Monday, July 22, 2013

Improbable- yes, impossible- NO!

A distant relative on my husband's side of the family was this little grandmother. Being Italian, of course she was called Nonni (pronounced naw-ni). Nonni was a petite little woman, maybe just a bit over 5 feet tall, lucky to break 100 pounds.  And being in her early 80's, she was frail.

Now there was an old stove in the basement of the house where she lived with her daughter, the grandchildren grown with families of their own. This stove was in Nonni's way. She wanted it across the room, against a wall. But what could she do? She was too small, too weak to move it herself.

But everyday, when she went down to the basement to do laundry or whatever else, she'd sidle up to the stove and lean against it, using all of her 100 pounds to push. Maybe it would move an inch, maybe not.

Fraction by fraction, that stove shifted.

It took Nonni months to move it--but she did.

And so it goes with writing or whatever endeavor we face that looks too daunting to attempt. Don't set impossible goals--for Nonni that would be immediately moving the stove across the room; for you that might be finishing a novel in a month, or losing weight, or overcoming an injury. But take a little time every day, or whenever the opportunity arises, like Nonni passing that stove, to do just a bit. At first it doesn't look like you've really accomplished anything, but eventually you will see you're achieving your goal. Nonni was determined to move that stove, and I'm betting she was smiling with satisfaction when she saw it halfway there, or even just a quarter of the way across the floor because even though every day brought only an incremental change, she was moving that stove by herself. Improbable as it was, she refused to accept it was impossible.

Now go accomplish your goals.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Miffy Subject...

Toward or towards.

Afterward, afterwards.

Which one to use?

Someone recently had a post on Facebook that said using 'towards' is incorrect.

Is it?

According to Webster's Encyclopedic Dictionary of the English Language, printed by Grammercy Books, New York, 1983 and a whopping 1,854 pages, both forms of both words are acceptable, even if the latter is not the preferred use.

You can use towards and afterwards if it tickles your fancy.

Personally, I don't like the 's' tacked on; it feels, well, tacked on. (Like the way people not-in-the-know use 'irregardless' instead of 'regardless.')

But as I consider Webster's an authoritative cite, I give you the green light to use the form you like.

Here's something else you didn't know: miffy: adj. Touchy, inclined to take offense. Also, miffed, miffier, miffiest. (You know that's going to appear in my writing somewhere!)

So the next time an editor/copyeditor circles that word and tells me 'no such word,' I'm going to send her the cite from Webster's.


Monday, July 8, 2013

No Judgment Here....

This is my meditation garden:

I don't really meditate; I usually go there to weed and clip when I'm so mad at everyone/someone/something that I need, for safety reasons, to be alone. It's a good thing because I have this:

And this:

(That's a statue of a boy reading, it represents my oldest who loves books. The other two are in there also).

Then there's this:

Hanging baskets of greenery!

And my gazing ball (unfortunately it doesn't tell me anything other than whether it's sunny or raining or snowing). But see this? This picture is kind of different.

Why? It's green, about to bloom, and is kept nicely fed and is almost center stage when you enter my garden.

It's a weed. Technically. People who spend most of the year and tons of money gardening rip this sucker out.

Yet it's here in my garden, in a visible spot of honor.

My son loves it. It produces purple flowers and when he saw it blooming, he squealed with happiness. Yank it out? Relegate it to the compost pile? Prevent butterflies and bumblebees from collecting and spreading pollen? Just because someone, somewhere, sometime labeled it a weed?

It is just as colorful as my store bought, expensive, coddled flowers. It provides something essential to a variety of beneficial insects, and does not attract the non-beneficial ones which move on to destroy the expensive, temperamental flowers.

My son loves it. I do not care who mis-labeled this plant because in their narrow world view it was a pest, but in my garden, I don't hold with that judgment. I've stopped by the side of the road and taken samples of plants for my garden that people spray to keep away. The beautiful hanging baskets? Filled with begonias AND an intrusive vine that grows everywhere. It's the only plant that can withstand the shade and forgotten waterings. Doesn't it look beautiful? How can you hate something cascading down like a leafy green waterfall?

I like diversity- in my plants, my friends, my books, my food (although I won't eat anything soggy).  So spare me your judgments. As my college social science teacher said, "Weeds are only mis-placed plants in Man's mind."

And they have a place in my garden.