Sunday, August 26, 2007

First Novel?

This morning on my weekly visit to my folks, my mother handed me a Manilla folder of letters that I had apparently asked her to save for me. In the late 80's early 90's I told her I wasn't keeping a journal and asked that she save my letters as documentation of my life. This was mostly the year my parents and sister were teaching English in China (1987-88) and also the year I was pregnant for the first time. In reading through some of the letters, it appears I wrote a weekly letter on Sunday evenings and there are political commentaries (this was the Reagan era and you can guess what side I was on), cultural reviews (movies, poetry readings), St. Elsewhere updates, significant sporting events, as well as describing my life as a young wife and soon-to-be mother. There was a big stock market crash in the fall of '87 and I was in charge of Mom and Dad's investments, bills and watching over their house from 800 miles away. I've been sitting on the porch reading, and laughing out loud as so many things strike me as simply hilarious. Things I had totally forgotten, and coincidentally, I had just dragged out an old photo album out of the attic and it corresponds to some of the writings. I had completely forgotten being the matron of honor in a co-workers wedding, and the bridal shower which I had pictures of, and couldn't quite figure out who the people were, and why they were wearing lace underpants on their head.

Anyway, I'm thinking my first novel could be titled Letters To My Family. I recently read a novel that was all told through letters, there's a name for it, and it is somewhat out of vogue from what I remember.

Here's a quip. Let me know if you think this would make good general (light) reading material:

October 11, 1987

Here is a real funny bit of American news. Chris probably heard this already. But, Reagan's nominee for the Supreme Court is this extremist Bork. Of course, we hate him (we'd hate anyone Reagan might choose). Well, he is not going to be confirmed by the Senate, because too many people are opposed to him. The last I heard, 52 senators had said they would vote against him. But Reagan refuses to withdraw him before it goes to the actual vote. The judicial committee already opposed him 9 to 4. So, when asked by a reporter if Reagan thought Bork wouldn't be confirmed by the Senate, he replied, "Over my dead body." Bill and I roared when we heard him say that, because it's so obvious he will not be confirmed, and then Reagan will have to commit suicide.

Now that just brought tears to my eyes I laughed so hard. I guess I still have it out for Reagan, God rest his soul.

P.S. I had to check Wikipedia to make sure Bork was indeed rejected for the Supreme Court. Whew.

Another letter describes the scene in St. Elsewhere where Westphal moons the camera. Who could forget that "racy" scene. There is a blow by blow account of the new thriller Fatal Attraction, but many more reviews of international and independent films. There is my struggle with what to do about the nursing home's request to give my grandmother a flu shot that goes as follows:

October 18, 1987

I know of no news of Grandma, except I received a permission slip for her to get a flu vaccine. My gut reaction was to say no, it is stupid to artificially prolong life in this way. Then I thought, well, I don't want to be the cause of her dying while you are away, so maybe she better have it. Then I thought, aren't there some severe side effects from that vaccine, that might result in death? Then I thought, well, maybe I'll call Mary Logsdon, the nurse, but she would probably tell me to ask Uncle Gerry. So finally I decided to write the following on the form: Since my parents are in China for a year, I would like you to do what you did last year in regards to a flu vaccine. If this is not sufficient, please contact my uncle at blah blah blah.

Okay, now I'm giving away my whole book, but do you think it would fly? Or am I just fascinated with myself?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Several Blogger Issues

There are many things to learn about Blogger which I will probably never master. For instance, how to post pictures with text interspersed. Another mystery is how you post links to other blogs, UTube clips, put a little icon or picture next to your name, and the cream of the crop, slideshows (especially of scrapbook pages). It would be fantastic to know how to do this and more that I see others doing, but my knowledge is acquired slowly, usually by accident or trial and error, mostly error.

Just now I finished a post I started on Tuesday. But it posted below one I wrote later in the week, even though I just posted today, Saturday. I tried to cut and paste the text into a new post, but no luck even using Control C and Control V which I thought was pretty clever of me.

Today is just a gorgeous autumnesque day. Perfect for porch sitting, but it's time to spring up and get some busy work done. The soccer fields were flooded today so the game was cancelled. This left me with a GIFT of six hours (drive, game and lunch time) I wasn't expecting. It was like wow, what can I do now? I better clean the cars (not).

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Necessary Threads





Just add Aviators and you're ready for 9th grade in small town America.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

To Be Known

Someone said this week, our greatest need is to know and be known. This is in contrast to the common belief that our greatest need is to love and be loved. It was mentioned that people write books so that others will know them and we read books to know others. That immediately made me think, THAT'S WHY WE BLOG. Or, more rightly that's why I blog. To be known. It doesn't even matter if I know who is reading it, if anyone. I am presenting myself to be known. It has always been easier for me to write than talk about myself which makes blogging the perfect medium for me.

The need to be known is logically greater, because we know that not everyone will love us. If at least they truly know us, we feel understood and it doesn't matter if they like or love us. You are free to read or not read, know or not know, love or not love me.

I'm wondering what other bloggers and/or readers think about this idea. Why do you blog? How important is it that you are known or loved?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

I have to Bloggee a little bit before I can relax enough to try to sleep. Today has been go go go. Some things were huge eg. take final exam, shop for school clothes 1+ hours away from home, go through bags of scrapbook sh--, some small eg. get photos printed, clean out drawer of sh--, type minutes from meeting last week. Getting everything organized for school is still quite a chore. Boy19 hasn't been weaned from parental dependence yet, and once again failed to get his textbooks (classes start tomorrow for him). Guess he will survive- at least he has bling bling watch and shoes/sweatshirt from the 'hood. I've given up my compulsion with getting the best sale price on school supplies (and applicable rebates), thank god, and go for the least congested variety store aka Walgreens - three trips just today. I paid the 70 cents instead of 39 cents and the freedom is incredible!! I think everyone is set, except me. I thought I was pretty on the ball ordering my own textbooks two weeks in advance of my next class (Wed) but they haven't arrived yet. I did not get to item #9 today, clean cars. That one always slips to last priority somehow.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Soccer Boy


We'll try any sport. This is Boy13's (not the goalie) debut in competitive soccer. We had to drive almost 2 hours to get there. It was 60-f'in degrees out there. I was freezing, in a matter of a day there was 30 degree drop in temperature. Unbelievable, and I had the gall to complain *my teeth were chattering* The other team beat ours 4-0. Apparently this is the equivalent of getting beaten 55-0 in basketball (Boy13 says, don't quote me on your computer). From what I understand, our soccer play is getting better, we are a young squad, chronologically and experience-wise.

It's in the 80's at here at home.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Gourds and What Not

Yesterday while driving through a small town, I saw a gaggle of gourds on a table in somebody's yard. There were the long, nubby green and yellow ones, the baby pumpkins, some acorn squash perhaps, and I had a sudden panic slash anxiety attack. Fall, aka Autumn is almost here. Seems summer just started...my tan is not complete...okay, it will be okay. Autumn is very special to me. It means gourds, football, Spoon River Drive, school (which by the way starts tomorrow), new school supplies or cleaned up recycled ones, harvest moon, spectacular crunching leaves, homemade soup, caramel apples, sweaters, Homecoming parades and festivities, marching band sounds echoing from miles away, carved pumpkins (someone elses), fresh burning leaves, mums, sitting on the porch and much more. What does Fall mean to you?

Tonight we will sleep with the windows open and fans on for the first time in weeks (?).

I'm so pleased I got 4, count 'em, 4 comments today. Thanks everyone. I feel loved.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Becky and Tom

Here we have the children posed in front of the requisite tourist cut-out plywood picture board (do these have names?). This one is particularly tacky. If you close in on it, you can see the hayseeds with their toothpicks hanging out of their mouths, Becky's hand mysteriously placed atop the sky, and Nephew 9 wearing a Bills hat (he is "supposed" to be a Patriots fan).

I'm thinking of a series of these cut-out pictures...

Monday, August 13, 2007

Guess What?

I'm sitting by an open window at 10:37 p.m. with a fan in front of it, and the air is wonderful. I am amazed. After class I took a walk with Pat and we walked at a clip, it was so refreshing. A perfect night. Stars galore. Crickets chirping, no traffic.
This wind on my legs is my personal legend. See I am no good with metaphor. That is why I will never be a very good writer. A practical writer, maybe. But not a good one.

Madz, is that what the shepherd was pursuing in The Alchemist? I gave the book back this morning and couldn't look it up: personal legend? Finally finished it last night. I did write down a couple of phrases from the book I liked:

Your eyes show the strength of your soul.
Everyday was there to be lived or to make one's departure from this world.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Hot One


I'm referring to the weather, not the picture above...
I have been one miserable pup this whole weekend. It's about 100 degrees outside, and that much at least inside my house. At night with a window air conditioner it's maybe 80. I am carrying the pager for work for the first time in several years, meaning I could get called out for a psychiatric emergency at any time. This has not helped my sleep pattern. I did respond Friday night at 9:00 to the ER and got home at 12:30 a.m. Not that bad, really, but I was way keyed up afterwards and had trouble falling asleep. Have felt like a layer of sweat, grime and sleepiness ever since. Relief found in the a/c of the YMCA where I could get some studying done and they have wireless. Now I am in my son's room with the window unit cranked trying to finish The Alchemist. I don't really like it, by the way, but feel obligated to finish and return it to my friend. I agree with her 15 year old daughter, boring. I could go through the boy's dresser drawers and get rid of old clothes to ready for new school clothes which he will want, but does not need.
The only thing that makes me feel better is googling Matt Damon.

Water Day





These shots are from a day at the Aquatic Center last week, Thursday August 2nd. The top is Neice11, the middle is Nephew9, and the bottom is Nephew8 taking the plunge. It was a good day and a 45 minute drive from home. Afterwards we had ice cream sundaes and iced coffees from McDonalds. One of the lifeguards was the guy who played Lennie in a production of "Of Mice and Men" last winter.

Blobber

I just felt like calling the title "Blobber." No special reason. I went back to writing in my paper and pen journal this weekend. Of course, it's much more personal and it's so interesting to go back and read where my head was at one, two, three years ago. I apologized to said journal for neglecting it for so long for my new friend, Blogger. My last entry was January7, 2007. I was still working on getting all the pieces of my application for grad school in, and hadn't even started Statistics yet. I was a little overwhelmed. Looking back, I can say I've come a long way already just in that area.

I went to some friends 50th Anniversary Celebration last evening. My association with this family started in junior high or high school really. We were neighbors and went to the same church, but for some reason I didn't become friends with Julie until high school, really. This was her parents anniversary, and when I moved back to my hometown in 1996 I became friends with her mom and dad, joining different community groups that they were in. So, Julie has long since moved away, but with my association with her parents we have stayed somewhat connected.

Anyway, it was a really nice dinner and I sat with Julie and her husband, catching up on our families, the gossip, and reminiscing about old times.
*coffee refill needed*
There were six children in their family and all were there with their families. The youngest boy had put together a wonderful video using music and still photos. I have done some video editing and know first hand how tedious it is, but also how engaging and rewarding it is. This guy scanned and sorted over 4000 pictures and reduced it 4-500. It was a great tribute to the parents and he used some techniques I had never seen. I'll have to find out what program he used.
Always the sociologist, I noted there were 2 divorces out of the six kids (that I'm aware of), so they have not hit the national average. 50 years is a long time to stay married, though much more common in their generation. It's interesting to think of all the things couples go through to make it to that point, many of which only they know. Next year my parents will have their 50th. They do not want a party of any kind, seemingly. I think they went to Niagara Falls for their 25th anniversary. I was wrapped up in my own 20 year old life and barely noticed.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Family Pic


My dad called for a family picture yesterday which was a really good idea. I got one of Boy14's friends to come over to be the photographer. Then Dad's camera didn't work but mine did. This is my complete family except for Neice17 who didn't come on the trip. My brother is in the red shirt, sister in the yellowish shirt, SIL Donna in black, BIL Chuck in wide stripes, Pat in blue, my mom in red, and dad in yellow.
We walked around the car show which was downtown. I looked at cars with new eyes because instead of being with Pat who has no interest in cars, I was walking with Chuck who finds them pretty fascinating.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Bourne Again

Bourne Ultimatum is everything I hoped for. Another great action flick with virtually no plot. What plot there is, is confusing, but it doesn't really matter, you just get wrapped back up in the action. What's it called when you overlook the flaws in the plot, suspension of disbelief? I had to do that a few times. Where does Bourne get an endless supply of money and passports? Why is his deceased German girlfriend's brother, French? How can he walk away from multiple head on-rollover collisions? Well, if the medium pops hadn't been so big, I wouldn't have missed one scene to visit the restroom.

Meanwhile, Uncle Chris took the kids to The Simpsons. Thank you, Chris! My kids had seen it once or twice already.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Friday Night Live

I'm real tired but the Programme/Talent Show is over. Nephew9 won with Headstands and Handstands to Pokemon song. Other acts were White Men Can't Jump (Boy13 twirling basketball to Harlem Globetrotters theme song), Trumpet solo by Boy14 (and bass solo), dramatic reading of The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe, Macbeth soliloquy by Uncle Chris and Ob-la-di Ob-la-da by Aunt Betsy and me. Nephew8 did a kind of improv where the audience shouted out roles such as clown, firefighter, monster, surgeon, Chuckee, and then he acted them out. I was a little nervous when I saw on the program Nephew8 Acts Up.

Later we played Red Light/Green Light and Mother May I in the yard until we were eaten by mosquitoes.

Earlier today the girls were treated to spa treatments by yours truly. I had the clarifying facial which was 45 minutes long and included face, neck and hand massage, exfoliating, hot and cold treatments. It was wonderful. A man was the cosmetologist, interesting.

We had a nice Italian dinner out, adults only, and most of us brought home leftovers.

Spell check tells me mosquitoes is kind of like potatoes. Mosquito/potato. Poe only lived to be 40 years old. That reminds me. At the Mark Twain Cave the tour guide told us about a freaky doctor from St. Louis who conducted medical experiments in the cave. When people would not donate cadavers for his research, he went to cemeteries and dug up his own. Then he got caught. Not long afterward his 14 year old daughter died of pnuemonia (??). He wanted to see if he could, what's the word they used, not mumify, but preserve a body indefinitely, PETRIFY. He submerged her body in an alcohol solution and placed it in a glass cylinder, with a brass cylinder around that and stuck it in the cave. After two years, that 'experiment' was discovered and put the doctor to a halt.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

All Hell's

Breaking loose. My house is 98 degrees, at least. Everyone is trying to get ready (or not) for Friday night's Programme. The kids decided it would be a talent show with the winner taking all the admission money ($1 apiece). The furniture is all turned around to create a stage and dress rehearsal is not going well.

Boy19 accused me, rightly, of throwing out his favorite pillow while he was in Nebraska. I did not know it was his favorite, only that it looked like dirt or puke when I took the pillow case off. His next complaint was that someone slept in his bed and left the smell of foreign cologne. I vehemently denied this and later found out Pat took a 20 minute nap there so I had to change the sheets again. They were laundered while he was away also.

Next, our Field of Dreams trip for Saturday is cancelled when we found out it is 176 miles to Dyersville, IA.

After 10 p.m. my BIL Chuck arrived and brought Boy14 a drum set, which I will live to regret.

Today was an overload of the sun at a nearby aquatic center. Pretty fun, though, and iced coffee at McDonald's after. Very good. Have you tried it?

Chill Day

I declared Wednesday a chill day with no special activities planned. I went into work to attend a staff meeting, and Aunt Betsy prepared a Mexican Fiesta that was delicious. Everyone agreed it beat the Mexican restaurants in town. Afterwards we had game night: croquet, Finkelmeier, Apples to Apples (Boy13 won). My parents have air conditioned so we were there and all was pleasant.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

What Can I Say?

What can I say about yesterday. It was quite a day! I didn't take any pictures so I will try to draw pictures with my words and will undoubtedly fail.

Most the group left early (9:30) for the Abraham Lincoln Museum. It was new a couple of years ago and is quite an attraction. I'm not sure the kids were that excited, but you have learn a little something on vacation, right?

Boy14 and I left town around 11:00 (listening to his new favorite, Jimi Hendrix) and arrived at the waterpark about 1:00. Found out it cost $23.95 per person (we were all over the height cutoff). She begrudgingly told me if I had a Pepsi can I could save $5. Luckily, I had a Diet Pepsi can in the car. After paying for the two of us I found out the can was only good for one person. I think the price was way too high (Fun City was only $5 which is incredibly low) and probably the reason the place was not very crowded, a definite plus. So I cell phoned the other group of seven and told them the good news: the park is not crowded and the bad news: you have to find 7 Pepsi cans. Betsy said they parked next to a recycling bin and they could scavenge that. So that was vision!

When they finally arrived between 2:30 and 3:00 I found out they bought a 12 pack of Pepsi at Walgreen's for $3, saving them $35. Well worth it, even if you dumped out most of the warm pop.

We spent the afternoon wave pooling, sliding and lazing down the river. They had a half pipe slide I'd never seen before and Betsy and I did that together. Our combined weight made it very scary for me when we plunged straight down one side and up the other, see-sawing back and forth until coming to rest at the bottom.

We had dinner at Applebees and then I drove all the boys who are staying at my house home. I let them have pretty much free reign and they were punchy and tired and goofy. They started making videos of each other on the cell phone and laughing unccontrollably, especially when I was taped screaming to put a sock in Nephew8's mouth and tie up his hands. After that they told Yo Mama jokes, making up their own stupid ones. Then Blonde jokes. When they got to inventing their own, Nephew9 especially had me laughing so hard I was crying and Boy13 had to help steer the car. "There was a blonde, a finger and a hat. She put the finger in the hat and put it on her head. Then the man said, do you have any butterfingers? No, no, no. There was a blonde, a finger, some butter and a hat." You get the idea. It was 60 minutes of non-stop laughing, shrieking, and screaming.