My New Love/Hate Relationships

I love discovering a new idea or a fresh way of looking at an old idea. If scientists were to scan my brain while I am exploring a subject about which I am passionate, they would observe synapses lit up like a Christmas tree.

Mastering a skill is thrilling. Anyone who has learned to tie his shoes knows this is true. We are at our natural best when we accomplish a goal which initially seemed impossible. Humans, every single one of us, when we have risen to a challenge and stand victorious at the finish line, we experience exhilaration that makes us want to shout out YEAH, BABY!

Teach a man to fish, and all that jazz. There is something to the whole self-reliance thing, and what better place to grab hold of knowledge that helps us to reach that all-important independent state of being than school, right? WRONG!

Conformity, mediocrity, and soul-sucking monotony are the hallmarks of the scholastic experience beyond kindergarten. This is especially disappointing at the college level. The process of signing up for the classes you need, on the day you need, at the time you need, with a professor who isn’t a complete horse’s ass, or worse, biding time until retirement or death, takes the joy right out of learning before you ever step foot in a college classroom.


In case you are wondering, I’ve been up since 2A.M. The insomnia has officially set in and my brain is working overtime for no reason at all. In this moment, I am listening to rain pouring onto the already saturated ground in my garden. My new discoveries at the Texas Native Plant Society’s plant sale last weekend are getting a good soaking. Springtime rains are much appreciated here in North Texas. So, I am not complaining about the rain. It’s just that I planted drought tolerant plants. I hope they don’t drown before the scorching heat of summer gets a chance to beat the life out of them.

Which brings me back to my momentary disdain for academia. It seems the learning process is designed to beat the life out of us. The theory of natural selection makes much more sense to me now that it ever did. Survival of the fittest wins out in a world where those who can, do and those who can’t, invent ways to beat the life out of those who dare to think they can. (Not talking about dedicated educators here.) Please don’t get all butt hurt because your mother is a hard-working, underpaid school teacher.

Of course, this feeling is magnified by my being on the verge of spontaneous combustion at any moment. I know that in a few weeks, the pressure will subside and all will be right with the world. That is, until the summer session begins.

I love being a student. I hate the college experience.

I love being a woman. I hate menopause.


What Has Happened To My Blog? OR Hey WP, What Gives?


This morning, after a month-long absence from blogging, I had an epiphany. It has been too long since I did any writing just for fun. So, I asked myself, why not purchase the premium upgrade to get rid of crappy ads and jazz up the site with some customized fonts?

Oh, and while I’m at it, go ahead and write a post today?

I had a great idea for a come back post, with a fun title even. “No Excuses Aloud (sp), Only Written Ones.” So, I logged in to WP, and low and behold I discovered my blog still exists! Howevah, I could not purchase the premium upgrade. It is not available. This made me curious. What is going on here? WP doesn’t want my money? Have I been banned from blogging due to using #ADSBELOWTHISPOSTARENOTENDORSEDBYTHISBLOGGER at the end of my posts? Thought to be dead due to inactivity?

What gives with this “upgrade unavailable for” business?

So, I send these words out into the ether in hopes that I’ve not been deleted from the blogosphere, left only with the shell of a blog now abandoned by all of its dear readers.

Happy Springtime to anyone out there still reading.



Fire In The Hole


Today I am confronting that blogger’s dilemma, to blog or not to blog; more precisely, whether to continue to blog. I should be doing the dishes or the laundry or my homework. Instead, I decided to light a fire and give some thought to my blogging activities.

This blog began as a way to help me process grief. You can read more about that here. I also wrote a book which helped me express my emotions during that painful time. You can read more about that here. While I was fumbling around learning how to blog, I began to discover that I enjoy writing. I also discovered that I needed to become better at it. That’s when I discovered Friday Fictioneers and my blogging world changed forever. Shortly after making all of these discoveries, I decided to go back to school.

Now I write ALL THE TIME.

Academic writing doesn’t seem much harder to me than blogging. Don’t get me wrong, it is challenging, but for the most part what I’ve been doing couldn’t really be considered that scholarly. Reflective essays are not the same as a dissertation. The closest I’ve come to that level of research was my grant proposal.

Now THAT was challenging.

From my novice perspective, creative writing here in the blogosphere does require a sense of purpose similar to academic composition. State your thesis (rant). Back it up with something more than, “because I say so” and throw in a few pictures here and there. Most of all, as my friend Rochelle has taught me, make every word count.

It seems simple enough. However, I often wonder if my regular readers are out there asking, “What have you done for us lately, HonieBriggs?” You know what I’m talking about. We question if our blog is fresh and relevant or if it is a bag of moldy bran muffins. Have I done a good job engaging readers? Should I take it in a new direction? I assure you this will not turn into a cooking blog. I don’t have the time to prepare and photograph beautiful food. Besides, I really don’t use recipes much. Yes, a pantster in the kitchen too.

I do think maybe I’m all over the place and perhaps I should pick a subject already. Nah!

Blogging has brought a great deal of joy into my life. I have shared photos, rants, personal challenges, poetry and prose, and made some new friends along the way. It is an affordable addiction, and one I’m not ready to give up on just yet. So, I am looking for ways to spruce up the joint. With any luck, this little blog of mine will get a new lease on life. Otherwise it will be blown to smithereens. Let me know if you have ever thought about making a run for it and how you managed to keep calm and blog on.


2015, I’m All Over It!


Another year, now what?

Recount the holiday hoopla and subsequent holiday hangover? Scratch out a feeble map for the journey through winter and poise for the herald of spring? Nah! How about we cut to the chase. Here’s the skinny, the straight dope, the bottom-line…

Kelsey Donovan wants more out of life. Her desires land her in a pool of excess every December, but by the time the last cork hits the floor on New Years Eve she’s had enough. She’s ready to turn over a new leaf, right the wrongs, restore her life to its former state of glorious potential. Yes, a new and improved Kelsey vows to take down her demons.

“This is the year, babe. My bad habits can go to hell for good.”

“To hell for good? Kels, sweetie, that doesn’t sound quite right. What are you sayin’? You’re going to try to find yourself? Again?”

“No. Yeah. I mean, this time it’s gonna be different. I promise.”

Every January the circus comes to town. First, it’s the closets, then the medicine cabinet followed by the pantry. Room by room, Kelsey tosses the previous year’s must haves into a box for charity, as though the impulse will catapult her toward what she craves. Of course, she’s not working without a net. Her husband, Brad, has seen it all. The cleanse calendar, the psychic who came to dinner, the year of Mother Theresa meets Martha Stewart. Brad has a memory like an elephant and, luckily, a sense of humor.

“My God, Kels, wait! Before you go all granola minimalist, let’s talk. Remember last Saint Patrick’s Day?  Have you forgotten what happens when cold turkey meets cold duck? Please, let’s not go through that again. Where is that drunken leprechaun outfit anyway?”

Kelsey and Brad are fictional characters, but their behavior is real. If you recognize it, even slightly, then you know what I mean. January sends people into spasms of self-improvement. Some get fit, some get real, and some simply get ripped off because they can’t give their money away fast enough to the promoters of every fantasy under the sun who are standing by at 1-800-SCAMMER.

What’s that you say? The world is full of people who want to help you succeed, find enlightenment, realize your dreams, publish your memoir. NO IT IS NOT! There are maybe half a dozen people on the planet who genuinely want to help us, and I can guarantee none of them are trying to reach us via pop-up ad.

Since mid-December I have been recovering from surgery. So, I’ve had LOTS of time to surf for all sorts of the things. Each time I found a site that looked promising and began to read an article, I was bombarded with ads. After a few days I began to notice some of the items I’d searched for were showing up in banner ads on totally unrelated sites. I mean seriously, what do grad students have to do with extra virgin coconut oil?…Nevermind.

In 2015, I hope to accomplish many things. One is to discover the answer to this one question. Who clicks on these stupid online ads? 



Gate A-4


“This is the world I want to live in. The shared world.”
Me too, Naomi. Me too.

Originally posted on Live & Learn:


Gate A-4 By Naomi Shihab Nye:

Wandering around the Albuquerque Airport Terminal, after learning my flight had been delayed four hours, I heard an announcement: “If anyone in the vicinity of Gate A-4 understands any Arabic, please come to the gate immediately.” Well— one pauses these days. Gate A-4 was my own gate. I went there.

An older woman in full traditional Palestinian embroidered dress, just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing. “Help,” said the flight agent. “Talk to her . What is her problem? We told her the flight was going to be late and she did this.”

I stooped to put my arm around the woman and spoke haltingly. “Shu-dow-a, shu-bid-uck, habibti? Stani schway, min fadlick, shu-bit-se-wee?” The minute she heard any words she knew, however poorly used, she stopped crying. She thought the flight had been cancelled entirely. She needed to be…

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