Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ice Cream Truck......

When I was little, I heard about ice cream trucks. I suppose I read about them in the many books I read.

But I didn't think they were real. I put them in the same category as Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. People told stories about them and hoped they would bring them some nice treats, but in actuality the only way you got ice cream was for your mother and father to go to the store and buy some.

I guess the ice cream truck man didn't figure trailer park kids had any money for ice cream.

After we moved out of the trailer park, I wouldn't consider the places we lived "country," but they weren't exactly urban either. They were distant enough from any towns of any size that we didn't have ice cream trucks. Or pizza delivery. Or cable t.v. Maybe it WAS the country and I didn't know it. There were cows across the road, come to think of it. But road was paved! Doesn't living in the country require a dirt road?

The first time I actually saw an ice cream truck for myself, I was living with Nurse Jane in an apartment complex in a suburb of Dallas, Texas. The ice cream truck came through the neighborhood, and I stood there with my mouth agape. It was as if Santa had come chugging down our chimney. I'm pretty sure I didn't have any money on me at that time, and by the time I came to my senses, the truck was probably gone. But I'd be willing to bet that next time he came through our complex, I was ready.


I was outside this afternoon, brushing leaves off the pool cover in preparation for opening the pool. I DID NOT HINT! Okay, maybe when I came in and said to Hubby, "The leaves are off the pool cover," some people MIGHT consider that a hint.

I heard the ice cream truck approaching, and I stopped what I was doing. I ran to the fence and stared. And then I ran inside to get the camera. I tried to be sneaky while taking his picture, because I didn't want him to think I was some kind of nut parent who was afraid the ice cream truck driver was some kind of kid stalker. And I also didn't want him to think I was some kind of nut who was an ice cream truck driver stalker.



Coming around at 4:30 on a Thursday afternoon seems a little odd, but I'm not really well versed in ice cream truck schedules. However, I plan to be ready next Thursday. I'm going to have my dime ready, and I'm going to run out there and yell back at the house, "Do you want an ice cream sandwich? Or a Nutty Buddy?" as if there is a small child in the house who has polio or swine flu or something else that keeps him or her from coming out to the ice cream truck personally.

I'm going to buy enough ice cream from the ice cream truck this year to make up for all those years I was deprived of even the knowledge that the ice cream truck man is real.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Strange Dreams Installment #2.....

I know people who put a lot of stock in the symbols of certain things in dreams. I look for symbols in literature all the time, but I don't pay a whole lot of attention to what things in dreams mean.

Other than if I dream about death, I figure it pretty much means..........somewhere, somebody is going to die.

If I dream about snakes, I figure I'm afraid of snakes.

If I dream about running and not being able to get away, I figure that's an accurate account of what would happen if someone really WERE chasing me.

I dream about flying a lot. And not in airplanes. In my dreams, frequently I just have this ability to sort of jump up in the air and take off flying. It's a pretty cool thing to have, particularly in high traffic situations.

If I dream about falling, I figure my talent for flying has gone on hiatus.

Those dream symbol-seeking souls (love the alliteration?) might just have a field day with my dream last night.

It wasn't at all clear, as my dreams most often are, and I have a feeling there were several vignettes that may or may not have all tied together. The plot line of this one escapes me.

But there was a toilet involved.

It was made out of concrete. It had the correct shape, but it had no moving parts.

And it was in my classroom.

And no, I wasn't drinking champagne this time.

Go ahead. Figure that one out and get back to me.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Dancing with the Stars Dilemma......

Because it's the end of the school year and the end of the online world semester and I'm tired and didn't want to go back to school after Spring Break and my brain is mush, I'm going to blog tonight about something I don't have to think very hard about. Unlike all my other postings, which are fraught with intelligence and angst and humor and meaningfulness.

Or not.

I am in a quandary about whom to pull for on Dancing with the Stars as the season winds down. There are only 6 stars left, and I like them ALL. I know someone will have to go tonight, though, and it makes my heart hurt.

But please don't tell me, because I won't know until tomorrow morning, when I watch the recording.

Unlike the NCAA Gymnastics Championships, whose outcome I already know, but I will STILL record it when it is televised on May 9th AND I will save it to watch over and over during the off-season. (Wonder if I would still do that if we hadn't won? Hmmmmm.......)

I felt really sorry for Lawrence Taylor when he was eliminated last week. But he was actually relieved, because it meant he wouldn't have to miss any more tee times. In our house we know just how important that is.

Here are the remaining stars and the order in which I think they will be eliminated.

Ty Murray has come a long way, and the dancing cowboy is just so cute. Plus he has that precious wife of his, Jewel, who got knocked out of the competition with an injury before the season even started. But I'm afraid his niceness won't keep him in the game, especially after Len told him last night that it's time for him to "hit the road," but I will HATE it when he has to leave. He's just had such an upbeat attitude about it the whole time, and he's funny to boot. No pun intended. No, really. I didn't mean to.

After Ty, I think Shawn Johnson will be the next to go. My heart doesn't want to say that, because she IS, after all, a gymnast. Her little girl charm is endearing, and I really LIKED all the back handsprings she did in her Lindy Hop. Or Jive, or whatever it was a few weeks ago. But in the end I don't think she'll be able to summon enough sultriness to hang with the likes of.....

Lil Kim. Not that I would necessarily call what she's got "sultriness," but she can move body parts that shouldn't look like they have hinges in them, but they do. I've tried not to like her, because after all she dedicated her whole experience to the girls she was in prison with, but she sure can dance. I think Derek Hough will keep her in the competition longer than anyone else would have been able to, but I don't think she'll make the top three. I could be wrong, however, between her and...


Chuck Wicks. I don't necessarily think he's that much better than the others, but he DOES after all date Julianne Hough in real life, and if necessary she'll keep him in that studio 24/7 until he gets the steps right. He's already come a long way, and he can swing those hips like Elvis. Okay maybe not, but he's still come a long way. I have no idea how he sings, but he's cute in satin. He was even cute in a one-armed leotard and tights last night, and that's saying something.

It really hurt Melissa Rycroft in the standings when she couldn't dance last night and had to be judged on her rehearsal performance, but I don't think it will be enough to eliminate her from the competition. I could be wrong; it's happened before. Once. A long, long time ago. Not only does she have the advantage of having been a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, she gets all the sympathy vote for having been dumped on national television by the Jerk. I mean the Bachelor. [I would like to offer full disclosure here and say I have never, ever watched The Bachelor, nor will I. At least not on purpose.] She entered the competition late, and she has been amazing from the beginning. She and Tony are an excellent match, and I just love her sunny personality, her wit, and her style. I don't care too much for the tattoo on her back that they paintakingly cover up every week [why not just give her a dress that covers it up? Now THERE's an idea], but I love her dancing. In the end, however, I think it will be....

Gilles Marini who takes it all. I have never seen the movie Sex and the City. Come to think of it, I haven't even seen a single episode of the series, and the entire set is sitting on my shelf. So I didn't know he was the naked neighbor and have never seen the shower scene. He's not really my type, so I doubt he'll make my teeth sweat like he apparently does for millions of other American women. And some in other countries, too. But he can dance, and he is paired with Cheryl Burke, who could make Orca look graceful.

So there you have it, my predictions, for what they're worth, and I'm sure that's not very much, especially to those of you who don't watch Dancing with the Stars. Or even abbreviate it DWTS. Or even know that's how OTHER people abbreviate it.

I promise that future posts will have more meaning, more gut-wrenching emotion, less fluff. I may post about the great shoe purge, where I will disclose which of my many pairs of shoes I will discard and which ones I will keep. And even the basis for my decision.

I may post about the myriad items in our basement and ask for your feedback as to why you think we are forced to walk around some of them. Honestly, I'd like to hear from someone much more intelligent than myself on some of these.

I may catch Gus on video when he tears across the yard in pursuit of a squirrel and then stops at the base of the tree and turns around as if to say, "Hey! Where'd he go?"

Those topics, however, all require that I get out of the recliner.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Kayaking.....


Being on the water brings me peace.....


Paddling around the lake......


Nosing into nooks and crannies not accessible by the shore......


For some reason, I enjoy the swampy, scary-looking places......

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Dear Marie.....

Dear Marie......

I am sorry that I have spent most of today trying to remember what your last name was when we taught together that one year. Or was it two?

You taught in the room next door to mine, so we were often in the hall together during class change. In fact, we were often still in the hall gabbing after the tardy bell had rung and our classes were seated.

I remember that you had a sharp wit and a marvelous sense of humor. I was intimidated by your intelligence and in awe of your ability to discard one career easily for another. I don't remember if you went straight into law school from your brief stint as my next-door teacher neighbor or if that's something you told me when I ran into you several years later.

You were always involved in the theater, and I was also fascinated by that. I was jealous of the fact that you had nothing to tie you down, and you could devote as much time to your passion for acting and directing as you wanted to.

Remember that one year, when you and I both participated in Spirit Week the week before Homecoming? Not many teachers played along. You suggested the two of us dress alike for Twin Day. I still laugh out loud at the prospect. You were tall, brunette, and thin, and I was (am) short, blond (even if I do pay for it now), and.......not. Still, you brought something to school for me to wear -- was it a scarf? hat? vest? I can't remember -- and we did indeed sort of look like twins. I remember standing in the hall together, our arms draped around each other, posing for a picture. It may have been in the school yearbook that year. I don't know, because I think I threw that yearbook away.

You were either going through a divorce or went through it shortly after leaving the high school where we taught together. I had a hard time adjusting to your new last name when you took back your maiden name. Ironic then, that I have struggled all day to come up with the only name I knew you by at the beginning.

When I heard yesterday that a shooting had occurred at the community theater, I immediately thought of you. Because you were the only person I knew connected with that theater. And there must be hundreds. I told myself I was being silly, thinking that you were somehow involved. I was pretty sure that you would know the three people who were killed, and my heart saddened for you.

I had no idea until I opened this morning's paper that you were one of the three dead. And that it is your (estranged) husband who is being sought for all three killings, apparently deliberate and calculated. There have been no clues as to his whereabouts; no cell phone use or credit card transactions have pinpointed where he may have fled. Call me cruel or heartless or whatever, but I hope that he has taken the coward's way out and saved this state the trouble of a trial.

You waited until later in life to have children, and I can just bet that you were a good mother. Because you were good at everything you took a stab at. You were a good teacher, smart and able to relate to the students. You were obviously good at acting and directing and serving as publicity director for the community theater. I also hear that you were a good lawyer, and I wish I had thought to consult you for my divorce from the psycho.

I am so sorry that your children were in the car with your ex when he killed you and those two men, although I am forever grateful that they did not have to witness your death. At 8 and 10, they will never, ever understand why their lives have suddenly been turned upside down and inside out.

I ache for those children, for the college community you were so much a part of, and for the circle of friends who will mourn your loss. I regret that we did not stay in better touch after our short time of teaching together.

I remember now.

It was Hutchins.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

It's That Time of Year......


Sometime in the next week, Hubby and I will commence a ritual dance that we do every spring.

We have just returned from vacation, tan and relaxed, and the temperatures are nearing 90 degrees here.

I will start hoping (silently) that it is time to open the pool. I will do my best to keep my hopes to myself, because I strongly believe that for every time I mention opening the pool, he delays it one more day.

He will say it's not warm enough to swim yet anyway.
I will say that's why we have a solar blanket, and the sooner we get it on, the sooner the water will warm up.

He will say we have to get the leaves off the cover first.
I will scurry out there and do it one afternoon while he is playing golf.

He will say it takes more than just the two of us.
I will remind him that the two of us managed it just fine last year.

He will say wait until a pretty weekend day when he doesn't have to work.
I will point out that, ironically, those are precisely the kinds of days when he plays golf.

He will say there's no point in having to use chemicals before we have to.
Aha! I will have him there. I will point out that we now use approximately $6 worth of salt every year as opposed to approximately $600 worth of chlorine.

Let's see how many days I last before I start dropping hints.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Random Musings in No Particular Order.....


  • If someone leaves a bottle of champagne in your room at a resort, that doesn't mean you have to drink. All. Of. It. By. Yourself.
  • If you have a Kindle, you don't have to put it face down on the bed to keep your place.
  • If you pay your sister-in-law a generous amount of money to come feed your cats while you are on vacation, chances are she will also clean the bathroom and kitchen and do the floors.
  • If you record Dancing with the Stars while you are on vacation and then watch both the dance show and the results show back-to-back while you are on the elliptical, you can easily put in 50 minutes of exercise without even realizing it.
  • If you do 50 minutes of exercise on a beautiful day, you can easily talk yourself out of taking the kayak to the park.
  • Riding your motorcycle to breakfast does not count as exercise.
  • If you ride your motorcycle to breakfast and accidentally leave your Blackberry at home, the world as we know it WILL NOT end.
  • If you have ribs for dinner and bring home the bones, your lab will appreciate them just as much as if they actually had meat on them.
  • If you and your siblings go out on a limb and buy your mother a nice gift like a digital picture frame, odds are she will put it back in the box and never look at it.
  • If you think heartbreak was the worst thing that ever happened to you, just wait until it's your child's heartbreak.
  • If you are listening to a recording of an online departmental meeting that you missed because you were going through Customs, you cannot type a question into the chat box.
  • If you can't think of anything intelligent to write about, then you should just

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Home Sweet Home.....

Going through Customs pretty much sucked, until I realized that about three-fourths of those people were merely making connecting flights, and we were almost HOME. That made it so much better. I heard one family on the plane saying they had TWO more flights before they got home.

Hubby and I went through the connecting-flight nightmare on our last trip to the Dominican Republic. But I'm too tired to retell it tonight. Maybe later. Maybe I'll save it for one of those "what-in-the-hell-am-I-going-to-blog-about-tonight" nights.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Do NOT Read This Book.....

Today I finished reading the second of the three books that I downloaded onto my Kindle. It was My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult. I love her writing style, and I found myself frequently bookmarking passages, which my Kindle will save for me. Maybe later I'll take all those bookmarked passages and create a poem. Or not.

The book was fine until the end. But the end really, really, really, really, really, really sucked. How do people write this stuff? I'm well aware that life is not all about happy endings and that sometimes things happen that you just can't explain, and well, that's just what life IS. But this crappy ending was so CONTRIVED. So CALCULATED. So JUST NOT RIGHT. I would have gotten all the messages the book was trying to send WITHOUT the crappy ending. Even if I were not a literature teacher, I would have gotten them. She did NOT have to whack me over the head with them.

Apropos of absolutely nothing, I started on the third book of my downloaded three, and I was immediately struck by one of those oddities that fascinate me because they cannot be explained. And the fact that they fascinate me also cannot be explained.

Both the second and third books mentioned a character in passing, not a character at all really, just someone mentioned as a side note, who shares my name. That wouldn't be strange at all if I had a name like Mary or Louise or even Isabel, but my name is uncommon. And even when I do run across someone with my name, it is even rarer that it is spelled like mine, although my spelling is the only one that makes any sense because it has no wasted letters. But both of these characters not only had the same name, they spelled it right.

These two books were written by wildly different authors. What are the odds?

On a completely different note, I have spent most of the day reading because Hubby is horribly sick. And he just isn't the sickly type. He once had a terrible case of the flu, and all he asked was that I drive him to do his Pepsi route on Sunday. Not work it for him, mind you, just drive. Another time he had an abscessed tooth blow up, and his face was purple and his eye was swollen shut. He only allowed me to make an emergency call to his dentist AFTER he got home from work. He just doesn't get sick. He receives a lump payment every year for all of the sick days he has NOT used that year. Except for the year he fell off the ladder I was supposed to be holding, but that is a different story for another day.

It frightens me that he is sick in a foreign country. If we were in, say, France or Italy, I wouldn't mind taking him to the doctor. Not necessarily England, since that's one of those places they ask you if you've visited when you try to donate blood, like they may escort you out immediately if you say yes.

But here I would only take him to the doctor if he were losing copious amounts of blood. Or maybe if it were the first day of our vacation instead of our last. He is feverish and nauseated, but not throwing up. He says it would be better if he COULD throw up. Sorry if that's TMI. He hasn't drunk the water, and last night at dinner was one of the rare occasions when we had the exact same meal. So I don't think it's necessarily anything he ate, either. We shared nachos at lunch. I'm not feeling any ill effects, so I can't imagine what's ailing him. But he's just not a complainer, and he's also not one to spend thousands of dollars on a trip and then spend all day in bed.

Today at our all-inclusive resort, he has consumed one diet soft drink and one apple. God love him.

I went and bought him some Alka-Seltzer and some decongestant for the plane ride home, because landing causes him severe head pain right between the eyes. It has happened once before when we went to Las Vegas, and it happened as we approached Punta Cana, so I'm hoping the decongestant will hep with tomorrow's flight.

I was a little disturbed when I went to the gift shop that I could not only buy single packets of Alka-Seltzer, I could also buy packets of amoxicillin and ampicillin if I were so inclined. I were not, but still.

I didn't venture out much today either, because I would have felt supremely guilty for having a good time when Hubby was curled up in the fetal position. I grabbed a sandwich when I went to get the Alka-Seltzer and brought it back to the room, but I felt guilty eating it in front of him. Finally at about 5:00 this evening I took one last walk on the beach. It occurred to me that people who walk alone on the beach appear either to be traveling alone or like they have just had a huge fight with their significant others.

There may be nothing sadder in all the world than a single set of footprints in the sand.

It's been fun and hugely relaxing, but I'm ready to go home. That's the second best part of taking a vacation, after all.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ocean......








I can't seem to get enough of the ocean. I take picture after picture of the ocean, and Hubby says they all look the same.



He says the same thing about the pictures I take in the mountains.



I feel drawn to the ocean. We can't see it from our room, so every time we go down to the pool, I have to go look over the wall at the ocean. Just in case something has changed since yesterday.


I only wish the rooms at this resort were closer to the ocean. I like to leave the sliding glass doors open at night and listen to the waves.



Today we walked to the point seen in the distance in the picture above. We wanted to see what was just around the bend. We found crowds and lots of "little bastards" (that's what Hubby calls annoying little children) and decided it's a very good thing we're staying where we are.

When we got around the point, we saw this shipwreck (you can barely see it dead center), a local snorkeling attraction:


We saw the same wreck when were in the Dominican Republic four years ago, but we approached it from the other direction. That was the only reference point we had to figure out where we were relative to the other resort.

This sign is on the beach right in front of our resort. I found it quaint, especially considering the luxury that is everywhere else on the resort. No really, it's quaint.

This one made me think of Billy Joel's song "Storm Front." To be honest, there aren't too many things that DON'T make me think of a Billy Joel song. This sign said, "Caution. Undertow. Hole here." Well duh. If you stick a sign in the beach, there's GOING to be a hole.

The warning flags weren't out on the beaches either below or above our stretch of beach. I'm not that familiar with undertow and what causes it, so I don't know if it's the curvature of the shoreline, the currents, or if there's just a steep drop-off there.

I think I met Mr. Undertow once. When I was young, I could never understand it when I heard stories about people drowning. With all my youthful logic and ignorance, I remember thinking, "Why don't they just learn how to swim?" I was absolutely certain that I could not drown because I knew how to swim. I don't mean I thought it would never HAPPEN to me. I just thought any person who knew how to swim could swim out of any situation.

Then one time when we were at the beach either in Jacksonville or Savannah, I lost my footing in fairly shallow water and got pulled under. I didn't know up from down or surface from bottom, and I panicked. I guess that's when I figured out that it was indeed possible to drown even if one knows how to swim.

And when I saw the warning flags today, I stayed out of the water. In spite of the fact that it is in my nature to rebel against all cautions, red flag or not. Plus Hubby wouldn't let me go.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Not ALL Fun and Games....


In addition to all the other amenities, this resort has a top-notch fitness center. Which was empty except for Hubby and me when we went in there.

Like many other areas of the resort, it isn't quite finished yet. The televisions haven't been mounted on the walls yet.

But they have tons of equipment.

Pretty nice stuff, too, from what I can tell based on my rather limited knowledge.


Here I am on the elliptical, just in case you thought all I did was wander into the fitness center and take pictures. I had to make up for some of my all-inclusive indulgence.

And here are some early morning sounds of the ocean. The color of the water is beautiful, no?

video

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Update from Paradise......





I can't begin to describe how huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge this place is. Or at least it will be, when they finish it. They're still building steadily. And it isn't nearly full, even the buildings that ARE finished.

There appears to be approximately one swimming pool per registered guest. We had to ask a couple very nicely today to please get out of our pool. Just kidding.





While downloading pictures from yesterday, I found several I couldn't explain. Like this one:

Problem is, I took them all. Did I mention this is one of those all-inclusive resorts, where all food....and drink.....is included?


We even sat through a sales presentation for a membership at this lovely place. For a mere $5000, we could have 10 weeks to use anytime at this or one of its sister resorts. Sounds like a bargain, but we'd also have to pay an additional $2000 each time if we actually wanted to eat. It was difficult for us to calculate exactly where the savings came in. But it wasn't high-pressure, and I had read online that it was worth it to sit through it for the $400 spa coupons. We're not even likely to use those, though.

Everything is huge. Our room is ginormous, the balcony is spacious, and we have our own jacuzzi in the room. Even a two-person shower.


Now I have some work to do for my online course. Goodnight!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

There's a Reason...

....that vacations only happen every now and then.

Nuff said.

Friday, April 17, 2009

National Champs........Again.......

Grace Taylor

Dear Gym Dogs:

Not to take anything away from your gymnastics skills or the hours of practice you put in this year, but it's possible that you have me to thank for winning national championship #5 in a row and #10 overall.

Today I wore my UGA socks to school.

And my UGA bracelet and earrings.

And the new beaded necklace that says "Gymdogs" that Nurse Jane sent me for my birthday.

I wore my "All in for 10" t-shirt to school, and I don't usually wear t-shirts, even on jeans days.

I even wore the same red undergarments that I wear on every game day or meet day.

I thought about wearing my face tattoos, but I found out I only had one, and the lack of symmetry would have been completely unacceptable.

I watched both preliminary sessions on the computer yesterday, staying up waaaaaaaaaaaaay past my bedtime to watch the second session, which you didn't even compete in. I had to scope out the competition, you see.

I printed out the rotation schedule for tonight and lamented the fact that you had to end on a bye, which gave the other teams a score to shoot at.

I even printed out the rotation schedule for the individual events tomorrow night, coverage I'm afraid I'll have to miss because I'll be out of the country. But I have faith in those of you who will be competing in the individuals. Especially after tonight's performances.

Tiffany Tolnay

I have to confess that I didn't have a lot of confidence after the lackluster bars and beam rotations. You didn't out and out suck, but you didn't shine like I know you are capable of. With the exception of Courtney Kupets, of course, who can do nothing BUT shine.

Courtney Kupets

I had conceded victory in my mind to either Utah or Alabama, both of whom would have been deserving teams.

Bars and beam have been your strongest events all year, and I thought it was over when you landed sort of in the middle of the pack. I kept seeing stuck landings from the other two powerhouses, and I didn't think you could drag yourself up out of that hole again. Again.

Cassidy McComb


I apologize for my lack of faith. Who could have guessed that you would not only produce a 10 on vault (thank you, Kupets), but a 9.95 from someone with a broken bone in her foot (I hope you get that surgery soon, Tiffany) and a 9.95 from a FRESHMAN (you're back to being my new favorite, Kat)?

Jay Clark and Kat Ding

Who would have guessed that the score we would be able to drop on floor would be a 9.90? Nine point nine? Excuse me? That was our LOW score? Is this the same team that earlier this year couldn't stay in bounds, couldn't stay ON the floor? Wow.

Abby Stack


I didn't tell anybody, but I had a dream the other night that you didn't even reach the finals, that you were knocked out in the preliminaries. Shhhhhhhh.....

[Yes, I realize I have sunk to an all new low because I have started dreaming about college gymnastics, for God's sake.]

Spring Break can officially begin. All is right with the world.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I have been diligent......errrr.....make that obsessive.......about blogging every single night. Tomorrow night, however, and the four nights following, I will be vacationing in the Dominican Republic. I hope to have internet access, particularly since I'm expected to carry on with my part-time online teaching job while I'm there. I may miss a night or two of blogging, however. To make up for it, I will do my best to post some gorgeous pictures upon my return. Or at least share some stories of gorgeous margaritas and pina coladas. Happy Spring Break, y'all!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Nicknames.....

I had several nicknames in my younger days. When I was very young, my father called me "Tink." It may have been short for either Tinkerbell or Stink. I'm not sure. I remember having a plastic placemat at the dinner table with Tinkerbell on it, so it may have been that I had an obsession with Tinkerbell. I also remember getting excited with the beginning of Sunday (?) Night at the Movies, when Tinkerbell flew across the t.v. screen.

In an earlier post I referred to growing up in a trailer park and some of the residents calling Brother Jack and me "Springy" and "Nappy." I'm still not sure which one I was; either would have been appropriate.

In high school, I was called "Brillo." As in the steel wool pad. That was a not-so-subtle reference to my hair. Considering I was readily able to wear my hair in an afro when that was the style, the nickname is not surprising. I keep telling my hairdresser I'm ready for big hair to come back in style. I'll be ready when it does.

Another high school nickname emerged from the fact that we were one of the silliest classes ever to matriculate from high school. It's a wonder any of us made it to adulthood without a pacifier, much less with decent careers and normal children. We had a habit of taking the first letter of a person's first and last names and switching them. Thus Rex Martin became Mex Rartin. People whose names started with vowels presented a problem, as did those with alliterative names, like Mike Malcolm and Lisa Lee. When we did that with my name, it became Wena Dilliams. Wena was just too close to "weiner," so "Weiner" I became. There is one particular classmate of mine who would call me Weiner if I ran into him on the street tomorrow. I avoid running into him at all costs.

After I started teaching high school, my last name was Tiller for a while. (Shudder, gasp, gag, barf. Not that I'm bitter or anything.) One year I went through a little spell of killing animals on the way to school, so I became known as "Killer Tiller." It made me sound like a tough teacher (which I liked) instead of the animal killer that I actually was. Once it was a dog. He darted out in front of me, and I hit him before I could slam on brakes. I tearfully knocked on every door, knowing it was going to make me late for school. I finally found the owner, and he was more concerned that I was all right, because I had tears streaming down my face. He didn't seem that upset about the dog. He couldn't possibly have loved it as much as I love Gus. Another morning I hit a rooster. I still maintain that the rooster was suicidal. He was standing beside a mailbox, and when I got even with him, he jumped up and in front of my car. The traumatic part came when I had to stop about a half mile further down the road at a stop sign and he fell off. Then there was the deer. I didn't actually kill him, but he hilled my car. He jumped up and ran off into the darkness, leaving me with several thousands of dollars in damage to my car.

One of my friends got saddled with the nickname "Crisco" by a guy in school who thought she had a lard ass. Stupid guy, he should have known that Crisco isn't lard at all. We had "Hot" Thomas, not only because he WAS hot, but because that was also what his father was known by. We called Mike "Mouse," and I'm not sure where that one came from. One of my brother's friends was "Pyro," and I don't even WANT to know where he got that one. Although I never ever heard my brother referred to by the nickname "Mongoose," he had that very word tatooed on his arm during his stay at a correctional institution. Maybe he was trying to throw someone off; I'm not sure.

Some nicknames can be cruel, and it seems as though they are the ones that are more likely to stick.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Toys and Gadgets and Things....Oh My!.......

I really shouldn't be talking about my new gadget yet, because I'm still not extremely well versed in how it operates. I am diligently reading through the user's manual, but it's all a little overwhelming.

This may look like a calendar or an address book, and it's about that size. You probably can't read the tiny words down in the lower right hand corner.

It's an Amazon Kindle.

It will hold about 1500 books.

I've wanted one since they first came out several years ago, but I could never justify the expense.

Then I decided that one of the benefits of being an adult and working a job and a half is that you don't have to justify anything if you don't want to.

So I bought it for myself. Call it a late birthday present.

I wanted it to take on our trip this weekend, so I also paid for next-day shipping. And while I was at it, I bought the cover to put on it.


This was one of the three books that I downloaded right after I got the Kindle out of the box. Maeve Binchy is one of my favorite authors, and she has a new book out.

I acknowledge that I have a tendency to exaggerate, but the following is NOT an exaggeration.

The Kindle came already linked to my Amazon account, which is both very handy and very dangerous. Amazon knows my credit card number. When I took the Kindle out of the box, it had my name on the screen.

I plugged the device up in the kitchen then went to my laptop in the living room. I went to Amazon and chose three books to download that I knew were available for Kindle, and I clicked on them.

By the time I walked back to the kitchen, they were on the Kindle.

I apologize for the scary looking image of Oscar Wilde. Every time the Kindle goes to sleep, it displays a different writer.

It uses a new technology that makes the words on the screen actually look like print on paper. So it's possible to use it even in bright sunlight. I may have to test that out on the beaches of Punta Cana next week.

The Kindle will read a book aloud if you so choose. And you can choose either a male or a female reader. It's a LITTLE canned sounding, but it's not bad. And it hasn't told me "recalculating" one single time, which is more than I can say for my GPS. You can make the voice faster or slower. That ought to be comical after a few margaritas.

You can change the size of the font.

It also remembers where I left off reading.

I can't wait to get started. Right now I have a dilemma because I've started reading John Grisham's new book that's NOT available for the Kindle. And I can't read two books at once.

Goodbye. I have some reading to do.