Cloud Talk

Today I was early for work, so I leaned back in my car and watched the clouds float by. It was a windy day and they were moving quickly.

Like Charlie Brown and friends, I sought images in the sky. First face I saw was a cameo-like profile of s woman. It morphed into the Grinch of Dr. Seuss fame, and then became nothing more than abstract poofs.

I moved on to the image of a mountain lion, and began to wonder if some legends of old found their start in cloud formations. I know the stars inspired some stories, but what about clouds?

What inspires stories, the tall tales or myths of today? We hear sometimes of odd prompts that influenced an author, songwriter or other artist. We don’t see the connection, but it’s there in the mind of the creator.

Where do you find inspiration when it eludes you? For some time now I’ve struggled with that problem. Frankly, it seems motivation is the bigger problem. I have none when it comes to my writing.

That’s not quite true. I want to want to write. I long for those times when the words come pouring out and I surprise myself with what my pen has put to paper.

Some of you have sent me private notes asking if everything is okay. The answer is, basically, yes. But I’m struggling with a few things and finding litte inspiration for my writing. So the blog posts are thinning out.

I believe my enthusiasm will return. I’ve looked to the Daily Prompts and found some help there, but those are ending. Word Press is making a lot of changes, and I’m not sure what’s coming next. I trust that those of you who’ve relied on the Daily and Weekly Prompts will find other inspiration, because I so enjoy your posts.

In the meantime, I watch the clouds float by and listen to hear what they might be saying.

 

Advertisements

Treasure for the Future

What happens to our words when technology changes?

What happens when the media we rely on today is more outdated than eight-track tapes, and no one can access what we’ve written, the pictures we’ve taken, the record of history our present day communication will someday become?

Who are we counting on to save the gems of personal expression we take for granted today?

It’s phenomenal how much data we can store on a tiny piece of finely-crafted metal and wires, surrounded by plastic. Over time, those drives will corrode or be replaced by newer devices, and much of what you store on them is likely to be lost forever. Think of what you saved on disks just ten years ago, and tell me where you can go to retrieve all of it.

We cherish diaries of our ancestors, no matter how mundane they may have believed their lives to be, as a peek into hearts and minds of the people whose history shaped our own lives. How do we leave this same wealth of information for generations to follow?

This information will be a treasure someday.

I love blogging, but I fear what I write here will be lost eventually. The alternative seems to be print out my entire blog, and that isn’t going to happen.

If anyone has an answer, a real answer, not optimistic speculation, I’d love to know about it.


Image Credits © stock.adobe.com

 

Another Year Older (and deeper in debt)

Well, tomorrow is my birthday…the years keep rolling by…I plan to celebrate! But it brings to mind this much-loved song from my childhood (well, a little before, but I heard it a lot as a kid):

You load sixteen tons, what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go
I owe my soul to the company store

— music and lyrics by Merle Travis

Well, whatever else may rain down on me, at least I’m not a coal miner. I know those who built their lives around the mines are often profoundly loyal, literally to a point of death, but from my lofty vantage point, there’s little return for the workers.

Abstract background of Department store interior , shallow depthWhen I worked part-time at a department store, I used to joke I “owed my soul to the company store.” Hey, my full-time job, at least in theory, paid the bills, so that was extra cash to spend as I pleased…and I did. I kept track, and about half of what I earned there went straight back to the company coffers.

Thirty years later, I still have some of the Marimekko dishes I purchased, one place setting at a time, always on sale, until I had nine settings (eight, plus a spare). So not everything was thrown away on clothes and makeup. The first setting I got on my birthday from my sister, Beth, who thankfully has good taste.

But I digress from my original point. Where was I going with this? Oh yes! Tomorrow is my birthday! Yup, another year older…but not really deeper in debt. Except for the debts of gratitude I owe so many people in my life.

  • My mom, who is always there for me in every way. She will sacrifice just about anything to help me. I would give her the moon if I could (although cash may be more practical).
  • My brother, who has proven his love and commitment to me in ways I can never repay. He has shown me the value of family, and more importantly, myself.
  • My dad, who is so in tune with my thinking (or I suppose it should be stated the other way around since I’m his offspring) and never fails to surprise me with just the right support when I need it most.
  • My friends Beverly and Bill, who, like family, gave me emotional and practical support, often at personal expense.
  • My best friend from college, Laurie, who “gets me” like few others — and still loves me!
  • My friend Deb, who thinks nothing of putting others before herself and finding the right gifts on any day of the year.
  • My blogging buddies, for all the support you’ve given me in the past two years, as well as the gift of your friendship…and blogs!!!

So many others, but I’ll keep the list concise so it doesn’t lose meaning.

Thank you, everyone of you, and have a piece of chocolate cake (or whatever) this Saturday — it’s my birthday, and I want to celebrate with you!

birthday cupcake

Another year older, and deeper in debt — to all who have given me love and support.


Make yourself smile today with this catchy tune from Tennessee Ernie Ford, which spent a combined 16 weeks at the top of the Billboard Top 100 and Top Country hits lists back in 1955-56. (And if you want a good laugh, look up the “Go-Go Version” on YouTube.)


Photo Credits: (Department Store) © torsakarin – Fotolia; (Birthday Cupcake) © Studio KIVI – Fotolia

Resolutions and Revelations: Two Years Later

october-2016Two years ago today, I opened my WordPress account and posted my first post. The page was bare; I later added a small picture, but there were no graphics, no widgets, no header photo, nothing. Black words on a white page. I got three views and much later, one like.

It wasn’t until the following May I really put effort into this blog, and began the design you see now. I went through multiple headers and a few themes before landing here. I added the premium plan because I began to have ideas I couldn’t achieve with the free option (something I’m glad I did) and eventually started two more blogs, one for classic movie reviews (Classic for a Reason) and one for knitting.

But some things haven’t changed. My first post still rings with truth, although I’ve changed and grown in the two years since I wrote it. I was in pain that day, and you may be able to sense that when you read it. I’ve gotten past that pain, but the lessons still apply.

A large part of my growth has come through the process of writing about my experience, beliefs and dreams for the future. This blog doesn’t have a theme (one of topics, that is) like my other two do, and it’s likely to evolve over time. Just as I do.

So here’s the original post, just as I wrote it then. Many of you likely haven’t seen it, but I know some of you did when I re-posted it this day last year, and a handful of you perhaps read it the very first time.

Blessings to all of you!

resolutions and revelations

you bought me the book

I’m not motivated by New Year’s Resolutions. No surprise there, most people aren’t. No surprise what does motivate me either: trying to impress someone important to me is always a big one. Problem is, that comes and goes. Here’s the reason that actually works: finally realizing my life is truly better and I’m going to attract better things when I do things the right way. And typically it has taken failure in my life, and some humiliation, to get to that realization.

My friends say, oh, we each worry about those things a lot more than others do. After all, we have to live with our own failings, our stupidity, our repeated efforts to resolve what’s gone wrong with yet one more foolish gesture.

Right now I’m faced with what seems to me to be huge failure brought on by circumstances I had no control over. Wisdom from others tells me to learn to control what I can and live with what I can’t, but what I can’t control has taken over and felled me. Now I need to stand up and return to where I was only a short time ago. But will I fall again? Probably. That which I do not control will always be with me, and I fear that those I care about will leave me.

So I must do what I can to perhaps ward off the beast that follows me everywhere for longer than before. I must learn from this and pray I have another chance that will allow me to succeed. I weep at the thought I won’t, and realize I now have little control over that, but in and of itself there could stand a truth I need to learn. Truth that belies what I have held so dear for so long.

I face difficult yet not insurmountable odds. I tell myself I can take advantage with hard work and fierce resolve, with fortitude and purpose. No trite quotes for me, but strength of mind and character prevail. This year was better than last. I can’t guarantee next year will be better than this, but I’m hopeful it will be.

A few quick thoughts about this thing called blogging…

The best part of blogging is meeting all the wonderful people I’ve connected with in the last two years. There’s a certain anonymity about writing a blog that I think allows us to open up in ways we might not feel comfortable doing face to face.  Through that, we gain friends and support. Friends we may never meet but who we care deeply about just the same.

About image penA few days ago I wrote a post about skin cancer, a cautionary piece about this serious disease. Through it I’ve been reminded of one former co-worker who lost her eight-year-old son to that disease. It was an extremely rare case, and they had the best doctors in the nation caring for him. As happens so often in someone that young and otherwise healthy, it was also a very aggressive case.

She’s doing well now, has re-married a fantastic man, but never had any more children.

Cancer sucks.

I also have a new follower, Jo, who is in her twenties and has been living with melanoma for 11 years now. Please check out her blog, Melanoma Jo, to learn her story. I understand from one of her posts that she is part of an upcoming BBC documentary. I’m looking forward to seeing it!

Thank you to all of my followers, new and “old.” I try to check out everyone’s blog from time to time, and I apologize if I don’t get to yours right away. I will see it soon! If you leave comments on my blog, I’m certain to get back to you more quickly. That is, if I can link to your blog through your gravatar. That’s often the only way I have of finding you, so I encourage you to list your blog(s) there.

See you in the blogosphere!

Image Credits: (Alphabet background) © flas100 — Fotolia; (Pen) © artender — Fotolia; (Blog typewriter keys) © Marek Uliasz — Fotolia

Thumbs Up!

Sometimes the little things really do us in.

I tore a ligament in my thumb, apparently while moving into my new place,  and now have a “soft cast” to immobilize my hand.  Immobilized it is…writing, as well as buttoning my pants and using deodorant, is downright laborious. The pants and hygiene are necessary, but the writing is slowing down for the time being.

My apologies to all of you for not being as responsive to your blogs as I’d like. Once my hand is free, I plan to spend some time exploring what my fellow bloggers have been posting.

In the meantime, my cats are  thrilled.  Mama can’t write and can’t knit, so what does that leave?  Snuggle time!

adobestock_26421848-converted

 

 

 

 

Image Credit:  © Andrew Adams — Adobe Stock

Seek and Ye Shall Find…some kind of weird stuff

I imagine most, if not all, of my fellow WordPress bloggers check their stats on some sort of routine schedule, including the list of search terms that lead viewers to your site.

AdobeStock_109760634 [Converted]Now, for privacy reasons, Google and other search engines limit how much we can actually learn about those chosen words. Usually we get that vague and somewhat frustrating phrase, “unknown search term.” WHY WON’T YOU TELL ME? What privacy issue can you possibly be protecting? (Okay, yes, I can figure out some of that answer. Still…)

But sometimes a term or two gets through, and it can be disturbing. I had to look one up in the Urban Dictionary not long ago. My initial findings were encouraging: it was a much outdated, not particularly popular slang phrase from a limited number of neighborhoods on the other side of the country from me. So it can still be argued I’m not totally unaware of the world around me, I’m cool, I know the lingo.

AdobeStock_111371163 [Converted]Then I looked at definition #2. Oh my. Could they possibly have been looking for something about that and landed on my blog? Big disappointment, since I’m not quite that cool.

(Out of curiosity, I entered the same search terms, and my decidely unhip post came up #1 in my Google search. Sorry folks, I don’t know what you were looking for, but I do feel certain this wasn’t it.)

You’ve probably figured out by now I’m not revealing that search term in this post. We don’t need to taint the relative purity of this blog…but heck, try this one: “dreaming of selling underwear.”

I do not know where on my blog they landed, but Google claims they brought them here somewhere. I entered that search term, too, and had all kinds of mildly and moderately distasteful things pop up, but nothing from my blog. I checked the posts people visited the same day, and I still have no clue what the link was.

If you discover it, there is a prize for you. Not from me, but I’m sure the Universe would reward you (listen to me, speaking for the Universe).

Hands down, my favorite one is this: “Walter Kitty.” That’s my cat’s name, and someone searched it, undoubtedly for reasons unrelated to my sweet baby but, hey, Walter, you’re famous! The only way it could be better would be if they searched “The Secret Life of Walter Kitty” (with a tip of the hat to James Thurber).

Image Credits: © geosap — Adobe Stock