Thursday, June 29, 2006

Any Cryptologists Out There?

I like a good puzzle but I think this one is beyond my reasoning ability. Personally, I think it's a practical joke, someone messing with the folks at NSA and Homeland Security. However, maybe it's someone who wants you to think it's a joke so you'll not take it seriously. Good fodder for a suspense novel, though. If anyone wants to write it, I'll read it. Maybe a short story? (Credit to Joe Faust for the link.)

I will post something other than links to other sites soon. I promise.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Something to Do

Dineen Miller has an interview with TL Hines up on her website. Go check it out.

And, if you like a little academic discourse with your romance reading, check this out. (Thanks to Brenda Coulter for the link.)

Friday, June 23, 2006

By Popular Request . . .

Okay, okay, fine. I'll tell the story of my broken arms. I was considering waiting until Dallas to tell it because it's just so much funnier with Mike doing his impression of me, but you'll just have to bug him to do it in Dallas. (See, Mike? Now you have to for sure go.)

By the way, this post is rated PG 13 for scenes of violence and implied language. The ER scene is not for the squeamish.

Okay, before our wedding, a friend of ours had given us a day at the local spa as a pre-wedding gift to help us relax. This place had mineral pools, hot and cold, mud baths, and was all very posh. We had spent the whole day at the spa and were getting ready to go home. The locker rooms were at the top of the terrace, and I was waiting for Peter. I don’t know why. And maybe that was the first time in history a woman was waiting for a man. Anyhow, the terrace overlooked the mud baths. This woman was getting out with her back to me, and I was trying to figure out if she had a huge tattoo over her back or if it was just a combo of drying and wet mud.

Unfortunately for me, I kept walking while I was looking at her. And since I didn’t have kids yet, I didn’t have eyes in two places on my head. So, I neglected to see the stairs that were coming up and proceeded to tumble off them.

I did manage to get my hands out in front of my face to break my fall . . . I blacked out from the pain so I knew both of my arms were broken. Even moving at all was excruciating because it knocked the broken joints together.

Of course someone ran and got the emergency personnel from the spa and the first question they ask was, was I drinking? Which I suppose is an obvious question because how many sober people manage to fall downstairs in the daylight? Um, me?

Peter says I told the ER intern (I knew he was an intern, not a doc, so I could push him around) “I’m getting married in two weeks and you are NOT putting casts on my arms.” I don’t remember that. Needless to say, I didn’t find it all amusing with the nurses were joking in the ER about whether or not my wedding dress had long sleeves or if they had some lace laying around they could inlay in my casts. I do remember the INTERN shoving a needle full of Tordol into my elbow joint (after sucking out a needleful of blood) and then jerking my arm around asking if that hurt. I don’t think what I responded was CBA approved. Uh, yeah, it hurt.

However, as luck would have it, I came out of the ER with only splints and slings. No casts. Because both joints had basically crumbled from my humerus and ulna colliding, they were afraid that the joint would freeze if they casted them. Believe me by the next day I was wishing I had casts. Every slight movement caused searing pain.

Oh, and I was wearing contacts. Can you imagine how I got them out that night? I tried to get Peter to take them out for me, but even he wasn’t that brave. I think he put up with me screaming while I lifted my arms (need both hands) to get them out. He then packed me up and deposited me on my mom’s doorstep since I couldn’t possibly live by myself. Poor guy! I’m amazed he wasn’t scared off by all that.

The other funny part (not funny at the time, but Mike’s interpretation is pretty hysterical) was that we went to Maui for our honeymoon. And went snorkeling. I kind of have this problem of not thinking ahead, so I figured how hard could snorkeling be? I’d be floating in the water so it would be no pressure on my arms. However, I neglected to think about how I would get back into the boat. You have to pull yourself up a ladder, something I couldn’t do. I think it was a combo of me sitting on a boogie board and hooking one arm around the ladder while Peter shoved me up that finally did it.

I'd like to say that was my last broken bone, but it wasn't. I probably have a few more in my future too.

Aren't you sorry you asked?

Friday, June 16, 2006

It's Georgiana's Fault

I don't know what this meme is called (how do you pronounced that, anyway?) but Georgiana tagged me. You know, some people, just because they live in the cool part of Arizona . . . Anyhow, it keeps me from thinking in this heat, so I suppose I should be grateful. I've only seen this on one other site, so I'm assuming it's supposed to be all about me, a to z (yeah, I know, how interesting could that be?) but I could be wrong. If I am, so be it. It wouldn't be the first time.

Accent: Californian is not an accent. Although I thought I was going to come home from Mount Hermon with one after hanging around Mike, Jeanne and Chris. Who knew I could go to California and hang out with a bunch of Southerners?
Best personality trait: Do you know 90% of people think they have an above average sense of humor? So, I'm going with extreme loyalty to my friends. Which works out pretty well for you if you're one of them.
Chore I hate: I pretty much hate housework in general, but I guess doing the dishes/loading the dishwasher is up near the top of the list. Touching dirty plates is really gross.
Dad's name: David
Essential make-up/skin care products: Foundation to even out my blotchy skin tone and lipstick because my lips disappear otherwise.
Favorite perfume/cologne: Right now it's Pink by Victoria's Secret. It'll change.
Gold or silver?: My wedding rings are gold but I generally think silver looks better on my pale skin.
Hometown: Highland, California (I'm interpreting this as the hometown I grew up in, not where I now live).
Interesting fact: I broke both of my elbows two weeks before our wedding (Mike, shut up).
Job title: Mom/writer
Kids: One of each
Living arrangements: Hubby, said kids, dumb dog, two old cats all in a two-story house.
Mom's birthplace: Redlands, California
Number of apples eaten in the last week: Several partial ones the kids didn't finish.
Overnight hospital stays: At least 5. Might be more.
Phobia: Spiders and heights (not kites, like some people think).
Question you ask yourself a lot: Why did I come in here? What was I going to do? What was I saying? What was the question? Yes, children cause brain damage.
Religion: Christ follower
Siblings: 2 younger brothers
Time I wake up: 7:30ish
Unnatural hair color: I've been auburn, caramel, strawberry blonde, and now just basically back to blonde.
Vegetable I Refuse to Eat: Beans in any way, shape, or form. They taste like mushed up cardboard.
Worst habit: Diet Coke and talking before I've fully thought through what I'm going to say.
X-rays?: Too many to count.
Yummy food I make: I had to ask Peter about this. Carrot cake and bran muffins.
Zingers: What? Do I like them? Not really, I don't have much of a sweet tooth. I do like Lemon Zinger or Red Zinger tea.

All right. Mike, you're done with a book so you have got to be bored. And your blog is lonely. And you tagged me on the seven sevens. Tag you're it.

Jenny, you're on summer vacation, so you're it too.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Strange List and a Trip Through History

I got my Mac back as I mentioned in the comments of the last post. Sigh. I don't even want to think about restoring everything, though I suppose I'll have to get to it sometime this week.

Anyhow, apparently my daughter thought I was getting short on inspiration so she handed me this list of topics to write about:

Puppies (do dumb dogs count?)
Your body (um, I don't think so)
Disneyland (did that)
Field Trips
Arizona Science Center
Schnepf Farms (real working farm that does tours)
Family (I do that a lot)
Seeing the whole country
Car accident (does the flat tire/tire iron one count?)
Don't eat too much junk food (could I do a whole post on that?)
My dog (different than puppies?)
The zoo
My two loose teeth (I better not have any loose teeth)
The sink (already did that too)
Moving (not anytime soon if I can help it)

Well, that's quite a list. Anyone feel inspired by any of the topics?

On an only tangentially related topic, my mom has been transferring all the old family slides and photos to her computer and sending me some copies. Since most of the pictures we took when I was young were on slides, I haven't seen these things in nearly thirty years. What I found most striking was that my memory of how looked back then is different than how I really looked. And I always expected my kids to look something like me when I was their age.
But this is a picture of me when I was the same age my daughter is now. And we looking nothing alike. That really shocked me. Curse those dominant Asian genes.

This is me and my brothers, Jeremy and Jason. People often thought Jeremy and I were twins. We're 18 months apart but were nearly always the same height. Of course now he's 6' 6". And yes, my parents intentionally named us with all Js.

The other thing I noticed going through all these pictures? I pretty much hated my hair growing up. Farrah Fawcett feathers were in, and my hair was stick straight. I'd spend hours trying to put curls into my hair only to have them fall out a short time later. So I find it pretty funny to look through these pictures and see my hair looking similar to how I wear it now. After spending a lot of money on perms in the 80s to get big hair, I've finally embraced my straight hair. Doesn't hurt that that's the style now. Of course if feathers come back in, I'll have to resist the urge to jump on that bandwagon.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Arizona Adventure

Arizona’s hot. You all know that, right? Well, you think I would have remembered before I stepped out on our second-story deck that had been baking in the sun all morning. I was just going to lower the sunshades that I had raised yesterday afternoon before the dust storm came blowing through (more on that later). I expected the deck to be warm, but I wouldn’t be out there long. Um, I haven’t felt sand at the beach this hot. I hopped over to the parapet wall surrounding the deck to sit down and get my feet off the deck. It was hot too. So by the time I had hopped back inside, I had some nasty welts on the bottom of my feet. It hurts to walk. Sometimes I’m blonder than I pay to be.

Yesterday we had a dust storm. This unique phenomenon happens when it rains either to the north or south of here. The sudden downdraft of cool air pushes the hot air (and the accompanying dust) toward the valley. The good news is, after nearly an hour of choking and hoping you remember to lock everything up tight, the air is a good twenty degrees cooler. In the monsoon season, which officially starts July 7, the dust storms are usually followed by rain. Just enough to turn the dust to mud.

This is a picture of the wall of dust headed for us while we were at swimming lessons. It’s really neat when you see it on TV from a news chopper. It's not so fun to watch from the middle of it.

This is what we had to drive home in. You can see how little visibility there is even at 5 in the afternoon.

This is the cornfield a block from our house.

And this road leads home. There’s actually a freeway overpass up there that you can’t see because of the dust. Apparently, this storm actually shut down Sky Harbor airport for a while. And guess what? It's pouring right now as I'm typing this.

Finally, we went to the mountains north of here this past weekend. I took pictures with the video camera, so when I get my Mac back (hopefully Friday) I’ll try and pull some stills off and post them. It was a ton of fun.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Last Day of School

Last week was my daughter’s last day of second grade. We get out of school early here, before Memorial Day. Then after eight weeks off, go back the first week of August. I suspect it stems from the area’s agrarian roots.

My daughter’s teacher is moving to a new school next year, and my daughter is going to be homeschooled while attending enrichment programs in the arts two days a week. Because of this, the only chance she has of seeing her teacher again—who we loved—is running into her at the grocery store.

I was there for the final party. The teacher handed out gift bags for the kids and explained something special inside them. She had included two pins that said “I am loved.” She wanted each of them to know that she loved them and how proud she was of them and that she worried over them. The second pin was for them to give to someone who needed to know they were loved.

All of the adults were teary eyed, and I didn’t think her teacher would get through it. But the kids just watched her as if she were explaining which center they were going to next or where they needed to put their chairs.

While most of these kids knew they wouldn’t see their teacher again, it didn’t seem to bother them. My daughter did cry while she wrote her teacher a thank you note. And she said her teacher cried when she read it. But she’s more sensitive than most. And even at that, she wasn’t upset when it was time to leave school for the last time.

Which got me to thinking. I don’t remember being particularly upset the last day of school or feeling like I was going to miss my teachers. In fact, I can only remember two “last days of school” while I was in elementary school. Part of that may have been because I went to a small neighborhood school, and I knew I’d see my teachers in the store over the summer and certainly at school next year. Mostly I was glad for the break. It really wasn’t until high school ended that I knew that no matter how hard we tried and vowed to keep in touch, I would never see most of my classmates again.

So what is it about life that makes the endings more bittersweet for adults? At our age we’ve been through enough of them that we should expect them as the course of life. Some people we encounter only for a season and then move on, but our lives are richer for the experience. It has happened before, and it will happen again. If anything, I would think this repeated experience would make us more pragmatic than our children, most of whom are experiencing this situation for one of the first times in their lives.

Maybe it’s because they haven’t experienced these partings before that they don’t know what it’s like to remember someone fondly, to have regrets that we didn’t say or do more, to wish a season could be longer—or sometimes shorter. Maybe it just hasn’t hit them yet what they will be missing.

What about you? Do you remember your last days of school? Which ones stand out the most?

By the way--and completely off the subject--I did find the perfect shoes for that dress. And on a sad note, my Mac is back in the shop. Like me, it's losing its memory. Sigh.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Check It Out

Dineen Miller has an article on Spirit Led Writer called "Taming the Marketing Beast." If you want to know the difference between a logo and a brand, how to choose a good design, and not break the bank this article is for you.

Dineen, a graphic artist herself, is also offering her design services to fellow writers for one-sheets, business cards, etc. Go see her portfolio online.