Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Family Folktales- a book review

Family Folktales: What Are Yours? by Karen Pierce Gonzalez


This is not only a fun book to read, it’s super helpful for those wanting to document family history and be at a loss as to where or how to start that process.

Karen likens the family history process to writing folktales – you know - those stories you loved as a child and may still love. They have heroes and heroines; great feats of daring, wild hairstyles and clothing, silly but catchy anecdotes, tunes and lyrics, etc.

Well - doesn’t your family have tales that have things just like those? Mine certainly does.

In fact, not that long ago, my now 30-year-old son and I had this conversation:
“Mom you ought to write about your life.”
“Why?” said I
“Because it’s unique,” said he
“Eh” said I

Maybe that’s part of growing up in Cambria Heights,
[Queens, New York City] in the 40’s and 50’s.

But - thus began the writing
and this display
That exchange started me writing about my own life and the words above were the opening description of a photomontage for a museum exhibit – and that montage is now expanding into an e-book.

It has grown as I write about things I remember thru phone calls with friends, family and even newer neighbors – you never know what will start the flow of thoughts and words. [I never thought that that conversation with my son would lead to where it is now going.]

So it’s great that Karen provides her readers with all sorts of useful tools and hints to get that writing brain in gear. She lists different folk “characters,” places and events that might joggle the memory, and things or items that might do likewise.

What I liked best, though, was she offers a process for actually getting the writing done and this is a good process for the doing of folktales or for whatever you might be writing.

In short: Warm up, find a “spot,” don’t try to be perfect, don’t worry about the format, don’t edit as you write and more.

She even has starting sentence stubs and blank pages in the book to get you going!

And great suggestions on how to enhance and share what you do and concludes with some sample family folktales.

It got me going just in doing this review – I’m on a writing roll again.

Thank you Karen ☺

Monday, March 30, 2009

My Friend is Still Ill

It's been a week of ups and downs for her - they removed the breathing tube only to have to put it back in and sedate her again.

Her son is good at sending daily updates but when we heard she was worse and then did not hear from him - two of us were very worried. One conversation last night between another friend and I really showed me how we all have a different way to cope with a possible impending death.

I kept saying "I won't go there - I won't talk about her dying at all" - "I am sending her healing prayers" and the other person was more into talk of her not having to redo her life as she was so totally complete in this one. To me that sounded a bit too pessimistic so I stuck to my "I won't go there" like a broken record.

Later a message from her son came - but it was after 11:30PM on the East Coast. I called my friend back as I knew she would not mind being awakened for good or even bad news. I read it to her - we were so happy and clearly relieved that there was improvement. Then we chatted for an hour or more with tales of the sick pal. She is a character - an individual - and there are many such tales - all of which we need now to get into written form and gather these kinds of tales from other mutual friends as well.

I do not believe in coincidences - for me all has a purpose. So when I had also been asked last week to review an ebook on writing family folk tales - I saw there was a reason I got that task the same week my friend got so ill.

I'll post my book review tomorrow - but for now just keep in mind when you think thoughts about your family or people you love - be they funny or sad or quirky - write them down..

Monday, March 23, 2009

When A Good Friend Is Critically Ill

I have a very good friend whom I have known for over 45 years. She was hospitalized yesterday and was in critical condition with pneumonia. As she has only one sort-of-good lung this is bad for her.

I spent time trying to figure out if I could get to when she is - but with it being Spring break - there were few flights available and they were almost $2,000 RT [for a flight that normally costs max $400 RT].

But her family asked that no one come while she is in the hospital as she is being cared for - so some will go after she is home...but the whole day left me wiped out from the idea of the potential loss of a good friend who is more like family than my actual family [except my son]

We all die - that is a given once we are born - but few of us like to face the reality when it's close to home. I teach and write about aging and always talk about dying as a part of the process. I will now have to re-assess my feelings about what I write and what I say on the topic.

Monday, March 16, 2009

My cat is angry :D

Cats are funny. My cat had a best friend who moved away a few weeks ago and she has no one to play with. Yes there are many other cats in the area but that was her best "bud."

So who gets blamed for Frodo not being here? Me! It's also my fault that it's gone into the 20's at night and that we've had hail, wind and monsoons during the day. Or at least it feels like I'm to blame.

Sheba, my cat, comes in and jumps all over the things in my office - my desk, window sill, and printer - then she sits and plays with the monitor. She never did this before Frodo left and I am trying very hard to convince her that she needs to learn to play nice with Angel - another cat her age. [It's like tying to get your child to play with a kid he or she does not like very much.]

Angel's dad and I laugh that since Frodo left, the two female cats have lessened the hissing distance between them - now they hiss from 3 feet away as opposed to 10 or more feet. I guess that's progress.

I'll be happy when she finds a new best bud to play with - outdoors - I do not make a good play partner for a cat - neither does my dog who tends to ignore her...[But then he is not at a desk with a computer and monitor - so ignoring is easy for him :D]

Any ideas? Please leave comments...thanks

Saturday, March 07, 2009

The Latest Scams

The scammers stay many steps ahead of those trying to catch them

We have been warned in Oregon by our Attorney General - and I'm sure it is elsewhere as well [in the USA] :

The scams about the stimulus money are here!

Please be careful if you get calls, emails or snail mail asking for personal information "necessary" for you to get your share of the stimulus package money....

If you are due any money - you will get it -

The scammers are out to get to your bank accounts and credit/debit cards to take your moey AWAY from you...

Also be very aware in this bad economy to not fall into the get rich quick schemes that are abounding. My email has been getting hit hard every day with more of those "we have your money waiting for you" and the otehr ones I have written about over time - only now they are coming at a faster pace due to the bad world wide economy.

Stay safe and if in doubt - call your Attorney General's Office to ask. There is no such thing as a silly question about money these days.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

More About That Running

I have been running several times a week since I got my new shoes...I love them that much...they make me feel like dancing - oh yes like running :D

Gave them a work out the other day - mud, wet sidewalks, wet grass and city streets....That day was more of a fast walking pace than running and I realized that my walking is now easily faster. The running has improved my walking and has made my dog happier as well as he is getting much more exercise.

Here are some photos of me and dog after one such run and a close up of the shoes which can be bought online at:
[I liked the shoes so much I told them I'd give their site a mention here :D]

When you take a picture of yourself with a remote - the remote is visible [in my right hand]

Sam the dog is happily chewing his rawhide bone while lying on his soft bed.