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Welcome

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Make yourself at home. Put your feet up. Grab your favorite beverage and prepare to enjoy the reads.
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Tuesday

Can't Take My Eyes off You




I won tickets to the concert 

creating art, representing 

Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.

Remember them?

Younger Sis went with me.

The crowd was screaming wild.

In the quiet of the last song,

I watched as Sis went down front

while he sang 

"Can't Take My Eyes off You"

I watched as he sang directly to her...

I watched as he bent down to her...

I watched as she reached up to him...

I watched as they kissed...

....Surreal


~~~

Note:
First photo was taken of my sister during that time period in our lives, and color enhanced by me to match the memories.
Second photo is a very close simulation of the winning art piece I turned in to WKBW radio station in Buffalo, NY. 

Saturday

Is Dreaming of Book Disposal a Nightmare?

Today I took five boxes off to my long time favorite, Capitola Book Cafe where they will buy them or provide the opportunity to trade. Since the trade value will be higher than the cash offer, I have opted for trade.

Okay, Okay, I wasn't going to buy any more books! Was I? I even turned down the offer of two good reads last week staying true to my commitment to downsize, much to the distress of my friend. But here I am seeming like a hypocrite. But, really, I can justify trading 75 books for one really special book that I normally couldn't afford. Wouldn't you? They probably won't take them all and I will be left with the dilemma of having to find another place for the rejects.

I have friends who say, sell them, put them on Ebay, or trade them at paperbackswap.com.

That last one wont work out. Trading books one to one is not my idea of minimalizing. I am too averse to having a yard sale, so that is out of the question. Then, there are those who have said they would take some books off my hands. Yes, that's an idea. But, a part of me thinks I wouldn't be doing my friends any favors by adding to their overweight bookshelves. But, I will keep it in mind knowing that the argument might be: "why deprive them of what someone else will end up with in the long run?" I'm thinking about it...

Decisions, decisions, too many opportunities, not enough clarity. I'm leaning in all directions at once. In order to have some clarity I will have to sleep on it.

"To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub."

See related posts:

Related posts

Part 1: Overbooked

Part 2: Take Some Books Off My Hands

Thursday

Take Some Books Off My Hands

To be, or not to be: that is the question: whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the selling of books or take the easy way out of discarding them...

Of course there is the option of taking them to a bookstore that gives a pittance in trade-in value. Trade a hundred books for one thick volume of poetry? Is it worth my time to advertise on half.com, amazon or hope for some anxious buyers to vy for the right to bid a high price for my precious books, the books that have set on my shelves for so long waiting to be read? I'm sorry books! Really I am. But my commitment to making room in my life for emptiness is strong.

Wine boxes line one wall of my garage, loaded with various treasures. (I mean, junk.) This weekend I emptied 5 of them into a large bin, brought them in the house, nicely arranged 75 books inside and loaded them into the trunk of my car.

See related post
Part 1: Overbooked

Wednesday

Your Time is Now

'you know right from wrong, and you have the strength to always follow your heart, never forget that'.

Your time is now,

never hesitate,

trust yourself,

trust your mind,

your body and your soul.

You are everything

I could ever hope for you to be.

You're in my heart

and in my soul, now and forever,

Love,

Your Eternal Mother

~~~~~~~~
Note: Digital art created by Elizabeth Munroz

Tuesday

Zero


Zero...

Not only nothing,

But, the embryonic

Beginning

of existence.

From the Black Void

Zero was pregnant

with nothingness

And gave birth to

all.

~~~~~~~

note: digital art created by Elizabeth Munroz

Thursday

Breathtaking clouds

Do you ever look up at the breathtaking sky and wonder what kind of clouds you are seeing? What are the types? What are the names? Why does one cloud look different than the other?

Wednesday

Propped Up Against the Toaster.

If I were a book, I'd be sitting pretty on the bookstore shelf and as people walked by, I'd be wishing they would just stop long enough to take a look at me. Once they see my intriguing title, I would want them to look at my fine cover, which dazzles the eye and opens the mind. As they flip through my pages, I would feel all warm and fluttery. "Take me! Buy me!"

I would gasp in delight if I were taken home and placed in a prominent location. Yes, right over there. Right on top of that stack of books by the bed, waiting in anticipation to be read.

If I were a book, I wouldn't want to be too heavy. I'd be like one of those books the reader can't put down, reads while walking from the bedroom to the kitchen in the morning. I'd get to smell the coffee while being propped up against the toaster.

As a book, if I am a good one, a fast read, one of those books you just can't put down, that you read all night; if I am one of those books, then my life will be over soon, unless I am passed on to another delighted reader. Oh, how wonderful to be held in another one's hands, to have the reader's full attention, to make them laugh, to make them cry just because I exist!

When the very last page is read and my cover is closed once and for all, I know the excitement and pleasure of my life will be over. I will end up on the third shelf on the right side, next to The Life of Cleopatra. She might snub her nose at me. But I would have the satisfaction of knowing I had served my purpose. But, after a while I know I would just fall asleep from boredom, go into a trance. What else is a well worn book to do?

I'd like to believe that books reincarnate. When I'm asleep on the shelf never to be touched again, I'd like to think I've been printed up all new and spiffy and entered a book store once again with a great title, and crisp pages that invite a new reader to pick me up and take me home. Perhaps this time I'll be a fascinating historical novel.

Monday

Overbooked

I have 17 shelves of books. Five bookcases in the living room, two in the spare bedroom, the five foot space beneath the aquarium and an ever-changing small stack of to-be-reads on the headboard of my bed. Many of my books are not kept upright because there is no room. So, they are stacked in the shelves on their sides. One could say I'm "overbooked".

Oops, almost forgot! I have old magazines I can't part with stacked in the living room and bathroom. Doesn't everybody? What will I do without them?

I think even if I partake of no other reading material than that which I already have, I wouldn't finish them all before it is time for me to leave this planet. Too bad I can't take them with me?

I recently read an article written by Robyn Devine, (Minimalist Knitter), entitled Breaking The Sentimental Attachment To Books. Since I was right in the middle of culling books, it really substantiated my commitment to let go.

Though I have to admit that, I am not willing enough to just toss them all immediately. Step by step, book by book they will leave my house and give me a LOT of free space. My friends will be shocked, but I also think thrilled, to accept my cast offs.

I love books, don't get me wrong. Ever since I climbed on my father's lap insisting he read me the newspaper simply because he was doing it without me, I have loved reading. Yes, after hearing Daddy read the editorial, even though I didn't understand; it was all up hill after that.

I can't even imagine how many books I have read since then, and I look forward to reading many more, but one at a time. There are few books I will cling to for sentimental reasons. I probably wont be keeping many reference books, either. Much of what I research can be found on the internet. Clearing my house of books is part of my plan to become minimalist.

I also have another reason to say goodbye to my books, and that is, allergies to house dust and mold, which are quite impossible to prevent where my books are concerned.

Yes, yes, I have cats, but one must choose one's poison, they say. I am quite sure I will never be a purist, but my intent is driven, and I am often thinking of other ways to divest myself of "Stuff".

But, first... the books!

Sunday

A Bitch Named Karma.

Karma may be a bitch, but sometimes she knows what she’s doing. When author Lexi Marshall’s perfectly fabulous life of designer clothes, nights on the town with her sexy boyfriend, and a successful writing career literally go up in flames, she must take on Karma and fight to gain control over her life. Lexi believes her cliché-filled novels are the reason for Karma’s wrath and after a high calorie pity party, she’s determined to rebuild her life to what it once was...that is, until her gynecologist utters a phrase she never expected or wanted to hear: she’s pregnant. Unfortunately, the father is her fresh out-of-the-closet best friend and not the new man in her life. (From Amazon's Product Description) 

You can learn more about, author Stephanie Haefner HERE for her fascinating interview by Kristi Faith.

You can check out her blog HERE where she shares her experiences as a writer of women's fiction. You will find it interesting, provocative and fun.

Saturday

What' in your Garage?

Coincidental to my decision to "come out of the closet" with my plan to become a Minimalist, an Oprah episode was shown on TV this week, a re-run about hoarders.

Thank heavens I'm not a hoarder. Really. I'm not. I can get through my doorway and walk from room to room without needing to move anything out of the way.


Choosing to hone down my belongings didn't just begin out of the blue. When the father of a friend died a few years back, I helped him clean out the three car garage which had accumulated an impressive floor to ceiling collection of "stuff" crammed in tight to the door. That was when I realized his father had been a hoarder by the true definition of the word. Maybe not on the scale of ten, like the woman on the Oprah show; but a hoarder, nonetheless. I knew the house had been badly cluttered, with some items stacked up behind the sofa, and the dining room table piled up with miscellaneous things. But I hadn't given much thought to it. I just considered it the result of the old man's inability to get around much in those last few years of poor health.

Our first inclination, when opening the garage door, was to call in a truck and have it all hauled away. But, we started poking around a bit, and opened boxes, some of them holding papers dated from fifty years before. We realized there were things of a personal value to family members. Military keepsakes, family photos and movies, rolls and rolls of undeveloped film! This would not be a simple matter of tossing things! It took us more than a month to clean it out.

It was a challenging job and revealed much about my friend's family life. He reminisced as we encountered his boxed up memories. We found bags of clothing from when the grandchildren were little, a cache of his mother's purses, some still containing make up. We discovered a complete set of antique imported china ware carefully wrapped in crumbling tissue paper that must have been worth a thousand dollars. We were mystified as we opened boxes tightly packed of carefully washed plastic margarine tubs and lids. It gave me pause to consider the extra plastic storage containers cluttering my bottom kitchen cupboard. Just thinking about that bothered me enough to make me reassess my own growing collection of goodies.

Since that time, I have made a conscious effort to not squirrel away a mountain of stuff in my garage. Unfortunately, it has often been a molehill.

Thursday

Voice Spectacular!

My granddaughter had surgery to remove four bone tumors from her leg nineteen days ago.

She performed this song while standing on a cast to her knee and ace wrapped to the top of the thigh.

She just celebrated her 13th birthday recently. I think she is just as indomitable as the meaning of her song. I'm so proud of Chloe, I just have to share her incredible voice with you!



Being Chloe's grandmother, maybe my viewpoint is prejudiced. I want to share her voice spectacular with the world.  If you like her singing, you can let her know what you think. Please stop by and make a comment where her youtube is actually located. I think she might enjoy knowing you like her voice, too.

Tuesday

Bed Partners

He snores beside me
that butterball I love,
waking me from dead sleep.

My black cat, Ninja,
with big claws
and buck tooth yawn,

I jiggle him.
He looks at me
those golden eyes.

Annoyed, he rolls
on his side
and begins to snore
again.

Monday

Yard Sales and Thrift Shopping

What makes a person hoard, or collect things?

Was it what triggered my mother's frequent visits to thrift shops and yard sales? She seemed to have a never ending compulsion to buy up trinkets, knick knacks, kitchen ware and clothing.

She had various collections over the years. I remember the rooster stage. The house was full of them. Then there was the "copper kitchen" phase. Her Hummel figurines and angels had their own shelves strategically placed throughout the house. Still, she culled and cleared once in a while. Her sense of being a dutiful housewife had not been overidden her desire to own things. Underneath it all, she was a clean freak.

If Mom had a penchant for signs of abundance, I'm sure it was due to the poverty of growing up in the post depression era. It was a time of little food, clothes made out of papa's worn shirts and going without shoes all summer to save the expense of buying new ones. She owned one doll in her whole childhood, and one little child size teapot she cherished until the day she died.

In order for me to come to the decision of becoming a minimalist, I am affording myself a look upon that which has brought me to this point as I tackle the not insurmountable task of divesting myself of "stuff". The last ten years, I have lived in one house, beginning with it empty, except for bare minimum of belongings. Now, I'm guessing, my belongings could accommodate the needs of several families.

I have diligently discarded margarine tubs, and not allowed myself to have sentimental attachment to Christmas cards and magazines. (Paper is my weakness.) I've regularly made a run through my house de-cluttering and discarded things a la Fly Lady. But, like my mother, I have a penchant for the delight of finding a treasure at a bargain price whether it be a teacup edged in gold or sturdy bedsheets.

About five years ago I gave up stopping at yard sales! It was sort of like severing my arm from my body, but I needed to lighten the burden of my "things". I wanted to let go and be free of excess. It's an addiction difficult to break.

At first it was extremely challenging to drive by without taking a wistful look. I learned to carry no cash. Who would take a check for even my most avid purchase? And it certainly helped having someone else do the driving, admonishing me, "Don't Look!"

Today, however, I stopped at the thrift shop on a whim. They take credit cards, you know. The store called out to me, I swear. "Stop! Don't pass me by!"

Or was that "buy"?

Sunday

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS:

AESTHETICA CREATIVE WORKS COMPETITION 2010

Deadline: August 31, 2010

Aesthetica Magazine is inviting all artists, writers and poets to submit their work. Now in its third year, the Competition is dedicated to celebrating and championing creative talent. The Competition has three categories, Artwork, Poetry and Fiction. Winners and finalists are published in the Aesthetica Creative Works Annual.
Winners of each category receive £500 prize money plus other prizes. (about  $795.00)
Entry to the Creative Works Competition is £10. (about $15.90) 
The entry fee allows the submission of 2 images, 2 poems or 2 short stories.

More guidelines on how to submit can be found online at:

**********************************************

THE UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS PRESS POETRY SERIES’ ANNUAL MILLER WILLIAMS ARKANSAS POETRY PRIZE
$5000
Deadline: September thru October, 2010

One winner and up to three finalists will have their book-length collection published in 2012

***********************************************

MISSOURI REVIEW EDITORS’ PRIZE
Deadline: October 1, 2010

Three prizes of $5,000 each and publication in The Missouri Review are given annually for a group of poems, a short story, and an essay. Submit up to 10 pages of poetry, a story or essay up to 25 pages, with a $20 entry fee, which includes a one-year subscription. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Select winning entries in the past have been reprinted in the Best American series.

Life Project



Life isn’t a project to be completed; 
it is an unknowable landscape to be explored.

David Brooks
NY Times Op-Ed Columnist


Saturday

Reverse Psychology

Don't look...
You might see.
Don't listen...
You might hear.
Don't think...
You might learn.
Don't make a decision...
You might be wrong.
Don't walk...
You might stumble.
Don't run...
You might fall.
Don't laugh...
You might cry.
Don't live...
You might die.

This statement was engraved on a brass plaque I found in a gift shop years ago. I hung it in the bathroom so it could be contemplated.  I enjoyed having it because it's total negativity is so unavoidably obvious and the reverse psychology of the statement worked for me.

It represents the imprisonment we put ourselves in when we choose the cautious life. It's where we all manage to get stuck sometimes; that holding pattern of stagnation from which we need a jolt. And this was the jolt I needed to get me out of my complacency at the time.

Friday

On Becoming a Minimalist

Before I met my son's new girlfriend, he warned me, "Mom, she's a Minimalist. So, don't be trying to give her stuff." I had in mind a definition of Minimalist as art. I dabble in art, so I thought he didn't want me to offer her my art supplies. "Don't worry. I won't."

While getting acquainted I learned a bit of her childhood, her impressive education and her struggles to travel 2,000 miles to the west coast and settle in. As usual, I have an excessive amount  of "stuff". So I asked her if she needed some linens. No, she would use her sleeping bag. Then as I made tea and sandwiches I thought she might want some mugs. I was politely told, "No, thank you".

One thing I was painfully aware of was that this girl's poverty kept her dressed shabbily. I had some nice jeans left behind by my growing teen niece in the closet. Could she use them? She politely nodded and I enlisted my son to get them off the high shelf.

That is when he explained her definition of Minimalist. I couldn't grasp the concept that this young woman lived her life with two changes of clothing, slept on the floor in a sleeping bag and had a serving set for one in her little kitchen. And I just never got why she preferred to go barefoot all the time! To save her shoes?

It's been nearly a decade since my introduction to the concept. I've realized in many ways, I have been on a path leading me towards adopting the possibility of Minimalism. Most of my life has been one series of stripping belongings down to low levels, picking up, packing and moving, even as a youngster. As a new bride with a husband in the military, I moved a total of nine times in five years. I've had lots of experience preparing for this time in my life to tone down the overabundance of my "stuff".

And so my journey on becoming a Minimalist begins.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday

I Could Use a Wish Right Now

My niece turned me on to this song.
(See lyrics below)




Airplanes lyrics
by B.o.b.

Can we pretend that airplanes
In the night sky
Are like shooting stars
I could really use a wish right now (wish right now, wish right now)
Can we pretend that airplanes
In the night sky
Are like shooting stars
I could really use a wish right now (wish right now, wish right now)


Yeah
I could use a dream or a genie or a wish
To go back to a place much simpler than this
Cause after all the partyin' and smashin' and crashin'
And all the glitz and the glam and the fashion
And all the pandemonium and all the madness
There comes a time where you fade to the blackness
And when you're staring at that phone in your lap
And you hoping but them people never call you back
But that's just how the story unfolds
You get another hand soon after you fold
And when your plans unravel
And they sayin' what would you wish for
If you had one chance
So airplane airplane sorry I'm late
I'm on my way so don't close that gate
If I don't make that then I'll switch my flight
And I'll be right back at it by the end of the night


Can we pretend that airplanes
In the night sky
Are like shooting stars
I could really use a wish right now (wish right now, wish right now)
Can we pretend that airplanes
In the night sky
Are like shooting stars
I could really use a wish right now (wish right now, wish right now)


Somebody take me back to the days
Before this was a job, before I got paid
Before it ever mattered what I had in my bank
Yeah back when I was tryin' to get into the subway
And back when I was rappin' for the hell of it
But now a days we rappin' to stay relevant
I'm guessin that if we can make some wishes outta airplanes
Then maybe yo maybe I'll go back to the days
Before the politics that we call the rap game
And back when ain't nobody listened to my mix tape
And back before I tried to cover up my slang
But this is for the Cada, what's up Bobby Ray
So can I get a wish to end the politics
And get back to the music that started this sh-t
So here I stand and then again I say
I'm hopin' we can make some wishes outta airplanes


Can we pretend that airplanes
In the night sky
Are like shooting stars
I could really use a wish right now (wish right now, wish right now)
Can we pretend that airplanes
In the night sky
Are like shooting stars
I could really use a wish right now (wish right now, wish right now)

Tuesday

Tell Me

Tell me... how you came to be,

my friend, floating like a feather

traversing the sky and hovering

right here in front of me.

Tell me... what kind of trick is that?

I remember you from that first decade

urging me to pirouette

wearing my favorite blue dress.

Yes, you did. You made me laugh,

comforted me when lonely.

You banished Mr. Alligator

from under my bed.

Tell me... how you

made the stars tell their secrets

and helped the snow maiden find me

that time I fevered.

You don't have to tell me

how you faded from my dreams

like the faeries in the breeze.

I know why you disappeared.

when I'd forgotten your existence.

Tell me... my old friend, why

you are here again.

Is this my second childhood?

Monday

You Want Me...

You want me to what?


Lie here?

That’s all?

No phone calls or emails?

No errands or chores?

No work or list of things to do?

Are you sure?

You just want me to

lie here on this blanket?

With that gift of a cool breeze

blowing in from the ocean?

And the sun sneaking through the branches

to dance across my skin?

You just want me to lie here?

And not do anything?

Seriously?

~~~~~~~

Many thanks to Jen Payne for her permission to re-publish her poem here.

You can find Jen at

http://randomactsofwriting.wordpress.com/

and be sure to check out her other sites as listed under her "Links".