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Kismet

A couple of weeks ago we took advantage of the Humane Society’s free adoption weekend. Our cat of ten years had disappeared and the kids and I were ready for a new kitty.

Horatio is irreplaceable. We rescued him as a kitten and he grew up with my kids. He embodied both fierce male independence and loving patience. He acted with many dog traits. We never kept food or litter in the house, because he always meowed at the door when he needed to go out to the garage. He hunted voraciously and often left animal parts as gifts to me. He roamed the neighborhood making friends with all of the neighbors and willingly accepting their food offerings. Horatio didn’t need a lot of love and attention, but was very sweet when he wanted to be.

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RIP Horatio

Knowing we couldn’t replace him, we wanted the polar opposite: female, indoor, cuddly. I did some research and found a beautiful one-year-old black female with mesmerizing green eyes. When my daughters and I arrived at the shelter, it was a madhouse. Several people waited on a row of chairs, while others filled out paperwork outside, while still others crowded in cat rooms interacting with possible new pets. I looked at my girls and mouthed, “let’s go.”

Once outside they begged to have a chance to stay and see some of the cats. “We came all the way over here, the least we can do is look at some!”

They talked me into going back in. This time one of the volunteers asked us if they could help. I mentioned that I had seen a picture of a cat online named, Kismet. As you may know, Kismet means fate.

She had been kept upstairs all day which meant she hadn’t been available for adoption….she was waiting for us. They brought her down and introduced her to us in a private room. As soon as the girl’s met her it was obvious we weren’t leaving without her.

We are still getting used to each other and adjusting. Sometimes she spends much of the day hiding and we call her shadow; other times she cuddles and purrs on our laps, but she is our kitty and we love her. I joke that she is like “Annie” in Fifty First Dates. We have to convince her each day that we aren’t scary strangers.

We renamed her Cleopatra – Cleo for short. But I’ll never forget that it was “Kismet” that led us to her.

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Posted by on November 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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NaBloPoMo (Sounds like something Mork would say)

As you can see from the giant badge on my page, I’ve decided to join NaBloPoMo which is not some alien gibberish, but rather stands for National Blog Posting Month.

I started this blog to encourage more frequent writing practice. Twenty-eight posts in one year is certainly more writing than pre-blog, but not enough for me to consider myself a serious writer. This month I will attempt to write a post every.single.day. (Right now Ricky Ricardo’s “Ai yi yi” seems appropriate)  (It would also appear that today’s blog is sponsored by TVLand)

This could go wrong on so many levels. Here are just a few….

There will be bad/dumb/poorly written posts.This is just a given. If I am forced to publish every day some of it will be content that would have normally ended up on the cutting room floor (ok, the drafts folder, but cutting room floor sounds better). The purpose of the exercise for me will be to develop the habit of writing every day. By the end of the month less and less should be cringeworthy. (Unless I’m burnt out, then you get what you get)

Some of you will grow tired of hearing from me and stop reading my posts. I get it. You won’t hurt my feelings if you skip over posts that don’t interest or appeal to you. To those of you who follow my blog via email: I apologize for the inundation this month.

I won’t be able to post every day. I’m not what you would call a “disciplined” person. Other than brushing my teeth, I can’t really think of anything else I do every day that is a habit of personal discipline. I look forward to the opportunity for growth….maybe.

I will run out of things to write about. This could be the cause for 1, 2, and 3. Thankfully NaBloPoMo offers helpful prompts if we feel stuck. I usually like to follow my heart or inspiration (see #3 – discipline issues) but appreciate some direction from time to time.

Well, readers, you have been forewarned. Thank you for bearing with me on my journey. babystepstowriting

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Damsel in distress….or not?

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I have had multiple opportunities lately to practice my car-jumping skills. Each time that I pop the hood and bring out the cables, well meaning gentlemen miraculously appear. Now, I assure you that I am not wearing daisy dukes, a low-cut shirt and lounging on the hood of my car. More often, I’m standing there with my teenage son who’s car is too old to have the automatic headlight shut-off.

Jumping a car is not rocket science. The cables even come color coded. Red cable goes on red battery thingie, black cable goes on black battery thingie. Oh yeah, and don’t touch the opposite cables together once they are attached to the donor car or you could be in for “quite a shock,” I’ve been told more than once.

But something strange happens when these chivalrous young men appear. I like the idea that they want to help, but more than that…I start thinking maybe I need help. I second guess myself.

“Do you need some help?” asks the kind gentleman.

Long pause as I look at the cables….”I think I know what I’m doing, but maybe you could make sure.”

“So…this one goes here, right?” (I know the red goes on the red, not sure why I’m looking for validation)

“and the black one goes here? or do I need to clip it to the car somewhere?” (One male helper “grounded” the black one on the car frame.)

“No, that should work. Now just clip them to the other car…but don’t let them touch! Start your car and you should be good to go.”

“Thank you so much. They really need a class on this somewhere!” (Not sure why I threw that in…seems like it would be a pretty short class…but maybe I would learn the name of the battery “thingie”)

“No problem. Glad to help.”

At this point both cars are running and I proceed on my merry way all the while thinking, what is wrong with me that I can’t say, “Thanks anyway, I’ve got this.” I am a problem solver by nature, the IKEA furniture assembler at our house. If I don’t know what I’m doing, give me some time and I’ll figure it out.

The truth is, I like the traditional order of things. I admire men who are willing to go out of their way to help and protect women. Not because we necessarily need it, but because it is the noble thing to do. When a man puts my needs before his, I’m not going to turn him away. So please, chivalrous gentlemen, keep stopping to help. Keep opening doors for me and looking out for me. Because someday, when I’m stranded on the side of the road and really do need help, I’ll be waiting for you.

But IKEA furniture…that’s all me. Don’t even think about touching that weird Swedish screwdriver thingie!

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Posted by on October 14, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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It’s “Go Time” for Teachers

I sit here anticipating a new school year with a stack of books beside me and a spirit full of conflicting emotions. The prospect of a new class of eager young minds excites even the most jaded teacher, but the reality of classroom management and apathetic students is what creates the jaded teacher in the first place.  

The start of the school year has always been exciting to me. As a child, I remember having all of my school supplies laid out and sorted on my desk the night before school started. A brand new notebook to fill with knowledge, inspiration, and doodles seemed almost as wonderful as any new toy. In high school and college, the new year or semester generated a clean start when I could once again strive for that 4.0. (Didn’t reach it very often, but it was the possibility that drove me.)

In one way or another, my life has always been punctuated by the school calendar. When my children were too young for school, I was still drawn to the back-to-school sales to buy notebooks, pens, crayons, paper, binders, organizing supplies, calendars, and whatever else struck me – oh yeah – like post it notes. Everybody does this, Right? Probably not. School, learning, and teaching are in my blood. No matter how hard I try to do something else, I always end up back in the classroom. 

So, here I sit: reading, writing, planning, preparing. Knowing that when I walk through the doors on Monday and face my students for the year, there is no turning back. There will be days I feel I nailed it and the students loved learning, and days the students would love to be anywhere else but in class talking about The Iliad, and nights of prep work and grading when my kids are clamoring for attention. There will be self-doubt and discouragement when the students aren’t as excited about Shakespeare as I am, and frustration when the MLA format that I have taught every.single.time I assign a paper still seems to escape their grasp. 

But at the end of the year, when I look back on all we have learned together; when I compare a student’s writing from the first paper to the last; and when I see just a spark of appreciation for great literature ignite under my students, I know I am where I’m supposed to be, teaching what I most enjoy, and passing that down to the next generation. 

Now back to the stack of books…

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Posted by on August 19, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Sunset and Silhouette

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The beauty of a sunset on a quiet beach

The marvel in her eyes at the vastness of the ocean

The squeals of delight as the waves crash over her toes

This is the wonder of summer to me.

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Posted by on August 15, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Summer Lovin’ – By the Sea

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I don’t fancy myself much of a photographer, but something about summertime and the ocean make every picture feel like a masterpiece.

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Posted by on July 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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“Thank You for the Coffee”

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My husband and I have a morning ritual. Depending on our kids and work schedules, we alternate who wakes up first. This is important, because the first one up makes the coffee.* On the days he is up first and I come downstairs to a full pot of the steaming, dark, eye-opening elixir, I swear I hear angels sing. I usually text him my undying love and gratitude believing at that moment that nothing communicates love more clearly than the fact that he made me coffee.

This morning, I decided he deserved a song.

To the tune of “Thank You for the Music” by ABBA

I’m nothing special, in fact I’m a bit of a bore

If I have a cold, you say I even snore

But I have a secret, a wonderful thing

When I drink my coffee, my life starts to sing

I’m so happy and awake

It’s such love in a cup that you make

 

So I say

Thank you for the coffee, the way it’s steaming

Thanks for all the joy it’s bringing

Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty

what would life be?

Without its scent and caffeine what are we?

So I say thank you for the coffee

for making it for me.

 

Mother made coffee when I was still a tot

She says I would drink from her mug even if it was hot

and I’ve often wondered, If that was the start

When the comfort of coffee captured my heart

Like a Starbucks run

It can make everyday much more fun

 

So I say

Thank you for the coffee, the way it’s steaming

Thanks for all the joy it’s bringing

Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty

what would life be?

Without its scent and caffeine what are we?

So I say thank you for the coffee

for making it for me.

 

I’ve been so lucky, I am the girl with the golden hair

I wanna drink coffee anytime, anywhere

What a joy, what a life, what a break

 

So I say

Thank you for the coffee, the way it’s steaming

Thanks for all the joy it’s bringing

Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty

what would life be?

Without its scent and caffeine what are we?

So I say thank you for the coffee

for making it for me.

 

 

*Before any of you comment….our coffee maker does have a “brew later” option. Why we rarely use it could be a psychological study too deep for this blog.

 

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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My first feature article: A profile of Brandon and Lauren Sheard, proponents and educators in the Slow Food Movement.

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

A break-up letter to email marketing:

Dear Random Store,

I visited you once a couple weeks ago and we had a great time. We really did. I enjoyed your bright colors, nice smells, and variety of textiles. I even made a purchase. That was when you got all excited and assumed I was interested in a long and meaningful relationship. You asked for my email address. You were so casual about it, too, like it was all for my benefit.

“We keep track of your purchases and you earn points,” you said.

“We notify you of special sales,” you said.

Now, don’t get me wrong. You were very nice about it, and I don’t mind a benefit or two for my loyalty. Unfortunately, what you failed to mention, and I failed to figure out on our first meeting is that you are very clingy, needy, and sometimes downright annoying.

I’m sorry to be so blunt, but it would appear from my in-box that you run a special sale every. single. day. I’m sure it is just a ruse to see me again. I’m sorry that I have not been back in a while. But, what about our one-time meeting (which was great, as I already mentioned) made you think that I would want to hear from you every day? We may have had a good time, but we are still casual acquaintances, at best.

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You seem to think we are more than casual. Therefore, I have no other option but to break up with you. I will click “here” to unsubscribe, and when you send me to a different site to click

“here”

“here”

and “here”

I will do that as well.

Heaven forbid you ask me to “sign in” to unsubscribe….because then….well, I’m just screwed and will be forced to label your emails as spam. No offense.

If your seductive displays lure me into your store in the future, I will play it cool and keep my personal information to myself.

Sincerely,

Casual Customer

P.S. Little did I know that if I admit I “like” you on Facebook you get even more excited and not only send me emails, but also take over my newsfeed. Have some self-respect. Maybe even see a counselor. This much need for attention from others is unhealthy.

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2014 in Humor, Uncategorized

 

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Disney’s Frozen: “Perfect Love Casts out Fear”

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The Disney movie Frozen has been on a loop at my house in one way or another. We own the DVD, we own it on Kindle video, we own the soundtrack, and frankly, my girls don’t really need any of these to reproduce the movie…in its entirety…with their own voices and theatrics. It is entirely possible I’m going a little crazy here, but having been immersed in this story, I’m amazed at the depth.

The story is loosely based on The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson, and can I just say something crazy? For the first time in forever a movie has actually improved upon the original story. I fiercely apologize as typically I am a literary purist, but I love what the writers at Disney did with this story. To be completely fair to Hans Christian Anderson, they didn’t really improve the original story. It would be more accurate to say they borrowed a few characters and wrote an entirely new story.

In The Snow Queen, a shattered evil mirror pierces Kay’s heart and eye. It causes him to see things in an ugly way and freezes his heart. The main idea being that evil has entered him and he cannot respond to the world in any other way. He hitches a ride with the Snow Queen and is taken to her mountain. His childhood friend, Gerda, sets off in search of him. Many people and animals help her along the way until she appears at the castle of the Snow Queen. The queen had given Kay a puzzle to solve that once solved promised him eternity. As Gerda’s tears thaw his frozen heart, and as his tears mixed with hers clears the shard from his eye, the puzzle is solved and they are granted eternal life.

A deep story in its own rite, the theme of both have similarities. In fact most stories that resonate with us share a common theme: that of vanquishing evil, darkness, and fear, so that good, light, and love reign victorious.

In the movie Frozen, the first time Elsa’s powers cause harm, the wise troll tells her that “fear will be her greatest enemy.” Ironically she locks herself away and shuts others out in fear of her powers for almost the entire movie. Her father’s advice to “conceal, don’t feel” does her more harm than good. She can’t control her powers by hiding and choosing not to feel, she needs to transform her powers by overcoming her fear.

When we visit the trolls a second time, the wise troll reveals the solution: “Only an act of true love can thaw a frozen heart.” Of course, all of us Disney junkies assumed, just like Anna, that a true love’s kiss would thaw the frozen heart. However, “an act of true love” means so much more. Love is not being twitterpated, or caught up in a moment of dreamy romance. Love is the act of continually placing someone else’s needs above your own. True love is sacrifice.

At the climax of the movie, Anna’s sacrificial love breaks down the walls of protection and isolation Elsa has built around her. Elsa finally realizes that “Love, of course” is the answer. When love conquers the fear Elsa has clung to as a shield, she is able to control her powers and create beauty. She is able to serve people rather than alienate them. She is able to love people rather than fear them.

Disney not only borrowed from Hans Christian Anderson to tell this beautiful and compelling story, but also from the New Testament. The wise troll had it right, fear is Elsa’s greatest enemy and love is the answer.

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18)

It was only when Elsa understood perfect love that she could redeem the power inside her and use it for good. The ‘happily ever after’ only comes through redemption. The stories that resonate with us are about redemption: redeeming evil into good, darkness into light, fear into love, and sometimes…eternal winter into spring.

 

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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