Willy-Nilly and Wocka-Wocka Letter W

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If you’ve read my blog before, you know I am a Beginning Blogger. I started this blog Willy-Nilly, without direction or planning; haphazardly. I jumped into this A to Z Challenge without much understanding of the process, and in trying to meet the daily deadlines, I feel like my thoughts are all over the place. I am looking forward to completing this challenge, but I must admit, I’m proud that I’ve stayed in this long. I think the most difficult aspect is that I chose a very broad theme. Each day I wake up feeling like I’m on Sesame Street looking for the Letter of the Day. Then I rummage through those “snapshots” in my memory files to find a match.

This is my second time starting a blog but alas- my skills remain at entry level. Since I have a bit more time these days, I’ve also decided to dedicate some energy to setting up my page and getting to know what’s behind the screen. That’s where Fozzie Bear’s Wocka, Wocka comes in. Today I spent most of the morning in a cyber backroom, chatting with one of the Happiness Engineers at WordPress. Chatting is difficult when I don’t know the lingo, but the person on the other end was quite patient and answered all my questions. Most importantly the HE straightened out my domain issues which will make my blog easier to find and my behind the screen dashboard easier to manage.

At the end of the day, I feel a bit like Fozzie Bear. He tries so hard that his ineptness is endearing and we are all cheering for him waiting for the day he gets it right. Well, I don’t have a fan base yet, but my family has my back.  I appreciate them for that. This song is exactly how I’ve been feeling.   Dancing in the Dark.

Enjoy it with me.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAxNcWLx6hw

 

A quick review of the first month

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A to Z challenge letter Q.  A QUICK review.  It’s been a month since I started blogging again. My blog and its appearance is still a work in progress though. I like the theme I’m using but need some time to play with widgets and plug-ins. I also need to take more pictures that I can incorporate into my posts. Most importantly is that I’ve managed to write a post almost daily. I haven’t always been in sync my theme or with the corresponding letters of my A to Z challenge, but my personal goal in participating was for me to get in the habit of sitting to write something every day. I think I’m doing OK with that.

I’ve also learned that daily posting may not work for me in the long run. In my daily readings, I found the term “binge writing” which sounds more like me. I generally like to write when something inspires me, but then I also like to research to make sure any references are accurate. The problem is I tend to get bogged down with the research and editing. That’s just my personality style. I need to remember this is a blog, not an epic historical novel.

I’ve enjoyed reading other blogs. I’ve learned a lot by looking at style and content. I found a local “Meet-up Group” of bloggers and partners such as web developers. This group has been very helpful because I’m more of a creative writer and I don’t know or understand all the ins-and-outs behind the screen. Just by listening in on different discussions, I’ve picked up tips for practical things I hadn’t even thought about. They mentioned things like not using all caps in your title so that it’s easier for people to find your post and not starting your title or blog entry with the same phrase each time. I’ve tried to make changes based on the group’s recommendations. It’s too soon to gauge the effects but the group also keeps me focused and motivated to continue to write.

I’ve had my five minutes of fame due to an unexpected opportunity to interview with a reporter from a local NBC TV affiliate. I spoke briefly about why I blog, and she asked why I didn’t just keep a private journal for myself. “Why do you want to go public?” I explained that I like to write but I need the feedback and I like being part of a community of like-minded people. Now I need to work on letting my thoughts flow and getting my “self-censored” blog out to the general public.

I’m interested to hear why you blog. Why did you want to go public with your personal thoughts?

 

 

 

The Way We Were is Actually the Way We ARE!

 

This past week was my mother’s birthday. She would have been 86. Her cousin, who shares the name of their paternal grandmother, celebrated her 90th birthday the week before. As I saw FB posts of Cousin celebrating with her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, I felt a selfish sting of jealousy and longing for my own mom. On her birthday I wanted to honor HER and started down the proverbial rabbit hole looking for new pictures to share.
I had one particular photo in mind but didn’t find it where I thought it should be. One box led to another, and I was lost for a week! It’s not as bad as it sounds… but whenever I had a moment, I was lost in my thoughts and “misty colored memories.” There were celebratory baseball cards from the Miracle Mets, slogan buttons for different causes and love beads. There were old notes and letters from friends about the most recent love tragedy or gossip -“Remind me to tell you when I see you later.” We passed notes to each other as we crossed in the hallway between classes in high school. I re-read letters sent from my mom and little sisters during my first year in college. They always added with love from Dad, Brother, the Dog and any stray cat they had named and were feeding at the time. I’m glad I kept these. They brought me back beyond the smiling faces of old photographs to the way we really were – to the struggles, the tears, and the adventures – now after having lived almost another half-century, they sound adorable and feel like a walk in the park on a spring day.
One of the treasures I found was my old yearbook from Intermediate School 88. Our advisor had included a couple of my writings – not the best entries in the book but certainly reflected the feelings of coming of age. “My Trademark” it was called and prompted me to write this blog today. As I went through the boxes, I began to realize that our hopes, dreams basic sense of who we are, remain the same. My little sister still loves animals. She and her husband bought some land when their kids were little, and despite her allergies, through the years they have had a variety of farm animals in addition to several dogs and her beloved cats. Her twin remains passionate about protecting and giving her all to care for those she loves most. My brother continues to do his own thing perhaps in the search for the next big adventure. My friends have lived and moved forward in the same way. Their strengths or weakness in academics and social settings more often than not reflect who they are today.
As for myself, my trademark also remains the same… the girl in the background observing, the one who will be the “homework helper” to the kid no one likes, the one who likes to talk to my older relatives and the “missionary” who is not afraid to take a stand for my beliefs. By far the greatest gift to my present-day self was seeing a couple of McGovern/Shriver ’72 pins in my box. Through the years I doubted my strength as an independent thinker. Growing up in a fundamentalist church and attending a bible college during the year of my first presidential election, I truly didn’t remember who I voted for – probably because I couldn’t talk about it openly. I often wondered if I had buckled to pressure and voted for Nixon but in that box of my secret treasures, I found my answer. Like the 2016 elections, my candidate did not win, but I don’t regret my choice.

Back at it again

Here I am trying to start blogging again… you know “fall off the horse and get back up”; “you only fail if you fall and don’t get up”… You get my drift.   Last time I was in a Blogging 101 I began following other writers.  I still get emails of posts from people from 2 or 3 years ago.   Looking for inspiration I decided to log into the page and go beyond the emailed Weekly Digest for Impromptu Promptings and peculiar ponderings.

https://promptlings.wordpress.com/2018/03/16/friday-favorites-grace-paley/

A couple of her posts inspired me today but in this particular post she asks –  Have you ever had one of those epiphanous moments when something triggers a childhood memory and suddenly you experience your inner child waking inside you? I’ve had SO many over the last few years that I’ve been digging around in my cave on this blog. In fact, I’ve had one very similar to the poem Paley wrote. Lots of memories came tumbling out of the past when I read it.   

Yes!  This was quite timely for me.   I had just the thing to get my juices flowing again.   It’s a piece I wrote many years ago as I was getting ready to enter my half-century marker.   Truth be told the 50’s weren’t bad for me but I didn’t know that then.  My mom had died at 54 and I couldn’t help but wonder.   One crisp winter night in New England as I was leaving the gym, I had one such “epiphanous moment”.     I need to work on my presentation and appropriate reposting but just wanted to get this out.  Please come with me, tell me what you think.

Angels in the Snow

She was here today,
And almost got away.
Every now and then she tries.
But I won’t let her have her way.
Can’t you know—I’m too old!

The snow mounds were soft
Each flake sparkled with light.
The air crisp and enticing.
“It would only take a moment,
And who was there to see”.

Awakened, Restless,
She stirred within my soul.
But her jailer I’d become,
Forbidding, stern, and unmoving.
No chance to break and run.

In the lot, boys packed
Two arsenals of snow
With giggles in camouflage
Waiting for the battle cry-“CHARGE!”
Was the coast clear to start?

They glanced at me there,
And her eyes looked back.
Awaiting still her release
From the open cell of time and
This society’s constraints.

Don’t stop, keep moving.
No snowball fight for you,
And think not for a moment
That middle-aged women can
Make angels in the snow.

 

 

My Prompt_ The Cottontail

I’ve decided to start my blogging and attend to my 101 assignments early in the morning before I get bogged down with work. I’ve been getting to Blogging U later in the day when like my mobile devices, my charge is running out.

I didn’t get my prompt from the Daily Post but from a Cottontail Rabbit hopping in my neighborhood.

The other night I saw my first cottontail of the season hopping quickly away from us into the night and into the woods by our house. I’m sure he or she wanted to get the lead on Eliza before she would attempt to chase it.  It was gone before she knew it.  She had sniffed into the air and followed the faint smell as one would a sweet perfume or fresh bread by the bakery. It drives her crazy when we are out on our walks.  Of course she smells them long before I can see them and she starts pulling me in their directions with SuperDog strength. Even at 16 lbs, I swear one of these days she’s going to pull my arm out!

I’m not ashamed to admit that I always get excited when I see the first cottontail of the season hopping by. Of course it always reminds me of “Here comes Peter Cottontail, hopping down the bunny trail, hippity hoppin’, Easter’s on the way.  Bringin’ every girl and boy baskets full of Easter joy, things to make your Easter bright and gay…”   In an instant, my mind had looped back a few decades to pull out this tune from the “corners of my mind”.

Now, you need to understand that I’m a city kid from the Northeast and you can be sure I didn’t see any cottontails’ hippity, hoppin’ down my street in Brooklyn, NY or even at the Prospect Park nearby.  As my daughters were growing up, I never saw one hippity hoppin’ in the old mill city north of Boston either.  However, stored in my memory, I can still recall that with each season, our elementary school music teacher would have new songs for us to welcome and celebrate it. These were usually sing-a-long folk songs from long, long time ago.  We would sing at the weekly Assembly when all the classes would come together to share the arts before things got COMPLICATED.

I’ve lived in Florida for several years now, also in the city and yet each year around this time I start seeing brown rabbits with tails that look like a wad of cotton stuck to the rear end. They start growing in numbers as the days go by too.  They make nests in the landscaping around the neighborhood, in the bushes, tall grass, behind trees in backyards.  When you least expect it there is one jumping out on the walkways or sidewalks, followed by another and another.  I tend to be a bit simpleminded at times and seeing the first cottontail affirms that this seasonal event must be why there’s a connection with bunnies and Easter.  Nothing sinister about that.

My reminiscing was interrupted my “left brain” and by that I mean, my tendency to lean to the liberal minded side of politics and religion.  I know that soon I will start seeing my Facebook feed cluttered with posts demonizing the Easter Bunny with its colorful eggs in a basket.

Don’t get me wrong, spiritually; Easter is actually my favorite season.  I like the idea of Lent-forty days of personal soul searching, reflecting and spiritual cleansing.  I hope to be writing more on that as the days go by.

But back to Peter and the eggs…

It drives me crazy when all the holier- than- thou take away the beauty of the season and start preaching fear from the pulpits to make everything bad and ugly.   Most of our treasured traditions practiced from time immemorial, religious or not, have origins in some “pagan” ritual. The Apostle Paul in Acts 17:23 did a nice job of reconciling the religious traditions of the Greek community with what he believed to be true.   Look it up if you haven’t read it or if you have, look at it this way.  Let me know what you think.

Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned for more of my reflections during the Easter season…