Saturday, December 03, 2016

Saturday 9: Take My Breath Away

Saturday 9: Take My Breath Away (1996)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) When were you last breathless?

A. I have asthma, and recently we've had bad air quality from multiple fires (poor Gatlinburg). So I have had to haul out my inhaler a couple of times. That is the literal kind of breathless. But the other kind of breathless, as in, something emotional? Probably the evening one of my close friends told me she had a terminal illness.

2) This is the love theme from Top Gun, and the romance was between a pilot and his instructor. Have you ever had a crush on a teacher?

A. No. I liked my teachers, but I didn't have crushes on them. However, in the 4th grade, for some reason other girls thought Mr. Kinzie was a dreamboat and they would sigh over him during lunch. He was okay, but he was old.

3) The pilots in Top Gun all had cool nicknames -- including Maverick, Goose, Merlin, Cougar and Stinger. Give yourself a cool pilot name.

A. I think I'll go with Gandalf. Yes? No?

4) The actress who played the instructor, Kelly McGillis, owns Kelly's Caribbean Bar/Grill and Brewery in Key West. It's known for its cheese and beer dip appetizer, served with warm pretzels. What's one of your favorite between meal snacks?

A. Chips. Cheese ball with crackers. Something chocolate.

5) The group who recorded this week's song is called Berlin, but they're really from Southern California. Have you ever been to Berlin? How about Southern California?

A. I have been to California. Berlin's beyond my means.
I've also been through Oklahoma, and I always wear blue jeans.

I found true love in Memphis, and I lost my heart in New Orleans.
My life is now a circus, and you all know what I mean.

But I still get up in the morning, 'cause the eggs don't cook themselves
and I keep my heart wide open, instead of stuck up on some shelf.
When you see me in the city, tell me it's time to love myself.

Okay, somehow I started writing a country song there. Sorry.

6) Lead singer Terri Nunn has a weekly radio show, Unbound on KCSN. How often do you listen to the radio? Do you tune in for music, comedy, news or talk?

A. I listen to music when I shower, so I listen to it almost every day. Depending on the time of day, I might also hear the news or the DJs being silly.

7) In 1986, when this song was popular, PeeWee's Playhouse premiered. While ostensibly for children, PeeWee Herman's show had many, many adult viewers. Do you watch still watch any kid's shows?

A. No. Can't say that I do. I would, maybe, if I could find them on the satellite.

8) Robert Pattinson, the actor who played Edward the vampire in the Twilight series, was born in 1986. Have you read the Twilight books? Seen the movies?

A. No and no. The last vampire series I became intimately involved with was Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

9)  Random question: In an alternate universe, which of these professions would you like to find yourself in -- United States senator, Ivy League professor, or imminent psychiatrist?

A. Is Donald Trump in that universe? No? Then I will be an Ivy League Professor. I teach Creative Writing, and have published 20 books of fiction, two books on writing, and one book on keeping a journal for self-discovery. My students love me and my creative writing classes always have waiting lists. Since I've been teaching for 25 years, I have a long list of alumnae who keep in touch with me, sending me Christmas cards every year and copies of their books.

Apparently my imagination is simply going crazy as I answer these questions.


I encourage you to visit other participants in Saturday 9 posts and leave a comment. Because there are no rules, it is your choice. Saturday 9 players hate rules. We love memes, however.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Fantasy R Us

Do not anger dragons,
 for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

Remembering Lakeside

Last night the local PBS had a documentary on Lakeside Amusement Park in Salem, VA.

I visited the amusement park many times as a child and a teenager. I think the last time I went, I was 19. Then this area had a major flood in 1985 and the amusement park went underwater. It never recovered and now the land houses a retail area.

The park opened in 1920 with a large football-sized segregated swimming pool. In time, it changed hands and ride attractions were added, such as a roller coaster (there were two; I only knew the last one, The Shooting Star).

These were the times when my mother could drop us off with my 14-year-old uncle (I would have been nine) and let us roam free. The uncle (her brother) would of course ditch me, my brother, and my other young uncle as soon as he could, leaving us to fend for ourselves amongst the rides and the pavilion.

I suppose it was here that I learned to love cotton candy and the huckster games that one finds at carnivals.

I recall riding The Shooting Star only twice. I was never a fan of the rides that made me sick. I was more of a Merry-Go-Round or bumper cars type of kid.

I did like the skyline, though, which circumvented the park. The long trip around the complex was relaxing, if not a little scary, and it was as if you could see the world from up there. That was a big deal when you were a kid.

After I received my driver's license, I would go to Lakeside with friends (even when I wasn't supposed). We loved to sneak into concerts and there I heard Juice Newton, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn (I think) and many other country and pop stars. We were under age but security apparently was not that good, because we never had any trouble getting into the shows. They were held in a pavilion area.

The documentary should be available for purchase at the local PBS station at some point. They were hawking it last night during the show, so I assume it will be available to the general public.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Thursday Thirteen

Things to do by yourself to make the holiday time a little less crazy.

1. Make a terrarium, create a garden, or care for a plant.

2. Cook something spectacular.

3. Spend time at a museum or library.

4. Meditate.

5. Make lists of things you want to do or feel, or create a vision board for your life.

6. Read.


7. Go for a walk in the woods or visit somewhere new in your city.

8. Watch a movie.

9. Go for a long drive.

10. Listen to music. Dance like no one is watching.

11. Clear out some clutter.

12. Paint, draw, sketch, color.

13. Write in your journal, send a handwritten note to a friend, blog, or work on a writing project.


Thursday Thirteen is played by lots of people; there is a list here if you want to read other Thursday Thirteens and/or play along. I've been playing for a while and this is my 476th time to do a list of 13 on a Thursday. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

My Grandmother's Living Room

Last night I dreamed of my grandmother's house in Salem.

Small for a family of six, the three-bedroom, full-basement structure probably encompassed about 1200 feet, if that. My grandfather had it built when a small subdivision sprang up along The Roanoke River.

The basement flooded at least three times.

The living room housed a couch, my grandfather's recliner chair, a rocking chair, a television, a dry sink, and an upright piano. The room never seemed crowded to me, but looking back on it, it must have been. I don't think the room was bigger than 12 x 14, if that.

The foyer held a bookcase and another smaller moveable shelve set that held the telephone. The bookcase held a cherished set of World Book Encyclopedias.

My grandmother rocked the piano sometimes, when she thought no one was listening. When we were outside playing on our bikes, maybe, or on the swings. But I would come to the door and hear her. She had no formal lessons that I am aware of; she played by ear and with passion. She sang, too, though the songs she sang when she was at the piano were not the lullabies she whispered in her grandchildrens' ears when she tried to calm them or help them sleep.

They were songs from the 1940s, from her childhood. And I don't remember any of them, I'm afraid.

A few months before my grandmother died, she was in the hospital. She kept hearing music. She would ask if we heard it when we visited and wanted to know when the City of Salem began piping music all over the land. I always told her I heard the music, and sometimes asked her if she could sing along with it.

Once or twice she did, singing old songs I didn't know, floundering with the words and then stopping. It was better to listen than sing then, she said.

My grandmother's house had a divider between the kitchen and living room. It served as a place for us grandchildren to run around on rainy days. We chased each other in circles until she couldn't stand it anymore and sent us to the basement. Down there we played with balls or read comic books in a half-light, while she, at least, had a little quiet upstairs.

I don't know why I dreamed of my grandmother's living room last night. I haven't seen it since about 1987. She moved into another home with my aunt after that, and the old house was sold. It still stands, though I think it is one of the few left along that part of The Roanoke River Greenway.

I wish I had a picture.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Is That You, Raj?

Down is up
sideways is reverse
changing lines crisscross,
run parallel, arrange themselves
perpendicular, move to form
irregular quadrilaterals.

Maybe I am in Sheldon's 2D universe,
a holographic theory,
I see only the sides of obtuse triangles
and I don't even like math.