Archive for July, 2007

Distractions

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. bren-with-keys-web.jpg It would be easy to blame the numerous and interesting distractions that tend to wander through my life.  Pretty babies like these two newestayla-for-web.jpg 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 muffinsbalcony-deer-side.jpg 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. games-on-computer.jpg 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 hp-7.jpghang out with the cool kids, and then the other three were given to me by a neighbor.  Only books.jpga 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’tpottery-festival-site.jpg 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. 

July 30, 2007 at 10:00 am 27 comments

When Good Men Go Dumb

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, Ioverload.jpg 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. 

July 25, 2007 at 11:56 pm 12 comments

End of an Era

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. 

July 24, 2007 at 2:14 am 13 comments

“I’m a Real People Person”

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. 

July 20, 2007 at 4:30 pm 19 comments

On the Edge of the City

Living in a tiny copse of trees to the left of our deer.jpgapartment 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 view-from-the-balcony.jpgwhich 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. 

July 16, 2007 at 6:11 am 17 comments

Hometown Festivals

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:

new-queen-close.jpg 

July 15, 2007 at 7:16 am 13 comments

The Media Has Been Alerted

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!

July 13, 2007 at 7:30 pm 15 comments

A Good Book and a…chain tag?

Thanks everybody for your kind comments on my last post.  An update on R…he was so out of his head he didn’t go to prison but to the psych ward of the hospital.   

Well here is a new twist on sneaking details out of a blogger… from Kat in California…hey, I used to be Kat from California…away we go: 

 INSTRUCTIONS: Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom slot, like so:
1. Skittles
2. Last Minute Lyn

3. melsdream
4. wading through my stream of consciousness
5. kat’s random thoughts

Next select five people to tag and tell them:
more about this later.Now answer the following questions:
What were you doing 10 years ago?
Celebrating the impending birth of my first grandgirl, Jazzmin, while mourning the decline of her mother, my daughter.  Traveling Ohio with Princess who was serving her year representing the community as Pottery Princess. 

What were you doing 1 year ago?
Deciding to quit my day job and write full time.


Five snacks you enjoy:
Red delicious apples so cold they make your teeth hurt
chocolate covered raisons
oatmeal walk aways
strawberries and bananas with milk
movie popcorn
Five songs to which you know all the lyrics:
Joshua Giraffe (“my mother never licks me, even when I’m sticky.” Cracked my kids up when they were little, cracks my grandgirls up now.  You rock Raffi)
Go Your Own Way by Fleetwood Mac
6th Avenue Heartache by the Wallflowers
Just as I am (Baptist Hymn Book)
Three Babies (Sinead) I’m detecting a definate lack of culture in my life…hmm…

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:
let Pap retire
college tuition for the grandgirls

generous donations to the local theatre, woman’s network and library
pay off my kids college loans
all the rest straight into my publishing company so it could toddle instead of crawl

Five bad habits:
smoking
eating junk
procrastinating

nail flicking

Backseat driving.  I am so wickedly consistent at telling everyone how they should be driving, nobody will go anywhere with me unless I’m the one driving. 

Five things you like doing:
writing
reading
mucking around in the garden
attempting to paint
parties – planning and having

Five things you would never wear again:
a bikini
off the shoulder dresses
turtlenecks (who needs three chins?)
anything made of gold lame

hair parted down the middle

Five favorite toys:
this computer (versus my old one or the one at the office)
the wooden box that holds all my oil paints, brushes and other painting paraphernalia
the writing software that organizes my books exactly the way I used to organize them by hand.
the hat box that holds all the glitter, bits of ribbon, buttons and knicky knacky things we use to make masks.
the gazelle – definately detecting a lack of dimension in my life…hmmm….

Okay, the rest of the rules are to tag five people, and I have a personal policy not to tag anyone…so if you’ll play, tag yourself and let me know, I’ll give you major props and brag incessently about your good sportsmanship.

The punishment for bragging about my good health in past posts has been harshly applied.  I’ve spent most of this week with everything from the neck up infected, including the tonsils that survived childhood intact.  Who knew that ear aches were this freakin painful???

Looking for a good book?  Dean Koontz, The Good Man.  One plot cheat, but since I couldn’t figure out a way to get him past it either, I’m forgiving him for it.  Dean did a cool thing with this book, one of his main characters was named after the winner of his auction for animal rescue.  How many copies of this book do you think she bought?  This is light summer reading, predictable but engaging. 

Off to improve my life through prescription pharmaceuticals….

July 8, 2007 at 11:48 pm 13 comments

Remembrance Day

He was the park caretaker when smokers could light up at their desks, even in our government building.  A familiar character limping up the gravel drive to the pool shed, always in need of a haircut and a shave, as thin and raggedy as last season’s scarecrow.  Lacking means or interest in fashion, we never saw him dressed in anything but wrinkled camo pants, shapeless faded t-shirts and one of a small collection of greasy ball caps or paisley d0-rags.  Accompanied by his equally skinny white dog and reeking of stale wine or yeasty beer, R never missed a day of work and was never late.  Respectable people avoided his gaze, small children were afraid of him, teenage boys considered him “prey”.

He lost his job at the park the summer we lost control of the teenaged hooligans in town.  Aimless and bored, they spent the warm nights tearing up picnic tables and shattering the lights in the shelter house and tennis court.  The next morning they’d follow R around the park laughing at him cleaning up their mess.  When the police couldn’t catch them, and no parents were stepping forward to control their offspring, R took it upon himself to stop the carnage.  He met them at the gate one night emboldened by Boones Farm and with a baseball bat sprouting nails.  The cowards ran for home to tell their mommies. 

R took his firing hard.  He dropped out of sight and we didn’t even see him around town much, until today.   A frantic call from the pool to the police department.  “Someone” had broken into the park shed and was mowing the grass.  He’d left his white dog by the open door.  By the time the on-duty cop had responded, R had carefully mowed all the way around the trees in front of the pool and halfway to the baseball field.  They took him away in an ambulance. His skinny dog, howling with fear and grief,  was locked in the retention cage to await the dog warden. 

Most people don’t remember that R was a star on the high school basketball team.  That he sang a solo in church when he was 12, or that he enlisted in the Army and served his country faithfully and with honor.  They don’t know that he was married once and she left him for another man while he was stationed in Viet Nam.  In a town filled with war veterans, including a medal of honor winner, nobody noticed that R lost his foot in war and was sent home with an addiction to pain pills and a purple heart. 

Today I cried for R, whose mind abandoned him, whose life passed him by and whose happiest times were mowing grass in a small town park.  How many more of our veteran’s are living lives like R’s?  Forgotten warriors, alone and lonely.   Sometimes I really hate that truth is stranger than fiction. 

July 4, 2007 at 9:09 am 25 comments

Opportunities and a Couple of Shout Outs

Years ago I read a reincarnation theory that alleged people pick their own parents.  I don’t believe in reincarnation, quite frankly the thought of doing life over and over horrifies me…but the thought of picking ones own parents was an interesting concept.  They described it as a bunch of bodiless souls hovering around in a blue space waiting for the correct parents to come along that will provide the necessary foundation blocks they didn’t get in their last life. 

I’m trying to imagine myself hovering around up there waiting and then deciding that the two middle aged people struggling to pay the light bill were exactly who I needed.  Hmmm… not so much.  I had a happy childhood, filled with people who loved me and I would’nt trade it.  But,  I’m pretty sure that if I had been offered the opportunity to pick my own parents, I would have chosen people willing to give me art lessons.  Or parents with pots of money they wanted to bestow on their bouncing baby girl.  Who would you have picked?

Catch has given me a Rocking Girl Blogger award, Thanks!  You’re a rocker yourself girl!  Go say hi to this fellow Ohioan, her last two posts are two of the funniest jokes I’ve heard in a long time. 

Seamus has announced that its time to vote on the prose/poetry and actual lions from The Shameless Lions Writing Circle.  If you haven’t shameless-lion.jpgchecked out the 48 members of this group yet, you must!  The artists who decorated the lions and the writers who have adopted them come from all over the world and are sharing some of the most amazing work.  The group is still open for “friends of the pride”.  Click on the link and you can learn all about it.  If you scroll down my sidebar you can read the history of this project.

Dr. John’s Sunday topic is Faith.  Along with his own great teachings he’s linked his message to Dr. Kate’s views on the same thing.  Interesting reading any time, but this topic on this day in these times is both moving and thought provoking. Click over there, even if you aren’t reading this until Monday. 

Since noone has replaced my digital camera, and I’m too poor to replace it myself right now, I’m off to paint a picture of the view from my balcony.  Artists everywhere are groaning and running for cover.  Have a great Sunday!

July 1, 2007 at 7:56 pm 18 comments


The free-lance writer is the person who is paid per piece or per word or perhaps. (Robert Benchley)

Welcome to My Neighborhood!

Shortly after I learned to use a spoon, I learned to use a pencil. Crippled by shyness as a child, I found that the things I couldn't say out loud, I could say with a pen, and then a typewriter. The shyness was overcome with education and age...but the need to write has never left me.

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