Thursday, October 29, 2009

But it's not even Halloween!

In the spirit of setting my home aright for the double-duty it will perform the 4th week of November, I hauled down my scanty autumn and Thanksgiving decorations. In the past, I've collected turkeys, but the only two which have survived are a painted gourd one with a feather-duster tail and a metalwork fellow who appears anorexic. He has no fear of being on the table. Assorted pumpkins and that was it.

Alas, not nearly enough to set for a family baptismal celebration and Thanksgiving four days later. Off I went to shop.

Hobby Lobby, bless their hearts, had all sorts of stuff half-price. This was just great and I added metal pumpkins and candle holders and candles to my booty. I had pulled out my tablecloths and Target supplied another, as did Bed Bath and Beyond. Kirkland's was practically giving it away and I found some awesome wine glasses which we'll use on Thanksgiving Day when I'll have a better chance of controlling the toddler population and the glassware.

What bothers me is that I've done all this wonderful autumn shopping--and it's just October--not even Halloween--and it was all half price or less! And why might that be? Because the Christmas decorations are flooding the next aisles and demanding the space occupied by the fall goodies!

I'm not even thinking about Christmas beyond the gift list and I'm already a holiday behind. Sheesh!

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

I feel the Season comin' on!

I may regret these words: For the first time in a while, I'm actually looking forward to the coming Nov/Dec holiday season madness. It's not that I've dreaded it in the recent past, but something this year just seems to be making it special and I can't put my finger on it.

We've had a wonderful autumn so far, a lovely trip to Napa which allowed us to skip the bad rainy local weather all the while enjoying the sunshine of California and the company of family. We've seen fun musicals throughout the Dallas summer musical season and then I've seen two other productions this weekend. Our grandson will be baptized in our home church in a month and four days after that, we'll have all close family and in-laws here to celebrate that most American of the big three, Thanksgiving.

I've been working on handmade Christmas gifts for the daughters-in-law and having a bunch of fun doing it. I've made out the official Christmas list and it is daunting, as usual. But we'll work on it. Christmas itself will be with the grandchildren. What a delight--maybe this year we can all be healthy and not ill like last year.

I have a cold myself right now, but it's not the flu. It's a cold, the result of hot/cold temps coupled with rain and damp. Nothing a hot toddy can't cure and I think I'll go have one right now.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I dutifully follow the procedures to copyright each of my books. I still remember the special thrill of holding the official document from the US Copyright Office for The Mermaid and the Eagle. I almost framed it. It had taken a few months to get it, but I heard that was normal. It seemed to take longer with each succeeding book and then 9/11 sent everything catty-whumpus and it took even longer.

So when I mailed off the paperwork for Wedding Belle Blues in Jan 2008, the month of its publication, I didn't expect to have it back that spring. Maybe not even that summer. The check was cashed, so I knew they had the goods. No problem. I forgot all about it.

Which was good, I suppose, that I didn't fret because I got the official copyright paperwork back this week, 22 months after I sent it in. But I've been covered in US Copyright since Jan 30, 2008. My paperwork says so.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

What would you have done?

We went to the State Fair today. It was crowded and noisy and had great weather. It was also the last day and what we thought would be a stroll through the grounds turned into a typical State Fair day. We had overpriced food, oohed and aahed at the creative efforts which had earned ribbons, determined I could bake a loaf of bread which at least looked better than those being judged, and wandered through the automobile building which is where this blog begins.

I am innocently standing by a pillar between the women's and men's rooms, waiting for the spouse. He's getting an ice cream bar. I am standing there. By myself. Not bothering anyone. And a man with a little girl walks up. She's about 8 or 9 and I know what he's going to ask before the words are out of his mouth.

"Ma'am, will you be here a minute?"

"Yes." I'm waiting for Mr. Ice Cream.

"Will you watch her while I go to the men's room?"

He's in his 40s, I'd think. Average looking. Probably a professional. The little girl is dressed for the fair and looks like she's having a good time. Now I know he's bound to have been looking around and trying to find some middle-aged woman who looks completely trustworthy and harmless. That would be me. His daughter is too old to go to the men's with him and there's no family room in sight and I don't even know if that would suit his situation. But I also don't want the liability of looking after a stranger's child in a non-emergency situation. What if she won't stay with me after he's gone? What if...? What if...?

I turn him down, tell him I won't be responsible for someone else's child like that. I felt bad, but... I was honest. Shouldn't he have thought of all these possibilities before he brought her by himself?

I don't know what he did. And I was truly sorry. Had there been two of us women there, I think we would have agreed, a double back-up system. But... what would you have done?

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Hello, I'm a flower

Daddy continues to amuse and amaze me, but this week I was visiting and I was not amused. They'd given him a cup of pudding for an afternoon snack and he was attempting to eat it by sucking on the end of the white plastic spoon. He had mistaken it for a straw. I wasn't upset with the staff for not catching this, and I checked later to find out that when he's given something to eat and he's just awakened from a nap, he'll do this, thinking it's the straw he drinks with at meals since they have real metal ware to eat with then.

I get him straightened out and he devours the pudding (he devours everything placed in front of him) and then I asked the question I always ask, "Daddy, do you know who I am?"

His blue eyes brighten and twinkle (yes, my dad's eyes twinkle), and he laughs at me and nods. I have to press the issue to get a verbal response. Obviously he knows me but that day, I was a flower.

Just one more step down the spiral ladder of his mental capacity, or so I thought. Coupled with the pudding incident, I wasn't amused.

But I should have been amazed. Recounting this incident to a man who knew my dad well, he brought up the obvious solution. "What were you wearing?"

A shirt with flowers on it. Black and white flowers and, as Daddy is color blind, of course, I was a flower.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Reunions abound

Had another reunion today, this one with a group of women I had served on a charitable committee with during the '90s. I resigned in 2001, as my chairmanship year was over, and the committee continued for a few years more before time and circumstance disbanded it. But today, a member who'd moved in 1999 was visiting and we got together for lunch. I was really looking forward to this as I hadn't seen most of them in the intervening years.

What fun! Although only half of us were able to be there, I loved the stories and catching up. Finding out that where there once were high school kids around the house, there are now grandchildren visiting. What was supposed to last an hour and a half turned into much more.

And, while we acted like men and everyone put an appropriate amount onto the check without bothering over who had tea and whose salad cost more (little old ladies in the tearoom syndrome), we did stand ready to each add more had our leader deigned it necessary.

Then, just to keep up the pattern from the previous post, I'd have to say that we all still looked very good.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Memory Monday on Tuesday: Reunions

We never went to family reunions. Either my mother didn't want to see any of the family she had (she did stay close with local cousins) or there simply weren't any. I, in turn, married into a family which greatly enjoys them.

But that's not the kind of reunions I wish to talk about. We attended my 40th high school reunion this past weekend. Forty years. Most of these people I hadn't seen since our 20th, some not since the 10th or high school graduation. We hadn't had a reunion in the intervening years.

It was fun to see and hear how people were doing, to realize that without the name tag and the senior annual photo pinned to each chest, I wouldn't have had a clue who most of them were. Certainly not the guys. The gals, and this was a universal gal-opinion, had all held up much better than our male compatriots. The girls I had a better chance of recognizing cold.

All sorts of promises were made, to get on facebook and keep in touch through email. We'll see. We really should try for a 45th, as our numbers are thinning, and 10% are already deceased.

I finally figured out that there were few surprises. People had done just about what you expected of them both in the career and personality (can't think of one who'd changed) departments. So, I guess we really can't outrun ourselves.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

It looks sharp to me

Since I'm behind on Memory Monday, I'll post to it tomorrow. In the meantime, a small incident from our recent trip to California.

We stayed at a very lovely and fairly expensive resort near San Diego. The service was excellent except for one very teeny, tiny thing.

I work crossword puzzles. Since my mind isn't what it used to be (it's better?), I work them in pencil. To that end, I'd packed both puzzle and pencil. Having finished the one I'd brought with me, I downloaded the Wall Street Journal's new one on Friday and started it. But my pencil, having been in use, wasn't as sharp as it could be.

So I took myself off to the front desk and asked it they had a pencil sharpener.

After the young female clerk looked at it as if it were a foreign object, she told me it looked sharp enough.

Now, it could have become ugly at this point. (pun intended) However, I restrained myself and said that if it were sharp enough, I wouldn't be asking her to sharpen it. A bit huffily, she took it from me and disappeared with my only pencil (note to self: bring more next time). A few minutes later she emerged from behind the near-invisible rear door and proclaimed that they hadn't a sharpener. I kept myself from asking if she'd know one if she saw it and pleasantly took my pencil back.


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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Coincidence or karma? You decide.

We just visited beautiful Napa. The weather was perfect, especially in light of the fact that the weather was so bad at home, the companionship great (second son and wife), and the wines... well, it was Napa after all. We rented a house through Vacation Rental by Owner and stayed within walking distance of downtown. Each morning, we walked to the river, got a cup of coffee from the local watering hole, and came back another way.

Our "other way" was First Avenue. One section held beautifully restored older homes, most of which seemed to be bed and breakfasts. There was one in particular with a bay area which overlooked the front lawn and the street. There were people having breakfast while we were walking by. We looked in; they looked out. They seemed to be of an age to us and one woman had lovely short blonde hair.

When you fly Southwest Airlines into Dallas Love Field, you have to, thanks (or not) to the Wright Amendment, make a plane-pit stop somewhere. Our "somewhere" was Austin. The plane basically unloads, the passengers remaining stretch, potty, or change locations, and then within twenty minutes all the new passengers are on, and when flying from Austin to Dallas, you barely have time to get your peanuts and beverage.

What you do have time to do is acquaint yourselves with the lady who thought the two of you were safe enough to sit with. She's very lovely and blonde and of an age to us. She's a nurse, lives in Dallas, has been in Austin on business. It was quite a rushed trip because, after all, she and the husband had just returned the night before from an anniversary trip to Napa. There, they'd stayed in a beautiful B&B. One with a bay window for eating breakfast. Where, because she said I looked familiar, they'd been looking out as we'd been looking in.

Cue Twilight Zone. She even knew what I was wearing.

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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Everyone's a clown

I love Starbucks. I make no secret of it. So there we are in the San Diego Airport Southwest Airlines division and I'm at the Starbucks. Two talls with room is the order. The guy at the urn tells the one at the cash register: No charge for the room.

Now, that's clever. Hard not to smile and so I don't even try.

Let's hear it for levity in the most out of the way places. Thank you, Starbucks, San Diego Airport, Southwest division.

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Monday, October 05, 2009

What's that you're reading, sir?

The man at the airport sitting across from us in the Southwest waiting area, the man beyond the first years of his 50s, the man alone, has his nose buried in an Iris Johannson novel. He's turning pages rapidly. I think the book was Silent Thunder. (But I don't snoop.) Should I tell him Iris started as a romance author? What would he say?

I didn't say a word. Perhaps he knows and doesn't care. I'm just glad to see him expanding the horizons of male readers everywhere.

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Friday, October 02, 2009

Let there be light

What is it with hotel rooms? And not just cheap ones, but expensive ones, too. The bathrooms are ill-lit. No wonder women look bad and tired on vacation. They can't get their make-up on correctly in the semi-dark. I've thought about moving the desk lamp in. Seriously.

So, here's my suggestion: Let there be light. Lots of it. What about putting the bathrooms by the outer wall and having a window like in the old motels? Not feasible, I'm sure.

Rant over. Next up: blankets and little scrunchy pillows. As in, where are they?

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