DAMN YOU, GRAPH PAPER! ((Mama always said")

“Mama Always Said…” (8th Draft???)

So.

Here I am, ready to write (by hand, of course) a full draft of my book, “Mama Always Said…” All my notes are gathered around me, placed ‘just so’, so that I can organize them properly. I worked on my WordPress site for four and a half hours yesterday and completed around 4 pages, one of them introducing the concept of the book, another outlining the book itself – plus introducing three more manuscripts which are “in the works”.

I’m excited! I’m ready! I’m more than ready….I’m psyched!!

So…

…as I said, I’m ready to make a good start, having purchased four spiral notebooks (one for each book) and a set of six gel pens. I grab my coffee, phone, pens and reading glasses, cigarettes and ashtray and I hie me to the bedroom for some serious creating.

I get settled and comfortable, perch my readers on the tip of my nose, open my pen. Ready to write…and with a self-satisfied sigh, I turn back the front cover of my first notebook.

It’s graph paper. A notebook full of graph paper, all neatly held together by a silver coloured spiral.

Graph paper. Big old squares just sitting all over each and every page. Both sides, front and back.

Distracting me.

Teasing me.

Tempting me away from my well laid plans to write.

To most people, this will sound a bit petty. But I know me better than anyone else does. It’s really not petty, this graph paper, even now, just sneering at me with its perfect little boxes – all the same size

perfectly aligned

4 squares per inch

which can be scaled to read:    4 sq. (=) 1ft     2 sq (=) 6in     1 sq (=) 3in.

Perfect.

But not for writing my book.

You see, there are certain things in this life that I treasure dearly:

  • a blank canvas and a dozen tubes of paint
  • a big old lump of clay, or a good sized chunk of wood
  • a ream of blank, college lined paper and a supply of pens, cos I love to WRITE – and –
  • a ream of graph paper, a dozen pencils and a gum eraser…cos I love to design houses and furniture and jewelry and…and…and…

Perfect squares.

Four whole notebooks of perfect little squares.

Just sayin’…

DAMN YOU GRAPH PAPER! ("Mama Always Said...")

“She Didn’t Get It From MY Side of the Family!”

When I was just a little girl I used to ask my mother about our family history; actually I was curious to know only about her father and his people, who were Native American, and Granny’s people who were originally from the Emerald Isle of Ireland. Although my paternal history was never taboo, Mama never seemed to want to talk about the native side of our family. “We are Caucasian! We are not indian!” she would say. In short, until she became much, much older, it appeared that she was ashamed of her father.

But I don’t think she was. She loved her daddy. I just think that she ran into that sort of bias when she was young and merely didn’t want to ever deal with it again. I eventually learned that, back in the day, prejudice ran as rampantly toward the red man as the black.

I was able to finagle stories from Granny about my grandfather but, funnily enough, not too many about her family history. Oh, I got stories from most of my aunts and uncles (there were six) but nothing that could create a timeline, you know?

Family means a lot to me. If you ponder all the people in your family, you can recognize certain familial traits that are passed from one to another, but if you are like most people you will always notice one or two cousins, aunts or uncles…or even yourself…who just don’t seem to “fit the mold”.

So just where did, say, great aunt Aunt Susie get her daydreaming qualities from a family who were so serious that none of them would know a fantasy if it sucked them into a painting. And how did Uncle Stuart wind up as a person who was as mean as a striped snake when nearly all of his family were the greatest of philanthropists?

For that matter, in my case, how did I wind up wanting nothing more than to paint, draw, sing and write my entire life when everyone else in my family went on to go to college (straight out of school) and make careers in business? I mean, I did go to college, even got a degree in accounting, of all things…but only so I would be able to understand my own finances when I make truckloads money writing my first book!

The more you can trace your family, not only the names and where they lived, but information on their characters, careers and day to day activities, then the better able you are to understand the “Who” of you.

Past, present and future? That’s history.

Body, mind, spirit? That’s pretty much all genetic.

“I’m Gonna Wash That Gray Right Outta My Hair!”

So…I was braiding my hair into a one side plait the other night, as I always do before bed and, just as I turned off the bathroom light, I caught sight of myself in the mirror. I stood there for a minute, puzzling what it was that seemed odd about my reflection (other than the usual dazed, bemused look I get every time I happen to see myself that, “wow…I look more and more like Mama every day”, way). Well, I didn’t want my husband walking by the bathroom to see me standing in the dark, not moving, as he already thinks I’m a bit weird; no need for him to now think, “oh boy…Old Timer’s…she’s forgotten where she is”, so I turned the light back on and leaned forward a bit, studying my face.

Other than finding one stray hair on my chin that seemed to think it was okay to leave my husband’s face and take up residence on mine, I really just couldn’t figure it out…What was different? Sagging chins (yes, there are more than one this year), jowels like a hound dog, the upper lip looking like it’s been pulled together like a drawstring bag…hmmm. Same stuff. Different evening. Then I leaned a little closer. Actually I had  to lean closer in order to actually see me well, since my eyelids now droop so far over my eyes that I need a pulley system to see.

Anyway, I leaned in and looked at my braid. Then I reached into the medicine cabinet, took out the artificial tears, applied three drops to each eye, rolled my eyeballs around a bit (did you know that tears are necessary to good vision?) and took another look. Ever heard the song title, “Things That Make You Go ‘Hmmm'”? Well, that’s what happened. I said, “Hmmm. HA!”. Then I called to my husband.

“Hey!” I hollered. “Come in here a minute and tell me what you see!” I heard him go, “good lord, what now…”, but he did trek to the throne room in answer to my loud summons.

“What’s up?” he asked, with barely disguised boredom.

“I’m SO sorry to have interrupted your commercial, DEAR, but just look at my reflection there. What do you see that’s REALLY different? – because I think I may be hallucinating”

So he tips his head, backs up, leans forward, shrugs and says, “Noth…”, then leans in toward the mirror. “Huh! Is that…?”, then turns toward me and says, “Holy crap! Your hair is getting darker!”

Understand that I got my first gray hair at the ripe old age of 16. By 26, even though there was way more pepper than salt, you could see the silver hairs glinting in the sunlight. At age 32 I was definitely salt and pepper and by 40 years of age I was fully frosted. After 40 I stopped noticing the changes for I had finally, actually become my mother. The bad part though, was that the grey was like straw and straight, while the little bit of hair that retained a semblance of dark brown still kept its natural, zippy curl. Poor hair hasn’t been able to make up its mind to be super curly or dead straight in YEARS!

But now, on this night, I was seeing a braid that looked like one strand of black, intertwined with one strand of light brown intertwined with silver. My hair looked like it belonged on a zebra!

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

In all seriousness, I’ve been trying to figure out what, if anything, I’ve been doing differently. Diet? Sleep? Change in stress? But all I’ve been able to come up with is that

  1. my diet sucks worse than it ever has
  2. my arthritis and broken joints keep me awake more now than they did a month ago and
  3. rent is going up, gas is going up, groceries are going up and the White House says if I don’t purchase a medical insurance policy in 10 months I’ll be penalized on my taxes…really? So that takes care of the question of stress!

Everything in my life should have made me bald headed by now anyway, never mind the grey hair! But there IS one thing I’ve been doing differently in the past three weeks or so.

Last month I was talking to my daughter about how she managed her girls’ hair. Dixie got her dad’s hugely thick, straight hair, while her daughters all have hugely thick, long, tight curls which ken back to their dad, who is Black. Yet they can actually pull a wide tooth comb through it with only a little trouble (as long as they go no more than one medium-sized hank of hair at a time!).

“Coconut milk,” she told me. “Go buy a can of coconut milk, put it in the fridge for awhile and the cream and fat will solidify. Put that in a separate container in the fridge and use it on your hair after you’ve washed and towel dried it. Comb it through and it’ll not only feel soft but it’ll have a real faint smell of coconut. After awhile, if you use it regularly, your hair will soak up the oils and go smoother.”

Well I can tell you it has made a difference in the texture of my hair. It really has a softness, a silkiness, it hasn’t ever had AND it’s almost as thick as it was back when I was pregnant all 90 times. But changing the color of my hair?  NOT. What? Naw…ya’ think?

Time for some research!

(…to be continued……………)

Health & Well Be-ing

My first semi-professional, freelance project was writing articles for the company for which I work, MD247. The company is all about telemedicine, which is proving itself to be very relevent to our future health care. There are so many aspects to the technology of Telemedicine, from simple consultations with a doctor on the phone or online, to using roving robotic assistants (I’m sure most of you have seen the commercial where a robot enables a sick, homebound child to participate in the classroom) and “smart phone” technology, new applications for which are being developed every day.

There are so many medical conditions out there that can be mistaken for simpler (or more serious) illnesses. It really  behooves us all to be willing to educate ourselves about our bodies, genetic propensities, the varying ways that certain medications may affect us and, most especially which of Nature’s “medicines” are valid and which are just being touted as a cure-all. When we really ponder the route that health care is going, it’s critical to be able to take care of ourselves to be as healthy as humanly possible. By the same token, we need to recognize when going to or consulting with an MD is preferable.

I find I enjoy doing the research it takes to write an interesting, informative article, though I must warn you, the only dry part of these works are the necessary technical or statistical facts that are important to the subject at hand. Of course, when I say “research”, I’m not referring to the in-depth, technical facts that a medical student must have in order to complete a thesis; rather, I’m just an average human being who happens to have a real curiosity about the causes and effects of illness on the body, and who has enough of a way with words to maybe shed a little understanding on the subject to others.

There is also the issue of the different disciplines or styles of medicine: Western, Eastern, Wholistic, Natureopathic and Natural. I’ve spent a great number of years studying the active principles contained in certain plant life. I would say that, sadly, much of what I learned was lost in the space of time that it takes to suffer a mini-stroke, but I much too much of an optimist for that pity party!  No, I will simply declare that, of all the years I would want to live over, the only ones I could honestly enjoy would be the ones I spent in the woods, the fields and the library…and learn it all again!

Attaining Balance…NOT a Solitary Exercise!

When I was just a little girl I used to ask my mother about our family history; well, actually I wanted to know only about her father and his people, who were Native American, and Granny’s people who were originally from the Emerald Isle. But Mama never wanted to talk about the indian side of our family because, back in the day, prejudice ran as rampantly toward the red man as the black. In short, it appeared to me at the time that she was ashamed of her native blood.

Now that I look back, I’m not so sure she was. She loved her daddy. I just think that she ran into that sort of bias when she was young and merely didn’t want to ever deal with it again. I was able to finegle stories from Granny about him but, funnily enough, not too many about her side of the bloodline. Oh, I got stories from most of my aunts and uncles (there were six) but nothing that could create a timeline, you know?

Family means a lot to me. If you ponder all the people in your family, you can recognize certain familial traits that are passed from one to another. Like most people, though, you will always notice one or two cousins, aunts or uncles who just don’t seem to “fit the mold”.

So just where did Aunt Susie get her daydreaming qualities from a family who were so serious that none of them would know a fantasy if it sucked them into a Dali painting? And how did Uncle Stuart wind up as this ornery old fart who was as mean as a striped snake, when nearly all of his family were the greatest of philanthropists?

For that matter, how did I wind up wanting nothing more than to paint, draw, sing and write my entire life when everyone else in my family went on to go to college (straight out of school) and make careers in business? I mean, I did go to college, even got a degree in accounting, of all things…but only so I would be able to understand my own finances when I make truckloads of money writing my first book!

The more you can trace your family history, not only the names of your ancestors and where they lived, but information on their characters and careers and day to day activities, then the better able you are to understand the “Who” of you.

Body, mind, spirit….it’s all genetic.