Saturday, May 30, 2009

Still Digging

I know lots of folks think seeking out the dearly departed by five or six generations is a waste of time, but I'm enjoying it.

It's the stories, I tell you. I like fleshing out those birth/death dates in order to find the real individual who walked upon the earth before being planted in it.

Most of the time it's nice to go back five generations, more is like finding gold. There's always that ONE relative in the line where not much is known. Those are the ones, you later discover, where the permanent record was wiped clean by a fire or a disaster. I use to go nuts when I hit that guy in the middle of the family tree and the only way he could be connected was by being listed as someone's son or father. I learned to check that time and place in history to see if there had been a flood or fire. Nine times out of ten, that's what happened. Any written proof of a person's existence... gone up in flames.

Sad, somehow. Makes me want to make a mark on life bigger than my birth certificate.

Yesterday I hit some pay dirt that illustrates the cliche about it being a small world. Sure, we were a smaller country at the time but I still think of my Mom's relatives as being from N.C. while I was raised in South Carolina. Seems a couple of those relatives from Antrim County, Ireland immigrated to New Castle, Delaware then on to York County in S.C.. Yesterday's find was Alexander Faires who was listed as a Revolutionary War patriot. The cool thing was I found a written account of one of the battles he fought in. He was captured, but escaped the next day. To protect him, his wife Jennett took him a mile and a half from home to nurse him back to health. And as soon as he felt better, back into the fray he went. And lived to walk away.

That "small world" moment came when I discovered that Alexander's commander was General Thomas "the Fighting Gamecock" Sumter...and the place of my birth is named for Gen. Sumter. My high school, named in honor of him as well, was known as the "Home of the Fighting Gamecocks".

Kinda cool to realize that Alexander and I both shared a connection with Gen. Sumter.

So back to work I go. But to me, this isn't work. Oh it is to some of my friends...like Susan and Mapstew who've both offered to help from their side of the pond. That kind of aid is worth more than gold to me. No. Really. And I'll be calling on Shug again, as my unofficial historian, since it appears those relatives might turn out to be Scotch-Irish originally.

Yesterday I felt as victorious as Alexander must've felt to enjoy a true freedom. For you see, on his side of the family I've actually tracked from me all the way back TEN generations.

Yeah, I know. I'm easily entertained.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hey Ireland, How's the Weather?

Because I'm beginning to think I'm channeling this search for long extinct Irish relatives a wee bit too well.

It was sunny the day I began. And then, the clouds rolled in. It's been rather grey for the past four days, with rain here and there. In fact it's suppose to rain until Sunday.

I'm betting on Monday the sun will be shining because that's when I have to go back to work.

Ah well. The darker the skies, the better the excuse to sit here at the computer and continue my search.

So if the sun's been shining longer than usual across the pond.....you're welcome.

;)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Looking for my Irish Peeps

This will be a short post...because my eyes are spinning in circles!

I've spent most of the day sleeves rolled up and elbow deep in my Family Tree. Again. It takes a lot of time and lots of reading. And weeding. Sure, the web has helped some since I can't afford to hop a plane and rummage around Ireland today. Then again, I've also shared some polite e-mails with folks to correct those who are mistakenly perpetrating errors about my own family. It happens. Someone reads it, passes it along and it becomes gospel. Amen. But no, great grandma was not named Elizabeth, she really was named Lizzie.

Sigh.

Oddly enough I'm having more luck with the maternal side of the clan. Today found me checking on the Faries/Faires clan who originated in Antrim County, Ireland. Great Grandma Lizzie's folks, on her mama's side were Torrences, from Derry. [See Susan, I remembered your history lesson]. Then again, it's possible those Torrences were originally "Torrances" from Scotland.

Sigh.

But live and learn. I always thought my maiden name was English.. It was but I went on to discover the name originated in Holland. Who knew there was religious persecution in Holland? Evidently that was the catalyst for the folks to load up the donkey cart [or whatever] and head to England. When the religious stuff started again, they hopped a boat to America.

But I digress. Back to Ireland.

I found some "new" information which I was able to weave into my own tree, checking and re-checking along the way. After 3 hours I discovered, thanks to a newspaper article I stumbled upon by accident, that the 1st generation immigrant to America was a William Faries. But alas, I did not, as I've thought for over a year, descend from his son James. No, I come by way of James' brother, John!

Oh well, I'll be here all week, sifting through the internet clutter to pan for gold.

In the meantime, I'm tired and going to take a break. The spell check aspect of the computer is driving me, well, nuts. It keeps trying to change my grandma's name Hazelene into "hazel nut" and although we've lived through two changes of the family name from Faries to Faires...the computer keeps changing it to FAIRIES!

Okay, so I'm short. But I don't think I qualify for fairy short.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Oil Change by Diesel

Now for most women [the first exception to the rule being Susan], taking a car to a mechanic is the equivalent to root canal without Novocaine. But it hurts more. No matter how civilized and progressive the human race has become, if the battle of the sexes is held in a mechanic's garage, a girl feels like she's lost the battle before the war has begun.

Today I had to take my car to get the oil changed. And I left a changed woman.

The place I previously utilized for this necessary evil of an auto procedure came with special glasses for their mechanics. For as soon as a woman walked through the door alone, the glasses rendered her obviously helpless and ignorant. As the female customer's I.Q. points instantaneously leaked out like air in a tire going flat, the special glasses kicked in with their x-ray capabilities which had the power to see exactly how much money she carried in her purse. Like lightning these glasses allowed mechanics to calculate to the penny how much the visit would cost, leaving the woman with exactly $5 in change upon exiting. All before the car had even been pulled into the garage bay. With a smile like a snake oil salesman, a mechanic would approach to note which victim...I mean vehicle...belonged to the lady. I don't know why they asked. They saw you pull up and immediately saw dollar signs. Then they'd point you to a waiting room filled with 4 year old men's sports or outdoor magazines while some disfunctional family aired their dirty laundry on reality t.v. from a corner of the room.

After the 4th time these guys tried to sell me a $100 radiator flush treatment, I decided to go elsewhere. I know I can't put a car back together. But at least I was able to keep myself together when one of these numbnuts actually came inside carrying two vials of fluid.

"This here one is how oil is suppose to look," he began, speaking slowly as I swore I heard the banjo from Deliverance kick in. He held up a clear vial filled with brand new, just out of the can motor oil. "And this here is how yours looks," he grimaced with a disapproving grunt, holding up a second vial filled with a hideous brown color.

It took every ounce of adult in me not to shout at him, "Well of course my oil is dirty you igit! It has 3,000 miles on it, which is why I'm here for an oil change."

I didn't say anything of course. I nodded sagely....oh not to show I was smart, but to make him go away. They back away when you nod. Then he offered me that $100 radiator flush for the 5th time and I said no thanks. Loudly.

After the next 3,000 miles were up, I discovered a new mechanic had set up shop in my small hometown. I knew him. He'd coached baseball on the field behind my center. He KNEW I had an I.Q. and wasn't afraid to use it. So I switched over to him.

There is a reason they say familiarity breeds contempt.

I was use to 15 minute oil changes by the Deliverance guys. This guy "knew" me so he'd talk...forever! My last oil change took an hour and a half. Why? Because he kept stopping to come talk to me. Or answer the phone. Or tell me he'd be right back when some guy came in after I'd already been waiting 30 minutes to see if a wrecker was needed to pull the broken down hearse two blocks away. By the time my buddy the mechanic returned, I was ready to put him in the hearse...with full death benefits. He didn't rip me off financially, but he stole too much of my time.

Today, I went back to the original scene of the crime. Because they're under new ownership.

For the first time in my adult life, I was treated as a valued customer, not a stupid chick. As the guy in charge noted it was the first time he'd seen me, he asked if I'd be so kind to fill out a form with my information. While I did that, he asked the other woman to please come forward to pay her bill so she wouldn't have to wait on me. He addressed both of us as Ma'am in a polite way, without a trace of condescension in his tone. When he explained to the other woman he'd be right back as the printer was broken and he had to return to the fishbowl of a garage to print her receipt there, she merely nodded mutely. I thought she was perhaps in shock from being treated human.

That's when she turned to me with a Cheshire cat grin and said,"Does he have a voice or what? I could listen to that all day."

Okay, so he sounded like Vin Diesel. That hadn't gotten past me either. But he had a LOT yet to prove.

I handed back my form and admitted I wasn't sure if the tag number was correct as I'd only had it for a couple of weeks. He kindly told me not to worry as he would double check it. As he turned to hand the other woman her receipt, she took it, still somewhat awestruck and blurted out,"You have the most wonderful voice!" He looked taken aback for a moment, somewhere between shocked and pleased before he uttered softly,"Why thank you very much."

Yeah Mr. Smooth, so you've got a nice voice, the little voice in my head muttered. You've also got a pair of praying hands tattooed on your neck. I'm not sure if that means you're really tough [cause the neck seems like an awful sensitive spot for that] or if you were up to your neck in trouble then put yourself in God's hands.

When all was said and done, I was pretty sure God had done me a favor.

Full service oil changes around here mean change the oil, check the other fluids under the hood, vacuum the front seat floorboards and maybe check the tire pressure. I always bring a book. The first thing the guy did was check to see that my headlights, blinkers, brake lights and plate lights were in working order.

I put down the book to watch them work.

After a few moments, "Vin" opened the door and kindly asked me to step his way. That little voice in my head asked,"INTO the garage?", which was the most forbidden territory known to woman. "There are a few things I'd like to show you," he added, gallantly holding the door.

Okay, so I couldn't help myself. I actually said out loud,"I thought women weren't allowed into this sacred area."

He laughed. It was a warm, friendly sound, which startled me. I figured a mechanic's laugh would sound like the mustache twirling villains of my youth. He then took me on a tour of my car. Turns out my "3rd" brake light, up on the top of my vehicle was burned out, as were the 2 lights over my license plate. Like a matre'd he told me how much it would cost to replace them there while giving me the option to decline graciously. Next stop was my windshield wipers, which I noted during a DOWNPOUR yesterday would need to be replaced before the next flood the weatherman says is coming this weekend. We continued toward the raised hood, where his arm shot out like lightning to ever so gently cradle my elbow when he walked around something I couldn't see but my foot found the hard way. He pointed out that due to the mileage on my vehicle it was time to consider another procedure, which he did not push on me. Instead he quoted a price and handed me a brochure to share with my husband. No, it wasn't a chauvinist pig move on his part. It was a simple acknowledgement of my instant reply to any attempts to do more during an oil change results in me stating very firmly that oil changes are my job, the rest falls to my husband's care.

As he picked up a meter, I knew we were headed for the dreaded radiator speech. He dipped it in the fluid, then turned to me with a smile and said, "This is just great. Exactly the temperature we want it to be."

I bought the windshield wipers. Any guy who will be truthful in the face of so many past lies deserves some credit.

I was done in less than 20 minutes, including my tour of the car. They did all they were suppose to, plus vacuumed and checked the air pressure in my tires. I watched them. I now trust them because they didn't act as if they had anything to hide. And because "Vin" was man enough to take my decisions at face value. In spite of that girl stuff.

Before I left, I asked for the name or number for their corporate office. He looked puzzled but did not hesitate to provide me with the information. Then I told him why.

"People are always eager to complain but they never take time to say anything good. Good service is hard to find. I think your boss needs to know I found it. And I'll be back."

His reply was a dazzling smile and a most gracious, "Thank you." He then held the door open to let me out before jumping in my car and bringing it to me. We wished each other a nice Memorial Weekend almost simultaneously, making both of us laugh.

Thanks "Vin". I'll be back. And I'll be telling friends. But I don't think I'll tell them about your voice. They'll just claim you somehow hypnotized me.

Truth is, you had me at, "It's your choice."

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Priceless

You know the drill. You grow up with parents. You annoy them, they annoy you. One day, they get smarter. One day, you get wiser. On that day you will be able to smile in appreciation at what went past when you weren't paying attention.

We spent part of the weekend, hubby and I, cataloging his old family slides and preserving them. I did better on some than others. Many have marks made by time or bad developing but I guess that's part of their charm. After four hours, we came upon this gem. I love this picture almost as much as the focus of attention.

This is my father-in-law Bill, holding my future hubby.

Hubby had three sisters; one older, two younger. I'm sure at this point Dad was glad to have a boy. He was an Air Force pilot who flew Reconnaissance plans and retired a Lt. Colonel. Fun loving with a killer smile, he was promoted to heaven in 1989 and I still miss having him around.

Glad he helped raise me such a fine husband. And they have the same smile.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Save the Last Dance for Me

Where I grew up in the south, we didn't have lots of school dances. There might've been one in junior high. But I was so shy and short, it rendered me practically invisible. Then again, if some poor little boy had asked, I probably would've blushed to death and he'd have given up before an answer escaped my lips.

By the time I got to high school, I was dating hubby. Neither of us really cared about dancing that much, although he was the more "experienced" at it. You see, his Dad was an Air Force pilot and his Mom had done lots of entertaining. Therefore he attended dances growing up and probably had to dance with an aunt or two along the way. We skipped our senior proms [he was a year older, so I missed that opportunity twice I suppose] for two reasons. My graduating class consisted of 720 people. Even half of that, with dates, was more than the gym could handle. Although dressing up wasn't as out of hand as it is now [can't imagine my parents allowing me to go to a hotel for an after party!] it was bad enough. And besides, there was that other reason.

We grew up in the age of...cough, sputter.....DISCO!

Although Disco conveniently meant no dance partner necessary, or at least not one within 10 feet of you, it just wasn't all that appealing. Especially in a crowded gym which had been decorated with lots of crepe paper and bad lighting. Yes, I did learn to do the "Hustle" one year but the shy in me refused to get up in a crowd where people might stare. And gawk. And laugh. Loudly. At me.

Most people find it sad, if not odd, that I had no yearning to have Senior Prom memories. And yet I lived. I even married the high school sweetheart. Still have him. But last night, something odd happened.

I went to my first Senior Prom.

Last year the staff decided all our energy is focused on the kids and none on the "big kids". Well, except for me. My center is for senior citizens only. I'm usually the one who sighs during planning sessions, "Okay, what about the adults? After all, they pay the taxes to fund all this stuff." At which point everyone rolls their eyes at me before going back to plan how to spend hard won budget dollars on kids who couldn't care less about making a craft during the summer program...unless they can figure out how to use it as a weapon on a sibling.

Last evening we had our 2nd Annual Senior Prom for Seniors...as in the gray headed kind. I'll admit it, I dreaded it. At first I thought this was due to the fact I would be working from 8:3o a.m. until 9:00 p.m. with a 30 minute commute home on dark country roads, dodging deer and trying to convince possums that becoming roadkill was a dead end job. Last year, I was on vacation and didn't have to attend. This year it was mandatory. So with a sigh I pulled up to the building, ran a comb through my gee-I've-been-at-work-all-day hair and stepped out of my jeep.

The wind immediately rearranged my hair. I wondered if it was a sign.

When I walked in, I was more than a little pleased to hear a song being played by the DJ which had a melody. And words you could sing. In public. Sure, some of the music that evening I recall from Mom and Dad's era courtesy of the records they played. [Translation for young whippersnappers: records were REALLY BIG CDs which you played on top of a machine while a little needle at the end of a move able arm made the music come to life]. How can your spirits not lift when you hear Otis Redding singing, "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay"?

So although I was there as the hired help and had the department's battery challenged digital camera thrust in my hands to document the fun, it wasn't so bad. Why? Because there was something so life affirming about watching a group of people in their 70s [and older] having fun. Together. Holding hands. Laughing. Winking at a spouse as if to say,"You remember the first time we danced to this?"

So what if the King and Queen of the Prom were selected by pulling their names out of a hat. Everyone knew they had a shot at being in the spotlight, which was fine with them. They all cheered like crazy as the newly crowned royalty took a stroll around the room, the "Queen" being 5 inches taller than the "King" and probably 10 years younger to boot.

Ah, the fun without the melodrama of teenage hormones.

In this crowd of about 70, where woman outnumbered men about five to one, we only had 2 male staff members present. After dinner, when it was apparent the only people dancing were the couples, one of my male co-workers did a nice thing. He went to the middle of the room and said,"Would all the gentlemen please come to the center of the room." It took a few minutes and a little cajoling. One group of ladies said to the single man in their group, "Go on Lawrence. Get up," and he looked confused for a moment, as if being asked to leave the table because they had tired of his company. When one of the women told him to listen to the man on the floor, this gentleman, who I've seen at events for the past 10 years, got a big grin on his face as he rose and announced, "Oh yeah. I am a man, aren't I."

As all the men assembled in a nervous knot, I could see in some of their faces the expressions of teenage boys. Who's idea was this anyway? What had they done? their faces read. When would this be over? Where was the lady they'd come with? Why were they in the spotlight?

And then my co-worker said, ever so softly with arms open wide,"Ladies, you say we're hard to find. Here we are. Come to us."

I think half the women in the room teared up. The other half ran onto the dance floor and grabbed a man.

You know, the fun part was watching these Big Kids dance. Trying to envision them as the teenagers and young adults there were years ago. Wondering if time, which had stolen some of their mobility, had also rendered being shy and hesitant immobile. These folks were having a ball! Some of the married couples could've taught those reality t.v. dance people a thing or two. Their moves were often playful, illustrating the silent communication of people who knew each other oh so well. One man was so smooth that women of ALL ages sighed when he went by. He gallantly danced with many of them, but when he took the floor with his wife, I kept hearing that old southern adage about, "dance with the one what brung ya."

Watching them, I suddenly realized why I never wanted to go to my prom. I was born in the wrong era. I was witnessing courtship through dance, an institution as old as time. Until my time. Okay, so Disco may not have killed dancing-this-close but is sure wounded it. Severely.

Although the dance had opened with the obligatory, for this age group, "Electric Slide", towards the end when everyone was a little um...looser, they played it again. Just so you can get a vivid imagine of this dance, there's something you should know. I consider myself color blind when it comes to race. Intellectually I know all the other center directors were born darker than lily white me but I don't see people according to color. Actions, sure. Pigment, not so much a factor. And yet last evening, I was the token. The little island of white in a sea of browns and bronzes.

So when they called for the "Electric Slide" for a final time, people rose from their chairs and began trickling onto the floor, easily sliding into step. A lady from another agency rose, looked at me and said, "Oh, I guess you don't know this dance." One of my senior ladies looked at me, as if insulted on my behalf. I still have no idea which part of me stood up with a firm, "Sure I do". Coaxing my senior to go with me, we all went onto the dance floor. Whatever part of me had said, "Sure!" also blocked out the portion of my brain which was cringing in the corner, whimpering, "There are people watching!"

It was interesting to slide into place and have people greet me by name. Smiling. Like my own personal cheerleaders. Encouraging me to have fun, not be the "employee". The Line Dance instructor at my center would've been so proud. You see it was she, about three years ago, who convinced me that people born with two left feet and a fear of public humiliation could be cured. It was known as, "learning the steps."

When I returned to my seat at song's end, one of the inmates [yes, we use help from the jail] looked at me oddly and said, "Oh. I didn't know you could do that."

Neither did I, was my silent reply.

Instead I replied, "Well they say white men can't jump. I guess they think white women can't dance."

He burst out laughing. So did I.

On the way out to the car, it hit me. I've just been to my first Senior Prom. And I danced. And I didn't die of embarrassment.

Perhaps that wind which initially messed up my hair was just whispering at me to loosen up. You never know where you'll find a good time. Or have fun. In spite of yourself.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Games People Play

Hubby came into the room the other day where I sat at the computer. He assumed I was working on something. I was, but not what he expected.

"You're playing a GAME!?" he asked, somewhat incredulously.

"Yep," I answered with a grin. "Keeps me sane."

And it's true. We all need to take time to play. Sometimes you can't go outside and play. Sometimes the old brain just needs a different type of task to help unwind from work or whatever else plagues you. And you know me, if I'm going to take the time to "play", I still want my brain involved.

I am addicted to "Hidden Object" games.

At first I wrote it off to the fact I like a challenge. Mental gymnastics aren't something I find at work, where it's more like dodge all the co-workers running away from work as fast as possible. And studies have shown that if you continue to engage your braincells as you get older, they'll keep working for you rather than against you....keep that old, "Now what DID I come in here for?" routine at bay.

Hidden Object games are an art all their own. Take an ordinary scene, than hide everything in "plain sight". Except the lines of the objects you're looking for often merge with the lines of say a table leg or the curve of a tree. There are a variety of this breed of game, some being fairly easy in that they offer you loads of hints, to those where you have to earn the hints by finding something else in addition to the list of items you need to look gather. The best ones have a storyline and often mini brain games involved, so that when you solve the first group of puzzles, you have a mini puzzle to solve before going to the next level. You can play timed or relaxed mode, without that clock ticking in the corner. Personally I like the clock for it indicates where my brain is quick...and where it is a few IQ points lower.

Okay, so I do get tired of listening to someone narrate a tale that my eyes don't really need. Thankfully, someone has added the "Skip story" button. That may sound evil for someone who likes to write, but the stories are usually geared toward younger folks who don't know how to skim text to reach their goal.

Yesterday, having been caught playing instead of working on the computer I wondered why of all the games available, I like Hidden Objects best.

And then the voice of childhood whispered with a giggle, "I Spy".

When I was a kid and we were a one car family, we would drop Dad off at work on Saturdays so Mom could keep the car to run errands. We'd always arrive a few minutes before Dad got off work, which wasn't too bad. But if he had to work a few minutes later, a Mom trapped in a sweltering car with three bored kids called for creativity. So she had us play "I Spy."

She never announced it. She simply stated, "I spy with my little eye something that is green."

And then the race was on. We actually took turns, never talking over one another. As soon as a kid guessed correctly, they got to pick an object. My brother, the youngest, was the most devilish as he picked out items with the smallest amount of color possible in order to torture us longer.

Playing is good. And the games I've been playing are free. Well, for an hour. After your hour is up, you're given an opportunity to purchase the game. I usually don't but I know there are dozens of levels left to conqueror so if I find one which is extremely intriguing, I might just part with the cash.

If you want to give them a go, here are a few sites which are safe {as in no harm comes to your computer and no bugs jump on to terrorize you later}.

www.gamehouse. com
www.shockwave.come
www.bigfishgames.com
www.yahoo.com/games

Hey Susan! I played one last week called "Robinson Crusoe". I was just getting to the chapter about Friday when I ran out of time. I might have to buy that one. :)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Sound Familiar?

For those of you who feel the pain at work...or the fear work might vanish while you're looking the other way. Mom sent this to me to give me a giggle and well some...hope.


Inevitable Laws of Work

To err is human; to forgive is not our policy.

Anyone can do any amount of work
provided it isn't the work they're supposed to be doing.


Important letters that contain no errors will develop errors in the mail.

You are always doing something marginal
when the boss drops by your desk.


People who go to conferences are the ones who shouldn't.

If it wasn't for the last minute, nothing would get done.

When you don't know what to do, walk fast and look worried.

Following the rules will not get the job done.

Getting the job done is no excuse for not following the rules.

No matter how much you do, you never do enough.

When confronted by a difficult problem you can solve it more easily by reducing it to the question, "How would the Lone Ranger handle this?"


The last person that was fired or quit
will be held responsible for everything that goes wrong.

If you are good, you will be assigned all the work.
If you are really good, you will get out of it.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Less Than Picture Perfect

Which sums up today. Be here at 8:30 a.m. sharp to leave for our out-of-town training, the Boss had stated in no uncertain terms.

We left at 9:10 a.m..

Did I mention our ride was the big van often used to transport prisoners? Being short, I always get sent to the back of the van. Fine. I actually have leg room. But the shoulder seatbelt left a gross tattoo on my new white shirt.... when it wasn't trying to lock me down against the seat so hard I couldn't breathe. You'd think I was an escapee or something.

I wish I had. Escaped.

Our training consisted of a two and a half hour presentation on the sexual abuse of children, complete with graphic interviews by adult survivors. Yes, a priest was involved in one case. The most shocking...the father of the first Miss America. She also uttered the line I couldn't get out of my head. Her father sexually abused her from age 11-18 and she always wondered why her mother allowed it to happen. One night, when dear old Dad was messing with her, Ms. America heard her mother coming down the hall, one footstep at a time. For one moment, she believed she was about to be saved, that her mother would fling open the door and set her free. Her father , she recalled, looked terrified. Then the footfalls turned and went away.

"My Mother made a choice," Ms. America said softly. "And she didn't choose me."

Wow.

The day pretty much went downhill from there. I won't bore you with the details. Here's to finding the better things in life.


I will learn to laugh like Smokey, who appreciates the little things in life.

I will continue you to see this as a potential wish maker, not a weed.

I will spend more time daydreaming in the hammock.

I'll appreciate the brilliant sunsets which grow in my back yard.
And I will never lose my childlike sense of wonder
when driving home to be greeted by that beautiful pecan tree.
Look Susan....my tree has a bellybutton!

Monday, May 4, 2009

How Short Am I?

I was sitting on the floor last summer, checking the photos on my camera when I heard something approach from my right. I looked up and this is what I saw.


He figured if I was sitting on the floor,
I must be looking for someone to play ball with.
Nice of him to volunteer, huh?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Spring Cleaning

Well, I did so for the computer and went a tad overboard. That old problem I had with Kodak I fixed...permanently. Lost lots of old photos but hey, life goes on.

This one always makes me giggle. Bou was just a year old instead of the 5 year old, 100+ pounds horse he is today. I use it for a screen saver sometimes...makes it look as if he and his Dad are peering into the computer.

I keep hearing them say the same things.
"What ya doing?"
"When are you going to feed us?"

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Mystery.....Part II

Truth is, I already knew the identity of the man in the photo. Sure, I came across it accidentally but I’d seen him before. Watch him every Thursday in fact.

And yet, I found the photo intriguing…mostly because of what it didn’t allow you to see. My curiosity wanted to push back the hood and get a clear look. Was that a brooding face, someone in deep thought or a guy trying his darnedest not to laugh while being instructed to appear mysterious? Was the photographer merely trying to be artistic? After all, the first thing which struck me was how symmetrical the photo was, from the cone shape of the hoodie, right down to the man’s chin, which mirrors that same shape.

My curiosity has an interesting side effect: the what-if factor. If I don’t know all the facts at that very moment, my curiosity nudges my imagination into taking a go at it, if nothing more than to entertain me until I discover the truth. Because we all know my curiosity will not shut up until I get to the bottom of something I know nothing about. They say as long as you feel that need to learn about life, you’ll never be bored. Perhaps even live longer. Of course, I still don’t know who “they” are, but perhaps I’ll stumble upon that during my research on something else.

So my what-if moment of boredom and the photo led to this premise: What if your buddy had called and asked for a ride home. While you were sitting in your car and waiting for him to show up, you saw that man leaning against a wall across the street. Daylight is starting to fade, meaning you should be on high alert [well, in this day and age of “stranger danger” you can never be too careful]. And yet he intrigues you. After all, the absence of light doesn't just mean terror or impending doom. It can signal mystery and magic. Don't many ordinary things in the light of day seem take on a more dreamlike quality as the light fades? Otherwise why would moonlight make everything more....interesting?

Sorry. I digress.

So you're waiting, probably impatiently at this point. But after a while, you find yourself considering the stranger more than a little interesting. You see the sexy tilt of his head, the strength in his stance and you catch yourself wondering...

Suddenly you're glad to be a girl. Then he raises his head, looks you dead in the eye and smiles. Your heart does this odd dance, first skipping, jumping...then sinking to the pit of your stomach, looking for a place to hide. Yes, he’s the buddy you’ve been waiting for and now you’re somewhere between horrified, intrigued and embarrassed at exactly WHAT you’ve been thinking about the " mysterious stranger".

And one day when I finally get around to fleshing that story out, as it were, I’ll let you know. In the meantime, where would this picture lead you?

Oh, sorry ladies. Here’s the Mystery Man uncovered, as it were.
This 6'4" hunk of Texan is actor Jared Padalecki, who's on an American t.v. show called “Supernatural.” He plays the more serious, yet sensitive of two brothers. Oddly enough, he's not my favorite "brother" but he photographs well.

See, he can smile.
I did have an alternate picture of him from a scene in “Supernatural” wearing only a towel and a smile, but I didn’t know if your hearts could take it.

Now why is it I keep hearing Susan whisper, “Towel. Grass skirt. What’s the difference?”

Friday, May 1, 2009

Mystery

I admit it. I often write for me. Because it’s entertaining. Some days I’m inspired by something or someone…like WWII's Sid Diamond. Other times I just feel like venting without alienating the entire family. Sometimes I write just to escape the drudgery of daily living.

And then there are the pictures.

I get inspired by photos. Especially unique photos. I use them to challenge myself, to create a story based on only what I see…then I fill in the missing details.

Take a look at this photo. What do you see?

Menacing? Mysterious? A model’s pout? Nothing clean to wear? A bad hair day? Someone hiding? Each question brings more of the same. Hiding from what? Why?

So, what do you see? Tomorrow I’ll show you…the rest of the Mystery Man.