Thursday, January 31, 2008

Blog et Annum

Happy birthblog. Bloggy birthday. Happy blogiversary. Or something. One year ago on this night I signed into and wrote and posted my very first blog entry. After being something of an overachiever last February when I believe I posted sixteen entries, I settled into a comfortable routine of writing a couple of times each week. I'll probably continue at this pace unless I suddenly feel the need to share too much with you. That would likely be followed by a period of silent reverie. But then I'd ultimately have to share what I was revering about. This writing business, it's a bit of an obsession or addiction or something. Something I don't feel as though I have much of a choice about. If I don't do it here, I journal. Or write poetry. Or work on one of the five or so novels-in-waiting that are still, well, waiting. After printing out the first draft of my only (so far) completed novel nearly nine (nine?!?) years ago, The Virgins Club remains in draft form. Despite three dogged years of doing research and contacting publishers all that I have to show for it are a file folder of rejection letters. Many of them informed me that they could not or were not interested in taking a look at my novel unless it came to them via an agent. So I spent a year attempting to secure an agent. As always, life has a way of going on and I found myself in the position of needing to find a job that actually paid me. So while I consider myself a writer, I write lab technician in that little box on my tax return. Maybe this year I'll write writer in that box. I believe in the self-fulfilling prophecy! And that laughter is healing. And that love is the strongest power that exists. That hope and faith are necessary and fundamental components of happiness. And finally, that purring cats, joy upon waking, and pie for breakfast are very, very good things.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

My Fifteen Minutes

If I have bored you with this subject already, just skip today's blog. On the other hand, if you find this interesting, keep reading even if it's the same old same old. Lacking a third hand I shall plow forward. I was just reading my fake boyfriend's blog. The subject matter stirred up memories of having participated in a community theater production over twenty years ago. From my first memories, it seems that I have always indulged in one creative endeavor or another ranging from serving up mud pie banquets, doing my best Patsy Cline impersonation at age five or so for my dolls neatly lined up on the basement steps to writing and performing in a local makeshift musical/comedy troupe which I cofounded called The Wild Women in the Kitchen. We even have a banner which is currently proudly on display in my garage. I have a costuming credit on an extremely limited edition DVD of a play that was performed one time to an audience of dozens in Rapid City. In May of 2002 Michael Feldman spoke to me when I attended his Whad'ya Know Quiz show. My photo appeared on the front page of the Sioux Falls Argus Leader a very long time ago. The photo was snapped at the Sunday on the Grass Arts Festival in Sioux Falls of me and a little girl upon whose face I was painting a large and colorful butterfly. By anyone's reckoning, even one who possesses dubious math skills, I have used up three, maybe four minutes of my allotted fifteen. It would be my preference to use up my remaining eleven or twelve minutes of fame when one of my published novels is chosen by Oprah for her book club. Preferably while I'm still living. And mildly telegenic. When one uses up their fifteen minutes, are they then obliged to die immediately? Or merely fade into obscurity? Or do you get more if you're deserving? Some hang in there at fourteen minutes and forty-eight seconds much too long for anyone to care any more. I would hope that I would gracefully retire from the public limelight once I have used up ten or eleven of my personal minutes of fame. Then emerge later when I have accomplished something deserving of the remaining time. It would be fun to reserve that final thirty seconds of fame for some kind of absorbing posthumous scandal that would surface a year or so after my passing. What would make that perfect would be if I get to watch it play out.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Weather or Not

Let me first state the obvious. It's really freaking cold outside!! I'm not sure precisely how cold, the dashboard readout on the Subaru said zero as I was driving home earlier. It's so cold my thermometer is on the blink and can't tell me how cold it is. I'm thinking the battery in the sensor unit out on the fence has turned to a solid mass of iced whatever is in the middle of a battery anyway. Let me now express my envy of a number of coworkers who are at this very moment in Florida for work related reasons. I hate every last one of them. They will be returning to the frigid north by the weekend just in time for the forecasted (promised?) warming trend. I do enjoy experiencing the full range of all four seasons, and I have lived further north than I currently do, but I forget how brutal and unforgiving sub-zero weather can be. For now, I am thankful that my furnace is running properly. A year ago we were without reliable central heat. This makes one creative with the use of baking and cooking to generate heat, as well as filling the bathtub with hot water to warm the bathroom. Fortunately this furnace fiasco was remedied before the big cold snap set in. Fleecy clothing, sweaters, and big, fat socks with Nordic designs knit into their thick coziness make all of this cold a little more bearable. I haven't heard from the CPPR for a month or so. Having no discernible body fat, he does not take well to the winter weather here in South Dakota. I hope he is keeping warm on this January night. Soon I will immerse myself in hot bath water up to my chin. It warms me and conjures up memories of how the July afternoon sun feels on my shoulders. I haven't found a way to duplicate the feeling of warm sand between my toes. That will have to wait til summer. Except for those lousy coworkers of mine in Florida who at this very moment could possibly have warm sand between their toes!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sweet Things

I just watched one of my favorite movies. Chocolat. Mmmmm. Johnny Depp. Mmmmmm. Approximately one hour into the movie, I felt a strange compulsion. I paused the DVD, wandered into the kitchen and opened the refrigerator. I blinked and stared blindly for a moment at the top shelf. It had been quite dark in the living room and I was looking pretty much directly at the light, you know, the one that magically turns on when you open the door. Hence the blindly blinking part. I reached up and felt around just behind the eggs and produced an oversize Hershey's Symphony Chocolate bar. Mmmm. How could I have forgotten that it was there?!? Nothing subliminal about this movie's message. Enjoy. Embrace. Celebrate. Vianne was a second generation wanderer who found her here. Blessed are all wanderers who can find a place to call home instead of merely making a home wherever they happen to be. Some restless souls never find a place of comfort to stay for long. I come from restless people. Sometimes I'm astonished that I have lived in this house for over twenty-one years. When I moved in, I deduced that I had approximately thirty-two previous addresses. The day we looked at it, the realtor had shown us so many houses. I hadn't been thrilled with any of them. But when I walked into my future living room, I sat down in the middle of the floor on the sculptured brown carpeting and felt instantly at home. Kind of a warm rush and a tingle despite the hideous two-toned paint job on the walls and a previous owner's idea of an attractive rustic shelf just above where I imagined a couch used to be. I enjoyed, embraced, and celebrated the feeling of being at home and knowing that at least for a while, I would be a wanderer no more. If I ever get a chance to wander to the fabled Chocolaterie Maya, I would love to sit down and stare at the spinning tiled plate to see what it shows me. And I'm certain Vianne would offer me a truffle. She would divine instantly that truffles are my favorite. Then I'd buy a bag to take home. Chocolate, like the movie that bears its name, is a sweet, magical thing. Couldn't we all use just a little of that.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Yesterday I drove past 1016 3rd Street. Doesn't happen very often. Usually if you want to get across town in an easterly or westerly direction, you take one of the main thoroughfares, Highway 14 on the north side or 8th Street South on the other side. Wider streets intended to move traffic along in an efficient manner, and you can move along at 30 or 35mph, accomplishing the task faster. Seems a little silly since Brookings is a small town, you can get pretty much anywhere in ten minutes or less. Because of the particular errands I was running yesterday, I opted for the narrower, primarily residential 3rd Street instead. I wasn't in a hurry, so the 25mph speed limit wasn't an issue. And although it was quite cold, the temperature was in the single digits above zero, it was Sunday afternoon and going for a drive seemed like the thing to do. And what, you may ask, is the significance of 1016 3rd Street? More than half my life ago, in the third floor attic apartment of that house, I surrendered my virginity to a cute guy named Steve. He ended up being my boyfriend for the next three or so years. And I got to thinking about the many phases of my life I have lived in this little prairie college town. I moved out of my mother's home and struck out on my own here. I got married and divorced here, both of those fates being sealed under the same roof at the Brookings County Courthouse. I gave birth to both of my sons at the hospital here. It feels more significant to me that neither of them was conceived here, but they both entered this life here and uttered their first cries. I've worked at a number of jobs here, a couple that I really liked, including my current one, but also some miserable ones that I was more than happy to leave. So here I am. The first time I visited Brookings was in July of 1975. I had just graduated from high school and came here on a road trip with two of my girlfriends. One of them was looking to transfer to SDSU so we were here for an adventure away from home and also to tour the college. Little did I know at that time that such major chapters of my life would play out here. Mostly it's been good. Often interesting. And for the last 21 years I've lived in this very pleasant and comfortable home on the south side of town. In a couple of years when the younger son finishes high school, I can see where some options could open up. I wonder if I'll move somewhere else and establish a home, work in a different field, maybe follow a not yet met significant other to some other here. I am drawn to a couple of geographical locations for spiritual reasons that I can't quite explain and wonder if either of them will become my future here. One thing's for sure, when I first set foot in Brookings, I didn't experience the faintest glimmer of a premonition that this would become my here. And that is the correct answer if anyone should happen to ask where you are. Here.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Little Miracles

I survived a five day work week. My elder son moves back into his dorm room this weekend and the holiday break with him in the house has been absolutely wonderful. A year ago I was delighted when he went back to school! On any given day, in the lab where I work, thousands of seeds on various planting media are bursting into life. I may actually accomplish getting the kitchen floor mopped this weekend. We not only experienced a white Christmas, we have had snow cover here for well over a month. Kim has cut my hair for over fifteen years. She is currently on an extended leave of absence. Rather than whine and carry on about this, I have decided to just let the stuff grow, and when Kim is back on the job, see if my ponytail is long enough to donate to Locks of Love. My 19 yo son, under the guidance of his father, recently replaced the alternator in his car. It will feel like a miracle when I finally get to hear live music again, it's been five months and that is just wrong! I have been fifty for half a year now and as near as I can tell, nothing has broken down, fallen off, become decrepit, slipped away or vaporized. At least, nothing unexpected. I still believe in love, laugh every day, sing too loud in the car, and wake up in the morning feeling grateful for another day. If everyone could say that, this world would be a much better place to be. And that would be nothing short of a miracle.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Just for the Huckabee

I don't know about you, but I'm having a difficult time with considering a president of this country with the last name Huckabee. Say it three or four times and try to keep a straight face. It is not my intent to make fun of this candidate's surname. Personally, I have a clunker of a Dutch married name and my Scottish derived maiden name isn't any more musical to the ear. Huckabee just isn't a name that possesses dignity. Out of curiosity, and with a desire to be less shallow about this whole business, I did some research into the origin and meaning of the name Huckabee. It's English, though rare in modern England. It would seem the name derives from the place name, Huccaby, in Devon, or Uckerby, in North Yorkshire. Perhaps taken from the Old English word meaning crooked or river bend. Crooked. Politician. Hmmm. It also could come from an Old Norse name that means farmstead. Not the least bit amusing when you get down to the meaning of the name, but you've got to admit the name itself has a natural comic rhythm to it. We could just call him Mr. President, should he survive the onslaught of primaries and end up on the ballot in November and then come out the winner in that contest. President Huckabee sounds like something from a vaudeville act. Then again, a president with a funny last name would be infinitely more tolerable than the current situation. A president with a perfectly fine last name who is something of a vaudeville act. More of a village idiot persona, actually. V-idiot, F-idiot, let's call the whole thing off.

Saturday, January 5, 2008


2008 feels pretty alright so far. Last night was the holiday party for my place of employment. I received my three year service award. I wore a serious dress, that I must say, I looked fabulous in. Although my feet were not happy about the cruel shoes I wore for several hours. The shrimp were excellent as were the mushroom tarts and the cake was tasty. I was lucky enough to find the one non-light beer in the ice behind the bar, and the young lady tending bar was gracious enough to let me back into her domain to root around and claim it. The two shots of Jag were a lovely head-rush, as always. I engaged in a little light bondage with Tobin, who is such a good sport, and I do like it when he cowers and calls me Mistress. Thanks to Weston for making my day yesterday afternoon and I do hope he's having a pleasant time this weekend on Guard duty. Indeed, Kristi's eyes would have popped out of her head had she spied the blue Subaru in Weston's driveway this morning. Sometime I may just park it there and lurk about with my camera to capture the moment. This afternoon I'm venturing a little ways north to see Colleen's big red house on its new foundation atop the hill. I remain perplexed over the whole human pheromonal phenomenon. And, Elizabeth, I'm working on the restraint thing, and that has nothing to do with the aforementioned bondage reference, and lastly, thank you ever so much for planting the term fetish article in my brain.