Archive for the ‘Scattered Thoughts’ Category

Game of Thrones

Friday, September 30th, 2011

Game of Thrones. Officially my favorite series of all time.

My boyfriend, Robert, introduced me to it recently and we watched all of the first season’s shows one after another.  The intrigue, fantasy, scandal, and suspense reeled me in and hooked me.  I was particularly drawn in by the characters, Eddard Stark, Arya Stark, Jon Snow, and Drogo.  My favorite, by far is Daenerys, the submissive turned empowered, Princess of House Targaryen.

Robert had already read the series of books, that I have never heard of before since I am not typically a reader of fantasy or sci-fi novels.  I have already ordered to box set from Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/George-Martins-Thrones-4-Book-Boxed/dp/0345529057/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1317402073&sr=8-1

I am eagerly waiting their arrival.  I cannot wait to jump into the seven realms and I cannot wait until Season 2 arrives on HBO this Spring.

An Interesting Weekend Alone

Monday, September 26th, 2011

As my daughter spent the weekend with her father, I spent most of it as a homebody catching up on work, painting things around the house and watching pointless television (something I rarely do).

This weekend marked a whole month in our new apartment and new neighborhood.  While homesick thoughts do set in momentarily at times, overall I think we are getting a hang of living in Queens.  Brooklyn will always be a pivotal part of me, but exploring a new borough can be the fresh change my soul has secretly been craving.

The highlight of my weekend was attending a “National Symposium: Think Outside the Cell: A New Day, A New Way” at the Riverside Church in the city.  A friend I met at Vassar College, Marlon Peterson, invited me through Facebook and I was curious about the topic, so I braved the weekend subway (which was no joke-six trains just to get there…What do you mean the F train isn’t running?).

I missed the first portion of the speeches, which made me sad because my friend was on the panel.  However, I caught the afternoon discussions.  The topic was issues affecting the incarcerated, the formerly incarcerated and their families.  I knew little about the issue walking in, but felt enlightened walking out.

I am probably like most people when I think about prison.  I never want to go, I never want my kids to go, I never want anyone I know to have to go.  I have known a few people that have done time, however they got out and moved on with life.

Listening to the people on the panel speak, made me think again.  What if you get out and cannot move on with life?  You know that little check box on employment forms and college forms that asks if you have ever committed a crime?  What if you have to check yes?  Even though you paid for your crime in prison and with your youth?  It seems you will be marked for life with that little box.  As one of the panelists, Michelle Alexander said, “Locked out of housing, employment, and food.”

The topics and questions brought up were:

What about their families?  How do they survive?  If there are 2.3 million men and women incarcerated in U.S. prisons, that means millions of families are affected as well. They committed no crime, yet they must be punished as well for loving someone that went to prison.  How are their communities affected?

Why is punishment the sole objective when people end up in prison?  Why not assist them with their re-entry into society, by honing their skills and realizing their potential?  Why not attend college while in prison when they have nothing but time?  Federal funding for this has been discontinued, even though it has been proven that those that receive a college education while in prison are less likely to return and better able to re-enter society.

“We are not our past. We are not our mistakes.” – Joe Robinson

Why are Vermont and Maine the only two states that allow prisoners to vote?  Are they not still U.S. citizens?

The panel went on to discuss many other important aspects of the consequences and costs on human life during and after being incarcerated.  It was extremely interesting and I urge to check out their website to learn more about the issues being faced by so many: http://www.thinkoutsidethecell.org/

“About 2.3 million people are behind bars in the United States. Disproportionately Black and Latino, about 650,000 leave state and federal prisons each year. The stigma of incarceration is a roadblock to their rights as citizens and creates untold hardships for their families and impoverished communities. The Think Outside the Cell Foundation works to end the stigma and to help the incarcerated, the formerly incarcerated and their loved ones through literacy, education, personal development and the removal of societal barriers to the American Dream.”

-Think Outside the Cell Foundation-Sheila Rule and Joe Robinson

Procrastination

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

Why do I feel as if I am waiting for my life to begin as I am living? Does everyone feel this way to some extent? I need to start writing in earnest and stop procrastinating. My blog awaits and I have to focus around the daily hustle and bustle to get it done. Perhaps tomorrow I will begin….

We just moved to a new apartment in a new neighborhood in a new borough.  The past year has been the hardest in my life and I am looking forward to pockets of time that I may be completely bored.  Bored like a kid on a summer day, staring at cracks in the ceiling and bouncing a ball on the pavement for an hour in lieu of nothing better to do.  Contemplating whining to my mother, ” I am so bored!  There’s nothing to do!”, even if she just got nasty and screamed to “go outside and play already!”

I wish I could go back and tell the younger version of myself to savor those hours of boredom that will be ripped away from her as an adult.  Those sweet moments of sheer nothingness that I would love to have within my reach now, my head clear and full of nothing but a canvas of imagination and no worries or responsibilities.

This is my delicious and recurrent daydream.

Spring Cleaning

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

                Spring has arrived and with it the urge to spring clean. 

First there are the easy chores, scrubbing the stove top and counters or cleaning out the flowerpots on the deck (in progress).  However, then the harder part comes, going through the stuff.  The stuff we bought at a flea market or yard sale, interesting books never read or fifty cent CD’s full of music we never listen to.  As well as the clothes that don’t fit, but will, if my diet goes well.  My daughter trying to go through each tiny piece of plastic toy, trying to decide if she will play with it more than she has in the last year.  My teenage son ignoring the piles of clothes he has in his room, in an odd system of use that no mother will ever figure out. 

Yet I woke today with a renewed interest in finally getting organized.  No more searching for lost keys or that paper from my daughter’s school.  This is the dream. The warm spring air pushed against my blinds, the wonderful scent of earth, grass, and sunshine seeped into my home.  I could talk about the cleaning I did, but I am more interested in wondering how many other people find this chore overwhelming.  I remember when I was little, my mother would wake up and decide we were spring cleaning, but it would happen six times a year.  Perhaps when she felt that the apartment needed a scrub down and immediately she would fill up a bucket with soap and water, then she handed a rag to each of us and we went straight to work scrubbing our little fingerprints, jelly stains and scuff marks from our semi-gloss painted walls.  While we were busy with our chore, she would begin to scrub our couch with carpet and upholstery cleaner.  This would dry while she worked on the rugs and moved all the furniture from every room, vacuumed and then put it back.  Those nice “vacuum lines” overlapping one another over our plush wall to wall carpeting, I used to love pushing my bare feet through them, making designs. 

Last of all, she scrubbed the kitchen cabinets and disposed the old pantry items.  I have vivid memories of the entire process, which for many years I attempted to duplicate, until life got too busy to care if I cleaned every single square inch of my home.  Of course, when we were little we just had less stuff, but that is a conversation for another time.  I’m not sure what I am getting at with this post, but spring cleaning isn’t just about getting my home clean.  It’s the memory of my mother, who passed away five years ago, and all of the effort she put into our lives.  How many hours or cleaning, cooking, washing of our bodies and clothes that went by as she dreamed of things she might like to do one day.  She did many, many things for us over the years.  Spring cleaning was one of these things, not to compete with cupcakes from scratch, but just as important.

Mother’s Day is next week, as I spring clean, I think about her and all she did for us.   

Time Flies

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Time. We wish we all had more of it. We spend money on things that might help us get more time. We spend more time trying to get the money for things that will save us time. We run from place to place trying to catch up with the time we need to have more of. We schedule ourselves and our kids around this concept, day after day, week after week.

We wake up in the morning, slamming the snooze button. Our body is aching for just three more minutes, tired and bleary eyed we say, “ I can afford fifteen minutes more, I’ll spend less time doing something else, except I am not giving up my trip to Starbucks, that isn’t negotiable.”

Remember. There was a time when time meant nothing. It was 1983 (insert your time here), I was about eight years old, there was so much time I was bored. I was actually bored, with nothing to do. Remember being bored? Sometimes I found something to do, like read or play with my siblings. Sometimes I just sat still and stared at the wall. When was the last time you watched a bug fly around a room? Without wanting to get up and smack it with a rolled up newspaper. Remember when the newspaper ink rubbed off unto your fingertips. This faint dark gray ink and you would notice how intricate your fingerprint really was?

I remember being so hot in the summer time, and we would eat popsicles from the ice-cream truck. After we ate the ice pop, the stick became a toy. We would play for hours; my favorite game here in Brooklyn was placing the stick in the middle of two concrete squares on the sidewalk. Each kid stood at the edge of a square and we would throw a bouncy blue hand ball aimed directly for the stick. Whoever hit the sticks past the other person’s line won. We were entertained for a long time, leisurely eating our pops and playing with that stick. Do kids have time to do things like that anymore?
I think that is what old people think, that they had time. Young people think it too. We middle of the road folk, we don’t think that. Is it our present circumstance or are we like all the others that came before us? Do we feel that we have so much to do and no time to do it, that we are different? Is it that life is different in these modern times? I think they are, but what do I know?

Remember, when adults used to get together in huge ambiguous groups, us children never really cared to pay too much attention. The reason is because those semi-familiar adults brought children over as well. They came for a “visit.”

 It was always visiting, along came their children. They couldn’t just leave them home by themselves. “Oh look, see here, there are others like you, small and whiney, go play with them, leave Mommy and Daddy alone, go outside and play.”
Our problem is this. It is our memories. We remember this time we had in abundance. We remember a time that was without play dates, appointments and obligations. We yearn for the simple spontaneous and glorious freedom of days gone by. I leave you with one more image, one more nugget.
Little over ten years ago, we could say this when the phone rang. “I’m sorry, I missed your call, and I was out all day.” The person on the other line understood completely. It’s not like they expected you to answer the phone every time they called…

My First Blog!

Monday, March 8th, 2010

This is my first blog.

Creating and writing a blog has been on my to-do list for quite some time, yet I decided that everything else was more important right now. A friend of mine encouraged me to write a blog, even going so far as setting up this site for me. It lay there bored and collecting dust, like your prized (insert your collection here) cherished but never used.

Then the perfectionist inside me waited and waited and waited. Never satisfied with the topic I had anguished over, domain name I have chosen or the writing I did. I mean no one wants to really read about me whine about my unbalanced, over stressed chaotic life, do they?

So here I am, publishing my first blog about what I don’t know.
Above all, I love to write. I love to read other people’s writing. I love all of the lovely things associated with writing, like black moleskin notebooks that make me feel like I should be sipping a martini on a boat alongside a coastal town and/or sitting in a cabin in front of those old fashioned typewriters with that onion thin paper. I see myself clicking away as I write the next New York Times bestseller list.

Using an extra fine black ink pen, that glides along the paper like an ice skate after the sun has ever so slightly melted the ice beneath those awful used ice skate rentals. I have always wanted to write, even as a little girl writing stories about a family of bears.  Then I was a whimsical teenager writing poetry and writing about the homeless epidemic in our country.

Perhaps it sounds as if I should be a writer indeed. I seem motivated and passionate right? I am, but I had a bump in my road, or rather I had one in my belly almost seventeen years ago.

That very boy has now interrupted me from writing this very page roughly twenty odd times. Why? It is an easy answer; he doesn’t want me to miss one second of Family Guy. He is incessantly talking, as teenagers do. Family Guy is extremely funny; I would never deny it. Seth McFarlane brings out every single piece of pop culture I have ever hidden in the recesses of my brain, I looked it up we are born in the same year. So Klondike commercial jokes resonate with me.

I just need some downtime. No talking. No pointing. No running from errand to errand. The stress of the day is still harassing my mind and soul.

I attempt to use my yoga DVD today for the first time. Is it just me or is that pretzel twisting hard? Even more so, am I the only one that feels like a failure as soon as I can’t stretch quite as far as the fantastically flexible and thin girl on the screen? My eight year old folding herself into poses like a master reincarnated, “It’s like, so easy Mommy!”

Yet, I feel relaxed now that I have accomplished my writing goals. What have I written about? Who knows? Will you feel like you wasted your time reading this? Perhaps you will, but no more so than after you have completed another level on face book Farmville.