Monday, June 30, 2014

Kaopectate and me

I swore off blog hops and poor ole me. I ain't got nothing to talk about but Kaopectate without a prompt.

The day was incredibly exciting. We dropped my brother off, ate breakfast, shopped, shopped, ate lunch, picked my brother up, shopped and came home. I made salami sandwiches for dinner. Aren't you glad I didn't make a video of myself moping the kitchen and loading the washer this morning. There are enough on YouTube I am sure.

We did have some scary excitement. My mom had difficulty coming in the house and getting to her room. I was relieved she had to stop in the kitchen for water. It was a sign she was not so weak as to fall out. Later she discovered she had forgotten last night's meds. Not good, but good in that her health is not dramatically weakening.

I missed the two supreme court decisions. All I can say is I appreciate Ruth Bader Ginsberg's rebuttal. 

I'm a feminist. I say this because standing up for women's rights should not be a requisite for getting ahead in your relationships or career. It certainly does not make me a man hater. One realization I had about five years ago is that I get along better with men than women. 

I grew up sandwiched between brothers and lived in an area with mostly boys. I could play ball all I wanted in the back yard with the guys but when they wandered off, I had to go back in the house and hang with my best pal, mom. I learned to cook, sew, and all sorts of domestic things with my mother. I guess this explains why we get along so well now.

I'm not happy with the far right swing our country is in at the moment. It's laughable that the liberals are such a threat. Moderates can't get a word in edgewise. What bothers me is the destruction of the Republican party.    

I remember in the seventies when everyone and their brother was a liberal. I didn't agree with that. I guess I was born to be contrary or a moderate. I get tired of hearing everyone is a liberal in their youth because they have feelings. I don't care where you are on the political spectrum, caring about other people has nothing to do with politics.

I know an advocate for river health. His agenda is the river. He negotiates with everyone. One of his biggest allies is a huge tea party leader. I agree with his pragmatism. 

So, we had salami sandwiches and I should have bought some Kaopectate. I ate sugar free candy as a treat today. When will I ever learn. Life goes on.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Nine Principles of A Cat's Nine Lives

1.  When you hear a loud bang, scram. Come back later to learn what happened.

2.  A little hard to get is OK for people who like you.  However, if someone doesn't like you, by all means, kill them with attention.

3. Select your food with care. Eat a special diet when you are older to live better.

4. Sleep on the best possible bed.

5. When you meet a good human, stay with them.

6. Slip out the back door when you damn well feel like it.

7. Recognize that the cat snarling and fighting may be just standing up for themselves.

8. No one likes to go to the doctor.

9. Expect what you want and nothing less.

My brother wants to be my cat or dog if he comes back in another life.



Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Normal Children

If you listen to politics which I have stopped, it is frustrating. In the local paper, a woman writes a letter accusing Obama of terrible things that she did not name but she says he gets away with it all because he is black.

Being an independent, the terrible state of politics is too miserable to bear. Since when do people get everything they want. Liberals are toxic. It's just that in today's political climate. I don't think they have any real voice.

You just have dirty politics which can hide old fashioned corruption. Having to kiss the Koch brother's butts is not that bright a prospect for the future.

So a little normalcy was wonderful today. To kill time, between shopping at Publix and picking my brother up from the workshop he attends, we stopped in an open area to let the chi chi's run. I case the area. I see no one. We are walking and I am considering walking back to the car and I hear a whoop whoop noise.

It's three children. I stop to get Jo and Daisy but it is too late. Those kids are calling them and they go running. I watch three of the dogs chasing the child on the bicycle. Praying none of the dogs decides to nip someone.

The athletic boy steps up on the concrete ballast of a light post. The girl has made it to the fence and slides between the fence and ground like the dogs do. Jo and Daisy run to me like they are pleased to accept their medal. The kids just look at me carrying the two and go on about their business. No crying, no complaining, just normal kids who can take a little heat.

I make a note of the time, some summer program let out and the kids were taking a time honored short cut. The time will be added to my long list to can they just run a bit in the open area.

I taught school and most parents and children were easy to work with. People know when you are on their side. I had a parent disturbed with what I said about their child's make-up work. Mom wanted to know why I was not pleased with the work. I push every kid with what I thought I could get from them.  I was just pushing. Mom understood what I meant.

There is not a fine line between bringing the best out in a child, coddling, and abuse. When you take the time to know a child, you know their pressure points.

I had a student with a terrible learning disability. He took a course he had failed four times at the high school. It was the only class he needed to graduate. He had passed the high school graduation tests in all subject areas. I gave him extra work and I saw his disability. It was a long and painful exercise in letting him complete the assignment. Taking it from him would have been such an indictment of my doubt of his work.

I felt so humble. He came back and gave me a gift after graduation. I still have it. I still feel guilt for all the children with learning disabilities that I did not understand as a young teacher.

The children today were a mental break. They weren't breakable and seemed to enjoy the big dog chase. I have a plot twist for a children's story I am writing. We have another generation who will have many things out of their control but they will weather the storm. My dad called it having float.  

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Where's my refund?

I was directed by the Georgia IRS website to call about my refund. I waited because who wants to make that phone call. Well I did it today. I will get my refund in about 7 to 10 business days.

Now the imagination I had. This is why I don't claim any charitable donations on my itemized deductions. It is just mortgage interest and taxes. I don't want to be proving anything. It is just not worth the hassle of being singled out for an audit.

The good news is I had my tax forms printed and organized. I knew my mom's would be. I have to make her a copy for her to keep. So my copy is always super organized.  My mom knows all about my organizational situation.

I live in fear of her being audited. The stress would kill her. Of course, faults aside which my mom would have already reminded me, she would give someone her opinion. At 84, you really don't pick on her children.

I can see mom and I in the pokey. This year, I barely finished the taxes on the 15th. Next year, I'll do them on February 1st when all the forms come in. Yeah, yeah, I know you believe me. Don't be rolling your eyes. One day I will be organized.

I have one big word of advice. Don't slide your kindle under your couch late at night. Mine got scratched real bad.

Take care.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Witch-Wife by Vincent Millay

Blog hopping. it's that shot in the arm of thinking about something new. Today, the challenge is to write a 100 word piece of fiction inspired by the quote "She learned her hands in fairy tales" from the Edna St. Vincent Millay poem Wife-Witch.

I've read the poem and frankly, I don't completely understand it. I've looked through the great cheat-sheet of our age, the internet and have come up dry. I get the gist of the poem. I get the beauty of the language. It is this one line that leaves me unsure.

Vincent Milley led the bohemian life I would have never had the confidence to live. She had many lovers of both sexes which I know was shocking at the turn of the last century. She was successful as a poet at the age of 22.

It is the 22 that amazes me. To have such a presence of mind.  We write our lives directly and indirectly. Where does this worldly experience come from?

When I started writing, I had a huge regret that I had not started when I was younger. Essentially I have spent my life avoiding a huge glittering piece of myself. I met a new friend who is a starving artist. Some of that regret has faded.

What frustrated me most as a human being is packing that part of myself away.

I come from poor whites. I understand white trash. It's just easy to give up when life kicks you. My first packing away came as a young adult. I had to walk the walk of a conservative mainstream person to be accepted as a teacher. It wasn't hard in that I am a cautious, conservative person. It's just that I have this loud, creative part of myself that I had to stifle.

When I went to college, adults at my church would say "How can you do this to your parents?" It was the expense factor. My parents wanted me to go to college, to better myself. I can say I worked and paid for roughly half of my education. My dad chose my major and refused to fill any financial aid forms out. He didn't like taking government money.

My dad had my best interests at heart. Plus majoring in biology was a lot better than working at the Waffle House. Dad wanted me to be a dentist. I just wasn't there academically. Knowing what I know now. I would have made it into dental school. I would have like to have been a doctor.

As a writer, I don't regret my life experiences. Like everyone, I would have made better choices along the way.

To http://chaoticallyyours.blogspot.com/2014/06/saturday-shorts-10.html , thanks for the prompt. I would have never taken the time to review Vincent Millay's poetry without the prompt.

The poem Witch-Wife by Edna St. Vincent Millay    

She is neither pink nor pale,
    And she never will be all mine;
She learned her hands in a fairy-tale,
    And her mouth on a valentine.

She has more hair than she needs;
    In the sun ‘tis a woe to me!
And her voice is a string of colored beads,
    Or steps leading into the sea.

She loves me all that she can, 
    And her ways to my ways resign; 
But she was not made for any man,  
And she never will be all mine. 
I got the text from this link    http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/witch-wife 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Red Clay like a silken glove

Red clay like a silken glove
Glittering specks of sand dusted away.
Wresting an overgrown squash.
Too big to eat, too young for seed,
Set on a windowsill to color dreams.

Light freckles on tanned skin,
Sweat damping hair carefully set
A water sprinkler makes rainbows
Birds skitter back and forth
Corn shucked in the afternoon shade

The evening sun calls your name
While snake doctors dance
Settling in a chair for the gloaming.
Words your grandfather said
That awkwardly followed your youth
To an incredulous friends laugh

Softly vocalized
In tune to the bright red sun suspended
Above the ridge to the West
The words still hold the magic
Of a gentle man with hands of leather
Who spoke of rhymes and things long gone.


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Ludic Loops

I have stopped blog hopping. Too much time writing a piece of flash fiction and not enough time for my work in progress.

I get lost reading everyone's blog and trying to think of a good comment. Some comments come more easily than others. Not every story tickles my fancy. Then the stories I am not too impressed with win at times. I got a long way to go is all I got to say.

Now to deal with my secondary problem -----> Candy Crush. I knew not to start with these games. Candy Crush gives you 5 lives and makes you wait several hours for five more to prevent burnout.

Oh bummer, I got to quit on my own accord. Either that or find out I am in the top 100 in levels when I die and have that chiseled on my tombstone. The epithet would read, Damn, I thought she would never stop playing Candy Crush.

These games are a nuisance to everyone who wants you to get off the computer and fix dinner, have a conversation, walk the dog, etc. Yet they are so addictive. There was a great article about the problem on NPR. Candy Crush Addiction article

It turns out Candy Crush is a procrastination device. Can I hear a sarcastic "Go figure" from anyone. Plus the unpredictable rewards goad people on.

I know I have enjoyed the stages where there was alot of candy crushing. In a few stages, you have to resist that impulse to win. What is aggravatingly clever is the great move always present when you run out of moves. For 99 cents or 1.99 cents, you can get 5 more moves. Luckily, I have the rule to spend no money. May the makers of Candy Crush go broke. It's not likely to happen with so many playing.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

What makes a cougar woof.

What makes a cougar woof?

That depends on the cougar of course.

A cougar's woof is that combination of you know we aren't leaving this world alive and what you missed the most in life.

This cougar's woof got muzzled.  So I'm saving everything until I'm 75. I'll be that withered old gal traveling by herself. Of course, I'll be content. Provided I wake up each morning.

A teacher I worked with retired in her mid fifties and got a job at a home improvement store and proceeded to make a fool of herself lusting after this thirty something hunk. At the time, I thought she was being a bit foolish. Now I understand.

My weakness is not younger men. I like them my age or older which is good and bad. It is so decent to be interested in someone your own age. Bad in that men wear out faster than women. Hard to find that walking and traveling buddy.

Anyway, this cougar woofs at adventure, travel. Presently it is travel via book. But look out, in twenty years, you'll hear my woof.

Now I hope I ran a few sentences on. Cheers.

When I'm 64 by the Beatles

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Getting a Dressy Gun

With the new carry gun laws and Georgia, I need a nice dressy gun for when I go to parties in crowded places.

I went to the Milledgeville film festival and realized I had a cute black patent leather purse that matched a pair of patent leather open toed shoes. Purchased at Beall's outlet on sale none the less. I looked great in my outfit. A sparkly affair that sold cheap at Catherine's plus size dress shop that I bought in case I ever get to wear something of the sort.

The only problem with the outfit is that I never test drove the shoes. What a pain in the arse to keep on my feet as I wandered from the event area to my car to check on Louise and the AC in the car. Its hard being chic. Heavens, I am glad I did not purchase a patent leather gun holster.

Anyway, I'm not getting a gun to carry. It is just a little humor I got from my dad. He passed 13 1/2 years ago but I still feel him around. Living with my mother, I learned at her knee some good and bad parts of my character.

Like all families, we had discord. My parents were basically half German and half Scot-Irish with a splash of Native American. Mom had a bigger splash of Native American. I'll have to scan my high school graduation picture. You can see the Indian in me. First I have to find the thing.

My mom has the quiet German in her. Dad had the Irish. I can still hear him singing, speaking in rhymes that he just made up, jolly, laughing. In a tight spot, humor was his weapon. He gave me that gift and it has made my life all the better.

I miss you dad.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Yesterday's memories




Netta sat on the old satin sofa of her old school. Mr. Checks pushed his nose deep into her purse. 

"All right little buddy." 

Netta retrieved the leftover chicken from the brunch. If they could see my memories, they wouldn't say this old school is too far gone to save.

This is written as a Saturday Short for a blog called Chaotically Yours. The challenge was a 50 word story inspired by the picture above.

Responsible Gun Toters

Georgia has enacted a broad law in which gun owners can carry their guns into public places and gatherings.

I don't know what the statistics are but we do not have as many gun atrocities in public places in the Southeast. We do have a higher murder rate. Sociologist have theorized this as being a result of the high level of Scot-Irish ancestry. We can never get away from stereotypes can we.

I learned to shoot and care for a weapon at a young age. Gun safety is something my dad made an iron clad rule. We were taught to carry a rifle or gun properly. We were taught to not display a weapon unless we planned to use it. Displaying a weapon is a threat implied.

I was surrounded by two older brothers and a younger brother. One thing my dad emphasized to them was not to be fighting. The human body was fragile.

A group of children taunted a very sweet student of mine who was not too bright. Their comeuppance was a seriously broken arm. They were lucky one of them was not killed. Kids watch television and see fight scenes. We watch these characters stand up unscathed from a fight with a band aid maybe for their efforts.

I don't like the law. I don't think the law will last the next legislative session. The core of Governor Deal's voters in Georgia are gun rights proponents. A bunch of grandpas who might have to defend their freedoms and country.

Imagine these grandpas outgunning and out fighting all of the GI's and weaponry of the United States military. They have watched one too many Bruce Willis films if they think this could happen.

The following article is excellent. - It's hard to be a good guy with a gun.

There is a lot of training and simulations that law enforcement and military engage in that the average citizen has no in depth knowledge.

There was a rapist in Warner Robins when I was a child. He was caught by the newspaper delivery woman who carried a gun for protection. He ran when she pointed the pistol. She recognized him. Law enforcement prosecuted.

When it comes to personal protection, there is learning and training on what to do. Guns do kill people and a lot faster than other weapons of attack. They can be used for protection but a lot of wisdom has to go into effect for that to happen.

Enjoy the following.

 http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/14muzr/2nd-amendment-manners-do-s-and-don-ts

Friday, June 13, 2014

Bad Teacher

I picked up a book called Bad Teacher, and it is not the funny one of movie and television fame. I immediately felt the stress and defensiveness of being a teacher. What moved through my mind is that many parents would never recognize some of the worse teachers because of their political prowess.

The flash that stayed with me is the page that said how to handle stonewalling from a teacher. It's that defiance, adversarial vein that bothered me.

How about your child learns how to get along with someone who thinks different or is unfair. I know all these loving parents are thinking, why would I do that to my child?

As long as your child is mentally healthy, the teacher is not physically abusive, the kids in class are not picking on your child, the teacher is not verbally abusive. There is a much bigger lesson in life. Coping with situations beyond your control.

I have had to deal with a terrible bully who is slick, manipulative and just plain mean. One reason I could outfox him and her is that I recognized the bully of my youth in them. The first thing they do is they make you angry so you do something stupid.

Secondly, they make you feel like less than a person or an outsider. Yes, they did make me feel bad. But I know that although people may think they are wonderful and less of me because of their talk. I'm still a good person. There is a so much negativity that we all have to wade through.

I passed a woman in the grocery store parking lot who looked me up and down and as I told her hello. I recognized her vehicle and her as someone associated with my adult bully. I certainly would not have given a penny for her thoughts. My skin is thin.

You probably are saying, what if the teacher does not teach well. That is a serious problem. This is why you read in front of your children, encourage them to read fiction as well as non-fiction. Many of us are non-fiction readers (newspapers, magazines). Do educational activities like visit the zoo with your child. A game of putt putt golf is much better than the most recent Star Invader or Catch that Thief video game.

I don't recommend homeschooling. That invisible curriculum of respecting other people and learning to get along with others is so important. There are some good reasons to home school. Sheltering your children from the world is not one of them. Knowing you have a child who is outrageously popular and you want them to go to college and not reform school is a good reason.

Even though the book is sitting on my desk like an evil spiirt. I'll read it. There is something to learn from everything even though you disagree with it like a bad teacher.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Some train wrecks turn out well.

It's been an eventful week. My hard-drive took a dump on a laptop under warranty. I did not copy the screenplay I had been writing so - I will be taking that data off the hard drive and invalidating the warranty.

But all is not lost. I have purchased a new hard drive and I have always wanted to use the free shareware Linux based operating system Ubuntu. Such excitement I know.

We have had doctor's appointments galore and my mom is a little frightened being by herself. Ann B. Davis who played Alice on the Brady Bunch died of a subdural hematoma. My mom fell several months back and bled excessively from her head and had a huge hematoma on her knee. If I had not been there and the ambulance been there in about ten minutes it would have been tragic.

My sister had a mammogram. She has better days and worse days with her schizophrenia. On that day she was talkative. There were two volunteers in the hospital. One was concerned when I had to check on my mom in the car. The air conditioner was running, mom was reading the paper and Daisy was in her lap.

Since I did not go in the back with my sister I knew the mammogram operator would work fast. My sister is not dangerous but people are afraid of mental illness. My sister has been acquiring the "I don't give a damn." attitude you get as you grow older. I have been trying to keep my attitude in check.

One volunteer told me how her friend's mother lived to be 96. She told of her mother waiting in the car like my mother. I've heard many tales of mom's with daughters, spouses with spouses like this. What struck me was this woman's reaction to the other volunteer telling me how lucky I was to still have my mother. It was that recognition of knowing.

Individuals who have taken care of frail family members know the 24/7 nature of care giving. No breaks, no vacations, it lasts for years. Your break will be a time of deep regret and mourning. You learn to cherish that these are the good times.

Take care,

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Criticism - hard to find. Easy to find the sort you don't know what to do with.

I got stomach punched with criticism this week. It wasn't the message: it was the confusion. The author essentially told me the piece I had written had numerous grammatical errors and the example they gave me was a legitimate sentence.

Why do I write the blog? Initially it was to establish that platform a writer needs. I took a quiz on Facebook. Far from scientific, I know. I was typed a "lone wolf" as my high school archetype. Jeez Louise, how do I think I will ever create a platform.

I've gone to a writer's group and met some great people. A few have really touched my heart with their support. I've quit going because the group is so fluid. Plus I don't have time to do the tremendous reading that comes with work shopping other people's work.

This leads back to criticism. My uniform criticism is usually cut the words and to point out what left me hanging. You guessed it. People don't really want to hear what you suggest.

Back to the thorny nature of criticism, Where is the criticism coming from? Does the person know what they are talking about. I did not give feedback for a long time due to being unsure of my ability to critique.

The real reason I have stopped going is the fluid nature of the group. You see someone. You read their work. They never return. There are regulars who slog away at improving moral, reading and giving honest feedback, but I need to make friends. Working as a caregiver, I'm just isolated.

The blog has been fantastic in allowing me to create characters, develop ideas that will grow into larger pieces. Prompts from writing blogs have enabled me to pull stories out of my psyche and imagination. These prompts are hard to give up. So I will not.

What I do plan to give up are blog rolls for awhile. I like to look at what people choose to read. A natural selection process at work.

I go to a social Friday and Saturday in Columbus. I hope to meet other writers and possible friends. Its a lonely thing to leave the blog rolls and so many friends I've made. I know they aren't real friends but there is such a connection I've felt with fellow bloggers.

I can thank my acerbic critic. I will go back and revisit their criticism and the piece I wrote. There will be something to learn. Such as how a twenty something reacts to my work. After all, it is the next generation that will be my audience.

It's funny, one day you are the smart ass twenty something and then you are old. I can't complain. I was not a mouthy one but if thoughts could be heard. I was a piss ant.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Time passes quickly




“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” was the first novel we read the first semester I attended college in 1974. I wanted to be deep, a writer, successful, earn good money and had absolutely no direction in life.

I became a teacher because the field was available to me. I recognized that for a woman, it paid well. I also enjoyed the students, parents and teachers along the way. I have been relatively lucky. I've had to swallow bitter pills along with amazing amounts of grace along the way.

Maya Angelou was gifted in giving us insight and words to make the passage through “this veil of tears”. I watched the local PBS station and taped the 6 or 7 episodes depicting the travails of African Americans.

I grew up in a military town in the South. I'm a mix of Appalachia with the Deep South. The military town introduced people from around the country. The African Americans were heavily influenced by the Air Force. Culturally, it was a watered down Southern culture. I would enter that culture as a young adult and not belong.

What I have learned about race is that it is so complicated with variables. Every variable is a person. Their attitude, their experience, their resolution, their degree of flexibility all merge into one seething pot of an endless vortex that will suck you into the hinterlands of hell.

My dad did not want us to refer to people as black or white. What one race did, the other had a reflection. His focus was on people. Was my dad exceptional or a freedom fighter? No, my family made it from payday to payday. He was also a man of his times.

Forty years later, I remember a scene in the book when one the characters who is probably Maya is told by her employer she will call her another name. It went over my head until the professor pointed that out the indignity of not possessing your own name.

Not possessing your own name has many forms that we all bear witness. I had an incompetent boss who harassed the hell out of me. He wanted to see me beg. He had the power to black ball me from teaching. Make me go without a job for awhile if I spoke my mind. I had people depending on me. Plus why should I give up my retirement, the purchase of a home, just for some short-lived satisfaction.

This is why I have so much respect for African Americans who fought for their civil rights or the coal miners in West Virginia striking.

White guilt – Yes I have a lot of it. I've experienced people who abuse their power. I can imagine how awful the cruelty of some people. I don't minimize their experience with the difficulty of others. No suffering is any less because more than one experienced it. It is a shame that people who have lived in this country before it was borne have been treated as second class citizens. The greater shame is that it is still a battle.

I know African Americans are discriminated against. They may have twice the ability and do twice the work but they will somehow pale against a friend's son or a colleague's friend. What's worse is that the secondary barrier of class is a greater hindrance to upward mobility for some young people.

The world is a difficult place and we all have a choice whether we contribute to it being a better or worse.

Take care.



Monday, June 2, 2014

Love transcends



The human heart ebbs and flows
Somber times and rhythmic beats

Leaping for new life
Jumping to the promise of better

Shackled by reproach's grimness
Limitations borne and imposed.

How well we accept or transcend

Will never eclipse the love we know.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Letter to the editor: Part Deux

Well I am officially a senior citizen. This may be my second letter to the editors.

I liked Charles Richardson's article proposing that people vote in both primaries.

I watched Heath Clark and Cullen Talton discuss issues on channel 13. Heath Clark proposed getting rid of property taxes and state income taxes and move to a fair tax based on sales.

What disturbed me is that no one says to maintain services like law enforcement and public schools, that fair tax will be anywhere from ten to twenty percent in addition to the present sales tax. Both men know this. They have to say what they need to say to be elected.

The tea party's initial infrastructure was founded and funded by the Koch brothers. The Koch brother's influence on Governor Deal is why 650,000 Georgians who are entitled to medicaid are being denied and rural hospitals are closing. Some of the frailest citizens in Georgia have to pay the price.

If the electorate were more moderate, Nathan Deal would be more moderate. For every conservative, there is a liberal. Then there are three or four moderates like me who have to choose between the lesser of two evils and don't vote according to one issue only.

All the competition was removed for Georgia employees and teacher's insurance. It was all awarded to Blue Cross/Blue Shield and is administered in Texas. Blue Cross/Blue Shield is the Republican Governor's organization second largest donor. Maybe the voice of the moderate should speak louder than a billionaire's or corporation's  money.