Monday, April 27, 2009

The passing of Bea Arthur

I just stumbled upon a piece of news that said Bea Arthur passed away over the weekend. How sad! She was a great woman, a feminist who broke the rules on tv, and gave America a lot to think about. I read she had cancer. Two sons, a sister, a couple of grandchildren left behind... and millions of fans.

I just found this on Neatorama and it's worth a look--

Thursday, April 23, 2009

2 quick poems by me

The bright blue bottle of Powerade draws me in.
I must be thirsty and dehydrated.
It sits between his laptop and her coffee, full
even an hour later when I pass by that way again.

The bottle is so fat though, I think of the calories,
and go upstairs for coffee instead,
thinking of the salad in the refrigerator
that has gone uneaten today.


The writing teacher said
I have no voice, or rather
I haven't found it yet
I wanted to write back
to that email and scream.
I have been writing since
I learned how to write,
before the second grade.
What do you mean I haven't found my voice?
I was born a writer, and I am always writing
if only in my head.
Maybe it's the constant contradiction.
I am anonymous, a grain of sand
and yet I yearn to be heard.
Writing is a part of me
I think I have something to say
although I know it has all been said before.

Is there anything more?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Natalie Goldberg books (again)

If you recall from my February posts (February 4, 2009 maybe), I have been trying to read some things by Natalie Goldberg. I just finished "Writing Down the Bones", and now I'm working on "Wild Mind". For "Wild Mind" though I am reading the library copy. I think when I am done I will go and buy my own copy. It's pretty good. "Writing Down the Bones" was good too. "Good" isn't the right word, not very descriptive, is it? I feel like I am washing my brain reading this stuff. Natalie combines her own memoirs, her own experiences, with writing exercises. You learn about her life, and what it is to live the life of a writer, as you learn about how to be a better writer. It's GOOD stuff. Makes me want to quit my job and go to New Mexico and write. Of course I can't do that, but that's the brain wash anyway. One day I feel like I should quit writing, and now I feel like I could be a great writer if only I had 24 hours/day, 7 days/week to commit to it. Haha.

Anyway both are worthwhile reads if you like writing, and are a writer, etc. At first I didn't like the idea of considering myself an a novice writer. After all, I have been writing since I learned how to write my ABCs practically. I am not a beginner, but writing for an audience does take practice, and even great writers write a lot of junk in between the good stuff. It's important to know that, and these books help put that message out there and put it in perspective. Pick them up, read them, try some of the exercises. The chapters are very short so you can read a bit even if you only have 10 minutes. You don't have to devote a day or a week to each chapter, although you might want to.


I've just come back to my desk after my writing class. I expected to feel much lighter now. I brought a piece of writing with me to class, and read it first thing. It was a powerful piece I think. Words like "rape", "arrest"and others... stories I do not want to write about.... I thought that once I had released it, given it voice in class, that I would feel better, like a weight lifted from my shoulders. I was wrong. I still feel like someone is sitting on them. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because I can't find our state tax refund check that I had with me the other day, or maybe it's because I left my ham sandwich and yogurt at home. Maybe it's because I don't think I write as well as the others in my writing class, or because I worry that my boss won't let me take another one when the opportunity comes. I don't know. I just know that I expected to feel different now, and I don't.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Abby's 3rd birthday

Abby really didn't want to have a birthday for some reason. Today she is still saying she is 2. Sigh. Only kid on the planet who doesn't like her own birthday, but maybe it was all the attention or something.

Last Saturday we met friends and family at a local restaurant, there were 6 adults and 3 kids. We had lunch, cake, and presents, and Abby did pretty well with that. I really appreciate everyone showing up, and all the great stuff she got too. The gifts she got were perfect and are already getting a lot of use when we are home.

Then Wednesday night we went out for Chinese food at the last minute because DH and I had to get a last-minute birthday gift at Barnes and Noble. Abby and I had fun in Barnes and Noble going up and down the escalator, playing with the train table, and looking at books while DH went to the front desk and completed his purchase.

On Thursday Abby told me in the morning that it was NOT her birthday when I greeted her with "Happy Birthday" in the kitchen. Off to a bad start!

We took her to school as normal, and told the teacher we'd be back at 4pm. We came back a few minutes after 4pm with cupcakes, balloons, and party hats for the kids. The kids were all sitting at a table having a snack and they started chanting "We want cupcakes". DD was at the head of the table with a big banner behind her that said "Happy Birthday Abby". We got a cupcake with a candle on it, and passed out all the hats and got the cameras out. When the room started singing "Happy Birthday" to her, she broke down in tears. Poor kid! I ran over to her and gave her a big hug. She blew out the candle several times so everyone could take their pictures. She was a good sport about that. She asked us to get her out of there as soon as it was over though. She patiently waited until all the cupcakes had been passed out, and made sure everyone had a balloon. When someone lost their balloon she made sure they got it back. Meanwhile DH put little Easter eggs with stickers inside them into all the cubbies, and went to the other classroom to give the few kids and teacher over there some goodies too. When snack was over, the kids went outside and Abby asked to leave. So we packed up.

Once outside she decided she wanted to go out for a pretzel so we went to Target, got pretzels and soda (she hadn't eaten her cupcake) and then we let her pick out a toy (she was looking for a unicorn but didn't find one). We ate supper at Wendy's, after stopping by Trader Joes and getting another balloon.

By the time we got home it was after 7pm. She had a package at the mailbox (from Aunt Jo) and some birthday cards, and another package at the door (UPS from my mom), and more presents from DH and I to open. (Her gift from my Father-in-law arrived a month ago). After all of that, it was finally time to sit down, watch tv, and read a story, (and take her meds of course). As she was going to sleep she said "My birthday is OVER mommy".

yeah kid, it is. And I still have an unfrosted birthday cake, with a Dora thing to put on top, sitting in the kitchen that we never even got to yet.

I didn't even mention the trip we are taking April 19-20th to ME, NH, and Boston.

Hope we have a quiet weekend. I know the Easter Bunny has some things to deliver too, but I think we are all pretty tired so hopefully we can stay home for the most part, and just take it easy for a couple of days.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

"Children Learn What they live"

I think my mom had a version of this poem hanging on a wall when I was growing up. I've done some digging, and found what I think is the original. It's a little different than how I remember it, but here goes--

Children Learn What They Live (1959)

If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn . . .
If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight . . .
If a child lives with fear, he learns to be apprehensive . . .
If a child lives with pity, he learns to feel sorry for himself . . .
If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy . . .
If a child lives with jealousy, he learns to feel guilt . . .


If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient . . .
If a child lives with encouragement, he learns to be confident . . .
If a child lives with , he learns to be appreciative . . .
If a child lives with acceptance, he learns to love . . .
If a child lives with honesty, he learns what truth is . . .
If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice . . .
If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith in himself and those about him . . .
If a child lives with friendlienss(sic), he learns the world is a nice place in which to live . . .


Dorothy L. Law


2335 Plaza del Amo

Torrence, California

And here's the source that I found with more--

combining topics - oh no!

Just to quickly get some of those things off my list, I'm going to combine topics. I know in the blogging world you aren't supposed to, but I'm not sure why I put all this stuff on my list to post about to begin with. So while the computers are being slow, I'll try to get some of them out of the way here.

3. To Write or Not to write? I posed this question in my writing class yesterday. Most of those in the class say if you can write, do it. Even though we all have a story, the world needs more stories. Others, if you read book reviews etc, will say there are too many people writing and publishing, too much JUNK is out there. It is easier than ever to get published, start a blog, etc. I'm still on the fence, but I guess I am still writing. Don't know if I am any good at it or not, or if I am improving, but I guess I am still practicing, for better or worse.

Skipping to #6... We are all fighting being sick right now. I was feeling better, then Abby came down with a sniffle, but it's just a sniffle. My husband isn't feeling well, but he's fighting it whatever it is. I'm starting to feel not great, but I'm last in the line as usual. Hopefully we can all keep fighting these annoyances and none of us will get really sick. We've got a few things planned in the coming weeks, I'd hate to have to cancel any of them.

7. Yes, I am behind on reading blogs. I'm sorry Arlene, and the others. I really do try. Just been busy.

5. blah, blah, blah... yeup. Busy. Busy with work, busy with the kid, busy with... not sleeping, just busy.

9. Not going to say much about library or work I suppose. Not sure why I put that here to begin with. Changes are coming, and coming soon. Not sure how they will morph yet and I'm a little nervous but I hope to survive it all, somehow. Job isn't going to be like it was though, and I'm not sure if I'm going to like it as much, but we'll see. Maybe it will get better instead of worse. Just have to hang in there and see I guess.

Guess that almost covers it. I have one more thing on that 10 point list, #4, and that will be a separate post. Just have to dig out the poem that I'm thinking of. I'm sure I can find it on the internet somewhere.

If you got this far, thanks for putting up with me and all my ramblings.

Welcome Facebook Friends!

Skipping to #8 on my list, I have recently discovered the fun and diversions of Facebook. Reconnecting with people who I haven't spoken to since high school (in some cases since Freshman or sophomore year), old friends who have moved away in the last few years, and former coworkers and many others has been lots of fun. Playing games, doing quizzes, and just generally wasting time have been a lot of fun. Who knows? Maybe some good will come of all this, and someone will get a better job, or find a long-lost pal, or something...

Anyway, if you are here because you saw the link on FB, then thanks for checking in.

Skipping to #10, my AW for Abby

Abby did 2 wonderful things recently. First of all on Thursday we went to the local public library after school/work. We've been there a few times before, but this time Abby walked in, saw the computer (desktop) and said "I know how to use this! I use this at school." She sat down, put her hand on the mouse, and found a program to use. She found some kid's thing and happily clicked away for a long time. My husband and I helped her a little when she got stuck, but she did it mostly herself. Yay Abby! Using a computer already. Can you tell her dad's a computer geek? We only have laptops and netbook stuff at home so she really hasn't seen a desktop computer much except at school etc.

I was really happy about that, and then on Sunday she did something equally great. You might have to know Abby to appreciate this, but Abby pet a dog. Yes, that's right folks, Abby touched a dog and was happy about it. She and her daddy were in downtown Northampton on Sunday walking around, and she saw a cute little white dog. She liked it immediately. Then we saw it again, and she said "Please mommy, please daddy, can I ask the doggy's mommy if I can pet it?" Of course everyone said yes and she very gently pet its back and then ran back to daddy. Then she did it a couple of more times. She finally got shy when some other people got near us on the sidewalk. Way to go Abby! Overcoming her fear of animals. (For those who don't know, Abby had some close encounters with dogs when she was a baby that have made her fearful of them. Plus we often have unrestrained dogs in our neighborhood that try to come into our yard and our driveway, or harass us when we go for walks.)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Verizon W.E.B. DuBois thing at library

The presentation was only about an hour long, but it was very interesting to hear Randolph W. Bromery speak. He told us how he went to Egypt and got the W.E.B. DuBois papers, and gave us a nice history lesson. I don't know much about W.E.B. DuBois, and Bromery is a good speaker. He got a standing ovation when he was done. Made me glad I went.

After he spoke MaryNell Morgan talked about her time using the papers to do her research and then she sang a song, and made the audience sing along.

After that we got the usual boring stuff. Verizon representative giving the check out, President of UMass speaking, and all the political stuff. I think the highlight was definitely Bromery's speech.

The reason for all this? Verizon gave the library $200,000 towards digitizing the Du Bois papers.

Now just to be clear, I still loathe Verizon. They told my husband and I that we would have high-speed internet at our house before we bought it, and then after we moved in we found out we couldn't get it. My husband is a computer geek. I cannot tell you how much having dial-up access at home really sucks. I just bought a new laptop, and it doesn't even have a modem built into it. I'm going to have to go out and get an external modem if I want to even use the dial-up access. If Verizon had told us the truth, that dial-up was not available for our home, we never would have bought it, and we'd be living somewhere else now.

Okay, gotta run for now...

Friday, April 3, 2009

Abby's birthday plans

Abby is battling a cold, and might have been exposed to a stomach bug that's going around so fingers crossed that she doesn't get TOO sick to enjoy the plans we've made for her 3rd birthday.

Saturday, tomorrow, we'll be going to an Art Show in Leverett where Abby's art work will be featured, along with her classmates'. It's a fundraiser for the Hampshire Franklin Day Care Center. I made some cupcakes for the event and dropped them off this morning. This is the 2nd annual event for this thing, and we have never gone before so should be fun and interesting. Hopefully we'll get there near 10am, and then we'll have to leave no later than noon.

At 12:30pm on Saturday we'll be meeting my dad (Grandpa), his friend and her granddaughter, as well as another family who have a 7 year old boy. We'll have lunch at Pete's Seafood in Greenfield, and we will bring a cake (and maybe ice cream if we have time to grab any at the last minute). Should be fun!

We'll take a break in the birthday festivities until next Thursday, her actual birthday. On that day we'll bring some cupcakes to preschool as an after-lunch treat. I also plan to surprise her with a visit and bring balloons and stickers and some other stuff. I won't stay the whole day though. I'll leave when it's naptime I hope.

Then Thursday night we'll either dine out, or dine at home, just the 3 of us probably. We'll have cake for dessert, and Abby might get a couple of gifts. We haven't really bought anything yet though except a few arts and crafts supplies so it won't be anything major.

We'll wait until Monday, April 13th to do the doctors office and shots things.

On April 19th-20th, not because of her birthday but just because... we'll tell her it's for her birthday anyway... we're going to go to Kittery, ME to do a little outlet shopping, then stay in a hotel in Portsmouth, NH for the night and then meet our friends in Boston (crazy as this plan is) and go to the New England Aquarium on Monday. I say crazy because it's the same day as the Boston Marathon, but our friends were pretty locked into the date so we'll do our best with the traffic etc. The aquarium should be a lot of fun. I think Abby will like it a lot.

And that's it!! Happy Almost birthday Abby!!

catching up

Once again it's been too long since I last posted, and now I have a long list, okay maybe a short list of things I'd like to write about... I won't get these all done today, but look for them soon.

1. Abby's birthday, and plans (see next post)
2. W.E.B. DuBois - Verizon presentation thing today, including Bromery
3. To Write or not to write, that is the question!
4. What we are teaching our children
5. Blah, blah, blah... work is tough today
6. Done with pneumonia, but is Abby getting sick again?
7. Behind on reading everyone else's blogs, sorry about that!
8. Welcome Facebook friends!
9. Library stuff/work stuff
10. My AW moment that I'd like to share regarding Abby

I'll try to break these down into separate posts, although I'm sure I will combine a few. Not a lot to say on some of them, but I know there is some blogging rule or something that says posts should stick to one topic at a time and not be all over the place.