Thursday, January 29, 2009

Your Assignment, Should You Choose to Accept It...

Sitting in my small computer/TV room this dark cloudy and often snowy day has been just another dreary day. Since the weather has been so much of the same thing day after day this winter people have had to struggle with the affects of that winter depression and SAD. Being cooped up can make for some real cabin fever and often leaves many of us with nothing to do but shovel and pray for a break in the weather!

So what can a person do to try and lift the doldrums? First, it really matters who you are and what you like to do in warmer weather so you can begin to plan that escape plan. You can dream and plant that spring time garden in your mind and on paper over and over again, or plan the repairs of a special antique car it doesn't matter as long as it is a dream that can be fulfilled either on paper or in your mind.

Though I love the snow, even I am feeling cornered in my little place. So when my garden and seed catalogs began coming in a few weeks ago I began to build my dream garden on a wall in this small room I often write from on days such as these. Though in the end I know my own garden won't be filled with all the flowers like my beautiful picture garden, I've really enjoyed seeing all that color and ideas that have come to life in my small cubicle sized room.

For me, creation of any kind can give a boost so often when we're watching TV I also am working on a bright yellow afghan that will end up being a gift to a new great grandniece when it's done. So for me it's that creation using my hands that makes the time shape up differently, but for others it can be spending time reading their winter beach books which can often includes some deeply interesting books as well as those ever present fluff types - or maybe simply spinning those wonderful day dreams of travel to some warm part of the world a real personal escape to those far off lands that make those snow flakes so much less intimidating. We all need to break through to those much anticipated spring zephyrs - even if it's only for a few moments.

What is your escape, or for those who aren't sure - what's your favorite diversion?? Why not explore what fits you and find the path to an escape to your personal island of freedom from the wintery onslaught.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Today I Take on The Quiet of the World

As I cruised around on almost dry roads today doing my many errands today it seemed almost like I was in another world. We haven't had good roads because of the intense amount of snow, blowing snow, and icy conditions since before Thanksgiving. It was a nice outing. Instead of a bumper car experience which really has been the norm with the slick roads we've had almost constantly for over two months it was a pleasant and quiet drive today.

Since there are probably at least two more months of winter left I am enjoying a sense of actual thought instead of total reaction time behind the wheel of my little car. If you've followed my blog you know that I treasure my times of quiet and contemplation because that is my center of creativity so the actual act of driving can be a silent vigil of thought.

I know the winter weather will all be back in various forms during the next few weeks, but this island of quiet and thought has really been quite a gift for me today.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Drivin' My Life Away

I'm not much of a fan of country music, but one artist has grabbed my attention over the years. He died of lung cancer quite a while ago but was a great song writer before actually singing some of his songs as an artist himself.

He had quite a few hits and if you were around in the 70s and 80s I'm sure you heard whether you were a pop, rock or country lover since many of his songs were cross-over hits. Okay, I haven't given you too many hints, but the biggest is the title of this blog is based on a huge hit of his called, "Drivin' My Life Away." Since I'm a writer I felt it appropriate to honor his memory by simply saying it like it is for me, and many who are driven by what they do. Some are driven literally by the life behind those big wheels as a truck driver going and living from place to place. I am driven instead by my need to write (or journal) and express my thoughts, ideas and experiences.

So here is my dedication to that song-smith, Eddie Rabbitt who like those early blacksmiths could form and forge not metal but words and music that set a tone and created feelings which often made any given song the one with the stand out response to touch us and give a small vacation for the heart.

Late Night Hauntings

The weekend is over. Sunday has been busy which really defeats the purpose of that day of rest which historically has been the purpose of this day of the week. When do we rest? I don't much any more and I am mostly an unemployed writer who is a grandmother and on-call pick-up bus driver for the grandkids!

Today I was lucky, I got a few moments in bed to unwind and rest after having a granddaughter most of the day. That was a real blessing! It's funny because it seems that as I'm out of the work-a-day world I am beginning to see that we as a society spend much of our time running the wheel in this rat race we call life in the USA.

I'm still looking for a way out of this craziness that is my every day life. I don't have many answers, but I know I have got to keep searching because this is no life for's only an existence and I really want some of those quiet times to write without it only being in the late night hours!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Records Don't Destroy

Today, as I was revisiting our "Record Breaking Year," I thought about how it really has affected every aspect of our year. And I mean both individually and as a state and nation. This year because of our instant communications grid that gives us the good and the bad a breath from when the event actually occurs has given us tears, laughter and fear often in the same thought or report.

When we add to that all that has happened to us as individuals and families because of the economy and our own personal events it was really memorable year! How do we live with that and survive??? Simply through smiles and laughter - at ourselves and the situations that would destroy us can be the best source of crossing that bridge of the painful. (And I know that through experience!) :-)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Record Breaking Year

Winter has almost become record breaking here in West Michigan! We are within reaching record snow falls and if the cold in the single digits and teens that will also be record setting temperatures.

This year has been fascinating for the heat of summer and the amounts of snows during this year's winter. What's next? Who knows for sure, but we've been setting records so I don't think that will change anytime soon.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Winter White

Here we are in the frozen North lands with snow, blowing snow and frigid single digit and negative numbers temperatures....well, really it's only West Michigan but it sure feels like Alaska or Lapland! These last few days have been so cold that even with layered clothing in the house I need my robe which is made from long heavy sweatshirt material.

My poor dogs are inside almost all the time and miss the barking at our neighbors who live in a low income senior apartment complex next door. Life for them has become the warmth of the small oil heater in the living room where they lay as shadows in front of that heater to keep as warm as they can. The only time they leave is when they HAVE to go out and they never stay out but head in quickly when they are done.

Cold has engulfed the area and the drivers are staying home in the evening-mostly that is! The restaurants are filled most of the time! We live on an ever busy street and it has been almost deserted these days accept when people are coming and going to work.

Even after my husband's accident and his severely broken elbow I still enjoy the swirling snow and the quiet that engulfs our small spot on the planet. So despite the cold winter weather I am thankful for this quiet eye of the storm in our busy world.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

What's the Rhythm of Your Life?

The beginning of a new week - a fresh start if you want view it that way. We humans tend to repeat patterns, and our week day world is one of the most entrenched in all of societies that go back to the earliest times. Though the hours and days of work has changed over the centuries the pattern that makes it up has been the mainstay of lives.

So what drives our personal machine these days? For me it's getting my husband out the door (with lunch!) for work, and begin again on keeping our home clean. Within my regular day there is meal planning, picking up and caring for grandkids, and more busy-ness than most of us can handle sometimes.

I think we have a lot to learn from earlier times where the rhythm of the earth and seed time and harvest ended most days with the setting of the sun and winding down of any day with the dark quiet all over that ended the day, and often began the next. We seldom take the time to wind down before we hit the pillow each night.

The quiet times of our days are rare and in my case few and sometimes far between each. But for me that need to refresh my mind is a necessity to even functioning in my world. For many years I drove myself with three kids and all the craziness that entails with little or no breaks. I did not do myself any service by not taking care of myself, and I was constantly tired and angry often as well.

We forget to take care of ourselves at a peril we can't imagine - until we're older, that is. I've learned since then that there is no real fast track for our lives unless we let it be that driving force in our lives. I'm making some changes and finding a different life off that fast track and onto a s-l-o-w life line that can lead to a bit more peace.

Good Writing - Or Not...

I just jointed Twitter, even though I am totally unsure what the site actually does besides offer up one liners! I did find a line of conversation about the editing of Michigan newspapers interesting (Or lack of editing!). It use to be that if you were an editor it meant that you read through and either made changes to make pieces of writing more grammatical and correct or gave some ideas that could make a piece more understandable. That was of course a million years ago!

Even my work needs editing! We who write always need an extra set of eyes to see those mistakes our eyes miss (And brains too!). If you read my two spots here on Blogger you know I come back and edit periodically, and I still miss things! How can any columnist or reporter catch all the mistakes?? If you give yourself time between the edits (like 24 hours), it does help to see some of the mistakes, but we still miss things, and it shows most in the newspapers in our part of the state.

I kind of have a feeling that it shows all over, actually. Frustrating for those of us who want to be good writers, and for those who read our word works.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

It's Caught in the Twilight Zone

Cars are the pits sometimes! Mine is a 1996, which should and often does mean that things go wrong - often! It began two days ago with an oil leak that turned into from the oil cooler seal, not sure what that is but then I got a call as they were half way into fixing my beast and they had discovered that I had a leak from the passenger side axle seal.

After parts, repairs and of course replacing the oil (since they had to drain it to replace the seal.) and what seemed to be a huge parts list I finally have my car back. The cost was more than I had expected, but I like my little car so it was worth it.

So what happens today? My stereo unit will no long play any of my CDs, and they're trapped in the center of that stereo and won't eject! I'm beginning to feel caught up in the Twilight Zone when it comes to my auto and electronics. Hope nothing else is going to go belly up any time soon!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Gardening Year Round

The winter is now really here, the Holidays are past, and I am getting my seed and flower catalogs! Even in winter, that gardener in me is searching through my Burpee, Park Seed, and so many more that come through my mailbox every year - sometimes just the pictures get me excited. Each year I find new kinds of flowers to try in my small plot and I love to see the results my experimenting creates.

Depending on the requirements, I find that various plants grow well, while others either fail, or disappear after a year or two. I'm really a perennial kind of person with a few annuals to fill the few empty spaces every year. One year I put in some perennial lupines and that year they were lovely, but they simply died out after that. That can happen sometimes depending on your soil and conditions.

I'm more a person who loves cottage gardens - you know, that random almost wild look that so captivated the Victorian gardeners. Gardens are often the extension of the he or she who does the digging and planting, and that is definitely true of me. I'll enjoy the catalogs, but I do so long for that dirty fingernail experience that comes every spring when winter has passed!

So tomorrow, I will be looking through my mail for more of those precious catalogs, that bring many more ideas for this year's garden. My mom was quite a gardener, and so were my grandmothers on both sides. I truly believe it's in my blood so it is what I write about during winter and long for - that season of muck and that smell of the moist, fragrant earth. That winter white and cold temperatures is the time when the only flowers in or near my gardens are the "feathered" kind!

Gardens are really for love - the love of nature and that love of sharing them with others.