Grandma Says..

Observations and views from a different set of eyes

My Son Is Green!

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The other day, I checked into my Facebook page and, much to my surprise, my oldest son’s profile pic had been changed.  Instead of his handsome face, I found only a big green box.

Being a concerned mom, I sent him a comment that he was looking a little green around the gills.  As I waited for his reply, I scrolled down through more posts and discovered the reason for the change in his Gravatar.

Evidently, the green box was in support of the 250 visual effects artists, who gave us those breathtaking scenes in “The Life of Pi.” They were laid off by their employers, who were filing for bankruptcy. Although “The Life Of Pi” won an Academy Award for visual effects; the people who created them hadn’t been paid in five weeks and were now unemployed.  Their employer,  Rythm and Hues, are rumored to be moving their company overseas.

During the Academy Awards, Bill Westenhofer, accepting the Visual Effects Award on behalf of his team, started to address the plight of the visual effects industry.  However, the orchestra cut him off by playing the theme from “Jaws.”  Nice job, Academy!  What he was trying to say was that although visual effects artists are responsible for many film’s successes; the artists are suffering due to Hollywood outsourcing their visual effects jobs to overseas companies.

The protest has hit the Social Network by supporters changing their gravatars to green.   My son owns a multimedia company in South Carolina, so this issue hit him close to his heart.  And, I am proud that he stands by his fellow artists; I hope that the visual effects industry gets recognized for the artistry they create and those 250 artists finally get their “piece of the Pi.”

We writers, poets, photographers and journalists are all part of the artistic community and these people should definitely have our support.  I am not political; but I am someone who recognizes that outsourcing will result in a lack of jobs for our fellow artists in the film industry.  So, I have decided to put a green box on my blog in support of these artists and will continue to do so as long as my son has a green box for a gravatar!  Join me if you like.  I do hope this protest won’t last too long, though.

I miss my son’s face!

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The Liebster Blog Award

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Wow, what a month this has been!  I am dazed and amazed that time has passed so quickly.  Tomorrow is the ONE MONTH anniversary of when I first stepped foot in WordPress and what a ride it has been.  A lot more exciting than the tornadoes that I usually travel about in, I’ll tell you!

In the past month, YOU, my fellow WordPressers, have surpassed any and all expectations I had when starting my blog “Grandma Says..”  On WordPress,  I have read amazing pieces by my new pals, the writers; I have drooled over stunning photography by you shutterbugs and stared with envy at some beautiful artwork done by some extremely talented artists.  The poets of WordPress have even dragged me kicking and screaming into their world and made me appreciate their poetic skills.  I applaud you all!

Also, in the past four weeks, I have received the 2012 Blog Award and 4 nominations for the Liebster Award.  I am incorporating the two awards into this post as follows:

First I’ll address the 2012 Blog Award.

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In February, I received a message from Suad Shamma, saying she had nominated me for the Blog of The Year for 2012.  I was stunned and read her post, which you will find here:  Smshamma – 2012 Blog Of The Year.  I was stunned and so very honored.  Now, this young lady was a little late in posting her nominations, but was kind enough to include me in her list.  If you visit her site, I think you will find that she is really talented!

So, I feel that I should thank her for the nomination, but, I also feel that 2012 is over and the nominations should stop here.  At least, that what I’m going to do.  Now, I put the “Blog” badge on my blog; I’ve given a link to her, and I’ve thanked her.  At this late stage in the game, I feel that we must move on to 2013.  So, again, thanks Suad!  Much appreciated!

Now, we’ll move on to the Liebster Award

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 The Liebster Blog Award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. “Liebster” is German for “favorite”. This award is the “favorite blog award” and I’m sure my nominees will join in by welcoming newcomers by passing on this award. There is no penalty for not continuing this long, long tradition of saying “Hello” to newbies, unless you consider a visit by my Gravatar laying some guilt on your doorstep to be a penalty. 🙂 Kidding!  I know that being nominated gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling and I can’t wait to pass that feeling on to some of my new friends.

Now, of course, there are rules to passing on the baton, and here they are coming at ya!

Here are the rules should you choose to accept:

1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog

2. Link back to the blogger who awarded you

3. Copy & Paste the award to your blog

4.  List 11 Random Facts about yourself

5. Answer the questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.

6. Nominate 5 blogs that you enjoy to receive the award who have less than 200 followers.

7. List 11 questions for your nominees.

8. Inform them of their nomination by leaving a comment on their blog

Whew…I think I’ve got all the rules down.  Simple, right?  So, here I go with Steps One and Two.

I want to wholeheartedly thank the following people for nominating me.  These nominations made an old woman very, very, happy!  And for you readers, be sure to check out their sites.  They are great people and great bloggers!  So, my undying thanks to:

Gwen Stephens – “The 4 A.M. Writer”

lillyluna93 – “Writer’s Blog”

sarahcradit – “And Then There Was Sarah”

Pete Denton – “Pete Denton – Writer”

Step Three – Look to your right!  Done Deal. (However, it was a little more complicated than Cut and Paste.  Feel free to contact me if you have a problem with the Badge.  I’ll let you know how to find it and how to stick it on your blog.)

Step Four – 11 Random Facts About Cranky

  1. I have Red Hair (it stays that way thanks to L’Oreal.)
  2. I’m 5ft 4in tall.
  3. I smoke (now, don’t be a hater.  Everyone needs a vice and I’m trying to quit…honest!)
  4. I gave up drinking alcohol on May 27, 2012.
  5. I have four children and four stepchildren (although I’m not married to Danny, my SO, these kids are mine too.)
  6. I hate Liver.
  7. I love Lobster.
  8. I wear a size 7 shoe.
  9. I have been married three times (I refer to them as Plaintiff No. 1, 2 and three, respectively.)
  10. I love people (o.k., a lot of people.)
  11. I’m not always Cranky.

Step Five – Answer 11 Questions from the person who nominated you.

Now, since 4 separate people nominated me, I am going to answer 4 questions from each nominating blogger.  I know that’s not strictly the way the game is played, but that’s how I roll.

Questions from THE 4 AM WRITER:

1.  Story exists in many mediums. What’s your favorite form?  Novel or movie?

I believe that I have enjoyed many more books than movies (although I love a good flick.)  So, I would have to say Novel.

2.  Do you listen to music or other aural ambiance while you work?

Oh, yeah.  Gotta have the tunes!

3.  If you could visit one more place in the world, where would it be?

Ireland.  I have always wanted to see if all of my distant relatives have been released from jail yet.  They do tend to drink a bit!

4.  Who is your favorite fictional character?

Edgar Freemantle (Duma Key by Stephen King)

Questions from WRITER’S BLOG:

1.  Favourite guilty pleasure?

Chocolate…chocolate..and more chocolate. 

2. Explain your blog title.

I felt that I had a lot to say and since I am a Grandma, my blog just seemed to scream “Grandma Says..”

3. What is your favourite line from a book, movie, TV show, play, speech, poem or song?

Itsy Bitsy Spider went up the water spout!

4. Most thumbed book in your collection?

Duma Key by Stephen King.  I have read a lot of his works but this one comes back to haunt me time and again.

Questions from AND THEN THERE WAS SARAH:

If someone follows your blog do you think it good manners to follow theirs and do so?

I don’t think good manners is the point.  I think if you see a blog that interests or moves you, you follow it, whether that person follows you or not.

Approximately how long do you spend blogging each day?

According to my SO, way, way too much.  But, honestly, I probably spend one to two hours a day writing in my blog and depending on what’s going on in my life..(he.who.must.not.be.ignored must be served) I probably would say about 2 to 3 hours reading posts.  I’m retired so I have more time than most to spend in Blogsville!  Then I spend 1 – 2 hours on my short story writing.

Were you pleased or annoyed to receive this award?

Of course, I was thrilled!  All four times, and I mean that.  This award is meant to be a welcome gesture and I felt the love each time I was nominated!

Has eleven of everything on this Liebster Award post been too many?

I think eleven of anything is too much!  But, I did have to spend a whole day getting the bulk of this done.  I think five would suffice!

Questions from PETE DENTON – WRITER:

Pete refrained from asking questions of his nominees, and I respect his decision.  He had to answer to many awards so I totally understand!  So, we’ll just move on to the next step.

Step 6 – Nominate 5 Blogs you enjoy

Now, (Drumroll, Please) my nominees for the Liebster award are as follows:

John Malone – The Wallah of Whimsey

MG – Smartassery Inc. 

Susie Norden – Red Asparagus: The Sugar Bee Chronicles

Ily1205 – Serial Outlet For Creative Writing

dhutch729 – Likes In Life

kerby – I Don’t Get It (Things That Don’t Make Sense)

francisguernette – Disappearing In Plain Sight

htkilburn – Journalist – Enjoy The World The Way I See It

Grace Makley – I’m A Writer/Journalist Working on Wanderlust, My First Book

Clodagh O’Brien – eternally search for the perfect set of words

Mywaterblogue – My Water Blogue

Step 7 – My 11 Question for My Eleven Nominees

(I found out half-way through this project that I only had to choose 5 nominees, but since I was nominated multiple times, I took the liberty of choosing 11.)

  1. If you were stranded on a desert island, which storyteller would you like to be on your island?
  2. Why did you choose WordPress?
  3. Do your family and friends support your passion for your blog?
  4. How often do you post on your blog?
  5. Have you met any of your fellow WordPress Bloggers?
  6. What is your favorite hobby?
  7. Where do you look for inspiration for your works?
  8. Would you rather read or write?
  9. Who’s your favorite relative and why?
  10. When you go to the Reader, do you read the blogs you follow first and then browse through the topics to find more?
  11. How did you hear about WordPress?

Whew, I’m done!  I just want to say that I feel privileged to be a member of the WordPress community and look forward to a long and happy relationship with all of you.  Now, I have to run and notify my nominees.

WRITE ON!

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“Auntie Em..Auntie Em”

There is currently a Tornado Watch here in SW Florida.  I’m getting ready to jump on my bike and catch a ride on the first one that passes.  So, if you live in my area; keep an eye out..I might just be dropping in.

 

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Looking For Love.Com

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A few days ago, I watched a news report on a woman who used a Dating Website to find the love of her life.  She is now out of over $50,000 and, understandably, a bit upset that the man of her dreams turned out to be a scam artist.

All I could think about was how lonely and desperate this woman had to be to trust an on-line Romeo and fork over her money to him.  The news report stated that the woman felt that the online dating service should be held responsible for not screening their members to prevent this kind of scam.  Good luck with that one, honey!

This woman is not alone in being a victim of a scam artist who used an on-line dating service; there are so many reports out there of women who fall prey to this kind of vulture.  And, it’s a sad but true fact that the women trusted the dating service to protect them.  In reality, these websites or dating services are only committing to finding their members a hookup with someone with the members same interests and goals.  They don’t give a rat’s behind about protecting you from predators.

So, what’s a lonely woman to do?  How can she trust the “perfect match” the service found for her to be a safe one?  Well, I have a few suggestions.

1.  Check out the Dating Service.  Now, I don’t mean just the number of matches they have made and how many couples walked to the altar because of their services.  Get past those glowing testimonials and dig deep into their policies.  Read the damn contract and see just what exactly they are responsible for.  See if they have any pending lawsuits.

2.  Do a Background check and a Criminal Check on the bozo!  You’ve already invested money in the search for your true love, why not make sure he’s not a felon?  Make sure he exists in the real world and that he is all he says he is.  Check public documents and his references. Don’t be afraid to ask Prince Charming questions.  If he balks at answering them or his answers don’t ring true..then end it right then and there.

3.  Talk to your family and your friends about your new love.  Don’t be embarrassed, and don’t get angry when they view your choice of man with skepticism.  They are only trying to protect you and shield you from someone who might want to dip into your bank accounts.

4.  If the dude gives you a hard luck story such as: he’d  loved to come meet you but he just doesn’t have the money to take the trip right now; he’s traveling overseas and he’s stuck with no money; or he needs a life-saving operation but he doesn’t have quite enough in his savings; then, run..do not walk..to the nearest exit and cut off all communication with this loser.  And, for heaven’s sake, if you exchange presents..don’t send a check!  I’m sure a gift card would suffice and serve to protect your financial identity.

I’m sure that some women have met some really great guys by using these dating services; I just haven’t met any up close and personal.  I also want to be fair to the services that do make those “matches made in heaven”.  After all, they show those couples on television ads all the time, right?  And we can believe all we see on television and the Internet, sure we can.

Now, you might ask if I’ve ever used a dating service.  No, I have not.  I think they are dangerous and a risk that I have never been willing to take.  Yeah, I’ve been lonely and I’ve searched for love, sometimes in all the wrong places. But, I’m a big believer in what was meant to be will happen, without me paying some dating service to speed things up. Yes, I’ve had to kiss a lot of frogs before I met my prince.  But, the wait was worth it and it didn’t cost me anything.

I have one last suggestion.  If you have this overwhelming need to empty your bank accounts, and send your money to someone you don’t know, as you search for your true love…hey, pick me.  I could use the dough and I’ll love you forever..I promise!

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Fact or Fiction?

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Yesterday, I picked up the phone and called my son at work.

“Thank you for calling Hungry Howie’s Pizza” I heard my son say.

“Hi, John.  Guess what?”

“Um, I’m really busy now, Mom.  Can it wait?”  I couldn’t hear noise in the background, so I imagine he just thought this was another annoying call from his mom.

“I just wanted to let you know that one of the articles that I sent out last month got accepted by a magazine.  But, yeah, call me back when you have time.”

“No, wait.  Really?  Which article?”  I knew I had him hooked.

“The one I wrote about quitting smoking.” I replied.

“Mom, you smoke two packs a day.”  he said.

“Yeah, but I wrote that during the four months I did stop smoking.  What’s it matter if I smoke or not anyway?”

“So, you’re selling the article as Fiction?”

“Why are you being such a jerk?  Of course not, it’s got a sidebar and everything, with tips on how to give up smoking.” I said, with a tinge of anger creeping into my voice.

“But you didn’t quit!”

“So, you think I’m wrong for letting them print it.  Should I just send this check for $1,000 back to them?”

Silence.

“Mom, you rock!”

I hung up after saying good-bye.  I brought my lit cigarette to my mouth, took a puff and smiled.

 

The above conversation never happened.  I haven’t sold an article to a magazine.  I did write an article while I was going out of my mind trying to quit smoking and I did send it to one magazine for consideration.  That’s when I learned that they don’t send out letters rejecting your work, they use a lousy postcard to say “Thanks, but no thanks!”

Now, if I had to jam this piece in a specific genre, I would have to classify it as “Creative Writing.”  Creative Writing, I have found, is a good fit for me.  I can take fact and fiction and stir them together to get a more interesting article or scene.  And, it’s fun!

I like taking an actual event and changing it up.  I love the freedom of not being stuck in one genre and it makes me happy to put my spin on events or conversations or scenes while I am writing about life.

Do I have to tell my readers when my piece contains creative writing?  I don’t think so, as long as you don’t mislead them on actual facts.  If they enjoy the piece, then so be it!

The definition of Creative Writing is literature that is outside the norm of established genres of writing.  And I love anything that is outside the norm.  Now, if you’ve read some of my earlier posts, you might now wonder if some of that writing was fiction or non-fiction. Well, you can calm down, I have yet to hone my creative writing skills yet, so what you read is all true.

But, as I dive deeper into the realm of creative writing, I cannot guarantee that some of my posts won’t be in the creative writing genre.  Will I tell you when this happens?

Maybe yes..and maybe no. I hope you’ll just sit back and enjoy the ride and let me worry about the genre!

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When you start thinking about how rough life is treating you, remember this young lady and her family. Lets’ all send our prayers and well wishes for her recovery!

My Journey to Beat Leukemia

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February 23rd, 2013- I thank God everyday for letting me progress in my fight against leukemia. Small wins are a definite boost but each one is immediately followed by what has to happen next. I am ready to face each step but dread having to step back out of my life in order to stay in the hospital. I feel like even the briefest moment with Bryce is irreplaceable and that I miss so many when I leave him. It is an interesting mental balancing act to see the immediate need for giving up that time in order to trade for so many more years.

My irreplaceable moments with Bryce were all amazing today. He has been slowly getting back into tummy time, which he never truly enjoyed, and had over an hour today where he was rolling all over the place without complaint. I say this now but I…

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The Ball Of Shame Awards

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Baseball season is coming!  Fans look forward to the crack of the bat, the smell of popcorn and the chance to cheer on their team.  They bring their friends, their wives and their kids.  All of them hope to be in the right spot, at the right time to catch a souvenir foul ball.

Little ones line up and wait..and wait..and wait.  Then, here is comes, the ball they’ve been waiting for.  As it comes closer, you can see the look of hope in their eyes as they reach out to grab the foul ball.

But, wait!  Just as their little hands are within reach of the prize; an adult grabs up the ball and leaves the kid empty-handed.  Way to go, sports fans!  And, let’s not forget the parents, so caught up in the moment of seeing a foul ball come their way that  forget about the kid they are holding.

So, without further ado, let me introduce four new inductees into the “Ball Of Shame Hall Of Fame.”

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The first award goes to a father in Taiwan who is holding his little girl in his lap.  He spies the foul ball coming his way, jumps up and dumps the toddler to the ground. Now, this fan has already received a long death stare from his wife after she watches him drop their kid on her butt, but we feel he deserves special recognition for his disregard for his child’s safety.  Way to go, Dad.

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The next award goes to the dad who holds his infant in one arm while reaching out with his other to catch that all so valuable foul ball.  We respect his decision to bring an infant to a baseball game and not worry that a ball might just boink his little one in the head.  Hey, break your little ones in right, huh fella?

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The third award goes to the couple who certainly worked hard for this award.  Sitting next to them at a Rangers game was 3-year-old Kyle and his parents.  A foul ball was thrown into their row and lands in front of Kyle’s seat.  The woman in the couple next to the little boy, scoops up the ball from the ground and flashes the ball for all to see.  She totally ignores the fact that Kyle is crying his eyes out because he didn’t get the ball.  To add insult to injury, she then has her husband take her picture holding the ball while Kyle looks on, sobbing.  Let’s have a round of applause for this totally self-involved couple!

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The final award goes to a woman who has given a new meaning to the phrase “bad fan.”  Standing next to a young girl, she misses the foul ball, grabs it out of the kids hands and jumps back to her seat.  While the little girl slowly walks up the steps in disappointment, this woman turns to her friends and get high fives for her success in stealing a ball from a kid.  I guess she forgot one of the cardinal rules for baseball fans..the one that states that GROWN-UPS GIVE THE BALLS TO THE KIDS!

Well, that’s it for this year, folks.  We had many nominees for the Ball Of Shame Award but these four winners exemplified outstanding disregard for the safety of their child in order to catch a foul ball or a willingness to smash a kid’s dream by stealing their ball.

So, welcome to these baseball fans who have certainly earned the award  and the right to HANG THEIR HEADS IN SHAME!

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The March To Washington

Frosty has asked me to give you a quick update on the progress of our protest march on Washington, D.C.  I am very happy to report that many snowman have signed up and are getting ready to slide across the land to carry our message about global warming.  Homeowners have been burning up the phones in order to register their snowmen for this important event.  We’re not sure if it’s because they heartily support our cause or they just want the snowmen to go away.

Now, some snowmen are trying to find alternate means of travel like this snowman from Texas.

Some clever snowmen are finding faster modes of travel.

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And others are finding Magical Transportation is the way to go!

Please help us as we prepare to march to Washington.  This event has been organized by our leader, Frosty, and is expected to end by April (when we start looking less than our best).  So, get those snowmen in your yard to pack up those knapsacks and send them on their way!

For those of you in warmer climates, we realize that you’ve already packed away your inflatable snowmen.  Since they can’t attend, we are accepting coal and carrot donations in order to make a more unified “front” during our March.  Let’s put an end to Global Warming and preserve our future!

My name is Frosty, the Snowman and I approve this message.

Thank you for your support!

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Contrary to my post yesterday, I do approve of one video that features the “Harlem Shake” and this is it!

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This is my favorite one yet…

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Dancing With The Shakes

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I have seen a lot of hoopla in cyberspace lately about a new video dance craze called the “Harlem Shake.”  I checked it out on YouTube and sat in confusion as I browsed through nine or ten of the videos.  I had been expecting some kind of choreographed dance routine; what I saw were groups of people, dressed in bizarre costumes, gyrating around and looking like Mexican jumping beans.

I researched this “dance” and found that it was originally a hip hop style of dancing that started in the late 1980’s.  It was very different from the ridiculous movements I saw on the videos.  There is no comparison.

I guess it’s a lot of fun for the participants to make these obnoxious videos and the viewers enjoy watching a large number of people making asses out of themselves.  That  would account for the massive number of people making these “Harlem Shake” videos go viral.

I waltzed out of YouTube, sat back and remembered the real dancers of the past.  The dancers that could mesmerize you with their graceful moves or hypnotize you with their complicated footwork.  When dancing was real and took talent to perform.

Those were also the days where dancer’s ruled the movie musicals.  Fred Astaire gliding across the floor with a beautiful Ginger Rogers at his side.  Dennis O’Connor tapping his way into our hearts and Gene Kelly stealing those hearts with his smooth moves.

My hometown of Black Rock, Ct. had a place called the “Ritz Ballroom.”  The Ritz would feature top artists such as Frank Sinatra, Benny Goodman and The Andrew Sister’s.  During World War II, dancers would pack the ballroom and my Mom and Dad were two of them.  My mother would tell me the stories of dancing with my dad until the wee hours of the morning; doing the samba, the jitterbug and the Lindy.  Sadly, the Ritz Ballroom closed in the late sixties and transformed into a furniture store.

My generation watched as these dances slowly faded from view.  We embraced Rock and Roll and slowly separated from our dancing partners.  The Stroll, the Locomotion, and the Twist took over and we no longer needed a partner to dance to those.  We got out on the floor and just did our thing.  Television shows like “The Dick Clark Show” and “Hullabaloo” rocked our world.

Movies like “Saturday Night Fever” and “Dirty Dancing” brought some romance back to the dance floor but alas, today the majority of people can still leave their partner at home and dance the night away alone.

I was so happy to see a show like “Dancing With The Stars” bring back the great dances of the “Swing” era.  I think the popularity of the show speaks for itself.  People still want to see those couples dance like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers; they watch with awe as dancer’s once again perform the Lindy and the Jitterbug.  And, why?  Because these dances have class and are timeless.

So, forgive me if I don’t appreciate the new trend of embarrassing yourself in a video by looking like someone going through the D.T’s.  I’ll take real dancing any day.  And, if you think that I’m just being “Cranky,” listen to what people from Harlem think of this new trend.

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