Blog January 15, 2017 The Mystery of The Illusion of Control...or Is It?
I know I've written before about my control freakishness regarding things which I have no control, but right now I'm sort of questioning that. What I mean is, do I have more control than I think?
Here're two examples of what I mean: first, babies. Around 25 years ago, maybe a little less, I started trying to get pregnant. First it was with my first husband, a mistake in timing for sure, because it was the wrong guy and for the wrong reasons. Next, when I turned 30, I tried to do it by myself with a sperm donor, because I knew I wanted kids but I didn't know if I'd ever meet the right person. Then, I met the right person, and we started trying right away. In none of these three situations was I getting pregnant, because my menstrual cycle was all wonky--I wasn't ovulating until super late, like day 21 or 22 in the cycle. I tried things to hasten the ovulation date--Clomid and some other med that was used to treat breast cancer but I can't remember what it was called. Doesn't really matter what it was called, because it didn't work. After over a year of trying with Jim (the third example) we started talking about in vitro or adoption, but the thing that turned it around and actually CHANGED MY MENSTRUAL CYCLE was acupuncture, and I got these two beautiful boys out of that.
Then there's the writing. Something I've always wanted to do and have always felt like I'm good at, but the fact that the whole process wasn't going as quickly for me as I thought it should has caused me to reevaluate how I do it and work harder at reeducating and reworking things which maybe, just maybe weren't as fantastic as I thought they were. And my career as a writer is starting to move more in the direction I want, including an Amazon bestseller title!
So, having children and having writing success are big things, things which outside forces could very easily have intervened to prevent me from having. And that is ultimately beyond my control, I guess, but here's what I know: I wanted children, and if I wouldn't have been able to have them out of my belly, I would've adopted some. And if I couldn't have done that, I would've fostered some UNTIL I could figure out a way to adopt them. And as for the writing, of the situation I'm in now doesn't continue on the track I'm on now, I'll jump the track and rev the engine in a new direction.
I hate the way this election turned out, and felt very powerless to do anything beyond just casting my vote, which didn't go the way I'd planned. Then I read this handbook: Indivisible , and I'm feeling more and more like I can do my own little activist thing every day, and hopefully help steer that giant ship just a little bit back to a truer course.
I guess I feel like I do have a bit more control over uncontrollable things than my blog posts have stated before, although it's still a little early to comment on that third one...The jury's still out.
I'd love to hear your views! Until then...Stay Mystified!
Here's the video from last week's blog: VIDEO
Konundrum May 6, 2017
The Mystery of Maintenance
I am people watching at the San Diego airport. I hitched a ride from my friend Richard, got here shockingly early, and couldn't get on an earlier flight. So, people watching. One of my favorite activities anyway.
The thing I am noticing about quite a few of the women I see, is how much work it must take for these women to maintain themselves. Hours and hours. WHY do we do this to ourselves?
I'm perched with my sitbones on the very edge of my chair, trying to do hip stretches (ugh), when a beautiful young woman plops down against the wall in front of me. Her hair is long and flowy, her jeans trendily ripped, and her fingers and toes are manicured and pedicured.
As I watch her shake out her hair in a practiced motion and flip her phone screen to selfie mode so she can preen and pout, I think, "what pressure! Maintaining that facade 24-7. Must take hours and hours a day." And make no mistake: it is a facade. This girl feels enormous pressure to keep her image, you can see it in every hair shake and pose adjustment on that floor. Big pressure.
I did that, for a large portion of my life and career--lots of makeup, hair curling and spraying, endlessly working to choose the perfect outfit. Ugh. Now, you can get an idea of my outlook by looking at me this morning. I had a horrible second half of yesterday. We had a great morning prepping to go see Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger. We saw Bill Gates too!
It was a total adventure, but some combination of the 4:30 am wake up call, bad food choices, forgetting my vitamins and maybe not being hydrated enough, conspired to send me to the ER at 6:00 last evening, where I had to stay for 4 hours. But that's a tangent--I'll explain more in the video. I was talking about my facade before, but not so much now.
So, the picture: we slept in until 8:00 this morning, and popped down to the continental breakfast. My hair was bedhead extraordinaire--half in, half out of a ponytail, but did I touch it? Comb it, wash my face, put some decent clothes on? Nope. I needed coffee. I threw a sweatshirt over my nightshirt and jumped into flipflops to head downstairs.
When I came back up to the room, I had to laugh at my disheveled image in the mirror.
I laughed, but I also remembered the me of yore who would NEVER have left my room without at least a 45 minute ministration to the facade. And I thought about the accumulated thousands of hours of wasted time and I wanted to go back to that girl at the airport and shake her.
But she's gone, and people have to come to that on their own, anyway. Instead, I smiled happily at the goofy, facade-free image before me, grateful to at least have solved MY Maintenance mystery, and hunkered down to start guzzling coffee. Bliss.
I'd love to hear your thoughts! Until then: Stay Mystified...
Blog August 13, 2017
Sunday, August 13, 2017
Blog August 13, 2017--Mysteries of the Mosh Pit
LAST Sunday Jim and I went to a Metallica concert. We've had the tickets for ages, possibly for five months. They are for general admission tickets which I used to think meant they were cheaper, but apparently it means that they are cooler, because you can get closer to the stage. (!?)
We've had the tickets purchased for months, but when they came in the mail (a week ago) the excitement just grew crazy!
Anyway, these were floor seats. Meaning no chairs. Meaning standing up the whole time. Not so good for the MS version of me. No problem, we planned to take my scooter, so I could use that for a chair. Easy Peasy.
But it was a problem, because when jim pulled the battery off the charger the morning at the concert it didn't work – we found out the battery had NOT charged and we had no scooter.
So I spent the morning looking for someone who'd kept their knee scooter, anything I could use as a chair on our floor seats. No luck. We went to the concert chairless, and when we got to the LINE for the GA tickets--already around the block at 3:00 in the afternoon, it became obvious to me that we did indeed have a problem.
It seemed to be solved quickly, though, once we got closer to Petco Park. A security guy said he could get a wheelchair for me which I could then use the whole time. Which he did, and fifteen minutes later I was all set up, Jim wheeling me along in my Petco Park wheels. Easy Peasy.
Not so much.
We got onto the field and up right to the front, as you can see in the picture. Jim shared earplugs from our plastic CVS box o' bright pink ones (we'd forgotten ours at home) with the two guys to our left. To our right was a nice young couple--the wife had a tattoo up her left forearm which said 'Make sure the hand you hold doesn't hold you back.' Which I totally agree with the sentiment, but I also have to admit, the fact that the message was crawling up her arm made me REALLY speculate on the story behind it. We had to decline the like three times they offered us the marijuana pipe, but like I said...nice.
The opening band was a French heavy metal band I'd never heard of, so for the first act, things were relatively mellow. As relative as 10000 headbangers can get. But then the second act, a Huntington Beach hardcore quintet the locals apparently love, started.
And so started the surge.
People began crowding in closer, with no real comprehension that a bunch of us were already occupying the space. This drunk girl in a fur tank top, yes I said fur, shoved her way in right behind me and seriously draped herself...no, sloshed herself, slobbered herself all over us. I wanted so, so badly to punch her right in the face. And I'm a pacifist. BuT she's an example of every minute, every second people closing in, smashing together like how many sardines can you fit in a phone booth? Zillions. And every few minutes someone would shove too hard, and someone else would shove back, which resulted in a domino ripple effect with glacier power through the whole place, and me with a certainty I'd be crushed beneath them all.
Our neighbors and Jim did a great job of controlling the melee, planting their feet like tree roots and squatting as they thrust arms out across chests to hold back the rockslide.
The few times I stood up to get a better view of what was happening on stage, I had to sit right back down. The chair was immediately viewed as three bodies' worth of unoccupied space, and without my weight on it, I was sure the chair was on the verge of being popped up into the air with a gigantic slurp, like trying to hold a marble after soaking your hands in baby oil.
For someone who laughs at the nurse when she asks if I need a Xanax before getting into the MRI machine--someone who's never suffered a second's worth of claustrophobia--I was sure my head was going to explode.
One time after I stood up and sat back down, my leg got trapped between the wheelchair's left footstop and the guy next to me. I could just see the bone snapping like a toothpick, and I'm pretty sure I squealed and thrashed like a piglet until it wrenched free. No, I'm totally sure I did that. I was not having fun.
Then, Metallica came on. The moment we'd been waiting for. The surges ballooned even further, and by the time they'd finished For Whom the Bell Tolls, a guy landed in my lap. And I turned to Jim and yelled 'Get me out!'
And he did. I had to be lifted over the front barrier, but he did.
We ended up still in GA on the floor, but nobody was invading my space. Jim found a friend he teaches with, and like seven people were so obviously excited that a 'wheelchair girl' was a headbanger, I found myself the recipient of numerous accolades just for showing up: four Millennial girls gushed over my beautiful eyes (remember, it was dark), one guy clutched at my forearm as he passed and gave me a heartfelt 'rock on', and another girl thrust Happy Headbanger devil horn signs at me, with a big grin and her own 'rock on, dude!' I tried to return the gesture, but I'm pretty sure what I did was actually a hang ten sign, or maybe the letter 'Y' in sign language.
The whole experience was a cultural lesson I'll always cherish, from remembering why I never went near the mosh pit when I was TWENTY, for Chrissake, to experiencing the well-intentioned condescension toward the handicapped even though I could stand up and walk away from it at any second.
What do you think, about my mosh pit mysteries? I'd love to hear! Until then...Stay Mystified!
Blog March 3, 2017 The mystery of living in The Matrix.
I've decided that there's a lot of things happening in my life right now that are very surreal. Twilight Zone-esque. Maybe I'm living in The Matrix!
So I'll just go over a couple of them with you, just for fun. First of all, this could just possibly be me as the English teacher word psycho that I am, but I find it surreal that our new president tweets all through the night, and misspells a word in about every third tweet. Maybe, like I said, the whole idea just bugs me because I'm such a word Nazi--I think my next T-shirt purchase is gonna be the one that says 'I'm silently correcting your grammar.' So, it could just be me.
But I don't think so.
OK, let's bring the dream like state a little closer to my own personal bubble.I know I have talked before about how crazy it is to be living here in San Diego and some of the things that happen with the regular basis here, like people paying a small fortune for a smaller house and focusing way too intently on their first world problems.
I'm not trying to sound mean--I have girlfriends here and we make jokes all the time about how we are the real housewives of our little suburban neighborhood. Me too I guess. There are two things that have happened to me in the past day or two that make me feel like I'm living in The Matrix. First has to do with taxes. Through some unforeseen and unfortunate events, we've been stuck with this monumental tax bill for the second time in three years. We only recently finished paying off the last one, and now the groveling and sniveling began again and now here comes another round of belt tightening and sacrificing, well...anything fun, really. But that's the sucky part, not the surreal part. The surreal part came while listening to my two really good friends converse, and then juxtaposing the conversation with the talking going on in my head. So my one friend is not a Trump fan, to understate his feelings dramatically. But my friend's BROTHER is so upset by the change of administration and what he fears will happen to the country, that he's unloading a lot of his investments. So my friend is talking about this to me and my other pal, and he remarks that his brother convinced HIM to unload some of his investments. He confirms that his brother made him sell a million bucks worth of stock.
Now, that in itself is not the twilight zone part- a lot of people--especially around here--are working with large sums of money every day. It just felt so strange that my nuclear family life involves counting pennies, pretty much, but the people I associate with and talk to and joke around with EVERY DAY are dumping a million bucks worth of their stocks when a Neanderthal becomes President. Surreal.
Oh, and the other cool surreal (but kinda sad) thing involved opening ceremonies for Little League this morning. These four military planes did a flyover--twice--during the ceremonies, and a lot of the little-leaguers (maybe most, because they are young, but...) had no concept of how cool and unusual that was.
The mind boggles.
But that's my mind. What do YOU think? I'd love to hear your views.
Until next time, Stay Mystified!
Blog February 25, 2017
The mystery of Athletes vs...Jocks
I for sure am someone who loves it as much as the next guy when somebody tells me how great my kids are! Parents like reinforcements, too. I have these two fabulous little boys, whom you've all heard me talk about way too much, hell, I even wrote an article based on another article from a blogger mom who feels like we shouldn't be talking about our kids at all unless they have the wherewithal to approve it ahead of time. Hmph. Well, obviously I think about it, or I wouldn't be bringing it up again. But this is just too interesting! I'll try to keep the my own little boy specifics to a minimum and just concentrate on the theme. We'll see how it goes...
Anyway, I hear really good things from others about the boys and their accomplishments and behaviors. Often.
But probly like five times PER DAY they do something they shouldn't be doing, whether that involves not taking care of the dog, not doing a chore, or maybe smackin' each other around, that I have to employ what I call my 'broken record' method of parenting. This involves mass repetition of the lessons I so much want them to learn. I make them look me in the eyes when I'm speaking to them, and sometimes I make them repeat back to me what I just said. I know, what a pain I am, huh?
So today my youngest played his last baseball game of the Boys and Girls Club basketball winter season. Or is it fall season? I'm never sure. I guess it's winter season.
One of his coaches, as he was leaving, told him what a great season he had, what a great job he did, and how he was sure that my he was a great baseball player too (baseball has already started, and he was on his way to a scrimmage). To which my son responded "yes I am."
Here comes the broken record method again, because this arrogant response is NOT acceptable for a Gusich.
OK, so I didn't light into him the minute we got into the car, but we did have a discussion. I told him that he had a great season and that he did it such a great job and played 100% without being a ball hog, and passing, and sharing, and doing all those things that a good athlete does, and how proud he should be of that.
But then we talked about the difference between a jock and an athlete. I as you know I'm artsy fartsy and so I have always hated jocks. But because of who I've married and who we've spawned, I've learned to appreciate athletes, and athleticism.
What's the difference? I hope you are asking right now. Cuz that's the topic for today.
See, jocks are those guys. The ones who've had some athletic success, and because of that feel like they are the shit. They're ball hogs and bullies and the bad guys in every teen movie you've ever seen. They feel like their athletic prowess gives them rights they are not entitled to. As a student I had to deal with these meatheads, and even more as a teacher.
I can't stand these guys.
My sons will NOT be these guys. Ever.
Back to the discussion with my son after his remark to his coach. "Yeah, I am, also, a really great baseball player."
"So what might have been a better response to Coach Ron's compliment?" I asked. And he didn't know, which is why we have these discussions ad nauseam.
"Thank you?" He guessed, which he knows is always appropriate in my book.
"Yep, thank you is always good. Maybe 'I hope so', or 'I'm gonna work just as hard on that', or 'I'm workin on it!' "
Just the things that an athlete thinks about instead of what a jock thinks about. If my broken record method works, he'll be thinking this way without even thinking about it, and he'll be an athlete, not a jock.
In my world, they are two very different things. What about in your world?
I'd love to hear your views! Until then: Stay Mystified!
Here are a couple of fun scenes about jocks:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1egnKKkm54 Just One of the Guys
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5lx_MXbWQs 17 Again
Here's my video about last week's blog:
Hello Intrepid Readers!
Constituents of The 49th District, San Diego, California, United States of America
The Darrell Issa Social Advisory Council
January 31, 2017
WHEREAS, Founders Richard Lao, Ken Khoury, Kelley Gusich and Lori Vagner, constituents of the 49th Congressional District of California, saw a need for a conduit between Congressman Darrell Issa and concerned constituents, in the wake of a turbulent 2016 election cycle, and
WHEREAS, in light of Congressman Issa's slim .005% victory during the aforementioned 2016 election, and his knowledge of the importance of a renewed and intense focus on a "...priority to continue reaching across the aisle and seeking new partnerships to advance new solutions to the issues we so desperately need to address."¹; and
WHEREAS, A substantial number of the American populace has expressed a fear of a culture of isolation imposed upon the country, instead of inclusion for all people, regardless of gender, cultural history, socioeconomic status, race, religion, or orientation; and
WHEREAS, There is, as a result of this turbulent electoral cycle, an obvious and crucial need to "...reset Washington’s focus back to where it belongs: on [our] concerns, [our] ideas, and the issues most important to [us]"¹; and
WHEREAS, Californians have a recognition of our need to cherish, preserve and protect the health and well-being of ALL its citizens and their freedoms; and
WHEREAS those freedoms should include a health care program which is affordable and accessible to all citizens, and access to a quality public education and infrastructure; and
WHEREAS those freedoms should include an interest in preservation of the planet around us, including focus on climate science research and maintaining an interest in a profusion of renewable and clean energy research and implementation; and now, therefore be it
RESOLVED, That DISAC will work tirelessly to spotlight, remind and encourage our congressman Darrell Issa to remember, that, "In the midst of it all, of great concern is that [our congress and senate] will ignore the clear message voters sent us: that Washington needs to listen more, talk less and renew its focus on actually getting things done."¹ and, be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, That DISAC was created to assist and advise Darell Issa and the people with whom he surrounds himself to answer a question from large numbers of concerned Americans, eloquently posed in the January 24,2017 issue of the Washington Post: "The question is: How cynical are we willing to be and for how long? How long will Senate Republicans wait until a few of them stand up to [Donald Trump]."²; and, be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, That DISAC will continue its mission of advising and assisting our congressional representatives, including the expansion of membership, and connection with and support of like-minded groups such as The California 49th District Action Network , in the understanding that such mission is an effective way to promote understanding of constituent concern and create corresponding action by those who ostensibly represent our needs in our government; and be it
FURTHER RESOLVED That these Constituents of The 49th District, San Diego, California, United States of America, proclaim the creation of DISAC, the Darryl Issa Social Advisory Council, on this Day of January 31, 2017, and enter the names of our founders and initial membership roster to the public and to Darrell Issa’s Congressional Office .
KELLEY GUSICH, CO-FOUNDER
January 31, 2017
Richard Lao, lawyer, investor,
Ken Khoury, Forensic and Addiction Psychiatrist, University of California, San Diego
Lori Vagner, Owner, Forte Salon, Solana Beach, California
Kelley Gusich, retired high school educator, writer, board member 4s Ranch Library Friends
Beth Guelder Zaletski, member, military spouse
Maria Athar, member
Kerri McWeeny, member, Molecular Biologist, Marketing Director
Cass Kaminetz, member, lawyer, PTA President and community volunteer, former grant writer for Big Brothers/Big Sisters San Diego
Dave Eichinger, member, Professor City College San Diego
Deva Edelman, member, realtor, Secretary of CMR/Sabre Springs Community Council
Anna Sabrina Leitner, member
¹Issa, Darrell http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/opinion/commentary/sd-utbg-issa-congress-trump-20170125-story.html
²Keillor, Garrison https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/help-us-gop-youre-our-only-hope/2017/01/24/56bca6ce-e27a-11e6-ba11-63c4b4fb5a63_story.html?utm_term=.8a5c4bdbac94
As you all know, this election is making me very upset. So I and a small group of friends and neighbors have started a group. We're going to try and pester our congressman and use our voices as much as possible to KEEP our country great, nonea this nonsense about 'Making it great again.' That's nonsense. America is great.
So this is my blog: the proclamation. I also put up a webpage on my Facebook page called DISAC. Go, and like it if you want! Or, if you happen to be a constituent of California's 49th Congressional District, join us!
I'd love to hear your views! Until next time: STAY MYSTIFIED!
Video from last week's BLOG
Sunday, May 28, 2017
Blog 5/27/2017 The Mystery of Aggressive Happiness
Today's blog is really a kind of chicken-or-egg Konundrum, one I question a lot. I think it could apply to lots of life situations, but the big one for me is, (obviously), health.
We all know people who are constantly sick, whether it's sniffles or worse. Some people seem to thrive on it. That may sound intense or judgmental, but think about it: every time you talk to them, there's a new ailment, and most of the time they'll discuss the ailment with detail and relish. Are they looking for sympathy? Maybe. But speaking as a person who does this, sometimes, (much to my dismay), I think there's another reason. None of these reasons are conscious, really--the subconscious is mysterious. But I'm trying to be analytical, plumb the depths of every level.
No, I don't want sympathy, rather, I think on some level I want people to know I am strong. Here's an illness that knocks a lotta people on their ass, and I'm doing okay. Doing great. If I were any better, I'd be twins. 😜So if I'm discussing it too much, maybe it's a nod to that See Me Being Strong thought.
But I really wonder: did the illness come first, or did my desire to be considered strong, or for some garner sympathy, come first? Chicken/Egg problem. Do some people avoid illness because they sail through life expecting to avoid it, or never worrying about it happening to them? Is the fact that I tend toward hypochondria and an overzealous attention to little details (where did that mole come from? Is that headache the beginnings of a brain tumor?), which is helpful to me the writer, not so much me the person) contributing to my illness?
I think the answer is yes. And although people tell me to cut myself a break, because I've been dealing with this chronic illness for half my life--it's natural to overfocus on health issues--I'm trying something new. I'm calling it 'Aggressive Happiness'. If my brain's the problem, I'm flooding it with repetitive thoughts of happiness and gratitude. Often.
I've made it a song--you know the Meghan Trainor song "No"?
I've changed the title to "Great" My back is-Great, my hip is-Great, my brain is-Great. I'm Invincible Invincible.
And it seems to be working! My nine months of back and hip pain are reducing, and if I feel a twinge I just start chanting the song. Sometimes people stare.
What are your views? Aggressive Happiness, anyone? I'd love to hear what you think. 🤗
Until then, Stay Mystified!
Kelley's Konundrum 3/19/2017
Sunday, March 19, 2017
Blog March 19, 2017
The Mystery of Beautiful Things
I feel like The last few blogs have been more about me kvetching or complaining. Using my observations as a force of negativity, rather than a force for change or a force for good. I know this year"s election and our perceived State of the Union has thrown many people into a tailspin. And I'm not like that! My optimism is what keeps me smiling...
So today, my blog is about beautiful things. I'm just gonna talk about those things, and BELIEVE ME I need it today, because I just got totally ripped off by an appliance technician and it was nobody's fault but my own impulsive and desperate self. Soooo...here goes!
We eat a lotta fruit in this house. I mean, a lot. Apples in the double-digit lbs. Five bunches of bananas at a time. So there's this huge ceramic bowl on the corner of the kitchen counter, a gigantic rainbow cornucopia of fruit. Beautiful.
On the way home from my son's baseball game this afternoon, I passed by a long strip of wildflowers on the side of the road, and the only color I can use to describe them is neon magenta. Beautiful. (Oh, and my son won his game, so I love that too...🤗)
I wake up on Monday thru Thursday morning super early, as you know, and I see and hear lots of beautiful things at this time of day, but two are most memorable: the clarity of stars in the early morning is the first. I can look up on my way to the car, and hear a bird chirp or sometimes a coyote call, because the traffic noise doesn't start interfering for another hour.
Or if it's foggy, my beautiful thing comes on the way home. On the back of my street, right in the center of the road, there's this giant tree, round at the top, with a long, graceful trunk. When I'm driving home from the gym at 6 a.m. and it's foggy, the tree seems to be emerging from the fog like a sentinel, but the fog itself is completely still, hanging from the branches and sighing through the spaces between the leaves. Beautiful.
Right now, I'm at my OTHER son's baseball game, and here's another thing of beauty I forgot all about: hot air balloons. Somebody is flying them around here all the time, and how cool is that!? Gigantic balloons dotting the skyline behind the baseball field. More of a spectacular backdrop than anyone could hope. Here's a picture I just took of one, although of course it's just a reminder--not a reproduction.
I'm thinking of more and more beautiful things as I write, but that's what Beautiful Things, Parts 2-? are for…right now, I should pay attention to the game.
I'd love to hear your views! Until then…Stay Mystified!
Blog The Mystery of Intention.
I know they say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, but I'm a big believer in intentions. Many times I've read some self-help guru or another writing down something about how writing things down can help you accomplish those things, because you are physically creating your intentions. Just the act of writing something down puts it out there. Somebody famous did this and everything that he wrote down came true and he pulled the letter out 20 years later or 30 years later and proved it to everybody. I'm going to look for that and I'll attach a link if I find it!
So about 10 or 11 years ago we decided we wanted to move to San Diego and this was about the time that the latest self-help guru I was reading talked about a future's poster. Futures poster is just a diorama of everything that you want for your future pasted on a piece of paper and saved. I titled mine, appropriately, My Future. I feel like so much is happening in my life that is part of that poster, it made me want to dig it out and look at it.
My youngest son had to go under the bed and dig through some dust bunnies and paraphernalia and guitar cases before he found it, but he found it and pulled it out. Boy, was it Dusty! I wiped it off set it on the ottoman and looked at it.
There were book titles on it, two of which are either out there to be purchased, or under contract to be released. One of the books I've written besides that is under contract right now isn't even on this poster, and the other two have yet to be published. They're all under different titles than what is on the poster. The Poster also has pictures of boys graduating and old couples sitting on the beach holding hands and names of towns that I want to own property in, four towns-San Diego, Grand Junction, Phoenix, and New York City, only one of which we actually do own a house in--San Diego.
There is a picture of people ballroom dancing, which we still do, just not as often as we'd like, and there's a picture of Jon Stewart posing atop his Daily Show logo. It was my intention for My First Television Interview to be held by Jon Stewart--because I think he is wicked smart and funny, and I'd like to see if I can hold my own in a conversation with him. But apparently 20 years of The Daily Show was not Jon Stewart's intention, and I can't do anything about that. Maybe he never made a futures poster...
Anyway, it's time for me to make a new declaration of my intentions, since it's been over a decade and since I can see there're a couple of things I missed. I would like my first interview(s) as an author to be held by Ellen DeGeneres, Seth Meyer, and Jimmy Fallon. How fun are they!?! Also, I can see I didn't put anything down as far as lifespan, even though I vocalize that, verbalize that frequently to the angels in the room. The whole family needs to live happy and healthy to at least 98 years apiece. Don't ask me why 98--cuz I thought 90 wasn't long enough and 105 was just a little greedy. So those intentions need to go on the new poster. I'd LIKE to have 12 or 15% body fat; hell, I'd even be happy with 20%. But that might fall more under the 'unrealistic wishes' category than the intentions one. Let's not go totally overboard.
In my dream last night, I looked on the computer to find some sort of bizarre explosion in cyberspace, and my book Death by Diploma (listed on the futures poster as 'An Angel's Sin'--the reason we're supposed to be constantly using the words 'working title.')--had sold 32,000 (or was it 320,000?) copies overnight. Such a cool dream, and I think just begging for a spot on my new futures poster!
So what do you think? Do you believe that verbalizing, vocalizing, writing down your intentions helps them come to pass? Or is this just another example of Kelley's tree-huggery hippie hoodoo? I'd love to hear what you think! Until then...Stay Mystified!
P.S. I think instead of calling all my books 'Working Titles', I'm calling them 'Alleged Titles'. My next mystery is Allegedly Titled Poison by Punctuation. You'll likely see it released in the first 3 months of 2018. Possibly. Hopefully. Yup.
Shades of my Firstborn?
Sunday, January 22, 2017
Blog January 21, 2017
Shades of my firstborn?
Its Sunday, January 21, 2017. The president number 45, has given his inaugural address. The day after that, millions of people worldwide have protested to focus on rights they fear they'll lose in this new administration. Many people have pledged to stay focused on this new administration to ensure that no one goes backwards in terms of the rights we have been afforded in the past 200 years. Some people are afraid those rights will be lost.
My oldest son is named Gray like the color, but with an Ey. Grey. On the day Donald Trump was elected, he cried. When I asked him why he was crying he said "because I don't want Donald Trump as my president". Since he is only 10 years old, and Obama has been his president for his entire life, I understood why he was crying. I tried to explain about the cyclical nature of politics and the swing of the pendulum and all of that stuff because of course this the worst thing that happens if you're a mom or dad: the sight of your child's tears. You want nothing more than to make those tears go away.
But the thing I realized, in the wake of this historical time, is how symbolically cool it is that I named my son Grey. I've been trying to be more active since the election, cofounding and organization designed to hold our congressmen accountable for the decisions that are made during this term, calling my representatives already multiple times since the election. I plan to keep calling and keep pestering. But I think the change that has happened, and myself and hopefully in others, is a realization that compromise is the order of the minute, the order of the second. The order of the millennium. I realized more than ever how crucial it is to look at ideas and events through the lens of shades of gray, not black-and-white. Nothing is strictly either-or, and until people truly start to realize that, any presidency or electoral term will remain what it has been for some time now: a big fugly stalemate.
I'm trying my hardest to live by the symbolism of my eldest son's name, even though that wasn't on my mind when I named him. I just think it's cool.
And hey, guess what! I think my other son's name falls under the same category unbeknownst to me! His name is Griffen, and although his name sake is a mythological creature, and I took that name because I used to teach mythology and I think it's really cool, it's still could be the same kind of symbol! A gryphon is a combo-creature: part lion, part eagle. Its lore heralds it as a symbol of divine power; a guardian of the divine. So I think its importance for this metaphor is twofold: it's not EITHER a snake OR a lion, rather it is a melding of both. And I think it is DIVINE to be able to look at things from more than one point of view. I'm trying to GUARD that, both in the way I'm raising my children and in the way I want to do my part in guarding the freedoms we as a nation have worked so hard to instill. In a compromising way, of course! 👍😜🇺🇸
I'd love to hear your views! Until next time: Stay Mystified!
Here's info on theGryphon.
Here's the video from last week's BLOG
Blog February 5, 2017
The Mystery of 'Embracing the Suck', AKA The Illusion of Control, Part 3
I just finished watching a Tina Fey movie called Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. Have you seen it? I don't think it got very good reviews, but I enjoyed it immensely. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me think.
OK everything now is going to have a bunch of spoilers, so don't watch the blog or listen to the blog or read the blog if you want to watch the movie.
So the basic premise of the movie is that Tina Fey is a reporter, and she does news copy from behind a desk all day every day. She experiences some disenchantment with her job and wants to do more correspondent-type reporting, so she goes to Afghanistan. (The movie takes place in the early 2000's)
The part that stuck with me started early and all wrapped up at the end, and it involved her interaction with an American soldier in Afghanistan. He made a comment about the relative quiet of the area in which he was stationed, and she took a soundbyte out that basically said he never needs to unleash his weapon--never unhooked his weapon from his shoulders or prepares his weapon to be fired because he doesn't need to. So the army takes him to task with this and transfers him to a more intense area, where his legs get blown off.
Anyway, by the end of the movie Tina Fey, feeling guilty about her presumed role in this soldier's injury, goes to visit him in his small town and gives him the ability to 'ream her royally', basically, for his injuries.
What the soldier said, was that she was giving herself too much credit: she was not the 12-year-old Jihadist to have planted that IED in the ground. Maybe, he said, if BinLaden's parents hadn't gotten divorced, the US wouldn't have been in Afghanistan at all. Maybe the Taliban wouldn't have been there in the first place, were it not for the mistakes of Leonid Brehznev. And maybe, he said, it's the fault of The British Empire. His point was that she gave herself way too much responsibility, pointing out all the things which had to happen to culminate in the loss of his legs.
"There's only so much any of us have control of, good or bad," he said. "You've gotta move on. You embrace the suck, and move the fuck forward. What other choice do we have?"
The scene, and the movie, made total sense to me. Although, obviously I have HUGE issues with the actual implementation of this idea, since I would obviously feel totally responsible for the soldier losing his legs. But the part of me that knows I shouldn't feel that way loved the movie, loved the message of the movie.
Plus I also like the little internal rhyme in the soldier's motto: Embrace the suck and move the fuck forward, y'all.
I'd love to hear your views! Until then: Stay Mystified!
Here's the movie trailer from Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
And here's my Video from Last Week's Blog
Konundrum April 30, 2017
Sunday, April 30, 2017
Blog The mystery of names as a life outcomes.
Last night Jim and I watched a new reality show called 'First Dates'. I guess that's a little ironic, isn't it? I mean, because last night was Friday, and Friday was our 11 year Wedding Anniversary. So we spent part of our anniversary watching about first dates...😜
So the premise is just what it sounds like--these people all go to a specific restaurant in Chicago, and they have a blind date there, which is filmed, and then at the end the two meet back up and decide whether they want to go on another date. Last night was especially hilarious because one girl basically talked to the guy for like 15 minutes and then she bailed out before their dinner even arrived.
But my other favorite one was this couple, in their 60s I think or maybe early 70s. His name was Eddie, and he talked about how fast he fell in love; really he did everything fast. Fast Eddie.
Which brings me to my question: do you think people's names have anything to do with how they end up? Personality or occupation-wise?
Let's just look at Eddie, and think for a minute about possible connotations. Eddie and the Cruisers. Eddie Haskell. It just sounds fast or squirrelly. It moves. Eddie is different from an Edward or even an Ed.
The attached article tells a bunch of stories along this line, including one about a guy named Tonsillitis who actually got Tonsillitis. Hee hee.
There was a guy at Chick-Fil-A the other day who was on his cell phone, asking to speak to Patience, and I wanted so much to ask him IS SHE? Or how about Hope? Is she going to tend more toward optimism, subconsciously or no, every time she writes her name on her papers? How about Charity? Is she more likely to lend a hand than Cheryl is? And how 'bout Chastity? Haha, I do think that name is sort of doomed to failure from the outset, most likely because anyone who names their kid Chastity probably has super high expectations in that regard, therefore practically GUARANTEEING rebellion.
It makes me curious. There was a surgeon at the Community Hospital named Dr. Scissors. A friend of mine here in San Diego, an anesthesiologist, says there is an ER doctor here named Dr. Kill. Whoa. Maybe this guy chose his occupation in direct rejection of his name, but can you imagine getting wheeled into the ER? "Oh, no worries, you'll be fine--Dr. Kill is on his way to save the day!" No. Thank. You.
So what do you think? Can the name make the person, or does the person make the name? My name means Woman Warrior, so I feel like I kinda win either way.
I'd love to know your thoughts. Until then...Stay Mystified!
Here's the VIDEO of last week's blog:
Kelley's Konundrum 6/24/2017
Blog 6/24/2017 The Mystery of the Supernatural--part 2, Seed.
When I was a much, much younger adult, I thought I could sense things. The event that started it was a trip to an antique store, where one of the objects there--a cameo--hurled me into a panic attack. I didn't know why, but I thought it must've had something to do with the previous owner of the cameo.
From then on, probably for another 5 years, certain sections of places, stores, parks, of course cemeteries, gave me this type of reaction--the screamin' heebiejeebies. Sometimes I'd start shivering, sometimes tears would spring to my eyes for no apparent reason.
What do I think caused this? Remnants of a tragic death? Walking over the grave of a restless spirit with unfinished business?
I think it was me, and I think it was an affectation. Beyond the fact that it was a cameo, I remember nothing else about that initial event, which doesn't jibe with a life-changing or significant event. I think, because I have a vivid imagination and an affinity for the supernatural. I glommed on to this one thing and took off with it. Sheesh.
Wouldn't it be hilarious if I'd been able to research the previous owner, and found out she'd lived a long, contented life as a chicken farmer's wife and died in her sleep at 99? Of course, if I'd done that and found out the previous owner had been murdered, or committed suicide, or died at 38 after a ten year battle with cancer, that might be worse. THEN I could've gone completely overboard--color me not affected, but clear on to ridiculous. It might've lasted for TEN years instead of five. It might be happening to this day.
I still believe in this possibility, though, even if I'm not as much of a simpering swooner as I once was.Part 1 about the communication with my dad proves it. Part 2 of this Konundrum--Seed--will reinforce.
Last week was my friend Kim's birthday. Well, her birthday was earlier but last week was the day I got to take her out to lunch. So I got all dressed up in my new black tank dress and my black Birkenstocks, and walked outside for her to pick me up (my AC is busted, plus you've heard about me and driving). As I walked out the door, I felt a lump in my shoe, right in the middle of the pad underneath, between the big and second toe. I tried to shake it out, but it wouldn't dislodge. Every time I stepped down it hurt, and I grumbled and swore my way down the walk. Finally I pulled the sandal off, and let the lump fall out. It was a seed. Then I pulled my phone out, and the text screen was up. The little text box said one word: seed. I was like W.T.H?
I showed it to Kim and she wondered if it was just my voice-to-text button, accidentally on and recording me as I stumbled down the walk. And sure, that is possible. But the thing is, I didn't know the lump in my shoe was a seed. And if I did SAY seed when I pulled it out, it would've been accompanied by a few choice swear words, because I cuss a lot when I am alone. And in pain. And there was nothing else in the text box but that one word.
So was it the universe telling me what was causing my pain? A ghoulie, a ghostie, a thing that goes bump in my shoe?
I have a theory, and I'll tell you all about it during the Mystery of the Supernatural, Part 3!
I'd love to hear what you think. Until then…Stay Mystfied!
Sunday, July 16, 2017
Blog July 15 The Mystery of Movie Ratings
I try not to put too much stock in ratings. Especially when it comes to my book--I mean it's not like I can do anything about them. I was warned from the get-go about not even attempting a follow-up, like, "Hey, can you please explain why you're being so mean?" or, "Whaddya mean by that?" "W.T.H.?", or my favorite, "Did you actually read this book?" 😜
No, I do read them. But I don't perseverate on them too much, not even on the guy who wrote a four page manifesto, obviously he read it and then proceeded to decimate me. But I'm over it.
Anyway, this blog was inspired by some reviews I read today--onea those thinking about getting outa bed but checking my phone first type things. I pulled up my Redbox app and browsed through. This movie called The Cure for Wellness has intrigued me since I first saw the trailer several months, so I hit the link called 'show all reviews'.
https://youtu.be/JF1rLFCdewU A Cure for Wellness
Looks interesting, right? Maybe scary? It's billed as thriller/suspense.
Now, I know they say variety is the spice and all that, but I have NEVER seen a bigger difference of opinion as far as this film goes. It was either one star or five stars, people either fell asleep and said Don't Waste Your Money, or talked about it as something artistically and dramatically compelling. I'm serious, it was night and day.
I still haven't decided whether or not I will rent it. I do base my opinion a little bit (okay, a lot maybe) on the quality of the review. Is it incredibly snobby of me to tune right out of the first reviewer who calls it 'discusting'? Sorry, I totally do that. The bad reviews who give specific information about why they didn't like it, those I'll pay attention to. If they bag on the characters as immoral or don't pay attention to the rating or the genre and then are offended when it's something that would fit that rating, then forgetaboutit. Do some research. Change the channel.
Only one thing stuck out about the reviews. Apparently there is an incestuous relationship in the film. Which a lot of people commented on, but only this one guy tagged the movie as "Aside from the silly eel story line, this is a beautiful story of the true love a man and his young daughter can share with each other. Absolutely inspiring and a must see!"
WTH? I can do without THAT being called 'variety.' This guy's review was immediately drop-kicked into the garbage pile.
I'd love to hear what you think. I'll probably watch it at some point, just because of all the time I've already invested. Plus I'm a little curious as to what eels have to do with anything.
Until next time...Stay Mystified!
Here's the soundtrack for my upcoming trailer for Book 2: Trailer Soundtrack
Blog 7/1/2017 The Mystery of Bionics
When I was a sophomore in high school, my best friend Kristy and I were the first (and only) girls in the weightlifting class--her because she was getting strong for tennis, and me, well...I just wanted to get strong. I have been lifting weights ever since (that's over 30 years!). Some weeks I do it more than others, some years I'm lifting heavier than others, but I'm always doing it.
Until this year--the year of back and hip pain that I've kvetched about enough. I haven't lifted that much this year, but hey--did I mention 30 years?
But here's the rub--this year o'pain has resulted in lots of tests (we still don't know what's wrong with me. Beyond general goofiness), one of which was a bone density test, otherwise known as a BDT. This test revealed I have a condition called Osteopenia, which isn't as bad as Osteoporosis, but it isn't normal, strong weightlifter bones either.
I was stunned. I mean, my mom has osteoporosis, but because I knew that I've always been so damn conscious...I took supplements until some research pointed to kidney stones and anecdotal (personal) information pointed to constipation, but I've always done the leafy greens, get it from food kinda gal. Inconceivable, osteoANYTHING. Damnit.
What I've decided I want is bionic bones. Add some adamantium, fix me up a-la Lindsey Wagner, give me what I need. I did a little research on strontium, but even the supplement version of that seems questionable in terms of possible side effects or contraindications to my meds.
This example of Kelley the Control Freak trying to control things she can't, and failing, sucks. It's the main reason I like writing and reading fiction: in my made-up world I have bionic bones.
You know my Meghan Trainor song for my positive affirmations? I'm just gonna have to add that, I guess. My attitude is Invincible. My hopes?
Well it's no mystery: they're bionic.
I'd love to hear your thoughts. Until then, Stay Mystified!
Here's the VIDEO from the last 2 weeks
Remember The Bionic Woman?
The Mystery of Making a Change
Sunday, April 9, 2017
Blog The Mystery of Making a Change.
We might as well start big and narrow down for this topic. First: the new administration of our country. That is a BIG change, and I feel like even though there's a number of people who wanted a change, I don't think anyone was ready for this! I heard yesterday that 90 million registered voters DID NOT VOTE this year. Holy cow. I don't know if this number is accurate, but I guarantee at least some of those thought Hilary was a shoo-in, and boy were those people surprised!
We made a big change when we moved here, but it was such a good one, all around, that it makes me want to advocate for it. But the thing that's made me think about the problems with making change comes from two situations I've been thinking and reading about today: jerry browns new taxes and 4s Ranch LA Fitness hours of operation.
First, Jerry Brown. He just did a budget where taxes on gasoline are going up like 12 cents a gallon, and car registration is going up starting at like 34 bucks more a year--all to raise money for roads. We REALLY need work on roads, but when I'm reading about it--of course the anti-tax group hated this idea, but then I read the environmentalists are mad about it too. I was like, huh? Why on earth would they be mad about a budget that increases taxes on a fossil fuel, thus presumably fostering an advantage to renewable energy resources?
But no, and here's what I mean by the complications of making a big change: the environmentalists are concerned because of this: (quoted from The LA Times)
"To win support from truckers, who face a big increase in taxes, Brown and legislative leaders agreed to restrict future regulations on greenhouse gas emissions related to commercial trucks. The change angered environmentalists, who worry it could impede regulations that indirectly affect truckers, such as restrictions on emissions at ports, warehouses, railyards and airports."
So this is the way I understand this statement: because the Governor had to agree to RESTRICTING some regulations, which environmentalists believe are necessary to save us from destroying our planet through toxic humanmade emissions produced by automobiles, factories and agriculture, but which truckers want less of so it's not so expensive to transport goods from place to place across the country. We all want our goods, of course, but (hopefully) we don't want them at the expense of our world.
The third and most localized change I'm rooting for, is a change in the opening time of our gym, LA Fitness. I and a bunch of other people start our workouts at 5 am, but we usually arrive earlier than that, anxious to get a full hour in before our respective workdays
Apparently the gym made a commitment to new members when the 4s Ranch club opened, regarding the 5 am weekday/8 am Saturday opening hours. Here it is, in the words of one of these original members, from an email dated last week:
"I am writing because I am really disappointed in what was promised when I joined the club about 6 months before they actually opened in 4s Ranch, San Diego, California, almost 10 years ago. All of the new members were promised that once the enrollment increased, that they would make changes to the opening hours of the club. They stated they would go to a 4 am opening M-Friday and 6 am on Saturday and Sundays. I would like to request that those promises be met, especially on weekends when you open at 8 am."
The additional members who've joined since the club's opening desire this change as well. We've even tried to change the receptionist check-in requirement to slightly earlier (between 4:45 and 4:55 instead of between 4:50 and 5 a.m.) in the hopes that members could get a few more minutes in pre-commute, and/or be in from the cold a little earlier.
This compromise was rejected outright, plus it doesn’t help the much larger number of members who are there for an earlier Saturday/Sunday opening time, and who line up around the parking lot waiting for the club to open. A bandaid for a bigger and bloodier wound, but the corporate ownership of the club isn't even offering an easy Kleenex to stanch the bleeding. And here's the complication (although I don't see it as insurmountable): the landlord for the 4s building has the current hours of operation in their lease, and therefore an amendment to the lease would be required before the hours could be changed. I'm writing a petition, and will start collecting signatures hopefully next week sometime.
But apparently it's a big change, and it's complicated.
I'd love to hear what you think! Until then: Stay Mystified!
Here's the ViDEO from last week's BLOG
Here's an ARTICLE about Jerry Brown's proposed new budget.
Blog July 23, 2017 The Mystery of Ratings, Part 2
Sunday, July 23, 2017
Blog The Mystery of Ratings, Part 2
The 'variety is the spice of life' motto keeps being presented to me in various ways these days, and yesterday was no different. I came to a huge conclusion about me and my sense of humor and how it's perceived.
So I have this friend at the gym--MaryKay. She's very lovely, inside and out. Last year she told me she'd just finished a book 'A Man Called Ove', that she loved SO MUCH she wanted to share it with me. She said it was funny and sweet and sad, and just very special. I told her I'd put it on my TBR list and keep it in mind.
My TBR list is crazy long, of course. But I love MaryKay, so I had every intention of getting to it. I finally did, about a month ago. And I loved it SO, SO MUCH. I almost turned around and started reading it again the minute I finished it! I've been proselytizing the book like a preacher on a mission to anyone who'll listen.
But here's the weird part. Some of the people I'm preaching the book to had already read it, and their reactions were less than amazed. They thought it was good, sure. One of my friends said 'cute.' But come on--I laughed, I cried, I learned a life lesson. What's the dealio? How could they not experience the glory that is Ove in the same way I did?
I think I've got it, though, and maybe it relates to the reason some people don't like MY books. See, Ove as a character is...a little rough. He's not sensitive, not tactful, irreverent, stubborn, very un-PC.
Maybe he's a little bit like me.
I loved him so much, and to me it was all about his giant heart. I feel like I have a big heart too, and my characters too--all of whom are, of course, part me. But I dig the irreverence and the snarkiness and the honesty, even if sometimes that means a foot in the mouth or a requisite 'I'm sorry.' But that's not for everyone, I guess.Ove's not for everyone, I guess.
And sometimes, neither am I. For one of my current YA Paranormal novels, called Belly of the Whale, I've been unable to sell it or to acquire an agent who wants to help me sell it. The feedback I've been getting in my rejections of this book have related specifically to the main character, Harper Southwood, and this sort of amorphous 'inability to connect' with her.
This criticism is tough for me as an author to take, because she's my character and all my characters are a little bit me. Ouch. And here's the big thing--how do I fix it? Some people don't connect, not with my characters, not with me. I can listen to specifics here or there, but the character is her own individual. As am I.
My experience with Ove compared with some friends' experiences has brought me to a place where I'm aiming for patience. I have to believe there are people out there who will love Harper, and some of those are agents or publishers. And some of those will be readers, and that's awesome! Variety is the spice, and all that.
https://www.amazon.com/Man-Called-Ove-Novel/dp/1476738025 A Man Called Ove novel
https://youtu.be/oCh4iiAXuAc AMan Calle Ove Trailer
Ii'd Love to hear your thoughts! Until then, Stay Mystified!
The Mystery of Magic
Sunday, April 16, 2017
It's Easter Sunday! The Easter Bunny came this morning, and even though the boys are now old enough (8 and 10) that we can require them NOT to wake us up before 7:00 and have it actually work, the magic of the 'Easser Bunny' is still alive and well in the Gusich household.
We almost had a mystery of magic crisis this just this past week, when the tooth fairy forgot to come! The 10 year old had this baby tooth covered in a silver crown when he was 5 years old, and it had been loose but stubbornly hanging on for the past six months. The tooth underneath is growing in all scattywampus, but still the damn thing hung on. Finally jim decided he was just going to pull it, and he spent like an hour trying to get the damn thing out.
That should've been a big payday from the tooth fairy right? But instead she forgot. I said she must've given up hope of ever seeing it, so that's why the lapse. She apparently felt really horrible about the mistake (and the pain of getting the tooth out), because the next morning there was a crisp new $20 bill under the pillow.
Thursday night the Easter Bunny walked to Ralph's with us to help us with the Easter Candy shopping. He must've known about the Tooth Fairy Screwup, because he went TOTALLY OVERBOARD on the candy purchase (See photo above). Anyway, while we were walking, we were talking about this mysterious magic. Jim wanted to know if I remembered the exact time I learned the real identities of all the magical creatures in my life.
The truth is, my memory totally sucks. Especially when it comes to childhood memories, so the answer was no I don't remember exactly when I learned that. I do have a really awesome memory of holiday magic though, and it came when I was very small, maybe four or five years old. Maybe I told you this memory before, but I don't care – it's a cool one!
My grandmother lived across the street from the house where I grew up, and my uncle lives next door. We had this nifty little family triangle in our little neighborhood. So holidays – holiday dinners – were spent at one of the three houses. One night we had finished a holiday dinner, and we were outside of our house. My dad motioned me to a flying light across the sky and said "Listen! It's Santa! Can't you hear him?" And sure enough, I could! Those reindeer bells were ting-a-linging just like I knew they would when Santa crossed the sky, and I couldn't believe what we were hearing and seeing! Santa's helpers in our house were SMART, and not afraid to hide in the bushes when the time called for it.
The fact that we own some cool jingly bells on a leather strap, ones that have been in my family for a long time--not to mention the airplanes and satellites I see crossing the sky on a nightly basis--have done nothing to dilute the magic of that memory. And I don't think the flaky tendencies of our Tooth Fairy does that either.
It's not really a mystery. It's magic.
I'd love to hear your thoughts! Until then--Stay Mystified!
Intrepid editors Mary Fan and Paige Daniels are back together for another Brave New Girls Anthology. With an awesome triad of sci-fi story sections: Scintillating Space, Steampunk STEM, and Cyborgs and Cyberworlds (we all adore alliteration!), these authors do a fantastic job of demonstrating, as remarked by editor Mary Fan, worlds where “individuals are into STEM and who are the heroines of their own stories. Girls should be unlimited.”
And these girls are! This book’s proceeds go toward introducing more girls to STEM (which just in case you forgot the acronym, stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), through a scholarship fund given through The Society of Women Engineers. So have a great time with these stories of young female characters, all of whom have the wiles, intelligence, bravery and bravado I came to appreciate through the first BNG, and hope to experience in many anthologies to come. Here's a little preview of some of the stories:
The Case of the Missing Sherlock” by Mary Fan: Chevonne Watson's best friend is an AI gal named Sherlock, who's gone missing. Chevonne must have all her science smarts and mystery-solving wits about her to find and rescue her, because there's nothing artificial about their friendship!
“The Non-Existence of Gravity” by Steph Bennion: Cethlenn and her aunt 'Mad Morrigan' play a whatif string theory game that someone else takes to a dangerous level.
“Sweet Emotion” by Bryan Butler: Bridget knows that in high school, school spirit can be addictive. Maybe dangerously so.
“Dangerous Territory” by Holly Schofield: Carly has to repair her dilapidated Mark Q Rover to get pregnant stepmom Mary across the Martian desert before it's too late.
“Let Androids Eat Cake” by Meg Merriet: Heloise is anticipating Marie Antoinnete's execution with excitement, because she knows the "evil witch' is getting her just desserts. But drop this bit of history into a steampunk ambiance, and you never know WHAT will happen!
“Circus in the Sky” by Lisa Toohey: Kaleigh was raised in the circus lifestyle on a giant Space Circus. Her love for the beasts she trains brings her to an important conclusion when she meets Mr. Kogen, a giant silver-backed bearish creature, who has some very non-creature talents. How can Karleigh save Mr. Kogen and herself?
“Our Very Respected and Always Benevolent Leader” by Kay Dominguez: A giant ship has landed on Ava's planet. It won't communicate. It fights back when it is prodded, but otherwise it is silent. And it is impenetrable.
“The 17th Quadrennial Intergalactic Neo-Cultural Expo and Science Fair” by Jeanne Kramer-Smyth: Alice and her friends are prepping their project of nanobots for an amazing and artistic presentation, when every sector but theirs starts losing oxygen. As the only functioning sector, they have to figure out a way to save everyone else.
“The Experimental Bug "First Test"” by Jelani Akin Parham: Pilar has created a SuperSuit to protect her in her dangerous town. Her giant bug suit has some scary 'bugs' of its own that might interfere with its ability to function.
“In A Whole New Light” by Michelle Leonard: Nina used to play with cousin Evan all the time, but his new crowd of friends has turned Evan into a bullying nightmare, with Nina as their main target. Can Nina use her scientific knowhow to change his attitude?
“Chasing the Copper Dragon” by Karissa Laurel: In this neo-Victorian Steampunk world, Olivia is the one detecting and looking for truth. Johanna is the mechanical engineer. In this story involving flying, fire-breathing metal dragons and murder, both friends and skills will be tested.
“Arch Nemesis” by Jamie Krakover: Did YOU know that the famed St. Louis Arch was actually a top-secret alien library designed to study humans and their behavior? Valerie is the only one who knows. And she's the only one who can stop it.
“The Babysitting Job:A Robot Repair Girl” by Josh Pritchett: Madison Brown worked alone in her shop requiring the optic systems of a Minamoto-series 2000 fighting robot, but now she has the opportunity for new discovery regarding the real humanity in Artificial Intelligence.:
“The Last Android” by Paige Daniels: Ava and Imogen Imogen is surviving in a post-apocalyptic world that’s lost much, including technology and scientific knowledge. Imogen finds a drone who is actually an AI named Ava, and who is her only friend. Can Imogen and Ava push forward far enough to find people who are smart enough to see Ava for the miracle she is, instead of destroying her for scraps?
And here are eight more! Talk about something for everyone…
“The Adventure of the Brass Lamp” by M.L.D Curelas
“Skyris” by A.A. Jankiewicz
“The Verne Shot” by Brandon Draga
“Scilla's Monster” by Elisha Betts
“The Swiss Cheese Model” by Eric Bakutis
“Hack” by Evangeline Jennings
“The Makers Handbook” by George Ebey
“Nova” by Stephen Landry
So my Konundrum again for the week, for the YEAR, is this: WHY aren’t there more kickass, badass girls in literature and film? There have been many times this past year I’ve felt like we’re going backward, but then I get to sit down with these Brave New Girls. It helps restore my faith, one tale at a time. Don’t forget there are 22 stories to choose from and restore your own faith with these charismatic characters.
This year—the year of Wonder Woman on the big screen—was the perfect time for Brave New Girls 2 . Anyone who wants some fun with science, space, potential pasts and possible futures, all with truly cool female characters running the show, should check out Brave New Girls (Start with 1, and then move on...) Promote some STEM in your life, and the lives of girls around you, and support The Society of Women Engineers and all they are doing for science, technology, engineering and the advancement of equal opportunities across the board.
I’d love to hear your views! Until next week…Stay Mystified!
Blog 6/19/2017 The mystery of the supernatural…Part 1 Daddy
What's your opinion about ghosties and ghoulies and things that go bump in the night? Everybody has an opinion, and most people have an experience to go with that opinion, specially the ones who believe in the supernatural.
You all know that I love things supernatural, I write paranormal young adult fiction, I watch everything that you can imagine that is paranormal and I have a lot of fun with it, but mostly I don't believe in it… Not demons and devils and poltergeists, not really. That's why I love it--it seems very removed from reality to me, and sometimes, reality sucks. Give me escapism any day.
https://youtu.be/KKfNuMWO128 Buffy the Vampire Slayer
But some things, some weird things have happened to me in my life that make me question whether we are really alone all the time, and I love to spend daydreaming time trying to explain it. One of these things happen to me just the other day, but let's start with the most memorable one of mine:
Y'all know my father died in 2012, and many of you may also know he was very special to me. A lot of what I love and what I do originated with him.
He was really mellow, my dad, and he had a way of cutting right to the heart of any issue. Kinda like, "take a look at the situation. Is it really as bad as you think it is?" And the answer was always no, no it isn't.
So I think the year was 2014. I was completely stressed out. About what, I can't even remember. Hah. Shows how important and significant it was. Anyway, I'm wandering around my house, stressed and upset. My phone charger is plugged into the wall next to my bathroom, and I pick it up to check for texts, or to see how much battery life was left. This is the screen that's up on my phone:
Now, it's important to know one thing: my dad was homebound with emphysema for the last 5 or 6 years of his life. At this point in 2014, I hadn't had occasion to use either of those numbers for at least 8 years. (I just never clear my phone list).
I burst into tears, overwhelmed. But it felt like a time he'd be there, a time he would say "Is this really as serious as you think it is?"
And the answer is no, no it's not. 🤗
I do have a theory about this, which I'll talk about next week. I'd love to hear YOUR experience with the supernatural. Until then, Stay Mystified!
Here's the video from my blog last week: Introversion?
Have a question or a comment? Send me an email!
Blog June 11, 2017 Am I a Closet Introvert?
Am I really an extrovert? Or an introvert in disguise?
A former student of mine shared this article with me this week:
I'm pretty sure, no I'm totally sure, if you asked anyone who knows me to slap a label my way, it would unquestionably be extrovert. I am annoyingly extroverted, in that I start conversations with complete strangers just for fun, and I love speaking in front of people--put me in a room with 200 people, and I'm all over it.
But this article made me reconsider the definitions, or the way the terms "shy" and "introverted" seem to be so often synonymous.
But what if they're not?
I am most definitely a homebody. I'd much rather curl up with a book than go to a party--would rather put on a pair of slippers than a party dress, and like sitting in front of a movie screen instead of a chat room.
Maybe I'm just "not shy." Small talk gets on my nerves, and I have been known, on occasion, to pretend I didn't see someone I knew at the mall or whatnot, just because I couldn't bear another 'let's do lunch' from somebody I KNOW, for a FACT, has no intention of asking me to lunch. Or for those friends who would maybe want to have lunch with me at some time, but whom I know are way too busy to do that, I just feel like why bother saying stuff like that? Drives me nuts--because I mean it. If i say I want to do lunch, I'm literally ready to break out my calendar. When we tell people to come visit us in San Diego, because it's the finest city in America (the on-record motto of San Diego? "America's Finest City" Just sayin.) and because we have room for four guests AKA wall bed and pull-out couch, we mean it. But no one ever does. Small talk. Sheesh.
Maybe I really like performing but I don't like relating? Like, put me out in front of people and I love it, but start a conversation...?
No, that's not true, exactly. I had two very interesting conversations at an end-of-the-season baseball BBQ last week: one with an ER nurse (did you know some men shove small objects up their urethras for sexual pleasure? I did not know that.) and one with a new friend who is on the cusp of another interesting life journey, in the midst of a life full of interesting journeys. But see, I wouldn't characterize either of those as small talk. Major life changes? Not small talk. Small objects stuck up the yahoo...not small talk. BBs are small, but...😜
So that is the question: am I a closet introvert that just happens to be not shy? Or am I the extrovert people have always called me?
It's a mystery.
I'd love to hear your thoughts! Until then...Stay Mystified!
Here is the video version of last week's NON-BLOG, AKA me just babbling for like ten minutes about inconsequential things
Monday, July 31, 2017
Blog July 30, 2017
Kelleys Konundrum--The Mystery of Unintended Consequences
My friend sent me this article yesterday and I read with interest, because it's about a study that is done correctly--with controls...and that's where the discovery came. The basic gist relates to Vitamin D and sunlight, and the discovery that the further from the equator, the more MS. Previous studies about vitamin d supplementation have proved inconclusive, so these guys were looking at a specific UV ray as an MS suppressor. So they shaved the backs of a bunch of mice who'd been infected with the mouse equivalent of MS, and exposed them to the UV ray, or not, or in a bunch of different control groups they exposed the mice to the UV, but put different brands of sunblock.
They THOUGHT the only mice who'd be helped by the UV rays would be the directly exposed mice, BUT NO! Instead two groups of sunblocked mice had a decline in lesions, too! The scientists did their due diligence and narrowed down the compounds within the sunscreen that were working, and so now have two more compounds to study in the race for the cure: homosalate and octisalate. I was way too happy to find both of those compounds in my No-ad sunscreen we've been using every Sunday this summer, to go to the beach. 😜👍 What a cool unintended consequence!
On the other side--what about when the unintended consequence is negative? Yesterday morning my son was watching KPBS, which both boys still watch even though they're way past the age of the targeted demographic. (Except for Wild Kratts--that is an all-ages show for sure.)
Anyway, he was watching Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. Which is supposed to be an animated version of Mr Rogers Neighborhood, I guess, but we all know nothing can compare to the original MRN. In the episode I watched, Daniel Tiger is having a sleepover with his friend Prince Wednesday. Something scares one kid or the other, and the whole episode is about what to do when you're feeling scared. Daniel sees lumps under the comforter which scare him (stuffed animals) and the Prince sees a prickly shape on the wall (behold! It's a SHADOW of a stuffed animal.) and gets scared. They wake up the king and Daniel's parents like three times, and what do the parents do?
Why, they create a song, of course. They advise the boys to INVESTIGATE the scary thing, in a little ditty called "If you SEE what it is, you might feel better."
And that's when my brain went crazy. Investigate? What is this, a class in early ways to behave like you're in the middle of a horror movie? Sure, when you see forgotten stuffed animals, you're gonna feel better. But what if you find...a scorpion? An abandoned well? An actual boogeyman? Not gonna feel so much better then, are ya?
Feel free to call me paranoid. Overreactive, worrywarting, way too vivid imagination. But Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood might do well to consider unintended consequences when they're in the middle of script/songwriting. Just sayin'...
I'd love to hear your viewpoint! Until then, Stay Mystified!
Blog February 19th, 2017
The Mystery of Violence in Literature Part 2
This week I took part in an online celebration called MTW--Mystery Thriller Week. It's a new event, and it was lotsa fun--I did my first FB live power hour, and I had a guest post with a blog called The Truth About Books : http://tabbyafae.com/guest-post-author-death-diploma-kelley-kaye/
She asked me about my participation in MTW and, widening the lens a little bit, what my feelings were in writing about violence in the wake of so much violence we're seeing worldwide, today, yesterday and every day really. Check out the guest post if you'd like to see my initial ideas on the topic.
But this blog is part two, right? It became a part 2 just yesterday, when I was discussing my oldest son with my friend Ken, the psychiatrist.
See, it's turning out that my oldest son has become a reader. I hate to say voracious just yet, but it's looking like it's moving further and faster that way by the second.
So after he finished the whole Harry Potter series and the whole Rick Riordan Percy Jackson series, he was looking for something new and even maybe a new genre.
Being a mystery writer and a mystery lover that I am, I wanted to show him some of that. You all know how much I love harlan coben, and how he inspired me to write this first murder mystery that I am now pursuing as a series. Well he started a young adult mystery series with the nephew of his main character Myron Bolitar the main character. Mickey Bolitar. Since it is a young adult instead of actual adult it was a slightly easier to read and slightly tamer as far as the violence, even though it existed, as it has to, in a murder mystery.
Anyway Harlan has only written 3 YA books in the series so far, which my son read in the course of about a week. That put us back in the same place which was him looking for more books.
If you recall me talking about my own experience being raised around books, you will know that my parents never censored or excluded anything I asked to or expressed an interest in reading. I continued this in to my child rearing and my teaching career. In my book, Censorship sucks.
But I don't believe in carte blanche with book choices, meaning I think they should be discussed with parents, adults, other people. Now as far as letting my 10-year-old read adult murder mysteries I felt that I should for sure have read them also. Which was super easy in Harlan Coben's situation because I've read all of his! So I gave my son a standalone thriller instead of starting him right away on the Myron Bolitar series--only because the first one isn't available at the library yet.
The book he started with is called Missing You, and I reread it just before he started it as well. I asked Ken the psychiatrists opinion because of a particular scene in the novel, whereby one of the victims of violence, escapes by cleaving a bad guy's head open with an axe. So I wanted Ken's opinion--am I completely fucking up my kid? Honestly, it's a pretty violent scene, and my kid, mature and fabulous and worldly as he might seem to his supremely biased mother, is still only ten.
He gave me a very interesting answer. He said he feels it's better to allow children to see violence in reality--meaning it comes from an actual story about humans and human situations, rather than games or videos where violence is the means of entertainment rather than an element in a multifaceted story. Ya know? A storyline instead of just sitting in front of a screen and killing stuff It made sense to me, and made me feel better about the scene.
He also commented that I'd probably want to address it further if I saw some evidence of a negative effect in my son's behavior--like he started having nightmares or something like that. I think he's pretty clear on the difference between fictional stories and reality, but I appreciated the perspective nonetheless. It's going into my hatful of parenting tricks.
What do you think? I'd love to hear your viewpoint!
Until next time…Stay Mystified!
Here is last week's VIDEO
Kelley's Konundrum August 6, 2017
The Mystery of Dream Analysis:
Last week I had a dream about a bee in my bedroom. Every time I tried to kill it, it got bigger, and by the time I woke up, the bee was the size of a grizzly bear.
One night later, my oldest son came down in tears and told me about a recurring nightmare he's having, where he keeps swimming too far out in the ocean and being unable to get back. We've been spending a lot of time at the beach this summer, so I asked him if he ever felt like that when he was out there, and he said no not at all. When I questioned him further, he said it was scary because the dream felt like he was getting stuck out on the water.
Then this morning (before the alarm went off, so I went back to sleep.) a man and woman had brought these temporary road signs to a road we were trying to cross. She had one stoplight and one sort of temporary gate/fence Orange split rail thingie. The woman holds them up once, and just leaves them. So the next scene we are holding the two signs in the middle of a crowded grocery store, trying to navigate through with these unwieldy items in tow.
Our mission is to find out where the signs belong and return them, but no one seems to know. Finally a grocer says, like we should know, the signs belong in Cadmus Island, Catfish Sound, or something like that, which we've never heard of and which helps us not at all. We're trying to squish our way through the crowd when I wake up.
What do you think they mean? I told my oldest that dreams always mean something other than the actual dream, so I said he ought to think about an area of his life where he feels 'stuck' and that's probably it. For mine--I don't know--I can't think of a problem I have that gets bigger the more I try to solve it. Nor can I think of a situation where I've gotten a sign and tried to return it or transport it. I'll keep working on it, though.
I'd love to hear what you think! Until then...Stay Mystified!
Blog July 9, 2017 The Mystery of the Supernatural, Part 3
Okay, Intrepid Readers! So I've talked about strange, hard-to-explain situations that have happened to me, including things that are probably a result of my own youthful affectations. But what do I think is at the root of these events? Is it all wishful thinking, adolescent longing...delusions?
But I love to ponder possibilities, so for Part 3, here is my explanation, my possibility:
An accepted theory for matter is that it is finite, right? Everything that's here has always been here, just in a different form or with a different status. I think of the whole 'ashes to ashes,' concept, and then The Lion King's 'Circle of Life' starts playing in the background. I picture myself on a body farm (this is one of the ways I'm considering for my after-death accommodations) and can visualize the process, decomposition, mulch, food for worms, and then...I'm a Tree! 🌴🌲🌳😜
I accept this as a logical and demonstrable theory (the changing forms part anyway. I don't know how to demonstrate that everything that's here was always and will always be here).
This is how I explain the hoodoo voodoo stuff, from the standpoint of an accepted scientific theory: if everything that was, is, and that is, was, who's to say that some of this matter can't exert an influence? Are you sure that child prodigies don't have Beethoven or Tchaikovsky particles within them? Forget reincarnation--what if Elon Musk is part Einstein? What if Andy Warhol is a little bit Michelangelo?
What if the breeze blew a little bit Daddy on this particular day?
I'd love to hear your thoughts! Until then...Stay Mystified!.
Sunday, May 14, 2017
Blog 5/11/2017 The Mystery of Credibility.
First--here's an article that relates to last week's blog The Mystery of Maintenance:
Thursday night my youngest son had a baseball game that didn't even START until 7 pm. Grrr--Momma Bear thinks that's way too late for the 8 year old. But he did fantastic--it was cold and it was late, but he and the others really stepped up, making plays and getting hits, finally walking away with the win.
But something that happened mid-game was the inspiration for this week's Konundrum: The Mystery of Credibility
Picture the scene: it's bottom of the 3rd and the competition has the bases loaded, but they also have two outs. The batter runs to first; kid umpire flings up his fist. He's out! My sons team starts running off the field--but wait! A split second later the ump changes the call to safe--1st baseman's foot stepped off the base (or "the bag" is what seems to be the lingo), so now all the kids on the bases start running home. There's chaos, and now all of a sudden the other team's up by 3!
Coach Jim (that's my hubby) is having none of it. He calls the three kid umps together and explains the concept of not making kneejerk calls; rather taking a second to assess the situation before making it. The umps had a little conference-the call was reinstated. We went on to win the game. The other team was pissed, of course.
But see, here's the thing. My husband is passionate about baseball. And he has coached AND umped AND played for years and years and years. He knows the intricacies of the rules like nobody's business. And he's not one of those coaches who feels like he has to argue and rail about every call made against his team-usually he takes it in stride and just moves the game along. The combination of these conditions: extreme knowledge and experience coupled with an understanding that calls are subjective and everyone has to live with the judgment calls made--even by kid umps--meant he was taken very seriously when he disputed the call. Because he's credible. Some coaches have fewer of these attributes plus they are hotheaded and loud mouthed--they start going off and everyone tunes out.
In the larger world, I'm seeing the same problem with our President. He A) has no experience and B) seems to have very little knowledge of world issues. But the main thing that messes with my head is this: I don't believe anything he says. It seems like his crew doesn't either--they keep putting information out that is then immediately contradicted by him. Or vice versa. I have to say--I was never a fan of the policies of George W. Bush, but I absolutely never questioned that what came out of his mouth had some thought and consideration behind it. He, even though he said nookyoular, had some credibility. With this guy--not so much. It's frustrating.
I hope that people feel like the things coming out of my mouth have some credibility. I try not to talk out of my ass for no apparent reason. But it's a mystery.
What do you think? I'd love to hear your views. Until then...Stay Mystified!
Here's the VIDEO from last week's blog
Blog April 23, 2017
This week is about videos! Here is a tweet with the video version of the above blog, plus one of my Half Moments of Zen. THIS WEEK Subscribe to my YouTube channel, so you can be up to date with all my new videos! Also subscribe to my author page on Bookbub:BookBub You'll be notified of all my upcoming book sales plus the upcoming NEW RELEASE of Chalkboard Outlines Book 2! Have a fantastic Sunday...Until next time...Stay Mystified!
Plus HAPPY BIRTHDAY SHAKESPEARE! Shakespeare's Birthday What a momentous day!!
Kelley's Konundrum May 21
Sunday, May 21, 2017
Blog 5/21/2017 the Mystery of Privacy
Yesterday, I changed an opinion. For those of you who know me, it doesn't happen often and it's difficult to do. I'm stubborn and I like to think the opinion is based on research and not just fly-by-night ridiculousness.
I'm embarrassed to admit, though, that this opinion shift came not from reading an especially well written and vetted news article or scientific study, but from watching a TV show. Watching a speech given by an actor who is one of my celebrity crushes, no less. Isn't that embarrassing? But there you have it. It made me think in a different way about an idea I have, and now my feelings have changed.
So here goes: my feelings about privacy have changed. Do you remember the blue frog tape over the camera on my husband's cell phone? He's been doing that for a few years now, and I'm always badgering him about how silly that is. What's the hacker gonna see? I scoff. Pictures of our ceilings or the insides of your pockets? We're not that interesting, I repeat, over and over again. And that's my standpoint--we're all straitlaced and poor and boring at my house, so why would we worry? We don't do anything wrong or illegal, no swinging parties or lines of cocaine on the ottoman.
I guess I felt self-righteous, like, why, if you're not doing anything wrong, would you care? I felt like the overzealous privacy advocates, whether you're talking cameras on the beach or opening an encrypted cell phone, were probably overzealous because they wanted to justify their own wrongdoings.
Judgmental? Standing tall on the back of my high horse? Yes, I guess that's true. I see people behaving badly in so many situations, and justifying their bad behavior with 'being human' (this song is on heavy rotation at the gym right now, and it totally annoys me: 'Don't put the blame on me? I'm only human?' Bah.
I might make mistakes, yes, but if I am to blame for whatever it is, then I should apologize, or fix it, and take responsibility. Not whine about it.
So what's the change? Well, here it is: this show I watched had a San-Bernardino-type storyline about a company decrypting an encrypted file so the lawyers could look for criminal activity. My celebrity crush Michael Weatherly's character http://www.tvguide.com/celebrities/michael-weatherly/photos/166360 started the episode feeling that his client should decrypt the files and present them. But his speech at the end, given by his IT (read: hacker) employee to him and then repeated in closing arguments, is this:
Maybe it's not a good or progressive thing to have an internet. A place where everything you do or say or have done is retained, somewhere in cyberspace, for possible future use. Maybe it's a good thing to not have every mistake you've ever made fossilized in this way.
So I thought about my past: is there anything I've said, or more importantly, anything I've done prior to the age of the Internet, which I'm grateful could never be immortalized somewhere in The Cloud? And the answer is, ABSOLUTELY. Despite the sweet, kind, straitlaced person you see before you now. (!?), my mind went immediately to some choices from my past which only one or two people may know about, and even to one choice NOBODY knows about but me.
And this girl ain't talkin'.
So yes, when prompted by the speech given by my celebrity crush, I realized that maybe the world is much better off if everybody doesn't have access to everything. Even if in some cases evil can be brought to justice more easily, maybe it's not worth it. If people stop making mistakes or taking risks because of the fear of TheCloud, or of every stupid thing we ever did on the road to mature, productive adulthood coming back to bite us in the ass, our world could be way worse off in the long run. People deserve some compassion and a little leeway.
What do you think? I'd love to hear your views. Until then...Stay Mystified!
Kelley's Konundrum-The Mystery of Stupidity
Sunday, April 2, 2017
Blog April 2, 2017
The mystery of stupidity
Okay, maybe stupidity is too strong. Thoughtlessness? Nah, I think stupidity. Or maybe laziness. Greed? Could be.
So, this article totally dropped my chin to the floor. These lionfish--which I've seen these fish, have you? They're beautiful. But they don't belong in the waters of Florida--not part of their natural ecosystem. Very deadly to the natural ecosystem of these Florida waters. Totally screws it up, this fish.
What I found out, after reading this article, was that the reason these fish are in the wrong place is because SOME STUPID PEOPLE GREW TIRED OF THEIR FISH TANKS, and DUMPED their lionfish into the water! To me this gets to the crux of this week's blog topic--The Mystery of Stupidity. And like I said before, maybe it's not stupidity per se, more thoughtlessness or cluelessness. But are these ideas related?
I talked to my new friend Bonnie about the lionfish last night. She remembered a related, closer-to-home story--one about red sliders in lakes around Southern California--Balboa Park, in my city of San Diego, included. The same MO--people dumping their pets into the lake, either on a lark or because they wanted to be rid of them, nobody knows for sure, but it begs the same question.
I know one of my father's favorite aphorisms, (and whether he made it up himself, I'm not sure, but it's entirely possible) is "you have to remember this, sweetheart: statistically, 50% of the population is below average in intelligence." He'd say this to me any time I was shaking my head in bewilderment over the actions of another. I always thought his aphorisms were funny and smart (because he was…Daddy), but as I got older I could recognize its cynicism, too. I have my cynical moments, too, for sure, but for this I'm thinking the behavior I'm looking at in my blog is more about thoughtlessness, cluelessness, and/or greed. Hopefully not predominant traits in half the population.
Unfortunately, I do think at least a lot of people are guilty of the clueless part, myself included. First: the lionfish. Somebody who didn't like their ornamental fish any more and chose to dump it into Florida waters probably had no idea this action could destroy the ecosystem of that area. Same with the red sliders (luckily this situation was fixed by cleaning out the lakes or ponds, instead of it destroying the lakes or ponds).
Not researching this before doing it is oblivious, a person in search of convenience rather than correctness, but not necessarily stupid. A closer-to-home example for everyone might be on the subject of littering. These days, it doesn't take research to know what happens when millions of people throw their garbage out of their car windows instead of putting it in a trashcan, or nowadays we're seeing what happens when people are just wasteful, OR, what happens when they reduce their usage or reuse their stuff or recycle it. Not fast enough, maybe, but some of those millions are doing it.
I have done things out of pure convenience, for sure, but the past few years I'm working hard (and writing hard) to do things on the side of right instead. Maybe future lionfish or red slider turtle disposers will take up a little reading or research before they act.
I'd love to hear what you think. Until then, Stay Mystified!
Here is the VIDEO of last week's blog
The Mystery of Literature as Lifesaver
Monday, March 27, 2017
The mystery of literature as lifesaver https://www.aspeninstitute.org/magazine/can-literature-save-us-need-saving/
I've always felt that books can save lives. Whatever it is that's going on in your life, there's a book for it, something out there that will teach you, heal you, inspire you or shelter you.
For me, the shelter aspect was key. The young version of Kelley was a total nerd, forty years before nerds became cool. I hated sports, sucked at foursquare, and did really well in school. Translation: big ol' geek. The playground was not a respite for me; rather a black hole. I only wanted to escape back into the classroom, where I felt much more surefooted, or, into a book, where I felt...indomitable. Into a world I controlled by a turn of the page, or not. I can still picture myself, propped on the playground curb, one skinny leg stretched out to one side, with the book splayed open on the concrete. Catty little girls or thoughtless little boys took a back seat in this world, where space travel is as easy as a Sunday drive, telepathy is real, and if you want it, the good guy always wins. It saved my life.
As a teacher, my motto was 'If you don't like to read, you just haven't found the right book yet.' I still believe it, even though I've been trying for over ten years now to find the right one for my husband. I'll keep trying.
But for a lot of my past students the old adage rings true: take Elijah, who as a freshman hadn't read a book since fifth grade, hated the idea of books, but after experiencing the motto--and the persuasivenessAKAbossiness--of teacher Kelley, he found his groove in a Dean Koontz book, and by the end of his senior year had finished 30 of them. Same thing happened with Brian, though for him it was Harlan Coben.
Now I don't know if these two examples would be dead if they'd never found a love for reading, but I know I would be. The article I posted at the beginning of this blog talks about literature as a lifesaver more in terms of big world issues being better understood, disseminated and dealt with through books, which is maybe a more literal way it saves lives.
But no matter how you look at it, I hope you can see that, for me, books are akin to breathing.
The Edge of the Playground
I sit there.
One leg stretched across the curb,
one foot off the edge
of my concrete nightmare.
I could run away from
The teacher always shoos us
the classroom (my comfort
to the paved and whitelined
where I play
Little boy whoops and
Evil girl giggles
mingle with the stench of oil-based
I see the heat rise off the cement
shattered by palms slapping at the
that I cannot smell
and will never catch.
A rubber ball zings past my
and a derogatory childcruel screech
forces me to bury
myself further in my
I close my heart
and revisit my very own fictional planet
until it is over,
and I can go back inside.
and perpetually comes again
the next day
And every day after that
until I am big enough to know
that recess goes away,
and my planet, after all,
I'd love to hear your views! Until then…Stay Mystified!
Oh yeah...here's the VIDEO from last week's blog