In the beginning,
The pull of the earth is counterbalanced
By the lightness of being.

Taut with newness and time unspent,
There is no jiggle born of dancing
And springing into the air with delight.

Abandon is spontaneous,
Joyful and immediate,
And without premeditation.

Alas, time and tone
Travel in tandem.
And a battle with gravity rages.

Droopy with time past,
Chin, chest and chi
Struggle to remain upright. 

Altitude diminishes
Along with time future,
And gravity is winning the war.


Are you feeling ok???


My husband and I are avid readers.  A visit to the book store was always good for lots of points on the credit card (that’s the good news; the bad news is obvious).  
Lately, we are spending far less time in the bookstore, but that’s not to say we are cutting back.  We are still reading just as much as ever.  But we found a way to reduce the dollars (good news) and the points (bad news) on the credit card bill and reduce the piles of books covering nearly every surface in the house.  We gave each other refurbished Kindles for Christmas.
If you have a Kindle, you know how this works.  You buy a “book” from Amazon, and download to your Kindle.  When you finish reading it, you put it back into your “archives” (a sort of virtual bookshelf with your name on it).  It can then be downloaded onto any other Kindle linked to that bookshelf/account.
OK, so last night, I wanted to read a book that was still on my husband’s Kindle.  I asked him to put it back on the shelf so I could get it.  He sent it back into the archives, and within 30 seconds, I had it on my Kindle, this gizmo in my hand that’s connected to nothing.  Unbelievable.
Now, I’m a very visual person.  So I picture this book, flying back up into the great cloud called Amazon (whoosh!), and then flying back down into my Kindle seconds later (thunk!). 
And that makes me think of all the other stuff that has to be flying around out there in the ethersphere (swish!  whoosh!  zoom!  screech!  bam!).   I have this overwhelming desire to shout “Duck!  Incoming!”
I’m sure I’m missing a bunch, but these come to mind.  We have constant TV and radio signals, some flying up to satellites and back.  There are short wave radio signals and CB radio signals.  We have an ever-increasing number of cells phone conversations going on at any one time.  Add to that the texts (I read recently that the average teenager sends 2900 texts per month!) and tweets and pics and downloads that cell phones are shooting out like sparks.  Computers and other devices add WiFi to the mix, and whatever stuff it is that makes it possible to have a real-time conversation (in voice or text, with or without video) with someone half a globe away.  There are signals from GPS devices and services like Onstar and LoJack.  Geez, there are even tracking signals emanating from those ankle cuff devices they slap onto people under house arrest.  And one shudders to consider what governments (ours and others) are firing out into the air. 
With all this invisible stuff crashing about in the air around us, I don’t know why we aren’t all sick.


Honest Scrap

Titanium of Element 22 has honored me with an Honest Scrap Award. 
And I don’t use the word “honored” lightly.  This lady blows me away. She lives, really lives, the adventure that life should be, has the courage we all should have to go after that adventure, and has the eloquence to write about it in a way that inspires us to do so.  So I am truly honored to be included in her list of blogging victims -  uh, pals, I meant to say pals -  to receive the award.
That’s the good news.  The bad news is that it befalls me as a recipient to honestly expose seven personal factoids not already revealed in my blog.  Well, OK, maybe not so bad.  I tend to be a blurt-it-all-out-to-anybody-who’ll-listen kind of person.  It’s only because I am fairly new to blogging that I haven’t  told you everything already.
I don’t know if the deal was to give it up quickly, but heck, I’ve got the ball in my court, so I can decide when to throw it, right?  I’ve taken a little time to think about it, and came up with these seven tidbits of personal information.
1.   I am an adventurous eater.  I try stuff, like the sea urchin I ate out of the shell (um, not sure if it actually was a shell, but it felt hard like one), which then walked across my plate after I was finished.  I thought the others at my table were going to lose it.
2.    Kate at High Altitude Gardening, also a recipient of the Honest Scrap Award, revealed that if she could own any car in the world, it would be one you've never heard of: the Nash Metropolitan.  I actually did own a Nash Metropolitan.  Very cute car, but I can tell you this: a 1500-mile trip (with two adults and two kids) in a Metropolitan is no fun.  No fun at all.
3.    Drinking red wine (and sometimes white wine, and sometimes beer, and sometimes…) makes my face red.  Very red.
4.    After 10 years as a single mom who’d had, oh, maybe two dates, I met my soul mate on an airplane.  Huh. Who knew.
5.    Last May, I walked 30 miles over two days in the 2009 Boston Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.  Not bad for an old broad.  I was pretty darn proud of myself, I’ll tell you. 
6.    I come from a big (as in size, not quantity), tall family.  My brother is 6’5” and wears a size 13 shoe. I have really big feet, too (or, as my husband - the guy from the airplane - says, I have “a good solid under-standing”).  All of my everyday shoes are actually men’s shoes.  (Yikes, did I really tell you that??? TMI, TMI!)
7.    And now that I’ve told you #6, I may as well mention that I’ve always wished I were a petite, ladylike (not an adjective ever used to describe me) little thing.  It’s really hard to feel petite when you have aircraft carriers for feet.
And now to pass on the opportunity to blurt it all (or at least some of it) out, I’m tagging ten others.  Some of you will no doubt say, “who is this woman, and why is she picking on me?”   As I mentioned above, I am relatively new to all this.  Some of you I have come to think of as friends in no time at all.  But all of you have been a pleasure to read, and are people I’d love to know more about.   Res ipsa loquitur.  So write seven juicy new tidbits about yourself on your blog, and then pass it on!

P.S.  If any of you have already been bestowed with this award, I apologize.  I looked back and tried not to tag anyone already tagged, but, hey, what can I say?  I’m considering it a major feat to have figured out how to get these links in here at all.


Friday Flash 55: Faded Star

This is my offering for this week's Flash 55 hosted by G-Man.

Faded Star

In her heyday, she had been amazing.  She was so glamorous, her finery glistening like stars in the sky.  Everyone talked about how beautiful she was, and people came from all over to see her movies.
But not tonight. Tonight, she sat alone in the dark, waiting. Tomorrow, they were coming, with the wrecking ball.

Theme Thursday: A Knell for the Bell

This is the first time I’ve participated in Theme Thursday, but I was drawn by the story behind this week’s theme.  On Thursday, Barry of An Explorer’s View of Life is celebrating his last chemo treatment by ringing a bell long and loud.  You can read about it and join in to make a joyful noise for him here.  Congratulations, Barry!  I’ll be hopping around madly at 2:00PM today, “ringing my bell” for you!
And now on to my offering on the theme of the week: Bell.

The Bell Family
Back in the day, when I was a kid, people who wanted to talk to each other called on the telephone.  You remember (or geez, maybe some of you don’t remember…), you went to that table in the hall, picked up the telephone receiver, dialed the number for your friend, stretched the cord to its limit to go into the hall closet, and chatted until Dad yelled at you to “Get off the phone!” 
A little later, there might have been an extension on the wall in the kitchen, not such a good thing if eavesdropping was a family pastime.  We all learned that if you unscrewed the cover on the speaking end of the receiver and popped out the little thingy inside before letting go of the button to open the line, they couldn’t tell you were listening on the extension.
Then, even later, if you were lucky, you had an extension in your bedroom.  And for many girls, it got even better.  Their parents took the path of least resistance to keep the house phone open just in case (unlikely as it seems) someone actually called to talk to them, and gave their daughters their own line.
If you wanted to make a long distance call, you dialed 0 (on an actual round dial) and a friendly female voice greeted you.  She would make the call for you.  My first job out of high school was to be one of those friendly female voices, sitting on a switchboard with 49 other friendly female voices (this was in Miami; lots of people made long distance calls) wielding those long cords like an expert.
Back in the day, all this was made possible by the Bell Family, known as American Telephone & Telegraph (or AT&T), which consisted of Ma Bell, and her seven Baby Bells.  

The Divorce
And then the day came when, as so many families do, the Bell Family broke up.  Judge Harold Greene, representing Uncle Sam, presided over the divorce and ordered the dissolution of the family.  The Baby Bells were sent out to fend for themselves.   The seven little Bells gave themselves new names and marched boldly (well, OK, some of them staggered) into the future.  And for many of us, service got worse.  The costs got higher.  And you have to buy your own telephone, for heaven’s sake!
One by one, the Bell offspring have been disappearing, gobbled up by the merger monster.  Southwestern Bell, PacTel, and Ameritech were the first to go.  Then BellSouth followed.  Bell Atlantic and NYNEX were next.  And then there were three, one of whom has taken back the old family name, AT&T.
But even these three are mere shadows of their former selves, from back in the day.   One sold off its landline business several years ago.   The others have watched the landline business evaporate as more customers switch to cell phones.  The handwriting seems to be on the wall. 

The Bell Is Silenced
There are probably no teenagers dragging the phone into the hall closet these days.  84% of them have cell phones, according to a leading research company.  (Shockingly, they also say 22% of children aged 6-9 and 60% of “tweens” aged 10-14 own a cell phone.)
The friendly operator has gone the way of the dodo bird.  I’m not sure what happens now if you dial 0.  I can’t test it out because I don’t have a land line.
Sure it’s progress.  But, I don’t know, somehow it’s sad. 
So long, Ma Bell.  I’ll miss you.


Wordless Wednesday

Over My Shoulder

Manhattan from the Brooklyn Bridge


100-Word Challenge: Fortune

This is my submission to Velvet Verbosity's 100-Word Challenge:  Fortune.

And Then, She Smiled

He’d always felt that he was terminally unlucky. 
Popularity eluded him in school.  Neither jock nor nerd, he lived somewhere in the vast nothingness of invisibility.
While his friends were finding the girls of their dreams – or nightmares – he trudged into adulthood alone.  And as everyone around him settled into family life, he just… settled. 
His “career,” if you could call it that, was nothing more than a job.  Sure, he was the guy you could always count on to deliver, but nothing he delivered ever caught anyone’s notice. 
And then, just when he’d given up all hope, Fortune smiled.

Justice, Southern Fried?


Time:  Late afternoon, a Thursday in February, 2010.
Place:  Homer, Louisiana.  Dust motes float in the air in the tired-looking courtroom.   The old man’s family waits anxiously to hear the results of the Grand Jury’s deliberations on charges of murder, manslaughter, and negligent homicide. 
Situation:  the police pull up to a yard filled with family members and friends gathered for a cookout. They are there to question a black man with a long police record.  Though there are no outstanding warrants against him, the man runs at the sight of the police.  
Victim:  the man’s elderly grandfather.  He is shot dead in his front yard, where he had been playing with his grandchildren.

Witnesses:  the victim’s family and friends, including twelve people who testified the victim was not carrying a gun, but a sports-drink bottle.
Defendant:  a white policeman who shot the victim several times.  He was seen by witnesses placing a gun, which he’d allegedly found on the front porch of the house, on the ground near the body.  
Outcome:  the courtroom hushes, and the verdict is read.  No indictment.
Justice?   As one town grandmother said:  “Ain’t nothing ever change in Homer.”


Musical Monday: El Huaso


The Soundtrack of My Mind

El Huaso

(Soundtrack: Bolero by Maurice Ravel)

Awaking at dawn, El Huaso ate the small breakfast he carried in his pack, and prepared to ride out.  He rolled up the thick pad of blankets he used as a bed and gathered his few belongings.  He’d spent the night alone under the night sky, tasting the bitter cold with every breath, but he was used to that.  He’d lived most of his life out here.
In days long past, El Huaso’s father Neyen roamed the pampas and into the Andes to the west, traveling with a small band of banditos.   They raided the rancheros created by the conquistadors, and stole their cattle, gold, and often, their women.  El Huaso’s mother Pilar was one of those women.  She was the daughter of one of the ranchers visited by Neyen and his band.  Longing for adventure, she had been more than willing to leave her protected life on the ranchero and follow the handsome bandito who had crept into her bedroom by moonlight.  Not long after after, El Huaso was born in the camp the ragtag bunch of banditos and their women called home.  El Huaso never knew his father well.  Neyen was killed in the Andes when El Huaso was a small child and Pilar returned to her father’s hacienda, where she raised her son.
Though the pampas was in his blood, El Huaso had not totally followed in his father’s footstep.  Like his father, he too traveled the pampas on horseback, but his time was spent recovering cattle for the descendants of the very ranchers his father had robbed.  This was seldom an easy job, given the vast sameness of the pampas, and it was sometimes hazardous.  So, like the banditos, he too carried the long white-handled knife of the huaso in his belt, but the only victims he had claimed were snakes. 
On this journey, after what had seemed like endless searching, he’d finally located the wandering cows he sought and returned them to their owner. The weather had been harsh and his task had taken much too long.  Now he was anxious to go home and see his wife and family. 
This morning, the pampas was shrouded in the dense early fog called la camanchaca.  The sun was barely over the horizon and had not yet become strong enough to send the fog on its way.  But El Huaso could wait no longer.  It was time to go.  He had many hours to ride over this endless plain before reaching home.  He just wished he could roll up the fog as easily as he had his bedding.
He whistled to Vaquero, and the big horse came to him from out of the mist.  Descended from the powerful Criollo horses that the Spaniards had introduced to the region, Vaquero moved over this unforgiving land like the native he was.  He knew the pampas, and he knew the way home.  El Huaso knew he could trust Vaquero to carry him safely.
He tied his bedroll to the horse’s back, put on his poncho, shrugged the pack onto his back, and donned his hat.  He swung onto the waiting horse, and, with a click of his tongue, he and Vaquero disappeared into the fog and headed home.


Friday Flash 55

I recently discovered Friday Flash 55, hosted by G-Man.  The idea is to write any story you like in 55 words (no more, no fewer) then tell G-Man with a comment on his Flash 55 post.
Always looking for inspiration, I’ve decided to give it a try.  This is my first time, so please be gentle!

Henry was one of those men that women describe as “interesting.”  Oh, sure, she’d aspired to finding a pretty boy like Matthew McConaughy, but Henry had won her over the day when he’d walked into her florist shop wearing a bumble bee costume, and not said a word to explain it.  And lo!  She blossomed.


Wordless Wednesday

We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto.

Or, I dunno...  maybe we are.

100-Word Challenge: Overall


This is my submission to Velvet Verbosity's 100-Word Challenge:  Overall.


I’ve looked everywhere, to no avail!
I searched the bedroom closets and the linen closet.  I rummaged through every drawer, sifting through many years’ accumulation of stuff.  I looked under the bed and behind the sofa.  I hunted in the boxes in the attic and basement.  I searched the car, exploring the glove compartment and the trunk.  I checked all the kitchen cabinets.  I even looked in the refrigerator (not forgetting the vegetable bin!). 
I’ve looked here and there, high and low.  Nowhere can I find anything to say for this week’s 100-word challenge.
Overall, I’d rather have another word.


100-Word Challenge: Darkness

This is my submission to Velvet Verbosity's 100-Word Challenge:  Darkness.

A Turn at the End of the Road

She told me, “Never be afraid of the dark. I’ll always be here to light the way.” And she was. 
She was there to ease my anxiety about my first date. She was there to share my joy at my wedding and the birth of my children.  She was there to give me courage as I was about to lose my breast to cancer.  She was always there, chasing the dark away with the glow from her smile.
Now it was my turn.  I smiled at her though my tears, and held her hand as she stepped into the darkness.

Wordless Wednesday

From here to eternity...


Hope for the Flowers - and the Rest of Us

A couple of months ago, I posted a review for a delightful book called Hope for the Flowers.  Today, my wonderful blogger-friend Lou of LouCeel posted a link to a magical little prize-winning movie called The Butterfly Circus.   As Lou said, this gem is "powerful and evocative," and should not be missed.  I have to share it; it is such a perfect companion post to Hope for the Flowers.

The Butterfly Circus runs about 20 minutes, which seems like a long time out here in the blogosphere, but trust me, it is well worth your time. 

Thanks, Lou!

P.S. If you have time, watch the "Behind the Scenes" segment after you see the film.