“Thank you to the brilliance of wet moss and lichen. Thank you to the rays of golden brown light slanting in the cool of a green lake. Thank you to the shoals of glinting fish. Thank you to the sweet gems of salmonberries. Thank you to the decaying leaves for their rich brown smell . . . I am deeply grateful to share this cycle with you.” ~ Hiromi Goto, from Half World

Lola’s Curmudgeonly Musings 2013 in Review

“If with pleasure you are viewing
Any work a man is doing;
If you like him or you love him, tell him now.
Don’t withhold your approbation
Till the preacher makes oration
And he lies with snowy lilies o’er his brow.

For no matter how you shout it,
He won’t really care about it;
He won’t know how many teardrops you have shed.
If you think some praise is due him,
Now’s the time to slip it to him,
For He cannot read his tombstone when he’s dead.”

~ Clyde H. Box

**********

Many thanks to those of you who continue to follow and subscribe to this blog. Some of you I have never heard from, and some of you I hear from once in a while, and some of you I hear from frequently. You will never know how much your comments and observations—big or small—mean to me. It affirms that this ongoing project is not for naught.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Here’s an excerpt from the WordPress report:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 160,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 7 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

“The safest road to hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.” ~ C. S. Lewis, from The Screwtape Letters

                   

“The hippies wanted peace and love. We wanted Ferraris, blondes and switchblades.” ~ Alice Cooper

Sunday evening. Cloudy and cool, 51 degrees.

Today marks my 1500th post. I was considering just posting the images with no words and just letting that stand as my milestone marker. Truthfully, I’m still considering it. I mean, yep, I’ve hit a milestone, but is the doing worthy of the words? It seems more than a bit self-congratulatory, and I don’t know if surviving merits congratulations.

I’ve been doing this blog since February 26, 2008. That first year was spotty, and the posts had yet to take on any kind of form or format. In many ways, it was still like a continuation of the few posts I had written when I had a MySpace page years and years ago.

Actually, this blog was not the first attempt. The first one was called The Poem Makers, and I had great goals of creating an online poem that anyone could contribute a line towards. I would monitor submissions, etc. It was a dismal failure—for many reasons. First, I knew nothing about blogging, and blogging was still relatively new. Second, I actually built the site, with html coding and everything. Third, go back to first.

“We must walk consciously only part way toward our goal and then leap in the dark to our success.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

After enduring the headache of html for several months, I came upon WordPress, and it was like manna from heaven. All of the work was already done for you. Just plug in words and go.

I killed Poem Makers, and no one noticed, not even me. It was an assignment for one of my publishing classes. I had the degree. What was the point in prolonging the agony?

And so I began this adventure. Finding a name was the hardest part in the beginning. I looked around and it seemed that everyone else had names with deep meaning, or names that were symbolic of something, or names that were amusing and witty. In the end, I gave in to my wordy tendencies, and went with what I knew: Lola was a given, just because. And I knew that I was a curmudgeon, and I also knew that I would never just write about one thing, one topic. And so musings came into play, because what were they if not musings from a tortured brain?

“Accepting oneself does not preclude an attempt to become better.” ~ Flannery O’Connor, from Letters of Flannery O’Connor

Initially I did not include music or poems, and I included images in a kind of scattershot way. The idea of doing a theme kind of grew on its own.

I actually spent a lot of that first year writing about politics. I mean it was such a ripe subject: Sarah Palin, Joe the Plumber, John McCain. The content practically wrote itself.

I began to use the “More later. Peace” closing sometime that first year. The more later came from a former colleague I used to work with in the English department. The Peace was mine since forever. The combination just felt right, so it took hold and has never left.

I wrote my first random thoughts post in January of 2009, and my first Friday leftovers in that same month. And if you are a regular reader, you know that those two categories remain today.

“Even a snail will eventually reach its destination.” ~ Gail Tsukiyama, from The Street of a Thousand Blossoms 

I think that I began the practice of using quotes as my header and as subheaders sometime in February of 2009. The first post in which I implemented quotes was about beauty, our notions of beauty, society’s unrealistic expectations of what makes a woman beautiful. It wasn’t a post that I was particularly married to in content; I was just saying how I felt. What blows my mind is that post continues to be one of my most-read posts, and I fear it’s because I mentioned Kim Kardashian. If I could go back and make that post go away, I might just do it.

(I know I can delete it, but that wouldn’t erase it from my memory banks…)

Anyway, that people read that particular post is very, very weird because it’s not representative of me or of this blog.

For a while, I did “Grace in Small Things” posts, in which I would find five things for that day’s topic, but I found that those posts were taking over my blog, so I stopped doing them; it felt forced. Another type of post that I did more of in those days was the “Now for Something Totally Different” posts, which were a throwback to my great fondness for Monty Python.

Truthfully, though, I think that I was funnier in the early days. Witness my rules of etiquette post or anything I said about Sarah Palin.

“If you have a painting in you, paint. If you have a song to sing, sing. Don’t judge your creation. Just create it. Banish doubt and fear and step out of your own way if you have to. Write if you’re a writer and invent if you’re an inventor. Do what you were born to do.” ~ Toni Sorenson

In early 2009 I wrote a series of posts called “Vale et Memini,” which were about friendship, loss, and pain. I still think those posts rank among my best.

I think that I began to make music videos a regular part of my posts around May or June of 2009. At first, I just used songs and artists I already knew, but as I began to get into more of a rhythm here, I spread my wings, found lots and lots of artists with whom I had been previously unfamiliar.

In the early days, I would go weeks between posts. It’s only been in the last three years that I have made an effort to post something every day, and I try to be selective in material that is reblogged from somewhere else, try to make it relate to things that I talk about when I talk about things.

I do know that in 2009 we (the family) were going through some major tough times, and I wrote about those tough times because writing about things is what I do. Writing about things helps me to gain perspective, helps me to separate the wheat from the chaff. My family, whether they wanted to or not, has become a part of this blog. I write about them, and I talk about them, but I always try to do it with a view to balance. In other words, anything that I say in this blog, I would say in real life, and to the person to whom I am referring.

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” ~ Ernest Hemingway

I don’t really know what I had in mind when I started all of this 1500 posts ago, but I do know that I never thought that it would go on this long. I never thought that I would dedicate so much of myself and so much of my time to this experience, which has sometimes been an exercise in pain and sometimes been a little slice of heaven.

Those of you who follow along and comment along the way make it all worthwhile. I mean, I’m not in it for the fame or glory (obviously, because that ain’t happening), but it really does help to know that there are people out there who care about what I have to say, people who care if I had a bad day. It’s affirmation, pure and simple.

But truth be told, I would continue to write and post even if there were no one out there in the ether. This blog has become my lifeblood in so many ways. It is an extension of myself, good and bad, and I have no plans to end any time soon, so I hope you’ll stay along for the ride.

And as always, there will be more later. Peace.

Music by Christina Grimmie, “With Love”

                   

Annunciation

Even if I don’t see it again — nor ever feel it
I know it is — and that if once it hailed me
it ever does —And so it is myself I want to turn in that direction
not as towards a place, but it was a tilting
within myself,as one turns a mirror to flash the light to where
it isn’t — I was blinded like that — and swam
in what shone at me only able to endure it by being no one and so
specifically myself I thought I’d die
from being loved like that.

~ Marie Howe

This is why I don’t belong to a book club . . .

Toooo funny:

http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/f1f0686cbf/book-club-mafia-with-natasha-lyonne-taryn-manning-tracee-ellis-ross?rel=player

“Don’t let your luggage define your travels. Each life unravels differently.” ~ Shane Koyczan

Reblogged from TED’s* blog website:

Shane-Koyczan

Shane Koyczan has a way with words.

“I’ve been shot down so many times I get altitude sickness just from standing up for myself,” he says, beginning today’s talk. “That’s what we were told—stand up for yourself. But that’s hard to do if you don’t know who you are.”

Koyczan appeared on the TED2013 stage just a week after his spoken-word poem, “To This Day,” went viral as a crowd-animated video. Live onstage, mixing poetry and prose, Koyczan explains to the audience what prompted to him to write the poem, an ode to anyone who felt bullied or left out as a child, and have it animated by people around the world. Koyczan says it wasn’t just overt bullying he was reacting to — but the subtle discouragement kids receive along the path to adulthood, as they’re required to define themselves in narrower and narrower ways.

“At the same time as we were being told who we were, we were being asked, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’” Koyczan’s answers were: a writer, then a professional wrestler. Both ideas were shot down.

“What made my dreams so easy to dismiss?” he asks. “Granted my dreams are shy, because they’re Canadian. My dreams are self-conscious and overly apologetic—they’re standing alone at the high school dance and they’ve never been kissed. See, my dreams got called names too — silly, foolish, impossible.”

To hear more of Koyczan’s motivation, and to hear a beautiful live rendition of “To This Day,” watch this talk. For more of Koyczan’s poems, read on.

Shane Koyczan: To This Day … for the bullied and beautiful

Shane Koyczan’s “Instructions for a Bad Day”

Koyczan got some help in sharing these “Instructions for a Bad Day” from a group of students at G.P. Vanier secondary school in British Columbia. They wrote the storyboard for the video, handled the cameras, did the acting and collected the props. The piece was created for Pink Shirt Day — a national day devoted to the discussion of bullying.

*If you are unfamiliar with TED (ideas worth spreading), here is a link to their about page. They are awesome.

                   

I’m not the only kid
who grew up this way
surrounded by people who used to say
that rhyme about sticks and stones
as if broken bones
hurt more than the names we got called
and we got called them all
so we grew up believing no one
would ever fall in love with us
that we’d be lonely forever
that we’d never meet someone
to make us feel like the sun
was something they built for us
in their tool shed
so broken heart strings bled the blues
as we tried to empty ourselves
so we would feel nothing
don’t tell me that hurts less than a broken bone
that an ingrown life
is something surgeons can cut away
that there’s no way for it to metastasize

it does

~Shane Koyczan

Grace in Small Things: Dog Wants a Kitty

I thought my last post needed some balance, so what better than a talking dog that wants a kitten . . .

Just a reminder that life is good, even if it’s in small increments.

from PAL: Pets Add Life (PAL) is a non-profit PSA campaign dedicated to promoting the joys and benefits of responsible pet ownership.

 

“Games give you a chance to excel, and if you’re playing in good company you don’t even mind if you lose because you had the enjoyment of the company during the course of the game.” ~ Gary Gygax

 

Finally, the true meaning of sportsmanship and fair play. If this doesn’t put a smile on your face, then you should go live in a box.

“Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness.” ~ George Sand

Lola’s Curmudgeonly Musings: WordPress Year in Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog. Here’s an excerpt:

About 55,000 tourists visit Liechtenstein every year. This blog was viewed about 280,000 times in 2012. If it were Liechtenstein, it would take about 5 years for that many people to see it. Your blog had more visits than a small country in Europe!

Click here to see the complete report.

Many thanks to those of you who continue to support this blog through visits and comments. Special thanks to the following individuals for their continued active support:

These five individuals were my most consistent commentators, but I know that I have followers out there who read but do not comment, and I also want to thank all of you too. This past year saw me passing 1 million hits, something that I never thought I would see in the early days when I was so excited to reach 500.

I know that I don’t say this nearly enough, but you people out there in the ether really do help me in so many ways, but most especially through your ongoing support of this blog. I am humbled by your willingness to participate in the life of a virtual stranger, sharing stories, offering advice, and infusing me with a constant stream of well wishes. I know myself to be truly fortunate.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Peace.

Music by Ryan Adams, “Kindness”