Wednesday, January 31, 2007

About #23

My answer to #23 in the meme below seems to have attracted some attention, so I'll spill a little about my strange life.

I am, by nature, a night owl. I knew this way back in high school, and I suppose as much as anything that led me into the first part of my newspaper career, first in college and then as a copy editor/obit writer/copy chief/wire editor/layout editor/page 1 editor at a large metropolitan newspaper.

Even when I held daytime state jobs (for a total of about 7 years), I couldn't beat that late-night habit. And eventually I did go back to working nights for several more years before working days again as a mid-level editor.

I tend to be gearing up just about the time morning folks are crashing and burning for the night. And being a semi-solitary type, it sometimes doesn't suit me to sit at home. So if I'm particularly antsy, and the weather is OK, I'll go outside. Once I close the door behind me I usually jump in the car and go on an adventure, just to see what the world is doing when most people are asleep.

Several times over the past decade I've found myself downtown in the middle of the night, at the site of the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building. It is a peaceful place now, but there are still spirits there that I can feel. Sometimes I'll park a block or so away from the memorial itself. Even now, in the light from the street lights, I can see shards of glass on the sidewalks shining like diamonds in the night.

I've spent time sitting in the chapel on the east side of the memorial, and walking around First United Methodist Church on the same block. I remember the afternoon I went in with a photographer friend of mine and someone who had been part of the rescue/recovery work, before the memorials were held. We were working on a book together for a while and we got a very private tour of the church -- areas that were used as the early morgue; where triage was done; where volunteers were fed and came to rest after their super-human work.

We also went to the sanctuary, where the stained glass ceiling fell that Wednesday morning right after Easter. The pastor was supposed to tape his weekly radio show that morning at 9 a.m., but his secretary just called to him from the door to say the radio station had to reschedule. He went back to his office at exactly 9:01; where he was standing a minute before was covered with the stained glass that rained down at 9:02.

The rose window on the west side balcony also blew out, twisted in its frame, though the glass remained. A large cross carried in the Good Friday service still leaned across that window with its eerie drape.

In the memorial itself, a rectangular reflective pool now covers the point where evil exploded. For some time after April 19, 1995, NW 5th Street remained open to pedestrian traffic. The point where the truck exploded was apparent. You could stand there and feel the gates of hell beneath your feet.

The pool reminds me of the power of baptism: Water covers evil and makes us new again.

The memorial brings me peace. The cyclone fence surrounding it remains a "people's memorial." Visitors from all over the world still come to bring tokens of remembrance: Teddy bears of all types; car tags; key chains; photographs; poems; T-shirts signed by individuals and groups. It is fascinating to see.

Perhaps the area I find most comforting is the grove of trees and the play area that were created as the children's memorial. So many children over the past decade-plus have come to learn what happened and they are able to start processing it by drawing pictures on the sidewalk with the chalk that's been provided for that purpose. Others write simple notes.

Come back again and I'll tell you more ... next up, my international adventures in the wee hours.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Tagged! I'm It!

It's been a while since I've gotten tagged to answer a meme, so this is kind of exciting. Tech tagged me to answer this meme from Crystal.


1. Which super hero would you most likely have an affair with? Mighty Mouse. We were engaged when I was 4.

2. What show do you watch that you would be embarrassed to be seen watching? The Simpsons.

3. You've got an hour to waste doing anything you want -- what do you do? So many choices... sew, knit, read, sleep.

4. If the townspeople gathered together and ran you out of town, what would their reason be? Probably because I bought all the yarn in town.

5. Of all your friends, who is most likely to have been abducted by aliens? Linda.

6. Someone is looking at your body and says, "What is that??" What are they looking at? A couple of well-hidden and yet unattractive surgical scars.

7. Which monster do you most closely associate yourself with: vampire, werewolf, Frankenstein, or zombie? Zombie. I just seem to be among the walking dead these days.

8. What movie title best describes your love life? Psycho.

9. If your life had a theme song, what would it be? "What Kind of Fool Am I?"

10. Do you have any body part pierced? I had my ears pierced in 1984, but they have since closed up.

11. Are you easily distracted by bright, shiny objects? What? Did you say something?

12. If you had to wear a costume instead of regular clothes, what would you wear? Ma Kettle.

13. Do you think it's weird I'm asking and answering myself these questions? What? Did you say something again?

14. Who's your favorite Star Trek character? Capt. Pickard.

15. What animal gives you the heebie-jeebies? Skunks!

16. Do you eat the stems of broccoli? If they are tender.

17. What was something you did that could only be described as "white trashy"? Oh! In college I went with some drunken friends to Norman's Denco Diner and had a Denco Darlin'. (Don't ask. It involved a weird combo of food topped with two eggs lookin'. It was a requirement to graduate from the J-school.)

18. Did you ever do anything while you were drunk and had to learn about it from others later? The first time I drank I kept a diary of the experience, which wound up in the hands of the guy I dated at the time. He brought it to me some time later so I could see it.

19. Name your top 4 fantasy vacations. Returning to Switzerland; Italy; an extended stay in New York City with unlimited money; a month in the Pacific Northwest.

20. Name your top 4 fantasy jobs. Writer; architect; home builder; director of a non-profit.

21. Would you move for the person you loved? Yes. If someone loved me enough to ask me, I would move in a heartbeat.

22. What's the ringtone on your phone? Uh, ring..... ring..... ring..... (standard ringtone).

23. Can anyone verify your whereabouts from midnight to 5 am? Never. And people would be so surprised if they knew some of the places I have been between those hours.

24. What's one thing you hope to accomplish in 2007? To hold an auction to raise money for a housing ministry. It is in the planning stages right now.

25. Make up your own question and send it around. What is blocking you from being completely happy with your life right now?

And now I will tag any of you who are reading my blog. Leave me a note here so I can check out your answers! Thanks!

Monday, January 22, 2007

I will apologize now

Hi my friends. I hate to admit this out loud and in public because I know some of you won't approve, but I just finished drining a whole bottle of Sutter Home Merlot (2000).

Yes dear readers, I am totally drunk at the moment. I just thought it would be funny to admit it publicly. I feel so very good and relaxed for the first time in a long time.

There is someone on Jay Leno who I do not recognize. Tomorrrow I will look it up. My hero Ty Pennington will be on tonight too. I think he is so great.

I will stop now to avoid further embarrassment later. Please forgive me. I don't do this more than once a decade.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

A little cleaning, a little cooking

So it's been about 10 days since the ice storm first hit. I've been out of my driveway two times -- both times to go to the grocery store a few blocks away to stock up for the duration.

We were supposed to get a ton of snow starting last night, but there was a large warm-air layer below the snow. By the time the precipitation got to the lower levels, it had melted into rain or a tiny bit of sleet. The temps today have been warm enough to do a lot of melting. Yay! However, if it freezes tonight, what we'll have is another thick layer of smooth ice! One step forward? Two slides back?

I'm still stocked with enough groceries to last a couple of weeks, which is not a bad thing. I've enjoyed cooking big pots of things and using up the leftovers on other days.

You know, despite being at home for a week and a half, I didn't get nearly the number of domestic things done that I had expected. I had planned to go spend some time at a girlfriend's house out in the country the night before it all started, but I (wisely) decided to stay home. I'd say that was a good choice -- she just got out yesterday for the first time, and today she and her fiance spent the day sledding on their property with their dog.

She and I talked the first day of the storm about all the things we were going to get done: Lots of cleaning, reorganizing ... all that stuff. Yeah. We talked again today and neither of us got any of that done. I've gotten caught up on much of the laundry that's been bugging me, but ho hum.

This afternoon and evening I've decided to bite the bullet and so I've attacked my office with gusto. It's a big job. Things have been piled up too long.

My work area is poorly laid out, with my computers in a beautiful big armoire that I love, but hate to work from. It's got lots of vertical space, and I need horizontal space. I'm short, and I spread my work out to the sides.

I'd love to move this piece to another area and build a table that spans the entire wall, with long shelves on the wall above the table. It's so very annoying to need the phone or printer, which are on a table to the side of the armoire. Sounds handy, but the dang armoire doors block my access to the machines on the table. Instead of being able to roll my chair a couple of inches, I have to get up, step around the armoire, close the door and then stretch to reach what I need.

I'm hoping that this clearing project will eventually make it possible to remedy the design flaws in this space so I can work more easily. I'll definitely need help from some muscle-y people when the time comes to move furniture around. The armoire is actually two pieces that are stacked. I may be able to use it in the living room... I'll give it some thought.

Anyway, you can see how my brain is working... it's taking its own scenic route like we SHEs tend to do (Sidetracked Home Executives, for those who don't know the lingo...)

Back to the project.

Time to get another trash bag to finish clearing out the junk, then I'll get down to "cleaning," a whole separate task from "clearing." I might get the clearing part done tonight. I wish I could say I'd get the cleaning done too, but that will probably be tomorrow.

Aren't you glad you came back to check up on me? I'm trying to be good because I want to get this out of the way and start working on some creative projects. I'm trying to be good. Honest I am.

Friday, January 19, 2007

A brief outing on Thursday

Thursday was my opportunity to make a brief outing to restock at the grocery store. It took me a good 25 minutes to scrape the ice off the windshield, hood and roof. It was kind of fun sliding off the huge pieces on the hood and roof and hearing them shatter on the far side of the car.

Even with that, while the car was warming up, getting out of the drive was a struggle. Fortunately I picked a time when traffic was sparse before trying to back up. Good thing, too. Getting over the 3 - to 4 -inch hump of ice behind the car was like trying to drive backwards over a curb. Once out, I was able to drive almost 5 mph down my street to the major intersection a block and a half or so from the house. When I got there it was pretty clear sailing to the grocery store three blocks away. About half the width of the outer lanes still had piles of ice, but the center lanes were actually passable!

The grocery store parking lot was half-frozen, half-flooded and plenty full of the cars of other shoppers trying to stock up before the approaching snow storm.

Speaking of snow... I'm honestly scared of what's coming. The "solid forecast" for the weekend is snow, a lot of heavy, wet snow. The forecast is for 5 to 12 inches! YES!! And in poor Amarillo, Texas, the forecast is for 19 inches! YES!! You read me right!!

The snow is supposed to start here about 11 p.m. Friday, moving northeast. It is supposed to snow at least through Sunday, and I'm afraid it could be at least another week before I'm brave enough to sally forth again.

I may be able to get some photos once the snow gets here just to show you how deep it gets, but it will have to be what I can shoot from here because I promise you I won't be driving on it! Yeah, call me the big Snow Chicken if you want. Bwak! Bwak!

When this stuff passes, look for me at Starbucks. My coffee buddy and I have missed three weeks so far and we're both having withdrawal.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Brrr brrr brrr brrr brrrrrrrrr!!!

Just a quick weather update for those who are wondering...

I haven't left my house since Thursday because of the ice. I have a solid white sheet of ice that is about 3 inches thick and so hard that I didn't leave footprints when I took some trash out to the cart at the side of the house. Didn't even break the surface. You can't see any footprints from the mailman either. That's some tough ice!

I was well stocked for this round of bad weather, but I'm hoping to be able to get to the grocery story Thursday or Friday before we get snow on top of the ice on Saturday. I know it will be asking a lot of the grocery store staff to have things on the shelves. If it should happen that I can't get out, I will live, but I will certainly be happier if I can restock my Diet Coke supply and maybe get a little more chocolate. We have our needs, after all!

I think the world is happier that I am stuck inside this house. Believe me, I don't need to crash my car or break a bone, and I don't want to do anything that would cause anyone else trouble either. I can do some of my work by phone, so I'm taking advantage of this situation as much as possible for the duration.

Maybe I'll crawl out for Groundhog Day! Or spring.

The photo above is from my front porch tonight. I didn't get out when it was light, so pardon the blur from the night shutter. I can barely see the curb on the far side of the street.

Makes me wish I had skates.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Withdrawing for a while

Dear friends and fellow Bloggers,

It is with great sorrow that I tell you that I'll not be blogging for a while. I can't even give you an estimate of how long I must leave my blog behind.

I find myself in a deep, dark hole right now for several reasons, the main one being the realization that I have neglected a very important friendship to the point that I've lost it and been called on it.

I am heartbroken to realize what I've done. All I can do right now is to urge all of you to contact your own friends and let them know how important they are to you. Don't do what I've done, please. Don't be negligent. Don't take people for granted. Don't expect them to understand -- there are no reasons that will matter. And the price is too high.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

First, the greeting for the year: Happy New Year!

Second, a question for each of you. And I hope you'll share your answers here and discuss them.

The question: What makes you happy? Truly happy? I'm not talking about the moments that are absent of sorrows or troubles, but true HAPPINESS.

It seems so elusive at times, and each person defines it differently, so I invite conversation about happiness, how YOU recognize it, how YOU CREATE it.

Who's first? Don't be shy!