Tuesday, February 26, 2013

An Acclaimed Movie Story: Complete with Problem and Solution

On the 7th day of snow and two weeks without a Dr. Pepper (lent reasons), my mind was afflecked and strayed from my usual writing activities.  Of the fourteen top Oscar movie nominations for 2013, how many can you find in the story below.   The list of the fourteen movies appears at the bottom.

            The other night Jack’s friend, Judge Argo, called us to tell us he bought four tickets to the Masters this spring, and asked us if we’d like to attend two of the sessions with him.  It was a skyfall moment for the two of us.  Of course, we’d like to attend, but we’d rather he not bring Ted or Oscar.  Hopefully, a flight out of Wichita to Atlanta won’t be the impossible tasks that it can be with spring time weather in the plains.
            Golf has been the amour of my life, so an opportunity to this event was monumental.  In the past when other friends attended the Masters leaving me behind to teach, I was left with a sinking feeling like the miserables.  Being depressed is not uncommon for me.  Ever since I was young and attended Lincoln school, mother used to say, “There’s always a silver lining to a dark cloud.  Read the silver linings playbook and learn about life.”  Sometimes I just chose to worry rather than act.
            When I worry about my “what if’s” in life, I often experience nightmares that run like raging beasts of the southern wild, which is just what I did amidst the blizzard the other night.   I woke up screaming like a django unchained,  with a dog licking my ear and whining, and my husband shaking my shoulder at zero dark thirty in the morning.  When we all calmed down from the fright, my husband  suggested we get up for a glass of milk and piece of pie.  By the numbers Jack enjoys dark molasses pecan pie, and I like tart cherry pie. 
            “Let’s talk about what worries you, “ Jack suggested.
            “Money, time, retirement life, what will we do, health, children,” I acclaimed.
 He smiled, “Tell you what, I’ve been thinking about these things , too.  We both like pie and other sweets, so let’s open a bakery.  We’ll call it Life of Pi and Sweets. We’ll make it our retirement gift, then if the kids ever need a job they can buy us out.  What do you say?”
“That sounds delicious, but for now, can we either go back to sleep or wake up from this dream?” I mumbled. 

Movies:  Amour, Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Flight, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Lincoln,  Silver Linings Playbook,  Skyfall, The Impossible, the Master, The Sessions, Zero Dark Thirty

Friday, February 22, 2013

Q the Time Traveler

One hour later and we're not quite to the street.
Wednesday, three rounds of snow were only the prequel to snowstorm "Q."  Thursday while we slept Q arrived dumping 3" before we woke up.  I was more than willing to watch the snow accumulate from my bed or the living room with a roaring fireplace, but Jack insisted on going to work, even though his retirement date is Feb. 28!  Once he began shoveling, I decided that two people worked better than one when it comes to shoveling snow.  I had had some experience with shoveling the day before, easy!

In reflection, another thirty hours later, shoveling snow of any depth is no easy task.

Just love those cardinals in the snow.

While Jack spent his day at work, I spent my day feeding and watching the birds.  How fun just to pull up a chair to the window and smile with delight watching and listening to their chattering interaction.
Just wait, I know she'll feed us if we look hungry.

Running took effort for Lucy.
Q being a time traveler or interloper from the Star Trek movies lived up to his reputation.  Three rounds of snow throughout the day kept me busy relaxing, reading, watching the snow accumulate. However, cabin fever raged inside our cattle dog, Lucy.  Being the good "cow" in the family, I bundled up and jumped into the snow letting her pretend to protect me from those vicious birds and gnarly squirrels.

The yardstick measured nearly 15" and that was before the last round of Q after 3:00 Thursday, but who's counting after that.

By the time Jack walked in from work, I offered him a toasty drink in the Adirondacks in the backyard, our favorite evening retreat in warmer weather, but instead we stood in awe of what nature had given us--another perfect day.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Q's Prequel

I spy.

I've heard of a prequel for a great novel but never for an approaching snow storm.  Being a blue blood doubting Thomas, I'm not convinced that the snows will accumulate to the predicted depths.  By ten am the snow was deeper than I predicted, and the fat squirrel prided himself on finding a full feeder.

How far to the next tee?

One bark from Lucy at the door and the squirrel took off, leaving the food for the birds.

Did you hear what happened the pine siskin?

The snow let up by 2:00 and since the Acenture Golf Classic in Marana, Arizona was postponed this afternoon because of snow, rain, and bitter winds I watched birds, cleared a path out front twice, then cleared a path in the back to the hot tub.  After all a woman has to be prepared for the best of evenings.  The backyard birds were fluttering messages of "feed me, feed me, please."  They are always so happy to have safe food that they repay me with their music and happy dances.

Don't know who's happier
Lucy, Letty or the field of wheat
under my feet.                                                                                                                                                                                    
Now this is living.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Readings and Greetings; All There Is--Love Stories from Storycorps

Love stories, isn't that the right theme to be reading in February?  But this is a book for all seasons and reasons: love, loss, human touch, joyfulness, heartbreak, devastation, and reuniting.  Every story in the book is a condensed story of love, from 40 minute interviews taped at a Storycorps location around the United States.  The book is divided into three themes of love:  Found, Lost, and Found at Last.  My favorites run deep because they were told with love, humility, and devotion.  Deep inside my core I felt each person talking, touching, giggling, kissing, dreaming, and crying.  I cried, too.

Dave Isay, the Storycorps founder writes in his book, All There Is--Love Stories from Storycorps, "Over the past eight years I've been astonished and delighted by the stories that spin out of our booths and land on my desk each week.  They speak to the enduring and redemptive power of love.  They make my spirit soar.  In a culture that often feels consumed by all that's phony or famous, these stories give me hope and remind me to try to live life without regrets.  I hope they do the same for you."

The stories of love cover the ages, cultures, and circumstances of love.  You can read about Hunny Reiken, 80, who talks with her husband Elliot Reiken, 86 or listen to their story on the website <storycorps.org>: Hunny speaks:  "I have a twin sister, Bunny.  And you have a twin brother, Danny.  When we met we were sixteen and a half, and we were waitresses in a hotel.  You and Danny were musicians in a band." The story of the two sets of twins marrying the same day brings a smile to the readers face but it is Hunny's reflection I like best, "When two people get married, they say two people become one.  No, I don't agree.  Two people should remain two people and walk side by side.  I've not become Elliot.  Elliot has not become Hunny.  We remain Hunny and Elliot.  And to me, that's important." Elliot responds, "You made my life complete.  And I hope we'll go on for another fifty years."  Hunny, "I'll take five good ones.  Five good ones, and I'll say, 'Thank you, God!'"

A story collected in Wichita, KS  tells of a time of war when a young man working for a radio station located in the tenth floor of the Lassen Hotel meets a young woman on the elevator, but a war comes between them for a time.  Paul Wilson, 93 talks to his daughter Marty Smith, 61 to tell his story.  Love was torn apart on the day the terrorist attack New York and the Pentagon.  Beverly Eckert, 55, remembers her husband Sean Rooney, who worked on the 105th floor in the South Tower.  She speaks: "In the end, as the smoke got thicker, he just kept whispering  'I love you,' over and over.  I was pressing the phone to my ear as hard as I could.  I wanted to crawl through the phone lines to him to hold him one last time.  Then I suddenly heard this loud explosion through the phone.  I heard Sean gasp once as the floor fell out from underneath him."

I hope you each buy the book as a gift of love, or check it out from the library, because Beverly's story doesn't end there.  Make sure you carry Kleenex with you as you read.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

How to Change (Really Change) Your Hair Coloring

California girl with her daisies.
Like my mother before me, I've not really known my true hair coloring for the last few decades.  I was born a blond in southern California.  I graduated from high school a brunette, and in those seventeen years never once changed my hair color, well maybe just a streak of blonde.  A dear dear mentor, Mabel Hotz a golfer from Tulsa, once suggested, "Letty, don't ever change your hair color, stay golden.  I think one of the greatest test in life is stay true to yourself."

I just heard the words "stay golden" and that was before another person in Tulsa, S.E. Hinton made the phrase "stay golden Pony Boy" popular.  Golden indeed, thanks to Lady Clairol and many trips to the "beauty shop" to correct a few mistakes along the way I became a blond of many shades.  So began my sojourn into a rainbow of hair colorings.  I can't report that they were all pretty.  One of my students in Greensburg, KS, Gary, who loved to roll his wheel chair into the library once declared, "Ms. Rains, you are the only teacher I've ever known with orange hair."  Orange, now that sent me back to the bottle!

A date was even cancelled when I lived in Greensburg, because Lady Clairol turned my hair green.  It took a panicked trip to a beauty shop in Pratt to fix that problem.  Still I never fully succeeded in that golden color. After that experience I began the trial of letting my hair color grow out naturally.  Those were the really short hair times in school pictures.  The brown didn't last long, boring as they say.

After years of home experiences I decided that a hair salon might be a smart but costly move, after all living on a teacher's salary has it's limits, but then pride has it's price!  Frosting  hair was popular for years (decades) and I loved it.   One day,  I discovered that my roots were a different color, actually no color, rather "translucent" as my friend Jeannette calls it.  In a bold decision in this new century I decided it was time for me to color my own hair. This time L'Oreal would be the perfect "color the gray" product.  I must say L'Oreal treated me kindly.

But the best intentions sometimes create dramatic effects.  Here are the steps to creating a dramatic hair color change:
* use a new or different product guaranteed to cover the gray.
*definitely look at  the directions
*then pick a short easy project to complete while the hair is absorbing the new color--
  This is the KEY, don't learn how to send photos to be developed at Walgreens while color is on the hair.
*use a timer (too, late for this piece of information)
*suddenly look up and scream and scurry to the bathroom.
*shampoo and scrub with all the strength that adrenaline will allow
*shower and shampoo again just in case
*blow dry while bent over so as not to see the color until it's dry.
*then be ready to gasp or laugh out loud.

There will be no pictures posted of this color.  Hopefully, a brief description can make the picture clear:  What once was quite blond is now slightly gray green or perhaps it is dirty ash.  What was once brown is now dark gray.  I must have made a mistake somewhere along the line.

Anybody else ever make a hair coloring mistake?