Wiser and more eloquent writers have already expressed so much of what I’m feeling today, so I’m not going to try. I was scrolling through images on my phone, looking for something that might lighten the mood or offset the negativity, or even just something to change the subject. I hadn’t gone back very far when I came across this picture. I took this at the MGM Grand last week as I walked the seemingly endless hallway leading to my room. The election we just went through reminds me of this hallway. You can’t wait to reach the end and for it to be over, and then you get there and when you open the door there’s disappointment on the other side. I guess I can take comfort that unlike my stay in that hotel room, I’m not alone. We’re in this together. And we’ve got lots of work to do.
Always thought that behind all that comic genius was a very sad man. I thought this was a good way to remember him.
Breezy greens and soft blues, accented with splashes of steamy purples. That’s what my normal mood canvas would look like.
Except our air conditioning is not working. Bad luck seems to follow us from house to house when it comes to HVAC equipment. The past two days temperatures have almost reached the 100°F mark and it seems the system in our new home just can’t keep up. Or maybe it’s taking a brief vacation. Whatever the reason, temperatures inside are almost as high. So in addition to the normal array of pleasant hues, my canvas today has big bold dots of reds and oranges.
Temperatures outside and inside the house have a way of affecting everything we do, from what we have for dinner (now is not the best time to make those stuffed peppers that have to bake for almost an hour), to our choice of evening cocktails (a Tom Collins with lots of ice would be lovely, dear, thank you), to what we wear to bed after a second (or third?) cool shower. So we lay naked on the bed with the ceiling fan above us on maximum speed, doing what we can to replace the fiery reds and oranges with bursts of purple.
I’m hopeful that temperatures will subside in the coming days and that someone will soon fix our AC. I can then resume my everyday blend of greens and blues, with many, frequent shots of purple.
It’s day nineteen of my Writing 101 challenge and today’s homework assignment is to write 400 words on whatever comes to mind, without thinking about it too much or worrying about whether anyone will like it or if it’s any good.
For some reason, this has turned out to be my hardest assignment. Turns out I need a more specific prompt and I find it hard to just go free-styling. So I thought that I would use this opportunity to write a little bit about this Writing 101 challenge and what I’ve learned from it.
(Hey only about 300 more words to go!)
First of all I should give some editing credit and thanks to my wonderful husband, the English major. He’s been incredibly helpful; reviewing my posts when asked, always providing useful feedback and ideas. And he’s always anxious to see what I come up with. He’s my biggest supporter and his words of encouragement and praise mean a lot to me.
This past month of writing assignments has led me to explore different styles of writing that I never considered before. For example, I’m most proud of the fictional posts I’ve composed these last few weeks. Maybe this is a field or style I should explore further. Most of my posts in the past have been very personal and while there’s still a place for those, maybe I’m ready to move on from all that. We’ll see.
I’m learning to spot the use of passive voice and I’m trying to avoid it whenever I can. It’s not easy. I’ve been using a thesaurus more often; trying to come up with better words to tell my story, more descriptive verbs.
I’m still trying to find “my voice” and it will probably take a lot more practice before I have identified it. I’ll keep working on it.
I know I have gained some new followers in the last month and I hope you stick around a while. Your likes, feedback, and comments are always welcome. Please don’t be a stranger. Stop by often and let me know how I’m doing.
I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s assignment; probably the last one of the challenge. I’m wondering what my grade would be if this was a real class? Anyway, hopefully there will be a Writing 201 in the near future and we can keep working at this thing we call blogging.
Til next time!
What took you so long? Or was it me that was late to the party? It’s only in recent years that I have learned to appreciate all your redeeming qualities. Your chameleon ways quench my thirst throughout my day.
In the morning, I can’t start the day without a steaming mug of your caffeinated brew. On a hot afternoon I can’t go wrong with some of your frosty hops. And in the evenings you offer up a cordial cocktail or a friendly spirit.
And after an hour of Zumba, there’s nothing better than a tall glass of clear, icy goodness.
Engineers have a reputation for being overly precise when it comes to everyday matters. Ask them a question and they will answer it correctly while you remain clueless. German engineers take this to a whole other level.
Case in point— this conversation between my boss (German Engineer) and his boss (Deadeye Perry) a few years ago:
Deadeye Perry: Do you know the dates for the IPM meeting in Coburg?
German Engineer: Of course
Deadeye Perry: What are they?
German Engineer: They are the dates when all the project managers will meet in Germany.
Deadeye: I know that! What I want to know is which days would that be?
GE: You mean in March?
Deadeye: The IPM meeting is in March?
GE: Usually, but sometimes it’s in early April.
Deadeye: In 2004, will the meeting be in March?
GE: The IPM meeting?
Deadeye: Yes, the IPM meeting!
Deadeye: What days in March?
GE: Monday and Tuesday.
Deadeye Perry: Don’t move. I am almost finished loading my clip.
And you thought you were done with cliques, didn’t you?
Walk into any high school cafeteria and it won’t be long before you spot them. It’s the same in your office lunch room or cafeteria. The setting may have changed and the faces may be a little older, but they’re still there nonetheless.
It is like that in my office, although I must assert that the groups in my office are not mean to each other. My colleagues are not Mean Girls (or boys, for that matter). But they do break up in groups arranged in an unspoken seating chart.
At one end of the room sit the ladies that make the room hum with their conversation. You can hear their laughter resonate through the hallways leading into the room.
In the middle we have the puzzle group. This is an exclusive group, with a membership peppered by just one or two people at a time. They work on whatever puzzle is spread out on the table, concentrating on it until they fit the finishing piece.
On the other side of the puzzle table is the brain trust of the company: the engineers. You can hear them debate any subject from automotive engineering to highway construction. The subject is not important to the discussion; what matters is figuring out what everyone else is doing wrong.
At the other end of the room is the group of “up and comers.” This group has the Gen-X college grads who are frustrated with the status quo and their frequent rants could make the senior staff shake their heads as if to say “I remember when I was that young.”
Of course. as in any high school cafeteria, there are also the loners. They sit by themselves with a book (or E-reader) in hand as they try to enjoy a few minutes of quiet before returning to their busy desks. Or maybe they put their head down and return to the days of kindergarten when they could take a nap in the middle of the day.
As for myself, I’m a roamer. I have inserted myself into one or more of these groups when I don’t want to be one of the loners. That’s when I’m not in the warehouse doing my 30 minutes of walking, of course.
It’s another free-flowing exercise; this time the subject should be three songs important to me. They may as well have asked me to say what my favorite song is, or what’s my favorite color. It’s pretty impossible for me that answer any of these questions in just a few minutes. Then ask me to do it and write about them within just fifteen minutes without editing. Definitely impossible.
I’ve always had a hard time narrowing down favorites or picking things like this. I know it when I see it/hear it. I can’t always bring it to mind when prompted without some warning. If I went through the various playlists I have in iTunes, I would probably find several repeated on more than one list. Does that mean they are important to me? Probably not. I just like them or they happen to fit several moods or purposes.
For example, one of these songs is La Negra Tiene Tumbao by Celia Cruz. I think I have it on at least three playlists, maybe more. It does fit multiple purposes: it’s on one of my walking playlists because it has a good rhythm and it makes me feel good as I’m walking. It’s on a party playlist, and it’s on a latin playlist. It’s fun, but it also reminds me of growing up in Panama and hearing Celia on the radio. Back when I didn’t like salsa, by the way.
I do have a playlist called “Fresh Start” that Doug and I put together when we hosted our first party. It is composed partly of songs that reflect our state of mind at the time: we both felt we were getting a fresh start on life, with me getting ready to move in with him. Some of these songs are about the journey we each took to get there, and some are just about how happy we were (and still are!). So to end my fifteen minutes of free-flowing (otherwise known as rambling), I leave you with our “Fresh Start” playlist:
- Litte Martha — The Allman Brothers Band
- Love Shack – The B-52’s
- Feel Like Makin’ Love — Bad Company
- Dejame Entrar — Carlos Vives
- Carito — Carlos Vives
- La Negra Tiene Tumbao – Celia Cruz
- Strawberry Wine — Deanna Carter
- Nobody Else in the World But You – Don Henley
- I Have Always Loved You — Enrique Iglesias
- Bailamos — Enrique Iglesias
- Medley: Bamboleo, Volare — Gipsy Kings
- Broken Bed – James McMurtry
- Slow Dance — John Legend
- Carey — Joni Mitchell
- Guavaberry – Juan Luis Guerra & 4.40
- A Dios le Pido – Juanes
- What Is and What Should Never Be — Led Zeppelin
- You Make me Feel Like Dancing — Leo Sayer
- Roll Um Easy — Little Feat
- Skin it Back — Little Feat
- Spanish Moon — Little Feat
- If Wishes were Horses — Lucinda Williams
- The Way you Make me Feel — Michael Jackson
- I’ll Meet you Halfway — The Partridge Family
- Cuban Slide — Pretenders
- Lost Without U — Robin Thicke
- Miss You — The Rolling Stones
- Wild Horses — The Rolling Stones
- Bitch — The Rolling Stones
- The Girl from Ipanema — Stan Getz * Antonio Carlos Jobim
- Yeah — Usher