Monday, April 30, 2007

Something I've always wanted to do

Well, I'm sure that got everyone's attention.

Friends and I have talked about it for years, doing a--are you ready for this?--a bathroom survey of the places we "visit" while out and about shopping or traveling or dining.

I think all establishments will start with 100 points and I'll scale down from there. Number one: They lose 10 points if I have to walk past the men's room to get to the ladies'. That's right. I don't think I should have to turn sideways down a narrow hall in order to elude a man coming in or going out of the john.

Next up: Does it look like a member of the staff has been in the toilet in the last day or two? Overflowing trash cans at 10 in the morning do not make me happy. Toilet paper. Seat covers. Paper towels/soap/motion-activated towels/automatic dryers (which I detest: May have to deduct if that's the only option.) One-holer vs. more. As you can tell, this is a work in progress.

I'll post the results as we go along, but in the meantime, to get this started, I'm open to suggestions of what else to add. So, Carrie in New York City, that means email me privately or post your suggestions. I have to approve them because when I didn't I got a spammer--eech!

I tossed him in the closest overflowing trash can!


Saturday, April 28, 2007

What we don't know...

... can't hurt us, or that's the theory at least. Personally, I think 'ignorance as bliss' is highly overrated, and I'm as much an ostrich as the next person. Still, there are things I'd rather be ignorant about.

Take spring, for instance. The days get longer, the tulips and daffodils blossom and then die, leaving browning leaves in their wake. You can't pull them without disturbing the "feeding" of the bulb for next year, but they're so ugly! That alone--not counting the warm weather and the perennials which are coming back--is enough to make me take myself off to the garden shop. Of course, I can't think of it all at once and besides it's not all available at one time. So over the period of a month or two or three, I trail flowers home. This year it's been superbells, zinnias (two times), hostas, petunias, salvia, Shasta daisies, dianthus (multiple times), tomatoes, cilantro, and lantana. Oh, and one hybiscus. Yellow. And caladium bulbs which still have not shown their noses and I'm beginning to think they've drowned in our one big downpour. In fact, they have about two weeks before I put some more in on top of them.

I've bought fertilizer, potting soil, and mulch. A new pair of snips. Big ones, so I doubt if they're called snips any more. I've dug and buried and watered and said bad things when the hose won't cooperate.

And I haven't a clue how much I've spent. I don't want to know, although I could dig out the receipts. But I won't do it because it might very well hinder all the other things I have need of. A big case of the guilts would put a real lid on my fun.

It's like being ignorant of how much the spouse spends on golf. Our personal don't-ask-don't-tell policy. It extends to Chico's for me and yard equipment for him.

Ignorance can be bliss.


Monday, April 23, 2007

What is it with April?

Offered, without comment:

Assassination of Abraham Lincoln: April 15, 1865
Assassination of Martin Luther King: April 6, 1968

Titanic sinks: April 15, 1912

Branch Davidians at Waco: April 19, 1993
Oklahoma City bombing: April 19, 1995
Columbine high school: April 20, 1999
Virginia Tech: April 16, 2007

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Goodnight and goodbye, Kitty

While Bookseller Chick bemoaned the death of Kurt Vonnegut last week, I'd like to take today to note the passing of a celebrity of a different sort, Kitty Carlisle Hart. A singer and actress, she was as well known for her charitable work as her stint on To Tell the Truth.

And that's where I, as a child, came to know her. Well, not literally, but everyday in front of the TV. By watching the panel question three contestants, two of whom were faking it and faking it well, I learned some valuable lessons.

1) Beautiful women can think.
2) Thinking women can be gracious.
3) Gracious, beautiful women can hold their own without being abrasive or aggressive.
4) We call them ladies with backbone.

Thank you, Kitty Carlisle Hart, for giving me an excellent role model. Just knowing you are gone from this earth saddens me, but it brings a smile also as I remember.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

So who's into this now?

About two months ago I pulled down the attic stairs and climbed up. The attic is a place we don't venture to much except at Christmas. There's camping equipment from Boy Scout days, stored in the hopes that the sons will take it up with their children (and invite Granddad along), pictures and framed "artwork" from before we remodeled, and bags of stuffed animals and baby things I deemed, at the time twenty-odd years ago, too precious to toss.

As a grandmother-in-waiting, that's what I was after. I pulled through the plastic and cardboard and retrieved afghans and blankets and a piece or two of non-gender-specific newborn clothing. I washed it all up and made pretty piles on the guest bed. I even found old baby toys and gave them a buff.

My husband humphed. I was really getting into the baby thing, wasn't I?

Like, what should I be doing? Ignoring our first heir?

Nothing else was said. Then the granddaughter (that would be the grandest granddaughter in her paternal grandfather's eyes) appeared almost six weeks early. And you know what? Out of the blue it was decided we didn't have an adequate video camera. Just poof! That's what we needed. Why didn't I pick one up on my way down to see our baby yesterday?

Research aside, this is not a cheap decision. So I researched, chose, bought, presented it to him. Besides the fact that video is not allowed in the intensive care unit, he is quite happy with the new acquisition.

Like, I want to say, who's into this now?

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Coming out of the woodwork

Have a preemie baby in intensive care and those with stories to buoy your day come, well, come out of the woodwork.

I hadn't known how many people had not taken their babies home from the hospital when they themselves left. I can only imagine the hollow feeling of leaving one's heart hooked to tubes and wiring. But it's not an uncommon occurrence and as I've moved about in my real- and cyber-world since our baby was born on Thursday, I've heard many stories. Most of them center on tiny babies who are now six feet tall.

It works for me.

So a big thanks to Kathi, Kathy, Amber, Irene, Bob, Jenny, Carole, and Cindy. And a bigger thanks to the wonderful lady at church, 85 if she's a day, who looked up at me (and I'm not tall) and recounted the stories of her brothers, one a blip on the radar at 2 pounds--and who grew to be, yes, six feet tall--and the other a resounding 11 pounds! No future size given, nor did I ask. But, she reminded me with a smile, this was when women had babies naturally.


PS: Our baby is still breathing on her own and has taken a bit of sustenance the old-fashioned suck and swallow route. And I got to hold her. I thought my friends were exaggerating when they said there was no feeling like holding the grandchild. No, they didn't lie. It was sheer delight.


Friday, April 13, 2007

My world gets its perspective sharpened

If you've read the previous post, you know that our granddaughter, while not scheduled to appear until mid-May, was threatening to launch herself more quickly. Well, launch she did, beginning Wednesday night and appearing on Thursday morning. At 34 weeks, she's a little early for everyone's comfort and at a bit over 4 1/2 pounds, she is now in the neonatal intensive care unit at her birth hospital. She is breathing on her own (whew! no incubator!) but she isn't eating, as those reflexes hadn't been seen to in the womb yet.

So, while Mommy is exhausted and Daddy is finally figuring out that life has changed, Emily Elizabeth is giving all of us pause. It's just a speed bump in her long wonderful life, I keep telling myself. Just a speed bump. She'll learn to eat--she has the oftentimes larger-than-life ancestors to attest to the fact that we all do. But until then, our perspective is focused on a little bed and a little inhabitant, her limbs and torso covered with sensors, all making sure they have the right perspective on our baby.


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Putting it all in perspective

The May issue of Romantic Times Book Reviews is out and my August 2006 release Anya's Dream is reviewed. It's certainly not a stellar review and it's not one I will ever brag about. The reviewer gave it two stars and all my previous works reviewed there received three or four. I am, in a word, disappointed. Unless you subscribe to the magazine, you'll have to wait until the June issue is released before the May reviews will go online. The ad created to advertise the entire Texoma Series, of which Anya is the last, is wonderful. I doubt it will be online.

So, naturally, I've been in a bit of a funk over this. An author wants wonderful reviews; she wants everyone to love her work. In fact, this is the book that when reviewed by Romance Junkies garnered an invitation to send the rest of the series because the reviewer liked it so much. Needless to say, the rest of the series was zapped off immediately.

All of this is to say, things have to be kept in perspective. No sooner did I receive this review than a good friend was diagnosed with leukemia. Hel-lo. There's something to be in a funk about. With that diagnosis, your life, for all practical purposes, stops. Nothing is going forward until you've fought this. And fight he is. Diagnosed on Friday, into the cancer center on Monday, chemo begun on Wednesday. They've started a website How Is Pat to keep us informed about his progress.

More perspective keeping: our first grandchild, who will--of course!--be the prettiest, smartest, and most charming little girl around, is not due to make her appearance for five more weeks, in mid-May. According to the doctor, she will appear before then. Hopefully, not too much before then. We're hoping for a couple more weeks in the "oven" in order to ward off any light-weight problems which might occur.

So what's a less-than-wonderful review? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I've got other things, much more important things, to be concerned about as I keep my world in perspective.

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

RVing: It's not what it used to be

It's going to be better.

I'm writing that with a hopeful grin on my face. Over twenty years ago, we bought a used Shasta motorhome, 23 feet long on a Chevy chassis. For five summers we loaded up our two young sons and trekked off to the unknown. We were a turtle, traveling with our home on our backs. I always knew where the clothes were, where the toiletries were, where my beloved pillow was. We had great times, especially when we traveled with friends in their motorhome. We ventured from Maine to the Grand Canyon to Florida and Washington DC.

I recently revisited those times when I took our old VHS tapes and converted them to DVD. And this summer, I get to do it all again.

We are renting a 31-foot motorhome with another couple. They have never RVed and we are 20-year behind-the-times veterans. How behind? Well, I'm the one in charge of reservations and it's a new world out there.

First of all, I bought a Woodall's Guide. Twenty years ago we had successfully blown through two or three in our search for the ultimate campground experience. After a couple of less than happy stays, we developed our personal set of standards: the more diamond-Ws (their rating guide), the better, and less than three, we drove on.

Happily, our route this summer, which will take us through Missouri to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and back home through Kentucky, has lots of diamond-Ws along the way. Also, there are so many options: internet access for example. Wireless in many instances. FREE. I'm in charge of reservations and therefore, I've set a personal set of standards: laundry, pull-thrus (backing up is such a problem), hot showers (free), and internet. I'm hitting about 90% right now. I can make reservations online now for about half the places, view the campgrounds for almost all, even if online reserving isn't available.

So here's your warning: I intend to blog from the highways and byways. Post pictures. Take my reading audience along with us. If it's anything like the last times, it won't be dull.

Stay tuned.

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Armadillo Wars, Part 4a: A truce is declared?

I am not so naive as to believe the armadillo is gone for good, disgusted with my prime grubs and the nerve I display in trying to trap him. But he has not shown his little clawed feet in 3 nights and I am calling a truce. Not taking up the trap (who knows what raccoons may yet be curious), but not rebaiting it either.

I did an article for the North Texas e-News on being the recipient of a four-leaf clover and whether or not it changed my luck over three days.

Got rather philosophical, if I do say so myself.

Not philosphical enough to trap a armadillo...

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