CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

July 11, 2008

BRAMBLES (Brief RAMBLES) 1-6 July 1, 2008


In a world where there is so much to complain about, a good attitude is a welcome relief. However, on a couple of occasions I’ve found that a bad attitude produces surprising results. Two sections of this issue of BRAMBLES— SOMETIMES IT PAYS TO BE SELF-CENTERED AND OBNOXIOUS…. and SASSINESS WORKS AGAIN…— report these occasions. TREASURES AMIDST CHAOTIC CLUTTER is the third piece in today’s offerings.

SOMETIMES IT PAYS TO BE SELF-CENTERED AND OBNOXIOUS….
   When my husband and I attended church one Sunday, we heard a missionary speak. Since I did freelance writing for the local newspaper, I saw this as an opportunity for a future article. I knew I could get the story later, but I also knew getting a photograph would be difficult later, since the speaker was leaving town. After the service, I told Monte I wanted to take a picture before leaving, but he wanted to leave at that moment.
   “No,” I stated. “I am going to get the picture.”
   I usually try to accommodate Monte’s wants, but this time I objected. And I did it obnoxiously, not caring what his need was.
   Enroute home, he told me a conversation he had with another retired pastor. When he informed Ben that we lived in Laurel Mountain Borough, Ben said he had friends looking for a home in there. The two homes on the market were not appropriate to his friend’s needs.
   I asked Monte if he’d mentioned that our neighbor was preparing to put her house on the market. He said no, he hadn’t thought about it.
   At my encouragement, he phoned Ben to tell him about this prospect. Ben came out and looked at the outside of the house, and with our description, contacted his friends. I mentioned this to my neighbor and the young couple came to town on Tuesday. By Thursday, they’d contacted my neighbor, making an offer.
   Because I was obnoxious with Monte, a contact was made that allowed my neighbor to sell her house without ever putting it on the market, and for a young couple to find the perfect setting for themselves, their children and the wife’s elderly mother.
Perhaps I was wrong to be obnoxious, but as Dr. Noitall stated in Science (V. 20, 1 Dec. 2000, 1693) “Society only gets progress on the basis of error…Error is essential for progress.”

SASSINESS WORKS AGAIN…
   Monte and I were going through a rough time one Christmas. While grocery shopping, I reached the end of my rope, and told him while he checked out I would go to the neighboring dress shop.
   When I entered the store, I was greeted by a sales lady with a foreign accent.
   “Oh, where are you from,” I asked.
   “Lithuania,” she responded.
   What a coincidence! My homemade ornament that year was to feature a Lithuanian background. I was basing the ornament (something I do instead of cards) on the theme the Ninth Day of Christmas. Since my mother was half Lithuanian, it seemed an appropriate honor. I had a photo of my mother in a dance costume, and since she was half Lithuanian, the background idea seemed logical.
   The Lithuanian clerk and I chatted a few minutes, exchanged phone numbers, and agreed to meet later.
   At the coffee shop where we met, we took up the whole back room for a couple of hours. She spread out the myriad of fabric, crafts and jewelry, which she had brought, and over conversation I took a multitude of photographs. And at the last minute (even though I had planned this ornament months in advance) my “cards” were ready to mail.
Had I not been, well, sassy and aggravated with hubby, I would probably still be looking for the Lithuanian background for my Christmas card/ornament!

TREASURES AMIDST CHAOTIC CLUTTER
   Speaking of Christmas cards, since my cards are ornaments, there are limitations to what I can do. The ornament has to be flat, fit in a regular envelope, and cannot contain anything perishable or breakable. Since I also made about 350 ornaments, they required more imagination than time.
   That said, I’m always seeking ideas and materials. I spent two years collecting metal lids from fruit juice cans (which were a little beyond the usual standards, in that they required more postage than normal) on which I was going to hand paint my decoration.
   My daughter Sandy said I cannot throw anything away. She’s right. I come by it naturally. I studied occupational therapy, which teaches that anything can be used creatively. My ecological bent also indicates that anything that can have a use, do not discard for the landfill. Thus, I collect everything non-typical. When our church burned, I collected ash, plaster dust and shingles. When our house burned, I made an ornament from the charred wood (it made great coal for the miniature stockings, which required more postage to send).

So my eclectic, creative side causes, more often than not, chaos. It also provides whatever odd item anyone should need for a craft project.

And I walk a fine line between total control of my environment and utter chaos.

If only I could find a way to recycle the high fertility that governs dust kittens, plastic bags, and the mountains of paper junk that enters my house! Walking a fine line between total control and utter chaos.

For additional reading:

For additional reading:

VOICES OF WILDERNESS: PEACE MEETING

BLACK FLIES AND OTHER INSECTS: Then and Now

OF FIREFLIES AND LIGHTNING BUGS

THE ICE CREAM MAN

KEEPING PEACE IN SOUTH AFRICA Part 1

KEEPING PEACE IN SOUTH AFRICA Part 2

CHILDREN LEFT HOME ALONE (or in cars alone)

ANOTHER HORRIFYING HEADLINE

KILLED STRANGELY: A NEW ENGLAND MURDER STORY

A FATHER-DAUGHTER REUNION

BEAR STORIES ACROSS THE NATION

FLASHY MOON EXPLOSIONS

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