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Archive for June, 2008

There I’ve said it out loud. WE HAVE A GHOST, or Ghosts. Since you can’t really see the darn things, how are you to know?

When mom lived downstairs, she told us she had  a ghost. Apparently, irritating little chihuahua would sit for hours watching the corner of the room. Always the same corner. Then, the chihuahua ran away. She packed her toys and ran away. Well, since she didn’t have a suitcase, she couldn’t really pack, and since the only tool she really has is her mouth; what she actually did was pick up a toy, take it upstairs, drop it and then go down and get another, until her toy box was empty and my floor was covered.

I thought it was perhaps a new exercise program. Her old one consisting of taking a mouthful of food into the frontroom, going up her stairs to the couch, dropping food on the couch and then crunching very loudly as she eats it. Thereby letting everyone in the room know that she is being abused by being forced to eat YUCKY dog food, when we should be feeding her Chicken. 

Why she did this the first time, the packing and moving thing,  is that mom was getting firm with her. She wasn’t laughing at all chihuahua’s cute tricks, and she had the nerve to swat chihuahua’s backside with a fly swatter, when said chihuahua went across the road. Then, one day, mom’s balance being rather bad lately, she accidently stepped on her and, that was the last indignity, chihuahua said, “I’m outta here.”, packed her bags and moved upstairs.

But, she would sit or lay for hours, at the top of the stairway, starring down. Like, I want to go down but I can’t take it. Mom said it was the ghost.

It seems the ghost liked to stand in the corner in the bedroom, so chihuahua wouldn’t stay in the bedroom and also, the ghost liked my mom’s computer room.  Middle son now half lives in the computer room, since mom moved to her own place. I say half lives because middle son half lives other places, depending on the month.

What is with that anyway? Used to be only girls did sleep-overs. Now, guys do them. Times, they are a changing.  Anyway, middle son tells me that we have a ghost. It resides in his room and he has seen the depression when it sat in a chair. He also says it tried on one of his hats one day. Middle son doesn’t really care about his hats or the chair, he is just afraid the ghost is going to mess up his room.

I will pay the ghost to clean younger sons room, as no one would know if he messed it up, but alas, ghost is afraid to set foot in younger son’s room  for fear of stepping on a plate of macaroni or being overhwelmed by the smell of dirty clothing. Perhaps he is just afraid of becoming lost and no one would find him. Believe me, I know that feeling.

Ghost does not come upstairs. I tried sleeping downstairs for a while, but it is horribly cold and damp in the concrete block, walk-out, finished basement. Either that, or ghost just likes to sleep on top of me. Either way, I’m outta there.

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It is June, so you ask, why is she writing about Christmas stuff?  Because she is memory deficient and she a/k/a me, would have to write this now anyway and then save it in her Blog and then probably forget to publish it in December.  Besides, Christmas in June is nothing new.

I have made several errors in my life. (Quit laughing, Master’s Daughter) Okay, more than a few. One was having the lack of judgment to be married, for a short time, to a man my daughter’s fondly refer to as Hitler. My mother says he is the only person, on this earth, that she hates and she has to ask forgiveness for that when she gets to the Pearly gates.  I say, Hate him, Mom. He deserves it. 

Hitler had many horrible traits, which explains why we called him Hitler. Those traits are best left forgotten. He did have a few redeeming traits and one was a love of all things Christmas, including the Christmas tree, which he did not want taken down until the fire department showed up in June and said, “You have to take this fire hazard down.” It was a real tree and you can only water them for so long before they become tinder.

The perfect Christmas dinner, for Hitler, meant that the adults drover around town most of the day on Christmas Eve and picked up everyone’s favorite food from restaurants. With gas prices now, it would be a very expensive dinner. Since, his kids had a “traditional” dinner with his ex, and mine had one the next day at Grandma’s house, it was really a fun thing to do. The kids all loved it and it was their tradition. Which goes to prove that anything can be a tradition. It just needs to suit your lifestyle and family for it to last and be fun.

Christmas holidays have always been a big thing in my life.  Mom  decorated the perfect tree, I’m really thinking she was the original Martha Stewart, the cards always hung straight and filled the walls (remember when you were a kid and your self-worth was based on how many cards you got? “I got twenty valentines. How many did you get?”) Mom and Dad would work to make the house, inside and out, perfection. There were yard decorations to be hung and lighted, window decorations, indoor decorations and the tree.

One of my fondest memories of my brother was the year he taught me how to wrap a present. David may have had a touch of the Compulsive gene, because you never saw such a job of wrapping in your life. Corners were pressed and creased. I’m sure you could have bounced a quarter off that box. But, he was also artistic and they were beautiful when he was done. He loved Christmas too.

Dad, my brother and I would hunt for the perfect living tree. It seems like there was a lot more snow then, so it was snowing when we went and you could see your breath as you spoke. It went on top of our station wagon and, when we got home, if it wasn’t perfect, dad would work to make it so. Branches were actually added to our tree, if I remember right. I know it had to have the “bad” side to the corner and then dad and David put the lights on, while the mom directed them.

What was I doing while this went on? I was in the kitchen eating a whole box of chocolate covered sugar wafers. At eight, this is not a good thing to do on Christmas eve. You miss decorating the tree because you are heaving into the toilet. You would think this incident might have led to anorexia. Trust me, it didn’t.

Mom may have been the first person in the modern world to use actual toys on the tree. She had all the traditional glass baubles and lights, but she would also hang trinkets. These included fancy dangly earrings, or strings of beads she had made, as well as little stuffed animals and dolls. People would come to our house and marvel at her tree.

While recovering from surgery,  in 2007, I relinquished a lot of the traditions that, I am now learning, really robbed the fun of Christmas. I relinquished that little compulsive side of me who had to do the tree just right. I sat on the couch and watched the men decorate the tree. I laughed with them and Christmas was all the more special for the love that went on that tree, that year. It wasn’t nearly done, but the memories are even more rich, and that’s what Christmas is about.

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I was reading the comments on Master Daughter’s Blog this evening. And, had to give a shiver at one. Talisman, with his ADD comment, seems to have “foreseen” this post I was working on this morning, but had not posted yet.

I grew up in the television age and now live in the Internet age.  I remember placing my children in front of Sesame Street, as I made the morning doughnuts. Actually, I did make doughnuts, not every morning and certainly not for the healthiest of breakfasts, but I was playing June Cleever at the time.

One daughter, sat quietly and watched tv, soaking up all the information being fed to her. Expanding her brain, and her hips. She is my Master’s Daughter, who would still rather sit and read, knit or Blog, and who spends her summers off from teaching gifted sixth graders, by studying the life cycle of eggs or looking at tomatoes under an electron microscope, whilst wearing a space suit and a badge with a light that goes off right before she becomes supercharged and loses all her calcium. If you need an explanation, Shame on you! You haven’t been reading the most hilarious blog in the universe. http://Braindebris.WordPress.com At least I got it right that time.

The other daughter, sat, not quietly, using the hassock as a jungle gym. She spent the rest of her childhood being pulled by a dog while wearing roller skates (She wore the roller skates, not the dog). I believe she even took showers in those roller skates and delighted in standing on her head and waving her feet in front of the television, thus driving her Master’s sister to push her into the cabinet; (as in “push in and shut the door”)  on a daily basis.

Wikipedia, my favorite source for information, tells us that a study of 2,600 children, ages 1 to 3, in 2004 found that exposure to television may affect their attention span and that internet browsing may also. Attention span – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

In looking at my two daughters, I have to say that our family has disproved this notion. Master’s Daughter, the tv watcher, attended college as an adult, graduated with honors and a Master’s degree; all while raising three sons and Super-Sized husband. (For those of you not in the know, supersized husband is very tall  (at least compared to me), and has many traits of a man reverting to the age of twelve; thus becoming her fourth child. It takes a lot of attention span to keep up with that.

Daughter, who has eleven children, has floated most of her life. I do believe she still wants her roller skates back, but don’t we all and, perhaps, from what little tv she watched may have come the tendency to believe and do anything her husband tells her; thus she is clearly having a problem thinking for herself. Is ADD to blame? Certainly the number of children she has shows concentration in one aspect of her life. And, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love and adore all the munchkins and miss them terribly.

 To take this study one step further, I went to Psychology Today and took their Attention Span Test. Psychology Today: Self Tests. My family, when growing up, had the first television on the block. My father was addicted from the first time he turned that dial on. He took a night correspondence television repair course, well it could have been done by day too, most correspondence courses are somewhat flexible that way, but he worked for Combustion Engineering during the day.

As children from other houses in our neighborhood took home the word of how wonderful this invention was, that the VanVleck’s have, and nagged their families into purchasing a television, my dad became the man to call when it didn’t work right. His move, to retire to Arkansas, saw the largest bonfire in Lake County, Indiana, as we burned the television cabinets he had saved for years, over a two day period.

I felt that I was a good test sample to see if television may have affected my attention span, so I took Psychology Today’s test. (from the link above). This is their report to me:          “According to your score, you sometimes have difficulty maintaining your focus on a task and following it through until completion. People who have short attention spans tend to jump from project to project and are often known to be quite disorganized. This frequently results in missed deadlines, tardiness, and bills being paid late. “

I have never paid a bill late, well hardly ever, I do not miss deadlines and I am rarely tardy. However, I do have a problem with jumping from project to project. A Big problem.

Right now, I have so many projects either started or half done, that I could live to be two hundred and probably never finish them: quilt squares for Master Daughter, quilt for someone undecided (almost finished for ten years now), a quilt for each grandchild (most are already designed with fabric purchased, photo albums for each grandchild (pictures are sorted), sweater for husband (have yarn), endless photos to create paintings from (my new project involves shadows. That way I have an excuse to take more pictures, to put off more painting.), I have a garden sized gorilla just started in my ceramics studio and a project on women’s perception of beauty well underway. Add to that the desperate need to get the house organized and I’m looking at a life sentence here.  And, those darn “knit in the round” socks are cast on for the third time. One Mystery novel needs major editing and revision. One children’s picture book just needs to be put in order to send out.

However, I have just spent the last two plus years working daily on my Young Adult novel and I have fifty pages left of my fifth edit. I’m already crafting my query letter to agents and editors, and I have started a sketchbook that will, hopefully add interest-even if they give this to a book artist for illustrations, because it is a fantasy and maps and details are nice for kids to look at.  SO, when it is important enough, I can finish a project. Should we withhold judgment on that until the book is in the hands of a publisher? I need to also mention that it may take major surgery to make me finish a project, as that is how I started this one.

I have been a computer buff since the KAYPRO. They say the Internet also lowers attention span. If anything, it has helped mine as I tend to click too quickly and miss all kinds of stuff. Like on WordPress, the front page changes by the second. I’ll never know now, since I clicked too fast at sign on: just what kind of haircut your kid  gets when you let your punk friends take the child for a haircut,  or Why Bill Gates is just Now Learning What Dog food Tastes Like (He is retired in a New York walk up and reduced to this?) and  Just what does happen if you wear lipstick?

If I click too fast on my online bank, I am locked out time and again, until they decide that I am an intruder and I have to call the bank to reset my password. I am now on a first name basis with the woman who does this. So, the internet is forcing me to slow down and Meditate on which button to push next. Such decisions! No wonder I don’t have time to finish all my projects.

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This morning, I was working on a humorous post for today, in my continuing effort to bring the word humor above FLDS in my tag clouds, but it is growing into an epic novel and not that funny of one either. And, to top it off, the sky is darkening and I have just heard thunder.

When it rains in Indiana, as it does a lot, we lose our totally unreliable phone service. We actually do not lose it, we join the 19th century by gaining party lines. The other day I heard a whole conversation about someones furniture, while repeating, “Can you hear me? Can you hear me?” Obviously, I could hear them but they couldn’t hear me. Sometimes I can talk to the other party, I met a neighbor on our road through our party line. 

Rarely is this State conducive to being On-line. The Internet does not like wet phone lines. The sky darkens and the Satellite goes out too. This is usually timed perfectly by the sky Gods. Always, it goes out the last ten minutes of the only Law & Order I have never seen before. Since Law & Order, and all of its initials, is on constantly at our home, I imagine the odds of this happening are fairly large.

As I wrote that last sentence, I was kicked off the internet. No Joke! Honest! I immediately hit print screen, because I didn’t know when I saved last. I am in the habit of saving constantly already but this problem has made it even more important.

Indiana probably has more laptops, per capita, than any other state, so that when the electricity goes out, as it does approximately four times a month, we do not lose our work product.  Seriously, I kept track for several months of power outages and it did; four times each month. Anyway, with a laptop and battery back up, you swear a lot less when the electricity surges and dies.

So, I shall go now and light my hurricane lamp as I wait for the power to go out. I shall fill a kettle of water, to boil for when the water main breaks, yet again. And, as I say adieu to you nice Internet folk, I am safe in the knowledge that terrorists will never strike Indiana. Why bother? We’re disintegrating all on our own.

UPDATES:  will be posted because it is hard to believe but true: I was not real diligent in noting these down but here is just a sampling.

March 2008: 6th: electricity out 6:15 am to 9:30 am : June 8th: came home to boil order but that was due to the flood:  31st: Electricity on and off five times till it went out at 6:45 pm (I think this is the time it was out all night and well into the next day. Ice on Brown County trees are not conducive to power. )

April 2008: 6th, electricity on and off numerous times

May 2008: 1st, water main broke,

June 2008: 3rd, Electric out one time: 4th, electric out 7pm to 6 am: 13th electric out 4:45 to 7:45; 30th, Sunny sky, light wind. Electricity out from 12:05 to 2:20 pm. Odd because it just went out. Usually it goes on and off a few times before staying out.

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OhMyGosh!!! Humor is as big as Indiana now, in my Tag Clouds. (see that thing on the right at the bottom of the post, if you are unfamiliar with the term.) Can the takeover of FLDS be far behind?  That was my goal just yesterday, to raise humor to the top level of my Blog.

I have been writing much too seriously, and I need humor in my life. You see, I am still recovering from open heart surgery, performed in November of 2007. Without insurance, my condition was allowed to progress for two years.

I told the P.A. that I was tired. Then, that I had heart attack symptoms. The P.A. told me I was just under stress. Of course, I was under stress. I thought I was having a heart attack. in her wisdom, she never offered to treat stress as that would make too much sense. Then, by the end of two years of this, a new doctor took over that office, in Nashville, Indiana, and called me  to come in to the office one day and told me to not return for three months; “you are just under stress” he told me. Then, he had the nerve to charge me $50 because he called me in so he could tell me not to come in.

I had emergency open heart surgery, seven days later, under the care of the wonderful people at St. Francis Hospital in Greenwood/Indianapolis.

The extremely patient friendly state of Indiana does not seem to feel that my damaged heart, due to the length of time I was not cared for properly, constitutes a lawsuit. So, I sit here, still without insurance, doing my own rehab with a 20% functioning of my lower heart. The doctor says I should be able to get it up to a low normal function, with exercise and I am much better now.

The surgeon told me it would take a good year. It was a frustratingly, depressing fifteen or so months actually. I would start exercise, I would rest for a week.  Now, I do the stairs four to five times a day. I do 20 minutes on my treadmill everyday. Then, I slip in crunches and weights. I love the Body for Life program and had done it for nine months before I got sick, so I’m slowly working my way back into it. My biggest problem is to remind myself to do it slowly, or I pay for it with a week of rest.

I’m exercising and eating MUCH MUCH better, so I want humor and I want to focus on humor. I’m excited to have humor overtake the news on the Indiana floods, in my tag clouds.

Aren’t you glad you know that now?????

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Lest, BrainDrain a/k/a Master’s Daughter:

 http://braindebris.wordpress.com/2008/06/27/tampons-and-the-garbage-man/#comment-48 

Before she steals all Grandma’s “good” stories, I thought I should add my two cents. I wrote these lines this morning and then sat here trying to remember Grandma stories. I know there are some; actually more than you would believe. It’s just really hard to remember them. There was the time grandma fell down a couple of the basement stairs and broke her ?foot ?wrist. Daughter of eleven children, was visiting and wanted to call an ambulance. Mom would not allow that.

No self-respecting woman would let an EMT in the house until she had crawled up the stairs, washed everything that got dirty in the fall, put on lipstick and combed her hair. Only then, was an ambulance called. I have not inherited this trait and I have been known to go to the emergency room in ratty sweat pants and shirt. I got very mad at my family, the time they made me get up off the van floor and sit in a chair with seatbelt because I had taken E-myacin and nearly vomited my life away. I refuse to comb my hair when I am in pain or vomiting. Ain’t happen’.

Oh, and then their is the time my soon-to-be husband was visiting and sat a water pitcher on the floor (we were playing cards). The intake of air, from all in presence in the room, sucked the oxygen from a three county area. He looked up at the open mouthed, staring faces, with a look of wonder. “What’d I do?” Teeth clenched, I whispered, “Pick it up, before she sees it.” But, it was already too late as the lack of oxygen had already gotten her attention.

There are certain things you just don’t do at Grandma’s house. Put things in the fridge without washing them off. She is actually trying to deny this at this point in her life but I remember the assembly line every payday when mom, dad, brother and I would unpack, wash, dry and shelf the groceries. Which I really didn’t understand when it came to can goods being stored in the basement. They had to be washed off again when you brought them up. Come to think of it, all canned goods had to be washed off again. You also don’t put things on the floor, not unless they can be decontaminated; nope, not even then. Feet are not allowed on the couch, but then bare feet are frowned upon anyway, and not wanted on the floor either. That may be it for this morning. That’s the extent of my memory.

I would be just as funny as Master Daughter, but she actually has a memory. One day we were talking and she relates a story about something that happened when she was two years old. I vaguely remembered the incident, and I was a lot older obviously, but it is not the “Remember that Christmas when you…” type of thing that is brought up every holiday so that you never forget it. Which is usually the point of those embarressing stories. I’m telling you, the girl’s memory is scary.

I, on the other hand, have been known to have a conversation about where to go on an upcoming holiday, walk into the dining room (from the location of the first conversation-the kitchen), sit down in a chair and look up at those living in the house and say, “When are we going to decide where we are going for the upcoming holiday?”

Only to be greeted by stares of disbelieve. Well, not anymore. They are used to it now. My lack of memory is legendary at this point. I tend to start conversations in the middle of topics. I forget I was just thinking about it and not already discussing it.

I feel like a fraud adding a humor tag to my blogs, after reading the ungrateful rat daughter’s, but hey, she’s got talent. I would like to point out that her Blog name is not BrainDrain but is actually Brain Debris.  I looked it up. I forgot.

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Good morning!

Obviously, it takes very little to entertain me as I have found new enjoyment in the fact that my last night post changed my Tag Clouds so that I now have a line that reads.

Knitting lost boys: Will the fun never end?

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