Posts Tagged ‘blogging from a to z’

Blogging From A to Z Challenge

I’ve had many adventures in my life. Some good. Some not so good. I guess life is an adventure in itself and as they say, the destination isn’t important; it’s the adventures that count.

When I was growing up, we didn’t take vacations. There were too many of us and my father could never take time off from work. Besides my parents and myself, I had three brothers and three sisters so there were nine of us to go in one car if we all went some place together.

My father worked driving a forklift truck to load and unload pellets of canned foods at a cannery. My mother was a stay at home mom, as most moms were in the 50’s and early 60’s. For a long time, the only place we went together was to the drive-in on carload night. We could all pile in the car on top of each other’s laps (no seat belts or car seats in those days) and pay one low price to get into the drive-in theater to see a cartoon, two movies, and coming attractions. Oh and the cute little “let’s go to the snack bar” sing song cartoon during intermission. We loved it. That was special, even if we did it a couple of times every month, it was still special because it was an evening out for all of us together. No one had to stay home so others could go.

Then one day, my parents went to look for a new car. They said they were looking for a station wagon for all of us to be able to ride together at the same time. After hours and hours, they came home with a new car! It was the first time we had ever had a brand new car and it was a car with seats for nine people, just the number we needed for our family. It was a white 1960 Plymouth Valiant 9 passenger station wagon. We went for a drive as soon as they brought it home! No one had to sit on a lap. No one was squished between anyone else. There were lots of big windows so it was really neat to be in that car and be able to see more of what was outside than we could in the old four door car we had before.

In a couple of weeks, we found out we were going on a long trip that would take days of driving to get there. We were driving from our home in San Jose (California) to Texas to see our grandmother for a week then driving from there to Mexico to see our other grandmother for a week then coming home. It was going to be a long, long, trip but we were excited to be going any place out of town and excited because we would be taking two weeks off from school. My father’s busy season at work was summer and autumn so he couldn’t take time off then so we would have to go during the school year. Ah shucks! We’d have to miss school!

The trip was magical for us. It did take a long time but we made up games to play in the car. We looked at the clouds in the sky and found shapes in them and when we drove through the mountains, my brothers taught us about dinosaurs. They would find dinosaur shaped mountains and point them out to us and tell us about the dinosaurs that looked like those mountains. And when we drove through the desert, we found people shapes in the saguaro cacti and made up stories.

My dad was the only driver so it took us even longer to get there and we were trying to save money so we slept in the car on the side of the road. I think we only got a motel once when my father knew he had to get a full night’s sleep before going on so we got one room for all of us. In the morning, we went to a grocery store and my mom got sandwich stuff and fixed sandwiches that we could eat throughout the day. That was special for us too because we rarely got to have sandwiches! Like I say, the whole trip was magical.

The most magical part of the adventure for me was getting to spend time with my dad. At night time, when everyone would fall asleep, I would stand right behind my dad’s seat and talk to him to keep him awake. I’m not sure if it was like that before the trip or not but at least since that trip, when I was five, just in kindergarten, my dad and I have shared a love for certain things, like words and playing with parts of speech and finding synonyms and antonyms and homophones. He also taught me tongue twisters in Spanish and told me stories about our relatives we were going to meet and about how things were when he was growing up. We talked about the stars and he told me the names of some of the constellations and we made up stories about the stars in the sky. It was a special time when only he and I were awake. It was a bonding time for us. It was the start of a long, long shared love of language, astronomy, geography, folklore, and so much more.

That was the adventure. Yes, we got to our destinations to see our maternal grandmother in Corpus Christi (Texas) and we met new relatives there. We got to see where our mother grew up. Then we drove from there to Chihuahua in the state of Chihuahua (Mexico) to meet our paternal grandmother and our aunts and uncles. That was a very different place because they lived in a tiny village near the capital city; a village with dirt roads, no indoor plumbing, no electricity, and water that we had to get from the well. But I think that will be a different story. The adventure was the trip, starting with the new car, the days and nights on the road, the games we played, and most of all for me, the adventure was getting to know my father in a different way…a way that made us close even through the years and miles and life twists that made us eventually grow apart.

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Do you plan things out or do you fly by the seat of your pants?

That’s the question that has been going around some blog circles that I am in. Last month I participated in 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion (#1000Speak). It was a9th huge group of bloggers planning to publish a blog post on some aspect of compassion all on the same day, February 20. I would say that the majority of the bloggers planned out their post and began writing it way in advance, some of them finishing weeks before the posting date. Not me. About a week before the date, I decided on what I was going to write and I found myself writing it the night before. In fact, I finished it about 35 minutes before midnight on the 19th so I waited for midnight and posted in right away. This month there is another challenge going on. It won’t happen until April but people are preparing for it now. In fact, I’ve read some bloggers who say that they started planning for this year’s April event last October! Wow! That’s some dedication. The event is the Blogging From A to Z Challenge. If you take a look at my sidebar, you’ll see the badge for it. The challenge is more of a challenge than the #1000Speak event. Those that accept the challenge attempt to post every day in April (except Sundays). But that’s not all. The real part of the challenge is that you have to post a topic that begins with the letter of the day, hence the A to Z, as there are 26 letters in the alphabet and 26 blogging days in April when you leave out the Sundays. That’s a challenge. What some bloggers do to make it even more difficult is that they decide on a theme for their April A to Z posts. So let’s say someone decides on a travel theme: they would have to post something related to travel beginning with the letter A on April 1, B on April 2, C on April 3, etc. Now that’s a lot more challenging and I can understand that people need to plan and prepare but since last October?! That part I don’t get.

Me? I’m a pantser. If I have something due at noon on Friday, you can pretty much bet that I will be finishing it up around 10 that morning. For the April A to Z challenge, I have my theme which I’m not yet sharing and I have a list of A to Z with all the topics filled in, save the letter X. Some days I have five or six things penciled in because I don’t really know what I will feel like writing but at least I have some ideas. The X eludes me at the moment, though. I suppose I can resort to something that begins with (E)x but I am trying not to. However, as far as the actual posts, I’m not planning on writing them until a day or two before I need to post them. I’m just not a planner. In anything, really. In fact, when I sit down to write my blog posts, I’m not sure where they’re going to go. Like yesterday’s post on Journalism…that started out to be something entirely different. It was going to be a list of questions about me that I would answer. I typed in a title of 5 W’s and then journalism popped into my head and off I went. It worked well. And I still have that list of questions about myself that I’m supposed to answer that I will save for a future post.

How about you? Are you a planner or a pantser? Or somewhere in between?

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