Wednesday, November 30, 2011

NaNoWriMo Attempt

Well, today is the last day of November and I have to say that for a big chunk of November, I fell off the writing train.
NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It's an organized effort to get people to write 50,000 words of a novel. I've done it two times before successfully, and a few other times half-heartedly.
I started out strong, writing the required number of words each day to finish. Then I started getting distracted by work and basketball and swim team.
And somewhere in the middle of the month I slid into a funk. I decided I wasn't a writer any more and just gave up. Maybe it was the holiday blues. Maybe I was missing my daughter Grace who is in France instead of home.
So at 5:53 a.m., I have 24,243 words of my next novel. But yesterday at this time, I only had 18,108 words.
Who knows what can happen in a day?
To be fair to me though, I do have to work then I have a staff meeting and next I have to be at Tucker's swim meet. In between though, I'll write my boney fingers off.
Check in at the bar along the right side to see how far I get today.
And when I'm finished, even if I don't reach 50,000, I'll have a good chunk of a new novel started, because I'm a writer. There's no escaping it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Packages on Porches

So after whining about not getting enough presents last week, there it was on my front porch -- a long white package, placed there by the mailman.
I carried it inside and tore open the end without even looking at the addressee or the return address. I just knew it was for me.
And this is what I found.

What could this be, you ask? Look at the gorgeous presentation, the sage colored outer wrapping and the party-atmosphere raffia cords tying it closed.
Then I looked at the card.

Yes! My Provence Rug had arrived, and pretty quick too.
My blogging friend Delana in Aix en Provence and another blogger in North Carolina at An Eye for Detail started a business together -- Provence Rugs. In addition to rugs, they also sell trays and bowls and soap dishes in Provencal materials. (And they're offering 10 percent off through Wednesday.)
Anyway, enough promoting Delana's glorious business, back to me and my mystery package.
So I unrolled it and there I saw the beautiful "Rosehip Red" rug with the little golden cigales along the border.
I placed the rug in front of my door where it immediately received cat approval.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Grand Tour

When I was in France for three months, more than 25 years ago, I probably talked to my parents three times by phone. We sent regular letters, but my folks had no idea what my daily life was like.
Grace's trip to France has been very different. We text, we email, we Skype. I know her schedule, which is why, on days like today, I'm anxiously hovering around my computer waiting to hear from her.
She went to Rome last Tuesday by night train -- alone, which I think is very brave. She met a friend there and she was supposed to take the night train back to Paris on Saturday. But an Italian train strike caused her to spend an extra night in Rome. She had her ticket for Sunday evening and she should be back in Paris now, which is nearly noon Monday Paris time.
I turn on my computer and check Skype. She isn't online and hasn't left me a message. I look at my email. Nothing from Grace.
Next I look at Facebook to see if there are any updates. No.
Now I'm working myself up.
The last I heard from her was Sunday morning as she sat in a restaurant/bar with WiFi, alone, in Rome. She had dropped her phone into the Mediterranean Sea, so it wasn't working. She planned to venture out to find some tshirts as souvenirs for the boys. She had the rest of the day before she caught her train.
We went to my brother's house near Dayton yesterday and we tried to connect with Grace by Skype there. No luck.
Did she get on the train?
Did the train make it to Paris?
I'm trying to think of other cyber clues I could look for to discover Grace's whereabouts.
I sign onto our bank account and now I can relax a bit.
I see that extra money has been added to her account. She must have stopped at the train station and returned the extra ticket she had to buy because of the train strike.
Now, I can feel more comfortable that Grace has made it back to Paris. I can go on with the other things I need to do, like making lunches for the boys.
I'm not sure which is preferable while having a teenager abroad -- being able to stay in touch and worrying about the little things, or being totally oblivious to the details of her life so assuming the best.
Sometimes, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing -- especially for a worrying mother.
Update: Grace contacted me by Skype and she is back in Paris. None the worse for wear, except for falling out of the top bunk on the night train. Don't they have rails?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving Traditions -- Not So Much

This year was an odd Thanksgiving, so I tried to come up with some new traditions to add for my family. The one thing I hoped to do, bake cookies in the shape of a turkey, did not happen. Why, you may ask? Well, the turkey cookie cutter which I saw on Corey's blog, and which I felt sure I had in my stash of cookie cutters, was not there.
On that Wednesday, after my darling husband had already mixed up the cookie dough and placed it in the refrigerator, I called my mom. "Didn't we have a turkey-shaped cookie cutter?" I asked her.
She thought that we had.
"Did you keep that one?" I asked. She had handed over all the old cookie cutters to me. I didn't figure she'd kept out the turkey for sentimental reasons. So she laughed and said she'd look for it, but since she lives in Florida and I live in Ohio, I had no chance of getting it in time for Thanksgiving even if she found it.
I sent my darling husband in search of a turkey cookie cutter on the day before Thanksgiving. One of the worst days to go to a store, especially a grocery store. He looked at World Market, Kohls and Kroger. No luck.
I pulled out the big bag of cookie cutters. I could do leaves -- those are fine for autumn, and even though this leaf is obviously a holly leaf, it would pass. I could make some orange icing and call it a fall theme.

Then I looked at the cookie cutter that I have called a dove for years. I couldn't decide why it would be with the Christmas cookie cutters if it wasn't a dove, but it looks a bit more like a chicken. Could I somehow make it look like a turkey? I imagined trying to add some bigger tail feathers and some kind of wattle under its chin. That would never work.
So I went to work cutting out leaves, dove/chickens, hearts, some stars (which are universal, right?) and some Christmas trees, because those are the ones I like eating the most.
Once the cookies were all baked, about 45 of them, I mixed up the powdered sugar icing. I was ready to add the food coloring.
"What color?" I asked Earl.
"Red," he suggested.
So I pulled out all of my food coloring boxes and discovered that he must say "red" every year because each box was devoid of red. So I settled for green. Bright green.
I slathered on the icing and asked Earl to decorate with red hots and sprinkles. He must have been channeling Tucker as a small boy, because he loaded up those cookies.

So the finished products were colored perfections.They stayed on the waxed paper drying, until the first handful of boys walked through the kitchen on their way to the "man cave" in the basement.
What I discovered, as waves of boys moved through the kitchen, is that they don't really care what shape the cookies are in. They ate them all, except a few that didn't get iced.
Now I have a year to find a turkey cookie cutter. Unless you think I could somehow pass this dove/chicken off as a turkey. What do you think?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Saturday Snapshot-- Stained Glass Reflection

To participate in the Saturday Snapshot meme post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post on Alyce's blog At Home With Books. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.

Grace took this photo while touring a church in Montmartre in Paris. I could assume that this is Sacre Coeur, but I can't ask her right now because she is partying in Rome this weekend. I think she took this shot during her visit with Linda who writes the blog Frenchless in France.
I love the way the colors reflect on the columns.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Selfish Again

Okay, but who doesn't like presents?
Who doesn't like to unwrap a gift and see what is inside?
"For me? You shouldn't have. But thank you."
Ever since I was a kid, I've loved getting presents. I never outgrew it.
I enjoy giving gifts as well, but I've never gotten to the point that I would prefer people buy a cow in Katmandu in my honor instead of giving me a gift.
Can't we do both?
So now that you know another of my character flaws, let me temper it by explaining that for a lot of my married life, as I decided to stay home with my kids, money was tight. We lavished Christmas gifts on the kids, while Earl and I stuck to stocking stuffers for each other. Through that time, my younger brother and family were the only ones who would buy me an actual Christmas gift. My parents resorted to giving checks awhile ago. That much-appreciated money would go into the household fund to pay the gas bill or water bill. It never went to buy something special for me.
A few years ago, as my husband's nieces grew up and took husbands, we decided we'd draw names and each person would get one decent gift to open. We even had a "no gift card" rule so that each person had an actual present to open.
That meant at Christmas I'd get a gift from my brother and one from Earl's family.
Yay! I love presents.
Thanksgiving morning as I mixed up the turkey quiche, I was busy thinking of gift ideas to put beside my name when we drew names.
Then, at our Thanksgiving brunch, my sister-in-law proposed instead of drawing names this year, we find an unfortunate family and buy for them.
"That's a great idea," I said.
Well, really. Who wouldn't say that? Who can argue that they really want a gift instead?
I know that I have everything I need, so I can't be selfish and refuse to give gifts to a needy family.
I did impose one condition that if we are going to buy gifts for a needy family, we have to all go together to buy the items, so we can bond as a family.
And just when I thought the odds of unwrapping a gift had faded, Earl's niece Julie, mother of Caroline, announced on a Skype call to Grace that she's expecting again. A baby in June.
Okay. That will serve as my gift for this Christmas.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Okay, it's time for me to stop kvetching about the fact that I'm never with my extended family on holidays. Instead, I need to start building traditions with my kids so that when they are grown up with families, they'll come home for holidays.
When I think of Thanksgiving as a kid, I remember my mom in the kitchen while I watched the Thanksgiving parade on television. Sometimes we went to my grandmother's house in Kentucky and we'd play with the cousins. Nana always had stackcake, which was my favorite (or maybe I'm confusing that with Christmas).
Right, so back to Thanksgiving traditions. My parents are in Florida, one brother is in Texas and another brother spends every Wednesday before Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving Day at his in-laws. That leaves my husband's family. This year, they are doing a run and then going to their in-laws for a 4 p.m. meal We wedged out a tiny block of time for a Thanksgiving brunch.
Then Earl will go to work in the evening. Grace is still in France, so it will be me and two teenage boys at home.
I came up with one possible tradition to add from reading Corey's blog. Corey has an amazingly close-knit family that makes me so jealous. She lives in France, but she is home in California for Thanksgiving. She talked about her mother baking cookies and showed a cookie cutter of a turkey.
Eureka! I have a turkey cookie cutter from my Mom.
So my husband mixed up the dough for the cut out cookies this morning while I was at work. Tomorrow, I can roll and cut out the cookies shaped like turkeys.
The boys and I will probably go to a movie on Thanksgiving, but if Grace was home, she would not go for that. She's very traditional. She would insist on family games probably.
So, any suggestions for Thanksgiving traditions?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Being Unkind

Being mean to someone is more work than you would think.
It's not something I normally do, so maybe I'm just out of practice.
Here's the story, this summer, Spencer and some of his friends got in trouble. His friend Danny didn't have any consequences for the actions and the mother told me she had encouraged Danny to be a better influence on Spencer, which made me crazy, because he was doing the same things that Spencer was, but he lied to his mom about it.
So this summer, when the mom came up to me and put her arm around me, I said that I couldn't talk to her then. I was still mad that she fell for Danny's BS.
What I discovered through the summer and fall, was that it is kind of nice to not be talking to this mother. She has ADD and talks incessantly. She gossips about all the kids in the high school and she doesn't understand limits. I'm constantly having to say, "You're in my space" when she moves in too close, or "We were in the middle of a conversation" when she walks up and starts talking. So that can get kind of tiring.
The mother of another boy and I had planned to ride to a basketball game together Friday night. I got a message from Danny's mom saying "Can I ride with you to the game?"
We were leaving in about 20 minutes and I had looked forward to spending time with the other mother. I simply ignored the text.
Well, about half an hour into the game, Danny's mom arrived and sat by us.
The other mother isn't as good about setting limits. She had even complained that Danny's mom had ridden with her to most of the soccer games and she tried to leave town early to avoid her, but she couldn't bring herself to say no.
At one point, the other mother and I were talking about her brother who is going to New York for Thanksgiving when Danny's mom jumped in: "Now who was this? What was happening?" Aaargh. See how annoying that is?
So I left without having made eye contact or talking to Danny's mom.
I don't think I can keep it up through the whole basketball season though.
So what should I do? Simply accept the fact that she's going to glom onto us throughout the season and put up with it.
Lay out some boundaries, like "you can ride with us to every other away game but not every time."
Point out that she is very annoying the way she talks constantly and interrupts people?
My running friends said I was being too harsh, but she really doesn't get boundaries unless they are clearly stated.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Saturday Snapshot -- Harvest Moon in the Morning Sky

To participate in the Saturday Snapshot meme post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post on Alyce's blog At Home With Books. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.

I took this photo on an early morning walk to meet my friend Sheila. What I love about the picture, is that it could have been taken in the middle ages with the spire of the church, the tree limbs and the bright moon.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Some Secrets to a Long, Happy Marriage

I don't want to pretend to have all the answers. Earl and I have definitely had our challenges in 21 years of marriage, but this week we did two things that, I think, have helped us maintain a relationship where we still enjoy each other.
The other night, on one of Earl's rare nights off, once the boys were safely home, I suggested that Earl and I walk the mile up to Caribou Coffee. Of course, it was dark already, but the temperature hovered in the 50s and a misty rain fell occasionally. We both carried umbrellas and I had my reusable cup so I could get 50 cents off and so I could be ecologically conscious. We held hands as we walked the quiet streets until we got to the brightly lit Caribou. I found a seat and Earl fetched my coffee, which was supposed to be decaf, but considering how wired I was afterward, I'm thinking it might have been regular.
As we sat in the cozy Caribou Coffee, we talked about Earl's plans, which constitute the second step to a happy marriage. He was leaving for a backpacking trip in West Virginia. He would only be gone two days, but sometimes a marriage is stronger with a little distance.
He takes offense at this idea, but sometimes I do need time to myself. So I told him I had arranged to have the day off on Thursday. That way, I could rejuvenate alone.
It's not that Earl bugs me when I'm home. Sometimes he's a little oversolicitous.
"Can I get you anything?"
"What are you working on?"
"Do you want some tea?"
"Want to go for a walk later?"
And these are all perfectly kind questions for my husband to ask me while we're home together and the boys are at school.
Sometimes though, I like to have the place to myself.
This morning, Earl left around 7 and the boys screeched out of the house a little before 8 hoping to make it to school on time.
I had a 45 minute conversation with my friend Ruth in Michigan (who, with 4 kids at home, is very jealous I'm home alone). Then Grace called me on Skype and we talked for a few minutes.
Next, I did 45 minutes of yoga. Usually with yoga, I'm itching to finish, ticking off all the things that I need to do yet. But today, I was calm and the time passed quickly.
Now I'm in front of the computer, ready to do some writing, and I'll probably reward myself with a walk down to Caribou later.
I'm a free woman until the boys get done with school. Then I'll have to do some driving and make some dinner -- maybe chili since the temperature is still in the 30s.
This time alone is rejuvenating for me, And hopefully Earl's hike in the West Virginia mountains will be refreshing for him. Then I'll see him in two days and we'll be ready to move onto 21 more years.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

First Paragraph, Teaser Tuesday -- Two Towns in Provence

Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the first paragraph of her current read. Anyone can join in. Go to Diane's website for the image and share the first paragraph of the current book you are reading.

Continuing my obsession with France in general and Provence in particular, this week I'm beginning the book Two Towns in Provence by M.F.K. Fisher.
So here is the town, founded more than two thousand years ago by the brash Roman invaders, on much older ruins which still stick up their stones and artifacts. I was as brash a newcomer to it, and yet when I first felt the rhythm of its streets and smelled its ancient smells, and listened at night to the music of its many fountains, I said, "Of course," for I was once more in my own place, an invader of what was already mine.

And this first paragraph feels so right for me. Have you ever felt that way about a place?

Also this week is Teaser Tuesdays.

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Here's a teaser from within Two Towns in Provence.
Far above the stone ribs of the hushed room a small eye of open sky in the cupola looks down upon the empty basin that the first Christians found so conveniently ready for their baptismal rights, after decades of Roman ladies had bathed hopefully there to give themselves children. Perhaps, it is said, St. Maximin himself, one of Christ's disciples, stood beside that pool.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Bringing Provence Home

My blog friend Delana (pronounced De-lane-uh) just started a new store that sells rugs, trays, soap dishes and fluted bowls all in gorgeous Provencal fabric.
Christmas shopping issues solved. Everyone will be getting something from Provence Rugs for Christmas and anyone shopping for me can just take their pick from this website.
Look at these colors and designs. Look at this one called Eclat d'Orange. Yes, it is a burst of orange. And since I'm American, I can tell you the price is $45 because we don't consider it gauche to talk about prices! The rugs come in lovely colors like sky blue and poppy red and spring green. You'll have to visit the website to see.
The website says the rugs are handmade by French weavers.
And the trays are laminated fabric that you'll recognize because it is a traditional Provencal fabric. Can't you see serving sliced baguette in this fluted bowl? Oh, how about M&Ms then? Or tiny French chocolates - bonbons? The bowls are 6 1/2 inches and cost $13.50.
But now I have too much yellow and orange on the blog, so I'll need to break it up with some blue and green photos from Provence Rugs.
Here's a 9 1/2 by 9 1/2 divided tray. It costs $30.

And here's an assortment of the fabrics from the website:

Make sure you take a look.
Christmas is sneaking up sooner than you realize, and wouldn't it be lovely to walk up to your front door and see a lovely colored rug on one of those dreary February days.
Photos are from the website Provence Rugs. Obviously.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

And So It Begins...

Sports practices started officially last week and on Saturday I had my first full day of sporting events.
Spencer had a basketball scrimmage at 10:30

It felt good to be sitting in the gym again, even if only four of us parents showed up to watch our boys. In this photo, Spencer is in the navy shirt with the guy in red pushing him.
Then at 1:30, Tucker had a swim meet.

I sacrificed my afternoon of college football to watch Tucker swim.
But, I need to remember that this is my last year of basketball since Spencer is a senior. And I'll only have two more years of traipsing to swim meets since Tucker is a sophomore.
I vow to not complain, but to enjoy every minute of watching my boys play sports this year.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Saturday Snapshots -- Spices

To participate in the Saturday Snapshot meme post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post on Alyce's blog At Home With Books. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.

Today I'm taking another picture from Grace's travels. These are from the market in Aix en Provence. Something about these spices just says exotic:

And up close, they just make me want to dig my hands in and watch them pour through my fingers.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Falling Behind

I started the month with the intention of writing 50,000 words toward a new novel as part of NaNoWriMo. I did so well the first five days, writing 1700 words every day and documenting my progress along the side of my blog.
Then came the weekend when I needed to grade essays from four classes. So those took priority. Then when I had finished those by Tuesday, I had a book from the library that was only a two-week loan. I had two days to finish it, and I really liked the quarter of the novel I had read, so that took precedence.
I still have a bit of the novel to finish (it's a day late now but worth the dime)and I have another class of essays to read, but I'm going to hop back on this writing idea and see how much I can catch up in the next few days.
Technically, at 1700 words per day, I should be at 18,700 words by today. Instead, I'm at 8527 words. Just a little over 10,000 to write.
I'm sitting at Caribou Coffee with a skim berry white mocha and they're playing Christmas music.
I can do this.
Hope bout you?
Are you behind on any projects?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Deep Discussions

My class this morning started out with a disturbing topic and ended with an equally disturbing topic. I felt like a real downer.
Although I teach college English, I try to bring up topics in the news to see if any college students are paying attention. This one, they were aware of because it connects to football. Coach Joe Paterno from the neighboring Big Ten college, Penn State, was fired last night.
My 8 a.m. class was divided. Some thought he should have been fired, others thought he had done what he needed to legally. Students at Penn State are definitely thinking he should have gotten a pass.
Here's the thing, an assistant coach from the past has been indicted for sexual abuse on boys. Even though he retired in 1999, he continued to use Penn State facilities for a program to help underage boys. A student assistant report to Paterno that he had seen this assistant coach sexually assaulting a 10-year-old boy in the showers. Paterno reported this incident to his boss then apparently never thought about it again.
I don't know many people who could shrug that off.
I asked my class, "How many of you would do more if you saw a child being sexually assaulted?" They all raised their hands, yet they're giving Coach Paterno a pass for not taking more action.
"Which is more important," I asked, "football or child sexual abuse?"
When framed that way, who would say football?
Coach Paterno left who knows how many boys at risk? How many boys were sexually assaulted because Paterno did not follow up, did not read the riot act to the (alleged) sick pedophile, did not check up on the boy who was lured to the Penn State showers?
That discussion made us all feel a little queasy, but determined to do the right thing. Then we moved on.
Toward the end of class, we began to discuss an essay related to the Columbine shootings. This essay, a speech given in 1999 shortly after the shootings, blames the shooters' actions on living in a soulless suburbs. We watched some videos, sinking deeper into the hopelessness of that day when students hid under desks while two boys slaughtered them with sawed off shotguns and an automatic weapon. Fifteen people died in that school in a suburb of Colorado. No one in my class agreed with the speech that these two boys massacred people because they were raised in a suburb where everything looked alike. The speech blamed the suburb because it is a soulless place without a past or a future.
And I agree that, even though school shootings seem more likely in an affluent suburb or an isolated town, the place is not to blame. Maybe the thing to blame again is the lifestyle that leads us to suburbia.
People who are trying to survive day to day, making sure their family has food and shelter, don't have time to worry about being angry and planning assaults on their fellow classmates or teachers or bosses.
Living a more comfortable lifestyle is a blessing, but new affluent disorders crop up.
The class kind of sat in stunned silence when we got to the end.
"Go out and do something good today," I said.
They laughed and departed.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Up In the Air

At 9:44 p.m. I was driving home from campus when our local NPR station interrupted the BBC with Governor John Kasich. He was conceding that his side had lost on Issue 2.
Yay, I wanted to cheer. He said the other side had run a good fight and he planned to take a breath and think about his options.
He said Issue 2 was about giving local governments tools to cut costs, but apparently, Ohioans did not like the tools he had given him.
I thought about other tools I knew.
Anyway, he sounded a little desperate and reminded me of a recent picture of the cat.
Gov. Kasich is hanging on by his toenails. I can't wait to see if he can do flips in the air too.

Tales from a First Time Voter

Spencer turned 18 at the end of October, so we made sure he registered to vote before the deadline.
I didn't even see Spencer today. I left for work before he got up then I got home from work while he was at basketball practice and left for work again at 5:30 before he came home.
I called him.
"Remember to go vote," I told him.
"Okay," he said. I told him what I considered were the important issues for him to vote on. I wasn't worried about raising the age limit for judges or about the local mayoral race.
We've talked enough in our family about Issue 2, so I thought he knew the issues about collective bargaining and agreed about the need for it. Either way, I was telling him to vote our family party line.
"So no on Issue 2?" he asked.
"Yeah." I told him one of the girls from high school was there helping and he could ask her if he needed help voting for the first time.
I felt bad that I couldn't go with him, but I always took the kids along when they were little, shuffling them inside the booth. One time Tucker even leaned against the green button and finished casting my ballot before I had selected someone in every race.
At 7:13, with the polls getting ready to close, I texted him: "Did u go vote yet?"
He replied, "Yep, 2 and 3 no."
Issue 3 was about healthcare reform and for some reason didn't get much attention here.
"Good job," I texted. "Feel like a grown up?"
He replied, "I feel like an American."

I Voted

Today was voting day. Since it's an odd year, no state or national politicians are on the ballot.
Just some local city council, mayoral and school board member.
Still, the polling places were expected to be busy because Ohio is voting on Issue 2. Issue 2 determines whether the law passed by the legislature and signed by the governor should be overturned. That law takes away unions' rights to collectively bargain. That means workers would not be able to band together and agree together to accept certain wages or vacation time or benefits. That means the firefighters wouldn't be able to negotiate and say they need more firefighters on duty. They'd just have to accept what management gave them.
The people who support Issue 2 say that local governments can save money, but who are they kidding. The local firefighters, teachers, police officers and snow plow drivers are not getting rich.
If Issue 2 remains the law then the average worker has no power against management. The worker can take the deal or quit his job.
Sometimes unions go too far, and everyone can tell a story about a person who didn't have to do any work because the union protected that person's job. Overall, though, unions have protected the working people. They've allowed many of us to move up to a middle class lifestyle that we might not have had.
So I hope tomorrow you'll hear that Issue 2 was defeated and the state workers of Ohio are still allowed to collectively bargain.
There's no excuse if people don't get to the polls. It's gorgeous out there today.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Saturday Snapshot -- Foggy Lake

To participate in the Saturday Snapshot meme post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post on Alyce's blog At Home With Books. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.
On Saturday mornings, I meet my friends by a lake to run. A few weeks ago, the day was foggy and the lake looked eerie.

When we could see the lake, that is:

Friday, November 04, 2011

Hair Issues

Some of you know that I've given up straightening my hair. It just became too time consuming and it felt as useless as trying to rebuild beaches along the Florida coast that keep getting washed away by the storms and the waves.
So I went back to keeping it curly, but I continued to straighten my bangs. I just couldn't let the bangs go curly again. Maybe it looks weird with straight bangs and the rest of my hair curling crazily. But I didn't realize how weird until I was flipping channels one night and saw the mother from 19 Kids & Counting.
I stopped, shocked. Her hair looked like mine, and I did not like the way it looked one bit.

Her hair looks kind of pentecostal freaky. And I can say that since I was raised in a pentecostal church.
So now what?
Do I return to straightening my hair, which is my preference, or do I just make sure I never flip past the mom in 19 Kids & Counting again.
Nevermind, I can't possibly get that image out of my mind.
I'm going to have to start getting up at 4:30 a.m. to straighten my hair again.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

The Color Purple

Purple is the color I look best in. I know this because every time I wear purple, and I mean every time, someone says, "That color looks great on you."
They don't say it when I wear red or pink or coral, other colors that I also think complement my coloring.
On Sunday, I was trying on shirts in the dressing room. I don't know about you, but I don't look in the mirror of the dressing room while I'm trying on the clothes. I wait until I get dressed then take a look. I put on a heather purple shirt with a vneck and some details around the v. I turned toward the mirror and my face seemed lit up. Wow. That color looks great on me, I thought.
I tried the exact same shirt on in a heather red and it didn't do anything for me. So I bought the purple.
Maybe I notice that people say I look good in purple because they don't see me wear it that often.
Now you're thinking, "Wait, if purple looks good on you, why don't you wear it very often?" It's because my mom co-opted the color purple when I was a sophomore in high school.
It seemed a small thing to give up.
When I was a sophomore, I was just coming out of my really bratty middle school phase. I began to enjoy being with my mother again. I'm not sure why I remember this so specifically, but we were walking in the Towne Mall in Middletown, Ohio, and we were probably shopping at Paul Harris. (Does anyone else remember that store?) We also frequented The Limited. And, at one of those places, we bought a wool skirt in three colors of purple, plus a solid purple cotton sweater for me.
My mom loved that outfit, and slowly, purple began to creep into her wardrobe too.
Now, many, many years after my sophomore year of high school, my mom wears purple everyday. Most everything in her closet is purple or goes with purple. She was known as the lady who wears purple long before it became the popular color for retired women to wear.
I never take any purple clothes with me when I go to visit my mom in Florida. If I were to wear purple, her friends would definitely comment on the fact that I'm just like my mother. So I avoid purple most of the time, but sometimes it creeps into my wardrobe, and I don't mind at all when people say I look just like my mother, whether I wear purple or not.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Nanowrimo -- Again

November is National Novel Writing Month aka Nanowrimo
The goal is to write 50,000 words in one month.
I'll be trying to write at least 1700 words per day in a sequel to my previous, as yet unsold novel, The Summer of France.
The working title for this one is Autumn in Aix only because of the alliteration. I'm sure I'll think of a better title later.
If you're doing Nanowrimo this month, make me a buddy. My writing name is PaulitaKincer (original, I know)

Day 1 -- 1782 words

First Paragraph, Teaser Tuesday -- falling together

Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the first paragraph of her current read. Anyone can join in. Go to Diane's website for the image and share the first paragraph of the current book you are reading.
The new book by Marisa de los Santos came in for me and I'm so happy, even though I have very little time to read. She's one of my favorite authors and has written Love Walked In and Belong to Me. This new one is called falling together. Three college friends parted way six years before but are called back together for a college reunion, and, as the book explains "But instead of a happy reconciliation, what awaits is a collision of past and present"
Here's the first paragraph:
Pen would not use the word summoned when she told Jamie about the e-mail later that night. Additionally, she would not say that the e-mail dropped like a bowling ball into the pit of her stomach, and at the same time fell over her like a shining wave, sending arcs of sea spray up to flash in the sun, even though that is precisely how it felt.

I know what you're thinking: that's a lot of analogies in one paragraph, but I'm going to defend her because I think she is just trying to show the wash of emotion that the main character Pen is feeling.

Also this week is Teaser Tuesdays.

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"Augusta was born. I got busy, and also" -- Pen gave a nervous laugh -- "I was on the verge of becoming a stalker. I wanted my daughter to have a mother with a little more dignity than that."

I'm on page 42, and so far, I really enjoy her writing.
What do you think from these little snippets?

Cockadoodle Doo or Cocorico?

 We stood in the middle of the road, having walked together 13 miles that day and Claudine grasped my forearm. "Mais non! It doesn'...