Done… 31 Days of Observing…

31 Days Observing

 

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise.  The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.  ~Sylvia Plath

 

When I decided to take part in this challenge, I had doubts.  Lots of them.  But, I felt I needed to attempt this.  Had I read this quote above, I may have jumped in with more gusto!

 

Today, I am going to jump off the words of some famous people who have words of wisdom for writers and those of us who consider ourselves would be’s.

 

I have wanted to write since I was a child.  I always pictured myself a writer.  I dreamed of published novels and books with my name on them.  I imagined the world as a writer.  My first attempt at a story was when I was going into the fifth grade.  It was a murder mystery.  All 100 words of it.  It was a serious work.  I took blank paper and cut it into fourths.  I did this for several sheets.  I then stapled the middle of it.  After all, you must have a book to write a book, right?   I then took my trusty pencil and wrote a story.  It was a compelling story of a couple.  His name was John.  Her’s was Sarah.  Don’t ask me where I got those names, but I remember them clearly.  The long and short (including the spoilers here…) was that they fell in love and John was murdered.  Turns out Sarah was really a black widow spider.   I had read somewhere that a black widow spider will kill it’s partner after mating.   At that point in my naive life I thought that once you had an engagement ring you had finished mating and that was that….  So, I told the story that Sarah, the black widow spider, killed John and somehow when she turned into the spider her engagement ring stayed on her and that is how the spiders came to have the diamond shape on their undersides.    I know, it should have made the New York Times list of best sellers.  All it made it was a place inside my mother’s prayer-book.    It stayed there for years.

For me, a page of good prose is where one hears the rain [and] the noise of battle.  ~John Cheever

 

When I entered high school, I thought of different occupations.  Teaching was always right up there as a possibility.  Nursing, also was a strong contender, until I took chemistry and knew that I could not and would not understand the metric system and would end up terminating lives quickly.   What lurked in the back of my mind and presented a challenge was to be a reporter.  I fancied myself an investigative reporter.  I could see me hunting down stories and being in danger.  Writing and reporting them.  This was a time when there was only a couple of women reporters.  Yes, it was a dream.  I ended up not going to college, marrying young and travelling the world with my hubby.   I still had the wish to write, though.

 

We write to remember our nows later. ~Terri Guillemets

 

Words haunt me.  Descriptions float in my mind at an alarming rate.  I see the clouds and in the sky and think of descriptors for them.  When I was in my thirties, I finally took steps to become a writer.  I actually did a mail in course for writing.  I joined a writing group.  I went to conferences and workshops.  I met some authors.  I actually had several conversations with writers.  It was an exciting time for me.  I carried notebooks with me to write things down.  I stayed up late, pecking on my manual typewriter and then typing away on my very first computer.  It was a time filled with short stories and poetry and essays.  I have a file of them.   Some are not bad.   I found I was always chasing that illusive phrase.  That phrase that would turn heads and shake foundations.  That phrase that would catch the attention of people.  That phrase that would touch a heart and change a life.

 

To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the inner music the words make.  ~Truman Capote

 

Lives did change, mine changed.  Life got interesting and little by little, I stopped writing for a season.  I had to concentrate on reality and people and circumstances.  It’s not that I stopped looking at clouds and trying to describe them,  I just did not take the time to write the descriptions.   Words still danced about my mind, and the jitterbug of words in my heart slowed down to a waltz, a long one, waiting for the time for them to be able to dance onto a page.

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.  ~William Wordsworth

So, that brings me to the present time frame.  A blog was started and once more words came to me.  I have found this month, that all the dreams from my past have come alive again.  No, not teaching as I am too much of a mother to actually be a professional teacher.  I would never be a good teacher, I would want to help too much for anyone to learn something.   No, I am too old to become a reporter, and realize now I am a big chicken and could never investigate anything, unless it is online and the lights are on.   I still do not understand the metric system, and I have trouble with telling my left from right, so you definitely do not want me around any medical emergencies.

But, writing is alive again.  I still want to change lives, and touch lives.  I still have ideas for stories in my mind.  I am excited that this month has given me a rebirth of a dream.    I once had a good friend tell me that sometimes a dream has to die in order for it to come to life.  It may not be the same dream, but it is stronger and better having died and put to the side.

So, thank you for stopping by today and for sharing with me in this challenge.   I am done with this challenge and I am grateful for it, that is my observation today.    DAF

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On getting a haircut… 31 Days of Observing…

31 Days Observing

I met my hubby when I was 15.  Being the early 70’s my hair looked like everyone else’s in the country.  Parted down the middle and draped down on either side of my face.  It was long (of course) and straight.  Most of the time I pulled it back into a long pony tail and then flipped it up into a long barrette.  The color at that time was natural and beautiful, brown with strands of red and copper and gold.  I loved the color of my hair and had I known then, how short of time I had until I started going gray, I would have really showed my hair off more.

Hubby and I have hair discussions regularly.  They are one of those topics in our marriage that are edgy.  Finances?  Not easy, but not like the hair discussions.  Politics?  We agree, and again, nowhere near the hair discussions.  Get the picture?

I wore my hair long for the first few years of marriage.  It continued to be shoulder or below shoulder length.  At one point it was mid back long.  I always wore it pulled back and flipped up.   When our youngest was born, it being the early 80’s, I went with a perm look, curls all over and it was mid neck to shoulder length.

I dislike long hair.  When hubby was sent to a remote station for a year, I took the opportunity to chop my hair.  I wrote a loving letter that basically said, ‘Got my hair cut short.  You have a year to get used to the idea.  I’m not going to grow it again.’   Yes, I know that was not very loving, but what can I say?  I was basically a single mom for that year with two small girls and a house to run, I was feeling a bit ornery…

Which brings me to now.  For years I have worn my hair short.  I love it short.  This past spring I got a hack job for a haircut.  It was way too short and even I thought it was too short.  That sort of put hubby over the edge.  The hair discussions really started to happen.  In frustration, I picked a random month and told him I would grow it out until that month.  For some reason I picked February.  Since the spring I have had a couple haircuts to trim and keep my mop under control.  Lately it looked like a mullet… yes, you read that right.

Today I tried a new salon.  I walked in, told the cute girl what I was doing.  She listened sympathetically to my saga.   She gently asked if I minded if she trimmed up the back a little.  I said, “So I won’t look like I have a mullet?”   She laughed aloud.  She thanked me for saying it, as she was thinking it.

We worked together and now I look halfway decent.  My observation in all of this?  Hubby and I are both stubborn, or as I have reminded my stubborn daughters, they are not stubborn but tenacious (it sounds so much better).  Will I make it until February?  At this point, I don’t think so.  A part of me today wanted to tell her to have fun and do a short cut.  But, a bigger part of me wants to do this for my hubby.  I don’t think my hair will ever be shoulder length again.  But, at least I am attempting to do something to make hubby smile.  I think sometimes that is an important part of being married.

So, now, I will head into the bathroom to fix it and somehow style it to my satisfaction.  Oh, yeh, I think I will also put away my neon leg warmers, my oversized sweater with the 7 inch thick shoulder pads and my jellies… the 80’s called and they want their styles back…

Thanks for stopping by today, DAF

On Observing… 31 Days of Observing…

31 Days Observing

Today is the 29th of October.  I started this blogging challenge a day late, so actually I am only doing 30 days.  I have decided to share with you what I have observed these past weeks.

I started this challenge to see if I could write daily.  To me, this was going to be the biggest obstacle.  I have gone in spurts in my writing, I will write for several days in a row and then stop for a couple of weeks and repeat the pattern.  This has frustrated me since starting my blog.

Writing daily has become fun.  I look forward to writing.  This is a good thing, I think.  I am able to spend some time, just for me in writing out my thoughts.  The thing I thought would be hardest, was in fact easy.

I also thought that I would write about things around me.  My home, my dog, my family, my neighborhood.  I have, in fact, written about these during this month.

The one thing I had not planned on happening this month, is how I started to see myself.  I pride myself on  being anonymous, after all, I chose that name for my blog.

My observations, daily, have ended with me noticing something about myself.  These thoughts have not appeared in writing, but they have been brought to my attention.  This has been a good thing.  I am surprised by that.  This has been a month of reflection for me.  A month that I have needed.

Personally, I have struggled this month.  I have had many talks and arguments with me.  I can be pretty stubborn.  I can be obstinate.  I can be a lot of things that cannot be printed, nor should they be.

I have started to renew my mind-set.  I once more am finding joy in life.  I have many of my fellow bloggers to thank for that.  You have encouraged me and made me laugh and pointed me to the Lord on several occasions.  For that, I am very grateful.

So, as this month comes to an end, I sit here writing and thinking of what is next.  Hopefully, I will be consistent in writing.  It may not be daily, especially the next few weeks as hubby is having surgery and I will be a bit busy.  But, once that is done, I am hoping to share several times a week what I tend to write about.

I also hope that I will become less anonymous, to myself and to others.  Only when we allow others into our lives fully can we become who we are meant to be.   We are shaped and formed by the gifts our family and friends are to us.  Those gifts are perfect and come from our Lord above.

I need to focus on the good and plentiful gifts I have received from God.  He has blessed me in my family, my extended family and those whom I consider family.  He has allowed me to become a part of the lives of those bloggers I follow.  I need to be truly thankful for these people.

So, as we approach the month of November and Thanksgiving, I begin to say thank you.  I am indeed grateful for this past month of observing.  Thank you for sticking with me through this month also.  DAF

Quiet Day… 31 Days of Observing…

31 Days Observing

This morning hubby and I slept in.  We very rarely do this.  A late start to the morning is 9 a.m..  Today I looked at the clock as I opened my eyes and it said 10:30.   I jumped up thinking that the  day was almost half over and I had slept through it.

 

I did my usual routine, walking the dog and so on.  I then sat down and realized I felt like doing nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  I was going to be content to just sit all day long with laptop on my lap and browse, read and play games.

 

That thought lasted about a minute and half.  So, started in with my day, late, but nonetheless, it was started.  I sorted laundry and folded towels and straightened the rooms.  I thought about blogging and realized there was nothing exciting happening.

 

While fixing a late lunch I looked out the window to the pond.  Nothing there that caught my eye, except that it had started to rain.  I hadn’t even noticed that.

 

After lunch I watched as two crows pecked at the bank on the other side of the pond.  It was interesting to watch as they carefully approached the pond itself.  It was like they knew what lurks under the water.  They cautiously hopped to the edge of the water and began to drink.  I had never stood to watch this.

That is when it occurred to me.  I am having a quiet day.  A slow day.  A day to relax.  What was even more amazing to me, I am actually enjoying this slow day.  I am not concerned about what needs to be done and what I will do next.

 

Too often I miss days like this.  I worry and fret and stew over being quiet.  Yes, I realized that robs me of the quiet I need.  I take for granted what I have been given in being able to rest.  Today, I am grateful for the quiet.  I am glad to be able to stop and notice it.

 

Of course, there is that quiet voice in me that is nagging me to get up and clean something and make myself useful.  I think I will ignore that too.

 

Thanks for stopping by today.  DAF

10 years ago… 31 Days of Observing…

31 Days Observing

I still receive emails from a news station in San Diego.  I do this partly to keep informed of what is going on in the city I called home for 27 years and partly because our oldest still lives there and I want to be able to talk with her about her city and the news.

Yesterday I read where there was an anniversary of the first firestorm we experienced.  It was 10 years ago yesterday that the Cedar Fire started in San Diego.   October 25th, 2003 was a Saturday.  We had heard there was a fire in the mountains, but for fire season, it is expected that there would be one or two in the mountains.

Sunday morning we woke up to a weird-looking sky.  It was morning but it looked more like evening.  Walking outside to get the newspaper the air hung heavy.  It was hard to breathe.  This was no ordinary fire.

We turned on the news and found out that the freeways had been closed.  The freeways that would lead us to church on a Sunday morning.  Our oldest drove down the driveway to head to church with us.  She walked in the door and asked, “What’s up with this sky?”  We told her and we all sat down to watch the television coverage of the fire.

Our oldest stayed the day with us and spent that night.  She woke up the next morning and we told her to go get stuff that she would need for a few days.  It was clear that her apartment complex would be in the path and was on the list for evacuation.  She really did not want to stay with us, but she went to her place, grabbed some things and returned.

The fire, known as the Cedar Fire  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cedar_Fire)  was a terrifying experience.  Our home was safe, as was our surrounding area, but the devastation that reigned throughout the county was mind-boggling.

From our decks we could see fire truck after fire truck race toward the mountains.  At one point we counted 15 in a row driving down the freeway.  This was just one freeway to get to one area.  The freeways in the other part of the county were just as filled with emergency vehicles.

The television remained on through most of the firestorm.  The winds changed the course of the fire several times, putting lives in danger and more homes in the path of destruction.

I was amazed that it had been ten years since that first firestorm we experienced.  I was amazed that when I read the headline of the anniversary of the fire, what was triggered in my memory and heart.   All of my senses remember this fire.  I can still smell that awful smell of burnt homes and lives and having to wear bandanas over your face so that it wouldn’t get into your lungs when you were outside.   I remember my eyes stinging from the smoke, for weeks.   I remember seeing the grit and the ash that lay on everything.  Even a year later moving something outside that you thought you had already cleaned to see more ash hidden in the cracks of decking.

Most of all, I remember in early December driving up to my favorite mountain town to see how it was faring.  We drove through a part of the mountains where we had camped with our children when they were young.  The campgrounds were gone.  The magnificent trees that provided fun and shade and home to squirrels and blue jays and woodpeckers were barely there, blackened and dead.  The ranches with the beautiful white fencing around them were mere shells of what they were, the fencing melted along the roadside.  A whole community wiped out.  The sadness that overcame me when seeing this community is still palpable.  My favorite mountain town, Julian, was spared.  At least the main road, the business section, was spared.

The visit up to the mountains saw that places  still smoked, still smouldered.  It is a sight I will never forget.  My children played in the forests there, it will be years before children will have the opportunity to see it restored completely.

But, the city stood together.  People were taken care of.  Slowly, homes were rebuilt.  Slowly, life resumed.  Slowly, those not personally affected, went on and began to forget the horror of those weeks.  That is, until, you reach the anniversary like this one.  The anniversary that recalls the images and the people and it comes flooding into your brain once more.

Thinking of those affected ten years ago, those who lost homes and businesses and those who lost family members.   Today may they feel security and peace.

DAF…

87658.1 minutes….. 31 Days of Observing….

31 Days Observing

Today, looking at the date, my mind started to reel.

October 25th.  Two months from today is Christmas.  8 weeks from today is Christmas.  87658.1 minutes (give or take a few) is Christmas. 

For some reason, this year, Christmas has been on my mind.  I am anxious for it to get here.  I want to decorate.  I want to bake.  I want to get ready for the day. 

Of course, this has absolutely nothing to do with shopping.  That, I am not anxious to start.  Cleaning to get the house ready for decorations… not ready to do that.  Actually doing the baking of cookies?  I love to eat cookies, not so keen on baking them.  If truth be told my favorite recipe comes in those packages where you pop the cookies off the cardboard paper and put them in the oven. 

But, aside from the above, I am ready for Christmas.  The excitement of it.  The smells of the holidays.  The tree (which makes my eyes water and nose run), the  cookies baking (even the package kind smell good), the colder air outside, the candles of bayberry and cinnamon. 

The sights of Christmas I am anxious to see.  The light displays on the lawns of the neighborhood, the lights on the trees, the garland strung on doorways and porches, the faces of little ones in stores.  It is going to be here soon.

The sounds of Christmas are always varied, but unique to the holiday.  The music (that has already started to play in stores), the horns honking in parking lots, the children squealing over something they want, the parents of young kids losing their patience with kids in the mall, the wrapping paper being cut and ribbon being curled.

It is all calling out to me.  I know, in a month when I am ready to put up the decorations I will be hot and tired and sore from bending over and putting things up.  I will be sneezing over the dust that has accumulated in ornament boxes.  I will be questioning my sanity of hanging snowflakes from the ceiling to make our house a winter wonderland.  It will all seem ridiculous at that point about why I am doing it all.

Why am I so anxious this year?   Maybe the reason is that there are seasons in our lives where we need a little Christmas.  We need the excitement and the joy and the hope we all feel during that season.  Maybe I want to try old decorations in a new house.  Maybe I need to remember that the birth we celebrate on the 25th of December is the One who is with me through the year, and the excitement of that day is still available to me the rest of the year.   

Could be any of those maybe’s.  Today, I am observing that I am ready for Christmas.

DAF

 

 

Today… 31 Days of Observing…

31 Days Observing

My formula for living is quite simple. I get up in the morning and I go to bed at night. In between, I occupy myself as best I can. ~Cary Grant

My observation today…  I got up, and I will get to bed shortly.  Today has gotten away from me and I have not written a post.  It’s been a good day though, so I don’t mind much.

I took a walk on the beach with hubby, got some groceries and a couple from church came over for dinner.  On the whole, a good day.

Not much to write about, so I decided to use a quote from Cary Grant, after all a day with Cary Grant  is indeed an enjoyable day.

Thanks for stopping by… DAF

Bitten….. 31 Days of Observing…

31 Days Observing

The other evening it was perfect walking weather, nice and warm.  Hubby and I went out with the dog for our usual evening rounds.  On our way we met up with another couple from down the street.  Actually, we heard them before we saw them, as their boxer was straining at her leash to run wild.  Their dachshund was running free and they were unable to get to him.

Our Shugo was just curious about what was going on.  Being attracted to the female and annoyed with the little dachshund nipping at his paws.  It was a circus moment, something happening in each ring!

We talked with our neighbors while sorting out the dogs.  I kept noticing the mosquitoes in the air.  They buzzed me several times and I continued to swat at them.

A day later I had this observation…. the mosquitoes in their last hurrah before cold weather were having their own Thanksgiving feast on me.  I have bites all over my arms, legs, and ankles.  The worst?  Some little bug decided to go for the whipped cream, I have a bite right beside my thumbnail.  I have never had a mosquito bite there.   I hope they enjoyed their feast, because I will be glad to see them go!

Bitten… I bet you thought it had something to do with the current fascination of vampires, right?  No, not me…

Thanks for stopping by today, DAF

Ponds…. 31 Days of Observing…

31 Days Observing

There are ponds all over the low country.  It seems that most neighborhoods have at least one pond.  Our first house had a beautiful pond in the back yard.  It was a graceful looking pond.  It butted up to the marsh and there were lovely pines and palmetto trees and marsh grasses.  A pathway led around the pond and the neighborhood children were often seen playing in the area.  Yes, we had the occasional alligator or two or three, but it was a genteel pond.  It was clean, manicured and a delight to look at.

Now, the pond at our current house is unsophisticated.  It is a deep narrow pond.  It looks like a drainage ditch, if truth be told.  It is unkempt.  A large growth of brush is at one end of the pond.  It is never cut, or at least has never been cut since we have lived here.  The mowers come in, circle the pond and leave.  A sign on the other side of the pond says, ‘Do not feed alligator.  Do not throw anything into the water.’   Wise words considering there are three resident alligators living there.

Weekly, one of the neighbors and his children come to feed the alligators.  They throw bread into the pond, like they are feeding ducks.  Also, weekly there is a bottle or two floating in the pond.  Hubby has bravely pulled out several containers since we have moved in.

This pond is different from the one we had the pleasure of living by before.   I look at the pond daily, in fact, several times a day.  I have enjoyed watching the gators and the birds that come by for visits.

In looking the past couple days, I have seen beauty appear at this pond.  At first, it was the cattail opening up that caught my eye.  They were by the thick brush at the one end of the pond.  Yesterday I saw yellow at each end of the pond and there were yellow daisy like flowers blooming.  The pond is coming alive with color and texture.   It is amazing to me, as this was the last place I had expected to see beauty in this neighborhood.

My observation is simple today.  When we least expect it and in places we think are void of beauty, beauty will appear.  I need to keep my eyes truly open to see the beauty that I may miss in expecting the normal.

Thanks for stopping by today, DAF