Thursday, October 15, 2009

Little Boys we were duped! Blah!

Today we followed with great interest the adventures of six year old Falcon in CO who had untethered his dad's home made helium baloon turned space ship. Little Falcon's brother said Falcon was on the baloon. The police and rescuers tracked and watched as it soared for about two hours. Fox news showed it. What concern for the little boy as it landed in the field near Ft. Collins. But when the rescuers got to it, no little boy! OMG! What happened? There was further speculation that he could have fallen out. Shepherd the FOX reporter suggested, "look under the bed." He went on to say when he was young and did something he knew he should not have he would hide under his bed to avoid punishment.

Well long story short, the little guy was at home--he'd been hiding in a box in the attic over the garage. A nation watched and prayed as we did for his safety.

I know how those parents felt. Do all little boys hide under their beds? Evidently it is quite common. Who knows how these young male minds think? It was back in 1976 after we had moved to Newcastle. Our son Steve was 12, twice the age of Falcon. Steve grew up camping, in cub scouts and Indian guides and well knew not to play with matches anywhere let alone outside! He knew the dangers of fires. But this day, his curiosity and going along with a neighbor boy got the best of him.

We came home to see the charrred hillside along the freeway down the road from our home. That was scary. It was hot, August and dry as it is in northern CA. My inlaws were there at the house visiting, so Steve was not home alone. Steve and Chucky the neighbor boy were riding their bikes through the hillside shrub. Chucky took out some matches and dropped one when it burned his finger---whoosh the dry grass caught on fire. They quickly got out and Steve pedaled right to the neighbor to call the fire department. We lived down the end of the road so this was a ways from our home, but Chucky and family lived right across from the hillside. Neighbors quickly doused the small fire and the fire trucks went over everything to ensure it was out. All this excitement occurred when we were at work, as I mentioned.

When we arrived home from work, father in law tells Jerry that Steve had an incident that day. When we heard we could not believe our ears! Well where was he? He was in for it! Of all the dumb things. Here was a kid who knew the dangers of matches and fires!

And the search began--we called and looked. No Steve. We looked all over outside, through the orchard, down at the pond, down the hill, out in the old barn even in the chicken house! No Steve. We lived on 7 acres. After an hour of searching, we began to panic. What if he'd run away because he knew there would be consequences? We were just about to call the police and report a missing kid when we noticed that Cookie, our German Shepherd dog was in the yard. This was odd because Cookie kept track of Steve. Where he went she went. How could he have gotten anywhere without Cookie? Not likely. Still no Steve.

As we were all standing outside in the driveway discussing our strategy, who walks out of the house but our son! There Steve is, rubbing his eyes while saying "I'm sorry Dad...I should not have let Chucky light that match!"

"Where were you?" I yelled but still relieved too that here he was. The fearful response was, "I crawled undler my bed and fell asleep. I knew I would catch it!" He had a captains bed which had two drawers underneath and which was up in the air nearly like a top bunk. He'd crawled behind there and decided to sit and wait it out! Fell asleep and never heard us all calling for him.

That solved why Cookie the dog was just hanging out in the yard. So we have had the experience of a little boy hiding and waiting for the shoe to fall. Todays story about little Falcon brought it back. Memories, little boys and their tricks.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Quick Read "South of Reason"

"South of Reason" by Cindy Eppes is her first novel. It's a good story through the voice of Kayla Sanders whose family story is revealed after they move back to the parent's home town in Texas. Nothing earth shattering here but it is a nice story about 13 year old Kayla and her testy relationship with her mother. The Grandma (Mom's mom) plays a big role in this tale as does Lou Jean Perry the lady next door whom Kayla befriends. What happened in the parent's high school years echos back through the book until the secrets are fully revealed. One critic wrote about the collision of two worlds, adult and adolescent, which sums up South of Reason. An easy read.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Driving myself up the banana tree and down again

We purchased this cute pearl white laptop HP Pavillion notebook to replace our old laptop which we use mostly for travel. The old one was way too slow, getting on my nerves and well we'd bought it in 2002 so it has long outlived it's recommended lifespan. That's another subject the throw aways in life today. Nothing is meant to last and no wonder the landfills are over expanded.

This new arrival which matches my pearl blackberry got me to making the leap to gmail. I've thought about switching before at the recommendation of friends who have been quite happy with gmail. But then I shudder considering all the accompanying changes & notifications that would bring. Well in a moment of "Why not" I did sign into gmail on the new laptop on Friday night. It works slick and I can import my current email into it. So far so good....bye bye outlook express which acts out at times and deserves the boot.

But here it is Sunday and I'm wondering what happened to my regular email account. I'm getting notificaitons on Pearl as I've linked her in ready to travel, but online no posts? Hmm? Then it hits me--I set it to import to gmail. Soooo off to check gmail.

But now the fun begins..what pass words did I use? I did not think to link it all into my existing Google with this blog. Oh no, I was going to keep gmail separate. Hmm--so what combination do I use to log first into Google then to gmail. That mystery question kept me chasing my tail happily for a bit.

While talking to a friend on the phone, bingo, revealation. Now I've got to record what I did & how I did it so I can do it again and again. Into the big binder. A binder that is increasing in size. This is my binder of passwords, log ins, etc. In the interest of cyber security I have made yet a dandy mess for myself. I do not use the same passwords for accounts--no duplication, protection from hackers, etc. But that means keeping track of all these multiple passwords, sign ins, user names and so on. Who can do this? Not the likes of me who used to have nightmares in high school about forgetting her locker combination. To remedy that I wrote the combination inside my friend Betty Ann's locker door. Pity me if she wasn't at school and I forgot. That never happened, but again the issue of security creates a need for deviousness that can outsmart myself.

It was not so complicated back then and come to think of it, why did we even lock our lockers. Mostly we did not. What did we have to steal in there--nothing. Some dirty gym clothes?

But today with passwords, logins, user id's and cyber space it is a whole new game. This has resulted in my big binder, alphabetized with all the pass words and means of intrigue to log me into the myriad of places I venture. I thought computers were to make our lives easier? Do away with paperwork! Think again. It has created yet another system to keep track of, accountability. And soon as I get to it, a database to enter my password so I can cyber store them and retrieve them from wherever I may be--but wait, that will mean another access code and another password to log onto that cyberbase....well back up for another banana!

Life is not simpler, not easier. It's just a vague hallucination that we think it might be someday!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Talking to myself

Sometimes when I am really deep in conversation with myself Jerry happens by and interrupts with a "what?" To which I respond immediately, "Don't interrupt I'm talking with myself!" It seems I get the best answers and dialogue this way and it sure beats ignoring things. Which brings me to this blog. I used to have a couple followers but they seem to have drifted. So here I am continuing to talk to myself.

Well it doesn't bother me, I like my own company. Unlike a certain widow woman friend who was so starved for company she sold her soul to the first man. Now she lives a life of subserviation to his needs and then wonders why her "nose gets bent."

Ah the life of independence, which I have always treasured even within the parameters of a nearly 42 year marriage! I learned early on in my 20's working as a single mother at McClellan AFB in CA that I must be able to provide for me and my child. I learned this by watching those poor old ladies! Now remember here I am not much past 21 and I see old ladies in their 40's! They have had to come to work for the first time in their lives--why because the hubby got ill, ran off with a younger babe or lost his job. Suddenly they were thrust into the workforce, trying to earn a living with absolutely no skills 'cept that of a "homemaker." Well that was one time in my life I paid attention and learned from others' mistakes. I will not ever walk that path.

And I have not. I had a very rewarding professional career. And fortunately for me, Jerry always encouraged me to work outside the home. I don't know if he knew it would be better for my mental state or was just wanting the extra income. But we both agreed and above all, I especially remembered those poor old 40 year olds!

Well flash forward today as I am retired from a state government position, enjoying a great retirement income though it is shrinking as the economy continues to spiral. And I look right around here and see a repeat of the poor souls but singing a different verse of the same song. This lady (and she is) devoted her life to raising a wonderful big family, but her husband died. So there she is bereft and unable to live in solitude. She has sold out to being "cared for" so she must think by a guy who is arrogant at best and absolutely controlling and demanding. Sometimes I feel sorry for her frustration, but then I get annoyed and think, "you dummy, you should not have sold out your soul."

Lesson learned: "Be happy with your own company." And if you get too lonely volunteer, travel and or get a nice small dog!

My grandma Rose, my mother's mother came to live with us after my grandpap died. I was a junior in high school. Well those were the old days and the adults took care of their elderly. There was no discussion she just moved up the hill to our house. I remember Baba (Polish for grandma) sitting on the porch visiting with the priest who said, "Rose, you might someday meet another man and remarry." To which she opened all barrels and shot back, "Tye gupia!" That's misspelled Polish for "what are you crazy or somethin'?" "I had one man and that was enough!" My grandma would have no more fallen into the trap of caring for some old goat than she would have jumped into the Allegheny River. I learned that lesson from her.

I had strong women in my family. I have written about my Aunt Jinx who died in July. And even though some might have thought my Grandma to be a traditional woman, she had her thoughts and ways. For one, she played the numbers through the bookie in the back of the butcher shop in town. Every morning she asked me what I dreamt and then she pulled out her little dream book and looked up the dream. I have that or a copy of an old one today with the numbers there. Trouble is it is so limited, still I think I will someday hit the lottery if I can remember to look up my dreams in that book and play those numbers! She made bucks off my dreams and kept that money aside for her and me. For a long time that's how we went to the movies (sometimes two) on a Sunday afternoon after church. And we always enjoyed an ice cream treat at Isaly's on the way home! Her and me! She never let my Granpap know about her winnings; it was a secret she kept with me. So though she might have been traditional she had an independent streak. And my other Grandma Anna Ball who was widowed young confided in me when she visited years later in CA, that she wised she had kept on in her career as a seamstress. She was a wonderful seamstress and dress designer and said "I could have had a better life if I had worked..."

This brings me to close this post to myself, that life has been good and the independence is what has helped us have a better life. It is why I worry about my grand daughter in CA who has spent her life under control of her parents. She has had no independence, lives at home going to a junior college. And now appears to be trading parental control for control by a boyfriend named John! What a waste of independence. She is only 19 and has not had enough life experience to settle for the first guy out of the shoot. But naivete and dependence are her experiences. I hope this does not continue but I fear it will. I continue to hope she really gets educated instead of indoctrination and settling for dependence on someone else.

And since I know that the less said the better,lest she gravitate toward him even more, I am disappointed to myself and talk to me about how to best get this into her head....Talking to myself--is that a sign of really slipping a cog or the wise thing to do?

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Folly by Laurie R.King was another great mystery by a favorite writer who can express herself well without resorting to four letter words and bad language. Folly features Rae Newborn, a widow, woodworker, artist, woman of a certain age, grandmother, mother and recovering mental health patient. I love all Laurie King's books because I can never guess who dunnit. Folly told through Rae's experience as she returns to an island off the coast of WA to rebuild her great uncle's demolished home. Folly interweaves two mysteries; that of Rae and of her long deceased great Uncle Desmond. 400 pages of good writing and and good mystery, I hated to put down. And I never saw the ending coming! A good read!