriter was taken away from me.

I wrote stories. I wrote letters. I journaled. My life is so well chronicled; it would be a shame that I didn’t “convert” into a famous writer person since I have so much. So much shit. Most of it is only worth the price of an already used piece of paper. Since electronic what do you even call a document that doesn’t really exist, at least not in a tangible form. Everything I write, mostly, is on the computer, so that means it’s not worth anything.

I don’t really believe this. It may not mean much to anyone else; I couldn’t sell my journals at a garage sale, yet alone to a publisher, but they mean so much to me. Back in 1983 I wanted to write every day. I wanted to have the discipline. It took a couple of spiral bounds to get me going, and once I arrived in Oregon, the journals increased tenfold or more. I can look back from about 1985 and for most days of the year and read what I was doing.

The content is rather weak. It’s not much different than the farmer in Vermont I once met who had written down the weather. Snow. Rain and Precipitation. Temperatures. Too many single digit temps for my liking. He wrote down the animals he saw. A regular census taker.

There are times when I throw off inhibition and write what’s really on my mind, though most were relationship problems, family, friend, and lover, and not really what was burning deep. There was always this sense that someone could be reading my journal while I’m still alive, creating a solid wall of what things I could or could not write about.

I learned early on in life how words can be as painful as punch in the nose or a kick in the groin. Maybe more. I was journaling for a high school social studies class, and I said some nasty things about my father. Our relationship was such a love-hate teeter-totter for so many years. I don’t remember doing this on purpose, and I am not very good at putting things away, but I happened to leave my journal open and in a location that my dad had ample times to notice it’s existence. There was nothing that said it was private. I don’t even think my name was on it.

My dad didn’t say anything about it until many, many years down the road.

When I ask myself why I write, why I am compelled to write, I have no answer. Sometimes it’s not like I want to, but it’s I have to. For the most part, my voice that says you gotta write, has been satisfied with the journals to myself, letters to friends and family, email, and now hopefully a once a day blog. Now these things are not quenching that desire. Maybe writing is an addiction and the only way to appease that voracious need is to turn writing into a  profession.

I have been thinking about this and talking about this for years, and years. Ever since I started writing, I have written stories. So many of my teachers were so frustrated with me because I could go on and on and on. I hadn’t any problem coming up with something to say. I just had the problem with mechanics. I hated them. I could care less if I had a complete sentence. Paragraphs were a waste of time. I drove my teacher’s crazy. How do you grade a paper with A for creativity and an F for mechanics. Sometimes creativity won the battle, but mostly mechanics would trump ingenuity.

After I tore my ACL and MCL and was told I couldn’t be a PE teacher, my fall back was to be a writer. I’ll get a degree in English and see where that goes. While at the University of Oregon, I explored creative writing classes. No one told me to buy a pair of boxing gloves and full body armor. These were upper division classes for mostly Creative Writing Master students. Not some floundering Junior and Senior undergraduate who couldn’t understand Chaucer even if the translation was spelled out for me.

AbuJaberBirdsIf it weren’t for the wonderful support of Diana Abu Jaber, a visiting professor, I probably would have broken all of my pens and pencils, smashed my computers, burned all my books, and swore to never acknowledge words ever again. I would have stopped speaking to them. I didn’t produce much to be critiqued, but when I did, I felt as if I were in the ocean with sharks. Talk about a feeding frenzy. I probably still have the stories and the comments that went along with them.

Today I commend myself for never giving up. I have met some amazing writers and teachers down the road. Paula Gunn Allen was one of those that inspired me.

The one who motivated me the most to keep writing was Ralph Salisbury. Such a sweet and supportive teacher. When I showed him an F on a paper that I had done for a stick in the mud professor that didn’t see creative nonfiction seriously. So what that I really didn’t have a walk with Virginia Woolf as I stated in my paper. She did tell me about her life. I did show I had learned how to research and write about Virginia Woolf. I had my sources. Remember to keep in mind that I was still at that time much, much better creatively than structurally. I probably still have that paper. It’s possible that upon a weatherheadk_11.cc_09052011review, Kingsley Weatherhead was correct in failing me. But anyway, when Ralph looked at the paper, he saw the creativity. The mechanics, he always told me, can be fixed, but it’s hard to fix imagination. You’ll have editors, he would tell me.

Switch gears. Athletics has always come naturally to me. Maybe there is some connection between creativity and athleticism. Quick mind, quick body perhaps. Maybe there was a purpose in my developing an amazing Sarcasm ability that can be downright lethal. If I am not paying attention, I can cut some one down with a mere word or two.

When it comes to my ADD, that doesn’t happen when I am throwing a ball. Maybe that means I’m only partial ADD. Only my right brain has it. Or would that be my left? When I wanted to get better at soccer or hockey or lacrosse or bowling, whatever, and there really isn’t a when, as it wasn’t until recently that I had learned to accept mediocrity. With the way my body is battered, I’m learning to even accept lower than mediocrity, but that’s a different blog.

I’ve told this story a zillion times, but it’s the only way I can quantifiable show what I mean. I was a horrible bowler when I first started, and I have the journals to prove it. My backup ball had me in the double-digits most of the time. It wasn’t long before the beast within me said that this wouldn’t do and basically took over my body. My goal was to raise my average every year. The more I bowled, the better my average. The better my average, the more I bowled. The more I bowled, increasing my average got harder and harder. That bowling ball that I had been pushing up the hill and been picking up weight, so between that and gravity, it got to be a tough battle. I stuck with it. Sometimes I had to rest and pause and re-evaluate and add things to help me become better. I went to seminars. Drove all the way to San Francisco to work with some great bowlers; three of which happened to come from Oregon. Marshall Holman, quite the marshallholmancharacter. Dave Husted. Nice, mild man. Maybe there were only two from Oregon.

I studied the game, I practiced. I entered every tournament possible. I had no life. Or bowling was my life. At the peak of my ability, I was average over two hundred. I had had three perfect games, two in league. I was inducted into the the Eugene Women’s Bowling Hall of Fame. I was bowling on an average of a hundred games a week.

I have been wanting to translate that drive into my writing. It’s so easy to measure if I am good or not in bowling. Well, it’s actually rather easy to measure if I am good nor not in writing; it just takes a different mode of scoring. I have to ask for opinions. I have to get my writing out in the world so I can be told what I need to work on. I’m not looking for whether I am a good or bad writer. I already think I am a good writer, and that’s what really matters, right? What I am looking for are ways that I can improve my writing. I’m willing to do the work, I just need to know what I need to work on. How are my mechanics even.

As I think about the wall of three, four, five inch three ring notebooks that are filled with my journal or the two hundred pages a month I’ve got electronically, I think about all of this is like practicing to pick up a ten pin. It’s not fun to just throw at the ten pin, but to make it automatic, that’s what it took, a lot of repetition. Writing isn’t always fun, like that ten pin, but if I want to get better, I have to start doing the drills, the receptive not so much fun stuff. Up to now I’m settled on being less than mediocre. It is time.

Just thinking of Sue Nelson

Thursday, August 27, 2015

As I was reading last year’s journal, I came across a conversation I was having with Sue Nelson. This saddened me to think that no future conversations will ever happen. Her life taken by an auto accident.

I had just moved to Eugene and didn’t know many people. I started taking bowling classes at Fairfield Lanes on Highway 99. George, Sue, and other staff people were so nice. Maybe because we had the same name, but Sue was always so bright and cheery, well perhaps not always. I’m not going to put Sue on a pedestal. We all have our grumpy moments; Sue just didn’t have patience for idiots, and tell you the truth, there are a lot of idiots out there, especially when beer and alcohol are involved. Fairfield was the only lanes that had a full bar, so it attracted a different kind of crowd than other bowling alleys. I mean bowling houses or establishments. It’s not PC to say Alley.

I think once a week I came to  Fairfield to work on my pathetic game. At the end I was awarded a purple plastic Columbia White dot and a funny certificate about How I are a good bowler.

Sue Nelson and I were not close friends, but our paths crossed quite a bit over the almost thirty years. She was a much better bowler than I, so it was a while before I was bowling against her. She always gave me a run for my matter. I had mentioned that Sue could get grumpy, but I don’t recall a time when she got grumpy bowling. She new it was just a game, and there wasn’t any purpose of getting mad. She taught me a lot.

There was quite a long time I didn’t see  Sue. Fairfield got taken over by Strike City. Sue retired. I quit bowling. She quit bowling.

Five years ago, we discovered each other on Facebook. I don’t remember who asked who. Doesn’t really matter. We started to play Words with Friends. She never gave up no matter how many games I beat her at; we always had several games going on at the same time.

I returned to bowling, and it was so nice to arrive at Firs Bowl for a monthly trio tournament and see Sue Nelson there cheering on the bowlers. I looked forward to seeing her.

I found this picture on Sue’s Facebook page; must have been Halloween. She’s with Judy Guzman-Dillon, another bowler who’s life’s path has crossed with mine many a time. I just couldn’t resist copying this picture as it is shows the love of Life that Sue felt.Sue Nelson Judy Guzman-Dillon

I miss you Sue.

Come on Tazawa and the Red Sox

e742e623e8ec07843890da0f1778da0e_crop_northI wasn’t feeling so great when I saw that the Red Sox pitcher, Rick Porcello, was going up against the Chicago White Sox pitcher, Chris Sale. Sale’s name is being tossed around in talk of a Cy Young award; there’s talk about tossing Porcello as his track record is not helping the Red Sox cause.

Porcello, coming off the disabled list, pitched his best game of the season. It’s not like the Red Sox didn’t have lots of chances. Sales got into early trouble with walking 635659392512523850-USP-MLB-TORONTO-BLUE-JAYS-AT-BOSTON-RED-SOX-72686858runners and hitting a batter. He was doing much better than he did when he pitched against Boston, but in Boston, when he didn’t even make it to five innings. The Red Sox just couldn’t take advantage; Hanley Ramirez couldn’t pull the trigger with the bases loaded. Rusney Castillo got picked off base quite easily.

Travis Shaw came threw for BoSox, delivering the first two runs of the game. But is two runs, even the three runs the Sox have now, enough. Can the bullpen not blow it like they have been?

May 8, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Boston Red Sox pitcher Robbie Ross Jr (28) pitches against the Toronto Blue Jays in the eighth inning at Rogers Centre. Toronto defeated Boston 7-0. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
May 8, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Boston Red Sox pitcher Robbie Ross Jr (28) pitches against the Toronto Blue Jays in the eighth inning at Rogers Centre. Toronto defeated Boston 7-0. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Robbie Ross came in and shut the ChiSox down. Red Sox Nation is collectively sitting on the edges of our seats. Two outs in the 9th inning. Phew. The Red Sox won the game. Yippee! Double Yippee because earlier in the day, I watched the Yankees lose again to the Houston Astros.

April 26, 2013; Boston, MA USA; Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Junichi Tazawa (36) pitches during the seventh inning against the Houston Astros at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
April 26, 2013; Boston, MA USA; Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Junichi Tazawa (36) pitches during the seventh inning against the Houston Astros at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Winds of a storm coming

A few minutes ago, I was out with the dogs, wondering if it was time to open the house and allow the breeze to come in with hopes the heat has left for the day. This summer, I spend the day in a darkened house to keep the cool air in and the hot air out. Sometimes it works so well that I have to go outside to warm up. I’m not saying that we don’t need air conditioning; we really do when the temps read into the hundreds.

Before I felt the breeze, I could hear it through the trees. My senses like to all get into figuring out what’s going on. It was a nice change to be able to take a deep breathe and not choke with smoke, though I imagine the winds are causing the fire fighters all over the state their ow0212320n problems, especially if there’s a sudden change. There’s already been the fatalities of three brave souls fighting the fires; I certainly wouldn’t be volunteering for that mission, so I admire those who do. I think at least two of the guys took the job to help pay for college

This picture was supposed to represent the 20150826weatherjclouds moving in. The little itsy bits blue dot may be Eugene. The clouds have rolled in. The wind is sending my thin greenhouse skin dancing and whipping around.

It is the end of August after all, and I know that we’ll still have a few more hot days, but Fall is coming. The little wild plums have almost all come and gone. The pears and apples are ready to be picked. Leaves are a changing. Hopefully the forecasted rain for later on in the week comes true. There’s going to be a lot of people dancing in the street to pay homage to the Rain Gods and Goddesses.

20150826_leaves

Beware of the dangers that lurk in one’s closet

It doesn’t take much to get my back barking at me, but it was starting to get better with physical therapy, so when my lower back to start to take a hold of me, I stopped to think about what could have caused the pain.

In retracing steps of the day. Watching the Yankees lose to the Astros wasn’t hard on my back. I haven’t vacuumed yet. I took a nice leisurely stroll with the dogs. No impact there. Due to my need of taking my vitamins, I make sure I soak in the sun for a little to get that D. I can’t see how that would have aggravated my back.

Well, I have been looking at how much stuff I have in this house and am thinking most of it has gotta go. I wasn’t as successful when I made sure all of my short sleeve shirts are in the loft closet and winter wear go down into the basement. I had made several trips up and down the 32 stairs that separate closets, not to mention the steps between the rooms. I had made lots of little trips with lots of breaks in-between. One break found me watching part one of Band of Brothers. Where have I kept myself? That was just an hour.

Blazer collection082615And then it occurred to me what may have put extra  stress and strain on my back. The blazers. Should I be admitting that I even have blazers in my closet? Should I admit that I didn’t get rid of them all? I need something to use at Halloween.

Gawd awful collection. At least, I can say that I have not worn them in a very long time, perhaps not even ever. Does that help my cause in the slightest?

But what really did the damage to  my back w as that the majority of the blazers had shoulder pads! Yes, I’m really dating myself. The funny thing is that I may be a little person, but my shoulders are probably my best asset, and making them beefier than need be only made me feel like I needed a football helmet.

So, due to pushing myself beyond reasonable activity, I’m going to have to call it a night and just sit back and watch the Red Sox. They are going to need all the positive vibes as possible. Porcello against Sales. Need I say more.

20150826AbbyOh, I do. I did find a very cute sweatshirt that I should turn into a sweater for Abby the Labby Number Nine. I mean, do I really look like a person who would wear this?

Desperate times by Nicholas Antinozzi

Desperate TimesYesterday I picked up an e-book that I had started who knows when and had only gotten to thirteen percent before I got distracted with reading other things. My goal is to not have 89 books going on at the same time, but perhaps two, maybe three at the most.

It shouldn’t take me long to get through Desperate Times. Last night alone I read twenty percent of the book. What is going to slow me down is the writing about it, but I think this is an important process of reading. Reading and reflecting and reviewing. What’s the point of reading a book if I don’t get every juicy nuance of the book? If I have read a book and I can’t tell you what it was about, I don’t consider that book read. I may have gone through the motions. I may have let my eyes wander the pages, but the words didn’t sink in.

It’s always good to practice what I teach.

Maybe it’s not such a great idea to read a book that’s based on the chaos and destruction that can happen when the government runs out of money; when the stock market just went down the other day, it reminds me of this book.

Jimmy, the main character in the book, was late to work; it was just a few days prior there was a meeting with a strong emphasis on being on time. When he was called into Ken’s office, Jimmy figured he was being let go. I can’t think of a time when a boss has called me into their office and has me close the door and the meeting was fun.

There was one time my boss Bob Welch called me into the Feature’s Editor’s office and had me close the door. I started humming the theme song to Jaws. I had started to get careless about the wedding announcements I was writing. Ten years of writing: the bride is the daughter of and so on was getting to me. If I had my druthers, I would have spent all of my time working on an Oregon Author column that I absolutely loved, but I had no control of my druthers. I don’t even know what druthers are. (I do know that my computer says there’s no such thing as a singular druther…)

When I have kids read, or I suppose anyone read, I want them to be able to relate to the book. I can put myself in Jimmy’s shoes.

Instead of Jimmy getting the pink slip, he’s offered a cup of coffee and was told that they had a lot to talk about. And when it comes to talking about the end of the world and doing whatever it takes to survive, there is a lot to talk about.

Nine years earlier, Ken had promised Jimmy’s dead parents that he would watch out for the kid, and since the stock market was taking a Swan dive, Ken needed to fill Jimmy in on the escape plan which was to head for the hills and avoid the bad things that happen when people panic.

51QLaBCAPnL._UX250_Nicholas Antinozzi makes it clear that bad things are going to happen in this book. As the tension increases, gas was being sold for twenty bucks a gallon and shelves were being emptied quickly, but Jimmy “was unaware of the turn of events to the south. Had any of them known, they wouldn’t have let their guard down. That would prove to be very costly.”

So, if a book about death and destruction due to desperate times, isn’t your cup of tea, I’d not bother with it, but so far it’s a pretty good book. I like the way that Antinozzi 200px-John_Warnersticks in real facts. For example, in 2007, President George W. Bush signed the John Warner Defense Authorization that allowed the President to trump governors’ control of their National Guard unit in times of public emergency. This story is all about a massive public emergency.

In terms of writing prowess, Antinozzi shows how hard it is to avoid clichés. “Jimmy felt his heart in his throat.” It’s also hard to stay away from stereotypical images. One of the fights for his life involve a biker gang. Of course, there has to be tattoos and long greasy beards. They are ruthless and not so bright.

And Jimmy is brimming with luck. By the time he and Ken’s entourage of people trying to escape to Ken’s mountain home runs into the biker gang, this is the second time that Jimmy’s life was saved by someone else with a gun. The first time an eighty year old farmer blasted away a couple of potential car jackers.

Some of it isn’t luck. A lot of it has to do with the slowness of the characters. If the biker gang wanted the truck filled with lots of supplies, they would have just either killed Jimmy and the other people or just take the truck. But instead, they decide that this is a perfect opportunity to test a newer member and give that person an initiation decree to kill Jimmy, but not with a gun, the easy way, but with a blade. They want him to stick him like a pig. Why is it the animal getting stuck is always a pig. Getting stuck like a lamb doesn’t quite fly.

Even though the biker gang has more people and are armed with automatic weapons, Jimmy’s group prevails. Jimmy, who has never shot a gun before, was able to hit his target with his first shot. One of the stereotypical characters in the story, a very queer hairdresser, turned out to be special forces. Ken had earlier demanded that the gay guy get left behind because he couldn’t imagine what purpose the guy would have to the group’s survival, but he sure learned how not to judge a book by it’s cover when he learned that Jon had served three tours in Iraq.

The author did predict that bad things were going to happen to good people, and two in the party got hit. One of which had just gotten married as if that makes his death worse than the other. The other was older and looking forward to retirement.

I like the way that Antinozzi uses a phrase to mean so much more. Jimmy had been one of the last to leave Tom and Sharon’s wedding reception. As a reader that tells me that either Jimmy had no where to go or that he was closer to the couple than most of the people at the wedding. Some writers would have gone into length on how long they had known each other and blah blah, but just one sentence says a lot.

It’s still early in the book, but from what I am seeing, this book will be worth seeing to the end.

Maybe I don’t need to leave the house

Earlier today,  I told my Life Coach, Sherrie that I dreamed of traveling with the explicit idea of finding things to write about.  If I don’t leave the house,  I will eventually run out of things to write about,  or would I?
Currently, Goodreads says I am reading 89 books. Eighty-nine unfinished things I have started. Some are on my kindle.  Some are just samples that I have or have not finished.  Some are books,  though some of those were borrowed from friends or the Eugene Public Library,  but they had to go back home.
Sometimes when I don’t know what I feel like reading, I’ll pick a letter.  Tonight’s author begins with the letter A. A few months ago,  that method got me to read Louisa May Alcott.
Currently I have 22 Authors whose surname begins with A on my tablet.  A few I have read like Before We Were Free by Julia Alvarez.
While studying to become a reading specialist, I studied Alvarez. Lightening is tough when forced to read an amazing author.
In the twenty-two books,  I found a book that I had started but stopped only 13% into the book.  I haven’t the slightest idea if I stopped because I didn’t like it or I just had a craving for a book
with an author who starts their name with a j.
I have no clue as to what it is about except the first line says,  “Jimmy had never seen Ken so angry.” I  don’t know who Jimmy or Ken are and why Ken is so angry.  The only way that I am going to find out is to start all over…
Desperate Times by Nicholas Antinozzi.
Maybe I’ll blog more about it tomorrow. 

Yang’s annual trek

image

Yang the drooler. I haven’t seen Yang in two days. The first morning of not seeing her in the exact same spot she had been in the night before. For days, months, Yang occupies a spot on the bed in my office.
My hunch is that Yang is on her annual pilgrimage or felinimage. I don’t really know what to call it.
The first time Yang disappeared, I panicked. We are talking about a cat who never leaves the same spot on the bed,  yet alone leave the house.  The other cats come and go,  but not Yang.
I searched for Yang and called and yelled.  Nothing. As the weeks pass by,  I started calling less.  Cougar sightings are not common,  but they happen.  I have seen Fox, but I don’t think they care about foxes. In my imagination even Sasquatch, and I probably murdered the spelling on that. I don’t think there’s a k in there. Maybe I should give a gift to the first responder.
Anyway,  my mind invents all sorts of creatures that could have done poor Yang in.
The first time she was gone longer than a month,  I figured I hadn’t a cat anymore,  but then Sylvia said she got a glimpse of Yang running into the blackberries. Aside from the house and what space the dome occupies, blackberry brambles occupy more of the property than not.
At first I thought that Yang was sick or hurt. Why else wouldn’t she come home.
She did start to reply when I called her.  Sometimes I even saw her. It didn’t take too many experiences of fighting my way through eight foot tall blackberry bushes to get to Yang for her to only run away after I was close.
She’ll come back. She always does.

Virginia Woolf

Monday,  August 24, 2015

Learning to blog every day is like leaning how to ride a bike. I keep falling off.  One of these days I will trust the process and writing will be second nature. I can trust the writing process a lot more than my auto correct. Writing has almost become wiring instead,  and that is a totally different flavor.

I started this blog because of a passage  I read in the Voyage Out by Virginia Woolf, but as I started to write on my Samsung Tablet,  I realized how Swype has influenced my writing.  Swype is a program, an app that allows me to drag my finger across the screen.  Since I leave the trail visible  I see, the pattern of where my finger goes;  it leaves a picture on the screen.  Reminds me of the trail of a sparkler or perhaps that of a snail. I was going to say slug,  but after reading about the wild Snail and the sound it would make eating, I have an appreciation for snails. I don’t think I’ll ever feel that way about slugs.  Thank you Eugene Public Library for this on your shelf.

Back to Swype and the effect of writing.  I wonder if anyone has studied people who struggle with writing  and see what happens if they use Swype instead of keyboarding or writing letters out. Yes,  it doesn’t hurt to know the qwerty keyboard,  but with Swype you just have to know the general vicinity of the letters.  Right. Left. Up. Down.  Hunt and Pecker typists would love Swype.

As I follow the picture my finger paints of a word, it changes the way I am thinking. There is also this connection to doodling. When I am in a meeting or lecture, I doodle.  It is the only time I doodle. When I am home,  writing is my doodling,  and if I had a choice,  I would write all day long,  and I could.  I am extremely proficient on writing about nothing and making something out of nothing.
tumblr_mom9nszm5t1qdrojco1_1280I bet Virgia Woolf would have liked today’s technology. According to the woman I talked to at Monk’s House last Spring said that Virginia and Leonard loved gadgets. I think of Virginia Woolf when I write without a plan, not that Virginia always wrote in that manner, but it was She who introduced me to Stream of Consciousness Writing. I am not a true Streamer. I do pick up my pen, rest on the keys, pause between words or phrases, but in many cases I don’t know what the directions my mind will meander. I wonder if Swype would be a tool to help people be more creative.
And onto the passage that I yanked from the pages of Virginia Woolf’s first book, Voyage Out:
“She turned her back on the sea and regarded Hewet with friendly if critical eyes. He was good-looking in the sense that he had always had a sufficiency of beef to eat and fresh air to breathe. His head was big; the eyes were also large; though generally vague they could be forcible; and the lips were sensitive. One might account him a man of considerable passion and fitful energy, likely to be at the mercy of moods which had little relation to facts; at once tolerant and fastidious. The breadth of his forehead showed capacity for thought. The interest with which Rachel looked at him was heard in her voice.”
It doesn’t seem reasonable for Rachel to come to these sweeping generalizations certainly only after just meeting. Two strangers just passing by.
In a way, this reads like a horoscope. “… likely to be at the mercy of moods which had little relation to facts.”
Can some one help me out and tell me what this means?
I am getting to the point in Voyage Out that I either have to put my head down and plough through or start from close to the beginning. There are so many characters that I forget who is who and the text is so thick. Woolf’s books have the texture of pudding, perhaps tapioca putting.  I am ashamed to say that while Rachel is doing all of this analysis of Hewet, I am struggling to remember who he is and what his role in the book is. She’s met him at a hotel. She had a moment with the guy on the boat, and now at a hotel. Sensitive lips. And his eyes, “though generally vague they could be forcible.” Forcible? I am sorry, but I don’t want people in my life who can force me to do something I don’t want. Were his eyes serious? Granted that Rachel is only 24-years-old and doesn’t get out much, but still.
I get the impression with Virginia Woolf that she wants her reader to see her characters in as many dimensions as possible. I don’t recall Rachel pondering of Hewitt’s nose. You can tell a lot about somebody based on their nose. If you look closely, you may see the results of breaking my nose a few times. By the way, who is Hewet?

Oh, how everything is wrapping up so nice. I just got to the part in Voyage Out where Terence Hewet is talking about the writing he wants to do. “Things I feel come to me like lights… . I want to combine them…. Have you ever seen fireworks that make figures? … I want to make figures.”

Now, that’s what I’m talking about.

Addicted to number 11

Sunday, August 23, 2015

If you don’t have a thing for numbers,  this blog may not be for you. But may be there is someone in your life that is obsessed and perhaps compulsive about a particular number.  I wouldn’t begin to profess that this blog will help you understand, but it would be a neat idea to think my words influenced anyone. Isn’t that the purpose of writing?

Most of my sports buddies have their favorite number. I can’t tell you a single solitary name and number; but that just  shows how much I really pay  attention.  Throughout my athletic career, and I use that phrase so carefully, I was rather lucky that I was one of the only one driven to number Eleven. I used to believe that I was so good at that particular sport, players with number eleven would give it up just to have me on the team. It’s fascinating on how well I can put a spin on things in my life to give myself a boost in self-confidence. False notions have gone a long way. Sometimes I think that sports has been the only avenue for me to exhibit success. If that image was taken away, I’d be holding to not a sliver, though I could use the word literally and figuratively. I hate slivers.

Hockey introduced me to organized sports. Playing whiffle ball with Jon and Jed Cliftons or 500 in a neighbors field wasnt the same, though in Wiffleball, we did create game shirts with numbers. I have no clue what number I wore. I got tossed from Jon’s life when I was about ten because somewhere along the line, he learned that he couldn’t play with girls.

Ah, no wonder I came into hockey with such an anger. I loved baseball as a kid, but girls weren’t allowed to play. This ticked me off. It ticked me off that three for four times a year I’d have to fight with my mother on why I couldn’t stand wearing dresses. I was an extreme challenge. There were many reasons why my sister Barbara nicknamed me Monster, and there were many more on why the nickname lasted until I got to college, though there are times, I’m sure she still calls me Monster.

I have to go off on a tangent that I least expected. I’ve probably written this story before, perhaps even more than once, but it’s worth it.

Barbara is the years older than I. If I were four or five, this would put her in the bratty category, so I’m sticking with that date. She taught me to spell Susan, “Monster.” I practiced long and hard, and was so proud of myself when I showed my mom. I don’t know how long Barbara was grounded. Maybe she wasn’t. I don’t recall her getting into much trouble, but then again, that’s another tangent altogether. Somehow I do need to weave my way back to numbers.

Numbers of temper tantrums? I’ll bite. I don’t know why, but I almost came out of the womb angry. I don’t know if I started the terrible twos early, but I extended them for quite a few years. I am pleased to say that I’ve been practically temper-tantrumless in years. At least that’s what I tell myself. Remember there’s that false ego that I have to protect.

I pitched a lot of fits when I was a child. My sisters would all say it was because I was spoiled. No arguments here. I was the baby. There would be no more attempts at having a boy. I was the closest thing. In the olden days of science, they used to think that what a mother thought influenced the baby. For many years, they blamed the mother for her thoughts and it caused childhood schizophrenia and autism. I read that in textbooks a zillion years ago at Northeastern University, one of the pioneers of autism awareness research.

I don’t know how much my mom was drinking during my gestation. Maybe my premature birth was my saying that I had to get out of the pickle factory. But I have no testimony to say whether I am making this up. It’s the story I have told myself to many years.

Who knows maybe I was angry in a previous life and the temperament just carried over, but angry I was, and everything about my life and being female made me angrier. What do you mean we get paid less? What do you mean we didn’t get the vote until 1920. What do you mean I can’t go to school unless I wear a dress. How come my cousins could wear a polo shirt and slacks and be told how handsome they looked in their clothes, while I was squeezed into a dreadful dress and horrible shoes.

I was a volcano ready to blow, and yet I was graced with more tests. Take an angry girl, and just when school and relationships got more complicating, and take her mother away. A healthy secure twelve-year would have been staggered by the blow, but it was important that this was in the cards for my life.

Doesn’t look like I’m going to go back to talking about numbers. I’ll have to use that for another blog.

Terry_O'Reilly_78-79And take an angry girl, one really pissed at everyone including God and give that person a weapon. Give that person an opportunity to check and fight and they were just excuses. Terry O’Brien, and I am wondering if that’s not the write name….Terry O’Keefe. Terry O’Reilly. He was one of the best “enforcers” on the ice, and I wanted to be like him. Mostly I just wanted to be able to lash out at the world and scream that “it’s not fair.” In my last classroom, my only classroom, I had a sign up, “Rule number one: Life’s not fair; get used to it.”

At least in hockey, I had an excuse for not being the best; I spent most of my playing time in the penalty box. I was a feisty little thing. Take an already angry girl, take her mother away, a mother that was spoiling her rotten, and then throw hormones into the picture. I was a weapon of mass destruction. I think the United States is crazy to not let women into combat positions. There are a lot of WMP’s.

Maybe I’ll make it back to my adoration of the number eleven.  It’s not because of Jack Biona. When he wore number 11 in a Boston Bruins uniform, my all-time favorite team, they called the blouse a sweater.

It’s too bad it wasn’t P.J. Axelsson; that’s a really cool hockey name. It was his destiny. He was born at the peak of my love for hockey, the 1970s.

It would have been sort of ironical, if my influence was something Quackenbush, but he played before I was born.

Perhaps I have been barking up the wrong tree. There was more to my sports world than the Boston Bruins; there were the Boston Red Sox, which was probably my first love. And since I’m in the mood for tangents, I have to insert this quote:

“The difference between the old ballplayer and the new ballplayer is the jersey. The old ballplayer cared about the name on the front. The new ballplayers cares about the name on the back.” – Steve Garvey (Jonathan Fraser Light, The Cultural Encyclopedia of Baseball, ‘Uniforms’, Page 979)

Terry O’Reilly’s number 24 influenced me. I always used 24 to create bank pin numbers. I’m way beyond that now, so don’t even bother trying. In the baseball world, number 27 was important to me because of Roger Clemens. My idol. And then he jumped ship, and the idolness I saddled him with went with him. Chances are great, but I’m sure if someone offered me x amount of more money to change teams, I’d go for it. Any team, but the Yankees. I’ll probably never excuse what’s his face who went from the Red Sox to the Yankee, and an Oregon boy at that. Jacoby Ellerson. I almost forgot his name; the healing is working.

It would be so fitting if my love for the number eleven came from Bobby Doer. Speaking of Oregon boy; Bobby lives down the road from me, so to speak, in a small town called Junction City. Here’s what he has to say about baseball. He’s the oldest member of the Hall-of-Fame: Maybe my mom or dad were Bobby Doerr fans as they were the right age when Doerr played.

“There is a lot of luck in baseball, and what is luck? Luck is really just a lot of practice and a lot of work. I think it goes back to bouncing the ball off the steps a jillion times and my God, preety soon you have to get pretty good.” – Bobby Doerr

Darn it, I ought to retract all of what I wrote about Bobby because he wore number 1 from 1938 to 1951, though there were other guys who wore that number. I’m keeping the stuff in here just because of the Oregon connection.

I struck out. I have no idea what drew me like a moth to a flame to number eleven. I love the number eleven. I don’t remember liking a number like this one.

In my ways, hockey was my savior. Did you know that Ice hockey is the only hockey that doesn’t require an adjective. Hockey is ice hockey. Everything else, like field hockey needs the adjective. I’m just slightly biased as I hate field hockey. You have to wear kilts to play lacrosse. When I did finally get into lacrosse, I think I mostly picked the goal position because we didn’t have to wear a kilt. I also don’t remember having a number back when I played lacrosse, though that was an extreme short love affair. I almost started to like it more than hockey; I definitely liked it more than soccer.

Hockey saved my life and probably saved my dad’s sanity. Without my mom being able to watch over me,  my dad was desperate to get me involved into something so he didn’t have to.  I didn’t want to learn piano or how to sew or become a better student. There weren’t many options for girls and women.  Girls could play little league baseball.  Of course,  the year that that the desegregation rule went into effect,  I was too old to play. Yams. That’s what I used to yell when frustrated. I didn’t much particularly care for Yams, though eating soap is much worse than eating Yams. With enough butter, any food can taste just like it were butter, but not even a pound of butter could make the taste of soap any better.

Liver was the thing that took more layers of other tastes to cover up the taste of beef liver. Grilled onions and garlic a must. Ketchup, Mayonnaise. I don’t recall putting Lawry’s salt, though Garlic salt sounds reasonable.

I didn’t realize at the time that sports would become my coverup  for life, especially school. I loved school throughout elementary school, but junior high school took a lot out of my soul;  throw my mom’s death into the crux of things, and it was just a matter until I blew.

Amy Craft’s and I were Weston, Massachusetts, classmates. I lived in this small bedroom society from day one. I don’t know if Amy’s situation was the same.  Fred Crafts, Amy’s dad, used to give my dad legal advice. Amy and I could not have been more polar opposites. She was athletic and played almost every sport.  I don’t think there was a sport she didn’t excel in, though gymnastics would have been a hoot to watch.  It’s more than probably that Amy Crafts was was better at Modern Rhythmic Gymnastics than I. Ball, hoop, or rope. How hard could it actually be? Pick out a good song. Create a layout that had all the right moves, that the music and my body were in sync. That still doesn’t sound that hard.

Putting  me in a leotard was the largest Obstacle for me to go around. I would have had an easier time if I were swirling a streamer while naked;  But it looks just like a bathing suit, How hard can that be? I remember being petrified me, sick to stomach nervous.  I despised the gymnastics class so much that I knew I was going to fail it, and I needed a lot of it. I kept putting off the final performance until the last possible day. Each day cost me a grade. Some teachers weren’t coming back for the second semester, though there’s no recollection as to where they were going.

Amy Crafts was also brilliants. I think she graduated second in my class, and I probably graduated second from the bottom. I don’t know if she worked at school or it just came naturally. For me, it didn’t come naturally, and I didn’t even try. But Amy and I became good friends. It was hard to play for a town that typically is one of Weston Rivals, but it would be a long time before Weston would have girls’ hockey team. I wouldn’t be surprised if they never have had one.

I never did finish my story about Modern Rhythmic Gymnastics. Not knowing what was going to happen to the women’s hockey program at Ithaca or at least my part of the program. Failing grades in any class, even the meaningless ones,  I knew that I’d have to be hit it out of the park. The performance that is. I just had to do it in front of someone, so I chickened out every day until classes were over, and I just had to face the teacher and not the jury of my peers.. My angels must have talked and decided to take the day off on the day of my performance.  Phil Collins had a great band, Genesis. Dance on a volcano was the song. I probably was under the influence of something when I laced up my whatever you wear for mat work, put the music on, just danced my heart away. I had fun until I saw the F on the report card. What did I expect when this was supposed to be my final on how much I had been paying attention in class. There wasn’t a paper test. What did I expect when I didn’t practice. I don’t even think I had drawn out the routine that I was supposed to be in sync with. What did I expect when I got wrapped up in my ribbon. Merry Christmas to who knows.

That F and the others were enough for my dad to decide that Ithaca wasn’t the place for me. I could go on in different problems this caused, but enough of the tangents. I started this blog three days ago and it’s time to get something up. My fan is clamoring for more, right Bex?

I suppose if I compare Field hockey to Modern Rhythmic Gymnastics, Field hockey would rise to the top of the least, well at least in from of Modern Rhythmic Gymnastics. Gymnastics, regular traditional gymnastics weren’t so bad. I was probably in the best shape of my life after those classes, though my fear of heights caused problems with the balance beam. Yes, I know it’s not that high, but I have never had very good balance. That’s why I like sports that applause you when you run into people and throw your body in front of the missile to keep from scoring. Meanwhile, my internal bomb is ticking…

Even with MRG making Field hockey look a lot better, I’d still have to say that Field hockey is stupid. I hate to step on toes, but hockey is so much better on the ice than on the field. I think it’s idiotic that you can’t touch the ball with both sides of the stick. All of those nonsensical penalties slowed the game way too much. Who  created that silly little stick that makes you bend down and that has a round side and a flat side. Oh, and you can’t let that hard rubber ball go between your legs. I don’t want anything going between my legs while wearing a ridiculous kilt that field hockey and lacrosse players are required to wear. Or used to in my days. You’re going to wear shorts underneath, so what’s the point? As I was doing research for this blog, one of my favorite parts of writing, I came across a quaint little place in Birtley, Gateshead, United Kingdom. Got the Country part. Is Gateshead a county or something and Birtley the city or town? And wouldn’t a more English kind of thing would be a tea shop rather than coffee? Maybe the name: No. 11 Tea Shop was already

No. 11cafe_n taken. According to TripAdviser, there’s a lovely little tea house called No. 11 Tea, though I don’t know if it’s the same as the No 11 Team Rooms in Worsthorne; when I first read that address, I thought it said Worsthome. According to Ken Stott, “It’s really good, you can have sandwiches, soup, ploughmans etc. very good food and great value… . Now I’m wondering what a ploughman is. Next time we go to Europe, I plan on doing more research about the food; I learned quickly that England’s English is a differenPloughmant language than the U.S. version. There were things that I ate that I didn’t know what I was eating. Maybe I did eat a ploughman and didn’t even notice it.

Back to number 11. Obviously my ADD meds aren’t keeping me on the same track today. I’ll just go with the flow and have a whatever comes my way kind of day. It’s a great day for the silly little Words With Friends game.
20150819_130539#1I don’t know if I was given a choice of numbers when I joined the Waltham Angels, which shortly after changed to Waltham Wings, and I asked for number or that’s the number that randomly was chosen. I fell in love with number 11. Until this year, I wore number eleven on all of my softball teams. I’m no longer one of the best players on the team, and the other number eleven is a far superior, and far younger player than I am. To be in compliance with the Eugene Parks and Rec. softball rules, I do add another one to my nubasics_score_numbersmber to be a 111. I am not sure why it even matters. For a scorer, they use numbers of who is on the field. Momentarily I lost confidence in my memory of what positions got what number. I knew pitcher was number one and I was almost positive that the catcher was number two, and after looking at this chart, I confirmed that I was right. I always attempt to keep score with the numbers, but I don’t think I have made it through all nine innings, and whoever came to the game with me quickly tired of me asking. What number fielded the ball, and not the number they were wearing on their back.

luis-aparicioIn my quest to find out more about the first Red Sox player with the number eleven that could have influenced my life was Luis Aparicio. The only Luis I remember from early Red Sox days, early for me, was Luis Tiant, but this Luis Aparicio that played shortstop for the Red Sox was still formidable even though he was on the sundown of his career. Slowly fading into the background, but this player that was told that he could never be a professional short stop since he was too small. I think it was a Cleveland Indians manager that made that prediction. Funny, the Chicago White Sox took a gamble, and Aparicio went on toe win Rookie of the year and followed that with nine Gold Gloves. This hall-of-famer will never be forgotten for all of the things he was able to do on the field. Perhaps this is where Dustin Pedroia got his tenacity to prove those naysayers wrong. I’m similar. Just tell me that I can’t do something, and chances of my wanting to do it increases exponentially.

People mean well when they say I can’t do something because of something to do with my height or build. In my prime when I was 5’4″ and weighed 120, sometimes less, I was told that I was too small to be a police officer. My ex, Phyllis, was a shoe-in. add four inches to my height and ninety pounds, and this Massachusetts State Trooper makes her presence felt when she walks into the room, especially when she’s got the mohawk thing going. I suppose now with thirty years of service, she’s not driving aimlessly along rte.1, but comfortable sitting behind a desk singing the song, “The Old Grey Mare ain’t what she Used to be.” A song that she sang to her mom thirty-something years ago when I moved to Eugene to help me make a break for it. I’ve not had that many experiences of breaking off a  relationship. Current one, and hopefully the only one for this lifetime, is going on 28 years. So close to being twice my age.

I’ve got six minutes until I see 11:11 and for that one fragment of time, I’ll think that I am in the right place at the right time.

Cat Whispering

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Fred and GingerI have blogged about Fred the Cat (the Orange and White guy) a few times, my problem child, but it’s been more than a year. And how many months more than the year since Fred has allowed me to pick him up and carry him across Blanton Road. This was an extremely challenging event. My timing had to be impeccable. Not a car could be coming up or down the hill or Fred and I wouldn’t make it across the street. A freaky cat with claws, desperately trying to take flight is not a safe situation. It’s like Juggling jello, dangerous jello. We have been playing this game for years. Sometimes I tried to make Fred an indoor cat, which meant all the cats had to be indoor, and that was a huge mistake. Eventually I’ll be ripping up the basement carpet because of territory issues.

Fred and IA few weeks ago I happen to be at my neighbors when Fred came by; he got one look at me and took off; I think he was swearing at me as he left the property. Maybe if I ever develop the ability to communicate telepathically, I’ll get Fred to tell me why he won’t stay home.

Another Ginger and FredWhen I do get him to come home with me, he enjoys the attention I give him. He purrs and rubs all over me, establishing his territory. But something in his wild Feral roots makes him leave and stay across the road.

I’d done the dance of getting Fred and bringing him home so many times, and my biggest worry was about him crossing the street. Maybe he was better off on the other side of the street. He didn’t lack for anything. Neighbors were feeding him, and he’s got a great hunting field. I didn’t have to try to make him want to stay with me and my rather large clan. Three dogs and three cats, not including Fred. Maybe he was better where he was.

My friend Bex sent me a cougar sighting alert for my area. No, I’m not worried, I told her, but then I started to worry. Fred has a few houses he stays close to, and I expect his survival instincts are telling him to stay close and stay out of the woods at night. But between worrying and flat out missing him, I decided to give Cat Whispering another try. All the times that I’ve had to coax him to me, I’ve had to interact with him on his own terms.

Yesterday, Pat called to tell me that Fred was at their house. I went over right away, armed with some dry food to shake and make noise, and some canned food to attract his attention with really good stuff.

Our interaction was brief. He did roll around on the dirt once, and that’s a good sign that he didn’t think I was an immediate threat, but then he left.

Today Cheryl called to say that Fred was there. Back I go, across the street. This time Fred was under a car. I lay flat on my stomach with food. I pour the canned food in with the dry, showing him. I talk to him and make the strange noises I make when I am cuddling Fred. I crept close to him, pushing the food closer to him than to me, and then backed off to see if he would be interested in at least eating. Guess he had already eaten; so much for that enticement.

FredThe only thing I could go on is that I would trigger a memory that he really did like me holding him and giving him all sorts of attention. I’m not sure if he’s got a relationship with another human being, though I’ve heard that he’s now allowed Cheryl to pat him. I haven’t asked if she’s ever tried to pick him up.

FredlaughsTonight’s visit with Fred twas so much longer than yesterday. Not only did he do a lot of rubbing on the dirt, but he felt safe enough to groom while I watched. I did get close to him once and managed to touch his tail, which caused him to flee.

If we make as much improvement from the first day to the second, it may take me just a week to get him to come home with me.Fred's a nicknack

I am slow sometimes

I want to write this blog for a different blog site, but I can’t seem to replicate that ability.  I did it the first time several years ago. I don’t remember my first blog.  Since I seem to be on flashback mode, I might as well.

I am also on flat on my back mode. I am pinned. Pinned under a sub six pound Calico which feels more as she is planted mid section.  This helps my back,  and it keeps me in one place.  I wanted desperately, and still do, see the hawk-type bird that is calling out. I am guessing Kestrel, but it sounds so loud.  Usually I hear Kestrel as they hunt and soar. I have a feeling this is parked in one of the fruit trees. The plums have gone crazy.  Maybe the perhaps  falcon is thanking me.  Do they eat fruit. Red-tailed hawks are one of my favorites to see.

I am so slow today that I no longer can remember how to insert a picture into this text,  but it could be my Smart-ass phone playing tricks on me,  and that this will have to suffice as a rough draft.

As it turns out, this blog site was perfect.

Dogs

Monday, August 17, 2015

20150817LucyMy dogs. I don’t think I could live without them. I also I don’t think I could die when I have a dog in my life.A day shy of 8 weeks2005

Lovely Lucy. Lovely getting old Lucy. The little white fluffy ball. When we brought Lucy into the fold, King Harold was nearing the end. Even though he continued to groom Jules, the best Chocolate Labrador, the Ambassador to Labradors, but I felt that Jules needed a playmate. I also knew I needed the young energy to distract me from my future loss. The death of a dog hits me hard, but I notice that if I have a young one, the impact isn’t as jolting.

I’ve written about my dogs quite a few times, but I don’t think I can write enough about them. I take them for granted more often than I can afford; their little lives are so brief. I do think that I can’t spend too much time with my dogs.

Blame Harold and Maude for the multiple dog trend. I had just lost Kahlua, and I know I have used this picture before. Ah, to be young again. Kahlua was one of those amazing once in a life time kind of dogs. He did no wrong, but he was with me a lot while he was a puppy. I played this game with my supervisors at the New England Medical Center, where they would try to catch me with my dog. I used to hide him on the roof of the building. The Gargoyles prKahlua and me 1983?otected him.

It wasn’t very long after Kahlua’s death, that rocked my world. I had cats in my family, but the safety net was precariously  thin, and the Angels must have realized this as my path crossed with Harold and Maude, two adorable puppies. Harold had a similar German Shep. look that reminded me of Kahlua. Maude reminded Sylvia of her dog Kaftan, a black Labrador. There was no hesitation, but I’ll tell you the transition was extremely challenging. I had never raised two  puppies at the same time. I can’t imagine repeating that same mistake. I never could tell who did the chewing, and talk about chewing. They chewed the side of the rental house. They chewed up my Datsun Stationwagon. What didn’t they chew? It was like going from a fine wine to sour grapes. Harold and Maude did mature eventually into fine companions. I hJules, Maude & Haroldad never had a female dog before, so there was a little bit of adjustment. I worked hard at not comparing them to Kahlua. He got a lot of my time, whereas I was a college student while raising H & M. It didn’t help that I still had temper issues to work on, not a good thing for raising dogs. They were well-behaved, but that was because there were consequences. The best part about this pair is that I could walk along the bike the bike path; they’d be off leash of course, the rebel rouser that I am. And if another dog or bike came I could yell sit and they’d drop in an instance, and they would stay there until I gave them the okay.

Maude smileHarold did grow into the title King Harold, though his sister was the Alpha in the pack. There was something changing with the way Harold was treating his sister. He didn’t groom her very often and didn’t really have much to do with her. She was slowing down. Both had had knee surgeries, but her hips were giving this big fluffy black dog the biggest problem. I can’t believe I took this picture eleven years ago.

Harold always had his sister, and I was worried about the impact of Maude’s impending death for him and for me. Once again, those Angels stepped in. We happened to be in Eastern Oregon visiting Sylvia’s cousin Joe, and he hapJules as a puppened to have one last puppy of the last litter they would ever have, and they offered him to us. This is another picture I have used before, but it’s so cute. I definitely have a thing for profile shots.

Another chewer. It didn’t matter that I knew it wasn’t Harold or Maude. There’s a book called Jules Sandoz, my Jules’ namesake, and perhaps I didn’t want to be like Jules Sandoz and shifted philosophies, letting go of the Iron fist approach in dog behavior.

frisbee boy 06-21-05What a grand dog Jules grew up to be. Amazing. So intelligent. I could ask for specific toys, and he would bring them to me. His most amazing talent was tracking a ball that he could not see. I would huck a tennis ball over the dome house, and he would sit and listen to it. He wouldn’t move until I gave him the okay, and then off he’d go, searching in blackberries and other weeds, and it had to be that specific ball. He would search for quite a long time before he gave up, but most of the time he would come back with it.

GhostDog Mar05 GhostDog Mar05Jules’ cancer diagnosis and dignified death caught me off guard. Floored. Yes, I still had Lucy, but Lucy was Jules’ dog. Lucy went where ever Jules went. Lucy gave me attention, but preferred Jules. I seemed to click with male dogs than I do females, though Abby the Labby Number Nine has changed that idea.

Photo on 8-17-15 at 10.48 AMI knew I needed something to patch the gigantic hole in my heart. Lucy tried so hard. I went to the dog pound and searched online. I wasn’t looking for a puppy even though I’ve only had puppies. I thank my Angels for watching out for me, though this time there was a bit more searching, though I think this just made the magic of Ricky that much more powerful. Thank you Lisa and Save the Pets for saving me. It didn’t matter that Lisa thought that Ricky could possibly be a psychotic. It turned out that we were able to save each other.

Taking myself too seriously

Sunday,  August 16, 2015
I haven’t been feeling like I want to continue living on this planet.  I even hired a life coach, thinking that if only I had an amazing life I could chase that voice away. “Hey, Sherlock,” the voice says, “Did you forget about Robin Williams?” My voice can get to the meat of the matter quickly.
“Hey,  Sherlock, what’s so unamazing about our life? That voice can also be rather endearing. Maybe that is why I am still here after 55 years.
I don’t think I have another try in me,  but I did think about it after spending a couple of hours jumping through Governmental hoops to get myself insurance.  Sylvia retires in September. I hate things nipping at my heels unless it’s a cute little animal. I could use a puppy right about now.
I probably start to feel this way as another summer is about to slip through my fingers. Usually I can at least say I grew a humongous garden, but I didn’t garden.
I thought I would give my back a rest,  and that I could get my house in order. This Monkey on my back is so old and large,  I can’t stay on my feet.
And then as I sit on the deck looking at an amazing piece of property, listening to the Chickadees, the only singer I can identify. Birds sing because it is their job.  Yes,  building a nest and gathering food and providing for their families is a lot of work, but they are proud of their songs. I start worrying about what I have not done instead of what I have done. Darn Voice had to pop in to tell me there isn’t much to put on the list.  And the Voice isn’t sure if bowling counts.
Years before my dad died, I came to the understanding that he couldn’t compete with the Beaver’s dad or the guy on Father Knows Best,  but he tried.  He did his best.  He did what he thought was most important. He never really turn it around and become a family man like we expected with grandchildren, but that isn’t who he was.  The Voice thinks I’ll never be voted best Sister or Aunt.
.

image

“So,  how about forgiving yourself?” the voice whispered.

Cartomancers

Friday, August 14, 2015

I created a game many years ago to help me figure out what to do, to help me get a starting place. It wouldn’t be that hard to find out when I created this game as I’ve journaled because of the game.

It started with solitaire. I come from a family of solitaire card players. My Grandmother played solitaire. My dad played solitaire. I don’t recall my mom playing solitaire. Crossword puzzles were more of her thing. I don’t know if my sisters Barbara and Deborah played solitaire; I know my sister Pam loves Solitaire.

There must be a name for this. Solitaires perhaps. Maybe I should ask google. The things that one can learn on google is amazing. I didn’t realize that in England, Solitaire is called Patience, but with the influx of online and internet-based Solitaire games, Patience may be out-of-date. I wanted to find out if a person who plays the solitaire game is called something.

library081415I started this blog sitting in my kitchen, but that location has changed. Now I am sitting on the third floor of the Eugene Public Library. Information surrounds me, and yet chances are, I’ll not get up from my comfy seat until our hour is up.

Going to the library is a new activity; Sylvia and I’ve not done it enough for it to be considered a routine, though I’m not sure where I learned that there’s a rule about this kind of thing. Because of the heatwave of a last week or so, Sylvia and I fled the Dome in search of a cooler climate. Cooler and Free makes the library perfect. For the two or three times that we’ve venture to the EPL,  a common routine happens every time.  Sylvia brings a library book that she’s working on. She’s taken on a challenging book, Elizabeth George’s, Just One Evil Act. Just one evil actThe book is a monster. The zillion pages would take me an eternity to read. I had recommended the book based on my familiarity with Elizabeth George. I met her at the first Eugene writer’s workshop.

After a short while, Sylvia would switch from reading to napping. I’m tempted to take a picture of her snoozing away with her mouth partly open, but even I have my boundaries. Sometimes I stay in bounds.

While Sylvia naps, I blog. Sometimes I get them done. Sometimes they sit in my draft folder for a while. I probably have a few that have collected dust, if something in electronic form can have dust. Since most things in my life at this point has dust, my blogs might as well do the same.

In my search for finding a name for one who plays Solitaire, I came across the connection between playing cards and being a Cartomancer, According to Wikipedia,

Cartomancy is fortune-telling or divination using a deck of cards. Forms of cartomancy appeared soon after playing cards were first introduced into Europe in the 14th century.[1] Practitioners of cartomancy are generally known as cartomancerscard readers, or simply readers.

The Fortune Teller, by Art Nouveau painter Mikhail Vrubel
The Fortune Teller, by Art Nouveau painter Mikhail Vrubel

Playing solitaire and the One-Armed Bandit were two of my go-to games to keep boredom at bay, especially during the summers that seemed endlessly long.

And then I created the game. I haven’t named the game. Maybe I should put this on my list of things to do.

Not much is needed for this game. A deck of cards, a pen or writing utensil, and something to write on. I tended to gravitate toward the legal lined yellow pad. I wouldn’t be surprised if I still have some of those old lists kicking around.

The list. The list is created with things that I have to do mixed in with the things that I want to do. Journaling, being on the fence of want to and have to, always gets put on the list first. Sometimes I get a lot of journaling done and sometimes not a word is written.

Solitaire_7To speed up the process, I only use Klondike solitaire or Vegas. This just means I flip one card at a time and I can only go through the pack once.

In the beginning, the only thing that would be written down would be journal. I would play one round of cards. At the end of the game, the number of cards played where the aces are played, that number would be written down next to journaling. Suppose I played the game that is pictured. I know I’d get at least a one with that Ace of Clubs. Let’s say that’s all I got, this one would get put next to journaling. If I were only going by this list, chances of my journaling would be slim as one’s are a rare commodity in Solitaire.

How the list changes depends upon what things are pressuring me. I used this as a method to determine which class to study for or do an assignment. I use it to clean my house. I always put things on the list of things that I want to do, like read or write a letter or play with my plants. The dogs don’t have to be put on the list as I play with them all throughout the day when I am home.

This game I play has evolved over time. I still have quite a few decks of cards, but electronics have moved them aside. For a while, electronic solitaire allowed me to walk on the treadmill or ride my incumbent bike and play at the same time. Maybe I should put cleaning off the treadmill on the list.

A few years ago, I stopped using Solitaire as my mode for Cartomancing, and replaced it with Words With Friends. Instead of putting Words with Friends on the list of things I want to do, Words With Friends is how I determine what I’m doing.

There are some times I play this and I get quite a bit done, and other times not so much. But I’ve never tracked exactly how much time I would spend in the actually playing versus the time spent doing.

Before starting this blog, I did play a game of Words with Friends. Zag got me 38 points. I then would choose two things to go around the 38. So, my list would look like this:

Animal Room
Kitchen 6
paper
playroom 14
basement bathroom
loft 31
walk
Vac 36
plants 37
Journal 38
My room

It took me less than two minutes to come up with a 6. The last word for that Game was Arf, enough to give me a victory. Thanks Patty W. for  leaving me a triple word, and I was able to take advantage of it. Doze was worth 36 points, though I’m still behind by eleven.

This game has changed a bit to speed things up. If there’s just one number in btween tasks, I automatically fill it in. 36 was next to Vac. Journal had 38. So, plants automatically got 37. If I averaged two minutes a game, I’ve spent six minutes so far. What isn’t taken into consideration are the other things that consume my time while I am playing. I’ve got the Red Sox playing, and sometimes there’s something worthwhile watching. After the first half of the first inning where the Seattle Mariners looked at a lot of pitches and took a 1-0 lead, I wasn’t sure if I would see much worth seeing. I’m also snacking on sunflower seeds, in the shell, and that can be distracting.

I’m kind of feeling bad. I just played another triple world against Patricia W.  I don’t know if it’s the same game, as I do have multiple games going with some people. In fact, I don’t know how many games are waiting for my attention. I’ve not been playing Words With Friends lately, using the just do it philosophy. I do have certain things, like blog every day, write email every day, work on cleaning my room every day. These things will get done regardless of whether WWF tells me to do or not.

If I don’t get much done today, I’m going to blame the Red Sox, as they are giving me a lot to be distracted about. Homers. Doubles. Stolen bases. Of course, there are some players that I have to stop and watch. Brock Holt is one of those, and he just clobbered a triple that probably should have been an out. Xander Bogaerts is another; he got two at-bats in that inning.

If I don’t get much done, I”m going to blame it on Rachel Maddow. I was watching the Red Sox in the kitchen. Six O’clock rolled around, and Sylvia had to watch Rachel Maddow. Since Sylvia was eating, I couldn’t tell her to go into her room and watch. I could only volunteer to go downstairs. I haven’t watched tv in my room in so long, that I don’t even remember how to work it. I’ve got one channel as a choice. The bad news is I can’t watch the Red Sox, but the good news is that it’s a really good football movie. I don’t know the name. Cuba Gooding Jr. It’s a good feeling movie. I’m thinking it is set in the 70s. Bear Bryant comes to mind. The coach is the celebrity of the barber shop. The111413-shows-star-cinema-movie-poster-radio outfits and the sideburns and the music. It was that scene that helped me remember Radio as the name of the movie.

It’s not like I’m far from a television with the game on. When I left the Red Sox an inning or two ago, the score was 9-1.  The Red Sox have increased their lead to 11-1 in the sixth inning.

Since I’m in the room that I want to organize, I’m going to have to finish telling this story at another time.

Pushing through

Yesterday, at this time,  I was in bed,  and feeling good about my life. The first day of stepping onto a new path felt good. Accomplished. I was feeling so good about myself that I was even ready to forgive myself for getting up a minute late.
Tonight I crawled into bed with a host of complaints and nagging voices. No published blog, though if I manage to stay awake long enough,  I may get that done, and get rid of one of those voices that reaffirm my worthlessness and laugh in my face. Change?  You really aren’t serious about changing my ways and living a stellar life full of pure bliss and happiness. There is nothing that is going to keep that cookie from sticking. That same cookie is destined to crumble.  Maybe I shouldn’t have eaten that second piece of Chocolate Cream Pie. All I can think about is pie with a slice of disappointment.
This writing life that I am constantly talking and writing about is just as far away today as it was Yesterday. The image may even be a bit fainter.
Tonight I am listening to the voice that tells me to listen to the comments to my blog and that no comments speak louder than comments. People are much too polite than to tell me that writing is not your strong suit. People have insinuated that they have at least read my blogs. This says a lot to me.
I have been working on clearing out my office, and I briefly thought about pitching my journals. I even considered not journaling any more. What’s the point? It isn’t as if anyone will want to read my jibber jabber.
And yet I continue to write. Maybe this is the point of doing it. 

I do like worms

I’m on a quest to become an early morning riser. I’m convinced that successful people get up early and they get up at the exact time every morning.

If I had a choice, and I always have a choice, I’d be getting up between ten and noon, and I’d be okay with this. My dogs don’t seem to mind. They try to get me up, but they are so gentle. Whimpering isn’t allowed. Neither is Pawing. When my gigantic seventy-five pound lapdog gets on top of me, he must not realize that I no longer am at choice whether I get up or not.

One of the things that I must have before I get up in the morning is some dog snuggle time, which turns into some play time. If I fall back to sleep after the ruckus with the ruffs, this just means I get to do it all over again the second time.

If I talked to a hundred people about whether I could have a successful life by following such a morning routine, sometimes not getting out of bed until noon, I bet that only a handful, if that, would say I could have a successful life. One friend would say that I’m already having a successful life so why change anything. He’s a sweetheart. Maybe he’s right.

I give Ricky Dawg a hard time by telling people that he’s my PTSD dog and sometimes he chases things that aren’t really there. He’ll follow the invisible spectra from tree to tree for quite a long time. I don’t mind the dashing around the woods, but it’s the barking. the constant barking.

Maybe Ricky and I have a lot in common. We’re chasing things that might not be there. Maybe they are.

Last night I stepped onto a path, one of my own choosing. In the past few years, I’ve been collecting a support team, changing doctors, looking at my mental health as well as my physical well-being. I was so jazzed that my physiatrist, Lisa Albanese, came back to town. But last night I added an important part of the team: the coach. Sherrie Goggins-Patterson has boarded the proverbial boat.

This brings me around to the subject of being an early morning riser. I have been both. I even went through a phase when I just skipped the sleeping altogether, but that’s another blog. I have been meeting a lot of early morning risers. Some wake up on their own; some set an alarm.

In recollecting memories, I can go back to a early morning. Early morning, earlier than 8 a.m., there is a different feel at that time, when most of the world is asleep. The birds are different at that time. I do recall that the day seemed longer, I got more done.

When Summer Break comes, I tell myself that I have earned my time and can sleep as long as I want. How’s that working for me? Classic Question. To throw a classic answer back out, I’d have to say It is what it is.

Getting out of bed at eight was one of the agreements I made. I sent my alarm to 7:45 a.m. Gotta get the puppy pile love done. I didn’t hit the snooze button, and I knew that I missed as I put my head back onto the pillow.

I fell asleep. I can’t imagine that any of you would have been surprised. Upon waking, I grabbed my cell phone. 8:01 and I was still in bed. Broken agreement, and I’m only on day one.

After doing my animal feeding, I spotted Yang Cat on my bed in my study. She meowed me over to her, and soon I was experiencing some Yang Cat therapy. She’s a great story starter. I swear there’s some magical formula in her Cat drool as she rubs her face all over my face.

I wasn’t expecting to fall asleep. How many of you saw this coming? The next thing I realized was the phone was ringing, and I had to jump out of bed and zig and zag around the maze of boxes to get the phone.

So much for being out of bed by 8 a.m. I managed to break this agreement twice.

I could convince myself that getting up at 8 a.m. isn’t important, and that I can create the Hell Yes Life by continuing old patterns. Statistics shout. The question, Really? assaults me from all directions. Who do I think I’m kidding.

How I do this 8 o’clock challenge is how I do everything in my life. Just after one day I’m looking for an escape hatch, a back door. I can wiggle through extremely small holes; I have had a lot of practice. But what saddens me is that if shows me that after just one experience of “failure.” I’m ready to quit and say it’s no big deal. How often do I do this?

I saw that it was 8:01. Immediately I thought that I had blown it again. How many times have I blown it with Sherrie already.

Back the film up to Dec. 9th. Sherrie reached out through a Wings Community Facebook page that she need volunteers; she was finishing up with her Life Coaching training, and needed some people to practice on. The only thing I knew was we both had Wings in common and that she didn’t live in Eugene.

Maybe I volunteered because I assumed that the physical distance would  count me out. But she said yes, and I kept saying yes. And I meant a level five agreement to be available for up to an hour on the phone. I could taste the potential change that was at the tip of my tongue. Sure, my life has lots of places that could use change. I thought I was on board.

The next day, I realized that I overbooked that day and had a dr.’s appointment; this is what happens when I don’t write things down on the calendar. I’ll hold onto the questions for later. It wasn’t a problem to reschedule. I felt good about myself for taking care of the matter immediately. Praise for unusual good behavior.

I imagine the ball that I dropped grew in weight as time passed. I don’t see myself standing on a tall building from the start, but some how between December 9th and three months later, that ball had gone through many floors. I don’t remember how often this undone promise haunted me, but it did poke its head in and look at me. I knew that Sherrie needed the practice time for her degree, but I was able to shoe this off.

Even a dead mouse carcass will eventually stop smelling. I learned from the best that if something serious isn’t talked about or mentioned, the problem will go away. I have plenty of evidence that proves this method worthwhile.

Three months after I let Sherrie, and myself down, I got the nerve and wrote an apology note. I felt remorse. Perhaps that my 55th birthday was around the corner that caused me to realize that I had also let myself down.

There is a cousin to the behavior of ignoring negative behavior, and that cousin is all about trusting that things will work itself out, and this is such a classic example. I could not have scripted this any better.

I knew that Sherrie lived in Montana or Idaho or something like that, and the odds of our paths crossing were slim, but in this life, I’m learning that anything is possible.

Recently I had the opportunity to volunteer to support teens going through a personal growth seminar, True Colors. as I had done nine years ago. I’ve written, or at least I have thought about how unprepared I was for the commitment. I know that I can’t start running without stretching out, and participating in a personal growth seminar is as rigorous, perhaps even more so than jumping into a softball game. This is where the ripple effects are coming from. Those sore muscles haven’t been used in a long time, and it’s just telling me that I have a lot of work to do.

The team got to Lost Valley many hours ahead of the participants and the facilitator. Lots to talk about and lots to do to get ready. As I said, I had no clue as to what to expect. Somewhere along the way I learned that if I didn’t have expectations, I wouldn’t be disappointed. I don’t think that’s true anymore. The expectations are still there; I am just no longer listening to them. I had forgotten Robin’s name; she had been the True Color’s facilitator for many years. I think I worked with her twice, but I wouldn’t put any bets on that idea.

When reminded me of Robin’s name, I realized only then that I was disappointed that Robin wasn’t going to be facilitating. Sherrie’s name was brought up, and my only connection was with Sherry, a different Sherry of a different flavor. I had worked with Sherry Franks the last time I worked on a backup team, and she was amazing. My brain is scrambling to remember which seminar it was and when, but I’m drawing blanks. I don’t think that this piece of information is going to effect my story any.

Sherrie Goggins-Patterson and her husband drove out to Lost Valley to check in with us. My first impression was that I had absolutely no background with her. I didn’t recognize her. She reminded me of my Godmother Barbara Clifton in that she came across as sweet and nurturing.

Our time to be ready for the teen arrival limited our time being with Sherrie was shortened. It wasn’t until the next day that Sherrie would be taking the spotlight and the reigns to help guide twenty-seven teens on a journey of self-discovery. My journey happened earlier than that.

After all the kidletts were tucked away in their sleeping bags, I got onto the internet. My sense of familiarity was tugging on my pant leg. I know her. Did I know her from her teaching and or school administration days?

It didn’t take long before I found that Sherrie Goggins-Patterson was one of my Facebook friends. I have so many Facebook friends that I don’t know most of them in the actual sense. I do run into Facebook friends and not even know them, though with my pathetic memory, I can blame on the name of someone that I know very well. I call them hiccups. Some people call them brain farts. I’d rather have my gas escape in a pleasanter way, though I also think that Americans are way too hung up on farts. Do children of other cultures find farting so funny and so late in life?

Some of the ripple effect of True Colors come from the light-hearted side of being with a group of kids from thirteen to eighteen. The light side tends to give me some time to dodge the topic at hand. Evasions work for just so long.

Evasions  could work a lot longer, but I keep turning rocks over. I’ve been told many times that I’m too curious and that I ask too many questions. I can’t just let my Evasion tactics take over and let my life go along at an okay life. Nothing horrible. Nothing Amazing. Auto pilot. Cruise control.

Back to another one of those WoW questions: What is it that is missing by my being on cruise control? I’m blindly driving up the proverbial I-5 of my life. I get from point A to point B. On a great day, I can get all the way to point C without getting lost too many times. I’m not excited about this life. I yearn for more; that’s when I start turning over rocks. Curiosity takes over Boredom and that’s when I see the unexpected.

It wasn’t long that I realized that I did know Sherrie. I never know with Facebook friends if they know just as little about me as I know about them. The default setting is probably about the same.

And this is where nothing said strategy comes in, letting decomposition take care of dead problems. It’s a natural phenomenon.

Even as I write this, I have no idea if Sherrie remembered me, remembered how I made an agreement and then let her down and that it took me three months to close the loop. In my mind, I write the script that says she doesn’t remember the situation at all even though it doesn’t help to have a very uncommon name. It also doesn’t help that Sherrie is an incredible intelligent human being and remembers a lot more than I can and probably remembered me.

Through the days at Lost Valley, and the name is so appropriate, as I felt lost as I played my script in my head. I was so lost I wasn’t even there. And I made it so obvious that I was a half an hour late to the first meeting. I was wound up so tight that I didn’t get any sleep, and I had left my Ambien sleep meds at home, something I never do as I tend to not sleep well in the first place and throwing in a new location, and that really clogs up the tracks. Add a prior experience and the goo is thicker than molasses and can be measured in fathoms. This boat ain’t going anywhere.

This is the first time I have written this down. I’ve not even journaled, though believe it or not, there are things that I don’t feel safe to write about. Ignorance can be bliss even if it’s just for a little while.

Sherrie’s not said said anything, so I’m assuming that she doesn’t remember our Facebook interaction from the end of 2014. I am disappointed that I’ve not said anything to her. I am glad that I’m finally writing about this. I’m killing two birds with one stone since writing a blog every day is one of my ten things I want to focus on changing in order to get this boat out to open sea.

Sometimes life gives me these little hints, kind of like pecks on the cheek. But other times, the answer is so big I walk smack into it; I bounce off and come to a wonderful  notion that things do come around. I don’t know what caused me to come back to True Colors after nine years. That was the gentle blow in my ear, such a gentle caress.

Not only do I get to keep working with the ripples that keep coming from True Colors that was how many weeks ago? But now I get to close the loop and start a new journey. Don’t worry I’ll keep you posted.

Remember, if there’s something that you read, even if it’s just a sentence or two or an idea, that you liked and has worthiness of being something else, please rate this. I call this baseball blogging. Every time I write, I score myself as having hit a single. Singles have their place, but I’m shooting for better than getting to first base. I’m looking for doubles and triples. Who knows I just may hit the sweet spot of the bat and knock the blog out of the park, but those are rare, at least rare for me now. Might happen with more regularity down the road if I keep working.

Bottom line. I need to know what blogs are worth revisiting and which ones just stay in the basic blog folder. I’d be more than happy to re-write if there’s something that’s grabbed your interest.

I’ve only done this once so far, so I don’t know how my experiment is going. Bex, my dear faithful reader, scored a blog a triple. So, I copied and pasted the blog and worked on it in the Works in Progress Web Page. I think I published it, though lately I have been letting some blogs sit in the Draft folder and forget about them.Working with my Works in Progress is a work in progress.

I’m going to officially declare that this blog for the day is down. Now it’s time to work on my room.

Write a blog a day

or at least post a blog every day. At first I had the goal that I wanted to write a thousand word blog every day. That didn’t last for that many days in a row. For some days a thousand words felt more like a million words.

Okay, I said to myself, how about just a sentence to go along with a picture? This sounds like a possible mission. Sure fire. And yet that didn’t last. What’s it going to take?

What’s it going to take to get me to write a blog every day. Perhaps motivate is a better choice than get me. I want to want to write a blog every day, I don’t want to have to write a blog a day.

Taking that one small experience, I imagine my life as a whole, a bigger whole, and so what is it going to take for me to have the most amazing life from this point on? Writing a blog every day is just one step, one small step to having that stellar life that I and everyone else deserves to have.

Today I started to walk on a different path. Sherrie Goggins-Patterson, a life coach, has agreed to take me on as a client. I have mentioned that ever since I returned from a True Colors Teen personal growth seminar, I have been experiencing a ripple effect. Sherrie was the facilitator for that conference, and I knew after witnessing Sherrie in action, working with the teen participants, that I had a lot to learn from her. Why not try something new.

A good chunk of today’s hour phone meeting was spent creating a list of ten things that’s going to create My Well-Being. One of the things that made the list, but I may want to renegotiate is getting out of bed by 8 a.m. For those of you who know me, early know me, you are laughing; you may be laughing to much you’ve fallen off your chair or perhaps you’ve gotten the hiccups. That used to happen to me when I was a kid. I would laugh so much that I would get the hiccups and couldn’t stop. Laughing and hiccuping at the same time can be an uncomfortable experience.

Maybe my entire list needs to be renovated as I sure wouldn’t mind if there was more laughter in my life. Reading didn’t even make the list. Clearly, there’s a problem here that I’ll have to clear up first thing in the morning.

Prescription Glasses

me on 8-7-15 at 11.30 AMI don’t like my new eye-glasses. They are heavy and uncomfortable. Most of the day, they are parked somewhere other than on my face. It’s not like I tend to wear my glasses. When I am not working, they are parked somewhere else. I try to put them in the same place, but more often than not, I end up spending time playing Hide And Go Seek with my glasses. I got into such a bad habit of hiding them on myself that I had to bring older prescriptions back into rotations, like needing to call the bullpen. I can go back for just so far; the ones that are really old don’t do me any good. I’m thinking of taking an old pair that’s prescription is so outdated, I might as well not wear glasses, and put the new prescription in. All of my glasses up to now have been comfortable, but this year I decided to cut some costs. I won’t be doing that again, but then again, maybe I’ll just use the old ones; it’s not like I’m one for style. I’d have no idea what’s in style. Even those horned-rimmed glasses have come back.

This blog had been sitting in my draft folder. I’m not sure where I was going with it, but I’ve seemed to hit a dead end.

The finish line

If I have done my math correctly, there are only four months left of the year 2015 and my New Year’s resolutions are due. I’m starting to feel like that kid who would walk into the classroom without having done my homework. I practiced being that kid that it became second nature.

What other things are second nature in my life that don’t progress my life to where it wants to be.

I take the beginning of new things, whether it be new month, new year. new decade. I’d like to be keen about the new day and celebrate its freshness. I admire those people who do; they set their alarm clock to be up at the crack of dawn. They explode out of bed rearing to take it on. Is this something that I can learn to do?

I have a better chance of seeing a sunrise if I hadn’t bothered to go to bed. I haven’t done that in a long time, but I’ve come close the last week, being up at strange hours because I can’t sleep.

I have had get up early on my New Year’s Resolution list in the past, but I don’t remember if it officially made the list. I’m used to making the list over and over and over  since the year I decided I wanted to be a better person and have a better life.

In this year, 2015, I’ve been chatting up a storm on how the half-time show is over and the second half has begun, a second life that I promised would be better than the first half.

So, I have four months, or seven depending on which finish line I’m looking at, New Year or Birthday

Who am I kidding; this track metaphor doesn’t work for me. I never was a track type of athlete. I did try, but I noticed immediately that I would have problems since I tended to want to take a couple of steps back before going foreword.

I tried out for track because I loved to run. In my house. As a kid, I was constantly running from room to room. At least once in my childhood did I crash and burn on a newly waxed kitchen floor. Most of my indoor running was horizontal along the Ranch-style house. I don’t remember running down into the basement as much.

Sometimes the desire, the need to run after school, was so strong, that I would ditch my books in my locker, and take a bus that let me off at the beginning of my woods. I never saw anyone in the woods that ended practically on my front porch. Practically because we didn’t have a front porch. We had front doors. Four including the the sewing porch. Okay, so we sort of had a porch. It was the area my mom used to sew. My mom had her sewing porch on one end of the house, and my dad had his greenhouse, which was about in the middle..

I’m really good about setting New Year’s Resolution, but I’m not so good about minding them. How do I know if I am holding true to my resolution if I don’t know what they are? Just because I’ve not been paying them any attention, this doesn’t mean I can’t start now. I do, after all, have four months before the year ends.

Figuring out the “How To’s” of blogging while fighting sleep is a dangerous combo

20150804_012109Why am I so fixated on writing this blog that I’m fighting off sleep? I’m telling myself that the sooner I just dig in and get it done, the sooner I can go back to sleep.

Lovely Lucy enjoys sleeping under the stars, listening to the constant sound of Cicadas and a perhaps a Great Horned Owl. The Who Whoo’s were too far away for me to somewhat identify. the caller.

Things did start to clarify. As clearly as one can see at two in the morning. I’m so close to going over the edge, all it would take would be a Flexeril.

My back must be jealous that I have been ignoring the it and pushing through. Pushing in a good way, not a destructive way. Had a great talk with my physiatrist. Bex, are you impressed or what? I’ve so enjoyed my stay at the Benson Health Clinic. Lisa Albanese is the main reason I switched from Oh My God. Lisa had been my pain specialist while my primary was with OMG, but she moved to Bend.

face_lisaWhen I got wind that she was back in town. Actually, she’s bouncing between Bend and Eugene. She says it’s not making her crazy and is enjoying it At least that’s her response when I ask. Dr. Albanese was straight forward with me about the opiates I’m taking and the way I am cheating myself of quality time when I don’t have to. My sometimes schedule is not cutting the mustard. Pain management. I know this subject to death. Yet, I keep doing it. I do know the definition of insanity.

As I yelled Lucy’s name out the bathroom window, I noticed the orange blur of a moon. Instead of retreating back to bed, an adventure awaited. Maybe more.

I’ve decided that I must really like the game hide and go seek. I spend a lot of time playing the game. It is as if I deliberately hide my eye glasses, and I have three different pairs in circulation. When I am using a pair that’s close to ten years old, I know I’m desperate. I play the game with my cell phone as well. I don’t seem to misplace my wallet; it’s got a home. My glasses have a home as well, a few homes, which is where the problem lies.

It’s late. I’m fighting sleep. I’ve fallen asleep a few times while writing.moon080415

A little round of applause

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I already know that this blog probably is not going out of the infield, though it did turn out better than I predicted. Maybe I will advance the runner or runners. It is eight o’clock, so in a way in this proverbial blogging baseball game I am still making up rules, I am running out of innings for the day and I need proverbial runs. If you are as confused as me,  ask. I can muddy the water very quickly.
My intention is to write a blog every day.
I like what Brandon Burchard, and I will get back to you later to confirm the self-help motivational speaker.  I use a lot of his quotes.  When I first saw a picture of him,  I was floored how young he looks and probably is. He is so lined up,  so in-tune.
I have always said that I refuse to grow up.  I have stuck to the philosophy, and where has it gotten me? I am not living my possible life. I am not supporting those around me to do the same. 
I keep talking and writing and saying I am going to. …What a load of crap. I’m gonna blame that philosophy on not growing up. I have changed my mind.  I now realize that there is nothing wrong with growing up, especially when not doing it isn’t working. I just refuse to grow old.

Concert in the Park

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What a splendid afternoon,  evening to watch Sylvia play the French Horn. Washburn Park.
Rain drops but not in a frequency that constitute rain. Almost. How many sprinkles can the phone tolerate.

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Joyce Watts and I are at the concert together. As well as

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Abster.
Ending the evening at McMenamins.

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201

Earlier today,  I published my 20th blog. Whoop whoop. I’d do a selfie, but I am in my tub and that would just be creepy or dorky depending on your perspective, I heavily lean in the extremely creepy position, but that is just me.

As my two hundred and first blog, I am thinking that I need a new pitch or perhaps need to learn how to hit a curveball. Or anything. Why settle on being able to hit one particular pitch? Especially when I originally was going to write change-up since that is more metaphorical of my life. Why not learn how to hit a slider, a cutter, a one, two seamer? The scary part of this blog is that I actually understand how those pitches work. My hands have always been small,  so success only happened while playing Whiffle Ball with the Cliftons. He’d Clifton. Jon Clifton. Hey, Sara Clifton Duquette, did you ever play whiffle with me and your brothers? I can’t rely on my footage. Lots of holes in the film of my life.

201 blogs. What does that have to do with hitting different pitches? I will be changing things up in bloggville. I want a new page.  Don’t know how to do that yet,  so keep posted.

Now I have remembered the baseball connection. It had nothing to do with pitching and all to do with pitching.

I see this second century of blogs as just the beginning, which thankfully blog time is faster than chronology. Doesn’t matter how many times I have cheated death, I can’t push to two decades. Just twice my years is a joke.

The beginning of hits. The first two hundred blogs were like batting practice. Some might have been good hits, maybe homers, but the majority were singles. Some foul. But anytime I blogged that meant I didn’t strike out. The best part about Blogging Baseball or Baseball Blogging is I never get out.  There are no fielders, so once the proverbial baseball is in fair territory, it is a hit. I almost wrote that not having to run would be the best part of, but I miss being able to run.

Even squibblers, slow ones to the mound, count as singles.  Singles are okay,  but only to a certain point,  and 201 is that point.

I will have a new blog for batting practice blogs, like this one.  And then I will have another blog for works in progress. This is where my fan-base comes in. Bex, you and I know this means just you, but I hope in a blog or two, not 200, this will change.  I got a good feeling.

Anyway, and hopefully if Bex gets on board, after I blog in batting practice, also known as b.p., Bex and whoever, will tell me if hit a single, double, triple or home run. Maybe a foul ball. Close to the line. If a blog scores a double, I will move it to the in progress. I will kick it around and see if some nurturing can help.

Of course triples will get more attention than doubles. The third blog page I will learn how to make will be publishable, and from there I see if I can peddle it somewhere.

What do you think Bex? Is this blog a single or double? Don’t worry,  there is no crying in Blogging Baseball.

Learning to love books

I’m like most people in that I  don’t appreciate the things that I have when I have them. This was especially true when I was a kid growing up in Weston, Massachusetts. I spent so much of the time being bored, not having the ability to see the many opportunities that surrounded me. Again,  since I am wading into the murky past, there are all sorts of memories that I’ve twisted through time, though many memories are flat out moldy.

Old-Library-Jan-2008-sunsetI spent a lot of time at the Weston Public Library. A stately old building that had the children’s section downstairs and the adult section upstairs. I think that there  were two different cards, one for kids and one for adults. I think at a certain age, I graduated and was able to go upstairs, not that children weren’t allowed upstairs, but I don’t think they were encouraged.

Madelyn Wetmore was the Children’s librarian. She also was my mom’s best friend. Hanging out with Maddy was the closest way I could feel like I was hanging out with my mom.
books-1024x682Sometimes Maddy had me shelving books.  I wasn’t especially quick because I would get distracted. The title of the book,  cover design, or the name of the author would attract my attention. It’s hard to get books onto the shelf when I’m busy looking at possible prospects.

Weston is not a very large town. There were only eight thousand folks living there the year I was born, though ten years later there was a thirty-one percent increase. It was a good place to raise a child. I probably learned the philosophy that it takes a village to raise a child by watching Maddy interact with the kids that came into the library. She knew everyone’s name, but mostly she knew specifically what book to put into what hand. “Have I got the book for you!” It’s a big deal to be known, for her to know what each kid was interested in. Sometimes she was able to find me books that I didn’t even know I would be interested in.

ElisabethTovaBaileyBut that’s what draws me to libraries and bookstores. Being able to graze the stacks of the library and letting luck lead the way. Recently I came across a book about a woman and her experience with a wild snail.  The title had something to do with a Wild Snail Eating. The Sound of the Wild Snail Eating? Maybe…It was a fantastic treat that was so unexpected. Maybe it’s more like fate than luck.

I was drawn to the title because I just couldn’t imagine what kind of sound a snail would make while eating. I also have been finding a lot of snails on my house. Before reading the book, I had a tendency to throw them in a bucket of water, but after reading this book, the snail earned a lot of respect. I was amazed when I learned that a snail can come back from being crushed; it might take a few days or so, but they will rebuild their shell. That did give me some hope for the one I stepped on and only had to feel guilty for the ones that drowned.

As I work on being a stronger reading specialist, I know how important it is to get that right book in the right hands at the right  time. I believe that a good book can make a difference.

Perhaps this is what draws me to  the other end of reading, writing. My goal is to learn how to craft my words in such a way that not only does the reader learn something about me, the author, but that they learn something about their selves.  I do know that I tend to learn something about myself almost every time I write.

Well, I had hoped to some how meander back to the original idea of appreciating the things  that I have, but now I’ve got the itch to read.