Saturday, February 6, 2016

Friday, well actually Saturday.

It's been a particularly busy week, both at work and at home. Yet, here I am, at almost 2 a.m., feeling like I'm not holding up my end of the agreement I made with myself...did I say it's 2 a.m? On a really positive note, I scheduled my private writing retreat at Steve Fitzgerald's "President's Cottage" on Middle Bass Island for September. We haven't made it to spring yet, and here I am gleefully anticipating fall!

I look forward to every writing trip, whether it's 24 hours or 5 days. In my opinion, having several consecutive days of uninterrupted time is a Godsend for any writer. I get huge sections of writing done when I remove myself from my normal surroundings. Planning and saving for these writing trips was one of the best ideas I've ever had.  I highly recommend it to all serious writers.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Tuesday, actually Wednesday...very early

Another long day...worked, then went to Cecil's house to record another conversation about his life.  Cecil is an old friend who has long since retired from our place of mutual employment.  He was the first African American hired by Diamond Alkali (later known as Diamond Shamrock) to fill a scientific position.  Cecil is a fabulous storyteller, and I am helping him compile the stories of his life into book form, so he can leave those stories for his family and friends and perhaps for a whole generation of young men and women who need to be inspired.  I stopped for half an hour at Words and Wine Poetry Night, run by Margie DeLong.  Then I headed home, ate some crock pot beef stew while watching some of the best 50 Super Bowl commercials.  At 10:00 I started a Morena Rum Cake to take to work and got everything ready to make 5 lbs of cheesy potatoes for technician appreciation lunch tomorrow.  Finally managed to get upstairs at 1:30.  I'd be in bed already, but I needed to write a blog!  Let's see how long I can keep this up.

Monday, February 1, 2016

February 1, 2016

Perhaps I should try for every other day?  The week is starting out in extremely busy mode.  Dentist appointment this morning, followed by work. a quick dinner, then off to choir practice.  I should be sitting down here again in about 15 hours.  Somehow I doubt I'll be feeling inspired, but one never knows...

Sunday, January 31, 2016

New Year, New Me? We'll see!

Well, once again I have been duly chastised for neglecting my blog.  This is not a deliberate omission on my part, but the result of too many activities, not enough hours in my day, mental exhaustion, and too many other excuses to count.  One of those many activities is the running of a writers group called Water’s Edge Writers Meet-up.  A new member of the group, Vicki K, who quit her corporate job last year to pursue writing, promised herself to blog every day for an entire year.  As of this past Wednesday, she had five days left to reach that goal.  I have to say, I am impressed with her diligence and perseverance.
 
Another member, Margie DeLong, spent a year visiting the Grand River every day and keeping a journal of her experiences along the river and interviews with people who lived near its banks.  Her book, GrandObservations is now available on Amazon.com.

I admit it.  I have yet to muster the discipline to blog every day.  I also don’t put much stock in that rule everyone espouses that writers have to write every day.  I think it’s nice if you can, but I think most writers don’t.  Not writing every day doesn’t make you a failure as a writer.  It makes you a creative human being who produces art when inspired, not on demand.
 
But, I am inspired by my writing friends who are more disciplined than I am; therefore, I will make an attempt to write something on my blog daily, even if I am not inspired to write at all!


Friday, December 18, 2015

Conquering the "List"

I normally don’t do a “what I did today” blog.  This is the exception.  I stayed home this morning, and after making my typical breakfast sandwich, I set a list of tasks and times on my Action Machine.  In that 4-hour space:

1)            I cleaned my office work table of excess paper and detritus, then
2)            I printed out postcards for the eight people in my project,
3)            I made labels for all my Christmas cards and got them written out and ready to mail,
4)            I went through my bill box and wrote checks for what was due.
 
Then I got cleaned up and dressed and headed out for the running part of the day.

5)            That included the post office to buy stamps and mail the morning’s work, then
6)            a trot into Mentor where I picked up a few things at GFS,
7)            a wee bit of food and drink,
8)            a stop at Catherine’s to pick up an order I had shipped-to-store,
9)            a stop at Staples to get special labels for Meredith’s new homemade lip scrub and lip gloss,
10)        a quick hit at Aldi for gift bags,
11)        a stop at the bank,
12)        a stop at Convenient for much needed liquid caffeine, then
13)        picked up dinner at Glenda’s. 
14)        I made a double batch of raisin cookie dough after dinner, and
15)        after I finish this blog post
16)        I will finish my gift wrapping
17)        And print up Meredith’s labels (she has a craft show on Sunday)

All in all, it was a most productive day!  I just hope I can be as successful in my tasks the rest of the weekend.


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Let's NOT take this road...

I saw a meme on Facebook yesterday.  It read “If you cross the North Korean border illegally, you get 12 years of hard labor. If you cross the Afghanistan border illegally, you get shot. Two Americans got 8 years for crossing into Iran.  If you cross the U.S. border illegally, you get a job, a driver’s license, food stamps, a place to live, health care, child benefits, education and tax fee business income for 7 years? No wonder we are a country in debt!”  It urged everyone to share it. It was created by an organization called seano.org.
 
I immediately wondered if the person who came up with such a brilliant comparison realized how utterly ridiculous it sounds.

The first thing that occurred to me was that the writer was urging the U.S. to act in the same brutal, heinous, violent, and inhumane way that North Korea, Afghanistan, and Iran act toward immigrants (not to mention their own their own population).  Let’s not forget that most of the brutality issues in those countries stem from tribe fighting tribe or religion trying to eradicate other religions.  Sounds hauntingly like Adolph Hitler, his rabid followers, and the extermination of millions.
 
The actual demographic data of non-combatant lives lost during the holocaust include the following:

6 million Jews (all countries)
5-7 million Ukrainians
3.3 Russian POWs
2 million Russian civilians
3 million Poles
1.5 million Yugoslavians
½ million Gypsies
¼ million mentally or physically disabled
5K Jehovah’s Witnesses
Tens of thousands homosexuals
Tens of thousands Spanish Republicans
Anyone considered socially, racially, or politically undesirable (Jews, Blacks, Gypsies, criminals, prostitutes, homosexuals, and mental patients, socialists, communists, pacifists, anti-Nazi refugees from Germany and Austria
, and anyone else they just didn’t like.)

The problem with picking on one ethnic or religious group, such as Mexicans, or Syrians, or Muslims is that it never stops there.  Hitler led the German people by making them believe that the Jews were their enemy and all the problems with their lives could be blamed on the Jews.  He made them believe, or at least look the other way, in the hope that elimination of that one group would make German lives better.  But he didn’t stop there.  It was one “common enemy” after another, as seen in the list above, and the citizens of Germany believed the lies and followed like sheep.  The Nazis stripped all those people they killed of their wealth and possessions, but none of those billions ever filtered back down to the citizens.  Their lives did not get better, no matter how many “undesirables” they murdered.
 
Right now, the far right and the religious right are stirring up their constituents in the same way Hitler stirred up the citizens of Germany.  It is not the Mexicans, or the Syrians, or those of the Muslim faith we should fear.  It is those that seek to profit from the misery of our citizens.  By giving the people a “common enemy” and telling us that all our problems stem from immigrants and non-Christians, they are doing EXACTLY what Adolph Hitler did.

We cannot afford to take that path.


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it

I was mortified by the story of the Chicago TV station that used the yellow star of David, a Nazi emblem the European Jews were forced to wear so they could easily be herded onto trains for the death camps, in a Happy Yom Kippur story.  Obviously we have learned nothing from the past.

We are being overtaken by younger generations who are ignorant of the incredible amount of hard work that was required to get us to the place we are today.  I was at a writing meeting last night and a young member voiced her opinion that she was tired of hearing about what women and African Americans had gone through years ago and that they should “get over it already.”
 
I wanted to deck the poor kid, but instead, I tried my best to make her understand that the past should NEVER be “gotten over,” and indeed, needs to be remembered vividly and accurately.  She looked at me quizzically as I described what women my age had to tolerate from society and what women had sacrificed to make sure that she could get whatever job she wanted, be better paid, and have legal recourse for issues in her life that we didn’t have 50 years ago.

I tried to make her understand that discrimination was discrimination regardless of the genre:  gender, race, religion, sexual preference, or citizen status.  I pointed out that repression was unforgivable, and being ignorant of or forgetting that people died and suffered for the freedoms we have right now is unacceptable.


I hope she remembers what I said, because our history is not something we have to “get over already.”  It is something we need to hang onto for dear life, so we don’t get sucked into repeating its atrocities.