Posted by: penpatience | May 1, 2021

WEDDING CUSTOMS: THE OLD, THE NEW AND THE WHATEVER…!

 

 

WRITERS WORDS: “No human relation gives one possession in another—every two souls are absolutely different. In friendship or in love, the two side by side raise hands together to find what one cannot reach alone.” –Kahill Gilbran

 

MAY2021 MONTHLY MUSING

 

WEDDING CUSTOMS: THE OLD, THE NEW AND THE WHATEVER…!

 

Every culture, historically and to date, has distinct marital customs. Wedding customs are centuries old with older customs outdated compared to more current centuries’ ideals and values. Many customs experienced today have incorporated bits and pieces of both old and new marital rituals, but have become individualized by almost anything goes traditions.  Much has changed since earlier days when a caveman seeking a wife captured her and dragged her away into his cave selecting her for her potential as a good worker and breeder of additional workers! 😊 What are the old, new and, perhaps, atypical customs today?

     About the old…. Arranged marriage was purely an economic transaction, practical merger of labor and property between two families. There is an old German saying, “it is not man that marries maid, but field marries field, vineyard marries vineyard, cattle marry cattle.” Royal marriages were arranged for political reasons with the wedding a sort of treaty to unite or expand empires. In the nineteenth century, arranged marriages helped to expand the American frontier when mail-order brides became available to hard working bachelors in sparsely populated western states.

     The diamond was and still remains a symbol of matrimonial happiness. Originally the diamond was considered an emblem of innocence. Folklore has it, that if a man wants to know whether his bride has been faithful, he need only hold a diamond over her head when she sleeps. Should she turn toward him, she is true, but if she turns away, she has been unfaithful. Folklore does not say if she keeps the gem upon passing the test….!

     And let there be cake. A cake has been a part of wedding celebrations since Roman times. It’s said a thin loaf was broken over the bride’s head at the close of the ceremony. The wheat from which it was made symbolized fertility, the crumbs were eagerly sought by guests as good luck charms. During the middle ages, it was traditional for the bride and groom to kiss over a pile of small cakes. When an imaginative baker decided to mass all the cakes together and cover them with frosting, the modern tiered wedding cake was born.

So, what’s new?  Well, brides (in the U.S.) are no longer “given away” in arranged marriages. Today, brides are usually escorted down the aisle by their fathers or other close male relative, but not given to a groom as personal property.

Marriage by capture now has become courtship. The diamond ring is an engagement symbol of a future nuptial. Men and women no longer have to prove past innocence before marriage. Today marriage is a private declaration by the bride and groom of love and commitment with the desire to live long lives together.  Wedding cakes are often expensive, large-tiered and artfully prepared confections. Brides and grooms often cut the first pieces and some couples may also feed the cake to each other. Many brides continue to wear white, formerly a celebration symbol, again, from Roman times. Centuries later, the custom of wearing white was an indication of purity. Many brides today continue to follow the custom of wearing white dresses or gowns because of the custom and not to embrace the older symbolism.

When I muse about, “The Whatever,” gone is that old saying, “first comes marriage, then comes a Mrs. pushing a baby carriage.” Sometimes, the reverse occurs. The carriage may come before the marriage. Marriages today often reflect individual couples’ decisions. Elopements to Las Vegas, nuptials by Justices of the Peace, marriages, although most still within chosen churches and faiths, are conducted on beaches, cruise ships, backyards, favorite vacation spots, etc. What shouldn’t change are wedding customs that continue to promote joyful marriage celebrations.  And Cheers: to a tradition so old its origin is unsure: Many brides today continue to wear Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed and Something Blue on their wedding day.

 

The month of May honors Mothers:

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY TO ALL MOTHERS, GRANDMOTHERS AND GREAT-GRANDMOTHERS!

 

 

Posted by: penpatience | April 1, 2021

THE POWER OF A FLOWER!

WRITERS WORDS: “Flowers are the music of the ground.  From earth’s lips spoken without sound.” – Edwin Curran

APRIL 2021 MONTHLY MUSING

 

THE POWER OF A FLOWER!

This year’s hard winter with deep snows, high winds, bitter cold snaps, tornadoes plus the restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic was enough to give most folks a bad case of the “Blah, Blah and Blah’s.” The month of March, already sprung forward, came in like a lion and went out like a reluctant lamb. April is the first month of Spring, but will its showers bring May flowers?  Hmmm…

I muse.  Perennial flowers (i.e., daffodils, tulips, hyacinths) are brave and trusting, pushing up through thawed, damp soil unaffected by human turmoil. Spring flowering bushes (forsythia), their barren winter branches bursting with yellow flowering foliage dot our dormant landscapes with early colors saying, “Hey! look at me!”  Dandelions begin to proliferate in lawns, along roadways not caring if they’re perceived as friend versus foe. The earth awakens with flowering glory every spring reminding mere mortals of endurance, beauty and yes, their overlooked power.

Generally, we don’t think of flowers as powerful, but blooms are more than colorful stems in a vase. Many flowers are edible. They provide food for human consumption.  Think about the notorious dandelions that we remove from our pristine lawns. Yet, dandelion flowers have a high level of polyphenols and antioxidants.  The leaves are excellent in salads, yet we treat them as weeds, dig them up and pitch them away in the yard recycle bag. During the Depression Era many people lined up in bread lines and ate dandelions during this tragic time. Closer to home many cooks and chefs fry apple and pumpkin blossoms into fritters as occasional delicacies. (Note: always research flower edibility before eating.)

There is a saying that we should “stop and smell the roses” as we traverse through our daily lives. Why would we do that? Perhaps it’s because the enjoyment of inhaling a lovely scent provides a brief oasis from difficult situations and transports us into thinking of the good things in life. Rose bouquets are also a favorite gift on Valentine’s day. Growers, florists and retail outlets enjoy welcome revenue from roses grown and sold each February.

Also, there are many flowers called opiates (i.e., opium poppy) that produce various types of negative effects in human beings. However, on a positive note, Cannabis (Marijuana) has now been adapted for medical purposes.  Negative or positive, these flowers have a great impact on society.

Perhaps the most important power of flowers is the ability to provide abundant food inside and outside our country’s borders. I am an avid gardener and get excited when cucumbers, tomatoes and other home-grown vegetables flower and pollinate. (Love those bees!) The result is fresh, healthy food for many Americans with a benefit of physical fitness from digging, planting, weeding and harvesting the bounty.

And what’s not to love about seeing a morning glory bloom on its vine early in the morning while sipping a first cup of coffee or viewing a sea of wildflowers on the hills, meadows and mountains when driving by.  Flowers are inspirational tools. They have the power to lift spirits and bring joy when life hands us “lemons instead of lemonade.”

 

DAFFODOWNLILLY

She wore her yellow sun-bonnet,

She wore her greenest gown;

She turned to the south wind

And curtsied up and down.

She turned to the sunlight

And shook her yellow head,

And whispered to her neighbour;

“Winter is dead.”

-A.A. Milne

Happy Spring.  Happy Easter and

Happy National Autism Month. Folks, don’t forget to “Light it up Blue” for Autism

 

 

 

 

Posted by: penpatience | March 1, 2021

WRITER GROUPS: Critique or Criticism – ARE YOU READY?

WRITERS WORDS: “Writing is like a sport, it’s like athletics.  If you don’t practice, you don’t get any better.” – Rick Riordan

MARCH 2021 MONTHLY MUSING

WRITER GROUPS:   Critique or Criticism – Are you ready?

 

What is a Writer Group?  A Writer Group’s principal focus is writers helping other writers. The basic purpose is to provide encouragement and writing improvement for participants. Most writers welcome feedback on writing projects in the form of critique or assistance in choosing the right words on a page.  However, a writer group must have a specific format providing thoughtful critique and encouragement to ensure its success, or good and bad behaviors might emerge sabotaging the group.  And the group will flounder and die.

A successful group will choose members with a similar balance of skills. Will members focus on poetry, non-fiction or fiction in various genres: romance, mystery, thrillers, sci-fi or will it emphasize one or two specific genres?  Writers more advanced than emerging “newbies” might become bored while a newcomer might feel intimidated reading among published professionals. Each writer needs to evaluate the stage of their writing pursuits and expectations when choosing a group. Every member needs to feel equally challenged and this can be accomplished by individual friendliness, positive rapport and mutual respect.  ARE YOU READY?  Ask yourself this important question. Can I accept gentle appraisals or critical assessments of my work or would I feel offended? If you answered offended, I’d suggest you develop a “tougher hide” before joining a group😊.

The most important group element is member feedback.  Critique is usually an informative opinion by members on a writer’s project. Criticism can be a derogatory attack on the work, nit-picking or disparaging remarks made to a reader (all unacceptable responses).  And…. Who hasn’t heard these phrases, “Oh, I like it, I didn’t like it, it’s good, I guess, Nah, it didn’t get to me?”  These responses are not helpful. Feedback needs to be specific and offer suggestions and encouragement to improve the writing.

Avoidance of unpleasant or ineffective interactions can be achieved through Group Guidelines:

Place, time, and how often the group will meet: My personal preference is Face-to-Face interaction. However, pandemic aside, many groups meet virtually through various technologies (i.e., Zoom) and web-sites.

Group numbers: A manageable group allows all members the opportunity to present their work and numbers should be limited to achieve group goals.

Time Limits: Set time limits on reading and feedback. Eliminate reader rebuttals and defensive comments. A sincere thank you is sufficient.

Member interactions: Members should always practice kindness, respect and provide positive feedback together with constructive critique.

Networking: Interaction with peer writers is a valuable experience. Allow time after the meeting for members to share chit-chat, a few laughs, writer resources and helpful web-sites.

Alas…writer Groups are not static. They change and evolve over time. Some members leave allowing new members to join.  Others move on to other groups, depart due to time constraints, personal responsibilities, moving away, etc.  Writers may join and leave many critique groups throughout their careers.

Writers interested in joining a group can locate opportunities through online sites, local libraries or other writers.  A few well- known online group sites are http://www.scribophile.com, http://www.critiquecircle.com  and http://www.writercafe.org.

 

Happy Writing!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

            “May your glass be ever full.

            May the roof over your head be always strong.

            And may you be in heaven a full half hour before the devil knows you’re

            dead.”    –Irish Saying     

 

Posted by: penpatience | January 31, 2021

GO AHEAD! WRITE A DOGGIE/KITTY MEMOIR

WRITERS WORDS: “Animals are such agreeable friends, they ask no questions, pass no criticisms.”  George Eliot

FEBRUARY 2021 MONTHLY MUSING

 

GO AHEAD – WRITE A KITTY/DOGGIE MEMOIR!

     Americans throughout generations have love affairs with their pets. Over many, many years the care and feeding of pets have changed through improved knowledge, progressive veterinary care, better nutrition, advanced technology and diversified animal training. What has basically remained the same, most pet owners, especially in this 21st century, love their pets and include them as family.

I muse… and recall a childhood dog, a Mutt (mixed breed😊 named Duke. Duke was the proud owner of an insulated doghouse built by our father and was happily domiciled in the back yard. Winter months found him residing in the warmed back porch. Duke ran free, like most dogs in the neighborhoods (no leash laws or mandatory poop pick-ups) and, God forbid, we fed him table scraps with his dog food for supper. Duke loved pasta sauce. Despite being a formidable, mid-sized black dog, he was a happy, friendly dog. Alas, not all loose dogs were friendly and a violent street dog-fight while I was walking by left me afraid of dogs for too many years. (that story will be written in a Doggie Memoir.)

Fast forward to the present where many cats and dogs are now living in comfort inside owners’ homes. Pet supplies and toys abound. Pure-bred, AKC (American Kennel Club) registered dogs can be an expensive purchase. Dogs/cats, left at animal shelters for various reasons, are well-cared for and available for purchase or fostering on a temporary basis.  Most communities have leash laws and daily dog-walking has been hailed as good exercise for both family members and dogs. Thank goodness, there are now hefty fines if owners “forget” to pick up pet excrement ☹.  Dogs today have become helpmates. They are trained as K-9s sniffing out drugs, bombs, missing people and cadavers. They provide solace to injured military veterans suffering from PTSD and, almost always, bestow unconditional love to their Owners.

Going forward… Do you have a desire to write a short story or book-length Memoir of a special pet in your life? (“The Siberian Queen,” my non fiction story, was published in Zimbel House Publishing, LLCs “Puppy Love” Anthology-2015.) If so, there is an abundance of information on writing Memoir including self-help educational classes, books, workshops and internet programs available. And, not to be left out, a “Memoir Writing for Dummies” publication. A few basic tips:

·       Most folks do not want to read your pet’s life story from birth to graveyard.

·       Read and know the difference between an autobiography and memoir.

·       Choose a compelling event that affected or changed you or your pet’s life or both.

·       “Eye” versus “I.” Readers wants to visualize (show) the happenings versus telling, don’t tell the tale utilizing too many “I s. “

·        There have been a few successful and well-written memoirs narrated by talking pets, but most readers prefer not to read a memoir spoken from a pet’s tongue.

·       Check out some famous dogs and their stories: Lassie, Rin Tin -Tin, Toto, Buck and Bullet, The Wonder dog.

Many publications exist, but the following are a few magazines for Memoir consideration: Memoir Magazine, Modern Dog, My Cats Life My Dogs Life, Good Old Days, Readers Digest, All Creatures.

This grandma recalls a few special family pets:

Deceased: Bella: Black Labrador, Ruby: Yellow Labrador, Trojan: German Shepard, Desdemona, Mixed bread- Shepard, King Lear: Kitty-Cat.

Still barking/meowing: Daisy: Yellow Labrador-harrier mix, Bailey Joy: Black dachshund- papillon mix, Little Man: white/brown chihuahua, Smokey: gray chartreuse kitty-cat, and Sir Lancelot (Lance) Golden Retriever (pictured above).

Each pet has a unique story to tell.  What’s special about your doggie/kitty?

 

HAPPY GROUNDHOG DAY! Always a special day for the famous groundhog, Punxsutawney, forecast. Will it be more Winter days or an early Spring?

Posted by: penpatience | January 1, 2021

FOLKLORE – FUN FACTS & TALL TALES

WRITERS WORDS:  Winter Lore: “The north wind doth blow, and we shall have snow.” “If snow begins at mid of day, expect a foot of it to lay.” – The Old Farmer’s Almanac

JANUARY 2021 MONTHLY MUSING

 

FOLKLORE – FUN FACTS & TALL TALES

     It’s winter. It’s cold outside. Snow has already fallen in the hills and mountains of many northern and mid-western states including a recent three-footer Nor’easter to insure a white Christmas. Since the pandemic reared its ugly head, many people have become stay-at-home folks and what better way to begin the New Year 2021 with some humor, “old-wives’ tales, legends, myths and customs as expressed by specific groups of people generally known as FOLKLORE.

Merriam-Webster defines Folklore: “Traditional customs, tales, sayings, dances or art forms preserved among a people.”  Wikipedia defines Folklore: “the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people, encompasses the traditions common to culture, subculture or group. These include oral traditions such as tales, proverbs and jokes.” A couple of known examples: The coyote appears in much of Native American folklore and Paul Bunyan is a figure from folklore.

“Goldilocks and The Three Bears” – Goldilocks” made herself comfy, ate the tasty-aromatic porridge in the bear’s lair and managed to escape upon their return. “Little Red Riding Hood” almost became a canny wolf’s supper and kids of yesteryear loved these, sometimes scary, fairytales.  And, my mother-in-law, now deceased for many years, believed unfortunate events happened to you in threes and, always, there was a birth for a death. (“Edythe with a Y,” my non-fiction memoir of Edythe was published in the May 2012 issue of the former Storyteller Magazine.)

Here are some interesting sayings, old wives’ tales, proverbs: (from the 2020 Folklore, Old Farmer’s Almanac)

“If the old year goes out like a lion, the New Year will come in like a lamb.”

“When you move to a new house, always enter first with a loaf of bread and a new broom. Never bring an old broom into the house.”

“Wolves always howl more before a storm. When cattle lie down in the pasture, it indicates early rain.”

“According to folklore, babies born the day after the full moon enjoy success and endurance.”

Proverb: “A year of snow, crops will grow.” Explanation: A several inch layers of snow contain more air than ice. Trapped between the interlocking      snowflakes, the air serves to insulate the plants beneath it.  When the snow melts the water helps to keep the ground moist😊

Wedding Superstition: “Snow on your wedding day is a sign of fertility and prosperity.”

     “So, whether we resolve to return borrowed farm equipment (as did the Babylonians) or drop a few pounds, we’re tapping into an ancient and powerful longing for a fresh start.”

The forecast for the New Year 2021 although overshadowed by the Covid-19 pandemic will, hopefully, bring peace, prosperity and returned health (via vaccination) to the universe for all peoples.

Ah yes, my deceased mother-in-law, I still hear her voice advising me I left out her favorite remonstrance: “you must learn to take the bitter with the sweet.”

To all Readers & Writers:  Thank you for your unfailing support of Monthly Musings over the past nine years. This year, along with viewers and followers within the United States, the site enjoyed views from readers in nineteen other countries.  I continue to welcome your comments and “Likes.” Please note that comments are only read only by this Author.

May you all have a Safe, Healthy and Happy New Year 2021.

 

 

 

Posted by: penpatience | December 1, 2020

JINGLE! JINGLE! RING YOUR RHYME CHIMES

WRITERS WORDS: “When we recall Christmas past, we usually find the simplest things—not the great occasions— give off the greatest glow of happiness.” – Bob Hope

 

DECEMBER 2020 MONTHLY MUSING

 

JINGLE! JINGLE!  RING YOUR RHYME CHIMES

     Christmas is coming…the goose is getting fat—NO, it isn’t. The geese are downright skinny this year. And “Old Mother Hubbard went to her cupboard to get her poor doggie a bone. When she got there the cupboard was bare and so her poor doggie had none” YES, there are too many empty cupboards this holiday season.  “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall; Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the Kings horses and all the Kings men couldn’t put Humpty together again.” Well, many folks might feel like Humpty falling off a wall, perhaps because of the horrific Covid-19 pandemic, a fall especially distressing during a time that should be filled with peace, love and joy.

Nursery rhymes date back to earlier centuries and can be defined as “a short rhyme for children that often tells a story; a short poem or song for children.” (Merriam-Webster) Places of origins were many and varied but were recorded mostly in Scotland and England from the 16th century. The history of nursery rhymes’ original and dark meanings surfaced from happenstances in early tumultuous periods. However, today, for the most part, nursery rhymes have become a fun and early learning experience for children.

I muse.  “Pat-A-Cake, Pat-A-Cake baker’s man” is one of the oldest surviving nursery rhymes; an earlier recorded version appeared in 1698!  Many mothers, including myself, played
“Pat-A-Cake” with their young offspring. I recall, when I was a youngster, we joined hands with neighboring children and played, “Ring Around-A Rosie” falling down together in a heap of fun and laughter. And as Bob Hope said in his quotation, “it’s the simpler things that give off the greatest glow of happiness.”

So… what are a few simpler and safe things to enjoy this holiday season:

Family caroling- Grab the kiddos and go door to door in your neighborhood singing your favorite holiday songs. If stale Halloween candy is thrown out the front door…move on to the next house😊

Fortify yourself Christmas morning with a cup of coffee laced with your favorite liqueur while attempting to put that “blankety-blank” bike together.

Bake a batch of your favorite cookies and put them out for Santa. Guaranteed the cookies will be gone by morning.

Include a book of nursery rhymes under the tree and read them to your young children before bedtime.

Recall an early memory: Every Christmas, my Mom put large oranges in the toes of our stockings to munch on while opening Santa’s gifts.

Buy yourself a special or fun gift within your budget.

Donate to your favorite charities to share some holiday joy.

Dear Readers & Writers:  I share with you a Christmas Card poem received by my mother in 1991from a family award-winning poet, Margaret E. Weldon penned at age 85.

THE CHRISTMAS I QUIT- 1991

The pleasure of sending Christmas cards

I seemed to be denied because of arthritis

And some pills that I tried for a quick cure

Because I needed a rhyme;

To send to old friends at Christmas time.

 

I called Dr. who said, “for you those pills will not do

You are retaining fluid

Like soot in a flue.

I said to my friend, Stephanie,

“I don’t have the wit. I have passed 85 years:

So, this Christmas I quit.”

She said, “It’s true you are old; but you have grit

If you ask me? I bet you don’t quit.”

With pain of arthritis, from the tip of my toes,

to the top of my head

I threw down my pen and stalked off to bed.

 

Like a gusty wind I tossed to and fro

I couldn’t drift off, but at last I let go.

But the bells rang out, they seemed to say

Be happy, Be Happy it’s Christmas Day.

then came an anguished cry

Like a win’s sad wail

It was silenced and hushed, by a stronger gale

Then the Bells! The Bells! rang out again:

Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men-

Then in peaceful relaxation,

I awoke with a grin:

Oh! Gee! By Golly, It’s Christmas again.

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS & A hAPPY AND SAFE NEW YEAR!

 

 

Posted by: penpatience | November 1, 2020

November-Harvest Time for Thanks & Giving

WRITERS WORDS:” If you can’t see EYE to EYE, Try HEART to HEART” – Author Unknown

NOVEMBER 2020 MONTHLY MUSING

NOVEMBER – HARVEST TIME FOR THANKS & GIVING

November, the month America and other countries celebrate Thanksgiving traditions with family, friends and others unable to enjoy the fruitful fall harvest on their own.

Many of us recall early historical education and documentation on how a small ship, the Mayflower, left England carrying over 100 passengers seeking religious freedom and lured with the promise of new lands and prosperity.  Pilgrims, as they were commonly known, began the arduous chores of establishing a village at Plymouth. As we know, many did not survive that first brutal winter and survivors met the Abenaki Native Americans in the spring. History credits another Native American, Squanto, a member of the Pawtuxet tribe, in assisting the new settlers in cultivation and other survival skills. Additionally, the settlers forged an alliance with the Wampanoag local tribe that endured for more than fifty years.

And here we are, generations later, knowing controversy existed then as it does today. I quote excerpts from HISTORY-Traditions, Origins & Meaning, “Historians have noted Native Americans had a rich tradition of commemorating the fall harvest with feasting and merrymaking long before Europeans set foot on their shores …Some Native Americans take issue with how the Thanksgiving story is presented to the American public and especially school children. In their view, the traditional narrative points a deceptively sunny portrait of relations between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people, masking the long and bloody history of conflict between Native Americans and European settlers that resulted in the death of tens of thousands.”

I muse. Today, in the 21st century, we continue to give Thanks for the fall harvest bounty and we continue to be a Giving society that shares our land’s bounty with others.  This year, 2020, despite losing thousands of Europeans and Americans to the invisible foe, Covid-19, history will document our disparities and lost lives, but also record the continuum of peoples’ spirits in sharing knowledge and bounty.

This writer is thankful for:

  • After millions of years, the earth keeps spinning on its axis and no green, one-eyed aliens stop by believing they found a huge new source of breakfast cereal😊
  • When I wake up in the mornings, if my name is not listed in the Obituaries, I know it’s going to be a great day😊
  • Sir Lancelot, my Grand-dog Golden Retriever, who happily provides unconditional love and sits and stays at my command😊
  • Our lands’ diverse and natural beauties: New England Fall Foliage, flower and vegetable gardens, and diverse National Parks preserved and, hopefully, protected for future generations😊

I share the words of Native American, Chief Dan George:

“May the stars carry your sadness away, may the flowers fill your heart with beauty, may hope forever wipe away your tears, and above all may silence make you strong.”

Dear READERS:  HAPPY THANKSGIVING!  Be Safe. Be Well.

Posted by: penpatience | September 30, 2020

DUMP THE BUCKET LIST?

WRITERS WORDS: “Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and died that distinguish one man from another.” – Ernest Hemingway

OCTOBER 2020 MONTHLY MUSING

DUMP THE BUCKET LIST!

 

Times, they-are-a changing. Actually, lives were dramatically and unexpectedly altered in this year- 2020 leaving many folks with different life challenges and predicaments brought about by, of all things, a nasty looking virus that looks like a round multi-legged ball rolling along hitting and missing folks along its path. How dare it affect our lifestyle and future plans!  Vacations and educational goals postponed, the long- awaited cruise to the Caribbean cancelled, future plans and dreams soaring high in the sky are falling down and hitting the ground with a hard THWACK!

Future plans have dissipated like a spilled bucket of hopes and dreams.  Yes, our “bucket lists” are in danger of being unceremoniously dumped. I muse. The term “bucket list” was actually introduced by the movie, “The Bucket List” released in January 2008. Two terminally ill guys portrayed by Morgan Freeman (one of my favorite actors) and Jack Nicholson (another favorite) meet in a hospital and set out to attempt to do everything on their lists before they “kick the bucket” – in other words-die. Well, Morgan and Jack did not have a pandemic viral disease to deal with, but serious health issues took a back seat while they happily and comedically emptied their buckets.

The assumption is a bucket list will include desires you wish to do before your final Swan Song. Buckets may contain vacation trips, personal goals, fun things you’ve never had an opportunity to try. Perhaps you already have a filled list with hopeful time frames scheduled for each dollop inside the bucket.  The question is: “Should bucket lists made before the onslaught of Covid-19 be revisited for change?” Let’s speak to the pros and cons of dumping existing, pre-stuffed pails and refilling them with ……What!   I’m okay with what’s in the bucket!

PRO’s FOR BUCKET Change:

·       I’ve outgrown some items on the list. Maybe it’s time for some deletions and a few new additions.  Maybe a new hobby or study to stimulate old brain cells before it’s too late😊

·       Climbing state mountain peaks are now too difficult with an aching back. I’ll hike in my state’s beautiful Adirondack Mountains and Northeast parks instead.

CON’S FOR BUCKET CHANGE:

·       Travel plans are not safely feasible in the immediate future, but I can wait until the Virus is conquered and go later. Not to worry…

·       I refuse to dump or reload the Bucket. I’m feeling positive about the future and this too shall pass.

My bucket list is half-empty. I’ve been fortunate in past years to scratch some items from the list.  My decision: I’ve decided to dump the remaining bucket and refill it after the Pandemic is tamed with a vaccine. However, one item is stuck and refuses to dump. It’s a long overdue visit to the Grand Olde Opry and Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. I’m an avid fan of classic, “old-time” country music.  Missing from current country music fare is the loving and the dying, the crooning and the crying, good old banjo and guitar pickin’ that many learned to play from scratch in the boonies, countryside and fields. That said, I enjoy all music genres, but The Grand Ole Opry is a historical site that will remain glued to the bottom.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Readers:  What’s in your bucket list? I hope safety and wellness will be stuck to your bucket bottom…

Gaye Buzzo Dunn

 

 

 

 

Posted by: penpatience | September 1, 2020

THE THREE BIG P’S: PEN, PAPER & POWER

WRITERS WORDS: “The spoken word is ephemeral. The written word, eternal. A symphony, timeless.” – A.E. Samaan

SEPTEMBER 2020 MONTHLY MUSING

 

THE THREE BIG P’S:  PEN, PAPER & POWER

     Words, Words, and more Words – the method we all, in one way or another, express and communicate with others. I believe it’s safe to say almost every household has writing materials. Notes tacked on the fridge, grocery lists, pads and pencils scattered everywhere, collecting in junk drawers and mislaid when you need them.

Today, despite technology, texting, typing, many folks continue to write the old-fashioned way—with pen or pencil in hand. I’ve lamented in a few earlier Musings about the value of legible penmanship, moaning and groaning how cursive writing has almost become an extinct dinosaur. BUT…why write when you can whip off an abbreviated text message with cutesy emojis, or type an E-mail, hunt and peck style (I learned to type on an IBM electric typewriter with unlettered keys😊) hoping the grammatical and red spelling error lines won’t appear within your message? Every communication technique has its purpose and hand writing a note of bereavement to friend or relation, or journal/diary entries allowing words to flow unchecked on a dated page indicates, to me, a noteworthy effort.

I recall, a former friend and business associate who every Christmas holiday mailed me a holiday greeting penned in Calligraphy.  Everything from the envelope address to the inside message was so beautifully written I couldn’t wait to open it.  A brief Calligraphy description: “Calligraphy (from Greek) is a visual art related to writing. It is the design and execution of lettering with a broad-tipped instrument, brush or other writing instrument. A contemporary calligraphic practice can be defined as “the art of giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious, and skillful manner.” – Wikipedia-8-14-20 Today, Calligraphy flourishes in the forms of wedding invitations, hand-lettered logo design, art announcements, graphic design and commissioned calligraphic art and many other written works.  A quote by Sarah Miller: “Technology may be steadily growing, making the art of calligraphy a bit less common, but in the end, nothing beats the simplicity of the handwritten word.”

I believe the well-known adage, “the pen is mightier than the sword,” is true. We travel to assigned polling places to elect our U.S. President every four years and state officials as scheduled. Most important, we sign our names and cast our ballots. We write letters to local newspapers hoping they’ll post our reputable views on the Opinion Editor (Op-Ed Columns) pages. We sign petitions to keep perceived atrocities away from our towns and counties (Do we really need a Gentlemen’s Club or another Casino in town😊) There will always be occasions and requirements for people to physically sign important documents. It’s still a wonderful occurrence when you receive an unexpected check and have the pleasure to endorse it on the reverse side at your favorite bank.  Unfortunately, countries will continue to raise swords in defense of beliefs, etc., but deployed military personnel will always appreciate handwritten cards and letters from-friends, family and thoughtful strangers.

I muse. This writer and many others begin writing stories, columns, book drafts, etc. with pencil and pad letting the words flow knowing what was handwritten is often an early draft soon to be transformed and edited when typed on computer. Pens, pads, paper proliferate in my home, car and handbag. There are times when I wrestle to find the right, the best, the most appropriate word and it evades me. Whenever it finally comes to mind, I write it down wherever I am before it eludes me a second time.  Emerging, well-known and successful writers acknowledge the beauty and power of chosen and well-written words is an art form that enlightens, entertains, educates and informs readers.  And many begin with a pen and pad of paper!

HAPPY WRITING!

GAYE BUZZO DUNN

Posted by: penpatience | July 31, 2020

CAN A LEOPARD CHANGE ITS SPOTS?

 

 

 

 

 

WRITERS WORDS: “Oh a leopard can’t change his spots/and oil and water can’t mix/ but I recently heard an old dog learned new tricks.” – John Rox

 

AUGUST 2020 MONTHLY MUSING

 

CAN A LEOPARD CHANGE ITS SPOTS?

     I’ve heard many times an old adage, “a leopard can’t change its spots.”  It’s true for a leopard, but for people making lifestyle or other changes in life for better and, hopefully, not for worse, it may not be easy. I muse, it’s a Yes or No answer for changing human spots.

NO– I can’t change. Why should I? I’m fine. Besides change costs too much, I tried to change before. I’m too busy right now. I’ll sleep on it. It’s too much trouble.  It’s a good thought, but impractical. If I think of anything, I’ll consider it…Yadda, Yadda, Yadda.

YES– Let’s do it! Okay with me. We all need to freshen our “psyche” once in a while. I’m all for change. I really can’t think of anything, but I’m open to listening…. Yadda, Yadda, Yadda.

            Can a con-artist, imposter, liar and thief change his spots?

     I was fortunate in May 1988 to attend a former employer’s Annual Meeting in Chicago where the company’s Keynote Speaker was Frank Abagnale, Jr.—- a con-artist, imposter, liar, with numerous other “spots” on his deceitful carcass.  I quote from the book, “Catch Me If You Can” written by Frank with Stan Redding, “Frank is the outrageously daring imposter who practiced law without a license, performed surgery with no medical training, flew a Pan Am jet, taught at college, passed himself off as an FBI agent, and became a millionaire before he was twenty one.”

     Frank, Jr.’s first-victim was his father, Frank, Sr. A sixteen-year-old just discovering girls, Frank’s dad gave him a truck with Frank finagling a credit card from him to fund his exploits with the opposite sex. Frank’s debt was discovered by his father only after a debt collector contacted him in person. His father was more concerned about Frank’s response than the accumulated debt when Frank, Jr. replied, “It’s the girls dad, they do funny things to me. I can’t explain it. This libido and greed-tainted response set the tone of his life until his imprisonment.” (Wikipedia-07/15/20) I won’t discuss Abagnale’s troubled childhood or the many fraudulent escapades as the information is available online, in his book, and of course the December 2002 movie, “Catch Me if You can,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, and Christopher Walken.

     Bad guys, eventually, are caught and Frank, Jr. was no exception. He spent 12 months incarcerated in a French prison, 6 months in a Swedish prison and sentenced to 12 years in a U.S. federal prison for multiple counts of forgery. After approximately five years in the American prison he was paroled on the condition he’d help federal authorities, without pay, against crimes committed by fraud and scam artists.

     After parole, while working a host of ex-con menial jobs in between, Frank began a legitimate life as a banking security consultant. Later, he founded Abagnale & Associates advising the business world on fraud and payed back everyone he scammed throughout his criminal career. I muse: a criminal who evaded capture posing as an FBI Agent earned a thirty- year relationship teaching at the FBI Academy and lecturing at FBI field offices throughout the country. It appears Frank Abagnale, Jr. a naughty leopard, changed a few spots while transitioning from the bad to the good side of the law.

     Food for thought: Perhaps we can emulate “the dog that learned new tricks and alter a spot or two on our human hides—for the better of course!

 

Dear Readers & Writers: Be Well! Stay Safe! Wear Your Mask!

 

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