Thursday, August 30, 2012

Blowing in the wind

Fall is my favorite season. I love being outdoors.

I don't like the cold weather or the short days of winter that are on the horizon.

I have that "just before" feeling. It's not anxiety, just the lead up to the unknown. Like the day before second grade when I hoped my Big Chief tablet would get me through the semester and my pencil lead wouldn't break. The same feeling I had as a kid on Halloween evening as I stood at the door in my costume inhaling a hint of burning leaves on the crisp evening air, waiting for darkness to descend so I could go trick-or-treating. Hoping I wouldn't get a bunch of popcorn balls and wishing I'd get Hershey bars and Mary Janes. The unknown, the anticipation.

Family members on all sides have weekend outings planned, and I am anxious, wondering when the predicted rain from Hurricane Isaac will arrive. If we'll all be indoors instead of outdoors? If-if-if.

Another school year begins in a few days. Another autumn is upon us. The seasonal changes are evident. Change is ahead on all fronts.

I sat outside for a while on the front porch and gazed across the road at an overgrown field that used to be a thriving farm. This summer was brutal; it took its toll.

Today, the breeze felt and smelled of fall promises. It took me back to August 1970. My ex ( a soldier) and I were living in an old faded green, bus-size trailer in Alaska. I'd taken my blue-eyed baby girl out back to the communal clothesline. I placed her in her pumpkin seat on a table while I hung his hand-washed fatigues next to her baby clothes.

As the clothes flapped in the breeze, I wondered what the winds of change would bring in my life, her life, our lives. As I was anticipating the future, my baby girl was enjoying the moment. I heard her squeal with delight when the cottonwood trees let loose with their load and the white fluff
fluttered just out of her reach...nature's mobile under a blue sky, blowing promises on a gentle breeze...

I must remember not to put myself too far ahead of the moment. I must inhale deeply, soak up the sun, and prepare for whatever blows our way.

Does the seasonal change or the beginning of a new school year make you feel melancholy?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Untying the knot

At first glance my little angel, Nicole, looks like she is balancing on one toe or that she is ready to lift off, both impossible feats. If you look closer, you will see the chains. She was lying on her tummy swinging at the park.
Lots of people believe in coincidence. I believe in angels and simply accept that unexplained things happen when you least expect them. Coincidence/ it what you will.
I was browsing the bookshelves at Goodwill when I came across Chicken Soup for the Soul, Divorce and Recovery. I picked it up, reconsidered and put it back down. I walked away wishing that I could be assured that someone would buy that book.
As I turned, a young woman picked up the book and read the back blurbs.
I asked, "Are you going to buy that book?"
"Yes," she said with sadness in her voice. "I am going through a divorce right now and I need all the help I can get. Maybe this will do me some good."
I said, "May I sign it for you? My story is the last one in this book."
Write Your Relationship in Pencil, is about the indelible marks we leave behind when we toss out unkind remarks.
I autographed the book and she said, "Well,this is just unbelievable!"
Not to me. Everything happens for a reason. I am so happy that this young woman will hopefully benefit from reading my story.

We writers never know HOW our words will touch others. But at least this time, I was able to see WHO they would affect. A friend once told me that my story should be a primer for divorce.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Step right up, folks!

Step right up! If you are a member of a blended family, you may have a story to tell that could earn you a nice big fat "C" note; that's one hundred buckaroos.

This is our wild bunch celebrating hubby's 70th birthday yesterday. The four children on the far left are "mine", and all the rest are "his", although actually, all of them are OURS because we've been married since before they were born. We love all of them!
We have always been known as Paw-paw and Nana. The one exception in this photo is the center child wearing green, who is our "adopted grandchild", the daughter of a close family friend. When she was little, she called me Nana Banana, and she nicknamed Bill Paw-Paw Apple, and that's what she still calls us. Her little red-haired sister refused to be photographed. Those two giants in back are standing on chairs. The kid with black under his eyes was leaving to play football.

Stepping Up Anthology, Samantha Ducloux Waltz is seeking first-person essays from women who are or have been part of stepfamilies that are nurturing places and also stepfamilies where family members must find ways to rise above the challenges they face/d at home. She is looking for a diversity of voices and welcome submissions from a variety of family situations. As an editor she values honesty, clarity, specificity, showing, not telling, tight writing, and the sharing of insights. Pieces should be between 2,000 and 4,000 words in length. Pays: $100 plus two copies. Deadline: September 30, 2012. See the full announcement at and submit via Ms. Waltz's website, as per her instructions.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Beware the hurled stones

I recently found this in a pile of papers. I think it is so meaningful, especially with all of the vitriol, the hateful comments on T.V. and social media sites. I'm tired of one side castigating the other on whatever issue: politics, religion, pro-choice/pro-life...
*Substitute any words you like after, "Who made me sputter and gasp": druggies, gays, prostitutes, Democrats, Republicans, any race or religion.

Folks In Heaven
I was shocked, confused, bewildered as I entered Heaven's door,
not by the beauty of it all, not by the lights or decor,
But it was the folks in Heaven who made me sputter and gasp-- *
the thieves, the liars, the sinners,the alcoholics, the trash.

There stood the kid from seventh grade who'd swiped my lunch money twice.
Next to him was my old neighbor who never said anything nice.
Uncle Bill, who I always thought was rotting away in hell,
was sitting pretty on cloud nine,looking incredibly well.

I nudged Jesus, "What's the deal? I would love to hear Your take.
How'd all these sinners get up here? God must've made a mistake.
And why's everyone so quiet, so somber? Give me a clue."
"Hush, child," said He. "They're all in shock.

No one thought they'd see you."
~ J. Taylor Ludwig~

My comments: Because we disagree with, disapprove of or despise someone's behavior or choices, does not mean we should despise the person. What the world needs now is LOVE. I am saddened by all of the negativity, and this has less to do with the upcoming election than you might imagine. I feel like the entire world is in crisis and chaos.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Don't be scared by the big ones

The red boat in front was an excursion boat with a 150 passenger capacity. The pontoon boat is dwarfed by this monster freighter (football fields long), running empty and probably headed to China, Mexico or some other port in the world to load up those train cars that you see stacked dozens high.

When it came through the channel it made everyone on the beach gasp and gape. It reminded me of how I feel sometimes as a writer. There are so many others who are bigger and better, who know how to navigate the editorial and publishing seas. I sometimes feel inadequate, overshadowed and small.

But if I hang onto those thoughts, I might be tempted to drop anchor and stop trying to get published. There will always be bigger and better. I realize that. Comparing myself negatively to others doesn't benefit me in any way. I may be a small boat on the big sea, but I vow to keep afloat by being the best that I can be. How about you?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

I couldn't believe my eyes

There used to be a page called Our Own Oddities in our newspaper. Readers would send in stories about strange coincidences, or odd occurrences. I think this may qualify as an oddity.

We were driving down the highway when a truck with Texas plates whizzed by. I noticed something on the dash. I thought it was one of those bobble head chihauhaus, and it made me snicker.

We stopped at a gas station and there was the same truck at the pump next to us. I couldn't believe my eyes. It was a REAL chihauhau sitting on the dash, so I had to snap a picture. She looks much larger here because it is a zoomed in, close up photograph.

Anything strange ever happened to you?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Our great escape

Things aren't always as they seem. I thought a spaceship had landed on this rooftop, but actually discovered it was someone's guest house. Can you imagine?

This summer was so brutally hot, all of our evergreen bushes burnt and the garden withered. Hubby and I wanted to run away, escape and leave all of our worries and cares behind.

Did you ever feel like acting on impulse? Not tell anyone where you are going or that you are even gone? Well we did just that.

I surprised him for his milestone birthday. We spent a week in the "Redneck Riviera" (Panama City Beach) and felt like two sneaky kids.

We both agree that this has been one of our best vacations ever. We laughed so much and enjoyed going to the movies, jumping ocean waves and swimming in the pool.
But it was the walks in the sugar white sand that made me happiest and drew us closer. Those strolls will satisfy my yearning until next year and our wonderful memories will linger. This photo was taken at daybreak in Navarre, Florida (pronounced nah-var), on a pristine, isolated narrow strip of beach where one can walk for miles and be one with the elements. It is my idea of paradise on earth.

Now it is back to reality, and school soon. I will catch up on visiting blogs this weekend. I missed reading your blogs, but it was nice to disconnect for a week.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Lesson from the birds

We just watched a sparrow fly right at our feet and call her baby. She showed the timid little thing how to take a bite of bread from large chunk, but the fledgling tried and tried pecking at the hard crust. The piece was too big. The mama refused to feed the little one but she demonstrated. Then she whisteled encouragement and the little one took dainty little bites and ate till it was full.

That's how I am sometimes, in a hurry. I want the whole thing, don't want to wait, and in my haste I sometimes bite off more than I can chew.

When I was a very little girl I used to call the birds. My dad told me I could catch one if I got close enough to sprinkle Morton salt from the salt box on its tail. My childhood was a great big fantasy ... Monkeys and birds.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

This smart phone is making me feel dumb. Although not as dumb as my friend's mom who was I'll. He left his phone on her table and told her he had to run home but
would call her from his home phone as soon as he got there. He called repeatedly but got no response He darted back thinking the worse. There she sat at the table. He asked her why she didn't answer the phone when it rang. She looked confused. "It never rang once. It kept playing the same song over and over."

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

I just saw a pod, an entire pod... And I am so excited. Can I prove it ? No because my camera lens is fogged. Ahhhrg!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A letter from Nana

I was rummaging through a box of my old writings and came upon this. I wrote it twenty-two years ago when my first grandchild was almost a year old. I am overcome with emotion and nostalgia. I  think I need to go sink my toes in the sand and add a tear or two to the salty ocean.  

To Nana's girl,

Kissed by the ocean breeze, the sun bids goodnight to the moon as sea foam tickles my toes, and my bare feet sink in the sand. How I wish you were here. I yearn to nuzzle your peach fuzz hair. I ache to cradle you in my arms. I need to whisper sweet nothings in your ear. My first grandbaby, I am consumed with love for you.

I imagine you padding across the wet sand beside me, traipsing across the beach, leaving fat little baby footprints as your squeals blend with those of the gulls. You will leave your footprints behind you as you travel through life. Sometimes it will seem like you're creeping, getting nowhere; other times life will seem to be a race.

Whether you are walking or running, remember to hold on to your dreams, firmly to your beliefs, and gently to God's hand. Trod confidently, but tromp lightly, because feelings hurt easily and the impressions you leave behind will not be washed away like footprints in the sand.


Friday, August 3, 2012

Been there, done that!

Yay! It is lightning, thundering, raining...we're having a real "electrical storm" as my mom used to call them.

Friends, Pat and Phil are retired. They ride a motorcycle and sometimes have ridden it to visit their
son in Colorado and daughter in Michigan. He's a musician with his own band and she's an accomplished artist. They've added a dog to their empty nest, so now they're hankering for a small camper for when they travel. I know that yearning. Our two campers served us for many years. Now, although I enjoy being out in nature, I prefer a motel at night.

We tented when the kids were small. One night a terrible thunderstorm with tornadic winds kicked up at the campground bending and twisting trees, lifting the tent, scaring me something awful. The lightning was frightening, and I insisted we go into town for dinner. What I really wanted was four solid walls. We huddled in an overcrowded fast food restaurant. I waited at the counter for our order, rootbeers in frosty mugs, salty fries and cheeseburgers. Every thunder boomer sacred the gee whiz out of me. I tried to stay calm for the kids' sake. As I waited in line, I sipped from the frosty mug on the tray. I sampled a french fry. I looked at the black clouds. I nibbled another fry. I sipped again when the lightning sizzled and sliced the darkness. The man standing next to me asked if I was nervous. "Yes!" I admitted.

"I thought so," he said and smiled politely. "That's my order you're eating and drinking."

Oh, if only we'd had a solid-sided camper back then for me to crawl into. I'd probably never have left the campground. Maybe.