Saturday, February 6, 2016

Do You Want to Build a Snowman?

An ancient Roman fertility festival, Lupercalis, observed annually on February 15 was turned into a Christian feast day. Pope Gelasius set its observance a day earlier in honor of a kindly Bishop executed on February 14, 270 AD. Valentine in some way helped his jailer Asterius' blind daughter. Read more at http://www.theholidayspot.com/valentine/history_of_valentine.htm. It's said before his execution, he asked for a pen and paper from his jailer and signed a farewell message, "From Your Valentine".

Valentine’s Day can be a reminder that you’re not in a romantic relationship, whether you’re single or pair bonded. Intimacy is felt by everyone in an individual way. Looking back on past relationships there were times I felt connected to my partner but those same moments weren’t shimmering images in their mind. This idea of shared intimacy puts a lot of pressure on us whether we’re feeling lonely in love or simply alone. In my life I have felt lonely or disconnected from others, even in social situations or during celebrations.

What brings you joy? I find joy in simple pleasures. Taking time out to relax and play a game of Scrabble with someone who is my equal. This and other activities can be done on a shoestring budget.
Take a walk or leisurely bike ride together in a pretty neighborhood and be sure to stop for ice cream. Cop a squat under a tree or somewhere and take turns reading aloud from your favorite book. If you live in a reasonably safe city, hop on public transportation and get off at a random stop where you’ve never been; wander around and explore!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Does Santa Exist?

I checked out Eric Kaplan's book Does Santa Exist? on the recommendation of a librarian and (on the back cover) actress/Ph.D. Mayim Bialik. While disagreeing with a number of Kaplan's assertions I did learn, new, if somewhat graphic trivia about Tantric Buddhists; who according to his sources get over dualistic consciousness by drinking mentral blood and phlegm and mucus out of a skull.

Had I known, the author, who purports to "neither believe nor disbelieve in Santa/Christ" would treat those who keep the spirit of Christmas/Santa Claus alive, with more disdain than humor- this gift giver and receiver, would not have picked it up. I am a poetess who watches Christmas specials in July and believes in the free expression of Christmas cheer throughout the year. I expected a fun romp, perhaps a diagram of the reasons why, (even if they do exist) flying caribou along with Santa and his sleigh would combust due to atmospheric pressures etc. Unless it comes after page 128, there was none of that.

The reading did facilitate me sharing something about myself to my mother, "I have Sheldon Cooper Syndrome, and can't just stop reading a book I'm nearly halfway through, regardless of whether or not I am enjoying it." I said. Then proceeded to read a passage to her. Upon completion, she said, "I give you permission to stop reading." Another thing the book has done is inspire me to write. Given, Does Santa Exist? passes for "The funniest book of philosophy since... well, ever." according to Matt Groening, I feel my stylus can do no wrong.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Buy Local Shop Magna

Is your confidence in the political process waning? There is a more impact full way you can "vote". Vote with your pocketbook. Every time you spend you're making a decision, not just about the stuff you're buying, but about the place you live.

I have pledged to vote against special interests and cities overrun with big box stores by shifting my spending from corporate businesses to locally owned shops and products made in Utah. I challenge all Utahans to shift just ten percent of their spending to local shops.

Since I started writing with the Copper Quills group the first and third Thursdays of each month at 12:30pm in the living room of the Magna Kennecott Senior Center (9228 West Main St.) my new haunts include:

Protagonist Coffee Shop (9113 W 2700 S), established in 2014 offers bestseller whole bean coffee blends- Mystery, Thriller, Crime, Romance, Horror, Fantasy and Humor. Try their iced Pumpkin Spice Frap, you'll be glad you did!

Nonna's (8979 W 2700 S) is family owned pizzeria with old world Sicilian charm and taste. Every meal, is made from scratch, when you order it. I recommend their chicken marsala.

Art On You (8971 W 2700 S) is Magna's first registered and licensed tattoo shop. Their blog suggests adding a Winter Season event to the list of unique, Magna celebrations -the Marching of the Krampi! Visit their website http://www.artonyou.com/about.php

Preserve Magna's rustic and noteworthy history by shopping your conscience this and every season!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

A Visit From Krampus


Poem by Christine Ireland

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

Stuffed animals were nestled on either side of my bed;
While counting reindeer leapin o'er a fence in my head;
Both wearing new PJs from Ma and Pap,
Sissy fell asleep in her Santa Claus cap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tripping o'er our last can of Who-hash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave a luster of midday to objects below,
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But Santa's shadow with claws and a snear
Reddish hair donned his chin, so wiry and thick
I knew in a moment- This can't be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
To his antlered companions I heard him exclaim:

"Then let us go and be terrible. Burn, smite and bother
These subjects of Odin, who deny the Yule father.
And without their belief Mother Earth will wither
As do we, without our Winter Solstice dinner."

Leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the housetop the coursers they flew
Holding onto naughty children and my neighbor Frank too-

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney Krampus came with a bound.

He was covered in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of sticks he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a schoolmaster opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! His iron rucksack, how scary!
His long tongue tasted the air for naughty children to ferry.
He cared not what race, wealth or parent's position.
He feasted on sons and daughters of harlots to politicians.

His claw picked a bone from between ghastly teeth.
Smoke, it encircled his horns like a wreath.
With a wink of his eye and 180 degree twist of his head
Krampen gave me to know, I had nothing to dread;

Pulling Thor's chariot with legendary might
I heard him exclaim ere they drove out of sight-
"Yuletide is here; make no mistake,
Krampus is coming, not to give, but to take."

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

FURIOUSLY HAPPY

Being a lover of all things raccoon, Furiously Happy's book cover jumped out at me from the librarian's choice shelf. Warning: This book contains bad language and a number of rambling non-sequiturs. Jenny Lawson's humor is so clever, she doesn't need expletives to pack a punchline. Lawson treats religion with disdain, sardonic comments are sprinkled throughout the book. As an added bonus I learned kangaroo genitals are even weirder than I thought. Female kangaroos have three vaginas. The outside two are for sperm and lead to the uteruses. The middle one is for giving birth. To go with the two sperm-vaginas, male kangaroos often have two-pronged penises.

"I didn't know if I had another book in me." she said in an interview in front of a thousand people. After reading, Furiously Happy, I knew what she meant. Experiences shared about her life, as an author, public speaker, mother, and wife with few exceptions have little or nothing to do with mental health. I was ready to take it all back after reading, The Spoon Theory, then she added it came from a neighbor. On page 130 she describes depression as...it's like when you meticulously scroll up through hundreds of pages in a word document to find a specific paragraph you need to fix, and then you try to type but it automatically takes you right back down to the bottom because you forgot to place your cursor where you wanted to type.

While confident I can manage physical diagnoses like type 2 diabetes, I literally suffer with depression/anxiety. Being newly single can be difficult for anyone. For me it has been excruciating. Though I frequently remind myself our relationship was unhealthy and I'm better off navigating the world on my own, I miss having a good friend. The coping strategies suggested in the book for dealing with depression aren't realistic for me because they involve either having more money/friends. If either of those were easy for me to come by, would I still be chronically depressed?

My greatest enemy is do-nothingism. Any block of time that allows me to sit and stew is dangerous. To give you an example: while sitting on a Trax (express transit) platform for only ten minutes my mood went from homeostasis to self abhorrent and homicidal, bad combination. When the train arrived its cars were jam packed with Ute fans. I begged off the idea of going east to TJ's for free samples, despite suspecting I may have been experiencing low blood sugar. Instead I rode my bike in the opposite direction, stopping at the next Trax station on the line and headed home. During downtime on the train I write stuff, such as this blog post and the darkness recedes.

Friday, October 9, 2015

♫ DREAM ON ♪ DREAM ON ♫

By Christine Ireland

Oscar Wilde said, “They’ve promised that dreams can come true, but forgot to mention that nightmares are dreams too.” Even those dreams that wake us up with our heart pounding and beads of sweat on our forehead can be used as a tool. In his childhood years, Frank Baum dreamt of scarecrows chasing him in a field and that is where he got the idea for one of Dorothy's friends.

Perhaps your dreams have been boring lately. If so, choose to expose yourself to new experiences throughout the day. Dreaming allows our subconscious to process the day’s events. New stimuli will make your dreams become exciting once again. With shut eyes nineteen year old Mary Shelley saw the pale student of the unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. Mary recounted the nightmare in her 1831 preface to Frankenstein "I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine show signs of life and stir with an uneasy, half-vital motion."

The very act of recording a dream can have the effect of improving future dream recall. Keeping a dream diary conditions a person to view remembering dreams as important. Dreams can be recorded in a paper diary in the form of text, drawings and paintings. Or keep a tape recorder near your bed or under your pillow so that you can preserve details, many of which are otherwise rapidly forgotten no matter how memorable the dream originally seemed. Whether writing for pleasure or profit, your dream log could be a gateway to published imagination.

Happy writing!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Author Interview




I met with local author Kathryn Jones at her office in West Valley City, where she helps writers turn their ideas into money making creations. Her publishing services company, Idea Creations Press, utilizes POD (print on demand) technology. “Writers own the rights to their work; decide how they want to market and sell their books, and writers make the profit.” She said.

1. Tell me about your latest book. “The Gift is book 3 in the Virginia Bean Parables series. Readers will travel with Virginia and Richard as they make their journey with God. Seek. Knock. Open. Find. Discover for themselves how an open heart – heals.”

2. What inspired you to write the Virginia Bean Parables series? “My husband thought a retelling of David and Goliath would make a great story. I started thinking about it, why did David gather five smooth stones when he only needed one to kill Goliath? That’s when I came up with the virtues each stone represents.”

3. When did you get your first taste of success? “In August of 1988 my husband and I were living in Murray, Utah. Not enough money and too many children were the excuses we used for staying home on our anniversary year after year. So I came up with some ideas for celebrating at home that can be even more memorable than an evening out. A monthly magazine, distributed worldwide, printed Anniversaries-Home Style.”

4. Do you ever experience writer’s block? “No.” she said. I lifted my chin off the floor. “I am always working on multiple projects. When stuck, I simply work on something else and come back to it.” There’s a knock at the door, she excuses herself. “That was a friend of mine; we’re working on a book of true stories about living heaven on earth entitled, Heaven 24/7. I am also updating, Marketing Your Book on a Budget, for next year’s edition. If you have downloaded the Kindle version you can expect yearly updates for FREE. I am also working on book 3 in my (Susan Cramer) mystery series, titled Hard Boiled. Not to be confused with the hardcore crime fiction genre. I had to use it, how else do you follow Scrambled and Sunny Side-Up?”

5. What does heaven look like to you? "I imagine chocolate bars growing on trees." That way you can go around and gather the ones you like? "You don't have to, there are several kinds on each tree." I smiled broadly as visions of chocolate bearing trees danced in my head.

6. What is your favorite quote? “’Never give up. Never surrender.’ ~ Jason Nesmith (Galaxy Quest)”

7. Where can people learn more about you? “Visit my webpage: http://www.ariverofstones.com/ Follow my blog: http://idea-creations.blogspot.com/”

I thanked her for meeting with me and she gave me bottled water for the road.