Selma’s Story Time – 7/19/14

It had been a long time since Mrs. Stockton thought about Johnny, so she was surprised that he came to mind now. She wondered what has happened to him since the good ole school days. He was three years older than her, so she never saw him at school reunions. How would she be able to find out?

Back in her day, it would start with looking through information at the library, old yearbooks, newspaper articles archived on microfische, and phone books. Most everything in her time was driven off of physical addresses and telephone numbers to contact people. Once those changed and if one didn’t get the new information, a person would lose track of people. Now with social media and people keeping their cell phone numbers when they move, people are able to stay connected. 
She watched many TV shows about reunions of people who have found each other after years of not seeing them. Even her Granddaughter, Shelby, talked about how her friend’s Mom had found her long lost sister by using the internet. Last Mother’s Day, her son, Greg, had gotten her a computer, and Mrs. Stockton had gotten pretty good at using it by sending e-mails to her Grandchildren.
Walking over to the desk where the computer was set up, she decided to fire it up and start her search. Greg had preset the computer to just click on icons to get to what she wanted to do, but she wasn’t sure where to start. Should she call her son to have him help her? She wasn’t sure that she wanted to share her project with him. She decided to click on the e-mail icon and sent an e-mail to Shelby to find out what she has been up to. 
 

Selma’s Story Time – 7/18/14

 

Mrs. Stockton loved to hear the school bus as it came down her street every morning, picking the kids in the neighborhood up for school. She had fond memories of riding the school bus, sitting with her best friend Shelly Waters every day. They giggled a lot and talked about wanting the clothes and hair ribbons that the popular kids wore. 

She also had some bad experiences associated with the bus. There was a kid named Johnny Kidler. He was called the Frankton bully. Everyone knew how mean he was to the other kids. Mrs. Stockton was one that Johnny chose to pick on, just because she was shorter than the other kids. Since they were the only two that got on and off the bus at their stop, he would follow her home every day calling her shrimp and shorty.
He would sing this little song, in the teasing melody that we have all heard,
“Shirley is so shrimpy.
Shirley is a shorty.
Shirley is so shrimpy
Shirley is a shorty”
He would sing that song over and over again. Mrs. Stockton remembered having many nightmares about it. She would ask him over and over again to stop. That made him do it more.
Mrs. Stockton remembered what her Grandmother used to say about mean kids,
“Don’t pay any attention to those mean kids and they will go away.”

That was easier said than done. While it was happening to her, she couldn’t see any way out. She felt she had to take the punishment Johnny was dealing out. There was no way she could tell someone, a parent, a teacher, or someone about it to make him stop, she felt that would just make it worse. It is a normal feeling to have, the bully wants you to feel that way. That’s the only power that they have over you, and that is why they are doing the bullying in the first place.

People would say that Johnny was just teasing Mrs. Stockton, he didn’t physically hurt her. Well, he did hurt her, emotionally. That can be just as bad or even worse than physically hurting someone. Neither one is ok to do to anybody.
Johnny eventually stopped teasing her, because it finally wasn’t fun anymore. Mrs. Stockton had to put up with it until he stopped, because she was afraid to get help. Don’t be afraid to get help. Situations like these have led to suicide, because kids don’t feel like there is a way out. Don’t be one of those kids. You are a special someone to someone, your family, your friends, even your teachers. You are important and deserve to be treated right.

7/17/14

Kids Giving Back – Mitch’s umping his first game last night

The baseball association the kids play in offers an opportunity for the players to be the umpire for the younger kids games. It’s a great way for them to give back to the organization and make a little money along the way. The kids have to be at least 13 to be involved in the program. Max started last year and has worked 6 games to date. 

Mitch was scheduled to work three other games throughout the season. Due to our rainy weather this summer, he had rescheduled games for his team and his required attendance at a choir concert for school (his grade depended on it), that kept him from being able to do it.  Because Max ended up having a practice for his state tournament come up, he was unable to work one of his scheduled games, so last night became Mitch’s first experience. Finally, he was able to get one in. 
He was pretty anxious before the game. We had to drop Max off, but Mitch just wanted to get to his field across town and didn’t want to be late. The teams playing in this game were in the minor league division, 4th and 5th graders, light blue and red. We happened to know two of the kids on the light blue team, one is the younger brother of one of the players on Max’s team and the other one is the son of a friend of Sam’s. I wonder if knowing a couple of the players made Mitch feel more comfortable or more nervous. I will have to ask him.
I noticed that his confidence kept building while we watched the game. He was calling out the balls and strikes louder and standing more solid behind the catcher. Between innings, one of the players asked him how old he was. He said “I am 13.” The player looked up at him and said “wow” like it was a really neat thing. The end result of the game was that the light blue team won to go undefeated for the season and Mitch completed his first game as an umpire. When I asked him how things went and how would he feel about doing it again, he said that it was good and he had fun. And he would love to do it again.
There are many lessons learned by the kids who take this challenge on, and the coaches understand they are learning them on the job. Most of them center around how hard the umpire’s job is. Actually having the opportunity to do it gives them more appreciation for what the umpire goes through in a game.  Max said that he had a better appreciation of the umpire’s job after his first time doing it, and tries not to be too hard on them because of it.They also learn more about the game, seeing it from behind home plate. Mitch commented on one of the kids playing center field was messing around with his hat and not paying attention to the game. When the player looked up, a ball was coming at him and sailed right over his head and he had to leave his hat on the ground to chase the ball down. Mitch had to bring himself back to the fact that there are a lot of other things happening on the field that he also has to keep track of as the umpire.  
What a great experience it was for Sam and I to be there to support him through a first time event in his life. Having the anxiety before the game, and being there to watch him work himself into the game and become comfortable to do the job at hand. The fact that the players (younger kids) look up to him as a role model, added to building his confidence. He did a great job last night, and I am glad it was such a good experience for him.

7/16/14

A different moment in time

Looking out my open bedroom window, I am enjoying the cool and crisp morning air. The sounds of birds chirping is all that can be heard. I have always been amazed at how quiet it is around my house, even though I live in the suburbs of a major metropolitan area. I moved here 11 years ago, leaving an apartment and getting into the first place I’ve ever owned.

When I was house hunting, my wish list included having an actual washer and dryer in my own place and being closer to work. I found a condo which is in a very residential part of town and across the street from a park reserve.  I love the fact that I’m not looking out my window at fast food restaurants or gas stations, getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city in the comfort of my own home.

There’s a big evergreen tree outside my window. Lots of birds have made their homes there over the years. For a while it was a morning dove, who every morning at 5:00 or so would start cooing. When Molly was a puppy, at first she would almost growl under her breath at it to let her know she was there. But, after a while, she would just listen to it, accepting the fact that it really wasn’t a threat to her or me, it was just welcoming the morning from its home in the tree.
For a while, it was just me living here as a single woman and her dog. Then along came Sam and the boys and now we have turned it into a full house with a lot of activity. The peace and quiet is not here as much as it used to be, but that allows me to have moments like now, before everyone is up to appreciate them. With all of us in the house, those moments along with our day to day life are what has become very special to me.
Be sure to recognize and appreciate these moments in time, whether you are with the ones you love or by yourself. Take that deep breath every once in a while to enjoy those special moments that life has to offer us.

7/15/14

One moment in time

As I was giving Molly a treat after our walk this morning, I saw the remains of last night’s project. It brought a smile to my face…
After Max’s team lost their first play off game 16-6 and Mitch had practice last night, we all gathered back at home to watch the All Star Game home run derby. Talk about a baseball family, we definitely are one! Max needed to have Sam, my fiancee, tighten up the laces of his fielder and catcher’s gloves. As they get used and broken in, the leather loosens up. After getting those two gloves fixed and having watched Sam fix their gloves many times before, they took on a project themselves. We have a bin with the gloves that the kids and Sam have gone through in their baseball careers. Sam played baseball growing up and a little bit in college, we have his first baseball glove in that bin. Each of the kids have outgrown a couple and have each had that special one to them actually sustain a blow out, one from a loose lace and the other one actually has a hole in the webbing.
So, they each took out their own old broken glove and went to work to make it usable again. Working with a pair of needle nose pliers and a heavy duty project needle, they were able to bring these treasured items back to life.
It was one of those moments in life that I was proud to be a part of. They are growing into young men who are capable of doing some amazing things on their own. They are both good ball players and have a great passion for the game. It shows when each one of them takes the field for their respective teams. They are not perfect, but they go out there wanting to play and do their best. That’s all that can be asked of them. 
Be sure to take notice of these moments of time that you are privileged to be a part of, either as a part of everyday life or the big milestone moments that ultimately make kids into the adults they are going to become someday.

7/14/14

With the beautiful weather we had yesterday, I took the day off to get some much needed relaxation. Kept on reading Mercy Falls out on the deck with Molly, while she laid out there and watched people and cars go by. The book is a good one, just like the previous four in the Cork O’Connor mystery series.
 
I thought about when I first got interested in creative writing. I remember writing in diaries when I was a girl, in the small leather bound books with the locks on them. They had one year and five year varieties. I have them put away with the other things I  saved from my childhood. I even have the keys on a key ring in my jewelry box. Made a point to keep them hidden from my brother, so he couldn’t read the secrets I wrote about. Then it moved on to writing and telling silly stories. I have one of them on loose leaf notebook paper that I wrote in high school in my filing cabinet.  It is written in the form of a play. The characters were all based on members of our high school marching band and it was set in a Little House on the Prairie scene and story line. Some of the logistics of the story were way out there, but it was fun and made sense to where my writing was at then.
As goofy as it is, there may be some material in it that could actually work for a story. I think in any creative writing we do there are some good ideas, which may may not be obvious at the time. Sometimes creative writing can lead us on a journey to a place that you never expected to arrive at, like a reader gets out of reading a book. In some of the writing that I have done, it has gone exactly this way. I created a novel years ago that started in one direction and as I rode the creative process, the story ended differently than what I set out to do. I was surprised, but when I thought about it, that was where the story was supposed to end. That journey had a surprise ending, like many life journeys that each of us are on. 
Be patient and have faith that the journey you may be on will work out the way it is supposed to, even if it doesn’t end up where we believe it should.

7/12/14

Our dog, Molly, started moving around and making noise to get us out of bed this morning ready to start her day. She decided that 8:00 would be the best time for that to happen, which I will admit is better than the normal 5:30 wake up time we have during the week. After seeing my fiancee out the door for his morning pick up, I took Molly for her walk around the neighborhood. It’s a warm, humid and foggy morning. Will be a good day to be inside and get some home projects done.

Upon our return, I made a cup of chai, planning to sit down and read for a little bit before embarking on the massive cleaning of our house. I just started Mercy Falls, by William Kent Krueger, last night. I had the opportunity to meet him in person when I attended the Bloomington Art Center Writers’ Festival and Book Fair in March of 2009 where he was the key note speaker, and taught a seminar on the Importance of Narrative in Your Writing.
I like his writing style, and the fact that his stories are set in Northern Minnesota, make them feel very familiar to me. To us Minnesotans, that area is considered Cabin country. When we say we are “going up north” that’s where we are going. Lots of wooded area and lakes for relaxing, to get away from the hustle and bustle of the day to day life in the city. 


Krueger is a Minnesota author who has been known to do a lot of his writing at the St. Clair Broiler in St. Paul. I have often thought that I do my most productive writing away from home. Coffee shops, up at the cabin, and on vacations are places where I seem to get my best work done. However, the idea for The Hard Way was conceived during a vacation at home in April of 2013. I think it may have more to do with when you feel comfortable enough to let the writing just come out, good or bad. Some days that seem the least productive towards the goals of the main project, lead to ideas for other projects. That has it good points and it’s bad points. It keeps the creative juices flowing, but it takes discipline to continue to get the goals of the main writing project done.

I have learned that writing is a process that probably won’t be started and completed in one sitting. Learning how to ride the process, by taking the good ideas and putting them into my creative writing, is one of the most gratifying parts of being a writer. 

7/11/14

When I typed the date in the title section for today’s blog, it reminded me of 7, 11 or doubles. Makes me feel like I should be in Vegas. Anyone feel lucky today?

Feeling pretty worn out after a pretty full week of baseball with the kids teams. Our family has had six games in the last five nights (one day both kids each had a game). Now the regular seasons are over and we move into the league playoff rounds next week. We now know who we are playing, but are waiting to finalize what field, what day and what time. We have had beautiful weather this week and I have really enjoyed being outside watching the games with the families of the other players on each team. What we all have come to know as our summer baseball families. Look forward to seeing you all next week.

There is a lot of buzz around town with the Major League All Star Game being played in Minneapolis on Tuesday. They are closing roads downtown to keep traffic moving around the vicinity of the field. It will be a great boost to our local economy, show what the Twin Cities has to offer when it comes to hosting these kinds of events, and showcase what a great venue Target Field is. I’ve seen it on TV a lot, but may be one of the few people in the Twin Cities area that hasn’t been able to attend a game there yet.

Have you been to Target Field?

Hoping to get some projects done around the house and a big dose of relaxing as the kids have no scheduled games or tournaments this weekend. Will hopefully have some down time to work on writing projects that are in need of some attention on the journey to publishing my novel.

7/10/14

Yesterday I had my yearly Mammogram screening. For those of you that don’t know, my Mom passed away from breast cancer in March of 2008. After she was diagnosed, I’ve been diligent to have the screening done each year to set my mind at ease, or if something is wrong, to have enough lead time to do something about it. My doctor has reassured me that just because my Mom had it, doesn’t mean that I will. 
It is always an emotional day for me. As I sat in the waiting room listening to the elevator music, I thought about if they could have found it earlier, would my Mom still be alive today. It almost brought a tear to my eye because I miss my her so much.

After the appointment, I head back to work and drive right by the cemetery where she is buried and think about her again. Made me miss her more. Work was a nice distraction, but I was on the emotional edge all day. Feeling tired from having to get up early for the appointment and sad that she is not physically with me.

I’m grateful that I have been cleared on screenings every year. Still waiting for the results of this one, having faith that everything will be just fine.

I think about my Mom every day. I watched one of the boys boys play baseball last night and thought of my Mom watching me play softball when I was growing up. I wished that she could be here watching the game with me. My Dad is here tonight, so I get my chance to watch the game with him.

Be sure to tell your Mom that you love her and spend time with her when you can. One of my fondest memories was being able to scrapbook a couple of pages with my Mom while she was in hospice care. I made a point of spending as much time as I could with her during that time knowing I had limited time left with her.

7/9/14

 

There are many writing websites that carry what they call daily writing prompts. Thought provoking scenes or words to write about to get those creative juices flowing. The one I saw yesterday from Writers’ Write, caught my attention…

Your protagonist describes some one who stole something to a detective. The thief is you. Describe yourself through his eyes.

After thinking about it, here’s what I came up with,

I saw her fly into the downtown boutique. She was a complete blur, I could hardly tell she had blond hair, except it was flying back behind her. When she stopped over by the expensive fur coats, I got my chance to see her. She was short in stature, long blond hair and wore a long dark red trench coat.When she picked up the fur and placed it under her coat, I then saw that she was wearing a white t-shirt and jeans underneath. She ran out of the store and into the pouring rain. I followed her out of the store and down the street to see if I could catch her. She took a left from the sidewalk and into an alley. When I saw her again, She was making her way up the fire escape and into a second floor apartment.

How would your witness describe you to the detective?