Sunday, February 28, 2010

Bowled Over by the World

Ray and I have logged a lot of television viewing time watching the 2010 Olympics from Vancouver, Canada and we've loved every minute. We root for everyone. Yes, Bode Miller and Lindsay Vonn are exciting US stars as well as Steve Holcomb and the Bobsled crew. (I love Italian slalom skiers, Swedish curlers, and Austrian whatever). But let's cheer the Canadian Hockey team - wow - overtime win just a teensy bit ago. The Canadian ice dancing team were fabulous. And the Canadian skater who's mother passed - damn, she took to the ice and skated like the champion she was.

(Plus note, Ray did his best to get me the way cool Olympic mittens with the maple leaf)

But, this weekend Ray and I had to get off our butts and do something active. Did you know the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame moved to Arlington from St.Louis, MO? Well, it did and it's got a beautiful facility in the shadow of Six Flags Arlington and Jerry World (i.e. Cowboy Stadium). What does this have to do with writing? - sorta nothing, but it was zany fun.

It was a gorgeous day with clear blue skies and we weren't shoveling snow like my poor father in PA. He'd better get rid of that stuff by Easter when I go visit.

The musuem had a small bowling interactive lane. Ray hit his stride and scored well. I threw gutter balls until a man said I could put up gutter guards. Well, yea!!!! Once I could bowl like any five year-old, I was throwing strikes, baby! Bowling has a lot of history - from Egypt thru Europe and on into the heyday of New York elite. I learned a few things - like support this nifty wacky museum.

Lots of history and throwback to corny. Where else can you wear bad shoes and drink beer??

From Olympics to bowling and beer to a book signing. This post has it all - told you we'd cover the world. Rebecca Balcarcel just published her book of poetry Palabras in Each Fist, a stunning new poetry collection by a talented voice. Rebecca (r), a daughter of a Guatemalan father and an Iowan mother straddles the English language with love.
I'm constantly in awe of the talent in this world. Ignore the "bad" news and support the joy of skill, whether it's sports or writing.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Film Fascination

I am the movie critic for The Little Paper of San Saba, a town with no theater. Nonetheless, a good friend, Cecil, decided I needed a press pass worthy of my title. So far, this has garnered no free movies, no free popcorn - just a few laughs. I don't care. I love the movies and the experience. The concept of NetFlix is cool - discs in the mail or streaming video whenever you want to watch a movie. We even have a big screen and comfy chairs with cupholders. But I am easily distracted and less involved at home.

I enjoy the movie theater experience and agree with a quote from director Werner Herzog (WSJ, 2/23/10). "I'm sitting there in awe and astonishment and I enjoy to be in a place where there are people around you and the curtain opens and the miracle begins."

Superb acting, dialogue, scenery, costumes - there's just nothing like movie magic.

This year the nominees for Best Original Screenplay are:
Mark Boat: The Hurt Locker
Quentin Tarantino: Inglourious Basterds
Alessandro Camon and Owen Moverman: The Messenger
Joel Cohen and Ethan Cohen: A Serious Man
Bob Peterson, Peter Doctor, and Tom McCarthy: Up

All worthy contenders. Writers rule!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Write Beyond

I'm still pushing my blizzard pictures, plus we have snowflakes today. So, the February snow theme continues this week. How come the snow in Whistler, BC, Canada looks way cooler? Well, for one thing, they manage to have sunshine combined with snow. Somehow, Texas can't muster both at the same time. Gray and dreary prevails. Thus I don't have decent sun glinting off snow pics. But the detail of snow on my garden curbing is awesome. I'm working up a poem, knee deep in finding a synonym for white.
Where's the eye focus? The fish silhouette? Or the empty space? As a wordsmith, I need to blur the field, change the focus, discover another view or pattern. That's the constant challenge, and just when I hit on something pure, it can melt away.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

I Did Not Ride a Horse

Thursday was a glorious day to drive to Cleburne. I'd been snowed out twice and finally landed a gorgeous afternoon to check out Wings of Hope and a Therapeutic Horseback Riding Group. I volunteer for the Multiple Sclerosis Society, and as an Ambassador I was there to chat up the MS Walks in Addison and Ft.Worth on Saturday March 27th.

Talk about really cool people. I was there over an hour and welcomed generously. The folks with MS were eager to get on "their" horses - Freckles, Chief, Rodger, etc. Unfortunately, Big Red was in timeout after a rough morning and was not available to ride. Friends who know me and my husband, Ray, are laughing right now because that would have been my horse. I have chronicled some riding disasters and am always destined for trouble.

Nonetheless I got to see people who struggle with walking become free on their horse. Exercise, posture, and even some yoga were part of the program. I can't emphasize enough the kindness and care taken by the Wings of Hope staff. Super nice and attentive - these people are sharing and working hard to help and encourage others.

I learned a lot, enjoyed meeting, and chatting with everyone and came away enthused. There's a lot of hope in this world, and it can be achieved on a horse.

check out the website for pictures and information. (I did not take pictures due to privacy and respect issues)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

DFL = Rejections

Canadian historian, Jonathan Crowe, started a blog called DFL for "Dead Freaking Last" and he highlighted stories of last place Olympic finishers. "Triumph is sexy, but participation is brave," he said. So far the countries with the most losing medals, i.e. bottom three finishes in events, are Czech Republic, Canada, and Poland. (Wall Street Journal, 2/17/10)
Indeed, DFL is worthy. At least, the person tried (and if you are in the Olympics, after all, you're still better than the majority of the world). It's like sending out material and getting rejected. You threw yourself out there and maybe next time will achieve the perfect landing.
I realize these pictures have no bearing on this post, but I can't let my blizzard pics languish. Winter theme prevails in February.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Olympic Optimism

Olympic spirit prevails in this household and so does a lot of Olympic television hours. I confess I'm not writing much. I'm too busy holding my breath as some youngster flips five ways to Sunday on a snowboard and lives to tell the tale. Vancouver looks like a fabulous city and the scenic views, courtesy of NBC, of Whistler and the mountains is breathtaking.
That very first step into snow as a child is magical. How does one translate that step into a passion and ultimately a gold medal? Hard work. Perseverance. Guts. I can't imagine standing at the top of a ski jump for the very first time.
"At the moment of commitment the entire universe conspires to assist you."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
That and a loud scream.
Cheers to Olympians past, present , and future. Take that step and more.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

49 out of 50

Forty-nine out of fifty states had traces of snow to many feet of snow on the ground Friday, February 12, 2010. Here in Bedford, Texas - nine inches, a record since 1889, the dawn of recordkeeping. Only Hawaii was the place to be with palm trees swaying and surfers hanging ten.

Snow laden branch
bends -
ice skater's bow

Hard to believe it will be 103 degrees in five months or so.

Power outage for twenty hours. The house is so still. No hums, no nothing. It's tricky to write while wearing gloves.
Powerless house -
silent vigilance
snow globe world

Pioneer tactics.
Quite a memorable snow event.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cupid's LIning Up His Arrow

I'm a sucker for M&M candies. Pick the seasonal color and I've got the holiday bowl to hold 'em. Pink and white - yep, it must be February and Valentine's week. Well, I've been munching on them for a few weeks now. No, they don't fit into the diet plan set on New Year's Day, but I have avoided Girl Scout cookies. M&M's truly don't melt in the hand, so they are perfect as a treat while reading or writing.
Enjoyed a Wall Street Journal article (2/9/10 p. D1) on Happy Couples Kiss and Tell. How do former President Jimmy Carter and Rosalyn maintain their perfect union? "Separate projects, and, well, don't ever write a book with your husband," she said. Point taken - sorry Ray.

In general, the advice for making a marriage last comes down to common sense: 1. Find the middle ground - compromises. 2. Be funny - humor and laughs together. 3. Keep (some) secrets. One woman said she has her own bank account. 4. Never, ever give up. Oh there's some days ... when ... but you've got to keep talking and work it out. 5. Stay alive. They asked a couple who'd been married 70 years what's the secret. The wife said, "Eh, neither of us died."

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Blizzard Blog

It began on Friday and snowed on through Saturday. Here are blizzard pictures in Delaware, courtesy of my sister. (Thanks, Lori)

Not going to get far without being plowed. Drifts up to 20+ inches. Wet, heavy, chunky snow. I'm sure the Eskimos have a special word for it.

Here's a poem I wrote:

swirls and drifts
covers mall lots
halting shoppers slide
into debt

Sunday - sunny blue skies, an aching back, and the promise of no school/work (for teachers) tomorrow.

Stiff by Joanne Faries
Frankenstein boot crunch
breaks silent
snow day
winter's lacy wisps
tickle lashes
eyes squint as
icicles drip in
winter sun
evergreen leans
branches creak
one step

No snow day in Texas. Throw a snowball for me in PA and DE!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

There's a Reason for February

Gray sky bleeds through empty boughs. Rain drop blahs penetrate the soul. But there's a reason for February. Hibernation. There's absolutely nothing one can do but wallow in a sweatshirt, sip hot cocoa, and read. For those who say they don't have enough time to read - how many hours will you spend watching the Super Bowl, not to mention pre-Super events? I'm not saying you should skip the Super Bowl party. Believe me, my butt will be planted with a bowl of chips by my side. However, think about your allocation of time and then hallow out minutes or an hour in a week to read a book or magazine that appeals to you.
Have a book handy that you want to read, not one you think you should read. There's a difference. Quiet with no distractions is essential. I just finished The Likeness by Tana French. Fun exciting read and I ignored cooking, cleaning, and other duties that weren't going to go away to zoom to the conclusion. Whew!

February is a month to get entangled in an exciting story or twisted plot. Find a book that ensnares you. Revel in the wordplay. Love or hate characters. Be happy the groundhog saw his shadow and there's six more weeks of winter. Hide the rake. Shut the door on the vacuum.
Rejoice in reading. Up next for me - The Piano Teacher by Janice Y. K. Lee