Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I Am Here, Take My Hand

I recently read Stephen King's latest wonder, Doctor Sleep. This book is a follow up on The Shining. Whatever happened to Danny Torrance? In addition to watching The Shining, I have also read the book.  I almost always prefer the book over the movie. I think a lot of fellow readers would agree with me on this.

I liked several things about Doctor Sleep. I'm glad it wasn't nearly as scary as The Shining. I can do scary, but I like the way King handled Danny's life after the Overlook Hotel fiasco. Yes, the True Knot in Doctor Sleep is made up of some very freaky people doing terrifying things to those with a bit of shine. And Hollywood would probably fright show it up more than what comes across in the book. That's okay. People like to be scared. People like good versus evil. I would love to go on about all the goods and all the evils in this book. I digress.

This blog post isn't intended to be a book review. I want to focus on an element in Doctor Sleep that I found quite thought provoking. We all know that Dan (he's all grown up from his Danny days) has the shining and is way more perceptive than the average bear. Dan is imperfect and scarred after his terrifying ordeal in Colorado. Doctor Sleep depicts Dan's journey into the adult world of alcohol, bad choices, regrets, new beginnings, new friends, and family. Danny uses his shining gift in a beautiful and touching way. He works in a hospice (hot spice, love that), and he eases the dying; he guides them and comforts them as they breathe their last. 

Stephen King presents a flawed hero who shows incredible patience with these ebbing, frail beings. Dan's gentleness as he wipes their faces and whispers bits of nostalgia gleaned from their tired bodies is both touching and inspiring. He gives them the only things they need in their last human moment on earth: compassion, understanding, reassurance, and a calm command to simply fall asleep.

When everyone bustles to fix the world's problems (including dying) with money, prestige, drugs, or false hope, can we be that selfless person who knows when a gentle touch and a kind word are all that is needed? Can we be that person who is just there?

Dan Torrance a.k.a. Doctor Sleep inspires me to be that person. 

I don't have the shining (although I have had double dreaming/false awakening a time or two), but I don't need extra or special powers to offer my hand to fellow life and death travelers.

"Death was no less a miracle than birth."

Thank you Mr. King for another great read!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Two Truths and a Lie

"The best lies to tell are the ones people want to believe."

This is an interesting quote from Jasper Fforde's Shades of Grey (not the 50 kind, thank goodness).

Interesting because it is both positive and negative. I'm always spotting contradictions because I'm always searching for balance. Balance is the key to getting through the moment, through the day, through life.

Contradictions mimic a scale: two opposing things battling for weight, the spotlight. Let's examine the contradictions in the above quote so that we can savor the balance.

Best and Lies: Can lies, in their very nature, be called best? We are taught right from wrong, and we are taught that lying is bad; lies lead to trouble. They create a tangled web that ensnares and then dumps us into embarrassing (or worse) situations. Does a best lie exist? If a lie is best, does that make it okay to use? Is silence a lie?

Lies and Believe: If told cleverly, a lie is easily believed. Is this really a contradiction? I think it is. If someone doesn't believe, is it really a lie?  We can believe in lies, but we can also believe in truths. Confusing, isn't it? That's why I like contradictions. They create thought. They create questions, and questions lead to debate, and debate leads to answers or even to more questions. Don't stop questioning the contradictions. Don't stop questioning the lies and the truths.

The quote tells us that people want lies if the truth is unthinkable, unbearable, unflattering. This may apply to many, but not to me. I prefer the truth. Yes, the truth can be ugly, but deception and self deception are far worse. Don't lie to me to spare my feelings. I have developed a steely armor against such shenanigans. But this is a digression. 

Where is the balance in this quote?

People and Believe: We can believe in people, but we don't always believe people. Sounds sneakily like a contradiction! You're getting there! It's hard to determine how many lies are flung at us throughout our day. I would like to think most people are honest or at least considerate enough to keep silent. This doesn't make me gullible, it makes me hopeful. I know people lie, but I want to believe you because I believe in you:

If you open your mouth and a lie snakes out, I will believe you.
If you open your mouth and a truth wings out, I will believe you.

You decide which path to trod, which lie to tell, which truth to reveal. You decide when silence is golden.

Did you spot my contradiction? It's there. I contradicted myself on purpose because it's my blog, and I'm allowed. Actually, I contradicted myself because that's how life is sometimes. Never look at just one side, and never think that one side is completely right or completely wrong. It's a muddle, and life is a beautiful mess of contradictions and balance.

If you want to be saturated with contradictions and balance, read A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

It's a New Day!

It has been almost a year since I last blogged. I'm not sure why I stopped because I have definitely enjoyed this creative outlet in the past. Many things have occurred since last April, but I don't think I will list it all right now because that would be boring for everyone, including me. I think I would like to reflect and sift out what has made an impression on me lately. It's so easy to focus only on the big things and push aside those little things that happen over the course of a year. It's often those unassuming moments that have the greatest impact.

I will say that I'm working again. I am now an Assistant Editor. I like the way that sounds. While I have mixed emotions, I am quite happy at the moment with the way 2013 is moving along. My goal right now is simple: I want to enjoy every single moment of every day. That's not too much to ask...right?


I think I will keep this entry short and call it my reappearance into the blogger world. I do believe I'm ready to be here once again.

It's a new day!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Dear Diary

I was cleaning out a drawer this afternoon, and I found a diary that I wrote in during the early 90s. I can't believe how immature and silly I sound in this book. So much drama! The last time I wrote in this little book was 2003, but the postings were very sporadic after 1995. I'm not very consistent with stuff like that. I guess life gets in the way of keeping a regular diary.

Writing down secret thoughts and feelings can be cathartic, but it can also be a little embarrassing. I would hate for anyone (especially Ken) to read what I wrote back then. I even felt uncomfortable reading it just now. It was like I was reading someone else's diary because it sure didn't sound like me on those pages. I still feel a little bit weird and out of sorts.

What about blogging? Blogging isn't anything like keeping a diary. With blogging, you know someone might read your stuff, so that puts some restraint on what gets posted. Diaries are meant to be completely private. Anything goes! Do they even make those diaries with the cheap locks anymore?

I'm a different person now than I was back in 1992-1994 (when I kept most of that diary). I always tell myself that I haven't changed much over the years (personality wise), but that's obviously not true. I think I'm a more confident person now, but maybe I have just traded those old insecurities for new ones.

That diary has given me some food for thought. Who am I? How much do I really change as the years go by? I am in a contemplative mood as I think about my 47th birthday tomorrow. I hope I am a mature, secure, and confident woman these days because I wouldn't use these adjectives to describe myself back then.

Life can be strange and lovely and filled with events and moments that keep us always moving forward.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lent 2012

While I don't give up something during Lent, I do like to do something extra during this very important time of reflection and spiritual growth.

I have set some very specific goals to be accomplished (hopefully) by Easter, but I will only mention one of those goals here. I like to spend Lent focusing on a specific verse or passage from the bible. Here is what I have chosen for 2012:

From that place he went off to the district of Tyre. He entered a house and wanted no one to know about it, but he could not escape notice. Soon, a woman heard about him. She came and fell at his feet. The woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth, and she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, "Let the children be fed first. For it is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs." She replied and said to him, "Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children's scraps." Then he said to her, "For saying this, you may go. The demon has gone out of your daughter." When the woman went home, she found the child lying in bed with the demon gone. ~ Mark 7:24-30

I am in awe of this woman's persistence and faith because she could have slunk off at such a rebuke. I want mostly to reflect on the attitudes of both the woman and Jesus. How can this apply to me? Do I give up my prayers too easily when I don't get a response fast enough or if the response is not what I want? Is God's "silence" or unwanted response because God has other plans or because my faith is not strong or what? This should make for an interesting reflection.

Happy Lent 2012!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Movies 2012

1. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy--January 16
2. Red Tails--January 28
3. Safe House--February 11


Movies 2011
Movies 2010
Movies 2009

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy First Day of 2012!

I have a lot to be thankful for, and I pray God brings us many blessings as well as courage and strength to get through any hard times.

Maybe I'll start blogging again. I'm not really sure why I fizzled out during the year in the blogging arena, but there it is. I sort of lost interest in several things last year, so I will try to do a little galvanization.

We have a pretty big Europe trip planned for summer (more on that later). Our passports expire in June, but I have already sent away for new ones. For once I didn't procrastinate! Yes, I also often procrastinate on the positive and fun things...weird.

But what I really want to accomplish this year is to find a job that I love...or at least like in a strong way. I need to sit down and reevaluate my situation and options during this first month of 2012.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. First things first: take down the Christmas tree. Hello, 2012!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Buona Sera, Ragazzi!

It's been four years since I spent a month in Italy, so that means it's been four years since I have officially spoken any significant amount of Italian. I am very ashamed to admit that I have not practiced at all, and I have forgotten so much. The desire, however, for everything Italian is still tucked away inside my heart. I do believe it's time to get back on that international horse because I have no intention of giving up such a beautiful language!

Who is with me in reawakening (or learning) the Italian language? Who will embark with me on a language journey that will never end; a journey that will include a trip to Italy where we can dress, act, and speak Italian with aplomb!

Who's in? Let's begin our journey together, right here and right now!
Firenze, Italia
We'll start at the beginning:

Buon Giorno (hello)
Come ti chiami? (what is your name?)
Mi chiamo Ruthie (my name is Ruthie)


Stay tuned!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Shades of Summer

No, I'm not talking about ghosts that haunt summertime, although there might be some lurking. I love shade, and we finally put a lid on our deck! We chose the metal louvered slats rather than the canvas retractable cover because it's sleeker and should last longer. I love the clean lines and the shadiness these slats provide (I have a love/hate relationship with the sun--love because it's necessary for life, hate because it can be deadly mean).

We opted for the manual operation only because we would need two motors (we have a large deck) and each motor costs $500. Ridiculous, I say. I can turn a crank like nobody's business! Besides, one less thing that uses electricity is okay in my book.

The summer sun is so brutal and relentless, so this project is long overdue. Here's a peek at our new covering for our now very enjoyable deck. I offer a couple of views of it opened and closed. You can see the crank (to the left) in this first picture. It can be removed and stowed if desired.
Here's a picture that shows that the cover is split into two sections, and we can control each side separately.
And here are two random deck pictures:

Our new deck box to hide all the necessary yet unattractive deck stuff.

Limes! sort of...

Thanks for hanging out on our shady deck! Would you like some lime in your iced tea?

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