Black Friday and Shameless Plug Day

Ode to Black Friday

I do not like Black Friday, sir
I do not like the brrr, grrr, whirrr
I do not like to fight over socks,
I do not like to get crammed in a box
store, you will not see me at the Mall
I do not like it, no, not at all.
The crazy, scrambling, hunter’s race
doesn’t fit my ambling, gatherer’s pace
I like to feel, I like to sniff
I like to take my time and if
I take more time than Sally and Sam
it’s the way I shop, and it works for me, ma’am.
So you will not find me camped outside the store
You will not find me standing at dawn at the door
You will not find me wedged in the mall’s lot
or crammed in traffic, with wares newly-bought.
For I do not like Black Friday, friend.
Well, except online shopping maybe – they’ll send.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell (from A Poem Lives on My Windowsill)

Today is Karen’s shameless plug day. Yeah. I know. Stop cheering.

So here’s what we’ve got to plug right now (and all of these books can be found on Amazon, as well as ordered through other book stores like Barnes and Noble, etc.) –

Some of you may be familiar with my “Madcap Christian Scientist” series.

The first book in the Madcap series (published in August 2005) was Blessings: Adventures of the Madcap Christian Scientist. As I explain in the Introduction, I wrote this book “to introduce you to one Christian Scientist so that if you ever hear someone talking fearfully and ignorantly (feargnorantly?)  about Christian Scientists you’ll be in a position to say,  ‘I have a friend who’s a Christian Scientist, and, although it’s true she’s a bit of a nut, she’s also … ‘  and you can go on and talk about how your friend has used her study of Christian Science to try to make the world a happier place.”

I wrote the second book in the series, The Madcap Christian Scientist’s Middle Book, as I was nearing the end of an experience with a massive depression. As I write in the Introduction: “My son and I recently talked about my previous book, Blessings: Adventures of a Madcap Christian Scientist. I told him that book was true for the person I was then, and I’m glad I wrote it, but I couldn’t write the same book now. Andrew told me I should write another book then, for this time in my life. I told him that my recent life experience has been kind of dark. He said I should write about that then, and he started talking about trilogies – how almost every life story has three parts – the first book is usually happy and innocent, the second one is dark and challenging, and the last book is the triumph book. Andrew said it was time for me to write ‘the middle book.’ He assures me the book about the golden years will come, but he says that book can’t come until the middle book gets written. So what you see here is me sucking it up and writing The Middle Book.”

I wrote The Madcap Christian Scientist: All Things New, the third book in the series, to celebrate the re-birth I found on the other side of the depression.  I wrote: “Two years ago I would never have been able to guess where I’d be today, what I’d be doing, and what new people I would be calling my friends and colleagues. Two years ago my youngest son was close to graduating from high school, my 20-year career as a public school teacher was winding down, and I was looking for a new job and a new purpose to fill my days. Two years ago I was starting over. It was scary. It was exhilarating. It was absolutely awesome!”

There’s a fourth book with “Madcap Christian Scientist” in the title, and that’s The Madcap Christian Scientist’s Christmas Book, which is about… well… Christmas.

I’ve also published two books of poetry, A Poem Lives on My Windowsill (where you can find the poem featured on the top of this post), and The Brush of Angel Wings – published as I was working my way through the passing of my mother.  There’s also a book I wrote about the lessons I learned from Mom and Dad in the year before Dad’s 98th birthday, Finding the Rainbows: Lessons from Dad and Mom.

Dad’s autobiography, Memoirs of a Dinosaur Mountaineer, is on the market, too. Dad has had an amazing life – he’s climbed some of the highest mountains in the world, traveled on six of the seven continents, and hobnobbed with some of the planet’s most interesting humans.

BookCoverPreview - Memoirs of a Dinosaur Mountaineer

And my son, Xander, also has a book for sale right now, Dream Voyage – which sells for $5.99 as an Amazon print book, and 99 cents on Kindle. I believe I shall close this shameless plug with one of Xander’s poems:

Where Happiness Lives

Golden lights
and the deepest shadows.
Smiling faces illuminated by life.
A commodity where I come from.
An inherent condition here.
Where joy runs rampant
like that one naked man who,
in the presence of a police officer,
streaked across the town in the wake
of the city-wide party,
the officer laughing in mutual enjoyment
before calling the man by his first name,
as a friend and a neighbor,
to get his shit together.
– Xander Terrell, Dream Voyage

xanders-book-cover-dream-voyage

Advertisements

Drives with Dad (10-11-17)

Over the past year or so I’ve been chronicling the drives I take with my dad (now 99). This morning I thought I’d share the most recent adventure with my WordPress friends –

“I’m Running for President”
October 11, 2017

Picked Dad up for a drive to Urgent Care this morning.
As we’re getting him down the stairs and to the car –
Dad: I’m running for President.
Karen: (involuntary grin – Dad appears to be in fine form this morning) I’d vote for you!
Dad: Do you really think I’d make a good President?
Karen: I think you’d be great!
(As we situate him in the car.)
Dad: I don’t want to bring my walker. I don’t think you can be President if you have a walker.
Karen: Roosevelt had polio. He used a brace.
Dad: (nodding his head) That’s true. But he had a lot of people backing him. (An old receipt starts to work its way out of my car as Dad moves his feet in – I pick up the receipt and shove it back into the car.)
Dad: I don’t think anyone would vote for a President with a messy car.
(I start laughing.)
Dad: I wonder how many other old men in this nation are trying to get into a car right now.

As we drive to Urgent Care Dad talks more about his campaign for Presidency.
Dad: I think you should run for President. You’re a teacher. What more do you need to be? (Thinking.) I wonder how many other daughters are driving their fathers around right now?

I help Dad out of the car and into the waiting room at Urgent Care.
Dad: Do Peter and David  know about your attempt to make me President?
(I shake my head no. I don’t really know how to respond to that one.)
Dad: How do we know when the joke’s gone far enough? When do they eliminate me?
Karen: (I assume Dad’s talking about being eliminated from the presidential race – but he’s talking really loud and everyone can hear him, and I don’t want there to be any misunderstandings.) Daddy, no one’s going to eliminate you.

We have a wait. Other people who arrived after us have now been called to the back rooms. I ask the receptionist if maybe Dad’s been forgotten. She goes to check for me and discovers his chart is missing, and there was some miscommunication somewhere – one nurse thought the other nurse was looking at Dad, and the other nurse thought the first nurse was looking at Dad. Everyone’s very apologetic and Dad is quickly brought into the triage room. Soon he’s been diagnosed and given a prescription and we are on our way. I stop at Dairy Queen to buy him a root beer float – he has earned it, for sure. He focuses on his float. He’s no longer talking about his bid for the Presidency.

I drive him back to his home, and we unload him. I bring a package in with me that his nephew, Brad, sent him and read to Dad the enclosed note from Brad. Brad has sent him a screen dealy that is loaded with a memory card of thousands of pictures taken by Dad. Dad is smiling – really grateful for this gift. I tell him I need to get back to school now.

Dad: Thank you for driving me around this morning.
Karen: I love you, Daddy.
Dad: I love you, too.

 

 

 

Summer Reading

“You thought you had failed, Captain Ban. But you did not fail. My mission was to save the cosmos, but I could not function until I found the focal point. And that focal point was in your strength, your human defiance of all destiny. It was your voice, crying, ‘I won’t, I won’t, I won’t!’ that guided me, brought me here. I go now, forever from your cosmos and your consciousness. But there is no need for me any longer. The Covenant is ended. I leave you with all you require to survive—your humanity, which is your strength.”
– Robert Bloch, from Isaac Asimov’s 15 Short Stories

I read some really awesome books during my summer vacation: Isaac Asimov’s 15 Short Stories, David Z. Hirsch’s Didn’t Get Frazzled, and Irene Pepperberg’s Alex and Me. Here are some quotes from these books that I thought my readers might enjoy:

“There was a moment beyond which there was no next second.”
– Murray Leinster, from Isaac Asimov’s 15 Short Stories

“The feeling was that the cosmos had turned askew, and the horizon had tilted so that what should have been the east was up, and what should have been the west was down—and he tended to fall toward it—and the beach was merely before him and the sky behind.”
– Murray Leinster, from Isaac Asimov’s 15 Short Stories

“They have attained to thermonuclear power, have they?”
“Yes, sir.”
“Well, that’s the criterion.” Naro chuckled, “And soon their ships will probe out and contact the Federation.”
“Actually, Great One,” said the messenger, reluctantly, “the Observers tell us they have not yet penetrated space.”
Naron was astonished. “Not at all? Not even a space station?”
“Not yet, sir.”
“But if they have thermonuclear power, where then do they conduct their tests and detonations?”
“On their own planet, sir.”
Naron rose to his full twenty feet of height and thundered, “On their own planet?”
“Yes, sir.”
Slowly, Naron drew out his stylus and passed a line through the latest addition in the smaller book. It was an unprecedented act, but, then, Naron was very wise and could see the inevitable as well as anyone in the Galaxy.
– Isaac Asimov, 15 Short Stories

“This thing was important. He didn’t know why it was, of course. Grand Masters rarely did. That’s what made them Grand Masters; the fact that they were beyond reason.”
– Isaac Asimov, 15 Short Stories

“…always there was the driving effort on each side to break the stalemate, to develop a parry for every possible thrust, to develop a thrust that could not be parried in time—something that would make war possible again. And that was not because either side wanted war so desperately, but because both were afraid that the other side would make the crucial discovery first.”
– Isaac Asimov, 15 Short Stories

“Each different squiggle stood for a different number. For ‘one’ you made a kind of mark, for ‘two’ you make another kind of mark, for ‘three’ another one and so on.”
“What for?”
“So you could compute.”
“What for ? You just tell the computer—”
“Jimmy,” cried Paul, his face twisting with anger, “can’t you get it through your head? These slide-rules and things didn’t talk.”
“Then how–”
“The answers showed up in squiggles and you had to know what the squiggles meant. Mr. Daughterty says that in the olden days, everybody learned how to make squiggles when they were kids and how to decode them, too. Making squiggles was called ‘writing’ and decoding them was ‘reading.’ He says there was a different kind of squiggle for every word and they used to write whole books in squiggles. He said they had some at the museum and I could look at them if I wanted to. He said if I was going to be a real computer and programmer I would have to know about the history of computing and that’s why he was showing me all these things.”
Niccolo frowned. He said, “You mean everybody had to figure out squiggles for every word and remember them? Is this all real or are you making it up?”
– Isaac Asimov, 15 Short Stories

“Later on, I looked up how to spell Mesozoic, which is why I got it right, in case you’re wondering, and I found out that the Mesozoic Era is when all the dinosaurs were doing whatever dinosaurs do. But of course at the time this is just so much double-talk to me, and mostly I was thinking we had a lunatic talking to us. Joe claimed afterwards that he knew about this Mesozoic thing, but he’ll have to talk lots longer and louder before Ray and I believe him.”
– Isaac Asimov, 15 Short Stories

“Take an individual cell out of your body, even a brain cell, and what is it by itself ? Nothing. A little blob of protoplasm with no more capacity for anything human than an amoeba. Less capacity, in fact, since it couldn’t live by itself. But put the cells together and you have something that could invent a spaceship, or write a symphony.”
– Isaac Asimov, 15 Short Stories

“He focused on the other parts of the ship, marveling at the diversity of life. Each item, no matter how small, was sufficient to itself. He forced himself to contemplate this, until the unpleasantness of the thought grated on him and he longed for the normality of home.”
– Isaac Asimov, 15 Short Stories

“It was a terribly unhappy and unnatural thing to be parted from all the rest of the unified organism, to be a life fragment oneself. How could these aliens stand being fragments?”
– Isaac Asimov, 15 Short Stories

“I can’t find myself here, there are too many people.”
– David Z. Hirsch, Didn’t Get Frazzled 

“Listen. Forget about rounds, forget about everything except this: the patient comes first. You do what you need to do, even if it turns out you’d been wrong, or you’d overreacted, or you’d pissed somebody off to get it done — it doesn’t matter. As long as you have the patient’s best interests at heart, no one is going to be that mad at you, okay?” ​I nodded.
– David Z. Hirsch, Didn’t Get Frazzled 

“On my way back up here — and I had a good ten minutes to think while waiting once more for the two local elevators — questions racked my brain: Why had that been so difficult? Why do we have to fight the system to give our patients the care they need, the care that everyone here except me is paid to provide? And if nobody else cares, how long will it be until I break, too?”
– David Z. Hirsch, Didn’t Get Frazzled 

“But it’s not how it should be. It’s not conducive to developing thoughtful doctors. If you put all the emphasis on the cutting and devalue interactions with people, of course the patients will be thought of as no more than a slab of meat.”
– David Z. Hirsch, Didn’t Get Frazzled

“The intake paperwork identified him as Alexander Hamilton, but I had my doubts.”
– David Z. Hirsch, Didn’t Get Frazzled 

“But the one thing the Biblical period contained that the modern era did not was people communicating with God. At least, I used to believe that until I met patient after patient who regaled me with their idiosyncratic scriptures. ​This led me to the obvious question: were the biblical prophets schizophrenic, or were we medicating our modern prophets?”
– David Z. Hirsch, Didn’t Get Frazzled 

“Alex taught us that we are a part of nature, not apart from nature. The ‘separateness’ notion was a dangerous illusion that gave us permission to exploit every aspect of the natural world—animal, plant, mineral—without consequences. We are now facing those consequences: poverty, starvation, and climate change, for example.”
– Irene Pepperberg, Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence–and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process  

“Deb Rivel, a friend and The Alex Foundation board member, put it this way: ‘Alex taught me the meaning of oneness. What I learned from him also supported what I always have known to be true: that there is just one Creation, one Nature, one good, full, complete Idea, made up of individuals of all shapes and designs, all expressing their oneness with one God. We are not different because we look different, but we all reflect the eternal beauty and intelligence of one Creation in our own peculiar way. It’s what makes up the whole—this textured fabric of thought and existence—and knowing Alex has underscored to me how much the same we really are.’”
– Irene Pepperberg, Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence–and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process

“You never know what the tide will bring in…”

One night during the depression, I got an encouraging call from my youngest brother, David, who had heard I was struggling. Near the end of our conversation, he said something that has stayed with me in the years since then. “Karen, did you ever see that movie with Tom Hanks where he gets stuck on the island?” Yes, I told him, I’d seen that movie. “For four years he was trying to get off that island,” my brother said, ”and then one day the tide brought in that piece of metal that he could use for a sail. He wasn’t expecting it. He couldn’t have known it was going to come in with the tide. But it saved him. You never know what the tide will bring in that will save you.”

And, man, ain’t that the truth? Just as I have found that there’s no way I can predict what form help and “salvation” will take for me, I have found that, if I just keep my thought open to all the good that God offers us, every moment, I’ll find everything I need to get me off my mental “island.”

(Excerpt from The Madcap Christian Scientist’s Middle Book.)

The_Madcap_Christian_Cover_for_Kindle (2)

 

A Heart-Felt Apology

Well… dang!!! When I first published my latest book I went through it with a fine tooth comb – cleaned out the misspellings, the commas in the wrong places, wrong tenses, yada yada, before letting everyone know it was out there, and then I re-published it. So this morning I started reading the up-dated book – and… ahem… it seems I ADDED a wrong tense when I re-published. Yeah. On the very first poem. For those of you that spent your hard-earned money to buy the edited version – the version wherein I edited in an “s” to the end of a word that should have stayed s-less, my heart-felt apologies. It has now been fixed and re-published. In the words of Vonnegut: “How embarrassing to be human.”

Here’s the poem I fixed:

Two Earthworms

 I came upon two earthworms on the sidewalk today –
their noses suspended in the air, frozen by the heat
of the sun – dried out and stiff
and I reached down and plucked up the first
and carried him to the dirt.
I dug a little hole for him and covered him
with earth – a grave to bring him back to life.
Gently I used my fingers as tweezers and pulled
the second worm from the sidewalk
and lifted him to the moist soil, laid him down,
and covered him with a wet leaf.
Fare thee well, my new friends –
May you revive and spend the rest of your days
happily leaving a trail of rich earth in your wake.

The revised revision should be listed on Amazon in a couple days…
Sigh.

The_Brush_of_Angel_W_Cover_for_Kindle

First Review for Brush of Angel Wings

I got my first review for The Brush of Angel Wingsand it totally made my day:

“The author of The Brush of Angel Wings never fails to disappoint me. The poetry in her latest book causes a wide range of emotions in the reader, from joy to sadness, happiness to grief, humor to acceptance. Every poem is unique, yet the author’s distinct style can be found in each one. I enjoyed seeing glimpses of the author’s life through her poetry. I can’t wait for her next book to be released. -MM”

The_Brush_of_Angel_W_Cover_for_Kindle

New Book!

New book on the market! The Brush of Angel Wings is a collection of poetry that shares my thoughts on the passing of my mother, the changing political scene, and the nature of unchanging, eternal Love.

Here’s the opening poem from the book…:

Two Earthworms

I came upon two earthworms on the sidewalk today –
their noses suspended in the air, frozen by the heat
of the sun – dried out and stiff
and I reached down and plucked up the first
and carried him to the dirt.
I dug a little hole for him and covered him
with earth – a grave to brings him back to life.
Gently I used my fingers as tweezers and pulled
the second worm from the sidewalk
and lifted him to the moist soil, laid him down,
and covered him with a wet leaf.
Fare thee well, my new friends –
May you revive and spend the rest of your days
happily leaving a trail of rich earth in your wake.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

The_Brush_of_Angel_W_Cover_for_Kindle