Thursday, February 25, 2010

Here comes the SUN?

>It's raining today. Rain, rain, rain. It's been raining every day for the past 4 days. Or maybe longer. Talk about depressing! I forget what the sun looks like.

I think it's yellow or perhaps orange, circular shaped, hanging up there in the sky against a blue background with a few wisps of white clouds hovering near. But I could be wrong. After all, I haven't seen it in a while.

Do we take the sun for granted? Is it any wonder some cultures worship it? Think about what the sun does and how it makes us feel. It provides warmth, light, energy, vitamin D, helps plants grow, and yes, makes us feel GOOD, cheerful, upbeat. Without it, life's a real downer.

I've tried turning on every light in the house to replace the sunlight but it's just not the same and of course my electric bill will soar. I just can't feel sunshiny happy without the sun.

So, I've posted a picture of the sun in the absence of the real one. I'm just gonna stare at it frequently throughout my day and repeat a little mantra: It's sunny, it's sunny, it's sunny!

I need to feel cheerful again. I'll let you know if it works.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Time to celebrate!

>I just realized today I have passed the 100-post mark. I have 120 posts on this blog, not counting this one. Time flies when you're having fun!

So today I think I'll just celebrate the fact that I've hit 100 posts. We'll just have a little party. And I'll pose the question: What will you be celebrating this year? A special anniversary? A graduation?

A milestone birthday? Publication?

Come on over and have some cake.

Friday, February 19, 2010


We had a silly, but fun discussion this morning, getting ready for school and work. My youngest son was commenting about his older brother away at college, who has enormous difficulty getting out of bed in the morning. Evidently he's frequently late for his morning classes. So my youngest son was suggesting we buy him a talking alarm clock, something really loud or obnoxious that would make him bolt out of bed in order to silence the annoying voice or sound.

Our discussion revolved around the possible clock sounds/voices. What animal noise might do the trick? I thought a rooster crowing, but my youngest suggested a cow mooing or a pig squealing. My daughter chimed in with dogs and wolves.

Then we progressed to other sounds. I thought maybe Steven Tyler of Aerosmith screaming one of his songs might do it. "Dream onnnnn...", but my son said, "No, that would just make him think he should keep dreaming."

So we discussed other singers with unusual, loud or somehow unique vocal skills. Ozzy Osbourne, Joe Cocker, Janis Joplin, perhaps Minnie Riperton? ("la la la la la--ah ah ah ah ah ah") Yeah, that last one ought to rip right through the brain!

We pondered whether a piercing movie scream might do the trick. Imagine waking each morning to Janet Leigh's Psycho shower scream. Or maybe just The Godfather or some other scary dude threatening you to "GET UP NOW!"

Yes, we ran the gamut from animals to rockers to screamers to criminals in our attempt to pinpoint the perfect alarm clock for my oldest son. I don't even know if they make such devices, but if not, it's high time they did!

After all, some people simply do not wake up to your typical beeping noise or radio station music. For these people much more effort is needed.

I just might have to go into the clock business.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A New Face in the Mirror

Routines. Do you ever get sick of them?

Do you ever get tired of seeing the same face in the mirror each day? What if one day when you got up in the morning and looked into the mirror, a completely different pair of eyes stared back at you? A different mouth gaped back at you. A wonderful new mane of hair sat on your head.

I think about these things. I love variety in life and get bored easily. Housework? So, so repetitive. What's the point in washing the floor when it's only going to get dirty again? Those dishes in the sink? Sure, you can wash them, dry them and put them away. But in another few hours they're going to go back to being dirty all over again. They never get done!

I'm thinking this might actually be a cool idea for a novel or short story. A person wakes up in the morning looking totally different. Has this idea been done before? I suppose it has. There's nothing new under the sun, right? It's all been done before. Just like routines, story ideas are explored over and over again. The trick is to put a new twist on it.

Excuse me now, I've got some thinking to do.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Some Winter Imagery

Winter is upon us in the northeast. Yesterday was a "snow day", with a blizzard predicted, but not much happened. Those weather guys blew it.

I decided to take a walk and snap some winter photos. There's not much of interest to photograph in winter. The trees are stripped naked and look lonely and empty. I did glimpse some frozen lakes with a touch of snow covering them. And just about everywhere squirrels bounced from tree to tree or scurried across my path in search of food or whatever squirrels do. I captured one or two on my camera.

I hope these photos will paint a picture for you of winter in my corner of the world.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Playing By Ear...

I've been trying to teach myself how to play the piano. I have a keyboard, so I figured how hard could it be?

Years ago my parents shipped me off to some woman's house for piano lessons. I only vaguely remember this; the memory is filed somewhere in the back of my mind. It's funny how people have such selective memory; there are reams of memories stored in the brain, but many can't be accessed no matter how hard one tries.

I recall learning how to play "I love coffee, I love tea" on the piano. I can still play it to some extent. My fingers have tried to remember the right keys. Not that there's any great need for me to be able to play this song in 2010. My father always played by ear and I'm trying to do it, too.

I only got so far with my childhood piano lessons. Who knows why. Maybe lack of money, maybe I was bored, maybe I didn't want to practice at home. Kids would usually rather play with toys than sit and listen to a grown-up try to teach them something.

So this morning I sat down at the keyboard and tried to play a song. I've got the notes figured out and now I just have to learn the chords. I'm stubborn like that. I'll keep tickling those ivories until I get it right.

There are plenty of self-taught musicians. Joni Mitchell is one I know of. She certainly did okay for herself.

Practice, practice, practice!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


How do we ever know for sure that someone is telling the truth?

Can it be ascertained by simply reading someone's words on a page or is it necessary to sit across from someone, look him or her in the eyes, and judge by body language and facial expressions/cues?

There are supposed to be telltale signs of lying. Sometimes a person will shift their eyes away from the person they're talking to. (not make eye contact) (Of course that could also indicate shyness.) I think constantly rubbing the nose is another sign. (But then again the person could just have an itchy nose.) A nervous laugh might be another indicator. Moving the arms around might be employed to distract the other person from what is being said. But again, it could just mean the person is nervous.

Some people are easy to read; others are not. When it comes to stories, we don't have the luxury of seeing what someone's characters are doing, so as writers we need to make these characters come alive on the page.

How would you make this person appear to be lying?

Sally looked at John and started telling him her story.

Maybe you can rewrite the above line in the comments box.