Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Raging Hormones

I had lunch with delightful writer friend, Tammy.

We all know that writers have A.D.D. We skirted all sorts of topics and landed on relationships. Tammy is insightful and proposed that all this time women have been blaming our guy problems on testosterone, but it's possible that the problems have been because of estrogen. Once menopause happens, we discover our true selves.

My thought on this: another word for estrogen is PLEASE. Please may I? Please allow me. Please stop. Pleaser!

When the estrogen is depleted we finally focus on pleasing ourselves.

Could it be, like the recent discovery of a possible cure for diabetes, Tammy and I have stumbled upon a gender realted biological discovery, the real reason why so many relationships fail?

All kidding aside, I believe that communication is the real problem in most relationships. Too many of us listen with the intent to retort instead of hearing the other person out. Sometimes all the other person wants is to be heard, not to have his or her 'way'.

If only more couples would validate the other, instead of debate.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Just taste it, please?

Hubby and I have been beaming like proud grandparents. This is mama Mockingbird on the right and baby on the left. We watched the parents build the nest and feed their young. The two fluffy little fledglings were forced out of the nest yesterday. We saw mama coax them to the overhead wire where they teetered and squealed, Help!

Bill has been tossing his cooked egg yolks into the backyard each morning, and the mother and father now fly right to him whenever he opens the backdoor. He says just think of the protein the baby birds are getting, better than a garden worm. Oh the simple joys of watching nature. The mother and father both feed the babies; they peck a piece of the egg and fly up to the tree and feed the little beggars.

Today Bill tossed a yucky strawberry into the yard. I heard an awful racket. Usually it's the mockingbirds chasing the blackbirds. But the squawking was continuous. I walked out and saw that mama bird had the babies on the ground next to the strawberry chattering at both to 'take a bite'. She was showing them how to get their own, but they refused and sat there with their mouths open, pleading,"Feed me. Pleaseeeee." Like any good mother, she encouraged, chided, got upset, flew away, came back, chattered some more right in their faces, "If you want to eat, take a bite!" The babies screamed, no-no-no! But finally one of them took a nibble. It was like watching a human infant eating something tangy for the first time. It shook its head and chirped, "Eewww, this is not a worm (egg)!" The other bird wouldn't even try. Mother was exasperated and flew to the fence. The one baby took another taste test, decided it wasn't so bad and ate another bite and another, then with its tummy full, it flew up to the fence next to mama. The littlest squawker sat there pleading with its mouth wide open. Mama finally gave in, flew back and fed the little dickens. That strawberry was gone in no time, and soon the fledglings will be too. My honey will continue to toss them his egg yolks and keep them fattened up.

Observing these birds confirmed that parents of all species have some of the same problems when it comes to their offspring.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Attack or Surrender?

Yesterday I had a pile on my desk that needed to be attended to, a load of laundry that needed washing, a friend's book that needed editing. I had an article that needed completion. Normally I would attack one or all of these tasks. Earlier I had attended a Saturday Writers meeting in St. Peter's. MO where I enjoyed a very interesting and informative presentation by the librarian from St. Louis History Museum (Mohistory.org). After the meeting I over indulged in a basket of chips and salsa, a chimichanga and too many glasses of iced tea. It was nice to be able to actually meet and have lunch with some of the writers and bloggers I follow.

By the time I got home I was tired. I had hours left in the day, but I decided that instead of attacking the piles I would surrender to a little R&R. I sat outdoors on the patio and read I'm Glad I'm Not Young Anymore, by the late Clarissa Start who used to be a feature writer and personal columnist for the Post-Dispatch. When I bought this autographed book from the used book store I didn't realize it was her autobiography, published twenty years ago. The names and places and interesting facets of her life and career kept me turning the pages. Not only was it a glimpse into her life, it was a blast from the past, photos of the neighborhoods I too lived in, and the mention of names of prominent local people. When the sun came traipsing across the swing, nearly blinding me, I moved to the grass and continued to read until late in the evening.

Towards the end of the book she recounted an interview with movie star, Mae West who had smooth, unlined skin. "How do you do it?" Clarissa asked. She was appalled when Mae West replied, "I don't worry." Clarissa said, "I thought that was a monstrous philospohy - not to worry about family, friends and the human race was self-centered."

Clairssa was in her golden years when she wrote this book. I like her comment, "Now that I'm about the age Mae West was then, I find myself worrying less and less about more and more."

Right then and there, after reading that line I quit worrying about those piles of things in the back of my mind that needed to be done, and I surrendered to the simple pleasure of reading a good book outdoors, surrounded by nature, serenaded by bird chatter instead of blaring TV.

Clarissa concluded that Mae West must have had a face lift because, "lines come naturally to a face that's been given a regular workout of expressiveness.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Three Teens

Ahh, the memories I conjure of summer nights during the last days of my childhood. This evening we were out late and rode home with the car windows down. Oh the sights, sounds and smells: barbeque, kids playing, car radios. It made me think of when I was hovering on the brink of being too big to play, but wanting so desperately to join the neighborhood kids in a game of tag or hide and go seek in the dark. Every evening (before air conditioning) people would sit outdoors. The adults would talk while the kids played. Each night I would swear that I was not going to play with the children who lived in our apartment building. I had just turned fourteen, and would be a high school freshman in the fall. Each night I intended to join in the adult converstaion, but always ended up joining the children. I can remember being hot and sweaty and ticked off at myself that I gave in. Again!

Then, when I was fifteen, and way too sophisticated to play anymore, I sat out in the evening and talked to the teenagers on our block about movies we'd seen. We used to all go to the show twice a week. Times were different then. Life was simpler, we were innocent, not exposed to the images and harsh realities that kids today are.

We have three grandchildren all 13, hovering on the 'brink'. Half the time they act annoyed and barely grunt a response; other times they act childish. I remember when ...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Happy birthday

Happy fortieth birthday to my wonderful daughter, Tracey. This is my blue-eyed baby girl who was born in Alaska. Her birth announcement was listed in The Fairbanks Daily-Miner under Cheechakos (newcomers). She has brought me much joy, given me many laugh lines, as well as worry lines. She is on a spiritual path, was baptized last weekend, is engaged to be married on 10-10-10 to a wonderfully supportive man, and she is trying her best to parent a teenager and still be supportive of her twenty year old. I am so proud of the woman she has become.

I can't believe I have a forty year old kid!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Artisitic free expression

What better way to spend the last day of the school year than painting self portraits outdoors? When the students finished I told them that they needed to paint one more thing. They all looked at their paintings for missing arms, legs, fingers, and said, "What?" I said, "My legs!" They laughed and had so much fun. I giggled and they giggled and we made some wonderful memories.

Picnic and graduation in the park tomorrow, then summer camp for some until Aug. 6th.

Monday, June 21, 2010

In honor of my mom's birthday

Today would have been my mom's 80th birthday. That's a refelction on her cheek and the color on this photo is bad and grainy, (she had blue-green eyes) and we all have blue eyes. The day this photo was taken represents a happy memory for me, our last Christmas. Mom passed away three years ago, so this photo was taken in Dec. '06. My son, Jason, 36 and my daughter, Tracey, who will be 40 in two days, gave Nana Ginny the gift of her life: great-grandchildren: Ashley, Austin, Nicholas and an unborn baby.

The night before my mom died, she talked to all of us at her bedside. I asked her to kiss Jason's baby girl (his wife was expecting Nicole at the time) on her tummy as they passed each other going to and from heaven. She said she would. You can call it coincidence, but I call it a gift. Nicole was born with a red, raised birthmark on her baby belly in the shape of parted lips, a kiss from her Maw-Maw, my mom, my kids' beloved Nana Ginny.

In memory of my mom, I am eating one of her favorite sandwiches, bacon, homegrown tomato, egg and cheese smeared with mayonnaise. I miss you, Mom and the kids do too.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Tribute to Dads

Happy Father's day to the men who have stepped up to the task, positively influenced me and my children and grandchildren. My husband, Bill, has been the most influential in all of our lives.

I was thinking back to my childhood when I had what they call a dancing doll, a 3 foot rag doll that had ealstic straps which wrapped around my shoes so the doll could be my dance partner. It reminded me of all the daddies out there who allow their little girls to dance on the tops of their shoes. I was one of those little girls. My dad was a playful father. I cannot look at a man in suspenders without thinking of my step dad. Both my dad and stepdad are deceased, but their memory lingers.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Crude Tirade

Crude Tirade

My mood has been as brittle as a pressed funeral flower.
I can’t bear to listen to the talking heads lie and fluster me with their non-solution.

My heart aches and I can’t stand under my own power
to watch the oil drenched wildlife struggle in the crude pollution.

Cap that gusher, plug that spurting vein
oozing unfathomable gallons of oil per day.

I feel the agony, I feel the pain,
I feel helpless, I feel angry, frustrated.

Do something, do you hear what I say?
Do you hear? Do you?


Sorry readers, but I am so overwhelmed by this toxic mess, and I am not even a Gulf resident. If I were, I'd start a campaign, a resident's joint clean-up effort, even if we had to use our own little wet-dry vacs to suck up that black gold.

This horrific incident induces stress, shallow breathing, edginess, helplessness in the general population. I do not care which BP exec spouts off before congress and testifies that he suffers from CRS (Can't remember S**t); it is time to plug it!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

writer call outs

I am sitting here early this morning contemplating darting to the bakery for a cheese danish. The thought is making my mouth water, the thought is making my mind and mouth battle: oooh the taste vs. ohhh your wide behind! The thought is tempting. Since I am thinking, I thought I'd share the latest writer call outs that I received this week:

Chicken Soup has an immediate call out for Christmas Stories, but don't ruin Santa for young readers in your essay.

Spruce Mountain Press is sponsoring Annual Past Loves Contest at www.ourpastloves.comcontest They are seeking up to 700 words; no entry fee, by 8/17/10

Patchwork Path: deadline looming for Mothers stories 6/30
deadline for The American Dream stories 8/31

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Three cheers for the red white and blue

In honor of flag day, my granddaughter, Nicole investigating a statue in our yard. It makes me happy to see her healthy and cute and curious, but it makes me feel sad to think of how our world is changing and how uncertain her future will be.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Here comes the bridesmaids

My friend, Becky, was married Saturday. When she asked me to be her bridesmaid I was concerned, no I was fearful, that I would have to wear a puffy-sleeved, swishy, prom-like dress. Was I ever relieved when she said we could all wear a light blue, sleeveless dress of our choice, one that we would wear again. Talk about individuality. Becky's daughter, Anne, is on the right, her friend, Amanda, is in the center and I am on the left.

Wishing many years of wedded bliss to Bill and Becky!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Down by the sea

My wonderful brother, John, made hundreds of these cardboard cut outs for my students. My four classes made a twenty-foot mural, and we did a unit, Down by the Sea. What fun the pre-K kids had selecting the creatures they wanted, then sounding out phonetically and using inventive spelling. Check out their printed words above the mural: star fish, octopus, turtle, sea horse, dolphin, seal. Each student painted or colored the sea animals and proudly displayed them. We sorted and classified real seashells, read many related books, and then the three year old students told a creative story about one of the creatures.

We played an active game: the kids went "swimming" under the sea, and when the music stopped they had to stand by one of the creatures. When I held up the animal they were standing by, they were out and had to go to the huge, plastic, Fisher-Price boat. Oh, you should have heard the laughter as that boat filled up.

A big heartfelt thank you to my brother for making this a fun project for the kids and for giving me a brief reprieve from my grieving over the real sea creatures suffering from the horrendous oil spill in the Gulf. My friend Mary said, "You know, God is crying right along with all of us." Pray for a swift solution.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A new writing prompt

Tonight I read three pieces at Wired Coffee. The moderator, Dwight, read a creative piece that he wrote while sitting at a park overlooking the banks of the Mississippi River. He began by simply listing the things he saw around him beginning at ground level: a piece of trash, and then doing a 360 degree view around him. The real items became metaphors. It was very interesting, not a lot of elaboration, but worded with impact. Might be fun to try.

Sit outdoors and look beyond the flower, past the clouds and into your mind for a reference so that familiar objects take on new meaning. Have fun.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Dancing in the Park

Funky chicken, the jerk, 50s-60s old time rock and roll, SHOUT! Proud Mary, The Electric Slide, the 80s band Journey, and any other kind of music you can imagine. I spent Sunday evening from 6-8 p.m. with my hubby dancing in Carondelet Park to Bob Kuban's Band. The weather was delightful, the park was packed, people of all ages were sprawled on blankets and sitting in lawn chairs near the lake as the water fountain in the center spewed twenty feet high. My birthday, my music, my idea of a fun time.

Today I received an email from the editor of Sasee Magazine. She forwarded a fan letter, and also a rejection, but in my opinion, one cancels the other, so I'm smiling.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Saturday in the Botanical Garden

The St. Louis Writer's Guild event at the Missouri Botanical Garden was nice, and my reading was well-received. I hesitate to post my poem here because I will submit it, and don't want it to be considered published even on a blog. But if you wish to read it, I will send it to anyone who requests. You can exchange emails with me at billin7@yahoo.com

After the garden event, we attended an outdoor graduation party, met up with old friends, made new ones. I find it hard to believe that Katie, the same little baby I held eighteen years ago in my boss's office is heading off to college.

Don't let time pass you by; do something fun, make a memory, enjoy the weekend.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Crazy drivers

"Women drivers!" You've heard guys say that, or perhaps you've heard old timers complain, "Dang, young, whipper snapper drivers!" Teenagers complain about senior citizen drivers. I've even mumbled a time or two, "If you can't drive it, park it!"

Maybe it's the heat that makes drivers sluggish or impulsive, short-tempered and hot headed. I don't know. I do know that there were a lot of drivers out today that should have been PEDESTRIANS.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

All Four of my Sasee Essays on Line

GOOD NEWS! All four of my essays accepted by Sasee can be viewed on line if you scroll all the way to the bottom of the first essay at the link below.

You can click here to view my essays in Sasee Magazine. Just scroll down and it should take you to it. Enjoy.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Day Meanderings

With Memorial Day in our rearview mirror, I'm sad to say, our house was the only one on our block displaying an American Flag. I remember years ago when those banners blew in the breeze on almost every house. My heart goes out to all of the military and civillian folks who lost their lives or limbs, or minds while at war. My mother used to say that there were so many alcoholics because so many folks witnessed war. I suppose that's true.

My former husband was drafted during the Vietnam War,and lost some of his buddies, but fortunately he was stationed in Alaska at the Army Arctic Test Center. Our worst enemy was the arctic cold, 50 below zero. I was allowed to join him after he received permission from his commanding officer. I can't say that I was a veteran, but some days it felt like I was military personell. We received a small extra stipend, "down the road pay" because we were in a hostile environment living off post, but we never had enough money at the end of the month to even buy a six cent postage stamp. We lived on hamburger and tuna fish. We had a woolen, olive drab army blanket that we covered with. Our silverware included the big spoon, fork and knife from his mess kit which had to be polished for inspection each month. I had to handwash and wring his woolen fatigues, talk about heavy! We heated with diesel fuel and cooked with propane (which ran dry on Thanksgiving day as I was roasting the bird - a chicken). We lived in a trailer that had doll sized sink, appliances, cabinets and bathroom. The climate was dangerously cold and if a soldier's depenedents (wife or child) had to be treated for frostbite, the soldier received an Article 15 and his family was sent home. The wildlife roaming freely, and in close proximity, included a herd of buffalo, moose, reindeer, and bears. The nerve gas buried nearby in the Gerstle River was a daily concern.

Our daughter was born 100 miles away in Fairbanks; it's a military hospital horror story I won't bore you with. But coincidentally, the mom of one of my student's was also born there two days before my daughter,and her mom who lived in Utah, and I, exchanged a letter detailing our experiences. Our letters crossed in the mail and were almost identical. Compassion didn't exisit in that hospital. But that's another story.

No, our lives didn't compare to the hellish horrors that war brings. And I do not believe that war is the answer, but I would like to thank all of those who battled overseas, served during peace time or war time in order to keep our country free. My late step-dad, a Navy man, relived WW11 time and again, and his sons, Jim Jr. a Marine, suffered through the Viet Nam War atrocities; and John served in the Navy. I salute them and thank them.