Grandma Says..

Observations and views from a different set of eyes

The Worst Speech Ever!

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My next course in college will be a real challenge.  Just the title “The Art of Public Speaking” is enough to make me break out in sweats.

I’m sure many share my fear of stepping out of my comfort zone and having to put a voice to the words I write.  I had hoped that I could go through life without having to stand up in front of a crowd and talk again. Because, I have been there before, and it wasn’t pretty!

I remember being in eighth grade and entering a writing contest.  I really can’t remember what I wrote about, but I managed to make the list of finalists.  Cool, right? No, my friends, not so cool.  Because now I was expected to read my speech in front of the whole school, my family and visiting school administrators.

Just the thought of having to speak in front of  over a hundred pairs of ears gave me nightmares for weeks.  My History teacher, who was in charge of mentoring us in Public Speaking skills, was close to a nervous breakdown by the time the speech competition arrived.  I just could not stand at that podium and get the words to come out of my mouth, not even with an audience of one.

To make things worse, the other contestants and I had to draw numbers from a hat to determine who would speak first, second and so on.  There were six of us, so I hoped if I went last, perhaps my other classmates would be so bad that I would be able to “Wow” the audience with my own speech.  Oh yeah, folks, you guessed it.  I picked the number one spot…lucky me!

The day of the competition, I tried everything I could to convince my mother that I had a life threatening disease and bow out of the competition.  She didn’t believe me.  I tried to fake laryngitis with my History teacher. I tried to fall down the steps leading up to the stage, hoping to give a new meaning to “break a leg” but the other five contestants were standing close behind me, pushing me forward.

On shaking legs, I reached the podium, laid my papers on the top, and reached down deep inside for the courage to begin.  Evidently, from the sounds of rustling and fidgeting in the audience, it took me longer than I thought to find that ounce of courage.  I finally locked my eyes on the first paragraph and opened my mouth.  I can only imagine what I looked like with lips moving and no sound coming through the loudspeakers.

I took a deep breath and tried again.  To make a long story short, I finally managed to choke out the first paragraph and forged on.  My twenty-minute speech took much less time since I gave a great demonstration of speed reading while I presented my material.  I think I finished in five and when I spurt out the last sentence, I immediately ran off the stage and into my mother’s arms, crying copiously.

“Don’t cry, honey.  You did your best,” my mother said. My mother thought I was weeping with shame when actually, I was weeping with joy.  No one, based on that performance, would ever ask me to speak in public again.  I suffered through the other speeches with the rest of the audience, although the remaining five contestants showed much more talent for public speaking than I did. I walked up to the stage as my name was called to receive the trophy for third runner-up.  Do the math, three winners and three runners-up equaled last place for my dazzling performance.

So, you can understand my lack of enthusiasm for this next course.  Yes, I have matured a bit and I have had experience teaching software classes to students. But, that fear of standing in front of a podium again is starting to keep me up at night!  Let’s hope my instructor has a few tricks up his sleeve to bring out the Public Speaker in me!

Wish me luck!

Cranky

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Cranky’s Christmas Wish

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I tried to address this card, but I can’t find an envelope big enough to include all the names of the people that I want to send this card to. I’m just going to have to settle for hoping that all you wonderful, talented, creative people that I’ve had the privilege to meet this year get my personal wishes for a Very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, or whatever holiday you celebrate!

There is no card large enough to hold all my love for you guys and there is no way to convey my appreciation for putting up with Cranky’s shenanigans all year!  I hope the next year brings you success, happiness, and a publisher if that’s your desire.

So, from my family to you and yours, Have A Very Merry Christmas.

Love,

Mary Ellen, Danny and Buddy

18 Comments »

Who Gives A Duck?

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Phil Robertson – Redneck Extraordinaire

If you’re expecting this post to be about religion, politics or my views on homosexuality…you might as well click on out of here right now.  Cranky doesn’t write about those things.

Before I begin, for those of you who might not know me, I’m a Northerner who escaped the long, cold winters of New England for the warm Southern nights in Florida over twenty-five years ago.  I have met many “Phil Robertson’s” in my years here.  I also have a son who is gay and I love him, cherish him, and support his lifestyle as long as it brings him happiness. BOOM! Enough said.

Now, let’s take a look at what really happened to Phil Robertson.

The guy gives an interview (yes, I’ve just finished reading it and you can find it here) to a reporter from GQ magazine.  OK, let’s stop right there!  Why is GQ interested in Phil Robertson? Are they going to advertise his duck whistles? Are they interested in opening a “Phil Robertson” line of clothing franchise? Hmmm..no, I believe GQ wanted a funny, satirical, controversial expose on Phil and his redneck ways.

So, what happens? Phil expounds on his own personal beliefs in regards to black oppression and homosexuals. Wow…Phil is the FIRST person to do this, right? Now, gay and liberal rights groups have a new Anti-Gay Poster Boy and religious leaders and bigots have a new Redneck Idol to support…shouting “Free Speech.” A & E adds fuel to the fire by suspending Phil for speaking his mind on what he believes.

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Yup, we now have a controversy larger than Gun Control whipping around the Internet and the news media.  C’mon…who gives a duck?

Could this whole controversy been avoided? Oh yeah. If A & E wanted to protect the patriarch of the Duck Dynasty Cash Cow, they should have sent a staff member over to his shack and taught him the meaning of “this is off the record” or “No comment” thereby robbing the journalist out of one of the juiciest bits for his article.

Phil could have remembered that what you say to a journalist can come back and bite you in the butt. They’re careful on the show not to thump those bibles too loud on controversial issues…so, what was Phil thinking?  Being a true blue redneck, probably not much about the effects his words would have on the future of his reality show.

The end result of all this hullabaloo will probably be that A & E loses some viewers from this broo-ha-ha and eventually Duck Dynasty will be cancelled. Phil and his family have made so much money off the show that they most likely won’t be hurt by all the bad publicity.  They’ll just fade off into the woods and blow up some more beaver dams without cameras tracking their every move and thought.

So, let’s cut everyone a break and move on. After all, with all the other business this nation needs to attend to, do we really need to use Phil as an example of what we personally believe in? I think we can find some better role models than this poor redneck from the deep woods to pick on. And, in all fairness, Phil also was quoted in the same piece as saying:

 “You put in your article that the Robertson family really believes strongly that if the human race loved each other and they loved God, we would just be better off.” Now, come on people, who can argue with that one?

I’m going to share a great piece of advice a teacher who once told me (regarding remarks that went against what I believed in), “Consider the source,” she said. “Always consider the source!”

So, when people ask me what I think about this whole uproar, I say “Who Gives A Duck?”

Just sayin’.

Cranky

17 Comments »

Happy Days Are Here Again!

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Oh, how I have missed you all!  With my nose buried in my school work, I’ve had little time to post and keep in contact with all you great people.  But, I pushed and pushed and finished my American Lit Class early so I’m free as a bird until January 6!

So, I’ll be able to do nothing but post for the next couple of weeks…oh, wait a minute.  I do have a few things I’ll probably have to catch up on.

Like, clean the house because I tried to find Danny the other day and had to dig him out of the pile of laundry that I’ve failed to attend to.

Oh, yeah, and let’s not forget that I haven’t shopped for a single Christmas gift…what the hell…I’ve still got six days left!

I’ll probably also have to go food shopping since Danny’s complaining about having Ramen Noodles every night!

I might have to take Buddy to the groomers since his nails now resemble bear claws and I think his fur used to be golden…not dingy grey!

Let’s not forget my annual six to seven hours I need to spend in the kitchen whipping up Christmas Cookies, although I have wondered if anyone would notice if I just got store-bought and packaged them myself.  Maybe they’ll think my baking skills have improved!

Anyway, I have no doubt I’ll still have lots of time to post, somehow, someway!  I’ve got lots to talk about but I have to go now…Danny wants something called “Breakfast.” Lord, I hope I remember how to pour his cereal in a bowl! Oh well, I can always Google it and find out!

It’s great to be back and I’ll be touching base with all of you at some point during this Christmas Break!

Love,

Cranky

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A Gift Everyone Should Hear

Little Claire is a KODA, which is an acronym for Kids Of Deaf Adults.  She wanted her parents to share in the fun of her school Christmas Recital so she signed as she sang. This little angel is only five years old, but has managed to capture the world’s heart!  I can’t watch this without thinking that with all the negative news reports, Claire has saved the Christmas Holidays by providing a gift that everyone should see and hear!

Signing is easy to learn, as Claire demonstrates by being adept at the skill at the tender age of five, but the special facial expressions that she adds are precious and priceless!  Enjoy!

Love,

Cranky

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I’m NOT Superstitious!

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I just feel like staying in bed today…safe and warm…where nothing can harm me…well, okay, maybe I’m a little superstitious.  Have a great Friday, everyone!

Love,

Cranky

 

 

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Happy Birthday Tweetie!

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Oh, Tweetie…I feel your pain!

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Help! I’m drowning in Dead Poets!

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I won’t say that I’ve just realized that it’s been weeks since I posted…the thought has laid heavy on my mind.  But, college has taken up a good chunk of my spare time and it’s been difficult to find time to touch base.  With school, my writing, keeping the dust bunnies from overtaking the house and trying to spend some quality time with Danny, I find that I didn’t figure in a way to keep up with my blogging buddies.

The past two weeks I have been up to my ears in Dead Poets and Long Ago Authors.  Yup, you guessed it, I’m in American Literature and good golly, Miss Molly, I’m drowning! After surviving Intro to Computers (no piece of cake, let me tell you!) I approached this course with a somewhat cocky attitude.  I thought it would involve reading bios and taking tests on those bios.

Snap!  The reality is that I’ve been assigned to read multitudes of dead poets, long deceased authors, ancient buried orators and then I must write about them.  Stop!  Read poetry?  Say it isn’t so, as most of you know that I have admitted to being a Pinhead when reading poetry.  I do find the practice I’ve had from reading your excellent poems (especially on one of my favorite sites, “We Drink Because We’re Poets) has helped immensely.  I’ve struggled but I’m actually getting a handle on the works of Mina Loy, Randall Jarrell and Langston Hughes.  Never heard of them, you say?  Well, I hadn’t either but I found their work awesome and their lives intriguing. Who would have thunk it?

Anyway, another sneaky little challenge I’ve encountered is call the “APA” format.  This is MANDATORY and failure to follow the myriad of forms and structure of the APA can result in a big fat “O.” For those of you unfamiliar with the villanous APA, its the requirement that you must cite and reference every quote you use in your essays.  Huh.  Well, I guess it is so we writers don’t fail to give credit where credit is due.  However, APA format is highly structured and you have to be oh so vigilant to make sure you don’t cross that dreaded Plagerism line.

I have already had to submit my mid-term essay and my knees are shaking and sweat is beaded on my brow.  But, I’ve got an A average so far so unless I totally bore my instructor, I shouldn’t do too bad.

So, to my over 1000 loyal followers I can only ask that you stick in there with me.  When I get some spare time, I will be hopping on and try to update y’all.  I do have a Xmas break which I hope to catch up with all of you!

Danny is doing great…he really seems to have regained some zip in his step and except for a brain on overload, I’m doing great too.  I hope this post finds all of you in the best of health and hope to hear from you soon!

Until then, I’ll continue trying to dig my way out of all these dead poets!

Love,

Cranky

P.S. If anyone can understand the works of Marianne Moore, save me!

24 Comments »

The Day We All Remember

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Fifty years ago and yet, I remember it as clearly as if it was yesterday.  I was sitting in history class when the classroom door opened and the Principal of our school beckoned our teacher out into the hallway.  A few moments later, the two returned with grief stricken faces and announced to the class that our President had been shot. Tears streamed down our teacher’s face as he announced we were to pack up our things…school was cancelled for the rest of the day.

We filed out of the school and headed home.  I was only thirteen but I felt the loss of our nation’s leader along with the rest of my classmates.

Students walked home slowly with solemn faces.  When my sister and I arrived home, our parents met us with the news that our President had died.

For three days, the nation stopped and we watched.  The days were spent in front of the television as the details of the assassination of John F. Kennedy were played out and history unfolded itself in front of our eyes.  Television cameras recorded the grief of a nation; the shooting of Oswald and the final goodbye to our president.

Over the years, I have never met anyone who doesn’t remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard of President Kennedy’s death.  We all remember and we all feel sad every year on the anniversary of the assassination of our President.

But, the picture that stands so clearly in my mind is not one of the vivid recordings of the shooting of the President, or the shocking scene of Lee Harvey Oswald’s death, or the long funeral procession.

The picture I associate with the overwhelming sadness and the grief we all experienced, as one nation, over those three days is the picture of a three year old son saluting his father…saying Goodbye.

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I imagine that as my generation passes on that the memories and stories of where we were and what we were doing will become lost and forgotten.  There will be no one left to describe the pain and the sorrow the nation felt on that awful day we lost our President.

But I remember. Yes, it was fifty years ago…but I remember.

Cranky

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Pure Genius

This is one of the most wonderful, heartwarming videos I’ve come across in a very long time!  Who knew that a ball pit could bring such pleasure to two strangers. Whoever came up with this idea…Pure Genius!  Feel free to Reblog and brighten someone’s day!

Enjoy….

This post is dedicated to Be For Peace member Front Page Scribbles who blogs from way out yonder in the Rocky Mountains!

Love,

Cranky

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