I’m a self-published author of two books, Living Ex-Pat: An Apartment In Madrid and Between Sleep And Awake: A Notebook Of Stories, a blogger, TEFL teacher, traveler, Grandma Myas, Auntie, Mom and Friend..
Describe yourself in a word or words that starts with the first letter of your name.
Myas who is Margaret – Mysterious. I think I’m pretty straightforward and easy to know but I’ve been called an enigma and have caused some uneasiness, like my daughter’s soon-to-be ex-boyfriend who claims he senses evil vibes from me. MMMMMwwwwwwwaaaaaahahaha.
Do you prefer reading coffee table books (picture), biographies, fiction, non-fiction, educational?
Fiction – I love my vampires, werewolves, witches, mummies with an assortment of super and otherworldly creatures. I love my tragic ladies, Madame Bovary et. al. and fiction based on historic fact like the book I’m reading about Goya right now. Biography depends on who, if I’m all that interested. Educational, yes I like reading medical journals and nurses guides, law books, philosophy and logic, and other stuff.
If 100 people your age were chosen at random, how many do you think you’d find leading a more satisfying life than yours?
Satisfying is unique to each one of us so I’d say none.
If you had only one book you could write what would it be about? Assume it is a top 10 seller of any genre.
It would be about the book I’m writing now. Stay tuned…
Project O – The Template is the brain child of one of our bloggers, Opinionated Man of the blog Harsh Reality. All are welcome to play.
AUGUST 25, 2013 BY OPINIONATED MAN
I am attempting, since this is an international project, to make the template as easy on the submitter as possible. Simply copy and paste the template, answer the questions, then send the WHOLE template INCLUDING the questions to my email (if you do not hear back from me within 24 hours with at least a “thank you” email me again and ask what is up please). If you have any additional questions please email me as the comment may get buried here. So without further rambling, here is the template.
Name: Margaret Prezioso-Frye
Question 1: Please provide a window into who you are, and some background information in a not too overwhelming profile here.
I’m an ESL teacher with a passion for communication. I enjoy sharing my language, believe in fluency and help with bridging any gaps students have between their mother tongue and the development of their international language. I specialize in descriptive writing and have used varieties of media, film, music, student interests, games and happy competition to create a diversified, interesting, paced environment of forward motion.
As a writer I maintain a few blogs containing short stories, poetry and other prose, and a website. I have two books published and am working on a third and a series of children’s books. A few of my pieces along with a photo have also been published in the From Readers section of the local newspaper: columbiamissourian.com.
Question 2: If you haven’t already done so please provide your country of origin, whether you are male or female, an age would be nice, and where you currently live if that differs from the country of origin.
My country of origin is the US. I’m female and my birthday is September 23. I reside in Columbia Missouri at this time although it’s not my home state. I was born in Yonkers, New York, and have lived in Center Moriches (Long Island), Brewster and Patterson, New York. A friend of mine from Queens who resided in Columbia for a while described it as a misplaced east coast town. It does have an international population thanks to the university here, but it is a college town housing two smaller colleges as well.
Question 3: Recount the first time you remember having a differing opinion from someone significantly older than you. Do you remember what the topic was about? Did you voice your opinion or hold it to yourself?
The only time I remember having a differing opinion from someone significantly older than me was recently. The topic was about living in dangerous places and I did voice my opinion openly.
Question 4: Is respect an honorific given to someone older than you and do you often respect and practice that? How might the culture you were brought up in have affected the growth of your own opinions?
We used proper titles Grandma, Grandpa; great grandparents were addressed as Mother last name, Father last name: we used Aunt, Uncle and for godparents (people who baptized you at church) we used the Italian titles, which I don’t recall how to spell. Yes, I hold to that and teach it. I was taught to think and have opinions.
Question 5: How traveled are you and to what degree do you keep up with international news? You might also provide an educational background if you wish and if that education was gained from somewhere other than your current location. How available is the news and what goes on in the outside world to you in your country?
I have lived in three other countries besides the US as an EFL instructor. I browse international news. My education I received here in the States for the most part, two Bas and two MAs. I was TEFL certified in Rome, Italy.
Question 6: If you could share an opinion on a single international incident or topic that you either feel strongly about or that might not be known to the rest of the world what would it be? You have our attention.
I have shared opinions with friends, colleagues and former students who, of course are now friends concerning the recent protests in Istanbul. I was concerned for their safety and interested in how they viewed their PM. I hope the Turkish people make a wise decision when it comes to the elections and chose a new PM who will take them to the EU. They have long earned it.
Question 7: What does the right to an opinion mean to you? Is it essential to freedom to have this right? How far would you go to protect that ability? The world is on fire with people of passion, how passionate are you about things you value?
The right to an opinion is important to all people. It is a freedom to have this right or as we might call it in the US an inalienable right that falls under freedom of speech. I would certainly try to keep the right representatives in office who value and would protect that right. When it comes to passion, that passion must be based in knowledge and not ignorance or hysterics. Here is where differences collide.
Question 8: Is it ever right for you to be allowed an opinion while someone else is denied that same right on the same topic?
No, it isn’t.
Question 9: The last question: upon completing this template and hopefully contemplating the issue what does this project mean to you? How can Project O potentially enlighten or help the world?
Project O could potentially enlighten or help the world by helping people to be aware of and acknowledge restrictions some face being denied the right to expressing an opinion. It would hopefully create awareness and tolerance, opening venues to communication and business to accommodate and change governmental oppression. This would include awareness of foundational culture and a best realistic approach for the wheels of change to turn.
Weekly Prompt – Autumn
This week’s prompt is for you to write a story or poem about Autumn – I will leave it as open as that – it can be about the season, about a favorite memory, about activities – let your imagination go crazy. Be sure and link back so we can all enjoy.
September has always been a favorite month in a favorite time of year. The weather is changing, the leaves are turning, and the environment is preparing for a new season. Depending where you live this change can be quite dramatic; then again, it might slip by. In the Midwest the weather stays warmer, no dramatic change, no crunching of leaves under your feet, no smell of burning leaves on a cool evening. In Madrid it stays warm until winter, then it’s freezing until summer. For my family September is the doorway that opens to our favorite holiday season that we include Halloween with even if we don’t officially get the day off. October 1st decorations go up, my home is transformed into a haunted house. When my son was in college no longer living at home, he’d stop by to nap under the cobwebs and spiders near flickering electric candelabras, purple lights, tombstones and all else making up my Halloween wonderland. Following are birthdays, my daughter’s and my son’s. She was born 11 days before his, but 7 years later. He’s my oldest and was a Thanksgiving Day baby, born during dinnertime. Traditionally November 1st the Halloween decorations were down, birthday decorations went up, a table was set up with my daughter’s cake and then with my son’s and about a week into all this celebrating Thanksgiving decorations went up too. By December 1st all those decorations were down and Christmas went up. Around December 21st we said goodbye to autumn and welcomed winter.
There is one more thing about autumn. A day or two after its first day is announced is my birthday. I’m a Libra cusp born and have always had a connection with the fall and its days of Indian Summer that could come late September or early October, the coolness in the air, the promise of change as the season sheds its skin and prepares for new life to begin. There is warmth in a cool autumn night preparing us for cooler autumn and early winter days as the temperature drops giving us reason to wear cozy warm clothes, imbibe in steamy hot beverages and transform the death that surrounds us. The season wraps its arm around me and we walk together remembering this is when I first got here. I was born in a season of change, which will always be a special time that is my time.
Should I Have Gone To Harvard
One of the headlines of Yahoo News, you know that feed that runs along the page you click on ‘mail’ that takes you to your email login, is going on yet again about useless degrees. Can I tell you how tired I am hearing about how useless my degrees are? What’s happening here? Are we now being directed to high paying fields, those fields in demand, and once they’re flooded then what? This is how my education happened: you tell me if you think at any given moment in time I was doing something useless.
Once upon a time I thought I someday might go to college. Now these were the days it was cool to drop out, but I’ve always liked school and thought I might go, maybe to become a teacher. I didn’t really know concretely just yet. The day finally came, later than I expected but still, that I was finally going to go back to school only now enough years had gone by that it was trendy bordering on in-demand to get a college education. I was in the medical profession and had taken my position as a nurse technician and med tech as far as it could go being certified in everything I could be certified in. If I wanted to do anything else in my field I’d have to get education. After all, no one gets promoted to doctor; there are steps that have to be taken. I began my at-least-ten-year academic career majoring in Nursing. I would study for a BSN and then continue graduate studies to become a Human Resources Administrator. Before my first semester was done, I knew I didn’t have to have a degree in nursing to be in Human Resources – I wanted to ‘pay-it-forward’ as the saying goes and take care of colleagues. After 10 years in the field I knew how to change the system, what needed improving, how to staff so medical professionals weren’t overworked beyond exhaustion. I could write new policy, procedure, pay scales, shifts and benefits.
When I changed my major I was told the best thing for me would be Philosophy, which requires a second major and if I chose Classics, especially with an emphasis in Latin, I’d still be in touch with the medical profession as pre-med, I’d also be pre-law, and pre-business, interestingly enough all three of which were part of being a medical professional and I’d always loved Latin having first studied it in 7th grade taking it through high school. It all sounded useful to me. The year of graduation my hospital was taken over by the university I was attending. I called Human Resources to find out I no longer had options and I’d have to begin at square one. Knowing how business changes and preparing for other options in case of the unforeseen, I’d taken classes outside my degree programs, some of which had to do with Education.
After languishing a year with hit-and-miss jobs, I decided to take my own education to the next step and study for a Masters. Online learning was coming into being, I saw value with being able to work and study so I spoke with an academic advisor about what I’d been doing, what I’d been studying, what I wanted to achieve, what my ultimate goal was and was told getting a Masters in Organizational Management, what I called business psychology, would tie in all that I’d done and be useful for Human Resource Management opening doors to jobs. After 3 years I had an MAOM. Human Resource jobs weren’t as interested in me as I’d hoped. There were other requirements in order to be employed that required more education. Why wasn’t I told this from the beginning? I felt as if I might have been duped on this one but the degree did tie in with what I had been studying and work experiences I’d had. I discovered that those with business degrees were welcomed as teachers especially abroad, so I took a break from studies, took a course in Rome – get a load of me, both kids out of the house and I get to go to Rome – to be certified to teach English all over Europe, Asia, et al which, added to my education, made me highly marketable. Looks like I’m going to become a teacher after all and what I’d accomplished so far was right on, you know, useful.
Things were going fine in Europe. I wound up settling in Istanbul, the general plan for my life’s direction was unfolding nicely but I was detoured back to the states to be a grandma. When I got back of course the economic crisis was in play, and the MBA was all the rage for job opportunities. It also tied in with everything else, my education, past job and life experience and teaching. Before I’d left for Europe I’d begun studies for the MBA as the balance to the MAOM, but decided to wait until the Masters I began first was completed. Returning to study, it was to my benefit to have an MBA class under my belt, I’d completed Statistics, plus a professional degree. Classes were applied to my degree program, required credit hours were cut in half, and in a couple of years I had the MBA.
Philosophy / Classics, Latin notwithstanding but sadly included in Arts and Science, according to Business Insider are useless degrees, Human Resources and Personnel Development (there goes my MAOM – no one cares I wanted to run a hospital) is useless, now here’s the kicker, an MBA is invaluable for the business edge DEPENDING on what college you attended. Harvard being the top, the private college I attended isn’t even a typo on the list. Let’s see, 4 & ½ years undergraduate study, 3 years first masters, 2 years second masters equals 9 & ½ years of useless study and 4 useless degrees. I hear Alanis Morissette singing “Isn’t It Ironic”…
Letters To Goya: A Different View Review
About the book Colossus: A Novel About Goya and A World Gone Mad by Stephen Marlowe
Letters To Goya
I’d started reading and my quiet was over when the children came to play as if we’d been interrupted before we began. I packed up to go inside putting down words I’d thought I’d say. It was only yesterday when we’d met, it’s true, and it was only the introduction I’d read but it will be once again. You won’t duel, but be alive for me. Deaf, not blind and spry, those pistols won’t hit their mark for the many uses they have. I’ll read on and we will see. I can feel it. It will be.
Wanted to read Chapter 2 “The Maja” but I was dripping coconut-oil sweat from being out in the sun and didn’t want to drip on the pages. I flipped one page, then another and my eyes fell on the Madrileños definition of the weather in Madrid – 9 months of winter, 3 months of hell. I laughed out loud. When I lived in Madrid I was told, “you’ll know it’s summer when it gets hot.” That’s just how it happens. Global warming doesn’t stand a chance in Madrid.
Plaza Mayor, the bullfights and later on used for the needs of the Inquisition. Now it’s cafés and souvenir shops all for the tourists. Artists set up their work along the walkway and there are other handmade things for sale in the name of jewelry, coins and lottery tickets. Of course there are still apartments to rent above the Plaza. What’s not fair about the place is the fact it’s a major tourist trap meaning if you’re looking for a genuine glass of Sangria it can’t be found there. What you get is sweet wine with a slice of an orange in it. Tastes kind of crappy. For the good stuff you’ve got to go where a Madrileño would go. Make sure you never order paella for supper; it’s a dead giveaway.
The first revolution documented, people pushed too far, the elite manipulating the Enlightenment under the black cloud of the Inquisition. Now, how does all that work? No matter the frenzy the rioting mob recognizes the priest and his acolyte. As they travel up the street the mob stops and kneels in reverence. After they pass the mob presses on with death, destruction and looting. How does this happen? It doesn’t seem right to place it all under crowd mentality, this is clearly evidence of control, but collectively the people are strong in their belief and collectively they’ve had enough of a king who leaves them to starve while he can’t raise his hand to wave from all the jewels on his fingers. Even today that strong belief exists, that reverence. It’s one of the perks of teaching abroad, all those paid saints’ holidays.
One day, one of many, I’d taken the train. It rolled into the main station, came to a stop and the doors opened but the people waiting on the platform were in the way not really standing back enough to give those disembarking space to step down. It was a tight squeeze to get off. I was toward the end of the line and when I tried to step off, the people on the platform began to push their way onto the train. I found myself being pushed back into a seat. Surprised enough that it startled me and not being certain what to do exactly, I invoked the name of the Lord quite loudly, “Jesus Christ!”
The people stopped trying to enter the train and looked around confused. For a moment I thought they were going to genuflect. Everyone stood back and I was able to disembark. The same thing happened a second time on another day. After I stepped down and walked away, passenger hopefuls crowded the doorways and pushed their way in for a seat. History is repeating itself this time without the blood, rapiers, disemboweling and looting but with a lot of people who want a seat.
Wedgwood and Waterford Crystal in the home of Francisco Bayeu, Maria Del Carmen and Josefa. I had both when I was first married but my soon-to-be ex-husband found them of more value than the child I was carrying so they went with him and I continued to keep the kid. On page 117 of the book Goya says, “Pain is time running out. Everything else is living.” What life holds is living. I’d noted “Madrid 1772” from a chapter – the significance for me is I’d graduated high school in 1972, 200 years later. Paco and friends were on Atocha on their way to the bullfights. I know where they were. In Atocha is a main terminal for trains and subway nowadays. I’ve stood there many a time.
Goya gets married and is that way for a while. Funny that what stuck out in my mind about the book when I read it so long ago was all the affairs he had – the passion for painting spilled into a passion for the women he painted. It’s finally started with his wife accepting an award for convincing Goya to change his fresco and he had his fill. He went back to Madrid without her right into someone else’s arms. Now this part I know.
When I’d first read Colossus over 30 years ago, I wasn’t offended by the passionate painter who continued to have affair after affair. The word ‘affair’ held no meaning for me at all. Now as I read I realize he is the man I despise the most, the unfaithful husband. His excuse is everyone else is doing it and, as everyone says, if you love your wife you’re a fool, yet I cannot say this is affecting me in any way to make me stop reading. I await his affairs that make me feel as if we’d had one ourselves, like I’d felt all those years back. Maybe this quality, his quality was what I’d wanted. He wasn’t interested in marrying me nor I him. He didn’t want to own, control or change me (like the others). We could meet, get into life and then get on with it. Whatever happens next, we will always have Madrid. Has it been me all along…
Cayetana, Duchess of Alba – his lifelong love. Murdered by the queen through Dr. Peral, murdered by cancer. Certainly wouldn’t want to be his wife. How did Josefa die? With the plates of the Caprices in her hand on her deathbed looking at the images of the Duchess with a slight smile. Trying to understand her husband or did she, had she already?
Plaza Mayor, Puerta del Sol, Retiro Park – I’ve been there, I’ve lived there. Aranjuez, Moncloa, now Metro stops – not far for a walk. I know where you are Goya. The Prado and the Exhibit not far from Atocha – how many times had I been there…
So many years, I am still in love.
Fitting My Life Into A Nutshell
I can almost remember being born
Without thinking too hard, I swam out
The canal and those childhood days when
Everyone was still around
Needed them to carry me around
We’d play on the sidewalks
Jump rope and tag, musical chairs
Cousins and friends
We danced; knew all the steps
We’d write down the words so
We’d sing the songs well
Barrels of wine in the cellar
That wonderful smell
Mexican hat dance, the polka
Tarantella watch out
New year’s parties and favors
No one ever wore out
Every Sunday was a holiday with
A family so large
Easter candy, Christmas presents
Made for a wonderful surprise
Birthday parties always special
With the family stopping by
Rites of passage began
Confirmation, communion from
A cup, but the blood was forbidden
It would be several years
Before they’d let us sip it up
Wipe it dry with anointed cloth
Wearing stockings with garters and
Being happy anyway as
They seemed to slide down
Nervous laughing, pull them up
Strapped in a girdle, a woman now
I was told; please behave like a lady
I must, thought I was already one of those
We moved then from the concrete
No more hot summer nights where
Moms would chant “Time to come in now”
But to an ocean side spot
Known as “the country”
A big house, a heat vent in the floor kind of scary
And a dog in the yard, farm animals next door
Not too much, not too many
Chicks and ducklings
No cow that I remember
But I loved being lost in the sea
Every day in the summer we’d swim
And the cousins would
Visit, big barbecues, we’d play
Long yards, large gardens, fresh seafood galore
The men played pinochle while
Italian women cooked away
Poker betting with pennies is how
My grandfather’d play, kept a jar atop the
China cabinet, exotic dishes, silver forks
I’d hear the men sound off when a
Wrong bet was made like they’d
Lost a fortune all at once, market crashed
Wine flowed, dinner served and
Night never came, every day was the
Longest forever without end
Fall came back and school
Then Kennedy was shot
I will never forget, no I will not
As the earth stood still grieving
In a tight spot, didn’t have to understand
No not at all as lives began to fade and fall
Next place across from a dairy
Laid back but in from the beach
Lead the cows to apple trees, feed each one
Her fill fermenting apples making drunk
Kicking heels slurring moos, do they slur?
Streams, fields and cow chips, snakes under rocks
No Sisters of Charity a public school now was
Quite a change for me with a man for a
Teacher these crazy modern times to a
Child of eleven, how will I survive?
We moved from the dairy to the lake
At least there’s swimming summer days
And walking round it on summer nights
Barefoot in the rain
Winding roads; lush jungle of trees
Peace, quiet moves in and surrounds, tanning
How brown, love it and the sound of
Bikers rumbling by each spring, to the pizzeria near
My favorite beach, I’m there not a moment to spare
New school new friends new life never ends
More rites of passage in sweet 16 and telegrams from
Home, Uncles, cousins don’t roam so much
Life has changed since those days
Grandparents came to stay, graduation coming soon
Never thought I’d see this June
Life moves on
Part of my design a son and new life
I stick around though husbands go
More than one in mistakes to make
Closing in breathing down neck’s nape
Drooling over, like my son’s chin but I grab my sword
In my arms he’s held strong with the other take a swing
I will not give in, no snake mesmerizes off guard
My head on my shoulders, together we stand
See my idealistic ways from Italian family life
But they are right in how they lived, the world not
Up to speed, give another a chance
Learning experiences no purpose, no need
A sister’s born, so precious, by my side he now stands
I hold her in one arm strong raise my sword again
We leave this place us three, new life for us somewhere
Will live in hope, it will be
I became professional against all odds and raised grown
Children strong, we laughed, we cried, we stood side by side
I like it and have no care at my old age forever 21
That perfect number holds the key to life, doors open wide
Responsibility all mine no need to age from here
I haven’t and I won’t, oh my body argues
Time to time but I say remember when
It says yes and on we go to welcome life
Whatever next it holds
Has that time passed forever gone?
No way, not tomorrow and certainly
Not today, my sword still with me
Yet I know enough
About time I say, wouldn’t you?
There’s still so much to do