Saturday, November 21, 2009

Unfriend me...

So the New Oxford American Dictionary's Word of the Year for 2009 is unfriend. That is hysterically funny to me. One year ago I had heard of Facebook but I didn't really get the point of it. Sue me, I'm old. "What do you do on it?" I kept asking. But my friend Saba's husband works for FB and it kep coming up. Then, a friend from back in IL (thx Julie) strongly urged us to get on FB so we could communicate more easily. I did. Judy did. The rest is...uh-oh, cliche coming...history. (I couldn't help myself!)

Today I spend an embarrassing-to-admit-amount of time of FB. No one has 'unfriended' me yet...I hope. If they have, I haven't noticed, so we must not have been close. lol Meanwhile, I think that FB and Skype are the happy technological advances in staying close and connected with friends and family who may be far away geographically and re-connecting with friends from the distant past. Ironic really, when technology and internet usage create two bubbles in my living room as my twin and I sit next to each other with our laptops on We often can go an evening without speaking, plugged into the world wide web as we are. FB is probably to blame for my greatly decreased blogging as well--although really the broken arms thing didn't help. I'd think about this phenomenon a little more, but I have food to serve in Cafe World and I think my fish need feeding in Fishville...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Unemployment in Color

I found this excellent animation of the increasing unemployment rates at Pundit & Pundette. If it wasn't highlighting such a terrible problem it would be cool. Watch the country go from employed to unemployed.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Northview Marching Knights Rock!

My niece Allison has been a member of the Northview Marching Knights for the past four years. Today they won the state championship for the second year in a row--a wonderful finish to her band career in her senior year. Congratulations, Ali! Love ya, Babe.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Kisses on a Postcard

I am a regular reader of a blog called, Random Jottings of a Book and Opera Lover. It is written by an erudite and witty woman named Elaine. She writes an eclectic array of posts but her focus is on book reviews. She is an avid reader. One happy benefit of reading her blog, besides enjoying her writing and getting leads on some great books; is that she sometimes holds drawings with books as prizes. I am the lucky winner of one such drawing for Kisses on a Postcard by Terence Frisby. As I recall the conditions for winning were that you needed to read the book, love it, and post about it. No problem. I read it. I loved it. Here is my post about it.

Kisses is one of those rare books that takes you back to childhood and yet by the strangeness of the childhood you experience it in a whole new way. As the subtitle of the book tells us, it is "A Tale of Wartime Childhood" being Terence Frisby's memories of his evacuation from London to Cornwall during World War II. To me the book had the wonderful tone reminiscent of the movie "How Green Was My Valley". (I'm wishing that I had read that book now, by the way.) Terence went on to a career as a playwright and actor/director/producer which completely explains the gifted way he was able to evoke the era, describe the scenery, and present the unique characters of Cornwall. The music of their speech echoed in my head and I was able to visualize the time and place even though I have never been there. It was a multi-sensory experience. Words fail me, as I try to describe how well he was able to take me (a forty-nine year old Midwesterner) and drop me in rural England during the war.

The story is this: Terry and his older brother Jack are sent into the countryside of England at the start of World War II, along with thousands of other children of that time. Because their parents have no idea where they will end up or with whom, Mrs. Frisby invents a kisses code for the postcard they will send when they get to wherever they end up. One kiss if it's bad, two if it's okay, three kisses if it's good. If it's bad, she promised to come and get them right away. After ending up in Cornwall, chosen by Auntie Rose and Uncle Jack, (who works for the railroad just like their dad) Jack and Terry send the postcard back to their mother with kisses all around the card. They were motivated by their happiness in their placement with Auntie Rose and Uncle Jack and a unusually thoughtful streak for boys of that age (7 and 11), they wanted to ease the minds of their mother and father back in London.

What follows is a engaging recollection of the three years that Terence Frisby spent in Doublebois, Cornwall. It is about War from the perspective of a child, as well as, his interactions with an array of the village inhabitants--complete with their flaws, inner sadnesses and their kindnesses. I'm not fond of crying while reading--but I have to say when the lump started in my throat and the tears filled by eyes, it was worth it. I was fascinated that the Terry who made sure there were kisses around the postcard, still groused about having to write a weekly letter to his mother, and was the tender-hearted boy who tries to arrange with his brother Jack that one of them should stay behind to live with Auntie Rose and Uncle Jack after it became time to return to live with their parents in London. Neither boy wanted to see Auntie Rose and Uncle Jack left alone, you see.

Perhaps the best sign of how enchanting this book was to me, I didn't want it to end. As Jack and Terry got on the train and waved goodbye to Auntie Rose and Uncle Jack, I wanted the story to continue. I wanted to learn how Jack and Terry would handle living once again with their parents after three years with foster parents who perhaps had different behavioral expectations. How did they handle being in suburban London after three years in the spacious outdoor cathedral that Terry described as Cornwall? How did Terry become an author? What career did Jack follow? Did Terry and Jack get to see Auntie Rose and Uncle Jack again? If Mr. Frisby writes the next part of his autobiography, I am so there. You should be too.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Where did it all go?

July 1st-I broke both my arms and there went my summer. It's weird really because ordinarily I would say that staying home for five or six weeks with nothing to do and no responsibilities was heaven on a stick. To my surprise, it was not. I was bored. Normally, I disdain boredom. It is for the unimaginative who do not have interests. I look down my nose at such people. The gifted (me) among us can always find something to do from the rotating list of things they enjoy. But there appears to be a qualitative difference between staying at home because you want to and staying at home because you have to. I have discovered that I find it frustrating to be in my home without having the ability to get up and clean and organize things. I do not enjoy leisure when laundry or dishes are nagging at my mind. Having two working arms seems to enhance my pleasure in reading because I can hold the book comfortably. I like watching TV because I can, not because there is nothing else that I am able to do. The day my arm braces were officially removed I did exactly the same things I had been doing with the arm braces on but I enjoyed it so much more. I am flabbergasted by the difference 'choice' makes in my attitude.

So July 1 to August 6th--dudsville. Stuck at home.

August 6th to August 18th...the clock counted down to my first day back at school. Aware that the sands were slipping through the hourglass, I kick started my reading and raced through eight or ten books. I started organizing the pantry and cleaning out my closets and drawers. I whizzed through the real estate shows saved on the DVR. Productivity my name is Robin!!

Now, the hour glass is nearly empty. We have a week of pre-service starting tomorrow. I will probably, in the contrary way of people, think with regret upon my six weeks of home confinement when I am rushing through the hectic days of school. For now though, I'm excited to be going back out into the world and I'm nervous about my ability to sleep normal hours since I've gotten into the habit of sleeping the 3 to 12 shift. I leave you with these thoughts.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

New Elliptical Trainer

Our Precor Elliptical Trainer was delivered yesterday by two very nice guys. Judy and I have both had our first workout session on it. I am so glad we purchased it. It is a perfect piece of exercise equipment and it's so quiet. I LOVE that. Now to get fit...