Monday, February 28, 2011

Deja Choo All Over Again

Thought for the day: A truly happy person is someone who enjoys the scenery on a long detour.

Just heard from a friend in Detroit that they got some more snow. My mother-in-law told me they haven't had any new snow in Baltimore, but there's still plenty piles of it scattered around. Bet it isn't exactly pristine, either. I remember well how Baltimore's dingy exhaust-blackened slush used to linger way beyond its welcome every winter, and how eagerly everyone watched for the first crocus.

Here, in the deep south,  it's about time to pull out the snow shovels, too, but it ain't for snow. The daffodils are in bloom, azaleas are about to bust out in all their glory, and trees are on the brink of unfurling their leaves. That can only mean one thing : P-O-L-L-E-N.

I'm talking about pollen like you've never SEEN before, people! Pollen that coats everything in sight with a thick yellow-green layer of grit, that swirls through the air and scurries down the street when the wind blows, that clings mercilessly to the inside of every nostril and throat.

I am not exaggerating. The air gets so thick with pollen, you don't so much inhale it as chew it. 

Ah(choo!), but you have to take the bad with the good, right? What's watery eyes, relentless sneezing, and hacking up a lung every now and then compared to the incredible beauty of springtime in the south? Dogwood trees, azaleas, and daffodils abound. Red bud trees and tulips everywhere. It's breathtaking, both literally and figuratively.

Many years ago, I read a description of two letters. One woman's letter was filled with nothing but praise for the town she lived in. She said the people were friendly, the area was beautiful, and there was an endless number of wonderful things to do. The other letter was full of misery. That writer hated the town. Said the people were ignorant snobs, and there was absolutely nothing to see and nothing to do. The funny thing was, they were talking about the same town.

Attitude. It's all about attitude, isn't it? Most of the time, a positive attitude leads to a positive experience.  Bloom where you're planted. That's how the old saying goes, and there's a lot of truth to it. OK, so I'll quit bellyaching about the pollen, slap on a surgical mask, and go breathe in some of the beauty. Might even rake up some of those (expletive deleted) gum balls. (Still working on loving those things ...)

Oh, and by the way, writers, there's something encouraging for us in this tale of one town and two opposing attitudes, too. Just because one (or fifty) agents reject the offer to represent wonderful you doesn't mean there isn't someone out there who'd "love your town" and would jump at the chance. So, keep on working, and never, never, ever give up.

No trees were killed in the sending of this message. However, a large number of electrons were terrible inconvenienced.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Is Originality Overrated?

Thought for the day: Accept it. Some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the windshield.

Still feeling rather heady about finally setting up this blog, I did a Google search on myself (Oh, come ON! You KNOW you've done it!) to see if my blog was easy to find. Much to my chagrin, I found that there are twelve, count 'em, TWELVE! other people in the U.S. with the same name, plus an artist in Canada, and God only KNOWS how many other "mes" there are lurking beyond the web.

Sheesh. The cold sad truth is, I'm just one in a crowd. Not an original at all. (sniff)

But, worse than that, the real crap-a-doodle moment came when I did a search on  I Think; Therefore, I Yam. I was horrified. Would you believe (gasp!) that you can already buy shirts and coffee mugs emblazoned with that saying? As Achmed the Dead Terrorist would say, "Holy crap."

Y'see, I first saw the expression several years ago in a column of "vents" in our local newspaper. Liked it. No, LOVED it. And remembered it. I mean, it's so ME. And it seemed like such a unique and original title to use for this blog. (almost as original as my name, right?)

Turns out, the phrase allegedly originated in a bit of graffiti found in San Francisco in 1980. That makes it anonymous, right? Yeah, right. So, I'm still gonna use it. May not be "original", but like I said, it IS "me". And, you know what?  I may just have to get myself one of those tee shirts. ("I had no idea my blog would take off so quickly!")

Reminds me of a newsletter I used to write. I always ended it by saying, "Take care of yourselves. And each other." For years, that's how I ended it. Then a friend asked, "Did you know Jerry Springer says that at the end of his shows?"

Crap, no.

But, we decided, since I'd been doing it for so long, maybe Jerry Springer got it from ME. (That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.)

So, even though we writers reek of originality and try to avoid the trite at all costs, I do hope you'll forgive me this title. It makes me smile, and that has to count for something.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend. I'll be back on Monday, and in the meantime, take care of yourselves. And each other.

Most eyebrow-raising news quote of the week: "People who don't love me don't deserve to live." Nope, that didn't spill from the lips of some egomaniacal actress going in for another round of rehab; it came from the egomaniacal mouth of Moammar Gadhafi. Earlier in the week, he said Libyans were rioting because bin Laden drugged 'em. Tell ya what, he'd make an interesting character in a book, wouldn't he?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Helloooooo, Blogosphere! It's Me, Susan.

Thought for the day: Inside of every old person is a young person wondering what happened.

Yay, me. Finally got the gumption to jump into the blogosphere, proving that it IS possible to teach an old dog new tricks. Guess I'll be typing to myself for quite a while, but I sure am looking forward to that glorious sun-drenched day when something other than a sad little goose egg shows up under comments.

In the meantime, I'll entertain myself until you guys join the party.

My name is Susan, and I'm an amateur radio operator. Sounds like a greeting at one of those "addictions anonymous" kinda meetings, doesn't it? Funny you should mention it, because the wife of a ham I know claims that ham radio isn't a hobby...  it's a disease. Addiction, disease. You say tomato, I say to-mah-to.

Okay, so I admit it. Many a ham radio operator has deserted his warm bed in the middle of the night to tiptoe into his shack and fire up the radio. After all, how can he possibly sleep when there might be a pipeline opening to Mongolia, or to some other remote part of the world? And, yeah, a ham might miss a party or wedding every now and then. But only if it conflicts with a worldwide contest, hamfest, or with that once-a-year all-important field day. (He usually makes it to his OWN wedding.)

Writing is the same way. Countless writers crawl out of bed in the wee hours of the morning, because that's when their inconsiderate muses decide to tap them on the shoulder. The words start rolling around in their heads, the voices start talking, and they have no choice but to grab a pad or fire up the computer. It's a passion, and a compulsion. Writers don't always write because they want to write; they write because they HAVE to write. There's simply no peace to be found until they put form to the words churning in their heads.

But it's all good, because it's all about passion, and passion, my friends, keeps the giddyap in our steps.

How about you? What lights a fire in your furnace? Whatever it is, I sincerely hope your significant other shares that passion with you. That elevates the enjoyment to a whole 'nother level.

And by the way, if you're interested in learning more about amateur radio, check out  It doesn't matter how old you are, where you live, or what you do in life. Amateur radio is FUN, and offers many opportunities to serve your communities.

No trees were killed in the sending of this message. However, a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.