Blog: Nothin’ Up My Sleeve

January 2, 2019 – New Year’s Resolutions

The day after the first day of the new year, it’s probably safe and sane (well, sort of) to chat about new year’s resolutions. I’ve made many of the same promises to myself on the first day of every year for about 20 years running. I won’t go into detail, but suffice it to say, it’s a bit disheartening and a little embarrassing to admit that many, possibly all of the resolutions on my 1999 list (going hand-in-hand with the turn of the century list), are theoretically on my 2019 list. Now, understand, these resolutions on my yearly list aren’t earth-shattering or life and death promises that I remember but certainly (in my view) doable by the end of each year. So, why haven’t I been able to mark them off my list at the end of the year?

Well, I AM a procrastinator to a degree so that’s probably the biggest reason. On about the third day of each new year, never fails, I’ve forgotten about my list and poof, every item is now off in the ether somewhere. I do write them down but then either don’t save the list on my computer or I lose the piece of paper and don’t have time or inclination to write and save another list. That’s mostly why I don’t get those resolutions into the “checked off” column. In my opinion, there are a couple of things I can do going forward to correct this situation. The most blaring and glaring action would be to just NOT write a resolutions list. Sounds like a great idea. I think I’ll write that down.

2019 Resolutions: None, except to say – have more fun! THAT I think I can do.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

December 29, 2018 – Popeye, Bluto and Olive

I just watched an old black and white Popeye cartoon from 1933 entitled, “Let’s Get Movin'”… an apt title wherein Olive has hired Bluto as her “movin’ man” on movin’ day and Popeye shows up unexpectedly to help her move but didn’t know about Bluto being there. And the scene is set.

Well… as is customary in a Popeye cartoon, Bluto starts to beat up on Popeye to make points with Olive. After Popeye downs an entire can of spinach, Bluto takes a beating and Popeye ends up winning. I think the entire cartoon took about 7 minutes maybe 8.

Wouldn’t it be great if real life was like that? I can think of so many difficult situations (the Olives in our lives) in which if all we needed was to down a can of spinach and become strong like Popeye, that we would be able to fight and beat the Blutos (whoever or whatever Bluto is) and win the day. Sadly, real life is not like that. Sometimes Bluto beats us up and we crawl away to lick our wounds, hoping we will be strong enough to fight Bluto another day. What is it that keeps us going like that, that keeps us coming back? I think there are many Blutos that come into our lives, that a “Bluto” is anything we believe is too big or too complicated or too strong for us to handle on our own and the “spinach” is actually what we’re made up of deep inside. So, over time, rather than down a can of spinach when we meet up with a Bluto, we tap into that which is already inside of us and we fight and we win the day. It may not be the win we wanted or hoped for, but it can be sort of a win which will give us the confidence to get up tomorrow and face another day and another Bluto.

“I yam what I yam and that’s all that I yam. I’m Popeye, the Sailor Man.” Toot-toot..

December 23, 2018 – Have you ever …

…dreamed of having the power to zip in and out of time and plop yourself into the body of someone you’ve always admired and immediately engage in the conversation she or he is having right at that moment? I’m a fantasy/sci-fi fan if you hadn’t figured it out… but I’ve thought for years (to the point of its being somewhat spooky) that I possess certain qualities in sync with a certain famous American writer, critic, poet and member of the Algonquin Round Table. Dorothy Parker. New York City has beckoned to me ever since I was a little girl and I always wondered why. I wanted to be a Radio City Rockette in the worst way, to share an apartment with other dancers and be in a musical on the Broadway stage… the artsy entertainment part of me, I suspect. I’ve also been drawn for years to Dorothy Parker, a founder and active member of the Round Table during the Roaring Twenties. From all accounts, she was brilliant, tough, caustic, and incredibly talented and gifted. She’d have had to be to hold her own with the likes of Woolcott, Benchley, Kaufman, Ferber and all the rest of them who wandered in for lunch from time to time. I think she and I could have been friends in another lifetime… maybe we will be. Or maybe we were.

I find it fascinating that she was blacklisted in Hollywood for being a member of the Communist Party but was also an advocate for civil liberties and rights and donated her estate to Dr. Martin Luther King which eventually passed through to the NAACP. Doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

Among many observations and witticisms Dorothy is quoted as saying, “Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses.”

One of my favorite quotes of hers: “If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.”

Yep, I’d love to have known her.

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December 22, 2018 – “Christmas is Coming…”

I started a little Christmas tradition with my then 4-year old daughter (she’s now 36) which was just between her and me. My son who was 11 at the time, didn’t get in on this particular game. My daughter would bug me and bug me all year (usually for big-ticket items) as to what she wanted. “Mom, can I have this… can I have that, everybody has one…” And my response was always, “Christmas is coming,” meaning I couldn’t afford to get what she wanted right at the moment but would try very hard to get whatever it was for Christmas. When you’re a single parent raising children in grade school, middle school and high school, it becomes very difficult sometimes to make ends meet while granting wishes and fulfilling needs of your kids. I know. I lived it for many years. I had a lot of help from my parents who kicked in for several expensive items, i.e., sports fees, sports shoes, that kind of thing, for my daughter and my son. Both my kids made every team they tried out for and it got to be very expensive for me but I didn’t want them to go without anything that was important to them. Such is often the life of a single parent. You do the best you can without expecting anything in return. However, I do miss those days and I really miss saying the words to my daughter. It was a game she and I played. Then one day the requests for things stopped. She grew up, lives on her own, has her own job and can afford what she wants without having to wait. I miss those “Christmas is coming” days. Merry Christmas to all.

November 19, 2018 – The Decision

I’ve just made the decision to go forward, after weeks of deliberating over whether I’m good enough academically or whether I’m even ready, to do a stellar job of proofreading and/or copy editing someone’s Master’s, DBA or PhD thesis. I’ve come to the conclusion that I am good enough and I am ready. Due to several derailments of the forward motion of my life over the years, it’s very conceivable that I might have been that someone (like you) looking for someone like me to proof and edit my thesis. Hey…you never know where this crazy, windy road of life may take us so I’m just reaching out at this point in my life to grab the brass ring as I begin this business that could very well bring me much happiness…in many ways, on many levels.

November 6, 2018 – Decisions, decisions, decisions

I’ve decided at long last to get serious about this online business I find myself having created. I signed up for a freelancing 101 course with an online editorial association I recently joined and in a few days, they tell me I’ll receive a link to the webinar I just purchased. Finally… getting serious about this decision I made a couple of months ago. Interestingly, it took me a while (being the Libra that I am) to get myself in gear, alter my way of thinking and being so that I can feel good about working at this business at home and not leaving my house (which is an interesting concept in itself after spending 50 years of my life doing just that), and actually, as Admiral Farragut said, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead,” or something to that effect.  Here I am. At home. On my own laptop. Looking for my first “gig” as a freelance copy editor/proofreader. Hello …

October 10, 2018 – Life is a Banquet

Rosalind Russell, American actress, comedian, screenwriter and singer, is known for her role as fast-talking newspaper reporter Hildy Johnson in the Howard Hawks screwball comedy, “His Girl Friday” (one of my all-time favorite films) as well as for her portrayals of Mame Dennis in “Auntie Mame” and Rose in “Gypsy.” The screenplay for “His Girl Friday” was adapted from the play The Front Page by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur. If you haven’t seen “The Front Page”, the original movie, I encourage you to give it a look-see.

Ms. Russell passed away in 1976 following a long battle with breast cancer. She was one of my top 5 favorite female entertainers not only because of her public talent, but because of steadfast convictions in her private life. I’d love to have seen her on the stage…she was multi-talented.

My favorite quote attributed to Ms. Russell was, “Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.” I read her book, “Life is a Banquet” years ago and could hear her voice as I was reading her words.

Another quote of hers: “The secret of successful acting is identical with a woman’s beauty secret: joy in living.” Love that one. And I would love to have known her.

October 2, 1974 – My son, my son

The 2nd of October 1974 at 3:59 a.m. EST, my son came into the world, all 8 lbs., 1 1/2 oz. of him. My only son. And what a treasure. Today he is 44 years old.  I’ve taken a brief look back on what I was doing, how I was managing through my life and who I was at 44 (divorced mother of two, working and going to college full-time). He seems to have a much better handle on life, its foibles, its trappings, its joys, than I had at that age. And I’m incredibly happy for him. He takes life seriously but is the first to cut loose with a  joke if the mood calls for it. He understands the concept of cause and effect, of working hard today for a better tomorrow, especially on behalf of his family. I don’t think I can take much credit for his outlook on life. I think perhaps much of that is inherent in who is he at his core. He is the first person I would call if there were an emergency or if I desperately needed to speak to an intelligent, stable person (and I often do). To say I am proud of who he is today would be a gross understatement. He has given me the grandchild I’ve longed for lo these many years and she is the true light of my life… all love, hugs and kisses and none of the stern words, teaching moments or discipline. My sweet and lovely daughter-in-law played a very large part as well 🙂 .. I am grateful to them both. Happy Birthday, my son. Love, Mom.

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On February 25, I will write a little something about my beautiful, intelligent daughter… her birthday.

September 29, 2018 – The Launch

Just starting this blog today … named the blog after Bullwinkle’s famous words on the very funny and extremely ancient “The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends” of many decades ago. I’m planning to post something worthy of note at least once a week, but who knows how busy I’m going to be (hopefully.. very) with this editorial services business.

No decision yet as to WHAT exactly I’ll be blogging about, but suffice it to say, please give it a look see.