It’s #RIAuthor Month – Meet Pat Mitchell

Thanks to Martha Reynolds once again for featuring me on her blog. A Girl from the Hill is one of the hundreds of books that will be available at the Association of Rhode Island Auhors (ARIA) annual expo at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet this coming Saturday, December 2nd, 10am to 5 pm. Come visit- books make great gifts!

Martha Reynolds Writes

Pat Mitchell photoThe Girl, with her fiance, in 1946

A Girl from the Hill is a tribute to my mother, who grew up on Federal Hill during the Great Depression. The collection of essays depicts her life of as one of laughter and love, as well as its share of suffering and sorrow.

Providence’s Federal Hill neighborhood was, and still is, Rhode Island’s “Little Italy.” Thousands of Italian immigrants, including my grandparents, came to Rhode Island at the turn of the 20th century to begin new, better lives. They struggled to assimilate into American culture, and my mother’s parents, Giovanni and Maria, tried their best to become John and Mary. My mom, their youngest of eight children, was full of joy, and enjoyed much of her childhood despite her mother’s struggle with diabetes.

I began the book merely as a simple exercise, to see if I could actually write a book…

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Sometimes You Hurt the One You Love – Or You Just Make Them a Bit Snippy

3/4 front view of a female snapping turtle (Ch...

3/4 front view of a female snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina), taken near the St. Lawrence River in northern New York state. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes, worry can totally consumes the Crow.  She doesn’t get out of the house much these days, and with all the rain she can’t even sit on her deck and soak up some sun.  That just amplifies her stress levels.  Today she was worried about a change in my Dad’s meds.  I had all the info, but in addition to calling me about the changes, the doctor’s office also called her.  This is a mistake, because my mother often gets confused and is so worried about potentially getting the instructions wrong, that she invariably will. So she wanted to call me to confirm what she thought she hear about my dad’s potassium dosage.

Except with the Crow, if she calls you and you don’t answer, she just doesn’t leave a message.  She keeps calling you until you pick up the phone.  It doesn’t matter if it’s important or not.  If she wants the answer she will not relent.  So she didn’t.

Sitting in sort of an important meeting I let her first call go.  The second one I began to panic myself: is this an emergency?  I always forget about her compulsion to know the answers when I see that number and “Mom and Dad” come up on my phone more than once.

So I snapped at her a bit. “Mom, you can’t keep calling and hanging up when I don’t answer.  Leave me a message and I’ll call you back as soon as I can.”  It’s awkward taking calls in a very quiet meeting where my boss is presenting important information that I cannot afford to miss.

She snapped back “I won’t call you at work any more then.”  All or Nothing.

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Were These Reviews Helpful? Heck Yeah!

English: Dahlia x hybrida

English: Dahlia x hybrida (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Two dear people wrote two awesome customer reviews for A Girl from You Know Where on Amazon.com these past few days.  I am so grateful for their thoughtfulness and consideration.  You can check them out directly on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Girl-Hill-Mothers-Journey-American/dp/1452569444/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1371084659&sr=1-1&keywords=a+girl+from+the+hill

or just take a read below – I do feel lucky.  Thanks kevinsmom and jovina!  Much love and gratitude to you both.

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Wednesday Observation: Running on a Treadmill is SO Different from Running Outside

Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patr...

Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots, Foxboro, Massachusetts, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here I was thinking that running for 22 minutes straight on a treadmill meant that I was physically fit to run my first 5K.  WRONG.  Tonight I decided to see how far I could go on the Smithfield High School Track.  Each lap is either ¼ of a mile or 1/3 of a mile, meaning I need to run between 9 and 12 times straight. 

Well I ran around once.  Then I walked around.  Then I tried to run around again. By the time I finished I ran around about two times and walked around about two times.  So between a mile and a mile and third.  I’m sure all my panting alarmed the elderly gentlemen trotting briskly around the outside lane, as I hugged the inside like my guts were going to fall out.

I am running my first race on July 3 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  For you New England Patriot fans the race takes you right into Gillette Stadium.  And my darling husband and daughter, who hate to run unless it’s part of a basketball game, agreed to run with me.  Actually they signed me up and decided to join me just in case I began to procrastinate or back out, as only I can, concerning exercise.

So I’m in a bit of a pickle now, because I have about 6 weeks to train to do 5K without dropping dead. 

I am not a runner at heart.  I like to cycle, I like to sit in front of the TV even better.  I like to read with a bowl of tasty snacks next to me the best. 

But I need to run.  It’s  the fastest way I can think of to get my exercise done.  There I said it.  And a body in motion stays in motion.  Running is good for my cholesterol, my blood pressure, my weight, my energy level, and my mental attitude.

So it’s time to train, train and train some more.   I got this.

When I told the Crow that I was going to run a race she responded as I thought she would.  “Make sure you don’t fall.  You’ll hurt yourself.”  Ah, encouragement at every turn.  Of course she does worry.  Usually unnecessarily and as often as possible.  One time when Julia was sitting on an ottoman laughing and leaning backward my mother warned, “Watch out, you’ll bite your tongue off.”  She was serious.  Severed tongue through a fit of laughter.  Julia uses that line on me whenever she thinks I’m being over-protective.  It works pretty well, I must say.

Just now I told my daughter that I too was very athletic as a child.  She sat and stared at me, a blank look on her chiseled blond beauty of a face.  She had just spent the evening at basketball practice for the AAU team she plays on.  She’s already made it clear to her father and me that her goal is college hoops and then the WNBA.  She just might pull it off too, who knows?  But I want her to know that not all of her athletic prowess comes from her Dad.

“Really Jules.  I never got any formal coaching, and I only played on one team for one summer.  But I was a really good softball player.  I used to bike for miles on a daily basis, and I wasn’t bad at tennis either.  You don’t believe me do you?”

“Nope.”

I’ll show her.  I hope.

On Mothers and Birthing Books

 

A woman searches for inspiration, in this 1898...

A woman searches for inspiration, in this 1898 painting by William-Adolphe Bouguereau. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Reflecting upon a day when we honor our mothers and all they do for us, I have found that other bloggers today have said it well, better than well actually.  Whether your mother is with you or not, it’s all about love, and who we love, and appreciating the power that provides for us, sustains us.  I can’t add much more to that message.

I think you all know by now how I feel about my mother, and I think she finally knows too, which is liberating for me.  It’s no secret how much I appreciate her, on her good days as well as on her not so good days.  She has always given me love when I seem to have both deserved it least and needed it the most.  For that I am grateful.

And I have so many other wonderful mothers in my life.  My mother in law, a true friend, my sisters, my friends, all the women in my life that give until they can’t and then give a little more.  As women we do this, we nourish the souls as well as the bodies of those we love and don’t ever think of payback.  Well we don’t often think of payback anyway.   It’s just what is.  Thank you to all of them.  And as a mother I can tell you there is no better job, no better vocation whether it be by birth, by chance, by friendship.  Even for those who have 4 legged kids – giving of yourself for the well- being of another is a sacred privilege.   I know that when I got that warm sleepy hug this morning from my girl, that’s all the gift I needed. 

So now. as A Girl from the Hill is out in print, I must admit to feeling both elated but also a little let down.  Elated that it’s finished, that I accomplished this and brought it to completion with lots of help of course.  Elated that my mother enjoys it, and that it is a fitting tribute to her.  But let down in that I don’t know what’s next.   Yes the book is sweet, and can be fun and powerful in some ways.  I am proud of this work. But I’m not sure what’s next for me as a writer.  I have been looking for inspiration, and coming up empty.  I know I’ve mentioned writing about my struggles with food, but there is also part of me that wants to develop characters that go beyond this.

I was fortunate this past Saturday to spend a delightful few hours listening to Ann Hood.  Again if you know me you know that she is my writing hero.  She was at the Davisville Free Library in North Kingstown, RI.  For me it was like going to church.  Her words, her creativity, her enthusiasm, her story all inspired me.  Just when I was thinking that maybe I can’t do this, maybe it’s not what I’m meant to do, maybe I am just ordinary – her words lifted me and have given me the confidence to trek on.   To hear someone with such passion for their work and the process, without pretension, truly lifted my spirits. So while I am not totally immersed in that world today, it’s in my future, I am certain.  If you get a chance pick up her new book, The Obituary Writer.  I’m just getting started and it’s wonderful.  She has given birth to so many wonderful stories, this one included. 

So I ready for my next child to come along, and open myself to inspiration.

 With Love and Gratitude – P

A Saturday in the Life

 

Symbol of Confusion

Symbol of Confusion (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Visiting with the Crow and Big Al yesterday, I once again found myself swirling in a pool of confusion.  A humorous pool of confusion, which kind of makes it bearable.

Let’s start with Big Al’s prescription filling service.  I find it easiest if I drop my father’s empty prescription bottles off at the pharmacy and then go pick them up next time I’m by there, usually the next day, or if urgent, I’ll go back in an hour and get them.

My father would rather call them in himself, which is fine, but he assumes that when he calls them in I am alerted somehow to the time they will be ready, which he does not indicate to the Pharmacist, by the way, and that I will automatically pick them up when he needs them, which he also does not indicate until I’m getting ready to leave for home. 

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Pearls of Wisdom – Starting the Dialogue with your Aging Parents: Subject Gratitude

The Beauty of Old Age

The Beauty of Old Age (Photo credit: VinothChandar)

Starting the Dialogue with your Aging Parents: Subject Gratitude.

Anyone with aging parents or other family members will get a great deal of support information from the Starting the Dialogue Blog (hey that rhymes).  Anyway, the point is – keeping people positive and grateful is important regardless of age, but age has its ways of trying to squelch the positive and replace it with an aching back, wrinkled skin and sore hips.

I highly recommend this advice as I found it challenging to keep my parents from getting depressed and pessimistic when they were not well recently.  And the affect it had on me was that I too, was getting pretty negative, critical, anxious and depressed.   But positive energy and attitude can conquer all, that’s my firm belief.  Not always EASY, but definitely worth the effort.

Thanks Laura!