Wednesday, August 29, 2007

sad news, indeed

I got an email from my brother, Bill, with the sad news that his friend and neighbor, Joe Boyson, had passed away. I know Bill and my dad will miss Joe very much, even more than they miss his old dog, Jake. But the death of Joe Boyson is also a loss for the city where he spent his whole life, repairing shoes in a little shop on the main street. I know, people don't get their shoes repaired anymore. They throw them out and buy new ones. But the American Shoe Repair shop was one of the few remaining links with the bustling city that Elyria used to be, and with Joe gone, one more reminder of that time is gone, as well.

When I was a little girl, it seemed like every trip downtown included a stop at the shoe repair shop. My dad's wingtips needed re-soled or my mother's purse strap had broken. My brothers and I loved going in there. The dark, narrow shop had a wonderful smell. It was the smell of shoe polish and leather, of course, but also the smell of the belts and pulleys and brushes on the well-oiled machines behind the half-wall at the rear of the shop. How exciting it was when the machinery was actually running!

We were fascinated, as well, by the row of six or eight raised chairs along the wall to our right. In all the many times I went in there, I never saw them in use, but they were shoe shine chairs. The customers would sit resting their feet on the two narrow iron stands in front of each chair to have their shoes polished. We were not allowed to clamber up onto the tall chairs, but I always wanted to.

Along the left-hand wall of the shop was a large wooden shelf with cubbyholes holding the shoes and boots and purses of Elyria. Each of them had a tag on a twist of wire so they could be claimed by their owners. On the counter, there were racks with little drawers holding shoe laces of every size and color, and a round spinning rack that held little tins of Kiwi shoe polish in a dozen colors. Cordovan was always my favorite.

Old Mr. Boyson, Joe's dad, would be behind the counter, and to me, he looked exactly like the cobbler in every children's book I had ever seen. He was short and bald with bushy white eyebrows above glasses worn low on his nose, and he always wore a dark apron over his white shirt. When Joe was there, as well, he was usually working in the back, and I picture him wearing a sort of smock, like a druggist would wear. He was tall, with a full head of dark hair, and I am surprised to think how young he must have been back then.

Joe is gone now, and the shoe repair shop closed. It is a loss for his friends and neighbors, and a loss for his city, as well. I hope he will be remembered by them all. I know I won't forget him.

Monday, August 27, 2007

it's the first day of school, and I feel fine

Yesterday I was reminded of the weekend before classes started last year when I laboriously psyched myself up for the first day of a new school year. It really was a weekend-long project. I just kept telling myself, a new year, a fresh start, brand new excited students at college for the first time. And you know, it worked. I went to work on that first Monday of classes feeling optimistic and with a smile on my face. Only to be told when I got there that I would not be doing the same job I did every other day of the year, but that I would be stuck working probation and dismissal.

Probation and dismissal comes at the end of every semester, of course, and only one person in my office knew how to run the whole process from start to finish. For who knew what reason, last year she decided that I was going to do it from then on instead of her. She lobbied with our supervisor, who agreed. So, instead of greeting excited new students and answering their questions, I was stuck doing a project I knew nothing about and had no interest in learning. Can you guess who got to be the first friendly face who answered all the questions? Oh yeah. The person who dumped her task on me.

I made it clear to her that I was not happy with the situation, and, in fact, told her that there was no point in my learning the process because I would be gone before it had to be done again. Well, it took me longer than one semester to accomplish that, but I am by god not doing it this year, am I? I am also not crying in the restroom like last year wondering how the first day of classes had turned into the worst day of classes for me. And that is a definite improvement.

Friday, August 24, 2007

reading assignment

This ran as an op-ed in today's Cleveland Plain Dealer. It should be required reading for the parents of every college student in the country. No on is ever going to say this to the parents of the students at my former place of employment. And I will tell you why. Because parents represent what is the bottom line to colleges today: the almighty dollar. Parents threaten to take their money and leave, and rather than explain that a college degree is earned, not purchased, administrators cave to their demands.

Kudos to Tom Chema for saying what every administrator, instructor and staff member at every university and college knows to be the truth.

Tripped up

Dependence on parents leaves college students unprepared

Cleveland Plain Dealer
Friday, August 24, 2007
Thomas V. Chema

The overloaded SUVs, pickup trucks and minivans are pulling up in front of our dorms at Hiram College. In my four years as president, I've seen more than a few U-Hauls filled to the brim with big-screen TVs, rolled-up rugs and giant futons. One survey estimates the average freshman spends $1,200 on necessities for his or her dorm room.

All that new "stuff" our students bring to college doesn't bother me. It's the fact that so many of our academically well-prepared students aren't ready to cut the cord to mom and dad.

And really, why should they?

Having their parents run interference has worked well for this generation. Many of today's kids are very comfortable with having dad call the coach to complain about playing time. Mom chats online with teachers and uses Web-based grade books to keep daily tabs on academics. Because they are continually tracking and monitoring their children's whereabouts via cell phones, parents quickly solve any problems or scheduling glitches. Coming to the rescue is part of their job.

But what happens once the college search is over and the new extra-long sheets are on the dorm bed? As part of our three-day New Student Institute at Hiram, we intentionally scheduled family farewells for 3 p.m. today, Day One. In other words: Time for the folks to say goodbye and go home.

Unfortunately, that's when our student life staff starts fielding calls. Even before the New Student Institute is over, parents are on the line asking what the college is going to do about their 18-year-old's roommate problems. Statistics show that 90 percent of first-year students arrive on campus having never shared a bedroom. These kids don't know how to live in close quarters with someone else, let alone deal with conflicts over TV channels, music choices or when to shut off the lights.

But they do know that a cell phone call to mom will take care of it. And -- even more alarming to me -- when these students get their first critical comment from a professor or a grade lower than a B, their solution is to call home and have dad fix it.

I feel sorry for the students and sorrier for their parents. Families are making a huge investment in a college education for their offspring but not using that experience to prepare their child for the real world.

So what should our first-year students bring with them to college? Here's my wish list:

A commitment to confront their own problems.
Responsibility for the choices or decisions they make.
An open mind and willingness to negotiate with others.

The stuff these young adults really need -- responsibility and resiliency -- is not for sale at Target or Bed, Bath & Beyond. For 18- to 22-year-olds, college is a time to begin to grow up. For parents, it's time to let them have that chance.

Chema is president of Hiram College.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Last Exit Books

I stopped in at my favorite local bookstore today, Last Exit Books on Main Street in Kent. I really love going in there. It has been open for most of the seven years that we have lived here, and it has grown at a truly amazing rate. The owner has boxes and boxes of books outside the shop in the hallway, and he assures me, many more in storage. It's a used book store, perhaps I should mention that, and I am certain that some days the owner - whose name I learned on line today is Jason Merlene - takes in more books than he sells. I don't think he minds, though.

Jason is always at the front desk reading or checking out new acquisitions, and he greets everyone who comes in with a shy smile. He frequently has the radio on. Today he was listening to a Cleveland Indians baseball game. I have been there when he was listening to Cavs basketball, as well. One day when I went in, he was listening to George Bush. "Well," I said to him with a grin, "I guess I can stand listening to him if I don't have to see his face as well." "No, I think I've listened long enough," was his reply, "It's just more of the same." Just as often, there will be music playing, much of which I don't know, but I have heard Richard Thompson, and Bob Dylan, and once I heard an awesome version of "Parchman's Farm," but I don't know who it was by.

The bookstore occupies several small rooms one behind the other, in a storefront on Main Street. When I first came to college here in the early 70's this space was part of McCrory's, a dimestore similar to Woolworth's or Ben Franklin's. My roommate and I bought buckets and throw rugs there, and when winter came, we bought red plastic saucers to slide down Taylor Hill. Now I buy books there, almost always coming home with at least one or two. I thought I had better stop in now instead of later, as once the students come back, the small shop tends to be more crowded, and quiet browsing is more difficult.

Sad to say, we have only a handful of interesting, funky stores here in Kent that seem to me to quintessentially belong in a small college town. Last Exit Books is definitely one of them. Check it out next time you are in town. Better yet, let me know when you're going, and I'll go with you.

Monday, August 20, 2007

le deluge

So I think I would like to re-visit the topic of summer rain. Here's what I have to say about it now: enough already! I don't think we're up to forty days and forty nights yet, but the birds and squirrels and chipmunks are starting to pair up in my back yard and look for a long boat ride.

I have to admit, the plants and flowers and lawn are loving all this rain. My hanging baskets have never looked this good so late in the summer, and the wisteria, which almost died in early April because of the snow and freezing rain, is now blooming. In August.

Rufus and I miss our daily walks, however, and need to continue them - for the sake of my health, as well as his. So now, I would like a nice, hot, sunny, dry, summer day, and I promise to rhapsodize about that for a while.

Friday, August 17, 2007

it's always a trade-off

I got an email the other day from one of my favorite students, and for the first time since I gave my notice six weeks ago, I feel sad about leaving my job. Are you surprised to know that I have favorite students? Of course I do. We all did. You just can't help it when you work with students on a daily basis. Some of them wait until they are hopelessly bogged down and tearfully demand a quick solution to an insoluble problem. Some of them are incredibly needy, with needs that can never be met. But some of them, well, they just steal your heart.

I hadn't heard from this student in over a year. He has been in and out of school a couple times, and each time he is ready to come back, he gives me a call or sends me an email, to sort of "test the water," I think. I am always delighted to hear from him, and I try to let him know that. He makes an appointment, and I assure him I can't wait to see him. When I emailed him back this time, I encouraged him to make an appointment, as always, but had to tell him I won't be there. I will be very sorry not to see him.

It is important for me to remind myself, however, that what had once been the most important part of my job, (and the part I felt I was best at), that is, being the initial contact for every student who came to our office, had been taken away from me. Instead of being the first face every student saw, I was an incidental person who only saw students when the receptionist was overwhelmed or had a question she couldn't answer. After I lost contact with the students, there just didn't seem to be a real good reason for working at a university.

Classes start in ten days, and for the first time in five years, I won't be there. On the plus side, that means I won't have to answer the same question from hundreds of incoming freshmen (and their truly horrible parents), but at the same time, I won't be there to greet my returning favorites or meet new ones. That makes me a little sad. And I know it was my decision and it is my loss, but I think it might be the university's loss just a little bit, too.

So while I wish the incoming class of 2011 (!) good luck, I most especially wish a good year to the students who will be returning and who might actually miss seeing my face at the counter. I'll be thinking about you.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

eco-friendly grocery bags

Ben mentioned the other day that we should start looking on line for some alternative to those horrible plastic shopping bags we get by the dozens at the grocery store. We don't litter, so none of ours are festooning trees and power lines across the country, but they do pile up in the cupboards and drawers until we give up and throw a bunch of them away.

I thought Ben had a good idea, so I hopped on line to see what I could find. I think I googled something like "eco-friendly grocery bags." I got over 350 hits, and started to check them out. As you might imagine, what I found ran the gamut from nylon bags to string bags to " Eco-friendly hemp / organic cotton blend" bags. At the low end of the price spectrum, the nylon bags retailed for $4.95 plus S&H. The high end, was, well, just ridiculously high. The average price was about $15.00. I do want to be a friend to the earth and all that, but I am unemployed.

When Julie and I were at the mall a couple of days ago, we saw a rack of sale merchandise in front of a store called "icing by claire's," which looked exactly like a "claire's" to me, if you know what those are. We had noticed some really cute lightweight cotton back-to-school book bags. Normally $12.00, they were on sale for $5.00. I particularly liked the bags with a small repeating apple pattern that came in several different color combinations, while Julie favored the owl pattern. We hadn't bought them at the time, but after doing my homework on line, I decided to go back and get some. I ended up buying nine bags (three in each of the three color combos) and Julie bought a couple of owl bags.

I went to the grocery store later in the day, and brought them along, and I am well-pleased with my purchase. Now I just hope we can remember to bring them when we go grocery shopping. That might be the trickiest part.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

it's a process

Julie went to a wedding last weekend. Two of her friends from high school got married. She met the bride in junior high, actually, when they were two of the least-played members of the seventh grade volleyball team. In her wedding photos, Tasha looks pretty much like she did when she was twelve - petite, with shining black hair and dimples that flash when she smiles. Her new husband, Kevin, is tall and thin and wears his military uniform. He is an army medic with two tours of duty in Iraq completed, but no guarantees that he won't have to go back again. With his close-cropped hair, he looks much younger than twenty-five. He looks like one of the little boys on the block with a summer buzz-cut.

I was drawn particularly to a photo of Julie with some of her closest high school friends, their arms draped around each other, laughing and leaning into the camera. They look exactly the same as they did in all the pictures we ever took of them in their high school marching band uniforms. Yet I know they are all in their mid-twenties now, married or engaged, for the most part, with one of them expecting her first child. This is hard for me to comprehend because on the inside, I am just about twenty-five myself. Well, a little younger, to be honest. Just turned twenty-one, let us say. Even if you're not a math whiz, you can see that just doesn't add up. So I am trying to accept that if my kids are well into their twenties, I can't be anymore. It's a difficult thing to do, though.

I remember talking to my Aunt Isabel probably ten years ago now, when she was in her late seventies, and she said to me, "You know, sometimes I look in the mirror, and I don't recognize the old lady I see looking back at me. Because in here," she tapped her chest, "I'm still about twenty years old."

So if it's sometimes hard for me to "act my age," at least I can feel that I am in good company.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

morning musings

I almost think writer's block would be better than this. I have an idea I want to follow, and I wrote for most of the afternoon yesterday. But even as I was writing, I was thinking, this is such crap. I kept telling myself, just keep on writing, just get it out, worry about it later, but it did not improve. I have not looked at it yet this morning, maybe because it is just too early in the day to be disillusioned, but I will have to re-read it at some point.

It is a beautiful summer morning, however, so perhaps I will save that for later. I'm pretty sure I can talk Jules into going to Aurora Farms with me for a few hours - since she loves to go there. Tomorrow is Andrew's birthday, so we are taking him out to dinner tonight. We are going to Wasabi, a Japanese restaurant in Montrose that has some of the best sushi around. The link is here: (Sorry, I don't know how to make it look all pretty yet.) I plan to call and make a reservation later for one of the tatami rooms off the sushi bar. Every time we go there, we say, wouldn't that be fun, so Andrew's birthday seems like the perfect occasion.

Now, I need to go out and enjoy the day.

Friday, August 10, 2007

don't panic

You're in the right place. I just changed my blog template. I think I like it, but be forewarned: it may change again.

so far, so good

Well, it's Friday and the end of my third week at home, so I thought this might be a good time to re-examine my feelings about leaving my job. First of all, it's raining out. I mean really raining. As it has just about every day this month. I have to time Rufus' walks in between downpours. But, you know what? I don't care. Honestly, I don't care at all. When it's not raining, it's too hot for me to spend much time outside, anyway, so let it rain.

I am eating much healthier than I was, and I am drinking lots of water. I am taking Rufus on the aforementioned walks, but I haven't found the nerve yet to go down and see if the treadmill is indeed on the fritz again, as Julie reported before she left. (I fear that it is.) So my new health regimen is still intact, and I am keeping in mind the wise words of my daughter-in-law, Kristy: "Think of any new lifestyle change like driving a car. Sometimes you get off to the side and you're in the gravel and your tendency is to overcompensate. But just like driving a car, if you over compensate, you're bound to swerve and eventually crash." (Kristy added really hysterical comments of her own, which I edited out. You can read them on her comment to my post "begin the way you mean to go.")

I had dinner a couple of nights ago with my friends Joany and Kristen. *shout out to Joany and Kristen* We had a great time. They are both fellow escapees from my former oppressive work environment. Joany transferred to a different department on campus, and Kristen spent six weeks this summer on an archaeological dig. Joany had only worked with us for a couple of years before she left, but Kristen and I had worked together for almost the entire five years I was there. Her leaving the department was one of the many reasons I couldn't stand to work there any longer.

Needless to say, we were discussing how happy we were to be gone. Kristen raised an interesting point: "You know, I don't miss it there at all. I thought I would really miss it, but I don't." I don't miss it either. That surprises me a bit. I will say I do miss some of the people I worked with there. People I would consider more friends than co-workers, and if you are reading this, you know who you are.

All in all, so far it's good. Really good, in fact. Remind me again why I will have to find another job at some point?

Thursday, August 9, 2007

an impression of summer flowers

It has started to rain hard again, so the flowers will be gone for the day now, but I wish you could see how beautiful the portulaca are this year. Blossoms in unbelievably bright, fluorescent shades of yellow and hot pink and orange spill from the long, narrow planters on the front deck railing. They look like exploding fireworks against the plants' green, fleshy leaves. I am inordinately proud of them. I picked out the plants myself, planted them, and fed and watered them to this perfect state of summer glory. I feel like the little red hen who baked the bread all by herself, every step of the way. Unlike the little red hen, however, I am happy to share the beauty of my flowers with you.

And although I'm not really into the whole brevity thing, that's all I have to say.

(Don't miss the post below, which I also wrote today. Some days are just like that.)


Yesterday I went to Macy's to check out the end-of-season sale on summer clothes. I know we have a lot of hot weather left, and I figured I could always use a couple more tops. As I browsed the racks, it occurred to me that I was really in a very good mood. That realization was immediately followed by the understanding of why I felt that way. The sound system in the store was playing "More" by Bobby Darin.

You know the song. You think you don't, but you do. To refresh your memory, here are the lyrics:

Than the greatest love the world
Has known
Is the love I'll give to you

Than the simple words
I've tried to say,
I'll only live to love you
More each day.

More than you'll ever know,
My arms long to hold you so.
My life will be in your keepin',
Wakin'... sleepin'... laughin'...weepin'.

Than always is a long, long time,
But far beyond forever,
You'll be mine.
I know I've never lived before,
And my heart is very sure
No one else could love you more.

See? You know it. I don't know whose version you are familiar with. It has been covered many times, I know that - most recently by Harry Connick, Jr, I believe. But I am telling you here and now that you haven't really heard that song until you have heard Bobby Darin sing it.

The song is meant to swing, granted. But no one else has ever made it swing like Bobby Darin did. It is irresistibly finger-poppin'. That's not what really makes this the best version evah of this song, however. It is the joy he brings to it. It is an upbeat, joyous, tell-the-world declaration of his feelings. Who can resist that? Not me. I bought two blouses.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

You can tell that I am a modern 21st century-type person because I have a blog, but did you know that I am also a member of an online community? Yep, its true. For the past seven months, I have been a member of LibraryThing. I tell you quite honestly, I have found my online home there. I love it. I am addicted to it.

I found the site one day when I was at work, googling the names of my family members. (What? Doesn't everyone do that?) Anyway. While I was googling Tom's name, a link to this site came up: so I took a look at it. Tom and Kristy had entered several hundred of the books they have in their Chicago apartment. I was hooked immediately. I could catalog all the books I own, with book covers and tags and reviews. In fact, I could list up to 200 books for free. I started right away. I created a profile page, which was easy to do. You can check it out here, if you are so inclined: Pretty soon I was ransacking the house literally from attic to basement, entering every book I could find.

The really important thing about LT for me (that's what we insiders call it - "LT" ), though, is that it has me seriously reading again. I have been a voracious reader all my life, but over the last few years, I had just - stopped. I don't know why. Probably, you know, the whole soul-sucking-job-thing, but I don't want that to become a convenient excuse for everything I have failed to do in the last five years.

You can see that my days at home are quite full now what with writing in my blog, writing in my top-secret journal, writing on my facebook page, reading books about how to write better, reading like crazy to make up for the years that I missed, and spending lots of time on LibraryThing. I really don't have time for an outside job anymore. Quitting my job was the only sensible thing to do.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

like you don't have a favorite, too

It has rained all day long. Although Ben and I ventured out of the house earlier today to go to the greenhouse, we have pretty much stayed in and puttered about. I like days like that once in a while, and rainy weekend days aren't so hard to take since I don't have to head for work first thing tomorrow morning. (I am not gloating as I write this, I swear it.)

As I was having a glass of V8 this afternoon, I thought I would take a spin through the channels to see what was on t.v. I caught a glimpse of Detective Elliot Stabler on the USA Network so I decided to play the game where I watch until I figure out which episode of SVU I am watching. It was the one where Fred Savage plays the accused rapist who decides to be his own attorney, and then his actual attorney, whom he is sleeping with, kills him when she realizes he is indeed the rapist. But that's beside the point. The point is, USA was running a Law & Order: Special Victims Unit marathon this afternoon! That may not seem exciting to you, but it sure was to me. I love Law & Order: SVU.

I didn't used to like any of the Law & Orders, although Tom and Julie watched Prime for years. Then, a few years ago when I was in New York, I was watching t.v. in my hotel room on a Saturday night while my roommate was out on the town. (She was younger than Julie and incredibly attractive, so, no, I didn't want to go with her, and she didn't ask me.) The episode of SVU that I saw that night had a scene that took place a couple of blocks from the hotel where I was staying in Chelsea. I was hooked.

I remember those happy bygone days when TNT used to run three episodes of SVU in a row on Friday nights. That's probably how I got to see every episode that was ever written. Bobo was always asleep on the couch next to me, and I always patted him and said, "heinous, Bobo" after the solemn tone of the opening voice-over. (As an aside, I couldn't bear to watch SVU for several months after Bobo died, and thought I might never be able to watch it again.)

I favor the episodes where Ice-T is featured more prominently, and I prefer Alex to Casey as the A.D.A. I'm crazy about B. D. Wong, but I have to agree with Jules that they sometimes go a little overboard on his make-up. I love Olivia, and Elliot used to drive me crazy, but the man is growing on me, damn him. All that brooding, barely-contained rage and violence.

As much as I knew I would enjoy it, I couldn't spend the whole afternoon parked in front of the t.v., however, so I promised myself I wouldn't watch the next episode unless it was my favorite one. Yes, I have a favorite. It's "Ghost" from season 6 where Alex comes back from the dead to testify against the I.R.A.-terrorist-turned-drug-cartel-assassin who had "assassinated" her two years earlier and forced her into the witness protection program. I love the plot twists and turns, and I love that Alex comes back, but I especially love the young actor who plays the frightened little Hispanic boy whose parents were murdered in the next room while he slept.

It wasn't that episode.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

a slice of cantaloupe on a summer day

It's easy to eat healthier this time of year, what with all the local fruits and vegetables available at the grocery store. I had a taste for melon today, so while we were shopping, I picked out a cantaloupe. I'm not very good at picking out cantaloupes. I know that there should not be any obvious bruises and that the melon should be heavy for its size and have a nice hollow sound when you thump it. They all sound hollow. I always sniff the blossom end for a nice cantaloup-y fragrance, but I never smell anything. I do my best.

Since just the two of us are at home now, it will be hard to eat the cantaloupe while it is still fresh. I cut it in two and wrapped half of it to store in the basement fridge. I usually cut the other half into quarters, then cut the skin off so that I have ready-to-eat slices. It's convenient that way, but I think the slices get slimy faster, so I decided to leave the skin on each quarter. The cantaloupe had an appealing, fresh smell and I thought to eat a piece right then. I spooned out a bite and tasted it. Melon-y and delicious. But, something was missing. I lightly sprinkled salt across the slice and tasted it again. Perfect.

As I do every time I eat a cantaloupe, I thought of my Grandpa Bulat. I thought of a summer day when I was a small child at my grandparent's house. My grandpa had come in the house from working outside (he was always working outside) and my grandma handed him a bowl with a freshly-sliced section of cantaloupe in it. He sat down next to me at the kitchen table, lightly salted the cantaloupe, dug his spoon into it, and ate it with the greatest satisfaction and relish. He was not making a show of it for me - he was not that kind of grandpa. He was enjoying his food - every bite of it. I watched him as he ate, and I knew nothing had ever looked more delicious than that melon as my grandfather ate it.

My mother couldn't understand why, for years after that, I insisted on salting my cantaloupe before I would eat it. "It doesn't need salt," she would say, "it's fine the way it is." "But this is how Grandpa Bulat eats it," was always my reply. I always remember my grandpa when I eat cantaloupe, and nothing would make me happier than for you to remember him, too.

Friday, August 3, 2007

a quandry of sorts

Well, I have been writing, in case you wondered, writing like mad. My fingers can barely keep up with the thoughts that tumble from my mind. I only realize how much time has passed by the stiffness in my neck and back when I pause to let the dogs out. There's a problem, though, and this is it. No one can ever read the words that have spilled from me. Trust me. They are too private, too intensely personal to ever share with anyone else. I know this, and yet I keep writing. I want to keep writing. It feels like I need to keep writing. The pleasure I derive from this writing is deep and satisfying.

So, here is my question. This must happen to other people all the time. What do they do with these very private thoughts once they have poured them out? Is it just some sort of blockage that needs to come out first before I can write anything else? Or do these dreams and longings form the foundation on which a fictional character is built? If that is the case, won't everyone know that its me there on the page? Or is that the point of it all?

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

begin the way you mean to go

Well, here we go. The first day of a new month. The first day I have been home by myself. (Jules went back to Maryland yesterday.) Time to get started on the new, improved Anne. I am not a big fan of platitudes - I guess the choice of that particular word tells you that - but sometimes they are just so darn apt. I do think it helps to start out in a new and positive way, and that is what I hope to do.

To that end, I got up before Ben left for work this morning. I had a cup of coffee with fat-free milk and Splenda. I really wasn't hungry, so no solid food yet, but I am seriously thinking about some V8 and cottage cheese real soon here. After my shower, Rufus and I went out for a ten-minute walk. It was already too hot at 9:00 in the morning, but that's August for you. He is such a good little walker, and kept looking over his shoulder at me as if to say, "Are we doing a good job, mommy? Is this O.K.?" He is more used to Julie taking him every day, but I think he will get used to me. When we got back home, big drinks of water for me and Rufus, and some attention and treats for Lucie, who must be left behind due to health concerns. (Does it sound like I am doing it right, Jules?)

I am usually pretty secretive about starting a new health regimen - for fear I will immediately fail, I guess - but this time, I will try putting it out here for all to see. Wish me luck.