Thursday, July 19, 2012

Writer's Workshop: Watch Your Step at the Wishing Well

In honor of Mamma Kat's Writer's Workshop I have decided to tackle prompt #1:

Recycle a favorite post from July of any year that you have been blogging.

Since it's summer, here is a post from July of 2010 for your reading pleasure:

I just recently finished the book Watch Your Step at the Wishing Well by Lisa Hudon. This is one of those easy reads that you can easily go through while on the beach or poolside. I highly recommend adding this to your summer reading list.

The story is almost like a fairytale in how an average everyday girl from the Midwest named Nicolle Bocelli falls in love with a rock star named Gary LaForge. And much like Cinderella, just when you think our heroine is living the life of bliss— true reality sets in like the clock striking midnight as this fairytale life of hers becomes complicated with drama and intrigue. And just when you think you have everything figured out, an additional twist is added which keeps you in the story and keeps you reading further. Not only does the story line keep you interested, the scenery the author uses keeps you interested as well.

I must admit that growing up in the same home town as the author there is a lot of imagery about the heroine's home town that I can identify with— but I also believe that the settings are quite believable and paint an interesting picture that assists in the character development. The contrast between the home towns of both Nicolle and Gary complement each ones character and assist in showing where they both come from as well as showing why their personalities are the way they are.

I rather like the way in which Gary interjects from time to time with his own telling of the story. It is almost as if Nicolle sat down after the fact and was writing her adventure when Gary decides he needs to give "his" side of things.

And just as everything in the story seemed to come together and reach a dramatic climax, it quickly ended. Everything was neatly put in its place and a calm sense of normalcy returned. But this sense of a heroic and dramatic ending leaves the reader wanting more. There are a lot of unanswered questions… but I'll leave that to the author to answer when the sequel is released.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Monday, July 16, 2012

25 Things

This past week I discovered a Meme that I wrote back in 2010. Little did I realize a lot of it I also wrote about in my posts. So… if you want to know a bit more about me, here are 25 things about Me:

  1. I believe I have a unique personal philosophy. I only wish I could share it with more people.
  2. I am the only person in my immediate family who is left handed. Strangely, I play all sports except pool right handed. I also taught myself to use chopsticks with my right hand.
  3. I am usually shy around strangers. I have forced myself to try and be more sociable, but tend to fall back to being a loner when I am stressed.
  4. I have never lived outside of Illinois. Excluding moving into the dorms for college, I have only moved three times.
  5. Sometimes I wonder how many people I have influenced in my life, and how big that sphere of influence is. I tend to think that many people are more out of sight, out of mind and forget about you when you are not around. But I also am pleasantly surprised when people remember me fondly.
  6. At last count I have over 60 nick-names. One I picked up in high school was Groucho— anybody remember why?
  7. I love to cook, but never considered myself to be a great chef. I admire those people who can make something out of the odds and ends that you have around the kitchen. I also admire those people who know how things taste and can make great combinations of flavors.
  8. I have discovered that I do not just listen to music. I found that I listen to music many different ways at once: As a musician, as an educator, as a singer, and as a sound engineer.
  9. Exacto knives and I do not get along. I once cut the tip of my finger off with one. I sliced my knuckle another time just removing the blade.
  10. When I was in first grade I wanted to be a plumber when I grew up (I really don't know why). When I started high school I wanted to be an electronic engineer, then a historian, then a music teacher. Now I am glad I found a job that I like and I can feel that I am productive doing it.
  11. I share a birthday with John Lennon and my grandson. I also dated someone who was born on my birthday— no I didn't date John, or my grandson (though sometimes I do date myself).
  12. I love to give, but sometimes I hesitate because I don't know if what I am giving will be well received.
  13. I am not a world traveler— in fact I have never left this country. I would like to go someplace far away like Australia, or Japan.
  14. I used to say that I don't want to be famous, but rather well known in my field. Sometimes I think that I would rather have people know me well, than have many people know of me.
  15. I noticed that I have many different laughs. When I am really laughing hard, I laugh so hard that nothing comes out.
  16. I am so glad that I met my wife. I know that I would be lonely without her.
  17. I am proud to know that I have a family who loves me. Even though the children are not my biological offspring and I met them when they were teens, they still love me all the same.
  18. I find that I am a conservative who lives in a liberal city and state. Perhaps that is why I avoid politics in conversations.
  19. Even though I have been a Congregationalist and a Methodist, I tend to think that my spiritual beliefs are more Zen in nature.
  20. I love all the seasons for different reasons, but I tend to like Fall and Spring more than Winter and Summer.
  21. I jump into Lake Michigan on New Year's Day.
  22. I am glad that I have friends. Sometimes I tend to forget that I have them, so forgive me if I don't say how much I appreciate your friendship enough.
  23. Even though I live in a big city like Chicago, I am glad that I am close enough to be able to go to the beach and also go to the woods depending upon my mood.
  24. I am surprised how long it originally took for me to come up with these 25 things.
  25. I know that everybody is multifaceted. So often we think we know somebody well, only to discover that there is something about them we never knew. I hope that I gave you a bit more about the "me-ness" of Me.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Master T

The elementary school in our neighborhood has an art fair. One of the highlights of the fair is the T-shirt auction where you bid on T-shirts that the students paint based upon the masters. The proceeds go towards funding for the Art department.

Last year I won the bid on a T-shirt based on a Lichtenstein painting:

This year I paid $75 for another Lichtenstein painting:

This by no means was the highest paid for a T-shirt. There was one during this year's fair that fetched $120. My Step daughter holds the record for the highest bid at $260. It was a Surrat painting in pointillist style which probably explains why it fetched such a high price.

Unfortunately, the art teacher who started the fair over 20 years ago is retiring this year. We may not ever see another art fair, but we did enjoy supporting the arts by buying T-shirts. We like to wear them all the time, and even wear them the Art Institute which gets a lot of people asking if we bought it in the gift shop.

Second Blooming

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Writer's Workshop: I'm not the one

In honor of Mamma Kat's Writer's Workshop I have decided to tackle prompt #3:

Write a poem that about a time you felt betrayed.

This is not written for any particular time, but it seems to portray the feeling that one gets when they feel that they have been betrayed by the one they love:

Without my love my body weeps

within my soul my heart sleeps

Awakened again by cold pain

my body shivers without restrain

I hold my head still to hear a sound

but I only discover there's no one around

I've found my place, I've won no race

I only wish they'd see my space

So who's to say I can't go on

my love is gone… I'm not the one


I particularly like the way I tie the end of one line logically with the next. I'm really proud of this technique— so much so that I use this technique in many of my future poems as well.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

By the rockets red fade

For those unfamiliar with the redundant profoundness that today's calendar date signifies— today is July 4th. Of course, those who live in the United States know that today is a national holiday that people like to celebrate by watching fireworks.

If you live in a city which bans the possession of fireworks by average citizens, you may be fortunate enough to witness an illegal display held by a rabble-rousing neighbor. Or you could make the trek to a nearby suburb to see an authorized fireworks display. In either case, you typically see the fireworks going off in the sky.

A few years back my wife and I went out to California to visit her Sister in LA, then proceeded north by train to San Francisco to spend the remainder of our vacation. We made the decision to go down to the Wharf in the afternoon, then wait around and see the fireworks in the evening since they were supposed to be held there.

Of course, by the time the fireworks were supposed to start, a fog rolled into the bay which made it impossible to see the fireworks going off. We could hear them going off, and we saw glowing blobs where they should be, but no spectacular displays whatsoever. All the same, we didn't want to force our way out of the crowd so we stayed and did our best "Oo's" and "Ah's" every time we saw a blob in the sky. Thank goodness that we didn't have to pay for the fireworks or we would probably want our money back.

What about you… have you ever gone to fireworks that were a big disappointment? Any awesome fireworks experiences you want to share.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tip of my Finger

My apologies for putting The Tip of my Fingers song in your head:

When I was working as an archivist, one of my duties was to cut custom labels for the backup tapes we used. We typically printed out the labels onto a single sheet, then trimmed them to fit with an Exacto blade. Whenever I hold a straightedge, I typically span the edge with my thumb and forefinger of my right hand to hold it steady— then trim with my left.

My forefinger must have shifted enough on the straightedge to cause the tip of my finger to protrude just enough… the next thing I knew my right forefinger hurt and a bead of blood was soon forming. Quickly putting my finger in my mouth so that it didn't bleed all over the table, I picked up the tip and proceeded to look for a bandaid.

I must have looked pretty ridiculous with my finger in my mouth wandering around asking people where I could find a band-aid. Not getting a straight answer, I proceeded to go into the washroom to at least try and clean the wound. I was getting pretty desperate by this time since I could not stop the finger from bleeding and didn't want to use masking tape and toilet paper to cover the wound only to have it bleed all over the place.

I wound up putting my finger under cold water and pressing the tip back on until it stopped bleeding. Worked pretty good too. Then I dabbed the tip of the finger with toilet paper and then wrapped it in tape (I would worry about a proper bandaid later).

Fortunately the only problem I had with the finger was the fact that I was the Choir Director at church and had to use my right hand to conduct with that evening. I don't think that waving a hand around that just had the tip of its forefinger cut off the morning before was not going to throb and hurt— but I worked through the pain and got through the rehearsal without a hitch.

Even though I lost the tip of my finger, I did manage to reattach it and looking at it today you can hardly tell that I cut it off.

Second Blooming
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