I DID IT!

You may remember that last Saturday I wanted to post several videos to show you a day in my life.  Glitches galore, and I finally got it figured out this morning with the help of fellow Word Press blogger Mana Apoorva.  Thanks, Mana 🙂

If you’re interested, you can go see the finished result here.

Happy Friday!  Happy July !

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/pleasure/

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Mona

Day 30 Thirty Books

June 30, 1936. Margaret Mitchell’s book, Gone with the Wind, was published. 

Your last Challenge!

Have you dreamed of writing a novel? Set a timer for thirty minutes and free write! Write whatever comes to mind, then take just a few moments to do some simple editing such as correcting grammar and spelling.

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Mona woke slowly, enjoying the breeze flirting with the sheer curtains at the west-facing window.  It was just barely light outside, but the birds were singing as if their little throats simply couldn’t contain their joy.  She loved the sweet smell of the lavender planted just outside the bedroom window.  It had been there for more years than she cared to remember. Lovely lavender.

Stretching slowly, as she had learned to do when her joints began to ache with arthritis, she reached her right arm across to Ned’s side of the bed and touched. . . .

Nothing.

“Oh, dear God, when will I stop that!”  She struggled with the lump in her throat, blinking back hot tears.  “I will NOT cry this morning,” she promised herself. “Will. Not. Cry.”

She rolled to her left side, dropping her legs over the edge of the bed and searching for her slippers.  Sitting up now, she stared down at the floor and thought about the coming day. She couldn’t sit there very long, though, because she was needing the bathroom.  These days, she obeyed that call right away.

As she rinsed her cleansing cream off her face, she did something she hadn’t done in some time. She stopped to examine her skin. Yes, all the wrinkles and creases, and the droopy turkey wattles under her chin were still there, at least to her critical eye. She creamed it all faithfully, and people told her she didn’t look her age.

She looked into her own eyes, wondering what other people saw when they looked at her. Did they see her aching loneliness?  Did they see the fear she often felt? Did they see how desperately she wished she could have had just one more morning with Ned?  Or did they see a woman who was confident, in control, dealing with life as it came?

It was hard to know.  She masked her true feelings quite well, a skill she’d learned so long ago as she grew up in a home where Dad was gone most of the time and Mom was just too worn out to want to listen to a young girl’s growing pains.  Meeting Ned had changed her life from loneliness to loveliness. She missed him with a deep wanting that no one knew, and she was unable to share it with anyone else.

Well.  Time to get ready for the day. Mona padded off to the kitchen, enjoying the aroma of the coffee she’d prepared the night before.  The timed coffee maker had been one of Ned’s last gifts.  He never liked coffee himself, but he knew she loved her morning brew. Using the machine was her daily tribute to Ned’s thoughtfulness.

She got a mini-bagel out of the freezer.  Half the carbs of a regular-sized bagel, she enjoyed one a couple of times each week with cream cheese and a little spoon of jelly.  Cherry jelly today. She looked forward to that pop of flavor.

She doctored her coffee with raw sugar and a dollop of half and half,  took her bagel out of the toaster and loaded it up, then carried everything to her chair in the living room. Her habit for more years than she could count, she set her breakfast down on the tray beside her chair, put a CD in the Bose to accompany her morning, and sat down to the strains of Vivaldi. Putting her feet up on the hassock, she leaned back and closed her eyes just for a few moments. And suddenly she could have sworn that Ned was right there, looking at her, smiling the way he did when her feet were bare and he was considering giving them a tickle.

Startled, she opened her eyes and. . . . well, of course, there was no one.  No one at all. She broke her vow not to cry, but she didn’t let it last very long.  Just a few seconds.  Wiping her eyes with the tissue in her pocket, she reached for the Bible that was always near her chair. She took great comfort just from the feel of the old Book, its worn leather cover, even the smell of the pages as she flipped over to the the place she’d stopped the day before.

Philippians had been her favorite book since she’d been in her 30’s and worked so hard to memorize the four chapters.  She was reading there now, and she smoothed the pages as she traveled back in time over 30 years ago.

There would have been four young people in their various rooms.  Ned would have been outdoors already on such a beautiful spring morning, checking the roses for Japanese beetles and making sure the  raspberries weren’t being all picked off by the birds.  The kids wouldn’t be up yet.  She treasured this early morning time when the house was quiet, before the bustle of getting up, showered, off to school turned her morning into  constant motion. If she closed her eyes again and listened carefully, she could hear them moving around in their rooms as they woke up, hit the shower, used the blow-dryer, and came out to do whatever their assigned duty was for that week.  One would set about making lunches; one would take care of the dog; one would check laundry and do whatever needed doing; and one would police the living area, kitchen, and bathrooms.

They’d been good kids.  Their cooperation made it possible for her to work full time, teaching history and English and some other things  as well.

Again, she snapped out of her reverie with tears trickling down her cheeks. Boy. She had to stop this.

She let her eyes drift over the pages until they rested on the passage she’d read yesterday.  Taking another sip of the coffee in her mug, she settled down to read  the next chapter.

June 30 Challenge

P.S.  I want to thank you, Kathleen Duncan, for the time and thought you put into this challenge for the month of June.  I can hardly believe we’re at the end of it!  I enjoyed it, enjoyed reading what others have done, enjoyed stretching myself a little more than usual. 

Today’s challenge  made me come face to face with  something I need to continue working on.  What I’ve written here is a complete revision of what I’d already started, and  I think it’s a little better than it was.  I’d love to take Mona through the next few months of her life, so thanks for getting me moving.  

Pennsylvania Train

Day 29 Track Twenty-nine

June 29, 1896. The St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad Company (predecessor of the St. Louis – San Francisco Railway) is incorporated.

In the old Glen Miller song “The Chattanooga Choo Choo” the train departs on Track 29.

Have you ever ridden a train? Write a post about a train. Tell us about train ride you have taken or one you’d like to take. Make up a story about a train or write a poem featuring a train. Share pictures of trains. Your choice!

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It’s been over 30 years since I took a train trip of any length. There’s a short jaunt from Colmar Station to Philly, but I’ve done that only once, to go to the Flower Show.

The longer trip was from Charlotte, NC to Philly.  I’d been visiting my mom and dad, had a whole glorious week on my own, no kids or any responsibility.  Spent a week in their little South Carolina town where my dad was  the pastor of a Baptist church.  It was a great visit, but I was missing my husband and kids, and was ready to go. We had arranged for me to go home on the train.

Dad drove me to the station, and he wasn’t a bit happy about leaving me there alone when we learned there was going to be a two-hour delay. So we found some seats and settled in to wait out the time. Actually, I’ve always been thankful for that delay.  It was unusual for me to be able to just talk with Dad, with no one else around. He was a smart man, and had learned a great deal about human nature.

As we sat there, I noticed a particularly distinguished black man dressed completely in white. He was handsome, and  had an athletic look about him. He was carrying a bag that obviously contained more than one tennis racket.

And suddenly I realized that I was looking at the famous Arthur Ashe, huge tennis star!  How cool was that! I’m not an autograph seeker, so I didn’t join those who swarmed around him.  He was gracious and patient with all of them.

ARTHUR ASHE BIOGRAPHY TO DEBUT ON TENNIS CHANNEL DURING US OPEN ...

Finally it was time to board, and to be bored. This train traveled up the countryside in the back end of most of the towns, and there really wasn’t much to see.  The countryside was pretty most of the way, but I became quite restless.  My seatmate snored throughout the trip, and I think I fell asleep too. Tried to read, but the motion of the bumpetybump tracks made me carsick.  On the train.  Trainsick?

Well, finally we pulled into the 30th Street Station, and I’ve never been more relieved to  be nearly home.

I was especially pleased to hear the stories my kids had to tell of life with Dad, without Mom. My daughter, a kindergartner, told about taking her lunch out of her Strawberry Shortcake lunch box and trying to remove the sandwich from the plastic baggie. It was difficult because, as she explained to her teacher, “My daddy puts the peanut butter on the outside of the sandwich!” She was quite proud that he’d been so ingenious, and happily enjoyed the mess.

The poor man tried to explain that he’d just forgotten to put the top slice on the sandwich but he forgot because he was in such a hurry. . . . .but I was laughing hysterically, so he gave up.  ROFLMAO animated emoticon

June 29 Challenge

Games

Day 28 Twenty-eight Dominoes

June 28, 1914. Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, was assassinated in Sarajevo along with his wife, Duchess Sophie. This assassinated started a domino effect resulting in World War I.

There are 28 dominoes in a full set of dominoes. Do you like to play dominoes? Do you like to play games? Why or Why not? What are your favorite games? Tell us about a time you played a game with friends or family.

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I grew up playing MonopolyCootie, Sorry,  and others I’m sure I’m forgetting.  Checkers.  Chinese Checkers.  Password.  We also played charades, and Scrabble. 

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Remember that funny-looking dude?  You rolled dice, I think, to earn the pieces.  Don’t remember for sure.

We also played Pick Up Stix. It’s amazing what comes back to mind that I haven’t thought about in years.

I thought the tradition would continue with my husband, but it didn’t take us long to realize that board games were not an area of high compatibility for us.  He’s really good at strategy.  I’m really good at words and trivia. I can’t beat him, he can’t beat me, at the things we’re good at.  It’s not much fun to play when you know can’t win.

But—along came the grandkids, and now I’ve learned to play Mexican Train, and Apples to Apples, and a different version of Charades, among others. It’s fun, and sometimes Terry even gets involved.  Very little strategy, and these games don’t run to my own expertise, either.  A lot of it is just the luck of the draw.  We have a good time.

I think family games are good on many levels.  First, they’re just fun. Second, they really are a bonding opportunity. Third, the kids learn things all the time.  Numbers, words, strategy, all sorts of things.  And they really love it when they manage to beat one or more of the grownups.

Win or lose, it’s a win-win 🙂

https://kathleenbduncan.com/2016/06/27/games/

The Ring

Day 27 Twenty-seven Sentences

June 27, 1927. On this date the United States Marine Corps adopted the English bulldog as their official mascot. 

Write about any subject. You can write about a Marine, a bulldog, or an Englishman if you’d like. You can write about anything! But you must write exactly twenty-seven sentences. No more. No less.

Alternative: Write a poem with 27 words or syllables.

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The ring Alva wore was thin with age, and would no longer slide off her finger. She’d gained weight over the years, and what had been a rather loose gold band 70 years ago was now a thin, tight circle.

She wouldn’t let them take it off. She’d worn it faithfully since the day Harry had put it carefully on her finger, and it was staying there until they took it off her cold, dead hand. And maybe not even then.

Seventy years. She was so old. Harry had been gone nearly 20 years, and she still missed him every single day.  She was 90.  She hadn’t wanted to live, 20 years ago, when Harry had drawn his last breath.

“Harry!  How can you do this to me?  How can you leave me?  What will I do?”  She’d been so angry that he left before she did.

Well, you adjust and you go on, even when the heart and the life are gone.  But her ring was not coming off, no matter what anyone said.

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It had stayed on her finger all through the waiting and the fear of World War II.  It was there, shining like the sun, the day Harry came home with his sea bag over his shoulder and a cocky grin on his face. It was there when she birthed their first baby, and the second, third, fourth, and fifth. Oh, they’d tried to get it off, but she fisted her hand and wouldn’t budge.

“That ring is my symbol of Harry and me. You can’t have it!  And if you try to take it off when I’m sleeping, I’ll just wake up and fight you for it! It stands for eternity, because that’s how much we love each other. It stands for faithfulness. It stands for loyalty.

“It stands for love!”

https://kathleenduncan.com/2016/06/26/june-27-challenge

Piano Girl

Day 26 Marathon

June 26, 2016. Marathons are being held today in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii; Santa Cruz, California; Lubec, Maine; and Arlington, Virginia. The race in Arlington is indoors. 

I’m not doing any of them. I may run or ride a few miles, though. 

A marathon is 26.2 miles. Marathoners don’t start out running 26.2 miles! They start small and train for it. They work hard to reach that distance.

Tell us about something you worked for. Something you thought you might never accomplish, but you did.

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I don’t think I’ve ever wanted anything more than I wanted to learn to play the piano.  I craved it, and when I finally got my hands on a couple of beginner books (no money for lessons)  I began to teach myself.  It wasn’t long before I was pounding out hymns, and that’s still my expertise, if you want to call it that.  I’m certainly no virtuoso, and I’ve always wondered how much farther I might have gone if I’d had lessons right from the beginning.

I worked at it very hard.  I used to go over to the little church my dad pastored in southern Minnesota, no matter how cold, to practice.  I think I probably played through the hymnal a dozen times.  A kind older lady who had taught piano for years offered to teach me for a year or so, as a ministry.  She introduced me to things I probably would never have tried on my own.

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When I went to college, I took piano for a couple of years. However, it was clear that my early lack of proper instruction was going to be a problem, and my teacher and I agreed that applied keyboard probably wasn’t my best direction. 

Still, I’ve played for many years in church, and for my own enjoyment.  I accompanied my kids when they played their instruments.  Being competent enough to play well enough to be useful, and just for fun, has been a lifelong reward.  I’m very thankful that when we got married, Terry’s parents gave us their piano. It’s been with us for 47 years now. Great little spinet,  pretty and just the right size.

As a spin-off, over the years I also learned to play the trumpet ( a little!), the organ, and the violin.  I have my dad’s harmonicas, and Terry bought me a beautiful little concertina some years back. So I’m happy as a pig in mud with all my instruments 🙂

https://kathleenduncan.com/2016/06/25/june-26-challenge

A Day in My World

 

June 25, 1967. Broadcasting of the first live global satellite television program took place on this date. It was a show called Our World. 

Without the invention of the camera, we would not have television.

Today is your last photo challenge! This one may seem difficult, but you can do it!

Using your camera, take a video about Your World and share it.

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You are about to find out that I am a VERY ordinary housewife in Pennsylvania on this  25th of June.  I’m going to try to get these videos up in the right order.

A Day in the (not exotic) Life of Me 🙂

Well.  I know how to get videos  from my phone to my computer.  I thought the process of saving them and inserting them would be the same as for pictures, but apparently there’s something I don’t know. I will continue to try to figure it out, but I may not be able to do it.  Just want you to know that I tried, and if you want to look at my facebook profile page, you’ll see the videos.

Linda Fullmer Kreger 🙂

Okay, this is a week later, and with the help of my internet friend Mana Apoorva, I think I finally figured out how to get my videos loaded from my camera to You Tube to here.  Crossing my fingers.  These are the videos I wanted to post for this piece:

What is Valuable

Day 24 Twenty-four Carat Gold

June 24, 1509. Henry VIII was crowned King of England. 

Henry the eighth valued a male heir. He wanted one. He wanted a wife who could give him one. He left the Church and created his own church so he could get divorced and marry a new wife.

Twenty-four carat gold is valuable. Some value riches above all else.

Tell us what is valuable to you. What do you treasure? Write about your treasure.

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When I went to London with my oldest son over 20 years ago, one of the places we visited was, of course, the Tower of London.  That’s where the Crown Jewels are kept, in a well-guarded, all locked up tight set of rooms.  One of my favorite displays was the Gold Room.  Cases of pure gold. Crowns, jewelry, plates and goblets and platters and all sorts of things. I’d never seen so much gold all in one place, and it was positively beautiful.

I loved the silver, too. Same kind of displays.  Incredible beauty, and unimaginable value. Moving into the actual jewel rooms, we saw dozens of crowns, lots of fabulous necklaces, bracelets, rings, and more.  Gorgeous. The Beefeater guards, in their cool uniforms, kept us moving at a pretty good pace and wouldn’t let us just stand and admire any one piece for very long.

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I didn’t covet any of it. I’m glad I got to see it, but it had no appeal to me in terms of getting stuff like that for my own. The truth is, I already had all I needed. Things I value more than any amount of gold.

Primary?  My relationship with God.  My Bible.  My upbringing in a pastor’s home that strengthened my faith, my knowledge of God’s Word, and prepared me for the rest of my life.

  My husband, my three sons and my daughter, and their spouses; my nine grandchildren?  Gold, solid gold.  More precious than any number of fabulous golden crowns.

My education is ongoing. It is more precious than gold. The work I’ve been privileged to do as a mom, teacher, and now a therapist?  So valuable, so satisfying. No amount of gold could ever replace the benefits of all that.

I am blessed.  My life has never been problem-free, and it isn’t now. But I have the Lord, I have my husband and family. and let’s not forget about my friends. What a rich life.

You can keep your 24-carat gold.

My Man

I Do/No, I Don’t

Day 23 In or Out

June 23, 2016. Britain votes today whether to stay in the European Union or get out of it.  The choice is simple: In or Out. But the ramifications of a vote to leave are complex and uncertain.

Have you ever had to choose In or Out? Maybe it was a job that you didn’t like. Or a business deal. Maybe you were in a relationship where you had to choose In or Out.

Write about making a simple but difficult choice.

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Rae and Matt had been dating for a little over two years.  They’d had a pretty serene relationship, for the most part.  They’d started college together, although he was a year older because he’d worked for a year after high school.

He though she was adorable.  She thought he was the best guy she’d ever known. They had fun together, laughed, dreamed, and sometimes even cried over sad movies.  How cool was that–a guy who would cry with her over a sad movie!

They talked about marriage.  He even gave a a pearl ring, which was symbolic of “She’s my girl. Leave her alone.”  Rae was very proud of her ring.  She was proud of Matt.

She wanted to be an actress.  He wanted to be a farmer. They had many long discussions over how they could make it work.  Those discussions usually ended with Matt saying, “Look, Rae, there’s no guarantee you’ll make it as an actress. Why don’t you just put it out of your mind?  You’ll love it on the farm.  You can do dramatic readings for the cows and the chickens.”  And he would laugh, thinking he’d said the funniest thing ever.

Rae began to rethink their relationship.  It was clear to her that Matt didn’t take her dream seriously.  But she loved him, and he loved her.

The next time they talked about it, he said, “Rae.  I want to swap your pearl ring for a diamond.  I can’t afford a big rock right now, but I want us to be engaged. Then we can make plans to move to my dad’s farm, and my mom can teach you how to be a farm wife.  You’ll be so busy, you’ll never think of acting again.”  And he smiled at her with great assurance, acting as if he’d just solved all their problems.

Rae couldn’t think.  She couldn’t breathe.  The lump in her throat refused to dissolve.  She shook her head, turned away. When he reached for her shoulder, she held up her hand palm out, and shook her head NO.

She walked away, her heart shredding in her chest. She didn’t sleep much that night. Matt tried to call, but she wouldn’t answer the phone. She needed to clear her head, and when he talked to her, he took over her brain. All her common sense went leaking out of her ears.

Could she be married to a guy who had no interest in her dreams?  Could she be a farm wife and learn to milk  cows, feed chickens, and gather eggs every day?

Did she WANT to do that?  Plant a garden, preserve the produce, make jam and jelly and pie and cake and fry mountains of potatoes and ham to feed the farm hands breakfast every day?

Matt’s mom loved her life.  She woke up every morning ready to stir up biscuits and heat up the skillets. She did it with joy and energy.

Rae couldn’t see herself in farmer jeans and flannel shirts and work boots. She couldn’t see herself as a participating-in-the-chores farm wife, raising a brood of her own little farmhands while Matt rode a tractor, or a reaper, or a baler, or whatever all those machines were called.

She did love him.  She was beginning to realize, though, that she didn’t love what he loved. He didn’t love what she loved.

They met in the square in the center of campus the next morning before their first class. He was angry. “Why didn’t you answer your phone?  I needed to talk with you, to help you see. . . .”

“Matt, the answer is no.  I don’t want to be a farm wife.  I would be miserable, and so would you. You don’t love what I love.  I don’t love what you love.  If I give up my dreams for you, we’ll never be truly happy.  So I’m sorry, but no. You can have your pearl back if you want.”  And she started to pull it off her finger.

“Rae.  Rae.  How can we not be together?  Come on, keep the ring.  We love each other. Don’t you see, we can make the rest of it work?  Don’t you want to marry me?”

“I’m sorry, Matt.  Sorry from the bottom of my heart. But no.  I don’t.”  Tucking her hands in her pockets, she turned and walked away, never looking back.

June 23 Challenge

Dilemma

Day 22 Catch 22

June 22, 1933. Germany became a one political party country when Hitler banned parties other than the Nazis. 

The movie Catch 22 is about the insanity of war. It takes place during WWII

According to the Oxford Dictionary, a catch 22 is “a dilemma or difficult circumstance from which there is no escape because of mutually conflicting or dependent conditions”.

Write about a time you were in a catch 22. Or write a fictional piece about a catch 22

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Toby crouched, hunkered down on his heels, praying the thick limb that held him wouldn’t break off and go crashing down to the huge grizzly who stood glaring at him with beady red eyes.

He had his rifle, loaded with his last bullet.  He knew he could take the bear out with a shot to one eye, and he would—

Bent Pine: GRIZZLY ATTACKS

But there was a cougar snarling at him from the rocky ledge just to the left of his tree. The cat’s ears were flat, his black lips pulled up and back to threaten Toby with his razor-sharp fangs.

Toby reached for the knife tucked into his boot, holding the rifle with his right hand, praying to keep his balance as he hefted his beloved Bowie knife in his left.

Powerful defensive mountain lion guards its kill in the winter snow.

He’d wait. The bear might get tired of the stare-down. The cat may decide there was better game elsewhere. Toby settled his back against the reassuring bulk of the tree trunk. He started singing softly to himself, to bolster his courage and help him think through his dilemma.  How to handle it, what to do first.

Of course, what to do first depended a lot on which animal  attacked, or got tired of the game. . .

June 22 Challenge