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Writing Sparks

On the Two Writing Teachers blog, we were challenged to identify ‘one little word’ for 2014. I’ve been pondering this for weeks, not being able to come up with anything original, cute, or meaningful . The only word I could come up with was ‘write’ as I knew I’d be taking more writing courses, and I had purchased a book to use as my first writer’s notebook.

Then as I read about others finding their word, they described how instead of finding a word, their word found them. For my first writing task of my new course, I was writing (again!) about the sunrises that I observe, and comparing the sparkling sun to the sparks of writing that I have been experiencing, how each day is an opportunity for something new, and each writing experience is a new experience. We never know how either one will turn out, until we are at the other end, and turn and look back.  Then as I was reading one of my assignments, the instructor used the word ‘spark’. Huh. 

So let the sparks fly, in the morning, and in the writer’s notebook. We’ll watch and see where the light shines.

Happy writing!

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Happy New Year

Happy New Year

First photo of the year.
This represents my goal to organize my photos so I can find and use them when I want them! So far so good! One photo, one day, and I have the photo in a folder on my Dropbox.

Second goal: WRITE. One of the online writing groups in which I participate challenged us to have a word for 2014. I thought about it for a couple weeks, and this sums it up.

My third goal: reduce sugar and wheat. I’ve done this before, and always felt better when I did. When did saying “Happy New Year” and “I’m going on a diet” become partners?

Bestest and Mostest of 2013

Wow. Where did 2013 go? For me, it went to these memories:

Most Missed Friend: Linda Ilse (February 1: slipped from our sight into the many loving arms of those already gone to heaven)

Best Funeral: Linda Ilse (Have YOU made YOUR bucket list yet? Better yet, what have you crossed OFF your bucket list??)

Best Deposition of Remains: Shaunti, Allie, and Linda into Penobscot Bay off Schoodic.

Most Precious Jewelry: TIE:  

*I have the honor to wear a beautiful cross necklace that belonged to Linda and her mother before her.

*Silver silhouette charms of my grandchildren given to me on my birthday.

Best Road Trip: From Erie PA to Michigan and Indiana to visit Paul’s relatives, Aunt Martha and Uncle Wes, and his childhood homes and schools (including Valparaiso Tech), topping it off with a couple days at Gettysburg.

Best Ski Trip: Peak ‘N Peak in New York with Karen and Mary for Mary’’s first ski experience.Photo Mar 10, 6 50 33 PM

Most Successful Operation: Right knee – again, but how do I know it was successful this time? I went skiing the other day and had NO pain during or after. Yeah! Peak ‘N Peak: here we come!

Best Night’s Sleep: I had about a dozen nights in October & November where I slept through the night. Unusual because I haven’t slept throught the night a dozen times my entire life!

Could it be a result of the ‘best exercise’…?

Best Exercise: yoga video given to me by my sister-in-law. Have done it regularly since August.

Best Professional Course: National Writing Project. Should be on every – EVERY – teacher’s to-do list.

Best Book Read: The Book Thief (huh, this is a repeat. Must be because now I’ve listened to the audio book twice and read it once. The audio book is the BEST!)

Best Children’s Picture Book: “Mitchell Goes Bowling” by Hallie Durand (even if it is ten pin and not candlepin bowling; this brought back the sounds and smells of our family-owned Lakeside Lanes)

My Best Old Friends: Trudy, Linda, Betty, Glenda, and Carolyn. Still.

Best Purchase: Insulated, room-darkening drapes for the bedroom. They really work! Can’t tell you the brand name as I purchased them from Overstock.com, but they are “Insulated Thermal Blackout Curtain Panel Pair”, item #11109715 (these are not the foam-backed drapes).

Best Photos: I actually took a sunrise photo every month as close to the 20th-21st as possible, considering the weather. I wanted a record of the sun’s annual trek across the sky. Maybe soon I’ll get them in one place to share! The best of these was on Easter morning! (See separate blog post!)

Quietest Holidays: Thanksgiving and Christmas. To those of you who look at the holidays as busy and hectic with tons of company to entertain, just remember: “This too shall pass.”

Today’s Lake Report

Every morning upon waking my first gaze is out the window to see what the lake looks like today. I’ve lived here for over 20 years, and before that, it was my family’s summer home. What amazes me is that it looks different every day. It could be the weather, the season, or the varying time I rise.

A summer resident recently emailed me to ask what is was like on the lake that day. Then she said, “Write me a picture.”

Can you see this:

Today, the lake is liquid blue, with scattered arenas of ripples stretching their way across the cove. Waves that could easily turn to whitecaps roll and roll towards a destination unseen.

Waving left, and towards shore, then right and away from shore. Back and forth, scattered here and there. These breezes would send a sail slapping, slapping as it tried to gain a tack.

Smaller ripples in big bands of brightness reach away and return, changing the deep blue to a pale blue and back in the blink of an eye. The disturbed ruffled areas are interspersed with calm, floating small swells, and occasional sections of utterly flat. One needs to continually look closer to see if the water molecules have subcumbed to the cooling temperatures, for some areas are so flat they must be frozen..

How to describe this ever-changing mass of liquid? I feel like the early Arctic peoples trying to create names for all the different types of snow. I better get started…

A New Thanksgiving Memory

Before Thanksgiving, many of us were sharing memories of the past. Now, we may have new stories to tell. Here’s mine:

How often we assume that the elderly, being quiet and nearly motionless, have little to share as they lie in their nursing home beds. My aunt was never known as a particularly interesting or musical person during her young adulthood, sort of the ‘forgotten child’, the quiet one, observing but not participating. But she has changed over the years, and now, in her 83rd year of life, she loves to talk of childhood stories and family gossip from decades ago. And she sings. Her daughter brings her ukulele, and eye to eye and smile to smile they sing favorite religious songs, especially those from the Baptist upbringing.

They used to come to our house for the holiday, but this year my husband and I traveled to join them at her nursing home dinner table. After dinner, snuggled back into her bed, we started singing to her, then with her, as we sang as many Christmas songs as we knew. When we ran out of Christmas songs, we started in on the gospel songs.

And then, my aunt sang this:

“On a hill, far away, stood an old Chevrolet…”  We erupted in laughter. It was totally unexpected, as my cousin had sung “The Old Rugged Cross” with her many times.

It has been over 50 years since my grandfather owned his Chevrolet dealership. Gone but certainly not forgotten! My aunt and her siblings must have sung that line under their breath during church services. Heaven help them had they been caught! But who made up this line? Was it my aunt? Was it my grandfather? Perhaps he had a sense of humor, too!

Where had this tidbit of fun been stored in my aunt’s memories? What triggered it to surface on this day?

Regardless of it’s origin, it gave us bellyaches as we laughed and begged her for more such lines. This will be a holiday story to pass down!

“Out of the Way, Parsons!”

And so began a trail of common interests. We hiked. We paddled. We raced and lally-gagged (I am so not sure how to spell that, and Linda would spell it with a Texas accent). We did day trips and overnighters. We became a threesome with Betty Parsons, 20 years our senior and outdoor woman extraodinaire! Sometimes we dragged along Betty’s niece to even things out. I was always in the bow, Linda or Betty in the stern. 

We actually won a canoe race! The Moose River in Rockwood started on a lake, and required a portage. Race officials were posted to be sure there was no cheating. Betty landed at the portage just before us, and as we rolled in I hollered “Out of the way, Parsons!” The poor race official did not know we were friends, and I thought we might get thrown out of the race for unsportsmanlike behavior. 

Probably we should have stopped there, as after a nice ‘leisurely’ paddle down the Moose River, we encountered the infamous wind and waves of Moosehead Lake. Once out on the lake, the wind became almost violent. I kept yelling back to Linda, “We could make headway if you’d stop paddling backwards!” as the waves crashed over the bow, soaking me to the bone. 

We bore down, stroke after stroke, not daring to get too near the shore for fear of crashing, nor daring to get too far out in case we swamped. We finally rounded the bend of the cove toward the finish line, and there we pulled ourselves to a first place finish for our class! Awesome!

Linda’s trophy still sits atop her fireplace mantle, and I smile every time I see it. What a fun day. Thank you, Mizzz Parsons!

Bestest and Mostest

My 2012 memories, in no particular order:

Most Grateful for: Linda’s recovery

Best Blessing: Attending grandson Matthew’s birth on September 28

Biggest Sorrow: Deaths of Aunt Muriel (March) and Uncle Anthony (November) both age 83; Death of my buddy Byron (January)

Best Brother: Tom (oh, yeah, he’s my only brother) And I could go on and on: Best Daughter: Karen, Best Son-in-Law: Peter, Best Sister-in-Law: Sandy, Best Granddaughter: Mary, Best Grandson: Matthew…

Best Book Read: The Book Thief

Best Purchase: My first-ever brand-new vehicle, 2012 Ford Edge (sorry, Grampy, it’s not a Chevy)

Funniest Memory: Never-been-to-Enfield-before visitor’s car in our septic tank hole (see separate post)

Best Plane Flight EVER: PWM to BWI nonstop, and hassle-free

New Doctor: Dr. Kathleen Martin (even if we do have to drive to Lewiston)

Best New TV Show: Doc Martin (no relation)

Best Traditional Food: Paul’s cheesecake, actually tied with Ricetta’s pizza, which is why we really don’t mind driving to Lewiston occassionally!)

Best Movie: Lincoln (Paul and I actually went to the theater!)

Best New Christmas Party: EMCC with Paul

Biggest Risk: Going public with my blogs

Best New Mental Challenge: going for my C.A.S. (thanks for the push, Brenda!)

Who’s Brenda? My New Best Friend

My Old Best Friends: Trudy, Linda, Betty, Linda, and Glenda

Best Traditional Christmas Party: With ‘The Girls’photo

What are YOUR bestest and mostest of 2012?