Jo Mayne Casey

Posts Tagged ‘writing’

How I came to be a blogger…

In 2015, blogging on January 14, 2015 at 8:19 am

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Back in 2004, my daughter began blogging.  I was intrigued and in 2005 she set me up with a blog through the platform she was using, I know not what…(it was http://www.sonnystoneacres.com/—go there and you’re nowhere)

I started out blogging as my cat, Sonny, a legendary feline with exquisite taste, who wrote about the 2 caretakers (Casey and me)  of his estate, Sonnystone Acres. Melissa was in and out of the hospital, so when I visited NYC, Sonny would turn over the typewriter to me for live reporting.  It was before smartphones or facebook, so it was a good way to keep the folks back home informed.

Not too many months after I started the blog, Sonny died.  I was devastated.  I did publish his Last Will and Testament, some of my most best work, and a fitting, tearful tribute.

From then on, the blog was in my voice.  I wrote about Melissa’s surgeries, Michael’s wedding, the birth of my 2 oldest grandchildren, the constant remodeling of the house and grounds…

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Technology kept improving, and I decided to start a free wordpress blog, Growing Every Season, to feature my gardens and garden photos.  When I signed up, in 2010, it was just so damn easy, so much more reliable than the old platform.  I decided to start up a second blog, called it The News from Sonnystone Acres, and announced to my dozen or so followers that I would be moving.  They were all family, anyway…

I started a third blog, Rave On, Madwoman, with the vision of lively discussion of current events.  It never got off the ground, probably because every time somebody argued with me, I removed the post…

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Along came Facebook, and with it the ability to share my blog with another kind of friend.  My reader stats increased nicely, and there was the immediate gratification that comes with lots of “likes”.   I felt a little more pressure to please, to entertain, and to do it well,  and that motivates me to keep the calendar full of photo ops and enviable activities.

It was 3 years after that when I took a Blogging 101 class here at wordpress and, surprise!, there’s a whole ‘nother kind of reader out there—fellow bloggers..!  I learned tons about appearance, tools, pages, media , and all that, but couldn’t quite relate to the community.   It seemed like all the other “students”  bonded and within a month or so had 3-4x as many followers as I have, so I am a tad bit jealous.   We all know, though, that I’m a confirmed introvert.

While it was never my intention that my blog become famous, the immediate gratification of “likes” is addicting.  Comments put me over the moon…

It is difficult to not feel disappointed when you write something you consider good, and your only proof that anyone read it is an indecipherable bar graph on a stats page…

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Still, I do so enjoy writing this drivel.  I hope you like it…

 

 

 

Meeting with Myself…

In Writing Prompt on November 16, 2014 at 9:12 am

Present-day you meets 10-years-ago you for coffee. Share with your younger self the most challenging thing, the most rewarding thing, and the most fun thing they have to look forward to.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/good-tidings/

Intriguing, eh?

Step into my Time Machine and follow me back 10 years…doo-doo-doo-doo…

It’s 2004, November.  I wouldn’t look for me in a coffee shop, though.  I think I’ll poke my head into the neighborhood dive…yup, there I am, hunched over the bar, making small-talk with the bartender, belting down a beer and putting away a pack of smokes.  I’m 51-years-old, but feeling like I’m on my 9th life.

I tap myself on the shoulder, but before I turn around I catch a glimpse of myself standing behind me…

“Whoa, ” says younger me.  “Are you..?”

“Yeah,” I shrug.  “But don’t worry, you’re not dead or anything.  Let’s sit over here where we can talk.”

Settling at a corner table overlooking a dreary day, I order a Makers on the rocks and turn to smile at young me, who is staring at me curiously.  “What?”, I ask.

“How old are you?  Those jowls are quite pronounced.”

“Shut up.  I’m currently residing in 2014 and you’ve always known the jowls were inevitable.”

“Yeah, but I didn’t know I’d look so much like Mom.  Oh, well, at least I haven’t quit drinking.”

“No, but I did finally quit the ciggies.”   I sip my bourbon, staring quietly at myself as myself stares quietly back.  ” I wish I could tell you more, but I can only share 3 things…

The most challenging thing you will face in the next 10 years is facing you right now.  You have fallen apart this past year.  Your daughter is very ill.  You have just returned from your 4th trip to NYC, the one you hope is the last spent at Mt. Sinai.  You have slowly, sadly, let go of any hope of spontaneous healing or miracle cure and you have committed to simply supporting her and the decisions she makes, trusting her and Eric to know what’s best, and letting go of any delusion that you can control whatever happens.   Your marriage is on the rocks, and you’re struggling to determine which way to turn.  You think you’ll never work as a nurse again, believing that the women who hated you had good reason.  Your son seems unhappy and a little lost, but you can’t seem to cheer him or guide him.  Your birth family blew up last year and you still feel a hole in your heart where they used to live.  The house you bought to save your marriage is a money pit.

Good Tidings!   You will not only survive this challenge, but you will overcome!  Melissa’s Crohns is still a bitch, but stable.  We are still married, happily, enjoying our beautiful home.  You are working as a nurse in a job you love, though looking forward to retiring.  Michael is still an Eeyore, but he and Jessica are married and living in Evansville now.  You are free from the pull of your birth family.   Everything is really all right now…

The most rewarding thing about the last 10 years is the wisdom acquired with living life,  learning lessons.  Every mistake, every blunder, each gaffe and miscalculation has resulted in a treasure trove of understanding, finally.  Just don’t worry…  In fact, Everything that you are worried about happening right now Never Happens!  On the other hand, many problems appear that you did not anticipate.  It becomes much easier to live in the plain old here and now.  As time goes on, it becomes more clear that not a moment should be wasted on anger and the antidote is forgiveness, for yourself as well as others.

The most fun thing you have to look forward to in the next 10 years is…… Grandchildren!!  Melissa has 2 daughters, Emma, 8, and Eliza, 3;  Michael has 2 daughters, Olivia 6, and Samantha, in utero (due 2/28).  They are sheer joy, unadulterated love, and complete bliss!  And Walt Disney World Really, Truly, Honestly Is the happiest place on Earth…”

Young Me has tears streaming down her relatively-unlined cheeks, and so do I as I reach across the table and pat her hand…

“Oh, and give up the beers, honey… you’re going to gain a lot of weight and it’s a drag losing it.”

 

 

 

Week-end Wrap-up

In week-end wrap-up on November 9, 2014 at 12:04 pm
The Great American Novel:  
What every blogger is writing in their spare time, when not at work, parenting or surfing the internet
—-the Urban Dictionary…

 

I’ve started researching for a book, studying up on American culture around the turn of the 20th century.    It’s just fascinating, obsessing me as I try to set the scene…how did they dress?  what did they eat and drink?  what sort of transportation did they use?  what music did they listen to?  what books and newspapers did they read?  what was school like?  on and on…

I got to cogitating on women’s undergarments and how they speak of our ever-changing, but always confusing, body-image…

My novel starts in the Edwardian Era,  which was the mid-1890’s  until WWI.  During that time, corsets loosened and desirable women’s shapes  changed rather dramatically.  You can see  by these silhouettes:

 

Corset Evolution

 

I remember my mom and her sisters wore girdles, but by the 1960’s young girls were not expected to cinch in their waists, though we did have some elastic in our garter belts…  Oh, and we didn’t  really burn our bras, we just threw them (and any girdles we may have had) into the trash can.   It was a symbolic gesture, meant as a serious critique of the whole beauty culture and  valuing women for their looks instead of their whole Self…obviously, most people didn’t get it.

Lately I’ve had to face the fact that I’m much thicker in the middle than I used to be and this shift has necessitated a general revamp of my wardrobe as I accept that no amount of wt. loss or sit-ups is going to make me look good in those old hip-huggers…   While I’ve  had to change my Style (and size) some to cover the flaws, I haven’t even considered girdling my girth into a bodice…

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But that’s only the tip of the research obsession…Because I am free to google it (u r 2), I have immersed myself in the sights, sounds, and songs, as well:

I’ll be keeping you in touch with my progress on this endeavor…


 

I’ve got Christmas 2014 planned and it is filled with Rockettes…NYC Radio City Music Hall 12/13 with the Jose’ fam, Nashville TN Opry House touring show 12/20 with the Jrs.  We’re having a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner to celebrate Casey’s 60th birthday, and I was hoping the weather would be good for a little travel that weekend, as well.


 

In the meantime, it’s all about the book, setting the scene, building the characters, and putting myself into the girdles of my grandmothers…

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my great-grandmother , around 1898

 

 

 

 

Stream of consciousness: 21 minutes

In Uncategorized on June 2, 2014 at 7:27 pm

Writing 101 assignment:  Unlock the Mind.  Free write for 20 minutes (which I changed to 21 so it’s divisible by 3) ..no editing…

6:39pm –

I woke up this morning from a dream:  I was in a room of people, shadowy.  recognized J.  from high school and we were somehow communicating, talking?, D. walked in wearing suit and tie and smiling at me until he saw J, then J left and I walked away, studiously ignoring D. and sitting down in a chair to view him on the bed, shadowy people were still there when J came back and brought me a blanket and as he was wrapping it around me I noticed that my breasts were bare and they were my young, perky breasts not the saggy, crone-tits that I have now and I demurely covered them with a peasant blouse and looked at J and woke up.  It was raining, misting, gloomily damp and the cat had given up on waking me at the normal time of 7am and was sleeping at the foot of the bed.  It was 8:30 or so and I lay there for a few minutes saying my morning prayer:  I thank Thee, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ Thy dear Son, that Thou hast graciously kept me this night from all harm and danger and I pray that Thou wouldst keep me this day also from sin and every evil, that all my doings in life may please Thee, for into Thy Hands I commend myself, my body and soul and all things, let Thy Holy Angel be with me that the evil foe may have no power over me.  Amen.  Then I thought about the dream and wondered if it meant anything and wondered how people from high school can still show up in a person’s dreams even when they’re 61 years old and so over it, or not?  No, really over it, no doubt at all.  And what should we do today, since it’s raining we’ll have to come up with something inside.  I talk /think to myself all the time and often refer to myself as we, especially when I am questioning and it is my honest, sincere belief that God Himself is  my “other” voice, though I certainly don’t think it’s not me, or maybe I do and should be institutionalized.  I wonder about that a lot, though, as I go through the morning routine, feed the cat, half of a can of meaty bits, not shreds or filets, dammit, meaty bits, and add just a little water while he meows impatiently, then grind the beans, get the coffee brewing and head for the shower.  I try not to notice all the physical changes, the cellulite thighs and gut and I clean it up and shave it off, brushing and swishing the remaining teeth and getting dressed.  Put the half-and-half in the coffee and bring it on in to the  east room which I like to call the morning room because the rising sun shows just above the trees outside the window where I sit in what Casey calls the Captains chair, then open up the laptop and check in with the Outside World.  2 mailboxes, 1 facebook account, check the blog stats just to see if someone’s noticed, read the local news online.   Today I have a mess in the front room that needs to be cleaned up, so I empty out 3 drawers of file cabinets and put most of it upstairs in another file cabinet, then begin to load dishes back into the hutch cupboard that belonged to my Aunt Bernie.  Many of the dishes also came from Bernie, but some came from Mom and others are mine and I think about each one as I replace it.  I love to arrange shelves, and rearrange shelves, and then move things around some more, and I pull cookbooks out and move them to the kitchen, then move some cookie jars and signs and salt and pepper shakers onto the decorative shelves of the hutch, then sit and admire them while I eat a turkey sandwich, and open windows and it rains and rains and rains, and I run down to the consigment shop and buy an office chair and use all rolling chairs around the table and put the others upstairs and sit admiring it with a strawberry sparkling water when Casey gets home.  I cook supper, chicken, asparagus, mushrooms, watch some Rifleman, talk with Casey, and write for 21 minutes whatever I’m thinking.

7:00pm

blogging block…

In Uncategorized on May 15, 2014 at 10:11 am

I’m looking forward to getting back to work next Monday.  Our last day of school here is 5/23, so I’ll just breeze in to say good-bye to the graduates, finish up the final paperwork, and pack up my office.  I am still having some pains/problems, but I do think I can manage those 5 days.

I enjoy spending time alone, reading, listening to music, writing.   I’ve filled the last 3 weeks with Eudora Welty, Flannery O’Connor, Matthew Quick, Erle Stanley Gardner, and deeper moments with Reza Aslan, Jane Schaberg, and The Bible.   I’ve had daily sing-alongs with the likes of John Prine, Lyle Lovett, The Dead, The Beatles, and Gregg Allman.  I’ve even caught up on my Netflix watchlist, but I’ve not been able to write, not even a draft.  Though my conscience has berated me without mercy,  my fingers have been sulkily refusing to touch the keyboard.

I think I know why:  I started Blogging 101 at wordpress on 4/15.  I guess I didn’t realize that it was going to be about meeting people, making some new friends, like a class…yes, Exactly like a class.   I have made a few comments and am following some really cool blogs, but the introvert in me immediately shut down the social interaction with its shrill, “don’t go in there”.  There’s some insecurity involved, of course, since  many blogs are better than mine and most are more popular.  There are many lessons I have to learn…it’s just that I don’t want to have to actually “talk”, if you know what I mean.

I don’t always get recognized as an introvert because I am not shy.  I always just thought I was weird, but I read Susan Cain’s “the Power of Introversion” and found out there are a lot of us with similar personalities.   Maybe you’re one, too…

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Today was the final day of the class…  I finally feel like I can write;  in fact, I have actually written this post and I’ve edited some pictures to post over at the garden blog.   Hmmm….

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Whatever…I’m back..!

 

 

Reporting in…

In Uncategorized on February 20, 2014 at 12:11 am

I have been writing a blog entry over at Madwoman for days–nay, a week now..!  It is an Intro to my birthday celebration, but it turned into a study of 1953, the sacred year of my birth.   Who would have predicted, back then, that I’d be using Wikipedia to research every aspect of the culture, then downloading  it from YouTube?  It is fascinating to view the old TV series, listen to the old music, while watching the old movies on DVD or Netflix.  The essay has been edited 25+ times, media has been added and subtracted, and I still can’t bring myself to post it…  Not sure why.  That’s where I’ve been…well, there and

I’ve been hitting the doctor office and labs and have more scheduled.  So far, I’m in pretty good shape for an old broad.  I have a few more procedures to look forward to, but I’m trying to get it all done before Spring Break (last week in March).

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We got a new TV, larger. and I’ve been watching the Olympics.  It’s been a little painful, really.

(And what are These Guys Doing??)

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(huh?)

I’m liking the Yoga. I’ve completed the intro sessions and looking for a class that fit my ability and my schedule.  I hope I’ll be continuing.

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The school corporation is making up the last snow day by adding an extra hour to the school day for 6 days;  I wish they’d do this with All of the days and give us back our April days off.  Unlikely.  My hours at work will change some for those 6 days, but I’ve rather given up on controlling this weather-related crap.  It’s crazy…  Tonight we got a phone call warning us that school may have to dismiss early tomorrow due to the threat of Tornadoes…..yes, Tornadoes…  What next?   Makes me long for the good-old-days when the weather was a little more predictable:

But here it is, the birthday week-end looming, large as life.    Months ago, I told Casey that we’d celebrate the b-day on March 1 when we’ll be traveling to Nashville for the Lawn & Garden Show/ Wine Fest.  HaHaHaHa!!  You know me better than that!!   I still don’t have anything planned, though, so I’m nervously re-arranging shelves…  I have decided to watch “Roman Holiday” as a representative 1953 movie, and to read “Giant” to honor the memorable year.   Other than that, I’m not sure…but

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We’ll come up with something, so check back….

oh, and if you’re up for a short walk down memory lane,  visit http://www.raveonmadwoman.wordpress.com/ to view what’s left of the much-edited (posted at last!) Intro to the Birthday…

Doing nothing and resting afterwards…

In Uncategorized on August 7, 2013 at 11:35 am

With only 4 more days left in 81 Days:  A Sonnystone Summer Vacation this is the last one without commitments, engagements, appointments, or even Chores…  I slept in as late as I could, fostering my laziness, and plan on staying in these clothes unless I need supplies…  

The last 77 days have gone so well…  I still have memories of the grandkids floating around my head from July;  in June  the blues fest, B.B. King, the Garden Walk, and Car Show were stand-outs.  In the next 4 days we’ll be going to the Henderson Blugrass Fest and try to get to the 4H Antiques Show.

On Monday I’ll get back to my school building and set up the office.  It will be good to see my school-friends, and I have some ideas for decorating my office…But…

Today is a day to Count My Blessings…that will take all day long…

(and thanks for being one of them…yes, you,  dear reader…you read all the way to the end, even though there were no pictures…)

A, B. B, and the E’s…

In Uncategorized on July 23, 2013 at 8:43 am

My grand-nieces, whom I love dearly and do not see enough, visited yesterday.  I was thrilled that we were graced with the presence of a Teenager, actually 2 of them…(but I only got a picture of 1)…  Alex came by to grill Melissa about NYC and her boyfriend picked her up later.

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But the younger girls, Berkeley and Briley, played with Emma and read to Eliza…

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Emma said that my blog posts do not contain enough words, but I can’t quite help it right now…a picture is worth a thousand words (and a gallery must be worth about a million):

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where I’ve been…

In Uncategorized on April 11, 2013 at 9:02 pm

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I’ve been feeling so tired and crappy lately, and that twinge under my shoulderblade is back, racing down my arm to my fingertips unexpectedly without provocation.     I’ve given in to the napping and applied the heating pad…and I’ve been reading a lot of blogs instead of writing them.

When I read some of the stuff over at wordpress freshly pressed, I can only grade myself with a C.  I know that many of them aspire to be real, paid authors, but it’s amazing how good people can write..for free…Just because they really, really like to write.     Of course, there are groups of bloggers who become fast friends, sharing the same hobby or philosophy;  more deserve to become financially successful than actually achieve it.  I’m just in it for the fun of it, and reading others’ work is as fun as writing it…almost.  But I’ve got to bring up my grade…

The kitchen is still a bit torn up, and I’ve felt a little pressure to get it finished and get outside, so I welcomed the rains which eliminated the distraction.  We have a 3-day week-end (thanks to not using our Snow Days) and we’ll hopefully be finished up by Sunday.  I am bad at the before part of before-and-after, but I’ll try to explain how much better it all looks in a future post.

In the meantime, back to the heating pad…

Public Service Announcement…

In Uncategorized on March 3, 2013 at 5:16 pm

I am proud to announce an addition to my family of blogs: Rave On Madwoman. The site was born quite a while back, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say…couldn’t find Her Voice, you might say. I did some Live Blogging there on Election Night, 2012, so you may have visited at that time. It has been completely revamped and is ready to be the movie, book, music review arm of my blogging. I’m also planning to publish some interviews there. Sonnystone Acres will return to being a journal of my home and family life. Growing Every Season, my gardening blog, will continue to keep you caught up with my growing habits…

I’ll be connecting Rave On to Facebook, so my FB friends can decide whether to click the link or not. To my fellow bloggers who have followed me because of my scintillating movie reviews…please follow me over to http://www.raveonmadwoman.wordpress.com/.

Thanks so much!!

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