ZEN beats PPT

 

Interesting phenomenon in progress: just as too much of social media is disintegrating into a sticky morass of politics, racism, and religious conflict and I’m wondering who the hell I’ll hang with after the mud dries and the dust settles, a door opens – one of the best kinds, totally unexpected and unanticipated. Said door is an invitation to blog for a site whose aim is to provide new platforms for current voices. Their bonafides having checked out, I’m in.

That’s three weeks ago, and my sticky news feed is increasingly being populated by writing sites, blogging sites, photography sites, publishing sites, helpful friendly contact with writers of every stripe (not the porn dudes, they can’t find the trail), and it’s the best attitude adjustment I’ve happened across in months. Nobody’s been purged, blocked, unfriended, unfollowed, or hidden (recently), I’m just so busy talking with friendlies in the world of words, the spunk is quite organically melting right off my page, who knew?

Venturing further into the writing community is proving timely on a purely personal level as well – in a week when nothing at all seems to be going smoothly (an aberration for us), when there are more questions than answers, when our pitiful attempts to garner information come smack back in our faces RETURN TO SENDER every time, and both of us are entertaining morose thoughts of a worm & gopher-guts diet…whew…new friends to save the day (for me). Not that all my old friends aren’t doing a bang-up job, promise.

So yeah, we’re just over here speaking of books and blogs and …

“… shoes- and ships-
And sealing wax-
Of cabbages and kings-
And why the sae is boiling hot-
And whether pigs have wings.”

“Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!’
He chortled in his joy.”*

…and just like that, my prickly, peevish, testy news feed is Zen AF and feels all homey and shit. Guess who took it full PPT on everybody in the first place? Should I write that down somewhere?

 

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*Jabberwocky, Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

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The Nickel Tour …

As promised yesterday, a brief reading list from Playing for Time’s archives.  Bets are now open as to how many I can repost without editing …

NOTE:  Each link should open in a new window.

https://playingfortimeblog.com/2013/01/30/behind-every-good-woman-is-a-good-man/

https://playingfortimeblog.com/2015/10/31/everyday-garden-variety-bleeding-hearts/

https://playingfortimeblog.com/2014/12/08/what-scares-you/

https://playingfortimeblog.com/2013/03/12/why-yes-as-a-matter-of-fact-i-was-raised-in-a-barn/

https://playingfortimeblog.com/2013/05/22/memorial-day-reflections/

https://playingfortimeblog.com/2014/09/30/well-this-sucks/  

https://playingfortimeblog.com/2014/09/23/queer-eye-for-the-straight-girl/

https://playingfortimeblog.com/2014/10/28/a-tuesday-full-of-thankfulness/

https://playingfortimeblog.com/2014/10/24/my-brothers-keeper/

https://playingfortimeblog.com/2014/12/22/not-going-down-without-a-rant/

https://playingfortimeblog.com/2015/07/18/the-tale-of-the-topless-dancer-the-baby-clown-and-the-cross-country-heist/

https://playingfortimeblog.com/2014/12/04/a-fairytale-for-throwback-thursday/

https://playingfortimeblog.com/2014/10/25/its-saturyay-try-something-new/

There you go, and I was generous — these are favorites from the past three years and I hope you’ll enjoy one or more.  Actually, I hope you’ll adore every single one of them, but how needy would it sound to say that out loud, jeez.  I reposted them as I found them, and they’re a semi-cross-section of my blog, including humor and tears, longer posts and shorter posts, nostalgia and brashness, and maybe a window or two for peering at the writer in her cage.

If you like poetry there’s some of that sprinkled around, and a few of the creations are my own. It’s a genre I want to spend more time working with because of the way it pulls words and feels out of me.

The last link is one recipe that is tried & true, in case you read yesterday’s post — Kim has made dozens of these, inspiring awe and reverence each time, so you can trust it as well as many other recipes we’ve enjoyed since I posted them.  If you have concerns, of course, just ask.  I recommend asking someone who writes a food blog.

 

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Fixing myself on my own …

whole world

No part of my world seems to be coming undone today, but in past days, weeks, months when it has been, writing it down has saved me.  If I can tell myself what happened, life loses its power to put me under.  When you’re broken, it’s good to know where the glue is.   

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Just give it to me straight …

FACT:  Beneath this happy giving nature is a Selfish Girl.

FACT:  I write almost entirely for Myself.

FACT:  Nevertheless, I’m insatiably curious about who reads what goes out there, and what they like about it, if anything.

FACT:  I would love YOUR feedback, YOU reading this, right now.

FACT:  Not saying I’ll base topic choices on the results of the poll.

FACT:  But I’m genuinely interested in opinions, input, personal feedback, criticisms and witticisms.

FACT:  THANK YOU IN ADVANCE FOR YOUR PARTICIPATION!

Choose up to three categories.

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This is getting ridiculous …

I can’t write, I might as well face it and move on.

It isn’t that I can’t write, I know how, but the words have all gone somewhere else.  Things come to me but I don’t make it to the end of the first sentence and the orphaned drafts are starting to rack up bandwidth.    I have pressure behind my eyes from needing to write something that doesn’t suck, but I sit here every day and do nothing but procrastinate.

Yes, I would like some brie with that whine, be right back …

Wrote that a week ago, walked away from it, looked through some old photos that same afternoon and wrote this.  On Facebook.  Just like that, shazott.  Learned something about myself that’s been knocking around in my head all week, and when it settles into a shape and forms sentences, I’ll share.

So from a week ago …

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Did you get the memo saying PLEASE, NO THROWBACK HUMPDAY PHOTOS??  Neither did I.

This one has layers. Start with where the truck is parked. The blue spruce snuggled up to the passenger side was brought from Colorado, by my grandparents, as a seedling back in ought-whenever because that was perfectly legal then. It grew to many, many feet tall and almost as many feet wide at the base until one day in a storm it simply came out of the ground and assumed a horizontal position, landing on and against the house but wreaking minimal havoc. (Back-story: My grandparents’ house is to the right, where we see part of a roof.)

Then there’s the truck, a fixture of my childhood. It was gray and pretty wonderful, and when my dad drove it to town with the first cutting of wheat to test for moisture content, the gray-dust-covered elevator guys motioned him to drive the front wheels onto the lift, because of course there were no hydraulics under the bed … and then they raised the front of the truck high enough for the wheat to pour out the open tailgate in the back. Which was pretty freaking high to a seven-year-old and he only let me stay in the cab with him once, but not because I cried. I’m pretty sure he decided Mother wouldn’t approve.

Which brings us to the watermelons. Big, dark green, full of luscious red fruit, and juice that ran down our chins and made everything stick to our hands. Every summer, a truckload like this and far more came from my grandpa’s big patch in the middle of a section, next to an irrigation engine. The melon patch was raided one night by a couple of carloads of high school kids — the four girls dropped the four guys off and drove around the section (a square mile), stopping to let their boyfriends stash gunny sacks full of melons in the car trunks. My dad, Grandpa, and a couple of the neighbors, alerted by the sudden rash of traffic in the middle of nowhere, ambushed them in mid-haul, blinded them with spotlights, and panic ensued. The girls drove off, the boys lost their shoes in a field covered in Texas Tacks, and the whole thing ended up in court. My grandpa didn’t mind a melon going missing once in a while, but he held a big feed for the whole township every year and it made him mad that these guys had stolen more than thirty of his prize watermelons and deliberately destroyed a goodly number of the rest just for the hell of it. But it infuriated him even more when he asked the ringleader’s name and the kid said “John Wagner.” That was my grandpa’s name and he thought he had a bona fide smart-ass  in front of him. True story, though, and Big Daddy was an attorney — with the same name. I understand it got fairly comical during the hearing but my grandpa never cracked a smile.  Fun and games. Told you. Layers.

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2014 in Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,500 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Holy cow, it’s HumpDay again! Already!!

How does this happen??

6-25-humpday

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A self-rant …

2015 looks fine so far, relatively speaking, but there is much to do as the year rolls by.  Each of the eight points delineated by Neil is a rant aimed specifically at me — a kick in the shorts toward a more focused writing experience.  So on January 5, 2016, remember to ask me how I feel!

Neil Gaiman’s 8 Good Writing Practices:

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Ranting about thankfulness on HumpDay …

Didn’t feel like losing it over anything on Monday, so you got a break.  Love it while you can because that’s over in 4 … 3 … 2 …

So Monday was okay, as I recall.  Tuesday afternoon we’re tootling along Hwy 10 when the tootle goes away.

Kim sits, hands on wheel, just long enough to assess how and why and mutter “F*ckin’ embarrassing” before he starts walking.  Li’l Truck inhaled the last of the fumes about a quarter of a mile short of an exit, beyond which there is rumored (according to the sign) to be a service station, but just before Kim gets to the exit ramp somebody in a big black truck pulls over, picks him up, and drives away.

Which, after the shortest, most obscure Monday Rant you are likely ever to hear from me, brings us to Thankfulness Tuesday.  Because yes, there was a service station just beyond the exit ramp.  WAS.  Extinct and crusty.  Enter Ric, driving back to KC after the cold burial of a much-loved friend.  Spots my husband strolling along the highway, hunkered against the chill, a heavy coat, stocking cap pulled over most of his face, imposing enough man that you’d notice, and of course pulls right over.  Thank you, thank you, thank you, Ric.  Ric isn’t a big guy, but he sticks in your mind that way.  He repairs heavy equipment and does pipeline work, and I’m pretty sure he isn’t afraid of much, but his kind heart is a lot bigger than all that.  He insists on driving back down the 4-lane to get the Madster and me, carts us all back the other way to where the service station really IS, then west one more time where he uses his new truck to shield Kim from Highway Harm while he pours gas in the tank.  And yeah, then follows us back to the same service station so he knows for sure we made it, and tells Kim to give that piece of green to somebody who’s looking for it.

But wait, there’s more.  Kim’s a good mechanic, knows a lot about a lot.  For instance, he’s known since he bought the truck that it needs a new sending unit for the gas gauge, and probably a new fuel pump while you have the tank dropped, but since he doesn’t have a place to do his own work anymore and hasn’t loved the estimates he’s gotten, he’s just gradually developed a little system.  The system failed yesterday.  But only so we could start getting acquainted with Ric, and so he could offer to replace the unit for parts at his cost, plus labor.  Helps him, lets my husband win.  Think it’s gonna happen.

Also it’s HumpDay AND New Year’s Eve.  Do with that what you will, kids.

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Mondays are for ranting …

Poor Monday gets a bad rap, the short end of the stick, it’s the redheaded stepchild of the week, g’head, throw your own bad cliché into the pot.  Monday is my official day to uncensor myself and vent, so you’re lucky I have very little to bitch about in any direction.  By this point I have only a smattering of self-censorship left, so if I were to toss my last remaining constraints a whole lotta people who thought they knew me would be bailing out of this clown car.  But riddle me this, don’t we all tend to be colossal stacks of filters from womb to tomb?  And if you, personally, have managed to shed a few layers along the way, does that not feel amazing?

Why does it take so agonizingly long for some of us to realize that we can’t love ourselves if we’re busy keeping everybody else happy?  Why so long to know that our opinions, thought processes, and convictions are as legitimate as anybody else’s, and far saner than many most?  Why are we so … human?  As you no doubt picked up on, BECAUSE YOU ROCK, those are rhetorical questions and you are in no way obligated to send me the answers.

So on this chilly November Sunday (yes indeed, overachievers do today’s homework yesterday) while I track a friend who’s running the NYC Marathon, I’m thinking about relationships.  As a Social Introvert on the chart, my relationships center, in time spent, around people on Facebook and WordPress and the two forums overlap greatly.  My core group of out-there-in-the-greater-world friends are almost all part of the Facebook zoo as well … so as Zucky might want us to say, “It gets complicated.”

I write about Facebook once in a while because it’s such a funny animal.  Age and lifestyle differences notwithstanding, my experience with it seems to be basically the same as everyone else’s — we’re all looking for community, a spot to fit in, people to talk to and listen to, a place to say things so we can figure out what we really think, share funny stuff, and brag about pets, kids, grandkids, fairytale weddings, and vacations.  However, there are some obvious differences attached to the experience:  If you’re in it to troll, ridicule, hate on people, do harm to animals, men, women, children, or anything else that lives and breathes, including Mother Earth, or expose your (clearly amazing) body to the universe … then you and I occupy different worlds, thank god (except I’d take the body).

As with everything else, my personal Facebook and WordPress guidelines are simple:

1.)  Since it’s my life/page/blog, I say/post/read/write/share whatever speaks to my spirit.

2.)  I will never knowingly or purposely say/post/write/or share anything that would wound or humiliate someone.

3.)  If you disagree with or are offended by anything I say/post/write/or share, then I encourage you to take full ownership of your newsfeed or reader and opt to keep scrolling on down the Facebook/WordPress Road.  My brain flies in all directions at once and my tastes are ludicrously eclectic, so I’ll eventually get around to either pleasing or offending you and all the rest of my friends, possibly in a single post.  Or you could talk with me and I promise to talk with you back, not AT you.

4.)  If you’re family, going out as far as that extends … in-laws, outlaws, exes, cousins repeatedly removed … I will likely never unfriend you.  However, if you’re rude I probably won’t choose to get into a discussion with you again either.  Most of you in my gene pool are of the opposite political persuasion so I’m fully aware I can be a trial, but you’ve been pretty patient so far and it’s a matter of honor with me to be fair, to vet what I post, and to stay true to where I am on any given issue.  You also know by now that I consider politics to be some of the most important stuff we can think and talk about since that’s what determines the kind of world we live in, so if you have to hide me, so be it, there are lots of other people here who share my passion.

5.)  If you send me a friends request but never once say hey or talk to me or acknowledge that I’ve dropped in on you, my bullshit detector goes off and I start thinking about sending you to the cornfield.*  So let me make this easy for you:

a.)  Yes, I’m still married to that guy you probably didn’t trust, we celebrated ten years this past summer, and we’re still disgustingly stupid over each other.

b.)  Yes, I’ve gained a few pounds, let my hair go silver, moved to a liberal outpost, and started living.  And that’s okay.

c.)   No, I don’t know why you’re here either, so we’ll probably be saying goodbye soon.  I ain’t mad, bro, it just isn’t gonna work out between you and me.  Really, it’s not me, it’s you, no hard feelings.

*Fellow introverts are exempt, of course.  I know where you’re not coming from, and why.

To all who’ve been part of an adventure I’ve ended up living publicly on Facebook and WordPress, all the friends who were already in, have bought in, and/or hung in … thank you.  You’re a big part of where life’s going — I have tremendous role models among you and find myself incorporating bits and pieces of your personalities, writing styles, mindsets, fashion revelations, food loves, humor, and more.  I’m pretty sure Kim and I didn’t win Saturday night’s lottery, again … but how much could it matter in light of wealth like the above?  Tomorrow the mid-terms will finally be over and we’ll know where we’re headed.  And hey look!  I still have genuine friends at this point, what a gift.

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Note to self on a Monday …

owning our story

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What I really want …

Rescued this one from the archives today for Friday Facts.  Constant Reader* knows that family history is kind of a big freakin’ deal with me.

What I really want ….

 

*  Thanks, UncaPhil

Why we write …

we write

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You have to start somewhere …

You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it.

That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.

— Octavia E. Butler

A woman's hands on a computer keyboard

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Progress in the new year …

Today brings a quick overnight trip to get a trailer-load of items from our condo — more of the little things that make a house (loft) a home, plus our washer & dryer and Kim’s music equipment.  And then by next week at the latest I’ll be hoping to start turning over a few “new leaves.”  A daily post here on my blog, quality time spent at the piano, more walking, less eating … and there will be others.  I’m sure you noticed that I’m not calling these things “resolutions” — for me it would be the kiss of death and they would barely see daylight before shriveling up and crumbling in a big mess on the floor.

I hope 2014 has started out fresh and positive for everyone, and I hope above all to be here enough this year to get to know each of you a lot better!

newy

 

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