Tuesday, April 23, 2013

'T' is for Turnips, Again

Today I wanted to stop about talk about what's going on in my little corner of the world.

Spring is here in full swing and the pollen count is off the scale. Several days the yellow haze in the air is a swirling cloud move around the state, blessing everything in its path with an even coating of pollen. Even after the rain storms, all the puddles have yellow rings around their evaporated edges.

This past weekend we spent time working up on the farm. Hubby worked moving bulls to new pastures and collecting branches off the fence lines while I started straightening up the garden for another year of delicious vegetables. Which means, fighting Round Two with the reoccurring turnips.

I don't know how many of you were with me last summer as I ventured out of the writing room and into the garden for the first time in many years. Long story short (look it up - it was funny!), I despise turnips. They took over my garden last year and some of my seeds never recovered. I lost my carrots and peppers along with watermelons to an infestation of turnips. This year I vowed would be different.

I pulled an 800 square foot plot of turnips. That's right, root and all, just pulled those suckers out of the ground. Then I sprayed with a mixture of white vinegar and soap to kill whatever might remain.

Let the games begin again!

Monday, April 22, 2013

"Q,R and S' belong to Quite Right Sir!

In more than just an effort to get back on track, I have lumped these three into one resounding statement of praise to the Boston and other Metro Area police departments along with all those involved in the investigation and resolution of the Marathon Bombing.

In less than one week the case was solved, the suspects confessed to the carjacking suspect, and one is in custody awaiting resolution of his case. Some people are upset he hasn't (as of this posting) been read his Miranda Rights. In a case like this I do no think it is an abuse of his rights. Let's exam the facts.

1 - They committed an act of terror on this country. This is tantamount to treason in my opinion, and those who commit treason abdicate their rights as citizens.

2 - He was shot in the throat, making communication minimal at best.

3 - We, the USA, need to know if there are any others of his political ideas ready to unleash other homemade explosive around the country.

If, as some have speculated, this younger brother was only following an admired older brother, then he will give all he knows as soon as he can to negotiate a life sentence instead of the death penalty. But if he is equally guilty, then he should be treated as an enemy of the State and his rights are forfeit.

A huge shout out to the people of Boston for their collective response to the entire week. From bombing to lock down to joyous resolution they have exhibited the very best of what it means to be an American - faith in God, faith in country, faith in their elected officials.

Let us pray we don't have to experience another day like April 15, 2013 anytime soon.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

'P' is for PARTY!

'P' is for Party
'A' is for All Night Long
'R' is for Right On!
'T' is for Take Your Time
'Y' is for Y'all come

An old cheer from my high school days. With the mess going on in Washington, the bombing in Boston, and the explosion in Texas I think we could all do with a little partying this upcoming weekend.

When I was younger, partying meant drinking, smoking and acting like a crazy person. Now that I am middle aged (there - I admitted it), I don't drink anymore. I quit smoking almost 27 years ago, but I can still act crazy. So I began thinking of was to decompress from this week.

1 - Run Away from home. This only works if I don't take my cell phone. They always manage to find me.

2 - Ignore the world and do what I want to do. Yeah, like that'll ever happen!

So this weekend I am going to the garden and spray the existing weeds and vegetation before plowing. Then I'm going to paint garden stakes and get my house in order. If I'm feeling really wild, I might even cook something I've never tried before.

Sounds totally boring right? Well, I've reach the stage of life where boring is sometimes exactly what I need to counterbalance the out of control chaos that is my work. Especially right now in the wake of what happened in Boston.

I do public and private events. Now my public events are going to consist of even more scrutiny than before, which means more chaos and regulations and headaches. More problems for the majority of us who have nothing more in mind than a peaceful happening.

In short., my ideas about partying had significantly changed the older I got. That doesn't mean I don't like to thrown down and boogie to some good music. It just means that the company of good people, with diverse conversation and excellent food can be just as much fun as drinking all night and passing out.

Minus the hangover or urge to puke.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

'O' is for Outrageous Humor

After a really crappy start to this week, I decided a little Monty Python was order for Hump Day!

Hope this makes your day a little brighter!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

'N' is for Needless Violence

I was all set to write about something witty and shallow when I heard about the bombings in Boston. So I redirected my thoughts and today is devoted to those who were there, those who were injured, those who lost their lives needlessly.

Fear, in my opinion, is the worst of all emotions. It drives us far from reason. But those who inflict fear through acts of terrorism do more than just incite fear. They take from us the one thing we all value - the illusion of civility.

It's all well and good to hear about bombings in the Middle East and Europe. We've made ourselves immune to the unstable environment in those locations. Americans are the original NIMBYs. (Not In My Back Yard.) Wars are fought elsewhere, riots happen elsewhere. Until 9/11 we considered ourselves an impenetrable fortress, a continent unto ourselves. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Was this an act of terrorism? Absolutely. The more important question is: was this foreign or domestic terrorism?

Americans have gradually gotten used to the idea that people around the world hate us for no other reason than we are Americans. That we can handle. But to think someone within our own borders would cause such senseless violence is terrifying. We are all one, aren't we?

The role call of violence in America since the 1990s is shocking: Waco, Oklahoma City, Atlanta Olympic Park,  Columbine, Virginia Tech, Newtown. But wait, you say, some of these were shootings, not bombings. That doesn't matter. An act of terror is designed to create fear and damage. All of these accomplished that mission.

As a nation we must be ever vigilant to keep those who seek to destroy us, whether from without or within, from seeing the true legacy of their actions. Are we content to let ourselves become the doormat of the planet, or will we rise up stronger and more resolved? Only "We, the People" can make that determination.

Rise Up America and take back our Happiness. Remember those who have given their lives to these senseless acts and never let their sacrifice go uncelebrated. They are the ones in whose name we carry on. Let's make them proud.

Monday, April 15, 2013

'M' is for Mondays

Good Morning from the letter 'M'.

There are many things I could have written about that start with the letter 'M': menopause and all its joys, maternity and the joys of motherhood. But as the letter falls onto a Monday, how could I write about anything else?

As the Ramones once proclaimed, "I don't like Mondays." Even when I was in school I would prefer to have nothing on Mondays, just to ease back into the week from the excess of weekends. Today is no exception.

I just produced the largest of my spring events and I am pooped. In ten days, my company built a small city, which for eight hours on Saturday contained more than 18,000 people. It was a beautiful day, perfect weather, perfect food, perfect friends.

Sunday I spent most of the day in bed. I did some writing. I did some sleeping. I watched some bad movies but mostly I just worried about what comes next. When you put on an event of that magnitude, there is a letdown afterward of will I be able to top this? Is this all I can do or is there more?

I want more. I just want it to come Tuesday through Friday.

Happy Monday everyone, and may yours be a productive, profitable, pleasurable day.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Friday, April 12, 2013

'K' is for Keeping My Day Job

Time moves forward in steady ticks of a measured clock,
I listen, intent for knowledge and direction to our rendezvous.
My heart listens for your approach, needing you near me.
I pause but the forest is empty.

Perhaps the day long avoided has arrived and you,
Longing to stay were unable to delay the appointment.
For truth and death wait for no one, least of all you.
The one who mocked the Specter

And so alone I must go on, bearing the memory of you
With me as I flee before the righteous frenzy.
Perhaps one day the heavens will grant up mercy.
Until then we must wait, apart.

Alas for truth, whose bite is so cruel to lovers.
If not for justice ours would be a lost tale for all ages.
But now I must go, before the final nail is set in my back.
I pause, but the forest is still empty.

I've never been much for poetry, but thought I might give it a whirl. But now, "Blazing Saddles" is starting, and I need a good laugh!.

Tomorrow, or so, will be 'L'

Thursday, April 11, 2013

"J' is for Juxtaposition

Juxtaposition is the act or placement of two things (usually abstract concepts) near each other.  Here are a few of my favorite. This is no particular order, just as they appeared in my directory.

This one reminds me of my kitchen at this point in time. I've been working on overdrive so no one has been to the grocery store. Also, when I am stressed I eat strange combinations of food, like peanut butter, jelly, and bologna.  Yeah, I know.

Having worked on high school and college news papers, I am acutely aware of the multitude of decisions which accompany page layouts, but this one takes the cake.

This is my favorite. The simplicity of the yin and yang represented in coffee and milk. Basic. Crisp. Elegant. Coffee.

What are your favorite juxtapositions? Anyone use them in their writing? In what capacity?

Tune in next for the Magical Letter 'K'

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

'H' is for Horses, My Heart and Cause

Today is brought to you by the letter 'H'.

Anyone who knows me learns very quickly I am a passionate advocate for animal rights, especially dogs and horses. I thought at first I might write about the horrific decision by Oklahoma to reopen horse slaughter plants, but then I realized instead of focusing on the plight of excess animals at one end of the pipeline I needed to focus on the truly innocent.

These are nursemaid foals. They are the babies who are ripped from their mother's as soon as 2 days after birth in order for the mother to nurse the foal of a better, more profitable mother; or worse the foals of mares who are kept pregnant to produce urine for female hormone replacement drugs. (Another reason I refused to take hormones.)

Most of these innocent babies are killed by the owner/breeder, usually with a hammer to the skull, for the mere crime of being 'extra'. The only reason they are extra is the big money machines driven by breeders looking for the perfect horse to make them rich, and the labs needing PMU by the tanker.

This picture was taken only days before this little one was taken away from her mother. Luckily for her, and seventeen other nursemaid foals, Pure Thoughts Equine Rescue in Florida has purchased these innocents (that's right, the owner would rather kill them with a hammer than give them away!). These babies will be raised on their farm for many months to come but they will be up for adoption to qualified homes.

What we do to animals, all animals, in the name of money and glory is an abomination. As a species humans should be ashamed. If you are looking to add a pet to your family, whether a cat, dog, donkey, or horse. consider adopting from reputable animal rescues in your area. In doing so, you will save two lives: the one you take home and the one the rescue can save into that spot.

If you are interested in learning more about the Nursemaid Foals of South Florida, please check out: Pure Thoughts Horse Rescue Nursemaid Foals on Facebook. Please consider sending a small donation to help with the expense of raising so many infants.

Monday, April 8, 2013

'G' is for Gingers

Today is brought to you by the letter 'G', and my favorite word that starts with that letter, gingers:

 Ha Ha, fooled you. These are ginger plant flowers, also known as Beehive Ginger. And that is today's Random Plant Monday.

(Sorry for the lack of my usual acerbic wit, but it's been a long weekend. I promise to be better tomorrow!)

Saturday, April 6, 2013

'F' is for Football, Especially in the South

I know that is it spring, but already teams are readying themselves for the Fall Gridiron Spectacle known as Football.

Don't get me wrong, I love baseball. Maybe one day the Braves will actually make it all the way again. I wonder if they hold the record for most times close but never there? I remember going to watch the games at the old Atlanta Stadium back in the 70's, where a ticket got you into the door, but there were so few people you could sit wherever you wanted.

I saw Hank Aaron hit quite a few of his home runs, listened to the games on the AM radio my father kept beside his bed with my pillow on the floor; but always and forever the fall weekends belong to football. On Friday night it is the high school games with their sense of community.  But Saturday the gloves come off and it is time for old rivals to square off again as college ball takes center stage.

We are a house divided. I cheer for the blue & gold of Georgia Tech. My son, alas, is a UGA Bulldog. And if that wasn't bad enough, now my daughter is hell bend on attending Auburn. Go War Eagle.

For those who manage to survive Saturday, grab a hair of the dog and hang on because the Falcons play on Sunday. That slides us back around to Monday where we will gather around the water cooler and debate the various games and teams until Friday rolls around and we start the entire circus all over again.

Yep, I love baseball, but give me a case of good old fashioned hatred anytime!

Friday, April 5, 2013

'E' is for Escher

I love the drawings of M.C. Escher. As a small child, my parents had a coffee table book with about two dozen of his words and I could spend hours looking at them, tracing all the possibilities with my finger. For those not familiar with his work, Escher is known for his often mathematically inspired woodcuts, lithographs, and mezzotints. These feature impossible constructions, explorations of infinity, architecture, and tessellations.

In plain English, his works appear to have no beginning or ending. Here are a few of my favorites:

This is his "Stair" composition. Dizzying, isn't it.  And another, this time one of his tessellations, "Pegasus":

One last optical illusion for your day:

Refreshed and renewed don't forget to tune in tomorrow for 'F' is for Football!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

'D' is for Dogs, of Which I Have Two

It's Day 4 of the 'A to Z Blogging Challenge', which means today's letter is 'D'. So I feel I need to brag on my dogs. My husband will laugh to hear I am writing about the boys; he says they don't need the attention. But I love all my four legged pets, they are part of my family just as my children.

This is Ketka's Meriadoc of Buckland, commonly known around our little corner of the world as Merry. He came to us from a breeder in Michigan. Merry is a Norwich Terrier, and he lives to be loved. This picture doesn't show it, but he is actually laying on my helpful hubby's legs watching television. If you lay down on the carpet, he will lick your face so long you will actually not be able to breathe. He's a lover, not a fighter.

The white fuzz ball in the bay window is Peregrin, Prince of the Halflings, aka Pippin. Yes, here is the other adventurous hobbit. A West Highland White Terrier, we rescued Pip from a pet store. He is my boy; when we ride together to work he has a tendency to slide into my lap while I drive. We have an easy rhythm together and our lives would be slow without him.
My animals are just as much a part of my family as my children. Together we form a strange pack: Four humans, three horses, two dogs, and one cat. But we all get along, and having the patter of four little feet around the house is comforting.
Thinking of bringing a new animal into your home? Please consider a pet from either a reputable animal rescue or shelter. And don't be afraid of an older animal. They have just as much love as a puppy, and they need more reassurance. They've already been abandoned once.
AND... no matter where you find your next family pet, please spay or neuter to help control the pet populations.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

'C' is for Confidence - Insecure Writer's Support Group

Today is Wednesday, April 3rd and the first Wednesday of every month is Insecure Writer's Support Group Blog day. Hoping to kill two birds with one blog, here is the letter 'C'. In a strange twist, I have chosen Confidence as my topic for IWSG and A to Z Blog Challenge.

Am I a confident writer? Not by any stretch of the imagination. When I put words on paper for the public to examine, it is putting a piece of my inner most soul on display for others to abuse or adore as they see fit. There is no power within me at all to determine which emotion will triumph. The words are an extension of me; if they are rejected how can I not take it as a personal rejection? The words and the woman are intricately woven as one.

I don't think I am alone in this feeling. Any performer who puts a part of themselves out there for the world, be it an actor, musician, or writer. Of course, that doesn't make it any easier. But with each rejection letter another piece of the armor is forged. I will be stronger for the journey than I would be if immediate success came without work.

That is what makes me open the computer night after night, writing the scenes that fill my head night and day. Therein comes the topic of the day - Confidence.

I am confident that no matter how long it takes, how many hills I must struggle to climb, I will keep writing. It is a part of me just as much as breathing. And that is enough for me.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

'B' is for Bloom's Taxonomy of Learning

I was searching for "Blooms", thinking I would talk about flowers and Spring. Instead I was ambushed by diagrams for something called the Bloom's Taxonomy of Learning. Having studied Psychology in college before deciding I didn't want to listen to other people's problems for the rest of my life; I was interested at once. Part of my previous incarnation was administering standardized tests.

Basically, this triangle illustrates how our brains process information. Just as with the famous 'Food Group' pyramid, you start from the bottom and move upward. 

Now, why did this interest me as a blog topic for "A to Z Blogging"? This is similar to the process I use when creating new characters for my different series. I remember what the character has already revealed to me. Then I understand how they fit into the overall story. I apply the character to the story and analyze what his/her impact will be to the story arc. I then evaluate the positive and negative of the character in the long range forecast, and create the final version. 

It isn't perfect, but I find it works will with my particular form of attention deficit disorder. Maybe some of my readers can relate. Otherwise, happy "B" day, please return on Wednesday for "C". This will be a dual posting, as the first Wednesday of every month is Insecure Writer's Support Group Blog Hop Day. No telling what I will find that starts with a 'C' to mesh into both groups, but that's what makes it all fun. I love a good challenge. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

'A' is for All About Me

Today is April 1st - April Fool's Day, and the beginning of my journey through the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge. The object is to post each day, except for Sunday, using the appropriate letter of the day as the beginning of your subject. In that spirit, here are 18 Random Things About Me, your host for this stop on the tour!

1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? Thank God, no although Nancy Sinatra was popular around the time I was born.

2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? March 18th. But that doesn't mean anything, I might cry an hour from now, who knows?

3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? I love my handwriting, except when there is a paper to be written. God Bless Computers and why didn't we have them when we were in school!?!?


5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS?  I have two prime-time drive commercial-driven consumers, both in target demographic ages, but I still can't get the Nielsen people to ask my opinions!


7. DO YOU USE SARCASM? Only when I'm being sarcastic.

8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? Nope, but my Happy Husband does, can't wait for that surgery to come around. 

9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? There isn't enough money or tequila in the entire world to make me jump. I have an extreme fear of unconfined heights. 

10. FAVORITE CEREAL? Peanut Butter Bumpers. An Organic peanut butter cereal that puts Cap'n Crunch to shame.


12. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM? It depends on my mood. Most times I will order chocolate chip, but I might go with Cherry Vanilla or Chocolate Raspberry if I'm feeling crazy.

13. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE? Their eyes, followed closely by their hands. Those two things can tell you a lot about a person.

14. RED OR PINK? uh, neither.

15. WHAT IS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? I can be very lazy, especially if I am working on a new storyline.

16. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? My daddy. He died more than 20 years ago and not a day goes by I don't wish I could pick up the phone and ask his opinion on things.

17. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE COMFORT FOOD? Macaroni and Cheese made from scratch, with real butter and real cheese. (I have great cholesterol thank God!)

18. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Blue jeans and Cowboy boots, what else is there to wear on a wintry spring morning?

There you go, a few pieces of useless trivia to start this month's project. Stop back by frequently, I don't know that I have 26 topics worthy of blogging about but I intend to find out!