Saturday, April 23, 2011

When Life Imitates Art

COMEDY AND TRAGEDY THEATER MASK Pinback Button 1.25" Pin / Badge Drama ArtsAfter talking to my sister, I knew I had no other choice but to share it with all of you.  As a writer with a pretty good imagination, even I couldn't  make up a scene this bizarre.  I found myself laughing instead of offering her the support I knew she  needed as she continued to tell me about her day.

She’s the Assistant Manager of a national establishment.  This means she’s learned to deal with all kinds.  However, Thursday’s series of events took top billing on her list.

It started out as normal as any other day until one customer came up to the drive-thru and retrieved his order only to pull forward a few feet and shout back, “By the way, I hit your wall.”  My sister looked out the window at his truck and then back down the drive-thru.  It was littered with cinder blocks. 

She was shocked by the arrogance of the man who drove off.  He’d left her with no other option but to call the police, and pick up the blocks herself.  A traffic jam was now forming. 

As she crossed through the dining room, she could smell smoke.  Quickly looking around it was easy to locate the culprit.  A dingy looking man had casually settled himself down and lit up a cigarette.  He’d never approached the counter to order anything.  He just sat there puffing away.  What the #$@% ? She was thinking as she approached him. 

She politely told the man there was no smoking inside the building.  He looked quite confused and wanted to know, “Since when?”  With her voice a few octaves higher than normal she explained, “Smoking was banned about a decade ago.”  Stoner guy gave her one long last look before he left as quietly as he came in.

She finally set about to move the cinder blocks out of the way all by herself.  She was determined to get back to business as usual.  In doing so, a customer rolls in and asks her what’s happened.  When she explains, he tells her he’s seen the exact truck a couple miles down the road with two blown tires.

She hurries in to call the police with the new information.  Her head is spinning with the day she’s having.  Just when she thinks it can’t get any worse, in walks two guys with a checklist.  They explain it’s time for her annual inspection of equipment. 

Now she begins to wonder if she’s getting Punked.  No, these guys are real, and she needs to show them each piece of equipment.  With her nerves frazzled already, it takes every ounce of patience she can muster to be civil.

Close on their heels is the company’s own insurance agent.  I guess they figure it’s the two birds, one stone theory.  When the insurance agent hears about the accident, of course he needs to go inspect the damage. Isn’t having my sister count the bricks going a little bit far?

Upon their return back inside, the police have now joined the party.  They inform her the suspect’s vehicle was eventually abandoned.  It’s hard to drive for too long with two flat tires.  He was eventually apprehended.  My sister’s asked to give her own statement, and she’s handed an accident report.  It’s now the cop's turn to go visit the scene of the crime.  When he returns, he asks my sister if she’s filled out the report yet.

“You’ve got to be kidding me?”  She points to the three guests behind the counter and asks if she can drop it off tomorrow.  The officer smiles and asks her who moved all the blocks.  She tells him she did, all twenty of them.  He’s impressed and says tomorrow will be soon enough.

- Heather

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Family Night And Vampires

The Vampire Diaries: The Complete Second SeasonMy daughters are fourth generation vampire fans.  They've inherited their love of vampires from me, and I inherited it from my grandmother.  She got me hooked on vampires before they were pulsing in the mind of every tween, teenager, and young-at-heart closet watcher who won't admit they're a fan was even paying attention.

On my overnights to Grandma's I would snuggle up next to her and watch the old black and white classics with Vincent Price and get scared out of my mind.  I also loved every minute of it.  Those are memories I will treasure forever.

Now it's my turn, and I get to make the memories with my daughters.  Every Thursday night, the computer is off, the phones are silenced, and the junk food comes out.  It's become our Girl's Night. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Best Laid Plans

My plan when I got home tonight was to fry up some chicken and homemade french fries, return some emails, and get some writing done. It was a good plan, one I was looking forward to. However for the fifth night in a row, the writing wasn't going to happen.

When you have kids, you're life is no longer your own. Tonight my seventh grader was staying at school late to finish her video project. She calls as I'm pulling into my driveway to see if I'm busy and tells me she could use some advice on editing and music. Since the project is due tomorrow, I do the only thing any other parent would do. I drop everything without giving it a second thought, and go help her finish her project.

On the way to her school, I think to myself, how old will she be before I stop dropping everything every time she calls for help? Then I smile to myself as the answer comes to me. She'll never be too old. And I'll never be too busy to drop everything every time she needs me.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Book Review - The Vampire Diaries, The Return: Midnight Vol. 3

The Vampire Diaries: The Return: MidnightHaving a middle school daughter, I review all young adult novels before letting her read them.  It started out as a screening process and has turned into a bond that I will always treasure.

My daughter was so excited when the latest volume of The Vampire Diaries hit the shelves.  She kept begging me to buy it.  With Vol 2. The Return: Shadow Souls ending on such a cliff hanger, she couldn't wait to read this one.  I hope she still feels that way once she gets started.

Unfortunately, I can't say I was very impressed with L.J. Smith's latest edition to the series.  While it had some interest holding moments, it was lacking in staying power.  I never felt a connection to this book like I have with the others.

One reason being, I found it hard to understand how Stefan could need so much blood and be so weak for so long. He's a vampire getting blood from Elena whose blood is supposed to be like no other.  Then once he's in the Dark Dimension, his health issues are no longer mentioned.  Bonnie was also a bit disappointing.  She was beginning to develop courage in Shadow Souls, but in this book she did a lot of crying and was even more helpless.

Like my daughter, I so badly wanted to be as drawn-in by this book as I was by its predecessor. Both of my daughters were shocked when it took me five nights to finish this book.  They didn't even need to ask me what I thought of the book.  Taking this amount of time to read a book, speaks volumes in my house.  It'll be interesting to see what my daughter thinks.

To read my summary of the book will give away a few secrets to anyone who hasn't read the book yet.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Facebook And Our Children

I've always been leery of social networking when it comes to children.  I never thought I'd be one of those moms who allowed her children on Facebook before the posted age of thirteen. However, a couple of years ago, I gave in and created a Facebook account for my oldest. Not for the reason she was begging, which was all her friends were getting one so they could remember each other as they all got separated into different middle schools, but because I wanted her to get to know our family up North.  Facebook is a great way to keep in touch with those you love.

We discussed the fact that she couldn't accept any friend requests without my permission, and I had to be one of those friends.  She wasn't allowed to take any quizzes or play any games that I didn't approve of.  Her privacy settings were set at the highest priority.  I believed I'd thought of everything to keep her safe.

Her younger sister is now of the same age with her own page and all the same rules apply.  Things have gone reasonably well, but she's more of a free spirit. I have to monitor her much more closely and have had to delete a friend or two on occasion.

The problem I've been eluding to happened last week when she declined a young man's request to "go out" with her.  He instant messaged her through Facebook, and she gave him her standard reply.  "Mom says I'm too young to go out with anyone." 

He wasn't happy with this answer, and tried to persuade her.  While they were chatting, his profile picture became her picture.  She was "creeped out" when he did this.  At first she thought she hit a wrong button and changed her own picture.  Before she could tell him to delete it, he disappeared from her screen.  He unfriended her in the middle of their chat because she'd finally had to outright tell him, "No."

Thursday, April 7, 2011

~ Omen Or Celestial Message ~

I can't say I've ever given a thought in my belief about omens one way or another.  However, when the same thing happens twice in five days, I've got to pause and assess the situation.

If you live in the South, you'll understand exactly what I mean when I say torrential weather can blow up at a moment's notice.  Picking my daughter up from school on Thursday, this is exactly what happened.  We'd been under various weather watches all day, but just as the pick-up line started moving the sky opened up and the wind blew in from out of nowhere. 

The line was stalled while all the kids were taken back inside to a secure hallway for a tornado lockdown as a safety precaution.  The rain was still coming in sheets when my daughter was finally escorted out, but at least we were on our way to my other daughter's school. 

Coming around the corner my route was again delayed. A tree had just fallen across the road.  I turned to my daughter and told her someone must've been looking out for us.  If she hadn't been stuck at school, it could've been us under that tree.

On Tuesday, we woke to the weatherman warning us of inclimate weather on the way.  I couldn't believe the line of storms headed our way.  It's just too early in the year for this kind of tropical weather to be starting.  The thunderstorm came so hard and so fast our yard was flooded within a matter of minutes.  You couldn't even see to the end of the road.  I waited for it to let up a bit before leaving for school.

It was like deja vu.  Another tree was blocking our path.  Again, it was a good thing our routine had been delayed.  Once, I consider a coincidence but twice?  What are the odds?  Am I being sent a message of future events?  Death by tree, I hope not.  It leaves me with only one other explanation.  Is someone up above trying to get in touch with me?  If so, it's a pretty drastic way to send a message.

I'm no stranger to paranormal activity.  Since my daughters' two grandpas have died we've had quite a few strange but enjoyable events, but that's a story for another time...

- Heather

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Tribute To Amazing Granparents

I've been doing some reminiscing this week.  Thinking back to those who influenced me growing up, and one person always jumps to my mind.  Nana.  She was a wonderful lady.  She was my safe harbour, my confidant, my mentor, and my wind beneath my wings.  If it wasn't for her, the book I've recently finished would have no foundation. Click here to learn more, and here .

She was everything a grandmother should be.  In my mind, she will forever be immortalized standing over the stove cooking something wonderful.  The savory smells carried all the way outside, and your mouth was watering before you opened the door.  You were instantly starving even if you didn't know it two seconds before.  Needless to say, no one ever went hungry at Nana's house.

I never remember Nana ever raising her voice or saying an unkind word to any of us kids.  She never got upset when we broke something or made a mess where she'd just cleaned up.  As we got older and our personalities began to shine through, she never tried to change us.  It's the reason I could go to her with any problem.  I knew she wouldn't judge me.  She'd guide me in her always gentle voice.

She's the person who taught me how to cook, how to embroider, and how to be a better person.  She had the patience of a saint.  Oh, did I forget to mention?  She spoiled us rotten with love and her never empty jar of candy.   More importantly, we had a bond that couldn't be broken.   I'd do anything for her and she for me. 

To this day, I miss her terribly.  My heart breaks for my own daughters who experienced such a treasured bond so briefly with the passing of their grandfather when they were only seven and nine.   

If you're a grandparent who treasures your grandchildren, protects them, and makes sure they know how important they are in your life, then this is a tribute to you as well.  People like you are a blessing and a rare jewel in today's world.  Children today have precious few who they can look up to and respect.  Be proud to know that one of those people is you.  The bond you share with your grandchildren is your priceless legacy.