Writing Wins and Woes:Birthday Blessings

I’ve had another birthday. At this stage of my life, I almost don’t want to have a birthday, except for the cake, ice cream and presents. I’m losing a lot by having a birthday. I’m losing another year of my life, my knees are failing, my heel hurts, I’m getting more gray hair and I put on weight for every indulgence. I’ve lost my children because they have all moved out. One of them I haven’t seen in almost two years.  I’m a lot more tired, but I don’t sleep well. I’ve never worn make up so I can’t cover up my aging. I think me and my house are deteriorating at about the same rate. I wonder which will last longer. I look at my husband and he is no longer a young man while I think I’m still a young woman. Until I look in the mirror and say to myself, who is that older woman? I look at all my friends and see that they are getting older and wonder why am I hanging out with all these old people?

This is all meant to be facetious. Actually, age has many benefits. You gain experience. Some of that experience comes through hard times but hopefully, you learn something. If you’re smart, you don’t make the same mistakes you made before in life. You grow more loving and less abrasive. In other words, you mellow out. I’m not as rigid. I once wrote a poem about how I used to be very black and white, and straight and narrow but now I bend. I do bend more now, and it’s actually a good thing. I have more compassion for people. I don’t judge as much as I used to. I have a grandchild. You can’t really have a grandchild without growing older. Having a grandchild is one of the best experiences of my life. I like the saying that says if I knew how much fun grandchildren were going to be, I would have had them first. But also, I get along much better with my children now. I stopped bossing them around. I have no control over them anymore and they know it. Now, I just give a few bits of wise advice and watch them not take it. I don’t really suffer the repercussions because it’s their life now and they need to make mistakes to learn just like I did.

I’m growing closer to God. How can I not? Each year brings me a year closer to meeting Him. Sometimes, I even think I may look forward to it when I’m a little older. So happy birthday to me. We never really grow old in heart, just in body. My body is not who I am. Someday I will shed this encumbrance and fly away. For now, I’m thankful for everything God has given me, and for what He’s allowed me to accomplish. I’m looking forward to what this year will bring. The success story is up to me.

Writing Wins and Woes: Valentine’s Day

I know Valentine’s Day is over and some people don’t like the day at all. I’ve heard it called  a Hallmark holiday. But I think it’s a day to remember people we love and care about. I intended to do this blog last Friday but I missed my blog post that day and I really wanted to do a post on Valentine’s Day.

There are many stories on how Valentine’s Day began. One story says that Valentine was a priest during third century Rome. Emperor Claudius II  made marriage illegal among his soldiers because he believed them to serve better without encumbrances. Valentine continued to perform marriages for them in secret. He was discovered by Claudius and ordered to be killed.

Another story says that Valentine helped Christians escape Roman  prisons where they were being starved and tortured. For that he was imprisoned himself. While in prison, he fell in love with the jailor’s daughter.  There is even a legend that he prayed with her and healed her of some sickness. In jail he sent a valentine to her. He signed it “From your Valentine.” The ending of this story isn’t pretty. Valentine was put to death in a three part execution of beating, stoning and decapitation.

Neither of these stories end as romantically as you would want unless your idea of romance is Romeo and Juliet. However, they are infinitely better than this one.  There was a Valentine’s celebration in Rome but it certainly wasn’t corny and romantic with flowers and a box of candy. It was called Lupercalia and it was a pagan celebration where men sacrificed goats and dogs then whipped women with their hides to make them fertile. It was so sweet.

I prefer to think of Valentine’s day as a day to honor those we love and care about. Maybe it is a Hallmark holiday. Maybe it was rooted in a pagan ceremony. Maybe it began with a martyr who sacrificed all for love. Whatever the case, I believe Valentine’s Day is a lovely way to say “I love you.” Those three words can make a world of difference to someone in your life. So say it and show it and maybe even write it in a valentine.


Writing Wins and Woes:Movies and TV Shows I Love and Hate

This is more of a fun blog, because I couldn’t really think of a topic I wanted to write about.  Recently I’ve been perusing a lot of movies and TV and I shouldn’t be. Writers never should because it takes time away from writing. Yet, it’s so easy to watch stuff now with all the different ways of streaming stuff. Also, I love going to movies at a theater. Seeing a movie on the big screen is still magical to me. My husband and I have two favorite theaters. One is the Allen in Annville, PA. If you are from the area we live and have never been there, you should go. This theater is beautiful and reminiscent of old time theaters. They have an organ, red velvet curtains and an adjoining coffee shop. It’s a great theater to see movies in. We recently saw La La Land there. If you haven’t seen this movie, you should. It’s a musical and it’s very old school, much like the musicals of the 1950’s. If you love old movies, particularly musicals like Carousel, Oklahoma, State Fair and many others, you will love this movie. It’s getting a lot of hype and it deserves it. Ryan Gosling who stars in the movie, learned to play jazz piano just for this movie and I think his piano playing is amazing.

I also love a lot of TV shows. I am a big fan of murder documentaries. It seems a funny thing to watch but I love ID channel and one of my favorite shows is  about missing people. This show is called Disappeared, and hardly ever ends well.  One documentary I recently watched was on HBO and it was recommended by another writer friend, and it’s very well done. It’s called Beware of Slenderman. If you have never heard of Slenderman, I’m not surprised. Neither had I. Apparently he’s a fictitious character from Creepy Pasta, which is an internet website, who preys on kids. He’s tall, wears a suit and is faceless and if you do his bidding, he’ll let you live with him in a mansion full of other creeps like you. The Slenderman documentary is about two young girls who stabbed their friend to get Slenderman’s approval. The story defies imagination. Watch it if you can.

Okay, lastly, here’s a movie I loved to hate. I love creepy stuff as you can see. I recently watched a movie called The Visit. This movie came out in 2015 and is a M. Night Shyamalan  movie. I like his movies but of course, none have matched Sixth Sense. This movie is about two kids who go to visit their grandparent’s house in PA. This movie is entertaining, I grant you, but undeniably stupid. Here are some nonsensical things about the movie.

  1. There is no cell phone reception at Grandma’s house. Okay, I’ll buy that, but why then is there Skype reception? And it’s crystal clear. I skype pretty much every week with my daughter in Iowa and the Skype reception is as crappy as can be. I just can’t accept this.
  2. Apparently there is no 911 either. When the kids finally tell their mom over Skype that they are in danger, the Mom calls the police. The line is busy at the police station. The police arrive only after the kids have to save themselves. Apparently nobody heard of 911 in this movie.
  3. The kids are going to stay with grandparents they have never seen in person or even seen a photograph of. This will become very important in the movie. ha. This is very difficult to fathom. Sorry kids. I don’t own a picture of my parents. Never have. Never will.
  4.  The kids are sent off by themselves to visit said grandparents. What? No exchange of secure hands? Are you kidding? You’re entrusting your kids to people they’ve never seen without a trusted person to ensure their safety.
  5. The kids stay the whole week. ha ha. The grandparents get creepier and creepier but hey, let’s stick it out. Old people are weird, right? Uh, not that weird. They don’t ordinarily stand around buck naked clawing the walls. A little spoiler alert there.

I’ll give this movie a B minus for its surprise ending. I didn’t see it coming. But for all other purposes, this movie does not supply the credulity it needs to satisfy watchers.