Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Monday

Since illness doesn't take a holiday our office was open today.  On my way home I stopped by the grocery store, taking for granted that it would be open and that not only would it have food, it would have what I wanted.  I appreciated the help the produce guy gave me in trying to find vegetables to grill. (I already had steaks)  I waited in line while the lady in front of me complained that what she was trying to buy wasn't eligible through SNAP (LA food stamp program). I looked in her basket and was glad my tax dollars didn't cover all that was in there.
 When I stopped for gas I overheard a woman complaining about how much it cost to fill up her car.  She got to talking to a gentleman about the politicians and the war in Afghanistan and how it all really had to do with greed and oil and big businesses.  They got into government and health care.  We all agreed that since we'd exercised our right to vote, we should have a right to complain and even demand a recount. (I got the feeling we all had different ideas about who should go from the state and federal levels.) 
We were supposed to grill at my brother's house, but since crime also doesn't take a holiday, he got called in to work.  Grilling ended up at my house.  He did get a chance to stop by and we'd saved him some food, but we were disappointed he couldn't hang out with us. 
I'm glad it was for just one afternoon we missed him.  He's a police officer now, but at one time he was in the U.S. Army.  He's been to war and he's come home.  So many soldiers didn't.  So many families can only lay flowers on a grave. 
At first I was ashamed that so many of us take for granted what our soldiers have sacrificed for us.  But, then I was grateful. 
I live in a country where we're so rich, even the poor have access to good food, health care, and nice housing.  We have the freedom to complain openly and not worry we'll be arrested. We can naively believe war is unnecessary, that everyone will listen to reason and believe like us.  We can't comprehend a land where it would be any different. 
We have our soldiers to thank for this.  Sure, civilians make rules.  They run the day in day outs of life.  But it's our military people who protect our way of life.  We will never understand the sacrifices they make.  We'll never see what they've seen or do what they've had to do. I'd stand up and fight with them any time, but I pray I'll never have to. 
And as long as they're willing to pay the price, we never will.  I pray I'll never stop being grateful for this.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Places I've visited today: 

Susan Says  busy author and blogger, among other things. 
Omega Reflections It's her birthday today, but that's not the only reason to check out her blog.
Mary-andering Creatively relaxing, engaging poetry and pictures.
A Few Words inspiring, well thought out posts.  It's logical and Christian. Nothing offensive here, just challenging.

It's a short trek tonight, as I've suddenly become inspired to work on my novel, i.e. the mess I like to think of as a story.  I'll be doing this in between laundry loads and unloading dishes.  Stop the Insanity!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Be Positive Day: Reflections on Rita

To him, it's one giant water puddle.
 Today is International Be Positive Day.(IPBD)  Thanks to all who've blogged, tweeted, posted on FB, or used the day to be positive to those around you.  Even the worst of days are better when you think positively. 
So many have commented on the tragedy in Oklahoma.  I've read comments on similar disasters people have been through.  It makes me think of Hurricane Rita in 2005.  If you don't remember it, that's okay.  Most didn't really hear about it because it was in the shadow of Hurricane Katrina.  I remember it because I lived it.

with no power, you do a lot of artwork
On IBPD this recollection from Rita stands out, because it sums up the positive attitude of people in my community here in little ol' SW Louisiana:

After the storm hit, FOX news had a guy in Lake Charles interviewing those who had stayed.  Two LC boys were out checking on things. When asked by the reporter what they were doing, the answer was "Well, we're just checking on our neighbors, making sure they're okay." One held up a chainsaw. "If we need to we'll fire this up and cut a path for them."   The reporter asked why they were doing it.  Both looked at him funny and one said "Because it's what you're supposed to do."  I'm sure the reporter was a little disappointed not to find an exciting story, but people caring about others.  No looting and hurting each other. Just taking care of business.

Now, I'm not going to say we didn't get any assistance, but in the wake of Katrina, Rita was the red-headed step child.  Did it slow the people down?  Not a bit.  They did what they had to do, picking up and rebuilding. (I know our friends in Florida can relate to that.) Are we a stronger community for it?  Of course.  Did the response come as any surprise? Not really. 

I've read people say disasters bring out the best in everyone.  Unfortunately, that's not entirely true.  I've experienced the negatives and positives first hand.  One thing is for certain: times of tragedy and disaster reveal character.

What will the revelation say about you?   May we always be able to say "I'm just doing what I'm supposed to do." What are you doing now to cultivate a strong, positive character in your life and in those around you?

 note:  the pictures are of my nephew during Hurricane Ike.  I like them better than the ones of all the destruction of the two storms because you'll never find a more positive kid than him, even flooded, stuck with no electricity--meaning no way to charge his DS or turn on his PlayStation.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Be Postitive Day Eve

Intellectually, I know that America is no better than any other country; emotionally I know she is better than every other country.
Sinclair Lewis
US novelist (1885 - 1951)

A busy weekend, with two jobs, three if you count conference committee.  Our writing group is planning a conference for November.  I think it's the tenth annual?  Apparently I'm on the Door Prize committee and I've agreed to hold a key--I'm not sure what I'm to do with it.  It goes to a post office box.  I wonder what kind of mail it holds? 
Should I be concerned?  Do I dare go check it?  I mean, nobody wanted this key.  Should I have refused?
So, it would be easy to not blog today, but I'm learning discipline in writing.  Can't grow as a writer if you don't write, right?  (that's right, I meant to do that)
Tomorrow is  International Be Positive Day.  Go to Sharon K. Mayhew's site for more information on how to be involved.
With everything going on in Oklahoma today, I had to wonder, do I really want to be positive tomorrow?  But, then I realized, YES!  Not only do I want to, but I need to be.  It's more important now than ever.  We have to send positive encouragement, prayers, support--whatever is needed to wherever it is needed. So much tragedy happens everywhere in the world.  We need to be optimistic. Being positive doesn't mean being flippant or having a pie in the sky view.  It means choosing hope and believing I'm more than my circumstances.  I can't choose what happens but I can choose my response. 
I'm thankful for my family in Oklahoma being safe tonight.  I pray for them and for the families who didn't fare well and who've lost loved ones.  Not just Oklahoma, but all of the Midwest.
It's an opportunity once again for Americans to be united in support for our people.

Back on the Road stopping at some cool tourist traps...oops, I mean blog spots:
Some Dark Romantic  Awesome reflections post, but don't stop there on her blog.
From the Inkwell, From the Vein writers should be naked and strange.  Trust me, you want to read it.
Sue Ann Bowling  Check out her book, Homecoming. It's not what you think.
Tales of the Rock  Very cool, especially if you like ghosts.  I know I do!
Blogging on the Brink check out an ex-librarian turned rockin' numbers cruncher.  Good music, too.
A Faraway View  About dreams, good, bad, what they mean.  Read before you sleep...
Claire Gillian  a lot to see at this site. Some intriguing romance to be found
J.Lenni Dorner  Check out her A to Z story and campaign against CAPTCHA
Moments of Introspection  heartwarming dog tails--tales--but that's not all to see
Destination:  Fiction  Lovely photos, informative, entertaining posts
Emily Unraveled  don't get a tat until you read her May 20th post

What's right about America is that although we have a mess of problems, we have great capacity - intellect and resources - to do some thing about them.
Henry Ford II
US automobile manufacturer (1917 - 1987)


Friday, May 17, 2013

Celebrate Friday

I like this post because it means that it's Friday!  And, while I have to work this weekend, it's different, so Friday is still great.

This week's good stuff:
**Spring Flowers
**Amazing Co-Workers
**A patient's family bringing me a gift of Urban Decay eye-shadow. (MAC may have competition)
**Ceiling fans on patios

 I could go on and on, since if you really look, there's a lot of little things that add up to a better week than you thought.  This is a good challenge for me since it makes me focus on the good.
Try it out if you haven't.
Check out here for the link:


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Possible PhD

I'll never understand why people like to go and mess up something that was perfectly fine. 
Our nursing board has changed our entry level to DNP instead of MSN for nurse practitioners.  Which would be okay, except that I've been thinking about going back so I can say I have a PhD.  It sounds cool.   So, this is the kick I need.
I follow my new friend Boots and Bluestockings  who finished school recently.  Her accomplishment has inspired me as well.
Happy Spring Gnome!
But, Dissertation.  It sounds like something too close to dessert, which should be good, but....
Has anybody done one of these? 
What have you wanted to do but keep finding excuses not to do?  What kick do you need in order to start it?

On a lighter note:  Elementary and Hannibal?  My two favorite crime solvers in one night?  Thank goodness for two TVs!
Question:  Will Graham vs Sherlock Holmes--who would win solving a crime involving voodoo rituals?

Doreen McGettigan  Pop-Culture and marketing.  Two great topics. 
Lydia: not one, not two, but THREE blogs!
           Chalk Outlines the name is great, nice pictures. 
           ReVue  arts and entertainment reviews of a different nature
           Haiku 365  A haiku a day...interesting photos, too...worth a look, this site
Misha Gericke--another multiple blogger.
           My First Book  great information regarding craft and publishing.  Also features fellow bloggers.
          Taking Charge of My Life--like the name implies; check it out
Maggie at ExpatBrazil  I've been to Brazil.  Wish I knew this site first.
Silvia @ Silvia Writes   stories as life tells them. 
Phillipscom. Ariel's Jotting  informative and inspirational
KaTy Did   check out the sunglasses and crazy "roads"
Ice Girl  where fashion and ice collide in beautiful form

One thing I'm impressed with is how many bloggers can keep up with more than one site.  One only has to look at mine to see how I dream big, but can't quite keep up.  Reading other's thoughts is encouraging.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

So, pulled out the driveway and took off again for another amazing adventure on the A to Z Highway.  I wanted to say something here uniquely profound, but got Bogged in Blogs.  My problem is that all the sites so far are interesting and I stay longer than planned, so I don't make my planned destination by nightfall. But, luckily I have set up extra time for extended visits. 
Todays visitations:
Jeanette S. Anderson --beautiful photos and I love this:  you can only read your own book so many times.  (you have to read her blog to know where that came from)
Sue  encouraging words regarding blogging
Kate @ Another Clean Slate  updating look, check out pictures on #piclove365
LyndaGrace  beautiful posts from a mother.  She's lived 24, 026 yesterdays..and counting
Stepheny Houghtlin    Need to know about gardening?  Here's the place, and so much more
Josie 2 Shoes   in Texas, I must add.  Cute cats, and impressive posts from challenges. 
Kat  card projects that are (mostly) easy.  I know.  I made one.  Eclectic, practical, fun information
The Sunday Visitor  short, informative posts on a variety of subjects
Arlee Bird   who doesn't know Arlee by now?  Those who did A to Z under a rock?  Great discussion if you have opinions on swearing.
A Ramble in the Blog  --says she doesn't like writing, but you can't tell from her posts. 
some flowers for those who don't
have spring yet due to crazy snow
Leslie @ Therapy and Function  Stop by to see the Adventures of Penelope. Find a fellow blogger trying to regain a schedule after the grueling A to Z marathon.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mom's Day and then Back on the Road

Of course we spent time with Mom today.  We went to Olive Garden. Something happened and our orders got lost.  After sitting there for an hour watching other people eat, we got a free meal.   They were very nice about it, and certainly we'll be back. 
Happy Mom's Day from Olive Garden!

This is my Mom.  She's pretty awesome, but she'd say "don't put my picture on your blog" So, too late, Mom!  Yes, the card says sweet, and she is, but so is the Orange Leaf Yogurt she loves. 

After taking a break,  back on the A to Z Trip. Bringing Ben and Jerry with me: Chunky Monkey, to be exact.   Let me see what nice folks I can visit and offer some ice cream....
Anglers Rest --interesting places and books
Tasha's Thinkings --different and scary
Ida Chiavaro @ Reflex Reactions --encouraging, relaxing place
Tales of the Reborn Crafter  --conversational, fun posts
C.M. Brown  --an award winning site, paranormal romance and some good reflections
Debra Mauldin --energizing, inspiring posts
From This Side of the Pond --sweet, family oriented
Sue CollectIn Texas Gal --fellow Texan.  Follow her family through Texas and Georgia
Tina @ Life is Good --one of the A to Z hosts and fun, helpful person and site
Rob Z Tobor --eccentrically funny and clever

So, had time for ten stops today along the road.  Check out their places.  They'll be glad to hear from ya and you'll be glad you did.  But sorry. Ate all the ice cream!

To all who read this:  have a great week!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Special Edition of Celebrate Friday

Taking a Break
Those of you who read my E and U posts during the A to Z Challenge got to meet Erik Shepherd James--newest addition of the Tulsa James Gang.  
Creating Wordlenik just received a special announcement from Mr. James he would like to share with his blog fans:
At High Noon today Ava Mackenzie arrived in a Dallas Hospital. She is the daughter of Melanie and Jeremiah  She has the distinct honor of being little sister to Annabelle Fern and first cousin to Mr. James.

Silly Big Sis
Annabelle was excited to say Hello to this new Kitty in their home. Hugs and kisses were shared all around, though Annabelle couldn't take too much time out of her busy schedule.  She was overheard at the hospital as saying "I'm ready to go, Gee."
Ava was reported to have said "Are we going to Sonic for a Java Chiller?" This cannot be confirmed however. 
Mr. James is excited to share his newborn wisdom, though he says he does worry about being surrounded by so much estrogen. The biggest concern?  Now he'll have to scream louder. 
Mr. James would like to give a word of advice to his fans.  He learned this from Uncle J.  "Always tell the people at the hosptial first, especially Grandparents, before you post the announcement on Facebook."  It does seem like sage advice.

Ava certainly has taken Texas by storm--extending even into Southwest Louisiana!  We will have to keep track of these two feisty cowgirls. 

Celebrate Friday!

So today is the day to post things to celebrate about this week:
Good things this week:
  • Unexpected Burritos--a pharm. rep. brought food to our office on Wednesday.
  • A no plans Saturday. 
  • Sunshine after tornadoes and hail.
  • Roses finally blooming! 
Check out the link on the right to find out more on Celebrate Friday. 

Next 6 Stops on the A to Z Road Trip:
Sandy--be amused and amazed by Flat Stanley's adventures
Shannon Lawrence--she'll have you submitting, attending writing conferences and Seeing Ghosts
Suzanne Sapsed --need some scrapbooking ideas?  Want to know about Harry Potter in Orlando?  Suzanne's your girl.
Yvonne Lewis--beautiful photos and poems
Hilary Melton-Butcher--positive notes and things to think about
Ficticious Amo --great stories, especially Lizzy's story during April.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

On The Road...trying not to speed through.

So, I'm On the Road tonight visiting spots.  I've started at the beginning of the list.  I'm going to attempt to post links to where I've visited. 

L.G.Keltner At: Two Blogs?  Are you serious?  How does she do it?  Honest Trailers is brilliant.
   Writing Off the Edge
   Warped Nerdiverity
Making the Write Connections --I could like Les Miz after reading here.
Planning with Printed Portal --Where do I begin with the organization skills?
DeeCoded--brings TV to life, especially How I Met  Your Mother
lizy-expat-writer--beautiful photos!
Ordinary Never Sleeps --I'd followed this one throughout.  Take a look at the old posts, especially Zenobia.

I would recommend all of them.  I've been tempted to just visit spots with topics I'm interested in.  But, I've realized, I can't judge a blog by it's title, and have been introduced to new things.  Will see how the method of going down the list works.
I'm finding it easier to visit since I'm not compelled to blog every day. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

What We Tell and Hear

Ripper Street: from my screen to yours
I fell asleep reading Pride and Prejudice last night.  Upon awakening I had to wonder what's wrong with me.  I mean, it's Jane Austen, after all.  Who doesn't like her?  Tonight I went to Blockbuster and looked through the movies about her or her novels thinking maybe a visual would help.   Imagine my surprise to find Becoming Jane starred James McAvoy as Jane's love interest and Mr. Darcy was none other than Matthew Macfadyen.  (how could I not know this?)  Surely I could stay awake for Professor X and Tom Quinn. 
An hour later I realized I'm just not a fan, no matter how much I like the leading men.  In researching I discovered I'm not alone.  I found this article:  The Author and the Austen plot... I know there's probably more to it, but even agents weren't so impressed by Ms. Austen. 
It goes back to the age old question:  what makes something good?  Popularity?  The author?  Critics?  Who gets to decide?  Does longevity make a difference?  A novel or story standing the test of time?
 I look at modern novels as compared to those like Austen, Hemingway, and Fitzgerald. The Great Gatsby is once again being reinvented. What is it about that story?   Technology has had a leading role in what we read, especially e-books and novels made into movies.  I can't help but wonder, would the 50 Shades trilogy had such a following if it hadn't been a Twilight fanfic and had a male author?  And, well, the Twilight series is a whole other matter all together. I'm still trying to understand that one and yet even women my age camped out the night before for the new releases and movie tickets.
As writers, we can't forget there are two people in the story telling relationship:  the teller and the hearer. It's all about telling stories in a way that resonates with the listener.  The experience is going to be different for different people.  I can have the best story in the world but if someone doesn't like it, they just don't like it.
I'm generally not impressed with the best sellers in movies or novels.   I'll probably never finish watching Titanic, or reading the Twilight and 50 Shades series.  If I haven't done so by now, I may not work through my Jane Austen induced narcolepsy. But, then I also don't expect others to be huge fans of the authors and series I love.  Stephen King, Cormac Mccarthy, Val Mcdermid, Michael Crichton--they aren't for the faint of heart.  How many people can say they know Eugene Tooms?

Eugene as leading man?
Eugene Victor Tooms
I'm watching Ripper Street now. To me, Edmund Reid and Tom Quinn are far more complex, interesting characters than Mr. Darcy, even though the same actor portrays them all.   I know someone is going to say I can't compare TV characters to novel characters. Why not? Some like ink and paper.  Some like e-ink.  Some prefer big or small screen.  But it's all about the tale.  What is being said and who's doing the telling?
That's the heart and soul, the beauty of story telling:  there's something for everyone.  If you love it, whether you're the teller or the hearer, who cares what other people think?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Reflections on Insanity

"The patient's not breathing!" 
"Keep bagging! I'm almost done.  I've only got five minutes to post M before Midnight."
"Start CPR!"
"I've already done C.  P and R? Not sure what they'll be yet."
"Here's the patient's X-ray."
"X-ray?  I was thinking maybe Xanadu--the Rush version, Not ONJ"

May 1 has come, the challenge has been met, the patient saved, and congratulatory tankards of ale all around...or in my case, mugs of of double espresso. 
This was my second year to participate in the A to Z Challenge. Last year I did a theme--some nerdy professional thing. This year I had a theme--Random Variety.  A fancy way of saying I had no clue.  It was actually more fun this way.  I did manage to post all the days on time.  Whew!  Even with all those pesky sick kids demanding attention--what's with all this illness anyway?   However, as with last year I didn't get  to visit as many blogs as I'd hoped.  I don't know how to remedy this problem, unless I can in some way alter the time-space continuum.  But, I did learn more about comic books and Star Trek than I ever thought my brain could hold.
In one month I talked about Garden Gnomes, wrote some poems, discovered a deadly muse and  the Plague (which almost killed Sean Bean).  Told a story about a Ninja, Reviewed a Reading, Big Fish, and Travis.  I interviewed a baby twice, looked at serial killers and their victims.  After visiting Wahoo it got a little Queer, but in the end I realized Y I like Z the best of all letters.
I won an award along the way, but what really counts is all who participated and finished are winners in need of medication and a vacation.

So, on another note:  I found this other Challenge.  It's VikLit's Writing Blog. Basically each Friday you post celebrating little things you accomplished that week.  Such as I breathed air or I didn't strangle my boss. (those might be considered big.  I love air and my boss, by the way)

Three Celebrations for me:
  • Finishing A to Z Challenge
  • Exercising two freedoms:  speech and voting.
  • Making my bed every day (trust me, it's an accomplishment!)
Celebrating anything this week?