Saturday, November 08, 2008

It does a family good

When I was a kid, our family drank a LOT of milk for some reason. It was the drink of choice at our house; I don't think we stocked soda on a regular basis. I can remember waking up in the middle of the night and just chugging loads of milk straight from the jug.
Nothing quite hit the spot like a glass of ice-cold milk.

Being Knoxvillians, the only place to get your super-good milk was Weigel's, a locally-owned chain of convenience stores that stock Weigel's Farms dairy products.
There was one a couple of miles from our house and it seems like just about every other night, our family would pile into the VW Bug and my dad would drive us over the hill to load up on milk.

Of course, any self-respecting convenience store at the time also had a kick-ass candy aisle and comic-book spin rack. While my parents shopped, my sister and I would speed-shop with our allowance, usually stocking up on whatever gimmicky candy was being pushed; pop-rocks, gold-nugget gum in a denim pouch, chewing gum with liquid centers, along with the newest Archie or Richie Rich comic.
Seasonally, there were kites and fireworks, Halloween costumes and candy canes filled with jelly beans.
Weigel's, for a long while, was the center of our allowance-spending universe.


Last year I cut back to a four-day work week so that I could devote one day a week to helping out at my parent's house. Most Fridays, I take my dad, who now has Alzheimers, out to lunch and then spend a few hours cleaning and organizing their house.

Yesterday, I called my mom from her house to see what kind of groceries she might be needing, and she told me she could use a gallon of milk. So my dad and I got in my car and we headed over the hill to Weigel's. My dad double-checked his pocket to see how much cash he had on him and was out of his seat-belt as soon as we pulled into the parking space. While I got the milk, he quickly grabbed two king-sized Paydays and two king-sized Hershey's bars and waited for me in line at the check-out. I reminded him that he had a bag of Hershey's at home and convinced him to put those two back. I told him he could get a lottery ticket with the money instead. He loaded his loot into his pockets and we headed home.

I'm always on the look-out for landmarks as I grow older that serve as a rite-of-passage; occasions that let me know, in no uncertain terms, that I've become an adult. This was definitely one of those moments.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Life is shaped by little moments.


When I was sixteen, my friend Lindsay and I were at her dad's house getting ready for a night out on the strip. We were side by side in front of the bathroom mirror and as I put on my mascara, she made a comment about how I was holding my mouth open. She asked me if I realized I did that and if it served any purpose in putting on eye make-up. It's now 25 years later and about once a week, I think of that when I'm putting on my make-up. And I stubbornly refuse to open my mouth.

Another time, my friend Michael asked me if I left the original wrapper on cheese when I transferred it to a ziploc bag. I admitted that I did. He asked me what purpose did that serve and I couldn't say. But I still do it and I still think of him every time I do.

You ever wonder why some stuff sticks in your head?

Sunday, June 01, 2008

My feelings are somewhat hurt

This is the second year that the Knoxville library has hosted/sponsored a "Children's Reading Festival" downtown.
Last year when I heard about it, I got excited and made some phone calls to see how I could participate. I was told that the committee hadn't really factored in a second-hand bookdealer and they didn't really see clear how I could be a part of the festivities. The promised me that they would put the issue up to a vote and get back to me. Last year, the vote was no, but they said that the upcoming year might be able to accommodate my business.
So this is year two and I guess no discussions were had and no votes were made, because I wasn't invited nor informed about the event.
Sigh.
I mean, children's books is what I do. I am about a mile from the festival. I deal mainly in out of print and second hand books, so I wouldn't really be competing with the library sales or the new retail book vendors.
My booth would feature an entirely different aspect of the children's literary world.
But they don't seem to want anything to do with me, or rather they haven't taken the time to expand their event beyond retail and the library.
I need to mark my calendar and make more efforts next year to call ahead and get the folks in charge to rethink my participation.
It just makes sense to involve local businesses and at the same time expose people to a broader view of what children's literature has to offer.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Generation Me, now with history!

With all the parents out there blogging about their parenting lives, I wonder sociologically/psychologically speaking, how that is going to affect/shape the perspectives of their kids?
It's pretty fascinating to think about.

How many of us 35+ year olds can boast of having some kind of historical play by play access to our parent's thoughts regarding our developement and behavior?
Most baby books abandon record-keeping at age 7, and even then, only record specific accomplishments; first tooth, first doctor visit, school picture, etc..

There are so many things a person experiences growing up and much of it is forgotten. It's nice to think that current and future generations can do a web search and re-experience an innocuous afternoon outing, a particular Halloween, an afternoon movie, shopping for school clothes etc...and as an added bonus, see themselves through their parent's perspective whether it be one of annoyance or amusement. I think being able to see the love behind each post will be reassuring as well.

I really believe on the whole, it will help a lot of kids as they are trying to figure themselves out, appreciate many valuable aspects to their personalities that are typically easy to forget or overlook. The blog-journal is a kind of proof of the child's value somehow that stands on its own regardless of the changing relationship between parent and child.

Being able to re-read old blogs, I imagine, would also be a great comfort as a child becomes a parent him or herself for the first time. The adult child can, to some degree, discard the archetypes and see the parent as a real person going through similar challenges, but with the added bonus of knowing that the story turned out fine.

I'm not a parent, nor do I have an desire to be, but I am envious of this generation's archives.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Mardi Growl blog

There's a fund-raising dog parade downtown today with a Mardi Gras theme and due to various folks' disinterest or unavailability, I've been nominated to give out the award for "Finest Unofficial Nekkid Dog".

I'm probably the world's worst ad-libber, so I've enlisted my sister and her kids to help me out. She can be the voice if any cameras are involved and my niece and nephew can choose the winner (who's gonna argue with a cute kid, right?).

My friend in Delaware and her husband made the hilarious trophy; Alpo and Mighty Dog cans as the base and a upright dogbone and rubber ball on top to symbolize the sunsphere. There's also an engraved tag for the winner's collar and a frisbee.
I don't think the owners of the nekkid dogs know that there is a trophy involved, so it should be low-key.

Update:

27 degrees for the start of the parade. Very chilly. My husband woke up early and came along with our second dog. We met up with my sister and her kids. The first annual parade was a huge success! About 500 dogs were registered to walk. The money goes to a local animal shelter, so we are super happy.

I feel like I botched the selection process for the Nekkid Dog award. I had all the Nekkid Dogs gather in the park and I stood there with my posse and deliberated. We didn't really reach an official concensus (there were soooo many super cute dogs), but I had two of my posse finger the gorgeous husky and I pounced on the decision.

His name was Eiger. Very impressive dog.

All in all, the parade was a hit. I look forward to seeing it grow(L) in the coming years.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

No Whammies

I'm sorry for my long absence. The obligatory apology for blog decline for those who were tuning in. I'm not really sure what's going on. Lack of focus in part I guess.
Also, my family life (read: mom, dad, sister, me) is a game of "No Whammies!" lately.
My mom has had two cardiac events in the last couple of months and then just this past Sunday I got a call that she had been in a car accident.
My sister and I need desperately to get to a lawyer and get power of attorney changed to us if my mom goes before my dad. As the paperwork stands now, it goes to my Alzheimer's spend-a-holic dad, who has NO business near a check-book or managing affairs.
I'm not sleeping much. I wake up every night at 4:30 and spend the next agonizing hour and a half thinking every shameful, irresponsible, fearful, neglectful, dreadful thought imaginable and then nod off exhausted again at 6:00, only to have to get up at 8:00 for work.
I'm fixated lately on mortality. I guess I've always had an obsession with the passage of time and memory, but now that I'm 40, it seems to have gotten more urgent.
Time is flying and it's only a cough and a hiccup to 50 and then 60 etc...
I guess this is what a mid-life crises is comprised of?
I'm luckier than most in that I have both my parents in my life still and in relatively good health.
I'm afraid of my responsibilities in all honesty.
My husband and I are prepared to move in over at my parent's house if my mom is incapacitated or dies. We will take care of my dad until we need a nursing home to take over.
That terrifies me. I'm up for it, but it will be very hard.
It's all hard.
Lots to think about.
And tomorrow I have a breast ultrasound to check out a new lump. The other lump has been established as an innocent fibrous dealy, but my birthmom has just come out of a breast cancer bout and I just anticipate that I'm going to have to deal with my own scare at some point.
Sigh.
I need some sleep drugs.

I will end this by reiterating that my life is GOOD. I am HAPPY. Really. Very much so.
As I type, my husband is finishing up a pot of homemade chili and some cornbread (my mom's recipe that he miraculously perfected after just one viewing).
I've cut back to four days a week. My home business is doing well.
I'm having a good time, yo.

I've just hit that part of life when I'm a bad phone call away from drastic changes in my established routine. I'm on edge for sure.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Happiness is...

Sitting here in my office watching Little People, Big World. I've been banished from the living room because apparently I am a jinx to Virginia Tech.

Here I am at the first Thursday of the New Year and my first four day work week. Feels pretty weird knowing I don't have to get up early in the morning.
Feels pretty great.

Tomorrow I get started at my folk's house. I guess just throwing away as much trash as I can and getting some light cleaning done will be a good start.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

In-Sync Sisters

My sister and I absolutely hated each other when we were young. We thought every adult who assured us we would get along as adults was batty. But here we are 38 and 40 and what do you know; we get along.

We are very very different with regard to our preferences and lifestyles. My sister is a fundamentalist baptist, married into a baptist preacher's family. She is a career woman with many many years logged at a government facility. She and her husband (of 15 years) have two children. She is involved in the community delivering meals, and working for a variety of fundraisers close to her heart.

I am still somewhat newly married; new agey, want no kids, my husband is an athiest, we both like our beer, we are both fairly selfish with our time and energy.

Ok ok, so my sister and I are totally different on paper. But what freaks me out is that our moods are completely in sync. I see her about once a month, but we talk online a few times a week.
I can come to work in a funk, login and ask her how her mood is and walla!, she is also in the same funk. Her relationship with her boss is the same as my relationship with my boss. And they tend to piss us off on the same schedule. When I'm feeling melancholy, so is she. When I'm weepy, so is she! When I'm happy, so is she!.
It's very strange.

I have to admit I take comfort in finding her there online feeling how I feel. We help each other through our mood swings like no one else, maybe because we are sisters. It's very weird and very unexpected and very welcome.

I'm glad we're adults now and I'm glad we get along.