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You've entered Melodyland, where perception is slightly skewed, potential is limitless and imaginary people live happily ever after

Monday, December 19, 2011

December 18, 2011 Too Weird To Believe

Here we are set up in the Mission Bay RV park.  If there were not freeways on two sides of the park it would be quieter.

ADVENTURE ALERT:  In our search for a more permanent place for the Darrel to stay, we shopped on line, on the street and in the newspapers.  Since San Diego is virtually a snowbird retreat, a lot like Florida in some respects, prices for furnished anything run from $2600 per month to $3800 per month (and up, of course).  So after sticker shock wore off and unacceptable alternatives were eliminated, I pulled out the newspapers again and started over.  We saw an ad which we thought probably had an error in it.  It basically said "executive rental, artist cottage, RV storage, mountain top views," and listed a price at about a third of the previous ones we'd considered.  However, it was located 40 minutes north of San Diego.  That's 40 minutes in hideous commuter traffic similar to Atlanta's I75.  We thought something too good to be true would at least be an adventure for the frustrated, so called the phone number included in the ad.  Remembering the last three calls we'd made to local places had never been responded to, we left a message.  A half hour later a British woman called us back.  There were no errors in the ad, she was very matter of fact, saying the views were indescribable and the place was adorable.  Right.

So we drove north 40 minutes.  As soon as we got off the I15 and asked the GPS to tell us where to go and it refused, we almost called the whole thing off.  But bless the Iphone.  We asked it for directions, got them, though the trip at that point became more about curiosity than practicality.  Up the mountains we went, through grape vinyards, citrus orchards and avacado groves, a series of ten road changes.  We were falling in love with the land on the way...always a critical issue with us.

So.  We found the place somehow.  It presented itself as a lone mountaintop with an American Indian great white wall sculpture surrounding a modest looking home.  Several outbuildings appeared to the sides: garage, covered parking pad, separate studio, all dotted this way and that between the giant boulders and chapparal.  Then we noticed the gardens, both vegetable and indigenous flowers and trees spread in every direction.  The view was indeed spectacular.  How do you describe the best of California hills, covered in sage, cactus, Eucalyptus trees, scrub oaks, acacias, olive trees, pepper trees?  How do you describe 200 mile views to San Gorgonio and San Bernardino from hills we'd ridden horses over 35 years ago to reconstruct the padres' trail north from Mexico?  And entire 360 degree 200 mile view to and over hills and beyond?  Well, that's where we'd landed.

So we knocked on the door.  A 5 ft. tall British lady answered the door.  She looked at us like we were long lost friends just returned after a ten year trip to chaos.  Then she gave us a smile that lit up the mountain, quite like she'd been waiting for us.  Not some people who answered an ad, but just us.   Well, the Darrel fell in love immediately and I was grateful the lady was 84 so I could at least have a chance of keeping him.  But wait...this gets better.

She showed us the grounds first--all eight acres of it.  And the Darrel was hooked.  Of course it helped a deer came up to talk to us, and a couple of hawks flew by on their endless hunt.  Next thing I knew, the superfluous studio--actually a charming art studio with a bedroom and 360 degree mountain views built like Fort Knox, was toured and the Darrel was negotiating the length of time of our stay.  How did it become one year?  I looked at him, his eyes glazed over and said, "what?" very quietly so as not to disturb whatever was happening.

He turned to me and said, "I've always been an eagle, flying in my dreams.  This is an opportunity to actually fly."  Whatever that meant.
I had become just a bystander.

We're now the proud renters of paradise on a mountaintop for a year.  Details of how we're going to do this will follow after I figure them out.



Friday, December 16, 2011

December 16, 2011 Moondoggie Day

Moondoggie

Down at the Ocean Beach Pier, the surf wasn't really up, but the tide was coming in, so a row of five breakers was enough to attract about fifteen diehard surfers, even if the temperature was under 50 degrees with a water temp of 55.  Those guys keep track of the tides so they know when they can cop a ride.

Here comes Moondoggie, slogging through the sand carrying his board.  He's maybe six feet tall, weighs about 165 and may be 20 years old.  He's wearing his wetsuit half pulled up, board tucked under his arm.  They don't use the big boards any more from what I've seen. He stands there looking at the other surfers bobbing around on the swells way out toward the end of the pier, talking about the "big one."

Moondoggie stands on the cold cold beach half naked.  Then he sticks his arms into the air over his head like he's praying to the surf gods, and screams an announcement of his presence.  He holds them up for a few seconds before looking around, grabbing the dangling wetsuit and slithering into it.  When it's zipped up he grabs his board and heads toward the sea.  Walking partway into the surf he suddenly screams again.  Reckon he's discovered the Pacific isn't very warm?

He dives through an oncoming smallish breaker, tosses his head on the other side and slips onto his board, paddling on out to the end of the breakers.  After buddy bobbing, watching a couple other surfers grab a wave, go for a little ride and paddle back, our boy, Moondoggie, picks one and paddles for it, jumps up on the board and glides toward shore.

When the wave plays out, he simply stands up in the shallow water and walks a ways before shoving the board through the next soupy wave.  He looks resigned to getting a ride from whatever the sea has to offer this day.


Friday, December 9, 2011

December 9, 2011 GPS Hell Pecan Pie Heaven

Last night we took an interesting route to go see a cousin.  Our GPS is a retarded little piece of work, however it did get us there against all odds.

I figured we'd order in pizza and sit around on the floor and have a little "catch up" session.  But the cordial cousin made a fabulous dinner she called Eggplant Parmesan.  It was actually Eggplant Lasagna, one step from heavenly carb paradise.  I've actually never eaten decent eggplant and didn't know it could be disguised so wonderfully.  I did know that if it could be done, she'd be the one to do it.  I'm not eating for three days though, because she also made her Pecan Pie, which is famous throughout the family.  Sadly, I've not tasted that pie for about ten years because I don't get out here much at the right times.  I never felt good about calling that cousin and saying, "Hey, I'm coming over for you to make me a pie."

I did ask if I could live there.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

December 7, 2011 Balboa Park & pictures

Today we went up to Balboa Park, which is attached to the zoo but a totally different atmosphere.  Balboa Park, named after the Spanish explorer, was conceived in 1915 for its debut World Exposition in San Diego.  At a time before WWI, WWII and the great depression, and around the time the Panama Canal was completed after so many years of construction, we were fresh out of wars.  To celebrate the world transportation not having to go through the treacherous waters below South America, a World Exposition was agreed to by key countries everywhere.  The amazing buildings still exists and are used for massive cultural advancement--all public buildings for theater, art, music.  The Panama Canal was used as an excuse to attract more countries to show off the neo-classical architecture of their choice.  Today it is like a city of cultural buildings.

This first building is a redwood lattice botanical building for growing exotic plants from all over the world.  The reflecting pond in front was originally about two feet deep.  During World War I it was deepened so new sailors could learn how to swim.  During WWII there was a hospital in the buildings on the grounds for the military, and the pond was deepened once more to be used as therapy for injuried servicemen.


Grr, my computer won't print any more of the pictures I wanted to post.  Will have to try again later.
Anyway, the park has thirty gardens, buildings housing museums, art, science centers, railway information and of course the famous zoo.  I can't find any statistics in my paperwork but would guess there are about 600 acres included in this park which is right in the middle of residential downtown San Diego.  Pretty amazing.

Inside the Botanical Gardens looks a lot like Opryland.

One of the typical buildings.  This one houses the symphony and San Diego Dance Company.
This one is across the street from the above building.  It houses an art museum from pre-1900.




December 6, 2011 Koala Morning

Went back to the zoo to see what we missed the first time.  We really didn't see it all this time either, but were smarter in our approach, making use of the bus system to get us to previous missed animals.  I'm only going to put the Koalas and apes in here because those were our primary goal(s).
This is a baby.  I guess he didn't know he was supposed to be napping during the day.  All the adults were sleeping.


I don't kow if it's true but I understand the eucalyptus leaves Koalas eat makes them intoxicated which is why they are so mellow all the time.  Not like my brother in law when he eats Eucalyptus leaves.
This incredible lady was the only one who wanted to talk to us.  She is 14 years old.
My new best friend.  We had quite a chat.


Here she is, a little closer up so you can see her makeup better.

Monday, December 5, 2011

December 6, 2011 Heresy

Yesterday, Sunday, we were invited to go meet my step brother and sister at the Sechuan Casino over East San Diego toward the desert.  It was located, naturally, on the Sechuan reservation.  Actually, I had thought that Sechuan was a Chinese name, but I was wrong. 

So instead of going to church we went to play the slots.  How bad is that?  I kept expecting God to take the place out while we were there--was glad nobody needs us any longer, just in case.

It was a huge building in the neo-Indian architecture style of hogan teepees or something.  Very dramatic and landscaped to the nines with desert trees lining the drive into the place which was out in the middle of nowhere East of Jamul.  Incongruously, lighted deers made of bundles of sticks were stocked along the entrance trees as well.  And inside the casino were monster Christmas Trees, decorated with every imaginable light, ribbon and glass ball.  It looked beautifully artificial.  I looked around for God but didn't see him--he must have been behind the cash machines.

My last foray into a casino was in Reno, Nevada, which never pretended to be holy, or family fun either for that matter (like Las Vegas).
That was back in the olden days a few years ago when the machines were full of happy little bundles of cherries and blue logos that said "Winner" on them.  You could put your nickel in the slot and pull the handle.  Gambling?  Of course, but it was a mini game.  In the electronic world, about twentyfive  pictures of Hawaiian dancers and big words dot the face of the screens.  No money is involved.  No way to see if or how much you win or lose because it's not money after it goes into the machine--it's now "points".  The machines take only paper money in any denomination.  And it's a button you push to "play".  Penny machines take 30 at a time.  Is that a penny machine?  It seems like 30 cents to me.  Oh yeah, it's 30 points.  No wonder I like the quarter machines.

I looked all over the copious rooms (50 of them?) for cherries and "Winner" logos.  I guess they shipped all of those to the Bahamas.

I didn't feel much like I was playing.  The blonde part of my brain was confused but didn't care.  The rest of my brain was confused but did care.  Uncomfortable.  If the blackjack tables hadn't been $5 tables I would have gone on over there.  I'm a cheapskate and only play $2 tables.

I know I lost $40 because my money pocket was empty when we left.  I'm not sure how I did that.  Maybe I'll go back on a Wednesday.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Hola Amigos!  (That's Mexican for "Hello Friends").  I'm getting back into California mode with my Spanish. 
Today we went to La Jolla (means Beautiful) which is up the coast about five miles.  We went there to see the hang gliders take off over the sea.  It's an awesome sight to see  guys take off running at the top of  a 400 ft. cliff and jump off holding a parachute looking thing so they can sail up and down the beach below.

This guy just jumped

We were standing on the edge of the cliff and this guy drifted by beyond the cliff, gave us a thumbs up.
They drop down after they jump, which made me get a knot in my throat.

This is what it looks like right after they jump over.
Here you can see a couple drifting north with the beach below.

This cliff had a mobile home that used nothing but solar power to run its shop and lunch counter.  It's located on the campus of Scripps Institute of Oceanography, but the school is way off from the desolate bald area where they do the hang gliding.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Dec. 1, 2011 It's A Zoo Out There

This handsome fellow sat high above us on a rock.  We were diminished to the flavor of the week in his imagination.
An African Leopard, he never told us his name.  The San Diego Zoo is the one that sets the standards for the rest of the zoos in the world.

We weren't sure if this guy wanted out or just a snack.  He was a Cappuchin Monkey, but I'm not sure if somebody I used to know was imprisioned in that monkey.
Just look a this lady's beautiful eyes.  The Darrel captured them in detail in this photograph.  He does a marvelous job with his new camera.


Darrel got this one of the wildest animals in the park...his brother and moi.


Here we are together in the zoo, just like we are in real life.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Nov. 30, 2011 Old Town San Diego

These are pictures of Old Town San Diego, which was started in 1738 when Cabrillo came to town from Spain.  It's a definite microcosm of Spanish/Mexican architecture and has great shopping if you're into the Southwestern look.




It's the best place in the U.S. to get Mexican food in California too. 

Nov. 30, 2011 San Diego Harbor

This is the Rosecrans National Cemetery at Point Loma, San Diego, California.  The Pacific Ocean is in the distance beyond the cemetery.  San Diego Harbor is on the other side as Point Loma is a promentory surrounded by water.  The cliff is 400 feet tall.

We were standing at the end of Point Loma looking into the mouth of the harbor with the sea behind us.  The military base is sticking out into the harbor, a nuclear submarine is being pulled by a tugboat out into the ocean.  The island coming in from the right is North Island where my father worked when I was a child.  San Diego is in the background. This was a critical site during WWI.  Bunkers with armaments are all under the ground where we were standing.

The city of San Diego's skyline is in the background here.  The foreground is military landing strips for the base.  The water is at the mouth of the harbor.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Nov. 29, 2011 Two Split Peas and An Ice Cube

Last night we pulled into San Diego's Mission Bay RV park with our little Coyote trailer.  Since Thanksgiving Day when I landed at Ontario Airport, we've been seeing people we haven't seen in some cases for years.  I've decided the best way to renew acquaintances is over turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie.  However the combination of jet lag and overindulgence for three days has made my eyes spastic, so I was glad to start back on my eating regimine of two split peas and three ice cubes a day.  Vision is clearing up, thankfully. 

We left oldies in the CD player all night and drowsed from five p.m. till this morning at six a.m.  A truly irresponsible vacation has started!  Today we're going to visit cousins we haven't seen in many years.  They've been hanging around town after the big family reunion Thanksgiving my family has every year.  Since I couldn't get an earlier flight into the city after canceling the first one because my mom fell, I unfortunately missed that celebration.  However, not short of family from the other side (the dark side?) we still saw about forty relatives and non relatives in Riverside (near Ontario, California).

This morning we drove out to Rosecrans National Cemetery at Point Loma, high above the Pacific Ocean, and watched destroyers and submarines make their way out of the San Diego Harbor below us.  A spectacular view.  We did take pictures and after I figure out how to do it, will put a couple of them here.  It's impossible to describe the poignancy to see the hundreds of thousands of graves in a national cemetery. 

We saw my cousins this afternoon and relived some old stories of the sort only families can tell--who looks like whom as they age, what the kids from the fourth generation are doing and remember when's in abundance.

Tonight we're listening to Charlie Rich do his croon thing and catching up on such things as email and blogging.  It's cozy and romantic in the belly of the Coyote after having real true Mexican food for dinner.  The sun is mirrored in the glass architecture on it's way into the sea.  The San Diego Skyline is lit up like any big city, but is exacerbated by the reflection across the harbor.  Picture Lake Lanier times 500.

I'll catch y'all tomorrow.  Maybe my jetlag will let me stay up till 7 p.m. tomorrow!

Melody





Wednesday, November 23, 2011

November 23, 2011 Combat Shopping Warning

COMBAT SHOPPING


You won't be needing an AK47 for the mall.  However, there are items for combat shopping that you'll regret not having, and those are pretty basic.

Gather ads from mail circulars over the few weeks before shopping, buy a Sunday newspaper, and clip all the ads and coupons you can find.  Put these for handy reference into your left leg camouflage pants.  Charge your cell phone the night before you shop. And a couple of weeks earlier, start a little workout so you can slip sideways between people and aisle merchandise easily.

Prepare yourself!  Comfortable shoes are not just for women who look like men in bad clothing.  You'll need them.  Not only that, you'll be smart to take another pair in your newfound friend—the mesh picnic bag.  Consider a foldable fabric bag with wheels.  Aisles are no longer aisles—they're now supply dumps for un-saleable items, and are a huge obstruction to shopping carts, even if the store you choose happens to have such a thing.  Toss a pair of small flat shoes, a bottle of water and a can of diet drink into the bag.  When you're convinced your toes will never be the same, simply change shoes.  A drink of water will cost you $2.00 at the mall.   When it nears and you stop for lunch, you'll find yourself in a 30-person line.  Then it'll be a tossup as to whether you'll live long enough to reach the counter.  But you'll have your handy diet drink to sustain you while you wait out the line.  You could even skip lunch this way and eat at your line-free kitchen when you get home.  A tiny camp stool isn't a bad idea either, since stores discourage sitting and there are often no seats available in the entire mall!

I know that expensive things usually come in small boxes, but at least you can get all your purchases into the bag you've brought, so consider the assets of jewelry, finger puppets, Kindles, socks and skip the household goods aisle. 

Even if it's minus 2 degrees outside, the mall will be 80 degrees inside, so wear a vest you can take off and stuff into your mesh/rolling bag as well.

Put money, credit cards, ID and keys into a little makeup case and Velcro it shut inside the right leg pocket of your camouflage fatigue pants.  Don't forget to take your cell phone or bring a set of walkie talkies if someone goes with you. Plan to be separated...it's a sure bet.  A field compass is a must for malls larger than a WalMart store.

Whatever you do, don't take a husband along.  I lost mine after seeing him bobbing and weaving around a department store cologne counter, dodging a sales clerk determined to expose him to the latest fragrance.  He disappeared and it took two weeks for me to find him after that.  He was suffering from Mall Knees and had to be sedated.

And don't even think about taking a small grandchild with you for his/her opinion or size.   His opinion will not be constructive in the throes of mall mania and you can measure him before you leave.  Bringing a child is akin to having an unpinned hand grenade with you.  Not only will your shopping be interrupted because she will want to eat four times, but she will suddenly cry from neglect.  Or he will suddenly clear the aisle by stretching out his arms and running full tilt down between stacks of merchandise that have attracted a bending fat lady, incidentally dragging his hand over her fanny, causing an immediate screech and full force explosion. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

November 19, 2011 God's Hands

I've been reminded about God's hands this week.  They don't come out of the firmament accompanied by a bolt of lightning, but through a person (in this case, a man) who gets an inordinate glee from being allowed to do something that fascinates him. 

Let me explain:  Picture a guy--just a kid really, maybe as much as 30 years old, but looking 17, who walks into a hospital room wearing very slick slacks, dressy shirt, shiny shoes.  He looks like he's getting ready to go on a date, all spiffy and eager, contained.  He has come to talk about options for what can possibly be done for a 95 year old mother with a broken hip who cannot speak for herself.  I, the daughter ask him about alternatives to the radical surgery.  He explains those, none of them acceptable to my way of thinking.  I tell him I view the alternatives as a cruel thing to do to an old woman.  He agrees.
So I say I think it's important that my mother be able to walk as long as she's on the earth, that he should do the surgery.

Now's the good part:  He gives me a huge smile, rubs his hands together and does a little bounce.  He says he'll be in touch and barely containing himself, whisks out the door.  Permission has been granted for him to do what he loves.

Wednesday, this man/child takes out a crushed ball joint in my mother's hip, replaces it with a titanium prosthesis, and sews/glues it all back together very neatly.  On Friday, my 95 year old mother walks across the room (not dances, more like staggers) but gets there and back.

Now, who told that kid he could keep a certainly imminent and painful death away from my little mother for a little while longer?  It was just another day for him.  It was maybe a couple more years for us.  There is no doubt in my mind that God streamed through science and this man's mind and hands to accomplish a miracle.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

November 16, 2011 The Bionic Mama

Well, the trip got temporarily cancelled, as my mother fell and broke her other hip.  We just went through this two years ago with the first one.  She's going to be the bionic 95 year old mama.  A matching new titanium ball joint was installed just this morning.  I asked for a little more colorful one, but they said, like the original Volkswagens, they only come in one color.

Since I've been at the hospital for  38 hours, I think I'll sleep in tomorrow.

Monday, November 14, 2011

November 14, 2011 Abby's Great Adventure

As some people may know,  my husband got a temporary job in California, where he will be for six months.  Because he will need his truck for this job, he's driving out there with Abby the Cavalier and our little camping trailer to sleep in on the way.


Now, I know everybody says this about their dogs, but Abby IS the best dog in the world.  She thinks like a very well behaved child and rarely turns into a dog.  On this trip west, Abby slept in a little kennel, as she is kennel trained.  One morning she wouldn't come out of the kennel, which has never happened in her lifetime of four people years.  Darrel got down to see what was wrong, but nothing was wrong.  Worried, he tipped the kennel so she had to come out.  She sat and stared at him as he got her food out to put in her bowl for breakfast.  When he reached for her bowl, he saw her water had tipped over and was all over the floor.  She wouldn't come out of her kennel because she felt guilty for apparently stepping in her water dish in the night and dumping it over.

I have other dog stories but I know most people are bored stiff with such things.  Sometimes the things Abby does touch me in their innocence.  

And if I had a decent picture of The Darrel, I'd post it.  But for now, he seems to be the one taking all the pictures and is in so few of them I'm surprised as I look through my computer album.  I'll look through my thumb drive pictures and see what I can find.  And make a mental note to take more pictures of his sweet face.

My friend Arlene sent me a picture of The Darrel I'm going to add to my post here.  Isn't he cute?  Abby and her best friend Tara are not bad either.   He recently got rid of the beard thing.  I celebrated in the closet with my wine.


Did you ever go out of town for six months?  It's kind of like making a permanent move, and my hat's off to all of those people who travel constantly in motorhomes, in and out like troubadors.  I've been home meeting previous obligations but will join him by plane soon.   Where will he live?  Who does the banking back home?  Who takes care of the mail?  Who waters the plants?  Who maintains the house if "something" happens?  Who keeps the electronics working?  Who maintains the yard?  So many things can go wrong when one is not at home to monitor.  And how would I be with my husband over the holidays if nobody was there to take care of my mom, if my dog couldn't travel? 

Well, I'm here to tell you, just like my book writing adventure...it takes a village.  A village of friends, family and encouraging people to facilitate something like this for us.  At first, I thought I'd just have to stay home, fly out for two days maybe, then back again.  But a veritible army of people have stepped forward for us.  It awes me that people are so selfless in this world where time has become a treasure.

It's purely spooky to be home alone.  Also tremendously freeing, I think.  Eat when you want, sleep when you want, think about me, me, me.  Looking down for a little brown person who isn't there--eek, where is she?   Nobody filling my gas tank but me.  Nobody else making coffee in the morning.  Nobody knowing what I'm going to say before I say it.  My right arm seems to be gone.  Weird.

Maybe freedom sucks sometimes.




Friday, November 11, 2011

October 10, 2011 The Saved Day

Today I spent most of the day painting a picture that was a total flop.  I disappointed myself and the lady the picture was being done for.  I may try it again another day but for now I have to live with it.  And I'm not even sure what happened to me, and yes, I feel like a loser to a point.  Of course, I lose a lot of the time, so am familiar with that feeling, have come to accept it.  Doesn't mean it's going to last forever.  It used to bother me a lot, which had no relevance to the passed outcome I could not change. 

One day, along came The Darrel, who pointed out to me the assets of the ******* bucket, where all things failure are to be tossed.  So I learned to toss, which took a really long time, but it's the road to sanity so was critical that I learn it.

Meanwhile, the offset prize was a signing at the Cumming Women's Club meeting at the home of Katherine Sulak last night.  I love bookclub people.  My first love outside of my family has always been real estate.  That segued into writing.  But now it's rivaled with talking about books.  Of course it's a personal delight to hear what people have to say about Auraria Dead but discussing other books is almost as much fun. 

People last night asked me about what Emily looks like, about where Mason's name came from, about Casa Grande, Arizona, American Indians, gold mining, Auraria, Ga.  All sorts of questions.  I've lived with these characters for so long it was easy for me to explain them to others.  It's very comfortable talking about those you know so well.  I've learned to not be intimidated when speaking about my people.  When I first started after the book was out, my knees shook.  It was too long ago I took my two Speech classes in college.  I guess I was afraid I wouldn't be able to answer a question somebody might ask.  But the commonality of the story and the enthusiasm of the people who've read the book opens the door beautifully to fun discussions.  I'd love to make each of these real people my new best friends.

I'm thankful for my life.

Melody

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

October 11, 2011 The Going Home Feeling

The wagon train left today for the West.  The Wild West, where you can see forever without the massive forests left behind "out east."  Where the mountains burst from the earth like they're fixing to boil, and  roll up so high it makes your neck ache to look at the top of them.  The Rockies, those giant boulders stacked across a limitless land filled with miners seeking the wealth they have to offer.  You can hear drums beat as you cross New Mexico and the wind swifting through the wings of eagles as Arizona appears on its terrace.

Okay, romance aside, I do love going home sometimes--to smell what's left of the orange blossoms, see what else has been torn down or remodeled.  Talk fast again.  Use short fat butter cubes instead of southern long skinny ones. 

It's all about the people.  I feel like a pea back in its pod for a vacation, mingled with all those other familiar peas.  Then there are the baby sweet peas I barely know, separated by miles, years and lack of history together.  At least I know their names, thanks to the diligence of my geneaological relatives, which I will be memorizing for the next week.  But they don't know I pushed their grandma down the stairs a hundred years ago when we were kids, and don't really care much.  They've been pushing their cousins down the stairs too and some day their great great grand neices won't know it.  Or care.

I somehow feel reincarnated.  I had a childhood then messed that up by growing up, then messed that up by moving so far away from home.  Now I have the perfect life.  Which is sweeter?  My only choice is the life I'm in now.  But the other two are still here, competing for my emotions and love.  I have to put them each in chambers in my mind and keep opening the doors to check on everybody.  Maybe it's a mental visit I do.  This time it'll be a real visit to my past--kind of scrambled with an altered present.  Seems like a one-way street since I can't drag everybody out east (south) with me to put them into the same conundrum.

I need a shrink.

Monday, November 7, 2011

October 7, 2011 Honor the Mother and the Father

Pam, in facebook, got me started thinking about my parents.  When I was a little kid I never thought about parents' needs and accepted their wants as a way of life.  "We" put up with incoveniences for their dreams.  "We" put up with their choices of dog or cat.  "We" were sort of around like so much cord wood, kind of like those animals, but cleaner.  "I," on the other hand, always had a better idea, but nobody ever asked me what I thought.  Of course that would have been foolish of them.

This thing of considering the opinion of a child trend of today kind of surprises me.  "Where do you want to go for dinner?" "What do you want to do on Saturday?" "Which sports do you want to play this year?"  Never heard of it.
My parents were about going to college for seven years after work (the mom), finally affording a piano (the dad).  Putting together programs for the students (my mother was a teacher), repairing the cars so they could go to work (the dad).

We didn't go out to dinner because there was no fast food, and restaurants were too expensive.  Saturdays were work days to catch up for the week.  There were no sports but football.  If school hadn't had PE, I wouldn't know a baseball from a treadmill.

My parents did the best they could.  They kept us more or less clean and we never left the refrigerator door open so the ice wouldn't melt.  I didn't know what that meant until I was 15.  I thought the refrigerator was in fear of defrosting itself.
My mother, born in the Sonoran Desert. who in her past literally was lucky to have ice in a metal box to cool food, meant exactly that the ice was going to melt, and it was expensive and hard to get. Wasteful.

Sometimes I leave the refrigerator door open in my kitchen now while I peruse what to fix for dinner., guilt screaming in my temples, I refuse to buckle under.  I also let the water run to get hot.  Water was treasure to my mother.  She was raised in the desert with a pump well.  But I let it run in defiance of that memory.  Once I heard the reason for the expression "don't throw the baby out with the bath water."  Once, a washtub was filled with water for bath night.  The dad got in first, finished, the mom got in, then the eldest child and on down to the last one being the baby.  Water was grim after a crew of ten, and sometimes they couldn't find the baby in the water, I guess.

My father died when he was 60 of a mysterious disease he incurred eight years earlier about three days after he retired from his day job.  My father, who was an Irish Tenor, sang from the time he was in highschool, through the danceband era and until his throat would no longer work.  He played a wood-sweetened clarinet and immaculate saxaphone in dance bands of the 30's.  But not at home.  I only ever heard him play scales (reason for the piano) at home.  Since I was a child I wasn't allowed in the nightclubs where he played early on or the private parties where  he and his quartet sang into the wee morning hours.  I heard him sing a solo of The Lord's Prayer one time in church.  It is a treasured memory.  Every now and then I get angry that I missed my dad's life almost entirely.  However, all the soft shoe songs, the big band music was all we had on the old 78's my father collected.  I couldn't afford the modern music 45 records, so listened to the old stuff, was enchanted by the beauty of Stan Kenton and Glenn Miller.  I can identify with old people as they listen to the music I was "forced" to grow up with.  I can sing along with them and feel like the child they remember themselves being. 

I can honor my father's memory for giving me this.  Not to mention food, clothing, schooling and life.

Nostalgic Melody

Sunday, November 6, 2011

October 6, 2011 168 Cousins

Today I took a little drive up to Murrayville to see my friend, Melanie who sells Miche bags.  So cool, those bags are interchangeable...you lift out the lining with all the stuff and put it into another color bag to match your new red suit.  Melanie wouldn't cooperate by selling me one of them already stocked with credit cards and lipstick though.  I'm thinking my computer might fit into one of the large size ones.  But if not, maybe I can get some manuscripts in one?  Manuscripts are kind of like your children--you have to know where they are at all times.

She also agreed to be added to my BookEnds Crit Group, so I'm going to be sending her a couple of scenes from Chattahoochee Dead so she can let me know where I'm screwing up. A couple of other nice women, Michelle and Judy have sent me some of their thoughts already.

I'm leaving town for a while, to go see cousins.  I have 168 cousins last time I counted them.  I'm sure I'll need to make a recount soon, and I only count four generations because my mind can't really get around all those other folks I never met who have gone on before.  Anyway, I'm taking the computer so I can write inbetween visiting.  Besides I really hate to miss anything.

One of the reasons my main character in my Maria Sebastian series has so many cousin issues is because of my family.
None of the circumstances are true or are actual people, but the interaction I've observed is described pretty accurately.  So I've mixed these up with real estate situations, agents and client possibilities to get people who could walk the earth, even though they hadn't been invented yet.  Characters are kind of like dreams--they get put together in random access but to be possible they have to have a little backstory for why they turned out to be the way they are.

#338 in Life's Little Instruction Book:  Live your life so that your epitaph could read, "No regrets."

Melody



Saturday, November 5, 2011

November 5, 2011 Wedding for the birds


In the throes of empty nest syndrome one day, I wandered into a pet store to look at the puppies for fun, and heard some birds singing at the other end of the store.  Zebra finches were chattering and jumping around.  They looked like little hand painted works of art and sang happy little songs.  They were inexpensive, so I bought a pair of them and took them home in a pretty yellow cage (which wasn't inexpensive).

Having so much life in the house was fun.  Like a good bird mother, I supplied them egg food and a nest, swings, perches and toys and watched them cavort in their pink bathtub where they splashed in the water and chased each other around.  Pretty soon there were miniscule eggs in their nest and to my surprise, they all hatched into impossibly little fuzz balls.  Real birds grew right before my eyes. 

I went back to the pet store and looked at the other birds.  There were Lavenders and  blue Cordon-bleus, Melba finches, Java Rice finches, Pekin robins, canaries.  A world of birds, each of whom sang its own wonderful song.  Enchanted, I made plans to adopt a houseful so they could sing for me every day.  Over a period of six months I acquired pairs of the little delights, keeping up with who didn't want to be in the cage with whom, who was getting molested too frequently by its over-zealous mate, who was in need of alone time, which pairs were nesting and who was obviously not enamored of his/her mate (selected by me, go figure).

When my daughter became engaged and was going to be married in the yard under the gazebo, we planned to hang flower-covered cages with little troubadours around the yard for atmosphere.

My brother the genius made a tiny cage, just big enough for two little white zebra finches to fit for a very short length of time, as topping for the wedding cake.  Finally the day came.  Doilies and flowers bordered the top layer of the cake for "protection" and just before the reception, the tiny white birds were put in the little cage and placed on top of the cake.  They made a dramatic picture. 

But wait, what were they doing on the bottom of the cage?  They could just fit their bitty toes through the tiny bars and were scraping up the doilies, sticking their beaks into the frosting and going mad with delight.  Or a sugar high.

Soon I was going to have two over-zealous cake toppings dead from frosting over indulgence –This could put a damper on the beginning of a life together for the bride and groom.  What to do?  Guests were beginning to arrive.  Pictures were being taken, bridesmaids were running around the hallways carrying shoes and flowers.

I casually greeted a guest, who squinted his eyes at me as I backed up to the cake, opened the little door and reached inside to scoop the tiny maniacs from the cage.  One escaped over my head.   It was never seen again, probably still on his way to South America.  The other one had to be put in solitary confinement for two days from excitement overdose.

My mother saved the day by filling the cage with some leftover hibiscus blossoms.

Somehow, the bride never noticed her cake topper(s) had flown the coop.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

October 2, 2011 Bling Belt Visit

I forgot to mention I stopped in yesterday to visit my bling belt where it lives temporarily at the western store. I figure I can bring it home when my waistline looks like Dolly Parton's third best asset, the first two of those being her hair and her boobs, in no paticular order.

I was going to grow up to be Susan Anton, with legs up to here and blonde, but only made it approximately as far ss Suzanne Pleshette (without the smoker voice). At least that's what I've been told.

So God and I have been working on it for a long long time, and I know it will happen one day if I live long enough. When you see a 95 year old woman making her way down the street with her walker, if she's wearing a bling belt, wave. It's me.

Yay! The grandson cut the suckers off the crape myrtles, carried the far backseat out of the Excursion to the basement, cleaned out the refrigerator, washed it and restocked it and then did all the other appliances. Then he vacuumed the whole house for me. My heart runneth over.

The Darrel went to the post office in Dawsonville today and spoke with Warren Carlson who has worked there for years. Warren told Darrel he took Auraria Deadhome with him and read twenty pages before his wife got the book and started reading it. She stayed up all night reading then told him in the morning that it was the best book she ever read. I think I'll send that lady some flowers.

Am finished with the panels for the Annie set. When I started the nine of them I was told I had two weeks to draw them so I thought I might get them painted by that time as well. However, things being what they are, it turned out to be they needed them in three days instead of two weeks. Needless to say, I won't be doing any painting on them, and I barely got the last three sketched in. I think Marcia at the Bowen Center was going to have her six year old art class kids start painting on them. The Annie singers' parents are supposed to paint them tonight, but I don't see how they'll be able to do all of them.

I think Abby feels better after her Benedryl experience, but I don't plan to give her any more of it unless the itchies get worse again.

And I did see some of the finished tables set up for the Saturday luncheon today. They're absolutely fabulous. The only way they could outdo the ones this year is to have a live person in greasepaint hanging over one of the tables by their teeth.

My personal favorite message from Life's Little Instruction Book is #71: Learn to make something beautiful with your hands.

Melody

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November 1, 2011 Wow...look at the woods!

November. Wow! Look at the color in the woods and know there's a God out there. Even if I find myself wondering what he's doing sometimes.

Abby survived the teeth cleaning (what a surprise!)and is going around smiling a lot today, showing off.

Today I'm going back over to the Bowen Center to draw/paint. Am having a wonderful time too. It's sort of like being put in a room with all the equipment you'd ever need and being told to do whatever you want. But I need to get faster as time is of the essence as usual. We're working on the backdrops for the children's theater musical production of "Annie." Though I've painted many murals, I've never done backdrops on panels before, so it's a new experience for me. Kinda intimidating too. Nine panels in two weeks. All I'm supposed to do is the drawing--others are assigned to do the painting, so maybe it will work out fine. So far I've got four drawn out--only five to go.

The new courthouse folks notified me they want one of my paintings to hang in the new building. The downside is my choices are I can donate it permanently or donate it for a year. I'm not sure about this.

We went to the Halloween party/candy immersion last night. I took my soon to be famous (no awards yet) apple pie. It was hot since I barely got it out of the oven in time, so was received well. Possibly because it was warm and the thermometer dived into the 30's last night. But we're inveterate partiers and hung out in the dark with all the neighbors. We'll never know if that pie was actually good or not.

I just started sending scenes of my new book, Chattahoochee Dead, to new readers I'm calling the BookEnds Crit group, so important to me. Michelle, Judy, Pamela and Janice have agreed to give me feedback on this story. I'm looking forward to finding out where I've caused problems for readers.

A thought for today: #260 (from Life's Little Instruction Book) Every day show your family how much you love them with your words, with your touch, and with your thoughtfulness.

Melody

Sunday, October 30, 2011

October 30, 2011 Am I a Grinch?

Goblin time tomorrow night. My neighborhood is kind of isolated and parents from other places bring a lot of kids to us on Halloween. One of the neighbors near the entrance holds a trick or treat party every year in her driveway. Any neighbor who wants to, brings a covered dish and a sack of candy to be put on the candy table and children just come in as far as her driveway to trick or treat. Our houses are not real close together nor near the streets. We're also kind of hilly with no street lights past the first road. I guess the thinking is to keep little kids off the dark streets. I haven't gone to this particular event in the past as we have had other things going on that night, but this year I think we're going to see how it works out.

I can't decide if this is one more way we're doing everything for kids and not letting them learn what it takes to get what they want, or if I'm thinking in the colors of a grinch (green?)

When I remember how it used to be with kids clambering all over the place, dragging sacks door to door in the country where we lived, I feel like the adventure of actually being a free bird to roam around in the dark to your heart's content is a big deal to a little kid (not too little, of course). A child who is required to be under control every minute of his/her life, watched by every adult on the planet, rarely gets the opportunity to have such an adventure. However, I know society has stolen this privilege from our children because it just isn't SAFE. Along with the glory of wrecklessly breezing down a hill on a bike with no helmet.
Along with the responsibility of walking to school. Freedom may become just another word before long.

Maybe our main freedom will only be to choose the path of least resistence in the future.

Friday, October 28, 2011

October 28,2011 Sad Melody

Something I heard on the radio this morning...(political disclaimer, so skip this part if you're sick of it already).

Here's Herman Cain, who says (paraphrased) "In Alabama in the 60's when I went to a MLK rally and we all got on the bus, there was a section in the front different from the section in the back of the bus. I was told I had to ride in the back of the bus. And now, because of this beautiful nation of the United States, I don't have to ride in the back of the bus any more. In fact, I OWN the bus. Not only that, my picture is on the outside of the bus. Not only that, I'm running for President of the United States of America! How beautiful is that!"

Here's Governor Perry, who says (paraphrased) "I'm don't think I'm going to any more of the planned debates. I think they're just an excuse to tear candidates down."
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I went to visit my friend's blog at http://www.cherylbdale.blogspot.com/ and wanted to make a comment about a book she had reviewed. But the site insisted I couldn't make a comment because I wasn't registered. So I registered. Then it told me I couldn't make a comment because I wasn't registered. And I've had a couple of people tell me the same thing about leaving comments on my blog here. On the other hand, SOME people have left comments, though I don't know how or why. So, if anybody reading this wants to leave a comment and run into the same problem, please know I'd love to hear from you at www.melodydscott@gmail.com .

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Did you ever think you'd have to worry about the state of your dog's teeth? How many dogs have I had over the years and never once thought about the condition of their teeth? Well, one day recently I happened to be plowing around in Abby's mouth to see why she was so obviously upset, and found not only a bone stuck in the arch of the roof of her mouth that she couldn't dislodge, but also just how strange the anatomy of a dog jaw is organized. There is a model of a dog's jawbones in my vet's office (Dr. Habermann at Foothills Vet Clinic on Auraria Road in Dawsonville) but never paid much attention to it until then. So, having removed the errant bone, I decided to compare the model to the actual dog mouth and was appalled at the condition of her teeth. I was a bad mother, having scoffed at other dog mothers who told me they brushed their dogs' teeth. I would never do that, I remember saying. After all, she eats better than we do, special dehydrated Sojos imported turkey and beef. Yuck. After having heart palpatations upon learning just what the charge is for the vet to scale dog teeth, I stopped into my friendly neighborhood pet store and bought some green slime guaranteed to dissolve plaque. It miraculously worked...for a little while. But then plaque was back and now it was time to get serious. Abby goes to the vet on Monday to get her teeth scaled, since I'm such a bad mother (sigh). She'll be there all day and will likely come back demented from the anesthesia (snif) because they have to put her out (probably so she won't bite them--ha! I say to those who don't know Abby). She'll probably be neurotic from being in a vet cage all day (snif) and who knows what goes on behind the white door to the back room of the vet's office.

Sad Melody

Thursday, October 27, 2011

October 27, 2011 Grandma

Today I look forward to visiting my mom, who as I have mentioned before, is in a group home across town.  She lives with a family that has six children and two other "residents."  All those people give her the attention and care she needs to stimulate her mind and nourish her body.  She can walk around as she wishes and go outside to sit in the sun on bleak mornings.  Mom used to be in a giant care facility that tried to take care of her, but with so many other people in need and regulatory laws, she was falling through the cracks....being left alone when she needed attention.  For one person to take care of her is a full time job for that person.  You'd think one tiny lady wouldn't need that much, but she works at a pace that makes a snail look like a NASCAR racer.  When she lived with us, a normal morning took three hours to get her to the breakfast table.  In the large facility, so many people who not only were tasked to bathe, dress and feed her, but also to maintain the building as well as her specific needs, were different every day.  Were different every shift.  Nobody had a clue whether she ate anything, drank anything, liked anything or was even wearing her clothes.  She had disappeared into a wandering world of oversight, dormant mind and diminishing health.  In the group home, the children entertain her with their antics, Lori the mother fixes the food and knows what she likes to eat, so important when capacity is diminished.  Lori, the mother, knows to give her water to drink, something that takes constant prodding.  Lori knows when to expect bathroom issues to maintain continance.  The elder children and her husband assist Lori when she needs it by watching over the elderly while Lori runs to the drug store or grocery store.

It's a full time job for Lori, who though I tell her constantly, has no idea how grateful my whole family is that we have her.
My mother feared taking our lives from us by burdening us with her aging issues, which none of us can control.  Lori was born to be a caregiver and her life revolves around her "residents."  Her parents were caregivers, had elderly people in their home her whole childhood.  She thinks of all her residents as the grandparents and cares for them in a way our society has bypassed.

Why some of us who are considered "senior citizens" are more capable than others to care for our own parents, simultaneiously to care for our own grandchildren who are not mainstream is an enigma.  There is a resentment issue involved that I didn't expect.  It's humiliating for the parent to be cared for by the "child."  It's resentment by the grandchild to be cared for by the grandparent.  Everybody wants things to happen in the correct order.  Today it's a big bag of conflict and everybody loses.  There is a special place in heaven for people who manage to sustain in a situation like this.

My mother is maybe happier than any time in her life.  That's because of Lori.  I'm as happy as I have ever been in my life.  That's because of Lori.  My family is as happy as they've been in their lives.  That has a lot to do with Lori. 
Our family goes with us on our travels through life.  Making it nurturing as well as free of conflict takes a lifetime of attentiveness.  It would be a shame to spend all that time and realize we've lost the only thing that we every really had.

Melody

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

October 25, 2011 Now I've Seen Everything

Last evening I met with my writer's group and reviewed Jan's and Pat's critiques and new chapters.  Jan's tax office book is coming along well.  If you ever wanted to know what the tax off people live with, your chance will come when the book is out.  I get big laughs out of it as it grows.  Pat seems to be in writer's block.  But she's a trooper and keeps coming to our meetings.  I hope she gets kick started soon.

I've been trying to find out when kids will be trick or treating this year, since Halloween will be on a Monday.  It didn't use to vary, but now one never knows when the goblins will arrive.


EVERYTHING
by
Melody Scott


I didn’t think I was old enough to have seen everything yet.  But that’s exactly what’s happened.

I received a neat little envelope which held a folded wedding invitation.  It was simple and tri-folded.  It was engraved on Halloween stationary, complete with witches, ghosts,  arched-back cats, haystacks, and a giant sized “BOO” written in the upper left corner.
The date was October 31, a Monday.  Guests were requested to come in costume.

Weird is what I initially thought.  Unique is what I decided after the shock wore off. 
The couple was registered on line at two stores.  They’d been living together for five years.  What could they possibly need for their home?  The first store registry noted items they had chosen as screw drivers, a reciprocating saw, a power drill and an extension ladder.  My immediate reaction:  I DON’T THINK SO!  The second store listed items more of the blushing bride type:  towels, china, glasses, etc.  I guess there was one store for the more progressive thinkers and one for the old traditional fogeys.  Obviously I showed my category when I bought some china.

A month later we packed up and headed out of state for this wedding, unsure about whether we would be perpetuating a fraud or considered fossils.  Could we bring ourselves to dress as Blackbeard the Pirate and Petunia Pig for this holy event?

We made our way into the conference room of a nice hotel, among Jacks and Jills, Little Bo Peeps, a Nurse Cratchet, several fairies complete with magic wands and innumerable ghouls and bunnies.  We were dressed as wedding guests.  There was an interesting array of tiny children, fresh from trick-or-treating, jack-o-lanterns chocked full of candy, dressed in their Halloween finery.

The large round tables were covered with black table cloths.  Witch candy bowls were full of Snicker bars, Tootsie pops, Dots, jelly beans and etc.  Miniature pumpkins, skeleton heads and ghosts held black and orange candles fresh from Hobby Lobby.  Every table had place settings for ten guests.  There was a white aisle laid through the tables to a podium flanked by flower baskets full of gorgeous orange and red gladioli, Star flowers, chrysanthemums, chili peppers.  Whoever did those flowers was a genius.

The guests arrived as if for a party, joshed each other about the different costumes and teased the children who dashed about on a sugar high.  The crowd settled into the tables, and immediately the ceremony began.  The beautiful and thin bride’s maids wore chocolate brown satin dresses.  They were very elegant looking with more of those wonderful flowers.  The bride was dressed in a traditional wedding gown which was strapless in order to maximize her back and shoulders covered in tattoos of little angel wings.  He was dressed in a tuxedo.  Their rings had just been tattoo’d onto their ring fingers, necessitating the engagement ring to be worn on the bride’s right ring finger.  It was a huge diamond ring, with a gold skull engraved at one end of the diamond, and a spider web engraved at the other side.

Immediately after the wedding, a light buffet was brought into the room and all the guests had dinner while the pictures were taken right there.  The children weren’t interested in dinner, so the adults were entertained by about twelve tiny, dancing, costumed children and one remote-controlled witch’s broom, which really made the evening.

I understand that the hotel was the second choice for the nuptials.  It originally was planned for a cemetery, but they had a scheduling problem.  Maybe the date conflicted with another wedding?

Monday, October 24, 2011

October 24, 2011

Today nothing very interesting happened, so I'm going to put in my Thanksgiving story told to me by The Darrel, who came from a large family.  This story is due to run in the 400 Edition Magazine November issue.

THANKSGIVING 1951

The Thanksgiving to never forget was in 1951.  We'd just moved to a two bedroom house in Oklahoma, all nine of us.  My brother Gary was twelve years old, and baby Tom was two.  Dad's "good deal" rented farmhouse was eleven hundred square feet with no running water, no bathroom, no electricity.  He wanted to farm and there were fifty acres attached.

Mom told us the relatives were coming to visit, so we had chores to do. 
My brother Jerry asked, "Where will we sleep?" 
Mom answered, "Anywhere you fit."
Jerry's eyes got big and round.

Thirty five relatives showed up for the Thanksgiving holidays.  They brought blankets, pies, biscuits, fruit, casseroles, vegetables, dishes, silverware, banjos, guitars and violins.  Dad's thirteen siblings started singing the minute they arrived and didn't stop for four days.

A steady stream of boy cousins cranked buckets of water from the outside well for cooking and babies.  Uncles chopped wood, stoking cook and heat fires as needed.  They butchered a hog out back and killed chickens for forty three people.  Thirteen kids gathered eggs, milked Daisy, then manned the churn endlessly for butter and cream.  And the women cooked more food than I'd ever seen...huge pans of biscuits came out of that little wood stove, followed by cobblers and yeast bread. 

We slept in cars that had gearshifts on the floor while the little kids and adults were spread wall to wall inside the house with music that never ended.

We were rich.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

October 23, 2011 Moonshine Festival Weekend

This is Dawsonville's Moonshine Festival weekend, so after having an interview Saturday morning with Mitchell Thomas McVay, we wandered over there to see what's what.  The usual suspects had tents/booths up--funky food vendors with every known food fried to perfection.  The Darrel tried a corndog and I almost relinquished my stomach to a turkey leg until they dropped it into a fat fryer as well.  Grilled I can eat, but not grilled and then deep fat fried.  I saw some rock candy, my favorite until I discovered cactus candy.  But by then it was not yet ten o'clock and I just wasn't ready for dessert.

Then we walked down memory lane among the old cars.  WOW.   I remember Lee Johnson used to have an old Ford I got to ride in when we were 15?  He must have been 16 since I'm sure he was not on the road without a license.  Anyway, I don't recall the exact year of his car, but we saw everything from 1939 sedans and coups right up through the '60's.  I even saw my father's bumper seated coup in the mix.  I don't think I ever saw dad's coup in person, just a picture of it , as mom made him sell it when the children came along.  I don't think she pictured infants in bumper seats and in those days families were one-car entities.

Darrel had a '41 Ford I never met.  He bought it for $25.  It caught on fire from a radio-wiring job that went awry, burned to the ground.  The junkyard that came to pick it up paid him $25 for it.:)

One little man in overalls, a week's growth of gray beard and not very many teeth stood next to his 1940 Ford sedan with an eight cylinder wall-to-wall engine.  Darrel asked him if he used to be a moonshiner.  He said, "Yes, and I'm still a moonshiner.  I would get fifteen gallons of moonshine in the back of that car and sell it all on a Saturday night in Atlanta."  His eyes snapped with memory.  The old car wasn't dolled up with gleaming paint and new leather interior, but it was in good condition and running fine.  Some of the adorable cars were so beautiful it made me wonder why progress has taken us to uniform jellybean body styles.  From mint green to navy blue, yellow, red and black gleaming paintjobs, thousands of dollars and countless loving hours of repairs, chroming, rubbing, modernizing, the cars showed a pride of ownership often lacking from a country man who lives in a modest clapboard mismatched color house in the middle of the north Georgia woods.

We saw one 1940 coupe that had been converted to have electric bucket seats, electric windows, air conditioning, satellite radio and perfection in all respects.  It was owned by a fellow who felt too poorly to come to the show, so his son (about our age) brought it up.  I wonder just how old that man is.  I wonder if he'd had that car for the seventy some years of its life or if he bought it later when he could afford it and vowed to make it into what it meant to him so long ago.

Such a small sprinkling of other cars made me think Henry Ford either had a tight hold on the southern market or the Dodges and Chevvies hadn't been invented yet.

It was 61 degrees with a clear sky and full sunshine--a truly beautiful day to see the glorious trees God painted for the fall.

Then a lady called me saying she wanted to buy a painting of mine hanging in a shop in Gainesville.  It was an altogether fine day, and today promises to be the same.

Melody

Friday, October 21, 2011

10/21/11 No Poem Day

I'm getting over the bent to poeticize, so will philosophize instead.  Today I'm going to the Bowen Center to talk with Marcia, the very excellent director there, and look into what I might be able to do that's helpful.  A lot of people volunteer at the Bowen, and though it's technically an art center, it's really a community center, where people meet to quilt, paint, plan events, stage events, rehearse, hang painting shows, hang photography shows, attend classes, have luncheons and dinners, and more.  I've assigned myself the task of organizing since all the other people don't want to do that.  Stuff for all of the aforementioned uses is saved and reused, restocked, and stashed in two fairly sufficient rooms.  With so many people having access to all the tools and accessories, stuff tends to merge into each other, so art gets put in with the acting stuff, munchies get sprinkled among the picture hanging utinsels.   Moi has designated herself Master Organizer.   I'll let you know if it works.  :)

I just finished reading Garden Spells--an analyzer's paradise.  It's so full of metaphors and personification it could be manipulated to mean a huge variety of things.  Mostly, I think the mysticism it depicts touches on the part of us humans that is inexpainable.  We see things differently each from the next person, we interpret things differently- that we cross over or collide at all is purely coincidental.  This story gives a reason for things being what they are to each character.  While life is never that simplistic, it's a satisfying book to read.  The omnicient value of the reader makes it all understandable, whereas in reality we only get one perspective.  I was glad to not have the dark side show up in it.  I guess I get tired of "reality" or "negativism" or whatever you call "justifiable."  In some places of this book, the charm is overwhelming--like the clouds thundering the sky like a herd of elephants.  Like when one character enjoys the happiness of the other.

The story is about two sisters who were estranged mentally by circumstances that occured when they were children, then physically estranged for about ten years.  They're pulled back together ostensibly by a tree, a town, a family name, as young adults and have to get to know each other since they never did as children.  The story brings in many of the small town inhabitants along the way of the main characters building a relationship, thereby rebuilding an extended relationship as well.  It's probably classified as a romance, though it's more about several relationships than only one, and reads simplistically, with a bit of fantasy mixed in.

What I learned from it:  I'm old enough I already know that people change, but stick to who they used to be in fear of that change.  The reasons we become who we are can be a detriment to the opportunities life sends us if we refuse to modify who we are.  Anyway, picky reader that I am, I didn't expect for it to hold my interest, since relationship stories usually hit me as too formula and trite.  Bit this one was kind of nice as a change from my suspense roll.

Melody

Thursday, October 20, 2011

10/20/11 Cowboy Poem

The Cowboy Poem

The dusty street he wore inside brought coughs and tears to eyes
like rivers through the parched dry crags of burned and weathered skin.
Slapped into a cloud it rose, puffed up from clothes demised
but forced to service, nonetheless--ragged, worn and thin.

The cud he chewed was spat into a tin beyond his boot
as he shouldered fisted arms he slung across the bar.
Hunched, he fanned his money out, displaying copious loot,
then grinned a rakish, toothy smile and slipped coins in the jar.

"I've been up in yonder hills, buried in my gold,
entombed so long I feel plumb dead, for lack of sinful tunes.
Play me one for old time's sake?  And make my beer real cold."
Who's Done What To Whom droned on all that afternoon.

And while that boy plunked down his coins, he cried and drank and swore
he'd sell his strike and give it up to head on back for home.
Why he'd suffered wind and snow, heat and rain that poured,
he thought he'd known those years ago when he'd left to roam.

But loneliness now stabbed a hole, a wound that wouldn't heal.
Shining window candle lights deep within his mind
tightened wires inside his heart, pulling metal wheels
to shut him off from deep-set needs that cancel out his kind.

Invisible, is what he thought, that's what I've become,
a nothing mind with Midas' gold, a hollow shrunken shell.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

10/19/11 Tree Bones

Now I'm on a poetry roll.  Try not to glaze over.

TREE BONES

I bow to bones
that spend their time
in racks
of silent bend and sway.
Impossible sticks intent
upon adherence to the ground.

Under skin and over heart
my veins pump oxygen
and make my acorns
fall to winds of lust.

I am become that tree
It is I, staunch
until my roots are torn
burrowed into by acts of worms.

I, a human bark
that clings precipitously
that must be peeled
away from you
like so much paint.

I, who feels your breath
flow and ebb
through pores
become my own.

I am man and tree
and they are me


Okay, I got that out of my system. 
I went to a meeting of the Lakeside Book Club (formerly called Thompson Creek Book Club) yesterday.  They discussed Auraria Dead with me.  One woman asked about the relationship between Maria and her mother.  Another asked about where Rolando came from.  Of course the answers were Maria's mother and father never agreed on anything so ceased to talk to each other, probably because the father (Robert John Charles) and Maria were so compatible the mother was jealous.  Rolando came right out my husband's fertile brain.  I gave him hair and a Guatamalan heritage.  The Darrel (husband) wanted him to be bald.

Anyway, we talked about their new read for next month,  Loving Frank, which I have already read.  It's about Frank Lloyd Wright and his first wife.  An interesting and challenging life for the woman.

I've been in discussion with a book club to read for me on my new book, Chattahoochee Dead.  This is an opportunity for me to see how far I've strayed from my plot before I embarrass myself by sending it to publishers.  It's pretty rough right now, so the time is prime to start rolling out the piecrust.  Fluting comes later.

A couple of things of note:  If you're in a book club and don't have a standard source for reads, consider A Novel Idea Bookstore in Dawsonville.  Very accommodating, Skip and Jill Arnhart keep a wide variety of mostly used books, sometimes new ones.  They're located right behind the GA 400 Outlet Mall in Dawson County.

I got an email from The Hall Book Exchange that they're having a marathon read (only two days, so don't panic) on October 21st and 22nd.  This means you go to their reading room and read everything you can for two days.  Winner wins something elegant.  Meanwhile, writers will be reading their books in another room on a schedule which is on their website.  Everything from multi-genre including children's stories are among the lineup.  It might beat the fare in the theatres during Halloween season.  By the way, their reading room is like grandma's living room.  Maybe even has doilies?
Probably because Myra is everybody's mother/grandma.

This is going to be an excellent week.  Rain pouring out of the sky like we're under a waterfall.  Not too cold yet.  A good day for chili and a good book.  If you're among the working world, pick up a dozen donuts and take them with you to work.  You'll have an immediate 12 new best friends--a good rainy day investment.

Melody

Monday, October 17, 2011

10/17/11 Shock Wave, ETC.

I just finished reading Shock Wave by John Sandford.  While it's a little weaker than his outstanding Prey series, Virgil Flowers is always fun to visit.  He's so male..technically irreverent, yet talks to God all the time.  He never misses a chance to admire a woman's assets, but doesn't denigrate the species.  I guess I like him because he's honest and with the story primarily told in third person omnicient, you always know where everybody is coming from.  I know what to expect from Virgil and he doesn't have hidden agendas, even if the other characters might.

I've started Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen, which is a little syrupy after Shock Wave.  Probably my comfort zone is in knowing the characters I'm reading, which keeps me with the writers I enjoy so much.  So this new one is like going on a trip to Europe, not knowing if I'm walking into a third world country at every turn.  Do ya think I'm a control freak?

Meanwhile, I started The Paris Wife by Paula McLain a while back and probably will go back to it soon.  I sampled it through Kindle, ran out and debated following through.  The story is about Ernest Hemingway's first wife, a fictional story based on fact, but doesn't read quite like a typical historical fiction.  It's more like a third party follows them around and tells what happens, so it reads easy.  Analyzing why I stopped in mid stream, I probably did that because of my comfort zone issue (see above).  I get the feeling it's all going to go down hill from where it is now.  Hemingway was a pretty chaotic fellow.  And I'm a sucker for good endings.  You'd think I would have figured that out with the title.

I'm getting prodded into reading Bottom Dwellers, which I bought for my grandson because it's Sci Fi.  It's supposed to have a conceptually believable premise, so maybe I'll expand my comfort zone horizon.  I don't think Thad started it yet anyway.  He's been writing an excellent paper on Violins for school.  He has played violin since he had to use a tiny one, and I had no idea he knew so much about each part of the instrument.  I never knew anything about the piano I played as a child except how to hit the right keys.  Kids these days know so much more about the world they live in.  I hope that's a good thing.  I don't really reject learning, but sometimes I think I might know more than I should to live a peaceful life.

My new short story is going to be California Gold, which has been gliding around my brain for a couple of weeks now.  I just haven't been able to get to it yet.

I'm going to leave today with a poem.  I'm a closet poet and have a couple hundred of them lurking in a book in my office.
This one is called The Courtier

Frangipani flowers lined his lacy fragrant bower
where legend blended rhapsody with motive and desire.
Yet his very froggy presence was bulbous, green and wet,
imbused with a fixation that he seldom could forget.

Residing deep inside of him, so handsome, tall and strong
a manifested courtier was imprisoned in that frog.
Limited to crooning love in two-note lullabies
aesthetically impeded more his wish to womanize.

Romanching frogs on a  great scale, with ribbons instead of hair
presumed no metamorphosis would attract a debonair
princess, queen or sorceress of expanded dialogue
who would ever see a princely form within that lumpy frog.


Melody