Saturday, April 21, 2018

S is for Saturday Morning

S is for:

Saturday Morning

the red and grey Sunrise out the window

Sleepy eyes trying to wake up

the Smell of coffee wafting from the kitchen

the Sound of meowing cats who want to be fed

the Start of another day.

Friday, April 20, 2018

R is for Red

or Red is not for Redheads.

What's your favorite color? Do you have a color you don't like at all? Do have certain colors that you think you look better in? For the first half of my life, I had one color that I didn't like and thought I didn't look good in, Red.

I was one of those little girls who had the long, dark red curls that everyone said were beautiful. However, after every comment that someone made about how much they loved my curls, it was followed with a comment about how redheads couldn't wear red. I heard it so much that I grew up to dislike red in all situations, not just in clothes. As time went on, I also heard that redheads shouldn't wear pink either. Pink was just behind red in my dislikes.

Advance to several years when my oldest sister went to a Color Me Beautiful party. This was a home party where they determined what season you were according to your hair and skin tone and what colors looked best on you. My sister learned that she was an Autumn at this party and looked good in earth tones or Autumn colors. The rest of us, sisters, had similar coloration to her and followed her lead in what colors we should be wearing. Years later, I even got a Color Me Beautiful book as a reference for my colors. One of the first things I learned from this was there are two basic colors of red, a blue based one and an orange based one. The orange based one was okay for Autumns to wear. Wow! Red was okay to wear.

However, now not only did I know a whole set of colors that supposedly looked good on me, I had whole set of ones that supposedly didn't look good on me, not just red and pink. I'm not sure this was progress. As time went on, I did gravitate to the colors that were recommended for Autumns. And they probably did look better with my skin tone.

But I don't really care any more. If I like the color whether or not it is supposed to look good on me, I wear it. If it makes me happy, it will show on my face and that will make me look better than anything else. And these days, I like red. I wear it, I decorate with it, and I paint with it. I am happy for this progress and sad for all those years, I missed out on the fun things that were red.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Q is for Qute

or Q is for Cute

I have a thing about "qute" spellings of words. I don't like them. I didn't used to mind, but that all changed after one year in New Orleans doing a service project with our church.

Ward and I were young professionals spending a lot of time at our jobs. We had big projects with deadlines that could only be met by spending many hours at the office. To add something else to our life besides work, we spent every Wednesday afternoon tutoring young kids at a local church. The kids were in kindergarten through second grade from disadvantaged families. A van would pick them up after school and bring them to the church for snacks and tutoring from volunteers, including Ward and me. The idea was early intervention with learning would help prevent problems further down the road.

What a surprise these kids were for us. Reading was a big part of both of our households growing up, but not for these kids. They had no reading material in their homes. Not a newspaper, not a book, not even a TV guide. None of these kids could read and not all of them even knew the alphabet. TV was the main form of entertainment and where they got their examples. "What's a word that starts with J?"
"Jack from Three's Company"

Their home life was difficult with all of them living in housing projects. I remember one day when Eric, whom we worked with, was excited because he was going to get to visit his uncle in jail. His father was no where in sight and his uncle was a special person to him.

As I saw how these kids struggled, I started to look at things differently. I noticed when words were spelled with cute spellings for advertising. All I could think about when I saw them was how hard reading was for these kids and they didn't need help with nonstandard spellings.

And I started to be less judgmental about what people were reading. I didn't realize it, but I was judging people by their choice in reading material. I didn't think as highly of someone reading a romance novel as someone reading a classic. But after working with these kids, I was very happy to see someone reading. Anything. It didn't matter what the content was. Ward and I rode the bus to work through some of these housing projects where these kids lived. Not many people were reading on the bus, but my heart sang when I saw someone reading, no matter what it was.

I'd like to say that Eric eventually went to college because of our early work with him, but I don't know where he ended up. And the saddest part of the whole experience was I felt like were already too late. We went every week, but I didn't feel like we were making a difference with these kids. They needed more help than we could them, but I hope I am wrong. I hope we planted a little seed somewhere that helped them live a better life.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

P is for Poetry

April is National Poetry Month, so it seems appropriate to feature poetry for the letter P. I do not seek out poetry to read, but pick it up from time to time. A few years ago, my husband and I got a book that declared to include the 100 best poems of all time. We read it aloud to each other and I found it occasionally enjoyable and sometimes tedious. My speed is more the like the clever stylings of Shel Silversteen. However, I think my favorite poem of all time was one written by one of my childhood friends, Jon.

I was in sixth grade in Mrs. Greathouse's English class and we were writing poems. I dutifully wrote my totally unmemorable poem that I then read for the class. I was pleased with what I had written until Jon stood up and read his. Jon was one of those boys who was smart enough, but was always horsing around instead of doing his work. He tried to get away with the least amount of school work that he could. So not surprisingly, he only wrote a few lines. His poem went like this.

The thunder roared,
The lightning flashed,
A tree fell down, 
And a frog got smashed.

Even though the poem was very simple, I was impressed. With only a few words, he told a story that brought very clear images to mind. And it had a surprise ending. I was also impressed because he had spent most of the period goofing off while I slaved away on the assignment. That was the day, I developed a crush on Jon. The crush didn't last long, but the memory of his poem did.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

O is for Octagons

or Man-made Octagons

When I think of octagons, I first think of stop signs. Did you ever wonder why a stop sign has an octagon shape? Well, I never did until Theo was talking about it the other day. Not surprisingly, early roads didn't have traffic signs at all because there was no need for them. However, as there more cars on the road, the need for control increased. Thus the stop sign. The first stop signs were posted in Detroit, Michigan in 1915. They were square and white with black lettering. By 1923, stop signs were standardized to be octagonal. With a standardization of shapes you could tell what the sign was signifying even if you saw it from the back.

As for the octagonal shape to the sign, there was a bit of logic to it. The theory was that the more important the sign information was, the more sides it would have. A circle, with infinite sides, was used at railroad crossings where a car doesn't have much of a chance with a train. Next up is the stop sign with eight sides where stopping is important to avoid a collision with another car. Following that is the diamond, with 4 sides, indicating information like pedestrian crossing, and last is the rectangular sign also with 4 sides, but oriented in a more traditional way with information like speed limits. Where does that leave the yield sign with only three sides? It seems to me yielding is more important than the speed limit. However, the yield sign was not added to the highway signs until 1954, long after the other shapes were established.

By JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
Also when I think of man-made octagons, I think about a church near where I grew up that was built as an octagon. There have been several stories as to why it was built this way the most logical one being that that shape gave it the most capacity inside for the fewest number of materials, in other words, cost effective construction. However, the story I like best is that it was built "round" so that the devil could never trap you in a corner.

There are probably lots of other man made octagons out there, but it's time to move onto P.