Tuesday, August 31, 2004

The Petrified Forest

I am really old and getting older. I can not bare to watch the TV shows that are so popular today. I am not writing about the 'reality' shows, I am writing about those monotonous, saccharin, shows of love and sex and heartbreak and new love and new sex and more heartbreak. These plots used to be left to afternoon soaps where bored housewives could get some escape from housework and diapers and baby babel.

Young attractive people look at each and stumble through primitive dialogue as if they were just learning to talk. They are introspective to the point of disappearing! No one ever seems to have a good day for the entire day.

It is no wonder that the twenty-somethings think a job is just a paycheck and that they are marking time until something big and meaningful happens in their lives. Watching too much of this stuff can petrify any developing brain.

Friday, August 27, 2004

The house on the hill

Well, I just got back from the architects to pick up the revised blueprints for the retirement home. I have 7 copies in my hot little hands! 6 for the 6 contractors to bid on and one for us to dream and drool over.

This house has come about in a round peg square hole way. The lot that we finally found that met our needs and which we could afford was so narrow that the house could not be wider than 50 feet. That may sound wide enough but most pre-done plans don't even come close to this width. Pre-done or off-the-shelf has its problems, but we can't afford original work, so I spent months looking through magazines, the web and talking to people.

I finally found some plans on the Internet and purchased them with the authority to change to meet needs and codes. We have a friend who is an architect and he has been doing the tweaking for us. The house itself is "French country" and sort of looks like a New Orleans style with a cute front courtyard. Not at all the style of house I ever thought I would build...I am sort of a cape code type. Anyway, as we have spent the last year going over the floor plans and thinking about lifestyle, this house has grown on me. I am allowing myself to get a little excited now, as we send out the bid packages tomorrow.

Only a little excited because there is still the unknown issue of costs and all the headaches and compromises ahead. But for now I will pretend it is a straight road ahead.

My husband has already made friends with the neighbors at the new building site and is using their dock to hang some oyster cages. Why he is culturing these oysters, lord only knows...seems to be giving our neighbor something to fill time with though. I don't think I would eat any oysters cultured in these waters.

To blog or not to blog isn't even the question.

Found this article with lots of links on blogging. Some good quotes below:

Blogging: “… never have so many people written so much to be read by so few.” By KATIE HAFNER

"By Jupiter Research's estimate, only 4 percent of online users read blogs."

Ms. Quint has grown more understanding of his reasons, if not entirely sympathetic. "The Web's illusion of immortality is sometimes more attractive than actual cash," she said.

"I was trying to record all thoughts and speculations I deemed interesting," he said. "Sort of creating a digital alter ego. The obsession came from trying to capture as much as possible of the good stuff in my head in as high fidelity as possible."

Check out the article here for more on the above taken from footnotes at this site.

What happens when this blogsite is 'abandoned'?

Just one casual mistake and a lot of information can be lost. Two Ralph Waldo Emerson collections dating to the 1860s and other out-of-print gems are among the items a team of volunteers found while salvaging thousands of books from the former East St. Louis library that had been abandoned when the library moved.

Read all about it here.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

The Class Reunion (we all dread.)

Talk about your milestones! I graduated from high school a loooong time ago. Last month I got invited to my 40th high school reunion. My class has these once a decade and I have made it to two of them. It was short notice and I really didn’t want to go since I will have to buy a plane ticket—most of the rest still live within driving distance. Some of us have died, some of us have cancer, one is getting out of jail, one is a “recovering” alcoholic (the genius of the class), and most of the rest are divorced. My class size was only 15!! I guess we were pretty dysfunctional. It was a small farming community with not much money and I guess this is what you get 4 decades later.

My best girlfriend (who is normal) and my ex-boyfriend (who is wealthy) from that time called begging me to come. Clearly when there are so few of us, each addition makes for a better party.

I am just so far away from that time and culture in my life. I know in my heart I will probably have a good time, but right now I cannot imagine what we will talk about. The “good old days” were about basketball games and “necking.” The biggest topic for my generation right now is this divisive election—don’t want to there.

Agenda: The first night is at a bar with the two old coaches watching a video tape of the game that sent the graduating class to the state basketball tournament. (A jock fest.) Then the next night is at a fancy French restaurant…been there and done that. And the next day is an afternoon picnic at my ex-boyfriend’s fancy house. It is going to be a long afternoon.

I love photography and this would be an appropriate time for me to bring my digital, so maybe that will help pass the time.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

They're having a baby!

Well, it is still a secret, but my daughter informed us this past weekend, that she and her husband are now pregnant--they have been trying only since April--so they are lucky people. She calls 'it' Spec because that is what is looks like on the sonogram. Talk about your cliché milestone--this is the first grandchild for me and H.

When you get old you see very clearly how times have changed. When I was pregnant the sonogram was done only during the last trimester and for very specific reasons. There was some concern it could harm the fetus. Now she is getting them about every two weeks and then once a month! I hope these medical types know what they are doing.

While I am very excited, I am also well aware that this is going to bring a whole new dynamic to the family ring. She has agreed to raise the child Catholic and H. and I are not Catholics and actually pretty suspicious of all the mandates and rules surrounding the religion. (Let's hope that the baby is not wheat intolerant! Another Catholic issue.) I know that a decade from now this little one may ask why H. and I don't go to church and particularly why we don't go to Mass. I am not afraid of how or what I will say--I will welcome any honest discussion. But I hope that the others involved will not get all hyper about my response. My daughter D.'s in-laws are really nice people and actually seem relieved that we are not openly anti-Catholic. I guess Catholics have to defend themselves more often these days.

I actually ran Bible school at the local Methodist Church in the good old days, wanting to expose my children to Christianity so that they can make there own decisions in life. Now my son is an atheist like his father and my daughter believes in God--but doesn't seem to have any clear boundaries on who this God is. Me, I think I am drifting toward Buddhism.

Monday, August 23, 2004


I was thinking how contradictory it is to say you are not a joiner and then join a blog site...Although joining a blog site is not exactly like joining a club or society. It is virtual in everyway. You can be you or someone else. Others can be themselves or someone else. You can have a conversation with just yourself or others, but you have no control over this. It is not like walking across a room and introducing yourself. Blogging is also not the same as volunteering to be on the committee. Others do not have a vested interest in your presence or lack thereof. Although there still is 'group think.'

The only time I joined things in the past was because I had children and I had a vested interest in their involvement in the activity. Sometimes I was a leader and sometimes just a workerbee. But I never really felt I belonged in any of it.

Now that I am approaching retirement and will have more free time, I am thinking that I should put energy toward some of the causes that I believe in. We'll see.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

So thus the beginning.

Each life has milestones, some of which have become cliches. In this fastpaced society, I now realize that my milestones arrive more slowly and appear to have a mellow aura about them. I am looking forward to that pace. I have always been a hurry-up and correct it later type and probably always well be. But, I am now pushing 60 and enjoying the lack of deadlines and seriousness of my decisions.

Actually, it is more my lack of seriousness in approaching decisions these days. I do have many serious decisions to make. When am I going to retire? How am I going to approach the economic decisions for this retirement? How am I going to allocate the remaining hours, days, years of my life?

I am in the earliest process of building the (cliche) retirement/dream home. Something I never thought I would be able to do. Something that has come about due to living a little frugally and also due to living overseas almost a decade of my life, where my living expenses were paid by my employer.

I am married to a mellow guy who doesn't care much about the house--only that it is comfortable, is engineered for use of natural resources as much as possible, and is near the water so that he can fish! It is all of these.

So this site will be about that project as well as my pet peeves, my beliefs and my concerns about the world I live in. Large menu--hope that it can be digested!