Monday, July 30, 2012

...And I'm off....

My daughter Mary, husband Richard, and baby Benjamin

Like many bloggers over the summer, I am going on vacation.  My daughter gave birth to Benjamin Thomas on June 24, 2012 in Switzerland.

Like any grandmother, my arms ache to hold this baby and cover his face with kisses.  So, I will be gone from July 24 through August 9.  My posts will actually “re-Posts”.

The Chronicles of Samuel will be up August 1, 3, 6, and 9th.  August 7th will be a post in honor and memory of my father.

Since computers will be unavailable, I won’t be responding to comments.  I hope you enjoy some of Samuel’s adventures.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

PhotoPrompt: The Boy and his Cat

Mom said I made a mess in the kitchen.  That I tracked in grass and mud. 

Well, boy, you did actually make a mess.  You always make a mess when you wear your wellies.

But, Midnight, we had to walk through the tall grass to get to the tall tree.  And there was mud, so we had to walk in it.

But, boy.  You did not just walk in the mud.  You stomped in the mud.  See, I have to clean my fur!

She yelled at me.  She said, “You are seven years old, and should know better than to….”  But, I stopped listening, so I don’t know what she said next.

Yes, boy.  You should know better.  I am only three, and I know not to make a mess!

Midnight, you’re a cat.  Cats are different.  They don’t wear wellies.

Yes, boy, we are different.  WE don’t splash in mud.  Oh, look!  The woman is opening the door!  She has…

Mom!  Cookies with milk!  Thanks, Mom!  I’ll be more careful.

No, boy.  You will not be more careful, but the woman knows that.

Monday, July 23, 2012

PhotoPrompt: The Boy and his Cat

This is a photo of a boy with his black cat.  There are so many options with both characters.  What are either thinking or feeling?  Boys (and cats) are unpredictable.

What piece of poetry, prose, fiction, a few sentences can you create with this photo as a prompt?  As part of the PhotoPrompt Monday, write something this week and link it back to this site.  Also there are more sites to access and find other photos which will inspire you--check the right sidebar!

Have a marvelous July week!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Confusion or Confucius?

During the course of watching some talk/news show, one of the hosts stated that he was a libertarian.  I gasped. 

His moral conduct had always seemed above reproach.  His opinions were about modesty and living a good life, etc.  I mentioned this to my husband who gave it about five seconds of thought. 

“Oh, you are thinking of ‘libertine’, not ‘libertarian’.”

We looked it up:  Libertine-- one is a rake, licentious, loose in morals; and, libertarian—one who upholds the ideals of freedom.

If these two words could be confused, what other words could be added to my list?  What about these:

Warrior or voyeur
Winner or wiener
Married or mired
Insane or inane
Forge or forage
Assign or asinine
Diary or diarrhea
Philanderer or philanthropist
Pawn or porn
Largest or largesse
Military or Millinery
Marital or martial

It is not merely a matter of rhyming or homonyms.  These are words that kinda sound the same, but can border on offensive. 

My dilemma and confusion have now been solvent.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Heroes No More

Like all people who desire something besides re-runs on TV and are not willing to take a lengthy walk, we have been going to see the big name summer movies.
Some are worth the walk from the car to the theater.  Some are not.  Recently we found ourselves before the silver screen to watch “Snow White and the Huntsman”.  All the actors are easy on the eyes and the action is fast.  The special effects are effective.
After the movie we talked about how much we have changed.  In our youth, we could identify with an actor on the screen. 

My husband always felt pulled toward the warrior figure.  Either the archer or the man fighting valiantly with a lethal sword—those were the characters to which he aligned himself.

I was never the heroine, but I was her darn cute friend, the spunky side-kick who supported the star and kept her safe. 

But now?  We looked at each other and burst out laughing. 
I told my husband that we were one of the townspeople who lined the streets as the heroic figures rode by.  He would a farmer bringing turnips into the village, holding onto the harness of the donkey pulling the cart.  Or maybe he was the fishmonger.  I don't know.
Me?  I was the friendly baker’s wife or the grouchy woman tasked with scrubbing down the cobblestones. 

We may stick to Pixar movies for a while.  I hear “Madagascar 3” is okay.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

PhotoPrompt: The Old Bin

From Delores @ thefeatherednest

The storage bin had been a part of the farm house as long as anyone could remember.  Even back many generations, that bin was there, leaning up against the barn. 

It used to store chicken feed.  Farmer Gunter got rid of the chickens after a few decades. 

Then the bin was used to keep coal before the farmer switched to propane.  He cleaned the bin out and thought about how it could be used.  He even asked his wife Bernadette what they should do with the empty bin.

Bernie launched into another harangue about him being too lazy to even think for himself, and then moved on to his other deficiencies.  The list was long.  Gunter stared at her blankly as she continued.

After some time, Gunter packed up his suitcase and gathered up all their money stored in the cellar since the Great Depression.  As he passed by the bin, he patted the lid which sported shiny new nails all around the perimeter. 

“You’re right, Bernie.  I shoulda thought of this long ago.”  Silence was his answer.

PhotoPrompt: Church Picnic

Source: Church Picnic

Tension in the church was high, after the two failed engagement attempts involving Florence and Winthrop.  One side of the aisle believed Winthrop should just drop theatrics and give her the damn ring.  The other side of the aisle believed that Winthrop was correct in wanting Florence to have a special engagement day. 

After the boating incident, Winthrop was unsure that Florence would accept him or his ring.  After a few tentative meetings, Florence assured Win that her love for him was even greater.  They mutually agreed that the engagement should take place at the coming church picnic.

After church, all the congregants headed out to the church’s lawn, where picnic tables were already laden with every casserole, Jello salad, fried chicken, potato salad, and dessert famous in the church ladies’ repertoire.  Beneath the towering trees, Brother Henry spoke the grace, and people dived in with plates and forks.

Winthrop and Florence nervously hung back, unable to eat.  They had decided to wait until people had wolfed down the last stewed chicken and egg noodles, cleaned out the pies, and were leaning back in lawn chairs to digest the feast.

Nervously and casually, they walked to a clearing near the pie section.  Winthrop spoke loudly.  “Oh, Florence!  I have loved you since first grade!  Would you do me the honor of….”

As Winthrop spoke of his love, the back row of chairs was thrown aside. A group of congregants ran back to the church, all of them clutching their ample stomachs.

Florence glowed as she gazed into Win’s eyes.  “Oh, Winthrop!  I, too, have loved you since first grade.  Yes!  Yes! I will marry…”

Another group of congregants tossed aside their lawn chairs.  They ran with great haste to the church, but some made side stops to vomit in the church hydrangea bushes.

Unaware of the chaos of food poisoning, Winthrop placed the diamond ring on Florence’s finger.  Kissing each other passionately, Win and Flo stood alone in a sea of abandoned lawn chairs and playing children. 

At last!

Monday, July 16, 2012

PhotoPrompt: Church Picnic

Source: Church Picnic

Picnics are part of all cultures.  Churches are especially fond of summer picnics.  For today's prompt, think about the picnics you have had, enjoyed or not.  So many options are available here with our collective memories!

So, sometime this week, write a poem, reaction, memory, prose, short fiction with this photo as a prompt.

There should be other participants in this weekly PhotoPrompt.  Please check the right sidebar underneath the adorable rabbit photo.  Somehow link the photo back to this site.

My take on this photo will be up tomorrow....

Thursday, July 12, 2012

First Wolf--free ebook by Carole Anne Carr

Today is Thursday, July 12, and this is the first day for readers to seize the opportunity provided by Carole Anne Carr:  The release of her new book First Wolf was yesterday, and she is offering a free e-book to those who wish to get one.

Carole Anne Carr's site

Carole has written a summary of the book:

First Wolf
Book One - Wolf Series
– a children’s quest adventure story is set in 8th century Northumbria that is being promoted as a free eBook on the 12th and 13th July – Pacific Standard Time.
It was Toland’s twelfth year of life when his father hurled the wolf’s head at the mighty Eorl Uhtred, bringing his childhood to a violent end.  These were dangerous times, with people driven from their settlements, tribal wars, and bands of robbers on the roads, but Toland must keep his solemn promise to save the Lindisfarne Gospels from the Vikings, protect his family, and find his father.  With his faithful hound Bodo, he sets off on his quest through Anglo-Saxon Northumbria. Surviving the first Viking attack of Lindisfarne, his many adventures lead him to the mysterious hermit on Inner Farne, Bamburgh fortress, the slave girl Kendra, the mystery of the stolen jewels, a blood debt, and a terrible discovery at the White Church…..
 I hope you take advantage of this offer!  I am currently reading Candle Dark, and am ready to leap into this new book.

AND  the Queen visited Shropshire on July 12 (English time zone) in celebration of the Jubilee.  As a member of  W.I.R.E. (Women in Rural Business), Carole was able to set up an area with her books on display.  This was an exciting day for Shropshire!  

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Fake the Frets


I know, I know--you are probably wondering why I have called you all here. This is why:

You are watching a great movie and one of the characters decides to play a musical instrument.  Maybe it is a guitar.  Or a banjo.  A violin or a piano.  Just some musical instrument. 

Suddenly this actor starts to play some awesome, technically interesting music.  Enthralled you watch as he/she plays away, and you wish that you could play like that. 

Well, hold on a minute, pilgrim. 

Maybe you can.  If you look very carefully at the movements of the hands, arms, and fingers, you will see something: 
The actor is faking the frets.

With the piano, the camera can cut away and film some talented pianist take over the keyboard.  But with a stringed instrument?  It is impossible to ‘act’ the changing of the fingers on the strings. 

This has become a real issue with me, as you can tell.  While there are several movies from which to choose, the two that have disappointed me are “Songcatcher” and “O Brother! Where Art Thou?”.  Both are excellent movies with music as the key focus of the movie. 

In "Songcatcher", a professor of musicology at the turn of the 20th century sets about to document the songs of the Appalachian Mountains.  In this segment, singer Iris DeMent (Rose Gentry) does a cameo appearance. Awesome performance.  Muse Watson is a fine (one of my favorites) actor playing her husband Parley Gentry playing the violin.  But, he is not. 

Muse Watson with Iris DeMent in "Songcatcher": source

More information about "Songcatcher" can be found here.

Iris DeMent singing Pretty Saro from Songcatcher

 Then there is "O Brother! Where Art Thou?"  Another excellent movie, by the Cohen Brothers, based on The Odyssey.  I really wanted the actors to be actually singing.

The guitarist looks like he does an incredible job, but he is not the guitarist we hear.  Actually these are the musicians as per Wikipedia: "The original band soon became popular after the film release, and the country and folk musicians who were dubbed into the film, such as John Hartford, Alison Krauss, Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch, Chris Sharp, and others, joined together to perform the music from the film in a Down from the Mountain concert tour which was filmed for TV and DVD.[5]" Perhaps I am disappointed because over the years, I have endowed these actors with super-normal talents. I have assumed that they can sing, dance, play an instrument, talk coherently without a script, have a degree of intelligence, or are able to behave well.  Obviously I am wrong on many counts.. While this is a rant, and I know it, I just wanted to see if anyone else finds Faking the Frets disappointing?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

PhotoPrompt: The walk way

Many thanks to Delores at myfeatherednest

The walk-way was long and narrow, but blessedly even.  Darren had waited until nearly dark, avoiding any who might observe him tonight. 

Tonight, I had to do it tonight.  Darren grumbled, dragging the heavy bag along the walk way.  He had not figured on this bag being so heavy.  Otherwise, he would have made more cuts, and had two smaller bags.

Darren was a slow, methodical man.  But such a man finds time constraints stressful.  He pulled harder on the bag, going a little faster.

Finally he arrived at the garbage bin and realized that the bag was almost too heavy for him to lift.  Girding his loins, Darren heaved the bag up and over his shoulders.  Clump.  The bag fell with a satisfying sound; it meant the bag didn’t fly open.

His neighbor, Lloyd came out with his heavy bag.  Clump.  They nodded at each other.

“Ain’t too much left of the ol’ girl, is there?”  Lloyd nodded at the bin.

“Nope.  Next week will do ‘er.”  Darren shut the bin tight.  “See you soon at the pub, then…” 

Both men retreated into their very silent, very dark houses.

Monday, July 9, 2012

PhotoPrompt: The Baby

The party’s over…Benjamin has been the ‘hit’ of the gathering.  So, now this is your Monday PhotoPrompt! 

What is going on here?  All those people admiring the wee little man—what could they be saying?

Sometime this week, write something—poetry, prose, flash fiction—using this photo.  Please check the blog sites in the right side-bar for other photos. 

Here is my bit for this week:

I came, I cooed.  I ate, I drank.  I pee-ed, I poo-ed.  Mummy put this party hat on me.  And, now leave me alone, as I go to sleep.
                                                                             Benjamin Thomas
My two-week old grandson Benjamin