Posted by: Elizabeth Anne Mitchell | January 28, 2016

Changes coming

I am planning to revive this blog, but am still contemplating the direction of those changes. In the meantime, please visit Elizabeth Anne Mitchell or Leavekeeping, my other blogs.

EM

Posted by: Elizabeth Anne Mitchell | July 5, 2015

First Friday Photo Blog Hop

On the way to Fort Ticonderoga, on Lake Champlain

On the way to Fort Ticonderoga, on Lake Champlain

 

My father grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts, although he lived the last sixty years of his life in Atlanta, Georgia.  He often talked about the Berkshires of western Massachusetts and the Adirondacks in eastern New York.  I must have inherited his love of mountains, because even the glimpse of mountains from campus makes me smile. I have assiduously visited all the places he mentioned having seen or wanting to see in this area, and delighted in describing the trips to him.

Want to join, or see the entries, in the First Friday Photo Blog Hop, which is the brainchild of Eden Mabee?  Click here!

 

EM

Posted by: Elizabeth Anne Mitchell | June 8, 2015

First Friday Photo Blog Hop

 

Persian Buttercup by Jan Dobbs

Persian Buttercup by Jan Dobbs

This post for First Friday Photo is quite late, but I wanted to post even so.  Eden Mabee’s brainchild blog hop of photographs is here, so please feel free to join in, or at least visit everyone’s link to see their photograph.

I had a rough week, so I don’t have an outside photo to share, but I am very proud of my entry this week.  Jan Dobbs, a dear friend of mine who lives in Bristol, UK, painted this gorgeous Rananculus, as my mother would have named it. I went back and forth about having it sent across the pond, but well, it was so nice and in my favorite colors, and . . .

Finally, I decided that I deserved to have a real painting, having left graduate school and its shabby chic behind.  It is displayed in a corner of the dining room where I see it often. Now you can enjoy it as well.  Her website is here, so you can enjoy more of her work.

EM

 

Posted by: Elizabeth Anne Mitchell | May 1, 2015

First Friday Photo Blog Hop

After a far, far too long hiatus, I’m coming back to this blog.  My offering today is part of Eden Mabee’s brain child, the First Friday Photo. I was returning from New York City on the train on a winter evening.  The tracks run along the Hudson River for the majority of the trip, offering stunning views of the Catskills and rolling countryside.  We were in lower altitude environs when the sun set.

wpid-20141110_165852.jpg

 

Consider participating in First Friday Photo, as it is not complicated and promises to be fun. The rules are here.  At the least, visit the participants here.

 

Posted by: Elizabeth Anne Mitchell | January 18, 2012

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell protests the Stop Online Piracy Act

Many websites are blacked out today to protest proposed U.S. legislation that threatens internet freedom: the Stop Internet Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA). From personal blogs to giants like WordPress and Wikipedia, sites all over the web — including this one — are asking you to help stop this dangerous legislation from being passed.

Posted by: Elizabeth Anne Mitchell | December 23, 2011

Gratitude III

In this post, I want to thank all my writer friends.  First, Jan, who was the first to encourage me to write something to post for a small group; an online friend in the UK, whom I had the good fortune to meet in real life during my visit to England last February.  I like to think that the two of us encouraged our mutual friend, Elaine, to start writing as well.  To them, and to the rest of my friends in that online community, thank you so very much for believing in me. You are counted among the best friends I have; I just wish we lived closer to one another.Last summer, I was looking for an online writing community, as living in the hinterlands of Florida meant the closest real-life group was forty miles away.  I stumbled across A Round of Words in 80 Days, which struck me with its reasonable goal-setting and ability to tweak them.  I lurked for a few weeks, then joined in when Round 3 started on July 4th. I was a sponsor for Round 3 and 4 of 2011; it was a great experience, and it helped me meet a lot of people.; I encourage you to try it, if you’re interested.I was blown away by the support and camaraderie of the group. Helpful links to blog posts outlining writing tips, suggestions for books to read, courses to take, all poured into my mailbox. As I grew more comfortable sharing my personal story, I received more support–virtual cheers when I succeeded at something, virtual hugs when I failed, but encouragement through it all.  I have met C. M. Cipriani in real life, as it turned out she lived only 45 minutes away from me.  She put ROW80 well, saying, “These are friends; I feel like I know them, even though I’ve never met them.” I know exactly what she means; I feel as though I know several of you. Thank you all for taking the time to come by to support, encourage, bolster and chide.

Finally, I would like to finish thanking the people who follow my blog.  This post will catch me up, so I can copy L. S. Engler from now on, thanking followers as they add themselves to my blog. I’ve included some information about their blogs, if they have one.

Cheryel Hutton http://cheryelhutton.wordpress.com/ working on her third novel, talks to dragons, and they talk back

Ramesh Nanda http://rameshnanda.wordpress.com/ blogs mash-ups

Tiffany A. White http://tiffanyawhite.wordpress.com/  blogs TV reviews and things that make you go  “Ooo”

Thea Atkinson http://theaatkinson.wordpress.com/ author of short stories and novels;  writes about the writing life

Catherine M. Johnson http://catherinemjohnson.wordpress.com/ everything about writing for children

Talin Orfali http://talinorfali.wordpress.com/ blogs about life, posts recipes

Coral http://alchemyofscrawl.wordpress.com/ posts book reviews

Julia Indigo http://juliaindigo.wordpress.com/ blogs about the writing life

Posted by: Elizabeth Anne Mitchell | December 9, 2011

Gratitude Part II

After writing about some of my family last week, I wanted to express my gratitude to some other family members: my aunt, my brother, and my sister. I am very grateful that my aunt found time to spend with her niece, and that my brother and sister have endeavored to stay connected with me despite the centrifugal force that characterises my family.

My mother’s sister was nine years older than my mother, with no intervening children; my mother always looked upon her as a mother, and I saw her more as a grandmother.  A big believer in idle hands leading to devil’s work, my aunt taught me how to knit, crochet, embroider, and tat when I was very young.  She was teaching my oldest sister, and I hung around like a pest and learned as well. She came to see us every month or so; we were always glad to see her, because she knew all sorts of stories and could bake the best pies and cookies I’d ever had.

Even though she always made me keep my hands busy with knitting or tatting while we talked, I looked forward to her visits.  I felt as though she could see me, when very few other grownups could.  She despaired when I became a perpetual student, often shaking her head at my explanations of why I studied all these things.  When I finally got married and settled down with my instant family, you would have thought she had been the matchmaker, she was so proud.  And when we added more children, she was ecstatic that I had given her more children to love.

Two days before my youngest son was born, Aunt Ellene felt ill, somewhat like indigestion, but worse.  The hospital gave her heartburn medication and sent her home.  Three hours later, she passed away from a massive heart attack.  My mother debated delaying her planned trip to help me with the baby, but she came the day he came home from the hospital, missing her sister’s funeral, because that was what my aunt would have wanted. My son is eighteen now, and I still miss talking with Aunt Ellene over our knitting or embroidery.

My brother didn’t become a human being until I was 11 and he went to college.  He actually corresponded with me; when he was home on vacation, he still acted like a jerk sometimes, but that behavior diminished through the years.  He married into one of those huge families that gets together for birthdays and holidays and weddings; I have never asked him directly, but I suspect he felt the same kind of attraction/curiosity at the concept that I did when I first saw this unaccustomed behavior.  No matter, he threw himself into it wholeheartedly, leaving my father to shake his head in consternation at how he and his wife travel cross country to see their kids and grandkids.  I stand back in admiration.

Last year, my brother was diagnosed with lung cancer, and had one lung removed.  I had not realized until that point how much I thought my siblings were immortal, nor how hard it would hit me.  He is still fighting, but it is a long path through the woods.  He cannot fly anymore, but he and his wife pack up the car and still travel hundreds of miles to see their families. I am so grateful that he has tried valiantly to establish the sort of relationship with me that his wife has with her siblings. I am thankful to them both for showing me that it could work when I was still young enough to do for my own family.

One of my sisters is four years older than I am; reportedly she told my father that I was not the fun kind of baby doll, and would he please take me back.  No luck, sorry!  After this bumpy start, my sister and I started to bond her senior year in high school.  I stopped being the “fairy child” who did not seem connected to the world, and started being able to see her.  During her college years, we shared hopes and dreams, despite long periods where one or the other of us would pull away to nurse our wounds in private–she, an abusive marriage; me, an early failed marriage, the abyss of graduate school.  Even now, she calls me regularly; I promise to call her, and forget (I am a very bad sister).  She and I are so different in so many of our world views, but we get each other, especially given the history of our family.  I am grateful that she continues to knock on my door and pull me out of my little world now and again.

****

In my last Gratitude post I included a partial list of the people who follow my blog, as some small measure of thanks.  I’m continuing that list with this post; I’ve included some information about their blogs, if they have one.

http://thewriteproject.wordpress.com/ blogs about getting back into the practice of writing

http://studyingparent.wordpress.com/ chronicles the “learning journey” of a midwife who has gone to graduate school to study literature

C. M. Cipriani is an author who blogs about several topics:
http://onesmallpiece.wordpress.com/ is her blog about raising her autistic son
http://theoutlandishavocado.wordpress.com/ is her writing blog
http://theprimaltribe.wordpress.com is her blog about moving her family onto a paleo diet

Susan A. writes about books she has read and liked, as well as musing about life and writing: http://mistressofthedarkpath.wordpress.com/

Jennifer M. Eaton, author of Hidden in Plain Sight, writes about the lessons she has learned about writing: http://jennifermeaton.com/

Jillian Dodd, author of That Boy, has the tag line: glitter, bliss, and utter chaos.  The first two sum up her blog well, but I’ve never noticed any chaos. http://jilliandodd.wordpress.com/

Alex Laybourne, author of Highway to Hell, writes about helpful tools, writing, and general musings on life at: http://alexlaybourne.com/

Raelyn Barclay writes about Tarot cards and their use in writing; other writing lessons, and book reviews: http://raelynbarclay.wordpress.com/

Sharon Howard writes about mental health in a open and informative manner: http://showard76.wordpress.com/

Heather Ponzer shares stories about places she has lived and people she has met at: http://darcywords.wordpress.com/

Posted by: Elizabeth Anne Mitchell | December 3, 2011

Gratitude I

The holiday season that ends the calendar year often focuses on family.  Many of the bloggers I read have recently posted about family and family celebrations during the holiday season.  I, too, am very grateful for my family, but I have very few traditions to draw upon.My parents both had Dickensian childhoods, it is nearly unbelievable that they grew up in the 20th century.  My father was supposed to be the daughter that arrived two years after his birth.  A fourth son, he was seen as completely superfluous.  My mother was the youngest daughter in her family; in the Southern tradition I thought had disappeared by the end of the 19th century, she was marked to stay with her parents and care for them until their death.  To that end, she was taught early how to run the household, standing on an orange crate to cook and wash dishes at four years old.

My mother and father met on a blind date and married within a year.  Because my father was an Irish Catholic from Massachusetts and my mother a Southern Baptist from Georgia, both of their families summarily disowned them.  My mother’s family went so far as to obliterate her name from the family Bible, because  she had abandoned her mission to stay with her parents and not marry until after their demise.  Eventually, some members of both families had some contact with our family, but for most of them, it was limited in both time and warmth. It left a legacy of a real lack of warmth among my own siblings, which is something I realized only in contrast with other families.

Also, my parents seem to have very little tradition to call upon. My father has resisted all my questions about holiday family traditions; my mother has been only slightly more informative, saying that she often got nothing but an orange for Christmas. Because my mother then spun into her “you ungrateful children” speech at that point, I never asked for more details.  Given these deficits, my parents tried to give us children the American dream holidays.  We rarely had a turkey for Thanksgiving, due to the cost, but my father did relax that day.  Christmas Day was a bigger deal, with  presents under the tree for the four children.  I did notice we never had any other family around, like all my schoolmates did.

Due to this upbringing, I really didn’t bring any holiday traditions to my married life; in my first marriage, I played along with traditions I didn’t feel inside.  When I married my second husband, we worked to create traditions together, melding his traditions with my dream holidays. We went through the common tug-of-war between the families, whom to visit when, whom to eat with, whom to stay with if we had travelled.  The situation was complicated by my daughters having their own traditions, as well as another set of grandparents, aunts, and uncles to visit. Thankfully, it got much easier as the girls became older and made their own decisions about the scheduling, rather than being pulled so many different directions.  Even when they spent less time with us, I felt better knowing they were making the decisions.

Perhaps because of my background, family is very important to me.  I don’t tell them often enough how important they are to me.  Some of that reticence is due to my teenage sons, who flee emotion as if it were hydrofluoric acid, but sometimes I take all of them for granted.

I am grateful for my sons, who defied all medical opinion to exist, appearing after three doctors had told me I could not have children.  They helped me learn how to be a mother to alien creatures, who didn’t act at all like their sisters. Furthermore, I had met my daughters when they were 5 and 3, so 0-3 was uncharted territory.  My sons laid to rest any nature versus nurture discussions I had in my mind; their drive and fearlessness taught me how to take risks, while making my face pale with fear.  They put up with my inability to help them with math and physics homework, as well as my crying through nearly every movie I took them  to see.  Well, not Pokemon 2000.

I am grateful for my daughters, who accepted me as a second mom, and weathered my learning to walk the tightrope, and how to be that second mom. Recently, one of my sons-in-law paid me one of the best compliments I’ve gotten.  He told me that the way I accepted and loved my youngest daughter showed her how to love and accept his two children.  He said she might not have married him had she not grown up with me. It brought me to tears when he told me, and it does so now while writing it.

And I am grateful for my husband, who puts up with my weird mental glitch, where I point right and say left, especially annoying when giving directions in the car; follow the hand, not the voice, is the trick.  He accepts my ADD as well as my Irish temper; he glories in my nerdiness, and thinks I’m still as interesting as I was when he met me so very long ago.

To all of you, thank you for keeping me sane, human, and giving me the time and the material to write.

And now for the envelope. . .

Lena Corazon honored me several weeks ago with the Versatile Blogger award.  I also received this award from L.S. Engler several months ago *blush*, and I am finally thanking them both publicly for the honor.  I am supposed to divulge seven random facts about myself, as well as pass the award on to fifteen more bloggers.  I have been waiting for inspiration on the 15 bloggers, and it is not forthcoming,  As this is the season for gratitude, I am going to tweak that last part a bit.

First, thank you so very much for the award, Lena and L.S.  I am honored that you think that I am a versatile blogger.  My Shakespeare professor in college called me “scattershot”; I do prefer “versatile.”

The seven random facts about me, in no discernable order, except that the sixth leads to the seventh:

1. I have always wanted to learn piano.

2. I always wanted blue eyes, like my father, so that I would look Black Irish.

3. I sing tenor, but only when I’m alone. During the holidays, I listen to Handel’s Messiah, and sing all the parts, even the basso.  Actually, I can handle the basso better than the soprano.

4. I can remember numbers far better than names.

5. I used to knit during classes in college, until one professor told me to stop; now I knit at work meetings and conferences.

6. I grew 10 inches taller in eight weeks the summer between fourth and fifth grade.

7. Because of the above, I still think of myself as tall, although I’m 5’3”. I often catch a glimpse of myself in windows while walking down the street and wonder who that short chick is.

Next, I would like to thank the people who follow my blog.  I noticed L. S. Engler doing this, and thought it was a nice way to thank my followers.  Since I am starting several months after beginning a blog, I won’t do an entire list in this post, but I will mention everyone during the month of December. I’ve included some information about their blogs, if they have one.

Thanks to all of you for your interest in my blogs!

Fallon Brown posts about family, knitting, and her journey as a writer, at http://fallonbrownwrites.wordpress.com/

Sonia Medeiros, whose tag line is taken from one of my favorite J.R.R. Tolkien poems, blogs about writing at http://doingthewritething.wordpress.com/

L.S. Engler, who juggles more writing and reading projects than most people i know, blogs about writing, posts book reviews, and generally muses on life at http://lsengler.wordpress.com/

P. A. Woodburn  is concentrating on writing her novel, not blogging, at the moment.

Cat von Hassel Davies writes about reading and writing at http://www.catrambles.com/

Rebekah Loper has several blogs; her writing blog is at http://blackanddarknight.wordpress.com/

Pam Hawley also has a great tag line:“There’s a freak show on my stage.” She blogs at http://hawleyville.wordpress.com/

Catie Harrell writes about writing and working on her first novel at http://catieharrell.wordpress.com/

Claire McA writes book reviews and other musings from the south of France (sigh) at http://clairemca.wordpress.com/

Posted by: Elizabeth Anne Mitchell | November 21, 2011

Six Sentence Monday

I know it’s not Sunday, but I posted non-fiction yesterday, so I’m plunging into the deep end with some fiction today.

He was lost before the music ended.  Her delicate, but not fragile, hand disappeared in his, starting the nerves tingling all the way up his arm. His other hand covered over half of the small of her back, the warmth of which raised his heart rate to a level he hadn’t felt recently save in combat. Even worse, the crush of the dance floor drew them closer together than was truly proper; although the joyousness of the celebration cancelled the affront, it didn’t relieve the chaos swirling through him as they were inexorably pushed chest-to-chest by the crush. For his own sanity, and to have any hope of talking to this vision, finding out her name before she disappeared back into the dreamland from whence she came, he leaned down to her ear, savoring the excuse to inhale the spicy-sweet fragrance of her, “Let’s go outside for some air.” She tipped up on her toes to answer, “Yes, please,” totally unaware of what her sweet, warm breath on his face was doing to him.
Posted by: Elizabeth Anne Mitchell | November 20, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

The parking lot for the Alachua Sink looked unimpressive; cars parked on the dirt under the live oaks. Next to a bulletin board full of announcements and brochures, a sign stuck into the dirt pointed, warning that the observation deck was a half-mile away. The path meandered off into the woods, with few signs of human habitation. Soon I crossed the Hawthorne Trail, a popular bike path that replaced an unused railroad line; its pavement new and bright, a stark contrast to the sandy dirt path that crosses it. Around another couple of turns, I walked underneath a train trestle, rails gone, gravel sidings disappearing into the grass, which was left to grow tall and heavy with seeds. Trees have fallen and been left where they lie, obscured by Virginia creeper and hanging vines as thick as my wrist, looking like those in the early Tarzan movies.

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