Archive for August, 2007
There are two things I do on the commute to work every morning. Think and Look. I should probably be thinking and looking at the road, but that’s boring, so I notice all the little details of what’s happening on the edges.
If I drive straight through the city I will see the morning walk of a little old lady that has to be every minute of 90 years old. She is spry, she is tiny and she is dressed as if she’s about to take the stage. One morning it may be as a ship captain, complete with white pants and a navy jacket sparkling with gold buttons and fringed epalets, topped off with a gleaming white cap. The next she may be Scarlet O’Hara, hooped shirts just barely brushing the sidewalk. On Fridays she goes casual, I’ve seen her in everything from a McDonald’s uniform, the traditional ball cap modified to include a veil, to a Cleopatra- like sheath, gold bracelets wrapped around her skinny upper arms.
Now that school is back in session I like to take a short cut through the…less desirable (?) part of town. The kids in this part of the city don’t even have air conditioning, much less their own cars or credit cards. What they do have is style. I’ve never seen a kid on this street that wasn’t perfectly coiffed, made-up and dressed to the nines including a dazzling assortment of bling. In contrast, once I’ve reached the highly desirable part of town, the teenagers climbing into their mother’s mini-vans are generally dressed in jeans and t-shirts and look like they’ve just rolled out of bed. Says something about priorities, but I’m not sure what.
I rarely answer the phone, but when someone else does I always listen to see who’s calling. Last night it was this:
Pap: No she can’t talk, she’s in bed with Rush.
Pap: She does Dale and Jason in the office. I hate that because she closes the door.
Pap: No, she’ll move over when I’m ready to go to sleep. I hated when she was working on David though, the mess was all over the bed.
Apparently I need to start referring to the books I’m editing by the Title rather than the author’s name.
With my big, sprawling family I’m sure it isn’t hard for you to imagine the mountains of pictures I have cluttering up two domiciles. Five kids, five grandgirls, two step grandkids….Before digital, there was instamatic, then 35mm, we’ve had box cameras, throw away cameras…and enough pictures to fill a museum. So when the scrapbooking craze came along, I was on it. The process appeals to me on many levels: I’ve never met an office supply store I didn’t like, I love color and pattern and this medium lets me ramble out the family stories in writing. I thought for SURE I’d found a plan to get all these boxes and drawers full of pictures tidied up and displayed in a way that people could enjoy them. Like most great plans, this one also went awry.
Apparently I have a maudlin streak that seems to surface most often when I’m working with the pictures. For instance, this picture of my son and three of his sisters at his college graduation in May. That’s Princess on the left, Sheena, Bill and then my kindergarten teacher, Michelle. This was a nice day, but the picture of the four of them reminded me that the fourth sister is once again missing. Grandgirls Mom, who we just can’t seem to keep on track no matter how we try. It wouldn’t be so bad if she looked like her dad, but no, she’s the one that looks like me.
Then there’s this sweet picture that looks like Princess and her brother playing in a human habitrail. But I see it and remember that it was taken at Sea World in 1990 and that the only reason they’re smiling is because they’ve escaped from us. Scariest moment of my life when I turned away for just a minute and Princess disappeared. By the time we found her I was nearly hysterical and then she refused to come out of the thing and I couldn’t get my big butt into it to fetch her. That’s why the boy is going to the rescue and then also refused to come out.
Whole weekend wasted traveling from one set of memories to another and nary a picture getting put in a book. The good news is I needed the rest. Just 133 days and I’m unofficially done with my day job, I have to kill time on an annual report and exit audit until March lst, but that will be nothing.
The little town where I make my living is considered the Clay Capital of the United States. It was founded on first coal, but ultimately pottery. Since it was imports from China that wiped out most of our oldest potteries and continues to burden the potteries operating today, you might understand that I have no love for foreign imports, especially from China. They make it fast but imperfectly and sell it cheap…because they won’t pay their workers a living wage.
When our American factories, like Mattel, decide to move most of their production to China, it makes me sick. Toys with lead based paint, toothpaste with unacceptable levels of poison in place of sweetening agents… I’ll pay more if it keeps an American working, and our children safer. What about you?
Part of Pap’s job as chairman of the Pottery Festival is to recruit art potters, quality crafters and musical acts for the annual festival. Its not enough to just have pottery there, you have to have things to entice the unenlightened to come, things to entertain the kids of the buyers and things to entertain the community we hold the festival in since they live with our pottery factories all year long and can get things anytime. All this, to explain that I spent the weekend dragging around the countryside watching Pap schoomze potters and bands.
Yesterday we went to see a band, the Poverty Neck Hillbillies, that he’s about to sign for the headliner of next year’s festival. This is where I become the I Hate Country Music Critic. Don’t give me any crap about it, all of you country music fans are welcome to it…buy it all so none of it creeps into my house. It all sounds the same to me, and any tunes with “twang” make me visibly twinge. Tears, beer and my dog done me wrong…ugh! And what is up with being able to understand all the words? Some songs are better with a lyrical blur.
Now that you know just how much I hate country music, you’ll know that if anybody tells you they saw me in the grandstand tapping my foot to the music they’re just darn liars. When they tell you that this little band from PA’s rendition of Devil Came Down from Georgia took my breath away, you’ll know they are absolutely dilusional. If you see a picture of rockin roll Kat on her feet during The Hillbilly Way – its obviously my evil twin.
I really do hate country music, but I can appreciate a good stage show, and the Hillbillies have one. They also have a song that’s number 80 (with a bullet we used to say) on the country music charts. I can also appreciate that they’re making their name in the business the old fashioned way…one festival, one fair, one bar at a time. And that fiddler…wow…mega talented.
According to this spiffy little test I found while visiting Scarlett, me and Sheryl are twins of different mothers. Go try it!
Your Theme Song is Soak Up The Sun by Sheryl Crow
“I’ve got no one to blame
For every time I feel lame
I’m looking up”You’re laid back, optimistic, and very together
Like the sun, people feel warm and comfortable around you
I think about all kinds of things on my drive to work and then back home every day. It’s about a forty minute commute with traffic. Plenty of time to mull over goals for the day, plot points, memories, or mental lists of what I’d do if I had a billion dollars.
A few days ago it was raining on the drive. Not pouring, just that gray, drizzly, overcast kind of summer rainy day. The kind of rainy day you can accept in February, but just sucks the joy right out of you in the middle of summer. I’m driving along, humming with the radio and thinking about what I’m going to do with the corner I’d written myself into the night before when I was overwhelmed, just like a kick in the gut, with the desire to go home. Not home to my apartment, but HOME.
Home to the house where my kids grew up. I wanted, with every molecule in my body, to curl up in the rocking chair in the library with a book, stomp up the wooden steps so I could flop onto world’s most comfortable bed. I wanted, with a roaring, red passion, to make scrambled eggs in the leaky kitchen, run my hand over the door I decorated in the craft room. Even with the radio blaring and the windshield wipers swooshing, I thought I could hear the waterfall pumping into the pond and I needed to see the bleeding heart, roses and gladiolas in bloom.
By the time I got to work and started answering voice mail the feeling passed. But I wonder if it was just an emotional reaction to too much change in a short period of time or…if the house misses me.