Thirty-nine and feelin fine

Here we go. I’ve had a very busy couple of weeks, getting a novel posted to Swoon Reads, traveling to Denver to see Frozen the musical, and doing the alumni band thing for our college homecoming. I’d like to write about those things on here…we’ll see if I actually get that done, though. I keep trying!!

Today, however, I’m going to tackle another of the hundred journal topics. So without further ado:

39. Write about a time as a child when you played in one of the following: a treehouse, a cornfield, a construction site, a junkyard, an abandoned house or barn, a stream, a cemetery, a pasture, railroad tracks.

Okay. I’m gonna go through each of these in turn.

Treehouse: I do not think I have ever been in a real, honest-to-goodness treehouse. I sure wished I had one as a kid. I even went so far as to attempt it, but only got a flat piece of wood in a mimosa tree in the backyard. I also really wanted our own kids to have one, but that didn’t happen either. It’s too bad. Treehouses rock.

Cornfield: Nope. The first time I was in a cornfield was probably as an adult, in a corn maze during the fall. The only thing I remember as a kid was a wheat field and I was told to be dang careful and not damage the wheat. When I watch movies and people run into fields like that I cringe because DON’T DAMAGE THE CROPS!! Next.

A Construction Site: Okay, first though was nope, that’s not anything a kid should do, but then I remembered that once, when I was a kid, my sister and I went to an empty lot and climbed up a huge pile of gravel and slid down. It was kind of fun but we were terrified of getting yelled at by someone so we only did it once.

Junkyard: I’m not able to think of much involving a junkyard. I can remember being a teenager after my sister wrecked my car, and I got my stuff out of the car at the junkyard after it was towed. I think that’s how it went down. That was a pretty miserable time.

An abandoned house or barn: We went to my grandmother’s farm sometimes growing up. We only went a couple of times. Grandma didn’t live there; nobody did. There was an old house with a cistern, a old barn with an old truck in it, an outhouse, trees, and a broken down fence. It was surrounded by the wheat field that I wasn’t supposed to go in. We didn’t so much play there as explore each time we went. I remember that the truck belonged to the man who leased the farmland to grow the wheat on, so we weren’t supposed to touch it. He also had some hay stored in there. There was a sidewalk leading up to the house, and an old stove inside and some broken plates and jars. When I was a girl, the house was pretty much intact, but now a tree has fallen on one side of it and caved in the roof, and some bees have set up residence. So it’s not really visit-able in the warmer months. I had to use the outhouse once there when I was a little girl. Now the outhouse has collapsed. The barn is gone now, too. My friends and I went and camped out there when we were in college. We slept on top of the cellar. Now that concrete slab has cracked as well and isn’t safe. I used to dream of having my own home there, in the stand of trees, but I don’t think that will probably happen anymore. The people who rent the farmland from my mom now want to tear down the house and trees so that acre will be farmable too. I don’t really want that to happen. It probably will some day and that’ll be sad.

A stream: When I was about eight I went with my mom and sister to Falls Creek youth camp. I was not old enough to be there but mom was playing the piano or cooking or something so I went with her. While we were there I met a nice boy and he took me down to the creek and taught me how to catch crawdads. We were gone for a long time and when I got back my mom was really bothered by the whole thing and I wasn’t allowed to go off with him again.

A cemetery: I’ve been to lots of cemeteries but I don’t think I ever played in one as a child. I was always very interested in them though, reading all the markers and being careful to walk on the correct side so I didn’t walk on anyone. I remember when we went to the Maple Grove Cemetery in Alfalfa County we would always stay a long time and my legs would hurt, but there were stickers so you couldn’t sit down. And sitting on gravestones was wrong. And sitting in the station wagon was out because it was a zillion degrees out there and the vinyl seats were hot as fire and glued themselves to your thighs. There was an outhouse there too, and I also used that once. It’s not there anymore either, so it’s hold it or hide behind a tree at the cemetery now.

A pasture: Okay, so I like played in a pasture all the time, sort of. I mean, we had the four acres growing up, and it was sort of a pasture. I think we called it a field but basically the same thing. Again, there were stickers, but I kind of liked hanging out there. There was a big metal box of some kind that I enjoyed playing in and making it my house or den or whatever I was imagining. I really liked it but it seems kind of boring to share. I guess because it was mostly all in my head.

Railroad tracks: My most vivid memory of railroad tracks is when I was about 13 and Marissa and I were out driving around. She only had a permit but it didn’t stop her. She liked to stick to the back roads though. Anyway, we decided to go to the video store. We took the back roads there, only going into town for the actual video return and rental. On the way back, she took a different route and we got stuck in some really bad mud. And we were like two miles from town. We were near the train tracks so I took charge and decided we were going to walk back to town. Oh, and I also had this somewhat wild kitten, Oliver, with us that we had just found a week ago or so and was still kind of afraid of us. Also, he turned out to be a little half-witted later. And it was dusk, bonus. And Marissa wasn’t wearing any shoes. So we followed the tracks back to town. She was complaining the entire time about not having shoes, and she asked me to give her one of mine so she could have one foot not hurt. Then we would be even, she said. I reminded her that her shoe size was like three sizes bigger and it wouldn’t work. She then wanted me to take a shoe off anyway, out of sympathy for her. I think I actually tried it for a while and then gave up because that was dumb. Oliver freaked out when we tried to carry him so we had to just let him walk behind us, crying because he was afraid of being alone but also too afraid to be held while we walked. We went on like this until we got to town, well after dark. At that point, I tried picking up Oliver again and he completely complied and fell asleep in my arms, sweet baby. We went to my Grandma’s house and banged on the door but she didn’t wake up and answer. So then we walked to Main Street and used the phone on the street corner in front of city hall. It was probably like midnight at this point. I can’t remember if our parents were worried or if they even noticed we were missing, ha ha. Anyway, that was an adventure.

Here is a bonus picture of Oliver, the railroad travelin' kitten, sharing a treat of some kind with Corky, my rat terrier puppy.

Here is a bonus picture of Oliver, the railroad travelin’ kitten, sharing a treat of some kind with Corky, my rat terrier puppy.

Thirty-eight soooo great

So in 2009, before my sister died and my life changed forever, I had a livejournal, and I tried to post there regularly. Sometimes I did well, sometimes not. One thing I tried doing was 100 journal topics that I found on this old angelfire site.

I did all right posting those. And then my sister died. And then I kind of stopped doing anything for a while. I tried to resurrect the 100 in 2010. Then, when I was getting this website going and really getting things happening with my big superfun wannabe author career, I did them again.

And now I want to get back into this blogging thing, I think, so get the creativity flowing again or whatever, and so I’m going to give it another try. Because I can’t just post about my regular life or where my mind is lately. Because it’s just too freaky deaky and I’m not ready to just blare that all over the place.

So. Presenting number 38 in the 100 Journal Topics project.

38. Did you ever know someone who had “everything?”

No. Ha ha, done.

Seriously, though. I don’t really think so. I mean, surely I had some jealousies about things other people had when I was younger, but I never really thought someone had everything. Oh sure, my neighbors to the north had HBO, back when it was actually called Home Box Office and was its own separate thing, not part of a cable package…and my neighbor to the south had horses, and a three wheeler, and a pool, but we had a pool too. And we had our ponies. And I had a sweet fort thing in the middle of a stand of mulberry trees, and like two hundred My Little Ponies, and the coolest swingset known to man. I didn’t have a treehouse, and that grieved me, but I still had it all right.

In high school, I had a car. Not the best car or the newest car, but I had a car. So again, yeah. I had it all right. Not the richest kid in school but not the poorest either. Not by a long shot. I had friends, I had reasonably cool clothes, I had parents who were pretty understanding and lenient. Things were all right.

You guys, this is basically what my car looked like and it was so big and old and flippin' sweet and I'm still a little peeved that my sister wrecked it. Its name was Tiger and it was such a good car. <3

You guys, this is basically what my car looked like and it was so big and old and flippin’ sweet and I’m still a little peeved that my sister wrecked it. Its name was Tiger and it was such a good car. <3


But I’ve always been like that. I’ve always been basically satisfied. Sure, there’s better stuff, and that would be nice, but at least I’m not starving or homeless or whatever. I’m a long way from that life.

Nowadays, I suppose I could look to my writing friends and look at what others have. Sometimes I do; I’m not gonna lie. But I still think that if I’m patient and cool, my time will come. It’s kind of fun enjoying my friends’ successes anyway. Like my friend Kim…her amazing book is coming out this month and I’m so excited for her! Yes, it’d be cool if I’d gotten there too already…but I also believe that all things happen for a reason, and there is divine timing. If I haven’t gotten published yet, it’s just because the time isn’t right. And that’s okay. I just have to keep trying so I’ll be ready when the time is right.

Anyway, when you get right down to it, I guess I personally have everything. Okay, see, I wrote this thing back when I was in high school, where we had to say what our life would be like so many years down the road. It was for our journals, for our English class. I said that I would be a writer, living in a two story old house, married with children. And there it is. That’s what I wanted, and that’s what I got. So I should be pretty dad gum satisfied. And I am. I still want more, you know, but I’m content with where I am right now. The future will surely hold all kinds of surprises, and that’s cool too, even though I don’t really know what they are. I’m thankful. Thankful to God, thankful to others, thankful for basically everything in life. It’s a pretty sweet place to be.

happy-unicorn-rainbow

So…that’s my step back into my 100 journal topics. Maybe this time I will do more than two before lapsing again. Here’s hoping!

Thirty-seven bats in the attic

This is Number 37 in the 100 Journal Topics from this old angelfire page.

Write about the best attic or basement you’ve ever been in.

I don’t know about other parts of the country. It seems like attics and basements are pretty common things, but it doesn’t seem like there’s a lot of them around here.

Vinson Hall at NWOSU, in Alva, OK

I don’t know if I’ve ever been in a real-live attic. I have been in the basement of a couple of the buildings at my college, and that was admittedly pretty awesome. The best was Vinson Hall before they renovated it. Stuff from all over the college was stored in this old men’s dorm, and I loved looking at the televisions and couches from the 60s, and all the other things crammed in there. One room in that building was all chairs. They were piled on top of each other. You couldn’t even get into “the chair room.”

That room wasn’t really in the basement though. I don’t really remember the basement as its own thing. My memories are of the building as a whole. (And I just got a sniff of a memory of a recurring dream I sometimes have about that building…and it’s more than a little creepy. Off-topic though.)

I also got to go in the cool basement at the old junior high here in town before it was demolished. That was for an article for the newspaper. Best part was that nobody went in with me, so I really got to snoop around as much as I wanted. There was so much junk stored in there! It was like going through some kind of crazy, unwanted stuff museum. I really like doing that kind of thing.

I went in my parents’ attic crawlspace a couple of times. We had Christmas stuff stored up there, and some of my old toys were kept there too. You couldn’t stand up in the crawlspace, and there wasn’t a floor – just a big piece of wood laying on the wooden joists. It was exciting the first time I went up there. Not so much later.

*Not the actual snakeskin from our attic. It seems like it was this big though. I hate snakes.

When we moved into our house here, Ben went up in the attic (I’ve never been, as the access is through a small hole in the ceiling above the stairs, accessed by sticking a ladder on said stairs, no thank you) and came down with a big snake skin. Sometimes I wonder if the snake that shed it is still slithering around somewhere. I did see a tiny snake in the upstairs bathroom a few years ago and I about died. I don’t know if our attic is more than a crawlspace or not. Based on the roof, it seems like you could walk up there, but not very far.

We don’t have a basement here, but we have two cellars. They are pretty sweet.

Cellar one is the storm cellar. It is in front of our house, under the big elm tree. It has two entry doors. They are big heavy mofos, and lifting one during a storm isn’t fun at all. It’s kind of interesting to have a storm cellar and get to go down there with the weather radio when we’re in a tornado watch. Ben also uses this cellar as his personal automotive garage. He parks the car over one entrance and goes down the other and changes his oil and stuff. Pretty inventive. I assume there’s two doors in case a tree or something falls on one.

Cellar two is the root cellar. It is under the house. I really, really like it. The stairs kind of stink though. They used to be all broken, but Ben got all new wood and fixed them. But…the wood was a bit more narrow than it should have been, so you’re going in and thinking you’re going to miss and break your leg the whole way down. There’s a light bulb down there, and old shelves from when people were cool and used to store their summer’s bounty in the cellar to eat all winter. We tried to store some things but I couldn’t really get the hang of it. This cellar has a hallway that leads to the main room. The hallway has…get this…an arched ceiling. It’s made of brick. Every time I see it, I am amazed that this awesome arched ceiling is under my house. I don’t see it very often (remember the breaky-leg stairs).

Blogging experts say to include art to make your stuff more interesting. This is a picture of what I don’t want to be under if a tornado hits.

Sometimes people ask me why we go to the storm cellar when bad weather hits, instead of the root cellar. After all, we don’t have to go out in the rain for the root cellar. The entry door is part of our covered wraparound porch. Never an issue. I am afraid our cool hundred year old farmhouse might collapse on us in a tornado if we were in the root cellar. That’s a no-brainer for me.

Not my favorite topic so far.

I was going to add a link to this cool website, abandoned oklahoma, that has pictures of all kinds of places like Vinson Hall and my old junior high, except they haven’t been renovated or town down. Unfortunately, when I went to it, my malware popup binged and it tried to redirect to something else. Maybe they got hacked. I’ll add the link if it clears up in the next few days.

thirty-six

Did you ever run away from home? How far did you get?

This is Number 36 in the 100 Journal Topics from the old angelfire page I found. I read this the first time before the boy’s soccer practice on Tuesday, and thought about it. Then I didn’t think about it.

So today when I realized I had a few moments to myself, I got right to writing.

Right after I checked my email a dozen times, messed around on twitter, played a game on facebook, and looked at pinterest. Then I got right to writing.

I really don’t remember ever really trying to run away from home. Marissa did once, but she only went as far as the row of trees to the south of our driveway. She set up camp there and read a book. So not that far.

In fact, the first thing that actually popped in my mind was when I was a young married lass living in an apartment in Alva. Ben and I got in some kind of dumb fight – who even knows what it was about now? Ben, maybe. He’s good at remembering things like that. Anyway, I got mad and I stormed out of the apartment.

Maybe I expected him to come rushing after me. I don’t know.

What I do know is that I had neglected to get my car keys. Or my shoes.

So there I am, barefoot and hacked off. It’s dark outside – late in the evening. There is no way I am going back in that apartment. He can just eat it.

So I thought about it for a while, and then I walked to some friends’ apartment. The walk was maybe four blocks, and it was grassy, so not a big deal. I think the most troublesome spot was the street right in front of their apartment, which was frequently gravelly or sported broken glass. But I persevered.

I went up to their apartment, plopped down on the couch, and watched them play video games for a couple of hours.

Ben called once, but they had strict orders to tell him I wasn’t there, and they performed admirably.

So Ben’s sitting at home, not sure when I am. He knows I didn’t take a car, and that I don’t have shoes, and that I’m not at our friends’ place.

I don’t know if he went looking for me. He probably did.

I do know that he called my parents and asked them to watch out for me.

My parents lived three hours away by car.

My dad gets on the phone and listens to Ben’s worry – that I’m walking 150 miles without shoes. Dad tells Ben that he doesn’t think I will do that. Ben says that I was pretty mad. Mom and Dad promise they will keep an eye out, but they aren’t concerned.

They know me well.

1676_1Ben thought I was making a terrible barefoot trek home to my parents, à la “The Long Walk” by Stephen King. Instead I was sitting between two handsome guys with my feet on the coffee table, watching Mortal Kombat moves.

Seriously – one of the guys knew every fatality and friendship move. It was awesome.

I don’t remember how I ended up going home that night. Maybe I called Ben, or maybe he called again and one of the guys confessed. Maybe I got a ride home. Obviously we were able to make up.

So I guess that’s it for my running-away story. Ben thought I was going halfway across the state, but I went four blocks and had a nice evening.

This probably shows that I’m not quite as crazy as he thinks I am.

Spooky number thirty-five

Did you ever see a ghost?

Yeah…maybe.

I went a long time saying I’d never seen a ghost. That’s not to say I don’t believe in things like that…I was just apparently not attuned to such things. Thankfully.

I know my grandma saw something when she was a young woman. She was living with my mom in a house (or duplex, maybe) in Alva, and she saw a lady come up through the floor and on through the ceiling.

I think they moved rather quickly after that.

My mother also saw something once. She was in bed and woke. My dad was asleep next to her. He had cancer at that point, and I think I was in college. So Mom saw two women up high in the corner of her room, sitting and talking. She couldn’t really hear or understand what they were talking about, but she felt calm about it – like maybe they were watching over my dad when he was sick. Then one woman looked and saw that Mom could see her, and then the other looked, and then they disappeared.

I think seeing either of those things would have made me lose my mind. I have always had a terrible, vivid imagination that makes me see things that aren’t there. I’m still afraid of the dark. I still imagine horrible claws and evil beings just out of my line of vision. I should probably write horror. Speaking of which, when I read It by Stephen King, I was in junior high. At night, I would put it on the front porch so I could sleep. That way it was locked outside.

But. Did I ever see a ghost. All I got is this:

I was upstairs in my room, reading or something, and out of the corner of my eye I saw Ben walk by out in the hall, toward the kids’ rooms. He was wearing a green shirt. I looked up and waited for him to come back, but he didn’t. I thought it was odd that he would be hanging out in one of their rooms, so I got up and looked for him. He wasn’t in there. He was downstairs watching TV. He wasn’t wearing green. None of the kids were wearing green. I know I saw somebody.

And:

Another time I heard Ben calling me, clear as a bell, but when I got up to see what he was hollering about, he wasn’t anywhere near and hadn’t been calling me. I would swear I heard him calling my name.

So those were weird.

First one back

Write about something you desperately wanted as a kid.

This is my first post to write for reals on my writing website. The others were from 2009 and 2010. I started doing the 100 Journal Entries on Livejournal, as a way to get back into writing after my years at the newspaper. My baby was about to turn two when I started.

Then my sister, Marissa, died in November 2009. That was a serious life-changer for me. I went through a long time of depression and I didn’t do much of anything. I tried to pick up the 100 Journal Entries again in late 2010, but I only did a couple before letting it go again.

So here we are. I wrote my first young adult novel last year, and I’ve followed it with more. The experts advise having a website to make it easy for publishing people to find you, so here this is. Of course, it’s supposed to be professional, and instead finances dictated that I do it myself with my limited knowledge, so we’ll see how that goes.

But what I desperately wanted. That’s what I’m supposed to be focusing on.

When I first started thinking about this, my mind went to material things. Then I started thinking about how I always wanted to be a writer.

But you know what I desperately, desperately wanted? I wanted friends.

My best friend as a little girl was Becky. She was marvelous, and I loved her very much. Only having one friend was great, except for when she had to miss school or something, and then I was lonely at recess and lunchtime.

That was okay with me, but I don’t think it was good for her. Of course, I’m only seeing it from my point of view, but she decided she wanted to be part of a group of girls, and they didn’t want me, so she left me for them. I thought I was welcome to come along, but I learned that wasn’t true at lunch one day. She and the group of girls were sitting together, and I went and sat with them. They got up and moved to a new spot. I was confused, and thought maybe they just wanted us all to move, so I followed them.

And then they moved again.

When I realized what was happening, I was heartbroken. I sat there and ate my lunch as best I could, then escaped to the bathroom to cry. It was one of the most tragic moments of my young life, and I still feel pain when I think about it now.

That painful day paved a path to several unhappy years in my life. I went through junior high without one friend. I know that sounds like an exaggeration, but it was true. It’s not to say everyone was mean to me – some were and some weren’t. But I had no friend. Every day I ate lunch alone. I started to bring a book so at least I looked like I was doing something. When we paired off in classrooms, no one paired with me. When the gym teacher had two people pick teams, I was always picked last. I’m not trying to make people feel sorry for me. It’s just the way it was. Someone had to be picked last. It was always me.

Sometimes my mom would come and pick me up for lunch. What a delight it was to see the station wagon with her inside and know that I didn’t have to be alone at lunchtime! She would ask me sometimes if I wanted to transfer – to a church school in the city, maybe – but I said no. Part of my perfectionism, I guess. I wanted to stay at the same school until graduation.

Things got better in high school. My sister was a senior when I was a freshman, and she welcomed me to her nerdy little group. Don’t get me wrong. I liked them all and they were very much preferred to being alone. I’m pretty sure they knew they were nerdy. It’s cool. Marissa taking me under her wing gave me what I needed to get back into the swing of things. After that year, I was able to connect with some people who were in band with me. Not people in my grade though. I never was able to really fit in there.

So that’s what I wanted as a kid – at least after Becky and before high school. I wanted a friend. I wanted a friend so badly.

I sometimes wonder if that experience was what led me primarily to homeschool. It seems like there are many factors, but surely that is a big one. And how would I be different if I hadn’t spent those years alone? Looking back now, I wouldn’t change it. I like myself too much now to change something that had such an effect on my life.

Not wanting to change it doesn’t make it right, though. It’s not right that any kid should have to be without a single friend.

Thirty-three

Did you ever win or lose a contest?

Did I ever win or lose a contest. No, because I have been living under a rock my entire life. Of course I have won or lost a contest! For pity’s sake, 100 Journal Topics. Be realistic.

There is a picture of me in my baby book, sitting on the counter at McDonald’s. I am three years old in the picture. It is a Polaroid two-step photograph – you know, the ones where you take the picture and then kind of shake it back and forth and then after a minute or so, you peel off the cover and there it is? I am sitting next to an Easter basket that contains a lot of fun things and a stuffed monkey. Next to the photograph is Mom’s writing, telling me that I’m a lucky girl and I won the basket, and that there were 530 names in the hopper.

Because of this, I have always been considered “lucky.” When Mom signs up for contests, she sometimes puts my name because I’m luckier than her.

And just now, looking at the topic, I realize that it says contest, not drawing, and that I’m going about this the wrong way. So yes, I won contests too. Tuttle Talent Show and 4-H and all that stuff. I also won a prize from the Daily Oklahoman in their Valentine’s Day classified ad contest. I’ll veer over that way for a moment, then get back to the drawings.

I read in the Oklahoman that they were having a Valentine’s Day contest. This was in the year 2000. You had to buy a classified ad, and then the best one would win a limo ride, and roses, and dinner at the Haunted House in Oklahoma City. I decided I would like to win this contest.

So I composed a poem, and e-mailed it to the Oklahoman. I paid for the ad with a credit card. The ad cost about $50, because it was so long, but I knew I would win it so it was okay. And I did win it. I felt a little sorry for all the other people who bought ads, thinking they might win, when they didn’t have a chance against my dazzling poem.

I was going to reprint it here, but it wasn’t in the first place I looked. I tried to get into the Oklahoman archives, but my password isn’t working. So I sent an email about it. And then I waited a while. And then I gave up and got back to it. You can trust me…it was a good poem. It was based on “Trees” by Joyce Kilmer. It was about Ben.

So I won that contest. Ben and I went to the Haunted House restaurant with the $50 gift certificate I won. We actually had to spend some of our own money – that’s how expensive that place was. Classy. He picked up the dozen roses from Trochta’s flowers for me. I decided to save the free limo ride until Christmas, and then we got the biggest limo they had and took Mom, her friend, my sisters and their families on a Oklahoma City Christmas light tour. It was pretty neat. There was only one seat belt in the limo, and we strapped Lenora’s car seat there.

So – back to what I wanted to write about. My luck. This is a good one.

One year, Karlene, Marissa and I took mom on a little birthday trip to Cherokee, Okla. for their centennial celebration. Now, I was feeling lucky. I can hardly describe it. I have never felt lucky like that before or since. But I knew that I was destined to win something. I kept asking Ben to take a weekend trip to Kansas so I could buy a lottery ticket. I knew I would win. I knew it. It was inevitable. We didn’t go. No one believed me.

But we took mom to Cherokee, which is a mere half-hour from the Kansas border. I asked to go to Kansas while we were there, but no one wanted to.

We got our tickets for the centennial party, which included a stagecoach ride, a barbecue dinner, admittance to a play, and a chance to win both the centennial quilt or the centennial gun.

I wanted to play the lottery so bad. Instead, I found myself standing in line in Cherokee, waiting to buy my ticket. I remember looking from the gun to the quilt, and back again. I thought, word for word, Will it be the quilt or the gun? I hope it’s the quilt. Again, I knew I was going to win. There was no doubt in my mind that either that quilt or that gun would be mine. I decided that whatever I won, I would give it to Mom, since Cherokee was where she was born and it was her birthday weekend.

We had fun in Cherokee and left before the play, which is when the drawings were made. But you did not need to be present to win.

When Mom called me the next day, she was giddy with the news. She called and told me I was not going to believe it, but she had talked to Lenora P…

In my head: I know why you’re calling Mom, is it the quilt or the gun?

…and it was the quilt. I won the centennial quilt. Mom hinted around that she wanted it. I told her she could have it. It hangs in her living room now.

I knew I was going to win something. I still can’t believe how lucky I felt, and how assured I was of it.

I reminded Mom of how I knew I was going to win something. I told her that I knew without a doubt I was going to win one of the centennial raffles. I reminded her of how I had wanted to play the lottery. She asked me why on earth I didn’t talk them into taking me up to Kansas. Apparently they would have taken me if they had known that I was really going to win. Hmm.

And that’s the story of how I was lucky enough to win anything – and instead of playing the lottery and becoming a millionaire, I won a quilt.

Number thirty-two

Write about a time you had to communicate with someone you couldn’t understand.

It has been more than a year since I stopped writing my 100 Journal Entries. I did pretty well for 31 of them, and I just went back and read them all. How happy and flippant I sounded! Now I feel like everything I write is tinged in sorrow. My heart is still breaking after losing Marissa. She meant so much to me. I fear that I will never have such a powerful relationship in my life again. My mind still says it’s not possible; that I am mistaken and that she cannot be gone.

But this is not the road I intended to travel this evening, as I try to get back into the 100 Journal Entries.

I was trying to get back into writing last summer when I got my laptop, so I took up the challenge of writing 100 entries from an angelfire website that was designed for high school kids. Some entries were easier than others, but I did a fair job of keeping up. What was supposed to be daily entries changed to daily minus weekends and holidays and then sporadic and then the unthinkable happened with Marissa.

But here we are, still alive, still kicking, still thinking about how writing is one of the few things in my life that even make sense.

Even though this topic is idiotic.

I do not think I have ever attempted conversation with someone who spoke a foreign language.

I could use the whole “Don’t understand their way of thinking” avenue but I fear the person I choose might end up reading this. Not good.

I’m left with not being to understand little children, even though there is not a particular instance I can think of. I do, however, love how little children babble and babble and we wisely say, “Oh, I see,” even though we don’t understand them. Fooling little children is fun.

Belinda was hard to understand. Turns out she had a speech impediment. I didn’t even know it until Sarah started talking. I realized she sounded better than my kid, who was a year older. Belinda started therapy with Sooner Start when she was two and transitioned into therapy at the school at age 3. She likes going. The teacher is nice. I get weary of doing the exercises with her and taking her to class but I do it because it will benefit her. It doesn’t fit well with my whole “doing as little as possible” thing I have going since last November, but I do it for Belinda. I can understand most of what she says now, but I still do the “Oh, really?” thing with her sometimes. She still falls for it. I am quite the actress, apparently.

Not a strong return, but a return nonetheless. Yay me.

Minor League

Write about something minor that turned into a big deal.

Seriously?

In the words of Lucy Van Pelt, when do the good things start?

I feel like I am grasping at straws with every journal entry. Something minor that turned into a big deal?

Okay. I got one.

Hope it’s not too real for you.

Let’s go back a decade or so.Right around the new millennium. Y2K didn’t turn out as bad as predicted, and the computers are still on and a lot of people have a lot of emergency rations to eat and a lot of generators to store or sell.

It’s a Tuesday – my day to put together The Tuttle Times in Chickasha. All week I write stories and take pictures, and I put it all together on the one day. Until the week before this, I did The Minco Minstrel on Wednesdays, but the publisher has decided to stop publication on that one, to my horror. So this week is a little different; I usually would be back in Chickasha the next day, but not this one. Never again.

So I put together the newspaper. It’s nice. Nothing to write home about, but a decent paper nonetheless. I am looking forward to getting home, since I am 35 weeks pregnant and a little tired.

I finish the last page, then go and check to make sure everything printed out okay. I wait for composing to wax the ads and stick them in place. I don’t wait for it to print today; I want to go home.

So I do. I go home and check the fridge. There is a half a cherry pie in there. I cut a slice and put it in the microwave for 30 seconds. So far so good. With half a minute to kill, I head to the bathroom.

We’ll keep this as delicate as possible. While there, I…strained for a moment, and then felt a strange pop. Odd. Then I started peeing. And it didn’t stop.

Great, I thought. Way to go. You’ve rendered yourself incontinent. Yes, I actually thought that, in those words. I am a nerdy verbalist even when having conversations with myself.

Finally I decided to just grab a maxi pad and let that handle any urine leakage I had going on. I got up, went to the kitchen, and got the pie out of the microwave. It was good – a little chewy in parts of the filling, because it wasn’t covered up in the refrigerator, but it was tasty anyway.

About midway through the piece of pie, I thought I’d go check on the status of my pants.

I went back to the bathroom, sat down, and checked my undies.

The maxi pad had taken on a slightly pinkish hue.

Hmm. Wasn’t expecting that.

It didn’t look like a big gusher of blood or anything…just that slightly pinkish hue.

I changed the pad.

I went and got my copy of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. The book explained that if you experience Premature Rupture of Membranes, or PROM, the doctor will generally wait and see if you go into labor naturally within a few days.

Okay.

I ate some more of my piece of cherry pie and waited for Ben to come home. He was late. I called the office but he wasn’t there.

The book recommended calling my doctor, so I did. The answering service picked up. It was a young man. He was astonished when I told him I thought my water broke. He got very nervous and said he’d tell the doctor right away. He told me I was the first patient he had ever talked to who might be in labor. He was sort of freaking out.

I, on the other hand, felt calm and cool. I held the phone in one hand, the pie plate in another. I licked the fork and told him I was sure everything would be fine.

After all, What to Expect When You’re Expecting told me so.

I called my mother, and my sisters. I told them that my book said the doctor would probably wait a few days, so there was no worry.

Ben came home. Still feeling calm and cool, I told him the same thing.

I’m sure by now you know where this is going.

Yeah. What to Expect When You’re Expecting lied.

Dr. Perry called and told me to go to the hospital. I did. The nurses started prepping me for labor. I was surprised. Did this mean I was actually going to have the baby now? The nurses felt this was very funny. Of course I was going to have the baby now. What did I think was going to happen?

This was a big deal. This was a biggest deal of all. I was five weeks early. We had not even bought a mattress for the crib. We hadn’t bought a lot of stuff. I still had five weeks to go! I wasn’t ready yet!

But ready or not, she came. Lenora was born a little before 5:30 a.m. It was a very big deal, if I do say so myself.

lenora3We weren’t ready, in so many ways. But she forgave us, again and again. We’ve all learned so much together. And I’m so very lucky to have her.

I expected a few more days of prep, at least. She came less than 12 hours after I got home from work.

I can’t imagine anything as minor as that little pop turning out to be such a big deal as that beautiful baby girl.

*Ta-da*

Trying to get momentum back…

So, after getting sick, it seems to be hard to get that momentum back on journaling every day (or weekday, at least). I know it’s because I tend toward perfectionism, and now that I haven’t written every day, it’s not as exciting any more. I can keep doing this, though. Surely I can at least get through the initial 100!

With that in mind, here’s number 29.

Write about a disappointment.

Wow.

Life is so full of disappointments. My first thought was, How to pick just one? My second thought was that I can’t even think of one.

Alice looks disappointed to be stuck holding that pig. I feel for you, Alice. I really do.

Well, I’m disappointed that I got behind on the entries.

I was disappointed when Bennett fell asleep on the couch the other night and then had…an accident.

I was disappointed when the power windows on the van stopped working.

These, however, do not seem quite the caliber of disappointment that I am apparently supposed to summon up. They feel pretty lacking, matter of fact.

I closed my eyes for a few moments and let my mind run…but the place it seems to go the most is disappointments from Ben to me, and I don’t care to post those because it really seems like a betrayal. Like I can expose myself on here (to a point, at least) but I can’t really do that to him. That narrows the disappointment playing field down quite a bit.

The real topic becomes:

Write about a disappointment without hurting anyone that you love or bringing up any bad memories that would make the other parties in question sad.

And how can I do that?

Even if a person doesn’t read my journal currently, I’m posting it on the stinkin’ Internet, for Pete’s sake. It could easily get back to anyone, or be read sometime in the future by the other players in the tale of disappointment.

I’m not really into hurting other people’s feelings.

So I have a couple of options.

One is to write about sometime I was disappointed in myself. These will probably not work because if I am going to be disappointed in myself, it is probably still too raw and personal to get posted, so sorry. I even want to keep secret the ones as a kid. Oddly enough, I can’t even think of one of them at the moment, but I get that nasty feeling in the pit of my stomach when I start to try, so I drop it.

Or I could write about somebody dead.

The problem with that one is that first, I’m not cool with speaking ill of the dead. Second, my dead people get elevated higher and higher to near-godhood status the longer they have been gone. Third, I can’t think of anything. As usual.

I could also write about something disconnected with me, like my disappointment in a movie or celebrity…i.e. I was disappointed when Arrested Development went off the air. But that, my friends, seems a little lame.

Think, McFly, think.

Twenty minutes have passed and I still got nothin’.

I waited another five, and now I am ready to say Uncle.

I have hope for tomorrow…and then the weekend! Wow! Goes fast when you skip the first three days of the week.