Thursday, November 26, 2015

Three Little Birds...and a squirrel, if you look real close

It is early on Thanksgiving morning. Just me and the cat...and a 13 pound turkey which is just beginning to sizzle in the oven. Nothing says Happy Thanksgiving like sticking your hand up the freezing cold body cavity of a 13 pound semi-flightless fowl. 

Not quite done yet...

Thanksgiving has long been my favorite of the winter holidays. And Thanksgiving morning is one of my favorite mornings. I am usually the only human up early, the rest taking a few extra hours to rest up for the big food and Home Alone marathon.
The quiet gives me a chance to reflect on all those things I have to be thankful for: home, health, family.
Yada Yada Yada

This year, however, while still thankful for these things, recent events have put a new spin on them, at least in my head.

My 'home' has always been the Midwest. I grew up in a farming community surrounded by men in overalls and feed caps and women who simultaneously baked pies and crocheted tablecloths. These men and women also called the Midwest home. But for many of their parents Cornfield, Illinois was not the first 'home' they knew. In my case, Germany and France and England's Ireland were home. Those people made the decision to leave lands where their families remained, where the language was familiar, to make the difficult crossing by sea, some with infants and small children, to an unknown country with only the promises made on a copper and iron statue.
I do not know if they left because they were under persecution, feared for the lives of their children. I can only assume that they took that frightening voyage after much deliberation in hopes of providing a better life.
They came here, worked hard, settled into and became part of permanent communities and now their descendants call this land home.
Thank you, not only to those who took that brave step, but to those who welcomed them.
These guys are not all that Thankful. In fact, they are rethinking the whole immigration policy.

I work in healthcare. So in a way, I have to feel thankful for everyone's health...or lack thereof. Every day I work, I care for people experiencing health events which I mentally add to the list of things I NEVER want to experience myself.
Thank you?
This motivation to avoid tubes sticking out of natural and man made orifices has led me, most days, to eat better and exercise.
Not today of course.
But tomorrow...

Today my immediate family will be gathering at our house for dinner. We are missing a few very loved members, who thankfully are safe and sound with family elsewhere. But this is not the family I am speaking of today.
Today I am speaking to my work family – you know who you are. If you break it down, some weeks we spend more time with work people than with blood relations. And just like blood relations, work people are fun, annoying, aggravating and wonderful. They can be broken down into little brother, big sister, weird aunt and creepy uncle status.
We have differing opinions and different working styles.
But when things go south we are there for one another. And over the nearly 10 years I have worked with this family things have gone south, really south quite a few times.

And things went south one morning this past week. Like nearly South Pole South. I can't really go into the actual event except to say that at present everyone is okay and this is one of those things that is HIGH on my list of THINGS I NEVER WANT TO HAPPEN TO ME.
And as often happens, it is when things are truly bad that you see the best in people. The outpouring of support for my work family has been overwhelming.
We are all guilty of gripping about work, not wanting to go, not wanting to stay, wishing we were anywhere else.
But damn it.
Now I don't think I could go anywhere else.

Thank you. 
One of my peaceful places. Sure, there are actually four little birds here, but there is also a squirrel. It is really difficult to rhyme anything with 'squirrel' which is why Mr. Marley most likely stuck with the simpler 'three little birds' concept.

I chose to call this post Three Little Birds. It is one of my favorite songs and even though it is a simple concept, it is a powerful one.
From the Coast of Illinois
Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving. 

Come back next week for a new installment of

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Pssst, Buddy! Got Any of those ADHD Pills?

International symbol for National Write a Novel in a Month

Welcome to November.
The month when aspiring novelists torture themselves by attempting to write 50,000 words. In 30 days.
I don't know whose bright idea it was to do this during one of the four months with 30 days. Does no one understand that this is only one quarter of the available months? Why not just choose February? Especially when you figure in Thanksgiving - which in my house encompasses three days: cooking day, eating day, recovery day.
I have attempted this craziness a couple of times, once with a writing group in January, because we were rebels. The January attempt actually did yield 50,000 of the most syrupy ridiculous words ever. But I have to admit, the sense of accomplishment was great.
This year I am passing on the panic and trying a new route. I have always wanted to take a writing seminar, but short of setting up a GoFundMe to cover the tuition, I chose to purchase $15 book on plotting.
(I must note that the real genius, as pointed out by my husband, is the person who writes a book on 'how to write a book'.) My goal is to work at least 30 minutes a day on this, using it as a lesson plan with the hope of getting some kinks worked out of at least one novel idea that has been simmering in my head, my computer and various notebooks for several years.
Which leads me to the original idea for this post: My Notes app on my phone.
Here is a list of my notes:
Tom Huck
43792 backstory jacket
Things I did in August
Movies I want to watch
Limelight Hydrangea
Iko Tiko
Baker Creek Heirloom
Viagra and Spanx

It's as if my multiple personalities got together and wrote a demented sonnet. It took me a while, but I did decipher most of these. 
Tom Huck - is a super cool wood block artist. We met his rep at the Tiki Bar one evening. You can check out his work at - an address for sailing apps.
Ipsy- had the tag Birchbox under it. I believe this, and the jacket note are gift ideas. for someone....
43792 - no idea. none.
Things I did in August - I guess was my way to ward off Alzheimers. However, the info under the tab made about as much sense. At least Movies I want to watch is self explanatory.
Limelight Hydrangea, as well as the Baker Creek are gardening ideas.
Iko Tiko is an awesome song we heard performed by Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes, when we attended their super cook rooftop concert in August. 
Check out their website:!
And Viagra and Spanx....crime fighting duo? Combo pharmacy/lingerie shop?
I'll let you know...

It is now even later in the morning than I had anticipated. I have a ridiculous to-do list, plus my November writing lesson and no real end to this blog entry. With that and the rather flight of ideas going on here, I leave you with a video clip of my brother and his band performing an original song. If you are ever in Berlin, Germany please check them out! (He also plays amazing jazz.)

Karl Schloz and the Basement Band