Saturday, October 27, 2012

Waiting for the Storm

Well, Hurricane Sandy is predicted to hit my neck of the woods within the next few hours.  Currently, the sky is a dark grey, and the wind is light causing the leaves to gently dance in the light breeze.  The birds are quiet, I haven’t heard as much as a peep this morning, and the squirrels are not out playing their jungle gum antics through the trees.  All of nature seems quiet waiting for the impending storm. 

I am preparing as well.  My hurricane lamps are full of oil and I have washed their shining glass chimneys.  I have filled some large pitchers with water and set them in the refrigerator.  Extra canned goods and prepared foods stock my cupboard shelves.  I have charcoal for the grill in case I have to cook outside; though I don’t foresee this happening I also checked the flashlights and the radio for batteries.  I located my first aid kit and took inventory of its contents so that I know what I have in case of any first aid emergency that might occur.  I pulled the quilts out of the cedar chest. I have extra just in case my neighbors find they are in need anything.  During the threat of storms such as these, I often wish I had a fireplace or a wood stove, or even a generator.  I have heaters, but I use them with much caution.

I may not need these things, however I feel better when I prepare.  After the ice storm in 1991, I was without electricity for 14 days.  I found that I wrote more with a pen and paper than usual during those two weeks and drew a lot more, too.  Excessive creativity is the advantage of not having electronics to entertain.  It was like an extended in-house camping adventure. 

It’s funny (not ha-ha funny, but peculiar) how easily one can get used to doing without.  Once you have to make due with less, you begin to realize how much you really have.
Thanks for stopping by. ~Yvonne~

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Keeper of Memories

I am the listener…
As the Elders tell their stories
Of their memories of yesteryear
As if it all happened yesterday.

I am the questioner…
That sparks recollections
Of days gone by
Of lives once lived.

I am the viewer…
Of worn photographs
Of the people and places
Now gone from this world.

I am the writer…
That transcribes the frail voices
Piecing fragments together
As their life’s stories unfold.

I am the keeper of the memories they’ve told

Monday, October 22, 2012

Monday 10/22/12: A Random Journal Entry

I should explain that I am a night person, and I say this in all seriousness.  I write best at night particularly between the hours of 10 pm and 2 am, so I generally don’t fall to sleep before 3 am. 

I woke to a group of sparrows having an early morning community meeting outside my window on top of the air conditioner.  It seems there was some disagreement as they were putting up a loud ruckus and knocking one another off their perch with high pitch chatter and much flutter of feathered wings.  Along with this, my neighbor across the road is having a house built where his old house stood.  Over the past week I finally grew accustom to the noise, and I could sleep through the sound of pounding and sawing, and trucks backing down the road.  However, this morning all the various power tools reached a new level of cacophony as for some reason they were all in use at the same time.  Needless to say, I did not get my usual 6 hours of sleep, more like 4-1/2.  I feel I could use a nap; however, that would throw my time clock way off course, as I won’t fall asleep until 5 or 6 o’clock tomorrow morning.  Miss Kitty is sleeping beside me as I write this and I must admit that I am a bit jealous. 

Like most Mondays, my productivity level is low.  I did accomplish a small amount of writing, but I kept on flitting from one project to another, so I set it aside.  Maybe this evening I will have better concentration.  Also, I sorted through my email inbox.  This took some time as I haven’t checked it in a couple of days and the count was well over the usual 50 mark.  It was more like 250.  I deleted the junk mail and responded to quite a few others that needed attention.  The others left are notifications of new blog entries written by fellow bloggers that I follow, so I think that the rest of the afternoon I will spend reading these. 

Later, I am going to watch the most recent episodes of “The Walking Dead” and “Grey’s Anatomy.”   These are two series that I anticipate watching on Monday evenings.   The first season of “Once Upon a Time” is now available as streaming on Netflix and I am really enjoying this series, too, but if I am to get any real, solid writing done, I won’t turn that on today.

Well, I guess it’s time to sign off for now.  Fare thee well until next time.  ~Yvonne~

Sunday, October 21, 2012


“Sometimes we are impatient.  When we are impatient, we get no rewards.  Let other people do their own thing.  Wait, take your turn when it comes.  The Creator will always put something in your future, something very special.”  ~Franklin Kahn, Navajo~

To wait with patience is not always an easy task.  Throughout life, we sometimes find ourselves waiting for the turn in life’s road that brings us to the path of new changes and challenges.  It is within these times that we are likely to become impatient.  Nothing seems to happen and we feel stagnant, stuck.  We do not see these times of rest as a blessing or a time to reflect on our previous experiences and to take an account of the lessons those experiences taught.  Often during our time of rest, we will come across memories of times when we felt just as we do now as we wait for the tides to turn us to our new direction.  Breathe, reflect, be patient…

We all have goals and desires for our future and we sometimes see others moving forward with their lives while we see ourselves standing still.  For whatever reason, the time for our new journey to begin is not yet right.  As we watch another finding their path, we may feel a twinge of jealousy for their good fortune; or we may fear that we are alone and left behind.  This may cause us to forge ahead before our time is right in which case we may discover that we are unhappy in our circumstance or that we are unable to complete the journey or attain the outcome we desired.  We may discover later that while we blundered down the wrong road at the wrong moment that another better path presented itself that was perfect for us.  It is best to stay grounded where you are. Express encouragement and be happy for the other person and offer advice or assistance if needed.  Be happy, encourage, advise, be patient…

We are not always sure of what new path we want to take or for what new path we are waiting.  Sometimes, even though we know it is the right road to travel, we are tentative about stepping onto the path that opens for us.  At times such as these, we need to combine courage with faith and patience.  If the path is right, even if it is unexpected, we find through contemplation, that our previous experiences have led us to this particular step in our life’s journey.  Although we may think that to travel a particular road is a waste of our time, eventually we find that it is a necessary step to reaching our goal.  We find that our experiences and the lessons we learn on this road lead us to a better understanding and an increase of knowledge that we need in order to arrive and accomplish our dreams.   Be courageous, have faith, be patient…

We all envision what our dreams will encompass and what our lives will be like when we reach our goals, yet sometimes what comes to us is not exactly what we imagined.  Sometimes as we travel our road a disaster, loss, or tragedy occurs that causes us to lose sight of our path.  These occurrences also can cause a deviation to our dream’s outcome. However, these experiences come to us with life lessons that we must learn before our dreams or goals come to fruition.   These experiences may throw us off balance into a state of depression or cause us to lose sight of our dreams.  During these times of struggle, it is important to have strength and to be thankful for all we do have or even for all we had and have lost.  It is important that we remember that there are those who have less than we have, or even those who have lost and will never find peace.  It is in accepting our losses and moving forward on our life’s path that we develop the ability to adapt to having less, yet finding more.   Although we may find that our dreams have not come to fulfillment as we foresaw, we find they are rewarding in such a way that we are happier than we ever imagined.   Be strong, be thankful, be patient… Your time will come!

Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read. ~Yvonne~

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sci-fi/Fantasy/Horror Genre Television Then and Now

I have never been a big fan of television other than a few series of the science fiction, fantasy/horror genre and the once in awhile drama.  When I was a child growing up in the early ‘60s and ‘70s, the selections of these genres were rare, and for the most part, they did not last an extended length of time.  Even so, I was too young to keep up with a series on a weekly/yearly basis.  Over the years, other series of these genres were out there, but none that held my attention or sparked my imagination so that I wanted to schedule my time to sit for a half hour or an hour each week to watch.

The many series that I mention in this blog, all have some common characteristics.  The most important of these is good, intelligent story telling.  I approach a television series much in the same way that I approach a book.  If a book or series does not captivate me by the time I finish the third chapter, or the third episode I will stop reading or watching.  The second most important element is an emotional attachment to the characters and their plight.  I want to see and understand the character’s lives and motives, whether those characters are human or supernatural in nature.  Consistency of character and an understanding of their reasoning and actions when things go wrong in their worlds are important.  The protagonist must have fallibility, and the antagonist must have one or more quality, characteristic, or back-story experience that causes me to have some understanding of, or even empathy for the character to some degree.

Another quality to I need television series relative to reading is that when a series comes to an end that the story remained true to itself to the end.  As with finishing a book, I want to have the feeling that I am saying goodbye to the characters and that I will miss them.  I also want to know that just as I will want to re-read a book that I will want to re-watch a series.  There are many series that I have or will in the future re-watch. 

There are also some series that by the time they reached their last season that they went too far off their story line to the point that I have no desire to watch them again.  I feel that this is a real shame and I question the writers and creators as to what they were thinking.  A couple of examples of these series are Roswell (1999-2002), and Ghost Whisperer (2005-2010).  This is, of course, my personal opinion, but I have to say that I was very disappointed with the final seasons of these two series.

Another quandary is series that had great potential that the networks cancelled before their time.  A couple of examples of these are Harsh Realm (1999-2000) and Tru Calling (2003-2005).  Of course Firefly (2002-2003) falls into this category as well, however Joss Whedon gave us more with the full-length movie Serenity (2005) and the continuation of the story in comic book form.

Some series that were available during my childhood were Doctor Who (1963-1989), The Twilight Zone (1959-1964), The Outer Limits (1963-1965), The Time Tunnel (1966-1967), and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1964-1968). They were, in my opinion, the best of their genres for their time.  In 1966, Star Trek (1966-1969) came along and brought the science fiction genre, as I knew it on television, to a new height.  I was ten years old when Star Trek premiered and I remember having a feeling of awe and excitement at the thought that this series was to air every week with a new episode.  I never missed an episode.  That same year Dark Shadows (1966-1971) began as a soap opera and I watched that as well, but it was rare that I arrived home from school to see an entire episode.  (Note: Remember younger folk, at that time VCRs and other technology were a thing of the future).  

After Doctor Who went on its hiatus in 1989, I did not watch any series television until 1993 when The X-Files (1993-2002) began its nine-season run with Millennium (1996-1999) and The Lone Gunman (2001) following, and all created by Chris Carter.  It was during this period that Joss Whedon came along with Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003), Angel (1999-2004).  These series created by Whedon and Carter were the top series that I labeled as not to miss.  Lost (2004-2010) came along in 2004 running for and Medium (2005-20011) which continued for seven seasons.

Quite a few series of which I became a fan appeared in 2005 that I continue to watch religiously.  Some of these include  Supernatural (2005-) premiered and is now in its eighth season as well as the return of Doctor Who (2005-) now in season seven which brought Torchwood (2006-2011)  along as spin-off of its parent series.  After this run in 2005 Fringe (2008-) came along in 2008 and is now in its fifth season, followed by The Vampire Diaries (2009-) now beginning its fourth season and  The Walking Dead (2010-) now beginning its third season. Grimm (2011-) is now in its second season as is Once Upon a Time (2011-).

Well, this is pretty much my list of must see television series of the sci-fi/fantasy/horror genre.  I might have left out a couple that will come to me soon after this post is up.  There are a couple of series premiering this fall that I do not have an opinion on as yet, but I will let you know what I think of these when the time comes.  I only hope that more and more of this genre keep appearing. In future blogs I will proceed into in-depth posts regarding a few, if not all, of these series individually.  We’ll see how that works out…

As always thanks for reading and I hope all is well with you and yours.  ~Yvonne~

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Resetting My Internal Clock

So far, this week is a strange week for me. My internal clock is way off kilter. Mondays are usually a dead day for me, but this past Monday turned out as very productive. I spent most of the day outside cleaning off the back porch and getting summer outdoor gear into the shed. I also cleaned out all the flower pots which was a big job as I have so many of them. I am hoping to paint and decorate some more clay pots over the winter months. I took a count and I have twenty-three that I can turn into decorative pots.  The rest, another seventeen, are plastic.

I also washed up all of the downstairs windows and checked the seals on the storm windows. They are in great shape, so no problems there. I still haven't removed the air conditioner, but I think I will need help with that as it would be just my luck to drop it out the window, or worse, injure my bum wrist. I was warned by two doctors that even with my wrist brace I should not lift too much weight. They both said no more than ten pounds with both hands, but I know that at times I exceed that limit.

Tuesday ended  up more like a usual Monday. I really didn't accomplish anything at all. My allergies were treating me very badly, which isn't surprising as the city where I live is rated 14 out of 20 as the worst cities for allergies in the country. I don't like to take allergy meds as they either make me sleepy or just plain lazy, but I took them yesterday and ended up watching videos all day. I guess that is not a bad thing, really. We all need to have those days occasionally.

I haven't done much writing lately. I am in a bit of a slump, but I have some ideas wandering around in my head, so when the slump subsides I know I will have plenty to write. It is not uncommon for the change of seasons to stop me in my tracks for a week or two. My sleeping patterns are off a bit, too. I am not sleepy until around 3 or 3:30 in the morning, yet I wake up between 8 and 8:30 wide awake and rested. It's kind of like my internal clock is preforming a reset, but I will be so very happy when all gets back to normal.

Thanks for stopping by... ~Yvonne~

Friday, October 05, 2012

Autumn Gathering

It's Friday, and I am looking forward to the weekend! Not that I plan on doing anything special, but on weekends the days are less regimented.

The weather is still fairly warm here and I haven't taken the air conditioner out yet, even though I haven't turned it on in about six weeks. I will get that done soon as I am sure the cold weather will visit us in a surprise burst of cold air. Also, I have to change my closet over from summery cool clothes to the heavier warm clothes of winter. This task usually takes an entire afternoon to complete, and I always end up with a bag of clothes to give away that I didn't wear at all over the last season.

I collected a few leaves and twigs this past week to use in some art projects that I will probably give away as Holiday presents. The leaves are not in full color as yet, but when they are, I plan on a gathering day woodland walk. I want to get some photographs of the landscape as well. 

There are still some flowers in bloom bloom in front of the house - mostly Black-eyed Susans, but there are a couple of Roses, too. I want to get out there and do a pre-winter weeding. I never tried to dry pressed flowers as I do leaves, but I think I am going to experiment with some of the flowers I have left. My heavy books are put to more use than just reading around this time of year. Sometimes I forget which books I used to press leaves and find them unexpectedly between the pages of some heavy reference book. That's always a welcome surprise.

Well, I am going to go and get started on the day ahead. Thanks for stopping by, and I wish you all a wonderful weekend. ~Yvonne~

Monday, October 01, 2012

Used vs. New in the 21st

While I was clicking through ‘news’ stories the other day, I came across a video article from The Jeff Probst Show, headlined“Could You Buy Nothing New for 5 Years?” in which Mr. Probst interviews a woman as a member of the Compact Movement who has not purchased anything new in the past 5 years.

The Compact Movement is a group started in San Francisco in 2006, among a group of friends who challenged one another to refrain from purchasing any thing 'new' for 1 year. Their goals were as follows:

1.      to go beyond recycling in trying to counteract the negative global environmental and socio-economic impacts of U.S. consumer culture, to resist global corporatism, and to support local businesses, farms, etc.;
2.      to reduce clutter and waste in our homes (as in trash Compact-er);
3.      to simplify our lives (as in Calm-pact)
The people involved in this movement buy used items from thrift stores, garage/yard sales, barter, trade, and rescue items destined for the trash. They refurbish and repair items that others normally discard. When they do purchase new items, they restrict their purchases to local small businesses whenever possible.

Now, this isn't the first time I read about this movement. I read another article some years back when the movement first started, and my thoughts at that time were the same as they were when I saw the video clip the other day. "Well," I thought, "this idea isn't new to me. I've consumed in this manner for most of my life."

In fact, I was raised to consume in this manner, as my mother was raised before me. I own very few items that I purchased new, and those items that I did purchase new, I have kept in good repair or had repaired when needed in order to avoid having to purchase new items. I can honestly say that I haven't purchased a new item since 2004 when I broke down and bought a microwave to replace the old one I had for 20 years.
Every piece of furniture I own I purchased from a thrift store, garage/yard sale, bartered for, or rescued from the curb. The same is true of my appliances such as my coffee maker, food processor, toaster, etc. My clothing, except for undergarments, I purchase from community volunteer thrift stores and local consignment stores.
I have never purchased a new car. The car I have now is a '98 Saturn and the one before that was a '96 Ford Crown Victoria that I purchased from a friend for $300.00 and had on the road for about 2 years.  That car, like the one before that, I donated to the Kidney Foundation.

I also purchase most tech items used.  I bought the computer on which I am typing this post, as used furbished for $125.00. My TV I bought from the Salvation Army Thrift Store for $50.00. I bought my XBOX (an older model) for $5.00 at a garage sale. My landline phones and answering machine were given to me. A few years ago, a friend gave me a computer monitor when I helped him out in purchasing a car. I purchase video games, DVDs and CDs from local businesses that buy and sell used items. Many of my books I purchase from used bookstores or my town's library used book store.

I have bartered on several occasions by working for people such as helping them move, painting, or gardening and even writing, which is how I attained some of my most prized pieces of furniture. A few years ago, the sum-pump broke down and my brother traded an old one he had lying around for my old turntable, a pot of chili, and two loaves of homemade bread. It was a perfect deal!
Bartering and and trading goods and services is also a good way to create community. Some of my most prized possessions I acquired through bartering services such as helping someone to move, painting, gardening, and even writing. Many times someone will give me. or I will find, an item I cannot use , but rather than have it thrown out in the trash I will take it. I then try to find someone who can use the item. If within a year I find no one who can use the item, or if I cannot sell it at a garage sale, I donate it to a community volunteer thrift store.  Donating back to the community is the opposite end of buying used.

Living a Compact Movement manner is not only a cheaper way to consume; it is also good for the environment. We live in a throw-away society, in which people are always looking to buy the next best thing and the old is tossed out.  Everything we throw into the trash molders and damages the Earth and serves to destroy Nature's delicate balance.
The old sayings as well as the new still hold true for us as humans and for the Earth. A few of these sayings are as follows:
          "Recycle whatever you can, whenever possible, where ever consumption is concerned."
          "Make it up or wear it out, use it up or do without."
          "Respect the Earth as your Mother, for humanity's contiued existence depends on it."
Thanks for reading. ~Yvonne~