Thursday, February 28, 2008

Snow (Snow Ice Cream)

Last weekend was cold and rainy and a nice day to stay in, but Don and I decided to trudge forward with our activities. On Saturday, we visited Grandpa in Vacaville. We had a wonderful lunch and played a game of Yahtzee afterward. Don has never won at Yahtzee while playing with Grandpa, but this time he came out the Yahtzee victor! Grandpa is nearing his 92nd birthday and so much fun to be around.

Later that evening, we had dinner with our friends Richard and Denise at a lovely Italian restaurant named Sicily. The evening was filled with great food and exciting conversation. However, just before we left for dinner, we learned that snow threatened to fall upon Lake County. Since I was at Don’s house that weekend, and I have not been in snow in several years, I wished upon a star that the Sunday morning ground would be white. Instead, the rain continued and no snow came.

I grew up in coastal northern California where snow is rare. Anytime it snowed, my mother made snow ice cream. She placed a clean bowl outside to catch the fresh snow. In our anticipation, my brothers and I checked that bowl every fifteen or twenty minutes to see if the sky had dropped enough white flakes. When Mother decided- and only when she decided- we had enough snow, she added vanilla, sugar or other type of flavoring. Sometimes we had chocolate or plain vanilla, other times strawberry. To this day, I can taste the sweetness of Mother’s snow ice cream on my tongue.

My favorite time for writing is in the evening with the rain hitting the roof when all else is quiet. If it snowed, I would get no writing done because I would be throwing snow balls or watching a bowl fill with snowflakes. Right now, I have just completed revising chapter three. Revising is one of the most difficult tasks this time around because I want to make it as close to the finished version that I can. When I do rewrite/edit number three, I may add or take-away, but I don’t want to spend a lot of time doing another big rewrite like this time around.

This is all for now.

See you soon!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Missing Mom

January 24, 1985, my mother died of lung and liver cancer at the age of 42. Two months before her death, I turned 23 years old. She died two weeks before her birthday. When I was growing up, my mother and I went through the usual trials that seemed to push us worlds apart. However, by the time I reached adulthood, our relationship had blossomed into one of mutual respect and close friendship. I really miss her.

This year, the twenty-third anniversary of her death, I realized that I have been without my mother for half of my life. Over the years, it has been difficult watching mothers and daughters shopping at the mall, laughing at some private joke during lunch or walking through the park hand in hand. I am often amazed when my girlfriends talk about the wonderful times they have with their mothers, and even the difficult moments filled with mother/daughter issues.

How I wish my mother were here today.

Lately, I have been wondering what life would be like if my mother had not been taken by such a terrible disease. Where would she be, what would she be doing? What life transformations would she have gone through to become a human being of today?

Would she be shocked that a woman and African American are running for president?

Would she be involved in combating global warming?

Would she still make her beautiful quilts, crochet afghans for every family member, or bake those wonderful lemon meringue pies I remember so well from my childhood?

If she were alive today, I know that she would be proud of me. She taught me to stand up for myself, make my own way, and learn how to take care of myself. I have a wonderful life filled with family, boyfriend (who she would really like, by the way), a great career, and I own my home. I don’t have many possessions, but I have all I need and some of what I want. I think she would like my cats Buddy and Oliver as well.

I am grateful to my mother for her love, and for encouraging me to write. I still treasure two books she gave me in 1980 when I was 18 years old and sure I wanted to make a living writing: How to Write Short Stories that Sell by Louise Boggess and Make Every Word Count by Gary Provost. I am still writing my short stories and working on a novel, have had a few publications, and my career includes a vast amount of writing. I feel like I have succeeded.

Thank you, Mom, for all you have given me and for your spirit being present each day of my life.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Moving on up...

Last week I took the plunge; I switched from 10 years of dial-up to DSL. I know, many of you are chuckling and asking the ultimate, “Was she really still on dial-up?” The answer is yes. But, now I am glad I switched.

Today, when I received the modem, it took me around 20 minutes to get it up and running. I didn’t change service providers, just my roadway of getting into the internet world. All it took was hooking everthing into the right slots and a quick call to customer support to configure my new internet path.

This evening, when I should have been revising chapter four of my novel, I was on the internet. I downloaded window updates. I found what used to take hours to download on dial-up now takes minutes. In fact, I downloaded two updates for two different programs at the same time with no lost connection or lagging of my computer! Technology in the last evening has come a long way for me!

After downloading updates, I gave more thought to my writing, and then promptly went to You Tube. Hey, I have never been to You Tube because my dial up became exhausted after trying to exercise its right to play video like DSL and Cable internet connections. I know this from trying to play other streaming video- it lost its stream (or is that steam?) pretty quickly before dying.

Now, here it is after 11:00 and I have not written much today. But, I am sure the excitement of DSL will wear off and I will get back to work on my novel. But, just for today, writing my blog is enough.

Now I lay me down to sleep only to welcome dreams from a high speed connection.

To Go Oxford....or Not

Do you use the Oxford comma or do you omit it? Some grammar sages say to either keep it or omit it, unless omitting the Oxford comma will...