Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tuesday's Random Thoughts - Catch Up Edition

I haven't been good about blogging the last week. I blame my children. One of them always has my laptop while the one who doesn't have it is busy whining about wanting to use it next. We have a fabulous iPad, but Kate can't play Minecraft, with which she's currently obsessed, on the iPad. Here's a basic description of the game from the Minecraft Web site:

Minecraft is a game about placing blocks to build anything you can imagine. At night monsters come out, make sure to build a shelter before that happens.

Sounds boring, right? It looks boring, too. I don't get it. But it did give me an idea. Has anyone made a zombie Lego set yet? Yes, they have. (Before Google, I'd have just been left wondering about this. Now I can immediately find one.

On the drive to Texas last week and then back home from Louisiana Sunday, my cousin Richard and I listened to World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War. It was pretty good. It features the voices of several well-known actors such as Alan Alda and John Turturro. About halfway through, I did feel like, had I been reading it, I would have grown bored with the storytelling style. Still, it's worth a listen if you're taking a road trip and you're jonesing for The Walking Dead.

More Excuses
My lackluster blogging is not all the fault of my children. I'm also exhausted. Maybe it's post-funeral/post-travel fatigue. The past couple of days, I've been tired and weepy. I didn't sleep well at all last night. Now my head feels fuzzy. I need a nap. Perhaps, I'll read a chapter of Tess of the D'Urbervilles so I can nod off.

So far, I have read one chapter of the Cocktails and Classics pick for April. I'm already so bored I barely stayed awake to write that last sentence. I'm sure it will get better in that it will be more interesting. It will get worse in that horrible things will happen to Tess. Unfortunately, I spotted some spoilers online while reading a story about a movie adaptation starring Frieda Pinta.

Unhealthy Reading
Reading my O Magazine is depressing to me sometimes. I think it's because I know that Suze Orman is judging me.

Free At Last
My gutters have finally been cleaned. In the process, two Barbie dolls were rescued from the roof where they have been trapped for months.

Happy Birthday, Grandma
Today would have been my grandma's 79th birthday. If you haven't already, read this essay I wrote about my grandparents. 
Carlene Bickers
I'm catching up on recordings of The Colbert Report while I write this. Last week, Stephen Colbert interviewed Anne Rice, who no longer considers herself a Christian. Colbert said, "You're no longer Catholic, correct? You were Catholic long enough to know you're going to hell, right?"
That man is fantastic.

Car Troubles
This morning, I had to pay $1400 for repairs on the VW Passat. That made my stomach hurt. Add that to the sick feeling of horror that came over me each time I filled the gas tank during our road trip to Texas and Louisiana. If gas really does get up to $5 a gallon this summer, I won't be leaving my house at all except on foot. I kind of love this idea. I wish I lived somewhere that was more pedestrian-friendly.

The Happiest Place in America
San Luis Obispo
This reminded me of this recurring fantasy I have about moving to San Luis Obispo, California, which is about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. According to author Dan Buettner, it is the happiest place in America. The average high temperature is 73 degrees. Bicycle traffic is encouraged. There are no drive-through fast food restaurants.

I was telling Todd just yesterday that I'd be willing to work in a service industry job if it meant I could live somewhere beautiful. And yes, Birmingham is lovely, but it is not beautiful enough to make working the checkout line at Publix worth it.

I keep thinking about the summers I spent in Leavenworth, Washington and how, every single time I walked out the front door, I was struck anew by the glorious scenery. One of my jobs was as cashier for an art show in the park. Artists set up tents and showcased their work and I handled all the sales transactions.

Leavenworth, Washington
On the weekends, there was always some sort of music act performing in the gazebo nearby. From my spot in the cashier's tent, I could see the mountains in the distance. One day it was about 76 degrees in town but I could see it snowing on the mountaintop in the distance.

When there weren't a lot of customers, I would sit in a lawn chair and read. My boss, Carmel, who was fabulous and who passed away many years ago, brought a bell and set it by the cash register so people could get my attention if I was too deeply involved in a novel.

Best. Job. Ever.

When I wasn't at the art show, I worked at my great uncle's bed and breakfast. I prepared breakfast, cleaned the rooms, and did check-ins and check-outs.

When Tina was there with me, she worked two jobs, too. After we got off work each day, we would wander around town or lie out on a blanket on the lawn of the condo complex. We would walk to the grocery store and pull a red Radio Flyer wagon behind us. We walked everywhere, to and from work, to and from the store, in and out of the shops that lined the main street.

One morning, I was walking for exercise and I followed a route up a two-lane road that went past an apple orchard. On the other side of the road was a pasture. In the pasture, there were about 15 cows and they were all sitting down in a perfect circle, as if they were having some sort of meeting.

I didn't have a camera with me. This was before everyone constantly carried cell phones with cameras. I remember I looked around, thinking, "Am I the only one seeing this?"

I stood there for several minutes and I'm pretty sure I had a huge, goofy grin on my face. I committed it to memory, this moment of pastoral calm and beauty and humor, this mental photograph of cows sitting in a circle.

Right now, I wish I could put myself back there for a minute or two.

Or longer.


  1. My son Ethan is obsessed with Minecraft as well. He has Asperger's and has trouble making friends, and this has been a real godsend. He gets online with 3 other boys from his school and has learned more in 2 weeks of having to operate in an online microcosm of community building than years of traditional intervention services could have taught him. (i.e. share, don't cheat, pull your weight, apologize if you bust up someone's hot tub they are building ... you know, the essentials). Also listened to audiobook of WWZ and really liked it. Can't wait for the movie, which I believe will star Brad Pitt, correct?

    1. I love knowing that about Minecraft! It sounds like a great teaching tool. Especially the part about the hot tub.
      Yes, WWZ has Brad Pitt in it. I'm looking forward to it. I hope it's good! I think it could be the rare example of the movie improving on the book.


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