Sued51's Blog











{August 18, 2014}   Like a Bad Penny…

Punk Rock, Pet Rock

Punk Rock

You know what they say about a “bad penny”? You don’t? I had to look it up as I was writing this. Not sure it fits exactly, because it is not turning up multiple times, unwanted…but this little treasure just turned up in our recent forage through shed boxes. I had thrown it out back in the 80s, but here it was still kicking around. My father would sometimes “rescue” things we kids threw out, thinking they might be worth something or we might regret it later. I guess this was one of those items.

Of course there’s a story behind it. (Isn’t there always?) It once reminded me of a painful experience. But thanks to the blessings of perspective and maturity, it now makes me feel something completely the opposite. It now represents the love and caring of dear friends. What a difference years can make…

I thought I’d tell the story here and then toss it once again. (And hope it doesn’t return…it smells BAD! The cats think its musty mousy smell is VERY interesting, but I do not.)

Cat with Punk Rock

Mmm…smells good…

I’ll keep the details a little vague to protect the innocent. :-)

Flashback to my club-going days: Jane, Julie and I were planning to see a former member of one of our favorite bands perform an acoustic set. We were looking forward to seeing him because the band had been broken up for while and we missed them. I don’t think he knew that I had received a phone call a few days before asking if I was coming. His friend and I had once had acknowledged but unconsummated feelings for each other. I didn’t want to be “the other woman” and he always seemed to have a girlfriend. For a long time I had held out hope that when he was done “playing the field” that we’d get together. Not sure how long it had been at that point since I had seen him, but was this the night? I started the night anticipating the reunion.

We got there a little early and our musician friend came over to chat before his set. Naturally the conversation included chit-chat on what his old bandmates and our mutual acquaintances were doing. He tossed a grenade without realizing it: his friend was engaged to be married! Julie and Jane looked at me…Luckily my face froze in a smile. I felt like it was obvious, but I guess it wasn’t, as he just kept on talking. When the smoke cleared, in walked the former “man of my dreams.” He came over and sat down next to me and Julie and Jane soon excused themselves saying they needed to get something at the store down the street.  I guess it was lucky that I already knew so I could give him my congratulations in a fairly convincing way. I even asked about some other guys he knew, making him think I might be after them!

Jane and Julie returned and said, “We saw this, and thought of you!” It was the Punk Rock! They didn’t have much choice at a Store 24, but it was the thought that counts. Somehow I got through the night without cracking, clutching my gift, knowing my friends understood and were with me. We walked back to the car after it was over; I touched the door handle and the tears poured down unstoppable. I cried the whole ride home.

A couple of weeks later, Jane bumped into the guy on the street. They stopped and talked for a few minutes. Apparently I put on a pretty convincing performance that night. He thought I didn’t care; she told him otherwise. He said he might write me a letter, but I never saw or heard from him again. As I moved on with my life, the Punk Rock did not come along. It reminded me of something I didn’t want to be reminded of, so I threw it away. But here it is like a bad penny…

But we are SO dramatic when we are young, aren’t we? Now it is just fodder for a blog post.

 




Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Thank Goodness for Buffy The Vampire Slayer

We all have certain things that never fail to cheer us up, or at least help us to tolerate the less-than-perfect times. It is with a giggle I admit how often I have turned to Buffy in the last year.

One year ago I moved to my tiny apartment. Even with very little space, I decided to lug along my big, heavy TV with the built-in VCR and DVD players to put in my bedroom. As senseless as it may have seemed at the time, I have been grateful for it many times in the last year. Like when it took three appointments with three different technicians to get my cable and Internet running properly. As I was trying to settle in and find comfort in my new space I was able to turn to my “old technology” TV and pull out my Buffy the Vampire Slayer series DVDs. Ah…the clothes, the silliness, the witty writing…and the familiar characters…it was good to see them again. I didn’t feel so lonely and so lost.

A year later I was again having trouble with my cable and Internet; I’m up to Season Three now…and I’m grateful…again. I even told the customer service person on the phone about Buffy. When I couldn’t get a technician to come out for two days she said, “Well, I guess you’ll be watching Buffy again tonight!” And we laughed. I’ll be she was grateful too… Buffy helped her not to have to deal with a frustrated customer.

And within that year I had a month and a half when my cable-connected living room TV was broken (it was the holidays…too much going on…then the TV repair man had to come out three times before he got the correct board to fix it). Buffy and my old TV kept me from feeling upset with things out of my control. After all, we have Buffy to protect us from the vampires and demons out to get us! :-)

And when I had a horrible migraine, a terrible day at work, and sat in the waiting room for an appointment that had been changed to another day? Buffy and a bloody mary (get it?) was the redeeming ending to my day that allowed me to go to sleep with the confidence that the next day would be better.

You definitely wouldn’t call it binge watching as after one year I am only in Season Three, but I’m savoring it…every moment.

Tell me, readers, do you have a movie or TV show  you turn to in the “tough” times?




Last October I wrote a post about the search for the elusive comic book: the one my father didn’t sell that we could sell now and solve everyone’s money woes.

Nine months later we continue to sort through old boxes, sorting out the family heirlooms or things we could sell at a yard sale, our own version of the lottery. Recently we found some approximately one-hundred-year old sheet music in pretty good shape. Once I got over the initial (false) excitement of thinking they might be financially worthwhile, my heart beat more normally and I became  interested in the history. I had taken a class in college on nationalism in children’s literature and found it very interesting. Now firsthand I was witnessing nationalism in another form: sheet music.

Many of the ones we found were copyrighted at the time of  WWI, and thus, this was their subject matter. You can’t get much more nationalistic than this one!

General Pershing song

WWI Nationalistic Sheet Music

How about this one?

 

Vintage Sheet Music

More Nationalistic WWI Sheet Music

According to Antique Roadshow, these are representative of the “golden age” of sheet music between 1890-1920, when people gathered in living rooms and played music for entertainment.

Because my grandfather was in Paris during WWI, I am interested in this time in U.S. history. This is one of my favorite photos of him.

My Grandfather in Paris during WWI

My Grandfather in Paris during WWI

 

I have been considering creating my own “display” in my home with my grandfather’s photo and some “doughboy” toy soldiers. Finding this sheet music may just give me the impetus to do it. I’m thinking now I will frame one of these treasures to add to my display. Since according to Antique Roadshow, they are affordable collectibles, we probably won’t sell them.

But I’m torn. The nationalistic ones are interesting from a historical perspective, but I fell in love with the artwork on some of the others — their colors and style.

sheet music

Vintage Sheet Music

 

vintage sheet music

Colorful Vintage Sheet Music

 

Certainly I can’t be greedy, I’m sure my brothers and sister-in-laws may be interested…and I certainly don’t have the room for more than two. It will be hard to choose, don’t you think?

In the meantime, I’m learning about history and antiques, and the search for the elusive comic book goes on.



{June 25, 2014}   Gotta Love Grandmothers

Clippings

Clippings

The other day my mother and I were going over more boxes. (They are endless!) My paternal grandmother died years ago, but there are still boxes of stuff hanging around that were cleaned out of her house. My father never got a chance to sort through them before he passed away. My mother is determined to dig into the sheds and get through them during the summer months. (It’s easier emotionally than going through my father’s stuff or her own…besides, this stuff is OLD and smelly and she can do it outside.)

My grandmother was a clipper, especially as her memory started to go and she stayed inside all the time. She clipped out recipes, she clipped out poems, she clipped out news stories. There are many boxes just full of yellowed newspaper clippings. Why don’t we just toss them you might ask? Well, here’s a perfect example of why we don’t.

In one box my mother found an old Reader’s Digest envelope labeled in my grandmother’s neat writing: All Susan’s Clippings.

My grandmother had cut out the articles published in the local newspaper for every time I made the honor roll or appeared in the school play. They were tucked into my high school graduation program. Her efforts were touching enough, but I found a treasure in there.

I mentioned in previous posts that the first poem I ever had published was in the editorial section of The Boston Globe. I had just turned 16 at the time, so even though it is a “silly” poem, I’m still proud of it. But I didn’t have a copy. I’m sure I kept one at the time, but it was easily misplaced over the course of many moves and 40 years. Bless my grandmother…there was a copy in her little envelope! Nobody but a diehard Red Sox fan would probably understand it, but here it is…

Red Sox Poem

My First Published Poem



{June 18, 2014}   Celebrity Sightings

Lately they have been happening all AROUND me but not TO me…other people telling me about their celebrity sightings. Last week John Wayne’s son came in to the liquor distributor I work for to promote his bourbon, “The Duke.” Meanwhile I was in holed up in a co-worker’s office getting some training. I had no idea he was there until after the fact.

I also just found out a TV actress came in to the restaurant where I hostess every other Saturday. It just so happens her father lives in the small town where it is located and likes the place, so they came in for a Father’s Day meal. Hmmm…it was my weekend off…missed that too.

A Facebook friend has a friend who just saw Viggo Mortensen at a store in Idaho…Aragon in Idaho, go figure…must have been filming somewhere around there. (I admit that story fluttered my heart for just a moment…though it was the farthest removed from me. I am a big admirer of him as a modern-day renaissance man.)

I was working on this post yesterday and didn’t finish it, and then — Voila! — The Daily Post topic today is “Instant Celebrity.”  Am I on track with The Universe on this?

The question The Daily Post asked is this: if you could be a celebrity, who would you be? Hmmm…That’s a tough question for me. I think it is easier to say who I WOULDN’T want to be…Alec Baldwin? Miley Cyrus? Kim Kardashian? I wouldn’t want to be anyone who is known for outlandish behavior. To me, they have no ethics, no personal integrity. But I don’t want to go off on a rant about people doing ANYTHING for attention or money; I’ll save that for another post. :-)

To seriously try to answer the question — I would want to be a brilliant but reclusive writer (maybe Margaret Atwood or Joan Didion) or a well-off philanthropist (Melinda Gates or Oprah). But perhaps the reason The Universe has not provided me with that gift is that I wouldn’t handle it well. Maybe being famous would turn me into Alec Baldwin (EEK!) because I don’t like being the center of attention.

Going back to the actress in the restaurant…my friend told me people were approaching her and asking to have their pictures taken with her. Bless her, she obliged, but I think it would get pretty annoying trying to have a nice quiet Father’s Day dinner with a loved one who you probably don’t have much time to see, and being interrupted by fans.

Naw…I don’t think I would want to be a celebrity.

 



{June 11, 2014}   Working through a Migraine

puddle with pollen

Pollen Murking up the Puddles

I had a rough day at work yesterday; the thunderstorms and weather change brought on a migraine at a busy time. My stress at being unable to control what is happening to me exacerbates it, but it is hard to calm myself down. I know no one on the outside knows what is happening inside my head; I fear they think I am stupid when I can’t get things right. Can anyone relate?

This poem is what I got out of a bad day.

Migraine

When it comes, the torture begins:

I am plunged under water and

struggle to do the simplest thing –

Breath, hold on –

as the numbers and words enter

my whooshing ears,

they are dashed around

inside my head,

flipped over against

the rocks of pain over my eyes;

behind them, I mentally write white

upon a black backdrop

so I can see what I hear,

try to send them in a slow-motion rush

through my hands, through my pen,

backwards like a photo negative,

Black on white –

Make sense, I pray,

please

make sense,

hang on

until you are released

and the water recedes.




I had a rough week at work last week; one of those weeks that makes you take a whole weekend of doing things you love to recharge.

Saturday I had a visit with a friend I have known for 50 years. She just got back from a fabulous trip across Europe. I missed her, but she sent me pictures every day as if I were travelling with her. Priceless. There’s no jealousy on my part; she shared her trip with me and I felt happy for her. That is the way it should be with friends who love and value each other.

Yesterday was a glorious sunny day and I had an outing with a treasured old friend, one that I have known for 30 years. We have many interests in common; we both love to walk and take pictures, but we don’t live close so these events have to be planned in advance. Time flies when I am with her. When I am feeling like someone who has been transported to a hostile planet, she brings me back home. She reminds me of who I was, and still am somewhere inside, despite the fact that I may feel transplanted, lost, and downright scared. You can’t put a price on that.

Yesterday we were walking around a graveyard and found this gravestone. We both loved it, read the words aloud together and took a photo.

Gravestone for Ann Ellery

A Loving Gravestone

 

There was a silent pause as we both thought about Ann, who we never had a chance to know. But my friend said it first, “She sounds great; I would feel lucky to have those things said about me.”  In the post-feminism age, these qualities may sound laughable to some. But the description makes me think of a Jane Austen heroine, vibrant and full of life, someone who must have been fun to talk to, and valued as a friend. It’s wonderful not to have to explain this, or excuse this thinking to my friend. I know we have more than surface things in common. We have deep values about what is important…this is why we are still friends despite the changes in our lives.

In case you can’t read it, this is how Ann Ellery is described:

To the memory of Ann Ellery…

In every aspect of life, she exhibited a becoming behavior,

was sensible and quick of apprehension,

spritely and agreeable in conversation,

hospitable, charitable, sincere and pious.

 

I have to say, I don’t believe we see these qualities too often in today’s selfish greedy society, and I think we are the worse for it. But I feel lucky to know some people who wouldn’t choose to put on their gravestone achievements or job descriptions, but a picture of a treasured human being.



{May 19, 2014}   Virtual Blog Tour

My current morning pages notebook

My current morning pages notebook

My friend and incredible photographer, Susan Licht, recently invited me to take part in a virtual blog tour. I first “met” Susan by discovering her beautiful blog and then discovered we had a mutual friend on Facebook! (Despite the massive size of the Internet, it’s still a small world!) We have many interests in common including literature, gardening, music, nature and photography. We could have met each other years ago through our mutual friend, and sometimes I wish we had.

So…my thanks to Susan for asking me to be part of this blog tour and involving me in this slightly different way of learning about other bloggers’ creative processes, of finding some new blogs recommended by people I respect, and of being able to introduce some of the bloggers I enjoy and give them a little extra support.

The “work” part of this blog tour involves answering the following questions about your creative process, so here goes:

1) What am I working on?

Too many things! Recently I had been trying to send out some of my poetry to publications. The last time I had poems “officially” published was in the 90s, though I do support a local poets community and go to open mike events. Although I publish some poems on this blog, I “keep” what I consider the best ones, seeking a more prestigious home for them than my blog. :-) I will probably end up self-publishing…sending work out seems to be too much like a dating service. I have also joined some photography groups, hoping for an inexpensive way to learn Photoshop. I take pictures almost every day for Last Train to QVille, though I don’t post every day. I tend to walk in the same area so it is a challenge to find new ways of looking at the same scenery.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Anyone who reads positive self-development blogs and books has probably read over and over that we are all unique. I still struggle with the answer to that question. The easy answer is that I was an only girl growing up amongst 6 boys! But beyond that I suppose part of my uniqueness is that I am interested in so many unrelated things…I have held a lot of different jobs in my life: from working at a movie theater (doing everything from selling tickets to popping corn and cleaning the theater) to working in offices. I worked in the garden dept at Home Depot; I’ve been an usher supervisor for concert venues, a legal secretary, an editor, and now I am working in the wine industry and as a part-time hostess at a restaurant…totally unrelated things. This translates into meeting people from all walks of life, which is a great thing for someone who likes to write.

3) Why do I write/create what i do?

Well, bottom line is that I love to create and I live to create. When I’m not creating, I’m miserable. My creativity most often takes the form of  poems because I have been expressing my feelings that way for over 35 years and it is second nature to me. It is an integral part of the way I process my life and connect with others. And I love beauty and nature, so I take pictures to capture and remember moments in time and the beauty I see daily.

4) How does my creative process work?

I have many different notebooks that I jot down ideas in. I journal every day. I read other people’s blogs and see which directions their work sends me. I write about whatever strikes me on any given day.

NOW comes the best part of this post: my recommendations for other blogs to check out. Another reflection of my eclectic job history and interests, the blogs I read regularly are very different, but all great.

Louisa May Alcatt takes her name from the author of Little Women; her “pub” writes interesting posts about women in history at her blog: Suffragette kitty

Peter S, former ad man chronicles his life as a stay-at-home dad through the antics and eyes of his son, Mr. C.

Queenie, as her name might suggest, is from the U.K., a former dance teacher with a bucket list, a camera and a good sense of humor.

Not sure if any of them will be following through on this tour, though. :-(  I know it is a time commitment that we can’t all manage.

Finally, I’m adding this on my own, one of the bloggers I wanted to recommend had participated in a blog tour right before I could ask her! So I’m throwing in a link to her post for good measure. Meet Beeblu!

Happy reading everyone!



{May 17, 2014}   Daily Post: First Sight

Just this morning I was telling my beautiful cat, Aimee “her” story, then this prompt came through and I said, “Well…that would be Aimee’s story, of course!”

All the cats that have shared my life were adopted in some way: whether they turned up on the doorstep like my first cat, Breeze, or “formally” adopted like my present cats, Aimee and Zoee. In every situation, I felt an instant bond with them, that it was somehow meant to be. But with Aimee, I would have to say, I fell in love.

I love looking at the cats for adoption every time I visit PetSmart; I love to read their stories and simply look at them. On one of our trips my husband and I thought we saw the double for the wonderful cat we knew we were going to lose soon (you can read about Simone here). She looked just like our baby from behind, but when she turned around, she had a completely different face. We thought her beautiful, but we weren’t ready to adopt yet.  After a  few more visits to the store, the beautiful calico was gone.

A couple of months later, when we knew we were going to lose our beloved Simone any day, we went to the local PetSmart to look at the cats for adoption to cheer ourselves up. We were amazed to find the beautiful calico back! We read the notes on her…she had been to a foster home because she had an allergy to the cat litter being used in the shelter and had developed red eyes that made her unadoptable. But she was back with a note that she needed special cat litter. That didn’t bother us.

We had decided though, that this time we would get two cats. We had somewhere to be, so we decided to come back the next day.

As we walked across the store to the adoption area the next day, I saw her. The cutest tiger kitten I had ever seen (in my opinion of course). I exclaimed out loud, “Look at the little tiger!” The moment I saw her, I knew I had to have her in my life. The final test was for us each to hold the two cats and make sure they liked us. They were both loving and purred when each of us held them, so we filled out the adoption papers.

Turns out, someone else asked for our little tiger an hour after we filled out the papers. When we came back to get the cats a couple of days later, the people were there trying to convince us to take another cat. Nope…it was love at first sight…something about the big ears and the black nose…

Happy Kitties

Happy Kitties



{May 2, 2014}   Ted and Sylvia

Birthday Letters

Birthday Letters

I know, I know…National Poetry Month is over so I’m late. But fellow blogger, Janna Hill published a great post on Wednesday about Ted Hughes and Sylvia Path to end the month, and it got me inspired (as great posts do!).

Ted Hughes published a book of poems about Plath called, “Birthday Letters.”  It is a “must read” for Plath fans. Although I had picked it up and read it here and there after I bought it, I finally sat down and read it cover to cover last year.  The post by Janna brought it back out of my bookcase; I wanted to share a couple of things.

One of my favorite poems in the book is called “Fingers.”

Fingers

Who will remember your fingers?

Their winged life? They flew

With the light in your look.

At the piano, stomping out hits from the forties,

They performed an incidental clowning

Routine of their own, deadpan puppets.

You were only concerned to get them to the keys.

But as you talked, as your eyes signalled

The strobes of your elation,

They flared, flicked balletic aerobatics.

I thought of birds in some tropical sexual

Play of display, leaping and somersaulting,

Doing strange things in the air, and dropping to the dust.

Those dancers of your excess!

With such deft, practical touches —  so accurate.

Thinking your own thoughts caressed like lightning

The lipstick into your mouth corners.

Trim conductors of your expertise,

Cavorting at your typewriter,

Possessed by infant spirit, puckish,

Who, whatever they did, danced or mimed it

In a weightless largesse of espressivo.

I remember your fingers. And your daughter’s

Fingers remember your fingers

In everything they do.

Her fingers obey and honour your fingers,

The Lares and Penates of our house.

The book jacket said that all but two of the poems were about Sylvia. I was curious as to whether she DID play the piano and I found this blog. Apparently “stomping out hits from the forties” is quite accurate.

I loved the book, because I love the poetry of both Plath and Hughes. And I admit to the fascination with the “tragic” story. Given that, I try not to make judgments on their personal life. But reading the book DID give me an emotional reaction that came out as my own poem.

Ted and Sylvia

Words precisely chosen,

A perfect construction –

or deconstruction you could say –

I see her clearly,

her eyes flashing fire,

colliding colors,

a star burning to a boil,

destined to explode,

one can’t look away

only watch in wonder

without interference.

I can’t blame you for that.

You show the flip-side too:

Fragility and fear,

her surety and psychic sense

that her skin could not contain this fury,

this inferno.

But I see love too:

the pushing, the pulling,

the genius, the frailties

two magnetic poles.

I admit,

I feel some jealousy.

I strive in vain,

but alive and alone.

Wishing for that talent, 

to be loved like this:

my vices overwhelmed,

minimized, dwarfed into dust.

But then again,

Life is the bottom line,

breathing still

the ultimate period

to a life’s sentence.

 

 



et cetera
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