Things We Do For Our Good

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is FOR OUR GOOD.

I’m thinking now of the many things we regularly do for our good. For one thing, we take multi-vitamins and other medications. I don’t know where my husband’s blood pressure would be if he didn’t have medication to regulate it.

I take a tiny synthetic thyroid pill every morning. Before the doctor discovered my thyroid was no longer functioning, I was so cold all the time. One time I was looking for my sweater and my daughter commented, “Maybe we should move to Florida so you can be warm for once.” And my husband told her, “If the sun went behind a cloud in Florida, your mother would put on a sweater.”

I have arthritis and find that glucosamine helps. In fact, if I forget to take it for a few days, I start waking up in the morning with headaches. I’m also very thankful for pain-killers. I can’t imagine how life must have been back in the day when liquor was about the only pain-killer known in the western world. Or laudanum, an opiate.

My husband has been dealing with macular degeneration and gets injections to keep this under control. Getting a needle in the eye might seem like a dreadful thing, but the only other option is blindness, so his doctor does this, and he suffers this treatment, for his good — and we are very thankful it works.

Experiment.Pub DomNow I think of the millions of people working behind the scenes for our good, trying to make our environment safer, healthier, and more convenient. Researchers, inventors, food handlers, manufacturers, health inspectors, law officers. They may be doing it for a paycheck, but since what they do ultimately benefits me, I want to let them know I appreciate their efforts.

Now that we have a virus to deal with, health authorities and the government have decided that, for our good, we should self-isolate. So we’re doing our best to respect their wisdom. In the end it will be debated whether it was really for our good, or what should rather have been done.

I need to say thanks, too, to all the Happiness Engineers at WordPress for making blogging the enjoyable experience it is. I doubt we realize how much they do behind the scenes to keep us safe from spammers and hackers and up-to-date with technology.

I’m also thankful for the friends who’ve told me some things for me good. No, I may not have appreciated it at the moment, sometimes outright rejected it and I’ve even fired back with a sharp rebuttal at times. But later, turning over their thoughts, advice — yes, even sarcastic comments — I began to see a little light in it, some area where I could improve.

So I’ll enjoy my many blessings. Thinking this all over, I’ll say with the song writer, “Lord, I thank you for the good folks in my life.”

The Cooking Adventure

Sue, over at JibberJabber, has issued a mega-challenge: to use as many words as possible from the May daily prompts. So here’s my tale, using most of them:

The Cooking Adventure

Sherry, a lively, active thirteen-year-old, was late coming home from school one day. Her mom was already home from her job at the office when Sherry walked in carrying four large books.

This surprised her mother, who’d never seen Sherry do that much reading before. “Do you have a lot of studying to do this weekend,” her mother asked, eyeing the books. “Or some essay to write?” Then she took a closer look. “Cookbooks?”

“I am going to learn to cook,” Sherry announced.

Mom looked through the stack Sherry set on the counter. “Old Time Favorites. That sounds good. Baking: The Science Behind Success. Explore Mediterranean Cuisine.” Mom’s eyebrows arched. “What brought this on?”

“I got a letter from Marlys yesterday. She said…” Sherry’s tone was frosty…”I’ve never had to anything around the house. She thinks I’m so pampered because we have a housekeeper. She says I’m just like a flower in a greenhouse: if I had to keep house or cook, I wouldn’t know where to start. Well, I’m going to show her. I’m going to create some fabulous dishes and invite her over to try them.”

“I suppose your cousin has to help a lot at home and may be a bit jealous of you, but you shouldn’t let her comments grate on you. Still, it would be good for you to learn. I’ve been so busy with work all, I just haven’t had the energy to give you cooking lessons, but I’m happy that you want to learn. I’ll give you all the support I can. I see you brought A Beginner’s Guide to Cooking. That author has made a name both as a celebrated chef and as a class instructor. I think this is an excellent book to start with.”

Sherry’s first creation was a lemon soufflé. Mom showed her how to break the eggs and separate the yolks from the whites and whip the whites to stiff peaks. Sherry followed the recipe carefully and soon had the smooth batter in the pan, ready for the oven. She slid it in and turned on the timer. Mom gave her a short lesson on how to tell when the pudding was done, then went to do some laundry.

Sherry was delighted with her success thus far. She had to call her friend Heather to relate the story of her new cooking adventure. She was still on the line when the timer went and she didn’t hear it. At one point Mom rushed by and a moment later Sherry smelled something burnt.

Sherry hurried to the kitchen, but the damage was done. The soufflé had risen as it was supposed to, but now it was ruined. Sherry let out a wail of anguish

“There. You’ve just had a free cooking lesson. Distractions can spoil the best food.” Mom put an arm around her shoulder. “Don’t worry. You’ll have better luck next time. Learning to cook is a challenge, but if you stick with it and don’t give up, you may be a great chef someday.”

Prompt words used:
old, time, create, food, line, letter, relate, smooth, story
luck, free, explore, break, light, science, hurry, flower
name, short, carefully, support, book, challenge, happy

Books, Mystery + History

I see that Sue at JibberJabber has posted this writing prompt for today: BOOKS

Oh, yes. Ask me about books! 🙂

And this afternoon some author sent an e-mail notice that there’s going to be a SALE of MYSTERY BOOKS this weekend Here’s the scoop.

Just lately I read an article about the “rules” for writing mystery books. I wish I could remember them all, but a few were:
— The victim was someone not well liked. (Which definitely makes sense. There has to be some motive.)
— The one who solves the crime, or sleuth, must be an amateur, not a regular law officer assigned to the case. (Otherwise the story falls into the category of police procedural.)
— There may be animals, but they never get hurt. And you almost never see children in a mystery story.
It doesn’t say there should be a handsome single detective handling the case, or a grouchy middle-aged not–interested-in-silly-details type, but those seem to be the police options you find in mysteries.

Another important rule I could mention is: DO THE RESEARCH!

I know, this is one of my favorite beefs. But I just read two mysteries set in England, written by American authors. Do you know where I’m going with this?

Reading the reviews on Amazon for the one book gave hubby and me a chuckle, especially the reviewer who said, “We do not put cream in our tea and a Scotsman does not have an Irish accent!” This was from a review of the first book in the Helen Lightholder  mystery series. Setting your book in 1942 rural England means a lot of research. Please don’t skimp on this.

During the war years, a young, seemingly able-bodied man in England (who could hop over a fence easily) would never have said, “Especially with this war going on, I haven’t been able to find work.” He supposedly had a heart defect that kept him out of the army, but there was employment for all. And he’d have been questioned constantly about why he wasn’t in uniform. The writer just hasn’t gotten the atmosphere in England during those years.

I got a kick out of how the detective shows Helen her aunt’s obit, then says, “I’ll get you a copy.” And he comes back a few minutes later with the copy. Ha! These young squirts who write books nowadays! (This led Hubby and me into a discussion of mimeograph machines and Gestetner copiers. Remember those?)

Another reviewer, this time of the first book in the Lacey Doyle series: “The author’s knowledge of the world and how it works is abysmal. Her knowledge of England and the English is even worse.” I have to agree.

These writers are both good at their craft, but must have thought they could wing it re: situation. Sadly, most reviewers said they weren’t going to read the next book in the series, mainly for this reason.

One story I read, set in the late 1800s was loaded with anachronisms both in behavior and in language. In one place a male character asks our single heroine, “So what do you do for work?” (What’s the chances, in that era? Women’s employment options were very limited.) And she answers, “I’m into relationships.” In 1890? Groan!

Any genre, any era. If you don’t want one- and two-star reviews, writers, please do the research. Understand the era. Or have someone read over your manuscript who does know that history or place and/or setting.

Leadership IMO

Hello everyone.

Our Ragtag Daily Prompt is LEADERSHIP and I’ll respond by giving you a few of my impressions, with a little help from Pixabay images.

Pengin.halstead77
A good leader goes ahead, leading not so much by rhetoric as by example.
Penguin.DigitalDesigner
A good leader has a vision of where the group needs to go, and communicates that vision with clarity
Penguin.MichaelLuenen
A good leader accepts that you can’t please all of the people all of the time. Somebody will always want to go the other way.
zoo-2794197_640
A good leader has the courage to head into deep water when necessary.
Penguin.Romanflavier
Good leaders may wait for clearer vision or better conditions, but they don’t mull around with no direction.

Images credits:
1 — Halstead 77
2 — DigitalDesigner
3 — Michael_Luenen
4 — bdabney
5 — RomanFavier

OCD

Lying in bed last night, I began to think of different things I really need to do. So many! Before long I was in a puddle of despair and my brain short-circuited.

Does this ever happen to you?

so many live wires
sizzling as they cross
OCD

Flash.WikkiMI
WikimediaImages from Pixabay

 

Spiralling

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is LIKE A CIRCLE IN A SPIRAL.

ksenia-k-5ClvdUR-AEU-unsplashI suppose almost every spiral has a circle at its base, like the one in this image posted by KseniaK on Unsplash. But my mind went to another circle: that vice at the bottom of the downward spiral people sometimes find themselves in. Whatever the addiction that entices, when it takes hold, it tries to suck us down.

So here’s my verse, only lightly polished, as my response to today’s prompt:

THE SPIRAL

that first circle
a few young teens giggling
sipping into somebody’s
daddy’s stash of bottles

another whirl, the parties
everybody drinks at them
the high school dances
quick sips in quiet corners
circles spinning her round

somehow, sometime
the bottle reached out
grabbed her by the throat
and wouldn’t let go
fun turned to pain
and the spiral started
pulling her down its dark path

half-sober, she dimly recalls
those coins she once had,
the people she wanted to love
yes, she grabbed for them
wanting desperately to hold on
but one by one they rolled
lost among the empties
the spiral drew her down

the husband who didn’t stay
washed away in the foam,
her children, their eyes round
as they watched their mother
stagger across the house
then downcast, ashamed
when their friends saw her too
they left as soon as they could
and her life was full of empties,
so many circles in her spiral

she sheds a few tears
there in the dark stairway
when she’s sober enough
to remember what she once had
how much those clanking circles
cost as they bottled her

she needs another drink
the blinking neon beckons
across the road she stumbles
not seeing the bright lights
round eyes bearing down
a squeal, and the world spins
the pavement so bruising
perplexingly rises to face her

sirens pierce the night
scream through her brain
colored lights flash
bouncing off the pavement
hurting her eyes – such pain!
gravelly voices rock her mind:
Ma’am? Ma’am can you hear me?
the steady circling, circling
of those flashing lights
wailing, wailing
– or is that her?