Saturday, July 29, 2006


OK, I don't know what was going on in the middle of the night last night, but I suddenly got inspired a little after midnight to have a rendezvous with Blogger and see if I might FINALLY figure out how to make a few little changes to the old hot pink, really hard on the eyes background and banner I've been sporting for the past few months. Our encounter lasted about two hours, and all I really succeeded in doing was adding a pink plaid background which is only slightly less annoying than the old solid pink background and altering the banner color in such a way that the text is no longer visible ...

If I had known that I was going to have to be a master of HTML to get a look that is pleasing to the eye, I probably would have hired someone right out of the gate to design a really nice site for me. But, being the die-hard tightwad do-it-yourselfer that I am, I have stubbornly hung onto the belief that I am just right around corner from figuring out how all this code stuff works. After several months of fiddling with it with varying levels of success unsuccess, girls, (all two of you who read this blog) I'm finally waving the white flag. I always thought of myself as fairly techno savvy until I took up residence in the land of Amazingly Brilliant and Creative BlogHers. My capabilities pale in comparison to the likes of some of these sisters. They casually throw around abbreviations like CSS, XHTML, and XML and can discuss the intricacies of JavaScript as confidently as I might converse with my friends about things like, umm, which spot remover is most effective on chocolate ice cream stains.

I'm seriously out of my league.

Hmmmm ...

I'm all for modesty in both men's and women's swimwear, but these people are taking it to a whole new level. Just imagining the looks one would get lounging at the pool adorned in one of these suits is entertaining.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I'm in love

Blogging has taken a backseat over the past couple of weeks as things in my life have changed a little. I'm in love. With an old, old flame.

It all started a couple of weeks ago when I was out driving around in Fayetteville with the girls and we passed the Fayetteville Public Library. Sweet memories of happy summer afternoons whiled away at my little hometown library overwhelmed me, and we did a quick turn into the parking lot. The next 90 minutes were something I've only been able to dream about the past several years. You see, as a child, I was in love with books. Really in love. Every Saturday morning while most kids I knew were sprawled on sofas and beanbags indulging themselves with Sugar Bombs and Looney Tunes, I made a beeline for the local library. I loved that place in a way I hardly have words to describe. It was nearly intoxicating to be in the presence of so many words. Words that told the stories of great people. Words that communicated useful information. Words that entertained. Words, words, words ...

Back in those days, the checkout desk was overseen by a little old withered, tight-bunned, purse-lipped lady we only knew as Mrs. Hockersmith. Many adjectives come to mind when I think of Mrs. Hockersmith, but the one that describes her best was rigid. Really, really rigid. When it came to the library rules, she knew them all. Heck, she probably wrote them all. And she enforced every one of them with a sternness that would make most drill instructors cringe.

Now, most of these rules I was fine with. Like the one about no talking above a whisper. I actually liked that one, because it meant I could sit and read without interruptions from noisy children. And the one about not yelling into the book depository by the front door. Someone did that once while I was in the microfilm room (which is where the collection bin was located) and I nearly wet my pants from shock. Mrs. Hockersmith actually looked gleeful as she called their parents.

The one rule that I really had a problem with (and the one she busted me for all the time) was the check-out limit of 10 books. Ten books might be fine for an adult, but when you're talking about books that are written for young children, I could fly through half of those before my mom parked the car in the driveway.

It was an exciting day when I could finally move up to the "juvenile" section and met some of my best childhood friends: Laura Ingalls, Nancy Drew, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy (Little Women), and Anne of Green Gables.

As soon as we returned home, I would flop across my double bed and start on the book that looked most interesting. I would read nonstop until I was ready for a change, then I would place my first choice face down under the pillow I didn't sleep on, then start on book #2. When once again I was ready for a change, I would pick up my third choice after placing book #2 face down on top of book #1, and so on. I had a personal rule of never having more than four stories going at once, so after I had begun the fourth book, I would pick up the bottom one from the pile and resume it for a while. It was a lovely way to spend a hot summer afternoon ... or evening ... or all day, if my parents would let me get away with it. Unfortunately, they felt that sunshine and fresh air were more important than I did, and they frequently "kicked" me out of the house to play outdoors. It was torture, I tell you.

College, marriage, more college, career, then children drew me away from my love affair with books for many years. So, you can understand why it was such a heady experience just wandering hand in hand with my daughters through aisle after aisle of stories yet to be read. After much deliberation (because the 10-book limit is enforced here, too), we took home a nice collection of books for me, books for the girls, a couple of videos and a computer game.

And I've been in heaven ever since.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Courage to Say Goodbye

As I mentioned in the previous post, even after the movers had driven away with the last of our furnishings, there still remained such a huge quantity of junk cherished possessions, that I had no idea what to do with. As I faced the task of boxing it all and hauling it bit by bit to the new house (and then finding places for it all), I suddenly found a new courage welling up inside of me. Courage to finally part with things for one reason or another, I've been hanging onto for years:

  1. About 10 pairs of size 4-6 pre-baby jeans. I've nurtured the hope for the past 6+ years that someday I would finally regain my girlish figure and be able to wear "small" clothes again. Get real, girlfriend. Even if I lost 20 pounds, this derriere will NEVER be a size 4 again. And besides, styles have changed. Even IF I ever managed to squeeze myself into those threads, I'd probably be embarrassed to be seen in them.
  2. The last of the baby bottles lurking in the back of my cupboards. I have no desire to ever experience pregnancy again, but somewhere in my subconscious has lurked the secret hope that some desperate teenage mom anxious to give her new baby a better life would drop off the child on my front porch. Call me nuts (I probably am), but I've nurtured this fantasy for a long time. I'm finally coming to terms with reality. It pains me greatly to admit it, but there is probably a greater chance that Elvis will come knocking at my door.
  3. My Olympus 35 mm camera which dates back to my college days in the late 80's. That camera was with me the day a hailstorm shut down Monroe, Louisiana, and broke through a skylight just outside my dorm room in Cosper Hall. It was with me through several years as a newspaper reporter, faithfully recording the events of life in my central Arkansas hometown. And it has been with me through more than a decade of marriage and childrearing. It's been a trusted friend, and I hate to say goodbye, but since the purchase of our first digital camera in 2002, paying good money for film and processing just seems foolish.

The list could go on for several more paragraphs. When we drove away from our old house, there was a collection of stuff on our driveway for the Salvation Army that probably took them two trucks to haul away. And as we unpack here at the new place, I'm collecting even more to send their way. Getting rid of all this stuff has somehow made me feel lighter. A whole lot lighter.

Hey, maybe I want those jeans back after all.