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The BOMB

Welcome to the BOMB.



The Blog Of the "Mother" of Bandit.
Bandit is my Hairless Chinese Crested--he's the "normal" one. I, on the other hand, am unrepentantly "pet-crazy." You know the type--the spinster who lives in the haunted house three blocks over with 72 cats...okay, so I don't have 72 cats, and my house isn't haunted--but my dogs wardrobe is better than mine! Need I say more? :~)
I've never been consistant at journaling, so the timing of my blogs will be sporadic at best. I just hope they are as entertaining to you as they are to me; however, be forewarned: Most of my blogs will be about The BaldOne. In spite of his Don King "do," I think he's just as cute as any of the Brothers B!
Now, if I can just remember not to get him wet--or feed him after midnight...

About Me

My photo
My bags are packed and I'm always ready to seek out an adventure with Bandit and Moggy in tow. Bandit is my ten year old Chinese Crested, who I frequently call The Bald One or The BaldOne Boy (like he was one of the Baldwin Brothers). Moggy’s full name is Pip-Moggy. He’s my gansta-resuce kitty. I couldn’t decide between Pip (which are the spots on die and domino tiles) and Moggy (or Moggie when I mistakenly thought he was a she), so I combined the two. Moggy refers to the British term for "cat of unknown parentage .” So in essence, I have an almost bald dog, and I’ve named my cat “Spot.”

Fun Stuff (I'm doing now or have done)

  • Artistic Attempts weekly (alternating between Painting With A Twist, That Art Place, and Peniot's Palette).
  • Bunko with the Belton Bunko Babes monthly.
  • Participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge.
  • Spades and Liverpool Rummy with the Spadetts weekly.
  • The Mighty Texas Dog Walk, Austin (fund raiser for Service Dogs, Inc--they train shelter dogs to be Service Dogs, then give them free of charge to people with disabilities.)

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Z Is For Zulu (A to Z Blogging Challenge 2015)

Today is the last day of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. It’s  ze-end. I’ve read some entertaining and enlightening blogs,  and met interesting people along the way.  I’ve learned a  lot this month. Foremost:  blogging is fun, but it’s also work. It’s a challenge to come up with topics and share your thoughts and ideas (or even scarier—your feelings) every day.  I’ve met some wonderfully talented bloggers. I’ve read interesting, enlightening, and entertaining blog posts, I’ve been encouraged by others who have taken the time to drop a line or two. I’ve been exposed to a variety of blogs—the differing blog set-ups, writing styles, and personalities have given me much to consider about my own style, site, and content. It’s been a fun month of learning, and I look forward to doing this again next year. Now to capitalize on this learning and momentum...and continue to consitantly blog.

For this last blog, I wanted something profound or meaningful to blog about. The problem, as always, is what should that be? Coming up with just the right Z-word  presented itself as a puzzle, a conundrum, dare I say it…a challenge…
http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com
Zebra, Zinger, Zaire, Zipper, Zapped, Zany,  Zither…these are just a few of the Z-words filtering through my head. But nothing spoke to me. I wanted something to represent ze-end. But I didn’t want it to be  a made up word like ze-end.  I wanted a real word.
I thought about it before I went to sleep last night, and when I awoke, I was still floundering.  Then, it hit me as I drove to work—I get hit by a lot a great ideas while I drive to work.
Zulu. Not the South African Tribe or the language—the International Radio Communication code word for the letter Z—the last letter of the English alphabet.  The only problem is:  I don’t know anything about the International Radio Communication Code, so how could I write about it?  
I did what I always do when I need information, I Googled it and found the formal name of the code is actually the International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet; however, most people know it as the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) Phonetic Alphabet.  By the way, since I was reading about codes, I found out the Morse Code equivalent of the letter Z is _ _ . .  (dash dash dot dot).
If I had come up with zulu as the inspiration for my last blog earlier, I might have developed a code or a riddle for today—that would be kind of fun…humm…maybe next year…. 
But this year, as the A to Z Blogging Challenge ends,  I’m in a melancholy mood, so I leave you with  my favorite poem format:  the Haiku.

Z-day Haiku
zulu day arrived
a to z blogging  challenge
end is bitter sweet

End code Haiku

dash dash dot dot is
morse code for the letter zee
simply put       ze end



This blog post is my final contribution to the A to Z Blogging Challenge 2015, in which bloggers from around the world, representing every skill level and interest, blog every Monday through Saturday during the month of April, using successive letters of the alphabet as the daily inspiration.  I look forward to participating again next year—hope to see you then if not sooner!



Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Y Is For YOU (A to Z Blogging Challenge 2015)

Today is Y.  As I walked from the parking lot to the hospital this morning I wondered what Y words I knew and could write a about. The only thing that came to mind was the color yellow. Not my favorite. And then it hit me: 

YOU!
I don’t do resolutions; however, this year I decided to set a goal of blogging 2-3 times a week. I’ve had a personal blog now for about 6 years and my posts were extremely irregular.  Outside of a friend or two, no one ever read anything I wrote unless I inadvertently linked it to my Pinterest, FaceBook,  Google+, or Yahoo accounts (I also have a Twitter  account, but don’t  really know how to use it either)—and that suited my shy side just fine. In fact I didn’t even allow moderated comments until this challenge. Now, because you have been so kind and encouraging, I’m actually considering letting all comments be posted—even without moderation. Yikes!  I still am fuzzy on how I actually linked—I think I’m doing the same thing every day, but some days it doesn’t work. Anyway, 2-3 posts a week was my goal.

Until I stumbled onto an article about the A to Z Blogging Challenge. On March 31st.   
With  no preparation or much forethought, I joined up—hours before the deadline.

I had a lot of fun reading the different blogs I found along the way. The Five before and the Five after me, along with several I sought out because I liked the Blog Name. I even was bold enough to seek out a Blog Administrator to offer suggestions.  :~)  I think they do an awesome job—but it’s difficult to find my own blog when the number changes. I’ve never found the search engine the FAQs talk about. So I spent valuable blog reading time trying to locate the five before and after, and the ones I remembered by name. Most days I have to rely on the email alerts for the ones I signed up to receive. So I mentioned it would be nice if the registration had a way to edit the content code before or after we registered (I forgot to assign mine) and if, in addition to an search box on the list page, if the list could also be subdivided by topic. I would love to read more personal blogs, travel blogs, pet blogs, etc. to compare how YOU write. 
I was impressed and inspired by all of YOUR blogs:  some of you blogged by themes as unique as photos you have taken, literary characters, poems, food, Dr. Seuss, Texas towns, places you’ve traveled, activities you participate in, causes you support,  your pets, etc.  It’s been a blast!  You have inspired me.  I’m already thinking and planning what I might do next year.

Before this month, my posts were sporadic, unorganized, and largely read only by me. This month they have been a little less sporadic, and still very unorganized, but YOU have stopped by to read my words from time to time. YOU have left comments. YOU have even followed me—still sort  of disconcerting even though I’m starting to get used to total strangers following my Pinterest Boards (even the ones about Bandit—that really freaked me out the first time I received follow ship notification that a total stranger was following my dog).
YOU have been an encouragement~and I Thank YOU!!  
Now I just need to find a tech-savvy eight year old to teach me about linking before I try this again….


This blog post is my contribution to the A to Z Blogging Challenge 2015, in which bloggers from around the world, representing every skill level and interest, blog every Monday through Saturday during the month of April, using successive letters of the alphabet as the daily inspiration.
We are in the HomeStretch and tomorrow we finnish the challenge with "Z." 

Once again, I have no clue what I'll write about...

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

X Is For Xenophile (A to Z Blogging Challenge, 2015)

Today the letter is X.  I only know a few X words: X-ray (medical); xylophone (musical instrument); Xanadu (mythical musical);  xenophobia (fear of foreigners); and xenophile (lover of things from another country), so I guess I’ll write about  xenophiles.

I have a xenophile friend. She is besotted by all things British—let me count the ways:

·         She writes her book series set in the Cotswold.

·         She owns a Corgi—the Queens dog breed of choice (she owns 5).

·         Her Corgi’s name is Darcy.

·         She had a Sheltie named Chelsea.

·         Her second novel is very

·         She designed her home with distinctive British architecture and decorating touches.

·         She loves to read and teach Shakespeare.

·         She swoons when she hears a really sexy male British accent. (Who am I kidding, so do I!)

·         She has a group of friends that speaketh ye olde English. 

And the list goes on.

Her Brit-session began, or at least intensified, after a High School 3-week graduation trip to England with her Grand Mother.   She fell in love with the country and her people. Years later she has written several books set in the Cotswolds’ with forays into London proper and a sea-side village near Bath.
I might tease her about this obsession, but in truth, I envy it.

I love to travel—stateside, I’ve been to almost every state except Alaska and a few of the Mid-Western ones. Abroad, I lived in The Azores, visited England, France, Israel (twice), Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji.  I still have  a few places I want to visit on my Bucket List (Alaska, Switzerland are my top two).  But I can’t pick my favorite place—in fact, when pressed to do so, I flippantly say, “the next place I visit!” And that’s pretty much true.

I love to plan trips, find out interesting things to do, foods to try, learn about whatever is unique to that part of the world, etc. But after I know what’s available, when I actually get there, I have no loyalty to my plans. I like to dart off on rabbit chases. If I miss a festival it’s okay—especially if I met an interesting local. If I see something not on your typical tour guides agenda—all the better!
Maybe I’m a xenophile after all—perhaps I’m a different breed of xenophile—rather than being a specific xenophile (like my friend),  maybe I’m a general xenophile.  Hummm, I like of like that:  General Xenophile.  Kind of like a Title or a Military Rank.

Maybe I can design a medal or a logo…it could be a winged X.


This blog post is my contribution to the A to Z Blogging Challenge 2015, in which bloggers from around the world, representing every skill level and interest, blog every Monday through Saturday during the month of April, using successive letters of the alphabet as the daily inspiration.
We are in the HomeStretch and tomorrow is "Y." Once again, I have no clue what I'll write about...

Monday, April 27, 2015

W Is For Welcome (A to Z Blogging Challenge 2015)

I had no clue what I wanted to write about for “W.”  The obvious choices were Work, Writing, or Words with Friends. But I really didn’t have anything to say (at least that could be repeated) about any of those things. I love writing, and I range from light-hearted fluff to in-your-face rants. Words with Friends is the only online game I play. Right now I play 5-6 people consistently. All but one is a total stranger. I’ve only chatted with one while I’ve played—and surprisingly she is one of the ones I don’t know. I really like by job most of the time, but right now I’m in a slump at work, so I really don’t want to write about that. And then today, I was catching up on reading some emails and I came across the blog for Literary Agent Janet Reid, the infamous Shark of Shark Query.

I love The Shark. She is so spot-on in her comments. I would love to write a book and have her be my agent. Alas she does not rep what I’m trying to write (it’s a stalled cozy-turned-straight mystery-turned suspense-turned back to cozy-stalled at the 1/3 mark because I don’t know what I’m doing). But if I ever figure it out and get it written, she would be my Dream Agent. She is the QOTKU (Queen Of The Known Universe) who banishes her followers who anger her to Carkoon—some have earned a lifelong residence there. I try not to make too  many comments so I don’t get banished. Although, it’s all in fun and the ones banished really aren’t. You can tell she cares deeply for everyone. Even the banished. I have email alerts from several blogs so I don’t miss them. Even when I’m having a really stressful week and I’m not able to read the blogs, I save them. There are two that are at the forefront of my To Read List. I make time for them before any of the others.  Hers is number one.
In this past week’s Week in Review post she talked about the use of acronyms and their exclusionary effect. I’m an RN. I use acronyms and symbols in my writing all the time, to save time and to expedite getting vital information across to others in the health care setting. When I read her statement, it really hit me. I don’t mean to exclude people. But that is exactly what I am doing. Using an acronym that may or may not be well known is exclusionary. It’s a snub, intended or not. It’s a reminder that you  are not a part of the club. As someone who has never been A-List, I know what it’s  like to be snubbed, to be reminded that I’m not a part of the exclusive club. I don’t want to cause others to have experience that feeling—to be the person on the snubbing end. I don’t want to be the one excluding others.

I want to be the welcoming person—and I usually am. I speak to people and ask for their opinions. I invite people to join in the Reindeer Games. I ask how your day is going,  and I listen to the answer, and if you are going through a rough time I offer to pray for you and I try to remember to ask you how it’s going the next time I see you.
However,  I am very much guilty of using shorthand, symbols, and acronyms—even though I know not everyone knows what they mean. Oh, they will figure it out when they see it in context I think But they don’t. And I continue to use the acronyms—even though I know I’ll have to explain them.  Maybe I need to check  my motives to make sure it’s not just a convenience thing. Maybe I need to make sure I’m not, on some level, wanting to exclude others, “not in my club” as some sort of a sad little pay back ploy.  Thanks for the reminder Janet!

So there you have it. My “W” word is Welcome.
Right about now, I'm visualizing Herve' Villechaize saying , "De plane, Boss! De plane!" and Ricardo Montalban', the “epitome of continental elegance,  charm,  and grace” (IMDb's description,  but one I cannot top), opening his arms wide, and smiling as, week after week, he said to the passengers disembarking from the little Cessna, "Welcome… to Fantasy Island!”

This blog post is my contribution to the A to Z Blogging Challenge 2015, in which bloggers from around the world, representing every skill level and interest, blog every Monday through Saturday during the month of April, using successive letters of the alphabet as the daily inspiration.
We are in the HomeStretch and tomorrow is "X."  Once again, I have no clue what I'll write about...

Sunday, April 26, 2015

V Is For Vacation (A to Z Blogging Challenge 2015)

I'm a little bit late with my "V" post. For simplicity I chose to write a poem. None of my favorite forms wanted to participate so I wrote a non-rhyming acrostic about vacation. It's one of my favorite topics so I'm not sure why nothing would come. Maybe because T stood for travel and I had just written about last summers epic vacation--and maybe because I am clueless what I want to do this year--no timeframe, no ideas and sadly no money. Whatever the reason, I was unable to do justice to the topic. Here's my non-rhyming vacation acrostic:

Non-rhyming Vacation Acrostic

Vacation time is almost here
Alluring is its lack of responsibility
Calling me to a time of ease
Alluding to retirement
Tantalizing and tormenting
If only it were that easy:
Out of the office=
No cares


This blog post is my contribution to the A to Z Blogging Challenge 2015, in which bloggers from around the world, representing every skill level and interest, blog every Monday through Saturday during the month of April, using successive letters of the alphabet as the daily inspiration.

Tomorrow is "W" and as usual, I am clueless what I'll write about. Words With Friends, Work, and Writing are all possibilities, but nothing is screaming to be written yet...

Friday, April 24, 2015

U is for Unbelievable (A to Z Blogging Challenge 2015)

Today is U and I was going to write about my unbelievably wonderful alma mater UMHB (the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor—a private Christian college in Belton Texas); however, it was an UNBELEIVEABLE day at work today—and not in a good way—I am unable focus, so I will write a short verse (haiku being my favorite), and provide a link so you can check out UMHB if you are so inclined:   https://www.umhb.edu/

unbelievable haiku

i’m bereft of words
indefensible drama
inexcusable


This blog post is my contribution to the A to Z Blogging Challenge 2015, in which bloggers from around the world, representing every skill level and interest, blog every Monday through Saturday during the month of April, using successive letters of the alphabet as the daily inspiration.

Tomorrow is V, and I actually have an idea what I’m planning on blogging about…Vacation!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

T Is For Traveling With Bandit (A to Z Blogging Challenge 2015)

I love to travel—and I do so with my Chinese Crested, Bandit. Friends jokingly say he's better traveled than they are—sadly, for some of them that's true because they are waiting for the perfect time or travel partner. I realized a long time ago, there was never going to be a perfect time. And by waiting on travel partners that sometimes didn't come through, I was missing out on participating in activities I wanted to try or visiting locales that interested me. So, I packed a bag, gathered a few things for Bandit—toys, food, treats, leash, medical records, contacts for Veterinarians and Boarding facilities—just in case they might be needed, and we set off on our first adventure. We've not stopped going places.

It takes advance planning when you travel with a dog, but it's not difficult. Many places and activities are becoming pet-friendly. Even 5-star hotels that don't advertise as being pet friendly will bend rules. Not always, but enough times that I now ask, rather than assume they won't.

The first non-local pet-friendly activity Bandit and I attended, was the Barkus Parade in NOLA. Barkus is the canine equivalent of Bacchus (on which my friends Husband, Father, and Brother-in-Law all roll).  Barkus  is New Orleans only sanctioned dog parade during Mardi Gras.  It's also  the most family-friendly French Quarter activity in which you can participate. We go every year.
http://www.mardigrasparadeschedule.com/krewes/barkus/

Another annual long-distance pet-friendly activity Bandit and I attend is the  Atlanta Braves Bark in the Park baseball game. An entire section of seating is reserved for dogs and their humans. Vendors hand out freebies. There are opportunities to commemorate the event with caricature artists, professional photographers, etc. Water dishes and misters abound. Staff bring ice to the seats so pups don’t overheat. And our very first visit, Bandit and I made it on the jumbotron both in candid screen shots, and for a game with prizes–I won a trip to the Golden Moon Casino (part of the Pearl  River Resort)!  We’ve been to Bark in the Park about five times now, and Bandit usually gets a candid jumbotron shot or two.
http://atlanta.braves.mlb.com/atl/ticketing/bark_in_park.jsp
http://www.pearlriveresort.com (Golden Moon Casino)

On an East Coast  trip  we took the Portland Maine Mail Ferry  to the  outlying islands. It was an overcast day, but we had fun meeting the locals commuting to their island homes. I have always dreamed of retiring in a mountain cabin on a river in Maine—accessable only by helicopter; however, island living accessible only by ferry would work.
http://www.cascobaylines.com/maine-boat-tours/

For my 50th birthday, I met a friend in Branson Missouri. Branson itself is not pet-friendly; however, I had a day before my friend arrived, so I took Bandit to Fantastic Caverns in Springfield Missouri—one of only 4 cavern jeep tours (I think in the world, and the only one in the USA).  The cavern has an interesting history—discovered by a dog, they are very pet-friendly. The dog (I think a Golden Retriever) and his person were out hunting, when the dog disappeared behind a bush. On closer exploration, the guy found a small opening, and crawling on hands and knees, he went in after his dog. He found a huge cavern with many rooms. Evidentially, it had been home to a migratory or nocturnal tribe of indigenous Indians—that, until the discovery of the cavern,  no one knew traveled through, or lived in, the area.  If that were not interesting enough, during the prohibition, the largest cavern rooms were used as a honky-tonk and base for a radio station. It was said that  some of Country Westerns Legends sang there.
http://fantasticcaverns.com

Not to ignore the West Cost, this past summer, Bandit and I completed an epic two-week driving tour of the Western half of The Mother Road, drove up the California Coast Highway, and looped back to Texas by way of Oregon, Utah,  and Wyoming—GPS girl didn’t want me traveling the isolated route I had planned—and since my steering had gone out and we had been stuck in a small town for two days waiting on parts and repairs— only to get on the road again and have a tire blow out after I ran over a semi gator (steel belted tire tread)—in almost the same spot that the steering had gone out—I didn’t fight her—we took the scenic tour from Utah to Colorado by way of Wyoming.  And as my reward for following her directions, I found a great coat in a Wyoming  Travel Center. It was a good thing to, because a cold front came in and I was freezing in my shorts. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Along Route 66 we found many roadside attractions, that while not specifically pet-friendly, allowed me to bring Bandit inside for photo ops. And one of my favorite lodging experiences was staying at the WigWam Motel in Holbrook Arizona. It was one motel of a chain of six back in Route 66 heyday.  The last I read, there were three remaining WigWam Motels–Holbrook, San Diego, and someplace in Kentucky.
http://www.galerie-kokopelli.com/wigwam/reserv.html

We also took a detour to drive one of the rims at The Grand Canyon—where I captured a video of a 14-point mule deer with velvet still on his antlers,  and Williams Arizona—a great Route 66 town. And the Flamingo in Las Vegas for the Donny and Marie Show. The Flamingo is pet-friendly, the show was not. Donny was worth the lifelong wait.  And Marie stunned me with her amazing talent. Awesome show.
http://www.nps/grca/
http://www.experiencewilliams.com
http://www.flamingo.caesars.com/LasVegas

When we arrived in Santa Monica, we drove onto the Santa Monica Pier, kind of by mistake—I heard clack, clack, clack and didn’t know what it was. It was starting to get annoying. When I parked the SUV and got out, I looked down and realized we were on the wooden pier. Awesome! While we didn’t ride any of the rides, we did walk around people watching and taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of the small carnival.   Before we got back on the road, we took a selfie in front of the “end of the route” sign. It’s not really the end of Route 66—but the real end is a let down. Besides, the pier is the best picture taking place, so it’s kind of accepted as a sentimental substitute.
http://santamonicapier.org

Next we traveled up California’s Coast Highway—where every bend in the road had an even more scenic view than the last—this is where my retirement plans started to reformulate. I grew up in North West Florida where the beaches are sugar-white. I've been to the east Coast and seen thier beutiful costline. But the cliffs and rocks of the West Coast beaches were stunning. I feel I need to explore them more.  After we reached San Fransisco, we went inland to Petaloma California, where we entered in the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest—with the express intention to lose. We were successful.  In fact,  Bandit was by far the cutest dog there!
http://www.sonoma-marinfair.org/worlds-ugliest-dog/

The last stop on our epic adventure, which came after visiting my Aunt in Oregon, the car problems in Utah, and the scenic trip to Colorado by way of Wyoming, was The Manitou Cliff Dwellings in Manitou Springs Colorado. We met up with a friend—who told me Kevin Bacon was in town filming—and he had been sighted rock climbing the weekend before.  While we did not encounter Mr. Bacon, we found the Manitou Cliff Dwellings and Museum to be very pet-friendly. Alternating weeks you will either be treated to the a Native American  Flute Playeror you will meet the Wolves. The Wolves are pet-friendly as well. I asked before we went. Bandit was allowed “anywhere people can go.”  That’s my definition of pet-friendly—I’m glad it was theirs as well.
http://www.cliffdwellingsmuseum.com/mobile/

My friends often ask me how I hear about all the pet-friendly places I travel to:  Google.  I just google “Pet Friendly Attraction” and sometimes add a location or a date. There is almost always some sort of Pet-Fair going on somewhere. www.BringFido.com/  is also a great resource.  That’s how I originally found out about Canine Camp Getaway, in Lake George New York—which is now on our Bucket List.  The entire camp experience  is dog-centric.  Dog-themed Arts and Crafts, Dog classes ranging from Obedience, to Agility, to Dog First Aide, etc. Dogs are allowed everywhere—and with acres and acres of off-leash roaming room, campers and their FurKids have the freedom to meet and mingle with other like-minded people and their pets. Sounds like Heaven on Earth to this Dog-Mom.
http://www.caninecampgetaway.com

Like I said before, my retirement plan has always centered around a secluded cabin in Maine. But after this last trip, I now have decided when I retire, I will sell my house, buy an RV and Bandit and Moggy (the rescue kitty I adopted this past winter) and  I will travel until they stick us in the ground. A traveling retirement—now that’s my idea of Heaven on Earth!

 

This blog post is my contribution to the A to Z Blogging Challenge 2015, in which bloggers from around the world representing every skill level and interest, blog every Monday through Saturday during the month of April, using the letters of the alphabet as their inspiration.

Tomorrow is U,  and as usual,  I'm clueless as to what I might write about....
http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

S Is For Sleep, Short and Sweet (A to Z Blogging Challenge 2015)

Too many late nights mean the post today is short and sweet—and I can’t think of anything shorter than Haiku or Limerick—or more fun.

Sleep Haiku
presence requested
please come visit me tonight
elusive slumber

Sleep Limerick
Each night I’ve been unable to sleep.
I’ve tried warm milk and counting sheep.
Without some rest soon
I’ll go looney-tunes
And fall right off into the deep!

 
When I walked Bandit this morning I thought of a really cute Limerick—but I didn’t take paper and pen—and of course it’s hiding from my mind now.



This blog post is my contribution to the A to Z Blogging Challenge 2015, in which bloggers from around the world representing every skill level and interest, blog every Monday through Saturday during the month of April, using the letters of the alphabet as their inspiration. Tomorrow is T,  and as usual,  I'm clueless as to what I might write about....
http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/
 
 

R is for Rondeau (A to Z Blogging Challenge 2015)

Rondeau is a Medieval and Renaissance form of French Poetry.  Depending upon the time-frame and locale it might be 12 to 15 lines. In several forms I found, the first 1to 2 lines are also the refrain.  The refrain was typically repeated a little past halfway and then again at the very last. In one form I found the refrain was the first 1-3 words of the first line--with the rhyme pattern being a double repeat (Aa-bb-aa-ab-bb-aa-A).  But then I found other patterns that alternated (AB-ba-ab-ba-AB-ba-A). The patterns were rather confusing for me. Maybe because my knee pain was causing me to lose my concentration. Or maybe because I sometimes am very concrete and metered. One thing they all seemed to agree in was thus:  Any subject that you choose is absolutely fine.  It really doesn't matter. 

Like I said, the more I looked, the more confused I became. I guess once the poets learned (or wrote) the rules, they set about to breaking them--which is how art grows. Actually, it's how anything grows. So maybe my R is really about Rebellion. 

Rebellion is not a bad thing per se. It's a step toward independence, free-thinking, creation. 

Or maybe my R is about both the Rondeau and Rebellion.  What if I combined them?  

So here is my very own 13-line Rebellion Rondeau pattern:  Aa-bb-ab-Aa-ab-bb-A


Rebellion Rondeau--
Is my poem for you.
Only thirteen lines
With unique pattern rhymes:
Double rhymes times two
Then a split suits me fine.  
Rebellion Rondeau--
A new pattern you'll view. 
At the middle and last line
The Refrain is the glue.
When the patterns combine-
Form a one-of-a-kind-
Rebellion Rondeau--


This blog post is my contribution to the A to Z Blogging Challenge 2015, in which bloggers from around the world representing every skill level and interest, blog every Monday through Saturday during the month of April, using the letters of the alphabet as the inspiration. 
Tomorrow is S.  Right now S stands for sleep






Monday, April 20, 2015

Q Is For Quotes (A to Z Blogging Challenge 2015)

Q is for Quotes.  I couldn’t decide which quote, so I’m making a list of some of my favorites and telling you why.

One of my favorite people to quote is Dr. Seuss—and it’s even more fun because his quotes are frequently  rhymes. Since I love to read and travel I especially  liked this quote:

The more that you read,
the more that you'll know.
The more that you learn,
the more places you'll go. 
Dr. Seuss

Of course, he was referring to the transportation that takes place in your mind as you read and imagine possibilities and not necessarily for the physical travel.  But I still like it.

In reading quotes for this post I came across an Australian Aboriginal Proverb that is very close to  a Proverb I like in the Bible:

Those who lose dreaming are lost.
Australian Aboriginal Proverb

I had heard the Bible version of this proverb a long time ago, but every time I tried to find it, I couldn’t. I finally realized why I couldn’t find it two weeks ago when my Pastor quoted it—I prefer the NIV (New International Version) and this verse, is slightly changed—unfortunately the key words I looked it up by:  vision and perish,  were the words that were changed. I originally heard it in the King James Version (KJV).  The verse is; 
 
Where there is no vision the people perish…
Proverbs 29:18a

You have to have a vision. But equally important is being able to problem solve. Critical Thinking is a skill we need to instill in our children—rather than teaching to test (teaching just to pass  a specific test).

When I was working on my Masters, I took a Problem Solving class and one of the first activities we did was to figure out a riddle about how to get Missionaries safely across the piranha infested river with only two canoes and a bunch of Cannibals. The solution involved taking steps that to the casual observer, might appear to be going backward.  This of course, was a lesson that sometimes you have to take a few steps back in order to advance.  What appears to be a set-back, may in fact advance you in the long run. That’s a great lesson to learn. Military leaders and sports coaches, among others,  use this strategy. It’s not one I can stomach easily, because I want to always make forward progress.  But it is a fact of life and once you learn it, those temporary setbacks, don’t have the paralyzing  power that they might have if you viewed backward motion as always being negative.   John Clarke said it this way:

Go back a little to leap further.
John Clarke

Just like I have several favorite Dr. Seuss quotes, Thomas Edison is someone else who said several things I like—most have to do with working hard as the foundation to success. But he also has several quotes about failure. You wouldn’t think he would know anything about failure—at least I never thought of it, but he had his share of failures—just as we all have. Here are three  of my favorites:

I failed my way to success.
Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do doesn't mean it's useless.
I have not failed, I've just found 10,000 ways that will not work.
Thomas Edison.

While I was looking for some of my favorite failure quotes I came across many who said the same thing. It seems failure is rampant—even among the successful. That gives me hope.  Thomas Bailey Aldrich and Theodore Roosevelt,  said it best:

They fail, and they alone, who have not striven.
Thomas Bailey Aldrich

It is hard to fail, but it is worse to have never to have tried to succeed.
Theodore Roosevelt

And what about turning failure into success? I love a good come-back-from-behind story.  I root for the underdog—unless they are playing the Cowboys or the Saints (in that order).  Henry Ford  was someone that knew how to turn a failure into a success. He said:

One who fears failure limits his activities. Failure is only the opportunity to more intelligently begin again.
Henry Ford

Okay, so everyone fails at something, but how do you turn it around? When I was in Nursing School, one of my jobs was to work in the Campus Health Center, which was run by an RN, named Margret Petrick. Ms. Petrick was also an artist and loved to paint. I told her I couldn’t paint and made too many mistakes. She quickly corrected me and said, “There are no mistakes—only opportunities for embellishment.”  I don’t know if she was quoting someone else or not, but I loved that sentiment and I have employed it myself on a number of occasions—especially since I’ve recently become very interested in art of many different media. James Joyce knew this.  He said:

Mistakes are the portals for discovery.
James Joyce

Since I’m thinking of Ms. Petrick and her painting advise, I have to end with the best Dr.  Seuss quote—especially for anyone who creates anything. I love to write and I’m learning to draw, paint, work with clay, and take photos. I love the creative process. In every single instance, when I am creating something I come to a place, anywhere from two-thirds to three-fourths of the way through, when I look at whatever I am creating and I think This is crap!  There is no saving this! However, I have found if I keep on doing whatever it is, be it writing or painting, etc., if I work through the wall of negativity, I invariably find I have created something I like. Dr. Seuss said it this way:

Everything stinks 'til it's finished.
Dr. Seuss

So turn those backward steps into a forward motion, embellish your mistakes, and make your vision a reality!


This blog post ismy contirbution to the A to Z Blogging Challenge 2015, in which Bloggers from around the world, representing every skill level and interest,  blog every Monday through Saturday during the month of April, using the letters of the alphabet as their inspirtaiton. Tommorrow is the letter R and as usual I'm clueless as to what I might write about...

Saturday, April 18, 2015

P Is For Painting (A to Z Blogging Challenge 2015)

I've recently started to paint. Actually, I've been delving into all areas of art. I have tagged my favorite places to practice and learn about art:  Painting With A Twist, Peniot's Palette, That Art Place Belton.  I have also taken Community Education Classes at my local High School and the Cultural Arts Center. Each community has offerings for people of all talent levels and ages. I hope you are aware of those in your community.

I have no talent for art. But I have tons of fun. Don't get me wrong, there comes a time in every project, whether it be acrylic on canvas, charcoal line drawings, clay or premade ceramics, etc., where I hit a wall. I liken it to the wall runners hit. For me it usually stops me in my tracks about two thirds of the way through the project. I look at it and think, This is crap. There is no salvaging this mess. But I have found, if I step back--if I walk away for a minute or two--I can regain perspective. Even when I come back and see it really is crap, if I sit back down and continue to work through the wall, I almost always love the final result.

That's not to say it's without imperfection--there are plenty of those! But those imperfections teach me what to do next time. What to avoid next time. And sometimes, more often than not, the imperfection is embraced. It is included in the new design. The new vision. As is.

I promised a light-hearted poem today. For me, the only poem more fun than a Haiku is a Limerick--but alas the Limerick would not reveal itself.  Instead, I wrote a couple of Haiku.  The Haiku say the same thing--I just couldn't decide which one I liked better, so here are both Haiku and an Acrostik Poem on painting (they are more introspective than the lighthearted romp of a limerick I had hoped for):

painting haiku 1

painting is like life
single brush strokes combining
to compose a whole


painting haiku 2

brush strokes life events
combined composing a whole
art imitates life


Painting Acrostic 


Painting is my new obsession
Although I have little talent.
Imitating the Masters with each new lesson--
New techniques will be mine if I'm valiant.
Then one day I will look back and say,
have learned about life through art. 
New canvas is like a fresh new day--
Grabbing both, I painted with heart!


This post is my contribution to the A to Z Blogging Challenge 2015, in which bloggers all over the world take the challenge to post every Monday through Saturday during the month of  April using the successive letters of the alphabet as their inspiration. Tomorrow is Sunday. On Monday the post will be Q.

I can only imagine what Q will bring.....

Friday, April 17, 2015

O Is For Oppression (A to Z Blogging Challenge 2015)

I just watched a YouTube video about the Star Wars movie to be released this December. As I often do, I check out the related videos. I'm really unsure how they relate, but a couple of videos down, I came across a video with an obviously inflammatory title proclaiming   "Seed sharing libraries illegal in the United States."  

I usually don't bite, but being unable to make any connection, I was curious and clicked on the link.  The show Growing Your Greens was hosted by John Kohler. It appeared to be something one of my health-conscious, garden-loving friends might find interesting, so I watched. I learned that the Department of Agriculture has lost it's mind, or gotten too big for it's britches. Or both.

In the states of  Pennsylvania, Maryland, Nebraska, and Minnesota it is illegal for individuals to partake in a free seed library. They have taken Corporate Seed Laws and applied them to individuals. Unbelievable.  

I grew up in the '70s and had participated in a community garden. But I had never heard of a free seed library. That intrigued me.  There are currently 350 seed sharing libraries in 46 states where individuals can check out free seeds, learn how to grow them, and at the end of the harvest return new seeds to the library. Growing your own food has many benefits: food safety, food security, access to fresh food, locally grown seeds adapt to the climate and soil--ever important in today's changing climate systems, and the abundance of food promotes a culture of abundance and sharing, and there is cultural and generational significance as the stories behind the seeds and harvest are shared.

I'm not a gardner; however, knowing that Big Brother wants  to stop this and have a say in telling me I can't share seeds makes me want to do just that!

Some of the websites mentioned in John Kohler's video on www.growingyourgreens.com included:

www.seedlibraries.net (to locate a seed library in your neck of the woods, or learn how to start one).

www.seedmatters.org (to sign  the petition to keep free seed sharing libraries legal).

www.theselc.org (the sustainable economy law center--a lawyer working on the fight is from here).

If you are interested in learning more, I encourage you to visit one or more of the sites above.

Telling a home gardener  that sharing seeds that are the kin of Great-Aunt Tilly's pole beans with friends or neighbors, and receiving the seeds from the friend or neighbors garden in return is illegal, unless the seeds are processed like the major seed companies have to process the seeds they sell, places a huge financial burden on hobby gardners and individual growers, and more importantly to me, is a huge infringement on my personal freedom.

One definition of Oppression is "an overuse of governmental power."

Any form of oppression is unacceptable.


http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/This post is part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge 2015 where bloggers world-wide blog a new, successive letter of the alphabet each Monday through Saturday during the month of April. Tomorrow, April 18th, the letter will be P.  Unless I get my dander up about something else, I plan on writing something light-hearted about my new painting obsession.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

N Is For No Clue (A to Z Blogging Challenge 2015)

I clearly have no clue as to how our alphabet works. Yesterday at the end of my blog post I said today was L for Limerick—because evidently I was under the impression that our alphabet goes backwards. That, and I forgot I blogged on L is for Love the day before.  

I attribute my clueless state to the recent lack of sleep related to my procrastination in gathering tax documents until the last possible minute—and I do mean last possible minute.  I completed the taxes in the wee hours the morning of the 15th, and then made a copy at work. I get off work at 4pm (when I get off on time) and the post office closes at 4:30. It’s usually a 10-15 minute hike out to the car since I park in the back-forty and have to go around construction work.
As I drove to the Post Office at 4:20, I glance down at my gas gauge, thinking I should still have at least 10 miles to go before I hit empty.  Nope. I forgot I came the back way to work, and although it’s a quicker trip because there is less construction delays, it’s a longer route. 

My gas read 0 miles to empty.
Ack! I audibly gasped and pulled into the nearest gas station—and, because I’m clueless and sleep-deprived, I did the walk of shame—I’m still not used to my gas tank being on the wrong side.  Luckily there was an appropriate pump available so  I swung around to that pump and pumped gas really fast.
Back on the road, I rechecked the clock. It was going to be close, but I could still make it.

As it happened, I pulled in at 4:29 with just seconds before they locked the door.
At first the Post Mistress tried to tell me to just put it in the box and it will get the date stamp, but then she saw the yellow pick-up stub I had and relented. 

So the taxes are in the mail—and I have received my books from my favorite bestselling author Traci Borum.  Life is good. 
And I actually do know that L comes before M, and N comes after.  Of course, that knowledge may be a direct result of the 11 hours of sleep I received last night.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

M Is for Money and Moggy (A to Z Blogging Challenge 2015)

M is for Money because today is Tax Day. Back in President Clinton's reign there was a change to the tax system. The government put out calculators or tables to help people estimate what their taxes would be—to ensure their deductions were on track.  Mine were not. I asked Human Resources to take out an additional $25 per pay period to get me on track.

Until then I had always received a small refund. Which is good because I never have money to pay in. The refund usually went toward a new tire or other car repair.
HR never enacted my request.  I made a second request.
So of course,  brilliant scholars that they were, they enacted both requests.  I ended up getting a nice little sum back on my refund. I decided to keep that deduction on my pay-check even when I changed jobs. 

People always chide me and remind me that I could place that money in my bank and draw interest rather than letting Uncle Sam use it all year. But I know me. I'd spend it, not have money to pay my taxes, and end up in Debtors Prison.  Besides,  even if by some  miracle I actually managed to  keep it my bank all year,  it's not going to make me rich off the interest.  My piece of mind and not having to pay extra taxes is worth the pennies in lost interest to me.
Since I know I’m getting a refund each year, albeit a small one, I'm somewhat haphazard in my deduction record keeping.  I generally file EZ. But this past year I had emergency surgery and a few other deductible expenses, so I sort-of kept a few receipts.  I generally know the approximate location of the paperwork; however, this year I waited way too late to start looking. I've averaged two hours and change each night in sleep. The rest of the time I've been going through boxes and drawers, and boxes and closets, and boxes and even more boxes.  I finally found what I sought in the second to last box. I'm happy to report I'm through with my taxes. And I still have the entire day to get them mailed off. And I even have a stamp… I think.

M is also for Moggy.  This past October I left Choir Rehearsal on the coldest night of the year here in Central Texas—it was in the teens. As I left I heard a pitiful meow. I searched until I found it's source—a tiny white kitten with black tipped ears, tail, and three spots on her head. She was wild and uncatchable by me with my bad back and gimpy knee. I snagged a  jogger as he passed by and enlisted his assistance. Unfortunately,  we were unsuccessful.
I went to the store and bought canned kitten food. She would have nothing to do with either of us, so I placed  it in a more sheltered location and left to go do laundry. At the laundromat I found a torn and stained t-shirt. I took it to the kitten.  She still would have nothing to do with me; however, she had eaten about half of the canned food, so I fashioned the t-shirt into a bed and once again left.

By this tube it was shift change and the graveyard police were coming on duty. I went to the police department and told them if they could catch her, I would find her a home. They said they would catch her. But even they were unsuccessful.
The next day I called our Facilities Manager at Church and told him about the kitten and where I had last seen her. He sent the Interns on a kitten catching assignment, and she was finally caught.

I brought her home and she finally calmed down when I held her on my chest. Even though I had already found a home for her, I started calling her "Pip" because the spots on her head reminded me of the pips (spots) on die or domino tiles.
She was, and still is, a little pip, but when I was researching cat markings I wondered if she had a little Siamese.  She doesn't. Her eyes are green. I wished she was, because I would have named her "Meezer" (a nickname for Siamese).

However, I found a site that talked about Moggies  and liked that even better—especially when I learned about the meaning of the name.
Moggie is British slang for Margaret or Maggie. It's also the British term for a "cat of unknown parentage"—the feline equivalent of the canine mongrel. 

Since I liked both names her formal name for the Veterinarian records became the very ostentatious Pip de la Moggie.  
Until, my oh-so-pleased-with-himself Veterinarian informed me she, is a he. He's now named Pip-Moggy  as if he were a gangsta rapper. He is gangsta. So gangsta I have given Bandit, my soon-to be ten year old Chinese Crested permission to put Moggy in his place when he attacks Bandit's paws.

When Bandit looks at me with soulful eyes that ask Wasn't I enough? I lavish love and treats on him, take him to the dog park or PetCo (where he is the center of the known universe), and I remind him he will always be Top Dog.
Their sibling rivalry is as bad as that of fur-less  kids.

 
Tomorrow is L—I think it’s just about Limerick-time! http://www.a-tozchallenge.com/http://www.a-tozchallenge.com/

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

L Is For Love (A to Z Blogging Challenge 2015) plus a bonus clogyrnach

I'm on a clogyrnach kick and the 8a-8a-5a-5b-3b-3a rhyme scheme is starting to grow on me. A little.
My first clogyrnach is about love:

Loves Clogyrnach

Love is what makes the world go 'round.
It fuels everything I have found.
It makes the heart glad,
does away with sad,
changes bad.
Life unbound.


First thing this morning (like 12:01-ish) I read the Mainely Write blog submission for L. Donna Smith has a poetry theme based on her photos of signs for her A to Z Blogging Challenge 2015. Her post this morning dealt with Lords Redemption Center, a boarded up shambles of a shack. This picture and post is the inspiration for my bonus clogyrnach:

The Lords Redemption Clogyrnach

Freedom from sin for you and me
The price was paid upon the tree
The Bible has taught
Our works are for naught.
Never bought--It is free.

Here is the link to her L:

http://mainelywrite.blogspot.com/2015/04/l-is-for-lords-redemption-center.html

And here is a generic link to her  blog:

Http://mainelywrite.blogspot.com.

I hope the links work. They do in my draft.







http://mainelywrite.blogspot.com/

Monday, April 13, 2015

K Is For Kill: A Crude First Attempt at Colgyrnach (A to Z Blogging Challenge 2015)


While participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge 2015 I came across a form of poetry I had never hear of:  Clogyrnach (clog-ir-nach). Colgyrnach has six lines with a distinct syllable and rhyme pattern:
8a-8b-5a-5b-3a-3b

The last two lines may be combined into a single line; however, the rhyme-syllable pattern must remain intact.

I’ll be honest, I prefer the last line to be combined. Even still, it trips up my tongue. Up until the final line it tastes like a Limerick (which I love). I’m going to play with this and see if I can come up with something better, but for now here is my first crude Colgyrnach attempt:

Monday Quitting Time Colgyrnach
My mind is frazzled as can be
Mondays are going to kill me
O’er details galore
My poor brain will poor
—‘til  at four,  I will flee.

BTW, I'm cheating and using the "kill" in the Colgyrnach as my "K" for today.

J Is For Jury Duty (A to Z Blogger Challenge 2015)


My presence is requested--nay, required. I have once again been summoned. This is the seventh time this honor has been bestowed upon me. However my pick record is quite dismal.

The first time I was a barely legal kid living in Florida. The Friday before I was to report I called the number provided but there was no answer. I continued to call all weekend; but there was never an answer; never an outgoing message. 'I must be needed,' I reasoned, and I was elated. However, Fate is sometimes cruel. I, along with numerous others, arrived on Monday and we were met with looks normally bestowed on those claiming to see aliens flying in the sky, and rude comments like, “Why didn’t you call? You are not needed! Go away!”   Everyone was relived except me. I believe Jury Duty is an important aspect of our legal system and I wanted to be picked. Everyone deserves a trial by their peers. The elation I had been riding quickly crashed and burned. My only consolation was the prorated service check for five dollars and change—nothing of consequence—the price of a tank of ‘70s gas for my VW Bug. However, multiplied by several hundred people, they soon discovered not airing the message was a costly mistake.

The second time I received my invitation to a Florida trial, I  was excused because I was a Nursing Student in the state of Texas.

"The third times a charm," or so I thought. The Texas phone system worked and I was excused. My number, in the 200s, was too high.

The fourth time I dressed in my Sunday Best and arrived early to ensure I received a coveted parking space. I chatted with everyone I knew. I flitted around as if I was at a cocktail party. had high hopes of being picked. Surely this would be my year.

I was excused because I knew and had worked with three of the other prospective jurors. I left dejected. My former coworkers and acquaintances were jubilant. At this point I asked a lawyer how I could make myself become a more attractive juror. He said I wasn't picked because was too eager.

The fifth time I slouched as I read my book.  I ignored my surroundings. When announcements were made, I raised my eyes and disdainfully looked at the speaker, stifled a yawn, sighed and returned to my reading. Beneath my facade of boredom my tummy was tied in knots.  There were two cases being tried. One was a Veteran against a Business Owner, the second was a Competency Hearing. Either would be interesting to me, but because I had worked as a Psych Nurse for 6 1/2 years I really wanted the Competency Hearing.

I made it through the questions and waited during the break as both sides picked and struck out the prospects one by one.

When the lawyers filed back in to tell us their selections we were told most of us were being relieved of duty—they settled the Veterans case, and only the following Jurors would go across the street to the judges chambers for the Competency Hearing. I wasn't among the chosen. I left with mixed emotions. Dejection at once again missing the cut. And excitement. It was the closest I'd ever come.

Then I experienced a break of ten years during which  I wasn't even invited to the dance. All my friends and coworkers were. They even served on Grand Juries. Each and every one of them griped and complained about it and tried to finagle a way out of performing their civic duty. I  wanted to serve my community and wasn't even being considered. It seemed there was no justice in the Justice System.

The sixth summons arrived after a decade of silence.  In breathless anticipation I opened the summons to serve. Jury Duty had eluded me for  36 years—would this finally be my year? Hope sprang eternal. Realistically  I knew it would be a long shot—especially since the lottery number I drew was the highest I had ever drawn; however, masquerading as a cockeyed-optimistic-Pollyanna, I hoped this time would be different. I would wait three weeks before I could call to see if I needed to attend the screening process.

During the intervening three weeks, I prepared myself. The first week, I had a long overdue mani-pedi. The second week, I scoped out the new location—we had built a huge Criminal Justice Complex since the last time my number was drawn. The third week I planned what I would wear. I didn’t like the plan. So I bought something new. I picked out a book to read during the mind-numbing wait I knew I would endure prior to the final selection process. I practiced my “bored look” so I wouldn't appear too eager. I alerted my colleagues and rearranged my work schedule to accommodate my service. I was ready—ahead of time. Way ahead…and I still didn’t know if I would be needed. I would not find out until after the close of business on Friday.

After an eternity of waiting, Friday arrived. I worked through the longest workday of my life. And then I counted the sixty minutes until 5 pm. Each second took a lifetime to tick. Finally it was “after five.” To be exact, it was 5:01 p.m.

Trembling I dialed the number as instructed. The phone rang. I held my breath, hopeful this would be my time to serve. The phone rang again. I worried a hangnail—this really needs to be my time—I want to serve. I have to serve. I yearn to serve. The third time it rang, I gnawed a fingernail—ruining my perfectly good three week old manicure—and the snotty voice inside my head wondered, ‘did they forget to leave the recording on?’ It had happened to me before. And now, thirty-five years later, I feared it had happened again.

The phone rang a fourth time...Nothing. I pulled the phone away from my ear, looked at it, and spoke to it incredulously, “it’s not like anyone has to move or reach to pick you up! Surely, the outgoing message will kick in soon—don’t all answering machine recorders kick in by the fourth ring?” Mockingly, it rang a fifth time. A sigh escaped my lips. I was still a contender, but I would have to wait until Monday to learn my fate. My eyes glazed over like the lifeless eyes of a hopeless worker in a dead end job. I let the phone ring one more time. Just in case. Finally, after the sixth ring, the automated voice answered.

I paced the room like a caged lion as I listened half-heartedly to the regular outgoing announcements instructing listeners, “If you want thus-and-such, do this. If you are thus-and-so, go here. If you need to speak with so-and-so, call this number.” Finally, the flat and emotionless automated voice intoned the message I had been waiting three long weeks to hear, “Numbers 1-600 are required to report.”

I sucked all the air in the room into my lungs and froze in my tracks. Had my ears deceived me? “Required to Report”—that phrase was as sweet as early morning birdsong. Against the odds, the opportunity to serve my community was mine. I made the First Cut. I was required to report.

The morning of Jury Selection I arrived and filled out my summons while I waited in the weapons search line. Then I waited in the hallway while they tried to fit all 600 of us in the room. Several were asked to sit at the lawyers tables and in the jury box. Finally, the process began. I was 52 jurors away from the cut off. Even though there were several cases to be tried, I had no hope of making it any farther.

They broke us into 6 groups—the sixth group was excused to go home. The remaining five were scattered throughout the complex. I was the third person to be called in my group— when a Minister that I volunteered with on the Welcome Committee at my Church had been the second my chances had plummeted.   Solidifying the unlikelihood of my being picked, three prospective jurors after I was called a Psychiatrist I worked with was called.  I resignedly  thought to myself, "Maybe next time."

We entered the Court Room in the numbered order.  The lawyers polled us. They never asked if we knew anyone in the room. I began to have a glimmer of hope.

After a break, in which the lawyers whittled away at the jury pool—and one of the other groups was released because they had settled out of court— we were summoned back in and informed of who had made the cut. Prospective Juror Number 2 (my Minister) became Juror Number 1.  I started packing up my stuff. Then they called my number. I was Juror Number 2!

My giddiness at being chosen quickly turned into a somber realization  that I had a huge responsibility heaped on my shoulders. I was at once humbled. The day wasn't about me and my desire to be on a jury. It was about doing the right thing. Of judging with wisdom and discernment.  As I truly comprehended that the quality of life for another person hung in the balance I felt the weight of responsibility on my shoulders.

This week, as I looked at my seventh summons,  the memories of the past 36 years flooded through me.

I'm still eager to participate in the legal system; however, this time I'm acutely aware of the overwhelming privilege  and responsibility we call Jury Duty.

This time I know there will be difficult decisions to be made—decisions that will effect other people. Decisions that will determine freedom or incarceration.

This time my trembling hands opened the envelope and I swallowed convulsively as I learned I am Prospective Juror #215.