Black Friday – Let’s Play Nice!!!

Every year the media makes a big deal over the Black Friday Sales.

This past year more than a few stores decided to open on Thanksgiving Day and many of them did not see the crowds there were expecting or needed. I am sure that a few will do it again.

All in the name of saving money.

Insane right. But,they will do it again even with people getting hurt. 

I have only been to three Black Friday Sale in my entire life.  We never went to them when I was growing up. My family has never been one crowds.

The first time I attended a sale was with a former roommate to get a Christmas tree for our apartment.  The second time, I was working retail. It wasn’t bad since I had the second shift of the day and most of the people were nice. I do remember how awful  I felt for the rest of the staff who had to come in at 2 am to get the store ready. Many when to bed immediately after they had Thanksgiving with their families. At least they got Thanksgiving, more and more people aren’t getting the day off. A day that nearly everyone had off so they could spend time with their families. Isn’t that what the holidays are really all about family and friends, not Big Screen TV’s for $399.00. (The third time was for a pair of jeans at Old Navy, just one pair of jeans.)

Isn’t it?

Is Christmas about the gifts or the time with family?

Is money worth your life? People have actually died shopping in this big door buster sales. In 2008, the doors of a Walmart were really ripped off the hinges and killed a Walmart employee.  Two more people died the same year in a shooting at a Southern California Toy R Us.  According to one website, seven people have died in Black Friday related incidents.  Nearly a hundred have been injured.

Black Friday Madness has become a symbol of what is wrong in our consumer society. We are so driven to consume that we forget that there is more than saving money and respecting each other.  The new thing is to criticize those people that do choose to shop on Black Friday.bf3It has now become cool to shame those who shop on America’s biggest shopping day of the year.  America’s latest craze is to shame people into good behavior.  You would like that American would have learned after back lash that followed Fit Mom, Maria Kang, ill fated effort to show all of us that we can get in shape.  Her non-apology got her kicked off Facebook.  She took her actions after the news media reported that shaming especially fat shaming doesn’t work.

So what makes American’s think shaming shoppers would work?

It won’t. In fact some Americans will go shopping because people have told them it is wrong. You know there are people will do it.  And be proud of themselves for doing it. Is it wrong for you to shop on Black Friday or the Thanksgiving? I can’t answer that. I am not you.

I don’t shop on those two days unless it is an essential need.  Toilet paper for example.  Or Wine. I do love a good class of wine. My reasons for it aren’t all for the workers who I do believe deserve a day off with their families. They aren’t holier than thou.  They are mine.

Shop or don’t shop, but don’t bash another human being.  If you do, leave the taser at home, why don’t you?

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And We Begin Again….

This month begins National Novel Writing month and I know that many folks are already feverish writing working on their novels.  I still have some minor things to finish up with Blood Child and she should be out by the end of the month, but while I am waiting I am going to be writing and joining the madness.

This blog was started on the advice of a dear friend as a way to introduce myself to the world as a writer and build an audience for my first novel, My Dragon Friday, which remains unfinished. Blood Child took over my brain and my life. Now it is time to return to Raelin Lewis and her world.  In keeping with the rules and guidelines, I will only count the words that I write this month.

Raelin’s story needed sometime to mature. When she was first conceived, my life was in chaos and her story took on some of that insanity. She was too much of me and not enough her own creature. I hope in the coming month to change that and allow her to tell her story, instead of one where my heart is breaking and writing is the only way to keep myself from crying. Raelin deserves more of my attention.

Word Count as of 11/02/14 ~ 1,686

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The fall wind blows through the trees no matter where I am to remind me that today is Halloween, today is a day to remember the dead. The beloved dead, our ancestors and friends who have walked before us into the unknown.

For Catholics, soon will come the celebration for the faithful departed. Many will make their way out to the graveyards to clean off the graves of their love ones and spend some time with them.  Other traditions have a Dum Supper, a meal eaten in silence to honor the dead.

In years past, I have been attending an event called the “Ancestors’ Feast” at the local Unitarian Church.  A group of friends and myself have sung old and ancient songs and joined in the celebration.  Of all the masses, rituals and celebrations, I have attended over the years this one has meant more to me than any other. It is a collaborative event, where everyone contributes and feels welcome. A rare event for many of us. It has been the highlight for me of this fall season; a time to remember the real reason for the season.  A time to remember my own ancestors.

Each year in my own home, I light a candle to remember my ancestors and friends who have crossed veil and into the next world.  This year, I will be lighting two more candles.  One for my Grandmother, who passed last Thanksgiving, and another for my friend, Shannon who passed later in the year. As a part of my yearly ritual, I raise my glass to them and thank them for all they did and for brightening my life with their existence.

My grandmother went by the nickname, Honey, for most of her life, because of her honey blonde hair.  She and my grandfather fell in love in elementary school.  She used to walk down the mountain and my grandfather would wait  to walk to her school.  They were in love for nearly eight decades.  He loved her until the very end.

Poets can only try to and do justice to their love.  I believe they would all fail,because their love was an imperfect and real love. A love that produced four children and saw two grow into adults. One of whom is my father.

This was one of my grandmother’s swans.  I think her name was Judith after my aunt who passed away.  My grandmother loved nature and taught me to love it as well. We never really understood each other.  She was always formal and rarely emotional. I was her opposite and while I learned from her, I didn’t understand her.

We connect in the last months of her life.  My father drove me up to see her and we spent the morning talking in the solarium.  My grandfather built it to house her plants in the winter. She was suffering from dementia and was rarely coherent.  I was used to this side of her. For years, she was slipped in and out of this world.  I knew it and some of the rest of the family, but no one wanted to admit it.

That summer day, we talked for hours while my grandfather and father went down the mountain to run errands. She told me the same story over and over.  In the sixties, my grandfather and her built a house in small pocket of a mountain. The house was built in part on the land and part on water. It is an amazing house.  She loved the house being surrounded by a mountain. She could never explain her love for that house to others or why she built in the shadow of her former home.

I don’t know if I really understood it either, but she didn’t try and make me over into her version of me, like before, this time she just talked to me and I snuck her licorice sticks. We giggled.  I always loved her, I loved her strength and her ability to transcend her beginnings and life’s tragedies. On that day, however, I met the women that my grandfather fell in love with seven decades before.

I will also be raising my glass to my grandfather who passed away in the spring.  He is finally with his beloved. Both the patriarch and matriarch of my family are gone and we are all a little lost. Lighting candles and seeking guidance seems like an excellent plan for the evening. So I raise my glass and thank them for being themselves and for all the lessons they taught me and all the lessons their memories will teach me in the years to come.

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High Heel Philosophy

High heels, high hopes

dreams on an unsteady foundation

like wearing stilettos for the first time

everyone falls down

and we all live to see the next day

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Writing in the Dark

Depression and self-doubt are my two greatest struggles as a writer.

Reading one my favorite author’s blogs, I realized that I spent more time with depression and its friend self-doubt than I have spent working on the craft of writing or any of my other passions.

It weights on me, holds me down and keeps me from working on my dreams. It keeps me running in the rat race and not breaking the glass that keeps me contained.

My birthday was a joyous. Friends and family came to celebrate as well as laugh and sing. Less than a week later, I am struggling to right myself in a sea of emotions. I want so much to write. To write and write until I finish another book and then another has been published.

Somewhere in there, I would have a family of my own and not be in debt. There would also be a garden and a library where I can read, nap and repeat to my heart’s content.

At 38, I fear that I am running out of time. Depression and self-doubt are wearing me down.

I feel my feet dragging through my life. Depression telling me that I am not worthy. Self-doubt pointing out ever failure to confirm every whisper that Depression utters into my soul.

Words identify us.  Words and the perception that they create define us.

The word that defined me and still defines me is survivor.  No matter what is that comes at me, I survive. There is comfort in that and there is a lot of fear. Fear that I will never learn to live another way and fear that this is the only life meant for me.

I am not trying to be dramatic that is just what Depression and Self-doubt do to me at time.

In the end, what makes me a survivor always wins out. The ability to keep going and not to stop. Not to stop  trying to do more than survive and to keep writing. The next book will come.

 

 

 

 

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Sleepy Day, Birthday Day.

Birthday Day Me

Birthday Me

Sleepy day. Birthday day. Great lunch with friends and then a trip to the new Burlington Coat Factory and group costumes for all the teachers at my school. Hint it involves eight teachers in plaid cowboy shirts   Before we were back at school, I regretted the ice cream I had for lunch. It was delicious at the time, but I don’t usually eat sweets so the sugar made me instantly sleepy.

But a sweet treat on my birthday could not be passed up.

The day demanded that I push through my sugar crash and move forward.  I picked a friend up for his interview at a local gaming store and was there to hear the happy news that he got a job that is perfect for him. Honestly, that was one of the best presents. I saw my friend come alive with confidence.  This is something that he has been working up to for nearly two years.   He didn’t know that he was working to this point, but that’s the way life is at times. It sets up trials for us and prepares us events and tasks that we didn’t even know were out there for us.

My friend, my dear, dorkatastic friend, came to life today.

And that was fantastic.

Then I took a birthday nap, which was awesome.

 

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Yet Another Manic Monday

This week, I will turn 38 years old. This past weekend, I decided to celebrate my birthday with a party. Why? Why not? Too much of my life in the past year involved going and going with not much enjoying. So a break was in order.

New phonots 070

The crew.

It was a great break.  Friday, I went to EPCOT with my Mom and Aunt.  It was a lazy day, a wonderful day, with two wonderful whom I love more than life itself.  My aunt and my Mom met in college over fifty years ago.  Aunt Joanie may not be my blood aunt but she has loved me from the moment I stepped foot on this earth.  We ate and chatted and just had a good time.  It was well worth taking the day off work and playing hooky as my boyfriend calls it. Saturday was the birthday party and my house was filled with family and friends as well as music thanks to Mr. Kevin aka the Professor.  He gave me a nifty gadget to record my poetry and other story ideas. Sunday was restful and a trip to the beach.  My feet ended up in the ocean.  Something that I love to do whenever I get near the ocean. I felt great right up until I woke up this morning.

Today, I took off job number one, but failed to take off job number two.  Thus, it really was another manic Monday that I wished was a Sunday.  Even if it did begin at 5:30.  Nap time wasn’t productive. I wasn’t productive knowing that I had to go to work. I wander through this day and made no headway on the to-do list or cleaning up the house after a party. (And to be fair, to my guests, there wasn’t much cleaning up that needed to be done, just putting things back in their pre-party places.) Mostly, I just wasted time which lead directly into my mini manic Monday.  I did it to myself. I failed to plan and ended up driving myself  crazy, which isn’t hard to do since my main profession in teaching.

My only regret is not taking the whole day off. Take time for yourselves and don’t cut yourself short.  Take the whole day off  celebrate yourself even if it isn’t your birthday.

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Wandering through Adulthood

Lately, I have been doings something that I hate. Letting life live me instead of the other way around. One thing or another has taken me away from the things I want, while I spin my wheels trying to hold on to what I have.

Adulthood.

Recently, I have been contemplating leaving teaching. For many years, all I wanted to do was teach. I didn’t think I had it in me to write a book or start a blog. And I loved working with kids, especially teenagers. (I have to thank my friend, Logan, for getting me involved in a youth group.)  I liked making a difference. I felt like I was making on a difference.  I liked having time to write and to have a life.  At the start of last year,  things began to change.

The life of a teacher is one where you are always behind and forever trying to re-balance home and work.  Last year, it became harder and harder to do what need to be done for my students. Paperwork and data chats, common boards and formative assessment, interventions and two graded assignments per week, it was a never ending cycle in which no teacher ever catches up.  It is a rats race and one that doesn’t pay the bills without this teacher working two other jobs.

So much time as gone into working to keep what I have there has been little time to work on building anything new for myself.

Teacher are supposed to work for the good of their students and not worry about the money. But when the money isn’t enough to pay bills and you can’t actually do what you think is best for them in your professional opinion; one begins to questions why they are continuing in a profession . Teacher aren’t really treated like professionals.  But that is beyond the point.

The point is that I am questioning everything that I build my life upon and I don’t know if it is worth it to continue.  Is it worth sacrificing my own dreams of  a family for?

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Book Review: No Lasting Burial

No-Lasting-BurialNo Lasting Burial by Stant Litore

Available on Amazon in both Paperback and Kindle Formats

Another fabulous installment of the Zombie Bible by Stant Litore.  In this installment of the Zombie Bible by Stant Litore, we find ourselves in the Gospel of Luke, outside a small village that has been spirituality and physical torn by a horde of zombies after a brutal occupation by Roman soldiers.   For followers of the series, it may have seemed inevitable that the Zombie Bible would move from the Old to New Testament, but moving forward from the stories recited in Sunday school to the ones recounted from the pulpit is risky.

So how did he do it?

The same way the writers of Jesus Christ Superstar did when they created that infamous musical with care, joy and great skill. Both of which profoundly shaped the way that I approach the bible and particularly the stories of Jesus.  Too often the human side of Jesus is forgotten and he is made out to be so divine that no human could walk in his steps.  Litore creates realistic characters which are both relate-able and true to the original biblical tales.

Did he do it well? 

Yes, the action is non-stop so readers won’t be bored or feel weighted down.  At the same time, Litore takes you to emotional depths that you might not have thought possible. This isn’t just a bible story with zombies added into the mix; it is instead a masterful piece of story-telling. A must read for horror and historical fiction fans. This novella is well work a space on your reading list.

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Happy Anniversary!!!

Today is the two year anniversary of my first blog posted.

Wow…

Two years.

When I began this blog on the advice of a friend, I didn’t know where it would lead me. I hope it would form the basis of a much larger writing career. This blog has been my laboratory. I have grown as a writer, not just someone planning to write one day.

Last year, the friend who encouraged me to start this blog moved back to New York to pursue his dreams and make a better life for himself and those he loves.  It isn’t easy going in a new direction.  It isn’t easy leaving friends and what you know behind. Words cannot describe how much I love and admire him. He is still taking risks for his dreams and seeing him take those risks and struggle with them makes it easier for me to the same and at the same time appreciate the stories behind the authors and artists that I admire. The words of encouragement that he has for me are so very precious.  He doesn’t have to give them, but he does and I know that he encourages others out there who he believes in. It is an honor to have him in my life.

There are a lot of lessons that I have learned over the last two years and one of them is about my voice as a writer. As a teacher, I always want to educate people.  Writing for me is a different kind of outlet and I find that my teacher voice doesn’t work well in my writing. I don’t like it when I use it. When I take on the voice of my characters, I fall in love with the stories I am writing.

I can’t tell stories like some of the authors I love, but I can tell them.

Blood Child will be birthed this fall come hell or high water; like many first children she is overdue but coming when the time is right. Timing has been perhaps one of my biggest lessons this year.  You can’t wait until the timing is right to start a project and if you fret too much you will never get started; getting started is really the hardest part.  Then you need to finish what you start.

Thank you for being here with me. Thank you for reading my words and giving me feedback.

thank-you-rocks

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