juliespeaks

The unvoiced thoughts and ideas of a septegenarian.

Celebrate New Years ?

It makes no sense to celebrate the first day of the year 
 Why is the first day of the year any different than the other 364? 
What significant event happened on the first day other then creation?

We don’t celebrate creation. We could seek out some beautiful spot and meditate gods wonders applaud the stray sky the leaping dolphins.

In terms of significant events there other days more significant. 
Certainly Passover the day we became free people though not for long
Some people would agree that pesach is more deserving of being referred to as the head of the year.

How do you use celebrate Rosh Hashanah  in such a way as to honor the creator and his creation ? 

I liked it I like to think of God as a magician. Witness the unbelievable variety of all that is in the world spotted leopards,  fish that swim on their tails, sunsets caterpillars that become moths. Leaping dolphins, babies carried in pouches, all manner of fauna and flora. 

Worshiping victory tour is not what it’s about appreciating his creation, applauding it, what does a prayer mean compared to “yeah G-d. Thanks for this world”.

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WRITING IS . . .

WRITING IS . . .

Over time I have collected some quotes about the craft of writing which I think are worth sharing with others who write. It’s questionable whether to call writing a craft, an art, a talent  or an obsession but that is another matter.

“Writing is a journey into memory and the soul . . . after a few months without writing I fear going deaf, not being able to hear the silence.”  Isabel Allende

“If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.” Isaac Asimov

“When you make music or write it’s really your job to have mind-blowing, irresponsible, condomless sex with whatever idea it is you’re writing about.” Lady Gaga

“Minds so small you could put them in a gnat’s navel with room left over for two caraway seeds and an agent’s heart.” Fred Allen

“Writers will go to stupefying lengths to get the infernal roar of words out of their skulls and onto paper.”  Barbara Kingsolver

“Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.”  Cyril Connolly

“There are many reasons why novelists write – but they all have one thing in common: a need to create an alternative world.” John Fowles

“If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you, I am here to live out loud.” Emile Zola

“It’s tougher than yak jerky in January, but as any creative person will tell  you, there are days when there’s absolutely nothing sweeter than creating something from nothing.” Richard Krzemien

“Detail makes the difference between boring and terrific writing . . .  As a writer, words are your paint. Use all the colors.” Rhys Alexander 

“I am the literary equivalent of a Big Mac and Fries.”   Stephen King.

“If  you have any young friends who aspire to be a writer, the second best thing you can do is to present them with The Elements of Style.  The best thing  you can do is to shoot them while they’re still happy.” Dorothy Parker

And finally, my favorite quote about writing:

“It is a delicious thing to write, to be no longer yourself but to move in an entire universe of your own creating. Today, for instance, as man and woman, both lover and mistress, I rode in a forest on an autumn afternoon under the yellow leaves, and I was also the horses, the leaves, the wind,  the words my people uttered….”  Gustave Flaubert

Which one really screams at you?

Julie Rose

Julierose601@gmail.com

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NUMBER ONE?

NUMBER ONE?

I don’t profess to be an expert in any area. I’m  unfamiliar with all the facts. I don’t read analyses of how other countries operate their governments.  Nonetheless, I am not blind and I am aware of a few things that that make me question the way theU.S.operates in some areas.

At the time the Shoguns of Japan were overthrown,Japansent delegates world-wide to study other countries systems  of  government, education, welfare, commerce and the like.Japan’s goal was to emulate the best that could be found in each sphere.  The country was open to learning from others.  It puzzles me why the U.S.  doesn’t do likewise.

How can you introduce kids to the beauty of opera when it costs a week’s paycheck to take them to a performance: when a family of five must fork out fifty dollars for admission to a botanical garden – plus  ten bucks for parking.   Such exposure to music and the arts  is nearly gratis in some European countries.

With smiles on their faces, Danes pay far weightier taxes than we. Never does a Dane receive a bill from the doctor.

A Japanese school in the U.S.puts a new student on the same page, in the same textbook, he had in Japan. That is far different from theU.S.where the standards in each state differ. If we ran the military the way we run our educational system soldiers would carry fifty different rifles. What kind of sense does that make? And that is but one of many reasons why kids from other countries outscore our kids in nearly every academic area.

Israel teaches new immigrants Hebrew in a short time enabling them to become self-sufficient. Why can’t the U.S emulate that system for the foreign speaking among us?

We could learn from those role models if we had more courage, a desire to change and improve: if we didn’t pat ourselves on the back and claim to be number one. The pity is our failure to recognize we’re not number one and DO something about it.

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Julie Rose

julierose601@gmail.com

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WHO AM I?

WHO AM I?

Who is the author of these blogs? Some of you know me; some of you think you know me; and some of you do not know me at all.  I could describe myself, give you a list of likes and dislikes, describe what I look like, talk about my values, dreams and regrets.  I could say I’m just an average person – never going to be rich or famous. I was better than a ‘C’ student  but I‘m not a genius.  I have no special talent and have never learned to play the piano as I wanted to.  I’m going to tell you a bit about me another way

I once took something called the Color Code Test. I don’t have a lot of faith in personality tests of this nature but I shared the results with my kids, my sister and a couple of other people who know me well.  Unanimously, they agreed it was accurate.  The test does not measure intelligence or specific characteristics.  Maybe this will give you some clues about the author of these blogs.

 

I AM A WHITE

My core motivation is peace.

I seek independence, require kindness, resist confrontation

I am an excellent listener

I am adaptable

I value diversity

I have a very logical mind

Whites are very good partners

I am very patient

I am typically satisfied; not envious.

Resist confrontation?  I sure do – at all costs   I don’t argue, stamp my feet or fight with anyone – ever. .As to the last two points.  One of the things I have failed to learn is patience. I make a supreme effort to be more patient than I am but often fail.   And, what is meant by satisfied? Satisfied with what? I suppose it means satisfied with my life, with where I am just now. No, I am not satisfied with where I live, the car I drive, the paltry income I must live on. I am satisfied with who I am, my kids, how I spend my time. And I admit to being envious in a few areas – not overall jealous, mind you, just selectively envious.

Are you patient, satisfied, envious?    Try putting a plus/minus sign next to each of those points depending on how you see yourself. Where do we click or butt heads?

 

Julie Rose

julierose601@gmail.com

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TESTOSTERON

TESTOSTERONE

 

I like men.  Growing up I had boyfriends, not girlfriends. I took great delight in sitting on the handlebars of Pete’s bike and being taken for a ride. I adored the guy who lived three doors away and let me drive his Harley –Davidson. I sat in awe of an English professor who had hyacinth blue eyes and smelled like the sweet tobacco he used in his pipe. I fell in love with one who draped me in Spanish moss and pretended I was his bride. As an adult I much prefer the company of, and conversation with, men rather than women.  I’d rather shoot pool in a pub than go to a tea party. I don’t, however,  long for a car that’ll win the Indy and I’ve no wish to outscore anyone on the golf course. I do prefer the ladies locker room with its aroma of fresh flowers rather than sweat, lavender scented hand lotion, hair dryers and thick, fluffy, pink towels.

 

Let it first be said I am not a biologist and have little concrete knowledge of hormones. There is a great deal of scientific research into the question of whether testosterone really leads to aggression. Much of it attempts to prove that testosterone – by itself – is not the bad guy but most studies conclude but that it plays an important role in  terms of both individual survival and procreation. There is also clear evidence of a connection between the hormonal effects of testosterone and the outward expression of aggressive behavior. While it is common to think of  testosterone in terms of sexual activity, it is, by no means confined to that arena. It plays a primary role in aggressive behavior exhibited in a variety of circumstances.

 

I have come to believe the Creator misjudged the amount of testosterone to be given to each sex.  Men have much more testosterone than women. There is no doubt in my mind but that testosterone is responsible for much of the world’s evil.  From the time they become adolescents, men are driven by that hormone. Every female in sight becomes a sexual challenge; every sport played is an opportunity to become “top gun.;”  every bit of land is a temptation to conquer. Can you find  a woman who has started a war?

 

Fantasy  – Wishful Thinking. What would the world be like if both sexes had been given an equal amount of that hormone in lower doses?  Men might understand they are not wimps if they compromise: that they do not have to conquer to be respected. Women might be a little less reticent to engage in challenging activities.  Our society might become one with less individual competition and more group co-operation. Our divorce courts might well be far less crowded.

 

Generally, the Creator made good choices when the world was created but I think He/She/It goofed up on that one.

 

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Julie Rose

Julirose601@gmail.com

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FOODIES AND COOKS

FOODIES & COOKS

 

There are those who shy away from the stove and depend on frozen TV dinners. I’ve no doubt General Mills and Sara Lee applaud them. They can’t, however, count me among them. Nor can the makers of Ketchup and mustard – camouflages for poorly prepared food or lousy ingredients.  I like to cook and I’m quite good at it. I abhor fast food and most carry-out stuff and happily wander between sink, stove and refrigerator. There are times I am convinced I was born in a kitchen, not in a hospital. (See poem following.) .  Why, you might ask, do you like to cook?

 

The answer is I find cooking to be a creative exercise.   How many twists can I put on mashed potatoes? What’s another way of making chocolate cream pie? What can I do to perk up this dull salad?  Can I safely substitute V-8 juice for catsup? I avoid having dinner parties with themes based on the Fourth of July or Thanksgiving. Where is the creative challenge to be found in celebrating those holidays?  I have no wish to spread an American flag on my table nor have little plastic turkeys scattered around between the wine glasses.   I much prefer to plan dinner parties for about twelve to fourteen based on themes other than Halloween or Mother’s Day.. Here are a couple I’ve done that tickled my imagination and offered a challenge. Recipes are available by request to my email address below.

 

I once read about “The Feast of the Seven Fishes,” an Italian, Catholic, tradition on Christmas Eve, supposedly commemorating the three day wait for Jesus’ resurrection.  I can’t imagine why an event that occurred at Easter should be celebrated at Christmas but, nonetheless, that’s what it is. Although I am neither Italian nor Catholic that “Feast” struck me as a culinary challenge.  Preparing seven fish entrees and accompanying side dishes for a dozen people is no small trick.  After tweaking a menu about 35 times guests were first served a smoked salmon spread on crosini, followed by codfish balls, then five different fish entrees. All fish dishes were accompanied by a starch of some kind and a vegetable. The Chinese whole sweet and sour red snapper and the pan fried Asian trout filets stole the show.

 

A few months later the dinner-theme bug bit me again.  This time it was to be a casual affair, with pillows on the floor, using paper plates and plastic utensils. Guests were invited to partake of an International menu. which consisted of: Israeli salad, Egg Rolls (Japanese), Spanopikita (Greek), Paella (Spanish), Pad Thai, Gorgonzola Pasta (Italian), Mongolian Beef, Persian Rice (Iranian), Asian Sweet & Sour Fish with Danish Apple Crumble and Norwegian Krumkaka for desert – all to be washed down with French wine and German beer.

 

It seems appropriate at this time of year to celebrate summer but I’ve yet to decide on a summer menu.  Briefly – very briefly – I thought about a “Kiddie Food” theme but macaroni and cheese, chicken fingers and PB&J sandwiches is not my idea of a culinary challenge. Summer?  Summer?  What would be on my summer menu? Maybe cold vichyssoise or gazpacho, apple cole slaw,  potato/onion gratin, Drunken Drumsticks, thin slices of rare roast beef atop a bed of sautéed spinach and, for desert, fresh strawberry or blueberry pie with Kailua flavored crème frache.  Gotta tune that up a little.

 

The Kitchen follows.

 

Post a comment – share a recipe.

 

Julie Rose

Julierose601@gmail.com

 

THE KITCHEN (abbreviated)

 

I’m convinced I was born in a kitchen, not in a hospital.

The oven was my womb; my umbilical cord led to the sink.

I came out smelling like garlic, whining like an old mixer. . . .

 

My kitchen is my inner self . . .

The oven affords me time for reflection

The blender scrambles my thoughts into new ideas. . .

It is my internal clock

Wakes me to the aroma of fresh brewed coffee. . .

Lulls me to sleep at night with warm herbal tea

 

The kitchen is my smile.

I grin at a plate of chocolate brownies

Beam at a tasty pasta creation

Clap for a stack of crispy potato pancakes.

Glow when others applaud some dish

It’s also my frown.

Aerated foam is not whipped cream

Burnt bottoms on muffins are cause for divorce

And sticky rice is not nice. . . .

 

My kitchen demands balance and imagination,

Judgment, prudence and patience

There my visa is stamped, a passport to adventure.

An introduction to food from other cultures

. . .

Bury me, please, not with a headstone,

But with a sprig of thyme under my nose

And a cherry tree at my feet.

 

 

 

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HUMOR

HUMOR       

 

I have decided all of my posts need not be serious, and if it is t rue that variety is the spice of life, I offer here a few things I find humorous.  I hope they brighten your day

 

ONE LINERS

 

“More and more of our imports are coming from overseas”. (George Bush)  How brilliant of you Georgie!

 

“I am the literary equivalent of a Big Mac and Fries.” (Stephen King)  Wouldn’t Freud love this guy?.

 

“Men have two emotions; Hungry and Horny. If you see one without an erection, make him a sandwich.”  No comment.

 

“Well, aren’t you a waste of two billion years of evolution.” The ultimate insult.

 

 

Excerpted lines from my poem, “MOTHERHOOD”

 

After you deliver them obstetrically you’ll deliver them by car – endlessly . . .

That’s motherhood

At the end of each day you’ll forget the spaghetti in junior’s hair,

You wish you had time to shave both legs at once –That’s motherhood. . .

Wishes shift from a cruise to a responsible baby sitter – That’s motherhood

You count the chocolate chips on each kid’s cupcake

Live on macaroni and cheese instead of tuna salad. . .That’s motherhood. . .

When they’re teen agers you hug them  to sniff for booze or pot. . .

To remain sane you avoid entering their bedrooms,. . .

Reluctantly write a check for Driver’s Ed – That’s motherhood . . .

You’ll come to believe that grandchildren

Are God’s gift for raising your own kids – That’s motherhood . . .

 

 

A JOkE

 

A  team of archaeologists was excavating inIsraeland came upon a cave. Written on the wall of care were the following symbols in this order.

A dog               A donkey         A shovel           a fish                A Star of David

 

They held a meeting to discuss the meaning of the inscriptions and  concluded the dog meant they had animals for companionship; the donkey meant they were smart enough to have animals help till the soil; the shovel meant they had  tools to help them; the fish meant that in times of famine they fished for food; and the Star of David meant they were obviously Jews.

 

Suddenly a little old Jewish man stood up in the back of the room and said, “I object to every word.  Everyone knows Jews don’t read from left to right, but from right to left.  Now, look again – It says:  “HOLY MACKERAL, DIG THE ASS ON THAT BITCH.”

 

Have a joke or a humorous comment you want to share?  Do so.

 

Julie Rose

Julierose601@gmail.com

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FANTASY 3 – THE SANDPIPERCChallenge.

Yet another fantasy.     If  you’ve been following this blog, you’ve read The Loon and The Peacock.  Here’s The Sandpiper.  Reading it again causes  nostalgia and wishful thinking to rear their heads.

THE SANDPIPER

            Now, nearly three decades later, I sometimes fantasize about what it would have been like to have married him. Then, as a young man, he was a bit of a maverick. He once picked me up for a dance, dressed in a tuxedo – but barefoot. One weekend he whisked me off to a deserted shack on a bayou when I didn’t even know what a bayou was. Skillfully he poled a skiff across it, delighting in my ignorance, and thoughtfully described the surroundings in his soft, southern drawl. We ate spaghetti with crayfish for breakfast.

Tall and lanky with sparkling blue eyes and copper-colored hair, his face wears a smile always. He is warm, loving, and more than generous. Even then I saw him in later life as a barefoot beachcomber and that is how we live now.

A rickety wooden cottage sits about 100 yards back from the shoreline. It contains only the essentials and a fine stereo system. Our house is full of music and laugher. We cook on an open stone fireplace and work at a picnic table on the front porch. The writing we do requires  minimal time and provides enough income for food and shelter. We collaborate on the kind of pictorial stories found in National Geographic.

The sea is our home. We spend hours walking the beach, gathering shells, making love in the surf. We sail to nearby islands for picnics, sometimes camping overnight. We snorkel and scuba and are expert surfers. We have accumulated an extensive nautical library and spend evenings in the soft glow of a flickering gas lantern studying the breeding habits of the manatee, reading aloud Kon-Tiki or sharing the adventures of Jacques Cousteau. We dream of someday being able to sail throughout the South Pacific.

 

We build bonfires on the sand and occasionally invite neighbors to share a fish boil and a sing-along. He plays both a guitar and a flute. Their melodies blend into the sound of the waves kissing the shore and the tide tumbling back to the sea as we all nestle in the sand around the dying embers munching on sticky, toasted,  marshmallows and sipping the wine a neighbor was kind enough to contribute. Another neighbor takes delight in pointing out stars and constellations as they come into view.

He frequently greets the morning sun with his flute and its soft, lilting tune is the first thing I hear as the sun begins to sift through my window. Together we sit on the sand and bid good night to the sun to the tune of his strumming guitar. The children of the beach have chosen him as their Pied Piper. His music calls to them. They giggle and tumble and build sand castles all around us. We share their joy, laugh, and sing with them.

We have few cares on this idyllic beach. We neither need nor want anything. Each of us, to the other, is enough. Casual touching, loving hugs, laughing eye contact and warm embraces are the ingredients of our daily lives. There is tenderness and gentleness, concern and consideration. We speak softly to each other just as the sea whispers to the sand on a calm sunny day. And we make love passionately just as the waves thunder against the shore in a storm.

The depth of this relationship exists in none of my other fantasies. It is, perhaps, what might have been.

(Sigh)

 

Challenge.  Describe and share your concept of ideal living c icumstances.

 

Julie Rose

julierose601@gmail.com

 

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PRIORITIES

PRIORITIES

 

Somebody once said to me, “I would like to be one of those who lets nothing important escape him.”  Are there such people? The implication of that statement is that one always knows what the important things are. I’m not sure that’s true either but I am sure that what is important at one stage of one’s life is not necessarily what is important at another time. If the things we consider important didn’t change, we’d all be stuck where we were at 18 or 19 or 20 and heaven help us if that were to happen!

 

The statement also presumes a sort of universality of importance when what is more likely, I think, is that we all have our own agendas as to importance. Yours and mine may be similar but you might find it more difficult than I to put down Melville or Keats in favor of taking a walk. That doesn’t mean you wouldn’t. It just means that on a scale of importance, you’d place a little more weight than I on the book in your hands. If you stayed with Keats and I took a walk does that mean you’ve let something important escape you or that you’ve opted to stay with what you deem important?

 

Certainly our understanding of what is important  changes with time. I do think, though, that there are things that are universally important. We all have our own opinions about what is important, but heaven help us if we ever get to the point where we cannot agree about the value, the goodness or evil, of some things. I deplore the sociological relativism that has stripped us of reasonable opinions of right and wrong, along with traditional values, and replaced those with absolutely nothing, as some of the social scientists, to their dismay, are beginning to discover.

 

It’s important to me that I continue to learn and not allow my brain to stagnate. My children and grandchildren – my blue ribbons – are important to me.Israel, Judaic values and the Jewish community are on my list of what’s important. So too is the exercise of whatever creativity I’ve been blessed with. It is important to me that I always keep in mind the oneness of mankind; that, to the best of my ability, I don’t neglect those in need; that I am tolerant of the views of other.

 

I have a copy of a poem by George Eliot on my refrigerator door. It serves to remind me what’s important. Eliot had it right:

 

If you sit down at set of sun and count the acts that you have done

And counting, find one self-denying deed, one word

That eased the heart of him who heard

One glance most kind that fell like sunshine where it went

Then you may count that day well spent

But if, through all the livelong day

You’ve cheered no heart, by yea or nay

If, through it all you’ve nothing done that you can trace

That brought the sunshine to one face

No act most small that helped some soul and nothing cost

Then you may count that day as worse than lost.

 

What are your  priorities?  Post a comment.

 

Julie Rose

Julierose601@gmail.com

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I’VE LEARNED

I’VE LEARNED

 

I sometimes ask myself what I have learned.  Usually I am dissatisfied with the answer.  It feels incomplete – as though by the age of 75 I ought to have learned a good deal more.

 

I have learned to be content with less than perfection. I accept the fact that I’m not going to win the Nobel Prize or be entered in the Guinness Book of Records. I’ve come to understand that my contribution to our troubled word is that I managed to raise three well adjusted kids, all of whom are considerate, honest, caring people. I take some pride in that and am past striving for more.

 

I have learned how little I know – how little I understand. There is a whole world of unread stuff – a universe of un-understood things – that beckons me every day. I have come to realize how insatiably curious I am. I always feel that even if I taste it, I won’t have digested it. I want to feel about something the way Helene Hanff feels aboutLondon– to know all its nooks and crannies, to weep at the sight of the Towers. I want to be inside the skin of an Israeli whose village is threatened – to be able to intelligently discuss what happened at the Finland Station – to comprehend Joyce, Shakespeare, Descartes and a host of others – to spend hours upon hours inside the world’s great museums and come away understanding something – and on and on .

 

I have learned that anger and self pity, jealousy and envy are self-defeating. I have learned and appreciate the fact that mankind is one kind and I strive to incorporate that point of view in all I do and say.

 

I have learned not to waste worry. I know I am too trusting but I have no desire to be anything but.  ‘Parlous’ times are not familiar to me. I have learned to value and take pride in some personal qualities that, some years ago I didn’t recognize. I like my flexibility, my open-mindedness, the things that make me caring and loving, whatever creativity I possess.

 

One of the most important things I have learned occurred one day on about the 50th lap of a one mile swim in a pool.  Like a bolt of lightening I suddenly realized that subjecting ones self to unpleasant living circumstances only causes one to lose self respect.

 

On the other hand, I have failed miserably to learn anything about cynicism or skepticism. Essentially (foolishly?), despite all evidence to the contrary, I  believe  good will triumph over evil and that people are basically kind and honest. I have been sensible enough, however, to have taken my phone number off the number/address tracking line and I don’t walk down dark alleys.

 

I have also failed to learn much about patience and how to control my impulse to snoop.  If it wasn’t illegal I’d probably open other people’s mail.  Nor can I control my tendency to be critical of those who butcher the English language.  I haven’t learned how to participate in small talk nor how to reach out and make friends.

 

In a discussion about satisfaction I was given a quote from an inscription at the Ryoanji Temple in Kyoto, Japan. It said: “I am content with what I lack.”  I don’t lack the essentials but I am not content with living alone, the lack of enough resources to travel, my medical problems.  I have, however, learned to be content with what I lack.

 

Surely there’s more – more I’ve learned and more I’ve failed to learn. I’ve yet to determine what they are.

 

What have you learned? Are you content with what you lack?

 

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Julie Rose

Julierose601@gmail.com

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