Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Pen Pal Pandemonium

When I was in fourth grade I started writing to a few pen pals. Two very special ones were Faith L., who lived in an orphanage in Hong Kong; and Ruby H., who lived in Ennis, Texas. They were both like me, in that they loved writing and loved receiving letters. We exchanged school pictures and post cards. We sent little birthday and Christmas gifts. Ruby and I even arranged a long distance phone call for one summer evening. Long distance calls were pretty expensive back then, especially from Alaska. They were reserved for special occasions, and were not made lightly. The local newspaper in Ennis even published an article about our big Alaska to Texas call.

Having two or three pen pals was really a lot of fun. And, I figured, if two or three were good, more would surely be even better! I started collecting pen pals from all over the world. I put a world map up on my bedroom wall, with map pins showing where they all lived. I developed a pretty good system for finding new ones. I would write a letter to the editor of the local newspaper in some small town in that country, and it would usually result in a handful of responses, from which I would select my new pen pal. Before long I had 50 or so pen pals from America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia, and was doing a fairly good job of keeping up with all of them.

Then came the day that my system blew up in my face. I decided to recruit a pen pal from the Philippines. I got out my atlas, selected a small town, and addressed my request to the editor of the local newspaper. The “sting” was that the town was too small. It didn’t have a local newspaper, so the post office forwarded my letter to the editor of the Manila Times. Now, I don’t know what the population of Manila was at that time, but it’s over 11 million now! It was no small town. And, to make things worse, they didn’t just run my letter once, but kept running it week after week.

We received our family mail at my dad's bakery. We knew the postman on a first-name basis. He knew about my hobby, and cheerfully delivered the first 20 or so letters from the Philippines. But before long I was getting as many as 70 letters every day from there, and the postman was no longer amused. He would stand at the front counter and count them out to me, one at a time. ONE. TWO. THREE . . . and so on, all the way to SEVENTY.

Now what was really funny was that about 95% of the letters came from male medical students in their mid-twenties, and included studio photos and proposals of marriage! My dad was getting worried. And I was getting frantic. There seemed to be no way to turn off the flood of letters that came day after day. I think, about six weeks later, the numbers began to dwindle, but even months later I was getting occasional letters from hopeful Filipino medical students.

That was the beginning of the end of my enthusiasm for the whole pen pal thing. I never again wrote to a newspaper to find a new pen pal.

To this story there is a happy ending, though. I did continue to write to Ruby H. and Faith L., and during my college years had opportunity to meet both of them. Faith and I actually attended Abilene Christian College (now University) together for four years, so we got to know each other quite well during that time. Imagine, pen pals from Alaska and Hong Kong ending up at the same Texas college! And Ruby and her father came to the Dallas airport once, to meet me when I had a layover enroute to Abilene, and we had a wonderful visit.

Sadly, somehow back in the ‘80s, I lost track of Ruby, and I’ve never been able to locate her again. I’m really grateful, however, that Faith (who is married with two grown children, and lives in Texas) and I still stay in touch, at least at Christmas every year.

Monday, July 30, 2007

UFO


This article was printed in the Juneau (Alaska) Empire, in the Spring of 1966. Now it’s time to tell the REST of the story (as Paul Harvey would say).

I was a junior in high school, and was invited to a slumber party at Connie M.’s house. Her house was located two or three miles out the road* in Juneau. Connie’s mom, who was a widow, was currently dating a police officer. (What was his name? I'll call him Don.) She and Don were going to go to the late movie, and she told us she'd be home around midnight. She set out some pizza, soft drinks, and brownies, then, very firmly, gave us the standard instructions - no one was to leave the house; no one else was to come into the house. Then she was off.

At first we settled in for the evening, listening to the local radio station, KINY, which always took requests and played the latest hits. Juneau was small enough that we all knew anyone who called in to make a request. In fact, that was often the way "going steady" announcements were made. After awhile we became a little bored, and talked about calling in some requests, ourselves. Then someone had a bright idea. “Let’s call the station and report that we see a UFO over the channel!” Sounded like fun.

I think it was Connie who made that first call, reporting the strange light was hovering over Fritz Cove. What a disappointment! The deejay didn’t even mention it on the air! Better call in a second sighting. And so we did - reporting the second sighting to be farther out the road. Still no air time! Undaunted, we took turns, moving the aliens farther and farther out the road, until our fifth and final call, which was made by Claudia, our German exchange student. Maybe it was her heavy accent, or maybe five was just the magic number, but whatever the reason, the deejay finally mentioned the strange sighting on the air, and asked anyone seeing anything unusual to call in. We were giddy with delight, and were busy contemplating what our next move should be when, to our surprise, Connie’s mom arrived home - much earlier than expected. “Oh, there’s some UFO scare going on,” she said, disgustedly, “and they called Don to go on duty and check it out. We didn’t even get to see the end of the movie!”

Connie’s eyes flashed our way with a “DO NOT say anything” warning. Our fun had ended. Or so we thought. The radio was still on, and what happened next was more fun than our own shenanigans! Several other people called in, reporting strange lights. When the article appeared, the next day, in the newspaper, we, the co-conspirators, made a quick pact to keep it among ourselves. We were all fascinated to read that 12 calls had come in to the station, when only five of them had been ours. And we knew, clearly, why the sightings stopped when a trooper (poor Don) was dispatched.
--------------
*About the phrase "out the road" as used in Juneau.
From Juneaualaska.com (http://juneaualaska.com/visit/stories/lingo.shtml): “The Road: There are lots of roads, but The Road is the long one that runs north and south. Called Egan Drive between downtown and the valley; north of there it's called either the Veterans Memorial Highway or Glacier Highway. Nobody is sure which, so we call it The Road. Past Auke Bay, people call it Out The Road, as in ‘The sun shines more Out The Road.’ It dead-ends halfway to Skagway about 40 miles north of downtown.”

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Birdsitting the GrandBird

For Tim’s birthday, early this year, we bought him a parakeet. He named him Quint, and has taken good care of him. He’s trained him to chirp on command (really!), to get up on his finger when he says “up,” and to hop off when he says “down.” Now, that’s one smart bird, right? So much for that “bird brain” theory.

Tim is moving out of his house this coming week (more about that later), and has put everything but his bed in storage in preparation. It was time to move Quint out, so he has come to stay with us. Wish me luck in birdsitting for the next few days.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Up, Up and Away


Albuquerque is known as the hot air balloon capital of the world, and for good reason. There’s a long history of ballooning here, dating back to about 1907. The first Balloon Fiesta was held in 1972, with 13 balloons. Now approximately 800 balloons take part in the Fiesta every October.

This morning, as I was driving to work, my eyes were drawn to the skies directly above me, where a dozen or more colorful balloons were drifting by - a pretty typical morning sight in the summer and fall months. I slid open the cover to the sun roof, so I could watch them (when I was stopped at traffic lights, of course!). I’m sure the pilots and passengers were looking down in pity at those of us who were earth-bound, and maneuvering through morning traffic.

Dan and I helped crew a balloon, once, for the Rio Rancho Friends and Lovers Balloon Rally. To thank us, the pilot offered us a ride at the end of the rally. I wasted no time accepting the offer, and climbed into the gondola (now that’s not as easy as you might expect!) along with the pilot and another crew member. The pilot gave us a few instructions and assigned us a job - to watch the balloons beneath us, and warn her if one was coming up toward us. She explained that a lower balloon always has the right-of-way, since it's impossible for a pilot to see what’s above. Then we were up, up and away!

What was most striking about the ride was the eerie silence, broken only by the sporadic whooshing noise of the burner. When the burner was off, we moved with the wind, with no resistance and, therefore, no sound. Everything seemed more beautiful from up high - the blue sky, the Sandia Mountains, and the other balloons around us. All too soon it was time to land. Our pilot spied a patch of desert that looked promising. She gave us landing instructions: “Hang on tight, bend your knees, and whatever you do, do not climb out of the gondola until I tell you to.” You might think a desert is flat, but let me assure you, it is not. Our balloon drug us through sage brush and cactus, and over rutty ground, while we hung on with all our might, and squatted down in the gondola, which was tipping pretty drastically to the side. Finally we came to a stop, and the balloon itself lay mostly deflated, in front of us, upon the lumpy ground. Our chase crew (including Dan) was there in no time, and we all worked together to systematically push and squeeze all of the air out of the envelope (without stepping on it), and fold it up to fit into its container.

Don't turn down a chance go up, if it comes your way!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Kindergarten through the Kodak Lens

I got my first camera when I was in kindergarten. It was either a birthday or Christmas gift, I can't remember which. It was one of the Kodak Brownie models, and, surprisingly, I have one surviving snapshot that came from that little black box. This picture was taken toward the end of my kindergarten year (the date printed on the border is JUN 55). Mom let me take the camera to school that day for Show and Tell. At recess time, the teacher gathered us all onto the outside stairs, and had someone take a class picture with my camera. As you can see, there I was, standing backrow-center, feeling as important as if I'd just been selected Queen for a Day.Looking at this picture brings back memories, but the details are sketchy, at best. I think my teacher's name was Miss Eggmonton. I had a crush on a boy in my class, named Kim H. He had seven brothers and sisters whose first names all started with "K", his dad was a doctor, and I'm pretty sure he's the boy sitting the farthest to the right in the picture (second row). I remember the feeling of panic that came over me whenever either the fire drill or the air raid drill sounded. It wasn't because I was afraid of a fire or even a Russian A-bomb, but because I couldn't remember what to do. . . Which alarm meant to go outside and move away from the building? Which one meant to go into the cloakroom, sit down on the floor, and cover my head with my arms? (And how was that supposed to save me from those bombs?) I also remember fondly a pair of sunglasses I had, with plastic, aqua-blue, glitter-infused frames; my Davy Crocket charm bracelet and coonskin cap (the cap part was made from rabbit fur back then, with a real coon's tail -- much nicer than the ones you can buy now); and Green River fountain sodas, with a lot of heavy, sweet, green limey syrup sitting in the bottom of the glass, not completely stirred in. I remember always wanting to be the "bad guy" when we played cowboys and Indians. And I'll never forget those garter snake funerals we had in the "field" behind my house, which seemed as big as all of Texas, but was actually only one, single, empty residential lot, grown up in weeds.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Have I Told You Lately that I Love You?

It was a couple months ago when we last visited Sweetpea and her parents. At that time, although she could say a pretty passable “Grandpa,” for some reason her tongue just couldn’t quite form “Grandma.” Last Saturday, however, we talked to her on the phone, and, with a little prompting from her Daddy, she said “Hi Grandma,” “I love you,” and “bye bye.” I haven't completely wiped the smile from my face yet!

Since we don’t live nearby, I depend on Sweetpea’s Mama for pictures; she does a great job of capturing all those precious moments. Here's one I turned into a scrapbook page. Aren't those pigtails just the CUTEST?

Oh, and Sweetpea, Grandma loves YOU, too!


(Starred digital paper from Country Colors Kit by Linda Sattgast of Scrappers Guide; Digital papers and elements from Patriotic Mini Page Kit by Wags Designs)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Cinquain

I like to dabble in writing poetry (emphasis on “dabble”). Some forms of poetry have little or no defined form, and others are very structured. One structured poetry form is called the “cinquain.” It’s pretty easy, because you don’t have to rhyme anything. Here are the rules:

1. The first line (and it is also the title) should have two syllables and include the noun that you are writing about.
2. The second line should have four syllables, and be a description of the noun in the first line.
3. The third line should have six syllables, and describe some type of action.
4. The fourth line should have eight syllables, and talk about some feeling or effect.
5. The fifth, and last, line should have two syllables, and be a synonym for (or at least refer back to) the initial noun in the first line.
6. (optional) Most of the time a cinquain is written in iambic meter. Don’t get scared off by this. It just means that the pattern goes ta-dum’ ta-dum’ ta-dum’ throughout (unaccented, accented, unaccented, accented – for example "come LIVE with ME and BE my LOVE.")

Here’s one I did this morning, with a New Mexico theme (remember, the first line is both title and first line of the poem):

(2 syllables) Sheer cliff,
(4 syllables) with scarred-up face,
(6 syllables) scorched red by setting sun,
(8 syllables) your hieroglyphs enchant my mind,
(2 syllables) old bluff.

And here are a couple I did some time ago:

Wee frog
with cold wet skin,
you hopped into my boot!
You think you’re safe inside that house.
Leap, frog!


A pearl,
a tip of white.
It pokes above the gum.
It hurts, you cry, I hug, you nurse.
First tooth!


If you decide to try writing one, be sure to post it in the comments. Come on, give it a try! You can ignore the “iambic” part, if you want, and just concentrate on the syllables and purpose of each line.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Haircut, Part Deux

I just got back from Andrew's, and I’m pretty happy with my cut. He was fairly conservative about what he took off, and that’s always a good thing in my book. Of course, the real test will come in the morning, when I have to style it myself (not my forte). Andrew is also pretty expensive, but since I get my hair cut so infrequently, maybe that’s okay.

So, while I have your attention, let me tell you a little more about Andrew. He is Native American, and wears a long pony tail down his back. He owns his own shop, and has been doing hair for 25 years. He grew up in Farmington, New Mexico, and moved to Albuquerque 16 years ago. He has two daughters, and one of them will be a senior in high school this year. He’s taking her to Shiprock, New Mexico, this weekend to meet with a Navajo lady who will be making an authentic Navajo dress for her to graduate in. For her senior pictures they have already arranged for a photographer to do a shoot of her in her Navajo dress, at sunset, against the red cliffs of Jemez.

And all of that I learned in the short time it took Andrew to cut my hair!

Haircut

I’m getting my hair cut today. It’s not something I do very often. Typically, I get it cut and immediately regret it; then I spend the next few months trying to grow it out to where it was before the cut. And then, of course, the cycle repeats itself. I think they call people like that “fickle.”

But I have a friend, whose hair always looks very nice, and she told me that “Andrew” cuts her hair. So I have an appointment with Andrew today. Wish me luck, and stay tuned to hear how it turns out!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

en·cour·age

1 To inspire with hope, courage, or confidence; hearten.
2 To give support to; foster.
3 To stimulate; spur.
(The American Heritage Dictionary)


Almost every morning, when I pray, I ask the Lord, “Please help me be a blessing in someone’s life today.” But there are days that go by, when I just don’t see an opportunity to accomplish this goal.

Yesterday, as we were on our way to the restaurant for our Saturday breakfast, Dan told me about a certain man at church, who has been such an encouragement to him the past few months. And that’s when it struck me - this man has been a blessing in Dan's life through the simple act of encouragement.

Maybe I have been thinking like Naaman, in the Old Testament, who almost missed out on being cured of his leprosy, because he thought the prophet’s instruction, to dip seven times in the River Jordan, was too simple to accomplish a miraculous healing. His servant girl had to admonish him, “Had the prophet told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash and be clean?’”

Similarly, Naaman's servant girl, if she were by my side, might be telling me, “Had God told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more then, when He asks you to be an encourager?” I can be an encourager every day in someone’s life, if it’s no more than sending a note card when someone is ill or letting someone know that I've noticed their good work.

Seeing opportunities, every day, to be a blessing in someone's life has just become a much more realistic and achievable goal for me.

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Bread

I baked some bread today. It was a double-batch of unleavened bread to take to church tomorrow for communion. There is a long list of people at church who take turns baking the communion bread from the same recipe, and this was my first turn. It turned out well.

When my kids were young I loved baking bread, and did so frequently. In fact, Christmas morning wouldn’t have been Christmas morning without my homemade cinnamon bread filling the house with its sweet scent and waiting to be eaten after the presents had been opened. I always felt like I had inherited the “baking gene” from my Dad, who was a baker by trade; and maybe from my Grandpa, as well, who was a baker before him.

Sadly, I seldom make bread these days. The part I loved most, the kneading, now produces pain in my shoulders and back, and usually results in a headache. And there’s something just not right about turning over that beloved task to a bread machine.

Kneading Dough in my Father’s Bakery
On a step stool beside my father,
in cinnamon scented air,
I learned to make bread.

He’d slice off a child-sized hunk of warm,
pliant dough, and I’d push and fold
in a rhythm

just like his -- kneading and turning,
adding a splash of flour, feeling
for elasticity.

--Linda J

Friday, July 20, 2007

Saturday Mornings with Dan

It started as a domestic experiment, a long, long time ago, when our children were about 12 and 15, and we were hosting an 18-year-old exchange student from Japan. I was working a job that kept me out of the house every day, until about the time the boys got home from school, so Saturday was the designated housecleaning day.

The experiment was really a na├»ve attempt, on my part, to get Dan and the boys involved in helping to clean the house on Saturday mornings. I explained it to them this way: “If there are eight hours of housecleaning to be done, and I’m the only one doing it, then my Saturday is completely consumed, and I have no time for anything fun. But if five of us tackle the eight hours of housecleaning, we each have only a little more than an hour-and-a-half of work, and we can all enjoy the rest of the day.” It made perfect sense to me!

In order to make the getting-out-of-bed part more palatable, Dan and I agreed to take the boys to McDonald’s for an early breakfast every Saturday morning, before the cooperative housecleaning chores were doled out.

I’ll fast-forward here, skipping the part about how quickly the Saturday housecleaning program failed. (McDonald’s breakfasts weren’t good enough to entice three teenage boys out of bed early on a Saturday morning. And older son, Chris, was just too creative at inventing reasons he had to be excused.) But here we are, almost 20 years later, and I can report that ONE part of the experiment has survived . . . the Saturday morning breakfast.

What you have to understand is that Dan loves tradition. I think he may have seen Fiddler on the Roof just one too many times! And for something to be declared a tradition in our house, it only has to happen two or three times. So the Saturday breakfast became a tradition (I wonder why the cooperative housecleaning didn’t), and traditions must NOT be broken. Not only does Dan love traditions, but he is also prone to creating “rules” for them. Here are the rules for Saturday morning breakfasts:

1. I must not let Dan sleep past 8:30, so we won’t be too late for breakfast (to be fair, he seldom sleeps that late, anyway).
2. We must not eat at the same restaurant two Saturday mornings in a row.
3. McDonald’s is not an option.

Tomorrow is Saturday, and I’m looking forward to breakfast with Dan. Our Saturday mornings are a special time, when the two of us spend a pleasant, leisurely hour or more together, sharing, discussing, thinking, remembering and planning. Score ONE for Dan, the Preserver of Traditions!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The 110th Birthday Party


My good friend Sherry and I hosted a 110th birthday party this month! Yes, I said “one hundred tenth,” and that wasn’t a typo. Sherry’s husband, Keith, turned 50 early this month, and my husband, Dan, turned 60 just five days later. Do the math! That’s 110 years of life wrapped up in those two good men.
Dan, above. Keith, below.

Sherry and I started planning this celebration about three months earlier, and worked hard to keep it a secret from Dan and Keith. (We almost succeeded, although I, unknowingly, let slip a teensy clue that Dan picked up on.) We decided to host the party at a restaurant, and that’s when our fun really began. Sherry and I met every Tuesday at noon, at a different restaurant, to try it out. Some were too small. Some were too expensive. Some didn’t have great food. Some wanted a huge service charge. But we finally found and settled upon Christy Mae’s, a nice home-style, family-operated restaurant whose management was incredibly accommodating. (I might as well give them a well-deserved plug: http://christymaes.com/).

Forty people came together, the evening of July 7, to honor Dan and Keith for achieving their cumulative 110 years of experience. Mylar balloons decorated the two honorees' chairs. Keith’s balloon had a big 50 on it. Dan had TWO balloons. We couldn't find one that said 60, so had to buy two 30s. (I guess that’s how it is when you get THAT old!). The food was good. The birthday cards were hilarious. The cake was beautiful. The non-stop conversation was punctuated with laughter. One sweet lady read the limericks she had written - one for Dan and another for Keith. We sang “Happy Birthday,” shared cake with the restaurant staff and a few other customers sitting nearby. All in all, Dan and Keith were fittingly celebrated.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Grandma Rose; or Grandmas Have Grandmas Too

As I was thinking about Sweetpea today, and what a privilege it is to be called “Grandma,” my own Grandma came to mind -- my maternal one, whose name was Rose. Like Sweetpea is to me, I was her first grandchild – a little blond-haired, blue eyed girl (sounds familiar).

I remember Grandma as a lady who looked at life with an intensity and seriousness that I couldn’t understand. On the other hand, she had a wry sense of humor, often saying what others only thought, and thereby bringing laughter, and endearing her, to all who knew her.

Grandma Rose was born in France, and came to America as a very young child. She crossed the ocean with her mother and two sisters, her father and brother having preceded them on this great American adventure. Her life wasn’t easy. Her brother died soon after moving to America. Her mother soon passed away, as well, which meant that Rose was needed at home, and had to quit school before she was out of the elementary grades. She married a man she loved dearly, but about a year after the birth of their daughter (my mother) she lost him in a sudden, accidental death. She lived through the Great Depression. She was no stranger to uprooting her family and moving, as she worked hard beside her second husband (whom I knew as Grandpa) in a series of logging camps, where he was the camp cook and baker. She moved with Grandpa to Alaska, in the early days when the Territory of Alaska was still a rough gold mining frontier, to help him open and operate a bakery. And then she outlived Grandpa, watching him suffer through a very painful and difficult death from cancer.

Life taught her to save her pennies, and to be wary of banks. She never had a checking account, so paid all of her bills in cash. She preferred keeping her spare money at home – in jars, flower pots, or other niches – and sometimes forgot just where she had stashed it . She never learned to drive, so walked everywhere, carrying her groceries home in paper sacks, and dropping off envelopes of cash, along the way, to pay her utility bills. She worked hard and saved more money than seemed possible. After she retired, she moved to the Pioneer’s Home in Anchorage, Alaska, where she was known as one of the most energetic and sharp minded residents. She took up some hobbies there, including painting and firing ceramics, and playing pool! Having spent her life walking, she was in amazingly good shape for her age, and was still an avid walker. Her heart, however, finally gave out in 1990 (when she was almost 90 years old), and she passed rather quickly, leaving a great hole in our hearts.

Grandma spoke English with a slight accent, because her first language had been French, and sometimes got English words confused. She used to lock up the bakery at night, saying that there wouldn’t be anyone “but a few stranglers” (meaning stragglers) coming in this late. And she waited eagerly, each month, for her “long jeopardy” check (referring to Alaska’s Longevity Bonus check).

Here are a few things I remember about Grandma:

She promised me a silver dollar if I could blow a bubble gum bubble as big as my head. I don’t think I ever really did, but she gave me the silver dollar anyway.

When the mailman would bring a letter from Grandma, there would usually be a shiny dime taped to it, for me.

Every Easter she gave me an Easter basket, complete with jelly beans and a little stuffed chick, duck, or bunny.

She liked to cook. She always thought she could make a dish better by changing the recipe. Sometimes the magic worked. Sometimes it didn’t.

She always had pretty bottles filled with colored water on her windowsills.

She kept her apartment very warm.

She scolded me once, when she found my fingerprints in a container of ice cream at the bakery. “If you want ice cream, you come and tell me! I’ll give you some!”

She did her laundry with a wringer washer, and her hands smelled of Clorox on wash day.

She was always neat and clean, and wore lipstick and a little “rouge.”

She adored our two children, her great-grandsons. She called Chris “Chrissy” and Tim “Timmy.” Only Grandma Rose could get away with that.

She had the softest skin, and her face felt silky. She told me it was because she used Oil of Olay.

And only now, having my own little blond, blue-eyed granddaughter, am I beginning to understand Grandma Rose better than ever before.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

State Fair!

We've lived in New Mexico, now, for four years, but we've never gone to the State Fair. This year, however, my friend, Sherry, and I plan to enter some of our photos for judging, so I'll be going. The rules allow me to enter four photos, and I think I'll be submitting two black and whites, and two color. Digital photography has been a hobby of mine for about seven or eight years. I still have a lot to learn, but the learning, itself, is fun. I also spend a lot of my spare time using Photoshop Elements to refine, enhance and embellish my images. Anyway, here are two of the photos that I'm thinking about entering in the Fair.


This first image I took as my husband, Dan, and I were playing "tour guide" to Dan's sister, Marci, and our nephew, Caleb. We took them to Los Alamos and went via the scenic route, through the Jemez Mountains. These fellows were climbing the face of this cliff, and we stopped the car so Marci and I could snap a few pictures.



And this second image gives me the perfect excuse to introduce you to my granddaughter. Sweetpea (not her real name, but it's what I'll be calling her here), who was 10 months old when I took this photo, is 19 months old now, and the sweetest thing that's happened to me in recent history. She doesn't live in New Mexico, so we treasure every visit we have with her. She will be the star of my blog entries, time and time again, so you'd better be prepared!

To Blog or Not to Blog

I've always loved to write, and in my life, spanning more decades than I care to admit, I've begun diaries (when I was a child) and journals (when I was older and too "sophisticated" for diaries) a number of times. My mother-in-law, Lauretta, who is now in poor health, was an inspiration to me in this regard. Until her health failed, Lauretta faithfully wrote, by hand, in spiral-bound notebooks, the episodic story of her life. I hope someday to have the privilege to read some of those journals. She always had such insight into life and people, and had an interesting, and often humorous, writing style.

However, in about the second week of each of my own journaling attempts, I would inevitably come to the conclusion that my life wasn't very interesting and become bored with my own scribblings. My journals were always private, so no one knew that I had started and failed repeatedly. I HATE to fail!

So that little insecure voice, down deep inside, is telling me that I should keep this blog private, as well. On the other hand, making it public might be just the pressure I need to keep me writing. Only time will tell. Welcome to this, my very public private life.