Monthly Archives: November 2008

Back to school

DD’s on her way back to school and I’m sad and happy. When she first got home I was totally freaked out at how tired she was. After four days at home she caught up on sleep, saw friends, and got back to her normal self.
Whew.
Now that she’s gone, DH and I are sitting here with the cat, and I’m amazed at how different I feel when she’s home. I didn’t expect that. I mean all my friends talked about Empty Nest, so I knew to expect the blues for awhile, but I didn’t know I’d feel like a completely different person when she’s home than I do when she’s gone.

Thoughts

Circuit City ran a great special. Too bad it was never available. Even when they texted to say it was.
Shopping failure 101. I could teach the class.

My heart goes out to the people in Mumbai. What the heck was the media doing reporting where people were trapped and hiding and what they saw the police doing?!? I guess they forgot that terrorists have TV too. Somebody might want to remind them.

DD’s off to Dallas with a friend. Strange that she can live six hours away, and I don’t get too worried about the drive but Dallas scares me to death.

I love Fictionwise! 

Updated to add: I STILL love Fictionwise, and in the end, I ruled Black Friday. Circuit City gave us the online only deal. We’ve got our TV. Or we will on Wednesday. Woo Hoo! AND while we were there, we learned that Apple TV will let us play our Netflix movies right on the TV without waiting for them to come in the mail. We’ve been looking at the Apple TV for a while, but then we saw the XBox 360 and Roku Netflix movie player would let us watch Netflix right away. Now we can get the Apple TV for instant viewing. YAY!

Happy Thanksgiving

Whether you eat turkey, tofurkey, yams, sweet potatoes, cranberry salad, pumpkin pie,  snickerdoodles or Velveeta fudge, may your Thanksgiving holiday be amazing, and may you have many blessings for which to be thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving…almost

My failures in the kitchen are legendary.

It started way back when DH and I were dating. I cooked a romantic homemade dinner: salmon loaf and cherries jubilee. The salmon loaf was raw in the middle (he ate it anyway, and I knew then I was marrying the man!), and I caught the carpet on fire with the cherries jubilee.

When DD was almost three I decided to join this recipe club. I don’t remember exactly what it was I made, but it had the word burgandy in it. I drank much wine while cooking it, had the best time of my life. And the minute DD took a bite she spit it out and said "Pizza night." DH didn’t even try it. I did, and DD was right. Inedible.

There was the time I baked the potatoes too long (yes, you really can do that!). I pulled them off the grill, said something about them being too hard still, but into them and a puff of smoke came out. All that was left was potato skins.

And the time I caught the tostada shells on fire.

And… well, the list goes on and on and on.

For years I really tried to be a domestic goddess. Paula Dean makes me happy. I watched the Food Network thinking something might rub off.

So when DD sent me her shopping list for Thanksgiving, I was a bit surprised. Somehow this child of mine is a cook. A good cook. She loves making big, complicated recipes. And they taste good.

I don’t get it. She’s had exactly zero instruction in cooking, and she’s good. I had my grandma and her fried chicken, gravy, mashed potatoes, homemade biscuits, garden grown veggies and my dad who is AMAZING in the kitchen. The only person I had who couldn’t cook was my mom. She makes my kitchen failures look amateur. We both have ADD.

DD had ADD too. But she’s great in the kitchen. Strange. But I’m thankful.

AND thankful she’s home from school too, even though she got a ticket on the way here!

eBook hell. Waaahhhh!

I was so excited when I purchased a Nocturne Bite, a Harlequin Undone and two other books from the eHarlequin eBook store. After all, I’ve read several eBooks on my iPod Touch using Stanza.Visions of books, books and more books without the piles, piles and more piles filled my head.

My first experience was positive. The eHarleuqin customer care team helped me when I thought the problem of disappearing books was my technical inexperience. I loaded the earlier version of Adobe Reader, and re-downloaded the books.

The opened beautifully. On my computer.

I don’t want to read the books on my computer. I don’t like reading books on my computer. That’s why I was so excited about Stanza and my iPod.

But I can’t open the books on Stanza because of this nifty little nightmare called Adobe Digital Editions. It’s a DRM protector (or something like that) for books. I understand the need to protect digital books. A couple years ago I downloaded a book to my computer to read and to use it, I had to enter my Adobe password. Makes sense. But this doesn’t make sense at all. When we buy books, we should be able to read said books on our registered devices, at least on one or two of them outside of our computers. If they need our Adobe passwords, that’s cool. I have to supply my iTunes password when I listen to my iTunes music on a computer other than mine. It should work the same way.

For now it doesn’t.

I’m not sure how this will end. I have a question into the awesome customer service team right now. I sure hope it turns out that I’ll be able to read the books on my iPod. Until I can, I won’t be buying eBooks from Harlequin. That makes me sad–especially with Bites and Undones. Cry

Free Will

We started a study two weeks ago in my small group that’s had me puzzled almost from the beginning.
The first question posed was is the supernatural real and do miracles take place today. The class debated whether simply waking up in the morning, seeing a beautiful sunrise, holding a newborn were all miracles or if it took something truly outside the realm of natural science for something to be a miracle.
No specific right answer was given, but the discussion was interesting.
Then this week we looked at Free Will and science and humanism.
It took me back to my childhood.
I grew up believing God put me on earth and served as a puppet master of sorts.
Yes, I had free will, but God controlled me and my decisions whether I realized it or not, so the free will was a trick played by God for my own good. AND if I dared to do anything wrong, if I sinned in any way, I was crossed out of the book of life. I can’t tell you how many times I woke in fear, knowing without a doubt that the rapture had taken place, Jesus had called His people home, and I’d been left behind. I was a sinner in the hands of an angry God. An 8-yr-old who’d strayed from His plan for my wicked life.

The debate/discussion this week was something along the lines of free will and our conscience is proof that God exists verses the idea that free will/ conscience is simply a scientifically explained reaction of neurons and brain impulses.
I don’t know what exactly we were supposed to take away from the discussion, but it left me frustrated. I don’t believe God and science need to be at odds with each other. I think they go hand in hand in a beautiful way. I believe in miracles and prayer and evolution. Natural selection is NOT a theory. I believe that we have an absolute duty to question those who speak from the pulpit because our ministers are people and people aren’t perfect and power corrupts if left unchecked. I don’t believe God controls my every move, but I do believe He is with me at all times.
I don’t know what to think of this study. DH and I discussed it on the way home, and the next day and the next. He thinks the whole point of the study is to help people realize God and science can and do co-exist. I hope he’s right.

The Newsroom

He’s the kid everyone loves, even though his pants are
always hanging around his hips showing off the latest in designer boxers.

He holds the spirit flag and stands at the front of the
games, sings in choir and takes photos for yearbook and newspaper.

Today, he wanted to Hula Hoop. His goal was to do so for an
entire class period. He’d swap me the time later in the day during one of his
early releases.

Around the room yearbook students looked for their “missing”
layouts and newspaper students started work on their stories. The business
manager started the deposit using the new receipt number system we learned
yesterday. Two students came in and bought yearbooks. Two photographers
uploaded photos to the server and to the cool new ClassScene interactive yearbook
program we’re using.

And all the while, the district’s curriculum coordinator sat
observing from the sidelines.

When Ryan, the boy with the Hula Hoop, first asked about
swapping time, I almost said no. But then I decided the curriculum coordinator
was in the newsroom, she needed to see the newsroom as it really is. The Hula
Hoop stayed. (Ryan Hula’d for 55 minutes. A record.) At the same time two
students worked on a Salvia story, one on Netflix for Christmas, one on a news
story about a kid who got arrested for selling methadone on campus, another on
prescription drug addiction, another on the dismal book selling season, another
on a feature about a kid on probation whose life has changed because of art,
and the last on a story about the state board looking into how evolution should
be taught in the classroom. The business manager made an almost $1000 deposit
and entered a book of names into our yearbook tracker, AND the lost yearbook
layout was found (rejoicing all around!). All this took place while Ryan Hula
Hoop’d and while the sports editor stopped by to visit.

This is the newsroom. It’s the newsroom every class period
of every day.

I wouldn’t change it.

memories

She sat in the giant burnt orange chair that dwarfed her slight frame, legs crossed, a cup of watery vending machine hot chocolate in her hand, playing with the silver hoop earring hanging from her left ear.
Every time I walked into the liberal arts lounge in that hour between English and French, I looked forward to seeing this stylish friend. A girl who was everything I wasn’t, but still accepted me for who I was.
We shared stories daily. Hopes and dreams and broken hearts and Sting and Rush and Yes and Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and, please God, one day, The Rolling Stones.
She’d married young. Found the love of her life. Laughed at people who tried to bring up the statistics.
Once when a stranger walked into "our" lounge and expressed outrage at the homeless daring to waste their time below the main bridge in town with hand painted signs promising to work for food, she told the story of purposefully stopping at the McDonald’s across the street from the bridge and buying food for those same homeless. The stranger quickly left, rolling his eyes and, I’m sure, muttering something along the lines of "bleeding heart liberals," as the door closed behind him.
Of course the stranger didn’t know her truth. Didn’t know the story she’d shared with me that still haunts me every time I drive by that bridge and see the men and women with their backpacks and sleeping bags and signs on cardboard.
Like my father, and most of the fathers of that time, hers had gone to war in Vietnam. He’d returned to the praise and joy and relief of his family. One wife. Three children. A veteran of a war that might not have been popular nationally but qualified him as hero material in our town.
And then, one day, he sat across the table from her mother and quietly but firmly told her to gather the children and leave.
When she tried to argue, to make sense of his words, he said it again. And this time added, take them and leave or I’m going to kill you all.
She left but called the police. When the police got to the house, my friend’s father was gone.
He lived under that bridge. And in the mission. And in empty houses that served as homes for transients just passing through.
He never talked to his family again, no matter how often they tried to connect.
He was as lost to them as if he’d never returned from the war.
My friend considered him the ultimate hero. I tended to agree with her.
When his obituary appeared in the paper a couple years ago, his family members were listed as survivors. They’d lost him years before, but I know that physical death had to hurt.
Temperatures are supposed to drop into the 20s and 30s around here tomorrow. Last year, a homeless woman froze to death in a port-a-potty across the street from one of our hospitals. While the Mission might be open, there will be plenty of men and women living under that bridge.
Every one of them has a story. I hope I don’t ever forget that.

Read and Writing

An e-book company gave away books on Halloween, and I was so excited because free books are free books, but then I realized today they end right before the point where it looks like all hope is lost. They just gave away teasers. Mean. But smart, too.

Writing has been pretty strange for me the last few monsths. Strange in that for the first time in a decade,I haven’t been doing much of it. At first it didn’t bother me not to write. I was a mess from the broken ankle, and DD was getting ready to go away to school, and I had a million books to read.

For the past week, though, something’s changed. It started Monday when I had a dream that was a complete plot beginning to end. I woke up stunned but pretty sure I must’ve read the book sometime in the past and it just played out movie form in my dreams. Very strange. Since then ideas have been hitting me left and right. Still I turn on the computer and do something other than write the ideas down. The ideas are there, but I’m not telling the stories. I don’t know why. It’s like I’ve taken so much time off, I’m afraid to even make the attempt.

So I’m just going to do it. The fear can be there. I don’t care. I’m going to write for me.

election deadline

We combined election night and big yearbook deadline for an amazing night. Just got in. It’s 9:51. Woo Hoo!!!