Oct 28, 2011

One of My Most Memorable Summers

I have been taking a mental walk through the summers of my life trying to figure out which one was the most memorable. One of them definitely had to be the summer after I got my driver's license. All sorts of things come back in delightful flashes. Of course one of the things that stands out the most is the car I drove.

It was a 1957 Chrysler 300, a big blue tank. The car had a 392-cu.in. Hemi V-8 automatic in it. It didn't have a gear shift. There were a series of push buttons on the left side of the dash that were used to put it in gear. I loved that car and I must admit I drove it too fast. I would roll the windows down, let my hair fly in the wind, and do my best to outrun any boy who challenged me. 

I was responsible for the most part on following my parents rules on where I could go, but there were times I broke them. One time in particular I recall going to a dance in the city. I lived in  a rural farm area and anything with a population over 2,000 was the city to me. I had a friend named Jean with me and we decided to throw caution to the wind and take the trip. We had fun, met new boys, and like Cinderella we made sure we got back home by midnight. The only flaw in the plan was my little sister who told on me. 

That summer was full of long summer drives, dances and crushes. I spent hours with my best friend Joanne talking about boys, learning new dance moves, and writing plays. It was a season mixed with innocence and coming of age. Even now I can see gravel roads, my windows rolled down, and the dust of my freedom.

1957 Chrysler 300

Push Button Transmission


Wine and Love V32


This has been a difficult week. A young man I have known since he was a child was killed in a horrific truck accident. It is just another exclamation to the truth "Life is too short." My prayers and thoughts go out to his wife who is expecting, their young daughter and his family.

My wine list:
* My heart is so heavy for my youngest daughter. She has felt so homesick this week. I just wish I could reach out and hug her, but she lives too far away.
* My oldest daughter had a hell of a week at work. I don't care how old your children are they are still your babies. You just want to take away their pain.
* My husband Charlie went for his CT scan on his ribs. He is in so much pain. I hope the CT shows what is going on with his ribs.

The Love that came:
*My oldest daughter spent Saturday night with us. It was nice to go out to eat, chat, and watch a girl movie with her on Sunday.
*Charlie got good news at one of his urologist Monday...all is well!
*The Halloween candy is bought. I know that doesn't sound like a big deal, but I am always last minute on it. It is good to not have to push through all those store candy aisles.
*Yeah it rained Thursday night!! With the drought we have suffered this year any rain is a celebration. And it is actually chilly. I got to put on my sweats and snuggle in my chair to read a book.
*I have a wonderful encouraging friend named Len who took time to listen to me this week. It was such a blessing.

Oct 27, 2011

What a Feeling

I love music, the talent to perform it, and the gift it is for the one who hears it. I have been watching the X factor. I like the show so much because it isn't about age; it is about talent. Not only do the young dream, but those who have reached a mature age and have faced a world that has told them their dreams are too late are dreaming again.

The show just reinforces the hope in me that dreams do come true. They don't have an expiration date. I have only been writing in earnest since the end of 2009. With each poem, each story, each blog I find myself believing I have just touched the fountain of dreams within me.

This week I heard a fourteen year old contestant on X factor, Drew Rynewicz, sing the song What a Feeling. It is from the movie Flashdance. I have always loved Irene Cara's version of the song, yet hearing Drew sing it in her unique voice touched me deeply.

Well I hear the music,
Close my eyes, feel the rhythm
Wrap around, take a hold of my heart
What a feeling, bein’s believin’
I can have it all,
Now I’m dancing for my life
Take your passion, and make it happen
Pictures come alive, you can dance right through your life

The lyrics have such power in them, "What a feeling, bein's believin' I can have it all----take your passion, and make it happen." What a message for anyone, everyone, to take deep inside and believe it. Why not dance for your life in a literal or metaphorical sense? 

Yes, I am dreaming, believing, dancing with my passion which is writing. There is that within me that seeks expression, freedom. I am not sure where this journey is taking me. I know whoever reads this is part of my dream. My words have reached you. 

Dream’s Tapestry

My dreams
are the
of my hope.
Please do not
pluck at their
causing them
to unravel.

© Copyright Susie Clevenger 2011

The lyrics to the song What a Feeling were written by Keith Forsey and Irene Cara

Oct 21, 2011

Wine and Love v31


This was a week of Whines that had me reaching for some wine. I am glad it is over. Perhaps next week will be better and I will stop my whining...hmmm...we shall see.

* Monday was a trip to the cardiologist for a test on my legs...an easy test, but part of it had me standing on a stair step in just a t-shirt and my underwear while a young man ran an instrument over my legs. 

* Wednesday my husband had to go to an Orthopedic Doctor. I shall give the Reader's Digest version of what sent him there. On May 23 of this year he went to a chiropractor. While giving an adjustment the chiropractor tore three muscles and broke a rib. It has been very painful. Now the Orthopedic doctor fears there is still a break that hasn't healed in a rib. He has ordered a CT Scan to take a look. The worst case scenario is he will have to remove the damaged rib. 

* Thursday was a trip again to a cardiologist. Everything was fine except for the addition of another medicine. I hate taking pills except for my vitamins. Hopefully this one will not have any side effects.

* Thursday my youngest daughter was home from work because she was ill. She lives in another state and I couldn't pop over and give her a hug, cook her dinner, or make her laugh. I hate being so far from her.

* Friday was a return to the doctor who ordered the tests on my legs. The results indicated I needed an outpatient surgery done. That is scheduled for November

Love that stopped by this week:

* Tuesday I got my hair cut. I so needed it and I go to a beautiful spa to have it done.

* I set aside a place to write love notes. It is tucked in the corner of a guest bedroom. My father's desk that he crafted is there and it just seemed to be the ideal place to write words of love to share. I love writing my random notes of love to leave wherever I feel drawn. I actually left one at my cardiologist's office. The World Needs More Love Letters is the inspiration that has me writing love letters. I have included the link to the sight. Get involved...Share some love.

More Love Letters

* My youngest daughter is so creative with her words and spontaneous humor. When my husband and I skyped with her this week she cracked us up with her Zippy monkey that kept trying to get face time on the camera. I know you would have to see it to get it, but it was so funny. She is so talented and beautiful.

Carrie...she can go from this
to this in a blink of an eye

* My oldest daughter posted a song on her blog. She has such a marvelous voice. She is also so beautiful and talented. I am including it here. It is a song by Nina Simone titled Be My Husband.


Check out Walking With Nora....she is the host of Wine and Love.

Oct 18, 2011

A Tattoo Shop---You are Here?

This is the prompt for Sunday Scribblings, a picture that simply states "You Are Here."  I had so many thoughts about where "here" could be. There are numerous places I have traveled, Jamaica, Panama, Costa Rica, and Mexico for example, but I decided to write on something closer to home. A destination many would never have a desire to visit, but for me it was the place I had wanted to see for a long time.

It was a tattoo shop. Yes, I did say tattoo shop. I had been thinking about getting a tattoo for quite a while and decided in 2010 it would be the perfect year to do it. 2010 was the year my husband and I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. I can almost see the wheels turning in the reader's head. What is the connection between a wedding anniversary and a tattoo? My husband, Charlie, and I wanted to have a year long celebration of our anniversary. We wanted to spend the year doing things we had never done before. I suppose you could call it an anniversary bucket list. My first item on the list was to get a tattoo.

Charlie wasn't really thrilled with the idea; but he said if I was going to do it, he was going with me. I have to admit I felt a bit odd going into the shop for the first time. The walls were lined with tattoo designs and there was a case full of all kinds of baubles for body piercing. 

A nice young man came from behind the counter and asked if he could help us. I told him what I wanted, but I needed the design drawn. I wanted a peace sign with a butterfly resting on it. I am a child of the sixties and peace signs became very important to me. I also love butterflies. I had a car accident in 2006 which nearly took my life and from that experience and my injuries I began the metamorphosis into a different person. The butterfly is a sign of change and survival to me. 

Actually it was Charlie who came up with the design after some discussion with the tattoo artist. Then it was the challenge of looking through all the butterflies to find the one I wanted. Once I made a decision, the artist sat down to make the drawing for my tattoo. After it was completed he made the stencil to transfer to my skin.

Oh and before I could get the tattoo I had to sign a form stating I wasn't under the influence of drugs or alcohol. I had to be of sound mind to give permission to have my body tattooed. ( I can hear the derisive snorts now from some of my readers.)

There was a sign hanging above the counter that made it clear getting a tattoo would hurt. I shall paraphrase it  to keep my pg rating. It said, "Hell yeah it hurts!" I thought I had some idea of what it would be like, but I was wrong. It hurt worse. The kind young man explained to me that the tattoo only went down to the third layer of skin. It was just a simple procedure to apply ink by scraping through two layers of skin. Again to keep my pg rating there was gritting of my teeth and numerous exclamations of the word "ouch."

I am so happy I have the tattoo. It isn't just artwork on my arm, but a badge of survival. I look at it and seek to become more of a person of peace and to embrace the changes that have come and will come in me. (I also have another tattoo. Yes I said another tattoo. That will perhaps be a story to tell at another time.)

The design in place on my skin.
Working on the outline
Filling in the design
This was one of the times I said "ouch"
I am really doing this?
It is finished
Peace and Butterflies

You Are Here?

You are here,
but just where
is here?
Is it that
that has taken
hours to reach
or that state
of discontent
you wish to escape?

Is it that exclamation
of surprise that
elicits hugs and smiles
or the disdain
of unwanted presence?

Is it the commitment
to be present in
body, mind and spirit,
or an inquiry
as to whether
you have checked out?

You are here,
but just where
is here?
Will you know
when you get there?

©Susie Clevenger 2011


Oct 15, 2011

Wine and Love v30

Hosted by Nora

This is my first time to participate in wine and love. It is a fun concept for balancing "whine" and blessing. :)

Things that required wine:

* I have Fibromyalgia and this week it threw me into a flare. I had to drag out my cane, which I hate, to help me from point A to point B. 

* My husband's teasing hit a sour chord in me this week. Instead of laughing I snarled.

* I fell into a writing slump earlier this week. I stared at the cursor blinking and couldn't come up with a thing.

Love that came this week:

* A lovely young woman named Heather left me encouragement on my blog about Fibromyalgia and led me to Wine and Love. My heartfelt thanks goes out to her.

* I also had encouragement from two other kind bloggers, The Unknowngnome and Sandy Carlson. My heartfelt thanks goes out to them also.

* I have such lovely friends on facebook. They also sent encouragement my way this week.

* I had such lovely comments left on my poetry postings on my Confessions of a Laundry Goddess poetry blog and here on Susie's Sentences. 

* I am involved in the More Love Letters Campaign and being able to share love returned it to me tenfold.

* My neighbor has been fighting breast cancer for almost a year and last night she felt well enough to go out to dinner.

Oct 13, 2011


I am in the middle of a Fibromyalgia flare. I went to bed Tuesday night feeling pretty good and woke up Wednesday morning in intense pain and barely able to walk. I haven't used a cane in years, but I had to drag it out just to get around the house.

I hate feeling like this. It is scary because I never know how long a flare will last and how much strength I will lose because of it. There are drugs to treat it, but the side effects are numerous. My experience with one of the drugs, Ultram, resulted in a seizure. I decided to stay away from chemicals and treat it naturally which in my case means exercise and stretching.

Just writing about Fibromyalgia is difficult. My thoughts are a muddled mess, pain keeps trumping constructive thought. I should give up and go to bed, but another problem with the disorder is insomnia. Pain isn't happy to just rule my days it seeks to consume my nights also.

I have been trying to find the words to describe the pain. Imagine how your leg feels right as it begins to go into a spasm and then multiply it ten times. There is constant burning and knotting of my muscles, especially in my legs, when I am in a flare.

I think I have complained enough. I find writing to be therapeutic. My computer is my therapist and doesn't charge for its services. If it did, my bank account would be empty.

Here are some resources for further information on Fibromyalgia



Oct 4, 2011

L is for Land (of a thousand dances)

I couldn't resist when I saw that the letter this week was L in ABC Wednesday. The song Land of a Thousand Dances immediately came to my mind. I thought perhaps I should try again. Love starts with L, but then I imagine many used that word. Licorice...no I can't stand the stuff. Who would want to read paragraphs of me complaining of my licorice aversion. Lilac...I love anything that has hints of purple which is my favorite color, but again I decided against it. Thinking and rethinking only brought me back to the song. So L is for Land of a Thousand Dances.

There have been different artists that have recorded the song, but Wilson Pickett's version is my favorite. His recording in 1966 became an R&B #1 hit. That was my freshman year in high school. As soon as I heard Wilson count 1- 2 -3 I was up on my feet dancing. There are six dances mentioned in that song and I could do every one of them. Well there is one exception. I didn't do the alligator. Just something about crawling around on a dance floor that just never appealed to me.

I have enjoyed my walk or should I say dance down memory lane. I was enamored with dance as soon as I could walk I think. I remember standing in line in the first grade waiting to go to the lunchroom. I had on my saddle oxfords,which I called my rock and roll shoes, and my teacher asked me to dance. She didn't have to ask twice. I immediately started dancing the moves I had Learned on American Bandstand. My classmates clapped and smiled and my teacher winked at me. I was in rock n roll heaven.

Whether it is a land of a thousand dances or just one I hope you will take a chance to dance a few steps. There is joy in movement. I have included Wilson Pickett's song to inspire you. Put on your dancing shoes and enjoy it.      Na na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na   :)

the notes move my feet
to dance upon memories
yesterday so near

©Susie Clevenger 2011


Oct 3, 2011

Dandelion Dreams

Do you remember the days you used to sit in green grass making dandelion chains? I do. When I was a child I had no clue dandelions were weeds. I thought them to be beautiful flowers sprinkled through the grass. I would pick them to make a bouquet for my mother. She always accepted them with grace and placed them in a mason jar vase.

Dandelion's were an audience to my dreams. I would sit weaving them into chains and imagine I was a princess. I looked over my kingdom of weeds and saw jewels, princes, and ball gowns. For a few magic moments I could be whatever I wished.

As I grew into a teenager my days in the dandelions turned to love. In the spring I would seek the dandelions to ask them to bring a boy to me. I had been an overweight child and the mirror lied  and told me I was too ugly for a boy to like me. My precious weeds captured my tears and silently listened.

I cannot be certain, but I would like to believe the weeds held magic. Out of my dreams in the yellow blossoms love did find me. I was seventeen and a young man named Charlie came into my life. He was funny, handsome and protective. He didn't arrive on a white horse, but he was my prince. Two years later we became husband and wife. Today we have been married for forty one years.

I know dandelions are weeds, but for me I will always see beauty. Whenever I see a field full of them, I want to gather them and make chains. Life can be too real at times. I think all of us could use a moment to let go of our stress and dream dandelion dreams.

Golden Crown

She looked
at the
golden flower
and saw
not a weed
but a crown.

She weaved
to place
upon her head.
A princess
who ruled
the land
of imagination.

©Susie Clevenger 2011
Photograph: Stephanie Beeley