Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Greenwood Gone: Henry's Story, THIS IS A MUST READ!

                                MEET THE AUTHOR, 
                  SIOUX ROSLAWSKI

                                                        siouxroslawski.com   


        Greenwood Gone: Henry’s Story 
Publisher, editor-911.com 
Open the first link which takes you directly to Editor-911.com website.

Sioux is a St. Louis middle school teacher, freelance writer, and member of several writing groups. She is a facilitator and consultant at St. Louis Gateway Writing project, part of the National Writing Project.

                                         Linda O’Connell’s book review:

Sioux Roslawski, created her middle grade, historical fiction novel, 
Greenwood Gone: Henry’s Story, with grace. The saga of twelve-year-old Henry Simmons, published by Editor 9-1-1 is available NOW! This riveting, multi-layered story about family, race, and loss will appeal to adults as well.

 A true, horrific event took place on May 31, 1921, in Greenwood, Oklahoma. One hundred years have passed, and still, most Americans are unaware of the painful event that happened in the thriving, peaceful, Black-owned community of banks, businesses, residences, and churches. The area known as Black Wall Street flourished in the northern part of Tulsa.

Sioux Roslawski brings the gripping, and gut-wrenching details of shocking destruction to life through the eyes of twelve-year-old Henry Simmons.
A likeable protagonist, Henry, living a secure, happy life, has his sense of dignity, right and wrong challenged. A decent, young man with a loving family and good upbringing, he witnesses unbelievable horrors as he watches his community, the residents, and his life destroyed completely, the result of racial hatred.

Henry’s escape and adventures along the way are presented with highly-charged emotion, honesty, and a prophetic vision.

This haunting story is written with a keen eye and will keep readers engrossed until the last page. The ending made me sigh with satisfaction.

Welcome, Sioux. Congratulations on your debut novel. What inspired you to write Henry Simmons’ story?

Sioux Roslawski: Thanks so much, Linda. I attended a teachers’ national conference, and a presenter immersed us in a historical event that all the attendees in that full banquet hall were ignorant of---The Tulsa Race Massacre. It upset me that teachers didn’t know about it. It wasn’t being taught in U.S. history books, not even Oklahoma history books. That is when the kernel of an idea was formed---the idea that our country needed to stop sweeping these tragedies under the rug.

Please tell readers what your writing process was like. How long did it take to write Greenwood Gone: Henry’s Story… from idea to publication? You mention that Henry helped write this story. Can you explain?

Sioux Roslawski: Five years ago, I sat down in front of a computer every school day in class during the month of November, and my students and I participated in NaNoWriMo---National Novel Writing Month.

I taught three English (writing) classes, so I had a little more than two hours every day to write--- surrounded by middle school students. However, I didn’t have a first draft finished that first school year. The next year, I finally finished it, and sort of a second draft.

The following year, I had it edited, and received such specific, spot-on feedback that I was able to rewrite it almost from scratch. The third draft was tight. It had tension and a plot that was engaging.

Did you plot your main character, or did you get to know Henry as you began to write?

Sioux: 
I didn’t plot the story, unfortunately, so the first and second drafts stunk up the place. However, with the help of an editor I hired, the third draft really flowed.

And yes, I got to know Henry as the story unfolded. I didn’t write the story; Henry wrote the story. I don’t know how to explain it, because it’s never happened before, and I doubt ever will again. Things happened to Henry in the story. I didn’t plan, outline, or think of them. They just happened as I was typing.

For example, one character takes a bag on a dangerous trip, and everybody wants to know what’s in the bag. It is a great effort to take this bag. No matter what happens along the way, the character hangs onto the bag. A writer friend was reading a draft of my story and asked me to reveal what was in the bag. I didn’t know until months later when the character opened the bag, and I discovered the contents.

I don’t know if it just happened because so many voices have been silenced, and this one voice simply erupted, or if I channeled someone from 1921. I just know it was a weird and exhilarating ride…

Do you have a writing talisman, habit (for me it’s barefoot and a cup of tea), that you engage in as a writer?

Sioux Roslawski: I have a metal pig with wings that sat next to my desk. I bought it years ago, thinking I’d get a book published when pigs fly. Well now, I’m going to hang it from the ceiling, because pigs really can fly!

Do you have a favorite writer quote? Which authors inspire you?

Sioux Roslawski: I love the simplicity of Guy de Maupassant’s “Get black on white.” Get ink on paper. Get words down on the paper.

I love some of Stephen King’s novels. I adore Joe Hill’s writing (Stephen King’s son.)  I am in awe of Chuck Palahniuk, Sandra Dallas, Jodi Picoult, and Leonard Pitts, Jr.

Any tips or advice for writers?

Sioux Roslawski: Don’t give up. When I was feeling really low--- when I had sent out more than a hundred queries to agents and publishers, and nobody wanted to represent me or publish my manuscript--- I looked up some famous books that had been rejected many times. The Help, a book I love, was rejected sixty (60) times. What if Stockett had stopped there? It was her 61st query that snagged her a “yes.”

Sioux, is there any writing advice you would like to impart?

Sioux Roslawski: Go with your gut. I hired Margo Dill as an editor--I just had a feeling she’d do a great job, but she didn’t do a great job; she did a brilliant job! For me, small and personal is a good thing. Margo bends over backwards to showcase her authors, and every one of her decisions--- editing, choices, regarding the book cover--- are reflective and spot-on.  

One more thing about your writing routine.

Sioux Roslawski: I wish I could say I write every day. I wish I could say I have a routine, you know, like “I write every evening after dinner.” I don’t. Most of the time, I write in the early morning (4 or 5 AM) when I’m the only one up. It’s just me and the dog. Late in the evening works for me as well. However, what does keep me writing on a regular basis is my writing critique groups. If I haven’t written something, and we have a meeting coming up, I will definitely spend a few evenings drafting something. I don’t want to go to a meeting empty handed. If I did, I’d miss out on an opportunity to get feedback, and for me, that’s invaluable.

Thank you for sharing with readers. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Greenwood Gone: Henry’s Story. I believe your book should be required middle school and high school reading. Henry Simmons will remain with me for a very long time.

 

Saturday, April 10, 2021

#ThinkingFunny.com 2021

 

I am pleased to announce my 1st Place win in a humor writing contest (family category) at ThinkingFunny2021.com. I won a monetary prize and registration fees for the on-line humor conference and workshops. There were attendees from all over the globe. Despite the two hour time difference, it all worked out well. I read my piece at an after party. 

The lineup and conference was organized by Robb Lightfoot, an affable and knowledgeable emcee, humorist, and educator for forty years. He hosts a multi-disciplinary humor/creative community at ThinkingFunny.com.


The lineup included many talented folks. 

John Vorhaus, author of The Comic Toolbox: How to be Funny Even if You’re Not.

Dave Fox,
an international traveler who discussed writing about travel catastrophies etc, for fun and profit. His background: Rick Steves’ television travel guru, writer. Check him out at Globejotting.com

Humor coach, Judy Carter and panel of stand-up comics: Leighann Lord, and Brian Wetzel conference producer, who has been an opening act for George Lopez.

Songwriters Sara Hoxie and Leah Specher. Also Steve Vanzant of the Banana Blue Slug String Band.

John Ramirez, Disney story board artist and the animator of many Disney and Warner Bros films.

Great grandson Liam, age six, asked me all kinds of questions about Hercules! I faked the answers and showed him an illustration/photo of the hercules cell images. 

Dave Master, mentor and multi-talented animator, teacher and pay-it-forward advocate of fostering creative communities.

Agents and editors panel: Gordon Warnock, Savannah Brooks, and Andy Ross.

What a great lineup and terrific conference. I am grateful for the win and wish to thank Georgia Hubley, a Chicken Soup for the Soul writer who told me about the contest in the closing days. I didn’t think I had a chance.

Never say Never!

Sunday, April 4, 2021

That silly bunny!

 Happy Easter and a blessed day is wished for each of you whatever your faith.  I am grateful for spring!

Twenty years ago my daughter's first husband thought he was doing a good job when he hid the big bowl of Easter eggs he found sitting on the kitchen table while his family was at church.

After church, my grandson ran inside shouting, " Daddy, the Easter bunny hid our eggs all over again. They are the same ones."

Seems mama had beat him at putting them out in the grass at the crack of dawn.

Friday, April 2, 2021

What they don't know won't hurt 'em

I am participating in Washington University's Life Lines poetry event for the month of April. This is my first posted poem using the five assigned words in bold type.

 Spring Fling

Mercy! Hilarity ensued when the deviltry
of my inner child went wild
gathering petunias, pansies, and
primrose to plant around trees.
“Going to be a hard freeze,”
my neighbor screamed. “Better wait.”
I laughed and beamed. “Won’t kill these.
They’re all fake.”



Sunday, March 28, 2021

We are just full of surprises!

"You're going to be surprised," my hubby said when he got up from MY desk and MY computer, even though he has his own in the same room. "I ordered you something that will fix something."

Yesterday I received an Amazon package and discovered new mouse pads for our computers. Mine was dragging and needed to be replaced. What a nice gesture. He knows how much I love and miss the beach. 

Now I see he had an ulterior motive. Look at the one he chose for his desk. Uh huh! So I decided a little surprise for him was also in order.
                                                    

                                     Won't he be surprised! Wait until he unwraps HIS package.


 

Friday, March 26, 2021

Oh the things people say!

Wowser! That second Covid vaccine wiped me out for 36 hours, as predicted. I had chills, and lethargy like I have never experienced. No fever.  Once my babies went home, I went to sleep at 6:00 p.m. Bill said he thought I had died in bed. I was in such deep sleep.Woke this morning energetic, no symptoms. 

Some things I heard this week that made me snicker, raise my eyebrows, and wonder about rude people.

I gave the boys a pan of uncooked rice and plastic eggs to fill and then crack open. When they hooked the tops and bottoms together I'd say, "Oval." 

Two-year-old Charlie insisted, "No, Nanny! Pac Man!" He no longer calls me Nana, he likes Nanny.

When I received my second vaccine, the nurse advised, "Do not take pain reliever. Drink Gatorade to keep your electrolytes up." Then she leaned in and said quietly, "And if you get a severe headache, drink straight tomato juice." She might have been an alcoholic.

I stopped at the Goodwill store. There was a little, old, Italian woman with her older teen grandson ahead of her in line. As the young man at the register was ringing up the boy's purchases, the grandma snatched the sports jersey out of his hands and said, "Now-a you ah listen to me. I will a pay for this. You no seem a too bright, so let me explain. You a take off that price and put it on a my order. You ah get that?" 

Oh dear. It's not that the clerk looked "ah not too bright" he looked stunned.



 

Sunday, March 21, 2021

What lives in a hole?

I am so happy spring has sprung. Alex, 3 and Charlie, 2 have given me so much joy in the past two weeks. They come to Nana's home preschool on Tuesdays and Thursdays. They are having fun learning, and they think they are just playing. 

I surprised each of them with a homemade pop up bunny. I tied a knot in the thumb, middle finger and pinkie of a surgical glove, inverted it, and drew on a face. Stretched the bunny over a cup, added a tiny hole to insert a straw, and taped the hole so no air escaped. I poked the bunny down in the center of the cup and asked what might live in a hole in the ground. We are learning about the many critters that live  underground. (If you make one of these, tape it to the rim of the cup.)

I encouraged Alex to blow on the straw to discover what comes out of its burrow. When he blew, the bunny inflated slowly, but he kept blowing, and the bunny flew up in the air and landed on his head. He giggled and giggled. Poor Charlie wanted no part of it. "No! I scared. get it away!" 

He needs more time. We went outdoors and looked under large rocks to see if we could find insects and worms waking up. They are enjoying themselves, and so am I.

They loved water play. We predicted which things would sink or float. When they weren't looking I slipped some seashells and decorative turquoise, blue, and green beach themed stones in the pan. Gave them a big spoon and let them go "fishing." Charlie kept saying, "Oh, Nanny this is so shiny!"

Then we fished for magnetic number fishies. Hands on learning, the only way!

Hope you are enjoying the reawakening. Our grass is green overnight! Daffodils are sprouting. I love spring! How about you?
 

Sunday, March 14, 2021

I've been having palpitations

To say I have been in a panic or on a tangent for a few days would be putting it mildly.

I thought I lost access to my blog. Someone in this house signed onto the computer and watched You Tube videos, because that someone is a gadget guy who watches tutorials before he makes purchases. 

Somehow a password got changed, and I wanted to crawl into a ball and cry. I couldn't figure it out, and although my honey offered, he was unable to recover my blog page.

Today I tried something simple, and it simply worked. Now if I can get it to work again! 

My honey is outside happily smoking a whole chicken, because he is proficient at using his new gadget. And I am happy to be back on Blogger because he watched the tutorial. 

We have both had our first Covid-19 vaccine and feel somewhat protected. Hopeful anyway.

Daffodils have blossomed in our backyard. So much fun helping three-year-old Alex discover signs of spring. he has been turning over rocks in search of worms and bugs that are waking up. He is excited.

 I used to teach my students to recite, "Thank  you, Jesus for my eyes, so I can see the flowers and the butterflies." Now Alex is reciting it. I love having my little guys back on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Charlie had a tummy bug, so he hasn't discovered the worms/bugs yet. Happy spring to you!




Sunday, March 7, 2021

Aw! You know what I mean.

 Bill and I have been together for 32 years. Every single day he makes me laugh.

Today I was taking a shower when he opened the bathroom door and asked, "Are you saving tooters?"

"Tooters? Taters?"

"Tooters!"

I don't know what you're talking about. I'll be out in a minute."

"Are you saving DIRTERS?" he shouted.

"Oh! Yes, for the boys. Save all the dirters you can."

When their mama was two, we used to babysit her often. She begged us for our dirter. We had no idea what she wanted. She cried and cried. We asked her to show us.

Ashley went to the pantry, rummaged through the trash can, pulled out an empty paper towel tube, put it to her mouth, and pretended it was a horn, "Dirter dir-dir-dir-dirt-dir-dirt! A dirter, see?"

Yes, Bill, save the dirters and tooters.

We had friends visiting from Boston once, and when they heard my daughter tell Ashley to go WARSH her hands, they couldnt believe it. They omitted their "R's and St. Louisans added them.

For the record, after I showered and WASHED, I hooked five tooters together. Won't Alex and Charlie be excited? I suspect they'll call them light sabers.

Any unusual vernacular in your neck of the woods?



Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Young children should hop, skip, and jump through early childhood and have FUN learning

Spring has sprung, and I am in my element feeling fulfilled, useful, and HAPPY. I am back to babysitting my great grandsons, Alex, 3 and Charlie, 2. And we are having the times of our lives at Nana Linda's in home daycare/preschool on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Hubby was surprised when he came downstairs to our family room and saw  I had set up a preschool classroom. 

I feel like a flower blossoming. I am excited to help my little guys learn and have fun. My goal is not educational mastery, but educational introduction to skills and concepts, using age-appropriate games and activities. I hot glued plastic egg halves upside down for little hands to match the tops without getting frustrated when they can't actually connect the two pieces yet. They love this and feel successful every time!


I bought this basket, tray, and bag of jelly beans at the Dollar Store. Alex is having fun sorting.

See that blue felt basket? It had the felt bunny face glued on the front. I removed it and cut an opening for it's mouth and slipped it over the opening of the empty water/soda bottle. And I dressed that bunny up but you don't have to. Just a head on a bottle works, too.  They can see the jelly beans landing inside and filling up the bunny. I cut a small opening in the back of bottle to empty. This hand-eye, small motor activity enhances many skills, develops concentration, and is so much FUN.

Alex was so surprised to discover jelly beans inside the dry rice pouring box. I listened to his conversation. "Oh bunny, I will make you egg soup." And he had FUN doing just that as the ceramic bunny watched him do activities all morning.


These two darlings argue and fight, push and shove, scream and yell at home, and sometimes at their Nana's day care. But they are learning that I practice consquences of actions (as I did when I taught pre K for 40 years) And I do not rage or engage when they become obstinate or angry. I do address feelings. "You feel upset, angry etc. I'll help you." 

I use positive speech patterns and encourage them to do so, too.  Say, "I WANT IT NEXT."
Tell him you want a turn. I'll help you wait your turn. To the child who has IT: he WANTS his turn, soon. I will look at my watch and tell you when SOON is.

This technique works and I see social/emotional growth already in my honey-bunnies.

Too often adults want CONTROL This discipline technique requires work, but it does work to gain COOPERATION if adults use/teach children to use positive speech patterns consistently.

 Proof right in the picture that they CAN be in close proximity, share a table top, toys, and have FUN.

I can't say this enough: do NOT focus on misbehavior. Instead of "Hey guys, quit (whining, fighting, shouting)" say "Hey guys, thanks for taking turns and sharing the table and COOPERATING." 

Catch a funny bunny doing something right, instead of wrong.  

When they leave to go home they tell me, "I love preschool."

I do, too.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

If I never see another snowflake...

The inscription: Let it snow some place else!

 My sentiments exactly! I hang this plaque on the front door on New Year's Day when I take the Christmas wreath down. This cute little plaque gets replaced on Valentine's Day with a floral,
heart-shaped wreath that hangs on our door until October. 

This year we have had a mild winter. Then all of a sudden, BAM! Snowmageddon. That is nine inches of powdery snow atop the bird bath. The city was practically shut down. Then for the next two days the wrath of winter continued to pile up. Almost two straight weeks of below freezing and sub zero temperatures and dreary days.

I ran in and out for the first two days trying to keep the birds fed and waterd. The water froze almost instantly. I hope mama nature is finished with her little temper tantrum. We seem to be on the down side, and the meterologist claims on Tuesday we will see 50 degrees. I'm counting the days. But I am also praying for those poor people in Texas and down South. 

Counting down till spring. How about you?

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Shot in the... and who's to blame?

 I am so thankful for my funny honey. We are celebrating our 27th wedding anniversary, but we have been together for 32 wonderful years. And every single day of our life together he as made me laugh.

His big hands have held onto mine, hugged our blended family of four adult kids, assisted, played with, teased, and aggravated all of our little ones who are almost all grown. He has cuddled all of our newborns, and in the past six years, squeezed our three great grandsons, who adore Paw-paw Bill. 

He has held each of our hearts, and each of us  holds so much love in our hearts for him.

Forget all of the fancy-schmancy anniversary cards, the cutesy-wootsey Valentine cards. Nothing will ever compare to this card that Bill bought me on our anniversary/Valentine's Day 2002.



Every year he adds another date, and that simple gesture makes me so happy.

 
On this day a long time ago when I was a new teacher, little red-haired, three-year-old Rachel came up to me and said, "Teacher, who's that guy who comes around at night, naked and gives you love?"

 My heart skipped a beat. I thought for sure I was going to have to call child abuse hotline. 

Then she said, "You know he shoots arrows at you to give you love?"
 
Whew! Cupid.

Sending love and appreciation to all my blog readers.

Monday, February 1, 2021

Treasured Locket

This story is featured in Sasee Magazine this month. Little kids have a way of bringing you to your knees. Enjoy! 


                                                          The Treasured Locket 



I have a decorative jewelry box filled with fine gold chains in many lengths and a drawer filled with several individual, significant, diamond embellished charms that I received for Mother's Days, birthdays or other holidays. If I ever decided to wear them all at one time, I would really make a statement. Strangers would know that I am the BEST, a #1 mom, friend, nana, and very loved wife. I wear the charms and chains individually at different times. When I pass a mirror, I see my aging face, and in my mind's eye I see the reflection of the loved ones who presented me with each piece of jewelry over the years.

There's one piece of costume jewelry that means more to me than silver, gold, or diamonds. I don't even remember where I got the pendant locket which hangs at my heart level on a long, thick chain. I'll never forget why it is so important to me and increases in value as I get older. The faux gold, filigree miniature coin purse has a clasp that allows the tiny purse to open and close. I imagine that years ago, the former owner,  a young lady, must have stashed a dime inside for an emergency phone call, or perhaps a grandmother sprayed a cotton ball with Evening in Paris cologne, and tucked it inside, leaving a lingering scent as she rocked a baby. I sometimes placed a penny or an M&M inside for my grandchildren to discover when they were small.

Madison was three years old when she reached for my locket and attached immeasurable value to that piece of junque jewelry. Maddie was an early talker who went from one word utterance to stringing, not sentences, but entire paragraphs. She was a verbose, smart little girl with strawberry blonde curls that bobbed when she carried on lengthy conversations. Her big blue eyes stole hearts, and she was never at a loss for words.

I had just returned home from a particularly exhausting day in a classroom filled with
three-year-olds. I looked forward to kicking off my shoes and lying on the couch for half an hour. I opened the front door, and our bubbly little girl greeted me with a high pitched, delighted squeal.

"Hi Nana, I've been waiting all day with Paw-paw for you to get home from school. I couldn't wait to see you. Mama dropped me off." So, that is why I didn't know we had company. There was no car in the driveway.

I smiled, but honestly, what I thought was, "Not another three-year-old!"
What I said was, "Hi honey, let me put my school bag down and hug you."

As I sat on the couch, I wished I could have stretched out and laid my head down on my soft, powder blue throw pillow for just a moment to rejuvenate. Madison jumped up on my lap and started fondling my locket. "Open it, Nana. Open it right now. Let me see what's in your little purse necklace. Can I? Please? I know there has to be something good in there. I just know it because I know lots of things that could fit in there. Is it...?" She guessed every tiny thing under the sun.

Overwhelmed, exhausted, and having used up almost all my patience in class, I told her, "Honey, there is nothing inside today. I didn't put anything in here. You just have to believe me."

"Oh yes there is. I know! It could be a..." There she went again as she tugged at it, adding to my irritability.

I reached for the stack of mail and tried to reposition her. She was insistent, and finally I lost my last bit of patience.  A little too harshly, I said, "Honey, there is nothing inside the purse necklace. I already told you."

Life would have been so much easier had I just walked into the kitchen and sneaked an M&M into the locket. But then if I had restocked it, the locket would not be as special to me as it is today.

Madison pushed me further over the edge. Coyly, she cocked her head and fluttered her eyelashes. Then instead of using her insistent voice, her words poured out as sweet as syrup, and she said, "Oh Naaanaaaa, I knooow there is something inside your little purse necklace.  I'm really sure. Want me to show you?"

Before I could protest, she said, "I know you don't have an M&M, or a penny, or... " She went in reverse naming all the things that couldn't be inside.

I snapped. I am ashamed to admit it that I had reached my boiling point. I raised my voice, flipped the latch, and flung the little purse locket wide open. "I told you, honey, there is NOTHING inside. SEE!"

The kid wouldn't quit. Very softly and sweetly, in a little sing-song voice, she said with authority, "Oh yes there is something inside. It's God's love. God's love is everywhere, Nana. I learned that in Sunday School."

Stunned into a shamed silence, I hugged her to me, and agreed 100 % that she was absolutely, positively right. On my way to the kitchen, I bowed my head in shame and silently asked for forgiveness. I returned and presented our girl with an entire bag of M&Ms.

Sometimes it's not the silver, gold, or expensive jewels that hold the most value, but the stories attached to the particular pieces that make them priceless.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Zooming takes on a new meaning

We have been indoors so long. Bored. Lack of stimuli. Same old TV shows. We had the urge to get out and take a drive. The sunshine was deceiving, the weather freezing, but a perfect day to lollygag and take a lesiurely drive.

Didn't happen. There was no slowing down to see sites, as traffic was speeding at excessive rates, drivers changing lanes and breaking all rules of the road. It was like being on the Autobahn.

As we were zipping down the highway I told Bill to look up! He couldn't. I saw what appeared to be a large drone in the sky over downtown. We lost sight of it. Few minutes later this aircraft crossed our path again, flying at high altitude. Its gray wings blended into the sky and all I could see was the black body. 

It wasn't a drone afterall but a fighter jet. The pilot flew the aircraft sideways with one wing up and one down. It was an amazing aerial maneuver. 

That was my excitement for the day. 

Someone told us to check out an app called Flight Tracker to see what is flying in the skies above you. I went on line and browsed. I saw so many images of planes in the air, it looked like mass chaos. Some things are better left unknown.

 

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Someone got their wires crossed

 Our next door neighbors have been foster parents for years. We have babysat in emergency situations, such as when the kids arrive home from school a few minutes before the adults do from their doctor's appointments.

When the phone rang as we were driving to the store, we did not recognize the phone number. Bill answered on speaker phone.

"Hello."

"Hey there man, how you doing on this fine day?" The deep, gravelly African-American voice  sounded older than our  neighbor. 

"Doing just fine. What can I do for you?"

"Well that is exactly what I was going to ask you. You called ME, so I hit redial. What can I do for YOU?"

"Well I've been driving. I haven't used this phone. I didn't call you, Jesse. You called ME."

"This is John, not Jesse. Who are you?"

They got to talking. The man lived clear across town, was two years older than Bill, and both had retired the same year. They discussed everything under the sun. When I came out of the store, they were still gabbing about the world situation, the repercussions of telling the wife her cooking was bad. They agreed if they ordered out, the wife would appreciate it ... 

My husband is a joker and has never met a stranger. You'd have thought these guys were best friends.

When I came out of the SECOND store, they were still yucking it up, laughing, and telling life stories.

I shook my head, smiled, and thought, "This is exactly what the world needs, friendly people forced by a pandemic to limit their in person interactions, making the most out of a random phone call." 

In the back of my mind I wondered just how random that accidental dial was. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Are your ears and eyes working?

My jagged ripped-in-half heart aches. My thoughts, your thoughts, our thoughts  all filtered through the same dust mote filled air ...
unsettling. 

This morning I heard audio and saw video of the barricades being removed from our state capitol because they were installed "only" for the governor's inauguration. Yet, there are verified threats of violence predicted for the next week. So what?

And in the nation's capitol, after a domestic terrorist attack, officials are refusing to go through metal detectors?! The Capitol Police are standing by looking helpless as to what to do?! Metal detectors? SO WHAT!

I said this a long time ago when I taught preschool. My room was housed in a middle school. I witnessed inconsistent accounatblity, lack of consequences, and infractions overlooked when students AND teachers broke rules.

Someone passed out handbooks on conduct. The whole attitude was a huge collective shrug. SO WHAT!  

When many federal, state, and local officials neglected to impose a mask mandate, and a few mayors broke rank and did insist, opposers refused. Mandate? So what?!

So covid deaths are rampant. That is what!

Arrogance, apathy, helplessness.  Rules? So what?!  

Until there are consequences to actions and words, and enforcement of rules and laws ... 

I pray for peace.

Thank you for your comments. I am a firm believer and know this is out of my control and God is in charge. I just needed to sound off.

  


Saturday, January 9, 2021

When my head hit the pillow

The world is in such a mess.
Still I have faith and hope that
tomorrow will bring brighter days;
calmer heads will prevail;
compassion and peace
will lead to positive changes. 

I can be an instrument of peace.
I can spread a little sunshine instead
of focusing on the gloom and doom
that seems to envelope us.

I
can offer a helping hand,
speak with a softer voice... use 
inspiring words that offer comfort or
provoke a thought that leads to empathy.  

I can meet eye to eye, offer a smile, incite laughter
because we all need to turn our frown upside down a while.

Wednesday, near midnight, after an entire day of constant TV viewing, observing unbelievable, unspeakable behaviors, gut-wrenching, nerve-wracking real time scenes playing out on the screen as the US Capitol was taken over, I went to bed angry-red and broken-hearted blue from the pandemic statistics.

Sometimes when I have too much screen time, my left eye goes wonky and I see a bright wall of flashing white lights for a few minutes. If I cover my eye, it subsides shortly. I have been examined by two opthalmologists who say it is not a retina tear, just eye strain or ocular migranes. My head does not hurt.

With a heavy heart and sigh, I climbed into bed, thankful for the snorer and the creeper. My honey rumbles like a motor and the purr boy inches his way from the foot of the bed and scrunches himself right NEXT to my legs or any curve he can find.

When my head hit the pillow, my eye started flashing bright white. I laid still and prayed 

for my family whom I miss so much, for peace, a friend's daughter battling cancer, and our back door neighbor who just lost her husband of 50 years. I covered my eyes with my palms. I breathed deeply. I opened my eyes and holy macaroni! I saw bright RED flashing lights.

Well this was a first. I squeezed my eyes shut. Opened wide. Those red lights were spinning back and forth, dancing left and right every where I looked. I played with them a little bit, open, close, flash-flash, gazed up, looked down. They were persistent.

Then I heard a thud, got up, looked out the window

at an ambulance in the next door neighbor's driveway.

Relieved for me and concerned for her, I added another person to my prayer list,
closed my eyes and went to sleep.  

If you can't laugh at yourself, laugh at ME.