1.29.2009

Can you get to the point in 55 words exactly????

I found a site that has a little noncompetitive contest (ha!!) that is a 55-word story.

Check here

I thought Huckleberries (see side bar) has such fine (prolific) writers that this would be enjoyable. In fact, the site I found celebrates "55 Flash Fridays". We could do something like 55-word Hump Day Stories. Or something. Here's a couple!

My Excuse (by a 10-year-old girl)

I had my map of the 50 states in 50 different colors with all the correct capitals in florescent ink when this huge, opera singing elephant leapt out of the bushes and blew my map into a puddle and it dissolved right there and that’s why I don’t have my homework done. That’s the truth!


And another if that is too fluffy for you:

The Angel frantically ran past the Pearly Gates, across the gold cobbled stones, and up the golden staircase, screaming “Heaven is ending! Heaven is ending!" Other Angels tried to comfort her but she was beside herself with fear. God finally touched her. “Fear not,” He calmly said. “Heaven is still here. It has not . . . “ phffffft!


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1.28.2009

We are in a Black Hole

Unemployment.

Layoffs upon Layoffs.

I've never seen anything like it. First, yesterday's paper's headline shouted "One day, 40,000 job cuts" for household names like Caterpillar, Home Depot and Sprint Nextel. Then the news bulletin alert on my email stated that Mayor Vernor was planning nine layoffs in the building department, because of lack of new homes being built.

Today, Boeing announced 10,000 layoffs for this year and Starbucks added to that number, 6,000. We are in dire straits, folks. There is not one family that has escaped this cutting jobs theme. My son was laid off two weeks ago, in a small branch office where they laid off 30% of their employees. This morning's news relayed the tragic effects that layoffs can have – a father/husband killed his wife, their five children, and himself because both he and his wife were laid off this week.

It's increasingly worrisome. Add this to the fact that all of us who are working have watched our savings and 401(k)'s take a big hit and our dreams of retiring are looking grim. And what must it be like for those who have retired and are living on a fixed income with a dwindling retirement backup plan?

What is the solution? How can we keep our heads above the panic line?

I am grateful I do have a job, and a job that I enjoy – but what happens when people can't find a job, when Avista keeps raising its rates, when the economy tanks, and bail outs seem to be only for the big multi-millionaire companies and not for the small families, the homeless, the poor, even the middle class. What happens to . . . . me?

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1.27.2009

Analog Digital Confusion!

It's such a quandary, isn't it? To go digital or stay analog. It's almost like they are saying – get with the new century or sit on your behind and "go dark."

I haven't given this digital conversion a single thought because I have cable. But the ads on tv are glutted with promos for getting a converter box before D Day (Digital Day) or you won't be able to watch tv.

First, this is a government mandated conversion. For your television connection. I think all kinds of conspiracy theories can propagate themselves right in this one little conversion proposal. It's government mandated! It's very "Big Brother is Watching You." I wonder if this means that Big Brother is **really** watching me as I watch Desperate Women. Can Big Brother hear conversations in my house? Is that just too paranoid? Is it really? If the government can mandate how your television is connected, then can it eventually mandate what you watch and when you watch it?

We have been hearing promos for box coupons for months now and the deadline crept closer and closer to reality, even pre-empting a rerun of Boston Legal to go on for an hour about how easy it is to connect your tv to the converter box, when suddenly, now we have an extra four months, until June. What ARE the elderly, the poor, the ones with just a simple television that isn't on cable, going to do???

I did a tiny bit of research on this and in a Q&A:
"An important benefit of the switch to all-digital broadcasting is that it will free up parts of the valuable broadcast spectrum for public safety communications (such as police, fire departments, and rescue squads). Also, some of the spectrum will be auctioned to companies that will be able to provide consumers with more advanced wireless services (such as wireless broadband). "


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1.25.2009

Summons

There it was. Those words. You Have Been Summoned. It looked sinister and ominous.

Holy cow! I have been called to jury duty! First time ever! O boy! O boy! (a little dancing, a little high-fiving, a little "framing of my summons" going on.)

I know it is based on my being an adult, licensed driver, home owner, or somehow have an identification card showing I’m, . . . . what? Smart? Objective? Mature? Can I be your peer?

Here I am, almost 60 years old and I’ve been sniveling about NOT being “chosen” for jury duty. Like it was some kind of contest. So typical of my life – first in 4th grade being the last.one.standing to be picked for one of two teams. Now, I am entering close-to-retirement years and I finally got picked for jury duty. They say you have been “randomly” picked – but I know better. They couldn’t find anyone else taller, smarter, prettier, or more athletic and they had to settle for. . . . . . . . .me.

I’m kidding of course. It is a serious duty and my right as a member of the community and I wasn’t being snubbed. Much.

I’ve heard the stories, though, of how utterly boring it is. Very, very few get the high profile cases. The rest are domestic quarrels with your neighbor, shop lifting, bla bla snooze.

So, what should I wear? Can I bring my I-pod? My laptop? Food?

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1.21.2009

A Mom by Any Other Name

Recently a friend sent an email questionnaire – you know, the fun ones asking you to name your favorite chick flick, the last movie you cried to, your favorite snack. This one asked, "name five names you are known by." So, I faithfully started writing:

Ma
Mom
Mommy
Mom!!!
Sweetie
Jeanie
Donna Jean (my mother)
Mrs. xxx (teachers)
Mrs. xxx (future daughters-in-law)
Mom (present daughter-in-law)

And I realized most of my names are related to some job I hold – parent, spouse, secretary, daughter. Most of my names are my children's names for me, depending on the degree of urgency, each one said incrementally louder than the one before it. They are in their mid-30s now and I do not see them growing out of this name-calling stage any time soon.

I don't think I have lost my identity – you hear women whine all the time that they don't know who they are. I am first and foremost – Mom. It's my favorite job. It's my longest running job – I have never been fired nor laid off and I doubt I will ever have to worry about job security until the day I die – and then it is my children who will have lost their parent / teacher / friend / nurse / fireman / instructor / life coach / driver / all-around rescuer from all things girl, pet, sport, life in general issues. (I haven't quite figured out how to put that down on my resume.)

So, my oldest son was laid off after ten years and the first person he called was:

"Mom!!!!"

I'm meeting him for lunch and I'm wearing all my hats.

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1.20.2009

Obama - He's the One!!

I am content in my belief that this man will be a positive influence for our country and he will take our country to new heights. I am convinced and utterly confident of that! I claim it as a promise and an assurance that America's future is bright. I even believe my pitiful 401(k) will be rescued. I have faith that our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan have a light at the end of the tunnel – and it's called America. It's called "home." This is a day that will go down in history as the greatest day in this new Century. I see president Obama as a people's man, a humble man, an intelligent, eloquent man. He is speaking my heart, and he is speaking for the hearts of each and every American.
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1.19.2009

Hail to the Chief

Barak Obama will officially become the President of the United States on January 20, 2009. It is probably the first inauguration in my lifetime that I have been keenly interested in and excited about. It’s like Christmas, New Years, wedding days, and birthdays all rolled into one. It is a phenomenally historical event. All this mainly because he is black. I write that with a little ill-ease. Is it racist to think this is a special occasion because of the color of one’s skin? At any rate, it is an awesome time. It is always hoped that the United States is, well, united, in its diversity, in its people, in its two parties. We are entering a time of great opportunity for change. As in inaugurations in the past, we are always stepping forward on new ground, a blank page before us to right wrongs, and set lofty goals, and go onward to the future with dreams, hopes, prayers, wishes. Mr. Obama speaks of change with a positive force. And change is what we desperately crave. Now is the time to open the door to the future and leave past what is past. May this presidency fulfill those dreams and aspirations that every single president has had before him – may this presidency be a resounding leap to a positive future. May all the best of all the presidencies behind him, be the support and springboard for a future of opportunity and excellence. Hail to the Chief, President Barak Obama, and God bless the United States of America.

1.13.2009

Take a Wild Ride

Hike up those boots
Buckle that belt
Kiss 2008 a sound Good Bye
And let's take this new year for a great ride

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1.10.2009

Play that avatar!

Recently, my favorite online newspaper, The Spokesman-Review, upgraded their website and now all the blogs allow the users to create “avatars” to represent themselves.

Wikipedia paints an avatar as “. . . a computer user's representation of himself/herself or alter ego” “It is an “object” representing the embodiment of the user. The term "avatar" can also refer to the personality connected with the screen name, or handle, of an Internet user.”

An avatar also is a reincarnation of a Hindu deity! And further is defined as “an embodiment, a bodily manifestation of the Divine."

However, in the blogosphere of Huckleberries, an avatar doesn’t necessarily show a deity as much as it shows the mischievous, whimsical, and playful personality of the individual behind the avatar.

You can be anything you want to be, the stars are the limits. You can be thin, svelte, young, animal, personality, even a symbol. Anything goes.

If I take the concept behind an avatar, then I am assuming that each user is displaying his persona in that little icon. On Huckleberries – unlike any other forum displaying avatars – the individual avatars change sporadically throughout the day, expressing that individual’s mood at that moment: naughty, nice, cantankerous, ornery, quizzical, mysterious. Mine at the moment is pixyish fairy with a subtle mischievousness – in other words, a brat. :) (Tinkerbell) (I did find a naked Tink and gave it about five seconds before I visualized my avatar (and me) being banned forever and ever.)

Actually, when I go through the blogosphere at Huckleberries, I can never quite be sure that doodleface is really Jane Doe, it might be Jack Splat. And with the constant changing of the avatars for one single individual, at any given moment, which seems to be going on with nearly everyone on the blog, I think the whole Huckleberries community is filled up with escapee schizophrenics. And I’m one of them!!!

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1.06.2009

Puffed Childhood

Cindy Hval's article ("Jot it down") instantly brought back one of many, many happy memories of my children when they were little. We spent endless nights before bedtime all curled up in one rocker while I read to them. I still have that rocker.

When I look back, I see rows and rows of days where we were either in that chair or all three cuddled up on the couch, one on either side of me. They were precious moments where we "bonded" – where we formed a tight circle of love and affection – just the three of us. I miss those days of cuddling. They haven't faded completely out of view for just this last Christmas we were all together with our extended families and I lost count of the times that one son or the other son embraced me as we were all celebrating the holiday.

I remember the day I discovered my babies had sprouted fuzzy angel hair on their legs! O my! Who would have thought that those fat squeezable legs would grow into puberty, into long legged teen boys.

Or the day my youngest drew a tattoo in blue indelible ink on his leg. That was a perfectly good leg, I told him! No marks, no scars, no taints, no blemishes. Perfect! He now sports several real tattoos, on his legs, arms, neck. {sigh}

And the day that we were watching "Puff the Magic Dragon" when they were six and seven years old. As the little boy in the cartoon grew into a man and forgot his magical dragon friend, Puff, my youngest turned to me in astonishment, huge tears spilling over his cheeks, wondering how something could be so sad – and I was thinking at the same time, how does a six year old learn compassion and empathy to the extreme of tears? I hugged him and encouraged him to stay young! Stay innocent! Stay my baby!

He's now 35 years old. But he hasn't forgotten me!

There's always a hug and there's always a "hey, Mom!" of some discovery he wants to share.

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