Author Archives: Cathy A Montville

About Cathy A Montville

Along with her husband, Cathy's been a small business owner in distribution, sales, and service for 23 years now. For 10 years she was a news correspondent, reporter, and freelance writer at several daily newspapers. Cathy's also a member of the editorial/community management team at two websites. It's a fun job and a great way to stay connected with the online writing world. She likes to share her views through writing and she loves reading about what's going on in the world around her. Cathy loves: Old books, book shops, entertaining, football, travel, and her family. She adores her four grandchildren.

She Throwed Up Her Toof, I Think


Little kids tell the best stories.

What if they don’t have all the facts? They simply make it up as they go.

They fill in the blanks with crazy, beautiful stuff they pull from their wee minds.

It’s storytelling at its best.

I thought it would be fun to share on my blog some of what I call my funny, family “shorts.”

Here’s one I dug out of my writing archives.

Something’s Missing

My five-year-old granddaughter arrived at my house for a sleepover.

Rolling her little people Barbie suitcase behind her, she came running into the living room.

Something exciting was afoot.

Chloe shouted, “I have a story that will really, really, really, really, really surprise you.”

She said “really” five times. I assumed it must be a good story.

She went on to say:

“Well, we were eating lunch at my school, you know my school where you went to the Halloween parade, right? And a girl, I can’t remember her name, ate her sandwich and didn’t know her toof fell out.”

“And she looked everywhere for it but (she takes a deep breath) she swallowed it and I bet you don’t believe it right, Mimi, but it’s actually really true. She … swallowed … her … toof.”

 Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0 Author, Silfide

Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0 Author, Silfide

 Toof Fairy Problem

Drawing on my grandmotherly acting skills; I gasped in disbelief.

I said to her, “Well, how’s the tooth fairy going to come for her tooth if she swallowed it?”

Obviously, that thought never crossed my granddaughter’s mind until I brought it up. Now, she appeared genuinely concerned.

Rather than feeling upset over the disturbing idea the tooth fairy might not show up for the little girl, she quickly added, “Oh, yeah, she found it. I remember that now.”

Not letting her off the hook just yet, I responded, “You said she swallowed the tooth. So, where did she find it?”

In classic five-year-old drama mode, my granddaughter cast her big, blue eyes toward heaven for some reason. Maybe hoping for divine intervention.

She said, “Um … um … let me think … um … oh, she found her toof when she throwed up I think.”

“She didn’t throwed up at school.”

“Probably, she throwed up when she got home and her mother washed off her toof and the toof fairy came that night, or the next night I think.”

What a kid. What a save.

 

 

Message For All Who Have Already Submitted Poetry


Hoping a reblog will help this worthy cause. 🙂

~Cathy~

The Roar Poetry Anthology

Dear Poets,

You are all talented, wonderful human beings and we salute your bravery and generosity in submitting your work for our charity project.

We want to show your work to as many people as possible, and add to your already impressive numbers while we still have time – so if you have Facebook, Twitter or a blog, then please please PLEASE share the link below and lets reach a few more poets before Friday!

http://thewaitpoetryanthology.wordpress.com/2014/07/26/creative-writing-opportunity-less-than-1-week-left/

Thank you!More than all this, we just want to say THANK YOU, for your hard work and your support – and best of all, for the brilliant poetry we’ve been privileged to read. We’ll be including at least one poem from everyone who submitted.

You’re our favourite humans 🙂

Love,

The Wait Poetry Team

xxxx

View original post

Getting Older? Look Wonderful, Be Cool, Do it Your Way


11-stages-womanhood-1840s-wikimedia-commons-public-domain-uploaded-by-churchh

11-stages-womanhood-1840s-wikimedia-commons-public-domain-uploaded-by-churchh

 

“Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” Betty Friedan

OK, it’s true. Aging isn’t all that fun.

I don’t wake up every morning doing the happy dance, chirping “Oh boy. I love, love, love getting older.” No, it’s not like that at all. Not for me, anyway.

However, aging isn’t the scariest life event I’ve ever had no choice but to experience. Twice I went through labor. That scared me.

I’ve discovered aging isn’t so much about letting go: it’s about tweaking my mind-set.

Oh, and I finally stopped worshiping the so-called “experts” on aging. Please; I just want to do this my way.

But I Can’t Look Wonderful

For years, I’ve thought about a conversation I heard between my mom and a young woman. It was the last holiday my mom would share with her family.

The young woman, a lifelong friend of my daughter, stopped in at our Christmas Eve party to say hello to my family.

My mother walked into the kitchen. It was a thrill for to see my daughter’s friend, who rushed over to give my mom a heartfelt hug.

With utter sincerity, she told my 75-year-old mother that she looked wonderful. My mom said, “Well, I shouldn’t.” The friend asked, “What do you mean?”

Mom responded, “Because I’m not supposed to look wonderful at this age.” I thought, Wow. What the heck?

Of course, we laughed. Honestly, though, I was sad that my mother felt that way. She did look wonderful. She was still active and lived independently.

That was despite several major health problems including spinal stenosis, breast cancer, and diabetes. I always joked with her that she was the healthiest sick person I ever knew.

Right then, I decided I wouldn’t buy into that line of thought about aging. I plan to experience wonderful right to the end. You can’t stop me. Bring on the compliments. I will, gratefully, accept every one you throw at me.

 Discovering My Self-Worth

My self-worth is much more pronounced since I’ve reached my 50s. Why did it take so long to realize the breadth of my skills and achievements no matter how big or small?

Admittedly, I went through a low self-esteem spell of feeling inept when I was around younger people; mainly, in my business world.

I had no clue what was rubbing me the wrong way. When I considered the achievements I’ve carried out effectively; on a personal level as a woman and career level; it didn’t make sense that I would feel inadequate.

Fortunately, the odd, uncomfortable feeling lost its hold on me. If I start to feel like that now; I recount my accomplishments in my head. I remain focused on my strengths instead of weaknesses.

I’m content and secure because I haves scores of valuable knowledge and life experience to lean on. I have plenty to share.

What is “Cool” Anyway?

So, I recognize I may not be cool in the eyes of some young people; especially in the business world. That’s OK because cool means what, exactly?

As time goes on, my perspective of cool constantly changes. That’s because of maturity and I like to believe, all this awesome wisdom I’ve picked up over the years.

I think people who don’t have a college degree but carved out a good life are cool. Someone who survives cancer is cool. Holding hands with my husband is cool.

My small grandson could pronounce Massachusetts, correctly, since he was two. That makes him way cool in my book.

Overall, with continuing tweaks to my mind-set, I believe aging will be cool too. I hope … I pray.

 

Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Vivian Blakely

Jim Henson: His Creative Learning and Social Wisdom Legacy


Jim Henson in two words: remarkable visionary.

About his dad, Brian Henson wrote in a blog post, “One of his life philosophies was that we should love people not for their similarities, but for their differences.”

This single statement beautifully sums up the essence that is collectively, the Muppets. The lesson the Muppets continue to pass on about embracing diversity is Jim Henson’s legacy.

  Life through the Eyes of Puppets

Jim Henson said, “The most sophisticated people I’ve ever known had just one thing in common: they were all in touch with their inner children.”

The Muppets, unmistakably born from Jim Henson’s inner child, are not just mere puppets: These outlandish, lovable characters symbolize life with all its multifaceted emotions.

Clearly, Henson was ahead of his time when it came to principled ideas using his imagination.

Through puppets, he used his unmatched creative ability to draw attention to the melting pot of characteristics which make us human.

He achieved this feat through the human-like behavior of his family of puppets.

 

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported PeterDandy

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported PeterDandy

 Realism of Muppets’ Characters

Each Muppet is an individual … their appearance distinct; just like people differ enormously in looks.

Jim Henson, who passed over in 1990, cleverly infused his beloved characters with wide-ranging qualities which children and adults easily recognize.

Who doesn’t know someone with a personality like Oscar the Grouch? I know many.

Oscar reigns supreme in cranky. He despises anyone or anything that represents “nice.” He only reveals the compassionate side of his personality to children.

Except for making his home in a trash can, Oscar’s temperament is something nearly every person can connect with at times.

In a style that can only be Jim Henson, he makes us chuckle over Oscar’s nasty disposition.

How great it’d be to just snicker at the genuine Oscars of the world instead of letting them get under our skin.

 Life Lessons

The intelligence behind Jim Henson’s creativity includes the positive messages he provided through puppetry. He was brilliant when it came to highlighting the effects of a good or bad decision.

The Muppets always encourage children to aim for their dreams. They’re progressive in promoting a healthy self-esteem, as well.

It’s probably no surprise one of Henson’s favorite movies was the Wizard of Oz. Dorothy, of course, learned the lesson: there’s no place like home.

Maybe the movie’s emotional moral ending inspired Henson’s overall creative values.

  Educational Bearing

It’s impossible to gauge accurately, the educational influence Jim Henson’s had on children. His contribution is significant, though. PBS’ Sesame Street is a children’s programming marvel.

Sesame Street aired in November, 1969. With Jim Henson’s puppets as guides, learning became fun and dare I say, perhaps, even addictive.

Often tedious; reading, writing, and counting morphed into something kids looked forward to learning. Forty-five years later, Sesame Street’s innovative learning style remain valuable.

Through puppetry, Henson sometimes introduced children to unpleasant real-life problems. A big problem many children face is bullying.

When my daughters were young, I recall watching an early Sesame Street episode in which Bert and Ernie were enjoying a day at the beach.

A bully comes along and destroys their sand castle. It just figures.

My daughters were ultra-sensitive little girls. They were nearly in tears when bully boy wrecked the sand castle.

Luckily, and typical of Jim Henson’s message, the bully embraced the error of his ways. To make up for his bullying, he returned with an ice cream for Bert.

These days, it’s not quite that simple because sadly, bullying has escalated to an atrocious level.

 

 Jim Henson Standout

Each of Jim Henson’s puppets is a star: Miss Piggy, Elmo, The Count, Grover, Cookie Monster, and Big Bird; they’re some of the many intriguing characters Henson created.

For me, however, Kermit the Frog, stands apart from the rest. Since the birth of his character beginning, Kermit has been a runaway success.

I believe Kermit is Jim Henson. Or, maybe Jim Henson is Kermit. Possibly, it’s because Kermit’s birthplace was on the banks of Deer Creek in Leland, Mississippi.

Henson, too, spent his enlightening years on the banks of Deer Creek. There, he nurtured his creativity and a passion he had for nature.

By the way; Kermit takes his name from a childhood friend of his creator.

 Kermit on the Walk of Fame

In 2002, Kermit earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It’s a well-deserved honor for the celebrity who began his natural life on a muddy bank in the Mississippi Delta.

The beloved frog took his place among other greats like Woody Woodpecker, Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny. Now those were the days, right?

The celebrated sweet-voiced frog is little in size but larger than life in all he brings to the world. He’s just one more extraordinary legacy that is, indeed, Jim Henson.

 

Sources:

Google Blogspot – “Remembering my dad Jim Henson,” Posted by Brian Henson, Chairman of The Jim Henson Company – September 23, 2011

Sesamestreet.org -– Video on right, third down – Standing Up to a Bully

Muppetcentral.com – News -“Kermit Honored at Hollywood Walk of Fame,” Courtesy of Yahoo News – November 25, 2002

YouTube.com

History.com

crazy horse 3 (2) Copyright Cathy A Montville

Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflections


Crazy Horse Memorial - South Dakota  Copyright Cathy A Montville

 

I decided to submit an image to the Weekly Photo Challenge based on a reflection of U.S. history and an important figure in that history; Lakota warrior Crazy Horse.

This is a great shot of Crazy Horse’s head, which is 87-feet high. The head was completed in 1998.

The horse’s head will be 219-feet tall when it’s finished. I love this photo because it shows all the natural colors in the mountain.

I snapped this picture while visiting Crazy Horse Memorial on a stunning autumn day in October, 2011.

Carving this mammoth sculpture out of a mountain began in 1948 and continues 66 years later.

If you haven’t had a chance yet to see this magnificent work in progress, check out more photos at the memorial project website.

Photo Copyright: Cathy A Montville 2011

Dining with Dead People and Carryout Lesson


Damas_Muslim_cemetery_1839 Wikimedia Commons Public DomainDead people don’t make me uncomfortable. Usually. Would you eat lunch in a restaurant alongside dead people?

That might be awkward. Well, maybe not if it was someone you knew, but it isn’t.

Is a “cemetery restaurant” insensitive, icky, ingenious? I believe it may be greater than any of that.

I was speechless when I came across a headline about New Lucky Restaurant in Ahmadabad, India.

After reading the story, though, I’m more than OK with it now. Hey, some see clouds while others “unearth” a silver lining.

Two-Fold Problem

In the photos accompanying the Mirror News article, it’s obvious that Ahmadabad’s congested and markedly lacks available space.

Clearly, it looks impossible to fit a breath between, around, or behind the buildings surrounding the small restaurant.

It’s even towered over from above by an apartment complex. And it’s a cemetery.

Seeing the Bigger Picture

As a business woman I’d pass on that piece of real estate property just because it’s a cemetery. I would never consider disturbing the resting place of the dead.

The minor size of the property would, of course, be a turn-off anyway, regardless of the burial ground.

However, I live on six acres in the woods. For my business I rent an office with two floors. Behind my building there’s a magnificent field over an acre-and-a-half wide. It even has a pond.

A beautiful river, lined with enormous oak and pine trees, runs along the outer edge of the field. Every day, from my office windows, I get to watch various wildlife at play.

Was it putting a restaurant on that little spec of land or the idea that it’s a cemetery that struck me as outrageous? I don’t think I appreciate often enough or express gratitude for how lucky I am to enjoy the freedom of wide open spaces.

Fortunately, the New Lucky Restaurant owner, Krishan Kutti, didn’t view the problem from my embarrassing closed-minded perspective of everything being bigger than is necessary.

Accepting Circumstance

Instead, Mr. Kutti embraced the existing state of affairs with a big hug and incorporated 12 graves from the Muslim cemetery into the restaurant. He didn’t like the idea of moving the longstanding graves.

Sadly, according to the news article, no one is certain who the remains are. Some believe they are “… followers of a 16th-Century Sufi saint …”

It doesn’t matter. Whoever they are, they have a home now and they’re well looked after.

Each day, staff members at New Lucky Restaurant place fresh flowers on the graves and respectfully cover them with colorful cloths.

How’s Business?

Seemingly, the restaurant is thriving. I’m not sure how many people are curiosity seekers and how many are regular customers.

That doesn’t matter, either. Krishan Kutti, stepped out on a limb and did something remarkable.

In this case, stepping out on a limb isn’t a figure of speech; there’s a tree growing through the restaurant, too.

If you believe in the power of paying it forward, this man may not expect it, but he will receive many blessings for his good deed.

Sources:

MirrorNews.co.uk – “Pictured: Bizarre cemetery restaurant where diners sit with DEAD people,” by Mikey Smith – March 23, 2014

Photo Credit: Damas_Muslim_cemetery_1839 Wikimedia Commons Public Domain – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Copyright_tags#United_States

Postcards Credit: MorgueFile by Cohdra

Heaven-Sent Message in a Postcard from Nova Scotia


Postcards Credit: MorgueFile by CohdraNo one sends postcards anymore. That’s a shame. A postcard may prove someday to be a humble but emotional link to a loved one.

This may come long after they’ve left their earthly existence.

Did you know there’s a National Postcard Week? This year it’s May 4–10.

Recently, I received a message from heaven. It came via a tattered postcard from Nova Scotia. The heaven-sent note is obviously from my mother. She passed over eight years ago.

You see, it’s an effective way for her to say “hello” because Nova Scotia and my mom were as one. Truthfully, she had a lifelong sizzling love affair with Nova Scotia.

Let me explain:

Crying and Closet Demolition

My husband, and I, are renovating one part of our old home. My mom brought me home from the hospital to this house. I grew up here then left for years.

Eventually, I returned to raise my daughters in the same house. Life would whisk me away again, but I’ve been back in this home for six years now.

Anyway, we tore down a huge closet in a room which was at one time my mother’s bedroom.

Renovating my family home triggered a cauldron of schmaltziness to bubble. I believe it was the result of hundreds of distinct and just as many hazy, memories.

When the old closet came down I experienced a weird emotional reaction of heavy sadness. It pitched me into an uncontrollable outburst of weeping. Every day I still miss my mother.

Enter the Message from Heaven

I began sorting all the gobbledygook we removed from the closet. Some of the boxes, baskets and trash bags belonged to my mother. Some were mine.

OK, time to distract myself from mushiness. Armed with Kleenex, I thought it best to start by digging in to a couple of my boxes instead of moms.

In the first box I open, on top of all the other stuff, there it sits: a postcard my mother sent me 19 years ago from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. I barely remembered it.

Schooner Adventure Lives On

On a beautiful June day, she wrote me a note to say one of her dreams came true: She went out on the Schooner Amoeba.

In her stunning handwriting, she squeezed in all the details she could possibly fit on the little postcard. She covered every available inch with her giddy excitement.

I have no doubt that my mother reached out to put her arms around me at that moment.

Physically, my mother isn’t here with me. However, I’ve now received immeasurable comfort to feel her spirit still radiating within an old postcard from Nova Scotia.

Sources:

NationalPostcardWeek.com

Amoeba Sailing Tours – Roy’s Dream

Image Credit: MorgueFile by Cohdra