Wednesday, August 22, 2007

With a Scottish Burr

I recently mentioned that I'd gotten interested in a project which included Scottish poetry. I found a trio of poems written phonetically, as spoken, rather than in just English. They're wonderful for hearing how the words are spoken....but confusing if you can't translate them all! Quick...what's a bairnie?

This morning I received a five minute vacation from my desk, all the way to Scotland. One of our Line Dancing seniors is from Scotland and when word got out I wanted a "translator", she came in this morning and said, "Where are these poems which are giving you difficulty?" Just to hear that Scottish burr in person was enough to make me smile all day.

The world is an interesting place. Jean thought people didn't like to hear her speak because they had a difficult time understanding her. I have always been fascinated by dialects and can usually understand almost anyone. When I told Jean her words were beautiful, like music to my ears, she beamed in the most awestruck way.

I don't know who had more fun, my translator or I. She'd let me guess what a word meant, then tell me how close I was. It was funny occasionally because SHE'D get stuck, saying it was difficult for her to read words spelled the way she was use to hearing. It got funnier because I could figure out those very words. When she asked how, I told her it was from hearing her speak that lilting dialect. I also had a "cheat sheet" I'd just found online, which I shared with her. Her face lit up like a kid at Christmas...all because I found her native tongue so fascinating.

Because the poems were long, we only got through one before the Line Dance Teacher came to drag her out of the room and I had to go a Staff Meeting. Jean promised to help me later and was actually thrilled when I gave her the poems, since I have copies. She said her sister is coming very soon from Scotland and would probably find the poems interesting.

Until then, guess I'll have fun reading them out loud to try and hear the nuances. There's actually a funny one about the Bowgie Man...which little American kids believes lives in the closet if not under the bed.

As for the bairnie. That's the physical by-product of the love between your Mither and your Faither...one which you has to be fed and changed and burped and sung lullabies to.....

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Well Grounded

I'm one of those people who always takes care of everyone else first. I think they call it being born female. That means your worry gene is balanced with the one for caring and an inescapable urge to fix anything in your power. Most of the time it's so second nature I don't give it a second thought.

It also means you put the wants and needs of others first and have a tendency to tell yourself that you'll get whatever it is you need...just as soon as everyone is happy. Or things settle down. Or you have the time...money...knowledge. And on and on and on. The hardest part, for me, is to break down and get something I want instead of something I NEED.

Today, I did something for me. Because I wanted to.

Granted, it falls somewhere between symbolic and silly, but hey, you go with what you want and it doesn't always have a good explanation. I get in moods to write and I've been in one for a while now. It makes me happy...which in turn makes hubby happy because I tend to forget to be irked by most of life's little annoyances when I'm writing. I can even ignore the people who look at me and question my mental health because I write for the sheer joy of it. Sure, sometimes writing has a financial purpose but I'm better at it when I'm doing so to entertain myself. And right now, I'm happily entertained.

So today I purchased a simple daily reminder that wraps my writing into the cycle of life. I've been interested in Scotland for the past couple of weeks and discovered that Celtic symbols are not the exclusive property of Ireland...no matter what those people in my family who think they're Irish believe. I've always thought "symbols" were nice but I never found one that spoke to me on a personal level. Today I did.

It's a simple pewter key chain of a Celtic Knot...a knot which ties people together and is the symbol of eternal love which has no beginning or end. But in the middle is a Tree of Life. The roots are firmly grounded in the circle, it's branches reaching heavenward toward the top of the circle. It's the circle of love and life combined. To me it's a reminder that all things are possible.

So now when I go on my daily commute, I will be taking along my circle of life, where writing keeps me both grounded and allows me to reach for the skies. Writing is my quiet talent...it has no beginning and no end...and I will love it until the words in me grow silent.


Sunday, August 12, 2007

Casting Call

We rarely go to the movies any more. Okay, I admit it's my fault. It's not just the over inflated prices [which is why we go to matinees] or the popcorn which would be cheaper if you just bought the field from the farmer. And to be honest, Surround Sound is more than my sensitive ears really enjoy. The problem is my patience level. I have patience with many things in life but someone kicking my seat while asking loudly, "Well WHY did he do that?" through an entire movie sends my patience from a 10 to 0 in less than thirty seconds. I usually just do the quick turn and glare move. At our previous movie outing my seat was kicked so hard that by fourth time I turned around to ask the woman to please keep her children under control..and MOM was the kicker. Sigh.

Today we went to see "The Bourne Ultimatum". I'm sure hubby wondered why I wanted to see what is essentially the quintessential guy flick but any movie staring David Strahairn is on my list to see. We arrived a little early, which is not the norm, so when we chose a seat, there were only 7 other people in the theater. You have to love stadium seating if you're short like me and I found a spot on the aisle [in case of fire drills or terrorist attacks] with no giant sitting in front of me. While we munched on the saltiest popcorn in existence, I noted the people around me...it's the writer in me, I look and wonder about their stories. There were two 20-something guys behind us, probably there for the promised excellent car-chase-leading-to-spectacular-crash scenes. A solitary guy, possibly military, with a solemn expression who kept kicking the line holding my seat. From the size of him I was thinking the glare wouldn't work. A young couple on a date. The last pair were two rows down to our left and from the conversation drifting up, it was safe to assume they were gay, if not a couple.

I want to point out now that mentioning the gay couple last wasn't judgmental, it just turned out to be the beginning of what for a moment looked like a social experiment. The next pair to enter were a mother and her mentally handicapped daughter who appeared to be in her early twenties. The young woman found everything funny at first and giggled until her mother asked her to quiet down. In an interesting turn of events when they sat down with a mere seat between them and the gay gentlemen, one of the men looked at the girl and groused, "Oh great!" What was interesting was to watch this young woman eat a single piece of popcorn as if she'd never encountered any before...a nibble, pulling back to look at the kernel, another nibble, another look until it was all gone. And then she went on to her second piece.

The next couple to enter elicited silent groans from almost everyone: Mom, Dad and baby so small I thought the guy had a purse instead of a baby carrier. I will give him credit: when little darling started crying, he walked out with her. Mom sat stoically and didn't even watch him go out the door. Several more couples poured in, most of which featured guys with shaved heads, making me turn to my husband and comment that his gray headed self had more hair than all of them.

It seemed like every time the door opened, a new stereotype walked through the door; an elderly black gentleman in a stylish driver cap. A young lady who looked lost, searched for a seat as if trying to locate treasure off a map, finally found one, kicked off her shoes and put her feet on the rail as if she was home on the couch. A couple in their late 20s who had obviously just begun dating recently...they really should've spent the money on a room instead of a movie since they looked at each other more than the screen. But they were comical...him laughing hysterically at every cute thing she offered, her looking adoringly, both almost in the same chair. Their comedy routine was trumped, however, when a very large older couple showed up and the woman kept telling her hubby to just move around in the seat until it fit. I'm not making fun of them because of their size but because of her insistence he could get comfy if he only tried.

My favorites were two little old ladies, one with a cane, in their early 70s. Almost everyone in the theater looked at them as if they were in the wrong theater. I choked back a laugh thinking they were probably there to eyeball Matt Damon...and there I was, considerably younger, thinking the best looking man in the cast was a guy who's 58 and has gray hair. When an Asian family sat in front of us, I whispered to my hubby, "Okay we're missing the Hispanic and Native American contingent, otherwise I think all bases are covered."

And maybe variety is the secret. With the theater half full and the lights down, I awaited the inevitable person to kick my seat or ask questions loudly or explain to their seat mate what would happen next. You could've heard a pin drop in that theater during a movie which was over two hours long. The only sounds were shared laughter in sync, as if we'd rehearsed ahead of time. They were the most polite, enjoyable audience I've shared a movie with for many years.

It was enough to make me want to take their names and numbers to ask what movie we'd all be going to see next.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

The Sign of a Good Friend

I e-mailed a friend yesterday with a question about his sibling. I've known Bobby since first grade and was convinced he only had a younger sister. Then his brother began visiting my husband's archery shop. The first night hubby came in and said, "I don't know him, but since I knew you'd ask, I asked Bobby's brother for an update on Bobby."

Bobby's what?

For the next several months, brother has visited and I've yet to lay eyes on him. After hearing a description that sounded NOTHING like Bobby, I couldn't stand it any more so I e-mailed Bobby. Well, it sounded like a better choice than stalking someone in hubby's shop.

I had 2 questions, although the first was a three parter. Number one consisted of a mild interrogation along the lines of [a] why didn't I know you had a brother when I know you have a sister [b] is he that much younger than us [c] got a picture because hubby's description is odd.

The second question, I admit, was mischievous. "Do you know where you were 27 years ago tonight? I do. And that's your hint."

An hour later, Bobby replied. I could almost hear him laughing. He wasn't sure why I didn't know about baby bro but suspected it was because he's 6 years younger than us. And it appears hubby's description of a balding guy was correct, meaning they don't share much of a resemblance. Since Bobby is quite the photographer, and working on opening a studio, I was promised pictorial proof in the near future, pending bro's approval.

The second question made him ask the awestruck question, "How could it have been that long already?" Bobby was at our wedding and yesterday was our anniversary. In addition to wishing us a happy anniversary, he added that he looked forward to doing a portrait for us in the future.

I thought that was sweet. Not the photographic gesture. As good as he is, I hate having my picture taken so much I'd have to be shot with a tranquilizer dart first. No, I'm thankful that with all the changes time brings, the best part of Bobby never changed. He's always been a man of his word. No games, no twisting words so the end justifies the means. Just the plain, unvarnished yet politely shared truth. Whatever he says, I believe. Still. I hear sincerity in his written words just as clear as when we talked in college. I know him congratulating us wasn't just political correctness. Bobby probably doesn't realize it, but he's proof of my argument that some people never loose sight of their principles and ideals. They just get better with age.

I hope he's still around 27 years from now so I can ask him that question again.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Morning Glory

At least the heat's not wilting these.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

A Day Without Bob

There once was a world filled with words.
Written in silence, yet heard.
Today there’s no sound
Cause our forum is down
Now Bob can’t claim blogs are absurd.