Question of the Day 5-16-2018

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What song is stuck in you head right now?

Read my Mind by The Killers

On the corner of main street
Just tryin’ to keep it in line
You say you wanna move on, and
You say I’m falling behind

Can you read my mind?
Can you read my mind?

I never really gave up on
Breakin’ out of this two-star town
I got the green light
I got a little fight
I’m gonna turn this thing around

Can you read my mind?
Can you read my mind?

The good old days, the honest man
The restless heart, the Promised Land
A subtle kiss that no one sees
A broken wrist and a big trapeze

Oh well, I don’t mind, you don’t mind
Cause I don’t shine if you don’t shine
Before you go, can you read my mind?

It’s funny how you just break down
Waiting on some sign
I pull up to the front of your driveway
With magic soaking my spine

Can you read my mind?
Can you read my mind?

The teenage queen, the loaded gun
The drop dead dream, the Chosen One
A southern drawl, the world unseen
A city wall and a trampoline

Oh well, I don’t mind, you don’t mind
‘Cause I don’t shine if you don’t shine
Before you jump
Tell me what you find
When you read my mind

Slipping in my faith until I fall
He never returned that call
Woman, open the door, don’t let it sting
I wanna breathe that fire again

She said, I don’t mind, you don’t mind
Cause I don’t shine if you don’t shine
Put your back on me
Put your back on me
Put your back on me

The stars are blazing like rebel diamonds cut out of the sun
When you read my mind

Songwriters: Brandon Flowers / Dave Brent Keuning / Mark August Stoermer / Ronnie Jr. Vannucci

Read My Mind lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Question of the Day 5-15-2018

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Do you live to work or work to live?

Definitely, work to live. I should have lived in a simpler time, one where I enough money so I didn’t have to work. I am perfectly happy at home, relaxing in those moments when time seems to slip away and everything stops. When I can stand in my kitchen and watch the birds out back at the bird-feeder for what seems like hours with no sense of wasted time or time passing me by. No ‘You need to be doing (plug-in anything on the To Do list) NOW!’

The years I stayed at home with my oldest were some of the best I can remember. Long days between putting her on the bus and getting her off to dream, play and work. I cleaned my house from top to bottom yearly during that time, including taking everything out of the attic, sorting it and putting it back. My house had never before – and never since – been so clean. Probably never will be again.

I don’t have a ‘career.’ I have a job which I enjoy, but it is not my life. It is the money-maker which allows me to live my life. Some people have a driving need to be a Doctor or a Lawyer. An accountant. President (heaven forbid). Jockey. Movie Star and endlessly on. I don’t and I never have.

I like it that way.

 

 

Question of the Day 5-14-2018

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What does Motherhood mean to you?

I can think of no better answer than the piece below, written in memory of my mother.


Everything I learned about being a mother I learned from my mother.  Simple, right?  Of course I learned from her.  But it’s not so simple as that.  I was the baby of the family, the introvert, the dreamer.  The nonconformist.  I lived inside my head, inside the stories I was always telling myself, understanding those stories and their characters better than I could ever understand the real world around me. My mother was just the opposite; she lived in the real world and had no use for the daydreams and fantasies of her youngest child.

I always thought this was the reason we so often clashed.  Now, however, I think we weren’t so different after all.  She had to live in a reality that I had not yet known.  She had a husband and kids and a house to run.  Groceries to buy, food to cook and endless cleaning of house and laundry.  When I grew up and had these same things come to me, I had to learn how to live outside my own reality.  There isn’t a choice when you have children.

I have come to understand that being a mother comes from the heart and from the soul.  It is the greatest surrender any woman can make to put aside her life for 18 + years to focus on her children.  Not all mothers make this sacrifice, but my mother did.  There are no absolutes in a mother’s world, no true rights or wrongs.  Everything we do as mothers is in the Now, the eternal present. There is no past or future in mothering. Every word we choose leaves it’s input on our child forever. As a mother myself, I can now see the challenges and sacrifices that she made from both sides.  She did the best she could in the Now.  When she knew better, she did better.  What better mantra for any mother?

Somewhere in the turmoil of our relationship,  the truth of being a mother changed.  Maybe she leaned that you can’t fix your children.  Maybe she finally saw me for who I was and not who she wanted me to be.  Or maybe she just learned how to stop being a mother and start being a friend.  Time and again, she stood behind me without questions, no longer trying to fix my life, but simply being there. She learned that I didn’t need somebody to fix my problems (though I may have wanted that),  but instead I needed somebody to hear me.  I needed to know that I had value as me and not just as the person others wanted me to be.  I needed somebody who would never leave.

But there is no permanency in motherhood. Eventually mothers go away from their children, leaving behind an empty space inside that will never again be filled in the same way.  Sometimes this leaving is first mental, just as you have gone away into a world of imagination where I cannot enter, our roles switched in what seems a tragic irony of fate.  Eventually, however, it will be forever. This, too, is motherhood.  A letting go, a final freedom, the ability of a child to physically let go of their mother when the time is right and the knowledge that, in truth, motherhood never ends.  It is an endlessness that has carried women from the first moment of the world, uniting us all back to the first mother, that very first instant when a woman looked upon her face of her newborn and fell in love.

What better tribute could there be?

Question of the Day 5-12-2018

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If you are being extremely quiet, what does it mean?

If you believe the old saying, it means I am pissed. You know the one:

A quiet man is a thinking man. A quiet woman is usually mad.

Or:

If a woman is quiet it doesn’t mean she is mad at you, she is simply giving you a chance to think about what you have or haven’t done.

There are others, I know, many not so humorous. That, however, isn’t the genesis of this piece. I like taking the humorous approach; it fits with my often odd sense of humor.

Quietness can mean many different things in my life. I can be angry-quiet, usually before I explode into a fit of anger. I can be quiet-happy, quiet-sad, or just plain quiet.

I love quiet. As a matter of fact, I love silence. There is no better day than being alone and not having to hold a conversation with anyone expect myself and my pets. Or, okay, the plants inside and the trees outside, any random dog or cat or creature I might happen upon. You know what I mean.

I talk to myself constantly. Mostly it is stream-of-consciousness or holding a conversation with one character or another. Put me in the situation of having to hold a descent conversation with another person, however, and I am often in the dark. I can do it; I’ve taught myself how over the years, but quiet time is best.

So being quiet can mean many things in my world. The best times are times of quiet contentment when all the world seems right and everything and everybody inside of me is at peace.

I am hoping for those times today.

What does it mean when you are quiet?

 

 

Question of the Day 5-11-2018

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Would you take a trip to outer space or to the bottom of the ocean?

This is a hard question. Either trip would be amazing. I’m not up for traveling to some distant planet, mind you, but I would love to experience the vastness and weightlessness of space.

If I had to choose just one, however, it would be a trip to the bottom of the ocean. I am amazed by the depth and mysteries concealed by the sea, along with glimpses of  those weird creatures which inhabit those deep, dark depths.

Photo: Close-up of a deep-sea frill shark
The Frilled Shark live up to 5,000 feet below the surface.
Photo: Close-up of a fangtooth fish
Fangtooth Fish – They live 6,500 to 16, 500 feet below the surface.
Photo: Close-up of a Pacific viperfish
Pacific Viperfish – Live up to 13,000 feet below the surface.
Image result for creatures living in the deepest part of the ocean
Goblin Shark – They live at least 4265 feet below the surface.
The list goes on and on.
The thought of floating through the ocean thousands and thousands of feet beneath the surface is magical, if impossible. It is also terrifying. The thought of the pressure of the water and the darkness, the very fact of being trapped if anything should happen, scares the heck out of me. I never would have made it on a submarine.
I don’t have claustrophobia, per say, but shut into a tiny submersible to travel to the bottom of the ocean would defeat me quickly. Then again, so would being trapped in a space ship.
All in all, it is smarter for me to stay right where I am, safe and sound. After all, Goggle, YouTube and all the other resources on the internet are much safer and have much better amenities.
Pass the popcorn!

Question of the Day 5-10-2018

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What is the meanest thing anybody has ever said to you?

Besides lying to my face? I know ‘lying’ isn’t necessarily saying mean things, but it does do all sort of mean things that aren’t acceptable.

As for the meanest things which sticks in my mind, I have to go with the following. As I have said, I collect model horses. Collecting is a huge hobby which includes things like model horse shows – both photo and live, pedigree assignments, and many other things. I was at judging a live show once and had a showers come up and ask me which division was judging. When I told them, she looked right in my face and said, “I’m glad I’m not in that division.”

This might be confusing for those who don’t know anything about model horse showing, but she was trying to be as mean and nasty as possible. In other words, trying to say I was a horrible judge and didn’t know anything about horses. I have also had other showers lie to my face and to the event holder about me, but that goes back to lying.

A little about Live Model horse shows for those not in the know. Live shows mean taking your models to wherever the show is being held (this particular one was on Chincoteague). Classes are divided by breed, Manufacturer and sometimes color. Everybody in, say the Arabian class, puts their Arabian models on the table and a judge does just like at a real horse show – except the horses don’t move.

I used to judge at many of these show, but – like most things – the model horse hobby is full of clichés and politics. I have since stopped judging because it is not worth my time to deal with these people. I still go to maybe one show a year, if that, but I just go, show and come home. I avoid all the drama as best as I can.

Here are some pictures from my last Live Show and the only one I will attend this year.

 

The first photo on the top left is my show string. The first one on the right is the Mustang class. On the front row, the smaller horse to the left and the rearing one to the right are mine.

The stacked pictures on the left are pictures of the show hall and the rings (tables).

The largest picture is my guy, Glory Knights, (a Percheron/Quarter Horse cross) who won the Peter Stone Draft Division.

 

 

Question of the Day 5-9-2018

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Do you like big crowds of people?

NO! Unequivocally not! I won’t die if I am in a huge crowd, but I avoid them if at all possible. I used to go to the grocery store at 5 in the morning, just to miss all the crowds. I don’t do that any more, but I still try to avoid the busiest times.

Amusements parks are another dislike. Yes, they are fun, but when the crowds are so thick it’s hard to walk at a normal pace (for me), I get antsy. I am a fast walker so that does contribute to the problem, but some people are SOOOOO slow!

Before you ask, yes, people have the right to walk at whatever pace is comfortable and natural for them, especially if there is a reason for the slower pace. I certainly don’t think I am more important than they are, which is why I try to stay away. The same with crowded streets and highways. I avoid them as best as possible. You won’t catch me driving in say New York city or Los Angeles.

I have gotten much better at dealing with crowds over the years, but they still bother me,  so no concerts or rallies for me. Sorry!

Question of the Day 5-8-2018

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Do you ask enough questions or do you settle for what you know?

I’d say I settle. There was a time in my life when I could not ask questions. I could barely speak in most social situations. In one of my posts, I talked about the wolf with no voice living inside of me. Like the wolf, I had no voice.

Not literally, mind you, but I was so terrified of being wrong, of the ridicule of others, that I was silenced.

I am happy to say that situation no longer applies. The wolf found her voice and now she howls with the male wolf also inside.

I still temper my words at time and, okay, settle, but it is a conscious decision these days.

Maybe that is the best decision of all.

Question of the Day 5-7-2018

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When is it acceptable, if ever, to break the law?

I am not a law-breaker. That doesn’t mean that sometimes, in the darkest recesses of my heart, I don’t want to break the law. There are times the law is ridiculous. There are times when it would be so much easier not to abide by the law, but regardless, I was raised to know right from wrong.

To be totally truthful, I do break a couple minor laws. I drive 5-10 miles over the speed limit, mostly just to keep from being the slowest car on the road. Sometimes, I jay-walk. And, once or twice, I haven’t picked up my dog’s poop during a walk. In my defense, the poop was not on the sidewalk or anybody’s yard. It was in some brush on a strip of undeveloped land. So, I didn’t. Turn me in if you must!

I wouldn’t be a good criminal. I don’t like confrontation and I don’t do well in stressful, strange, situations. This isn’t why I don’t break the law, but it helps.

As started above, some laws can be strange. Mostly because these are outdated laws which no longer fit into the reality of the modern world. For instance, in Alaska, it is illegal to wake a sleeping bear to take a photo.  In California, a frog which dies in a frog-jumping competition cannot be legally eaten. In Florida, if you tie an elephant to a parking meter, you must  pay the meter the same as you would for a car.

Silly, right? Definitely. These laws make me wonder about the sanity of some lawmakers in those days of old. How many elephants were wandering around Florida? And if you woke up that sleeping bear in Alaska, you wouldn’t need to worry about being arrested or fined. As for the frog, I guess competition frogs needs to be buried with honors or some such thing. Duty to the nation of Frogs.

These laws are so laughable that if I did have an elephant in Florida, I’d tie him to the parking meter and just walk away. What cop is going to stick a ticket on an elephant?

But, how about breaking serious laws, those laws made to safeguard the health, safety, prosperity and lives of the general populace of any country. Would I kill someone?

Maybe. If I was threatened or my children or family were threatened, I might have to step up and break that law. Stealing? If I was homeless and destitute I might consider stealing food. I might consider sleeping someplace safe but against the law.

As much as my wicked side (and/or characters) like to fantasize about breaking the law, being law-abiding is so deeply ingrained that I never would. As for characters, I do have criminals in my worlds. Most of them are not main characters, but a few are. Deanie O’Conner is a Irish Mob Boss during Prohibition.  I have some young folks who have done some really stupid things. A detective or two who has stepped over the line for the greater good.

My desire as a writer, and my tendency, is to look for and explore the moments which change a person’s life. Make bad people better, or good people bad. What moment was it that Deanie became, not just a ruthless Mob Boss, but a compassionate man, a family man, a man who cared enough about his children to walk away from his former life. Who tried to make things better for his ’employees’ rather than worse.

When would you break the law, if ever? And do you have any criminal characters for whom breaking the law is just a way of life?

 

 

 

Question of the Day 5-6-2018

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When was the last time you climbed a tree?

Years and years and years ago. There was a huge evergreen tree in front of the house across the road from where I grew up. It was taller than the house and wide enough to hide most of the house front. I’d climbed trees before, but most of the trees had little more than one or two forks for climbing. There had been a Mimosa tree in the front yard of my grandparent’s house in Stony Point. One fork at about my shoulder height (my child shoulder), but I could climb up and sit in the fork.

But, back to the evergreen across the road. This tree was a perfect climbing tree, branches spaced all around the trunk from about head height up to the tip-top; branches thick enough to hide anyone inside.

Most of the time, I would pull myself up into the tree and stay in the bottom half of the tree. Inside the shelter of the branches, I was in another world. A private world which shut out reality of life. I loved that tree.  Nobody lived in the house so I was free to spend as much time climbing as I wanted.

I remember the first time, I climbed to the very top of the tree. I was scared. Heights were never my favorite thing, but I can remember hugging the trunk and climbing limb to limb. Higher and Higher. Branches smaller and smaller. The scent of pine.

I climbed as high as I could then sat there, watching my childhood home through the branches. I never wanted to climb down. The tree was swaying in the wind and I was all alone in the sky. I stayed there until my Mother opened the front door and called me for dinner.

Coming down from the tree was like a descent from heaven. Down from the swaying tree-top. Scratching bark. Sweet-smelling needles. Down. Down. Down. Back from the sky to the land. Back to the awkward, shy, girl I was then.

Since the house was sold years later and the tree cut down, I have never climbed another tree.