Returning at Last!

I’ve been away from WordPress for many months, due to a flare in my neurological disease. 

Finally getting back online and accessing my blog page is an odd sensation – I even had to get a new password – and nothing looks familiar.   Hopefully, I’ll be able to post more regularly once my physicians get my “medication cocktail” adjusted.

Everywhere I look, people are rushing madly to prepare for the holiday season. But I haven’t even started.  I’m usually shopping by mid-summer, tucking gifts away in my bureau for months until it’s time to wrap them up. Not this year.

So many people are depressed over the election and don’t have their usual holiday good cheer. I wonder if we (as a nation) will be able to move past this gloom.  I think we may have to make a deliberate effort together to do so.

We’ll have to decide that this election is not going to be the end of our nation, or have the ability to depress us for the next four years. No matter how tired or discouraged we may be, we’ll have to find the energy within ourselves to keep fighting to defend our Constitution and the rights/ideals we hold dear – for all of us, not just the privileged.

It’s incredibly difficult, but too important – we can’t surrender our ethics now.

 

 

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LWI: Invasive Species!

I didn’t know that Texas had an invasive species page online – but there it is, and it’s worth a look. You never know what you might find.  I was just looking at a page about Bermudagrass.  The “Description” section got my attention with these two warnings:

“Contact with plants can cause dermatitis in sensitive individuals, and the pollen is a common allergen. Mature bermudagrass pastures have occasionally been implicated in livestock photosensitization or neurological syndromes, especially in late fall or early winter. “

“Toxic symptoms may be due to molds or fungi sometimes associated with Bermuda-grass. Bermudagrass utilizes the C4 photosynthetic pathway.”

I’m curious as to why we aren’t treating this little “problem” with the judicious use of high-quality flamethrowers.

Another plant on the most-wanted list is Bastard Cabbage. Yes, that’s really the name. Now I desperately want to acquire this criminal plant and root it in my front yard, if only for the shock value of the nicely-lettered sign to accompany it.

I wonder if there’s an Unwed Mother Rutabaga that I could plant beside it?  Then the Baby’s Breath would be perfect to finish up this disturbing social commentary in my garden.  Who names these plants, anyway?

Sadly, one of my favorite plants, English Ivy, is also listed as an invasive species. Really?  How do they determine if a plant is invasive?  I’m old – practically ancient – and English Ivy has been a part of gardens almost everywhere I’ve lived since I was a child. (Since I was born in the late part of the Jurassic, that means that the plant species I’m familiar with are almost as old as I am.) Oh, no. Elephant Ears, my other favorite, is on the list, as well.  Dammit!

I suggest that the true invasive party here is civilization.  It keeps spreading, unchecked, destroying more natural habitat and contributing to species extinction. It is our species that we must learn to control.

With the exception of my one (much beloved) antique climbing yellow rosebush I received for Mother’s Day several decades ago, invasive species are the only things that survive under my care. I wonder if I could convince the state to issue a Special Circumstances Permit for me. There’s no real danger. It’s not as if anything I’ve tried to grow (said rosebush excepted) has ever survived for very long. With no invasion imminent, the world can sleep safely tonight.

 

 

 

LOITERING WITH INTENT

This blog reflects some of what I’m doing these days. I’m Loitering With the Intent of writing as much, sharing as much about writing, and connecting as much (as possible) before my time is up. It sounds like a solid plan, doesn’t it?  If only I’d figured it out five years ago.  <sigh>  As Cesar Milan says, “Let’s live in the moment!”

WRITING = WORD PROBLEMS.

I created and collected writing prompts during my years with Southwest Writers Club (one of the oldest writing groups in Texas), and you’ll see some of those prompts in this blog.  Being mathematically disabled, I like to consider prompts as word problems. At this point in life, I have no intention of getting close to any genuine form of math. I have enough neurological damage already.

You are welcome to post your answers to any of these prompts in the comments sections, or you can just use the prompts to inspire yourself at home, to break through a writing block, to clear your head, amuse a relative, etc. You cannot, however, copy any of these prompts and pass them off as your own. {Of course, I know YOU wouldn’t do that. But I have to post that disclaimer to discourage the few members of the criminal elite who are interested in writing.} However, you may borrow some of these prompts to use with your groups or on your site, provided you credit the source.

If you’re interested in writing your memoirs (putting your life story on paper for your family, yourself, profit, etc.), I encourage you to try it!  Your memories and tales of your experiences will be treasured by future generations.  If you find that you need a bit of help from someone with some experience, there are websites and writing groups devoted entirely to memoir, life stories, and creative nonfiction.   Be sure you find someone who possesses: (a) writing experience, (b) compassion & understanding, and (c) a sacred respect for your privacy and the confidentiality of your information. And whether you end up hiring a co-writer or a ghostwriter, never pay the full fee in advance!  It’s customary to make a partial payment at the start of the agreement, and additional partial payments as the process continues to your satisfaction. The final payment comes only when the manuscript is finished.

No matter who you hire, or how nice he/she might be, a written agreement is always a good idea; you can stipulate the terms of your arrangement, along with any confidentiality issues.  (Remember, anyone can be hit by a runaway bus or squashed by a meteor – if that happened to the person you hired and you’ve paid for everything in advance, you’ll be out all that money, and stuck with a half-finished manuscript.  The upside:  you could always include the story about a meteor hitting your co-writer!)  Seriously, never pay everything up front.

Below are the first prompts. They’re ready to jump-start your creativity!

Prompt #1:  House Fire You’re at home with your family and pet dog/cat/bird/python or whatever when you hear a “boom” and see flames peeking at the edges of your ceiling.  Your house is on fire!  Your spouse grabs the cell phone to call 911, and together you get the family and pets out safely.

You rush back into the house alone, where you have just enough time to save just three items.  What three items would you save, and why?  WHAT IF you could run back and save two more items – what would they be, and why?

 Prompt #2:  Modest Writer, Friend of Children.  You witness a woman violently {and you think, inappropriately} slapping a small baby at the supermarket. All the other shoppers walk away, embarrassed. Would you intervene to stop this and protect the baby? Would you talk to the woman to see what’s wrong? Would you call the police?  WHAT would you do?  If you knew you could walk over, take the baby out of the shopping cart, and carry her out of the supermarket with no consequences at all, would you do it?  {Yes, of course you’d think about it, but would you do it?}

Prompt #3Who was the greatest influence of your early life (up to age six) This could be a relative, friend, nanny, teacher, author, or even a character who deeply affected you. As long as you had a genuine connection, your answer can be anyone you actually met OR who was part of your daily life.  Explain why this person or character was so important to you.  Examples: (a) Your Grandmother, who read to you every day, (b) the librarian who introduced you to storytelling magic when you were five, (c) your Aunt Loretta, a renowned psychic, who predicted success for you, (d) your Uncle Arthur, the family genius, who said you inherited his intelligence, or (e) Superman, whose deep commitment to truth, justice, and the American way of life inspired you to become a public defender (or prosecutor).

Prompt #4What was the first musical group or individual to catch your interest as a pre-teen or teenager?  If it was a group, did you have a favorite member?  Do you have any special memories of this group or individual?  Do you have a favorite song they performed? Are you smiling as you remember?

Prompt #5What was the first naughty thing you did that resulted in being “grounded” for a period of time?  How old were you?  How long were you grounded?

Prompt #6:  You get to choose between the ability to fly and the ability to be invisible (whenever you desire) for one week, i.e., seven (7) days. Which one of these super power would you choose, and why?

Prompt #7How would you adapt if some prankster turned down Earth’s gravity setting?  Would you wear heavy chains?  Add patio stones to your wardrobe?  Tell us!