Making Mistakes

Recently I was applying a thick coating of antibiotic cream to an abrasion my eldest error-101407_1920achieved from doing something she realized (in retrospect) was a bad idea. It was while listening to her hiss in pain as she attempted to hold still that I was struck with a thought. Kids are a second chance to learn from your own mistakes.

You see, the thing she did was something I easily could have done once upon a time. I have even considered it before. However, by that time I was old enough to think the idea all of the way through and realise what the end result would probably be. She is still at the age of: “I have an idea! Let’s try it.”

Being a parent of really creative children is a joy and a challenge. They come up with some wonderful insights but they also find their fair share of trouble. Sometimes they find that trouble earlier than they are prepared to deal with it. Mostly it is because they simply haven’t learned to think things through. It can be a hard lesson to learn. Some people never learn it.

doctor-1015624_1920Bumps, bruises, scrapes, and embarrassment help encourage us to look ahead to possible outcomes. This is a good thing for self preservation but it can also be a bad thing if you only weigh the negative outcomes. There is a balance that has to be learned. Sometimes it is worth it to take the chance. Sometimes it is not. The important thing is to think about things before you do them.

I would like to say this is a lesson I know well, but that would be a lie. In some things I am good at looking ahead and going “Nope. Bad Idea. Okay, Plan B…” In other things it never occurs to me. (Hence the three novels currently being worked on all at the same time.) Sometimes I see the mud puddle and jump it without look to see what the ground is like on the other side. That is a good way to lose shoes. (I know from experience.)

If my daughter had thought things through she wouldn’t have gotten hurt. It is a lesson she has learned and will not repeat soon. It also reminded me of my own mistakes and the things I learned.

Parents like to repeat: Look Before You Leap. There is a reason. It is cliche but it is ancient silhouette-1082129_1920wisdom we try to pass on. We try to warn our offspring. Often they don’t listen to the warning and end up making their own mistakes anyway, just as we did.

One day they will grow up and pass that phrase on to their own children, who will roll their eyes and make mistakes. It is part of the learning process. However, if the same mistake keeps getting repeated over and over then the lessons aren’t getting through and it may be time for extra guidance. (Unless you are trying to make something. Then those “mistakes” turn into “drafts” or “experiments.”)

Blue Skies and Green Leaves

IMG_20160424_130541480I am currently in my front yard stretched out in a hammock. It is strung between a branchy Bradford Pear tree and a tall straight Walnut. Part of me doesn’t trust the ropes or the knots that keep it in place, so I tense whenever my movement sends it swinging. I am too comfortable to find a safer lounging spot though.

It is a sunny day with a stereotypical clear blue sky. My view of it is in bare patches between leaves. A moment ago a bird flew over my head, so quick it seemed only a shadow but so close I could hear the beat of its wings. A moment before that I watch a tiny lady bug crawl all over the leaves on the branch above my head. I’m not sure what the lady bug was searching for but she checked both sides of the leaves before flying away.

A boy just rode by on his bike. The wheels or the gears buzzed as he passed but didn’t disturb the birds and the squirrel looking for snacks in the grass.IMG_20160424_133737566

This is one of those peaceful moments I wish I could bottle up and save for later. It would take a special magic sort of a bottle to capture it all. A bottle that could hold the smell of the earth and the trees, the feel of the wind, the sighing to the branches and the happy songs of the birds, and the view of the blue sky through green branches. Since I don’t have such a magic bottle, I will have to make do with the memory, a few written words, and a picture.

How the writing goes

Writer-once-upon-a-time-1024x576Good morning. I hope everyone is doing well. I currently have a double ear infection so I am a little out of it. With this being the week I work my night job, I wasn’t very with it to begin with.

The good news is that I finally recovered from the horrendous writing slump I’ve been in. There for awhile I thought about tossing in the pen for good. I’ve written two poems and a non fiction essay in the past two days. I shared one of the poems with friends and they seem to like it. The other one was scribbled by pencil in my writing journal. It has only been viewed by my mom.

She liked it, but she’s my mom. She will tell me if she doesn’t like a story or a book I am working on but poems are something else. I don’t know if it is because they were one of the first things I wrote a lot of or if it is because my dad is a poet too, but I can’t recall her ever disliking one of my poems. She has different levels of enthuasm, but so far not an out right dislike.

The essay is in bits and has to be flipped around until it is all in a coherent order. I don’t know if it is good or bad yet. I have to wait until it’s all tidied up.

Saturday I sent out another short story to a prospective publisher. My last rejection was a week ago, but I still have a few things floating around out there. Maybe one day someone will actually accept something.

So that is how my dreams are fairing. I felt like giving up but here I am, still ploddingaway. I guess I am just one of those people that don’t know when to give up. I am hoping being hard headed will pay off one of these days.

From Japan to Greece

IMG_20160409_122329794_HDRSaturday the kids and I drove up to our state capitol in Nashville for a Cherry Blossom Festival. We had a good time. My son learned how to make an origami throwing star, we watch some martial arts demonstrations, and we ate too much. I also learned about taro when I bought a strange white and lavender muffin.  (It is kind of like a potato.)

We left the festival around 3pm and were on our way home when we decided to change direction. It was our first trip to Nashville and even though we had a three hour car ride to look forward to, it seemed a shame not to explore just a little more. That was how we went from celebrating Japanese culture to exploring Ancient Greece. (Well, sort of.)

In 1897 Nashville held an Exposition to celebrate Tennessee’s 100th anniversary as a state. For six months crowds flocked to hear speeches, play games, and watch parades. They also came to see a massive replica of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece. Sadly, that replica was built of plaster and did not withstand time. By 1920 the structure was crumbling.IMG_20160409_144243004

However, the city of Nashville decided not to let the fascinating building die. Instead the created a complete replica, inside and out, of the Greek temple using more permanent materials. While the Parthenon in Nashville isn’t made of marble, it was build to the same dimensions and inspires a similar sense of awe. IMG_20160409_153927995_HDR

It is home to a statue of the goddess Athena that stands over 42 feet, with a smaller  6 foot
representation of the goddess Nike settled on her hand. (The original statue this one was model after has been lost to time and greed.) Standing at her feet it is nearly impossible not to stare up at the intimidating goddess and imagine her taking a step off of her carved pedestal.

IMG_20160409_145818225.jpgThe Parthenon also houses art exhibits on its lower levels, as well as a historical exhibit detailing its creation. The Cherry Blossom festival was fun. The Parthenon was fascinating. We all slept well once we reached home.

Tied up in stress knots

cat-320537_1920My brain feels like dirty, knotted, tangled string. Usually when I get out of work for the week I am eventually able to shake off work like pool water and focus on the part of my life that is the reason I work like I do. Even though I am free from my night job today and I slept last night, I feel depressed. I don’t know if it was the extra work day, the busy week, or the constant feeling that I carry most of my shift after all the day people leave.

My daughter is doing her teenaged angst thing again because she is having trouble at school with grades and other kids. I imagine she feels the same about school as I do work. I wish I could fix it all.

I wish I could write. I know as a writer, unless you are a giant name, it is a struggle to make art-89198_1920a living. I know that if I do get all the books that I have in progress finished and out, and even if they do well, I would not be making more that I do now. I would still be balancing bills and paying late fees. However, I think that would be better.
I don’t know how to explain it. I would still be under pressure and stress. I would be working without a safety net. There would be no guarantee I would bring in money. However, being able to pay bills without my shoulders being partially dislocated from heavy stock and my upper back in constant pain from spending hours bent over hanging stickers has its appeal.

road-sign-940644_1280I know this isn’t very cheerful for a blog post. I didn’t really intend to write a post but this is where my fingers lead me when I decided to try to write out my current problems. I could have tucked it away in a writing folder or scribbled it out in my journal, but I thought maybe if I put it here I might get some feed back. Maybe someone might have an idea. At the very least if there is someone else out there feeling the same they will know they are not alone.

 

Drawing A Blank

Greetings all! Welcome to another Monday. I had my post all planned out. I knew exactly what I was going to write, but I didn’t sit down and write while it was fresh in my mind. Now it is 6:30 in the morning and I am almost finished with night five of my seven night work week. I honestly have no clue what I was going to write about. It could have been the best idea ever (doubtfully)but I have no clue what it was.

My eyes are gritty and my brain is mush. I broke my tablet on night one this week so I am stuck typing this on my phone. I could wait until I get home but I have a few minutes right now and when I get home I really just want to go to bed.

So I guess this is a post about nothing. Nothing important anyway. This week has been eventful enough so a nice and simple nothing post is kind of a good thing.

I mean no tornado warnings, no near by stores being robbed, no shoplifters working in packs, no getting ready for inventory. Just a simple post to say that I forgot what I was going to say. That’s probably the most relaxing thing that has happened all work week.

My Easter Sunday

tree flowersEaster Sunday was overcast with rays of sun peeking through
the clouds. Blossoms from the Bradford Pear in my yard lay scattered on the ground like a white carpet. It was a nice contrast to the green grass. I would have been lovely with multi-colored eggs scattered about as well.
But we didn’t hunt Easter eggs at my house. Instead we went over to my mom’s for Easter lunch and my eldest scattered Star Wars themed “eggs” in my mom’s flower beds for my youngest to find. We even took the dog. It was nice.

I enjoyed visiting my parents and seeing my brother and his wife. My daughter even got up the nerve to slip behind the steering wheel of our car. We drove up and down the same quarter of a mile road several times and she did very well.

Maybe it doesn’t sound like the most exciting Sunday, but it was well spent enjoying my family and adding to good memories. I would be hard pressed to come up with a better way to spend the time.

A Hard Day’s Write

This is the third time I have sat down to write this morning’s post. For some reason it is more difficult that usual. Words are hard. They don’t want to pour from my fingertips right now. Instead I have to siphon each and every one and my fingers on the keyboard feel large and awkward.

I am still writing. It has taken me three tries, but I am covering the glaring white page. The progress is slow but each word is another small step forward.

Sometimes writing is like that. Sometimes it flows and sometimes it only trickles. It is still important to show up at the keyboard and pound those words out, even when it is almost painful to do so. If I give up just because it is hard, then I don’t deserve the days when it comes easy.

The muse is lazy. She doesn’t always show up. Sometimes you just have to write without her.

motivator312687f0669fbfe47c2a3fe4249375fe980cc139

Happy Birthday to me

Today is my birthday. I got to eat breakfast with my sister-in-law/best friend and watch my son take his first swimming lesson. My mom bought me cupcakes and ice cream and my dad gave me flowers.

My friend Lori sent me a card and I had nearly 40 well wishers here, there, and on social media. It was a good day but the best part was the feeling of being cared for. I was happy to have my family around me and my friends thinking of me.

Earlier in the week several people asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I couldn’t come up with anything. So they gave me their time. The most precious thing they have. I am a very lucky girl. Thank you everyone!

fox cake

 

A Mountain Trip, Or How I Crashed a Funeral

We have been enjoying a couple of nice sunny days recently. Yesterday, I took advantage of that to pry the kids away from their electronics and take a trip into nature. We headed north toward the Great Smoky Mountains and Cades Cove. moutian

Cades Cove was settled by Europeans in the 1800’s but had long been roamed by Native Americans before then. Now it is a national park with a scenic drive, white tail deer, and restored rural dwellings and churches. The views are breathtaking and inspirational. Walking the trails, it is easy to see why settlers came to the area and decided to go no further.

deerMy kids complained a little about the lack of their usual entertainments, but my son soon forgot about mine craft when he handled actual quartz found in a cold mountain stream. We marveled at the height of the trees and stood just a few feet away from deer grazing in a field. Then we found a little twisting dirt road with a sign that announced a rural Baptist Church so we decided to follow it.

The road was a narrow bumpy ride through the trees and ended in a gravel parking lot with a little white wooden box of a church. My son remarked that: “It looks just like that Church in that show Nanny always watches.” (That show being The Waltons, and Nanny being what he calls my mom.) I agreed the two did look similar.

The gravel lot was crowded with cars. Other visitors were snapping pictures of the church set among the trees and some wandered the old fenced in graveyard. I thought the graveyard would be a good way to encourage my daughter out of her no wifi/phone signal funk.(She is a teenager.) She likes slightly creepy things.

That was when I noticed several people exiting the church dressed in black. I was a little confused at first because, while it was Sunday, it was a bit late in the day for a church service. We were nearly to the little gate that lead to the graveyard when I heard one of the women who had come down the steps say, “I wish they would stay away at least until we close the casket…” It all suddenly clicked into place. The freshly dug grave and the huge pile of dirt next to it helped to tip me off.

There was something the little white hand painted sign hadn’t told us. Not only was the Baptist Church still in current use but the graveyard behind it was as well. Realizing that we were trespassers at an emotional time, I quickly herded the kids back to the car. The other tourists snapping pictures; were still oblivious to the intrusion we all represented.

As we made our retreat as discreetly as possible, I heard the lady address two teenagers also dressed in black. She asked them if they were visitors to which they replied yes with wide eyed confusion. I don’t know if they were visitors to the park, or for the deceased. I left before finding out.

We passed two more churches on our scenic drive. They didn’t appear to be in session. The parking lots held only a few cars and there were no fresh graves that I could see, but we didn’t take any chances. stream