Friday, December 9, 2011

Pour me another glass of champagne

I occasionally mention the library where I am Lead Circulation Clerk (not a librarian). This means that I do lots of day to day organizational things and manage the work load to make sure everything gets done. I also get the joy of being the go-to person when a patron calls for "Someone Else Who Can Help Me." Some days there are very few problems- I mean really how many complaints can there be in a place that gives you stuff for free??? Well, there are also a few rules to deal with at the library, as we all know, so that's when we usually have Situations. And today was one of those crazy days (several times) but the most outrageous disagreement came when a woman came to return some books she had put on "Claimed Returns" (like it sounds, this means she told us at some point in the past that she had already returned them and that we had made a mistake by not checking them in).

She walked up to the desk (see picture below- that's not her in the purple dress) with her books and gave them to the circulation clerk. She said that she had returned them and they had been found on our shelves so she shouldn't have to pay the fines. Meredith (aforementioned clerk) did not believer her (checks the woman's card) and said that they could not have been found on the book shelves as we had done several searches. On it goes until the conversation becomes heated enough that the woman asks for "Someone Else..." So Meredith came to find me outside (I was on break).

She explained the situation and I walked in prepared to be firm as I knew that we had looked diligently for the items (I had looked personally and remembered the search) "Sorry you have to pay the fines on books you return this late, we did a search here and did not find them," preparing my speech.

So... I'm firm, "Sorry ma'am but we did look for your items and they were not here so..."

 "You don't understand," the woman said wiping her eyes, tear-stained, obviously angry, "I was out of the country. My daughter returned the books. She brought them in and put them on the shelf. They were here."  Incredulous might be too tame a word for the moment. There's a little bell ringing in my ear as the words work their way around to the processing part of my brain, "Her daughter walked in and put them on a shelf in a library with 70,000 other books. Just randomly. And she thinks that is returning them." It made the lap about 3 times before I said, "but the books are here." (Aha! caught her, she's just making this up!) "Yes, I told her to come to the library last week and find them. Then I would bring them back to show you." 

*deep breath* "Uh-huh. Well, I am sorry but you have to return them in a book drop or at this desk. We have one outside, one over there and you could also hand them to the people here or that one. But you can't expect us to be responsible for items that are just returned and put on the shelf. You are responsible for them until they are returned and they were not returned in the proper way. But the good news is, you are not paying for the books, you are only paying the late fines."

"It was too much," still adamant. "I could buy these books." 

Three study books for nursing school, with CDs. "Nope, I'm sorry but these books would cost much more than $10 each. You can pay $10 a month or even $5 dollars but the fines are going to have to be paid."  

"They were here, safe and sound." Yup safe and sound but lost- proverbial needles in a haystack.

"I'm sorry." It's all I could say.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

homage to the moon

She raises her hands slowly upward in silent homage to the Empress of the night. The ocean’s sigh echoes on my palm, fingers tingling in remembered suspension, I only just stop myself from joining her melody stereophonically. “Ka—losor—isma-a-a-a, ka—losor—isma-a-a-a selene mana” the ancient words “welcome, welcome, moon mother” vibrate, an otherworldly iteration as familiar as a child’s lullaby. I ex-inhale shallow breaths of anticipation. There is a lifetime of silence before the faint antiphony winds it’s way through the branches seconds later  “ka—losor—isma-a-a-a, ka—losor—isma-a-a-a selene mana” An earthbound star flitters in the distance, a lone celestial infant making it’s way through the trees. Splintering molecules, one becomes two becomes four until a dozen tiny lights glimmer in the darkness, winding their way towards the girl as she chants out her greeting again.
“Luna reflects our own life cycles
 affects menstruation and ovulation
She is a symbol of life,
of choices,
of change
Some would purge her from the collective consciousness
would reject the cyclical nature
of life
of emotion
of her phases
They would like to think of her merely as rock to walk on
distant soil to explore
We reclaim you, Moon Mother
from the tyranny of the sterile
We honor you tonight, Ancient One
for connecting us to our deepest selves
and we welcome the life you symbolize for us.” 

(Not getting much done, other than preparations for Christmas, work and getting my son back and forth to basketball practice/games. I would have written something new to post, (this is from Death and Politics) but I find that what energy I have for writing -and it's not much-, I want to put into my WIP so I thought I would share a bit of it.) 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

And so it begins...

Yesterday was the first day of the official shopping season for Christmas: Black Friday for those of you who aren't versed in American lingo. We avoid the sale shopping frenetics and spend the day perusing ornaments. Over hill and dale, we shop for the perfect bobble, until we are blurred from from fatigue, we return home with trinkets for our tree. 
 The Grinch would grimace at all of the sparkles and glitter there is to behold (as would Conchscooter), 
but the initiation of Christmas cheer and good will is one we never pass up.  
It is tempting to view the season as a glutton of solipsism or one that threatens to put us in a financial crunch because our obligation to give is focused on the shiniest, newest as opposed to meaningful. But if that's all it has become, then it is one that should be cast off immediately.   
 Gift giving should be the search to find the best gift for the person to whom one is giving and one that will make their heart light -not the gift that will impress them the most. And no mistake it is no small task to give a gift that is meaningful without bankrupting oneself. 
Yet the toil is light when viewed from one's memory and one recalls the eyes lit up, the lips in a broad smile as the gift is lifted from the box and into the arms of the one it was purchased it for.  
Truly, the right spirit of Christmas, as the Grinch came to learn, is about giving and sharing and thought for all we come into contact with. 
So each year, we celebrate the first day by finding the perfect ornament to commemorate the day. The one that will remind us of the good will we experience during the season and the one which we hope will continue on throughout the New Year. 

What traditions do you have that keep the true spirit of Christmas? 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

lifetime of memories

So full of milestones
my birthday (today)
my son's birthday ( my youngest- turned fourteen on the 8th- OMG!)
Freedom Day (the day my divorce was finalized- the 3rd). 
I missed Freedom Day this year with all the craziness
that tailspins me around from one thing to another.
My son's birthday was awhirl with life stuff (fourteen-year-olds will do some dumb stuff.)
And my birthday sandwiched between two days of work
November is a lodestone
of the past
Mimosas and cheesecake,
    favorite foods
Walking out of the courthouse,
    dance-down-the-street happiness that it was finally finished
Son sleeping in my arms
    trashcan close by to catch any upheavals
    while friends eat cake and laugh in hilarity
Being dressed like a doll (I hate shopping!)
    a fourth decade dragging me down,
    reminding me of opportunities dried up and carried off the wind
Bearing down, pushing,
     finding life altered once more with a bleated cry
Pecan pie eaten in a dorm room
Snowplowing my way home
     a surprise blizzard gifting me with the day off (DPS hadn't cancelled school in 20 years!)
A slammed door as whispered conspiracies shut me out
   exclusion burying the giggly companionship
Watching for a package laden postman (Mrs. Beasley in a box)
     anxious nose pressed against the glass
Many more
carried in the leaf blown arms of

Monday, November 14, 2011

Gentle fields

With all the NaNo participants working away so diligently on their projects I am reminded that I need to spend more time writing. So, having been inspired by my NaNo friends, I am going to try to get more writing done and my posts are going to be a bit shorter -at least for now. 
As the approaching holiday eeks ever closer (and in spite of what you might see at the stores, I am not talking about Christmas) I wanted to post this very Thanksgivingy scene. I'm gearing up, are you? I need to roast my pumpkin for my homemade pumpkin pie or it wouldn't be Thanksgiving. Any recipes you get out just for the day? 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Destruction everywhere!

IT seems wherever there are humans, the wildlife or sealife are threatened. I was visiting Bish at Random Thoughts and found out about another atrocious act done in the name of... what? Fun? Sport? Ugh! Enough already. Please check out the link below if you are as disgusted as I am by the senseless killing of this endangered species.
Hawksbill Sea turtle photographed (by me) in St. Augustine, Florida 

Starting on December 1st and going through March 31st, the British Virgin Islands permits a hunting season of Sea Turtles. We aren't talking about deer or rabbits here, people are legally allowed to harvest Hawksbill and Green Sea Turtles, both endangered animals. While there is a size limit (Hawksbill turtles must be 15+inches carapace length and Green turtles 24 +inches carapace length) these sizes mean they are still quite young as Sea Turtles go. And to top it off, Sea Turtles do not reproduce quickly. Only 1 or 2 of 1,000 hatchlings will grow to adulthood because as Crush (Finding Nemo) explains it, "The little dudes are just eggs, we leave 'em on a beach to hatch, and then, coo-coo-cachoo, they find their way back to the big ol' blue." At least some of them do. But it takes 10-20 years before a turtle can even lay eggs.

(There is a moratorium on loggerhead turtles, leatherback turtles, & all sea turtle eggs.)

Anyway, I signed a petition to Ralph T. O'Neal, Premier of the British Virgin Islands, which says:
""Stop the legal harvesting of endangered sea turtles in the British Virgin Islands""
Will you sign this petition? Click here. And you can learn more at

Monday, November 7, 2011

A castle of dreams

It stands, a monument of time and days gone by, a deteriorating reminder of love, loss and tragedy. 
Built for his family in 1909 by the West Virginia transplant John Brisben Walker, it was meant to be a haven, a treasury of laughter and vivacity that would call the family back to it's hearth in times of trouble.  
 With stunning vistas of Red Rocks and the high plains on one side
 and the stalwart Rocky mountains on the other, it is no wonder that the entrepreneur chose this spot for his private domain.  
Sadly, the castle walls had not time to settle before Walker's wife and partner was taken from his side, leaving him bereft on his mountain aerie.  
 A couple of years later, the goddess Fortuna visited them once more, dashing what was left of the would-be king's hopes for the future on Mt. Falcon. Lightning struck the home and broke what was left of the man's grief-stricken heart.      
Packing up his four motherless children, he abandoned the charred remains of the hideaway and extinguished his plans to build a summer home for the President on the neighboring high point. Having lost another fortune and with WWI darkening the horizon, he left Colorado for the last time. And though his successful ventures had given him the means to build his dream home on Morrison Mountain, John Walker lost his golden touch and died penniless at age 83.
  The foundation of the house still remains, beckoning hikers of all ilk who wish to behold the stone tribute. Fortunately not all of the businessman's schemes were reduced to ash. It was because of his vision that the Denver Mountain Park system was established and it was his land purchases that founded Jefferson County Open Space which has given pleasure to so many Denver & Jefferson County Residents.
   Canopied by azure skies, you will find a quiet dignity dwells in the broken walls and tumbling chimneys. 
And if you pause to lend ear...  

  the whooping of children playing amidst the trees, the call of a mother to come in for supper and the echo of a father's footsteps descending from his observatory can almost be heard by those willing to listen. 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The dance of the Starlings

The standard collective noun for a group of birds is a "flock" but for many types of birds there is a collective noun particular to their type. 
A peep of chickens
A murder of crows
A flight of doves
A charm of goldfinches
A parliament of Owls 
A murmuration of Starlings
and this is what they look like as they settle in to roost at night:

Another video with the amazing dance of the Starlings.  

Thursday, November 3, 2011

You're a hypocretin!

So you may have read here at one time or another that I get seasonal depression (it used to be pretty severe- now it's not as bad). That is part of the reason I don't like winter and one of the reasons Key West is so attractive me. Though Colorado is sunny quite a few days of the year, the short winter days still carry me to the brink of depression and the cold only makes matters worse. It all sounds pretty grim but...

There have been some interesting studies done at UCLA that may be hold some good for people who suffer from Narcolepsy and a sleepiness associated with Parkinson's and it might also mean some good news for anyone who suffers from seasonal depression! Researchers at the university have identified the group of neurons that mediates whether we respond to light by becoming stimulated-- or not. 

So the long and short of the study is that in the hypothalmus (an area at the base of the brain and is responsible for control of the autonomic nervous system, body temperature, hunger thirst, fatigue, sleep) there are cells that release a neurotransmitter called hypocretin. In a study with mice, those with hypocretin showed an intense activation of the cells (but not in the dark!) while those without it were unable to stay awake even in bright light. And it is this loss of hypocretin that causes chronic sleep disorders. So, by introducing hypocretin (or boosting it) they will be able to increase the light-induced arousal response while blocking them will induce sleep. Jerome Siegel, a professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at the university noted, "The administration of hypocretin may also have antidepressant properties, and blocking it may increase tendencies toward depression. So we feel this work has implications for treating sleep disorders as well as depression." Since seasonal depression is connected to light stimulation, it seems likely that these results could have some very positive results for those of us who get the winter blues!*
 Could be blue skies ahead for those who suffer depression!!! 

*See the whole article at Science Daily. Brain Cells Responsible for Keeping us Awake Identified.

Monday, October 31, 2011

You have to see the suave and handsome...

Ryan Gosling and George Clooney in...

The Ides of March
I go to (almost) every George Clooney movie expecting good things. Syriana was an amazing commentary on the morass that is US and Good Night, and Good Luck reminded us how much we have lost in journalism since the days of Edward R Murrow. So when we decided to go to The Ides of March on Friday, my expectations were, to say the least, over the moon. The movie opens up with handsome Steve (Ryan Gosling) standing on stage, checking microphones, and testing equipment before his guy (that would be GC!, woohoo!*whistles* ) gets on stage. The stage is then set for a political scenario that is predictable inasmuch as it is honest and timely. I don't want to give the story away so I won't tell you more than that about the specifics. Suffice it to say the new-found belief of Steve in his real-deal politician is put to the test and turns out to be unfounded.

Although this movie didn't meet up to the suspenseful action of Syriana and was certainly not filled with the snappy dialogue or twisty intrigue of All the President's Men, it was nevertheless enjoyable from the films opening moments to it's too early closing. Clooney was great (as usual), taking on the roll of President with the ease of a man who was born to play the role. Gosling filled the shoes of the able-bodied third man on the totem pole well, reining in his frustration with a believable shift in loyalty that suits those who have been seasoned in the world of politics. Phillip Seymour Hoffman, playing Gosling's boss and Clooney's campaign manager, is so well suited to the role that he might be on the short list of candidates to head up the next democratic front runner's bid for office. The film was a bit short (as previously mentioned) and the corruption of the political process is shown in it's most brief and abbreviated form which was good for film but oversimplified the problems in Washington a bit, yet one walks away from the film feeling as though you have gotten a peek into the real world on The Hill. This is a must-see for those with an interest in politics, the idealist who still believes the political process is capable of doing more than maintaining it's own interest or a George Clooney fan! Hope you get a chance to see it before it leaves theaters because this movie is worth the $10.50 box office fee (it is unbelievable how expensive it is to see a movie these days!). You can watch the trailer and read more reviews (if you don't trust mine) at IMDb.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Next to last day...

Tomorrow is the last day of the 31 days of blogging with NaBloWriMo. This is probably as good a time as any to reflect on the challenge that writing on my blog every day for 31 days in a row has presented. I have to admit I haven't gotten much writing done in the past two weeks on my WIP. While this is partly because I have been busy and time and energy have kept me from focusing on it, it is also true that writing on my blog has been more of a distraction than I care to admit. In the past few months I have gotten into a rhythm of posting twice maybe three times a week. Generally I post pictures that I have taken in my daily life and write a bit about the place or thoughts that I have while walking but the posts don't take a lot of writing energy and I don't spend of lot of mental space thinking about what I will write. The past few weeks I have definitely spent more energy writing something worth reading than I might have had I been on my regular schedule. On the other hand, with my schedule being as tight as it's been this month, it's been nice to do a bit of constructive writing in the short space a blog post takes. But the question remains, might I have written a bit more on my project had I not felt so compelled to blog every day? Probably. So perhaps the first lesson of the month is that my schedule of posting two or three times a week is probably all I have energy for.

The second part of my reflection concerns my pleasure in blogging. I have stated before that I began blogging for my own purposes. It was a place to write when I was at work and it was often little more than a sounding board and I enjoyed it. I rarely had commenters and when they commented, I was often surprised. Since I now enjoy so many friends in the blogging community, I find that adds to my enjoyment in the blogging experience. Of course there is always the reality that you hope what you write will compel people to respond and when they don't (and you are used to having some response) then you feel a bit lonely. Having said all that, I still feel that the main reason to keep blogging is because I enjoy it and when I cease to enjoy it, then perhaps it is time to quit. At this point, it is still a pleasure not only to post my pictures on my blog but to connect with other bloggers. I do find that I need to be a bit more balanced in how I do these things. Since I am a full-time working mom, time is a limited commodity. I can't keep on running at full speed and do justice to my writing when I am exhausted (which is why sometimes it is easier to blog and read other's blogs than it is to write) so going back to the previous post schedule with a few other changes regarding how I blog should be a step in the right direction.

However! I have had a small breakthrough on the actual physical exhaustion I have been experiencing. During the past month I had a doctor's appointment and I found out I was anemic. As a result I was probably running completely out of steam with just life. I've been taking some iron tablets for the past two weeks and feel better already and am hopeful that I will continue to do so. With this in mind, I hope the added energy will help me focus on my writing when I do have the time.

But the real focus of course has to be- as we all know- on my writing. So if you enjoy my pictures and wonder at times why I don't post more about writing or on other topics, it's because I am (hopefully) busy typing away on my project and the pictures I post are just a gift that I want to share with my blogging friends.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A moment

On the weeks when my son is with his father I don't spend as much time in the car, but there are moments when I drive home after work when the sun has set in the west, the light is filtered in the sky with such beauty that I am left a bit breathless. Unfortunately some of those moments are often on an onramp to the highway or driving over a hill where there are no turns and I appreciate the beauty in my solitary (albeit distracted) state. Yesterday, I was headed home to champagne (took a different route to pick up a bottle!) and saw to my delight the sun's final curtain call. Light was reflected on a strand of pearled clouds, coloring them with dark rainbowed hues. I wish then reached for my camera, made a quick turn and headed back up the hill to position myself to hold the occasion...  
 When I arrived, I was disappointed to find the light had shifted into a less vibrant blush yet the purpled hues framed by the distant edges of the mountain's magnificence drew me.

     I stood quietly taking my picture, passed by by hurrying homegoers, bumper to bumper in their rush, anxious they might lose a few feet of asphalt.
I stared back at the heavens, glad not to have let the twinkling joy of a sunset pass me by then headed homeward with the true prize, a space of stillness caught between traffic lights- a moment.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Last flowers of summer

A week and a half ago, we were on a walk in the foothills and I took this picture.  

Today the hills are covered in snow (and no, I am not going out there to take a picture!). It's possible they may have made it through the storm, but winter has made it's presence known and I am already feeling the denseness of the cold. I hang on to warm weather as long as I can in spirit and in mind because I need it to survive the shortened days and brittle winds of winter. 
So here's to holding on to the last flowers of summer. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Mutiny on the Bounty

I used to soak in old movies like a sponge. The elderly who come to the library are often surprised when I rave about how much I love Grace Kelly (so beautiful and stylish!) or Carole Lombard (so funny!). Thinking perhaps that I am mocking, a suspicious eye might be cast but then I will mention another film and we'll ramble for a bit (Oh, did you see Audrey Hepburn in 'Wait until Dark' So brilliant!) about other great movies until they leave feeling that they have met a friend along the way (I hope, anyway). Anyhow, my favorite oldies channel, AMC no longer really shows old movies they way they used to (although they do show 'Madmen' and 'The Walking Dead' so I'll forgive them) so now we often dig them up at the library. Tonight, Mo chose Mutiny on the Bounty with Marlon Brando. I usually can't really watch Marlon Brando without thinking of Sayonara which is my favorite of his but I overcame that tonight and allowed him to be the dashing master's mate on the seafaring Bounty on it's way to get breadfruit plants. They were travelling to Tahiti so they could transplant the plants then transport them to the West Indies where they would be grown and harvested for cheap food for slaves. A noble mission, aye? Anyway, according to the movie and legend (which by the way is based on a true story although whether the captain was as terrible as he was made out to be is still under debate), the ship's captain Bligh was so cruel that the men rose up in mutiny and cast him off the ship to finally paddle his way back to England while the mutineers...??? Well, I will leave that for you to find out. 

The movie is a sweeping adventure in true old Hollywood style. Brando is picture perfect, handsome and debonair. He argues for the dignity of the underlings on his ship in a way that makes you hope that he's on your side when your boss acting the overlord. (He'd be out there with OWS if you ask me!) He falls in love with a beautiful Tahitian princess, which is predictable but sweet when she hangs in there with him after he loses the will to live post-mutiny and feels the full weight of what he has done (no one does depressed like Brando). Anyway, it was yet another great old film, complete with orchestrated Overture and Intermission (I can't imagine audiences today sitting still while there is a screen with a simple message "Overture" and 4 minutes of orchestration goes on. Imagine the din of talking!) with beautiful scenery and an epic story. A great way to spend a cold wintry evening (and it's definitely wintry here. We had at least 3 inches of snow Wednesday night- I think it was more and I was the one scraping the car this morning. ARGH! I'm not ready for winter yet!!!!!

Memorable quote: "I believe I did what honour dictated and that belief sustains me, except for a slight desire to be dead which I'm sure will pass."

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Walking on Cobblestones

This is the opening paragraph to a WIP that I am playing around with. I am not sure if it will go anywhere: maybe it will... maybe it won't. The Main Character is an archaeologist who is in search of her holy grail and winds up with less than she hoped for. Unfortunately her hopes make her blind to the facts and the maneuverings that follow leads her on a winding road through political intrigue and religious squabbles.

For starters: What do you think of the title? The character: Love her? hate her? Is she sympathetic sounding? Intriguing?
As always: The characters and events in this post and all connected posts are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author. 

Gleaming white against a backdrop of cerulean sky, she ascends amidst the rock and clay, angel of light rising up in an intangible dusk that has followed her halfway around the world. She stretches her arms outward as though to take in the broken and shattered, hands aching palpably. Involuntarily, she rubs the hollowed center of her hand, sensing the inarticulated connection. She stares into the clouds, heart aching for the brokenness she senses crying out in the darkness. She looks up, her mute supplications carried up on the wings of the wind as it whips up and over the rock, lifting her scarf vertically out from unyielding shoulders, a semaphore for change in the days ahead. Oblivious to the gales that assault and batter, she is statuesque, patiently awaiting the days ahead. Gray pillows boil toward her on the desert’s horizon, hungrily swallowing all that is in their path. The laying out of battle plans: gathering of forces, placement of reinforcements, lines being laid for attack are in full operation by the forces that will bombard are all that concerns her. Alliances have been made, the enemies of her enemies moving together, whispering conspiracy that her eavesdropping ears picked up in the halls she once dominated. Impending attacks from distant shores are what she deliberates and prepares for, knowing they will attempt to assail her position so she will be vulnerable to a full on assault with the final aim of making her their inverted Hypatia. Her arms raise involuntarily once more, vulnerability in gesture and frame, yielding to heaven as gracefully as Henry the Eighth’s second wife.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tongues of gold

If you look at my header, a sliver of gold laps toward the heavens between the evergreen on the mountains in the background. They are the same type of tree as in the foreground... the Aspen. The Aspen is tasked with filling in the woods of Colorado after they have been ravaged with bark beetle (and thus cut down) or fire. They are known for their rapid growth and long lives and of course their beautiful yellow and golden leaves in the fall which is even more pronounced when it is framed by the brilliant green of the Colorado Blue Spruce.
Their silver trunks are stuff of legend for it is only with the stake of an aspen that it was believed you could kill a vampire or a werewolf. A bigger stake could be used to drive into the grave of a condemned person to keep them from rising from the dead.   
It was purported to be a tree that could ward off evil spirits which is why it was often planted near dwellings. The small heart shape leaves shiver melodically in the wind and it's no wonder that in Eastern Slavic Apocryphal literature that a legend sprung up that it was in an Aspen that Judas Iscariot hung himself and the leaves have trembled with fear ever since.*

Golden and beautiful against the azure blur skies, the Aspen is the perfect tree for the Halloween season!

*Legend: Wikipedia link

Monday, October 24, 2011

A week at a glance

Monday: Pick up and find the loose ends, a frazzled rope that has varying frayed pieces that are always roughest at first. Rushing to reconnect with friends, the disequilibrium that comes with the shifting ground, he's there and not there, off before the echoes in the house have receded.

Tuesday: Craziness of spinning wheels, the rising sun and we are in motion. The unraveled ends feel less bristly. Talking through afternoon and the drive-by taxi service that gets him home & me back to work, then evening, dinner, won't be home till long after the sun's tucked into bed. Goodnight son.

Wednesday: Wheels set in motion at the rising sun. Again. Rushing, dashing, we're late! Traffic terrible, neverending stream of disruption. Late, hurry. You could... I can't. Why don't you just... I'm driving! Can't wait till I can. I can! Drop off. Go, go, go. Turn and head off without looking back. It's Already! Wednesday.

Thursday: Rolling again. Out the door with the same urgency as on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, tousled edges are feeling irksome. Catch up on Friday. Less work today! Deep breath, breathe. Thursday...

Friday: Spinning wheel that never slows, takes us out the door. Again. Rolling down the road, chatting between the chirps of incoming text message, the shredded ends of my cable keeps me moving, keeps us going. Asthma. Homework. Headaches. Sleepover tonight? His life flashes before my eyes: Babyhood, little boy, young man... Sure.

Saturday:  Moving before there is time to think. Rolling into the day... Can I help you at all? (See blog entry)

Sunday: Too late to pull together the loose ends, it's time to gather up what is left of the unfinished ends and let it go. Too late to undo and smooth, pull in, tighten up or bind loose ends. Too late. Clean up, gather up, finish up.

Monday: Rolling out the door, catching the spinning wheel that sets us back in motion in our separate spinning wheels. I love you. Love you too. See you next week. Next time...when I'll pick up that frayed rope again, determined to do better, smooth the ends, undo the parts that are done wrong, and rewrap the parts that need redone. Next time, when there is...

More time...

(Ha! Just made it for my Monday post!!!!)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Comfort Food...

Last year at this time, I was out walking on a cloudy cool Friday and took these pictures. I was amazed at the brilliant colors that still lingered along the path I took though winter's first nip was in the air. This year, the colors are just as brilliant (as you have seen from my header!) but Indian Summer tarries so long that one would almost wonder if it will ever end.   As much as I might wish the blue skies and brilliant sunshine will never fade into winter's dimness, alas, the forecast tells another story. And I have a few favorite recipes that ease the chill that sets in my bones as the nights grow colder and the days grow brisk. Wednesday the weather is predicted to tank pretty abruptly and we will probably make a vegetable soup for the first time. But what I would really like to be making (if I didn't have to work that day) as the sky grows cloudy and the possibility of the "S" word sneaks into the weather man's script is a family favorite:
Chicken Pot Pie: 
1½ c. cheddar cheese
3c. cooked, diced chicken (you can cook broil or microwave three chicken breasts fairly quickly to make this amount, then quickly chop it up!)
½ c green pepper
½ c. chopped onion
(Sauté both onion and gr. pepper in 3 T. butter)
1 can of Cream of Celery Soup (or chicken)
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
3 oz mushrooms (opt.)
½ c pimento (opt)
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Put into unbaked pie shell (recipe below). Cover with pastry, pinch securely. Cut slits into top for steam to escape. Bake 45 min. or until crust is golden brown at 350 degrees.

2 ¼ c. flour
1 tsp. salt
2/3 c. Crisco
7-8 T. water
Put flour and salt into bowl. Cut Crisco into flour with fork until it pieces are pea-sized. Add about half of the water and mix until well blended. Continue to add the remaining 3-4 T. until the dough is moistened. Divide in half. On a lightly floured surface, flatten dough. Roll from center to edges to 12” circle.
 To transfer to pie pan: Fold in half, then into quarter. Lay gently into pie pan and unfold.   

 And as long as I'm making a pie crust, an apple pie sounds good! The crust is the hardest part and all you needs are some apples! This year I have some waiting in the kitchen that were given to us (making me feel sooo guilty) but if I were to buy some for a pie, I would buy several different types of apples for the best ever apple pie! Some tart, some sweet, some crispy, some softer. Yum! Maybe I'll get busy!!! 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

This is my day...

Hi! Can I help you? Did you find everything you needed? Would you like to renew your overdue items? Would you like your receipt? Have a nice day. Hi! Can I help you? Did you find everything you needed? did you return some movies today? Would you like your receipt? Have a nice day. Hi! Can I help you? Did you find everything you needed? You have six books out. Would you like your receipt? Have a nice day. Hi! Can I help you? Did you find everything you needed? Just so you know, you're fines have reached $4.50. Would you like your receipt? Have a nice day. Hi! Can I help you? Would you like your receipt? Is there anything else I can help you with? Have a nice afternoon. Hi! Can I help you? Would you like your receipt? Would you like me to put that on hold for you? Is there anything else I can help you with? Have a nice afternoon. Hi! Can I help you? You can always put those in the return slot but I'll be happy to take them now. Are you ready to check out? Would you like your receipt? Is there anything else I can help you with? Have a nice afternoon. Hi! Can I help you? Would you like your receipt? Is there anything else I can help you with? Have a nice afternoon. Hi! Can I help you? Would you like your receipt? Is there anything else I can help you with? Have a nice afternoon. Hi! Can I help you? Would you like me to renew your overdue items? Would you like your receipt? Is there anything else I can help you with? Have a nice afternoon.*

*So I guess you'll have to excuse me if I'm feeling a little bit drained and this feels like a lame post... the one from yesterday was good though! And it's my son! 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fighting dragons

He's brave, this one, fighting ancient beasts from time beyond time
Staring into hungry eyes and smiling
it is as though death were not a daggered tooth away.
He backs away slowly knowing that fleet of foot he might be
but the monster's prowess as hunter is legendary.
It is not with muscle and speed that victory (if indeed victory is to be had) will be won this day.
He casts a glance backwards,
plotting checkmate
one steps sideways, quick step back and back and back, quick step back. Sidestep rightways.
Do the hustle
life and death style
The monster steps forward, taunting, teasing, sneering,
Sniffing in the small fry bite size snack
The heel of Achilles in this one is confidence as he moves forward
unaware of the pit between himself and his prey.
He steps confidently forward jaws open to take his first bite
only to find his foot slipping, sliding, tumbling
A final roar as his body
falls into oblivion

Thursday, October 20, 2011

pieces of sunlight

Framed by cobalt blue
it's brilliant yellow beams to the earth.
a quiet breath causes it to shift then shimmy

breaking off 
as silent 
bits of

make their way
to the ground for my feet to tread on
pieces of sunlight...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Come with me to the Kasbah...

or the library, depending on what your idea of fun and romance is. Some days, the library is a place of torture for me but that's because I work there but I won't bore you with all the torturous events that happen in my day (although at times they can come out pretty damn funny).

Today's topic on the library begins with an event at the library.. so bear with! I'll tell the story first and then present you with the issue.

Circulation Desk at Hampden (where I work!)
Background: We have a young man with Downs Syndrome who comes into the library regularly (every other day or so) who checks out about 5 movies or so. His items are frequently late because he doesn't have the mental capacity to measure time properly. He lives with his mother who seems to have mentally diminished capabilities and the last time she came in and I spoke to her she had also been drinking (or maybe she is mentally diminished because she is often drunk, I don't know...). She accused us of not allowing her son to check out because we hate mentally handicapped kids. I tried to speak to her at the time about the possible options but she was too drunk to listen and stormed off. The option I wanted to talk to her about was seeing if he could be considered homebound so that his fines could be deferred and his items would not have the same due date. Unfortunately, like I said, she was not capable of listening.

Fast forward: Tonight I walked out to the desk (see above where it's calm and quiet. Tonight? Not so calm or quiet) where the same woman was talking to the circulation clerk (who I supervise). I overheard the circulation clerk saying, "Okay, so we'll put a 3 item block on his card which will limit him to three items when he comes in." Skerrrch!!!! You'll do what??? We aren't allowed to block anyone's cards unless they have fines that exceed their limit and WE do not do that, the computer does that or unless they need to bring in their proof of address. I didn't say anything (although now I wish I had)  but I went back to speak to a friend who happened to be working at my branch who is also a lead clerk. How to solve the dilemma?

An hour or so later: After speaking to the person in charge of Homebound cards, we were able to give the young man a Homebound card giving him more time to get his items back to the library and keep him from getting fines (as long as he gets them back). I haven't yet decided whether to speak to the mother about it... my circulation clerk certainly made an big error by saying we could do something that we could not do but I believe that the way we handled the issue may keep her from coming back to the library and harassing us about his card (I hope). He's an adult, I'm not sure I need to call and explain to her, I need to give it some thought (you can weigh in here if you want).

So having gotten everything straightened out, finally, I informed my clerk that they could not put blocks on anyone's card blocking them from checkout or limiting their checkout (except for above stated reasons which they do know). Even a child's.

What is this you say???? the clerks ask. (although they should have known this already!)

Hampden Library (my branch)
Well, I will explain (and  now you can argue with me about it if you choose): In the young man's case, he is 20 years old and has the right to have a library card even if he is mentally handicapped. If he has a Colorado ID, his mother has no say in how many items he checks out. If she is paying his bills, she can certainly refuse to pay his fines which effectively blocks his card and he can no longer check out (this however was not what she wanted done) I believe that the only way that she could force us to treat him like a minor child (in other words not give him a replacement card without her permission), would be to have legal papers saying he was incapable of functioning at higher than a 10 year old's (or younger) mental capacity (in other words she would be taking legal responsibility for all fines, etc. just like with a child). We do not have that on file at the library.

However, problem....
Central Library (where the bigwigs live)

In the case of a minor child (under 14): When a child gets a card we do not put blocks on their accounts either because the parents are the ones who decide when they are able to get a card, We don't! Some parents get their infants cards! (And they also use their infants cards as though it was their  own!) When a parent gets the card, they have the right to keep the child's card on their person. If they decide to let the child come to the library alone without adult supervision with their library card, they cannot expect us to parent their child. It is not our job.

In the case of a minor child (over 14): (Here's where it gets really tricky. This works somewhat like it did with the Downs Syndrome kid.) If a kid is 14 or over and has a school ID they can get a library card without their parent's permission. This gives them access to information at the library for homework which they might not have if they wait around for parents who are too occupied for their teenage kids' school assignments. However, the kids may still accrue fines (if they're irresponsible) and if the parents are unhappy with how the kid is using the card, there is no law that says the parent has to pay the fine. Even if it goes to collections it will be a ding on the kid's credit, not the parents when they hit 18 (this is really unfortunate for those kids whose parents have racked up fines on their cards-- and I have seen a few). Thus, the kid is blocked from using the library. Problem solved. They can then clear it up when they turn 18. Or not.

So what do you think? Denver Public Library bases their policy (albeit a bit tricky) on the Freedom of Information Act. Even little children have the right to access information (within limits). When they become teens or if they have Downs Syndrome, they can get information without mom and dad's permission.
What do you think??? 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Not much of a post tonight...

Too busy catching up on the first episode of season two of...
plus this is my long day and I work until 8 (so.. give me a break, ya'll!)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Occupy T-Shirts?

I went to a site called Project Censored today to see what they had going on. Hadn't been there in a while and wondered what their take on Occupy Wall Street would be. Down on the side they had a link offering t-shirts... T-shirts? That seemed a bit out of place and corporate for a grassroots movement-- but I'll bite. Sure enough, click on the link and you see an article on the branding of Occupy and if you click here you can see the t-shirt. I will admit, at first I thought it was a joke, but we have gone so far down the path of marketing ourselves that even when we try to be anti-corporate, we still buy into the need to be part of the marketplace. *sigh* It's an interesting article which winds up asking "Senior Adbusters Editor Micah White sees danger in OWS being just another link to “like,” another brand prominently featured on our profile wall alongside Jobs and Cheetos: “What better way to cripple the revolutionary potential of a whole generation than to embed the logic of the marketplace within the very tools that would-be revolutionaries use?”  

And then I was going to talk about the prompt-- (maybe tomorrow.) Today: more blogging on #Occupy at Meanderings of a Wandering Mind. At that blog I am discussing the Progressive media, their ties to Occupy and their connections to the democratic party. Hope to hear your thoughts!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Food deserts

Click here if you stopped by for the Pay it Forward blogfest .

Nutritional food that's easily prepared when
the store is just down the street!
Sounds like an oxymoron doesn't it? A food desert. Shouldn't it be Food Dessert? Actually they are somewhat interchangeable. A food desert is an area where there is no access to nutritious food and you have to take long bus rides or drive long distances to find a grocery store (like Trinchera, Colorado or in certain parts of Denver, Atlanta and New York City). You might be able to get snack food from a local 7-11 or a Pump-N-Pantry and you'll most likely be able to buy a candy bar or a bottle of beer but finding an apple or an orange? Good luck. And buy organic anything? HAH!

But in a country where obesity is epidemic, the urgent need for healthy foods falls into the heading of "Food Justice" according to the Community Food Advocates. They are currently working to get grocery stores into communities that do not currently have them so that people can walk or easily drive to get healthier foods on the table for dinner. It's also important for all us to be aware that we live in a country where poor city planning has created Food Deserts that are encouraging children to be fat while also starving them of nutrition. It's a local issue with local implications. Speak up and know what's going on in you community! YOu can also help by going to the Community Food advocates website and seeing what they are doing to help communities. But more than that, you can stop voting for politicians who are going to reward grocery store chains that move out of urban areas into suburban areas simply because they perceive there is more money to be made there. Or, ask your politicians to give the same tax breaks to local, family owned grocers that big corporations get so that they can stay in business!

I am participating in Blog Action Day 2011. This year's subject: FOOD
Thanks to Rayna of Coffee Rings Everywhere for drawing this to my attention!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Occupy Denver and Pay it Forward cont.

In order to keep things a uncluttered for the Pay it Forward Blogfest hosted by Alex Cavanaugh and Matthew McNish of QQQE. I am going to direct all participants to the post below so that they can read my introductions. 

Meanwhile, if your interested in hearing about some of the local happenings concerning Occupy Denver you can click here this will take you over to Meanderings of a Wandering Mind- my political blog. Hope to hear your thoughts! Cheers! 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pay it Forward

This is the easiest blogfest ever... because it's all about Paying it Forward and it's being hosted by Alex Cavanaugh and Matthew McNish of QQQE. We've all had a blogger who came along and commented, befriended us when we didn't think anyone was paying any attention or pulled us into a blogfest that introduced us to another friend we might not have met otherwise, right? For me, it was Michael (or Conchscooter) of Key West Diary,  Rayna of Coffee Rings Everywhere, Michael of In Time who gave me my first blog award and Talei of Musings of an Aspiring Scribe who gave me a second and became a great friend... which then led me to meet more great friends too numerous to count! Well, today's blogfest is about thanking those people by introducing 3 bloggers to the other participants of the blogfest. It's not an award or a contest, just an introduction. Cool, right? Thanks Matthew and Alex!

So here goes:

I'd like to introduce you to:
Ashley Hunt of Broken Simmy and Willows: A Dark Love StoryWhile she just began blogging in May of 2011, she's been writing for long enough to know the disappointments of the publishing world already. I hope you'll check out her blog and give her an encouraging word or two! 
I'd also like to introduce you to... Sarah of The Unwrapping. Her blog is special because its purpose is to hold her writing and her style is her own. She is a poet and stylist while also expressing the emotions of a mother, woman and... human. When you visit her blog, go expecting to feel as though you have peaked into her world-- but have also met a friend. 

And finally last, but hardly least: is Lissa of A Chance of Sunshine. She's an artist, a writer, a photographer,  and a fellow NaBloWriMo  participant.   
So that's it for my introductions! I hope you enjoy meeting my two new friends and my older but cherished one. 
Thanks to all my blog friends who light up my life every day!!! 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Obligatory cuteness...

I've been hanging on to this picture for over a year-- wanting to post it but not really wanting to just sandwich it between other pictures. So, since I need a post for today in order to make my Thursday posting, here it is: 
A baby Flamingo! 
This guy is over a year old, born on Aug 20, 2010. I'm pretty sure he's probably full grown now but he was the first one the zoo had since 2003 so he was pretty special. The chick looks white in my picture but he's actually gray and will turn pink later which comes from their diet of animal and plant plankton which has carotenoid proteins in it and that's what gives them their color! (Don't you feel a little smarter today?!?!?!) 
Too bad I can't have one as a pet! 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I work too hard!

And on Tuesdays I work especially hard! I get up early, get my son to school by 8 (1/2 hour drive) so that I can be at work by 8:30 (hopefully another half hour drive if I really push it) and then I will work until 8- and my lunch hour will be spent getting back to my son's school to get him home so that he can get homework done and have an evening. You should feel sorry for me, yes? That's the way I feel until I have a day off (like today- because when you work for the city you get paid personal days that have to be used before the end of the year or you lose them and I decided today was as good as any...) and I see something that gives me a reality check.
It's as simple as this...
Because this reminds me how hard that my grandmother had it. 
When I was a kid, my grandparents lived on a dairy farm. My grandfather got up before the sun even lightened the eastern horizon to bring cows in to milk them. Soon thereafter, my grandmother did too. She made his coffee and helped him milk the cows (at least for a while). Then in she went to get breakfast started. Except... she probably had to stop get eggs. But not at the store... from the chickens. Cooking was a completely different ordeal then. Her kitchen didn't have a microwave and she didn't have a dishwasher. She washed everything by hand. The milk she used was milk they had just milked from the cows. The family she fed worked hard and the husband and three young men she fed ate like the hard working field hands they were. Cleaning up the kitchen was time consuming but cleaning the rest of the house -especially the bathroom and the clothes used for chores was laborious. Keeping a house Mr. Clean clean (and my grandmother was quite fastidious) when your work entails (just to begin with) muscling cows  into stalls for milking and shoveling cow shit is no easy task.
The rest of the day was spent feeding livestock and sometimes butchering the evening meal (and believe me, that was not easy or a fun thing to do-- or watch!) until the afternoon when  it begins again because cows have to be milked twice a day, 24/7, 365 days of the year. There were no personal days and no holidays and sadly even Christmas, the cows had to be milked.
Springtime added additional chores with planting fields of wheat and corn for the men. For my grandmother.. she was feeding additional men on the field and planting a large garden. Summer (still feeding men on the field!) was maintaining it while the harvest was going on in the fields. Fall was harvesting everything in site (including buying things from nearby orchards). Which leads me to my picture...
Canning. Hours and hours of cleaning, cutting and cooking (an unairconditioned kitchen, mind you!) and then putting the food into jars and then boiling the jars until they (thwop) seal (and now the kitchen is also sweat-rolling-down-my-back-and-beading-on-my-forehead hot!) all so the family could have vegetables for the winter and springtime. Until the next summer when there are fresh garden vegetables to eat again!
So nah! I ain't got it so hard. 

(Addendum: This is not a post about working conditions. I am not saying that if you or I don't work as hard as my grandparents did you or I shouldn't complain. I think the 40 hour, five day work week is quite adequate, thank you! This is a post about modern conveniences- about getting milk, eggs, meat and vegetables from the store, putting dishes in the dishwasher and popping a meal in the microwave to get a quick bite... this is a luxury that was completely unheard of even within my lifetime. I am not too young to remember my grandmother slaving over the stove like this and I am incredibly thankful that I can run to the store get something for my family to eat and I don't have to pluck it out from under a bird, grow it and can it myself if I don't want to or kill it in order to feed my family!)  


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