Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Surreal can be interesting

I'm drinking my breakfast iced vanilla latte out of a huge TGIF margarita glass this morning. It's been that kind of day, and that's before the day has even started. Sigh. In part it's carry over from yesterday, which was meltingly hot and sort of surreal.

I figured out that I really only had one or two of the flowers/herbs I'd entered in the fair this year blooming, or even still growing in my garden (I found out several were killed outright by some grass killer my husband used on the garden edges while I was away for a month. He swore it was "organic", but, yeah, it was still a dumb ol' chemical that couldn't tell the difference between grass and several other plants I had wanted to have growing there - GRRRRR.) So that meant I didn't have to get up this morning and take anything into the fair. That's the silver lining. In fact, sleeping in was a really good thing this morning as I had this dream about one of my movie star crushes and.... well, maybe that's all I have to say about that. Too bad one can't tivo dreams.

The heat. I expected everything to be all wavy shimmery heat mirage-y yesterday. I'm sure if I'd walked down to the edge of town and looked out over the fields or chaparral it would indeed have been like that. It's just as hot today. Maybe hotter. The heat feels accumulative.

Then there are all the firefighters in town. Little mobs of them everywhere - at restaurants, the market, walking down main street. All dressed in matching t-shirts, some still dusty and grimy from whatever fire they've come down off of for a break in town. It's certainly not a bad thing, but it makes me feel anxious. At least we've been fortunate, we haven't had a lot of smoke drifting into the valley lately. Well, except from the fire the little kid lit in the neighbor's orchard, just around the corner. Was that yesterday? Maybe the day before. This is a really little kid, I think he's five now. It's the third fire he's started in the last couple of years.

Lastly, but far from leastly, last night our elderly neighbor, Dorothy, passed away. She was 88 and had been in failing health. But her son Al, who has lived with her for many years in order to help care for her, is my husband's good buddy. He and Jeff are always sitting out in our front yard under the shade trees, rocking in the old iron lawn chairs, drinking iced tea, and shooting the breeze.

But Jeff was at work last night, I was the one outside in the front yard when Al came out of his house, telephone to his ear, standing in the middle of the street, looking overwhelmed, sad, confused. Soon the street was filled with assorted official vehicles but I knew that eventually they'd all leave and Al would be by himself. I knew none of his family lived in town, so I kept checking to make sure I could go out and be with him when the fellow from the mortuary eventually left with his mother. Jeff was at work, I figured I should stand in for him, and for his family who all live far away. No one should have to be alone at a time like that. Sure enough, he came over to talk to me while they brought her out. We stood out there for an hour or two while he talked in circles and related family stories. Of course he didn't realize he was telling me the same stories over and over. I recognized the emotional fugue state he was in. Been there, done that. And to top it off, yesterday was also his birthday. Sigh.

This morning it's still hot, still surreal. I thought the fair started today but discovered it opens a day late this year. It's too hot to go plant my new plants for the garden. It's too hot to do anything. So, I'll fill up my margarita glass again, this time with iced tea (maybe tonight I'll stop by the market and get some real margarita fixings) and answer the questions people offered me in yesterday's blog. Thanks!

First, the easiest question:

EasyDiverChris said:

"How do you pronounce your name, Laume?"

Say the word "loud" outloud. (yes, I know, sort of appropriate.) Now, drop the "d" and use an "m" sound. Silent "e". Ignore the "e". That's it. It's a Lithuanian word and I have no idea if that's the correct pronunciation or not. If anyone does know, I'm curious though. But it's the way I pronounce my name, regardless. It's been almost ten years, so it's too late to go changing it.

Deb asked:

"I want to see you answer some of the same questions I answered yesterday - What are you reading right now? What was the last book you tried to read but just couldn't get into? Last book you absolutely loved? Favorite genre?"

"What are you reading right now?"

That's pretty easy too. Right now - I just finished rereading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and jumped into the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I want to reread the whole series before the seventh and final book comes out. I'm also reading the fourth in Diana Gabaldon's historical romance series about the time traveling lovers Jamie and Claire - The Drums of Autumn. I really like this series but the books are so long and so dense that I only tackle one every other year or so.

"What was the last book you tried to read but just couldn't get into?"

Hmmmm. Something a friend sent me - the title was "bored housewives eating bon bons" or something like that. It seemed like it was trying to be like "Ya Ya's". But I kept the book. Maybe it was just timing. One of my favorite books of all, a trilogy actually - His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman - I just couldn't get into the first two times I attempted the first book (The Golden Compass). But one day I pulled it out to read to William and we were entranced from the first word. So, I think a lot of it is timing. I also tried to read The Hummingbird's Daughter" recently, liked it but was too restless and put it aside to read later.

"Last book you absolutely loved?"

Easy peasy! Joshilyn Jackson's new novel - Between, Georgia. She is the master of wonderful characters!!!

"Favorite genre?"

I sort of circle around through classics, fantasy, mystery, urban fantasy, thriller/horror, women's literature..... I guess if forced to pick it, I'd say urban fantasy.

Moving on, my mom asked me a question. She couldn't figure out how to ask it in my comments, so she sent it to me directly.

"HOW MUCH ARE YOU LIKE YOUR MOM/DAD AND IN WHAT WAYS ARE YOU DIFFERENT..do you like these traits or wish to avoid the sameness?"

The caps are hers. Geeze, no PRESSURE or ANYTHING!!!

It's a good thing she didn't ask me this question twenty years ago, or even ten. Then, if someone had said "You're just like your mother" or "You look a lot like your mom" or "You and your mom are so much alike"..... I would have been quick to respond with an overreactive "NO I'M NOT!" I think we all spend our teen and early twenties trying to put some distance between us and our relatives. We're not the same. See! We dress differently! We think differently! We have different values!

Of course we don't. In fact, I think it's rather amusing the fashion styles of the youth these days recreate our youth almost exactly. So the kids these days are looking different from the adults these days by looking just like the adults these days did when they were kids. Right?

But the truth is, and I've grown into feeling fine with it, I'm a lot like my parents. And that's a good thing. I'm not exactly like them of course. We're all unique human beings. If I look in the other direction, out to my own children, sometimes even in their fledgling adult years I can see how they have embraced similar quirks/values/choices in their lives, and sometimes I shake my head in wonderment that these odd creatures were raised by me! Or, how could four such completely different children be raised in the same household!? I'm delighted by the traits that tie us together, even the ones that seem more like family curses then blessings (hey, at least they're OUR curses!) and I'm equally delighted (well, most of the time) by the things that make each of us individuals and stretch the boundaries of how we see our family. All that new stuff just gives us more geneological treasures! Which aren't the same thing as "family jewels" - HA!

I'm not trying to avoid answering in more detail then this, mom, in case you're thinking that. It's just too damn hot to think that hard. Oh, see, there's something I'm like my mother in - the older I get, the more I cuss like a sailor. Hehe. Let's see....

I like that I'm not afraid to be myself. I get that from my mom, who was not afraid to be a little bit eccentric when I was growing up. We thought we'd die of embarrassment from it when we (my sisters and I) were young, but now I've come to appreciate her lesson in how to listen to yourself and not the shoulds and musts people of the world. I could, if I wanted, also blame my mom for two traits in myself I'm not as thrilled with inheriting - my clutterbug tendencies and my ability to procrastinate.

As for my dad, I inherited his love of books, travel, science, theatre, and sports. It's funny because I grew up thinking it was my mom's side of the family who were intellectuals, and they are, and I get some of it from them too (my maternal grandmother and great aunt in particular), but when I was older I realized my father always had a book at his side and the game on the radio. I also think I inherited most of my physical features from my dad's side of the family, which I'm generally happy with, although I could do without my father's square chin I suppose. My dad passed away before I could really start to see him as an adult in his own right, not just as my father. I've thought about him from that bigger perspective in the years since his death, but it's not the same as having an ongoing relationship with him as I've grown older myself, like I do with my mom. My dad had a tendency, within his relationships, to say he was gonna do something, and then not do it. I haven't inherited that trait so much as been careful NOT to follow in his footsteps. I always understood that he meant well by promising things, but as an adult I've been careful not to promise what I couldn't (usually) follow through on.

Okay, that will have to do. I've been offered the chance at sitting out the midday heat someplace air conditioned. I'm definitely gonna jump at that opportunity. If anyone else has any questions, don't hesitate to add them in the comments below. This was fun. And I still don't know what to write about. Heat plus brain equals.... not much, but visions of cold drinks.

Oh, speaking of the heat - AGAIN - did you see the new me doll in my sidebar? My old doll was dressed far too warmly for this summer heatwave. And yeah, I really look like that. I swear! Just ask my mom. Tell her to take off her glasses first. And squint.


Blogger Deb R said...

Cool answers, Laume. I've tried to read the Pullman books once and had trouble getting into them but didn't get rid of them because I thought I might try again at some point. (I have the first two...figure I'll buy the third if I ever get into those.)

5:51 AM  

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