Thursday, October 30, 2008

There, There, Cheryl (again)

I've heard from my editor regarding the new book proposal.

And I'm taking it very well.



(Happy Halloween anyway) (I guess) (sigh)

I think I need whatever that magic mood-enhancer is that's in a Mickey-D's Happy Meal. I got to witness the effects of said magic just few days ago. The THUNDERS (the grandboys' soccer team, for those of you who don't already know) (bless their little "Charlie Brown Team" hearts) lost their final game, and as you might expect, their faces were long and their spirits were low. Immediately after the game, the team was directed to a nearby picnic shelter for "refreshments." The THUNDERS were tired, sad, dragging, wanting to go home. And the weather pretty much fit the overall blue funk.

Enter from out of nowhere, the Official Soccer Mom bearing a big cardboard box full of McDonald's Happy Meals. The effect was immediate and amazing. Believe me, they don't call those things "Happy Meals" for nothing. It was if someone had thrown a "Cheer Up Now" switch, because cheer up they did. And best of all, it was contagious. A good time was had by all -- despite the loss -- all thanks to Mickey-D's.

I wonder if they work on disgruntled writers?

Monday, October 27, 2008

More Mystery Movie Stars Memory Keeping and Major Digressing.

So far, the first mystery movie star remains unidentified. So here's another one.

The pose seems somewhat unusual to me -- a bit like the wedding photos appearing in the local newspaper of late, with the brides all wearing approximately the same strapless wedding dress and sometimes standing in front of closed doors as if they've been locked out or in front of a stone wall as if they've been detained and are about to be frisked. Now and then, they're standing in open doorways, arms raised -- something on the order of Mae West's "Come up sometime..."

Then there are some who are actually sitting outside on the ground, or on cement-looking steps with very utilitarian iron railing behind them, or on what looks for the world like a dirty dungeon floor strewn with dead leaves. In. A. Wedding. Dress. Being a dedicated cheapskate and knowing at least the ballpark figure for a bridal gown nowadays -- not to mention the cost of dry-cleaning -- photographs like these are enough to give me palpitations.

Oh, and some of the brides, bless their hearts, are clearly in love with their automobiles.

At the risk of sounding like Andy Rooney, no, I do not understand any part of this trend -- (sigh) -- and fortunately, I don't have to fund any of them. I'll just mind my own beeswax and get to the point, how about that?

Except now I don't remember what it was.

No, wait. It's coming to me. Please look at the movie star, and if you know who he is, a post here would be very nice. And very appreciated.

I'm just going to go now...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Update on the World Traveler

He's been sick again, but he reports to his mother that he's seen a doctor and he's "feeling better." He's also going to school and teaching an English class. And he's acquired a permanent place on my Official Worry List. (sigh)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Movie Star Mysteries (More Memory Keeping)

I've been looking through my late sister-in-law's collection of old movie star photographs. Many of them are easily recognizable even though they aren't autographed. Like this one -- the World War II pinup of Betty Grable and her famous "gams." (I've read that this over-the-shoulder pose was a necessity because they didn't want her "baby bump" to show.) And, just in case you're wondering, Betty is not, I repeat -- NOT -- nude. She's wearing a one piece bathing suit. The photograph is very faded.

Most of the pictures are autographed, some generically, some specifically to my sister-in-law. (And what a thrill that must have been even if the "autograph" was done by somebody in the mail room.) She had quite a collection. Besides the Betty Grable, there's one of the actress I was named for -- Cheryl Walker -- and ones of the tragic Carol Landis and Gail Russell. The "Cheryl Walker" was a real find for me because I'd never seen any of her movies and I had no idea what she looked like.

But there are some photos I can't identify. My sister-in-law sometimes wrote notes on the backs -- like how many children they had -- but that doesn't help. So I thought I'd put a few of them in the blog just in case a movie buff wanders through and recognizes them, one who will hopefully tell me who they are.

Here's the first one (I can remember when my mom wore her hair like this):

Does anyone know who this is?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

More What's Happening...

First, we have the Fire Ant Wars. My mother's yard is infested -- which she learned when she inadvertently stepped on a mound as she was about to bring in the mail. She received a number of painful (and ultimately infected) bites before she was able to escape the swarm. Those are better now, but she'll carry the scars. She's very fortunate not to have been allergic.

We discovered that there were dozens of mounds on the property, and we've done the recommended bait treatments. Not that it will help. The yard across the street is infested as well and thus far untreated. Even under the best of circumstances, the information on fire ant control isn't reassuring. As far as I can tell, the best you can do is make their lives miserable. I can remember hearing on the news when I was a little girl that "the fire ants were coming." I, of course, expected them to arrive any minute and spent a lot of time on high alert. I'm sorry to say they finally made it. And my mother is wearing boots.

I "did lunch" Monday at the Farmhouse Restaurant with my longtime nurse-friend, Diane. (Apparently I have assorted "friend labels" -- "nurse," "writer," "childhood," "school," "co-worker," "Critique Group At Fred's," etc.) Diane and I met when my son was small. She was working pediatrics, and he was a wee patient with another serious episode of croup and in a "croup tent." For those of you familiar with the contraption, yes, he did. He put his breakfast toast into the mist hole. I was supposed to do three things during this hospitalization ordeal -- keep him inside the tent, keep him from pulling out his IV antibiotic drip, and keep him away from the mist hole. But apparently I blinked, and into the mist hole the toast went. You see, croup tent mist holes beg to be plugged up with the nearest thing handy, usually some kind of food off the meal tray, though crayons and Matchbox cars work nicely, too, as do napkins, salt packets, and socks. It's a clear sign that a child is feeling better, but soggy, spewing, oxygenated bread crumbs make quite a mess. (I took a lot of heat for having blinked.)

Diane and I later worked together -- at a urology clinic and then as public health nurses until she moved away. We manage to get together once or twice a year now. She, like Jo, is someone I'm lucky to have had in my life -- a friend with whom I can just be me. I suppose it's a tribute to our particular friendship that her famous cousin (Tori Amos) never once came up in the conversation. Too much else to talk about -- like our blood sugar levels.

Tomorrow is soccer game day. I think. It's supposed to be warm and not raining. Hopefully, it will also be bat free. Please send the Thunders all the positive "winner" vibes you can spare.

I'm still waiting to hear regarding the proposal. It's clearly time to make a decision. Go ahead and work on an unsold book or put together some more proposals? (sigh) I think I want to ride up to the Blue Ridge Parkway and look at the autumn leaves while I'm deciding. A writer-friend who lives near Grandfather Mountain tells me they are absolutely beautiful this year. (What can I say? If there's a rose that looks like it might have an actual scent, I'm going to stop and smell it. I believe this is why I'm not rich and world famous.)

That's it for the moment...

Thursday, October 9, 2008

It Was A Dark and Rainy... (Another Soccer Update)

The Thunders didn't lose!

They may have even won -- it was dark and raining so nobody is exactly sure what happened on that last play.

Still. "Tied" is good. The grandboys are happy. I'm happy. Except when I got buzzed by a bat -- the furry with teeth, flying kind. Oh, yes. Doing the "grandmother" thing is nothing if not exciting. Now I'm ready for some hot tea and my rocking chair...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Soccer Update

It's becoming apparent, even to their most devoted fans, that the Thunders could use a little help. Still, win or lose, I love going to the games. The leaves are turning, the weather is great, only a few snakes on the field -- I'm talking about actual snakes, not the opposing team. I have seen some soccer parents who would qualify on occasion, but that's another story.

Anyway. Both grandboys are Thunders, and they need a win. (I wonder if David Beckham does gratis cross-country, emergency consulting?)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Coronary Bypass Update

Regarding my son's best friend Mikey: I think he may be doing better than his house. Apparently, the hot water heater has been leaking a long time and the damage is significant. He's been advised to leave and recover elsewhere for the time being. He is getting better despite this latest upheaval. On Mikey's behalf, I want to thank you for all the prayers.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I "Heart" Danica McKellar

As long as I'm recommending books, let's talk for a moment about this one.

I have a grandson who last school year hit a serious speed bump on the road to Algebra. We're talking true suffering here, the kind only math non-comprehension can cause, the kind that makes your heart stop when your math teacher suddenly announces, "Get out a sheet of paper."

I happen to hear an interview with Danica McKellar regarding Kiss My Math on the radio (I think it was on NPR). I was very impressed, so much so that I bought this book and her previous one, Math Doesn't Suck. I was even more impressed after I'd read a few pages and realized that they were written in a way even I could understand. A few weeks before school started, my grandson and I did some intensive review -- and let me say here that he looked like I'd shoved him on a tumbrel going to the guillotine and that it didn't hurt that Danica, according to his assessment, is "very hot."

After a few obligatory moments of making sure I understood the degree of his wretchedness, something apparently took hold. This was not your everyday math textbook. He read, he worked the problems, he talked to himself, and by all indications, he finally understood.

He's just recently gotten his progress report for this school year, and so far, so good. He is doing great in math.

As I said. I "Heart" Danica McKellar.