Day 172: Occupy Wall Street….What Was That About Again?

Leroy Jethro Gibbs

Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today apparently marks the one-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street and to be quite honest I am still confused about why it got started in the first place. What was being protested exactly? If the idea of economic inequality was what was being protested I hate to burst their bubble but that has existed for millennia and is not likely to cease to exist because of formal protests. I am in no way saying that people who flaunt their continued good luck in the faces of those who are less fortunate don’t deserve a slap to the back of the head à la Jethro Gibbs from NCIS, they definitely have it coming. When I was in grade school and had a terrible aide who seemed to take enjoyment from telling me several times a week and sometimes daily what a burden and inconvenience I was to her I took solace in the thought that someday she would probably need as much help as I did and regret the awful things she had said to me. Someday the people who believed they would never find themselves standing in unemployment office will be there and they will find themselves having to eat humble pie and not liking it one bit.

Day 171: There Are Communists in the Wallpaper or the Legacy of a Really Good High school Teacher

Textured Wallpaper, Australia.

Textured Wallpaper, Australia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My mother went to a nondenominational Christian private school all the way through high school. One of the classes she took was Bible History with focus less on theology and more on what could be historically verified. The teacher was Mr. Conn Hamlett and I have yet to find a teacher anywhere that could best him as a storyteller. I never had the good fortune to to attend any of his classes while he was still teaching some might wonder how I can hold that opinion. My mom has told me the stories he related to them in class since I was seven years old. One of my favorites was about an old man Mr. Hamlet used to deliver groceries to as a teenager. The gentleman’s house did not have indoor plumbing so there was an outhouse in the backyard. He also owned a goat which he kept in the backyard which he would irritate  by leaning out of the kitchen window and rapping it on the head with a fishing pole. The goat got its revenge one day when the old man had gone out to the outhouse. Every time he would try to leave the outhouse  the goat would ram the outhouse. If I remember the story correctly he was stuck there for at least an hour and even then the goat chased him back to the house. Another time Mr. Hamlet brought the man his groceries only to find him frantically taking down the wallpaper, when Mr. Hamlett asked what he was doing the man replied, ” there are Communist in the wallpaper.” Mr. Hamlet quietly sat down  the groceries and left.

Mr. Hamlett retired from teaching at Goodpasture Christian School at the end of 2006 school year, at which point alumni from several of the classes he taught including my mother’s held a retirement party of sorts called “Mr. Hamlett’s Last Class” to inaugurate a scholarship fund in his name. I had the good fortune to participate in it during which I finally met this man who I have spent my entire life caring about. Angie  (my best girl) even insisted on going with us because I had told her the stories that mom told me. When mom explained how far from his classroom the stories he told had traveled I think you could have knocked him over with a feather. I think it is always a teachers greatest hope that they be remembered fondly by people they have taught but to find themselves greeted with joy for their teaching by people they never actually taught themselves must be a little surprising.

I have been told many times that I should be a teacher and part of the reason I’ve never done it is because I have never felt equal to living up to the standards which he unknowingly set. Everybody should be so lucky as to have a teacher whether academic or otherwise of his caliber in their life at some point. Anybody who wishes to find out more about the scholarship fund can find it here. I have not been a fan of theology based schooling but I will always support teachers whose primary purpose is to make a difference in their students lives no matter the forum in which they teach.

Day 170: Choosing to be a child free woman should not be seen as something terrible

Society woman by Nicola Filippo

Society woman by Nicola Filippo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I want children, very much. I love my almost stepchildren dearly and will be very happy when the time comes that they have siblings. However there is a  segment of women who consciously choose never to have children of their own.  Society seems to either dismiss their choice as something they will grow out of, or else becomes downright hostile towards the woman in question.I believe this attitude towards a person who chooses not to become a parent is wrong. Parenting is not easy and the society that punishes those who admit to feeling unprepared and ill-suited for the role in a backward society in my opinion.  My sister and I were lucky in the fact that our parents have never pushed to become parents ourselves just for the sake of grandchildren. In a world which currently holds upwards of 6 billion people I think human society as a whole would be much better off if they would cease to diminish a child free adult for there choice.Read the post that inspired this one here.

Day 169: My Teeth are far worse, or you can’t fix stupid

Currently my favorite photo in which you may or may not be able to tell that my teeth have issues.

I came across this post today and felt the need to write a post of my own. Bullying is not cool at any age. I am appalled that many people use the anonymity of the Internet to be cruel to complete strangers. For that matter stranger or not no one should tear another person down because of their physical appearance. When I was growing up I was accident prone I have rearranged the teeth in my head at least half a dozen times and even though the dentist did a wonderful job straightening them out my teeth are still slightly crooked. I didn’t lose my last baby tooth until last year at the age of 26. There is a  gap which the adult tooth is slowly moving into. Yes I could have braces put on my teeth, I am well aware that it is not uncommon for adults to have braces nowadays. The truth is I am absolutely terrified of dentists and orthodontists and have been my entire life. Thankfully I have never had a cavity which required filling or having a tooth pulled . All I have to say to the people who left such nasty comments on this  couples save the date, photo is apparently Ron White is correct: you can’t fix stupid.

Day 168: the dying phenomenon of the handwritten letter, and laments of an e-mail user.

handwriting

handwriting (Photo credit: eef-ink) not mine at all

I use e-mail and other forms of electronic communication a lot. Writing much beyond my first and last name with a pen or pencil doesn’t happen very often at all because of the specifics of my disability. In spite of this I love getting snail mail. We have a family friend who has never once missed sending a birthday or holiday card. The unique thing about all of the cards is that each is hand-drawn and no two cards are ever alike from year-to-year. This particular friend is old enough that he probably took penmanship classes in elementary school and it definitely shows.I am dismayed to learn that in some schools they have done away with teaching cursors handwriting entirely in favor of using the time to focus on computer skills instead. I am the first person to acknowledge that computers are becoming increasingly important but I don’t think penmanship is any less significant. In my opinion when possible a handwritten letter is preferable to an e-mail or typed letter.  I often times tinker  with the fonts and styles in my wordprocessing program in an effort to make it look more personal since handwriting stuff is very difficult for me. In this age of electronic device I can only hope that the simple pen and paper do not eventually become archaic relics of the past  by the time I have grandchildren.

Day 167: “Your Mother Wears Combat Boots” and other things that are true

English: Terra Combat Boots fur use in Jungle ...

English: Terra Combat Boots fur use in Jungle and Desert conditions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While blog surfing earlier I found this post on a site I frequent.I wish I could say that I was shocked, I wasn’t. A year after 911 when I was still in high school I predicted that the veteran returning from the conflicts which resulted from the attacks would eventually face some of the same reactions the public displayed when veterans from the Vietnam War returned home. At the time I originally said it most people told me that I was wrong, that people at as a whole were better informed about the psychological impact of war than they were in the years immediately following Vietnam. Reading that post I can only say that I hate being right sometime, and also to disagree with the assertion that most people are better informed about the psychological impact of combat nowadays. Since America stopped the draft after Vietnam and our military became completely volunteer only 1% of Americans know a veteran personally. I believe that this is part of the reason many Americans make the lives such thoughtless and hurtful comments. Most of them have no personal tie of any sort to the Armed Forces at all. They can’t see the individual without seeing the group it doesn’t help that armed conflict is publicized more often, or at least a more detail than the humanitarian efforts that are often times carried out in the middle of the aforementioned conflict and often go unremarked. My mother and my father both served in the military at different times. I lived on an Army base for several my elementary school grades. We were lucky because mom was never asked to go overseas, due in some part to the fact that she had a disabled child otherwise known as me. I remember the footage of Desert Storm and Desert Shield that played on the news every night. I remember reading the casualty lists that ran across the bottom of the television screen with bated breath, hoping never to see the last name of a classmate, or even worse recognize the face of a neighbor from the uniform pictures that sometimes accompanied the casualty list. To the best of my remembrance and the things I had checked with my mom over the years, we never lost anyone close us, at least not as a result of what is now referred to as The First Gulf War. To those people who have grown up with a civilian background I urge you to think before you speak badly of soldiers as a whole because you very well might inadvertently be speaking badly of a neighbor or coworker. You don’t have to support the conflict to support those caught in it.

Day 166: Barbara Cartland and Sean Connery changed me forever

 

Cover of "Finding Forrester"

Cover of Finding Forrester

I was allowed to start reading romance novels at the age of 13 and the first author I was allowed to read was Barbara Cartland because the romantic scenes never went beyond a PG-13 level.  I should clarify that she was a historical romance novelist. From the first day I picked up one of her books I knew I wanted to write. Her books were filled with historical details that really  enhanced the romantic story itself. I wanted to write like that, to create a world rich in texture. She is dead now and any books that are published in her name within the last 10 or 15 years are completely different from her earlier books due to being entirely written by ghost writers most of whom are terrible.

A few years later the movie Finding Forrester came to theaters and I was freshly inspired. The movie plot centers around the relationship between a young writer and his mentor, a widely famous Hemingway like author who inexplicably wrote one great classic and then seemed to disappear off the face of the earth, so much so in fact there was rumored that he passed away. I’m not going to give away the ending but I truthfully believe that it is a movie that all writers should be required to see at least once especially when you start to wonder if this writing stuff is worth it because the movie will remind you that it is worthwhile and can be accomplished . I suggest watching it when you have writers block you actually might find a way out of that wet paper bag your creativity seems to be stuck in.

Day 165: it’s four years later and I’m still here

 

English: WordPress Logo

English: WordPress Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

November of this year Writer’s Desk will be four years old. Wow. A lot has happened in those four years, most of which I never  expected. My main purpose in starting the blog was to have a place to decompress and be myself. I never expected other people to read it, four years later my post about my relationship to a Peanuts character gets 27 hits on the day it was published. I have had several blog spaces before but WordPress is the only one I have stuck with long-term. I think it’s because I started Writer’s Desk of my own volition and not because I felt pressured into doing so which is how I felt with my LiveJournal and several others. I am not exactly the person I was four years ago and just like me this blog has evolved since its first post. You might notice that if you go looking for that post you will not find it. Is the only post within the blog labeled private and it will stay that way. I have met some wonderful people through the medium of this blog and I’m profoundly grateful for their presence in my life even though we only know each other through comments left on one another’s blogs. Overall I have become a much more confident person. I am less afraid to share my opinions and considerably less worried about what other people think that I was when I first started writing here. I always encourage people to comment whether they agree with me on on a subject or not and I will continue to do so because I believe the ability to express different opinions in a nonconfrontational manner is an important skill that we should all regularly exercise. Who knows where I’ll be another four years but I can guarantee you I will still be writing in this blog.

 

Day 164:If the Peanuts character Linus were a girl I would be her

Linus awaits the Great Pumpkin.

Linus awaits the Great Pumpkin. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think my favorite non electronic item are blankets.  I have many and I never go on a long trip without one. Just call me Linus. Yes people have actually made reference to the Peanuts character and I take no offense. I have poor circulation because of my disability so it is not uncommon to see me with a blanket even in the warmer months. There is also the added benefit that a blanket keeps a lot of the summer insects off me. When I  thought about it I realized that my blanket collecting started because of a single Christmas gift., one I never expected.The year I was  eleven my mom met a retired RN  named Nancy. Nancy was the first Seventh Day Adventist I had ever met and she was also the only person I knew who ate only two main meals a day instead of three. She was the first vegetarian I’d met as well as the first parent of our acquaintance who home schooled her adopted daughter and foster children, all of whom had various disabilities. Nancy also ran a summer day camp for disabled children and adults  and every year she held a camp Christmas party where everyone got a gift.  That year I  received a lap blanket with horses on it, on the underside of one corner I found a patch with the words, “handmade with love,” I cried, just a little.

That blanket is 16 years old this Christmas . It has been washed and dried numerous times. It has comforted sick and  dying animals in our house as well as welcomed new life in between serving its original purpose of keeping my legs warm . The only difference from when I  first got is the underside has gone nubby from many washings.  The “handmade” patch is still there and in spite of 16 years of every day use it has not once suffered the indignity of a tear.

I plan on leaving it to my children  or a niece or nephew  one day. The great thing about love is that it compounds so that person that comes in contact with an object that has been passed down adds a little of themselves and a little  more love.

Day 163: Today I was reminded what awesome really means

I watched the opening ceremonies for the Paralympic Games this morning. Yes I know I’m a little late. Stephen Hawking played an integral part in the ceremony and said something which I’m sure will become one of his most quoted statements.

Look at the stars, not at your feet.

Stephen Hawking, 2012 London Paralympic Games Opening Ceremonies

Opening Ceremony

Opening Ceremony (Photo credit: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport)

The entire spectacle of the opening ceremonies was breathtaking and something I will never ever forget, but that one seemingly simple sentence appears to have lodged itself solidly into my soul. Humankind sometimes seems to forget that even though we are just  specks when compared to the universe as a whole that we can do great and wondrous sayings. Daily tasks often weigh us down and as adults especially we have a tendency to put aside our dreams as silly, frivolous or unrealistic. No dream is silly. Dream you dream, ignore the naysayers and attackers. Humanity has been to the moon and back and still we doubt ourselves and our dream! Look to the stars, not at your feet! Dreams and the soul are as big as the universe. If the mind can dream it, the soul can hold it and if the soul can hold onto it long enough, against all obstacles there a way forward will eventually appear. My feet and body don’t work the way I would like but since there is no such thing as a standardized human being that is okay. The world is forever changed because you’re in it and that is amazing. For such small specks we make an awful lot of difference. Do not look at your feet, the mundane trivialities that bind your imagination. Look to the stars, see the possibilities, reach for them, even in the face of doubt and fear for I believe that is when we surprise even ourselves. I have watched several Olympic Games in my lifetime but I don’t think I have ever been shown a life lesson during  one.