Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Under Attack

A story was sent to me this morning by my father-in-law, Winston. He could not have known how much this story would have hit home, as he does not know of my blog, nor of my latest writing endeavors. Hit home it did and brought me right back around to the story of the men in Wisconsin suing for rights to burn a book which dared to offend them. The story he sent me was from just last year, in which a man, student and employee of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, was accused and found guilty of racial harassment by the University, for no greater crime then reading a book in his free time. Please take the 15 minutes it takes to watch this story. It is a truly disturbing look into one of the supposed bastions of education in our country.

The literary world, it seems, is under attack as of late. The very presence of some works causes outrage and threatens to tear society asunder, or so some would choose to have us believe. This is not the fault of the literary works in question however, but rather the finger can be pointed squarely at the people who stand by and watch as the written word is attacked. Whatever the form of the attack, be it burning of the works, punishing those that read the work, banning of the works from our libraries. These are all blatant attacks on the written word and those who embrace it. How can we as a nation who was built on liberty allow these continued outrages to occur?

The written word is sacred, when all else is lost, it goes on. It tells the stories which must be told.

In this world of blurring lines and constant compromise, where will we draw the line and stand our ground. When is enough, enough? If these events go unchecked, what book will be the next one, to be burned, or to get its reader accused of harassment? When will we, as a united people who believe in our freedoms, stand up against this onslaught?

If it can be said that a person merely reading a book quietly to themselves is a form of harassment, then I am guilty a thousand times over, and I will be guilty countless more times before my days are through.

Monday, June 22, 2009


So here it is June 22nd, the first official full day of summer, according someone.

Well, I think I'm going to have to dispute this. It's in the 50's, it's windy, rainy, just plain downright un-summer like. I had the heat on in my car today, I've been wearing sweatshirts (and still I'm cold), so I am afraid I have to veto the idea that this is summer.

I know, I live in New England and therefore I get what I get and I better be happy about it. You live in New England and you take your chances, that's the bottom line. But come on, seriously end of June and we aren't even breaking 60 degrees. It's just hitting the ludicrous mark at this point. Spring to summer, it's supposed to be a time of transition, kids getting out of school, summer flowers bursting to life, cool breezes giving way to blistering heat. Yet here we are stuck in what seems to be perpetual spring, early spring at that.

They say summer is coming, it will show itself eventually. I'll believe it when I see it, I'm not convinced. The rain, the gloom, they seem to have a very firm hold on our little area. It's hard to picture them relinquishing their chilling grasp any time in the near future.

So I'm off to write, off to where the weather follows my whims and the sun can shine freely upon the green fields as warm breezes gently caress roses in bloom. Yep that’s summer, or what it should be if I weren't in New England.

Oh well I still love it here.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I thought about writing this last week, but I had better things to do.
(If you didn't at least smile at that, stop reading)

No, seriously though, this really only came to me today.
I guess some could say that blogging is just another form of procrastination, seeing as I have so much writing to do. For me it isn't though. Writing down these thoughts helps to clear them from my brain and leave my mind, if only for a short while, a little less cluttered. So onto today's topic: Brought to you by the teenager

I don't quite understand it, the idea of procrastination. I mean I know I must do it myself, although I do try to not do it consciously. Every day though it seems as if I am surrounded by perpetual procrastination.

Now I am a PAINFULLY organized person, if it isn't in the schedule, it doesn't happen. I am up at the same time every day I follow nearly the exact same schedule every day. Laundry is done at the same time each week, dinner is made at the same time each night, you catch my meaning. I am probably some classification of crazy. I did not come by this genetically. Sadly for my step kids, my husband is very much like me, albeit in slightly different ways.

It would seem their form of teenage rebellion has decided to take the form of complete and utter chaos. It would take an act of God to find something in either of their rooms, and heaven forbid they try to keep even a slight handle on their own schedules. Both are in high school at this point, so they really should be in keeping track of, at the very least, the things that matter to them. Yet it seems like almost a daily occurrence that I hear the phrase, or some variation of it, "I didn't have time" or "I almost forgot". I can't help but think, and occasionally say, "You did have time", "you've had weeks", "you've known about that for months", and I shake my head and move on, a little more bewildered by the human psyche then I was before.

If something is important, I mean really important, I would think that procrastinating would never be an issue. Yet paperwork for leadership camp, transportation arrangements for parties, sign up forms for activities and things they want to do with school, even down to a simple thing like a grocery list each week, continually fall by the wayside, despite endless reminders. Yet, when these things don't happen, it's always a disappointment, always a surprise that things didn't magically come together to lay down a golden path of perfection before their feet. And again I am puzzled.

I will add, for anyone who doesn't know me, I'm a bit insane, I will arrange to be somewhere 15 minutes before I really have to be, rather than be even 1 minute late. The idea of ignoring deadlines, or trying to pull strings to get what I want, or expecting someone else to do all the legwork, it is a very foreign concept. They are also not concepts these kids were raised with. We live in a 'if you want something done, get off your butt and make it happen' house. If you want something above and beyond your allowance you have two options, wait and save up or take on some extra jobs to earn a bit more. That is not to say there aren't treats, but frankly there is a difference between the occasional treat and spoiling your kids. If you don't know the difference, guess what, you’re probably doing the later.

How many opportunities must be lost, how many once in a lifetime things will be slept through all because of the idea that everything will just work out. Get off that butt, do what needs to be done. Got a project or assignment? GET TO WORK! If you don't you can't sit there and wonder why it didn't get done, or why it didn't turn out how you expected it too. You put it off, you didn't give it you undivided attention when you should have, it wasn't going to do itself.

Things can only be as good as the work you put into them, the effort you invest. So what's it going to be?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Things that make you say, HUNH?

So I know my friend Jen has covered this topic on her blog, but really this should be being discussed in every venue; every dinner table, classroom, book club, church, and town square. If there are people gathered in any quantity, they should have, at the very least, some inkling of the true implications of this.

OK, I have gotten ahead of myself on this one, but seriously, this is one of the most disturbing things I have read recently. This group in Wisconsin seems to think that a valid response for something they don't like, is to BURN it. Really? That is what seems like a valid, rational, educated response to something that displeases you. Um, at what point did madness take hold of these people? I would like to think that I live in a country where rational thought and common sense have at least a slight foothold. Yet here we sit reading a story where 4 men, can even get in the door with a lawsuit that frankly should have had them laughed clear out of the state. Book Burning, because you don't like the content? How about don't read it. Advise your friends and family not to read it.

I mean if I don't like a TV show I just don't watch it, don't like a shock jock on the radio, well conveniently enough there 100 other stations I can listen too. I don't jump right to the condemnation and burning of said offense. Maybe I'm just too mild mannered. Maybe that is the next logical step and I just missed the crazy boat.

This country was founded on the principle of free speech, and yet if these men have their way, the freedom of one writer will have been squashed, the freedom of other library patrons to read the book if they choose, will be squashed. If these men have their way, if they are given into, what will be the next book burned because it offends someone? Where will the line be drawn?

As someone who has loved books for as long as I can remember and has only recently taken my first foray into the writing world, I find this horrific. The idea of burning a book, any book, regardless of it content is truly offensive. The thought that they have not been laughed out of the court room, that they have gotten the publicity they have, is astonishing.

I hope that everyone who comes across this story and thinks for one second that these men have a valid point or think for a second that just maybe they may be right....Remember book burning rarely ends with just one book, and it rarely ends with only books being the targets of the hate that lies behind it.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Love, Death, & Data Loss

So a normal, run of the mill Sunday, has become a wee bit o hell.

I should say, so as to help people understand, that we are the last house on our particular power line. There is no one after us, the poles come to an end at our driveway. As such a wet sponge thrown anywhere in a 2 mile radius can cause a sudden and most displeasureable outage of our power for anywhere from five seconds to five hours. AND... we have a tendency to have massive power spikes at any and all times, to the point that we blow light bulbs at least once a week.

So yes, we have back up drives, we have surge protectors, battery back ups and a generator. Even with all of these things bad things still happen.

A transformer down the street from us caught fire, and we lost power. Of course our battery back up for our main computer did NOT kick in, and it's lovely little screen faded to black. Power came back up within a minute or so and after waiting our customary wait time to restart everything, we kicked everything back on to fill the house with our delightful little bit of white noise....and power promptly clicked off once again. You guessed it the battery back up once again shirked it's duties and the screen immediately blinked out.

We doubled our wait time after power decided to return, just in case it was once again trying to play us for fools. Everything slowly started to come back up. Oh but it didn't, the main computer, the computer with all our information, all of our programs, that one did not. It tried , have to give the little critter credit it did try so very hard, but when the primary hard drive is fried there is little that even the most loyal of computers can do to heed your commands.

So here we are, all of our data lost, for at least the past week, possible longer, as we have yet to get into the computer via reformatting, to see just how much of the previous data our external has truly been saving every Monday morning. I guess we will find out soon enough, if it is as much as we are hoping, but who knows how much an auto save setting really covers on one of these things.

All my fears realized, everyone said I was being paranoid to save my most current work in two separate locations, to have another saved location that was no more then 24 hours old. Three locations, it's silly some said. Oh but I've lost work before, I know how unspeakable a thing it can be to see weeks or months of work vanish in the blink of an eye when a hard drive crashes.

So here I sit, yes I've lost some email with some suggestions, but I can get those resent to me, I have lost some time,as I will have to reinstall many a program, some data which while unfortunate is hardly the end of the world. What haven't I lost, I haven't lost seven chapters, countless hours of painstaking work. They remain safe, secure, on both this computer (the spare computer) and on my shiny new flash drive purchased only a few hours ago, and my old faithful flash drive (which is being retired for day to day use).

So let this be a lesson to all those who say saving in multiple spots is silly, and to all those who might allow themselves to be swayed by the naysayers. Save. Save often. Save in as many different places and forms as you can. It is nothing to take a few extra minutes to save your work in an extra place or two, but it is everything if you loose weeks, or months of work simply because you thought you would be safe. You are never safe if you put all your proverbial eggs in one basket.

I say again.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Who took my day?

Ok so this morning was another day. Grand plans were formulated in the depths of my brain. I was going to get so much accomplished. Countless pages would be written, the house would be scrubbed from top to bottom, dishes might get put away.

Well now it is after 1 P.M. and I've typed all of four sentences, made the bed, and fed the cats. Oh and took a shower, can't forget that. So much for grand plans. In just over an hour I have to head out and pick up Alex (my most lovable step daughter) from school, and then my husband will be getting ready to come home, and then the day is over. My grand plans shattered like so many broken dishes. (hey it's easier then putting them away)

So where did my day go? Who stole it?

I suppose no one did, it was forfit from the time I rose from bed. I had planned too much and as a result none of it got accomplished. While there is still time to salvage some of the day, there is no getting back on track for that which has passed. No being Super Woman for the day, flying about the house with the speed of a million wives/mothers. I have to accept I am but a mere mortal, unable to see all my lofty plans come to fruition the moment I realize that they are in fact plans. I have no magic wand. (although that would be really friggin cool)

Maybe tomorrow I should set slightly more realistic goals. Entertain some friends, maybe write a few paragraphs if I have some free time, at the very least maybe edit a few that I have already written, go see the play Zach (my super cool stepson) is directing. Nothing superhuman, nothing beyond the realm of possibility. Who knows maybe I'll even get it all done.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

White Residue

So I decided to do a load of dishes this morning. The sink was once again over flowing with dishes, and I would need at least a few of them to make dinner tonight. So I figured what the heck might as well get it over with.

Now I should say I am not one of these people who do a load of dishes, immediately unload it and put them all away, so I can put dirty dishes in the dishwasher as they become dirty.
No. I'm a dishes stay in the dishwasher until I either need a dish from it or the sink is so full I have no choice but too unload it, so as to reap the rewards of more clean dishes. Rarely do I even open said dishwasher unless one of the aforementioned events occurs.

Well the later happened, and knowing myself as I do, I knew that I would forget later in the day so I had best get to doing them while they were fresh in my mind. Easy enough, take the clean dishes from within the magic washing box, and load in the dirty. Wash, rinse, repeat...
Not quite. I should also say, I have a love hate relationship with my dishwasher. Sometimes it gets the dishes clean, other times it decided to clean only some of its charges and yet others it goes on strike completely, often making the dishes in it's care dirtier then when they went in. It's a very talented dish washer.

As of late, it has been doing it's partial job, dishes on the bottom cleaning, but ones on the top remaining less then spotless. Oh but not this morning, this morning I discovered it had decided to go on strike again with its last washing, smearing a think white residue on everything in its confines.

So out comes the scrub brush and the dish detergent, you would think I'd be used to hand washing dishes at this point. No, I hate dishes, wish a passion. It's a vile horrid little job, especially in a house of six people. But it was my fate this morning, so after checking the dishwasher, refilling all the little nooks and crannies that need this gel or this liquid or that powder, I refilled the dishwasher with the dishes from the sink, making sure no one from the dishwasher found there way back in with the others. They may be the source of the problem after all. And started up the dishwasher, hoping against hope that my extra attentiveness this morning would appease it in some small manner and it would then see fit to provide me with clean, useable dishes.

So with the dishwasher humming away, I set to the pile of dishes in front of me, all the while thinking it's going to be one of those days. These days suck. I was tired, I hadn't slept well, the dishes had been dirty. It was going to be an all around craptastic day.

As I put the last dish down, I realized I had been wrong, the dishes were done, sure I hadn't dried them. Hey anyone ever heard of air drying? I don't own a hair dryer either, in case you were wondering. The dishes were done and the worst of the day was over, all before nine am. I still had the whole day in front of me, and clean dishes. So twice the win. Just like that the white residue which had been weighing me down all morning, was washed away. I hadn't even realized I had my own white residue, holding me back and keeping me from taking advantage of everything the day could offer. Until it was gone.

We all have our own white residue, whether it is a project we need to do, or a job we dislike, a person that makes our lives less the great. We all have it, but it's up too each of us, do we let it hold us back, or do we wash it away and choose to make the most of the day.

I say wash it away, enjoy the day despite the challenges, take control and realize that they don't make up everything, they are only as big as you let them be. If it's a crappy job, take pride in doing your best, let your hard work and dedication wash away the residue. If it's a project sink your teeth into it with all your might so that when it's done you can put your name upon it and know that it is exactly what you want people to see, to know you for. If it's a person, ignore them, pity them, chances are if they are trying to make your life miserable, theirs has been miserable for a very long time, after all misery love company.

I've washed off my white residue, how about you?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Remodeling Life

So a friend was talking about having some remodeling done, and she asked if the people knew what they were doing. It got me thinking. Do any of us really ever know what we are doing? I mean we may have some training, or at least be somewhat skilled in a given field, but do we ever really know? I think we are all just taking things as they come. Living through the random sequence of events each day brings our way, and hoping that by some twist of fate, we are able to pull things off and not make total blundering baboons of ourselves.

I don't know, maybe that’s just me.

Although, if you stop and think about everything you have seen and done in your life. I mean really reflect on everything. We all had no clue what we were doing when we started; we figured it out as we went along. Be it talking, walking, riding a bike, driving a car, parenting, writing, building computers, whatever our endeavor might have been. We were all novices at these things at one point or another. Only with work and practice and many a skinned knee, bruised ego, and/ or painful humiliating memory, did we get better, maybe even down right proficient. It all worked out in the end. (Or maybe it didn't, who am I to say)

So maybe even when we want something done, maybe it doesn't matter if the people know what they are doing. Maybe the learning is just as important, I might even argue more important. The adventure of learning something new, or starting a new project, that is the real excitement, even if it doesn't end as you expect. Who knows maybe it will be better then you expected.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

New to all this

So I have started writing. It rather odd to me, putting the thoughts and feelings that normally writhe about in my brain down in a literary form. Out there for others to see, as with this blog, or down into manuscript form, wondering, praying that some day they may be cohesive enough to find their way into a published work.

Why then you ask? Why do this, if it seems so odd, so alien? Well I'll tell you. My friend Jen, a published author, and all around awesome person. She told me, yes it's true it was months ago, but she told me, well if you have these ideas just write them down. Well I guess I could. No one would ever want to read them though, I was pretty sure of that. After all the last time I took a writing course I was in high school. I was hardly of any sort of professional caliber.

Yet maybe I am wrong, I was hesitant, but I gave a small sample to a few people, too get feedback, and they liked them. Or they said they did. Maybe they were just sparing my feelings, hoping I would get bored and give up after a few weeks. Then again they know me, I'm all sorts of stubborn, so that's unlikely. Maybe they really did like the writing. Who knows, only them I suppose.

So I did start writing, and now oddly enough I can't stop. It's what I think of when I get up in the morning, fairly early in the morning. It's what I think of before I go to sleep at night, fairly late at night. All day it's what I want to do, it's a bit maddening for my poor husband. I think he's beginning to feel like a widower.

Is this what it supposed to be like? Does it get better with time? Am I just completely insane? (Anyone who knows me is not allowed to answer that last question.)

Who knows if this insane experiment will have lasting repercussions. I guess if you ever see my name in a bookstore we'll know for sure. Until then I guess it's time to just write and hope.