Aspiration Sunday

“Before you search for inspiration outside, dig for aspiration within.”

-The Little Mermaid, MMXIX

The Little Mermaid posted this on her blog today.

In Central Virginia, today is a bright sunny day with temps that will soar from the mid 30s to the mid  60s.  Spring is steadily advancing with birds singing, flowers blooming, and tree pollen rising (along with the temps).

What do you aspire to today?  I aspire for peace and contemplation.

Cardinal Point logoI want to sip wine outside in one of my favorite wineries, Cardinal Point.  Maybe their Green wine will be ready.  Green wine  is from the Portuguese Vinho Verde  (literally ‘green wine’)  that originated in the historic Minho Province in the far north of Portugal.  It is not a St. Patrick’s day wine (white wine colored green) but is wine made from young grapes. Picked before the regular wine harvest, it provides fresh wine that is drunk soon after bottling before the other wines are available.  It’s a perfect wine to sip on while enjoying the warm Spring sunshine.

If we have no love for ourselves then we have none to give others.  At what point does self love become hedonism? Is it when the ego rear’s its head, thumbs its chest and starts proclaiming how wonderful  it is?  Or is it when our love for ourselves or our needs tramples the love or concern we have for others?  Is spending the afternoon sipping a light wine  outside in a beautiful environment aspiration or hedonistic?

The day will evolve from soaking up the sun to soaking in some peace.  Our church is initiating a new service this evening, Taize Eucharest.  “A Taizé worship service involves sung and chanted prayers, meditation, a period of silence, liturgical readings, and icons. There is no preaching.”  It is ecumenical in nature.

 

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They Weren’t as Bad as I Thought

writing editingMy read and critique group meets the third Friday of each month.  We submit our pieces by midnight on the first Friday of each month,  One of our group leaders assembles them in a PDF document and emails them to us the following Monday or Tuesday.

Depending upon whether we are in two or three groups and how many people submit pieces, we each have four to six approximately 10-page submissions to read.  The guidelines say 10 pages per month, but people submit up to 19 pages so that an entire chapter can be included.  Most of the submissions are fiction.  A few are memoirs and occasionally someone submits poetry.

This month I submitted poetry that had been posted to this blog.  Titles included The Feral Wind, Assaulting the Beaches on Christmas Day, What Book is This,   How Fast Are You?, and a few others.   In the two weeks between submitting them and having them critiqued, I wondered why I had taken the easy way out and submitted poetry.  On a few of the poems like Feral Wind and Assaulting the Beaches on Christmas Day,  I had spent some time molding the words.  Most of the others were dashed off as quickly as I could get the words typed and the mispellings corrected. (Thank you Grammarly, even if I don’t always agree with you.)

Anything can be improved.  Removing most “the”‘s from The Feral Wind really smoothed out the flow.

Original lines

The playful breeze

Tossed birds into the air

To soar with the currents

Swoop with the downdrafts

Gliding and pirouetting

Between the cliffs of the cove and the point

Where the sea cave channeled the waves through the jutting land.

Revised lines

A playful breeze

Tossed birds into the air

To soar with  currents

Swoop with  downdrafts

Gliding and pirouetting

Between  cliffs of the cove and  point

Where the sea cave channeled the waves through  jutting land.

The other poems were critiqued because of imagery (or lack thereof like How Fast Are You which is just a word play on the number of words that end in fast like breakfast or steadfast.)  The uneven cadence in some poems like Be Leaf in Yourself were highlighted with re-write.  Everyone had a differing opinion on whether a poem had some or no meaning.

People seemed surprised and liked the variety.  No one shredded the poems with criticism.  The light hearted poems were as well received as the more lyrical or highly scripted poems.  I told them I was regretting the submission of some poems.  They asked which ones.  I said I would tell them after the poems had been critiqued.  The ones I had not wanted  to include were Be Leaf in Yourself and Valentine’s Day: Day of Love,.

Take away:  Be brave.  Let your work be judged. It is often not as bad as your inner critique would have you belive. The insights of others, may just improve your work.  It improved mine.

Heroine

Jane Whitney, my friend and sommelier at Glen Manor Winery near Front Royal, Virginia, died unexpectedly on February 5, 2019.  The area was just coming out of a deep freeze.

That Tuesday, Jane’s friend, Nancy Border Forest stopped by Jane’s house in Bentonville.  Nancy was taking her golden retriever with her to pick up another dog at the groomers.  Nancy never arived at the groomers.

The surmise is that the golden retriever escaped onto the half frozen pond on Jane’s property and fell through the thin ice.  Both women went out to try and rescue the dog.  All three were found dead the next day by Warren County sherrifs.

Jane, the owner of at least three rescue dogs, died as she lived–helping others.  In addition to working at Glen Manor Winery, Jane also volunteered and was on the board at the Front Royal Women’s Rescue Center and Blue Ridge Hospice.

She was from England, becoming an American citizen in 1979 when she married Scott C. Whitney and moved to the United States.  She was a lawyer in England and had met Scott when they were both teaching at Exeter  University Law School.

Jane was a lady of wit and wisdom.  When my friends and I visited the winery, she always took time to chat with us and catch up on what was going on in each others lives. She would talk about her many trips to the Charlottesville area when she drove a friend down there for medical treatment at the UVA hospital.

We first met Jane back in the 1990s when she worked at Linden Winery in Linden, Virginia.  We were very happy to re-make her acquaintance when Jeff White opened Glen Manor winery about 2009.  (Jeff planted his vineyard in 1995 and originally sold wine through Linden before opening his own wine some years later.)

 

 

Blog Spam–How Much is Too Much?

buried under paperworkNo matter how much I may like your postings (otherwise I hope I would not have subscribed to your blog), I would really like to get no more than one or two blog posts a day.  More than that is blog spam or bloglogna.

I realized that this is a personal opinion and you may feel justified in sending multiple posts a day.  You may argue that they cover different topics or they are lovely pictures that do not require much effort to zip through.  You may also rightfully say that if the topic does not appeal to the reader then just delete the post.

It takes me a few seconds to scan your blog to ascertain whether or not it is something I want to read.  On my laptop, I can just click the box in the in front of your post and delete several blogs at a time, based upon the title.  On my cellphone I need to open each one before I can delete it.  That is at least 3 keystrokes per blog for something I want to delete.  Each of those keystrokes adds up, especially if the connection is slow.  Even if I elect to recieve one mass email per day, I still have to sort through a lengthy block of posts to see which ones I may want to examine further.

Some of you, I truly wish would post more often, but there are at least 3 of you that post mulitple times almost every day.  I like many of your postings so I really don’t want to block you or remove myself from following your blog.  Please show a little consideration for those of us who like your blog, but in moderation.

 

Reading Across America: Was Seuss Racist?

Dr Seuss birthdayRead Across America is celebrated each year on March 2, the birthday of Dr. Seuss, aka Theodor Seuss Geisel.  For years, Dr. Seuss has been the go-to book for early readers–books that kids loved and would actually read.  Recently, Dr. Seuss has fallen out of favor with  many educators because of the way he portrays people of color.

In a study published earlier this month in Research on Diversity in Youth Literature, researchers Katie Ishizuka and Ramon Stephens found that only 2 percent of the human characters in Seuss’ books were people of color. And all of those characters, they say, were “depicted through racist caricatures.”

Last year when Melania Trump tried to give some Dr. Seuss books to  the Cambridgeport Elementary School Library in Cambridge as part of National Read Day on September 6, the librarian turned the gift down because she considered the books to be racist.  These books were the same titles that Melania had read to her son when he was young.   This was the first (but not the last time) I heard about Seuss as a racist.

Seuss is supposed to have have written “an entire minstrel show in college and performed as the main character in full blackface.”  And Suess wasn’t even a politician….

Seuss is not the first American children’s author who has fallen out of favor because of racism.  Laura Ingalls Wilder, the long time popular author of the Little House series, was labelled a racist last year because of the way her books portrayed Native Americans.  Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn has long been on and off banned book lists for years.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has been contested for many reasons. Some readers object to the strong and sometimes racist language and think it’s inappropriate for children. However, most educators think given a proper context the book is a great read.

When is the right time for child to read books that many percieve to be racist?  Does the child need to be old enough to understand that harmful stereotypes are not true and may be hurtful?  In the case of Dr. Seuss, could his books that feature animal characters and not humans be more acceptable?  ( I have heard of people who think that Cat in the Hat is racist so that may not be a suitable idea either.)

Do you think that Seuss was a racist and should not be taught to children?

 

March Days to Celebrate

women's history monthMarch is  Women’s History Month.  It began as Women’s History Week in Sonoma County, California in 1978.  In February 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued the first Presidential Proclamation declaring the Week of March 8th 1980 as National Women’s History Week.  Since 1995, each president has issued an annual proclamations designating the month of March as “Women’s History Month.”  The 2019 Women’s History Month theme is “Visionary Women: Champions of Peace & Nonviolence.” The theme honors “women who have led efforts to end war, violence, and injustice and pioneered the use of nonviolence to change society.”

Teen Tech Week is March 3-9.  ALA is promoting promoting Good Digital CitizenshipTeen Tech Week since the digital footprint lasts forever and can have unforseen consequences when applying to college, jobs, and clearances later in life.

March 16 is Freedom of Information Day.  It is celebrated on the birthday of James Madison, 4th President of the United States and Father of the the Constitution.

Freedom of Information Day is dedicated to that very concept, with the Freedom of Information Act being enacted on July 4th, 1966 and coming into effect a year from that date. It declared that every person has the right to get information to federal agency records that are not protected by one of nine exemptions, or special law enforcement record exclusions. This put into law the very concepts that James Madison had held so dear, and ensured that the citizens of the United States were able to obtain that information to which they were entitled.

St Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17.  It is the one day of the year when everybodyst patrick claims to be Irish.  Saint Patrick’s Day, or the Feast of Saint Patrick (Irish: Lá Fhéile Pádraig, “the Day of the Festival of Patrick“), is a cultural and religious celebration held on 17 March, the traditional death date of Saint Patrick ( c. AD 385–461), the foremost patron saint of Ireland.

Spring begins on March 20.  Also known as the Vernal Equinox.  From Wikipedia, “an dogwoods pink and whiteequinox is commonly regarded as the instant of time when the plane of Earth’s equator passes through the center of the Sun. This occurs twice each year: around 20 March and 23 September. In other words, it is the moment at which the center of the visible Sun is directly above the Equator. ”

March 20 i also International Day of Happiness.  This year’s theme is Happier Together. The International Day of Happiness is celebrated worldwide every March 20, and was conceptualized and founded by philanthropist, activist, statesman, and prominent United Nations special advisor Jayme Illien to inspire, mobilize, and advance the global happiness movement.  Don’t worry, be happy.

happiness

 

National Puppy Day is celebrated on March 23.  It was established in 2006

Puppies are the most trusting and joyous creatures on the planet.
Oh, to be more like a puppy.
~Colleen Paige

Not What It’s Cracked Up to Be

crack plumberAccording to a September 30, 2014 Cosmopolitan article by Charles Manning on “12 Types of Cleavage and They Say About You”  rear or butt cleavage

3. Butt Cleavage: You’re ambitious.
Yeah, your butt is showing. So what? You’re focused on what’s in front of you, not what’s behind you. Let ’em stare. You’re moving forward and all they can do is follow in your wake.

I went to the gym today and saw a lot of butt cleavage.  It ain’t purty.

On the butt-meter scale,

Nice firm, rounded butt in tight jeans – 5 points

Saggy or flat butt – 3 points

At least I know you wear underwear – 1 point

Hint of cleavage – 0 points

Hairless butt cleavage- minus 1 point

Hairy butt with clean cleavage –  minus 2 points

Hairy butt with embedded dirt (I hope that’s all it is) – minus 10 points.

Crack kills.

Butt crack disgusts.

Jokes cracked can entertain.

Farts cracked can empty a room.

He who flies upside down and crashes plane dies with crack-up.  (Fake Chinese cookie fortune.) crack pool guy--no cleavage

Winter of ’41

LandscapeTo many of us Winter ’41 probably means Pearl Harbor.  Last December 7th was the 77th anniversary of Pearl Harbor.   Ray Chavez, the oldest Pearl Harbor survivor, passed away peacefully in his sleep on November 20, 2018.  He was from Poway, north of San Diego, California.

President George Herbert Walk Bush, 41st president of the United States, and youngest Navy aviator to serve in World War II, passed away on November 30, 2018.   The last “Greatest Generation” president, he was in marked contrast to what may be the last “Baby boomer” president.  The accolades at his funeral and other memorial services stressed his lifelong service to country despite his patrician background and upbringing.

GHW Bush as president

In the last years of his life, President Bush was asked how he’d like to be remembered. He didn’t pause — and he avoided, as ever, the first-person pronoun, what his mother used to call the “Great I Am” — and replied: “That we put the country first.”

tom bradyForty-one year old Tom Brady is playing in his ninth Super Bowl tomorrow.  He has only won five of them.  The Patriots are predicted to beat the Rams tomorrow in Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta.

The USS Midway (CV-41) Carrier Museum in San Diego is  named after the Battle of Midway, the pivotal battle in the Pacific against the Japanese.  The Midway was the longest serving carrier in the 20th century.  She was christened on 10 September, eight days after World War II ended on September 2, 1945.  For the next 47 years, she served the country including three tours off the coast of Vietnam.  Her pilots shot USS Midway banner.png

down the first and last MiGs during that conflict.  She was the Persian Gulf flagship during Operation Desert Storm, and was decommissioned on April 11, 1992.  She was the first forward deployed carrier, when she pulled into Yokosuka, Japan on October 5, 1972.  Today she is the most successful ship museum in the world.  She was opened to the public in San Diego on June 7, 2004.

February Days to Celebrate

For a short month, February has more than it’s share of holidays and other days to celebrate.

Ground hogThe month kicks off with Ground Hog Day on February 2.  Also known as Imbolc: Summoning of the Flame.  Is Winter on it’s way out?  Will Spring arrive early?  Only the Ground Hog may know for sure.

blackhistorymonthcivilrightsFebruary is also Black History Month and Library Lover’s Month. Black History Month, also known as African-American History Month in the U.S., is an annual observance in Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It began as a way for remembering important people and events in the history of the African diaspora.

Library Lover’s Month “is dedicated to the people who love whole buildings devoted to the reading, housing, organizing, categorizing, finding, studying and otherwise loving books.”  It’s not all free and on the Internet.

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.

Marcus Tullius Cicero

saferinternetdaySafer Internet Day is February 5. “This year’s Safer Internet Day (SID) celebrations will take place on Tuesday, 5 February 2019. The campaign’s slogan, “Together for a better internet“, is a call to action for all stakeholders to join together and play their part in creating a better internet for everyone, and especially for younger users.”

Presidents figure prominently in February.  Abraham Lincoln’s, 16th president, birthday is celebrated on February 12th and Presidents Day (which is celebrated around George Washington’s (1st president) birthday on February 22) is February 18th this year.  An easy way to see a portrait of either president is to find George’s portrait on a $1 bill and Lincoln’s on a $5 bill.

washingtonandlincoln

Love Your Pet Day, celebrated on February 20, is a good way to remember your dog, cat, snake, fish, turtle, horse, cow, amadillo, hamster, gerbil, frog, rock or whatever type of pet you have.

loveyourpetday

Happy February.