Thursday, August 31, 2006

Random... So Very Random Thoughts

Two more days without my assistant, the light at the end of the tunnel! Two jam packed days of office work followed by labor day weekend- three jam packed days of publishing, editing and newspaper work!

Princess was asleep on the couch when I got up this morning, VH-1 blaring on the TV. My first thought was to turn it off, but the remote control was not in the little basket provided for it. The easy thing would have been to walk the three steps to the TV and push the off button... "easy" is never the first way I solve a problem. I searched around the end table, crept around feeling for it on the floor, checked the computer desk, tore Pap's chair apart and then got distracted by some song by somebody named Fergy that was absolutely filthy. I can't believe kids are being exposed to that much implied sex at 5:00 in the morning! That song ended before I'd finished chastising the TV for broadcasting such garbage and was followed by something by Jessica Simpson and what looked like Eva Longoria - the actress from Desperate Housewives. I had to watch that whole thing to make sure it was Eva (I'm still not... sure) and then they played that sad break up song by Nick Lachey (who's from Ohio by the way) who was once married to Jessica. Normally, I wouldn't know even this much pop culture, but I live with a teenager. Puzzling over the sheer meanness of putting those two songs back to back - I remembered that the clothes I'm planning to wear today need to be put in the dryer.

On the way to the laundry room the cats reminded me their bowl was empty, by tag teaming my ankles nearly causing me to break a leg. I was jiggling the switch to try and get the kitchen light to come on so I could feed the little beasts when I heard the dog flying down the stairs, which means beat him to the front door to let him out or there WILL be a puddle somewhere. When I opened the door to let him out I caught sight of my car glistening with dew... I forgot to put the top up yesterday. That required a trip to the bathroom to get some towels, on the way back out I stopped to rearrange the honeysuckle vine that has become so overgrown you have to fight your way through it to get down the steps. I was tucking pieces in place when Ruger decided to chase the neighbors cat, barking like a crazy dog, so I had to run up the street and retrieve him then lecture the monster all the way back to the house. That's when I noticed that Pap wasn't up, and should have been on his way to work. By the time I got back downstairs I remembered I had e-mail to answer.

Several hours later, VH-1 is still blaring on the TV , and I've just remembered the clothes are still in the washer, the cats are still unfed, the honeysuckle is only half done and there are towels on the porch. Princess frequently says that I need a babysitter, perhaps she's right.

In other news... today is deadline day for Sandra Ruttan's book Suspicious Circumstances. I'll do one final look through, send it off for advanced reading copies, prepare the letters to send it out for review and then it's my partners baby to get it ready for publication.

Willow is getting moved to my write-it-now software for final edits, Pitch is languishing in a drawer. Updates to my website were started yesterday, messed up, and now need the attention of Dark Daddy to get things back on track. I have one more story to finish for the paper, half a book to finish editing for the business, final touchs on a speech I'm giving next week and payroll to do at the day job.

Not too bad, except that I have to accomplish all this naked, in a wet car, with two cats howling in my ear for food over some crap on VH-l.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Insomnia and Women

I can't remember a time when I didn't have hours left at the end of the day when I'm awake and everyone else is sleeping. When the kids were young, these extra hours of quiet, dark solitude were welcome. I love my kids more than the air I need to breath, but all the noisy, frantic energy they produced just sucked the life out of me by the end of the day. It was nice to put them to bed and descend the stairs turning off lights one by one until I reached my favorite chair. To sit and listen to the house settle around me, quiet except for the hum of a ceiling fan motor, or the woosh of the furnace kicking on.

They say that it is how a person recharges that defines whether one is an introvert or an extrovert. Those that need a party, talk, music, an abundance of people to feel really alive and energized are extroverts. Those that need a quiet, dark absence of stimuli of any kind are introverts. I think people are more complicated than that, and I think everyone has both an introverted and extroverted side. I think even that changes at different times in a persons life.

I had lunch with a friend today who said something interesting. We were talking about our daughters and she said that women who continuously improve their life unconsciously make changes and recreate themselves every decade. If you miss the window, you get stuck repeating the same mistakes, in the same rut for another decade. I'm heading into my fifth decade on earth, and with hindsight can look at my own unconscious changes. My 20's were dedicated to motherhood, five kids between 1980 and 1987. In my 30's I was devoted to child rearing, but by the end of that decade I was making strides to re-enter the work force, in any capacity. My 40's have been about connecting with the community again and as they near their end, working in a field that feeds my soul as well as my body. Our daughters are nearing that third decade, without change now, we will see ten more years of their own self-destruction and failure. I wonder if it will help grandgirls mom to share this theory with her?

Wednsday - 11:32 A.M.
In my youth I could survive a night of insomnia looking none the worse for wear... not so here in my middle age. This cat looks better than I do today. I will be very glad when my assistant gets back from vacation. I'm changing her title to Goddess of the Office or Queen High Ruler of the Finance Dept. I've always known she worked harder than any three people, but when she's gone like like this, I really feel the impact of her loss.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Needy in Your Neighborhood

My punishment for all that whining last week is to seek out people who have more to complain about than me.

First up, my poor dog Ruger, who isn't a person, but thinks he is. He is frequently just standing around, minding his own business when this wicked cat attacks him.

Pap, who I haven't quite forgiven yet, but it can't be easy to face every day with something on your body getting infected.

My friend, Earthgirl, who's only daughter, witch, spends every waking moment plotting ways to hurt people, including her own daughter. Witch is living proof that every organized religion has it's share of hypocrites. The pagan motto is "hurt no one" and yet this girl and her cult are wrecking the lives of woman and children everywhere. Anyone who doesn't believe as they do.

I'm an open minded person, I truly believe everyone has the right to dress how they want, live like they want and practice whatever religion they choose. But I also believe that one person's rights end where someone elses begin. If your religion requires dancing naked under the moonlight and drinking each others blood - well okay. But don't do it in my yard. There's also the line in the sand called "socially acceptable behavior". Right or wrong, there are standards for the kinds of behavior that are acceptable among the masses. If walking around naked on Main Street is unacceptable in your neighborhood, you should have the curtesy to stay clothed on the street. But I digress... I'm supposed to be doing penance here...

More people who have more reason to whine than me... woman who want children but can't have them, people with terrible parents, anyone with a terminal disease, anyone who's lost someone they love. Anyone who's lost their home due to natural disasters. Kids without parents, people who have lost a limb, anyone with alzheimers, anyone living in a war torn country...

Okay, everyone has more reason to whine than me. I have no excuses for not getting back to work and accomplishing someone productive.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Haunted House

It's official, the house of perpetual remodeling has to be haunted. Yesterday, I was minding my own business in the kitchen, whipping up a p.b & j. sandwich when I kept hearing loud tapping from the ceiling. When I looked up the ceiling tiles seemed to be moving as well. Since the grandgirls and their mom were staying over for the weekend, I assumed it was one or all of the little ladies dancing in the room above the kitchen. The fact that there isn't really a room above the kitchen, but more a half remodeled ex-bathroom that was once a closet didn't really register until I carried my sandwich into the TV room. There were all three little girls, quietly coloring with both cats and the dog. Last night, Ruger, the dog who is usually sprawled all over my side of the bed, wouldn't even go up stairs. He just sat at the bottom looking up, and then went to bed on the couch. Today, Princess was home alone and cleaning the kitchen when the tapping started again, so loud she could hear it over her blaring tunes, and the ceiling tile lifted straight into the air and then fell back down. Very scary, and I ain't afraid of no ghosts. I just want to know what is causing all the commotion and then why. If I am very brave, I will take down the drop ceiling tiles and look around up there. Chances are, I'm not the brave... at least until I work up to it. The house is 115, just about anything could be happening up there.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Hurricane Katrina One Year Later

Count your many blessings, name them one by one.
Count your many blessings, see what God has done....

A song we used to sing in Sunday School, and one I should chant as a mantra every day. The updates on the damage to Louisiana and Mississippi one year later are grim to say the least. People still with lives shattered, waiting for the Federal Government to deliver on their promises. Broken houses still in pieces on every street. The mold must be unbelievable, and from that the illness.

It makes me crazy that we are fighting in Iraq at huge expense to the tax payers, a place we aren't even wanted, when that money could be used to help victims of Katrina get back on their feet. How is it that camera crews are not capturing the success the EPA is reporting? It's time for a government overhaul. From the top down. Woosh, everybodies new. Illogical? Yes. At this point, I don't care. I want leaders that are honorable.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Responsibility... Who Needs It?

In case you couldn't tell from the title, be warned that this may be a big, fat, steaming post of self-pitying, mewling, cry baby whining. Escape while you can. Click to the "next blog", shut your computer down ... save yourself!

There are days when I get so fed up with doing the right thing I want to hit a wall or curse at a priest. Mornings when I'm ready to chuck work, home and family into the abyss before breakfast. Afternoons I traipse off to some meeting, party or luncheon that I don't really want to go to, but I must because it's the responsible thing to do. Sometimes the burden of being responsible is just too darn heavy. Too clawing and clinging, not much fun. I think about running off to another state, getting a one room apartment, making my living as waitress in some truck stop and spending my nights alone in silent bliss writing until I fall asleep on my keyboard.

Then I cruise around blogdom and remember just how lucky I am, or one of the grandkids leaves an I Love You note on my nightstand... and I remember that any problems I have are nothing compared to some faced by other people every day of their lives. I remember that I've lived a charmed life free of physical or mental abuse or tragedy of any kind and I'm ashamed of myself for spending even one moment in self pity.

Responsibility, who needs it? Me. I do. The dues I owe for a lucky life filled with friends old and new, kids and pets who love me, sufficient food and shelter. I remember not to steal my own joy.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Big, Nosy, Controversial Question

Okay, here is your invitation to the coolest art show, by the nicest artist I've ever met. It's Friday, September 1st... I don't care how you get here, just get here if you can...

Paul Richmond is the protegy of my favorite artist, Linda Regula. She's been mentoring Paul since he was 3, and those early paintings weren't the usual scribbles and stick people most 3 year olds draw, they were cartoon characters anyone could recognize. This show has sample of his work from age 4 through the present, a fascinating walk through his life as he grew as a person as well as an artist. He's 26 now, handsome, charming and the joy of life just rolls off him in waves. If he weren't gay, everyone would want their daughter to marry him. Shoot, gay or not everyone would want their daughter to marry him. He's just that nice.

I stopped debating the "right" or "wrong" of homosexuality long ago... Judge not and all that. I don't care what the "church" thinks about the subject, it's a lifestyle I know nobody would deliberately choose because society is hard, mean and perfectly ruthless. It isn't an easy life and this fact has been brilliantly illustrated through some of Paul's paintings. Which brings about the age old question of why? It stinks that some of the nicest men I've ever met are not eligible as husbands to my daughters.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Artists, Actors, Writers and Musicians... Raw Emotion

An interesting week so far, and it's only Tuesday! Yesterday, in between being whiny and emotional, I actually managed to spend a whole eight hours on the day job AND do an interview that will turn into two stories. Hence, the whiny and emotional.

Today I interviewed an artist that paints with asphalt. Nearing sixty, he's been an artist since he was three or four. I imagine after all that time you'd have to start experimenting with other stuff or go stark raving mad. I like the paintings, and yet I don't. They are black, beige and white, mostly abstract, with every drip, swoop and dot placed where it is on purpose. Even as abstracts, I could see a windswept Oklahoma prairie during a lightening storm in one, a woman rinsing her hair in a rushing waterfall in another. I like color, color and more color - but these reach in and snatch out an emotion. He's preparing a collection to pitch for a show at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)... apparently art is much like writing.

Princess is on a cleaning rampage today. I tried to explain that writers don't clean, but she was having none of it. Her boyfriend is on his way home for a few weeks leave from the Marines. Things must be ship shape.... ugh. Where was this kid when I cared whether the house was clean or not????

Monday, August 21, 2006

Helllloooo OUT THERE?!!?

This blog has never exactly been overwhelmed with traffic, but lately I can't even get friends and family to drop by. As a writer, it makes me feel like I'm the most boring person in blogdom. If I were just keeping this as an on-line journal, it would make no difference whether anyone dropped by or not... but it isn't, and it does.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

End of Summer

Ruger's only trick. He sits up anytime he wants to eat something that I'm eating. It's his only trick and it works every time.

Action on the street this morning is totally crazy. The Catholics are setting up for their annual festival and have the street blocked on one end. We have new neighbors moving in on the other end with a fleet of small pick-up trucks piled with furniture blocking the only other exit from my street. I, of course, live in the middle of the street and desperately need a gallon of milk. Isn't that always the way?

I wasn't kidding about brain dead yesterday, I actually had to pass on a trip to the vineyard I was tired last night. Saved me from a headache today, but that is small comfort.

Summer is wrapping up. Even though its still hot, it has that feel of the end of a party. You know what I mean - that hour when the coffee table is covered with dirty glasses and a half eaten cheese ball and the helium balloons are floating closer to the floor than the ceiling. The kids will go back to school next week, football season will empty the town every Friday night and before I can catch my breath it will be Christmas. Why is it that time flys so much faster as you get older? If I had just three more hours a day and one more day a week, I could really get something accomplished.

Prof. squared will return from their Disney Cruise tomorrow. Today I will go shine up their house and make sure they're organized for school. Girl Prof called from the ship to tell me she had her first day of morning sickness. We are a sick and twisted family... this is the kind of news that makes us jump up and down cheering and clapping.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Brain Dead

Friday has arrived, deadline day. Less frantic than some weeks, I mailed off my last story about 1:00 this morning. Phew.

This is the pond at Blue Rock Station. So many beautiful places around here. It was intended to be part of a formal English garden, but it won't hold more water than your average wetland. The owners were disappointed, but I still think it's beautiful and it attracks cranes.

I honestly have no idea what I need to do today. I've consulted the day planner, my essential guide and record keeper. It does have writing on today's date, so I assume I'm supposed to be somewhere doing something... but it's not registering. Brain dead.

Where I'd like to be is in a luxurious tree house. Today would be a great day to lounge on silk and velvet pillows, with the Jeffery Deaver book I'm halfway through, a little Annie Lennox music in the background, and a box of See's candy close at hand. A gentle breeze with just a hint of fall in it blowing through the windows... that would be a day.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

If Its Thursday I Must Be in Winnepeg

The ghostly Fruma Sarah from the Zanesville Community Theater's production of Fiddler on the Roof. She actually flew down from the ceiling and hovered above the floor, very cool for Community Theater, those folks rock over there!

What a chaotic week. My Friday deadline looms for the paper and there just hasn't been much to write about this week. It's getting harder to keep all these plates spinning. I'd really like to simplify my life, but for some reason, I just can't seem to give up food... or electricity.

I've had a strange kind of life, full of ups and downs. Sometimes we made enough money to live within our means, sometimes we didn't, sometimes there was even a little extra to toss in the bank. I was thinking this morning of the worst of the years and what I really missed when we were poor. Stupid things really: keeping my make-up stocked, perfume, pizza night, books that I owned rather than borrowed. I can't decide if that makes me superficial or really easy to please.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Leaving... Piece by Piece

The Old Scot has had a stroke. He's been losing little bits and pieces of life for several years. A heart attack, bi-pass surgery, diabetes, loss of a toe from diabetes, another bi-pass... breaking down like an old car. My natural mother left the earth in much the same way. One part at a time, each new illness snatching away more of her quality of life until she was left with nothing but her mind, and no way to exercise it.

There are better ways to write the last chapter of a life. I love to hear "she passed away peacefully in her sleep". That's a good way. Dignity is such an important commodity to everyone, how awful to have it stripped away after you've spent so many years to earn it. But that is the luck of the draw. I've often wondered what I would do if diagnosed with some life threatening disease or illness. We'd all like to think we'd be brave and stoic. I suspect at the first diagnoses I'll have a melt down and people will spend the next few months trying to stop me from throwing myself in front of bus. I've been brave and stoic most of my life, I'm due a little bit of drama queen behavior.

My assistant goes on vacation next week which means I must actually make it to the office every day, all day. That could definately be problematic. In the good news department... Princess has been invited to the Marine Ball in November. She's positively aflutter with plotting and planning.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Writers Don't Clean House

Big ole Ophelia sleeping off an attack by Isobel. Do you see the dip in the chair under her? When she hops down, the dip remains, and no amount of fluffing will poof it back out. How do you put a twenty pound cat on a diet?

Big week coming up. Final edits are due back from Sandra Ruttan, which means her book Suspicious Circumstances will be making its way through the process to the bookshelf.

Interviews for the paper include a weaver, a wholesale pottery company and a new center opened up in a house that was likely part of the underground railroad. I'm still finishing up the agenda and program for the Pen & Quill Writers which meet this week. Still working on a line edit off the submissions list. There's a grant to finish, an insurance problem to fix, three reports to write and a huge pile of mail to be answered at the day job. My novel still languishes in a drawer waiting for a spare moment for editing. But bigger problems loom...

The puffs of dust that pop up every time we sit on a piece of furniture was one clue that the housework has been sadly neglected of late. I might have noticed that the library carpet has enough cat hair on it to make another carpet. Grandgirls comment "don't ya think it's time to work in the garden? I can't even see my pine tree!" did nibble at my conscious about the fact that things are getting just a bit ratty around the edges around this place. But, it wasn't until I got up this morning and realized I have no clean towels or underware that my inner Martha Stewart broke through her bonds and forced me to admit that we are currently living in a swamp.

I need a wife.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Pursuit of Happiness

Last week I had lunch with a friend who has just quit her job to write full time. She's single and self-supporting... how brave to step off this way to pursue a dream. To pursue happiness, our right as American's.

It is an illusive thing, this state of being: happy. I had always thought I was happy. I was able to laugh and joke with family and friends. That's happy isn't it? I never locked myself in the bathroom to cry, or carried around a prescription for Zoloft. I must have been happy. Whatever frustration and discontent I felt was credited to life. I've always been a "seek the silver lining" kind of girl, and wandered the earth in my chosen role: Happy Person. I played this part long enough to forget it was an act, to lose sight of the fact that I had become a bit player in a huge cast and instead of seeking happiness through change I was settling for a make believe emotion.

Princess was about 11 when I remembered what real "happy" felt like. It was a simple thing, we'd taken her and Soup to Kings Island, the first time I'd been to an amusement park without the burden of a couple of toddlers, a kid in a stroller and afternoons on a bench while Pap rode rides with the older kids. On this day we'd paired up boys against the girls, determined to ride everything at least once. We started on the beast, Pap and Soup somewhere in the back, me and Princess in front. No cares in that moment except surviving the first big roller coaster I'd been on ... well ever. They were much smaller and tamer pre-kids. The car crept up the first hump, the sound of grinding, straining gears loud in my ears. We topped the hill and sailed into the descent so fast the scrunchee on my ponytail flew off. I looked over at Princess, her hair also loose and flying wild. She had her hands in the air and was screaming "whoo hoo! Wheeee", and in that moment, recklessly caroming around a man made contraption of steel and fiberglass, my daughter by my side, nothing to clean, fix, tend or worry about atleast right then, I felt it. Happy.

"There it is... that's what it feels like." I remember thinking. Life for my family has never been the same. That was eight years ago. I've tried many things in this pursuit of happiness, and I think I'm finally honing in on my personal recipe. The evidence is there... I wake up at dawn every morning instead of hitting the snooze button. My first thought is "what do I get to do today?". I'm interested once more in everyone and everything. There is still the day job, but the finish line on that piece of misery is in sight. I'm actively pursuing happiness.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

A Friday Fantasy Come True!

What a nice start to the weekend, Clay Guy and I zoomed off t0 the big city to shop at Barnes and Noble with someone elses money... now THAT is fantasy fun!. We were in search of magazines for my writers group, the "read a copy before you submit" step of sending in their articles for publication. I love bookstores and libraries. If by some fluke of nature I ever get rich, that is what I'll do with my money, I'll build a bookstore here in rural America. A hang out bookstore.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Life Inside a Hurricane

I'm not sure what this dog did to irritate the horse so badly, but I bet the horse won. Somedays are like that, no matter what you do, some big fat horse is trying to kick you in the head.

Yesterday I managed to completely forget a social engagement with Library Lo, despite the fact that this week is slim on interviews. Today I had to fight with the computer on the day job. Thank goodness tomorrow is Friday.

Another scary day world wise with more terrorists trying to blow up planes. Sometimes, it just doesn't pay to get out of bed.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

She Just Looks Innocent

This pesky cat is due for a good spanking. She won't use the litter box, but she will use the box of litter. She eats the dog's food. She dug all the dirt out of one of my flower pots, onto the side table. She sneak attacks Ophelia who is too old and fat to get even in a timely manner. Isobel sleeps on my printer and chases the mouse messing up my writing time. I really would spank her if I thought that would help, but because of her daily wrestling matches with Ruger, she's a rugged little girl and she'd probably like a beating. Just what I need, something else that malfunctions in this house.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Everyone Stand Up, Take Three Steps Left

Desperately seeking my happy place.... This picture was taken by my friend Dale Hague at Blue Rock Station. A lovely diversion from the very ugly oil industry, and the even uglier state of world events.

BP with holes in their pipes sending gas prices soaring. 700 million gallons in oil reserve controlled by the government. The same government that spends thousands of dollars on parts the rest of us can acquire for tens of dollars. War in Lebanon, War in Iraq. Global warming.... these are the reasons I hate watching the news. But it's like a car wreck, you can't help yourself from gawking at the damage.

Perhaps it's a result of my visit to Blue Rock Station yesterday, maybe just the natural wisening of getting older. But whatever, I feel like it's not enough to just recycle the aluminum cans any more. The principles of a sustainable lifestyle, which once seemed radical and ridiculous, are now making perfect sense. I'm thinking of what kind of world my grandchildren are coming into, and the responsibility I have to be a good steward of my little corner of it. Global warming is a very real phenomenon, we see evidence of it here in my small town. In a place that was once under snow from November through February, we're lucky to see a few inches a year. The pond in the park used to freeze hard enough for hoards of people to skate on it. It hasn't even had a crust of ice for the fifteen years I've lived here.

Handicapped by a childhood filled with excess, an adulthood of more of the same, creating change around the house of perpetual remodeling will not be easy.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Isn't that a handsome rooster among all those adoring chickens? I met some interesting people today on my trip to Blue Rock Station. Stewards of our natural resources. They were once executives who traveled the world and could have settled anywhere, but chose instead to come home, back to Ohio. Their house is known as an earthship, built of discarded tires and old cans and then covered adobe style with our regions natural clay, it is a marvel of energy efficiency. But that wasn't what I found coolest about the trip today. It was such a joy to see two people pursuing their interests in everything from nearly extinct chickens, to heirloom gardening to recycling of everything from barn wood to tin cans.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

This Cartoon Life

I have come to the conclusion that I'm absolutely living the life I'm supposed to have. The universe has been forbidden to bestow on me any shred of ordinary, much less good luck. Take yesterday for example....

Yesterday, before the family reunion, the prof squared dropped by the house with a present for me. Odd, I don't generally get presents except on holidays, but hey, that's exciting! I opened it up to find two positive pregnancy tests - that's REALLY exciting. My daughter has been longing for a baby of her own for several years. Boy prof. has been married before and thought he didn't want more kids than the two he had from that marriage. Drama, a trip to Iraq, more drama and he changed his mind and had the necessary surgery to try for more kids. They are both excellent parents so this is the greatest news ever. I jumped from my chair screaming to cross the room and hug girl prof. tripped over my briefcase and sprained my ankle. Princess found this vastly amusing, the sound of her laughter followed me all around the hospital as we traipsed from waiting room to examing room to x-ray room. Just to make sure EVERYONE found it as funny as she did, she made Pap, still with one leg in a cast, push my wheelchair. She wanted to be sure she had her hands free to wipe the tears of laughter you see.

So, I'm on crutches, Pap is in a walking cast and Princess is still recovering from her back injury from the car crash and can't lift anything heavier than 5 pounds. We're officially on the family plan at the hospital and we're relying on the cats to keep us fed since none of us can stand on the tile floor for more than two minutes at a time. Jeesh.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Things Seen

This is a photograph by composer Charles Savage, called "The Invisible Man". Simple, but I really like it. He's an interesting guy, teaches at OUZ, writes music (not top 40, modern classical) leads a chorus and takes pictures. This isn't the kind of guy you'd call "Chuck".

Last night was First Friday in Zanesville, a monthly art walk downtown. I met some new people, had some fun with grand girls mom and my friend Tess and scheduled an interview with an artist who paints with asphalt.

I know! It sounds bizarre doesn't it? Gigantic canvanses, mostly in shades of black, cream and white. They are weighty pieces. In a room smaller than the gallery I saw them in, they would command your attention, dominate your thoughts, suck the air from the room. There are textures on these paintings we aren't used to seeing, the result, I'm sure, of a chemical reaction between something industrial like asphalt and whatever else he's painting with. I liked them very much, unlike most abstract art, I could immediately see figures, faces, structures and landscapes on the canvas. But they made me feel lonely. Like looking back at a black and white picture of someone you once really loved but was gone forever. I'm looking forward to our interview.

For me, each new week begins on Saturday. So, today is the first day of a new week. It is my hope that this new week will be better than last. So much stress! The drama over a mistake in my article on Linda (all is well, my editor isn't upset, her husband said "that was a beautiful piece you wrote on my wife" which leads me to believe that the artist is also not mad at me). Family reunion today, also known (at least to me) as the clan gathering in the boondocks. Still editing that children's book and awaiting the return of Sandra's book, Susicious Circumstances, for the race to publication. No matter how hectic this week is, I'm going to carve out time to revise Pitch. Enough dallying. Time to get busy.

Friday, August 04, 2006

The Friday Fantasy

Yesterday I interviewed the Director of the local art museum about a story on an exhibit they are about to open called The Essence of a Thing. As I made my way through the museum to the third floor where the Director was assembling the exhibit, everyone from the volunteer at the front desk, to the museum curator to the workers putting up the exhibit, looked me in the eye and said "It's very different" (wink, wink). And it was. Fortunately, I like different, maybe not to plop on the bookcase or hang over the fireplace, but definately to take a gander at.

It is days like yesterday that rustle up all kinds of fantasies for me. It was hot, so I toddled from interview to interview in a sticky ball of sweat. I'm so paranoid about fact checking I wasted several hours tracking down the original source of one of my stories so he could verify "yes, I absolutely said that..." By five o'clock I wanted a bath, a nap, and silence. Princess had other ideas. She wanted to make sure I understood how annoying my low self esteem was to her and then have a little talk about my two bad habits. I suggested that a chat probably wasn't the best idea right then, which further annoyed her and at least got me my silence. Hot, harried and harrassed, born from in inate sense of laziness and the desire to never do anything I don't want to do, for this week's fantasy, I would like a Nanny.

Not a Nanny like Mary Poppins or those ones on TV that are all buttoned up and into rules. I am a grown up after all, I want the kind of Nanny that lays out my clothes, fixes my hair and make up, cleans up after me, and knows exactly what I want to eat at any moment. She'll need impeccable taste, and a flair for dramatic decorating. Nanny will redecorate my house (like fairies in the night, you understand, I don't want to see the redecorating) every couple of months. I like change. She needs to like all the same books, music and movies that I do, and be into gardening so she can finish all the projects I start. She'll remember everyone's birthdays and anniversarys, pay all the bills, balance my checkbook.... best of all, she will like doing all this stuff and think I'm wonderful for letting her do it.

So much for fantasy.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Too Hot for Anything

Even poor old Ophelia has given up being dignified in this heat. It's hot, in the high 90's for several days in a row. I don't mind, being warm is so preferable to being cold.

My weekly deadline draws closer and I have only one article submitted this week. Since yesterdays complaint, I'm driving myself crazy fact checkin my second story to death. This Friday is First Friday, I'm hoping there will be no drama when I show up at the Artists Colony. Maybe I'll drop by tomorrow and get it over with if there is.

Did you hear about the waitress in Miami who's wallet was stolen? She's serving a table one night and has to card one of the woman at the table. The I.D. the customer pulls out belongs to the waitress! Murphy's Law in action. These kinds of things are why I'm not a thief. It wouldn't matter how carefully I plotted or planned, if I tried to steal something I'd get caught.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Toughening Up

Today I remembered why I never wanted to be a journalist. I started the morning by interviewing two partners of a pottery company literally resurrected from the dead. Sounds cool, happy story, people are working, woo-hoo. But then I looked at the nine pages of notes I took and theres so much information I don't know which 800 words to yank out and feature.

While I'm trying to decipher this I'm waiting on return phone calls from two experts who's quotes I need to finish my second article on the real estate market. I take a few minutes to check my e-mail and there are five are six letters from my editor, a flurry of forwarded correspondence between the editor in chief and someone who claims one fact in one story from last weeks issue is incorrect. I write back that my notes say exactly what I wrote, but they might as well have kicked me in the gut.

Complaining party, who would definately know whether that ONE fact was true or not, verifies he's right, Editor in Chief says "gee, sometimes we mess up" and it's supposed to be done. I'm horrified, and bothered. If it was me that misread my notes the subject of my interview will be angry. If interviewee stretched the truth, I'm a chump because I didn't double check her associations. Ultimately, I realize its a tempest in a teapot, but now I'm second guessing everything I write, sucking the fun right out of it, at least for today. So I took a nap, and would probably still be sleeping if grand girls mom hadn't called to talk long enough to kill my phone. Ugh.

Pap was hauled off to a baseball game today by his progeny. Baseball is his favorite thing. With the exception of yesterday, he's done nothing but clutter up the living room, his cast his excuse for being unable to contribute in any way to the care and maintenance of this house. I'd whine about this more but I'm really happy for the alone time. Which should be used to finish this pottery article, but will more than likely be spent reading in the tub.