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Category Archives: Living the Life

TRAIN – Shades of Seuss Challenge

Railroad Station photo taken by J. Nowinski

When he was a little boy,

My husband thought it would be a joy.

To sit on the train and watch the sights,

He could hear the whistle and see the blinking lights.

He rides the train every day.

He works and then he gets his pay.

Winter, spring, summer, and fall.

He takes the train to the mall.

The conductor punches his ticket.

The punch sounds like a cricket.

Clickety-clack, clickety-clack goes the wheels.

The commuter train serves no meals.

The people sit and then they stand.

At their stop, they all disband.

His train pulls into Union Station.

It is one of the busiest in the nation.

Work, work, work, all day long,

When it is over he joins the throng

Back to the train is where they head,

They go towards home and to their beds.

My husband enjoys riding the train.

Personally, I think he is insane.

 

Railroad Sign photo taken by J. Nowinski

****If you would like to participate in the “Shades of Seuss Challenge” please check out  20 lines or less and post a poem. Better yet, join 20 lines or less and post your poems, prose, and photographs, daily.

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Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

Night Owl vs Early Bird

    

My internal clock is set for burning the midnight oil and eating midnight snacks.  I am not sure why I enjoy staying up late and sleeping in, but I have always been dubbed a “night owl”.  I think it runs in my family.  My grandmother would stay up late watching TV until the screen went fuzzy.   I too have been known to go to bed with the birds singing.

     The problem is that it is so very difficult to live and work in a world that demands that I wake up with the birds.  It is especially hard, after a long summer break, to suddenly wake up and live on a morning person’s schedule.  Coffee and lots of it is required to survive.

     Morning people are a different breed from Night Owls.  They enjoy waking up to the sunlight and have no trouble getting all their work done before 8:00 P.M.  As a Night Owl, I start doing my best work at 8:00 P.M. and the creativity is really flowing after midnight when those early birds are fast asleep.   Going back to the world that strives on daylight time requires enormous energy for me. 

     The phrase of “Thank God It Is Friday” has a special meaning to a Night Owl, because it means that I can stay up late, once again.  The alarm is set to off and creativity flows once more.  The hardest part is going back to the weekday schedule and falling asleep on Sunday night.   I am a night owl living in an early bird world!

 

Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

Lights, Camera, Improv!

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     The hardest thing for most of us to do is place ourselves out in front of an audience. While blogging is a way to interact with an audience, in truth, no one really has to see you. As a writer, the audience only knows what I want them to know. I can hold back, if I choose, and only submit a perfect piece of work after much editing.

     This evening, my Improv class performed for a live, breathing audience of family and friends. This class is a very advanced group of people who have worked together for a few years. At the end of each 8 weeks of class, the whole troupe gives a performance to show the skills we have learned. And, even though this is something I do often, it still gives me the jitters when it comes time to perform.

     In spite of the jitters, I have received so many benefits from doing Improv. What began as an interest and a way to get my husband off the couch, has spiraled into more than I could have ever imagined. Now, my husband has joined a troupe that performs every month in front of a paying audience, and I have elected to teach Improv to paying students as an enrichment program. It is amazing what just putting yourself out there can do.

     What is Improv, you say?  Well, it is a form of comedy that is made up on the spot. There are not any scripts, but, often, it takes the form of a game where rules are the only parameters given to the performers.  If you have ever watched the show, “Whose Line is it Anyway”, then you would be familiar with Improv.

     According to Awkward Squad Improv Troupe site, “The experience and knowledge that you gain from participating in an Improv troupe will enrich you in many unique ways.” Some of the common benefits are:

  • Increased Confidence

  • Improved Public Speaking Skills

  • Enhanced Acting Abilities

  • Gained Comfort in Social Settings

  • Refined Brainstorming Abilities

  • Improved Listening and Observation Skills

  • Enhanced Creative-Thinking Abilities

  • Improved Decision-Making Skills

  • Team Development Skills

     Improv has helped me as a teacher to think quickly and make connections for my students. It aids me in speaking to parents, to administrators, and in everyday conversations with others. It also makes me feel more confident about myself and boosts my ego. Not to mention, the friends I have made and people I have met.

     There are so many advantages to taking a chance and putting yourself physically and mentally on the line. Is it scary? You bet!  However, it is worth every moment of time. My husband and I began at our local community college by taking the Improv beginner classes.  The cost was less than going to the movies a couple of times. So, if you are looking for something to take you away from the TV this winter, you may wish to check for an Improv class in your area. What do you have to lose? And if you still feel too shy to try it yourself, go and see a live show. I guarantee that you will have a good laugh.

Links to Improv:

Improv Comedy Clubs – this site will connect you to Comedy Clubs in major cities around the USA.

LearnImprov.com – A site with tips, games, and introduction to Improv

Improv Comedy : Why Take an Improv Comedy Class?– YouTube video

 

Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
 

 

 

Stupid is as Stupid Does

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It is 2:00 A.M. and I am working on my computer at the kitchen table.  My eyes are blurry and my back hurts.  I decide to go out in the back yard to see if it is still as hot as it was earlier in the evening.  I save my work and go to the back door.  The dogs come running as soon as I open the back door. I squeeze past them so they do not get out. If the dogs get out they will wake up the whole neighborhood with their barking, and that is not good.  I close the door behind me.

It is still as muggy and stagnant outside as it was earlier in the evening. I instantly begin sweating in my purple P.J.’s.  A moth flies toward my head, and I slap it away.  Enough of this, I say to myself, and turn to open the door and go back into the house. I turn the knob and it is stuck.   I turn it harder. Damn! I have locked myself out of the house.

Another bug of some sort buzzes my ear, and I swat it away.  What am I going to do now?  I do not want to knock on the door and wake the whole house.  Then I remember the spare key we placed in a well-hidden place in the garden.  In bare feet, I cautiously walk through the flowers and weeds to get to the statue of a gnome.  I slap the mosquitoes away and bend down to find the key under the gnome.  It is not there!

Not knowing what kind of creepy crawly creature I may be touching, I put the gnome back and walk out of the garden.  Maybe the key is in the garage.  For the life of me, I cannot understand who took the key from the gnome.  Shouldn’t he be protecting my keys or something?  Isn’t that what garden gnomes are supposed to do?

I go to the side door of the garage. We do not usually lock it, so I am happy when the knob turns. I push the door.  It will not open more than an inch.  Oh, there is a refrigerator blocking my entrance. This said item is the refrigerator my daughter dropped off earlier to keep in the garage for drinks.  The refrigerator is hanging over the door just enough so I cannot budge the door open.  Double Damn! Why didn’t they check to see if the door opened after they placed the refrigerator in the garage?

I carefully make my way from the garage to the front of the house. I am cautious and avoid cutting my foot on something I cannot see.  I am hoping that the front door is magically opened.  No.  Ahhh….I retrace my steps to the back door again, trying the knob again in vain.  The two dogs have their noses crushed against the window looking at me.  I know they would open the door for me if they could.

Having no other choice, I leave the back yard once more. I head for my bedroom window where I dread waking up my husband; however, at this point, I have no other choice.  Like a thief in the night, I sneak up to the window and tap gently.  I know if anyone on the block looks out their window and sees me, they will think I am a burglar.  I am just about to tap on the window again, when lights blind me, and a voice booms in my ear.

“Please move away from the house and put your hands up.”

My heart falls to my feet.  I quickly turn around ready to explain, and I see that standing there is my husband.  The flashlight is in his hand and it is shaking due to the deep belly laugh he cannot control.  I am furious now and slapping bugs away from my ankles.  I probably will have malaria from all the darn bug bites.

“Jerk!” I mumble to my husband who is crying in hysteria.  I walk around to the back door that he has left open.  The dogs are happy I am unharmed, and I give them both a loving pat on the head for their good intentions.

Trying to control his humor, my husband follows me into the house.  It seems he heard me rummaging around the back yard and got up to see what was going on.  Seeing that I was locked out, he grabbed the flashlight and snuck behind me. He then waited for just the right moment to ambush me.

With a chuckle still vibrating in his chest, my hubby kisses my cheek and goes back to bed.  The bugs really bit me up and the bites require a little Benadryl cream to avoid the itching that will inevitably come by the time I wake up.  Other than the bug bites, I am doing okay.  I did learn a few lessons about locking yourself out of the house.  The first lesson is never trust your husband. Second, dogs only want to love you and let you in.  Finally, do not depend on garden gnomes to hold your spare keys.

In the end, I understand that I need to pay attention when I wish to wander outside in the middle of the night.  I am going to put a spare key somewhere accessible to me. I never want to be locked out of the house, again.

Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
 

Playing in the Rain

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The JOY of playing in the rain.

“It’s a Miracle! “Exclaimed my grandson as he spied the rain falling from the back door window.   I opened the door and we both walked out to feel the wondrous drops of long-awaited moisture plop upon our heads.  It has been weeks since there has been any precipitation in our area.  The grass is dormant, except in the backyard where I have been watering it.  The trees are losing their leaves and nature is yearning for a clean drink of water.

It rained a steady rain for about 45 minutes.  This was enough to cause puddles to stomp in and for the air to smell fresh.  It is amazing how parched both nature and humans become when there is not any rain.  I hope this is a new trend in the weather.  I pray that we continue to produce enough rain to revitalize the crops, perk up the grass, and hydrate the trees.   Until then, I am grateful I was able to view the nectar from the clouds, and my grandson doing his dance of joy.

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Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
 

Daddy’s Little Girl

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Daddy’s Little Girl by Al Martino     Listen by clicking the link.

I listened to the song “Daddy’s Little Girl” on 45 rpm record when I was a little girl repeatedly, every day.  I drove my mother crazy with the song and the inevitable tears that would fall with each new play.  I do not know if it was Al Martino’s voice or simply the lyrics of the song that touched some emotional switch in me to make me cry, however, sob I did.

I guess I played it so much that I cracked the record.  I still put it on the record player, crack and all.  It would skip, I would cry, and my mother would moan.  Finally, the record cracked so badly that I just had to throw it away.  It broke my heart to do it, but my mom, with her never-ending wisdom, said it would be best.

She was right, of course, because moms are always right.  I grew up and listened to other songs that made my  heart cry.  However, whenever I get a yearning, I will pull it up on my Mp3 player and give it a quick listen and a good cry.

 

Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Quotes from the Masters: Bacon

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“We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand–and melting like a snowflake.” Sir Francis Bacon     

This weekend my husband and I held a Wedding Shower for my son and his future bride.  Since they live four hours away, we had a difficult time coordinating a date, but settled for July 7.  Of course, the entire week before the party, it was in the 100’s and the heat wave broke all sorts of records. 

Consequently, we would work outside early morning and late afternoon.  When the sun was at its hottest, we would work in the house trying to get ready for the full house of company we would have for the weekend.  If we felt too over-heated  we would jump in the pool to cool down.  However, even the pool was having trouble keeping up with the heat.  After four days of high temperatures the water was 92 degrees and not quite as refreshing as it should have been. 

Our goal was to make things as cool for our guests as possible. The dress was casual because we knew it would be too hot to be formally dressed.  We had a shelter, lots of cool drinks (Sangria), good food, and an air-conditioned house for respite.

 On the morning of the shower, as we all began to set up for the party that was set for one in the afternoon, it was still 98 degrees.  Tempers flared as we attempted to set up the pop-up canopy and arrange the tables.  The prep work in the kitchen was set to a furious cacophony of women trying to prepare cheese, meat, and vegetable trays.  Everyone on duty was sweating and hot, but we worked together, so that when the first guests arrived, the place looked perfect.

 Then, the magic occurred.  As the future bride and groom opened their gifts, a swift breeze fluttered the top of the canopy. The flowers on the tables began to sway and a blessed cool wind came from the northwest.  All the guests turned instinctively toward the relief. “Ahhhs.” Were heard all around. 

 The wind had shifted bringing a cool front to the stifling heat.  The temperature dropped 10 degrees in fifteen minutes.  By the time all the presents were opened and the cake was being passed around, the guests were no longer asking for iced drinks, but for coffee to go with their cake. 

 The universe had chosen that moment to give us all a break from the oppressive heat and blow in happy wishes for the future bride and groom.  Never again will we be blessed to watch our son share this moment with his bride–to- be and his family and friends.  Similarly, as the quote from Sir Frances Bacon states, “We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand- and melting like a snowflake.” Fortunately, none of us melted like a snowflake in the heat, but we did have the opportunity to view a couple, sparkling like the stars for a brief moment.

 View more Quotes from the Masters at Bringing Europe Home

 

 

 

Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

And on the Eighth Day, God Created Nail Clippers

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I have at least 100 pairs of nail clippers!  Well, I am exaggerating a little; however, I did find 7 pairs as I was cleaning this week.  Why, you ask, do I have so many pairs of clippers? Well, maybe I wanted one for every toe. Who is to say?

Anyway, as I was collecting them and putting each pair in the drawer where I keep the nail clippers, I could not help but wonder if they would be there the next time I needed them.  I believe that is one of the reasons I have so many.  Whenever a pair was needed, I would hunt and hunt.  Finally, I would just go out and buy a new pair.  I am sure that the maker of nail clippers has made a bundle off me.

It seems that the original inventor of nail clippers is unknown, but a guy named Valentine Fogerty has the first patent for an improved version in 1875.  Then, a man named William C. Edge (hmmm…interesting name) improved the clippers again in 1876.  I guess these things keep getting better, and every few years we can expect a new and improved version.  This is good; because I am sure, I will need a new pair as soon as I misplace the old pairs.

Why are they called pairs, anyway?  It is not as though I am getting two of them.  Both sides of the clippers must work together.  I suppose one can think of them as a married couple. Two individuals, who work together at the same time to make a life together. Married couples are called pairs, so maybe that is why nail clippers are named pairs.

These pairs come in so many different sizes.  I have a giant pair that I could have melted down to make a whole set of sterling silverware. Then I have a teeny-weenie pair that you would use for a baby and every size in between.  I guess if there was a toenail emergency I would be ready.

These items are a necessity for every household.  Moreover, they can act as a stand-in for situations other than for clipping nails.  I have used them to cut the thread when I was sewing, to trim the fringe on the old towels, and to splice speaker wire before they were wireless. I probably should keep the nail clippers in my toolbox, and then I would know where they were when they were needed.

A life without nail clippers would be a sad one.  People would be walking around with long, spindly toenails like those that you see on Ripley’s Believe it or Not. Yuck!  I guess I just need to put a tracker system on my personal nail clippers so I do not lose them.  I wonder how other people are able to keep track of their nail clippers. Do any of my readers have a suggestion? Please help.

Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Procrastination Station

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Procrastination Station
http://www.freedigitalphotos.com

I have three huge projects to finish before July 18th, and I cannot find the motivation to dive into them.  Anything seems more exciting than working on these projects.  I tried making a list and hung it on my fridge.  Only one thing has been crossed off as of today.  It seems that everything is more important to me than working on my projects.  The sad part is that I am beating myself up over the fact that these projects are not moving forward, yet I continue to procrastinate. 

Here are a few ways I have avoided working on my projects:

1.    Blogging.  Rather than do the work I HAVE to complete on the computer, I find myself blogging.

2.    Shopping.  There are so many things I need at the store. NOT!  Yesterday, I talked my husband into having chicken salads for dinner.  That meant I had to leave the house to shop for lettuce.

3.    Laundry. Although an important chore, it can wait.

4.    TV.   I watched Celebrity Homes.

5.    Daydreaming.  Thinking about all the things I want to do when the projects are finished.

6.    Napping.  I am on vacation, right? I should be able to nap if I want to nap.

7.    Talking.  Chatted with the neighbors for an hour.

8.    Organizing.  Cleaned out the bathroom vanity drawers.  They really needed it.

9.    Re-potted.  The plants in the window looked so stuffed in their pots.

10.  Gaming.  Stupid Bejeweled!

Ahhhhhh!  It does not help that I really do not want to do these projects.  There are thousands of things I would prefer to do. 

This article in Psychology Today,  was positive and helpful.  It says that “Everyone procrastinates sometimes, but 20 percent of people chronically avoid difficult tasks and deliberately look for distractions—which, unfortunately, are increasingly available. Procrastination in large part reflects our perennial struggle with self-control as well as our inability to accurately predict how we’ll feel tomorrow, or the next day. Procrastinators may say they perform better under pressure, but more often than not that’s their way of justifying putting things off. The bright side? It’s possible to overcome procrastination—with effort.”

Hmmmm, so all I need to do is exert some effort. Okay, so today, I vow, to overcome my procrastination and complete at least two items on my list of chores.  Like Benjamin Franklin once said, “You may delay, but time will not.”   I am running out of time and these projects are piling up.   I have real work to complete! 

 

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Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Don’t Play With Fire, Play with Yucca Plants

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I love plants and flowers, and even consider myself a very amateur gardener.  But, there is one plant that voraciously grows in my garden that I want to destroy!  Yucca plants!  These gnarly examples of vegetation are the hardiest, toughest plants I have ever encountered.  Weeds are easier to be rid of than Yucca plants. I realize that the Yucca flower is the state flower of New Mexico, and that it has cool names such as Spoonleaf yucca. Filament yucca, and Adam’s Needle yucca.  However, I personally think it is just plain Yuk…A .

Yucca plants are prevalent in the hot dry areas of the Western United States.  They are often planted as ornamental plants and use widely in landscaping. (This must be why my stepfather planted them in the garden.)  Supposedly, they are easy to keep and their flowers are unique.  I think they are ugly, but that is just me.  Moreover, the roots of the Soap tree Yucca were loved and used by Native Americans as shampoo in rituals. So these plants do have a purpose, however, they serve no purpose in my yard other to annoy me to no end.

I have cut them, pulled them, beat them, sprayed them but nothing seems to make them go away.  I have been told that you must get the entire root system out of the ground or they will come back.  So, I have spent countless hours digging below the surface of my garden to accomplish this goal.  Nevertheless, the next year they are back.  And, it is not just one; there are baby yuccas all over my garden. These things are mutants!

I should probably dig them up and sell them on the open market.  I hear people actually go to the garden center and ask for these yucky plants!  Maybe I am missing out on a real money-making operation.  Be it as it may, I have no interest in keeping Yucca plants in my life. Therefore, out they must go once again.  I am sure they will be back next year, and I will be ranting about yucky yucca plants for the remainder of my life.  They truly are the bane of my existence!

**Here are some places to check out if you wish to remove your Yucca Plants. Some of these sites are not for the faint hearted. Killing the Yucca plant is apparently serious business. Good Luck!!

Gardening Know How- http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/xeriscape/removing-yucca.htm

Do it yourself- http://www.doityourself.com/stry/removing-a-yucca-plant-from-your-yard

American Family~How to KILL a Yucca plant- http://american-family.org/2007/08/02/how-to-kill-a-yucca-plant/

Ehow- http://www.ehow.com/how_4517250_remove-yucca.html

 

 

Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
 
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