Posts Tagged ‘postaweek2011’

Writer or blogger

“So, what do you write about?” the eye doctor asked.

“Pain,” I answered.  I could have said life, health or my childhood memories, but pain seemed as good an answer as any.  The conversations at the eye doctor have the feel of the ones at the dentist’s office.

“Really,” the doctor remarked with enthusiasm.  “Where do you write?”

“I have a blog,” I said.

“Oh.  You’re a blogger.”  His enthusiasm was gone.  He didn’t ask me anything else about my writing.

Okay, so I’m a blogger.

I haven’t personally thought of myself as a blogger, even though I see nothing wrong with it and obviously, I am one.

I’ve always looked at it like I have a blog.  I like to write and I write in a blog.

I don’t usually say I’m a writer.  I say I like to write.

Saying I’m a writer seems to imply many things that are not true for me, one of which is, that I make a living doing it.

My sister and I were talking over the telephone yesterday.  I brought up the subject of blogs, since I’d just been to that doctor.

“I’ve never even heard of a blog until you had one.  I don’t know anything about them.”

“Well, people call people with blogs bloggers,” I told her.  “Apparently, some people don’t have such great attitudes about bloggers.”

“Well, I don’t see why,” my sister said.

My mom was asking what we were talking about.  I could hear her in the background.

“Michelle’s a blogger Mother!” my sister shouted out, as if that was new news and kind of cool too.

I laughed.

“A what?” I heard my mother ask in the background.

“A blogger!” my sister said, again enthusiastically.

“Well, I knew she had a blog,” she replied, as if to say, well duh, but my mother’s tone changed when she added, “but I didn’t know she was a blogger.”  The way she put emphasis on blogger left me wondering what she thought of the word.  It didn’t sound like too much.

I feel like a writer.  I want to do it every day.  Sometimes, it’s all I want to do.   I don’t think I’m that good, but I enjoy the process.  I don’t like throwing away ten pages that it took to get one decent and maybe even nice sentence or paragraph, but I sure like it when I get it right.

When I don’t write, it’s because I’m either sick or too busy.  If I ran out of ideas, I think my memory would have had to have failed me completely.  I simply run out of energy or can’t concentrate.

Writer or blogger, either way, I like to write and I write in a blog.

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When the truth doesn’t matter

my dad had the best story to tell

home

There was a chest in the corner of the upstairs second bedroom, which is where the photo of the pretty woman from France was.  The bedroom was a holograph of the past.  Nobody slept there anymore and the same crocheted quilt with big colorful flowers on it seemed to have always decorated the bed.

Once in a while, with enough pestering from me, either my grandmother or dad would go up stairs with me where we would sit together on the bed beside the wooden chest.  They would open it and let me choose an item for a story.   Stories that I never tired of.   Stories that connected me to them and us to our ancestors.

My grandmother had lost a daughter to cancer and the room held the memories of her in framed pictures, her jewelry and pieces of her favorite clothes hanging in open view from hooks on the old wooden walls.

One story I liked for my dad to tell me was about how I was named.

“Let me see the woman from France,” I would ask my dad.  He would let me hold the picture, while he told me the story.

“She was beautiful,” he would say.

He would start with talking about being in the Army.  He was a cook and sometimes I think he wanted more interesting stories than he had actually lived.

“Her name was Mechelle,” he would say, trying to make it sound French, which I loved.

“I gave you a beautiful name because you’re a beautiful girl,” he told me.  I was happy he thought I was beautiful.  This was back in the day before we stopped talking to girls about their looks and instead started telling them their smart, which I think is a good progression.  At the same time, I don’t think I was damaged by my father’s innocent compliments.

Of course I asked him once if he loved her and if he thought she was more beautiful than my mother.  He nearly cried.  He cried easily.  I’m a lot like him.

“Oh no,” he said with great emotion.   “Your mother is the only woman I’ve ever loved and the most beautiful woman in the world.”  I believed him and I still do.

“I knew her before I married your mother,” he would remind me.

“Did you ever kiss her?” I remember asking him.  He would smile, as if he was a ladies man and say jokingly, “Maybe once.  The women couldn’t say no to me when I was in uniform.”

I never believed he kissed her and I’m sure that’s exactly how he wanted it.

My mom recently told me that my dad made up this story about the woman in France and about naming me.

“But what about the picture?” I asked her.

“There ain’t no tellin’ where he got that from,” she said.  “He could have picked that up at the dime store,” she added.

I don’t think so!

I knew, even as I believed my dad loved only my mother, that this photo was important to him.

My mother tells me that I was, “supposed to have been a boy and was already named Michael.”   She had been a little too sure of herself.

She said her reason for naming me Michelle is that it was easy to change the name Michael.  A very boring reason right?

I’m going to stick to my dad’s story, which also included telling me he always knew I would be a girl, which is exactly what he wanted.

And did he sing the Beatles to me?  You bet he did!

In loving memory of my dad and his stories of adventure, real or imagined.

Who deserves more credit?

a dog that deserves more credit than he gets

One of the topics in The Daily Post “PostAWeek”  challenge is, “Who deserves more credit than they get?”

I couldn’t decide between bloggers, dishwashers or dogs, because they all deserve more credit than they get.

Dogs deserve more credit than they get for giving people companionship and unconditional love.  Dogs are particularly important to people living with chronic illness or a disability that has caused isolation and often alienation from family, friends, community and society.

Many people I know who live with chronic illness have a dog.  They are our four-legged friends who are there for us no matter what.  A dog can make us smile when we are in pain.  They’ll get up with us in the wee hours of the mornings when everyone else is sleeping.  They give us a reason to take walks or get outside for fresh air.  Their fur is soft and petting them calms us.  Their spirits are overflowing with sweetness.  Dogs give.  That’s what they do.  They give and they keep on giving.

Sometimes, and this is one of the greatest gifts that I get from the love of a dog, they offer a reason to keep on living.

“They can’t be nurses, doctors or teachers!” a desk attendant working at a hospital said to me one time.  We had struck up a conversation while I was waiting on a relative.  She became upset when I told her about my dog who was receiving medical care for bone cancer.

“There are children starving!  I can’t believe people spend money on a dog’s health care, while there are children who do not have the things they need,” she said.

I wondered how many of the nurses or doctors had dogs.  I knew the woman wouldn’t understand about spending money on a sick dog no matter what I said so I changed the subject.

Personally, I think dogs can help people be better nurses, doctors or teachers.  Plus, mine are all that and more.   Dogs can also make these jobs easier by giving love and companionship to patients and students.

I’ve been pretty sick for the past six months.  Recently, there have been times when I thought I would have to call for emergency help.  My dogs have been vigilant caretakers.  The older dog hasn’t left my side in over two months.  If I get up at 3am, so does he.  He knows I’m not well.  He is simply amazing.  I’ll be thinking the worst thoughts and he gets as close to my body as he can.  He doesn’t usually give kisses but lately, out of the blue, he’ll give me a quick little kiss as if to remind me they are here.

My dogs love me and they need me.  In this way, they literally save my life, over and over.

We hear about enormous amounts of money some people spend on their pets.  It’s true that veterinarian bills are expensive, but that isn’t the same thing as extravagant amounts of money spent for things like diamond covered collars, fur coats and all sorts of weird things a dog certainly doesn’t need and likely doesn’t care about.

I’d rather pay for a dog to get medical care than pay for my hair to be colored, manicures, an expensive car or the expensive things plenty of people spend money on.  This is a personal choice and comparably, I must admit, I think a dog is a heck of a lot more fun than what non-dog owners spend money on.

I don’t think it makes sense to criticize pet owners for spending money on pets, while people are in debt because they wanted a big screen television in every room of their house.

I’ve been judged and criticized for spending money on a dog and I find this pretty absurd.

A landlord I called once about an apartment got so angry when I told her that I live on a fixed income and have a dog, that I thought she was going to have a heart attack.  No joke.  She was ready to rent me the sweetest little cottage in the mountains.  She was praising me for raising a son alone and going to college.  I was all this and that, until I told her about my dog.  She started screaming at me over the telephone about how she was paying for my dog’s food via her taxes.

“I can’t believe you have a dog!” the woman shouted.   “It ought to be against the law for people who get help to have a dog.  I can’t believe it!”

I told the woman how little the dog’s food cost, but that didn’t matter.  I hung up on her because she wouldn’t stop screaming at me.

Magically, the next day I met the greatest landlord a dog owner could hope for.  She kept asking if I was sure the place was good enough for my dog.  We ended up being nice friends.

Fortunately and just as magically, the landlords I rent from now are wonderful and love my dogs.  I was afraid they wouldn’t allow me to have the bigger dog but when they saw him one of them said, “You are lucky to have him.  He’ll protect you out here.”

My family used to make remarks about how I could have a better place to live if I didn’t have dogs or that I would be free to come visit them since they won’t allow dogs in their homes.  After years gone by, I believe they recognize more the value of my dogs, but they still don’t let my dogs come inside and as a result, I hardly ever get to visit them.

Dogs help people in so many ways.  Being there for a sick person when everyone else is waiting on her to feel better is a great deed.

Their companionship and love make people feel happy.  I read once where being lonely is the number one reason for suicide.  I believe the love of a dog can help prevent this.

As I write, my son is visiting for the holiday.  He hasn’t felt so great lately either.   He has some serious health challenges in life.  After dinner this evening he suddenly got the biggest smile on his face.  His dog was lying on his back with his short legs up in the air.  He rests like that (he’s part Basset Hound) and he looks very funny when he does it.

My son went over and lied down beside him to rub his belly.  I guess most dogs like to have their belly rubbed.  Our younger dog was in on the scene shortly after.  It was such a wonderful moment.  My son looked happy and this made me feel good.  Both dogs were smothering him with love.

I asked him how he felt around his dog.  I like to use words to express my feelings and experience.  I think it’s good to have a way to talk about things.

He could barely talk without laughing when he tried to respond.  “Loyal, he’s so loyal.”

My son continued on, “He’s my protector.  Awww.  He loves me.  Look at him,” and he laughed again while he rubbed his best friend’s soft belly.  “He wants me to hug him.  Awww.  He’s so sweet!”  My son let out a deep breath of air.  He looked content and lied back on the sofa to rest.  I’ve always said, and definitely believe, that dogs are good medicine.

Earlier today the dog jumped from the back seat to the front and was out of the car as soon as the door opened when I arrived at my son’s apartment.  The dog is getting old, but so far this hasn’t slowed him down when he sees his true master.

This dog is a very special dog.  He has saved my son’s life several times.  He definitely deserves more credit than he gets.

Some people used to remark that this dog is a burden to me.  He is stronger than I am, which makes walking him a creative and carefully planned task.  He has seizures that break my heart, but not so many that they lessen his quality of life.  He is no burden.  He is a gift, a blessing and like all dogs, a teacher.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

dogkisses.


 

PostAWeek in 2011

www,domain,internet,web,net

Image via Wikipedia

I like a challenge and I’ve decided to take part in PostAWeek in 2011.

The most challenging part for me will most likely be what to post.  I have plenty to say, but I often scrutinize my ideas to the point of wearing them out or giving up on them.  The reluctance or reservations I have about posting are usually because I don’t think what I want to write about is positive or will offer something good (because it isn’t positive enough) –but this isn’t how I really feel.  It’s what I think.

I want to feel free in my blog.  I want to feel free to speak my truth, whatever it is.  Of course I want what I write to have some resemblance of a, “silver lining in the cloud,” but in my heart I feel like it’s okay if it doesn’t.

There were plenty of days in 2010 when I wanted to write but didn’t because what I’ve gone through and how I’ve felt has been difficult.  I don’t want to let down the people who visit my blog wishing I felt better only to discover that I am sad or grieving.

I subscribed to The DailyPost and will do my best to participate in the community of other bloggers with similar goals to help me along the way, including asking for help when I need it and encouraging others when I can.

“If you already read my blog, I hope you’ll encourage me with comments and likes, and good will along the way.” (A Sample Post)

I look forward to this New Year!

dogkisses.