Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Secret of Kings

     I know the Kings and tribal leaders of the past best kept secret of why they sat between two torches of fire. It was to keep the mosquitoes away. This intelligent perception was achieved while I was sitting on back porch after the dishes were done, clothes washed and hung on rack. Little Suzi home maker day.
     I was ready to rest. Grabbed my water, my mystery to read a bit. Then bang the little critters ate me up. So I got out the mosquito torches, fired them up, stuck them in dirt filled planters, one on either side of me. Bam. I was Queen of the yard and could read in peace.
     Today we use flashlights, spotlights, glow lights, PR agents, spotlights to put us in the light. But while those things might give us insight into something, let us find our way out of woods, or cave, help us find night crawlers so we can fish. Or if we are fishing light the water so the fish come to the service and bite our bait.  Then we real them in. But those things don't keep away mosquitoes.  Only torches do.

Memorial Day 5-31

Memorial Day and my grandson’s birthday/5/31

      Our families Memorial Day celebrations do not include decorating graves anymore. Yes, we hold those who have entered a new dimension of their lives in the Light; just about every day we talk about their exploits, like they were the Viking Sagas, and some of us talk to them all the time if necessary.
      Around Memorial Day, or on the day, we celebrate Life, my grandson’s birthday, and spring, by having a huge family and sometimes friends picnic, the Highlight of which is Games.
Not tennis, softball, Hunger Games, but games of laser tag, maybe, paint guns, etc. Number one grandson writes a playbook all year long. He has lots of notebooks with every conceived move in every game he has thought up. He then divides the entire guests into two teams. He sets up forts, cardboard figures, all sorts of things I know nothing about. Dogs are chained up, those that aren’t already hiding under beds because they have suspected something in his pre game preparations.
Son-in-law and daughters mow yards, pick up trash, cook, carry in food, and try to remove any un-game debris. Collect chairs for the non-combatants and the combatants when they wear out. Sometimes a radio for music. My son-in-law cooks the hot dogs, hamburgers and whatever else can go on the grill. I’m pretty much a vegetarian, except on this day. By the time food is ready I will eat whatever. I am tired and hungry.
I sometimes clean house in case it rains or someone wants a drink of water or needs to use the facilities. This year I only got the kitchen and bathroom unpiled. The rest of the house is being used for sorting books for the Book Room, which I hope to open next Thursday, Maybe. So I just told the gang, only two rooms. It didn’t rain which was good. Very Good.
On that day we play, eat, talk and share. We don’t always get together the whole entire bunch at Christmas, Easter or Thanksgiving anymore because no one’s house is big enough. So this is our bash.
On the day of the big event, grandson holds a strategic meeting with the combatants. He assigns teams, explains the rules, the strategy, though I understand that each team is allowed to make their own rules. The little ones, from barely able to walk, sit in awed silence and listen to every word. He is their leader. They respect him and want to do well. He assigns them accordingly. This year the youngest in the games was 7. A younger child just ate.
      There is a break, maybe, to eat. My grandson never eats. Once in a blue moon. We usually don’t have them on Memorial day anyway. Then they play. Until everyone is beyond exhaustion. Mean while my son-in-law cooks and cooks. We eat, drink pop and iced tea. We don’t drink much alcohol. Never at family gatherings. This is too serious for that. Most of us don’t drink anyway. But if we did we would put up a sign, no drinking allowed. I mean minds must be clear. The horses hide in the woods. The cats scatter somewhere. Sometimes it is days before they appear again. The squirrels stay in trees; the raccoons and rabbits stay in their little lairs; the birds get as high in their trees as they can go. They tweet out warnings and, I think, a lot of cursing.
      The final act of the day is to gather around a fire and fix Smores, or toast our own hot dogs, and talk, tell stories, have grave political, food, or health conversations, exchange recipes, ghost stories, or just plain bitch about the world. One by one people disappear into their cars and go home.
I am always the die-hard. I sit around the fire until the fire burns out. This year my grandson stayed awhile and we talked about the world situation and why local, state and federal politicians do not listen to our wisdom. Some new friends arrived and we talked about religion and how they are the same and different. They left. He and I talked a long time. Then he left. He works long hard shifts, and we don’t get to talk much. I value his opinions and his love. I always sit up until the fire is out. Sometimes it is almost daylight.
      I sit up because I think of all my family who aren’t with us in physical form any longer. There is no longer any relative that I know who is older and still alive than me. No one to call to ask how they fixed that pie or cake or if they remember what Grandma or Uncle so and so said at Christmas or Memorial. No memories of my family to listen to of the older generation. Just a few cousins, I am now the elder.
      So I think of them and discuss them with their shades that come to sit around the fire. (Don’t deny it. We all do it.) And I remember. My memorial and their Memorial is their lives as I observed them growing up, the wonderful things they taught me. The genes I think I inherited. Reproduced in my children and grandchildren and the fact that we gather for our own Memorial day as part of a celebration for a grandson, nephew that some of them never held in their arms, sang a song to, told stories but somehow has a little of the tribe inside him. So do we all.
      Happy birthday to anyone having birthdays around this time. Happy Memorial Day to all we remember in our family and to every man and woman who fought and died for this country. Also, since I am a Quaker, to all of those who died for peace, for everyone who worked so hard to bring food, clothing, jobs and everything else people need to survive and have peace. And who died in prison for their faith and beliefs. Such simple humanitarian beliefs, in not taking off their hats to any man because no one man was better than another. Not swearing on the Bible because the Bible said you should not do that. Being against slavery because no one should own another person. And maybe one of the most controversial, not fighting in war. They taught that kings make war. Men don’t. In those times all of these beliefs took courage. Some seem so ridiculous now. You have to wonder if they didn’t help form freedom of religion in this and other countries, make the world a better place. We don’t swear on the bible anymore in court, we affirm. Men don’t have to remove their hats in the presence of “their betters”. We don’t believe, at least openly, in our betters. And war is still with us. But kings still make wars and men and women fight them is still with us. It all depends on who the kings are. Shalom.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Steve Jobs, Cary, Alan, Mac and me

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Steve Jobs, Cary, Alan, Mac and me.

Steve Jobs, Cary, Alan, Mac and me.
            I went to BSU in the ‘80s. Graduated in ’87.  My first experience with a computer was a required science class. Computers were being introduced into the college body elect as a science class.
            It was like a foreign language to dyslectic me. I spent my life from elementary school on glued to an Underwood typewriter. (For you youngsters under 35) Underwood is to typewriters like Apple is to computers. That is if in some ancient history class you learned the word typewriter, which had a keyboard. Which facilitated putting words on a sheet of paper pushing them out much as the screen of a computer. Talk to your grandmother. People in the Secret Service use them because you can’t hack into them. Type messages and mail them. Neat concept.
            Which bring us to Steve Jobs. My learning computer was IBM. My midterm was to type this paper in class and do things that forced me to push buttons that did other things.
            What things I did caused all my beautiful words to go into columns. When I tried to push a button to reverse this process, the columns began to march. The computer assistants were women in business school learning to be office assistants. They were called secretaries in my time. Which is how I learned to type by typing all the time on my secretary mothers typewriter.  Anyhow what ever their present title they learned a great deal of new words as I vocally expressed my opinions of computers.
            However I received a good grade, passed the classes and before the class was over I was typing all my papers on a computer in the computer lab. That’s what all the rooms that housed computers that Ball State students used under guard and lock and key were called.
            In another blog I will describe the wonderful adventures I had in that lab. That is, after losing my IBM virginity to the new monster in my life, the computer.
            During this time in addition to my husband’s help in paying the university bills I supplemented my money by writing for the newspaper as I always had on my Underwood and doing tarot, as I always had. I had no home computer. Way too expensive.
            I did the tarot in a little shop called Quarter Moon, which was owned by Cary and Alan Hayes. I also taught classes there. Once of which was past life regressions. The payment for this was a Mac. Now I was ready for this change in computers because I had just read IBM and The Third Reich and was no longer sure I wanted to write on an IBM. Which was good. Because...
            I fell in love with the all in one unit Mac. Only the keyboard and printer were separate. And Cary guided me though all the new procedures that Apple had invented. Plus she jacked that baby up so I got an Apple program of 7.0, email and could even go to the Library of Congress on it.  And every week or everyday I got a personal letter from Steve Jobs. All right, maybe his assistant. I choose to think it was he. And it explained all aspects of the Mac. Other subscribers wrote in their problems, and he helped work it out including me.
            Alone in my new office on that Mac, I wrote my stories for the newspapers, my novels, never published, and they are great ones, and I learned computers. When Jobs’ failed, I called Cary. When I needed to learn to do things, Cary came over, with her magic statement of  “all you do is this.”
I learned when she said that to write it down, before I forgot. I kept a file of everything I wrote down of her precious words. I printed out some of Jobs words. (I wished I had printed them all out. Those words lost forever in those beginning days of Macs.) The cover on the file is called “Cary’s and Steve’s Little Red book of Computers.”  I could look up something at 3 in the morning when I was in trouble. I also found out if I got on the computer at any time someone would answer my question. My idea of heaven.
            Then the hard drive went out, a very bad person said they could fix it. Cary was out of town. So I let them and they kept it and brought me another one. It looked like it but my stuff was gone, even through they tried to bring a lot it of back, they said. It was just like my old Mac stuff. It wasn’t. They kept the hard drive and the Mac, gave me a substitute. In all fairness one of the young men came back and did a great number of things that replaced all that I needed. But my old Mac kept telling me something was missing, maybe valuable.
This new one looked just like my old Mac baby, and I still have it. One just like it is in the Smithsonian. I have the printer, the hard discs, everything. It is a reminder of Steve Jobs, Cary, Alan and me and my learning experience into the modern world of computers at 50 something.
            I was reminded of this when his death was announced. I heard the speech he made at a graduation about “do what you love, follow your heart and dreams.”
            I want to tell him I have. I followed my dream. I learned that it doesn’t matter if you become rich like Steve. It only matters that you are content, you do what you love, learn computers, have fun, find joy in everything that you do. Most of all you love your Mac.
            Now I have an Apple Computer, an Iphone and am saving for an Ipad. I am still on email; Facebook, Live Streaming and my daughter put me on Twitter today so I could keep up more with Global Revolution. I have a whole host of apps. I still write, had poems, several mysteries published, still do past lives and tarots, try to manage the farm with kids and my assistant since my husband died. But, Steve I am doing what I love. I will never run a big company, own stock, be rich with money, but your computer with the email, Cary, and Alan have opened up the world to a 73 year old women who knows that it is possible to confront every challenge that comes my way. Thank you.PS now I have aps, Itunes and a camera. You are wonderful

Monday, February 11, 2013

Book review:The Black Count. By Jeff Reiss

                                                   BOOK REVIEW

I started blogging again. I am now committing one blog a week in each category.

      I have just finished reading The Black Count. By Jeff Reiss. Reiss wrote The Orientalist, which I shall review later.
      The Black Count is about the man who was The Count of Monte Crisco and had the adventures of The Three Musketeers, by Alexander Dumas. It was Alex's father who had these wonderful adventures.  He used his father's stories and history to write his exciting works of fiction.
       I grew up listening to The Count of Monte Crisco on the radio when I was a kid. Gives my age, doesn't? I also saw every old movie, or radio show, or new movie on the Three Musketeers.
       If you are a Musketeer fan, a Count of Monte Crisco fan, history buff. If you are infacuated with the French Revolution. Or if you wonder at the link between us, the French and the world in our struggle for freedom. If you ever wondered why our Constitution said all men are .....and didn't mention slaves, women or people of color or why the French got mad at us. Even wondered what the rest of the world was doing, why they waited or how the rest of the world was struggling with the same ideas we were trying to implement, you have to read this book.
      It is non-fiction. Reads like the best most exciting fiction and mystery you have ever read.
      The front book jacket says: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, The Real Count of Monte Crisco.
      The biography is 73 pages of small type. The Excitement,  the thrill like a roller coaster ride,
 that leaves you spellbound, wondering and full of wonder with a brand new take on The French Revolution and our own struggle to be free and all of our failures and success. Library has a copy, I
had to buy my own. I have to underline take notes and read it again and again.





Last night it stormed; and stormed and stormed. Now I am not afraid of storms, rain, hail sleet and snow. I pick my storms. I am scared of the wind. That’s because I live in an old tippie-toe grandmother type house that something blows off or in: during wimd storms. These are usually windows and tree limbs on something.
            So I lie in bed and listen as the wind blows. Mediate so that the shear force of my brilliant mind will cause a protective crystal to wrap und the house and protect it. Not just the house, but every tree limb and tree on the place. The dogs and my cat, Buck LaSabre hate storms, dogs hate the thunder and lightening and the wind. The cat starts with the change in atmosphere pressure. So they all come loping through the house, not the cat, she’s already in bed with me, but the dogs sleep on their own smelly little pads, but at the first hint of a storm at night they jump in bed with me. If the wind, lightening, rain, thunder has not driven me into “storm batten down the hatches” alert situation, already, this, of course, prepares me.
            My daughter came to lunch. I fixed gourmet meals like waffles, eggs and turkey sausage, or sometimes, steak. Or boiled eggs, depending on my mood.
            Anyway we were discussing storms, fear and our passions on these things. She sleeps through rain, hail, sleet, snow, wind and tornadoes. I do not. I am in preparation mood, listening and willing the damn thing to go away.
            Or, as I was telling her about my early childhood development, I used to stay all night, all summer, all weekend if possible with my grandma. She was crippled from childbed fever. She had nine children and four grandchildren.  Staying with her was a history lesson; she was part Native American. Born right after the civil war ended. So we had good stories. She was a beautiful woman with a sense of humor, who knew everything. She was well read, played the piano and sang. Her only problem in life was a ghastly fear of storms and house fires. Notice that having 9 children did not produce fear. Nor did being crippled, from having child bed fever. At least not that she openly expressed. Fear of storms and fires were her outlet. I guess. My father said to his knowledge she never was involved in a super storm or house fire.
When I stayed there I slept with her in her bedroom, except when she rented out all the available rooms to boarders in hard, she slept on the couch. I am on the floor.
            In both cases we had this routine. She slept always in her slip and underwear. Her shoes by the bed, her hose rolled down ready to put on instantly. We placed a candlestick with a candle, matches, flashlight, on the bed stand. “In case of a storm.” Even when she slept on the couch, we arranged these things.
            If a storm appeared in the daytime we also were prepared. We would jump up, drag the heavy kitchen table to the East side of the house, I think it was east, gather all the candles and paraphernalia and get ready to ump under it. Two or three times the wind blew hard enough that my cousin and I were pushing under while grandma kept guard at the door to see if the storm was going to hit. The other job we had was to open the basement door which operated on a pulley system, so if it got really bad we would descend to the basement, where there was always at the ready, candles, flashlights, matches, blankets and food, in case. This was before the bomb.
            When we went to visit her daughter, my aunt, in Ft. Wayne the same preparations were always done. My aunt, grandmas third in line daughter, was equally scared, having lived with grandma through enough storms to be every prepared.
            My aunt and uncle always let us fix a tent to sleep in at night. We put the ends of a blanket in the desk drawers, stretched out the blanket, put soft blankets on the floor and we slept like logs. Uncle Gene slept in the bedroom on one side of the blanket, the living room on the other side. Grandma and Aunt Marie bedroom off the living room. Gene always help us put up the tent. He had to step over the tent bed to get to his room, (He snored. I mean HE SNORED.) That was why he slept in another bedroom. Anyway, there was a huge tornado alert, swished through downtown Ft. Wayne, scared the heck out of everyone. They were up and running. Except my aunt and grandma.
We were listening to the radio the next morning at breakfast, looking out the window at the tree limbs, everything sprayed all over the yard. Gene was explaining what happened Grandma, daintily stirring her oats said, “Why Gene, why didn’t you wake me up. You know I’m afraid of storms.”
            My dad later said when hearing of this; “The only storm she was ever in and she slept through it.”
            However he did regale us with a childhood storm tale. Grandma, it seemed, had always been afraid of storms. And had storm preparedness alerts that her children and her grandchildren, three of us, always went through when we stayed with her, were just like when he was a kid. One big exception was they had had storm shelters in addition to basements where ever they lived.  Mostly farms, after all they had 9 kids. One storm came up suddenly and they were still getting prepared, grabbing kids, assembling everyone, calling neighbors, when dad said, he looked out the window when grandpa shouted. “Here comes Mrs. Smith. A neighbor. They looked out the window, here she came, running across two large corn fields as fast as she could, through lighting and thunder, the rain pouring down in the preverbal buckets. She was hopping over rocks, or corn stalks and running just as fast as she could. She made it to the door. All the kids were watching this whole scene with mouths open. They let her in. She was wet from head to foot, water dripping off her arms, dress, all over the floor.
            Grandpa told grandma to get her some clothes.
            Mrs. Smith said, “don’t bother, I brought a change of clothes.” Whereupon she raised her arms to expose dripping wads of cloth that was a dry dress now just a bob of wet. Dad said grandpa and then the rest of them laughed so hard he didn’t remember if they ever made it to the storm cellar. When I asked grandma, she said they did.
            But my uncles and aunts said all of this was necessary because storms were worst back then.  According to the weather experts were are beginning another bad cycle.
            I don’t know. But having these stories in my background when I moved to the country with my husband and two little babies we moved into an area called tornado ally. So I again made preparations. Candles, batteries, food supplies, etc both for tornadoes and winter. You couldn’t get on a road in winter to go anywhere.
            One day in the spring, storm time.  The sky darkened a bit, the wind blew a bit.   And I heard this horrible sound like a freight train. My dad and the neighbors told me, a tornado sounded just like a train. I grabbled kids, watched the windows, and then looked out the window to see which way it was coming. It was a big train on the track by our house.   Making a freight train noise. After that I stayed prepared, well trained by childhood. But wasn’t afraid. Just sometimes got ready to go to the basement.
            When I moved to another house. There were more thunderstorms, tornado threats, and lots of rain. Once we gathered up stuff to head for basement, opened the door and the water was at the top of the stairs. I said I’d rather die in the s storm.
The thing about old houses built way back when is: they are usually made out of oak. They are built with the knowledge of storms, not too tight and with a give that makes the house sway and move with the wind. Scary sounding, but it helps keep the house intact because it bends wit the wind. Sways to and fro, makes noises and scares the hell out you. Those noises my carpenter uncles and dad said means the house will stand.
So I need a new sump pump and to shore up the basement and it might last another 20 years before a tornado hits it. But I still am a good mediator and I shall keep all options open.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Grief, two years later

            I am in different stage of grief since Christmas. It consists of the need to be alone and think about my husband’s death; not morbidly, but the aspect of death. His death and how it affects my life, our family and me. Most of all it is how it never stops forcing me to accept ownership of a life alone. Sometimes this is frightening. Being alone isn’t frightening, though it sometimes gets old. When you live with someone almost 51 years there is a oneness that only someone who has lived with someone that long can understand.  It’s like I have to finish something but can’t find out what it is.
 Grief? Maybe. Pity party?  Yes. Like you are in an echo cave, dark and alone. You shout out an awesome sound. Wait for the echo. It never comes. You know it won’t. You look around. You shout again. Maybe. This time just maybe it will. It doesn’t. Only the hollowness.
            This doesn’t happen all that much. My faith is very strong. I know where he is. Where I am. I see him. He visits. We talk. He comforts. I see him as his Spirit Guide the eagle, ((or the hawk,) every time I walk out the door or drive. It leads me as I drive the car. It is there when I arrive. The eagle comes home with me. Follows me around the farm.
            The kids say my eagle is a chicken hawk. I say OK by me. I smile. Look up and see the eagle that flies in a circle. I know what I see.
            This March was the second anniversary of his death. It was a hard year.. I think it is because the numbness has worn off. Shock is gone. Reality of loss has set in. Would I wish for him to be back?  No, his suffering was so ghastly horrific that I could not ask for that even as he was dying. He could not live like that. He is, I know, in a better place. I can picture him as the eagle flying above earth looking down at all the fields, rivers and land he hunted, fished and farmed. I can picture him going to all the different places he never got to see. I can picture his delight. I see him able to move his arms and legs. His eyes are clear, his earring intact. The brilliant mind, the reasoning, and the love he had of life, of the children, and the grandchildren flowing about him. The love for me; one of his eight passions: me, kids, grandkids, hunting, fishing, cars, guns and his truck. Maybe I’m not first on that list. He did love his guns, cars and boats.
In this stage of grief you become more selfish and think of yourself. I am alone. I must make the hard decisions, pay the bills, and figure out ways to make more money. Keep myself healthy. Set good examples for the kids of dignity, love, caring and support for them to follow as they go through life. I must give them twice the love I did before to help them with their missing of his love. That’s how I feel.
            Yet I know that all of that will not help them when they miss their dad, their grandpa, and their friend. I know, from talking to them, that they also feel him around.
            My children, grandchildren, friends, Quaker Meeting, clients, fellow writers, poets, Raeki, tarot clients, and the young man who helps me on the farm; all are my support. So is my belief in the Creator. The Great Spirit. The next dimension.
            I waver sometimes between thinking I did everything I could to make his last year or two the best I could do, and thinking of all the mistakes I made and everything I did wrong.
            Two things I think I could have done better. I am sure there are one billion more. But two are glaring to me now.
1.     One day, when he was really bad and could not speak, and had been trying to figure out something. A way to communicate? What he had been dreaming? Not to tell me but to physically do what he had been dreaming or thinking?
. He had been sleeping.  He turned over on his right side. He faced the wall with all the children’s pictures from birth to almost now. Because in some cases, the youngest daughter and grandchildren were still there as birth, young, walking, and running pictures. I never changed pictures after I got them up, just put up the older pictures somewhere else. Don’t ask.
            He reached both arms to the pictures. I was tired. I asked him what he wanted, rubbed his back. He tried to reach a couple of times, then stopped. At the time I had forgotten the pictures were there, as I had forgotten everything but how to take care of him.  It seemed to me he was reaching, stretching I was trying to find out what was wrong. It wasn’t until much later I realized he was reaching for the kids. He had regressed in time and I think believed that the pictures were the kids and he was back at the age when he was the father of the young ones that age. He wanted to hold them. He wanted them with him to say goodbye. Maybe he was lucid enough to want to go back in time to a better time. I didn’t know that then. I don’t know what I would have done had I realized that at the exact time; but it bothers me that I didn’t know.
He also didn’t’ recognize at my old age of 70, 71. He could tell my voice, but when he saw me he was confused. He thought every time one of our three daughters was there that it was I. Because he always saw me as young and beautiful even when I was old and not so pretty.  I was never beautiful, except to him.
2.     The other thing that I regret was the last time he was very clear and spoke certain words to me.
When he was sick, I never slept or ate right. I lost weight so fast that I had wrinkles and sagging skin where I didn’t before. He never recognized me. That broke my heart then and now. He was always looking around wondering where I was. I would talk; he would smile when he heard my voice. I would walk toward him and he would look puzzled sometimes; looking around for me. Occasionally he would recognize me.
Sometimes he would be himself and we could talk and laugh. That was a good day.
            This last time he was coherent he said “Susie”,
“Yes.” I would respond.
“I love you.”
He said it over and over several times. Each time clearer and with more emphasis.
I responded, “I love you too.”
I was exhausted and falling asleep.
I don’t know how long this went long. I don’t know if I responded every time. I only got up and went to him once. I wrote about that in a previous blog. I picked him up and held him so tight like holding him would keep him safe and not let this terrible disease, a spinal infarction, take him from me.
It was his last clear words and thoughts and actions.
The next day I called the children, grandchildren friends and told them they had better come now to see him while there was this spark.
That is what I keep remembering. I think that is a part of my grief. Why did he have to endure that agony? A man who loved to hunt, fish, drive boats and cars, and play with his grandkids had to be given what he hated the most; lost of limbs.
That is why I cannot grieve for his death. Instead must celebrate his life. The adventures we shared, the family shared.
We kept him home with the help of Care One and his doctor. We fed, bathed, and did what the Doctor, Care One, nurse, the rehab folks told us to do until he died.
He didn’t want a nursing home. He didn’t want a funeral home. He didn’t want    to have his body viewed. He hated funeral homes. He wanted to be cremated.
We did what he wanted. The children, the caregivers and I. We took the best care we knew how. Frustrated at our ineptness, frustrated sometimes at his sickness. We did our best.
 We had him cremated. We had a huge carry in picnic in the summer in the yard he loved, with most of the friends he loved there to express their love and support for us. So my grief is not there. We had a goal. His goal and we did it.
Now we are in recovery. Could we have done better? Did we miss something? Yet we feel his love. Know where he is. Still are trying to complete the goals he set for us.
I feel his presence around me, hear his words, get his guidance and sometimes see him standing there. This is the second year. The numbness of his death has worn off. A friend whose husband died about the same time mentioned it was harder for her this year also. Grief is a strange partner.
So our family grief, at least, my grief is still in that dark echoless tunnel that will never return my sound.

Labels: , ,

Monday, January 17, 2011

I messed up

If you want to view other blogs. Go to upper right under picture, where it says view profile and hit that and I think you can go to the other blogs. If not I give up


Hopewell Meeting: Words have meaning.

Today I felt led to share this with you. I write a report for our Quaker Quill every three months. I was led to share this one with you. Also, in my blog commentary, if you go up to the left, under my name and picture(?) you click and read books reports, tarot readings, my poetry is in the blog yet.

             The Labyrinth at Hopewell lies under deep snowdrifts waiting for spring so we can walk on it and remember the wonderful events of this year. In this walk we must hold in the Light the horrible events of this past year. We are with everyone holding the city of Tucson in the Light. We hold the grief of those lost and the joy of those who were wounded and are now healing. We remember those who were ordinary folks who showed such courage and bravery that saved lives. We rejoice in the population of that city coming together to love, support and care for one another.
            To me it is a lesson in the power of the words. My five- year- old granddaughter is an attender at Hopewell. She is in First Day School. She attends Friends Memorial pre-school in Muncie, IN, where she is a collector of words. She carries a pencil and paper everywhere she goes. She asks your name and how to spell it. Then she puts it her list.
            Once she asked my 35-year-old grandson his name. He told her Mike, which she already knew. She took her pen and paper and said, your must spell it for me. That is important.” So he spelled MUD. Which she wrote down carefully. Then she took it to school as she did everyday with her list of names and words to give to the teachers.
            They gently explained that she had Mud instead of Mike. She was devastated.
            She came home from school in tears and furious. “Words are important. They mean something. They all have a meaning. Each one. Names are important because they are words and tell who you are and what you are. This is all wrong, he is not mud. Words are important. You must use the right one. Not a wrong or bad one.”
This discussion went on a while. My point being; even she knows that words can hurt, describe, and fan flames that cause pain.
            Quakers center of belief is a peaceful settlement of issues. We are taught to use words of comfort, peace and positive inflection.
            This past election surpassed all reason and civility. I believe enough negative and hateful words can hurt, wound and fester in some people’s minds.  I do not think our countrymen and women can think these inflamed words or speak them aloud if they believe, as we believe, that we are part of God and see God in everyone. I am not clear how we can implement this to the political world. Therefore, I believe we should make it a ministry to hold all people in the Light to find some peace within themselves to disagree with a sense of Peace, Justice, Civility and Honor.
            Our Meeting suffers through cold and snowy rides, keeping the furnace running, and the pipes from freezing. Peace descends on us as we gather in the Silence and wait for the Messages we need.
            Our Christmas Project was to buy Christmas presents for a family that is near and dear to us. One of the members attends our Meeting. The Meeting had fun buying toys and wrapping them. Getting the right sizes. There was so much laughter as we did this.  There is so much joy in giving that I think we sometimes forget that the giver of gifts receives the greatest blessing.
            Now, more than ever, we hold all of those people who work, pray, are wounded and sometimes die to bring peace to others. Our hope and prayers are with them and all of us who try. May the Spirit Bless and may she/he bring spring as fast as possible.


Hopewell Meeting.

I write a quarterly report for our Yearly Quaker Meeting. This time, after the events in Tucson, Arizona, I was led to share it with my blog readers if there are any.
     The other thing I wanted to say. I have 4 blogs included in my blog spot. In the upper left where it lists my name and stuff, you tap something and you can read my others. Alas, nothing is on poetry, but I intend to amend that.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Alan Garinger

Today when I went out to get the paper, I grabbed a jacket because it was cold. It turned out to be my husbands old sweat shirt. It still smelled like him. I hugged it tight and thought of him and our life together and how I was struggling to live up to our goals together when he was alive, how I missed him, but how he was with me always in spirit. His scent lingers on sweat shirts, when the hawks or eagles fly over, or I think I can't do something and I hear his voice saying I can. Or telling me how. Sometimes I feel his presence, hear his voice or see him standing somewhere. ( I don't want to hear about crazy people folks, if I am it's wonderful)
     My dad said that as long as the mind held the memory of a person who had died they live. When you told others about that person they lived. The image of the person could always continue. So it is with my parents, my husband and Alan Garringer.
      Anyone in our town and probably Indiana and the whole USA who was a struggling writer, or an accomplished published author knew Alan. He was and is the patron saint of writers, teachers, environments, thinkers of everyone who knew him.
      He died this past week of cancer. He suffered. It was unfair. To him. To us.
      He would not lie for us to even think in those terms. In his mind he is beginning a wonderful new adventure. That's what he told his wife just before she died. Alan and his wife Kathleen loved adventures.
      That is what I shall remember all the adventures he told us about. The excitement of his tales and stories. His search for truth, understanding. His attempts to save the world from its own destruction by all of his attempts at recycling, solar heating inventions, raising chickens in a solar chicken house he made himself. His remodeling. His joy of life and of people. His love of children and of teaching children and adults.
      He taught adult education for years. He wrote the Adult Education TV Program. He inspired me to go work, (the last thing I wanted with a 5 year old,)and teach people to read.  He did this thousands of others. He was a teacher of children, a principle, a problem solver, a math genius, an inventor, a scientist. A Renascence man. He was there when anyone needed him. And a story teller supreme.
       That is my memory. After a writer's conference, we would all sit around and talk. Then the stories would begin. At first I would listen in rapt attention to the story. It would end up a pun. I would scream, laugh, bang my fist, "Alan." He would laugh.
        Then I got smarter. When he began his story, I would say, "no, Alan, I will not listen, because it is one of those pun stories. "No," he'd say, "it isn't" Still I would hum, stare at the window, write in my journal. I would tell myself not to listen.
        Alas, as you know if you have ever been in the presence of a Master Story Teller, there is no defense. Soon I would be not only listening, but begging him on, "then what did he say, Alan." Or "What happened then, Alan."  Sometimes I would become so overwhelmed my head would be laying on the table resting on my doubled up fist, eyes big and wide. Then would the last line. The pun line.  I would give him a dirty look and say, "never again, Alan." But I did listen, time and time again.
          Now because of my dyslexia, I could never, ever, remember the darn pun. I'd have to call people right in the middle of me trying to tell it. And I can only vaguely remember one, about Roy Rogers and The Chattanooga Shoe Shine boy. Which several people came up after the memorial service and told me the pun line. I still can not remember.
           I shall always remember Alan. His smile, his hugs when someone was in pain, his laughter, the twinkle in his eye, his strange writing projects and research projects he gave me and others. I shall remember after my husband died and Alan would come out of nowhere, across a room and give me hug and ask, "are you doing all right?" He looked after everyone he knew and tried to find people he didn't know to help.
           There is no death, just an absence of physical being. I truly believe that. We go on in spirit, however you view that spirit. The image, the good, the love a person left behind is always in our hearts. The way they lived their life gives us hope. I only know if if everyone lived their life as Alan Garringer did, we would truly have heaven on earth. There would be peace, love and understanding for the whole world. Of course, there would always be the that wonderful sense of humor, those stories and puns to keep us pure and honest.  With love and honor to the most wonderful friend we all had.

Labels: ,

Monday, June 14, 2010

Working together to publish a book. Sisters In Crime

Saturday our Sisters in Crime held our second book launching. We meet once a month to critique our short stories, revise them.  Hear a speaker explain new writing ideas, have a book review and talk about writing and getting published. It bonds us together as women writers even through there are Mister Sisters who attend and speak at our meetings, so we learn to bond with all writers. Sort of we learn to work well and play together and write well and publish together.
      This our second anthology.  It made it so clear to me how we have grown as writers and as a group that can work together to complete all the details of publishing. We have terrific editors, fact checkers, researchers, and compilers. They sought out a terrific publisher, Blue River Press in Carmel. We had an excellent public relations person who has help get our names out there, articles in print about the book. We have contacts now all over the state to speak about our book and hopefully sell them.
      All of this of course took time, energy, trust, learning and understanding of each others needs. It was not easy. It was not work we were all suited to. Writers like to write. Period. All that other stuff, booking people to speak to us, booking us to speak. Articles, promotions that's for someone else, not so artistic to do. But dear hearts, writers and gentle reader we learned all those skills. And how to sell books. Did we learn how to sell books. To listen to each other when we were sure our own ideas were  the very best . We learned to push ourselves to the limit and beyond of what we thought we knew. We stuck together and worked it out. We learned to take and understand critiques of our short stories and novels. We listened and learned from publishers, agents, researchers, book sellers and most of all the most important THE READER.
      So June 12 was success for us in skills coming together, having a great and large audience and knowing how to work to succeed.  Thanks to everyone in Sisters in Crime who worked hard for that.
      Now we are ready for the next challenge. To write with more discipline. To listen better to the critiques. To search for more writing markets and share them with the group. To start thinking about the next book.
       We thank our PR person for all the work he did to get the news about the anthology in the media. To our two editors who check and rechecked every single word in our work. Our publisher who was not satisfied until the cover was perfect and our stories were perfect. To the compilers of racing statistics and the fact checkers of those statistics. To each one of us who wrote, tore up pages, and went for long walks screaming into the wind everything from "I can't write this, I won't write this" to "I damn well am a writer and I will write this" I am proud of Sisters in Crime, Speedcity Chapter and invite all interested writers, fans, publishers, agents, booksellers to come and join us at meetings the fourth Saturday of every month at Barnes and Noble at Greyhound pass Mall in Carmel. Speaking of them. They were so great to us. Buy a book from them, especially "Bedlam at the Brickyard," or "Racing Can Be Murder."
        Next blog, how we started. Then maybe back to oil and energy or not. I shall hold you all in the light. Sherita


GATHERING at the Sisters in Crime anthology

A Gathering in Quaker terms is a Meeting of like