Archive for July, 2012

The topic of Jakesprinters’ Sunday Post this week is Road. I don’t often take pictures of roads, but I think about them a lot. There are roads that lead to nowhere — dead ends; roads that lead in a circle or only lead to one place; then there are those that seem to stretch on forever. Sometimes the name of the road gives you a clue about it, sometimes it doesn’t. In the US, a lane means something different from an avenue or a numbered highway. If roads were a person, this would be their “last name.” What about their “first name?”

Some roads have simple names, and it is easy to figure out their origin: they are named after a person in history (in the US, there is always a “Washington” street) or a characteristic about the place before the road was built, or it may be its purpose — for example, every town seems to have a “main” street or a street named after the trees that grew there such as “oak” or “pine.” Then there are the ones that make you wonder, “Where did that come from?” I think about the person who originally named it and shake my head. I ask myself, “Would I want to live on that street?”

When I was living in Knoxville TN and drove north, we would pass an exit that would always make me react that way, so one day I finally took a picture of it.

Sometimes it isn’t necessary to know their names. Sometimes we can just appreciate that they exist to lead us to beautiful places; knowing their name is not necessary. Driving around the Tennessee mountains one day we saw this view. I never found out the name of this road, and I didn’t care.

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Photographing for this challenge made me decide that purple is a color that’s hard to pin down. The word purple seems like a childhood word, from the most basic set of Crayola crayons. At this point in my life I am more likely to use a word representing the hues of purple, ranging from magenta to lavender to eggplant. Nature provides so many examples.

I have two different types of butterfly bushes in my yard, one is dark purple (I would call it violet) and other one is lighter purple with pink tones (probably what I would have called lilac when I was younger, but now that I’ve grown and seen so many different colors of lilacs…not sure). At this point the darker bush has many spent blooms, while the blooms on the lighter one are still opening.

The sunny side of my house is one long driveway, so I line it with containers and pots (I call it my “hillbilly garden). This year I’m growing two types of eggplants: Black Beauty (so dark they are almost black) and Ichiban (a lighter purple). Either of these colors could be called eggplant.

Going around to the back of my house, I took a photo of a late pea flower (this is my favorite shade of purple) and of my purple beans (they’re so beautiful when they are raw, but they turn a normal green when cooked).

Finally I went back in the house and took a photo of my African violet, whose flowers are just going by.

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Thanks so much to Dan at hurdlestohappiness.wordpress.com for nominating my blog for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award! I have been blogging since December of 2009, first at sued51, and then at Last Train to Qville, so this is very much appreciated!

To be honest, I’m surprised I’m still doing it. When I started my first blog, I was unemployed and had lost my purpose. I started blogging to keep up my writing skills, support my resume as an editor, and tell stories that I was afraid I was going to forget (I was having memory problems). For a year and a half I had only “stealth” readers (friends who read my posts and told me personally or on Facebook that they enjoyed them); I didn’t take the time to go out and read too many other blogs. (Boy, was I missing out!!) This was fine for a while, but then I started to think I was wasting time that would be better spent sending out my poems or looking for a job. 🙂

I decided to quit the first blog (but then ended up keeping it going) and created Last Train to Qville to get a fresh start. Big difference? I started to go out and visit other blogs and got involved in the photo challenges…I started to ENJOY blogging and other people’s creativity WAS A GIFT! I guess my enjoyment shows because I got nominated for this award!

Now for the RULES to follow when nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award:

  1. Display the award logo on your blog.
  2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
  3. State 7 things about yourself.
  4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award and link to them.
  5. Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award’s requirements.

Seven Things About Me:

1. I grew up with 6 brothers and 0 sisters!

2. I’m such an animal lover that as a child I would pull chipmunks out of my cat’s mouth and try to nurse them back to health. I brought one to school for Show and Tell in an old bird cage. A friend wanted me to show her mother on my way home; it ended up escaping in the kitchen –I was never invited to that house again.

3. I loved climbed trees when I was a little girl, but now I’m afraid of heights! No reason for it…It just happened one day.

4. My first published poem was about the Boston Red Sox, and it appeared in the editorial section of The Boston Globe.

5. I love watching almost all sports but I’m really not good at any of them.

6. The thing I am most proud of is that I received my Master’s Degree by taking night classes over the course of 5 years while I worked two jobs — I graduated with no student loan debt.

7. I hate questions like “What is your favorite ______” because I can never choose just one thing!

My Nominations for the Very Inspiring Blog Award:

A lot of these already have been nominated for this award, but I can’t help but nominate them again! Most of them write well and/or have great photographs and I just LOVE reading their blogs!
















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The ones left behind are the oldest ones — is and are, have and had — the plain, vague, and inexpressive ones. Too old and entrenched to leave I guess. I don’t know how long the others have been missing; somehow I took them for granted. I thought they were mine forever; I thought I owned them.

The first clue came in an interview. “You DID four books,” she said, “What does that mean?” Then I noticed it in my writing. When did it become like a low-level elementary school book? I perused old entries in my journals and old blogs; sure enough, the voice no longer sounded like the grown-up, well-read, well-educated me. It was official — my colorful verbs had run away. Did they all leave together because I stopped being mindful of them, playing with them, appreciating them?

What caused this catastrophe? On the one hand, I’d like to think there is a physical or medical reason behind their disappearance like too much alcohol, middle-age or (heaven forbid) early onset Alzheimer’s, then I wouldn’t have to feel so responsible. But I think it was just laziness and inattention; they left me for a younger, busier, more dynamic woman. I let myself get beaten down and distracted by depression, the economic conditions, and everyday life. It seems my mentally defeated survival mode sent them running for the hills.

But now that I know they are gone, I can ravage and rip apart my world for them. I can spit out the simple Internet stories and savor my literature books, maybe even devour the dictionary! I refuse to believe they are gone forever. They are just teaching me a tough lesson. It may take some time, but like Daniel Day-Lewis’ character in “Last of the Mohicans” — I WILL find them — and promise never to take them for granted again.

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I missed last week…I don’t want to miss another! Jake’s topic this week is Collectibles.

When I think of collectibles, I usually think of small items that can be displayed together (although the movie poster I submitted for a previous topic is a collectible).

Some years ago, beanie babies were all the rage; they were a popular collectible for children. I would overhear parents complaining about the amount of money their children would want to spend on them; and what to do with them all! Someone gave me one as a gift because I like cats; this is the only one I have.

When I was young, I collected baseball cards (common for boys –less common for girls, but I had 6 brothers). Baseball cards used to be very popular collectibles, but their present worth has diminished considerably. Most of my cards are in plastic sheets in notebooks packed away. My “prize” card is my Nolan Ryan rookie card. I keep that one in its own plastic sheath in a fireproof box.

But as we grow up, we often have a taste for larger more expensive collectibles like antiques. Antique cars are a popular adult collectible. I recently took a picture of a “collectible” car in a neighbor’s garage; it’s a Desoto.

He had another antique car in his driveway. Clearly these are his collectibles!

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The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge this week is Inside…a secret place…a quiet place. Inside all of us lurk our real feelings, the things we don’t necessarily feel comfortable telling others.

The best gift my husband ever gave me was a 10-year journal. I treasure it; I write in it almost every day.

Mostly I write little things: daily weather, tasks I performed, and current events…longer entries I save for other journals.

But this journal has a lot of wonderful features: a section where you can record quick entries by month: your weight, for example, or the phases of the moon. There’s a yearly section in the back for medical procedures and automobile maintenance records; if you are not an Outlook person, there’s an address book (I haven’t used that part). There are also extra pages if you want to write more on a particular day than there is room for in the regular pages. How you use the journal is up to you.

My favorite feature, though, is that 10 years of the same date is on the same page. So as I write my entry for July 21, 2012, I see what was happening on the same date back in 2005.  It makes writing entries every day an adventure. As I write my present entry, I reread my entries for the previous years. There are many times that we have wondered when something happened and I am able to go back in my journal and look it up.

Our inside life can sometimes be more eventful that our outside life; no one knows what happens there unless we want to share that knowledge. I hope someday someone else will appreciate the journal as much as I do now.

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At my former workplace, they sometimes held events when authors came in to read and speak with a book signing afterward. For me, meeting an author I admire is a dream come true.

The author at this event was Andre Dubus III, who wrote “The House of Sand and Fog.” The novel was made into a movie with Ben Kingsley and Jennifer Connelly. The book was very well-written and received good reviews though it was a difficult topic; the movie did not get an overall favorable reaction because it played up the cultural conflict and deviated from the book. I might not have read it if it weren’t for the event, but I was glad I did.

Andre read an excerpt from a new work, and then gave a talk about writing and about his present experience teaching at a local college, learning to inspire students and questioning his ability to do that. (To be honest, most of his audience at this event were women, and many thought he was quite handsome.)

I stood in line after the talk to get my book autographed. Andre and I had a brief conversation about the book I was reading in my book club, which I found much more depressing than his book. I was feeling emotional that day.

A bit later I was walking through the building’s lobby as he was leaving. I called to him and he stopped to speak to me; I confided to him that his talk and his writing had inspired me. I felt frustrated with my job and told him I had always wanted to be a writer but felt like it would never happen. He encouraged me and hugged me.

One of the other women from my book club had witnessed the exchange and emailed me as soon as I got back to my desk: “How did YOU get a hug from Andre Dubus????”  My secret…until now.

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I think when the Weekly Photo Challenge topic is a verb, it can be difficult to capture. Especially this week…the act of dreaming. We don’t know what others are dreaming of, or if they’re dreaming, when we see their eyes closed. Sometimes the expression on their faces tells us, sometimes it doesn’t.

In this photo, my granddaughter Kaylee fell asleep in her high chair after an afternoon at play. She barely had a chance to eat anything. She really looks down for the count.

Here, my husband Alan and our cat Aimee nap on the couch. I caught them looking happy and comfortable!

Aimee is a skittish cat when she is awake; noises make her nervous and she often hides under the covers. Yet, when we are with her and the house is quiet, she is the most relaxed cat I’ve ever seen.

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Chris gets personalized service.

This is the window of the village post office I mentioned in my earlier blog post (SUNDAY POST : Village). I smile every time I drive by and see the note; sometimes it says, “Chris No Mail.”

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