Writing In Retirement Blog

Come Celebrate This Happy Day!

March 3rd – I Want You to be Happy Day

Do you know what March 3rd is? It’s the happiest day of the year. It is National I Want You to be Happy Day! It’s the day that everyone needs to make a special effort to spread happiness to others. It doesn’t need to be surprising someone with winning a sweepstake or millions of dollars. This day is to just try and make someone’s life a bit happier. Things like – visiting a friend in a nursing home, calling your Mom or Dad, bringing in doughnuts to your workplace, complementing the clerk at the fast food place on her nails, giving out chocolates to strangers you meet – anything that will pass along the feeling of goodwill and bring a smile to another person’s face. Think hard, and you will come up with dozens of ways to celebrate this day.

Here’s a poem I wrote to celebrate – I Want You to be Happy Day.

Cat Happy

On I Want You to be Happy Day

I’ll text my friends with a happy greeting,

Telling them my wish for smiles today.

My face, a smile with every meeting.

 

Making others happy

Is the goal of this special day.

A joke, a lollipop, a song that’s toe-tappy,

Perhaps even a pretty bouquet!

 

Let’s all try to treasure

I Want You to be Happy Day

And keep in our hearts a measure

So we can give a smile every day.

 

Please celebrate – I Want You to be Happy Day! What will you do on this day?

Comments welcome.

 

Let’s Look at Sentences

long sentence

Lately, I have been thinking about how words fit into sentences – and sentences into paragraphs that make up stories. As I cogitated on this puzzle, I came up with a poem that I think tells it all. I hope you enjoy it.

 

Let’s Look at Sentences

Sentences consist of a subject –

An idea, a person, a place, or a thing you select.

In a sentence, the subject must have an action

The verb creates the action (or in the case of an idea the abstraction).

 

Sentences can be long such as, “In the course of human events…”

But not so long they don’t make sense.

Sentences can be short such as, “Stop!”

The subject implies a motorcycle cop.

 

A sentence can be an exclamation,

Or it can be an idiomatic expression.

Or a command that starts with bossy verbs,

Or a declarative statement with plenty of adverbs.

 

Sentences make paragraphs

That makes you think, or cry, or gives you laughs.

Paragraphs strung together to tell a story,

A mystery, a romance, or an allegory.

 

So go out and spread the seeds,

Of words put into sentences of deeds.

 Tell your tales in subjects, predicates, and paragraphs

Then go out and sign your autographs!

Questions or comments? Feel free to leave them below.

 

The Desk Dilemma: Part Two

16525534-very-tired-worker-or-student

As I talked about last time, I survived the desk fiasco! Everything went as planned – except that the new unassembled desk was delivered four days early. I wasn’t there when it was delivered – so the huge box that was as tall as my door stayed by my door for that time. There was no way I could move all 72 pounds of it, and none of my neighbors could either, so it just stayed there. I figured if anyone were stupid enough to try and steal it, they would pay for trying. Also, since I have a Ring Doorbell, any thief would be on camera. As it turned out, the ‘College Hunks’, moved the box into my garage after they had taken apart my old desk to move it into their truck. By the way, they were great, and I will use them again when I need to get rid of heavy stuff.

Like Putting Together a Jigsaw Puzzle

Jigsaw puzzle

In the days before the new desk was assembled, I used a card table for my computer. Two Geek Squad members came on Saturday and assembled the desk in three hours. They said it was like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. I was sort of surprised that for the whole time they were doing the assembly, I didn’t hear one swear word. I have to admit I would have been tossing out some blue words if it had been me putting that thing together!

The next task was putting all the stuff I had in the bookcase and the desk away or tossing it. Thank goodness my cleaning lady helped me do this because I am too sentimental and distracted to be any good at tossing little slips of paper I have written notes on that I can’t even decipher. In no time, she had things organized and put away.

I was pleased that the desk was exactly as it was in the picture on the internet and that it was big enough to accommodate my all-in-one printer. I have to say I feel much less disorganized each time I sit down at my desk now. It is a great relief to have this all done.

new desk

My new desk workspace.

How about you? Is your writing space as organized as you would like? Have you gone through the trauma of having to reorganize your workspace? Comments are welcome!

The Desk Dilemma: Part One

sick computer

Sorry for being out of my blog for so long – between the Holidays, visitors, and by far computer problems, real life has interfered with my writing. On New Year’s Eve, my monitor died a sudden and complete death. Despite all the attempts at resuscitation, it was gone for good. Now I was aware that I needed a new computer as I was running Windows 7 on an old computer. I was hoping to wait a bit, but it was time to switch to a new one. I went out on January 2nd of the new decade to get an All-In-One computer as I like a desktop to work on for my writing.

For various reasons, I was unable to get the new computer up and running until the Geek Squad came out days later. In the meantime, I struggled with using the super-duper dandy Mac I won in the Literary Contest last year. When I say struggled, I mean, “How do I do this?” Where’s that key?” ‘Why can’t I get this to scroll.”  Not only was I dealing with using a laptop which I have never been very good at, but I also was having to learn how to use the strange configuration of the Mac. Never having touched a Mac before acquiring it, I was pretty clueless as to how to get it to do what I wanted it to do. Also, I did not have my security suite downloaded yet, nor Office 365. Those two things alone took me 48 hours to do. (I thought it was my poor tech understanding that caused that delay, but the Geek Squad guy told me it was because my Internet provider speed was slow).

Once those two things were up and running, I felt a little bit more at home on the Mac. There are things I do like about the Mac, but it wasn’t my familiar Windows-based desktop, and this slowed down everything I did – even my emailing, which should be quick. The laptop was a blessing to have in the interim, but I was happy to be able to use the desktop once the Geek Squad got it up and running with all my files transferred to the new computer.

Now comes the dilemma. This old school monster desk I have is long and even has a  computer screenspace for the printer (which now is to small for my all-in-one printer). However, it also has a long top shelf where the Monitor is supposed to sit. This big monitor I have now is so high on the shelf that with my bifocals, my neck is always in a horrible position. I tried to move the monitor down on the desk itself, but it was too precarious, even on an angle. So what to do? The obvious solution is to get another desk. A bundle of problems came with that solution.

First, looking for a computer/office desk at stores was pretty useless. The office stores had little to none in stock, and the furniture store offerings were not practical. I found my only recourse was to shop online and keep my fingers crossed that I would like the actual desk that I bought from that tiny picture. I did my best to research the desk I thought I liked. I measured my space, looked at reviews, and perused questions so that I was fairly sure of what I would get.

Then the dance began. First, I had to clean the desk completely, including the shelves, nooks, and crannies, where I had stored supplies. This task involves books, papers, files, pencils, pens, journals, and more books. Where to put all that stuff in the meantime? I scheduled my cleaner to help me on Monday for that task.

Secondly, I had to get rid of the current desk because my space is limited. There is no way I could move this monster – even out to the garage. I like to recycle things if I can, so I contacted several charities, but they didn’t want to pick up such a heavy object, and they might not want it when they saw it. What to do? I found a company that for a fee (which I was happy to pay at this point) removes ‘Junk’ and would attempt to take it to a charity, but if rejected, they would dispose of it. Perfect. I scheduled them for Tuesday.

I wouldn’t be home on Wednesday and Thursday, so I scheduled the delivery of the new desk (To be assembled – not by me) on Thursday when I would be there to have them put it in my garage.

Then the following Saturday, the Geek Squad would come out and assemble the desk and reset up the computer and printer as part of the sale of the desk. What could go wrong?

To be continued…

A Christmas Story For You

 As we approach Christmas Day, I would like to share with you the story about my favorite Christmas ornament. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

 

My Favorite Christmas Ornament

As a young Physical Therapist, I had just moved to Orlando and was to celebrate my first Christmas in Florida. I bought an artificial Christmas tree since I was allergic to pine. I had no ornaments for my tree, so I went on a hunt for them throughout the Orlando area. Of course, I bought a few at Disney’s Buena Vista Shopping area even though it stretched my budget. I also got a few from discount stores. Nevertheless, my tree was not very full. The lights had to be the main event. However not long before Christmas I went to the grocery store (Publix) and there was a display of non-breakable ornaments that weren’t at all fancy, but I spied one that was especially poignant for me.

On the front of a foam bulb, on a white background was a picture that spoke to me. It was of a small child dressed in warm clothes with a background of old fashioned London-type houses reminiscent of the times of Charles Dickens. The little boy had an axillary crutch under one arm and on the same side, his foot was off the ground. He was smiling and waving with his free hand. I’m sure he was meant to portray Tiny Tim of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. This picture spoke to me because of my everyday work with children who were disabled and using crutches of all types. His happy outgoing demeanor reminded me of the children I worked with who despite their disabilities, knew no other way of life and therefore asked not for pity or sadness, but lived their lives like any other happy child.

On the back of the ornament was this quote from A Christmas Carol.

“And it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us, Everyone!”

Every year when I put this ornament on my tree I think of all the children I have helped over the years, but the truth of the matter is I have been blessed immeasurably by working with them. So every year I pray that they have been blessed with good lives as much as I have been blessed by them.

Tiny Tim

God Bless Us, Everyone!

What about you? What ornament is your favorite and what is the story behind it? Comments are welcome below.

Thoughts on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving sign

Thanksgiving is such a wonderful holiday. It is a North American holiday – Oh yes, Canada enjoys that holiday too, but not on the same calendar day. In Canada, the celebration is on the second Monday of October, but in the USA it is the fourth Thursday of November. Traditionally it a day set aside to be thankful for the bounty of the Harvest, and the blessings received all year. It is a family day – a day that families gather to eat a bountiful meal, watch parades, and football!

The origins of Thanksgiving in the USA go back to the French and Spanish explorers who set aside thanksgiving time when they had safely arrived in the New World. In Jamestown, the tradition was born of having a feast to celebrate the harvest.

In my family, the day was celebrated with a groaning table of food – laid out with the ‘good china and glassware.’ My Mother and Grandmother would spend hours in the kitchen cooking the turkey and all the wonderful vegetables from our garden. Of course, no Thanksgiving day would be complete without Pumpkin pie – piled high with whipped cream. After the meal, the ladies would clean the table and divvy up the leftovers to the guests. Then they would wash and dry the good china and glasses for the next big event of Christmas Day. The men and sometimes the smallest children would retire to the TV set to watch football. I have some very good memories of listening to the family gossip as my mother, aunts, and Grandmother had me help with the dishes. I was always sorry to see the end of the day come.

I want to share with you the first memory I have of a Thanksgiving Day celebration. This took place at my grandparents’ house in Eden, Ohio.

Thanksgiving Table

Grandma’s Holiday Table

I awoke to the smell of pumpkin pies wafting through the house. The pleasant spicy smell at once told my brain that it was Thanksgiving Day, and we would soon be on our way to Grandma’s house. Being only five, I did not have many memories of celebration dinners, but those I did remember were full of colorful decorations, candy, and so much delicious food there was no way I could eat it all. I couldn’t wait for the day to start.

Soon mom had gotten myself and my two older sisters up and moving to wash and get ready to go for the hour and a half drive to Edon, Ohio, where my grandparents lived. Mom made our favorite cinnamon bread for breakfast. Then managed to shepherd us all into our matching dresses for this special event. I remember bouncing up and down at the back window with excitement as I awaited Dad packing the old black Chevy for the trip. At last, it was time!

The three of us girls piled into the backseat – with me in the middle because I was the littlest. I longed to be big enough to be able to sit by a window, but today I forgot my jealousy and sat quietly for the first fifteen minutes of the ride.

“Are we there yet?” I questioned.

My big sister, Aletha, punched my arm, “Of course not! Remember, we have to go out of town first, then to Harlan, then Hicksville, and then Edgerton and then we will get to Grandma and Grandpa’s house.”

“Harlan, Hicksville, Edgerton!” All three of us repeatedly chanted. “Harlan, Hicksville, Edgerton …”

In the front seat, mom stopped talking to daddy and instead started us singing rounds of “Sweet Silver Bells.”

“Sweet Silver bells upon a slender stalk,

Lilies of the Valley grace my garden walk.

Oh don’t you wish

That you could hear them ring,

That can only happen if the fairies sing,”

 

Each of us knew when to chime in after mom had started the round. We went on and on until Mom stopped, and then each of us would stop in turn. Once we got started on rounds, we continue to sing such rounds, such as: “Are you sleeping? Are you sleeping, Brother John?”; “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”; and “Three Blind Mice.”   That would usually get us to Hicksville, where an Aunt that lived in a huge three-storied house where she rented out rooms. But today, we would not stop because we were going to Edon to eat Thanksgiving Day dinner with Grandma and Grandpa.

The three of us all began the chant again, “Harlan, Hicksville, Edgerton. Harlan, Hicksville, Edgerton.” As we saw the familiar signs taking us to Edgerton, Ohio, our excitement peaked.

“What do you suppose we will have to eat today?” Aletha asked.

“Turkey,” Martha and I shouted. “Mashed potatoes!” “Gravy!” “Peas!” “Corn on the cob!”

My mouth was watering by the time we pulled up to the familiar house of my Grandparents. They greeted us as usual. I hung back as my Grandmother always intimidated me. My refuge was my Grandfather. We were pals. He, too, was quiet as I was, so we stuck together in the bustle of the day.

I walked into the living room, and before me was a dazzling sight. I could see into the dining room where the table stretched out as big as it could go to accommodate all seven of us. In the middle was a big cornucopia filled with all colors and sizes of gourds. The table was already laid out with a full complement of silverware at each place, along with fancy napkins. Even the water goblets my Grandmother rarely took out of the China cabinet were carefully stationed at each place. Equally elegant was the tempting small china baskets filled with candy that sat at on each person’s plate. I saw my place as it had a taller chair so I could reach the table. My eyes could not stop going back to that candy basket. For a five-year-old, it was mighty tempting. Couldn’t I just steal one piece of candy? My hand was wandering in that direction when the wrath of my Grandmother descended on me.

“No candy before we eat, or I will take away all of your candy.” She scolded sternly. As a sensitive child, I was humiliated and fled the dining room.

As the day progressed, more delights appeared on the table: many varieties of pickles – including my Grandmother’s watermelon pickles, green olives; black olives – which were so much fun to place on the tips of your fingers before eating; pickles; celery and carrots. The temptation to steal a morsel grew as did my hunger. In the hub-bub, I saw my sisters snitch an olive or two, so I did too. I was the unfortunate one to get caught and was told to “Stay out of the way and away from the table!” Easier said than done.

It is a fact that ‘stay out of the way’ for a hungry five-year-old who faced such a spread was a difficult mission indeed –especially when the smells emanating from the kitchen made my mouth water continually. After being scolded a third and fourth time, I was not only hungry but near tears too.  My Grandfather came to my rescue. He sat in his rocking chair, put me in his lap, and comforted me. “We shall ‘Stay out of the way’ together.” He whispered.

His rocking chair was situated in a secluded nook by the stairs and yet had a view of the path that led to and from the kitchen. As he rocked me, it soothed my hurt feelings and nearly put me to sleep.

At last, the words we all were waiting for came – “Dinner is served!”  Grandpa situated me in the highest chair as everyone gathered. The candles lit, and the huge golden turkey was brought in like a trophy for a winning team. My dad said a long prayer of thanks. At “Amen,” we knew the feast would start.  And what a feast it was! Mother filled my plate with little bits of everything – turkey – white and dark meat, mashed potatoes with yummy gravy, vegetables of all types, and my favorites watermelon pickles and black olives. All washed down with a big glass of cold milk. I was not a picky eater at all. Everything seemed wonderful to me! I ate until I was bursting. By consensus, the family agreed that dessert would be put off for a while.

Grandpa and I withdrew to his rocking chair and soon were snoozing as my mom, and older sisters helped to clean the table and wash the dishes. Later in the afternoon, we had the pies – my mother’s pumpkin pie piled high with whipped cream, and my grandmother’s lemon meringue pie. (Which to this very day I have never tasted anything as good as that lemon meringue pie!)

Despite my hurt feelings and natural, childlike resentment of ‘staying out of the way,’ the day was to be remembered as one of my favorite holidays at my Grandparents’ house.

Cloud Illusions – Searching for Baby

clouds 2

If you have been reading along on this blog, you are aware I lost my sweet Belle, my Poodle/Bishon Frise mix in July. For the last six weeks or so, I have been looking for another dog to fill my heart again. My house hasn’t been the same since Belle joined her sisters in Doggie Heaven. Every day I would pull up website after website – looking for a small dog that would fit my lifestyle – basically sluggish. As I am limited in my ability to walk a dog, I would need a dog that wouldn’t mind her exercise to be chasing a toy in my moderate-sized walled-in backyard. I was hoping to find a dog that was potty trained and knew how to use doggie pee pads too. A puppy’s energy would be too much for me to handle.

KennelSeveral times a week, I would visit my local shelters. There were plenty of big dogs; Pitbulls, German shepherds, and hounds, but a dearth of small dogs. Don’t get me wrong I would have loved to have taken any one of those dogs home, but I knew I couldn’t give them the home they needed. When I would see a small dog that might be appropriate, they had already been adopted and were waiting to go to their fur-ever homes. I was getting frustrated.

 

Every day I went without a dog, I grew more upset. I would look at the spot where Belle’s bed had been and be nearly in tears wanting so much to have another sweet dog fill that spot. I eventually realized I had little control over this situation, and therefore in my prayers, I gave the outcome over to God – trusting that it would all unfold as it should.

Then near midnight on Sunday, October 27th, I was looking at the Orange County Animal Services website and saw three possible dogs that were available; two Shih Tzus – one tan/white and the other gray/white; and an eleven-year-old white poodle with apricot markings. Three dogs that might fit my needs! Still, I felt a bit anxious when I set out the next day to see these dogs. Could one of these dogs really be the dog for me?

When I arrived, I quickly set off for the small dog area of the kennels. I saw three people Four types of dogs in cage illustrationsurrounding one kennel. There they were – all three in one kennel! A young man was asking about the gray and white dog. I read on the kennel card that the tan and white dog was already adopted. That left the poodle. She was sweet looking and very friendly. But an eleven-year-old dog! My first thoughts were what kind of medical problems would she have?  Putting my reservations aside, I asked to have a meet-and-greet in the play yard with her.

I followed the volunteer that put the leash on her out to a fenced-in area of artificial grass. I found out the little poodle’s name was Winnie. I called her by name, but she seemed uninterested – not that she was uninterested in me or in any way shy. There were some very good things I noticed about her. She didn’t mind other dogs, whether they were bigger or smaller than she was. She let me pick her up and was fine sitting and cuddling beside me on the bench. She liked to play fetch – not excessively – but that might have been because it was super hot out there. I was still on the fence about adopting her. What was holding me back?

The second volunteer sat next to me, and she was trying hard to sell me on her. That’s when I looked up above the roof of the shelter. The volunteer’s voice floated away. There in the sky was a single cloud formation that looked exactly like the poodle before me. I couldn’t keep my eyes off of it and pointed it out to the volunteer. She, too, was amazed at the poodle cloud. She told me it was a sign – like I had to be convinced! The dog was mine to have for sure.

Since Winnie never responded to that name, I tried a bunch of fancy poodle names; Fifi, Princess, Gigi, Dutchess – she didn’t respond to any of them. Was she deaf? No, she did respond to loud noises but not powerfully – perhaps she was just hard of hearing. After all, she was eleven. In frustration, I said, “What am I going to call you, baby?” And wouldn’t you know? Her little docked tail wagged, and she looked at me. So from that point on, I have called her Baby.

There is no doubt that Baby has become my best friend. She so easily transitioned into my life – it’s like we had been waiting for each other. I guess the moral of this story is things will work out and take care of themselves if you have faith and are open to all possibilities.

MY BABY

Baby groomed

Comments are welcome!