Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Around every new corner

Dysphasia. A developmental language disability. The possibility of never reaching the level of competence to attend University. The lifelong persistence. A mother's initial shock, then determination, confusion, desire, self-blame. You name it, the mom thing of course becomes at once unreasonable and highly mentally organized for a future plan of attack. Better to oscillate more toward plan of attack.

Our daughter has had a preliminary diagnosis of developmental dysphasia. Basically it means that her brain didn't develop language skills the way it ought to have and that causes her to have difficulty expressing herself, understanding others, learning new language concepts and so forth. She's developed a coping mechanism in Kindergarten by watching the other kids and figuring out what she's supposed to be doing. However, she doesn't always guess right and this causes frustration for her. She has a very difficult time developing personal relationships because of it.

On the other hand, she's quite intelligent. She's highly creative and has always maintained a drawing skill level higher than most kids her age. So dysphasia doesn't mean she lacks intelligence, it means she can't express it well or process other people's input well. She expresses herself better through drawing. I suspect this may be a compensation effect similar to blind people's ability to hear more acutely etc.

From here forward. We are just now processing what this all means. But mostly it looks like it means speech therapists and specialized schooling. Mostly we want her to feel like nothing has essentially changed. We don't think differently about her, her new school (she will likely start next September for the next year) or anything else about her. We still want her to grow up thinking of her school career including University and that she can do whatever she chooses to put her mind to. If in high school it becomes apparent that University certainly isn't going to be possible, then we'll be there for her, encouraging her toward her talents and passions and that will be that. So yeah. Still figuring it all out. For now, one step at a time. She's only five. We've got time on our side.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Here in Mossville

Hey. Thought I'd show a bit of the things I've been up to for the last couple of months.

The twins went to summer camp. Here they are with their monitors:



Then we took them to the local festival.






My parents came for a visit.


I went to Vegas to visit my lovely Grandmother, and my aunt and uncle popped in too!


And then the twins started kindergarten.



Now I'm thinking it's time to get writing and blogging. We'll see. Best laid plans and all.


Saturday, October 02, 2010

And how the road turned


My dog has died. It's been a rocky time for me.

She was six months old. I grew more attached to Ellie in those months she was with me than I have ever felt for any other animal. I hadn't expected to grieve so heavily. My poor girl's life was far too short, but then who can change that now?


When I was sick recently, she spent the two days I was laid up in bed right by my side. She checked on me frequently, putting her wet little nose on my cheek. She brought me her toys and her blankie, and then laid down with a heavy sigh.

She was a fast runner. She loved to run and jump, she looked like she was flying.

When she wagged her tail, she wagged her whole butt.

She learned several tricks the best of which was when I would say, "Bang!", she'd flop to the floor and lay very still.

I miss her. The house is too empty now.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

New Kid in Town

The last time I wrote here, I asked 'who am I' in more words than that, as is my fashion. But I digress already. Who am I is a question I bandy frequently. The downside is (or was, read on..) that most of the time the answers came back in washes of guilt and regret. Especially the last two years. I secretly occupied my mind with heavy tonnage of those. Recalling every mistake, wishing to right every wrong, and wallowing in the inability to go back and do it over.

Then last May I had a birthday. A rather significant, almost another momentous birthday birthday. I turned 39. I began to wonder if there was a way to let go. To free myself of all this baggage. Because I became aware, awake, even startled by the idea that half my life has passed. If I am reaching a halfway point and am still stuck in injuries endured, injuries inflicted, mistakes made all from the past, how in the hell am I ever going to enjoy my future, what is left? Will I waste it too?

And then I took a small trip to visit my Grandmother in Las Vegas. Which will most likely be the last time I will have seen her alive. And lovingly I looked at her. I thought about the life she made. I thought about the things she taught me. And I realized, letting go doesn't take some ritual ceremony of burning lists. Some night of chanting away the evil in my brain. It is what it is. So I let go. Just let go.

It wasn't easy I have to say. It wasn't a matter of feeling all the black and gray ashy things inside me flutter off into some neverwhere. There were choices to make and forcing of new habits. But herein, a movie, odd, probably considered rather fluffy and insignificant, changed my life. I had seen a movie called Nine. A musical. And the women in this movie were sexy. Some were strong and forward and free. One in particular that made a lasting impression on me. As someone who hides often behind words and screens and fears, I admired this character much as I had admired Scarlett O'Hara as a child. And I felt I wanted so much to be able to be like that. Confident in myself as a woman, as a writer, as a lover, as a mother, as a friend, as a person. But I knew that doesn't come from something, it comes from simple choices. Choices I started making.

Have I fallen from the wagon? Oh yes. I can admit that. Because I know, falling does not mean staying down. I got right back up. And I continue to do so. I do the littlest things that force me into the new. I forced myself to introduce myself to mothers at the school and have made a friend. I forced myself to start wearing the two piece bathing suit I wanted so bad, the tighter clothing I thought I didn't deserve to wear anymore. I forced myself to say no to people like my mother and my husband so that I could make choices for myself. And you know what? I love it. I love being exactly who I want to be.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Another Wave

Remember the movie Sex, Lies and Videotape? Sometimes I feel like Andy MacDowell's character in that, in the way that she obsessed about all the things going wrong in the world. Things she couldn't change. To a point it is almost crippling.

I look around today and I remind myself, if we all did what we could from our homebases, we'd make a huge difference. While I can't make my neighbor go green or eat locally, I can do those things. But sometimes it just doesn't feel like enough. I mean, I wish I could actually fix something. I wish I could stop feeling outraged about things. Oil spills, governments, big corporation fraud, garbage, pollution, agribusiness' monoculture, bees dying, polar ice caps melting, global warming, species extinction, famous child molestors, need I go on? But it all seems so futile. Even when I thought I finally made a difference with my vote, now I'm not so sure. My husband likes to point out that the Obama administration has re-elevated science and brought it back into public view. That alone is a great accomplishment. But I want more.

Who am I but a voice carried on the wind to nowhere? A tiny speck of sand on the beach huddled into the landscape with all the other specks. There is an ocean of trouble out there and all I seem to be able to do is watch it happen, watch it coming at us.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

A box of this a box of that

Ever get the feeling that cleaning involves a lot of moving of stuff but not really doing anything about it?

Stuff. I'm beginning to hate stuff with a vengeance.

We had an enormous garage sale. Sold off a ton of stuff. And yet...

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I get these ideas for organizing. But the problem is that I need organization equipment. And that takes money. So I limp along trying my best to organize without the equipment. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

I have a tendency to pile things I don't know what to do with. I'm not sure what the pile accomplishes. No one else is going to look at it and say, "I know what to do with this stuff!" Gah.

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Where to draw the line between fixing things and throwing them out.

I despise being a throw it out and buy a new one society. I cringe when salespeople say to me, "They're so cheap that when this one breaks, no worries, just toss it and get another!" NO NO NO, not a selling point.

But. Where to draw the line between saving, trying to mend and using that time for things like, oh I don't know, pursuing a career, raising kids, maintaining a home. Lately the motivation to make and repair has dwindled proportionately with the amount of time I spend on self improvement (i.e. writing dammit).

Where to draw the line

Thursday, May 06, 2010

He loves me, he loves me, he loves me

We've been together almost 8 years. And I spent the last few months questioning whether I still belonged in this life we're living. I think it's called seven year itch. Only I wasn't itchy so much as irritable. All the little faults that for years were just something that came with the guy I loved more than anything, suddenly became unbearable. Everything glared at me. And I seethed. I desperately tried to reconnect. I cried. I imagined myself leaving. None of it I wanted to live at all.

And then I was sitting around a fire with family and I looked into his eyes and they were the eyes I first got lost in. They smiled back at me. They always do. In fact, I thought about how he never ever complains about my faults. He sees me as the only girl in the world. And I was ashamed of myself.

When we decided we wanted to live together, I told him I didn't want to live with anyone without marriage. It wasn't a moral thing. It was a security thing. I had spent six years raising a boy by myself, and it had been tough and extremely lonely at times. I wanted assurances that he was going to be the kind of guy to make the promise and mean it. So he did, gladly. And he is the kind of guy to mean it.

I thought about that and I realized that I wasn't giving him the same security back by letting small things question my place in our marriage. So I concentrated each day since then on all the things that I love about him. And all those stupid faults faded into the background where they belong.

And I'm happy.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Social Responsibility

A little fun for hump day



If you haven't seen this guy, I strongly suggest going over to youtube.com and looking up his videos (Tim Minchin) - he's hilarious.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Chasing Imagery

These are a few snidbits that race across my brain which I chase like a dog at a car holding my pen and searching for paper.  These turn into poetry at some later date.


Dormant gardens
laid out like bodies for viewing,
a lackluster sigh

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The acrid sweetness
of a much needed shower
in secret rooms

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the beat of his blood

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her measure to metronome
tocking in three dimensions
the fluid waves of pianissimo
distant and white and promising

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She's a ferret walker
she thinks she's some high class rebel
with her curls in the wind

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the drone of sameness
spewing like volcanic ashen tedium
makes my ears drool dull stupor

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Somewhere a dog barks, a rainbow billows, and an old woman clucks

We saw a rainbow yesterday.  I pointed it out to the kids.  My daughter grabbed me in the tightest hug and whispered to me, "Thank you mama, you made a rainbow."  (I realize this sounds suspiciously like a commercial once on the TV, but I swear that's exactly what she did, and I wanted so much to be able to take credit for it).

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We had a thunder storm that shook the house.  I'm not kidding, we woke up thinking there might be an earthquake in progress.  And I loved it.  I'm looking forward to more and more of those!

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If I could change one thing about myself it would be my propensity to procrastinate.  This bad habit usually leads to low self-esteem and guilt.  Which tends to bring on the dark and listless days in which I get even less done and then guess what?  We have a beautiful circle of dysfunction going, dalliance and I.

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Hot flashes.  They have taken up residence.  I rather like them in some odd way.  I'm usually colder than I ought to be so the hot flash gives me a tingling flush of warmth.  Of course, come August, in 90 degree weather with high humidity, I may be singing a different tune.  The night ones are especially fun.  (Now I'm being sarcastic).  Throwing blankets off of my body without disturbing the one next to me and then grabbing them back is an art. The wisdom of women transformed by menopause becomes increasingly clear.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Dog Days of Summer

How are teenagers like an old dog?
They lose their sense of smell and they smell like one too!

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Where would mankind be without the discovery of the skillet? Seriously. Think eggs, pancakes, saute.

Or perhaps bunny slippers...

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I had a stuffed Clifford the Big Red Dog when I was a kid. Actually I still have it only I gave it to my daughter. I always thought he was the best stuffed animal I had. Mainly because he was red and he was in a book.

Sometimes lately I miss that kind of innocence.

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If you can buy produce at a store four blocks away but it is more costly than buying your produce at a store a half hour drive away but there is more selection and much better pricing, which do you choose? The long drive and extra gas or the quick stop?

I have waivered on this one. Sometimes the time and gas it takes to get the better selection and prices have been trumped by expedience. But my budget actually fares better with the longer drives.

Do you remember the bulk stores with the big barrels of grains and beans and other stuff? We had one called Piggly Wiggly. It had various other names as it changed management over the years before it finally died altogether. Convenience shopping phased that out. Now that I'm the buyer for a family I see the value in a store like that. It'd sure be nice if someone started those up again.

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I'm getting a dog! It was born two weeks ago today. I will be able to take it home early June. I haven't actually picked which one of the litter I will take yet. But I get first pick. I'm so excited. It is called a Goldendoodle (which is a Golden Retriever and Poodle cross). It is 1/4 Golden Retriever and 3/4 Poodle. I've waited about four years now, thinking about getting a dog, learning about training and raising a dog and being sure I had the time and energy for it. Yay!


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I walked a crooked mile, I saw a crooked stile

Gawd!

I am increasingly becoming disgusted with people on the internet. Seriously.

I think anonymity is getting the better of society at large. Sadly it is a global phenomenon.

For instance I love reading DIY type blogs and sites for ideas. I get an email from Better Homes and Gardens regularly with articles showing how to update furniture, ideas for decorating with flea market finds and full on room remodels with before and after pictures. It used to be that a site like that only attracted people interested in the ideas with very little criticism. I know criticism can be good. But now, people are complaining about the colors chosen for a room or that the remodel was too expensive or that not enough was done and I'm telling you, they are being vitriolic about it. On a DIY 'idea' site! Come on peoples, haven't you got better things to do than pretentiously pick on articles written to inspire? If you're such an expert, link up your own site with articles that you've written and well taken photographs with your advice. If you can even do that, see how long it takes before some arrogant troll starts belittling you and your articles.

TED. I love the TED talks. I don't always agree with them, but I understand they are for inspiration. Helping us all to think about things in new light and try to change the world or maybe just our own communities for the better. You should see the comments there! People just raving about how wrong someone is and how stupid they are. Jeez. I'd like to see these commenters get themselves invited to TED! Come on, show us what you got. How are you going to change the world?

Why. Why can't we join in the spirit of inspiration instead of consistently practicing the destruction of creativity or thought? What is so appealing about tearing down and laughing at rubble instead of building up and looking for ways to do it even better the next time?

When I read this stuff, I feel that the population is getting dumber by choice. A great number of people would rather adopt a bullyish attitude than try to learn something new, admit they don't know something being said, or most often I think, just to do it.

I find it disgusting.

Rant done.

Friday, March 12, 2010

When the Moon Hits Your Eye

So, what are you doing for Pi day?

I've been waiting nearly a year for this. Last year I heard about it, two days after it had passed. Pi day, celebrated mainly by uuber geeks and math classes, is on March 14 (3.14). A day to enjoy that mysterious mathematical magic that is Pi.

What we're doing:

Eating Pizza Pi(e)
Dessert: Peach Pi(e)
Making ourselves Pi t-shirts with a homemade stencil or iron on (I haven't decided yet)
decorating the house with circles and equations
maybe we'll go on a Pi hunt - looking for circles

you know, all the normal stuff any everyday family would do, when they're totally geeking out. Heh.

Do you celebrate Pi? Come on, it's fun!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Farm Fever

So Facebook has revived my addiction for all things country and farm by sucking me into Farmville. I can't stop myself I love this little application so much.

Also, we recently turned TV back on. So far we're doing quite well not getting sucked in to that too much. But I have reacquainted myself with a certain designer that I always loved: Sarah Richardson of Design Inc and now Sarah's House and Sarah's Cottage. Guess what house she's completely redoing this year? A farmhouse! So yeah, I'm drooling at the TV.

I sauntered into our bedroom last night where my husband was sitting in bed reading. I crawled on top of him and set his book aside, looked deep in his eyes and said, "I want a farm". Oh the sexy. He laughed and said "I don't think I want a farm." So I said in my deepest most sultry voice, "I want a farm, but you know, without the animals. Except for cats and dogs. But we could have nut trees and apple trees and a big garden that sits in the full sun. And maybe a little creek and tons of lawn for the kids to play on. And if we buy a riding lawn mower with a snow blower attachment, I'll do all the mowing and plowing." Nothing says sexy to a man than a woman offering to mow and plow. He kissed me and said, "OK, let's get a farm."

Of course, we'd have to first sell this house and find a farm and make sure it's livable and well, that means a farm will wait for years indefinitely. But at least he said yes!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

The Little Deers

Have I seriously been gone this long?

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A conversation in the car:

G: Mom?
Me: Yes dear?
G: Um, my name is G and I'm a kid and I want to talk to you Mom.
Me: Yes G?

(apparently he's not a deer)

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Simplifying your life entails a lot of piles and boxes which does not appear simple at all. In fact, it looks a hell of a lot messier than the piles which were hidden in closets.

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I've mentioned before that every year we get what my mother-in-law calls 'the snow that chases the snow'. It is a storm in early spring just after the snow has started to melt. It evokes the same reaction in me and most others too: "All that snow that melted and now it's back!" In reality it isn't really back because usually within two days it melts off again. Every year I like to say that Spring is being a tease. This year however, Spring arrived in her flouncy way melting off a ton of snow. Which was fun because we didn't get such massive amounts this year that the melting was progressing quickly. Then the storm came. (Somewhat early, which makes me suspicious that Spring's got another one hidden up her sleeve.) This storm however lasted three days and dumped more snow on us in one set than any other storm did this winter. So I told my husband, "Spring's not being a tease, she's being a bitch!"

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Eyes Don't Have It

Today I had to face my mortality. The ever creeping of age and infirmity, thy name is optometrist.

I have presbyopia. It's a nice long word for you can't read things anymore! I have always been near-sighted. As in I can't see further than my elbow.

Now I've entered the land of the old lady and have to wear progressive lenses. Another large word for tri-focals but you don't see any lines.

Right now all I see is an old woman in the mirror. Boo hoo hoo.

Monday, February 08, 2010

And Now to the Point

In my time hiding in my head I've found a lot of interesting relics floating around. Some become stories, others become keys to my story.

Before now, I've spent a lot of time figuring me out, routing a depressive state, establishing my footing as a mother and finding my delights. When I came to that road, I noticed there were straggling bits of me on the shoulders. Things like the absence of animals makes me just a little bit nutty, or knowing that my love of food borders on addiction. Not addiction for eating though, addiction for flavor. I just want one more bite of that spaghetti that turned out absolutely perfect this time. But this last bit I found, looms a bit more significant.

Let me start by giving you some back story. (Note, if this were a novel, I'd be showing not telling. But this is more memoir, so minus the lying that seems to be the mode of the day, I'll just tell what I need to say). In fact, I'll be short, two sentences short. I was raised religious believing in eternal life after death. I am now an atheist.

These two facts have largely been easy to reconcile given my disgust with organized religion and belief in science. However, I fixate on the fact that I will go away and cease to exist. It bugs me. I want it differently. Like any petulant child, I want my cake and eat it too. I want to remain in some form to watch my grandchildren, their children and all the subsequent children and family that stem from my children. I want to watch the world go on and see what happens.

Intellectually, I can grasp the idea of non-existence. I can accept it. But emotionally, no way. My heart clings like a desperate fish fighting the current to stay in the river. I just don't want to be swept out to sea. So I find myself on a journey of sorts, seeking answers.

To that end, I recently listened to an interview of Harold S. Kushner about his book Conquering Fear. And I was intrigued. So I'm planning to read his book. And hopefully others to help myself again find footing where the empty space gives way to a chasm in my road.

Here I am, an atheist seeking answers for life after death. Paradox I.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Live Each Moment How?

I am my happiest when inside my head.

Three situations or activities that make me feel great include list making, thinking and taking road trips.

Lists I find soothing. It's like dumping anxiety onto a page and putting some discernible order to it. Sorting it out to remove the anxious parts.

Thinking in many forms takes me away. I've always loved being away. I learned at a young age to wear a mask of attentiveness while allowing my brain to travel distant journeys of thought and story. I have clung to this skill. However, engaging in it while attempting to be Mom is ridiculous and irresponsible. That doesn't always stop me, but I try. Reading books gives me the same thinking pleasure. Immersing in something other than my normal surroundings and allowing my thoughts and emotions to entwine in the new, the unknown, the desire to be something else.

Road trips are the most engaged way I find happiness. After all, a solo road trip can be fun but never as fulfilling as tripping with a car full of family, friends, or just your significant other. It is the idea of potential that makes the car ride so appealing. What lies ahead, even mapped out, cannot be fully predicted. You might see a deer, a construction site, a waterfall, snow, rain, rainbows. You might lie back in your sun warmed seat and enjoy the smell of heat soaking into the flesh of your thighs as you daydream about walking the beach sands once you arrive. You might savor the smell of gasoline after pulling from a remote gas station with old fashioned pumps and then ease into the soothing lull of the engine till your brain takes your senses into relaxed stupor. You might load up on sugar and soda and talk till your jaw hurts, or sing loud to the radio. Whatever you might do or encounter, it is not the stuff of everyday existence. And in any car ride, especially the longer ones, the moments of utter quiet, when each individual is physically there with each other and yet off in their own self-made existence of staring at phone lines pass or watching the animals graze, come frequently and the opportunity to recede mentally happily presents itself with unabashed splendor.

Being here, on this blog, I can ruminate about all these things. A sort of marmalade of those things that take me inside my head, to the place of happy. You are aiding and abetting me in escapism. So thanks.

I think the trick to living in the moment is to understand what kinds of moments fulfill you as an individual. That is not to say ignoring my children to be in my head is excusable. Being with my kids requires truly being here, focusing on them. But the other moments of my life, when I have the freedom to be something other than Mom, is it wrong to fulfill my living by diving inside the eddies of thought coursing through my grey matter? I don't think so. I can still engage with the world around me. I can take afternoons to visit people, to go out and be social. But I love the moments of silence, when I'm all alone and the door to the inner world is easily opened. Like a peaceful vacation without moving from the couch.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Qweek Qweek Qweek - The Sound of Furious Tricycle Escape

A combination of having listened to three chapters of the Lovely Bones and then having eaten dinner too close to bedtime led to bizarre dreams and restless sleep. Like this one: I was being chased by an evil man and I was trying to get away...on a tricycle! Ever tried pushing a tricycle faster than a human can run? Yeah.

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Heard from the back of the car: Autobots! Destroy the princess.

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I can't cook liver anymore. Used to make liver and onions. But I've tried twice in the past month and both times it made me so sick to smell it cooking I had to throw it out. Twice! If I didn't know better I'd be at the drug store in the aisle with the little white wands with pluses and minuses on them. But thankfully, I know better. Maybe just some weird phase or hormonal change.

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The new Make magazine came in the mail yesterday. I haven't finished building even one of the eight or so projects I wanted to do in the first magazine I got. I'm afraid to even open it. It makes my head spin.

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Me: (sigh) I miss people.
Husband: That's what a sniper flunky would say.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Crazed and Behind the Times

You know that old saying, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"?

I have a mutation of that:  All news and no fun makes Maggie a crazed mom.

I'm getting to that point where news is making me insane again.  My infernal sense of fairness has been attacked from all directions of late.  My disillusionment with the powers that be as powers that fail consistently to care for the things that truly matter has heightened.  And I begin to wonder if I just don't get it.  Or maybe I'm too heavy on one side of the news?  In any event, I can hardly take it anymore.

To top that off, in a way, this is going to sound somewhat pedestrian of me, I feel like I need some entertainment that taps my intellect less.  I'm reading a lot.  This is excellent.  I've recently taken up toying with electronics and given my schedule of mothering and writing that has left little time to unwind I guess.  I feel wound as tight as a multi-firing rubber band shooter. 

I realize that in days gone by, television wasn't even an option for entertainment.  So I am acting rather spoiled when I admit that I miss TV for that very outlet of allowing my brain to melt into goo for an hour or two.  Any life needs laughter.  There are many places to find it, but TV sure is an easy respondent. 

Add to that my overwhelming awareness that in the four years we've been without TV, we've reached a point where we're completely out of it when it comes to current trends, movies, music etc.  We get some of it, but in large part we know none of the shows people talk about, we get news somewhat later than many (though internet is rather as fast as any I think), etc etc.  This is all just a laundry list of excuses to invite the evil back into our home.  Fortunately for us, we can't afford it right now.  We're dumping everything extra we've got into tuition for the twins at pre-school, a much needed year of it. 

The original idea of turning off the TV was to encourage other pursuits and stimulation during the first five years of the twin's life.  Not just for them, but it seemed an important time in their lives to focus on mental development in that way.  Now we're ready to attempt having it without giving in to total couch slouching.  So, we've determined that by June, when tuition is finished, we could turn the evil eye back on.

Will we?  Remains to be seen.  We have six months to convince ourselves into or out of it.  And so the saga continues:

As the Cable Turns
Days of our Wires
The Bold and the Techie-ful

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Balancing on Your Balls

All the kids want to be cool.  Even us grown up ones.  In fact, in some ways, we're worse than teenagers.  Add to that the advent of internet communications:  widespread, instantaneous and seemingly immortal, and the need to be something you want others to see rises like the Dow on a good news day.

Some people pull it off exactly because they don't care.  Decidedly strong personalities being exactly who they are, or want to be.  Not living an image.  Living a life.

Then there are those so entrenched in the image that they lie, they become anonymous trolls, or they simply shift with the wind.  They are cellophane.  They may not know it, but the image they upload is drawn so tight it's a countdown to the inevitable burst wherein the hot wind held back comes blowing through.

And then we come to the end.  Ok, that's a book.  Then we come to the middle ground.  Where many of us struggle to be who we are, but find ourselves affected by the massiveness of the outward world staring in at us.  Many a blogger has analed the dilemma of writing for oneself and writing for readers.  We won't go there.  (Step lightly, all the king's horses have been through these fields).
But there exists this fine balance. 

Most obviously failing that balance are those that force coolness by being sarcastic, hating everything to be sure not to be 'like everyone else' and not to be 'a lame loser who loves something pathetic'.  They choose the dark road of negative, thinking they can shine through it with jest.  But in the end, they come off rather, well, ignorant.  Because if you can't have an actual opinion, you're not shining a light, you're just trying to reflect one.  And let me tell you, you're no mirror.

Sure we all get snarky.  And snarky is unbelievably fun.  But being just plain Oh I hate that, I won't even go into it.  Or God, you're not really into that are you?  is flat and unimaginative. 

So I say, you want to be different and cool?  Grow some balls and have some opinions, and then, do something really original.  Back them up.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Epiphanies of the Old and Cantankerous

I was in a store the other day.  The pharmacy to be exact.  Where two older gentleman (older than me, thank you) and myself were waiting for our prescriptions to be filled.  The people behind the counter were all young and new.  They expended more energy talking to each other in constant stream of information about who is dating who and what party is coming up than in counting the pills.  Which I think is rather scary.  But, that's not my point.
My point is that I was standing there telling myself "They're young.  Be patient.  Don't be such an old codger" and yet the two gentlemen and myself were getting visibly irritated.  This pharmacy has never taken this long to fill prescriptions, not even with this many people in the store.  So there I was diligently attempting to be gracious (well, we'll say shifting from foot to foot, staring at the floor so I wouldn't be glaring straight in someone's face) and it dawned on me, we get to a certain age and everyone behind counters offering us 'service' is younger than us.  I think this may be a considerable factor in the old age developed cantankerousness.  Think about it.  No, think harder.
If I had lived 65 or 75 years and seen so many things, I really don't want a twenty year old talking to me like I'm a child, and I sure as hell don't want someone with not so much, ok no life experience controlling my health/welfare/happiness/purchases/etc.  Would you?  All the time?  Imagine the indignity of having to give up driving and then being condescended to by youngins.  It gets my dander up just thinking about it.
So, the next time you meet a cantankerous old woman or man, smile and remember you're going to have to deal with whippersnappers like yourself someday.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Geeking Out

I recently subscribed to this magazine: Make. It comes out every three months and is thick and chock full of great things. It is all about DIY stuff. But the variety is awesome. In the first issue there are projects for lazer shows, hydro-electric rockets, toy car shooters, rocket firing stations and the list goes on.

When I received the first issue, I was delighted to see Adam Savage on the front page. I was even more delighted when I read the interview with him. I've long been a fan of Mythbusters and love the way they jump head first into making things and trying things.


So I'm cutting my teeth on some electronics. I'm learning to read schematics and I ordered and started in on a book also put out by Make called Make: Electronics. And I've decided to build the lunch box lazer show from the magazine. I visited the local flea market for a lunch box at a dollar and I've been twice to a local electronics store. Man it's like being in a candy shop. And I love my candy.


I am now the proud owner of a multimeter



a bread board




a soldering iron and soldering wire



and various small electronic parts



I'm so excited about this I can hardly stand the waiting for the time to be able to sit down and dig in.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Shameless Plugs and Not of Follicular Variety

I gotta do it.

The Brown Book Club just opened a new book. Link on over and watch the video. If you like the looks of the book, check it out, join the fun!

Friday, January 08, 2010

I've been thinking

New Years hit me this year with a lot of thoughtfulness.

I spent the last year almost avoiding this space. And most other Internet spaces. Not because I was shunning anyone or hiding (OK maybe a little hiding), but mostly because I realized there was a plethora of life happening around me every day that I had been missing in the depression years. So I tried to make up for lost time. And I had fun doing it.

But, even so, I've missed being here. I came to the New Year with a less cynical view of resolutions. Why? Because even if a person makes resolutions and then does not accomplish one of them, they have still accomplished something. They've taken the time to analyze their life and find things they want to change. They've done what many never do, they've admitted their shortcomings, identified goals, inspired themselves. And even without making any of the things happen, they've taken the first step to realizing even one portion of it.

So I started thinking about resolutions this year. I had a list of fairly typical ones like exercise more (oh my, the ease of losing sight), read more, etc. But I thought about this space and searched for a way that being here made sense for me now. How could I get back into it and enjoy it the way that I want to? I thought about the self discovery journey I've been on for the last four years. It's been a long and winding road. I know that I love certain things. Writing. OK that makes this space make total sense. I love sewing but I don't really want to talk about that here - at least not regularly. There are plenty of sewing blogs and frankly, I love it, but I'm not that good at it so I haven't got a lot to say other than posting pictures.

Here are the things I think I'd like to talk to you about: books. I have the Brown Books Project (see sidebar) and encourage anyone interested in the weirdest book club to go check it out and join. I've been rather remiss for a bit and the club has waned in spite of the wonderful support of my friends there. Help me get that rolling again. I might be mentioning those books here from time to time. But I'd like to share with you other books I read. I'll be doing that here.

My writing. You might get bored with this one but let's face it, it's what I do. And this year I'm forging forward with goals to get more serious about it as a career. So I'll be talking about my forays and failures in the writing spectrum as well.

Movies. This one is a little more difficult because I don't go to theaters much. I buy or rent DVDs which means by the time I'm seeing a movie, most people are long past it. So I'll be mentioning them, but I'm thinking the focus will be more on older movies. This is a relatively recent passion. And I've got stuff to say so that's a good thing.

Other media. Like magazines and stuff. You'll find babbling about that too. I'm headed into a year of messing with electronics and DIY projects inspired by Make magazine. I'll be posting up stuff about that too. I bought a special science calendar for me and the kids. We're going to be doing some experiments from it. I'll be showing you the gruesomeness that is us armed with ordinary home chemicals. Ha. So there you have it. A sort of blogging resolution.

I've really missed you guys and am determined (famous last words I know) to get back out there, hop back on that horse and ride giddyup into the blogging sunset. Yeeehaw.