Yes, I know, this is the spot for the Mieography.
But its a holiday weekend, and I find I am wanting, well, a holiday. Not that I don't enjoy my blog, but, sometimes my brain is tired.
So blame the turkey, and the tryptophan. I will see you guys Monday
Happy Black Friday
Friday, November 28, 2008
Yes, I know, this is the spot for the Mieography.
Posted by mielikki at 9:55 AM
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Was going to do a Thursday 13 on what I am thankful for, and trust me I am thankful for plenty of things, MM, MG, home, pets, food on the table ect.
But, its been a long long long worknight full of the usual pre holiday not so fun-ness, coupled with the pressed turkey "thank you for working" dinner provided by the hospital, and I find what I want to do most is go home, snuggle into my warm bed with the always warm MM while my turkey is baking. Eventually I will get up and we will make the other holiday goodness side dishes, then have a nice, quiet Thanksgiving, just the three of us.
So from my house to yours, Happy Thanksgiving, if you celebrate it. If you don't, I hope this is an exceptional Thursday for you.
See me next week for a regularly scheduled Thursday 13
Posted by mielikki at 4:19 AM
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
I don't know about the rest of you, but, winter time has the tendency to get me down, if I am not careful.
Sure, I love the snow, the holidays, the rain and cold.
But I miss the sun.
Sometimes, too much.
And there is a reason why.
Seasonal affective disorder. (SAD). Heard of it? Its been around since the 6th century, first documented in the Nordic countries. Women are more affected by this then men, though it does affect both genders.
it is a mood disorder where people get depressive symptoms in the winter, repeatedly, year after year. They sleep too much, have little energy, and crave sweet, or starchy food. (They, being me, a lot of the time).
This 'mood variation' seems to be related to light. I try to combat it by getting outside, cold or not, or, turning on all the lights in the house. It kind of works. The people who suffer from this disorder have different levels, mild to severe. I tend to think I am more on the mild side, though, truthfully, there are times, depending on how bad/depressing work has been and what is going on at home (or my time of the month) where my symptoms veer towards the more severe. If I recognize what is happening I try to go do something fun (like Christmas Tree shopping, or cookie making, or something) but its when I don't recognize it that things get dark, and I sleep. A lot. Then I realize I am sleeping too much and go seek the light.
Meds are also used to treat SAD, and have been very beneficial. Someday I may need some. It could happen, I know this. Or a light therapy lamp.
Wondering what symptoms are? There are four criteria: depressive episodes at a particular time of the year, remission or mania also at a characteristic time of year (getting better when the sun is out), pattern existing for at least 2 years, and the seasonal depressive episodes must outnumber "other" depressive episodes throughout the patients life time.
I meet these criteria. Winter is tough on me. My sisters also both have a hard time with this, older sister, especially. We've talked about it. There have been times when she has called to see if I am having a tough time. Sometimes, I call her. She's usually asleep.
So if you notice in the winter time that you are feeling down, eating pasta and sweet things, and crave sunlight, consider this. It could be you are SAD, too...
Monday, November 24, 2008
I've really not ever written a story before where the characters don't, eventually, tell me what they want the end to be.
Until this last story.
Seriously. I don't know what it is about this last story, but I had a very difficult time with the ending, and what it is supposed to be.
I'm still not sure if the end is right. I am considering writing an alternate ending for it, just to see if that was what was *supposed* to happen.
Makes me crazy.
See, thats something I like about writing. I *know* my characters. I can always follow them, and hear what they want or need to happen. But every now and then, some stubborn ones come about. But Emer, by far, is the most stubborn, indecisive..... So, those of you few people who have been keeping up with Emer's tale, tell me what you think. Would you end it differently?
Besides that, we are still having dog drama in the house. A few of you know that we are now actively trying to find a home for one of the dogs. Having three of them is just way too much, especially now that winter is setting in, and they are inside more. We've chosen to send Cheese out. Because he is the most frustrated and bored here. 2 different families have contacted me, and I have a preference of one over the other. But either family would probably be fine. So, probably within the next few weeks Cheese will move on to his new adventure. I'll be sad and relieved at the same time to see him go. I am telling myself that we were merely place holders until Cheese's "forever family" is located. Its not that we don't like him, it's just that enough is enough, for both him, and us...
Saturday, November 22, 2008
As she continued her walk, Emer found herself coming closer, and closer to a house that was very large, as compared to the other houses she'd seen so far on her journey. The house was painted a soft grey, and it had startling red doors at the entrances. A large bay window was located in the front, and on the window seat, a tiny calico cat lolled in the sun. As she got closer, the cat sat up, and looked her in the eye. After a moment, however, it dismissed her as unimportant, (as cats are wont to do) and, circling twice, it laid back down in the sun spot, and was instantly asleep.
Emer had intentions of quietly passing the house by, but she was startled to realize that the path she'd been using had ended. Beyond the house was a small orchard of assorted fruit trees, a rather smallish garden (in comparison with the others she'd seen) and what appeared to be a sea. It was a beautiful view, and Emer was entranced by it. As she stood, mesmerized, she did not hear the approaching footsteps, until a soft voice sounded near her elbow.
"Breathtaking view, isn't it?"
Startled, Emer let out a small screech, and jumped. Never known for her gracefulness, she actually tripped over her own feet, and fell down into the grass.
"Oh, I am sorry, I didn't mean to frighten you" said the soft voice. Emer opened her eyes, and peered up into the kindest face she'd ever seen before. Unable to stop herself, Emer got lost in the deep, seemingly all knowing green eyes that were looking down at her. A feeling of calmness, and peace pervaded her. She didn't remember the last time she'd felt so calm. After a time, she sighed, and began to take in the other aspects of the person she was looking up at. She was at least as old as Sami, if not older, with a head full of silver hair caught up in a bun, with two tumbling tendrils hanging down near each of her cheeks, which each sported a perfect circle of red rouge atop the road map of her wrinkles.
"I've been waiting for you" said the lady, twinkle in her eye.
"For me?" squeaked Emer, surprised again.
"Of course. I knew you were coming she answered. "I'm Breena, and I take care of this realm, and all that are in it. Nothing happens without my knowledge. Ava was sent to you for a purpose, and she has done an admirable job. Now, however, it is your turn to take care of yourself. I believe you have a decision to make?"
"Y-y yes, I do" stammered Emer.
"Well, lets get you up onto your feet then" she said, reaching for Emer's hand. Emer reached up for help, and found that the lady was very strong, and spry for her age. Quicker than she thought possible, she was on her feet. Breena did not let go of her hand, but, instead, kept it in hers, and led her towards the big house.
"There are some things I want to show you" she said, towing the young girl towards the large, red door that would let them into the home. "There are things I want to say to you, as well." Swinging the door open, she ushered Emer into the home. The calico cat merely flicked an ear as they passed her (for surely, it was a her). "That's Abigail, she will not disturb us" said Breena. The cats tail flicked, and the settled, around her nose. A contented sigh was heard as they continued in their journey. Emer appreciated the simple beauty of the house as they passed through it. The colors Breena had chosen to use in her home appealed to Emer greatly. Calm colors, sage greens, sand, soft blues.
"Your home is beautiful" she said, softly. "Thank you" answered Breena. "I am quite partial to it, myself." Breena led her to the dining room, where the table was set for a meal. "It is nearly one o' clock, surely, you must be hungry?" she asked the girl. Finding she was ravenous, Emer sat at the table, and smiled shyly at Breena. "I guess I am". Breena sat down, as well, and rang a tinkling bell. Two tiny, smiling twins came out the swinging doors at the end of the room, bearing more food than Emer thought she could eat in a week. Roasted chicken, creamy mashed potatoes, fresh, steamed green beans, and a chocolate cake that was almost as tall as Breena. A basket of fresh baked bread was placed on the table as well, and, after conferring, each of them was served a large, cool glass of iced tea to drink with their meal. A pitcher of the beverage was left on the table between them, should they run out. The two tiny ladies exited through the doors from which they had come.
Tucking into the food, Breena and Emer were quiet for awhile. As their appetites became less, small talk began to flow between them. Finally, Breena started in on what she had brought Emer into her house for. Getting up, she went to the sideboard of her table, and brought forth a scrap book. Inside, were pictures of Breena, as a youngster, and two adults.
"My parents" answered Breena to Emer's unanswered question. I was once just just like you. JUST like you. Only I was dying on the streets of Venice, not Paris.
"Oh" was all Emer could think of to say.
"I had a full day to make my decision, as well. I obviously decided to stay" continued Breena. "It was one of the hardest decisions I made."
"Have you ever regretted it?" asked Emer, curious.
"I would be lying if I said no" answered Breena. "But, as a whole, when I look back at my life, I have been very happy, and fulfilled here."
"What about home, though? A husband, children, a career? Do you regret not having any of those?"
"Maybe, once, I did, but now, not so much. I have many children, and a very rewarding 'career' as it were. But, my time here is over, Emer. And, if you consent, you are to be my replacement."
"Me?" squeaked Emer, shocked.
"Yes, you. But only if you choose to. If you choose not to, you will be sent to what you chose, without animosity or harm, and another will be brought, and given the choice. Truthfully? You are not the first asked. I have been disappointed more than once. But yet, I continue to hope".
Emer studied the kind face watching her so carefully, and slowly turned the pages of Breena's scrap book. There were very few pictures in it, and they were very, very old. When she came to the end, Breena took it back, and said "Come, let me give you a tour of the house. This will be your home, should you choose to stay."
Wordlessly, in shock, Emer followed Breena around the house. It was as if each room had been designed with her in mind. She loved them all.
"does anyone else from our world come here?" she asked, as they were touring the extensive library, which was, coincidentally, filled with her favorite books.
"No, not unless a replacement is needed" answered Breena, being truthful with the girl. It was a tough decision to make, and she knew it. Emer asked a few questions as they walked the house, her mind now spinning madly. Each time they passed a clock, Emer was concious of time passing. The time in which she had to make her decision. At long last, Breena led her into the last room. It was a quiet room, with a small fountain, a comfortable couch, and lots of windows to view the beauty of the outside world. Dusk was just beginning darken the sky. Soon, the sun would be going down. And Emer's decision was still to be made.
"I am going to leave you here, Emer, the time has come. If you decide to go, all you need to do is say out loud the place you want to be. If you choose to stay, then, stay, and watch the sun go down. Once that happens, the next phase will begin. Do you have any last questions?"
"No" said Emer, already seated on the couch, looking out the window.
"Good luck child" said Breena, as she pressed a kiss onto her forehead, and quietly left the room.
Emer sat, lost in thought. Thinking of the past, the present, and what she wanted most for her future. She saw how happy and content Breena was, and she wondered, could she be so content? She thought about having a husband of her own, children of her own. She always thought she'd have that, someday. She wanted to have that. But yet, this life, it was so appealing. After all the loss she'd been through with the death of her parents, she wasn't sure she could handle more. She stretched out on the comfortable couch, watching, as time slipped through her fingers. Her eyelids drooped once, twice. She was sleepy. "Why not just stay here, and experience what this has to offer?" was her last thought, before she sank into slumber. A warm blanket dropped over her just as the sun made its final descent.
"Sleep well, child, tomorrow will be a day of change" whispered Breena.
Friday, November 21, 2008
I chose a young woman, this time, who is still up to some really great things.
Her name is Layne Collette Beachley. She was born in May of 1972 in Australia, a preemie who had to spend numerous weeks in an incubator. She was a child conceived in rape, and given up for adoption. When she was six weeks old, she was adopted by Neil and Valerie Beachley. Her father was a lifeguard, and introduced her to both surfing, and skateboarding when she was four years old. Sadly, her mother Valerie died when she was fourteen years old, of a brain hemorrhage.
Layne, at sixteen bypassed amateur surfing contests, and put herself into the World Surfing Tour at the professional level. By the age of twenty, she was number six in the world. She was diagnosed, first in 1993, and then another flare up in 1996, of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. She fought depression, and kept focused on the main goal she'd had, which was to become a World Champion Surfer. She was pushing boundaries at both big wave surfing, and tow-in surfing.
In 1998, she achieved her goal and won the first of her seven in total World Surfing titles. (six of them consecutively!) Her consecutive goal of six is the in the record books as the greatist number of consecutive World Championship victories, either male, or female.
Her competitiveness does not stop in just the water. She has started two business', Beachley Active Wear, and Beachley jewellery. In 2006 she staged her own surfing event the richest one in women's surfing history, The Havainas Beachley Classic. It's held in her home of Manly Beach, Sydney. It was a huge success, and now it has the NSW support for more events.
She is also, I should mention, on the board of the ASP, which is the governing board for pro surfing. She is the lone female board member, frequently battling surfing politics to ensure women's surfing continues to prosper. She also has created an organization called "Aim for the Stars" to support academic, sporting, community, and cultural dreams of young Australian women.
She has been on the Pro surfing tour for over 17 years.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Thirteen things I love about the cooler weather
1. Being able to use my fireplace for yummy smelling fires
2. The sound of rain falling through the trees. I love falling asleep to that sound
3. Drinking warm drinks, like hot chai, or spiced apple cider
4. The smell after the rain fall
5. That first snow, it is magical
6. Seeing my breath make pretty white clouds in the air. For some reason I've always liked that.
8. Making hearty soups and stews that slow cook all day long for dinner.
9. Staying in bed, snuggled under the covers, knowing I don't have to get up
10. The night sky, so full of stars
11. Breathing in that cold, crisp air (especially when I have to go outside for a few minutes because the fireplace has heated up the living rom so well.
12. candle lit nights when the power is out
13. Snowball battles!
As usual, for other Thursday 13 participants, go here
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
So at work in the last week....
I have slow danced with Jack (he was 18 months old, and someone needed to rock him)
and last night, Thomas, somewhere around 80 years old, was trying to rub the BACK of my pants, then, was reaching for my front.
"What are you reaching for?" asks me.
"Somewhere above your boobies. Your Cleavage" he answers
"You can't touch my cleavage, it's inappropriate" answers me
"Yeah we'd probably get in trouble" answers he.
Dream on, little demented old man, dream on.
*for the record, I was not even wearing anything even remotely provocative. I had on a high necked long sleeved shirt for pity's sake!
Jack was much cuter :)
*names have been changed of course
Posted by mielikki at 3:36 PM
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
In the early darkness of morning, before any birds are chirping, before the dogs are stirring, and while the cats are still enjoying the free reign of the house, a quiet, yet insistent beep starts to sound. Sometimes I hear it, sometimes not, depending on how quickly Mustang Man reaches out to silence it. When I do hear it, I usually snuggle up a little closer, knowing that soon I am going to lose my heat source, because he has to go out and face the work day.
That beep usually goes off a few more times, before he gives in to the inevitable. He's smart, though, he has his clock set about a half hour off, so he is not running late, despite hitting the snooze button as many times as he has.
I, too, am a snooze button fan when I have to get up to go anywhere. I don't really use my alarm clock often anymore, because, working nights, I just sleep until I get up in the afternoon, and I've never slept past 3 O'Clock, which gives me plenty of time. I have to admit I kind of miss that little gadget. Because those last 9 minutes of stolen sleep? Somehow, are usually the best
Posted by mielikki at 11:32 AM
Monday, November 17, 2008
working on getting it all back the way it was in the sidebar. Don't worry if you don't see what your used to seeing, it is all coming back. Stopping for dinner though!
*****I think its back to normal. Is it? Anybody see something missing that should be there? My brain hurts.*****
Posted by mielikki at 5:16 PM
a new desktop wallpaper.
I love my Mac. I think I have probably told a few thousand people that. Pretty sure I have.
One of the things I really like is the ease in changing the desktop picture. I guess I tend to get a little bored with what I've got up there. Either that or I have ADD when it comes to this topic. I don't know.
I seem to change my desktop AT LEAST weekly. Sometimes daily. If I see a picture I like, I "steal" it (another great thing about the mac? If you want to copy a picture, just hit the apple key, shift, and the number 4, and voila!).
When I had my windows desktop, I wasn't like this. Sure, I changed the picture, usually with the seasons or holiday. But I have to admit I have been pretty out of hand with it since I got my laptop.
The picture I have on usually depends on my mood. I tend to like the irreverant ones. Anything funny or entertaining. I had Calvin and Hobbes on there for a long time. I also really like going to see what the Starz Bunnies are up to. They usually have a few wallpapers up. Right now I have a picture of a large ice burg in some cold, cold water up. Don't know why. But I am thinking that will probably change. Its been there a few days.
Frequently I use pictures I've taken. That usually works, too. Until I see something different and my brain thinks ooh, cool picture, bet that would look good as wallpaper...
So there you have it. I guess I am a wallpaper junky. The first step is admitting the problem, right?
Saturday, November 15, 2008
I don't think I can call this Short Story Saturday anymore. The stories seem to be getting longer and longer...
Anyhow. Here we go.
Emer sat, unsure what to do, or what she was supposed to do. The words that Ava had spoken to her rang with truth, and she knew it. One thing she knew for certain was that she did not want to die. So going back to Paris, and dying in two weeks was not an option to be considered. However, she did not necessarily want to go back to her small town, and try to live, with all those reminders of her parents around her. But she would not rule that out, not yet. That left her with one more option to explore. The place she was in, now. Closing the scrap book she got up, and went to look around a bit.
The garden she was in was the most amazing garden she'd ever seen. The flowers were thick and plentiful, without seeming overcrowded. The smell surrounding her was heavenly. After walking around awhile, just enjoying the garden, she found the small gate that led out. Taking a deep breath, she went out. Looking down, she noticed there were many twisting and turning paths that led away from where she was. She picked one, randomly, and started down it. There were houses here and there, all with magical gardens like the one she had just left. In some of the gardens were the people who tended them. All of them looked up, and waved enthusiastically at her. At the fourth house, however, a little, old wizened man waved at her to come into his garden. Hesitantly, she approached the gate.
"Oh please come in. It has been so long since I have had any company. Please" he entreated her. Seeing the hope on his face, she did as he bade.
"You are the young one staying with Ava, are you not?" he asked curiosity twinkling in his sapphire blue eyes.
"Er, yes. I am" she answered, thinking "does everyone know?"
"Yes, we all know" he answered. At the shocked look on her face, he laughed. "No I am not reading your mind. Your face is just very expressive. We do know that you are here, and, importantly, we know why you are here. You face a tough decision, and it must be made, soon. I had a feeling you would come out to explore our little world. It is an honor to have you in my little garden."
"Who are you?" she asked, curiously.
"Oh- I should have introduced myself. How rude!" he laughed at his own folly. "I am Sami. Ava is my cousin. I must tell you, Ava is the best of all of us, and if you were to stay here, then you would be learning from the best of all of us. Of course, we would all take you under our wing, but Ava would be your guardian.
"What would I be learning?" she asked, taken aback at his candor.
"You would be learning what you are meant to learn, of course" he answered. "Now, would you like to help me pick some flowers before you go?"
"Of course" she answered. As she wandered the garden with him, he told her the names of the various flowers, and their uses, if they had any. It was one of the more enjoyable hours she had spent in a long while. When it was time for her to go, he pinned a brightly colored Iris onto her lapel, and kissed her on each cheek. "Thank you for spending time with a lonely old man" he said.
"I loved every minute of it" she answered. Leaving the small gate, she was glad to note it was still mid morning, and she had some time left to make her decision. Continuing down the path she'd chosen, she looked around more at the place she was in. Children were playing hop scotch on the street, and, laughing madly, she took a turn at the game when they invited her in. When she was a little girl, no one had ever invited her into their games. After breathlessly hopping up and down the squares a few times, she begged her leave of the kids. One of them, a tiny, tiny red headed girl, presented her with a beautiful yellow stone to take with her. "Thank you so very much!" she said, appreciatively. "Are you going to stay?" answered the little one, hope in her big brown eyes. "I don't know yet" answered Emer, feeling slightly surprised that even the children knew of her dilemma. "What is your name?" she asked the tiny red head.
"Megan" she answered, then skipped away to rejoin her friends, who were now involved in a game of tag. Watching the children, Emer noted how happy they were, all darting around like brightly colored butterflies.
"I wish I had grown up here" thought Emer. Then she felt guilty, though, because she would not have been with her parents had she grown up here. And despite the miserable kids she grew up with, she'd loved every moment of growing up with her parents. She missed them a great deal.
She got lost in her thoughts, walking down the road. Thinking about her parents, her home town, and all that went with it. She'd left that small town for a reason, and she was not sure she wanted to go back. She also wondered if she could get Ava to give her more time...
Friday, November 14, 2008
This lady is a new one to me. Her name is Emily Greene Balch. She was born in Boston, Mass. to a prosperous family, her father was a lawyer. She went to private schools as a child, and was in the first graduating class for Bryn Mawr College. After graduating, she did an independent study of sociology, and she had also been awarded a European Fellowship to study economics in Paris for a year. She also took scattered courses at Harvard, the University of Chicago, and another full year of economics in Berlin, Germany. She eventually joined the faculty at Wellesley College, and rose to the rank of professor of economics, and sociology. She was an outstanding teacher, with lots of compassion for the underpriviledged, strong mindedness, and she insisted that that her students should formulate their own independent judgements with research. She was a member of two municipal boards, (children, and urban planning) and two state commissions (industrial education, and immigration) and she participated in different events for womens suffrage, racial justice, control of child labor, and better wages and conditions for labor. She was also very actively involved in the peace movement.
After the breakout of WW I, she became convinced that her lifework lay in the peace movement, specifically, riding the world of war. (She must be rolling over in her grave). She was a delegate to the International Congress of Women at the Hague in 1915, and played a prominent role in several important projects. She founded an organization called the Women's International Committee for Permanent Peace, which was later named the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. She worked tirelessly, preparing peace proposals, she served in a delegation sponsored by congress to the Scandinavian countries and Russia to urge their government to initiate mediation with the warring countries, and worked in writing in collaboration with Jane Addams and Alice Hamilton to write "Women At The Hague:The International Congress of Women and Its Results."
After she returned to the US, she campaigned actively against America's entry into the war. She had been on a leave of absence from Wellesley, but they terminated her. She accepted a position on the editorial staff of a liberal weekly magazine called "the Nation" and wrote some pieces for them. She went to the second convention of the International Congress of Women, in Zurich, Switzerland, and accepted a position to become it's secretary. She did this twice in her life, without a salary. She also spent her time working on many League of Nations projects, such as disarmament, the internationalization of aviation, and drug control.
In 1946, she received the Nobel Peace Prize. (She donated the cash of it to the Women's League of Peace and Freedom). She was Seventy-Nine, and in frail health. Despite this, she continued to work. She also liked to paint, and write poetry. Her poetry was published, "The miracle of Living".
She died at age Ninety Four and one day old.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
This week, I thought I would tell you what Thirteen of my favorite Short Stories are....
1. The Lottery by Shirley Jackson. I never get tired of this story, and the end of shocks and horrifies me every time. Yet I read it, again....
2. Cannibalism in the Cars by Mark Twain. Call me macabre, but this story made me laugh. Then, the ending? Twain is a genius. Which is why I must also include....
3. The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County also by Mark Twain
4. The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry. This is one of the first stories I read that really touched me. I read it as a teenager, and just fell in love with O. Henry's writing style.
5. The Tell Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe. Just one word for you. Creeeeeeepy!
6. Regret by Kate Chopin I can hear the cadence of the dialect, and I could also feel the Regret...
7. The Yellow Wall Paper Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Ugly yellow wall paper would make me crazy, too....
8. The Lost Phoebe Theodore Dreiser. Many of the long time married couples whom lose their spouse remind me of this story.
9. Blood Pressure by Damon Runyan. See what quiet living can do for you? :)
10. Miss Brill by Katherine Mansfield. I guess the lonely ones really get to me....
11. Nuns at Luncheon by Aldous Huxley. I felt like I was there at lunch, listening to the story myself.
12. A Very Short Story by Ernest Hemingway. Because, frankly, I didn't think he could write so short a story....
13. Memoirs of a Yellow Dog O. Henry. Because who doesn't like a story that involves a yellow dog? :)
For other participants in thursday thirteen, go here
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Today is Veterans Day, and, I am a veteran. So, I am taking it off.
But not really, because I am going to be spending all day recertifying my PALS card. (Pediatric Advanced Life Support). Which means that I have gotten up, and have gotten myself to the hospital by 0600 so three of us can make the long drive to where the class is being held.
All the while, Mustang Man and Mustang Girl will both have the day off and be happily sleeping in.
Color me green with envy...
oh and if you don't see me online, or commenting for a few days, its because my power cord, was ONCE AGAIN chewed by a dog when I wasn't looking. DAMMIT! One is coming...
Monday, November 10, 2008
Eaton, one of my newest bloggy friends, over in the land down under, was gracious enough to tag me with this tag. Its been a long time since I was tagged, with anything, so I am happy to play along.
Now, Eaton seems to be all about the books (what's not to like about that?) and her seven things were 'seven bookish things'. I am unclear whether I am supposed to do bookish things as well. So I am going to do bookish things.
1. If I really like a book, I will read it, many times. Not back to back, usually I wait about six months after I first read it. And though I am a very thorough reader, I usually always catch something new that I didn't catch the first time around. I've read the Grapes of Wrath probably 10 times, and never get tired of that story. Same with the Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon
2. If I don't like the ending of a book, I will take some time, and reshape the end to a way that I like it. Unless it's a book that needed a sad ending.... One of my particular pet peeves is when an author leaves a baby un-named. It just bugs me.
3. I do not believe in skipping to the end of a book before you get there. Why ruin it?
4. No matter how bad a book is, if I start it, I will usually finish it. There are only two books I have put down without finishing. (I cannot remember the names of them...)
5. I have a copy of one of the first books I ever read as a small child. It was a 'Disney Book Club" book, called "The Penguin that Hated The Cold". His name was Pablo. And he got in a bath tub and cruised his way to a sunny island. I loved that story.
6. I will totally block you, any conversation, and any distraction out once I am caught up in a good book. I can lay in one spot, reading, for hours.
7. I was once foolish enough to take a Steven King book, (It) with me, while I was on watch, in a dark, tiny boat, while I was in the Navy. Reading IT in a dark, swaying boat by flashlight is not something I would really recommend....
Alrighty. I am supposed to tag people. But I know a lot of you don't really like tags. So, if anyone wants to play, please consider yourself tagged. Bookish, or not.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Sitting directly under the Eiffel Tower, and looking up into it's metal intricacies, Emer contemplated her next move. In theory, she had plenty of money, but it was all tied up with a large amount of red tape back in the United States. To get it, she would have to go back, and talk with the trustees of her parents will. Something she did not want to do.
In reality, she had about 13 euro in her pocket. That was enough, possibly, for a Croque Monsieur, and, if she was lucky, a plastic glass full of red wine from the umbrella stand located in the nearby garden. She'd been traveling for the entire three years since her parents died, and her soul still hurt when she thought about them. So she didn't.
Hearing footsteps on her left hand side, her hand immediately went to her hidden money pouch, where her remaining Euro's and her passport were located. To her shock, they were gone.
"Looking for these, dearie?" said a diminutive woman, with lavender hair, and strange, purple-green eyes. In her tiny hands, was everything that Emer had.
"How did you.. why did you.. Oh hell" said Emer, feeling defeated.
"I took them for your own good, my girl" answered Ava, briskly. "Now, get on your feet, you urchin, and come with me."
"Why should I?" answered Emer, resentfully.
"Because I delivered you into this world, I have your passport, and I know where the best Croque Monsieur's are" answered Ava, brooking no argument from the girl. Spinning on her heel, she strode as fast as her little legs could carry her away from the Eiffel Tower, towards the bridge that led to the other side of the Seine. Reluctantly, Emer got to her feet, and followed her. Except, when she caught up with her, nearly at the bridge, somehow, they weren't in Paris anymore, and Emer found herself crossing the threshold into a small cottage, where a kettle of hot water was steaming merrily on the stove, and all the makings for a ham and cheese sandwich was sitting on the sideboard.
"Sit down" said the tiny lady.
"Who are you?" asked Emer, doing as she was told.
"I am Ava, the midwife who delivered you" was the answer she got. In a short amount of time, a sandwich, and a cup of tea was plunked down in front of her. Ava would not let her eat until she washed up, though. Finally, Emer sat down, and ate. And ate more. After three sandwiches and four cups of tea, she was finally full. And very sleepy.
Bathroom is up the stairs, first door on your left. Your bedroom will be immediately to the right. Shower, then bed. In the morning, I will deal with you" instructed Ava. Once again, Emer did as she was told.
Emer got up in the morning, and put on the same old clothes she'd been wearing for the last month. Only, they were suddenly clean, and new in appearance. Tiding the room, out of habit, and good manners, she could not help but think of her mother. Wiping the tears that fell, she finished, and made her way downstairs, to find a small table set with her breakfast, and a note. Finding that she was very hungry, she sat down, and devoured the blueberry scone and glass of milk. She picked up the note, and read Ava's request that she meet her in the garden. Shrugging, she went out the little door, and followed the path into the garden. Ava was sitting at a small table, with a scrapbook in front of her, slowly turning the pages. Seeing Emer approach, she smiled, and nodded at the seat next to her.
"Tea, dear?" she asked the girl.
"No thank you" Emer stammered, looking down into the scrap book into the smiling face of her mother.
"She was lovely, wasn't she" said Ava. "I wonder what she would think of her daughter, now?"
"What do you mean?" said Emer, suddenly defensive.
Ava turned the page of the scrap book, and Emer looked into the eyes of her father.
"I mean" she continued after a time "What would your parents think of their only child, the daughter they loved so much, wasting the potential they saw in her, not ever finishing school, aimlessly wandering with no purpose or direction? You have not even been to visit their grave site since the day they went in it. Do you have such little respect for them?"
"It isn't that easy" said Emer, hanging her head, knowing what Ava said was true.
Turning the page, this time to reveal a picture of the whole family, taken long ago, Ava said "nothing good comes easy, my girl". Emer barely heard her, she was too caught up in the emotion of seeing the pictures of her then happy family. Silently, Ava turned the pages. Page, after page. Eventually, all the pictures were just of Emer, in all the places she'd been since her parents died, including Paris.
"I never posed for those" she said, shakily, when Ava was done.
"No, you didn't" agreed Ava. But I have them none the less. I've watched over you your whole life, Emer. Your parents were aware of it. They encouraged it. I know they would not be pleased with the fact that you quit college, and gave up your dreams. They were so proud of you."
"I know" answered Emer, upset. "But how do I do it without them?'
"You use the lessons they taught you and live the life you were supposed to" said Ava. You are at a crossroads. You may not continue on the way you were. Yet you are not the same girl as a few short years ago. There is a choice to be made, by you. At sundown tonight, I will either leave you back in Paris, where you will die inside of two weeks. Or I will leave you at home, where you can pick up the pieces of your tattered life and finally forge ahead. Or you can stay here, with me, and become, fully, one of us."
Standing up, Ava started to move away from the table, leaving Emer alone, with the scrap book. "You have until sundown".
Friday, November 7, 2008
I know a few little ballerina's, and the season for the Nutcracker will be soon among us, so I chose a dancer this week.
Meet Anna Pavlova. She was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, the daughter of a washerwoman, and questionable paternal parentage. Her mother did remarry, and she was adopted by her step father. Her mother ook her at a young age, to the Maryinsky Theater to see Sleeping Beauty danced, and after that she would have no other profession. Her mother asked her if she wanted to dance on the stage with them, and she answered "No I would rather be dancing there alone, like the sweet Princess". (Meaning, she wanted the lead role.)
Her mother took her at age eight to audition to be trained, and she was rejected because of her "sickly" appearance. She was a tall, leggy, girl, and ballerina's at that time were smaller, and more compact. She kept trying though, and at age 10 she was admitted to the ballet academy in St. Petersburg. At that time, entering an academy meant that you lived there, and they took on all the financial responsibilities for the child's upbringing.
It was difficult at first, she went through many painful, daily lessons, and pushed herself hard to learn everything in the academy. As her talent increased, her teachers noticed her more. Some took her under their wing, some did not like her, because her physique was so different from what was the norm of that ballet era. None the less, when she graduated, she was selected to join the Imperial Ballet at the Maryinsky Theater, and, she did not have to be in the 'corps de ballet' where everyone started, she was immediately given the title coryphee.In 1899 she made her debut, and by the season of 1905, she was a prima ballerina. She began. She began touring, at first in just Russia, then, eventually the rest of Europe, and Scandinavia. It was during this time that a famous solo was choreographed for her, "The Swan". It went on to become her signature dance. THe picture above is from that dance, the "dying swan" part... She eventually went on to dance in the United States as well.
She had a lover, by this time as well, and he was accused of embezzlement of government money. He escaped Russia to England and they settled permanently in London. She rented a house, and it was the base for her world tours. She made her own company, and traveled, doing almost 2 decades of uninterrupted touring. In 1931, near 50 years old, she was involved in a minor railway accident during her travels. She got out to inspect what was going on, in cold weather, and a few weeks later developed pneumonia, and died. As she died, she held her swan costume, and it is said her last words were "play the last measure softly". She was touring Holland at the time. As is tradition, when a ballerina dies, at her scheduled performance that night, everyone danced, and a single spotlight moved around the stage, where she would have been. She was cremated, and her urn is adorned with ballet slippers, and in London, at a cemetary near the home she'd owned since leaving Russia.
Posted by mielikki at 10:13 AM
Thursday, November 6, 2008
I have a sculpture garden in my back yard.
Hiding, waaay back. In the corner by the fence.
And I did not truly find it until yesterday, chasing down the three madly barking dogs in the what seems to be never ending saga of dog vs neighbor.
But I digress.
Trees. Madrone trees. Beautiful Madrone trees. I love them. And they were hiding from me in the corner. To me, they are a sculpture of nature. So here, are 13 of the nearly 100 pictures I took of some of the Madrone I just discovered in my back corner sculpture garden....
for more Thursday Thirteen, go here
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
So, today is election day.
I am sure most of you have noticed that I have stayed out of that topic entirely on my blog...
I have a reason for that.
It's not that I don't care about elections. I do. It took a long ass time for women to get the right to vote. And that is important to me.
But my politics, just like my religion, are my own. And I guess I feel kind of protective of them both.
I very rarely discuss either of them with anyone. I don't mind healthy discussion about politics, (or religion, for that matter) but in my experience, people quickly get into their own "red zones" when those topics are "discussed" and it causes bad feelings, and it alters the relationship of those involved in the "discussion".
So, I err on the side of caution, and I choose not to discuss either of them in so public a forum. I occasionally find someone who can keep their cool during such a discussion, face to face, and I enjoy it, completely. I frequently play devils advocate, just because I can. I find it stimulating to try and discuss something from the opposite angle of what I happen to believe. Keeps me on my feet.
So it's Election Day. Have a good one, everyone. Use your votes wisely, please.
Oh, and be very glad I deleted my long drawn out saga of a post I had originally written. I just can't go there right now. Things are fine. We are just having issues of dog vs neighbors, and it could end not so nicely...
Monday, November 3, 2008
We watch Heroes in our house.
Most people do. I think.
We are a few weeks behind, though, just catching up on things. Because we like to watch it together. We don't watch unless the others are with us. Call it a family bonding thing.
If you don't watch Heroes, you will be bored. Move along.
If you do watch it, but you are behind (like we are, or rather, were)
skip this post until you are caught up.
All caught up? Yes?
okay here is what's freaking me out.
The Puppet Master guy.
That is just disturbing. I would absolutely HATE for anyone to have that kind of power over me. Directing my every move with the wiggle of his fingers. To be able to make me do something not of my own free will. I'd be forced to do as he directed, even though my mind rebels against it. And nothing I could do or say would stop me from doing what he told me to do.
Talk about psychological torture.
Anyone confused? The situation here is that this guy has the power to control everyone around him. Their movements. Like he is their puppet on a string. Every. Little. Movement.
Torture, I say.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Emer glanced around the classroom at all of her classmates, happily listening to their teacher reading "Green Eggs and Ham" out loud them. Personally, Emer was quite bored, as she had read that story, herself, at least five times. Truth be told, Emer thought most of kindergarten was a boring waste of time. But her parents insisted that she go.
Her green eyes wandered of their own volition towards the window. A brisk fall breeze was blowing, and she watched the red and yellow leaves dance through the air, spinning up, and away towards a destination only known to them. Emer couldn't help but wish she was blowing away with them. Sighing, she watched the happy dance of the leaves, until her teacher managed to finish the book, sending all the small children scurrying towards their seats. After an afternoon of cutting out shapes and pasting them onto brightly colored construction paper, the day was finally over and done with. She thought.
Putting her left handed scissors away carefully into her back pack, Emer waited patiently for her Mother, Eden, to come get her. All the other children had left, with either their parents, or for the bus, by the time Emer's mom came in the door.
"You wanted to see me, Ms. Johnstone?" Eden asked politely, after she gave Emer a warm hug, and a kiss. Emer was delighted to also receive the warm cookie that Eden pressed into her hand, wrapped in a napkin. Silently, she ate the cookie, while her mother spoke with the teacher. They had moved to the front of the room, and were talking too quietly for Emer to hear their words. She could see Mrs. Johnstone gesturing in an angry way towards her art work, (which she had chosen to do in black and white) and saw her mother shuffling through many of the papers and projects she recognized as her own. Tears, un-welcomed tears, came to her green eyes. She had tried to fit into this class, tried to make friends with these children, but they all sensed her different-ness, and as a result, they shunned her. Sniffing, she shrugged her shoulders and ate the last of her cookie. She had the love of her parents, and her special friend at home, an orange tabby named Lois, and that is all that mattered to her. She waited, patiently, until the adults were done talking. Her mother turned back towards her, a smile in her eyes, along with some irritation, and strode briskly towards her. "Gather all your belongings, Emer, for you will not be coming back" she instructed quietly, and firmly. In her hands, was each and every piece of art, and every written thing Emer had done during the last month, since kindergarten had started.
In truth, Eden was as angry as she had ever been in her life. That so called teacher had referred to her child as a freak of nature. She told Eden that Emer was not right, and she never would be, and that none of the other children liked her, or wanted to be near her. "She's an outcast" said the teacher, decidedly firm.
"What are you going to do about that?" Eden had asked her. Mrs. Johnstone, shocked, had managed a few guppy breaths in shock before she answered the question with one of her own. "Why should I be the one to do anything about it?"
It was at that moment that Eden made the decision to homeschool her child.
As the years went by, Emer grew older, and prettier. Each year, her parents would send her to school, in hopes that this would be the year that the other kids would accept her for whom she was, and include her in their social lives. Each year, they were disappointed. When she was old enough to enter high school, Emer decided for herself that she was going to attend the local high school, despite her peers. Thankfully, there were some good teachers there whom were delighted to get their hands on an exceptionally smart child. She spent her time learning from them, and from her parents. She graduated early, in fact, and, at seventeen, was planning on leaving their small town as soon as she could for college.
Elsewhere in the universe, someone else was eagerly watching the maturation of Emer. Ava never had forgotten the child she delivered on that windy, rainy day. There had been something irresistible about her. Normal folk may not see it, but all the people Ava knew saw it, and were drawn to the girl. They took turns making routine visits to Emer's world, doing different things, like handiwork around the school, being the "plumber" to answer an emergency call, and one lucky one even got to be her sophomore homeroom teacher. She drew them to her like moths to a flame, yet she never knew of their existence.
Then she turned 19. And her birthday, which had started out so nicely, ended up being horrific. It was a rainy day, just like the day she'd been born on. Emer had been in college for a year at that point, and her parents were coming to surprise her for her birthday. Tragically, a drunk man had also taken that opportunity to get behind the wheel in search of his next bottle of Mad Dog 20-20. They never knew what hit them. Emer got that phone call from the University Hospital, they'd been less than five miles away from her. Her world plunged into black. She quit school, closed the family hardware store, and closed up the house. Taking the money they left her, she set off traveling, living everywhere, and no where at the same time. She barely spoke to anyone, hardly ever ate, subsisting on ice cream sandwiches and cups of chai tea when she needed to fill her stomach. She passed through places without really seeing them, starting with the United States, and eventually, moving on to Europe. When she was destitute, living in Paris, Ava finally decided to intervene.....