Doctor’s Office Magazines

Cold fingers aren’t much use for doing nimble tasks.
That’s a true enough sentence to get started with a story.
“1: To get started, write one true sentence.” ~ Hemingway
What are we all looking for that can’t be found by flipping through a magazine when nimble fingers come back from being frozen?
Magazines are mostly ads. They only tell what we are looking for if we are looking to be told what to look for — unless we happen to be looking for a gold watch with diamonds or a dress we might wear once to a celebration-of-something party.
There’s all kinds of leather and gold and silver and haute stuff and fast, flashy cars to lust and drool for — unless you happen to be a vegan and are living a life of voluntary radical simplicity and can only see that all as so much junk and violence and a waste of trees.
Harper’s Bazaar — doctor’s office magazines.
Jennifer Anniston sure is beautiful.
Looking high and low for what we’re looking for, we look everywhere.
Facebook feeds and other people’s lives sometimes look a little daunting — (intimidating, formidable, disconcerting, unnerving, unsettling) — and are mostly also only selling something or soliciting envy and maybe for the same basic intention — to sell clicks and clamor to get more clicks and clamor.
Perhaps daunting is not the word that’s being looked for.
Might it be boring?
It’s really all quite boring after looking for awhile trying to find the thing we’re looking for that never seems to show up.
Other people’s lives can come off as boring if what we’re looking for isn’t what they’re doing and they’re doing things we might be wishing they weren’t doing for the sake of everyone else — the right word there might not be boring but abhorrent.
Maybe we’re all really looking just to keep from really looking.
It’s clearer now that what is needed to be seen, if one is really looking, is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. But that is the dilemma and why we all keep looking, looking, looking as if we’ll ever really see it.
In the meantime, magazines might convince us of a thing we think we’re looking for but really aren’t.
So much for nimble fingers.

Shadows And Sheen

“Writing was a dream I had when I was a kid, but then I grew up.” Tim Allen’s character in Joe Somebody said that.
I don’t remember wanting to be a writer when I was a ‘kid’. I dreamed of being an artist. That was all I wanted out of life — to be an artist. All.
My parents both had talent and dabbled. My mother drew us the most wonderful paper dolls and images to embroider. My father sat with me one time to show me how to draw in perspective.
My mother recognized the passion I had and purchased a used Jon Gnagy drawing kit from a thrift store one year as a Christmas present. She couldn’t have gotten me anything that would delight me more.
Jon Gnagy was a television personality — an artist who taught — when I was a young girl and all we had was black and white TV. He was mostly just teaching how to do perspective and make shadows and sheen — so black and white was enough.
Years later, when I was in the beginning of 20s, I had a date with a handsome young man who took me up into the mountains and we stopped at the very venue where Jon Gnagy was practicing a new color concept in front of an audience there and we sat in. He was hoping to eventually broadcast it on color TV, which was prominent by that time.
I was excited to death that I was meeting one of my heroes. He was trying to overcome having become a has-been but I didn’t register it then.
Throughout his whole presentation, I was jumpy and couldn’t concentrate because I had, just before we arrived there, found a tick on my chest and kept thinking there were more — so I was fidgety in my seat.
The handsome young man and I had just been out trekking in the shrubs and my long hair had caught one, me unawares, and I had also slid down a steep hill on my butt and had rocks and sand in my pants. After finding the one tick and being aghast, I couldn’t help but think, from then on, that every little bump was a tick.
Most of what I remember about that presentations was ticks — and shaking Jon Gnagy’s hand. I was very fascinated with the concept he was trying to accomplish though and had a feeling of great admiration as I sat there worrying about ticks.
I was still wanting to be an artist. I was probably just back from a summer art school scholarship and still thinking I could be.
Being young and wanting to be an artist, I wasn’t quite aware yet that art takes all kinds of forms — but I did know that I was dying to find a way to get something that was balled up inside of me outside of me and at that time it was through drawing and painting — though I gravitated to all things creative.
When I got too balled up, sometimes I wrote — or drove in a car — once I was old enough to drive. Before I could drive, I rode my bicycle to do what I called clear the cobwebs from my mind.
Writing was a go-to for the ultimate pressure release to try to escape overwhelming emotions — so, if bike riding or driving didn’t do the trick, I wrote. I never thought anything of it, I just simply had to do it. Things came pouring out.
I would read things over again from time to time through the years and as I got old enough, most of it went in the bin because it was pitiful. I could see though that it was definitely a way to congeal thoughts and, at the least, get them out of my head.
I would eventually take a creative writing class and begin to take it more seriously. There was still a nagging need. That was in the 80s.
The only reason we may have to give it up when we grow up is because earning a living gets in the way. I was lucky to find a way to make a living and practice art, (though many wouldn’t agree), by working in the field of interior design. It was basically selling stuff, but it still used my passion and artistic muscle throughout the practicing that was required to formulate the things I needed to sell.
As it turns out, everything is about selling — so that was good practice too.
Nothing in life is a waste.
It might be a hologram though or a computer interface. We may never know.
But in the meantime, the best we can do is to use this interface to try to make the most of what we are given.
A science fiction writer will use that interface curiosity to write a sci-fi novel. It’s way out of my league — though I am immensely curious. Curiosity is another one of the necessary ingredients to finding a way to make whatever this interface is make sense to enough of a degree to get by while we’re in it.
Jon Gnagy may never know how important he was to me when art was a dream I had when I was a kid. I tried to let him know a little the time that I met him. What an odd event that that chance encounter happened.
Not so odd if this is a game we’re in after all and we are at the controls. Now to learn better how to write the story line and draw my avatars.

Under The Tree

Twilight had come and gone and the emptiness of darkness was starting to pass for the morning sun to cast a Christmas opening song that she could try to hear from a reminder of a time when she was waiting opening presents.

Are there kiddies everywhere with bright eyes. Do they love it like she did when she waited at the hall door for her baby sister’s bedwet pants to be fixed. Are they all filled with anticipation at what is behind the closed door — anxieties of delight among the fragrant pine. What are they getting — roller skates or bikes — four wheel drives? Do they still believe in Santa or is Santa’s writing looking a lot like Mummy’s?

Are their mothers in the kitchen already cooking and their dads drinking beer or is everyone getting ready for church — Christ’s mass?

From where she sits she can’t see any bright lights that are multiple colors. She can’t see the blow up china dolls waving or hear their sucking motors pushing air to hold their snowman arms up. All she can see is the light coming from behind mountains and buildings that are filling what used to be beautiful, empty spaces that would let her see the mountains.

Ticktock, time moves or what’s under it does and everyone is waiting for a new president to change things again — back or forth from what another did to ruin them. Maybe if January gets here fast enough things will get better or next January or next Christmas in a package under the tree or it can all be kissed away with someone under the mistletoe.

But nothing does. Nothing ever changes other than where things are imported from that  anyone gets for Christmas.

Here comes a runner with her dog. She might not have any kiddies.  She might be like the one looking — getting old enough to know it’s good enough to move along to move along.

All the presents must be open now. It must be time for coffee.

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
― Dr. Seuss

Open On Monday

Everyone’s gone missing. The streets seem to be rolled up. Kids are out of school. Santa’s coming.
Walmart and Denny’s are full. They ain’t nobody’s fool.
Must be a lemming thing — everybody else is going that way.
Seems like an opportunity to make a killing if nobody else is open but you are. Except that — nobody that is looking for something that is open is looking for something to be open on Monday because they’ve been conditioned too and they also stay off of the rolled-up roads except the roads that go to Walmart and Denny’s on Mondays.
It would seem that if someone loves something enough, having Christmas off, or Mondays, would be a good excuse to do that thing they love. Maybe they don’t love it like they say they do and they’re just in it to win it or make a lot of money.
Vlog, Blog and Facebook heroes have closed shop except to say, “Have a Merry Whatever” as they look back while running to get away until the new year comes and they are expected back to promote their new adventure for new moneymaking.
Where is everyone when you need them the most — like lonely-making holidays and Mondays.
Do it every day. Every day do it if you love it. Especially if you’ve made money doing it because you’ve made that money because of others and those others might not be on vacation. Some fans quit a thing that leaves them.
That’s one reason holidays are depressing because anyone that does have family and/or friends goes in and leaves all the lonely ones who don’t alone, out in the cold, on their own — looking for the fix that kept them going — watching how others do to get some inspiration. There is probably a huge market for off-market drugs Christmases and Mondays.
It might just be the right time to figure out exactly how to be alone any day, but especially on Christmases and Mondays because that is a practice that might just save you — especially from yourself and all the complications of a brain that doesn’t have a place to project the thoughts upon — they stay in the brain instead and try to cause a lot of havoc. Practice, practice, practice getting good at doing any holiday or Monday all alone. Or any day for that matter and then friends and family coming by will be a bonus and wonderful surprise and light up the sky and then you’ll have that kind of havoc to try to manage.
Just imagine the havoc it would create if Santa decided to not show up for Christmas because it fell on Monday.

There And Back

What’s to know about going this way or that or there and back again?
Well, it seems that it used to be that instructions were necessary and landmarks were rather important and stars could be depended on —  but now there is just some kind of automation that tells of every turn and no one has to think at all. It’s much easier now to get lost.
I don’t use those things. I like left, right, north and south kinds of verbal cues given by the owner of the home or place where business is going to be transacted.
I like looking it up in a map book with coded pages, (the books that have gone the way of stars), and writing my own instructions down. There is something about writing that makes it stick. If someone else says left and right while I drive I can never do it again because I wasn’t paying attention to anything but their voice and I need the visual cues and to do it for myself to make it stick like writing down the words.
So there is something it seems that makes for brain signal insulation that only happens when someone practice, practice, practices, makes mistakes and practices some more — myelin sheath-building, that allows for better and quicker transmission of non-Siri signals formed by independent thoughts that makes ones talent, (for how to get there), finally show up.
It seems that the best benefit to Siri type technology, GPS and tracking devices is once you’re lost, someone else can find you and then they’re in the same kind of trouble and might be better looking for the North Star or a police officer who’s been that way before.


The Talent Code

Slippery When Wet

All day the wind was raking and the deep chill was suggesting snow was likely coming. A certain telltale nuance of crispness that feels wet as the wind rakes is a good enough description to explain how one can know that it will be snow, even if snow is so unlikely in a desert that is low.

There has been snow that stuck and stayed for days — long enough to get slippery when wet on the north side of things that were hidden from the sun by shade. One needs to be careful and step out gingerly if they are wearing traction-less shoes — those without spaces for the slow-melting, watery snow to go — if it’s not preferred to slip and slide and take a chance on broken bones.

Late rising sun and early darkness, and the bitter cold, makes for wanting to make blankets by knitting or quilting and for sitting still and huddled. There isn’t much time to be outside, between the darkness and the light, and it’s far too chilled to want to stay for long — maybe just enough to take some kitchen scraps to trenches or for setting kibble out for strays. These kinds of days don’t last for long and are a nice reminder of how much better it is to be too hot than too cold — though not everyone agrees.

Few people are out meandering. It is better in where there might be heat or at least enough shelter to cut the chill. Outside, somewhere around 8 this morning, it was just above freezing and a sheet of ice was the top layer in any trough of standing water. Inside the thermometer read 54 °F. Blankets were enough to keep from feeling the freeze while sleeping and cats were good as leg warmers, but once up and out of bed, a better plan was needed. Still better than being outside.

The poor, poor homeless ones in need of shelter. It’s so good to know that there are people building little buildings just enough for one or two to sleep in and cities that will let them help get the homeless out of cold, cold rainy and snowy places and into little-tiny homes that, very often, don’t meet code.

Writing is being practiced while Christmas bells are ringing in the movies that are playing for the one huddled, cuddling with cats napping in a home that long ago somehow made an antiquated code.

February is just around the bend and it will then be time to think about seeds and planting and getting ready to be too hot instead of too cold. Nothing lasts for long and it’s a good idea to stay inside your cave where it is easier to adjust the degrees of whatever weather might be setting any kind of bother.

Either that or be brave or strong enough to take it on the outside.

Lots Of Water

Washing hair
washing clothes
washing floors
makes lots of water used if done every day
and they’re all laborious routines of conventionality that are inconvenient burdens
that make contemplation wait for a more convenient time
thereby setting back good knowing
of the best there is to know that
doesn’t require
clean hair
clean clothes
clean floors
to know
or lots of water used
to make its worth known.
It’s more fun to work a jigsaw puzzle
And jigsaw puzzles allow for
contemplation not to be put off
and — saving water
If you’re good at jigsaw puzzles
contemplation fits right in
and lots of water isn’t wasted while you puzzle.


Too Much Water


Today’s writing is dedicated to Diane L. for inspiration: Jigsaw Puzzle

Little Bit Bohemian

Mr. Shire tipped his hat to the pretty lady sitting at the booth two booths ahead on the left side of his.
Mr. Shire was alone. The pretty lady was among friends and they were all dressed well in fancy attire that gave them all an appearance of being upper crusty. Mr. Shire was crusty indeed in his ratty tweed jacket with leather patches on the sleeves to help keep them from wearing out so easily at the elbows. The leather patches were starting to come unstitched.
The pretty lady had purplish hair – gray that had been tinted just enough to have that color sheen like the elder ladies of the 50s might have had blue hair. Her eyes almost matched. Her eyes were almost as violet and she was almost as pretty as Liz. At least Mr. Shire thought so.
She seemed just a little bit Bohemian — like she might be just a little more fun than her a-little-more-sophisticated-looking friends.
The pretty lady’s eyes met Mr. Shire’s as he tipped his hat and they twinkled a little, he thought, as they looked at him.
“Hello there stranger. I think I’d like to get to know you. You look quite dapper in you own kind of scraggly way.” Mr. Shire thought the pretty lady said. She was probably just mouthing “Hello,” as she tipped her head back to him as if to say, Thank you for tipping your hat to me.
Mr. Shire had just come in and the ladies were there when he entered. He hadn’t noticed them until he sat down but because the pretty lady was facing him, he couldn’t help but eventually notice her and then he just wanted to stare. Now he was trying to figure out a way to introduce himself. The hat tipping was just a start. He imagined that the pretty lady thought of herself as pretty. How could she not?  Mr. Shire had never been a pretty lady so he couldn’t possibly know if it was all a facade or not. It was highly unlikely because it was pretty clear that she had some self respect.

…possibly to be continued…
practice, practice, practice

Home For Christmas

     Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can. ~ Danny Kaye
     The same Danny Kaye who danced and charmed all throughout the musical movie, “White Christmas”, with Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen.
     I grew up with that movie as well as with Bing Crosby’s album, “Merry Christmas”.
To me, Christmas isn’t Christmas without them both and the minute I play the album or watch the movie, I am a little girl in the home I grew up in with my mother and two sisters and our sometimes and all too infrequent, (when he was a part), father.
     We almost always had a Douglas Fir tree with colored electric lights and it wasn’t complete without icicles. Our mother wasn’t happy until she fashioned a make-believe fireplace with crepe paper printed like bricks that would go around the table that the tree sat on and our three identical lightweight printed stretchy cotton stockings were hung, somehow, from that make-believe fireplace. I don’t recall if there were stockings hanging for our parents, but there was always one for Susie Q, our calico cat. She got a can or two of “Kitty Queen”, liver, in hers and I don’t remember what else — probably some catnip. She loved “Kitty Queen” and we loved to spoil her. She grew up with us and is featured in many of the images of my youth — usually one of us is holding her.
     My younger sister and I used to love to lie on the floor, under the tree and look up into round ornaments hanging on the low limbs to see ourselves distorted. We’d laugh our heads off and we just loved the smell and the gorgeous array of colored lights and their flickers on the silver streams and colored balls. If we weren’t lying there, we were sitting right in front of the tree rocking in our little maple rockers.
     We chewed holes in corners of presents that were wrapped and put out early trying to guess what was inside. I remember getting a little piece gone from one and upon seeing the box, knowing, without a doubt, what it was and being so disappointed with myself for not waiting. It was something I wanted, a camera I think, and I was so sorry for missing the surprise. I quit chewing holes in presents.
     Our mother absolutely loved Christmas. She saved everything we needed for a year to wrap so we would have plenty to excite us as we waltzed through the hall door Christmas morning. She continued the event way past us being children and would always let us each pick out one main big thing that she would somehow find the money for. She had wonderful credit and integrity and everyone trusted her completely.
     One year she was arranging to purchase a sewing machine for my older sister and I started begging for one too. It was I that sewed the most, but my sister was of a certain age that my mother was preparing her for having the essentials. She got us both one. Mine was used to death. I don’t know if my older sister ever used hers. I’m sure she did, somewhere along the line. Mine became an extension of my career  and I have no idea what I would have become if my dear mother hadn’t recognized the need to charge two that year.
     Oh, it would be so wonderful to be able to go home for Christmas again. I suppose people with children relive theirs but I never see one that resembles any that I’ve known. The same spirit just doesn’t seem to be there.
     The movie, “White Christmas”, was made the year I was born, 1954 so I probably heard it on a TV as an infant. I know my mother played the album as far back as I can remember.
     The Christmas year that I realized that I was really growing up was the one that my younger sister and I dressed up like grown up girls, bras and all, (we had to stuff them), and danced around the living room like we had boyfriends to the “Merry Christmas” album — we were probably 8 and 9. I recall not liking it at all and wanting to get out of those clothes as fast as I could — I wasn’t ready to leave being a child — as much as I may have thought I was.
     Sometimes I get a Christmas tree. I wait till the last minute when they are practically being given away. I get one as much to use to let the cutter ants tear it apart as it decays because they really seem to like if for making their fungus-derived food. But while it lasts, I have the smell and dress it up with balls so I can recall the years my sister and I saw ourselves distorted. I don’t use icicles because they are just too messy and they’re made of plastic and don’t decompose.
     I always play the “Merry Christmas” album and dance around in memories. It makes me sad sometimes that so much is gone and that there are none left from my life to reminisce with — but I am so glad that those memories were made for hanging onto — paint on canvas.
     There is no envy in watching others make new memories with new families. We have what we have. They are doing what my mother did and painting canvases for their children — a modern type of Christmas art it seems.
     I prefer the old one. I think it has aged very well. I’m not so sure that modern children will hold on to theirs for long.

An Unwelcome Interruption

That dread of Monday that is pervasive in American culture is little different from any dread of doing a thing one favors not to do. I still wake up daily with an overarching, ingrained dread that must be dispelled from thinking patterns in order for it not to interfere with freedoms that are far greater a part of existence inherent in a life of chosen radical simplicity than not — it’s easy to forget what one absolutely doesn’t have to do. It might be something as simple as the school bell ringing across the street or the trashman’s  truck approaching that a trigger will go off in my mind that makes me want to hide — to escape any sense of responsibility for answering to anything other than a course of willing engagement — exactly the reason why I chose to simplify my life so that I could have those freedoms. 

I have a fence around my yard and a gate that stays locked. It is locked because there is a rather consistent parade of assorted people walking on the sidewalk all along the north margin of the property line on the outside of the fence. I had dogs and I was afraid some random accidental or intentional mishap might leave the gate flung open and one of the pups could and likely would go into the street and be hurt. But it became apparent to me that it was also a benefit to know that I couldn’t be surprised by the ringing of my doorbell without due warning and that that gave me an immense sense of freedom that I didn’t want to forfeit even after there were no longer dogs.

The dread of Monday is the alarm for the coming of an unwelcome interruption. It may not be that one hates their job. They may — but more likely is that they hate being interrupted from just being what they want to be. I personally loved Mondays because, for most of my career, I had them off.  And, I semi-retired somewhat early in life and kind of made my own hours — so I could keep Monday’s from being dreadful and pick a different day to dread instead.

Even knowing, this morning, that I was likely going to attend the event I did and enjoy it, the dread still hovered when I first got up. Going meant I should groom my hair and make some eyebrows and fit proper clothes and remind myself not to forget the phone or lock the doors or turn off the coffee — all things that interrupt the normal flow that is akin to the front doorbell buzzing or the trashman reminding me that I, once again, forgot to put a bin out if I needed too — which, by the way is seldom — voluntary radical simplicity has its benefits.

All in all the dread was worth the compromise of eyebrow putting on and going out the front door to engage with other’s expectations. I’m glad it isn’t every day and that I have a choice. Having the choice makes all the difference.

Three girls who are really three old ladies now, drove in a car to have Thanksgiving dinner at one of the three’s church today. It was a lovely day of girl gab and story telling. One story I recalled because of something one of the other two said, was of how AWFUL it was to me, once upon a time in my career, that I was reduced to having to try to look busy all the time — which sometimes meant just waltzing up and down aisles over and over and over again trying to look like I was doing something. Oh. My. Gosh. I’d rather have my front doorbell ring without due notice — like when a certain feller/friend jumps the locked gate — there are all kinds of prisons to be in. That was prison and I escaped as soon as I could find the chisel.

It’s good advice to pick a different day than Monday for starting off a work week so that Monday doesn’t have to be so dreadful after all.