Monday, June 30, 2014

Falling Rain


I love the sound of hard rain
The pelting on the tin roof
The blue lake turned gray
The bird feeders turned bird bath.
I love the way the rain cleans
The earth, the deck, the garden
The way it nourishes the hydrangea
The apple trees and peach
The new growth of grass the day
After the rain is glorious
Crisp, clean, comfort to me and
even the cows.

A Misunderstanding


Is it possible that most arguments are misunderstandings? I bet the answer is a resounding yes! I have a perfect example. I recently had surgery (nothing major) but my right hand has been hurting and not really functioning for over seven weeks, so I needed surgery to repair the damage. Anyway, I had the surgery and most of my friends and family called to find out how the surgery had gone. All’s well – not really.

One particular person, whom I care about very much, did not call on the day of or the next day. I was hurt. When this person finally called, I was too hurt to even talk, so I ended the conversation rather abruptly. Well, the story doesn't  end there.

This individual guessed something was wrong, but had no idea what it could have been because no harm was meant. I was sure I had been ignored. Anyway, we talked (very important) and got it all out in the open. Now, I understand that this person also has been under some pressure and meant nothing by the slight.
After our phone conversation, I realized how many times I have felt hurt or slighted with family or friends. And something this person said made me realize how ridiculous I have been. “I’m sure each of us forgets once in awhile without meaning to.” Yes, we do. Yes, I do. I hope I will remember this incident the next time I am hurt, so I don’t take it personal.

Someone I know once told me, “remember QTip, Quit taking it personal.” It registered with me, yet I have a tendency of forgetting. I wish I could have an alarm go off the next time I take it personal. Then, maybe I would not be or feel so hurt.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Fragments

Prezi Link: Fragments


Friday, June 27, 2014

Respite


Contours of fresh mountain water; the ecology of easy living
Flourishing springs for feed to geese, fish, cows, and trees.
Pleasant to the eyes from deck, porch or kitchen window see
Blue Ridge mountains mirrored glass of rippling spring water.

This is the view from my log cabin at the Farm
My place of respite from telephones and e-mails.
Tall, thin Hickory trees enhance not hinder the view
The only break in the quiet cold, a dog barking or geese call.

Holidays are spent here with family or just us two
In the Spring we collect daffodils in a field of gold
Fall gathering rusty leaves, hickory pods and pine cones
Summers rafting wild waters in wet glee

The profundity of life escapes analytical intent
As bees fight for sugar with hummingbirds
Or fish jump high to capture flies on the fly
Life continues with simplistic measure

If only I could carry, drag, lift, absorb or digest this wonder
This silence of solitude which surrounds my slice of heaven
And bring it with me to the dissonance back home
To enjoy with eyes closed the freedom of white noise. 



Getting Older


Getting older starts around thirty and doesn't end until we die. I remember how it felt when I reached that adult age of thirty. It was frightening, really! Don't ask, but I really thought wrinkles had formed overnight. I ran downstairs to our only bathroom and looked in the mirror to see what new wrinkles arrived while I slept. Nothing. I still cried. I felt I had taken a turn down the very dark path of adulthood, and to tell the truth, I wasn't ready. No other birthday has affected me as badly or as strongly.
Today, my philosophy is much healthier. It all depends on how I feel. Most of the time, I still feel like I'm in my thirties (which by the way ended up to be a pretty good decade), so I have little to complain about. After all, when we start to think about it, don't we all start getting older from birth? So what! Shouldn't we try to celebrate our birth dates as we did when we were young? 
My grandchildren think their birthdays are awesome. They get plenty of gifts, lots of cake and ice cream, and they get to celebrate with friends, play games, go in the pool, and have a grand old time. 
How come we don't celebrate unless we reach milestones like 50, 65, 80, 100? The wrinkles are going to come, the hair is going to turn grey, the arthritis is going to set in, but I promise that unless you're very ill, you will not feel your age. A very wise woman once told me it's all in one's attitude. She was talking about work, but I think attitude applies to every part of life. Since my thirties, my attitude has been, "I am as old as I feel," and today I feel like I'm twenty-nine.


Passive Voice

Prezi Link: Avoid Passive Voice


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Seafood Salad

I have been making this salad for many, many years yet my favorite story happened about ten years ago when my daugher-in-law Michelle joined our family. Mike and I made several seafood dishes for dinner, but we had seafood salad left over. The next morning (Frank and Michelle slept over), Michelle had seafood salad for breakfast instead of pancakes. She loved it that much!

Ingredients:
12        clams
12        shrimp
12        mussels
1          octopus
1          bx. (3 lbs.) calamari       
1          tbs.oregano
2          stalks of celery
3          stalks of parsley
pepper to taste
3    cloves of garlic
¼   cup olive oil
Juice of one lemon

Combine olive oil, lemon,  chopped parsley, chopped celery, pepper, garlic  and oregano in measuring cup.
shuck and clean clams; peel and devein shrimp; shuck and clean mussels; clean and cut (1 in. pieces) octopus; clean and cut calamari into circles.  Each has to be cooked before combining in the salad.
Clams & mussels are steamed till opened
Shrimp is boiled till pink (several minutes)
Octopus is cooked in boiling water for ½ hour
Calamari is cooked  in boiling water for 8 -  10 minutes
Combine all fish and pour dressing over it.  Refrigerate overnight and serve chilled.

This will serve 4 and guarantee leftovers for the following day.





I Should



I should have thicker skin
Like a duck’s back or an otter’s. 
I'm colorful in my veneer of strength
No one knows me, truly
They don’t.
I dance on stage as the flickering lights
Fade in the distance
 I falter
From one crazy step to another
Feeling like a drunken fool, 
a clown
Dressed for a Venetian Masquerade
A huge smile on my painted face
And death eyes set deep within
I think I fit in ~

I don’t.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

WRITING COMPLETE SENTENCES

Padlet Link: Subjects & Verbs


Peaceful Energy






Resounding waves of energy
Circle in this body Electra
Bringing peace and equilibrium

In mind and spirit.

Do not hold a grudge –




 It may be easier said than done, but holding a grudge only hurts the holder.

Why do some women (include me in this) hold on to grudges? What is it about us that says, “don’t let it go!”? We remember every wrong done to us regardless how little or big. We must have invented the hyperbole, “You always…” or “I’ll never speak to you again!”
Men have an easier time letting it go. They get angry and then forget about it the next minute (it might have something to do with their short attention span (never mind), yet women keep the memory aflame day after day and year after year. If my husband forgets to say he’s sorry after a misdeed, I become quite sad and then declare, “you never say you’re sorry!”  If a friend forgets an appointment, I immediately remember the five or six times during our fifteen year friendship as, “you rarely keep our lunch dates" (I’m actually going to have to call her).
I know I’m not the only one out there who does this. Friends and neighbors of mine say they are guilty of holding on as well. In some cases it’s very sad because it involves children or grandchildren. Of course there’s those grudges we keep with siblings, but the worst one, I think, is the grudge we keep with our husbands, for they are with us nearly 24/7, and it’s a real pain in the neck (and in the heart) to walk around the house fuming over silly things.
Thank God men can forgive and forget easier. Imagine if they held grudges on what we say or do!!


Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Semicolon

Prezi Link: The Semicolon


Semicolons can be a fun addition to your sentences; however, they must be used sparingly, so you are not redundant with your punctuation.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

My World

Welcome to my world
where a woman still
struggles to get ahead.

No one has shattered
the glass ceiling ~
it is still intact.

American men have 
provided conciliatory 
promotions.

Excuses abound
why women should not
be president or CEO.

Children hold mothers
hostage - shackled 
Yet men walk freely.

Since the 60s
Women seem to take
one step forward
and two steps back.


Promises

 
     It is so simple to make a promise yet very difficult to keep. I think that we find it difficult to keep promises because we make promises that are irrational and illogical. For example, how do we know what we will be able to do in a day or a week or a month? Life happens and then we are not able to do what we promised to do.
     "I promise to be at your wedding. I wouldn't miss it for the world." This is easier said than done because we often find out about a wedding months in advance. Anything can happen in between. My father's advice was to say, "I will try to make it," or "I hope I can make it." He never gave a definitive answer unless it was something he could do right away.
     Sometimes we make promises to ourselves that we cannot keep. "I promise to stop smoking before my grandchild is born," or "I promise to clean that closet," or "I promise to lose weight if or when..." For those promises we often find excuses why we cannot possibly do it. A hardship occurs and suddenly one is too upset to quit smoking or clean the closet or lose the weight.
     We even make promises to God or our spiritual guide. These seem to never work. "I promise to do --- if YOU provide ---." Of course in this case God or our spiritual guide is in control, so we find it easy not to keep a promise if the provision did not occur.
     I'm thinking I'm not going to make anymore promises. I think I've made too many that I have not kept. I promise to not make any more promises, and that's that!

Avoiding Run On Sentences



Monday, June 16, 2014

The Comma

Prezi Link: The Comma

Declutter

This past weekend I spent two full days travelling to and from New York. I had plenty of time to think about decluttering. My closet recently got a good cleansing. On the other hand my file cabinets should REALLY be purged and so should my container of gift wrapping stuff like wrapping paper, tissue paper and such. Then, as usual, I began to think of my friends. I am getting better at relationships. The friends I have at this point in my life I really like very much. The relationships are meaningful and I think I bring as much to the proverbial table as they.
So, why the discussion of decluttering? I am trying to come to terms with having brought some of my friends to the "Salvation Army." Do you know what I mean? Another words, I have packed them up and shipped them down to someone else because I no longer fit into them like my clothes and shoes. Some of them were so very needy they were painful something like the stilettos I used to wear when I was twenty or thirty. If I wore them now, I would topple over and die from the height. Some I turned in because they were not my style any longer. We had nothing in common and nothing to talk about. We didn't mesh and the fabric of the relationship was too thin to sustain wear.
I am now choosing wisely. Most of my friends have similar interests. We enjoy books, reading them and writing them. We enjoy conversations about literature, art, politics, the economy and the societal changes that are taking place. We enjoy quiet moments when out to lunch and we understand that everyone is just a little quirky. My friends now empower me instead of draining the very life out of me, and I hope I do the same.
Maturity and wisdom have helped me become a better friend to those few I have, and that's another issue I've come to terms with. I do not need a long list of good friends. I need a few who will be there for me as I hope I will be for them. I'm glad I decluttered, but I think I'm done. Like the clothes and shoes in my current closet, these will last.

I am Woman

I am woman
gifted by God
with treasures
I am
wife
mother
daughter
friend
teacher
mentor
my shoulders are wider
than size 42 or 44
I carry generations
past
present
future
this is my legacy


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Frozen In Time



The movie Frozen has brought an old concept into new awareness, “Let it go.” I hear these words sung by children and by adults. They remind me of “let go, let God” or something like that. I used to think others suffered from obsession, not me. I think I considered obsession and compulsion went together, and I don’t suffer from having to do something repeatedly, I don’t think. Although, I must admit I have on occasion gone back home to make sure I closed the garage door or shut off the coffee machine (yes, my coffee machine is very, very old). Now, I realize one can be obsessive without being compulsive. The irony is had I not said, “you know kids,” to my own children, “I think I’m obsessive,” to which both my children replied, “no…. really?” in a very sarcastic way, I would never have considered myself as such. But, I am obsessive.

Anyway, back to “let it go,” I am going to try very hard to let things go. “What kind of things?” one may ask, well like letting go a wrong someone has done or letting go the fact that instead of going for a PhD, I pursued a Masters in Community Mental Health. I need to let go of the fact that I had two children instead of four, and that I never – every speak up when I should but instead keep my anger, resentment, hurt pride, etc . , store up until I’m steaming!!!

Now, I know I’m not alone. I know there are many just like me out there because most of my friends and family members (except my son who keeps telling me to speak up) suffer from obsessing. I’m not quite sure how I have developed into this “keep your mouth shut” individual. When I was a kid, I used to let everyone know how I felt. Then, something happened that changed my life forever. I shut down. I found out that always speaking my mind might ruin lives, disturb families, and disrupt the status quo. For years, I had to keep my thoughts to myself. I think that’s why it’s so difficult for me to speak up and for others as well. We are brought up not to hurt feelings and not to start trouble.

So, how does one change? I have no idea. For once, I would like to know. I would like to forge on with a different mentality. I would like to be more like my son and politely tell people when they have been hurtful, insensitive, or downright rude.

Suggestions on how to begin? Let me know.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Attend to Your Heart



Attend to your heart
that it may lead you
to where love cascades
Like the great Niagara.
Listen to hope when
it speaks
in a smile, a tear drop
a soft touch
a whispered hello.
Emptiness exists only where
we create it.
In a solitary room
As the sun sleeps.
Friendship comes in many forms
masculine or feminine
young or old
many or few.
Often the heart chooses
And out of fear recluses.
Attend to your heart
That it may lead 

To where love cascades.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Parental Guidance

         This morning's news brought tears to my eyes and a shudder down my spine. Two twelve year old girls have been arrested in the stabbing of a friend. These young girls had been following a youtube video on Slender Man, a fictional character who supposedly directed them to commit this horrible deed. Now, discussion is rising regarding the effect the internet is having on children. Parents should be much more attentive. They need to know what their child is viewing. There needs to be more supervision and children cannot be left alone to view what they want!
         Parents would love to believe that their child is wonderful and would never do anything wrong; however, this misguided belief accounts for many problems society is facing. Children are placing personal information and meeting with strangers who seem to be kind, genuine, and safe only to be taken hostage and abused. Children are viewing or playing violent games and not distinguishing between fiction and reality.
         Many parents work and come home exhausted, so it is not difficult to understand the lack of supervision; however, a parents work is never done. A parent is a child's mentor and guide. A parent can effectively teach a child the difference between fiction and non fiction. A parent can also teach a child the difference between right and wrong. Children do not know this difference on their own. Parents are their first teachers and their most important ones.
Washington Post Article

Monday, June 2, 2014

Cows Moo

Cows moo with pleasure
as they graze on crisp, green grass
fed by April and May rains.

Farm fowls like chicken, rooster and guinea hen
strut about in early morning glory
waking human sleepers with incessant cries.

Hickory and Walnut trees stand magnificent
resplendent and bountiful with fruit.
Each year their height and width increases
circles not wrinkles
defining age and time.

Spring in Georgia Mountains
Shades of sapphire grace the sky
Daffodils standing still in fields of gold
carpet the earth.

My log cabin sits still
 holding me inside
I hibernate in order to rejuvenate
to breathe free, to feel full, to think bliss
in My Georgia home.


Rape


There is no polite way of bringing up the topic of rape. The Rape Crisis Center suggests that, "every 2 minutes, someone in the United States is sexually assaulted." In India the statistics are every 22 seconds. Regardless where rape or sexual abuse occurs, the crime is quite simply not taken seriously enough. Perhaps, that is because many women do not report it. Only a small percentage of women report having been raped because there is still a stigma attached to the abuse.

In many popular religions a woman is viewed as the sinner who tempted Adam to eat the apple. She was and is the seductress.  What was she wearing? What is her lifestyle? Where was she walking? When was she walking? Was she walking alone? Was she home alone? Was her skirt too short, too tight, too long, too loose? Was her blouse too revealing? Was her hair long? Short? Did she wear too much make up or not enough? I don’t think it matters. Locations such as the Middle East where women traditionally wear long dresses and cover their hair report rape cases at an even higher rate than the U.S. So, with whom does the problem lie?

No one forced Adam to eat that damn apple. He took it willingly. No one is forcing Adam to act like an animal when around the opposite sex. He acts that way because he has no respect for women and wishes to control her. The only way Adam is going to change is if Eve puts her foot down, preferably on his genitals. If I sound angry, then it’s more with women than with men. Women stay quiet and harbor the guilt that is not theirs to keep. They keep their mouths shut and let the culprit get away to commit more sexual crimes. Women worry about what it will do to families, friends, acquaintances, and not what it does to them and the rest of the women in our cultures.

Unless women turn the tables around and take action, nothing will change. But, how? The laws must change. Sexual perverts must get the worst possible sentence in order to make them accountable. Perhaps the first offense should merit twenty years in prison without parole, so they are not back on the street ready to strike again. The next instance (and they will strike again), should get them life in prison. Victims live with the crime for the remainder of their lives, so should the assailant. 

Women need to fight to regain control of their own lives and their own bodies.

Shrimp Cutlets



My daughter Natalie is the designated Shrimp Cutlet cook. Why? Because, she is very patient, and she is excellent at making them. We buy jumbo shrimp that she cleans and flattens with precision. From start  to finish this recipe takes close to two hours because she makes so much, but they are unbelievably delicious and great for Po Boys the next day.

2          dz. jumbo shrimp
-------
3          cups  bread crumb - season with garlic, parsley, oregano, salt & pepper
3          garlic cloves, chopped very small
pepper to taste
3          stems & leaves of parsley, chopped
1          tsp. oregano
----------
1          cup flour for dredging
2          beaten eggs for dipping
------
2                   cup vegetable oil for frying (use deep fryer- much easier).

Peel and de-vein  shrimp (vein is black string on back of shrimp). Gently slit open the shrimp to form a flat cutlet.  Dip in flour, beaten eggs, and seasoned breadcrumb.  Fry in skillet (or deep fryer) with vegetable oil.  Fry till fork inserts easily or  about five minutes for  each shrimp.  Do not allow oil to get too hot.  If you use a deep fryer, stabalize oil at 375ยบ this will definitely save on time and mess.  Serve with lemon wedges and a hearty salad. If you're not watching calories, add garlic bread and you will have the best dinner - ever!