Archive for October 2011

A Halloween Tale

October 30, 2011

The Tale Starts Here

We should have listened to our puppy.

You’ve heard the old belief. Dogs sense if people aren’t good. Our puppy knew.

Generally she’s greets strangers with a bark, then a sniff, then rolls over to wait for a belly rub. Since she’s a cutie pie, most people are captivated and can’t resist the temptation to hand out a friendly rub. After that ritual, peace and quiet returns and our puppy finds a lap to nest in.

On a dark and dreary day, I sat working on my laptop when the doorbell rang. I wasn’t expecting anyone. So I peeked out the peep-hole in the door. An unfamiliar woman stood outside my door. Since the outer storm door was locked, I opened the inner door. Then I spotted her “credential” hanging from a lanyard around her neck.

She identified herself and her reason for being at my door. My puppy barked louder and more frenzied.

Since I knew nothing about her or her appointment to see my severely disabled son who lives with us, I still didn’t let her in. I said I’d check with him, closed the inner door, and left her standing outside. (It wasn’t freezing or raining. I was being cautious, right?)

Sweetest little puppy grew more anxious and tired of barking turned to growling instead. She gave her best impression of ferocious. (Think musical some from Halloween movies–you know the one…)

My son verified the appointment and the name. With some trepidation I let the visitor in.

That Dark, Dreary Sky

My mistake. Even Little Red Riding Hood caught on to the wolf soon enough. Like my puppy. But I led this viper to my son. Puppy stayed with him snarling and distrustful the whole time this Frankenstein stayed.

Despite her “creds,” her pre-approved and scheduled appointment, her ordinary appearance, she was evil. Worse, I had let this ghoul in to wreak havoc on my son’s life and ours. (Mental Jaws theme thrumming in background.)

For an hour–it seemed an eternity–our puppy growled and remained vigilant during this monstrous villain’s appointment. Her slimy presence continues to leave its putrid essence in daily battles we wage to keep our family together and safe from the diabolical machinations this wickedest of witches set in motion that day.

Even worse, our puppy got sick not long after that frightful visit. (She’s better now…thanks to a good witch with veterinarian skills.)

But  bad storms followed with lots of destruction.

Several beloved people died.

This misbegotten blob of cells doesn’t have fangs, bulging eyes, greenish translucent skin–good signals to indicate her evil nature. (Psycho music here.)

No such luck. At first glance she appears human–a real-honest-to-goodness shapeshifter.

But this Voldemort enjoys using her “powers” to wreak destruction on others.

Scary--without a mask

She’s not the kind of ghoul or ghost who will be making the trick or treat Halloween bash. She gets a salary and destroys others during work hours. She feeds off the devastation left in her slimy wake.

Beware this cautionary tale. Listen to your puppy. Especially around Halloween. Or dark dreary days.

I’ll take my little goblins, ghosts, witches, warlocks, and a few fairy princesses who might ring our doorbell Halloween eve. I suspect my puppy will be barking to greet them, not growling or snarling. I have my treats ready.

But should that ghoul show up, it won’t get a treat or an open door. That’s one horror movie I won’t watch again. (Exorcist theme here.)

And so my tale ends…Till next Halloween when our son who thrives on freaky horror films this time of year helps me create our own too-terrible, tacky Halloween tale.

Happy Halloween…

Trick or Treat...

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About Glad

October 23, 2011

Morning sunrise October 20, 2011

Last week the news hit the world that Moammar Gadhafi was dead. News programs were broadcasting the news with a warning that the photos/videos to follow might be upsetting to some viewers. While I suspect many who were oppressed by his tyranny and lost loved ones because of his actions and thus really wanted to see just how gruesome he was in death, I didn’t.

Certainly not because I sympathized with him or his philosophy. I understood the celebration at the news of his death, and I’m very happy one less evil person wreaks havoc in this world.

But I also heard of another death this past week. I doubt this quiet and unexpected death will make global news, nor would the person who died want that. But that death has touched me more deeply. I mourn the loss of one less good and generous person in this world.

She was a colleague of mine for nearly thirty years. She did much for her students both in the classroom and as club advisor and organizer of events. She was out in the community with special involvement in Special Olympics activities and Cancer Relay for Life events each year.

She was a caretaker. And in that role, she touched far more lives than I know about. If trouble was in your life, she was there–with a smile, a meal, a kind joke.

She was a traveler and loved going places and seeing new things. She enjoyed meeting new people and maintained communications with those new acquaintances long after the trip was over.

She was a great cook. Some of her recipes are favorites in my family now–because she shared.

Her baking skills were extraordinary. Her tiramisu and biscotti were the best ever.

Her gardens were lovely. The tables she dressed for her gatherings always had a theme and were lovely.

Was she perfect? She’d be the first to say “no.” And like genuine people, she wasn’t perfect.

Glad and I watched this sunset on a trip to Door County several years ago

She was Glad.

She was my friend.

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

I Bit the Bullet

October 15, 2011

And now for the golds

I did something this past week I wasn’t sure I could do.

It frightened me the whole time I was working on the task. I really, really wanted a buddy at my back urging me on. It wasn’t the gut-wrenching fear I had when my husband had his first heart attack and I was called out of class and told to go immediately to the emergency room. That was scary but…I’d never had to deal with heart issues before and he was young. I firmly believed he’d be all right. That the message was given to me incorrectly.

Well, the message wasn’t wrong and our lives went through some significant changes from that day forward.

But the task this week was different. I had internet buddies who sent “you can do it” emails. I’d reviewed the instructions and manuals several times.

But this was NOT my area of expertise. I’d never conquered something like this before. Why, I don’t even know how to swim at my age, though I’ve been told multiple times I could do it.

But I’ve never done anything in the water but sink. Really. Even with floaties. I sink. I think my feet are cement and always seek the bottom.

So I procrastinated on Monday and Tuesday. I actually ironed in avoidance. I caught up on updating my Christmas card list–I’ve put that off for years. I even reorganized a file drawer in my office.

We have peak color now

But Wednesday dawned. A beautiful day. A meaningful day in history. Imagine, if Christopher Columbus had been afraid to keep on sailing, I might be living now in Ireland and have a whole different life. He went forward without a single internet buddy urging him on. I surely think his crew wasn’t happy. They were probably smelly and starving. Guys are never happy if they’ve been devoid for too long of food and drink.

So Columbus sailed until he hit land. And made history.

So what did I do?

Well, it won’t go down in the history books.

It didn’t even involve guns or bullets.

But I did manage to format and upload a new book. It’s now available in digital format on Amazon for the Kindle and Kindle applications. It will soon be available for other digital readers and I’ll let you know when.

One of my favorites

I love this book. I’ve titled it Seasons of Wine and Love. It’s about families, friends, second chances at love. It doesn’t have a scary villain. You can learn more about Gabrielle and Tony on my backstory page. You can check out the beautiful cover on my breaking news page.

Living is full of risks. It’s great to know you’ve got someone at your back. I’m so thankful I had those “buddies” attached by cyber links. I’ve done the deed. Next time won’t be so scary, right?

Especially since I’m using my head and my brain. And not a drop of water was involved.

A Cape of Vibrant Color

October 9, 2011

At our Driveway Entrance

As I was driving to church this morning, I was overwhelmed by the vivid autumn colors on the hardwood trees I passed. Almost as if last night, the bright moon which shone overhead sprinkled some magic powder upon them. Once today’s sun shoved night sky away that powder emblazoned leaves with bold golds, deep crimsons, burnished browns.

The sight filled me with joy.

Like blissful moments, autumn doesn’t last very long, especially in Wisconsin. If we’re lucky we might be able to enjoy these colorful leaves for a few weeks. But all too soon, our weather will turn capricious. A high wind and heavy rain will descend–or worse, an early, heavy snow.

Either way, once that wind blows, the leaves will fall quickly and carpet the lawns and grounds around us. Fall and its glorious cape will disappear as quickly as it slipped itself around us.

So as I was thinking about what to write today and how to write it, I wondered what words I could possibly write that would leave you to ponder joy wherever we find it and while it lasts. That maybe that was the message of autumn and its vibrant cape. We must glory in the moment, the beauty, the essence of the bounty of the harvests. The joy it brought to me. And hopefully, you.

Not consider what might be coming but seize the color of the time, lock it into our memories, seal it away in our souls.

From A Walk Along The Harbor

That way we can pull it out from our memories when the elongated times of darkness swirl around us–in weather, in days, in emotions, in our lives.

We can pull out the photos and relive the joyous moments to offset the trials we all must muddle through. Those trials life throws at us.

We can hear the sibilant lap of waves against the shore or the rustle of golden leaves swaying in a breeze. We can smell the fragrance of just mown hay or green lawn. Watch a hesitant dawn. Glimpse a blazing sunset. Remember the sweetness of a baby after a bath.

Look about you today. What fills you with a simple joy? I hope you will share it with me.

Weepy Weather vs. Sunny Skies

October 1, 2011

Yet another storm approaches

What a weather week we’ve endured.

A week ago Friday, a low pressure system settled over our county. The sun set that night and we never saw it again until noon yesterday. Yes, that means one week and almost a day of leaden cloudy skies, rain showers interspersed with heavy downpours, and intermittent but extended periods of very high winds.

Like difficult guests, that front just lingered on well beyond its expiration date.

Perhaps the migrating ducks appreciated last week, but not too many others did. We went from a serious lack of rainfall through August and most of September to an overabundance–and not at a time that would help our farmers who are busy harvesting crops.

I certainly didn’t appreciate the rainy and the dreary skies. That’s not the kind of weather that energizes me, and I really needed to focus all my energies on so many tasks. Instead, the rain dampened my enthusiasm for galloping toward finishing projects. I didn’t want to seriously consider starting new ones. Instead, I wanted to curl up in a chair and read.

My pile of unread books resembles the Leaning Tower of Pisa and my Kindle has 80 titles I haven’t even started yet.

But back to those major projects that need completion. Good Catholic guilt and recognition that I was responsible for those tasks poked and prodded me out of bed each morning when the sky viewed from my bedroom window looked more like twilight than dawn. I would have joyfully rolled over and slid back into a dreamier world, but our dog, Oreo, had other ideas. And her own agenda–like take me outside so she could pee, point me to the morning paper, then hand out her morning treat.

Just a wee wave

I know I’m lucky to have her since despite weather and my lack of enthusiasm, I did make progress this past week on my projects. Despite that far-too-stable, low pressure front lingering too long over the lake.

I’ve always been someone who keeps moving, gets things done, but this week has made me realize I’ve changed. I can’t blame it on the weather. I can’t blame it on life. I could blame it on my age, but I refuse to go there.

Instead, I think those moments this week when I watched the steady rain, the changing moods of the lake, the water spouts (tornado-like wind tunnels which pull water from the lake and spin it in a funnel), the ever-changing cloud formations, I re-examined a tidbit about life and individuals. Thus, I became a bit wiser.

What is it that I relearned?

My life is like the climate. It has high pressure and low pressure systems that are often created and affected by forces not of my making. I’m left to deal with the consequences for myself, my life, and maybe those around me. Sometimes I create those systems which gives me control of them. Thus I’m more comfortable during those times with whatever’s happening.

But if I’m not my weather-maker, well, I can endure what nature or humans throw at me. I may not like it, but I will get through it–whether the weather is bad or good.

A glimpse of sun--more to come

I know many people have serious consequences to outside influences like weather in their behavior or moods. I think enduring last week gave me a better understanding and empathy for those so afflicted. Thus, I thank last week for happening.

So what’s our forecast for this coming week? Sunshine, warmer temps during the day and cool nights. 🙂

Sounds perfect.

I hope you have the same.