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Friday, August 30, 2013

Memoir: It is what it is...Vacation (June 1991)

(Saturday, June 23, 1991)

Terrible vacation.  Started out so hectic.  left at 11:30am, after spending all morning making trip after trip to the van loaded down with clothes and food and all the paraphernalia that goes with two small children.

Overcast and cool, hazy.  Stands of tall trees, mushroomed with green leaves.  John screaming in the car seat.  D won't pull over so I can take him out and nurse him, so I nurse him while he sits in the car seat! (He's sleeping now.)

Anne threw a frightful tantrum before we left.  It began in the front yard when she saw a little boy's kite.  She is transfixed with it and wants one, has talked of nothing else for two days.

Everyone piled into the van.

12:26pm...Both children resting quietly. D's mother in the last seat.  Pillows for Anne to lay her head on-- still strapped in to her youth seat, though.

2:22pm...Delicious lunch in Yankton (SD), green salad and sandwich.  The sun trying to break through now.  I changed John and fed him.  Everyone feeling much better.


Monday...went to Madison (SD) to Lois and Loren's. 

Different impressions:  on the way, both children sleeping in their car seats, heads tilted to the side.  D's mother in the last seat again, behind them.  Narrow, two-laned highways, occasional curves, expanses of green pastures with an occasional small herd of cattle clumped together, tails swishing away at the flies.  Clumps of trees at shelterbelts.

Lois, looking very tired around the eyes, but happy to see us.  Soft as always-- soft blond hair, soft blue eyes, soft white skin, and her lovely gentle soft voice.

Quaint house:  harmonious, something about it making me think of an earlier era-- the oval, beveled glass in the front door, the wood trim running around the living room wall a foot from the ceiling, the small rooms coming into and out of one another.

Loren and the college campus...Loren in tie and shirt.  The hum of computers, the rustic old  buildings, the beautiful library, the nudes in pencil on the wall.  Walking across campus-- tall evergreen trees and flowers and neatly mowed lawns, and I thinking the whole time of John and Anne, who were crying when we left them.  (And when we got back, they were quiet and serene and perfectly content!!)

The drive home in the evening:  lovely green fields, different shades of green, and haze and mist laying in the little valleys and shelterbelts.  A haze and far off on the horizon a lavender ridge, separated from us by vivid green valleys.  The sun going down, one minute hiding behind bands of clouds, the next emerging again, a vivid large orange, almost a Harvest Moon quality to it, lovely.  Anne enthralled.

Almost dark when we got home.  It was a beautiful drive, a lovely evening.

Aunt Laura's & Uncle Ed's:

The table was beautifully set-- dainty bowls of salads, and clear pitchers of red juice, and strong dark coffee.

Aunt Laura, immaculate as always, earrings and necklace, and white slacks, and hair freshly permed.  Uncle Ed standing at the stove stirring gravy!...tall, and his eyes bulging a bit, giving a startled look to his face.

The children were pretty good, between D and I we kept them fairly content and out of things.  It helped that Aunt Laura had the house swept almost completely clear of knick-knacks.  Anne sat up to the table and ate beautifully. I was very proud.


Ernie & Irene's:

Irene, nervous and shaky as usual.  The lovely living room *Cold* from the air-conditioner.  The children best kept in the kitchen.  Their German Shepherd pacing his pen.  Irene showed us the upstairs...five lovely bedrooms.  The upstairs *Very* hot.  Ernie the same as always, obviously delighted with the kids.

Roger & Debbie:

Debbie very pretty and summery looking with short, cropped hair.  her look of surprise when we drove in, red bandana on her head.

John played quietly on the living room floor with toys, Anne with Colton and Mandy (Roger & Deb's children)-- upstairs and then outside for a while.  I get Anne to come in and cool off.  My white shoes get filthy traipsing through the weeds and dirt, looking at horses and dogs!

There is very little real "girl-talk".  I am disappointed.  She talks horse with D, "man" talk, breeding and prices and sales and bloodlines, etc.  And they are going to be building a new log home and selling their farm.  So more (of what I call) "man" talk-- lots and prices and construction and pole barns, etc.

We come and go to these places so quickly, an hour and a half at each place.  I feel that a connection is barely made, something almost left incomplete when we leave.  Strange feeling.

Tom & Janice's house:

It was a 'lost' evening.  Janice had wanted us to do something as a couple and leave D's mother there with the children.  Her house is wall to wall knick-knacks and crystal!  John turned out to be crabby, and I spent the evening giving both babies their baths in her tub.  There was a gas leak, and Tom was gone downstairs with the repairman most of the time.

Almost all I can say of this visit is that we got to see Tom and Janice before we left.  I really didn't get to talk to her at all.

Vern & Tracy's:

It begins noisily.  Anne crabby and crying and wanting on my lap, John wanting on my lap to nurse at the same time!  Very, very hot.  One small fan, no windows open, no air-conditioning.  Very soon Anne's head looks as though she's had a bucket of water poured over her hair.  I suggest we go out and see Vern's new horse-- more to get some fresh air and the breeze.  Even though it's very hot outside, it's still cooler than in the house, and it perks the children up.

The horse, a lovely dainty sorrel mare.  Cows in the pen beside her, aloof.  Vern's little golf cart, shiny and silvery blue, and the plastic seat is very hot!

The visit ends too quickly, as usual, but on a pleasant note-- a lovely lunch...iced tea; potato salad; and ham sandwiches; lemon jello with pineapple; and home canned pickles; afterwards hot coffee and homemade cookies (even in the heat, Tracy's coffee was good).

I think they are remarkable, Vern and Tracy, to be 85 and 86 years old, and still so independent and healthy and active.

This post has been taken, literally, from my diary pages, with very little or almost no editing.  It was written on the fly, at still moments during the experience, and I didn't want to lose this feeling.

Memoir: The Electrical Storm

(Sunday, July 27th, 1997)

Very early this morning we had a terrific electrical storm.  When the electricity in the house went out, I grabbed my flashlight and went downstairs to help Anne and John come upstairs (it was pitch dark down there).  They were pretty frightened.  The storm was pretty impressive.

I put them on the floor with pillows in Beth and Laura's room.  All 5 of us (me & the kids) were in there.

At one point the lightening triggered a battery operated toy in the hallway, which played a little tune...then silence.  I could feel the hair on my arms beginning to stand on end (weird sensation).  There was another hiss of thunder-- and it really "hissed", like something hot or angry.  A brilliant bolt of lightening triggered the smoke detector, which gave a few surprised little beeps.

In the darkness, punctuated by bright white streaks of lightening, I heard Beth's little voice speaking to Anne:  "I sure am g'wad you're laying beside me, or I'd be scared."

Sunday, August 18, 2013

This Is Where We're Sitting Right Now (Part 2)

It was towards the end of winter or early spring.  There was a casting call for a real live witch wanted for a reality tv show.  I thought for about two minutes and then contacted the casting director with my information.  Time is a fuzzy thing for me, so I don't remember how long it was exactly before he contacted me, or at that point it was actually his assistant, but it amounted to two or three weeks.

(We're still sitting in limbo on this thing, so I don't know how much info I can divulge, or would be allowed to divulge.  Just to be on the safe side, I'm not going to name the casting company, the casting director, or the network.)

Anyway, we received a call from the casting company, who seemed very interested, and we set up a time for the whole family to participate in a taped interview.  This was done over Skype (gotta' love technology).  It was a hoot.  It went on about four hours, one after the other of us sitting down in the chair, ahead of the camera, facing the director..."Don't look directly at me," he said, "Look directly into the camera when you're answering a question."  We were also not suppose to use pronouns, but to answer the question in complete sentences so when he edited the tape it would be very clear what we were talking about.  He also taught us a few hand signals-- the motions for 'wrap it up', more enthusiasm, cut, etc.

He told us that they usually don't allow other family members around when one is being interviewed, but they wanted to see how we interacted with each other.  It was actually a riot.  Little Emma was really shy and didn't want to talk to the director at first, until my daughter's boyfriend (whom Emma adores) picked her up, sweeping her off her feet, sitting her in the chair ahead of the camera; I handed Emma her cat, which she held during the process. (The casting director was absolutely terrific, he put Emma at ease within minutes.)

John (my son) came to the table for his turn, all 6' 2" of him with his super long hair and waxed mustache.  The director:  "There's a lot of girls out here (California) who would appreciate you."  "I'll keep that in mind." John shot back.

Beth (one of my daughters) was asked how honest and open we are with communication.  Can we talk about intimate things?  Give me an example of something your mother has told you.  Beth:  "My mom told me never to brush my teeth with mint toothpaste and give my boyfriend a blow job."...at this the director had a shocked looked on his face for a split second, burst into laughter, threw his arms in the air, and literally disappeared off his chair.

It was several weeks later that I received a call from the casting director.  He was over-the-moon excited.  He told me that the network loved our interview and we were in the top running against two or three other families for a new reality show.  There was one more hitch-- when the first interview was taped, Joe and my daughter Laura were working.  They missed out.  The casting director set up a date to tape them.

Joe had finally agreed to the interview (which at first he didn't want to do), the day came, and he went through it like a pro.  Then there was Laura-- she was in a bad mood that day and decided she wasn't going to do it.  The director was aghast.  It took us over three hours to persuade her to sit down for the interview-- the director was beside himself, running his hands through his hair, cajoling, convincing, pleading:  "She has no idea what's at stake here," he said.  "Financially, this has the potential to be big, really, big; it could change your life."

She finally agreed.  They talked.

The interview was completed.

Now we wait.

We've all said that if nothing comes from this, the experience itself was really cool.  How many people can say they've been interviewed for their own television show, it was a hoot.  We had fun, and it will be something to tell our grandkids about.  Life is full of surprises...but, just in case, we're keeping our fingers crossed.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

This Is Where We're Sitting Right Now

This year has been a hoot-- you have no idea.  It began with Joe and the wild-boy untamed energy that he brought to the table, which culminated in our unexpected elopement on a whirlwind Friday afternoon, June 7th.  It started with a 'to-do' list for the day.  Things like 1) stop by the insurance office 2) pick up marriage license 3) pick up Joe's wedding band at Zales 4) stop at Next Millennium...there were two or three other 'things-to-do' that I can't remember now, but I do remember that Joe had to go to work that day at 3pm, and we were on a tight time schedule.

We were finally through the stuff to be done in Fremont and had picked up Joe's ring at Oakview Mall in Omaha, when we looked at each other-- we had the rings, we had the license, I knew that Charlie (the owner of Next Millennium) was legally ordained to do weddings.  We were laughing most of the time, stopped at a gas station for some energy drinks, and then said, why not-- we headed to NM to see if Charlie would be able to perform an impromptu ceremony.

"Charlie," we asked, "How short is the short version of a wedding and would you be able to do it now?"

We were standing nonchalantly in front of the store counter, laughing and talking with Charlie and Nikki and a customer.  Charlie asked us several times if we were marrying of our own free will...yes, we assured him...and he would ask again, two or three times.  Finally he said, "Okay, you're married!"

I clapped my hands to my face in utter surprise and said, "Are you serious?!"

Yup, he was.  And that's how easy that was.  Nikki and the female customer were our two witnesses.