Calling All Poets/Creative Minds to A Grand Collaboration – Poets for Peace

forgottenmeadows

image copyright neha 2016 image copyright neha 2016

Hello Everyone,

This collaboration is initiated by my talented friend Michael (M. Zane McClellan)  from the poetry channel and will be hosted here on forgottenmeadows. Many wonderful bloggers like Marie (https://writingwingsforyou.com/), Kim (https://zipsrid.wordpress.com/) and others have helped in putting this together and spreading the word out. The deadline for contribution is August 31st, 2016! I urge you to help us make this creative effort successful by joining in.Below is Michael’s message:

“In response to the recent unceasing, and, in fact escalating global violence, we have seen and felt a corresponding surge in poetry about it.

We would like to take this opportunity to invite you to share your thoughts and feelings, a piece of yourself, to add to other Poets from around the world. We are hopeful that the combined weight of our collective spirit and wisdom will be felt worldwide as well.

The…

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Nature on My Morning Walk, #echoesofmyneighborhood #4

 

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Photo: A wonderful juxtaposition- A Florida palm and a Canadian Goose!

Come with me on a morning walk through my neighborhood.  Today was a treat, with visits from geese, ducks, and squirrels in addition to our usual view of flora and fauna.  They seem to love our lakes in my duplex community.  My dog was in canine heaven!  I didn’t get up as early as I’d like, so the sun was in its full glory and the brightness shows in my photographs.  The sunlight seems quite powerful here in Florida.  Still, there was plenty of nature around for me to photograph and enjoy!  It sure got Bixby excited…

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Have I ever mentioned how life-changing it is when you haven’t had a dog in a long time, and then you welcome one into your heart and home again?  Since adopting Bixby, I have seen more nature and more sunrises than I had seen in the last ten years, at least! The responsibility of taking him out to relieve himself doesn’t feel much like responsibility on a summer day, when I am on my own time.  It is more of a pleasure, and sometimes an adventure.  He loves running into some wildlife on our walks!  What a splendid way to get closer to nature.

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“Just let go of the leash, Mom.  We’ll make it look like an accident.”

Sure, those geese can be loud and messy (think of the poor sidewalk), but I really like hearing their call.  I think Bixby does too.  He looks a little frustrated here.  I think he wanted to get much closer to them than I would allow. 😉  Well, I’ve heard they can be quite mean when they feel threatened.

Let’s not forget about ducks!  This is right before they took flight.  They sensed they were being stalked….

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Ears automatically perk up when we see more feathered friends.

Sometimes Bixby will pull on that leash and get right up close to those birds.  That’s when they fly off, making all kinds of panicky, warning noises.  He looks back at me as if to smile, saying, “See, it was just in good fun.”  Perhaps it’s just part of the adventure of life for him.  I call him my furry toddler.  He helps me see lots of things through the eyes of a child and that is such a pick-me-up.  He seems to have a forever toddler’s spirit.

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The birds have all run off.  He tried to chase some squirrels, too, but those things will skitter up a tree so quickly, I couldn’t even get them on camera!  Bixby stands at the base looking up, as if he’s wondering, How did they get up there?  He truly seems to stand there and think about it for a few minutes.  He seems really curious about the water, but I don’t think he wants to jump in.  Well, I’m not really sure.  At any rate, it was a great morning for a walk in my neighborhood!

Echoes of My Neighborhood is a Thursday blog challenge, initiated by fellow blogger Jacqueline Obyikocha, who blogs at http://acookingpotandtwistedtales.com .  Jacqueline is very supportive of other bloggers and always inspires me with her poetry and photography.  Please stop by and peruse her blog.  While there, you should also visit her Echoes of My Neighborhood posts, or you can get to them directly at http://acookingpotandtwistedtales.com/category/travel-2/dubai/echos-of-my-neighbourhood/   You won’t be disappointed!

Stupid #&$t I Did When I Was Young…

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Image courtesy of digitalart at freedigitalphotos.net

Go ahead, feel free to laugh with me.  I’m laughing, when my knee’s not aching.  Having lived as long as I have, I’ve got some good stories to tell.  This one’s about the time I caught a t.v. on my knee.  I’ve been working hard this summer on self-promotion as a self-published author, and on upcoming writing projects.  It feels like I’ve neglected my blog a little.  So, I’ve decided to add a regular Monday post for at least the next few weeks of the summer, all about various stupid things I did when I was young.  You’ll laugh, you’ll think, “Wow, I can’t believe she did that,”  you’ll cry….well, probably not.  This should be fairly light and fun, as I am poking fun at myself.  So, sit back and enjoy.

How heavy is a 27″ t.v.?  Too heavy for me to catch in my own two arms.  Especially the kind they made in the 1990s.  I know, because I’ve tried. It was in my early twenties, when I was working at a department store (whose name I won’t mention) selling t.v.s. A sales rep came in demonstrating his brand of TV.  It was in a tall console.  Well, he did something that made it start to slide forward, and I was right in front of it, while he was on the back end.  Instinctively, I put out my arms to keep it from crashing to the floor, glass shattering everywhere. When I realized that wouldn’t work, I got down on one knee, still holding up my arms. It was slowly sliding down, my arms had slowed it, but it landed on my knee, and two of my male co-workers were there to grab it at that point.

One of them said, “Pam’s the hero of the day!  I can’t believe you did that!”

Another said, “I would’ve just let it fall.  How’s your knee?”

I was in shock.  I couldn’t believe that had just happened, either.  Yeah, my knee was a little sore.  I think I did my best to catch it, worrying that letting it fall would result in glass from monitor hitting me in the face.  I don’t know.  I should’ve just run the other way.  Because, to this day, my knee sometimes really aches, especially if I wear pretty shoes or high heels, and if the weather is damp.  It’s not inevitable that it should ache, it was all from something stupid I did.

I normally, in social groups, sell this story as, “I have a bad knee because I once caught a t.v. on it.”  And people look at me strangely, with sudden interest.  Well, it’s true, I did.

 

Our Downtown Scene, Jacksonville, Fl #echoesofmyneighborhood, 3

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Photo taken at the Dowtown Jacksonville Landing during Artwalk.

Jacksonville, Florida has a budding Arts scene.  We also have an NFL football team, but I’ll focus on the arts, as that is more of my interest.  We have had three or four One Spark Crowdfunding arts festivals, and not just any city can claim that honor.  On the first Wednesday of every month, there is an Artwalk in downtown Jacksonville.  Artists show their creations, and crafters and small businesses peddle their wares, giving samples and demonstrations.  Music fills the air, from amateur to promising, talented bands.  The man on the corner with his saxophone, who seems to only know variations of old t.v. show theme songs such as I Dream of Jeannie, is a welcome piece of the amosphere.  Homeless folks park themselves in Hemming Plaza, and at nightfall, they head to the Sulzbacher Center or City Rescue Mission.  (Those are the ones I know of).  A year or two ago, our mayor decided to have seating in Hemming Plaza that is bolted down.  It is now hard to tell a homeless man from the guy who has gathered with his old buddies to play chess in the park.  Yes, I believe this is a good change for our downtown area!

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There are beautiful historical buildings.

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There are signs of art fused with everyday images.

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There are shops, bookstores, a library, an art museum, and galleries.  Chamblin’s Uptown bookstore shown above.

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Art of all mediums is displayed at The Art Center in the downtown Jacksonville Landing.  Pictured here: a porpoise, of recycled mechanical and metal parts.  Artist:  Kenneth Balser. (I happen to know him.  Let me know if you’re interested in his work 🙂 ).

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I’ll admit, we do have some impressive architecture.  (Part of the Library in downtown Jax.)

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*Capoeira demonstration by a local Jacksonville Ji Jitsu business during One Spark Festival, downtown.  If you didn’t know, Capoeira is a Bazilian martial art.

Let’s not forget our people.  We are diverse, represented by people of many nations, countries, ethnicities, etc.  We have lifetime Jacksonville natives, we have people of many countries or from different states who came here to our Navy base, and we have retirees who came for the weather, from any of the states.  There are even snowbirds who live here during the winter and spring months, going back home from May to October for a cooler breeze.  How I envy them!  Jacksonville is the ultimate melting pot.  Just look at the many variations presented in this photograph alone.  Our people are beautiful.

And the homeless folks I mentioned, they are part of it. Diverse, unexpectedly intelligent.  They are you, and me, with a one-degree difference……….but that is a topic for a whole other blog entry.

I know I have tended to loosely define neighborhood.  Yet, one of its definitions is “district or locality.”  Our city covers such a huge square mile area.  So, my neighborhood is huge.  My city is beautiful.  It is also imperfect.  Just like every city.  But I am glad to be here.

*This post is in response to Jacqueline Obyikocha’s Thursday challenge.  Jacqueline is super supportive of her fellow bloggers and inspires me without fail.  Peruse her blog, and subscribe, at http://acookingpotandtwistedtales.com/   Please show her some love.  Start by looking at her “Echoes of My Neighborhood” responses at this link:  http://acookingpotandtwistedtales.com/category/travel-2/dubai/echos-of-my-neighbourhood/.  They will be sure to amaze you!

A Little Ways Down U.S. 1, #echoes of my neighborhood 2

 

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A little ways down US 1, I found another sunrise to add to my bucket list goal!   A few months back, I added a bucket list item: to witness the sunrise in 50 cities!  I am counting my own city, and I recall leaving Las Vegas at sunrise in a taxi headed to the airport eight years ago, because no one really sleeps there anyway.  Now, I can  add this past weekend, watching the sun come up in St. Augustine Beach.  That makes three cities now!  Technically, it is a separate city, so I’ll count it.  I am also hoping to witness a sunrise in Georgia this summer.  Because this “other city” is so close, I will also consider it part of my neighborhood.  Isn’t the term “neighborhood” as small or as large as we consider it?   Well, I’m hoping so, as this is my entry in response to Jacqueline Obyikocha’s blog challenge, “Echoes of My Neighborhood.”  Check out her blog and entry at http://acookingpotandtwistedtales.com/2016/06/30/night-scenes-of-a-sleepless-city-echoes-of-my-neighbourhood-25/#like-10365

Maybe it’s a stretch to call this a part of my neighborhood, maybe it’s not.  Getting there is a forty minute car ride down U.S. 1, when there’s no rush hour traffic, that is.  St. Augustine is a nearby gem full of history, beautiful views, and a wonderful beach.  It’s an awesome place for a getaway, and the restaurants were not at all crowded this time.  I started off with a mini-spa day, then waited and did some writing at a coffee shop, until my significant other could get there to meet me for dinner at an Italian restaurant. Did I mention, the beach was not crowded at all either?  It’s far different than our visit to Panama City Beach, Fl last year.  I am fortunate to live where I do, with a wonderful city that has a growing arts (and sports) program, and nearby access to beaches and historical sites.  I certainly should get to these places more often.  I never regret going, and it is worth the small drive.  Next time, I plan to share some downtown photos that represent our arts program.  Things are fine in my neighborhood!

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Booktubing, a Whole New World!

Welcome to Booktubing, a world totally new to me, where people discuss and review books on Youtube!  Despite my lack of a beautiful bookshelf, (I mostly read on Kindle) and a small room as a backdrop, I still flaunt my dog and my James Dean poster in an attempt to promote my two published e-books in a whole new way!

*The aforementioned dog, Bixby, was totally willing by the way…He always supports my writing and book promotion, by waiting for me, napping at my side to keep me company, and being ever eager to take a walk when I need some air!

*Disclaimer: I will not claim that this is the best booktube video, or even a really good one.  However, it perfectly represents my fumbling-in-the-dark approach to charting the new territory of self-publishing.  Because if I just over analyze, nothing gets done….

If you’re interesting in being a part of this or joining the Facebook group that Jay, our fellow blogger at http://ireadencyclopedias.wordpress.com/ started, where you can observe and ask questions before jumping in, go here: http://www.facebook.com/groups/906169289505790/

 

Time Travel, Mom Style #throwback, 2014

 

 

HandMold2IMG_0003   Written June, 2014.  Ready to share~

To my left is a wax mold of my son’s hand, done on his birthday when he was just turning 8, ten years ago.  I touch it, and hold it in my hand.  It is not his hand, yet, exactly the mold of his eight-year-old hand, and it sure takes  me back.  Some souvenirs and items saved are simply an open door to the past, to some wonderful memories a parent would love to revisit.  Are they worth remembering?  You bet!

In ode to all the current movies focused on time travel, such as the latest X-men movie and the latest Tom Cruise movie (I didn’t even remember the name of it, just knew it as the latest Tom Cruise movie with a heavy sci-fi influence and part of his huge pattern, in which he, of course, wins the audience over despite his usual cockiness), which I found out is called “Edge of Tomorrow” when I bought the ticket.  Sorry for the run-on…..it’s just coincidental  that there are so many excellent time travel movies right now, when my son’s high school years have ended and that long-awaited graduation has occurred, and he is spending a summer growing as a human being far away from me.  The passage of time has confounded me.  All of which has prompted me to think back, think forward, just think, of my son and the years that have flown past us.

He is away right now, for the summer or longer, and so,  I have time to do this and do it fondly.  There are no teenage mood swings in the house at the moment.  I have had time to do things I wanted to do for a while but had put off due to concern about getting him places or keeping him fed.  Things like trying hot yoga, doing regular volunteering, and getting out late for dancing one night.

But I still miss him,  I miss the boy he was, the moody teen he has been, and the man he is becoming.  Kids don’t get why we like to keep all these souvenirs of their baby days, their toddler years, their youth.  I think I have learned that we do this because it all flies by so quickly.  So I hold this wax hand replica and trace the details.  The chubby fingers, bigger than mine but shorter, the meaty hand that reminds one of the paws of a puppy that just hasn’t grown into them yet, but is destined to grow much bigger and taller, leaving its puppyhood behind.  I recall those years so well.  He was getting taller, but not really tall for his age, just average.  Yet he’d had a growth spurt and was all legs and skinny arms.  Not much fat on him at all, yet he still had those adorable chubby cheeks.  Some may call that an awkward stage, as it was, but it was so adorable to me!

Funny enough, one of his favorite movies that he loved to watch and rewatch, sometimes countless times in a week or even a day, was Back to the Future, from age 7 to 10.  He loved the concept of time travel and really had an imagination for the same kinds of movies that sparked my interest!  This brings me to my next open door item, found while cleaning up his room to find old un-needed items for a yard sale.  Boy, this takes me back, to a different kid, when we lived in a different house.  I was even a different person then.  It is a once blank journal, which he undertook to fill with chapters and chapters of an amazing, you guessed it, time travel book!  Being a teacher of English whose hobby is writing, you can imagine how this pleased me!  It is titled “The Book’s Been Under the Chair for a Long Time!”  It stars Tom and Huck, who happen to find a time machine and go back to World War II (one of Austen’s favorite eras) and forward to 2007.  He wrote a start date of 2003, going up to 3003.  He even used dialogue, and he gave every chapter a name.  Extra points!  In the front, he wrote:  “Who does this book belong to?”  and wrote my name.  Did he perhaps know I would always want to keep it?  He got up to Chapter 21 (short chapters) and, wouldn’t you know it, the book has now been under something or stashed away in the back of his closet “for a very long time!”  My guess is at age 10 or 11, when puberty started setting in.  And isn’t that how it goes?  We start to consider old hobbies or goals to be childish and no longer useful to us.    We hide them away, in exchange for video games (most boys I know), facebook (these days) , or trips to the mall (that was the young me)….

I don’t know if he would understand how much it meant to me to find this.  I am so proud of him for so many things.  He has quite an interest in conspiracy theories and could write on that topic.  He  excelled in Senior English and probably wrote great things I won’t see.  I am proud of his word skill and where it may take him.  I look back, and I am proud to say it was always there.  I  hope that, upon his return home, whether it be for a temporary or extended amount of time, that he will think back on the memory of this undertaking fondly, and understand how it warms my spirit to look through the pages.   Perhaps it will take him back as well, warming his spirit with glimpses of a child with confidence and hope.  I plan to encourage him to continue the story!

Shared today at “Meet and Greet,” http://dreambigdreamoften.co

Shared on 6/20 at http://acookingpotandtwistedtales.com/2016/06/17/featured-posts-78-share-your-post-links/