Once upon a time…

Nugget 2

I happened upon a vendor, at the flea market, this weekend. She was selling old beaten, yet still useful, metal trucks. My heart was happy at the memories stirred by these relics. Days spent riding them over the grass hills of my backyard with my brother. Tumbling and laughing …oblivious of their sharp edges and lead paint…we used them in the unintended ways kids do with toys.
Out of nowhere, I remembered Halloween and the fun we had roaming our neighborhood until 10:00 pm! I reminisced for a moment with the vendor. We shared a happy talk of pillowcases filled with candy and the knowing we were safe because we knew our neighbors.
“Now, Halloween is limited to an hour and a half .” I sighed. “Oh well, the kids won’t miss what they never had, I guess.”  I walked away with a heavy heart.

The next vendor had a metal Popgun for sale. He wanted $20.00 for memory’s sake and I held the toy, not daring to buy, but allowing myself the memories of me, as Annie Oakley once again. Jamming the barrel with dirt that would go off, with a pop and a puff, was not the intended use, of course. Such happy times…

I’d just had a birthday so reminiscing was near, anyway. The rest of the morning held flashbacks to the happiest times riding in the back of pick-up trucks and on top of hay wagons, with the breeze and treetops at my cheek.
Building campfires on an old dirt road and learning to swim without life vests in the ponds and creeks, came back. Using a wood-burning set without incident and at an “inappropriate” age and the “Thing Maker” with molten goop producing plastic bugs. Riding an, at least 1000 lb horse, bareback at the age of 6 and wandering about the cows, who weighed the same, without fear nor injury because I had been taught about caution. Oh yes, and building bows with arrows of sharpened sticks with the Barlow pocketknife grandpa bought for me. Building jumps for my spider bike and riding with no hands…feet upon the handles…producing some scrapes and bruises, but what a ride! Climbing to the tops of trees and silos and getting scared but holding tight and cheering “like a gold medalist” when I, once again, found the ground.
These things are dangerous and won’t happen any more…why? Because no modern child would attempt them. They haven’t any way to test themselves…to learn caution as they grow by “uping” the ante of self-reliance. All they know is “You mustn’t try. You mustn’t risk. Your judgement is flawed.Don’t get hurt.”
Kids are taught to fear, now.  A fine beginning to taming them…self-reliance is dangerous, you know.
Wild colts can turn into sheep.

Kids won’t miss, what they never had…

Defining Sanity and Humanity

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I’ve been away from my blog for some time. Knowing it exists, and that I would return, was always a comforting thought. I am pages from completing a fascinating, enlightening, true story and could wait, no longer, to share it.
I am grappling with the term “forever changed” by this book. Instead, I think it is more accurate, in my own case, to say “finally aware” or “forever defined”.
This is a firsthand story of a brain scientist’s stroke. There is a wealth of science about symptoms and perceptions, from the victim’s view. It is an essential part of the story and, really, not hard to learn and appreciate but the overall message and “insight” into the human psyche will “blow you away”!
We are a single being which operates, through our world, by using two separate, yet connected, brain hemispheres. The story exposes the purpose and function of those hemispheres in enlightening detail. The author’s conclusions about the necessity for both to function in unison in order to offer a life “rich” in a common conscientiousness are extraordinary, possibly, life changing.
As I read this book, I was thankful for my years with children for my primarily hopeful perspective about living “in the moment”. Jill Bolte Taylor hits the “nail on the head”, in my opinion, about how much of our own happiness is a matter of how we CHOSE to perceive the world. Embracing how ordinary events make us “feel” (emotionally and physiologically) just may be the biggest tool in the counteracting of everyday depression and sadness.
The author does not disregard the fact that our mental health is subject to chemical reactions beyond our control. The awareness that we CAN control much of it, though, (beyond brain damage and illness) offers a primer in a more fulfilling, happy, existence.
Incidentally, the carefree, forgiving, nature of man’s best friend seems to further explain why our Left Brains (containing speech and ego) can be our worst enemy if left to control too much of our time. On the other hand, who wants children, or dogs, making critical decisions?
As with everything we learn about life, balance is the best medicine.
I’ve barely scratched the surface of the wisdom between the covers of this book!

  • How to recognize a stroke.
  • How to treat stroke victims.
  • The recuperative power of sleep.
  • How our brains interpret the world.
  • The importance of patience and kindness.

I give this book 11 stars out of 10.

Write Now Prompt for January 14, 2014

Susan:

Just discovered this very interesting site. Thought I’d share…

Originally posted on Today's Author:

Write_Now_Plane

At Today’s Author, our first goal is to get you (and us) to write. Write Now is our own collection of prompts to help you do that. With Write Now we’re not talking about writing, or trying to teach anyone how to write. Write Now is all about putting pen to paper.

Today’s Prompt:

She refused to open her eyes until she could remember every part of the dream.

Now_Write_Plane

How to play along with our Writing Prompts

  1. Write in any format or style you wish: short story, poem, script – whatever you like.
  2. Write for at least 5 minutes. There is no time limit – write for as long as you wish!
  3. Editing is not required, though we do recommend that you run a spell check at least.
  4. Post your work to your blog and include a link back here so your readers can find other writer’s work, too.
  5. Come…

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Random Word Story # 32~ Moving Along to Nowhere

5211895183_cc7770c5dd_bcombatant…hard…fantastic…square…habitual…defector

Here is my story:

There was something dark about the store clerk at the new Dollar General. She stood with rounded shoulders, and a defeated look in her eyes, as I approached the counter to check out. I would have guessed that she was much older, if we weren’t face to face. She was not much beyond the age of twenty, as I would learn, yet had the demeanor of a lone surviving combatant from a long lost battle.

Her southern drawl set her apart even further.

“You aren’t from around here, young lady.” I said.

“No ma’am. I’m from Alabama. Been he’ ah for two weeks, or so. I’m hopin’ to bring my kids he’ah soon.”

“My… you have children? You’re just a young thing.”

“I was twenty last month and I’ve got three baby boys back home with my momma. Their daddies were scumbags and I cum up here and met the love of my life for sure!”

Her grin was bright and happy but the sadness in her eyes did not fade. She nervously chewed on the side of her tongue as we spoke. It occurred to me that she may have been a beautiful child, once upon a time. Her face was heart-shaped and she had large blue eyes but her hair, seemed as though it was as stressed as her posture, with frizzy ends on a carelessly gathered ponytail.

I saw her as a defector. She’d left her children, after all, while pursuing what I could only imagine was an habitual trail of scumbags. Without having to ask, she went on…

“Met James on the internet. He’s going to bring my boys up soon and we’re buyin’ a house too.” She grinned as her eyes looked through me to an imagined “happy place”.

“That is fantastic! A new beginning, in a new place. I’m happy for you.”

Then I noticed  scars in both of her thin eyebrows and one that ran along her chin too. As she packed my items, her hands trembled.

My, too quickly made judgement, softened as I asked myself, “Why  do so many young ladies have to live such hard lives?”. I felt the urge to hug her and to tell her that things would get better…that she would find her happy ending, but I didn’t believe the latter. Not everyone gets a square deal. Her children would probably have similar fates without the foundation of roots and family and I felt helpless, very helpless to remedy her troubles. In fact I, shamefully, wanted to get away from her as quickly as I could, as if hard luck and ignorance were somehow catchy.

She continued, “James will be picking me up soon and we’re gonna call my kids to tell them about our house. We ain’t been approved yet but we’re hopin’ to hear this week. That ‘ill be ten dollars and seventy cents ma’am.”

“Thank-you. Best wishes to you and James.”

That night, I said several prayers for her family. I held on to a glimmer of hope for her sons, realizing that they might have a slightly better chance to find stability, simply by not being  “beautiful” daughters.

It has, now, been six months … and I have not seen her at the Dollar General again…

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My other Random Word Stories were complete fiction. Sadly, this one, came from a true encounter that I had last Fall.

My Hero

Daily Prompt: Heroic

When you were five years old, who was your hero? What do you think of that person today?
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When I was five years old, Zorro (portrayed by Guy Williams) was my hero. He was a “righter”of injustices and defender of the weak.

I chose to write on this topic because I felt, Zorro, might be a controversial choice of a modern 5-year-old.

Primarily, the complaints would come from those who dislike the idea of violent images offered to our kids. Parents cringe about “armed” heroes, yet, I believe they are missing the message and ought to consider the moral fiber of fictional (and real life heroes ) with, as much, immediate concern. My former blog post “The Blind Eye”, was about apathy and fear in the face of trouble. This topic seems a fitting continuation of my point.

My heart still quickens at the thought of “Zorro to the rescue” and I really have no memory of him ever hurting anyone. He may have…but, my 5-year-old self certainly did not internalize the violence at all. What I remember most is that people “with power” can be good or evil and the good one’s are heroic only when they take action and risks. Zorro was also labeled a “public enemy” by those “evil” powerful folks who feared his interference in their corrupt and greedy agendas.

I believe that the pen is truly “mightier than the sword” and Zorro, if transported to 2014, would probably be a political blogger. A mighty dashing one, at that! lol

More than any time, ever before, there are medias that allow us to “take a stand” and to expose corruption. Fear of labels, cannot hold the bravest of us back, either. Touche’!

http://sillyfrogsusan.wordpress.com/2014/01/10/the-blind-eye/

The Blind Eye

It occurred to me this morning that being an apologist is a frustrating endeavor. In fact, I didn’t know the meaning of apologist, until my mother labeled me one, and I had to look it up.

apol·o·gist

noun \ə-ˈpä-lə-jist\

: a person who defends or supports something (such as a religion, cause, or organization) that is being criticized or attacked by other people

I’m often making arguments on Facebook about political issues. Seems many of our country’s core values and institutions have been under fire these days. Mostly, I endeavor to use humor and “tongue-in-cheek” phrases to point things out but, once in a while, I just say it.

I don’t consider that I am anti anything. I am pro on lots of things, though. It’s no coincidence, in my mind, that protect, starts with pro.

I’m not going to alienate, or bore you, with my causes. I want to point out that there’s a recurring theme that arises in the comments from others whom, insist upon, defining me as an alarmist.

My status, today, reads:

That moment when you perceive a “train wreck” event on the horizon…shout a warning… and are told you are paranoid. It’s befuddling, at the least, because you want to avoid the tragedy and also hope, on another level, that it can’t happen. Makes a lot of sense, to me now, why no one wants to talk about our national debt and the bankruptcy of our country.

This is the trouble with sounding alarms about difficult subjects. The people, one wants to “wake up”, often don’t want to know AND the ones, pointing things out, really hope they are not true.

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Now I ask you, the reader, how will any of our “issues” be resolved if we let those who have a “blind eye”, when it comes to trouble, shut us up or call our ideas (dismissively) paranoid?

Seems to me, the labeling of arguments, people, even sources, as wrong, is at the core of everything stagnating our country’s progress. Fear of labels has brought discussion and brotherhood to a standstill!

Our media, in my opinion, is the biggest troublemaker in all of this. The second biggest, are the busy, “sound bite”, consumers of the news.

My alarm today is a “wake-up call” in order to protect and produce active problem-solving which will foster our country’s progress.

Making a Keepsake Photo Montage

There’s a really great website called OneTrueMedia.com . After a little practice, and trial and error, you can make lovely montages of photos for free. The membership cost, for extras, is very reasonable too. The link (above) will take you to one that I created of my littlest granddaughter’s first year.  Hope you enjoy it.

Here’s, another one, that I had made about my other granddaughter several years ago.

My Oldest Granddaughter

A writing prompt: My Emotional Weather Report

winter '04 walk-in

A cold chill looms in my subconscious.

Awake, there are flakes of doubt whether,

I will weather, future rains on “my parade”

With a calm front.

We live not in the doldrums for very long.

 Clouds come and go.

I will focus upon the clear skies…my horizon.

Stomping in puddles,

Making snow angels,

And building sand castles on the warmest days.

For the winds of change are unpredictable,

Yet, I’m certain, the sun always rises in the East.

Building Self-esteem

133If you’ve ever watched a baby struggling to take her first steps, you’ve watched an exercise in self-esteem building. The struggle leading to sweet success is written on her face.

Parents waving and clapping make the event super fun yet the glow of satisfaction, the child exhibits, comes quite instinctively. It’s from the sense of accomplishment that baby feels.

Our modern society understands that self-esteem is very valuable to a healthy whole person, but sometimes, the zeal of parents, endeavoring to promote this, actually has a counter-productive effect.

The biggest misconception, about self-esteem, is that it stems from happiness. The happiness on baby’s face (above) is the end result of her struggles, bumps, and mistakes. It is not the cause of her satisfaction.

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I don’t know one mother who has not felt mortified by the realization that it’s “library day”, at school, and her child’s book has been left behind on the kitchen table. Take heart mom…your child will survive the trauma. She will learn, also, that responsibility for her own happiness comes from herself.  I speak from experience and my own mistakes. In hind-sight, I thought “good” moms smoothed the path leading to their children’s success. This was not a wise philosophy for building independence and responsible behavior.

It is clear to me, now, that self-esteem lives alongside of feeling capable. We learn much more from our mistakes and, by resolving, not to repeat them. This advice is directed toward new moms. Bite your tongue, and let your child fail while they are young and their problems (very big to them at the time) are not so big. Be there to help them design a better approach but avoid being the answer.

Katherine age 5

Katherine age 5

Hey, every parent makes mistakes. This is why they get a second chance with grandchildren. ;-)