Sunday, October 22, 2017

Say what you mean and mean what you say? Or say it your way.

Last week, Liam, who was three in June, asked me if we were going to get a pumpkin.
I replied, " We'll get a pumpkin today. Yes siree, Bob!"

He put his hands on hips and said, "I am not BOB! I am Liam."

Naturally I laughed out loud. 

I researched the origin of that phrase. Some websites claimed "Bob" was used as a euphemism for the word, "God" and the idiom came into use at the end of the 19th century. Some said it was slang, informal and rural colloquialism.

Did you ever hear or use this phrase? Or am I really dating myself?

According to the Grammarist, an idiom is a phrase that is more than the sum of its parts, or in other words, has more of a meaning than the individual words used in the phrase. Examples include pay the piperfor the birds, and pulling one’s leg.

 Idiom is also a synonym for dialect, a way of speech particular to a geographical area that has specific vocabulary, syntax, and grammar. Finally, it can be used to describe a method of expression particular to a person, time period, or object.

colloquialism is a phrase that has risen from verbal speech. The only criteria for this designation is that the word or phrase be extremely informal. They may originate from a dialect, but do not have to. Examples include a whole nothercould care less, and raring to.

Do you care to leave any of your examples? Other than, "So hungry I could eat a horse."

Friday, October 20, 2017

Courage, heart, and brains... INDEED!

The Variety Children's Charity (formerly The Variety Club) serves children with disabilities.

In its ninth year, Variety Children's Theatre paired with a full orchestra, an inclusive children's ensemble, talented kids with special needs, and also professional actors and dancers to bring the  Wizard of Oz production to our city.

There is no other program like this in the world, according to Jan Albus, Executive Producer. There were twenty-four children on stage with a disability and twenty-four without.

Lara Teeter, Director and Choreographer, is a Professor of Theatre and the Head of Musical Theatre Program at the Webster University Conservatory of Theatre Arts. He has performed in six Broadway shows and has graced the Muny stage many times.

Speaking of Broadway shows, last night Bill and I attended this year's performance, which was OUTSTANDING. I felt like I was in New York.

Some of the Variety Children's Theatre performers, actors, dancers, and interns had limited vocal ability, yet each introduced themselves and their positions with such pride and confidence... to rousing applause.

The opening comments and introductions moved me to tears because I have taught children with many capabilities and some with severe disabilities. The pride these performers felt equaled the pride felt by their families and audience members. This was a night to remember, a performance beyond comparison, and I felt honored to be in attendance.

My classroom motto Never say, "I can't." Always say, "I can try!" was in full force with these talented and determined Variety Children's Theatre performers. WOW! The cast of determined individuals was phenomenal. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Do you compare? How are You Growing?

I began "officially" writing and submitting in 1997. I have come a long way as a self-taught freelance writer. I was looking through some of my old files, comparing my earlier writing to my more recent.

 It is evident I have grown in my literary life. I have access to a computer now, which I did not have when I began. I was thrilled the day my honey purchased a word processor for me at a yard sale from a college student. Still had to use the whiteout strip, but I didn't care. Now I have the Internet at my fingertips. Research is effortless, and my writing life has improved immensely. 

We are all at different levels of development whether it is in our writing, or personal growth, and we should not compare ourselves to others. 

But I cannot help comparing cuteness today
I babysat Alex on Thursday, which was his mommy's birthday.    

Happy birthday to my first grandchild, Ashley, shown here at two days old.

 Alex, at two months old, looks like his mama when she was a baby. He did not like the bright sky outdoors, but he did enjoy his stroller ride. He is beginning to mimic vocal play. I love snuggling and playing with this little cutie. He is so precious. I must remember not to compare him to
you know who...

 Happy Liam, at four months old, loved EVERYTHING and still does. He has a zest for life and has the same personality as his mommy. His vocabulary is superior and his reasoning is amazing.

At 3 years and three months old, Liam loves the different playgrounds around town, and he tells us which color he wants to visit. He recently returned from a camping trip with his paternal grandparents. He is talking a mile a minute about all the things he did.

These three years have flown by, and I can hardly imagine Alex this big, but growing up seems to happen in the blink of an eye. I feel so blessed to be a grandma to all of our "babies," big and little.

Now let's talk about your writing... have you been writing, and submitting? Get those babies out there. Your words impact others. Wishing you a beautiful day, and hoping to see some of you at Spencer Library in St. Charles tomorrow form 10-2.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

When an authority figure goes too far

I am not here to argue a point, discuss patriotism, or debate kneeling when our national anthem is played. This post is not about any of those things.

I want to share an incident that happened everyday when I was in 8th grade, and tell you how it indirectly affected me.

We were mostly innocent and immature thirteen-year-old students attending a public, inner-city school. We sang patriotic songs in music class honoring all branches of the US military. When The Star Spangled Banner aired over the intercom, we were to stop moving, stand at attention and place our hand over our heart. Then we would say The Pledge of Allegiance to the nearest American flag.

A girl named Paula who was very quiet, stood out from the class because her religion dictated she wear long hair, skirts, and long-sleeved shirts. She was not permitted to wear shorts for gym class. She wasn't allowed to sing the national anthem, nor participate in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Our male gym teacher continually bullied this young girl mercilessly and threatened her with failing 8th grade if she did not dress out or say the Pledge.

"Rules are rules!" he bellowed. "I don't care what your parents or preacher tell you. If you do not follow the rules, you will fail 8th grade!"

He made her sit on a bench. Some of us argued (yes, I spoke up) in her defense that she could still participate in class even though she did not wear shorts. He shot us down with his authoritarian comments and blatant insults. I suppressed my anger, confusion, and inability to help Paula. I felt helpless and overpowered by this man who went on to become a  prominent district athletic director. 

Paula did graduate, but no child should be shamed for their parent's beliefs and/or religious values. Paula tried to explain, "My parents say we pledge allegiance to one master, and that is God."

At that time, the words of our anthem and pledge were meaningless to me. Today, more than five decades later, I have analyzed the words and some disturb me: "liberty and justice for all" I am not talking about incidents making today's nightly news. I speak of incidents that happened to our family who did not receive justice after being killed by a drunk driving football player in town.

I am concerned about nations that indoctrinate children to blindly follow policy without question. I am not slamming our country, our leaders, our citizens... merely seeing things in a different light. 

I welcome your comments and will simply leave them as your commentary and not debate.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Come out and bail me out of my funk

I fell asleep on the couch last night.
At 2:00 a.m. I finally went to bed.
Searched for the top sheet,
but found my honey burrito-wrapped instead.

So I wrote a couple pieces 
and sent them off with hope.
They all bounced back this morning.
Now I sit and mope.

Such is the writer's/retiree's life.

If you are out and about on Saturday, stop by Spencer Library for the Indie Author Event from 10-2. There will be 100 authors there! My fellow Chicken Soup for the Soul writers and I will be participating. This is always a fun time. 

 427 Spencer Road St. Peter's, MO (Chocolate for my friends!)

You do not have to sign up. Disregard those words on the poster.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

If the hat fits, wear it.

My brother John is a goodhearted man who does kind things for others. He makes rings out of dollar bills for waitresses, and rings out of higher denominations for elderly aunts. He does fantastic origami designs and gives them to children. He makes wonderful creations out of paper or cardboard. He is probably the most creative person I know. He often donates his creations to his local library, schools, day cares and individuals. I'm thinking Mom sparked our creativity.

When we were little kids, she showed us how to fold a page of the newspaper to make a boat. I was amazed to discover when placed upon the head, it looked like Robin Hood's hat. A simple piece of newspaper became a fascinating plaything for my brother and me.

When Mom would get upset with someone she'd say, "Oh, he talks like a man with a paper hat."

I always thought she meant a newspaper Robin Hood hat. I didn't understand what she meant until I was older and Dad told us stories about his childhood in the early 1920s. He was the class clown in school and often had to sit in front of the class wearing a paper cone hat... a dunce cap. 

I finally got it! I understood Mom's remark. 

I've heard some bizarre comments lately by an influential person. One thing I heard with my own ears was, "Enjoy yourself." 

This was spoken to a person dealing with the aftermath of hurricane devastation. Normally I would rant and rave to my hubby about this person's insensitive remarks. But now all I can think is, "He talks like a man with a paper hat." 

And it's not a Robin Hood hat!

I imagine my mom winking at me from heaven.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Chugging through life or zooming... which track are you on?

The Museum of Transportation is a fascinating place for children as well as adults. When I told Liam I was taking him to the big trains he did not want to go. He was anxious and afraid I was going to put him on a big train by himself. "I do not want to go. I'm afraid. Let's just go to the playground."

Life is all about perspective. How seldom we view life from our little ones' perspective. As adults, we have years of experience, larger vocabularies, and high expectations. In our efforts to teach our young ones, we sometimes forget they don't have our knowledge base and have to learn what we already know. It is our job to prepare them for what's ahead, but also to allow them to be free to explore and learn at their own pace, and to comfort them when they are ill at ease. This is the stage for building and developing trust, kindness, and confidence that they will take into the world.
Liam discovered we could actually ride the miniature train, but even better, we were allowed to climb steep steps and tour the inside of old trains. He was delighted "driving" me to the red, green, or blue playgrounds he likes to visit. He enjoyed playing with gauges, levers, knobs, switches, and steering wheels.
 He met a little buddy named Carter who was 12 days younger. These two little  guys were birds of a feather. They giggled, took turns, shared snacks, and laughed uproariously each time one of them shouted, "banana peel" (which they did a lot!) The two little monkeys tried to climb a tree!

Observing the innocence of these little boys made my heart swell with pride and thankfulness. Liam is bright, kind, caring, and friendly, and so was Carter. They became best buds.

Carter's mom, Lynn, and his grandma, Sandy, and I sat and watched these little guys who had no preconceived notions about one another, no biases, no prejudices, not an ounce of hatred in their little bodies. They could have been any color, any size, any religion or nationality...the only things that mattered was that they connected intellectually, emotionally and socially. They were both highly verbal, and over-active. They had a zest for learning and love of life. Their antics helped me forget the world situation for a while.

When it was time to leave, they joined hands and walked the path down to the lower level.
 WHY can we not live in peace in this world? Why is there such divisiveness? Why can't we find our common thread, seek our sameness, walk alongside one another, holding hands, uplifting each other?

Why aren't  we satisfied with having enough, instead of always wanting more-more-more? Why in our developed nation, where we have an abundance of everything... WHY are there hungry children, homeless people, aching hearts? We need more Carters and Liams.

 My neighbor and late friend Lisa once told me that generally speaking, people under age five and over age 65 do not care about the other person's race, religion, or creed. Folks in those age brackets seek their likenesses. Under fives haven't been influenced and indoctrinated with hate, etc. Those over 65 have lived long enough to know those things that divide us are less important than the things that unite us.

As the boys bid farewell, I smiled knowing that Carter and Liam WILL make a difference in this world. They will fight for social justice, set good examples, and be leaders. I taught PreK for almost 40 years, and I can see the goodness in these boys. I could always spot our future leaders.
May we all make a difference in someone's life today. Start with a smile, a kind word, a donation, a prayer or positive thoughts for those hurting and in need of a helping hand. What the world needs now is love. Seek peace.