Posts Tagged ‘Shopping’

Positive and Negative Perspectives

May 30, 2012 15 comments
Satire on false perspective, showing all of th...

Satire on false perspective, showing all of the common mistakes artists make in perspective, by Hogarth, 1753 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

People talk about attitudes every day. The subject is always revealing. This morning I came up against it yet again, but in a different way. Let me explain.

I was brushing my teeth a while ago when I heard the toilet flush. Ours is a split bath with the lavatory separate from tub and toilet. I was startled because I’d not noticed Sister moving past me, either going or coming back.

I immediately inquired if she’d done so, to which she said, “Of course!”

Color me surprised. I replied, “I must have been really focused, since I didn’t notice you walking past me.”

Her response was, “Oblivious would be a good choice of word, too.”

I’ll tell you what I told her. “I choose to take a positive stance on this one, rather than see it as negative.”

This whole exchange may sound silly, but it addresses an everyday choice we make as humans. I prefer to think of the episode as “being focused.” The opposite take is “being oblivious.” I was focused on what I was doing and what I was thinking at the time; which just happened to be what I was going to write for this blog post today.

Sister considered it as less aware. One the one hand, she’s correct. I was unaware of her presence behind me and of her proximate activity. From her perspective, what I was doing took little thought and, therefore, I should have noticed her movements.

At the same time, my perspective informs me of my concentrative ability to screen out irrelevant activity while working on the mental plane. This does not happen when I’m in unfamiliar terrain or in uncertain situations. I see it as indicative of how safe and secure I feel in my own home.

Different perspectives? Certainly. Different attitudes? Again, yes, though those attitudes are informed by expectations as well. My expectation was of safety in my home. Hers revolved around momentary awareness of my surroundings.

When we move around our world, we carry expectations, and perspectives based on them, with us and draw conclusions from those factors. Whether those conclusions are viewed as correct are, for wont of another explanation, dependent on how other individuals interpret those conclusions.

The behavior of the world’s populace is based on these factors. Until consensus of perspective arises, there can be little hope for consensus of behavior. At least, that’s how I see it.

If one small action—my brushing my teeth and not noticing someone move behind me—creates a schism between positive and negative interpretation, how much more dramatic are divisions surrounding vast actions?

Give me your thoughts on this question. How do you see perspective and its role in the daily behavior of those two-legged creatures called humans? Leave a comment below and join the discussion.

Until then, a bientot,


Waving the White Flag

May 23, 2012 30 comments
Age like a fine wine

Age like a fine wine (Photo credit: derekGavey)

Strike at the heart of the beast! Show no mercy!

Why do people feel compelled to do battle with all things related to aging? Hair gets colored, as if having gray hair is shameful. Young, nubile women begin getting Botox before the age of 30; begin using anti-wrinkle creams in their 20’s.

Have we come to despise these signs of having lived past our teen years?

My hair gleams with gray sprinkled throughout from years lived and loved.  Hard work went into the making of those signature hairs. Why should shame be associated with them?

Small lines have taken up residence around my mouth. Are they caused by laughing too much? If so, my favorite past-time will continue to occupy me. Laugh lines are far better in my estimation than facial stress fractures.

The reasoning behind this abhorrence of aging escapes me. My entire experience here on Planet Earth was lived at the same moment—the one in which I am aware. Age has rarely meant anything to me.

At age twelve, people treated me as 19-20. When nineteen came along, people assumed I was in my mid-20’s. By the time my 30’s arrived, most of my friends were in their early 20’s. Even now, I have few real friends my own age. I know plenty of people in their 50’s and 60’s, but those whom I call true friends are of all ages, from the very young to those in their late seventies and older.

It’s always been my contention that age is only a marker for statistical purpose. The body may have tell-tale signs of wear and tear. But the me operating this body has no age, except the one I inside my head.

The question which needs to be posed to a person is: If you’re so unhappy to reach your current age that you need to reconstruct your body to hide your experience, is reconstruction likely to erase your unhappiness?

Does one’s happiness depend on the physical representation of the person inside? After all, our bodies are only the vessels, which carry us around on this planet. Is our preoccupation with conforming to culture’s definition of beauty the only path to self-satisfaction and acceptance? Must we all be life-sized, unrealistic Barbie’s and Ken’s in order to be accepted as vital, beautiful, and worthwhile? If so, aren’t we all waving a white flag; surrendering our individuality and uniqueness in favor of a cultural impossibility?

Writers deal with this issue each time they develop a character, put together narrative description, or poetry. We devote much time and page space to beauty in one form or another. Have you ever wondered just how deeply our brains’ hard-wiring goes, if all cultures, races, and ages consider this one aspect of life as this important?

What do you think about our demand for physical perfection and beauty? I’m looking for opinions on this topic. Are we the total of our body parts, or do we have an innate value and beauty than has nothing to do with our outer shells?

You tell me. Leave a comment. Take a stand.

A bientot,



Meena Rose On the Air

May 17, 2012 53 comments

Once upon a time I met a young, shy woman named Meena Rose. She’d come onto the Institute of Children’s Literature’s Writer’s Retreat to join our merry band of word workers. It took less than a half dozen visits for her to become a favorite attendee. Her wisdom belied her youth. Her perception and insight startled many of us who’d lived twice as long. And her gentleness melted our hearts.

I give you Meena Rose, who will surprise those who don’t as yet know her and who will bring smiles to those who already love her. Take it away, Meena.


Have you ever slowed down your train of thought?

Meena–A Desert Rose

By: Meena Rose

It just so happened that I was asking myself that very question a few days ago. I was curious what my thoughts would be on a topic if it was delivered in freeze frame segments to my mind. Would I reach the same reaction in the end or would it be different for having slowed down the input and the reaction to it?

There really was only one way to find out. It was to put the idea to the test and have a voice recorder on standby to record my immediate impressions before they faded. Since I normally neither watch nor listen to the news, I decided to select the first full story that I would tune into. Without further ado, here are the results. I will relay the segments and then reconstruct the story at the end.

Newscaster: This is about a little boy

Meena: Ummm, and, so?

 Newscaster: Who ran

Meena: Really, where?

 Newscaster: Into the street

Meena: Irresponsible parents, silly boy, will they ever learn. <I am feeling very agitated and angry>

 Newscaster: In front of oncoming traffic

Meena: This does not bode well. <My gut actually heaved and I felt myself tense up>

 Newscaster: Escaping from

Meena: Oh no, I am so sorry little boy. I hope you are safe. I am sorry for judging your parents too. <My arms get goosebumps>

 Newscaster: His father who was

Meena: I knew it. You were just like all the little kids who escape the grips of their parents. <I am feeling flushed and angry again>

 Newscaster: Chasing him with a knife.

Meena: Oh, no! Dear God, no! I am SO SO sorry kid. You should never have had to deal with that. Your dad is a monster you did not deserve. Please be alright kid, please be alright. .

 Newscaster: A bystander

Meena: The story is not over? Please let it end well

 Newscaster: Tackled the father

Meena: Yes! Yes! Oh wait, what about the boy? What about the boy? Don’t keep me waiting. 

 Newscaster: While another bystander

Meena: Please help the boy! Please!

 Newscaster: Pulled the boy

Meena: And?!? Hurry up!!

 Newscaster: To safety.

Meena: Yes! Yes! Kid, I am glad you are safe! <My knees feel like jello and I am breathing fast>

To be honest, my mind shut down after that. It did not want to hear any more. I had had enough. Promptly, I turned off the TV set and sat in a broody silence. For once, I understood why I can’t bear to hear the news. Being jerked around emotionally from the extreme heights of expectation to deep valleys of despair within the blink of an eye is really not my cup of tea.

However, I am this way when I read fiction as well. My mind will parse, process, analyze and react to the story in segments which I am certain the author had not anticipated. They do not obey the basic rules of punctuation. I am so riveted to the book and the adrenalin rush reading  generates that I lose myself in time.

One time I had read for 5 hours straight. The sun had set and I was famished. I went to the bathroom instead and settled in for another 5 hour burst. That book just had to be finished in one day. I literally “wear” the POV character as a cape around my shoulders and walk a chapter in their shoes. It adds to the experiential rewards I receive from reading.

There are times when I have been so angered by a story that I have flung the book clear across the room and relished in hearing the “crack” resulting from the spine hitting the wall. Once, I have cooled down, I would get up and pick the book up, apologize to it and start reading it again as though no violence had transpired.

There are other times when I have been so moved to tears that I cried openly without bothering for a tissue to dab at my eyes. Those books have tear stains upon their pages, marring the perfect finish of the page.

There are other times when I had been so terrified that I would hide the book away from sight and make a pact to only read it during the daylight with many hours separating the reading and sleep. Let us not forget about laughter, joy, peace and love; all equally powerful.

I developed a term for this reaction. I call it Enhanced Experiential Engagement (EEE).

There is something to be said for allowing the train of thought to cruise at its normal pace. I wonder if it mercifully collects large enough nuggets of information to spare us the highs and lows in our unending assessment of the world around us.

Or, do we still go through the highs and lows without dwelling on them for too long, thereby nullifying the effect? Are we better off perceiving the world in an EEE way? Or, are we better off without the notion of EEE?

Here is the story I heard:

“This is about a little boy who ran into the street in front of oncoming traffic, escaping from his father who was chasing him with a knife. A bystander tackled the father while another bystander pulled the boy to safety.”

How did you react? Did you slow down your train of thought? Did you have an EEE? Describe your reactions upon reading the story.


Meena Rose is a multi-lingual world traveler and transplanted Oregonian; a mother of three children (one boy and two girls) who works as an analyst by day, promoting creativity through writing, storytelling, and role playing wherever she goes.

Catch a glimpse of this lovely lady each day on her website, “Through the Eyes of Meena Rose” at:

With each day’s offering, you’ll discover more depth than you might imagine.

Guest Blogging with Food

May 8, 2012 3 comments
Chris Smith The Diabetic Chef® Autographing hi...

Chris Smith The Diabetic Chef® Autographing his first cookbook: Cooking with The Diabetic Chef® (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is a quick heads-up for whomever drops in today. I have a guest blog up this morning on Pat McDermott’s all things cooking website.

I disclose my experience with writing a cookbook for the first time. It hasn’t been the hardest project I’ve taken up, but it has been the tastiest. When you develop new recipes that hold restrictions like cakes with no sugar or low sodium meat entrees, cooking becomes a double challenge.

That’s what my cookbook partners and I are dealing with. At the end of the process, and before the last “T” is crossed or “I” dotted, we’re having a Taste-Testing party with our appetizers and desserts, invitation only. That’s a lot of work for senior women with a passion for food, but it’s work that satisfies in more than one way.

If you get the chance today, stop by Pat’s kitchen to see what’s cooking. If nothing else, you’ll find sumptuous recipes with full photos. Food lovers beware. You may be there a while once you walk in the door.

Enjoy yourselves and your little detour today.

A bientot,


Questions of the Day: Personal Transparency

May 2, 2012 Leave a comment


Aztec mask of Xiuhtecuhtli, c. 1500, of Mixtec...

Aztec mask of Xiuhtecuhtli, c. 1500, of Mixtec-Aztec provenance (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m using this poem of mine to lead into my subject of the day.


Window to the Soul

My presence acts as a window

To the human known as me.

Through that window you

Can see masks I wear eternally.


This mask reflects where I’ve been,

Still more show what I do with time.

Another suggests secrets held within;

Each mask a new persona.


Feathers, sequins, jewels, glitter

Before the beholder’s eyes,

Dropping hints about who I am,

Yet leaving me secured, invisible.

Each of us has gone through cycles within our lives. The practice is normal and human. We start as children learning all the lessons that will take us to an age where driving and dances are the norm. Some of us also take a path, somewhere along the way, that forces us to grow up all the sooner.

Once we have the ticket to responsibility called “a license,” we move on to planning the next decade of our lives; college or a job, singlehood or marriage, childless or not. They all make it into the mix of aspirations and goal lists.

Rules guard these bastions of normal living in our world. Each culture has its own signposts and traffic tickets. Once in a while, cultures crossover into each other, and create mutual signposts and tickets. It’s up to the average human to learn all of these and navigate the highways of modern living.

For all of the meandering we do in our lives, how much of ourselves do we really put out there for others to see or know?

“Plenty,” you say. But, do we really? The internet has made a public forum of many of our lives’ aspects. We blog, comment, dole out pieces of ourselves on Facebook on a daily basis and think nothing of it. It seems expected of web users to be “Transparent.”

The question remains. How much of our true selves do we reveal to the public?

Are we not merely shedding our masks, one at a time; those masks that protect us from revealing too much of the one who resides within the core of self?

I am a writer. I write about many things for many types of readers. My public image reveals those aspects of my writer’s mask. I’m female. Enough said on that score. I’m opinionated because I was taught to be so. Education will do that when it isn’t stifled by arbitrary bureaucratic controls.

Yet, within all I’ve revealed about who I am, few really know me, and I prefer it that way. Our deeds reveal more about us than anything we can say about ourselves.

My poem says a bit more in its way. It intimates that masks are all we see of each other. We all do it, and we do it because the world isn’t always the safest place to live.

One of Jack Nicholson’s best remembered lines from “A Few Good Men” was “The truth! You can’t handle the truth.”

His statement is far more honest than most. We aren’t prepared to be ourselves in front of others, any more than we’re prepared to discover our own deeper selves. We lie to ourselves all the time through rationalization, justification, and turning a blind eye. Doing so greases the wheels of our daily existence. The person who doesn’t do this is a rare model indeed.

All of this brings us to one last question. What is transparency? If it means revealing warts, halos, and all the rest of ourselves to each other, we will have created the very chaos we’ve worked so tenaciously to avoid. Imagine someone knowing what you really think of you parents, your sibs, yourself. Imagine others knowing every secret you’ve ever harbored, every lie you’ve ever told, every doubt plaguing your days. That is transparency.

Now, imagine yourself seeing everyone’s lives in the same way every time you open your eyes. Ask yourself: do you really want that kind of world?

When you have an answer, drop it in a comment here and inform the world. Until then,

A bientot,


Related articles

Listing Year’s Winners

December 15, 2011 4 comments

Well, my friends, we’ve come to another holiday season. There are those looking back to count accomplishments. Others are making goals for the coming year. Lists are popping up everywhere.

Since that’s the case, I’ve decided to make a list of my own, or more. Why should I stand back and let everyone else have all the fun?

List 1: 2011 Accomplishments

  1. Visited with family and friends across the country during the winter and saw things totally new to me.
  2. Arrived back in Montana with all fingers and toes from the research trip from Hell. Sanity somewhat dented but still workable.
  3. Procured livable apartment and had money to pay for it and the food to keep us going throughout the rest of the year.
  4. Managed to have many submissions accepted for magazines and newsletters
  5. Reinvested in my craft through university coursework
  6. Got through another rewrite on The Moon Sees All and began what is hopefully the last rewrite before being submitted.
  7. Came to a point where I can see the blessings that grew from this past year’s trials on the road.

List 2: 2011 Blessings–The Short List

  1. Repeat List 1 for emphasis
  2. Can still say that I’m healthier than many I could name
  3. Learned more than I ever thought possible about too many things to mention
  4. Watched the struggles and accomplishments of friends and family, knowing that they came through whole, if dented, and I can still enjoy them
  5. I have a home, food on the table, clothes to wear, work to do that makes my heart sing most days, friends everywhere, family that I love, and I’m moderately warm for a snowy day.
  6. My country hasn’t imploded yet, even if it is shaky in some quarters
  7. I’ve lived long enough to appreciate the simple things of life

List 3: 2012 Goals

  1. Repeat List 1, numbers 1 and 4 through 7
  2. Get everything that’s already on my computer—stories, essays, poetry, children’s books, etc.—submitted somewhere
  3. Finish travel book and get submitted
  4. Finish women’s mystery novel and get it submitted
  5. Finish YA fantasy novel and get it submitted
  6. Finish “Failures to Blessings: Finding the Silver Lining” and, you guessed it, get it submitted
  7. Survive to write another day

Assuming I accomplish the items on this last list, I will be satisfied with life for another year. I say that because I plan 2013 to be busier than ever in the writing department, and I’m going to need all the energy I can get to deal with it.

There you have my obligatory lists for this year. I hope you have a satisfying time doing your own lists, whatever they contain. Let me know if you’re ready to either celebrate or need commiseration. I can accommodate either situation and will do so happily.

A bientot,


Where Did Our Heritage Go?

November 26, 2011 1 comment

We’ve come into the season of holidays; Thanksgiving gives way to Christmas and moves inexorably to New Years. For centuries this season has stood for blessings, fellowship, and unity; if not in actuality, at least on the surface.

This time around something has gone off the tracks. Everyone is edgier, ruder, more desperate. One could attribute this holiday syndrome as an ever-increasing out-pouring of the stress felt by countless millions of people who don’t know what the next year will bring economically, politically, or within the family.

The question is: Why has our population become seemingly unequipped to keep themselves under control?

Our forefathers for centuries lived with the knowledge that nothing in this world is certain. Life and their own common sense taught them to plan for those lean times, rely only on necessities, especially when luxuries cost so much more than most could pay. They lived with few clothes for each member of the family.

A father with more than two pairs of pants, one work shirt and one for Sunday, and who could give the same for each of his family, was a wealthy man by the standards of the time.

A mother who didn’t lose at least two children to stillbirth, illness or injury before they were five years old was truly blessed. Children who still had both birth parents to attend their weddings, complete with cake and a bride’s veil, could remember that for the rest of their lives.

If one owned a small cabin or house, with enough land to provide a kitchen garden that would produce enough food to put away for winter stores, wealth was clear. Size of the home didn’t matter. Everyone would have a place to sleep, warm and secure when cold and snow took over the outer territory. The living room/family room/kitchen, etc. occupied one space, all of which might have measured 15×20 feet. A loft was always necessary for sleeping nooks for the children.

When the world industrialized and cities became the working world for many, credit became common for those who always paid their bills on time. The 1929 Depression and subsequent lean years didn’t teach everyone the price of greed. People afterwards merely moved to different avenues for making money.

By the early 21st Century we’ve become barbarians in subtle ways. Take the incidents these past couple of days across the country. People, so absorbed in their passion to buy the latest and greatest for the cheapest price available, have been willing to kill or maim others to get to a desired item first.

Headlines in the news: Woman pepper sprays others, injuring 20 people, to get to a xbox on sale. Shoppers, anxious to get into a store for first pickings, dismantle a door and trample to death a young woman standing ready to open the door at the appointed time. A man is shot in a store’s parking lot during a sale.

Question: Have we become barbarous murderers in the name of possessions? Or, has greed so possessed our people through constant consumerism propaganda that we’re desensitized to our own actions?

Incidents like the above are on the increase, and not just at this season. When will be grow out of this selfish adolescence and back into the adulthood of our ancestors and their hard-won heritage of living with what you need and feeling blessed that you have that much security?

These are truly things to think about during this time; especially during this season.

A bientot,


Acquisition Mania

December 8, 2010 2 comments

I’ve been writing quite a bit lately about our upcoming trip around the country. Nevertheless, there are a few other things on my mind, too.

Take excess, for example. A thought struck like lightning through my mind yesterday morning and I’ve not been able to shake it.

Why do Americans feel the need to acquire excess amounts of everything? Do they believe that the world will run out of everything they’ve ever seen or wanted tomorrow? You see now why I said “like lightning.”

I was in the shower at the time. (I know, but that’s where the most profound thinking takes place, isn’t it?) I was facing the shower caddy, looking at all the shampoos, conditioners, body washes, etc. that wait each day for our consumption. A bit of everything resides on those small hanging shelves. I suddenly realized how much of everything necessary for bathing kept company in and around the bathtub. Packing for this long trip has me considering life in different aspects now.

It’s not like I’d never seen it all before, but I hadn’t really took note of it before. Big difference.

Lack of free space in our car restricts the amount of everything we take along for the ride. I was reminded of a friend of mine from years ago. This wee gal was an absolute hoot, and I loved her dearly, but she had one trait that I could never understand. She adored vintage clothing. It didn’t matter what era of clothing she found; it came home with her.

At the time we lived in an area that had lots of second-hand clothing and household shops. Once a month two of them held $2 bag sales. For those who’ve never been to one, you’ve missed a wonderful opportunity to go decadent without breaking the bank. The premise is that whatever you can get into a standard paper grocery bag is yours to take home for $2.

I can testify to her enjoyment of such sales. She lived in a large two-bedroom apartment at the time. The huge second bedroom was her clothes closet. Rack upon rack of clothes filled the room to overflowing. The gal wore about a size 4/6 at most. The room, which measured a good 15 x 15 ft. was so full of racks that she could barely squeeze into it far enough to find something to wear.

I asked her once why she just kept buying more clothes. She said that they were all so pretty, she just couldn’t pass them up.

The truth is, I still can’t understand it. She never wore the same outfit more than once. She didn’t need to. Yet, she never got rid of anything either.

It’s been years since I’ve seen her. We lost touch when she found amore. I think of her, though, and wonder if she’ll soon be featured on “Buried Alive,” the show on hoarding.

Does anyone else think we’ve gone a bit overboard in our acquisition mode mentalities? When an entire room meant for living in is used to store one’s clothing, doesn’t that strike anyone else as a bit overboard?

When I have a moment, I watch TV shows like “House Hunters International” and other home finding shows, whether for rent or to buy. It’s curious that a room’s size is such an issue for people. How much space does a person or family really need to live? Why must a house have walk-in closets? And on and on…

It seems like we’ve gone a bit crazy in the acquisition department, whether due to  personal feelings of inadequacy or social status. It makes me wonder if we will ever come to realize as a nation, that what a person does with his/her life and how that life is lived means far more to the world at large and to themselves than what one can buy, wear, own, show-off, or what have you.

Why must we continue to build over all the land with homes that fewer and fewer people can afford and then turn around and complain that we’ve destroyed the ecology, the beauty of the land, etc? Does this make sense to anyone else?

Tell me your take on this part of the American lifestyle. Let me know what you think the rationale really is for our compulsion to constantly consume beyond our ability to house our acquisitions.

Until then, a bientot,