Archive for March, 2009

Birthdays and A Little Matchmaking

I have memories of only two birthday parties from my childhood.  Since my birthday is just one week before Christmas, it must have been tough to get such a thing organized.  One was when I was young enough to feel miffed that I couldn’t win any of the games, the other was the year I turned 13 and my parents flew my friends from Maryland in to our new house in Pennsylvania. 

Youngest grandgirl, Ayla, will not suffer such a fate.  Her mom is aayla-birthday-party kindergarten teacher that waited a very long time for a baby.  At her second birthday there was a bounce house to share with her friends and cousins.  Not to mention her snazzy ensemble honoring her favorite Sesame Street character, Abby Cadabby.ayla-second-birthday  Then there’s that dance thing she got to do with her very cool older half sister.  ayla-presents1No birthday would be complete without presents and there were plenty of those too.

Yup, Ayla is one lucky kid, I know because I raised her mother.

ayla-with-michelleWho just happens to be single, by the way.  So if you have sons or grandsons, between 27-32, gainfully employed, must love children and go to church…e-mail me and let’s hook ’em up. 

I’m kidding Michelle!

(Not really, everyone else)

March 27, 2009 at 7:25 am 19 comments

Some Things Just Shouldn’t Be Repeated

I opened up my e-mail this morning and, like always, scimmed through whatever Yahoo calls news only to find that the Farrelly brothers are remaking The Three Stooges.  With Jim Carey, Sean Penn and Benicio del Toro as Larry, Moe and Curly.  Well isn’t that just a poke in the eye and slap on the head? 

I didn’t like the three stooges the first time around, why in the world would someone think that sad old slapstick nonsense should be resurrected?   More importantly, all that slapping, poking and injuring is no longer politically correct…take it out and there really wasn’t any story left behind.  Sean Penn????

March 26, 2009 at 3:32 pm 9 comments

Zombified

Have you ever had one of those days where you can see that someone is talking to you but the stuff coming out of their mouth just sounds like wordless bleating?  A night when your body keeps moving but your head is still getting over what you did before lunch?  Have you ever stared blankly at an object you’ve used every day of your life and failed repeatedly to come up with its name?  Or…I just love when this happens…spent an hour searching for something that’s on your head or in your hand?  Yup, that’s where I am tonight, a resident of zombi land.

March 25, 2009 at 10:56 am 8 comments

Happy Dance!

What an exciting weekend.  First, we had warm weather – with sun.  Then there was a grand girls birthday party and then Princess announced her engagement to long time boyfriend, Ernie.  If you’ve been visiting here long, you know Princess is my youngest daughter and we already loved Ernie like a son. 

More good news this morning.  It looks like my Pap has finally got a job interview.  That’s amazing good news, I know he’s tired of running around doing odd jobs while we watch the money in our bank account disappear like smoke. 

Scary to put in print, but is it possible we’re finally exiting that long, dark, tunnel?

March 23, 2009 at 9:49 pm 9 comments

Brain Damaged

I think I burned out several hundred brain cells today writing.  Did I tell you I started a new job for a newspaper?  I didn’t?  Imagine that….Well, I wasn’t supposed to start until April first, but the correspondent who’s place I’m taking has stopped writing, so my editor asked me to move up a week.  Holy cow!  I spent Monday and Tuesday chasing down leads and doing interviews.  I spent all…day….today writing the stories.  I’m exhausted.  What I hate most, is that with such a short deadline it isn’t my best writing.  Ugh.

March 19, 2009 at 3:20 am 10 comments

Girl Scout Controversy

I love the Girl Scout program, but this breaking news made me a little cranky this morning:

A girl needs to sell enough cookies to get herself to camp.  She tries going door to door, but she’s running out of time and hasn’t sold near enough to pay her way.  She puts up  a beautiful website and in days has sold and shipped 700 boxes of cookies.  That’s when the Girl Scout Council stepped in and ordered her to take the website down claiming “the cookie sale is meant to be a face to face experience.”

(Insert raspberry sound here)  Come on!  I haven’t had a real scout knock on my door in 20 years.  I’ve had plenty of parents handing me sheets to order cookies at work or church.  You can drop into any factory in America during the cookie sale time and find order sheets tacked to the bulletin board.  I’ve seen mothers (sometimes with a couple of Scouts running around the parking lot) selling boxes of cookies in front of Walmart. 

Whatever “skills” the Girl Scout Council intended the girls to learn in the beginning went right out the window when they added a competitive element to the program and set quotas by troop. 

 It irritates me on another level too.  We’ve stood calmly by while this generation of kids has been provided with computers, ipods, cell phones and other communication devices.  We’ve said nothing when they started networking socially through these electronic means instead of hanging out at the local diner.  Of course they’re going to rely on this network to sell their cookies. 

I applaud the Girl Scout Council for attempting to create a program forcing the girls personly interact, but the cookie sale is no longer the place for it.  Not when this sale is the primary revenue stream for most troop activities.

March 16, 2009 at 3:50 pm 11 comments

Writers on Sculptors

cottrill-men-of-zanesvilleWe’re really fortunate here in Southeastern Ohio that we’re surrounded by some really fantastic artists and artisans.  My writing group and the group in Zanesville have been combing forces over the last few months on a project called Writers on…  Our first event was Writers on Painters.  This month it was Writers on Sculptors featuring the work of Alan Cottrill.  A visit to his studio is totally mind blowing.  His bronze sculptures are not just good, most of them are gigantic.  cottrill-man-in-distress-wholeThe samples here are not even the best of his work, but these are the ones that inspired stories from me.  cottrill-scared-man If you’re ever in the area, this is a great place to visit.  If you live too far away, click on the link and take a virtual tour.

March 13, 2009 at 4:31 pm 3 comments

Mysterious Noises

The house was dark except for the glow of my computer screen.  That’s my favorite way to write, the fewer the distractions the easier it is to slip into my story.  Last night all the stars had aligned.  The office was the perfect temperature, not too warm, not too cool.  The dog, cat and Pap were sound asleep but not yet snoring loud enough to disturb me.  I was smokin’ through the bothersome middle of a particularly complicated short story I’m writing when I heard squeaking from the laundry room . 

Our miniature laundry room is just behind the wall of my computer.  I tried to ignore the sound, it was windy last night, so I really tried to assign that annoying sound to something inanimate.  But it kept up, that keening, screech I couldn’t readily identify.  The hair started to bristle on the back of my neck.  Could be a mouse, a rat, a snake in from the field biting a mouse.  A mole, a squirrel… and then there was a brushing sound added to the squeaking and I gave up all hope of finishing that story. 

I carefully opened the door and flipped on the light.  Nothing on the floor, but the sound was really loud in there and when I looked up at the ceiling, the dryer vent was bulging, something black or brown visible through the thin white skin of the vent.  I slammed the door and woke up Pap, which woke up Walker, who then woke up the cat.  All four of us trooped back to the laundry room, Pap opened the door, said a very bad word and then turned on the dryer. 

That caused all kinds of rucus in the vent.  “Bird.”  He said. 

This morning we went outside and found that the stupid black birds have chipped away at the vent guard and were trying to make a nest in there.  Stupid things.  black-bird

March 11, 2009 at 11:13 pm 15 comments

Extracurricular Take Over

pottery-easter-eggs-pictures1It’s no wonder Pap and I can’t find jobs, lately we can’t even find the floor of our tiny house. He has the dining room over run with peanut butter easter eggs, a fund raiser for the pottery festival.   Yummy, beautiful and invasive. 

I have the entry way, pirate-parrot-with-skeleton

the living room and, pirate-jacket-on-manequin

oh yeah, Pap’s closet,  pirate-closetcluttered with pirate costumes and props. 

One of the coolest things about being a writer in a small town is the ability to live your dreams, at least on a small scale.  I’ve always wanted to make pirate costumes, so I wrote a play about pirates for our new community theater.  I have to admit, I think I’ve managed to get pirate creativity completely out of my system.  Eight characters plus a giant octopus, that’s quite a lot of gathering and ruffling in a short period of time. 

The play is scheduled for the last weekend in April, and Pap’s egg sale only goes through Easter, so by May I might have enough of the mess cleared out to actually do some spring cleaning…or to write about fairies.  I’ve always wanted to make fairy costumes….

March 10, 2009 at 8:41 pm 6 comments

Documenting Today

the-jetsons2I don’t know why, but the thought of those old time capsules we used to make in grade school popped into my head this morning. Did you do that when you were a kid? Some kind of box or cylinder, everyone would put something in it that they felt best represented the times we were in, and then somebody buried it with instructions to dig it up sometime in the far future. When I was back there sticking my Bobby Sherman poster in the cylinder, we imagined 2009 would look like what we saw on the Jetsons.  I’m really bummed that I don’t have a Rosie cleaning this place up and cooking for me so I can go about my business.

I don’t remember when I started keeping lists, but I suspect the first one was made with stick figures in crayon.  Without a list, I tend to just wander through my day piddling at this and putzing around with that.  So I have lists, calendars, day planners and random notes of things I might have done that weren’t already on the list.  Now what, you may be saying, does any of this have to do with the first paragraph of this post talking about time capsules?  I can’t throw any of these lists away. 

Eventually I’m going to die of old age, which means there may be boxes of these weird lists and notes among the serious paperwork everyone leaves behind, especially if they’re a writer.  I’m trying to imagine what future listsgenerations will make of this mess.  For instance, last week’s list includes various things I needed to do at home, for the paper, for my writing group, the arts council, and the theater.  Scribbled all around are notes like “make octopus”, “work on Living Live!”, “jungian plot—what does that mean???”, “check dog’s poop”…. it makes perfect sense today, but I’m not sure even I will know what that means a few years from now.

March 8, 2009 at 7:07 am 9 comments

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