A Health Break

As some of you might know, a few weeks back being in severe pain I had to go to the ER. After the weekend passed we had found out I had shingles. Trying to arrange my life with shingles wouldn’t be easy, I knew that. It would take a few weeks, but it can be done.

While working on that I developed a high fever. As usually, the flu comes up when you need it least, right? Or so I thought…

With all the medication I had to take for the shingles I did not want to uncontrolled take even more meds and end up unconscious in a corner one day with a cocktail of chemistry in my veins. I had survived the flu before and would survive again. Wonderful me.

Until I started coughing…

It was time to go back to the doctor. Diagnosis was quick: a massive infection… My ‘flu’ turned out to be a bad infection of the upper and lower respiratory system.

This means, sleeping, taking antibiotics, sleeping again… and trying to recover.

It will need a while. And during this recovery process I’m afraid I won’t be found behind the computer too often. I will be back as soon as I can. I miss writing and blogging.

But my health commands a break right now.

See you soon! Take care.

The Oddity Of Fairy Tales

Lately, I was invited to dinner at a friends’ house. Dinner was at 8 pm, and before dinner, she made sure her kids were in bed. She’s an amazing mother and told me, after their good night story they fell asleep quite quickly.

When I hear “good night story,” all alarms are ringing and shrilling in my head, remembering the stories I heard when I was a kid. So I asked her if she tells her kids Grimm’s fairy tales. Her facial expression was priceless. She swallowed her food and asked back: “Do I look sadistic?” I had to laugh… To us, this subject was over and out.

But in my head, I tried to recap what I remember from the fairy tales our parents read to us when we were little.

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The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids

Picture courtesy of: http://www.goethezeitportal.de

The wolf not only threatens the seven little goats but also eats six of them alive since the youngest could get away and tell their mother what happened. The mother grieved but then got the wolf who was too full to do much. While he was sleeping she cut his stomach open and let her six kids out (who were alive!), filled his belly with stones, stitched him up and he drowned when he wanted to drink. – What a happy end.

Holy Smokes: One wolf, swallowing six young goats – whole?

He doesn’t wake up when he’s cut open? And wolves are dangerous. I know, it’s a fairy tale and no reality show.

But hell we were scared to death from wolves. (And for some reason I don’t like goats either – I think they’re kind of dumb, standing there in a row waiting until the wolf swallowed the brother is a little weird). I can’t help myself, to me this doesn’t make sense.

 

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Little Red Riding Hood

Picture courtesy of: http://www.google.com

The girl’s grandmother lives in the woods, right? And she’s sick. What daughter leaves her sick mother in some wooden box out in the forest? And not only that: She sends her young daughter all by herself to visit her grandmother and bring her food! And a wolf eats an entire grandmother. Hungry Beast.
A mother who knows this is a deep dark forest, and there are all kinds of animals and seriously? You are sending your kid out there, all by yourself?

Are you out of your mind?

Worse is that there are mothers telling their kids this fairy tale. Why? In preparation of sending them around, all by themselves? GREAT!

 

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Hansel and Gretel

Picture courtesy of: http://www.goethezeitportal.de

Dear parents, think about it – do you ever want to tell your kids that you could be too poor to feed them? With this fairy tale, you more or less inform them that, in case money gets rare it could happen you’ll take them into the deepest forest and leave them there!

Additionally, you do tell them that there are really, REALLY ugly old women practicing black magic and threaten to stuff them in preparation to enjoy them as a meal! (I wonder why only the boys, but that’s a detail).

Be prepared that kids think about all kinds of things and the thought will occur that you might not wait until money is rare but try to get rid of them the next chance.

What should I say? At least this time there’s no wolf involved.

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Little Brother and Little Sister

Picture courtesy of: http://www.goethezeitportal.de

This is probably one of the weirdest fairy tales existing. Siblings who escape from their stepmother and ugly step-sister because they are fed poorly. They run away and go into hiding. Unfortunately, the stepmother has overheard their plans of running away and, being a witch, has bewitched all water holes in the forest. Soon the brother drinks from one and turns into a deer. You get the feeling they’re like six and seven years old when they take off.

But with what happens then I have to admit, I must have been wrong.

The king goes hunting and when the deer/brother hears that he wants to go out. (why in all the world is this dummy going outside in hunting season?) – However, the third day the wounded brother runs back to the hut they’re hiding, followed by the king, who sees the sister, falls in love within a Nano-second and gets married to her.

And then, two sentences later she all of a sudden becomes a mother, then ill, and then stepmother and stepsister become involved again somehow – until the happy end.

Which means, when the siblings took off, they must have been far over 17. And they can’t feed themselves? In the woods, they live off nuts and berries, and there it works? And she says yes to a man who just walked in the door for the first time? She must have been really hungry.

I wouldn’t want to tell this fairy tale to a child. It’s odd and confusing and doesn’t make the slightest sense.

But again: At least this time there’s no wolf involved.

 

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Sleeping Beauty

Picture courtesy of: http://www.google.com

A young princess who had a bad fairy wishing her that she’d die when turning sixteen, by stinging herself on a golden spindle. Three other fairies, the good ones, can turn death into a 100-year-sleep. That spell can only be broken by either the 100 years or a kiss of true love.

So far so good.

Now: be realistic, a spindle belongs to a spinning wheel. When in all the world does a princess EVER get close to a spinning wheel? She’s a princess; she’s got nothing to do there. For a while I considered my mother planned to sell me as a slave to a wool company. But at the time I grew up machines had largely replaced the common spinning wheel I doubt I was in real danger.

I was told that this poor girl, turning sixteen, fell asleep for – forever. And the castle was closed down and locked in by thorn bushes. Many men have cut and stung themselves to death by trying to get through and to the princess.

No wonder I’m completely screwed up when it comes to men! When hearing this fairy tale, I must have gotten the impression a man would give his life to get to a woman. I could think a guy would really fighting his way through thorn bushes but losing his life trying. And then I thought a man is walking into a room seeing a woman sleeping there and kissing her awake could really offer her a kiss of true love!? No wonder I got a completely surrealistic ‘enemy-image.’

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Cinderella

Picture courtesy of: http://www.google.com

Even when I was little, I had problems to believe parts of that story. A fairy? Birds? Doves? A tree? Gold and silver? And how on Earth can anyone walk in a glass shoe?

To match the shoe, both stepsisters cut parts of their feet off. I mean: can anyone really be this hell-bent on getting a prince? (Let’s say: remember Prince Charles? Thinking about him really make me feel the need of cutting of something – but I guarantee, that aren’t parts of me.) And how can any mother tell her little daughter that there are women cutting parts of their own body off to get married? Would I consider this teaching your little girl the total self-abandonment?

I’m not really sure where this story came from, but it seemed around the time brothers Grimm were alive, women did whatever necessary to lay hands on a man.

A very similar fairy tale exists in the Czech Republic, Tři oříšky pro Popelku (Three hazelnuts for Cinderella), written originally by Božena Němcová. In the 70s this fairy tale was turned into a movie, and I like it by far better than the Grimm-version. And just in case you’re curious: It does exist in English and does not scare children to death. Just click here

 

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Snow White

Picture courtesy of: http://www.goethezeitportal.de

A poor princess girl, treated badly? – Check. A bad, horrible stepmother being a terrible witch and queen? – Check. Magic? – Check. A prince trying to save the princess? – Check. All there for a horribly great fairy tale. I just think there are a few odd things in this story. Let’s start with the name of the main character. Who in all the world names her daughter “Snow White”? That’s not a name; it’s a color.

Second: The description of the princess: skin as white as snow, hair as black as ebony, lips as red as rose. This description scared me as a child already! It’s unnatural. Nowadays I suspect the girl must have been a vampire. But that’s only a detail. (The story does not say she sparkled in the sun though.)
Third: You tell your kid about that poisonous fruit, and you guarantee your daughter or son are making sure they steer clear of apples from that moment on. – Hey – you never know, right?

And last but not least: Are you going to tell your child it’s not only ‘okay’ to run off from home, but then you move in with seven single guys? Nice role model, I have to say.

 

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I know there are so many more fairy tales. But I figure I just picked the best known here not to end up writing a 6 feet blog post.

Are there any oddities in fairy tales you know – or heard as a child? Please, share them with us.

Introducing A Great Place To Write I

Picture courtesy of Café Coco

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I know this coffee house for years. Unfortunately lately I haven’t had much opportunity to spend time there. I’m just simply too busy.

But I have to say, I loved to go to Café Coco, order my coffee, something small and light from their menu and write.

The coffee house has a patio and a veranda outside, a bar inside and the coffee it serves is excellent. I always enjoyed the atmosphere in the old house and was usually very busy writing. Maybe it was the time within the old walls that tickled my creativity.

Additionally I kept meeting nice people, artists, writers, students… there was usually a lot of fun during the hours I was there.

Café Coco can be found at 210 Louise Ave, Nashville, TN 37203, within spitting distance of the Vanderbilt University.

Café Coco offers a diversified menu, online ordering, catering as well as live music. If you like to find out more, go to: http://cafecoco.com/

If you ever have the chance to spend some time there and write, please let me know how you liked it. I’d be curious.

 

Independence Day – 2017

I will not write a lot today. I’m just honoring the day, together with you, friends, family, and followers… thanks for your ongoing support!

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RAGGED OLD FLAG
by Johnny Cash

I walked through a county courthouse square,
On a park bench an old man was sitting there.
I said, “Your old courthouse is kinda run down.”
He said, “Naw, it’ll do for our little town.”
I said, “Your flagpole has leaned a little bit,
And that’s a Ragged Old Flag you got hanging on it.

He said, “Have a seat”, and I sat down.
“Is this the first time you’ve been to our little town?”
I said, “I think it is.” He said, “I don’t like to brag,
But we’re kinda proud of that Ragged Old Flag.”

“You see, we got a little hole in that flag there
When Washington took it across the Delaware.
And it got powder-burned the night Francis Scott Key
Sat watching it writing -Oh Say Can You See-.
And it got a bad rip in New Orleans
With Packingham and Jackson tuggin’ at its seams.”

“And it almost fell at the Alamo
Beside the Texas flag, but she waved on through.
She got cut with a sword at Chancellorsville
And she got cut again at Shiloh Hill.
There was Robert E. Lee, Beauregard, and Bragg,
And the south wind blew hard on that Ragged Old Flag.”

“On Flanders Field in World War I
She got a big hole from a Bertha gun.
She turned blood red in World War II
She hung limp and low by the time it was through.
She was in Korea and Vietnam.
She went where she was sent by her Uncle Sam.”

“She waved from our ships upon the briny foam,
And now they’ve about quit waving her back here at home.
In her own good land she’s been abused —
She’s been burned, dishonored, denied and refused.”

“And the government for which she stands
Is scandalized throughout the land.
And she’s getting threadbare and wearing thin,
But she’s in good shape for the shape she’s in.
‘Cause she’s been through the fire before
And I believe she can take a whole lot more.”

“So we raise her up every morning,
Take her down every night.
We don’t let her touch the ground
And we fold her up right.
On second thought I DO like to brag,
‘Cause I’m mighty proud of that Ragged Old Flag.”

(Source: http://www.inspirational-quotes-and-poems.net/independence-day-poems.html)

Picture courtesy of: http://www.imagesbuddy.com/

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The Pledge of Allegiance

I pledge allegiance to the Flag,
Of the United States of America
And to the Republic for which it stands,
One Nation, under God
Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for All.

 

Picture courtesy of: Tumblr18.Com

Father’s Day 2017

June 11 it’s been 20 years ago my Dad unexpectedly had been called from this Earth. Still I miss him, but I do carry him in my heart and sometimes I still hear his heartily laughter.

What I regret is, that I can’t tell him anymore what an amazing Dad he was to me!!

 

Happy Father’s Day up there, Dad.

 

Picture courtesy of: http://www.pinterest.com

 

 

Too Many Wings?

A surprising message in the news has caught my attention today. Plane had to land because of bird strike.

Now: Bird strike? That’s when birds fly into a plane, right? – Oh, wait! No, it’s the other way around. A plane flies into a bird swarm. Of course! Why in all the world would birds hit a plane?

And that moment, I’m afraid, my twisted brain played jokes on me, and I started to laugh.

‘Why would birds hit a plane?’

On a dare?

Imagine the following scene:
• “Hey there… want to join us?”
• “Yeah, okay.”
• “Cool… see that Airbus over there?”
• “Uhm… yes?”
• “Once through the turbine and you’re in.”

 

Picture courtesy of http://www.google.com

 

Or what about suicide birds? Of course, it made me laugh too; but after all, we don’t know what birds are thinking.
“I don’t want to live anymore… I hate it to be a bird… I suffer from vertigo!”

 

Picture courtesy of http://www.google.com

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I had to learn that indeed bird strike is a sincere problem and can in fact damage an airplane.
Seriously, I have been naïve about it. I just thought: “Hey… that’s an airplane, what can a bird do there? Scratch the windshield?”
I was told: “What do you think happens, if up there, 30,000 feet above the ground that little scratch through pressure and speed causes the windshield to break and fly off?”
I thought: “What? – Hmmm. What would happen, if the windshield of a plane actually does fly off?”
And to be honest, my joking brain, of course, thought about the pilot’s announcement: “Ladies and Gentlemen, here’s your captain speaking with some amazing news: We are now flying a convertible.”
My-oh-my… I know I’m bad.

 

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But honestly: I wish someone could explain to me what bird strike does to an airplane – in particular, a big airplane. I’m almost sure we aren’t talking about a flock of sparrows. How big do the birds have to be to become a danger to an airplane? How many birds would be in a swarm in such a case? If someone knows about it, please, let me know. Thank you.

 

The Day I looked Into The Mirror

Dear face,

 

After all these years of our cooperation, I thought I’d send you a letter. Just in case you’re asking yourself what the reason for this outpour is, there are several.

First, I’d like to say that I know it wasn’t always easy with me. Sometimes I have wanton neglected you, provided you with too much sun, too much snow or salt water. I let you experience dirt, mud, heat, ice, height, wind and air that cold, you nearly froze. I withheld the cream you needed, the humidity and once in a rare while, I paved you with makeup.

We both have come a long way together, and you went through so much with me, I felt I owe you an apology.

It’s time to realize; we’re facing the time when we aren’t silky and smooth anymore.

I discovered one thing today: you provided me with laugh lines. Nobody knows better that I love to smile and it shows. Thank you for them!

You don’t make me look grumpy and old – you make me look radiant, no matter what I put you through.
And I promise you something: no matter how deep these laugh lines get: I will never try to hide them by filling them with powder. There’s no reason. You show my humor. This bone flour is nothing but an agricultural damage.

You and I will be together for another very long time, and my laugh lines will get deeper. Maybe gravity will kick in. (Believe me, you’re not alone; the rest of the body is in that process too.)

But no matter what we’re going to face together, I hope we’ll never be losing our smile, our laughter, the sparkles in our eyes and our laugh lines.

I know I wasn’t always happy with you. But I figure, all in all, I could have gotten it worse.

I want to say thank you for going all the way with me – and I wish us both good luck for the future.

 

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(Copyright: Aurora Jean Alexander, June 2017)

 

Picture courtesy of: http://www.google.com