Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Do You Know Who Willa Cather Is?

If you follow my blog (and Mom and Sarah – I do thank you for being loyal readers…) you know I LOVE books.  I love to read books and if the book happens to be antique, it is even better (feel free to catch up with  Today I would like to pose a question to you: Do you know who Willa Cather is?

Before you scramble to Wikipedia, let me save you the trouble (  I would wager that unless you are 1: From Nebraska 2: An American literature PhD, or 3: A rabid reader like myself, you probably have no idea.  Willa Cather, if you have not surmised by now, is an American author from Nebraska.  She wrote in the early 20th Century about life during the late 19th and early 20th Centuries on the plains.  Some of her most well-known works are My Antonia and O Pioneers.

I realize that her subject matter might be kind of a bore to most people.  I enjoy her books and recommend them.  However, you should realize I love antiques, I love history, I think the Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger is AWESOME, and I can’t get enough of “Downton Abbey”.  Now you know how I roll.  Even if you don’t read Miss Cather’s books, you should get to know her.  

I first learned about Willa Cather in elementary school, which I attended in Nebraska.  Nebraska has so few “celebrities” that its few well-known people are taught in school (at least they were in the early 80’s).  In the late 80’s my father took a job in upstate New York.  We all know school children like to tease what is different, and I was labeled as a “Cornhusker” for the rest of my school days.  I wore this badge with pride.  Nebraska is known as the “Good Life”.  There is a reason for this:  It’s a well-kept secret how awesome Nebraska really is.

In the 10th or 11th grade, I had an English assignment to read two books by an American author and write a report on said author.  Ah-ha!  Yet another way to wear my Cornhusker badge with honor.  I decided to do a report on Willa Cather.  I must admit, at this point all I really knew was that she had written some books and was from Nebraska.  Good enough for me.

Let me tell you, that research was eye opening and mind blowing.  I’ve always had a high opinion of women.  I believe this was shaped by the independent women in my family.  I soon learned Willa Cather was a woman to be admired.  Let me tell you why:

·         In 1894 Willa graduated from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln with a B.A. in English.  I have read she was admitted to the University under her alias of William.  In a time when the societal expectation for women was to marry and have children, Willa bucked the system and went to a University and received her degree.  With this achievement alone, she deserves rock star status (in my humble opinion).

·         During her time at UNL, she is known to have worn her hair short, once again bucking the system.  This was 30 years ahead of the short flapper cuts seen in the 1920’s.

·         Willa never married.  There is academic disagreement as to why (Was she a lesbian?  Was she an independent woman?).  I personally don’t care why.  I admire her for having the courage to stand on her own and make her own way in the world when few women did.

·         Willa made her own career as a writer and became a published novelist.

I find what Willa Cather did with her life to be admirable.  One must keep in mind she did these things in a time when Women’s Suffrage had yet to be granted by the 19th Amendment (1920) and decades ahead of the Women’s Rights/Equality movements of the 1960’s and 1970’s.  I think it took a very strong, independent spirit to achieve what Willa Cather did in her time.  For this spirit of independence, I admire her.

Until Tomorrow - Melissa

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Thank You Is Not Enough

Please take a moment to look at the picture below.  Really take a good look.  Meditate on it a moment.

I ran across this image on Pinterest today and I was overcome with emotion.  It made me stop in my tracks.  I owe this American so much.  She serves our country, guards our freedom, and does this away from her child.  I’m not a mom (unless you count my pets, which I do), so I cannot IMAGINE what it must be like for her to be separated from her child (and the rest of her family for that matter) for months at a time.

The picture that has inspired today’s post is a representation of America’s finest and bravest.  Every single one of our soldiers is special to someone, whether it be a son or daughter, husband or wife, mother or father, sister or brother.  Not only do our military members serve our great nation, but so do their families.  While they may not be on the front lines, these family members may actually have a harder job.  They have to sit at home and wait.  And wonder…hope and pray…worry and ponder.  I cannot imagine what it must be like to have that knot of anxiety in the pit of one’s stomach, for months at a time until their loved one is home safe again.

To our brave men and women in our armed services, I thank you for your service.  I thank you for your willingness and selflessness to protect my freedom with your life.  While we sit at home and whine and cry about the economy, politicians, or whose fault it is, you silently stand your post.  I can never repay you.  You are a patriot in EVERY sense of the word.

To the families, I thank you for supporting your soldier.  I thank you for sharing them with our nation and allowing them to protect our freedoms.  I can continue to formulate eloquent ways to thank you all night long…but somehow “thank you” just doesn’t seem to be enough.

Until Tomorrow

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Stop English Abuse

Dear Reader, Please indulge me as I must take a few moments to rant.  I have had it up to here (and since this is the internet, I will tell you I’m 5’5” and up to “here” is about that high) with the abuse of the English language.  I have absolutely had it!
I am so sick and tired of seeing Facebook posts that require a secret decoder to be able to read.  Example:  gettin offline now, goin to bed, busy day tom wit tha ….  Do you not know how to type the last letter of a word? Does it really take that much more effort to type a “G”, a “G”, a “H”, and a “T”?  Are you so busy you need to skip those four letters?  Or are you just that lazy?
Now, before everyone gets their knickers in a twist I just want to clarify a couple of things.  One – I get that Twitter is 140 characters or less, ergo (and yes, I just used ergo, don’t make me break out vis a vis) it is sometimes required to be clever and type shortcuts to get your point across.  Two – In the world of texting I also understand it is quicker to use short cuts.
I am not complaining about either of these formats.  I am complaining about Facebook, a format where you have more characters and a keyboard (and if you are posting from your phone, it’s a smart phone and has a keyboard).
I would also like to point out the fact that this blatant butchery of the English language is not restricted to Facebook.  This epidemic has spread into academia.  My husband is a high school science teacher.  To protect the morons he teaches, we shall call his high school Ghetto High.   He teaches seniors at Ghetto High.  These young minds are about to enter the real world and I shudder at the though, be legally given the right to vote.  I see the papers he grades.  The “English” these kids use is horrid, atrocious, and cringe-worthy.  It’s the grading equivalent of mixing “Horders: Buried Alive” with the train wreck that is “Wife Swap”.  If my husband graded on spelling or grammar, no one would pass.   I feel bad for him.  He deals with these jackwagons (thank you R. Lee Ermey) day in and day out.  Every time I get a glance at these grading gems, my IQ drops 10 points.  No wonder some of his coworkers have to take Xanax to get through the day.  But I digress…
This abuse of the English language must stop.  Please join with me and pledge to write complete and comprehensible sentences.  Sentences that use ALL the letters that were intended to be there (This, children, is called SPELLING).  Sentences that have nouns, verbs and, if needed, pronouns, adjectives and adverbs.  Sentences that make you sound like an educated human being, not a hairy ape that escaped from the zoo.
Whew.  Thank you for letting me vent.
C U L8R (Tee-Hee) - Melissa
You know what makes me sad?  You do ya Jackwagon!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Today Is What Matters.

A couple of days ago while on twitter I ran across a quote that really spoke to me.  Tonight I will share it with you.

"In the end, what we regret most are the chances we never took." - Frasier Crane

I’m a planner.  I was always planning something.  Something in the future.  It might be redoing a room in our house (I am desperately trying to make a 1983 suburban house look like a Victorian.  Hardy Har Har, Lowes is laughing all the way to the bank), or what jewelry skill I may work on next, or some future jewelry design.  It was always something.  This constant future planning made it so I was always living in tomorrow, not today.

But then I got sick.  My world changed.  At first I was still living in the future, but only looking forward to the next diagnostic test or next doctors appointment that might give me an answer.  At somepoint I realized that the answer to my medical mystery was not going to be readily available.  My focus then shifted to just getting through each day.  I could not bear to think about tomorrow, today was more than I could say grace over.

While I still do not like them limitations my illness has placed on me (I get very tired after little effort), I have come to accept them.  I have also figured out how to modify my life to get the most out of it.  From the standpoint of running of my business, this works out quite well.  However…I’m not satisfied with that.

I’ve also decided I’m going to live my life the way I want to.  I am going to do what makes me happy.  I love steampunk.  I’ve recently bought some Victorian/steampunk type hats.  I like to wear them.  So I will wear them to run errands.  Sure, I get stairs from strangers, but I no longer care.  I’m wearing what makes happy.  I do hope my outfit choices are classy enough not to land me on one of the people of Wal-Mart sites.  I guess if I do, so what.

I’ve also decided that working to the detriment of my friends and family is no longer acceptable.  I’m going to take time for the people I love.  I recently made a trip to my parents in upstate NY.  Soon I hope to visit my brother in North Carolina.  He’s been asking me to visit for awhile.  After that, who knows.

From here on out I am going to squeeze as much happiness and I can from each day.  I am going to look at the glass as being half full.  I am going to stop and smell the roses, when they bloom of course.  I am going to find the best in people and celebrate it.

I just hope I have figured it out in time.  I want to make sure in the end, I arrive laughing and cheering and say, Whoa!  Whatta ride!  It sure was fun.  And I want to make sure there isn’t a single regret.

Until Tomorrow - Melissa

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Wild and Crazy Idea

I recently started to focus on my jewelry business full time (enter shameless plug… ) and I have a found so much support and help from the on line communities of Etsy, Twitter and Facebook.  It’s like this giant high five and hug all in one.  I have told so many people how awesome it is to have so much support and encouragement.

Tonight as I was seeing who I owed on twitter (shameless plug two @melissacreamer ), I was thinking to myself how great and positive twitter is.  However, it occurred to me, my experience is positive because I stay completely out of politics.  I feel as a business owner, I need to stay clear of voicing my opinion.  I do not want alienate possible customers.

Just for the record and full disclosure I would like to state that I am a conservative/libertarian that votes republican.  Before you stop reading my blog (leaving my mother as my only fan) and calling me a bunch of names, please hear me out.

What would happen if we all encouraged each other?  What would happen if we would see each other as fellow Americans…or heck...even humans?  What would happen instead of instantly attacking and insulting, we listened to the other’s position?  What would happen if we all understood a good compromise is where NO ONE is happy with the outcome, but it’s the best solution because it’s balanced?  What would happen if we turn off all the talking heads on the 24 news cycle and talked to each other?

I don’t have a crystal ball, so I can not tell you what would happen.  Wouldn’t it be fun to try?

Just a thought…they are after all RANDOM on this blog.

Until tomorrow - Melissa