Archive for July, 2007
With a mere 155 days left until I’m officially unemployed and chasing the dream like a maniac, I find I can’t write. Nothing, blank pages all over the place. It would be easy to blame the numerous and interesting distractions that tend to wander through my life. Pretty babies like these two newest grandgirls that need the benefit of my years of wisdom. Chocolate chips that need to be made into cookies. I’m sure everyone can agree that the world would stop turning on its axis without lemon, blueberry and strawberry muffins in the bread box. The flower boxes on my balcony are not going to dead head and water themselves, what choice do I have but to tend the impatients and pansy’s? If I don’t sweep off those 18 boards that make up the floor and dust down those railings just who will? Of course I had to take time to rearrange my closet by color. My make-up really did need to be stored alphabetically, how else would I know the difference between “midnight blue” mascara and “deepest black” at seven in the morning? I can’t be the only one who scrubs their three rows of flip-flops by hand. Then there was that back log of reading I’ve been meaning to get to, well, I didn’t really get to it yet. First I had to safety check these for Princess, I mean she’s only 20! It would be negligent of me to allow her access to games that might have swear words or violence in them. I had to read this one so I could still hang out with the cool kids, and then the other three were given to me by a neighbor. Only a totally rude person wouldn’t read them right away…even though I hate books in which all the women are beautiful, all the men handsome and chapters 3, 5, 7 and 9 are sex scenes. I really didn’t mean to get sucked into the pottery festival again, but hey, they made such a mess of things this year its my civic duty to rescue them. Yes, I know there are several dozen people on the committee and it shouldn’t be necessary for me to balance the checkbook, type the contracts, write the thank you letters and do the advertising…but I am a writer by night and an accountant by day, it fits right into my skill set, right? So many distractions around my place. Its easy to blame them for my inability to get down to business. But I know better. My problem is discipline. I have none.
My Australian friend, Barb, sends me funny things all the time. This one is a classic:
Whenever I’m beating myself up for something stupid, clumsy or ridiculous I’ve done, I think about this picture. The man who owns the car and the people who loaded it, and then I realize I’m quite nearly a genius because souls like this are walking the earth. Can you see the exhaust? This car is running. The driver was found by police BEHIND the car trying to cut the twine. In addition to the plywood, there are 10, 80 pound bags of concrete in the back seat. Police estimated the load weight at 3,000 pounds. Both tires blew out and the rear shocks were driven through the floor boards.
Because I like to finish what I start, at midnight on Friday I was at the book store with my daughter picking up the final book in the Harry Potter series. I finished reading it Sunday afternoon and rest assured there are no spoilers here…the book was important to me for entirely different reasons than those shared by most of the world.
I’ve written before of my favorite work mate, Doug. One of the things we had in common was books and he’s who got me hooked on Harry Potter. Doug was on my mind frequently as I finished this last book in a long series. I couldn’t help thinking about how much he would have loved some aspects of this book and hated some others. That made it a kind of melancholy read, because I would have liked to have been talking about these things with him instead of just guessing.
We used to debate just what it was that made these books the phenomena they are, after all there are literally warehouses filled with imaginative, enjoyable books out there. There was no hype when the first book FIRST came out. It was recommended to Doug by our local librarian. Everyone was talking about it. Finding a copy of that first book at the libary was pure luck and miracle it was so popular with kids and adults.
For me, the original appeal was seeing something written for kids that wasn’t all sunshine and light or abuse and pity. It certainly didn’t hurt that the author’s story was engaging and relatable to struggling writers everywhere. Bravo J.K. – you broke through.
I didn’t think I could ever find something more tedious than interviewing for secretaries until this week, when I had to interview for accounting clerks. I feel like someone kicked me in the head and left me in a ditch. Partly from saying the same thing over and over, partly from watching a parade of hopefulls shoot themselves in the foot. Don’t they teach interviewing in college any more?
We only interview the applicants that have backgrounds in the work we need. Potentially, everyone who gets a call for an interview is already qualified to do the job. This is common knowledge to our applicants and we still got: 1) Applicants that showed up on the wrong day or time, 2) Applicants inappropriately dressed for the office (even if it is summer), 3) Applicants that forgot their glasses and couldn’t do their best on the test, 4) Applicants that didn’t follow the directions on the test. Then there’s my all-time pet peeve – wimpy, watery, vague answers to our questions instead of answers based in the meat of their experience. What makes you most qualified for this job? “I’m a real people person.” Ugh. I could make a fortune teaching people how to interview.
One more day of it.
Living in a tiny copse of trees to the left of our apartment building are a group of city savvy deer. We see them early in the morning and right before sunset. That little one gives its mother fits on a daily basis. This picture was taken from my balcony (Pap sprang for a new digital camera. Sometimes he earns his keep). There are seven deer that live in that tiny collection of trees including two babies. They are so used to the cars that travel at breakneck speeds along the road that they actually stand on the berm and look both ways before they cross. You can see the road in this picture, it was early in the morning which is why there is very little traffic. We are located about one block off the busiest street in the city. Therein lies the problem. The deer lived here before the people did. Since its been developed, they’ve learned to avoid the cars that could kill them. No hunter will ever be able to shoot them because we’re just that close to the city…and they’re reproducing. Hmmm….if nothing changes, we will eventually have more deer than people in my neighborhood. That can’t possible be a good thing.
I always wonder if every state is like Ohio, we have a festival for everything: tomatos, coal, Indians, potatos, grapes, antiques, founders days, the day was sunny and we felt like riding rides…and of course, there’s ours – the Pottery Festival. We are towns founded on the rich red clay that great stoneware is made from. Even though that industry has suffered numerous blows from foreign imports and natural disasters, and the number of our factories has dwindled, what we have left is still making the finest ware on the planet. Our artisan’s are still creating some of the most cutting edge decorative pieces in the world. That’s worth celebrating, so we do. For four days every July. This year’s festival wraps up tomorrow. If you’ve never volunteered to help with a community festival before, you’re missing out on the most exhausting, stressful, crazy fun you’ll ever have.
When you center a festival around a specific focus – like pottery – you have to have some other stuff going on to get enough people there to buy the stuff. Unfortunately, there are a few
infidels uninformed people around who don’t know the benefits of adding some nice pottery to their lifestyle. Then there’s the locals, who either work in the industry, grew up in the industry or both. They take this beautiful ware for granted. We believe that if we can get them to the grounds, we can teach them to appreciate this all American art. So we do other stuff: rides, talent shows, baby contests, bands, dance troups, food…then there’s the pageant to select a Festival Queen who will spread the news of the Pottery Festival around the state and through the community. She does this by sacrificing every weekend from July through December and March through June getting up at the crack of dawn to travel hither and yon. She must arrive at her destination prepared to speak and answer questions about pottery, the festival and the community at the drop of a hat, perfectly coifed, formally dressed and wearing high heels. And they say women are the “weaker” sex. Pffft. This is a hideous job, and yet every year for the last 42, young women take up the gauntlet. Want to know what it feels like to hear your name called as the new Pottery Festival Queen? Like this:
One of the worse things about getting sick when you’re normally the Queen of Good Health is all the hub-bub it causes. Two cycles of antibiotic and ear drops finally have me back to normal but not without considerable panic by Pap who not only alarmed all five of our children and all of our friends, but also, quite literally, alerted the media. Allow me to explain…
It’s pottery week in my part of Ohio and Pap is the Chairman of the Pottery Festival. In the past I was in charge of advertising, did most of the announcements and ran the talent show and the Queen’s Pageant…so everyone knows me. When I didn’t show up for the pre-festival advertising, rather than tell the media that I was no longer handling those duties, Pap told them I was sick…in great detail and with an enormous amount of exaggeration I’m sure.
Up to all kinds of nonsense that I’ll eventually blog about…for now, have a great weekend!