Ten FAQ I get as a Flight Attendant

I posted this interesting post last year, and enjoyed it again just now. We read so much about flight attendants being mean or combative with passengers….so its refreshing to read this thoughtful and fascinating article written by a flight attendant who is also a blogger.

Ellie's Blog

FAQ: Some of the Questions I get asked the most as a Fight Attendant

Passenger: “Do you get to sleep on these long flights?” and “Where do you sleep?”

YES! In fact for most flight attendants a shift onboard revolves around the times we get off. A lot of the time crew will say “Let’s finish this service so we can start breaks!”. Our breaks are formulated around time to eat and time to sleep, usually ranging from 20 minutes (an eating break however I have seen crew take power naps on this break) all the way to the longest break I’ve ever had onboard 3 hours and 45 minutes (when you can really have a good snooze!). I’m sure all crew experience this, because it often gets spoken about, having to limit our water intake before our long breaks, because the most annoying thing is having to leave…

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Farewell the Muse

… and yet again with an oldie from “back in the day.”

SOMETIMES

I’ll never write another word
–ever– I think, maybe a bit longer.

The Muse has left me, alone and mute
singing quietly inside…but it isn’t writing
not bringing forth words of rhyme
or golden thoughts or phrases that soar
with the uplifting quality that speaks of fulfillment
of the annunciation of the soul
(if that is even the right word.)

What does that mean?   My Muse does not respond.
Silence echoes across the lines, across the fields,
rich and full, and absence of sensation…or character.
There is no solution, no evolution…no rhythmic flow
of syllables, or stanzas, flights of fancy…
clever ways to express a notion
…or just to form  a simple phrase–
no silver tinged sunsets,
no tales from the depths of despair…
no soaring ecstasy of the bliss of a kiss.
Words which once were at the edges of my
repertoire –within easy reach of the empty…

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will o’ the whisper

More about me and my Muse…

SOMETIMES

OH!     Where do the great ideas go…
those flashes of brilliance
that should have better resilience
and remain in the Brain Cabinet
long enough for establishment
to take hold in the Eureka! compartment.

How many times in the course of the day
does  the lightbulb flash in the idea flow
and tug at coat-tails for attention;
hoping and praying that no intervention
takes precedence over the outstanding thought
that begs to be recorded–NOT discarded!

That’s it!   Hurry–get to the tablet or pad
and hope there’s a pencil or pen nearby
Scribble or print in quick succession
the words piling together inside…
One after another the poignant confession
or ground-breaking thought to abide
ensconced forever in handwriting or symbol,
keywords or brilliant asides.

The Muse is waiting and prompting the prose
or rhymes that are aching to flow ever forth,
to leap from the pen to the pristine page–

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when the Muse keeps quiet

Here’s a re-run of a blogging commentary I published here on Sometimes a while back….

SOMETIMES

One of the things I love about blogging is the great bloggers…all kinds of people, all over the world, young and old (is that politically correct?) and all political and religious persuasions.   I like that.   How boring life would be if we never got out of our particular little niche.     I DO care about all my … uh…blogging acquaintances…and their opinions and points of view…even the ones that don’t think like I do.   That’s OK, feel free to say what ya want and I’ll deal with it.    My best friends usually don’t agree with me on everything…some don’t agree on anything…

Blogging is fun because there aren’t many rules, and when it isn’t fun there is always the unfollow button.

This post is supposed to be about My Muse.    She stays out of the way, mostly, and pops out with a brainstorm of an idea, or nags me to comment…

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The Tryin’ of Speaker Ryan…revisited (re-posted)

The Tryin’ of Speaker Ryan

I have to hand it to Paul Ryan
the man just doesn’t quit trying!
Caught in a den of experts at lying,
and vying for votes by begging or buying.
Speaking loudly above all the jeering and swearing,
off this way or that…slipping and veering.
Poor Speaker Ryan, his smile running thin
against all the prying and querying…
wearying, not crying, he’s plying his wiles
and biding his time…working at herding his cats…
while trying to stay INSIDE the frying pan!
© Sometimes, 2016

Direct Line…reblogging myself again

Here is another of my early poems from back in the day (Oct. 2015 in this case…
Redundancy intended.)

Direct Line

The Moon, far away as it is bright
dims the brighter light of the stars
My eye sight follows the path of that light
passing the light-years between

Knowing full well the facts of the Moonlight
reflecting the light of the Sun,
it nevertheless leads me to imagine
that the Moon makes its own light from within.

Even if Galileo himself, who charted the Sun,
were to explain with patience and tact
I still would ignore him and blissfully say:
“Please don’t confuse me with facts.”

©Sometimes, 2015

Stranger than Fiction: again

This is one of my personal favorite assignments from writing class last year…in response to rules that the work be a limerick and contain certain other attributes of writing poetry.    I had great fun writing it—

THE DONALD’S MARCH TO INFAMY

There once was a boy named Donald
Who wanted to be rich, and grow up to be President
ha ha! said the people as he started to
stump
but he knew what he was doing and had all the cards he needed to
trump,
and win the game
opponents screamed like angry cat matrons
and picked on his hair and his noisy patrons
but Donald just said they should “lump it!”

“You haven’t a chance, you’re not one of us,” they wailed
“is that so?” said Donald as he placed a standing order for tea and crumpets
to serve to his fans to keep them from starving on the campaign trail
His crowd of the faithful grew and grew
’til they filled the land
so they bought him a very big trumpet.

© Sometimes, 2015

Why are we here? Why do we Blog?

 

Why Blog?

All it takes to write in a Blog
Is a Writer who is a Blogger
and a Reader who reads Blogs.

If someone is reading that Blog
–even if the blog is about nothing–
then all the components are there:

the Blogger blogs,
and the Reader reads.
And IF he is reading,
and she is blogging,
then there is a connection…
a piece of her mind
–for good or for bad–
is read and ingested
and taken to heart

.So what if the Post is about Nothing?

If its being read… someone is interested,
this is obvious right from the start.
The Key to blogging may be
not so much clever phrases
or figures of speech
as simply a communication.

So, if a blog is about Something
then it can’t be about Nothing.

What does that all mean?

If one is blogging…
well, they are blogging.
and if Reading?
Thank you for reading along!

©Sometimes, 2015

Anne Finds Her Career (originally posted February 2016 )

— I first published this poem here on SOMETIMES in February of 2016.    The plan is to re-post some of my favorites among my 400+ posts since the blog began back in 2011.—

Anne finds her career …

When Anne was a girl, she always wanted to be
a dancer.  To wear flowing gowns and satiny slippers
and be guided as a sylph, lifting in twirls and leaping high,
up in the air with skirts twirling and shoes barely touching the floor,
and feeling the thrill of the collective sigh from the audience.
But as fate would have it, her two left feet, and her lack of graceful
moves — more like those of a duck than a lovely swan, or
even a goose–combined with her brother’s snickers
she stepped on her skirt instead of her shoes
and tripped over her partner’s feet.

So then, when she saw that a new goal was needed
Anne decided that she wanted to be, when she grew older,
a doctor.  To have a white coat, a stethoscope  and thermometer
and peer into ears and down throats of her patients…to quickly discover
what ailed them…and find a cure, and all of the people would just be
astounded when Little Anne became a Doctor!
A wonderful plan!
It would be  a good position, pay plenty of money, and mean
great prestige…and besides, the town needed a Doctor.
It might have been the perfect profession, except…
she fainted dead away at the first drop of blood.

Not to be derailed on her track to gainful employment
Anne thought long and hard to find just the right profession
that would serve both her ambitions and her need for recognition.
“One thing that I can do well,” said Anne, “without  tripping over any feet
while dancing…or to lose my wits and panic when anyone bleeds…

The perfect job for me (why didn’t I think of it sooner?) is to get
pen and paper, and a computer — and spend my life Writing!”
So she wrote and she wrote, books and poems, and tales
about dancers and doctors, and all kinds of things.

©Sometimes,2016

“Moving South” and NAFTA

When I was growing up and into the 70s and 80s, my home area of Northeast Ohio was booming…the steel mills in Cleveland and Lorain were blasting night and day, round-the-clock shifts, and there were plenty of good-paying jobs in the mills and in auto manufacturing plants.   THEN the plants started to close and move down South….no, not to Mexico then, but to Alabama and Georgia .   The cause (they told us) was the labor unions guaranteeing good-pay and benefits and decent working safety conditions.
 “Illegal” workers picked tomatoes, worked on ranches in the broiling southwest sun, and worked laborer construction jobs and washed dishes and mopped floors in restaurants and hospitals etc, etc.   Ranchers hired these workers because local prospective workers declined such employment.
NAFTA has provided a free-for-all atmosphere that harmed American workers.    The worst I personally know of is that NAFTA decimated the Mexican farmer corn business….flooding the Mexican markets with American corn.   An even greater atrocity is that under NAFTA came the genitically-modified corn itself, which was treated to prevent re-growth from seed.
The so-called “maquiladoras” throughout Mexico hired cheap and mistreated labor…big companies like Tommy Hilfiger and The Gap.   I have seen these with my own eyes, workers stand for long shifts, begging for bathroom breaks, standing at sewing machines (etc.) for 12-14 hour shifts on tiled concrete floors.   Yes, these people ARE glad to get the work at any price—a job is a job.
These points are just a few, and may be arbitrary…..but are facts—  TRUE FACTS, not Alternate Facts.
(Note: I originally posted this here on Sometimes two years ago.)

Smitten

(first published January 2017

Smitten

Please make your point, Madam
spare me the hints and hyperbole
your subtle suggestions are quite a lot
for one who prefers words spoken verbally
in addition to clear and simple…at all cost.

Please make your point, Madam
be so kind as to avoid this torture
What do you want from me?    I beg you to say!
Just as I think I understand your demeanor,
and decide to venture a move—you’re off.

Just as I think I catch your drift…do I earn your fancy?
Say, how can I tell?    I really hoped that I know you well.
But my imagination is befuddled…trying to see,
my poor heart muddled…beating a loud tattoo.
Pray tell: what are your intentions for me?

Marching off to war is far more assuring
my enemies always make their intentions clear to me…
and in return I do do not lead them on unfairly.
Please make your point, Madam—
What is your business with me?

© Sometimes, 2017

From Doorstep fiction writing— to unfinished dissertation (Re-posted)

When one of my daughters was about ten, her school bus came later than those of the other kids, so she and I had half an hour or so one-on-one time.  I loved to make up stories, and some of my best (maybe) ideas came at that time.   This means fiction…since I was a working newspaper reporter and writer at the time I was writing other types of material —news stories, police reports, obits, motor vehicle crashes, city meeting coverage— when I wasn’t making up far-out stories.

The story I am referring to was about a tiny slug that landed on a patch of grass, and was saved from trampling by a group of scuffling boys by a young girl named Fonzie McElroy.   Turned out the Slug was no other than Prince Rehebal, of some distant planet that was left behind on an exploratory visit to Earth.   To fast-forward the plot, the young Prince was rescued by returning space crew…and Fonzie was richly rewarded, although no one but she ever believed the tale was true.

I know…sounds vaguely like “ET,” which had not hit the movie theaters yet, and I did not hear about for at least a decade.  Yes, I did type up (on newspaper print paper) and I still have the original.

Another of my languishing plots was a Civil War theme, set on a Confederate prisoner-of-war island, a sutler’s daughter who fell for a Rebel army officer, and so the historical novel was set to go.   A sutler was a farmer or merchant who set up sales of produce like onions and potatoes in periodic markets held by prison officials for the imprisoned soldiers.

Then there is the loose plot of a murder mystery set in a small town, peopled by town municipal workers like council members, police, and of course a newspaper reporter that solves the whole crime.   My heroine is still (after about 30 years real time) sitting at the railroad tracks waiting for a train to pass, the murderer holding a gun to the reporter’s side–while the police chief waits on the other side of the train tracks.

In my Science Fiction story the location is a planet which is ruled by women.  All of the men are sent out on space ships doing various jobs, and serving out their time until they and their wives can reunite and move to a utopian planet where they live out their years in happy wedded bliss.

The probability of any of those works ever seeing the light of day is remote.  My more recent interests are in writing  Historical topics in which I have an interest…such as the British Abolition of the Slave Trade; Liberation Theology in Latin America; and various other essay contributions.

Oh, and my current…and possibly only novel is one that I worked on as a National  Novel Writing Month (not the correct name, but the popular writers’ competition in which the goal was to write a 60,000 word novel in one month…which was accomplished mostly stream-of-consciousness-style with no correcting spelling or style or anything else…just pounding away for 30 days.   That NaNoWriMo exercise is THE most useful and inspiring writing experience I have undertaken.   I have elaborated on the plot and the work to a great extent.   It is part Historical and part Time-Travel.

The topic of my novel was based on my doctoral dissertation (which I did not  bring to completion within allotted time.)    Obviously no one except my advisor professor has ever read the Final Draft, which I wish now with all my heart that I had completed.    Various readers such as my kids and best friends…captives, if you will…SAY they read the copies that I gave them ten years ago, but their eyes glaze over as they say it.     It’s about History of 500 years of the Catholic Church in Mexico, or something like that.   It’s a LOT more interesting than you all think!

What got in the way of my writing was … well… writing.    I often whine that  “I wish I had been a Writer.”   I spent years writing for newspapers, term papers, writing minutes as secretary of city boards and commissions, in college writing assignments and serious papers.  E-mailing (the way I have always done it) is sort of like writing as I wrote  to my friends and other people.

Blogging  is writing of course…and I love it because it is a combination of all the different kinds of writing I have ever done:   Fiction, poems, rants, news stories, satire, responding to prompts about all kinds of things…and writing about writing.   Photographing isn’t writing of course, but in a way it can be in that photos tell stories in and of themselves, or they serve as props for accompanying prose.

 

 

…waxing poems playfully

Now there’s a word I don’t think I have ever used…
what in the world is it supposed to mean?

Waxing…what at odd word if used as I think it should be
conjurs visions of a can and a cloth, and an item to polish
using that elbow grease Mum used to go on about…

seriously…nah, not really…I think
without looking it up in a dictionary…
waxing has to do with the Moon
or with trite and/or gratuitous prose
or–more likely–poetry.

I love writing poems…sometimes I
pronounce that with two syllables: po-ems,
other times I like to say “pomes,”
which always invokes my old English teacher,
who believed that joshing around about
anything as sacred as a “po-em”
was akin to blasphemy.

I can write mushy stuff too…
in fact I think that’s what they call “waxing poetic,”
unless I made that up for nefarious purposes of my own.
The thing about writing and publishing works
of art,–or frowny-face admonishment–
is that the responsibility for adding new words
or phrases to one’s vocabulary
depends on two nebulous considerations:
Trusting the writer to know what they are doing,
and turning to a dictionary to check up on them.

Often, to card-carrying adherents of the
Vocabulary Police– hair-raising errors abound
in many otherwise intelligent examples of
blogging literature.  These are MOST glaring
in lectures on proper Grammar and Spelling.
So, I guess the point of all this is that
it behooves young writers to take due care
to avoid using the likes of “frowny-face”
on official writing papers.

One of the sweet things about blogging
is that One is free to break all sorts of rules
learned in seventh grade English classes–
where there is NO allowance whatsoever
for any creativity of phraseology or spelling.
If there was ever a point to this literary undertaking
it has become lost on the throes of righteousness
as dictated by Miss Frowny-Face herself.

Yes, that spectre does indeed tap its bony fingers
frequently on my shoulder.

(Caveat: this piece of silly stream-of-consciousness
is written strictly for fun …so please don’t quote me
if you get a frowny-face Smiley…. 😦

As a dyed-in-the-wool Luddite my best advice
is to get a REAL dictionary.  Yeah–the OED online is great…
but except for emergency spelling situations…it will
never replace the big bulky heavy paper dictionaries of yore…
and don’t trust those red underlines spell check gives,
I think the computer makes up words to confound
us when it comes to the Rise of the Machine.

But having said all that…I hasten to add that the computer’s
spell-check is better than NO spell check.

©Sometimes, 2016

The Thing I do Best is Now the Thing I Do FIRST (reblogged from 2015)

 

                  Shifting Priority

I have decided to change my priority
without worrying about inferiority
or the ways of the majority.
No longer will I pretend to put domestic concerns
ahead of my life’s purpose — Writing!
Back in the day any writing I did was secondary
or confined to the secretary’s desk.

For a housewife back then
furtive moments  were doled out as rewards
or stray  opportunities to pen
wayword words or purloined phrases,
words of wisdom
a note, a word, a reminder
–confined to the backs of envelopes
or shopping lists,
written in pen or pencil…or lipstick
or eyebrow pencil..

Gone are the days when making soup,
baking cookies…
and  pies
scrubbing and ironing…
dashing through the store with a grocery cart
all had  top priority over the Writing Art.

No frilly little aprons or caps
are needed to fulfill MY kind of Real Work
no pretty cotton dresses
and certainly no high heels!
From now on–I have decided that Writing has top priority
and rather than hide it (regardless of seniority)
the thing I do best is the thing I do FIRST.

© Sometimes, 2015/2018

On Writing Poetry… with a nod to Miss Edwards (re-posted from 2015.)

I have always been a writer.  At age twelve, more or less, I wrote a novel.  Although I don’t recall any details of the plot, or characterization,  I do remember a name…Joyce Reena Phane.   That was to be my pen name, I believe.  To me that name was beautiful, and the very essence of sophistication.   I was quite proud of my novel, such as it was, and when my aunt asked to read it I was delighted.   Aunt Jada was a writer herself, and was working on a novel dealing with a group of Kent State students during the Vietnam War.  She loved my novel, and was impressed enough to talk with her sister, my mother, about it.

That was the end of that.    My mother was a very practical and down-to-earth woman, whose no-nonsense beliefs had no room for frivolous or non-productive pursuits.   As far as she was concerned no one made a living from writing books, especially if they had no college education–and the prospect of ME going to college was out of the question.   Besides, my writing was childish, the plot far-fetched and the characters unrealistic…and the pen name I had chosen so carefully was silly and unlike a name any real person would have.  The early….and only…draft of that novel consisted of several notebook paper pages, which no longer exist.

I did continue my creative writing, with encouragement from my seventh grade English teacher, Mr. Wilkinson.

I have some early poetry written in a brown notebook, one of those old dime-store notebooks  that were cheap and plentiful.  In addition to my own works of poetry, I have in those pages the complete Edgar Allen Poe, The Raven, copied in my neat and even cursive handwriting.   Also much of Macbeth, Shakespeare’s masterpiece which had also been immortalized as our high school play.  I was so enamored of that classic that I saw fit to enter much of the original play into my notebook.  There is also some poetry that I can still recite in part this many decades later…I was quite proud of my poems which also immortalized some of my early loves in my handwriting.   I used a fountain pen with real ink, and when I made an error I ripped out the notebook page entirely and started over.  I still think that the handwriting on those pages are perhaps the most endearing aspect of the whole brown notebook.  I wish I still loved my handwriting as well as I did then.

As for Shakespeare, my exposure to his works were in my Junior or Senior year of high school, when the truly marvelous reading by our English Literature teacher–who was also the school principal–sends shivers up my spine to this day.  I always stayed on Miss Edwards’ good side.  She was a small woman in stature, tough as any marine sergeant, and did not need any police personnel to maintain order over her classes–or her school.  One of the things I liked about Miss Edwards is that she liked my writing…she is definitely one of my mentors who had a positive effect on my life.

Ah well– I will never make it as a poet, but as long as I like my poetry and other bloggers occasionally say something nice about it as well–it is worth the oft-times lame verse that escapes my fountain pen….er, keyboard.