Monday, October 31, 2011


Years ago someone got me started with journaling. I kept my faithful journal in a 3-inch-3-ring binder. I still have several full binders. I was given the binder suggestion for the simple reason it was easier to add cards we received. We could add dreams, newspaper or magazine articles, anything that spoke to us could be added into this type of journal.

Since I had been keeping dream journals already for several years--I liked the idea of an expanded journal. This journaling suggestion came a few hears after I had my child with Down syndrome. I soon started writing articles about living with SC for our local Down syndrome newsletter. All of this was really an extension of my journaling.

Why am I thinking of this now? For some reason I have been reluctant to blog. But what is blogging? In some ways it is another form of journaling. Journaling might be a more private or more personal activity, however blogging for some seems pretty personal. It is a way of recording thoughts and feelings. So how about you do you express your innermost thoughts?

I'm sure I will reserve my most personal thoughts and feelings for my journal and yet, maybe, I can reframe blogging into an activity I do not resist so much.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Daddy, Tell Me A Story...

The editor’s buzzword--no phrase--is “show, don’t tell” [a story]. However, some authors tell their stories and do an excellent job of it. And little children often say to their parents, “tell me a story.”

They are not asking the parent to show them a story, although often enough a picture book comes out for cuddle time as the parent reads the story. When I was growing up we would ask our parents to “tell us a story” and that is what they would do. Some made-up, fanciful things and others based on events my dad lived through.

My dad road a bicycle over a log road through a swamp to get from his home town to a small community on the east shore of the popular Adirondack lake, Lake George, every summer from the time he was 12 to age 18. He would tell us stories from those boyhood experiences.

We came to know the stories by the fanciful titles like:
Searchlights And Swimming (a group of boys skinny dipping in the lake while the girls were left back on shore)
The Seeds Get in My Teeth (making homemade ice cream and licking the dasher)
One-Armed Bandit (illegal gambling activities)
Rum Runner At Eighteen (moving rum from Canada to communities in the US during prohibition)
Many of these stories had held a cautionary message. My dad was raised a Quaker--he never preached, he led by example.

Showing versus telling. My dad told stories and wrote them down. There are authors who are brilliant at telling along with showing a story. It creates a uniquely different voice from a story that is predominantly “shown” to the reader. Perhaps it is because of early ear training this unique blend appeals to me so much.
A story that is told can be uniquely wonderful.
Just sayin'... 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July

Today was the first time in seven years I attended a parade. It was not just any old parade--the locale markets the parade as they second longest running parade in the US. It is off the beaten track in the little town of Springfield Center, NY (near famed Glimmerglass lake or Otsego Lake). There is a wide variety of participants in this parade and many people who come out to support it.

So why was I there?

Great question! Thanks for asking. I attended because my oldest daughter was marching in the only pipe band in the parade. There were other drum corps and marching bands in the parade, but Hobart's Pipe and Drums was the only bagpipe band in the parade.

There is something special about small town parades. Even if there are people from all over (even forty to fifty miles away) you feel connected to each other. Have you ever stood in a large crowd and felt anonymous--even when there are people there you know? This is nothing like that. People are greeting each other and you. They stop and chat, or lean forward in the chairs, look right at you and ask questions, make small talk. It's amazing.

When combined with July 4th (or Memorial Day) there is red, white and blue bunting--lots and lots of red, white and blue bunting. There are patriotic songs, flag waving and cheering. Children running to the front of the crowds grabbing candy that is tossed from floats. In fact the children run around with no one worrying about their child getting snatched by a stranger. It's so different from a parade in a city.

I haven't missed attending parades in the past seven years while my bagpiper attended school and dropped out of piping. But now that she's back at it, now I've missed the small town parades. It harkens back to an earlier time in our history. It allows a break from city dwelling and the worries associated with city dwelling.

And we could not have asked for a better day. Blue skies, plenty of sunshine, a nice breeze and no humidity. My wish for you is a day as glorious as this day turned out for me.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Do You Have a Passion?

What is your passion? Reading, writing, painting, drawing? Maybe it is singing, dancing, playing an instrument.

Ever since I can remember my life has been enriched by music and books. My father was a music teacher, church choir conductor and clarinetist. My mother played the violin. In fact, it was music that brought them together--when she was 15 and he was 20. They made sure all six of their children learned to play some instrument and some of us became proficient on more than one.

Living on a teacher's salary meant there was not a lot of extra cash, but they always found ways to make sure our lives were enriched by season lawn passes at a summer concert/ballet venue. We attended concerts, operas and ballets from a young age on through high school. What we did with this was up to us. Most of the six of us have continued to use our musical education in some way long into our adulthood.

I still enjoy classical music. I adore the cello (my primary instrument), I can play the guitar and bowed psaltry. I have also picked up some fiddle tunes. However when my youngest daughter started outplaying me on the fiddle by the time she was 12 years old I have pretty much set the fiddle aside.

This weekend we attended the 31st annual Old Songs Festival in Altamont, NY. It is a gathering of like-minded artists and patrons who spend a three day weekend together, attending workshops, informal and formal jam sessions, dances and concerts. My girls have attended all of there lives. Watching each one of them express their individual interests and make the experience "theirs" has been a delight.

Music has certainly been a constant love in my life, but so has reading and writing. Sometimes trying to find time for all of them has been a challenge. So, what is your passion? Tell me a little something about it, please.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Another month has flown past

Obviously I have not gotten into the routine of blogging. Major fail, or minor quirk?
I'm hoping it is a minor quirk.
How was the merry month of May for you? How did it come and go so fast? Our May started off unusually cold and rainy. Some nearby areas have seen major flooding and one area a few miles east had a tornado. Since there have been numerous devastating tornadoes it hardly seems right mentioning the nearby storm.
The thing is, we don't usually see tornadoes in the great northeast. Once and a long while the right weather phenomena occurs to create the right conditions, but it isn't usual.
Another unusual thing that occurred in May was the death of a co-workers child. Horrible, devastating. I am thrilled to report, we have an enlightened boss who closed our site for a bereavement day. Or maybe it was because she knew we would all want to be there for our co-worker when she had to bury her child. In any case, we had the day off.
What do you say to someone who is facing the worst thing possible? Parents are not supposed to bury a child--it is just wrong. What is there to say? I heard phrases like: "He is at peace now."
Really? How does that provide comfort?
Another phrase overheard was: "He has shed his broken body. Now that he is in heaven he can walk and run and play like any normal child."
Really? I wanted to smack the person.
I walked up to my co-worker wondering what do I say? I pulled her into my arms still wondering and hear her say, "You are the one person, I believe, that may have an inkling of the pain I am in."
She has often alluded to the fact that we are/were raising children with disabilities and we belonged to this special, different sisterhood.
When my daughter was so very ill at the end of March, I had a few hours of severe worry that she would not survive. It was nightmare-frightening. Maybe I do have an inkling of the pain she is in, but it is not the same. I sure have been hugging my girls a lot more in the past week.
I ache for my friend's pain and her loss.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Where Did April Go?

Does anyone know where the past month went? I slid into April with fear dogging my footsteps. My middle daughter's recent illness and hospitalization shook me more than I would like to admit. Especially since she was left with episodic spiking temperatures and a painful pleural rub. But she has finally turned the corner. Her energy level is back up to normal and she is managing her hectic schedule well.

I finally managed to pack up all the Christmas village houses, the tiny people and drag the many boxes up to the attic. Yes, I was really behind with this task. The task was completed during spring break. Holy week--the week before Easter. A holiday that was very this year. I planned to get writing done that week and I did, some. Precious little as it were.

We are now into May. Officially it is Mother's day weekend, which is always the second Sunday of the month. It is as early as Easter was late this year. We still had a frost threat this past week. This is discouraging me from going out to get bedding plants--a tradition of this weekend.

I am out of sorts, waiting for our weather to reflect the season and waiting for my 'grumbles' to go away. Perhaps I should find something proactive to do. In the meantime if you know where April went to, would you please let me know?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Fragility of Life

Certain events remained us of the fragility of life--sometimes they are personal events and sometimes they are events outside of our normal life.

This week the two converged for our family.

I have a daughter with three life-threatening medical conditions. Most of the time I don't give them a thought, but when she gets sick she gets so sick so quickly I am reminded of her fragility. She is slowly recovering from a throat infection that soon extended into her main bronchus and further into her lungs.

The tsunami that hit the northeast coast of Japan remind us in the fragility of life in a less personal way. At least it is less personal for our family. For the families living or losing loved ones through this tragedy, it is very personal. As we watch horrifying images streaming in I realize for some, less than six minutes was all it took for lives to be consumed by the voracious hunger of a cruel wave.

What are you doing to take care of you and yours?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Lessons my middle daughter taught me...

You have taught us a lot about strength.
            Your first demonstration of this was your fight for life. With every tiny ounce of your being, you fought to live before your open-heart surgery. You have continued to fight for life with each diagnosis.
            You’ve taught us how to be strong in seeking the best for you.
You have shown us that initiative and drive are not solely granted to the most gifted. You repeatedly demonstrate these qualities, plus you demonstrate sensitivity. You are always the first to respond to another’s pain in our family.
You have taught us it is foolish to take anything for granted. We have an obligation to ourselves to explore every opportunity given us. 
You have repeatedly shown us examples that “retarded is not stupid, mom.”
You have an uncanny ability to separate the wheat from the chaff—showing us what is really important: life, love and happiness.
You create your own happiness, not depending on others. You are an excellent example of living in the ‘here and now’—better than anyone else we know. Your lack of worry about the past or the future is sometimes a real blessing.
Some might consider you 'simple', but those of us who know you, love you all the more for what you give to us. 
You are a daily reminder of unconditional love. You love all of us no matter how flawed we might be.
You remind us that we can govern our own happiness, especially when you tell us, "Guess what? I'm so happy." 
Thank you for being you. You have enriched all of our lives.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Starting all over again

I managed to complete a manuscript, first draft, a second run through, spotting some things that needed to be brought forward, fleshing out some other spots. Send the manuscript to my CP and wait. Wow, she was speedy with the return and then there is the next run through. Having a CP that works fast, sees the things I missed and makes salient points is a blessing.

But now comes the hard part. The waiting. Does anyone like this part?

Since I had an extra day off today (thank you broken water main) I used the time to clean up the MS, complete the synopsis and query letter and out the door. Off on the wings of the ethernet. Feeling extra energetic. I cleaned up another MS that was just waiting for reformatting and I managed to get that one out the door, too, today to another publisher.

Does that make the waiting easier? Harder? Or no different?

Two out the door means I need to start on a new project--at least I have several files with some research completed. New promises, new beginnings...

It is time to start all over again.

Monday, February 21, 2011

To Blog or Not To Blog

That is the question. Why should I blog? Do I have any words of wisdom? If you ask my kids you'll probably hear, 'no'. But perhaps not, my kiddoes are now all young women. It is possible my wisdom is returning as they are aging.

As an aspiring writer should I blog? Some authors would say it is not needed. Not until I am a published author. Other authors, particularly authors involved in e-publishing, suggest it is essential to blog and to have a website.

I am here. I write because I have something to say. I blog with a certain amount of reluctance, a little like navel gazing. But here am I, joining the multitude of other aspiring writers who are out here in bloggersville staking their claim.