Grandma Says..

Observations and views from a different set of eyes

The Night They Knew – Daily Prompt

DAILY PROMPT – 5/31/2013 – All of a sudden two moons appear in the earths atmosphere…

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BREAKING NEWS…BREAKING NEWS…BREAKING NEWS.

“Hello, New York, this is Jessica Lester and Brad Turnberry, coming to you from the WZCB newsroom with a breaking story that has the world at a standstill.  At 1 a.m. EST, two moons have been sighted in our skies.  This phenomenon has scientists stymied, they have no explanation for the second moon.  Astrologers are scrambling for their telescopes to get a better picture of the new moon and it’s surface.  It has been reported that the Pope is scouring the bible for any passages that scholars missed over the centuries, foretelling of the arrival of another moon and it’s meaning.  How are the people in government handling this strange and mystifying sighting, Brad?”

“Well, Jessica, many people think it’s the beginning of the end of the world.  Others feel that it might be the second coming that millions have waited for. NASA has been alerted and astronauts on the Space Station are keeping an sharp eye out for alien activity on or around this new planet.  A White House spokesman has reported that the President believes it is an optical illusion and people should focus on his Obama Care Plan instead.”

“Thanks, Brad.  Well, there you have it.  No-one knows why there are now two moons up above or what the long term effects of having a second moon are.  But, we here at WNCB will keep you updated as new reports come in.  Until then, stay calm and keep your eyes to the skies.  This is Jessica Lester, signing off.

MEANWHILE….

The Master of All Universes was taking a stroll through the heavens with her son.  She wanted to visit her favorite planet, Earth and it’s darling little inhabitants.  She had been busy creating another whole universe and had not been able to drop in on the planet in an eon.  She walked with a quick light step over the clouds and bent over to take a peek.

When she spied the two moons, sitting side by side, she stood up and put her hands on her hips.  She turned and beckoned her son to her side.

“Harry, did you drop that moon down there while I wasn’t looking?  How many times have I warned you about upsetting these universes that Mommy spends eternities organizing?”

Her young son dropped his head and shrugged his shoulders.  “There’s a hole in my robe, Mommy, it must have dropped out!”

“Well, get down on the clouds and pick it up.  You’re upsetting the earthlings.  Hurry up now, do as I say.”

BACK ON EARTH…

People continued to stare at the two moons, afraid to see and afraid to look away.  They were hypnotized, they were frozen in place.  Then, a distant peal of thunder became louder and then deafening as they watched the clouds spread and separate, leaving a clear view of the star filled skies and the two moons.  The thunder grew and grew until they covered their ears and cowered in the streets and in the fields.

They watched in fear as a huge hand emerged from the clouds and scooped up the mysterious new moon.  Some screamed in horror; some laughed hysterically and others raised their hands in supplication.  The enormous hand receded into the clouds but returned a few seconds later.  They watched in amazement as the hand gave the earthlings the universal peace sign.

Then, the hand gave a short wave and disappeared amid a final roll of thunder.  A gentle calm settled over the skies and once more, a solitary moon hung in the atmosphere. Bewildered and amazed, the crowds dispersed and headed back to their homes.

But, all who witnessed the event came away changed; doubt was gone and hope was renewed.  In the following months, wars ended; people held out loving hands to their neighbors and peace reigned over the Earth.

For now they knew..no matter what beliefs they had held..they were not alone.

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The Silent Woman

lonely old woman

She hears the slap of the strap and the cries of her child and she sits in silence.

She sees the terror in her child’s eyes as her husband’s fist lashes out and strikes the defenseless child.  She watches in silence.

She listens to the cruel, vicious words her husband throws at her innocent child, words that wound and leave scars, and she sits in silence.

Years pass, and her child asks why…why did she not protect her?  Why did she just stand by and let the abuse go on and on?  Why did she not speak out for her child? The woman just shakes her head and sits in silence.

Now, the silent woman sits alone, lonely and frightened of death.  Her legs are useless, her eyes have become sightless and she can no longer hear her daughter’s words.  The words that say I love you and I forgive you.

The silent woman can only hear the eternal silence.

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The Attack Of The Killer Cliches

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Calm down..clichés can’t kill you.  If they could, then everyone down here in the Deep South would be six feet under.  But, evidently, clichés are frowned upon in the publishing establishment.  At least that is what my some of the critiques have told me. So, what’s this southerner to do?

My novel takes place in the here and now, in the south, and my characters use clichés.  Why?  Because that’s how we talk down here…at least the people I’ve encountered.  Since my main character is using my voice (or I’m using hers…I can never get that straight) I naturally write dialogue with the dialect and clichés we use here.

So, I’m stuck…I can’t move forward and I can’t go back until I resolve this dilemma. What to do…what to do!

Do I change the setting of my novel to a place where clichés never pass anyone’s lips? Do I give up my attempts to be natural and honest in my dialogue?  Or, do I knuckle under and try to find another way to portray my characters?  Shoot, I feel like I’m damned if I do, and I’m damned if I don’t.

Now, not all the characters are southerners and they won’t be using phrases such as “stick it where the sun don’t shine.”  Future chapters will bring us characters from New Orleans, New York and as yet unknown locations (although I ‘ve heard rumors that some bloke from Australia might join the group..but he comes with his own set of clichés.)

But, my main character loves down south cliches…it’s her heritage, it’s her voice.  It’s who she is.  It’s me.

So, come on everyone, help a writer out.  I feel like I’m running through hell in a pair of gasoline shorts.  Give me your experience and your advice.

If you are one of the people who critiqued my first chapters and noted the use of clichés…know that I heard you and I love you for being honest.  If clichés are a stumbling block in the path of this novel, I needed to know.  I just need a little help in deciding if I go whole hog and keep my cliches or run for the hills and find another voice.

Help an old lady out..will ya?

Author’s note:  If it helps anyone to know this, the novel I’m writing is supposed to be funny!  I don’t know if that makes a difference or not!

53 Comments »

Putting A Little Porn In Your Posts

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What?  Has Cranky lost her mind?

Let me explain myself before I find myself with zero followers.  I am definitely not recommending that you start a porn site on WordPress.  For one thing, I’m sure it’s not allowed.  For the second thing, I’M SURE IT’S NOT ALLOWED!  So, before I get knee deep in shocked comments…listen to this.

I checked my stats the other day and used WordPress’s most excellent option to find just which of my posts received the most views since I started posting.  Lo, and behold, my post about “Grannies In Porn” was number one on the hit list.

Now the piece I wrote was modest, sedate and chaste.  Nothing sexual, nothing arousing and definitely no graphic pictures or descriptions.  An innocent little piece asking why the hell Grandmas would pose for porn sites.  If you doubt me, just click here.

I did some further research and found that WordPress readers were only responsible for a small percentage of the views.  (I was still pretty new on the block).  These readers felt safe in reading this post since WORDPRESS DOES NOT ALLOW PORN! (Just a little reminder.)

The rest were viewed by people seeking porn sites using a search engine.  They would find my piece, not only because of the title, but my tag included the word “porn.”  Some even specifically used the search term “Grannie Porn.”

That makes me laugh..a lot.  I can just picture people searching for Bubblicious, Buxom Grandmas who entice voyeurs to enter their site for a good time.  Instead, they get a grandma wondering why women her age would even consider entering the porn industry.  I’m sure they slink away in disappointment and return to their search.

Before I publish this..I’m definitely going to tag it with the word Porn in case the title doesn’t grab them.  I want to see how many search terms sends them to this post…it’s fun to watch!

So, if you want more views, put the word “Porn” in your title or in your tag.  Then, sit back and enjoy the show.

52 Comments »

A Fallen Hero

Ty-Ziegel

“Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift.”

Tyler Ziegel

1982 – 2012

U.S. Marine Sgt. Tyler (Ty) Ziegel lived by these words.

Horribly disfigured by a suicide bombing attack while he was serving in Iraq, Ty returned home to serve as an example for other wounded veterans. He had lost a hand, fingers and part of his skull, and his face was unrecognizable. But, he carried on with a determination and sense of humor which earned him respect by all who were lucky enough to meet him.

When children asked him, “What happened to your nose?”, Ty would reply “The bad guys took it.” Family members stated that he was open and honest to everyone about his time in Iraq and his injuries.

He was brought to national attention when he married his high school sweetheart, Renee. Sadly, Ty suffered from severe PTSD and the marriage ended. The two remained friends and Ty was grateful that Renee had been at his side during the multiple surguries he suffered through.

Ty passed away on December 26, 2012. Following his death, volunteers lined the streets of his hometown with 2000 American Flags to honor him. His loss will be felt by his family, his friends, his fellow veterans and by the nation. Please take a moment to say a prayer for Ty and for all wounded veterans!

We’ve got your 6, Ty….rest in peace.

Author’s note:  This man’s story touched me deeply and I wanted to repost this as my original post was published during my first days blogging on WordPress.  I am also adding the following video which is the result of Larry Eckhardt’s efforts to pay homage to this fallen hero.

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Are You Kidding Me?

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Six short months ago, I was bored.  I was frustrated.  I was lonely.  I was a mess. I went from day-to-day, performing the same chores, talking to the same people and basically just taking up space in this world.

One day, as I sat in the doctor’s office waiting for Danny’s name to be called, I overheard a woman talking about a blog site she enjoyed.  What the hell is a blog? I wondered.  Being the inquisitive sort, I sat down at my laptop and Googled this strange new word.

Hmmm…I saw definite possibilities in the blogging process.  I could try a new adventure.  I could use this blogging thing to vent, to rant and to pick myself up when I was down in the dumps.  More importantly, I could try again at my dream of being a writer.  A dream that seemed elusive and out of my reach.

So, I dipped my toes in the blogging waters.  I first found a site that I thought would connect me to other writers…sadly this site was a “Me..Me..Me” type of blogging world that just didn’t fit my needs.  It didn’t work…it didn’t fit…it just didn’t feel like home.

And then I found WordPress.  I entered your world and gazed in wonder at the vast number of talented writers, poets and photographers…I felt like I had walked through the looking-glass.  People from all around the world were sharing their thoughts, their views and their lives.  Many were like me, writers who had yet to fulfill their potential, struggling to find their way and looking for guidance.

In just a few days I realized that I had found a home.  Yesterday, I looked at my calendar and realized that it marked four months to the day since I dived nose first into WordPress.  When I looked up my stats, my eyes opened wide and I shouted “Are you kidding me?”

I have more than 500 followers, over 2,500 comments (okay, I think half are mine :))and by today or tomorrow, I will have reached 10,000 views.  All in a short four months.  Shut the front door!  I have also received many awards of recognition; I have made friends; and I have enjoyed every damn minute of it.  I have written 180 posts and a novel.  Unbelievable!

My life now has purpose; it has meaning and it is no longer filled with silence.  For that, I thank you all from the bottom of my heart!

Love,

Cranky

41 Comments »

I Don’t Mean To Laugh But….

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I just can’t help myself!

My SO, Danny, is scheduled for his first ever colonoscopy tomorrow (I call this the  “Up Periscope” exam).  For those who have not experienced this exciting adventure yet, there is a certain amount of preliminary work you must complete prior to the procedure.  These duties were outlined in written instructions from our doctor’s office under the heading , “Preparation Day”.

Now, on Preparation Day, you can have a light breakfast and then clear liquids only, until after your procedure on the next day.  Now, Danny did pretty good with this step.  He was happy with the sodas, water and Popsicles throughout the day.  He didn’t start whining until I put a bowl of chicken broth in front of him for dinner.

“Where’s the chicken?” he asked. I told him that he couldn’t have solids.

“Where’s the noodles?  You mean I can’t have noodles in my soup?” I again told him that noodles were considered a solid food and therefore not allowed.

“Then where’s the veggies?” he said.  I promptly told him to shut up and eat his broth!

Now, the next step in preparing for this exam was what the instructions called the “Cleansing process.”  For this step, our doctor called in a prescription for Danny and once I read the label, I knew trouble was on the horizon.  After his dinner, I prepared this vile smelling potion and told Danny to drink all of it.

Well, I do value my life so I resisted taking out my camera and didn’t record the many faces that he made while he was drinking this magic elixir.  Sympathetic as always, I suggested he drink it quickly and get it over with.  He promptly told me…well, never mind.  You get the picture.

Once he finished, Danny then had to drink two full glasses of water.  He started to complain about all the liquid intake, claimed it was making his stomach hurt.  I thought to myself, oh oh, here we go!  After a few minutes, he rushed off to the bathroom and I haven’t seen him since.  But, I know he’s all right, since he’s been sharing his feelings in a very loud way, by yelling through the closed bathroom door.

Oh, wait a minute, the bathroom door is opening as I write.  Give me a minute, I’ll go check on him.  OK, I’m back.  He is now curled up in bed and feeling very sorry for himself.  I asked if he was OK and he said, “No, I’m dying!  I’ve lost all my insides!”  Such a Drama King!

But, wait folks, there’s more to come!  The “Cleansing Process” is not over.  It’s a two-step process and we get to repeat the drink and the whining and the complaining again tomorrow morning.  Yup, fun times are ahead!

So, why am I laughing?  I have no idea! I do feel sorry for him, honest, I do. Maybe the laughter is keeping me from shouting out, “Oh, for heaven’s sake, buck up and take it like a man.”  Or, maybe I’ve just lost my mind!  I don’t know but I have to go now.  He’s calling me to get him some more toilet paper!

This is going to be a long night.

Note from Cranky:  Yup, another recycled post!  But, I think this one definitely needs a second chance to put a smile on your face!  Danny did survive this process and the test showed he was A.O.K. in the gut department!  He was also elated to hear that he wouldn’t have to undergo this process again for five years.  I’m just afraid five years is going to go by fast…too fast for me!

32 Comments »

Taking It On The Chin

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I was scared, trembling and sweat was pouring out of pores I didn’t know I owned.  I was horrified each time I pushed “Send.”

“No!” I screamed.  “Let me take it back!  I’m not ready!”

What the hell am I talking about?  Let’s go back a week.  I decided that I had the first three chapters of my novel in ship shape condition.  It was ready, it was ripe and it was time to send it out for critiques.

My blogging buddy, Gwen, the 4 A.M. Writer, gave me a heads up on a site where I could submit chapters and receive critiques from their members.  Also, I picked a few of my fellow bloggers, who shall remain nameless until I finish draining their brains, to give me some feedback on the chapters I had revised.  The critique site only allowed you to send two chapters; however, my buddies were forced to read all three.

I spent a week biting my nails, tearing out hair that I can ill afford to lose and never wanted alcohol so badly in my life.  I had done it, there was no taking it back now.  I had to just sit back and wait for the critiques and be prepared to “take it on the chin.”

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve been critiqued before.  I’ve attended writing classes, but the instructor was the only one who read my work.  I took on-line classes and found that the instructor was again the only person to evaluate my efforts.

This was a new experience for me, to have people who are no doubt more talented than I, to read my work and tell me what they thought.

And, guess what?  THEY LIKED IT!  I received seven critiques and all seven were encouraging me to go on.  But, that’s not all, folks.  They were honest, they were helpful and they were spot on in showing me where I had more work to do to make these chapters “shine.”

I know many writers like to shelter their novels-in-progress.  They feel no-one should lay eyes on their work until they feel it’s ready for publishing.  Well, I say to hell with that!  I don’t want to spend months making the same mistakes over and over…mistakes that any editor worth their salt would cause them to put my manuscript in the trash!

Every critique held invaluable advice…great suggestions and comments that showed me where the material was strong and where it fell down.  This information is gold to me.  I will return to these chapters, armed with more knowledge of what a reader likes and what causes them to keep reading.

So, at the end of the day, I must thank all the people who suffered through my inexperience as a writer and took the time to take me by the hand and show me the way.  I hope that my fellow bloggers will remain willing to stick with me and keep letting me know when I’ve gone astray.

I laugh now when I think of how I could be so naive to plan on being finished with this novel in a few months.  I now know that this stuff takes time..time to learn, time to listen to those critiques and make changes, and time to check and double check for those crucial mistakes writers can make.

So, I will be busy working on those first chapters…again and again…until I get them right!  Then, I’ll send them back out and be prepared to roll with the punches until I win the match!

My advice to new writers?  Well, when you let someone critique your work, you are must be willing to take criticism, hopefully constructive, and realize that these people are being generous in sharing their knowledge of their craft with you.  LEARN from these critiques..if you’re going to get your back up, get defensive, or expect flowery praise for your brilliant work…you might as well keep your novel hidden and send it in when you’re ready to be published.

Let me know how that works for you…

37 Comments »

Let Us Not Forget

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I come from a military family.  My father was a Marine and served in the Phillipines during World War II.  My oldest brother was a Marine and served two tours in Vietnam.  My other brother was in the Army and served one tour in Vietnam. Luckily, all returned to the States with their lives and all their limbs.

However, my brother’s return home from the war was much different than the triumphant return of World War II veterans.  They were met by loved ones and friends at the airport.  They were also met by protesters holding up signs reading “Murderers” and “Baby Killers.”  They were confused; they had been overseas and had no idea of the turmoil that the United States was going through.

They received no thanks from their countrymen; they were shunned, ridiculed and labeled as “Killers.”  They found their country had turned their backs on them and had forgotten that the Veterans of the Vietnam War were sons and daughters, sent overseas, to fight for our country, just as many had before them.

It was a sad time.  It was a shameful time.  It was a time that I hope I never live to see again.

Thankfully, those times ended and now the Vietnam War Veterans are recognized for the heroes they are.  They fought in one of the most horrific conflicts of our time and they have finally been recognized for their bravery and their service.

So, today, we pay our respects to All our fallen heroes and for those who served so valiantly when called upon by their government and their fellow Americans.

Thank you for your service..no matter where you served.

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I’m a Proud Member of Bloggers For Peace

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Would You Disown Your Child?

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There are many stories out there about parents and how they handled the news that their child was gay, and not all have happy endings. This is my story.

Twelve years ago, I met my SO, Danny, and fell in love. Now, I was fifty years old at the time with my years of child-raising finally behind me, or so I thought. Danny was raising his two children, from a previous marriage, so if I was to get involved with him, I also had to involve myself with the raising of his children. Believe me, taking on the responsibility of a 13 year old daughter and a 14 year old son was daunting, but I was determined to make us a family unit.

It wasn’t easy. Both kids had issues stemming from their mother abandoning them, jealousy issues from me being in Danny’s life, and the normal angst of being teenagers. They tested me constantly and tried my patience, especially during the first couple of years Danny and I were together. But, I fell in love with them just as much as if they were my own.

When our son was 17, I first started finding small signs that he was struggling with the fact that he was gay. He became secretive about what he was doing on the computer, so I browsed around and found that he had been on Gay sites and he denied it when I asked him about it.

Since he was only 17, I went on the computer and blocked his access to the sites, but only because he was underage and I feared that he might entice a stalker. Phone calls made in the middle of the night would quickly end when Danny or I entered the room. I didn’t discuss this with Danny as I honestly didn’t know what his reaction would be when he discovered his son was gay.

Our son finally admitted to me that he was gay and that he was scared to tell his dad. So, we agreed to keep it between us until he felt the time was right. We really didn’t discuss it again and the years passed by. After a heavy night of drinking, he blurted out the fact that he was gay to his father.

Danny was stunned, he refused to believe it and went into immediate denial. It took months of discussion between Danny and I before he could accept his son’s choice of lifestyle. Danny doesn’t like it, but he loves his son and deals with it as best he can. He told our son that who he slept with was his business, that we loved him deeply, and we would always be there for him.

Because, that’s what a parent does! Your child might not make life choices you agree with or follow the direction in life that you took…but your child will always be a part of you and if you are smart and handle things right, your child will always be a part of your life. To do otherwise, you risk not being in your child’s life and hurting your child by turning your back on them. Unfortunately, some parents take this path. I feel sorry for their loss.

In the past few years, our son has struck out on his own but remains close to us. We have basically adopted a “Don’t ask…don’t tell!” policy. We don’t ask about his sex life, but we also don’t ask about our daughter’s sex life. We feel that it is their private business and they have the right to choose whoever they want.

Our hope for all of our children is that they find true, lasting love and we don’t care what the gender is of the partner they select. As long as they are safe and loved, then we are happy!

We are not perfect parents, but we are parents who want to remain in our children’s lives until we pass on. So, we accept their choices and support them. Turn our backs on our kids? No way.

Thank you for listening to my story.

Authors note:  This was posted on the first day I was on WordPress.  Thought it deserved a second chance to send an important message.

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