6/29/11

Woe! It’s Wednesday

I had an idea last week for a great Woe! topic.

But I didn’t write it down because it was sooo perfect, I knew I’d remember it.

Now it’s Wednesday and I sit down to write. Can I remember it?

Of course not!

Sometimes I think my brain is too full of minutiae and there’s no more room for the important stuff.

I can recite random lines from Friends. “That’s a moo point … it’s like a cow’s opinion-it doesn’t matter.”

I know the lyrics to The Brady Bunch theme song. “It’s the story… of a man named Brady…”

But can I remember the kind of ink my printer takes? Nope. I have to look it up every single time.

I’ve directed my subconscious mind to come up with the topic again and I will write it down this time. Hopefully, next week’s post will be about … whatever it was.

6/28/11

Book Talk Tuesday

 One Day by David Nicholls

I'm a big proponent of the happy ending.
But occasionally I read a book without one. Even more occasionally I read a book that demands a sad ending. My Sister's Keeper is the first one that comes to mind. If the story and the writing are truly captivating.
I'm still squishy about the ending of One Day.
It's a lovely book and I enjoyed it from the beginning to it's non-happily-ever-after ending. (The book has been reviewed and discussed enough so that I'm not giving anything away to say that.)
The story vehicle would be a little trite in lesser hands. The book follows Dexter and Emma on one particular day in July every year for twenty years. It could have been precious (I mean that not in a good way) or too cute, but Nicholls makes it work.
We follow Dex and Em from their college graduation, through assorted jobs, marriages, loves, and situations. Life isn't always fair but it's always life.
Of course, Hollywood came calling and a movie is coming out based on the book. Nicholls crammed twenty years into several hundred pages. I want to see what they choose to put into 96 minutes of film.

6/24/11

Fiction Friday: The Bandbox Hat

I'm enjoying writing Sarah Jane's story. It's completely Seat-of-the-Pants. I have no idea what's going to happen from one chapter to the next. It's kind of fun to see what's going to happen and where the story is headed. I'm writing each chapter and pretty much copying and pasting it with little to no proofing. So this is my writing, typos and all. I probably shouldn't admit that. Or at least I should read each chapter before posting it. I'll do that. Next week.

-------------

Previously, Jesse asked to meet Sarah Jane, telling her he had news of her long lost sister Rachael.

Chapter 6


I pulled a deep breath and stared through the window.

Jesse Hofer.

The boy not-quite-next-door. We grew up on adjoining farms, but in California’s Central Valley, that could be hundreds of miles apart. Okay, at least dozens. The Hofers and the Richters lived about three miles apart with acres of peach, plum, and nectarine trees in between split level ranch houses.

Jesse looked up and our gazes met. He always knew when I was looking at him. It was quite annoying in high school. I could never gaze across a classroom at him without being caught.

Get a grip, Sarah Jane. You’re an adult now, not a moonstruck teen.

I slung my purse over my shoulder and pushed through the drugstore doors.

“Hi, Jesse.” I dropped onto the seat across from him and waved at Mrs. Caldwell. She ignored me but moved to the soda machine and filled a glass with ice and Diet Coke. After she deposited the frosty glass and a straw on the table, I met Jesse’s gaze.

“Thanks for coming.” His arms made an arc around his coffee cup.

“What’s so important? You said it had to do with Rachael.” I stabbed the straw on the table, trying to get it to break free of its paper prison.

“Yeeaah.”

I looked up at the drawn out syllable. “Jesse?”

His eyes, the same brown as our old German Shepherd Rusty’s, locked with mine. Their depths called to me like a Siren on the Tyrrhenian Sea. I blinked to clear my vision and reminded myself I was in Rosedale, not Capri.

“Yeah. Look, I know I left in a bad way and I was rotten to do it. I know you’re angry and I don’t blame you.”

“That’s in the past.” I said it because a) it was true and b) it’s what a good Mennonite girl should say about anything she needs to get over. Also, c) I was a little irked that he assumed I spent the last seven years pining for him. “I’ve been busy too. I went to Cal State, got my teaching degree. Moved in with Jake and Anna after Mama died. Jake and Nathan are building me my own apartment over the garage.”

“Really?” His gaze warmed. “That’s great. I’m happy for you.”

“So, what about Rachael? That’s how you got me here, remember? News about my sister.”

“Yeah. See, the thing is—” His coffee cup suddenly became very interesting and he ran his finger over the white looped handle. Around the outside of the little ear, then along the inside.

I reached and touched his hand. “Jesse. Just spit it out. Whatever it is.”

“Okay. I ran into her about a year ago. At a coffee shop in Pasadena. She looked just the same. Long hair swinging. I heard her laugh before I saw her and I knew it was her.”

Tears filled my eyes. “Our Rachael? She’s okay?”

He nodded. “She feels bad about how she left. Without saying a word to anyone.”

I fell against the back of my seat, heat rising to my face. “She should feel awful. She ran away from Peter, her brand new baby. From Mama and Dad. They all needed her.”

“She’s changed since then. Grown up. She went to night classes. Got a degree, too.”

A part of me knew I should be happy to hear this. My sister, missing for ten years. Why wasn’t I pumping him for her phone number or address? But another part of me was just angry. Rachael bailed when life got hard. She ran away. I stayed. How dare she think she could come back and everything would be forgiven and Dad would kill the fatted calf.

“She’s scared.” Jesse always could read my mind.

“I bet.” The derision crept into my voice in spite of my best intentions. Well, in spite of my pretty good intentions.

I pushed out from behind the table and stood. “Thanks for the information Jesse. I’ll tell Dad and the boys.”

“But, Sarah Jane—”

I spun on one heel and fled out the door. I had to talk to Emma and Dad and Nathan to figure out how I felt about this.

Rachael alive and well and living less than four hours away. For the last ten years. Never trying to see her son. Mama took over a year to die after her diagnosis. Rachael didn’t bother to call, much less come visit.

The key jangled as I tried to fit it in the door lock.

“Sarah Jane!” Jesse strong-armed the door open and strode through while shoving his wallet into his back pocket.

The lock clicked open and I flung myself into the driver’s seat.

Jesse had to pause for a dairy truck trundling through the intersection.

Thank you, God, for VanderGloss’s milk pickup.

I made my escape while Jesse waited behind the gleaming silver truck.

6/22/11

Woe! It's Wednesday

One of last week's Ask Amy columns touched a nerve for me. Amy is a Ann Landers/Dear Abby for the 21st century.
The writer said she and her daughter often text a few times a day and she enjoys the communication, but she was hurt when her daughter's Mother's Day wishes came in a text. The writer said, "I think the content determines the method (of communication)."
Amy agreed.
So do I.
It's one of my pet peeves.
I love the ease of communication nowadays. I text mulitiple times a day. Same with email. I enjoy Facebook and Twitter for keeping up with friends and family.
But.
And it's a doozy of a 'but.'
I dislike getting important news, good or bad, via Facebook or Twitter or blogs or the evening news.
Call me weird, call me a Luddite, or call me a stickler, I don't care.
Got a pedicure? I think tweeting a message about it is fine.
But an engagement? Not until after the immediate family members have been told.
A new baby? Pick up the phone and dial before sending that status update.
Find a new restaurant? Tweet it.
Selling your minivan? Post a status update.
Have a serious diagnosis from your doctor? Call or send a personal email.
Want to thank someone for a gift or act of kindness? Break out a pen, write a note, spring for a 44 cent stamp, and mail it.
That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.
"Content determines method."
I'd like to add another consideration. Relationship should also determine method.
Take it from me, moms dislike learning about a daughter's relationship on Facebook. So, call family first, then post.
A young woman I know had a baby recently. She updated her FB status as she went into labor. So did her mom and her aunt, who are both friends of mine. When the baby, a boy, was born, all updates ceased. Someone asked the aunt for his name. She replied that she wouldn't take away her niece's honor and fun of announcing him to the world. When the new mom felt up to it, she did share his name. In the meantime, family members not at the hospital were called.
We recently celebrated Easter, my birthday, Mother's Day, and Father's Day. I sent and received texts for all those occasions. I was completely fine with that.
Because: Content (and relationship) determine(s) method.

What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts about this.

6/21/11

Book Talk Tuesday

I just noticed that I haven't yet talked about Julie Carobini's newest release.  Fade to Blue by Julie Carobini

Fade to Blue is a delightful addition to her Otter Bay series. Otter Bay is a fictional Morro Bay and being familiar with the area makes the books even more fun, but is certainly not required.

Fade to Blue tells Suz Mitchell's struggle to make a life for herself and her young son. Suz and Jeremiah have moved across the country for a new start. Except her past seems to have followed her. Suz gets a job restoring art at the famous Hearst Castle on California's central coast. She soon runs into Seth, her first love from back home. Then she hears from her ex-husband who is eager for his own second chance with his family.


Suz's dilemma about which second chance is from God and which is an illusion is real and nicely handled. Just like Suz, all of us have been conflicted about a decision. Suz's emotions and feelings are very real and believable.

Julie Carobini does a great job bringing Suz, Jeremiah, Seth, and the other characters of Fade to Blue to life. I loved the insider's look at Hearst Castle.

If you're looking for a fun summer read with some faith and substance in addition to the lightness, I highly recommend Fade to Blue.

6/17/11

Fiction Friday: The Bandbox Hat

Chapter Five

Chapter 5




I let the kids line up a couple of minutes before the bell. They were so squirrely with the end of the school year in sight that there’s no way I’d get more work out of them.

“Don’t forget, permission slips for the swim party next week have to be in on Monday. If you don’t bring it, you don’t go to the party.” No one’s listening and I know there will be tears next week when a few kids have to stay behind while the rest of the class go to the local water park for our end of the year activity.

“Bye, Miss Richter,” a few of the munchkins call as they race out the door to a free weekend.

I stuff my belongings into my satchel and hurry to lock up my room and get to my car. For all my reticence and dread of seeing Jesse, all of a sudden I can’t get there fast enough. He has news about Rachael.

Rachael’s only thirteen months older. We grew up like twins in a lot of ways. She was the buffer between me and the older boys. She wouldn’t let anyone pick on me. No, she was the only one with that privilege.

She’d always been more daring, more extravagant, more more than I was. I was a freshman and she was a sophomore when she’d begun sneaking out of our second story room by climbing down the huge fruitless mulberry tree outside our window.

I knew she and Peter Martaans were meeting at the corner to make out. I never dreamed she’d do anything really bad though, or I would have told Mom. At least, that’s what I tell myself now. At the time, I was overwhelmed with being a teenager and a newly minted high schooler and I felt as if I was drowning in a flood of social miscues. Even a conservative community such as Rosedale has a pecking order and cliques. It seemed that every day I missed something vital and managed to make a social gaffe and invite further scorn and disdain from girls who’d previously been if not friendly, at least cordial, to me.

I was so wrapped up in my own teenage angst and misery that I’d missed all the signs that Rachael was in trouble, too. Her trouble was vastly different from mine though. Rachael retreated into silence and slamming doors for a month before she seemed to make a one-eighty.

She started making her bed in the morning and quit sneaking out. She got a job at Erlich Insurance, filing and answering phones after school. Mom and Dad sighed with relief and congratulated themselves on raising their teenaged girls to adulthood.

So they were stunned on New Year’s Day when Rachael announced she was pregnant and would be moving to an apartment in Fresno where she would live with Peter Martaans. They would get married when the baby was a year old, if they still liked each other.

Mom’s white face and slack jaw still haunted my dreams. Such a contrast to Dad’s spluttering anger. He yelled and threw his coffee mug into the fireplace where it shattered, white ceramic splinters of broken dreams for his daughter scattered on the dark red bricks.

Rachael left that day. She and Peter moved to their apartment. She stayed in school and kept working. I saw her every day as her tummy rounded and her eyes grew more hollow. Peter worked, too. He switched to Independent Study and worked two jobs to cover their rent.

He graduated on the same day their son was born.

Rachael ran away a week later.

No one in Rosedale had seen her since.

Except Jesse.

I drove a little quicker than was legal and I probably rolled through more than a couple of stop signs, but I pulled up in front of the drugstore just fifteen minutes after school let out.

Jesse sat at a booth in the front window.



6/14/11

Book Talk Tuesday

I recently finished a book that's been on several Must Read lists.
Room, by Emma Donoghue  
Book Image 

Room is narrated by five year-old Jack who has lived his entire life in an 11x11 room. It's impregnable and his mother has been held captive there for seven years. She's raising a remarkably well-adjusted child. Jack is bright and inquisitive and adventurous, all without knowing there's a bigger world outside the walls of their room.
Donoghue captures the outlook of Jack and Ma. Room is haunting and elegant.

6/10/11

Fiction Friday: The Bandbox Hat

Chapter Four




“Sarah Jane.” His eyes held a pleading that I knew well enough to know that I would have to steel myself against him and his easy charm. Otherwise, I’d be offering to do his ironing again, just like back in high school.”

“Jesse, I told you I’m busy.” I tried to brush past him and on to my classroom.

He grabbed my arm. “And I said I have to talk to you. It’s important.”

I searched his face and didn’t see the smug man I used to know, the one who was never disappointed by me. When he said to jump, I always asked how far and I did it. When his mom got that horrible flu and it took months for her to get her strength back, he mentioned how embarrassed he was to wear unironed shirts to school. That’s all it took, and I found myself knee deep in white dress shirts and spray starch.

Now though I had no problem telling him to keep his iron board to himself. I opened my mouth to do just that, but he jumped in first.

“It’s about Rachael,” he said in a low voice.

That stopped me. “What about her?” I asked. “She’s been gone ten years now.”

“I saw her.”

My heart jumped and I clutched for his hand, more reflex than I would like to admit. “Where? Did you talk to her? Are you sure it’s her. It’s been so long now, how can you be sure?” Questions tumbled out of my mouth quicker than he could answer. I knew that with a part of mind, but the rest of me was frantic to hear any morsel of news about my sister.

“Please meet me for coffee after school and I’ll tell you everything, I promise.”

What could I say to that? There’s no way I’d refuse and risk the only lead I’d ever had to find her. “Fine. I’ll meet you at the soda fountain around four o’clock.”

“I’ll be there.” He finally left, bobbing and weaving as he made his way through the throng of first, second and third graders headed this direction.

The morning passed in a blur of images. Worksheets with three digit math problems segued into a spelling bee to reinforce the “I before E” rule. Grant Enns, Emma’s youngest brother, made retching noises and pretended to throw up on Maria Chavez. She screamed in a most satisfactory way, pretty much guaranteeing Grant would pull the same stunt every day until the end of the school year. Thankfully, that was only about two weeks away. Surely I could hang on that long.

At lunch time, I wolfed down my tuna sandwich and finally corrected those spelling papers from yesterday. There were four minutes left before I had kids lining up at the door. I punched in Emma’s number. I had to get her take on the Jesse thing.

“Enns Dry Goods.”

“Are my heels still there?”

“Sarah Jane.” Her voice dripped sympathy.

“I was kidding,” I said. “I know if someone wanted them, you had to sell them.”

“Not that. The shoes are still here. I took them out of the window and put them behind some brown Hush Puppies.”

“Then why the pity?” A foreboding crept up my stomach and gathered into a lump in my throat.

“I saw Jesse in here yesterday with a girl. I couldn’t help overhearing some of their conversation …”

“I saw them go in. Jesse called and stopped by. I’m meeting him after school.”

“Oh.”

“Why? What did you hear?”

“Nothing. Absolutely nothing.”

“Emma. Spill it.”

“Really, Sarah Jane, if Jesse is going to meet you later, you should hear it from him.”

The classroom door flew open and my second graders streamed into the room. “I have to go, but we’re not done with this conversation.”

“Call me after your meeting. Or come in, I’ll be here.”

“See you later.”

Now I was getting worried. What did Jesse want to tell me? Something about Rachael or this girl he brought to town. Presumably to meet his parents. Why else would he bring her here? Maybe … I let my mind roam. Sometimes the most outrageous explanations were the correct ones. So, maybe she was … his agent, and she wanted to see where he was from so she could know what auditions to send him on. Or she was his cleaning lady and he wanted his mom to show her how to scrub the sinks correctly and how much bleach to use in his whites.

It could happen.

6/7/11

Book Talk Tuesday

I seem sort of obssessed with Mennonites these days.

Two summers ago I read (and loved and laughed my way through) Mennonite in a Little Black Dress. My current Fiction Friday is about a Mennonite young woman. I also recently read and loved, City of Tranquil Light, by Bo Caldwell.
City of Tranquil Light: A Novel
I received the book to review for Author's Choice reviews.
I loved the book. It's a beautifully crafted novel based on the author's grandparents lives as Mennonite missionaries to China in the early twentieth century.
I have friends, casual and close, who are Mennonite and some are even missionaries. So I come to Mennonite fiction with a pretty high standared. City of Tranquil Light exceeded my expectations. By a lot.
There are parts that are hard to read, particularly some senseless deaths. But it also gives what feels like a pretty realistic look at the life of a missionary in a third world country.
Highly recommended!

Book Talk Tuesday

Several months ago, a friend recommended a new-to-me romance writer named Kristan Higgins and loaned me a couple of her books. Then I bought another one.

She’s secular. There are a few cuss words. The sex is all off stage though and that’s what’s important to me.

I just finished Fools Rush In.

 

Incidentally, Fools Rush In must be a popular title for romance fiction. This is the second book I’ve read in the last 3 months with that title.

I’ve also read and enjoyed Too Good to be True

and Catch of the Day.

All the books have a lot of laughs, an adorable dog, quirky families, and a lot of heart.

If you enjoy light romance, Kristan Higgins is a sure bet.

6/3/11

Fiction Friday: The Bandbox Hat

The Bandbox Hat

Chapter Three



“Sarah Jane.”

The voice floated on a fog and I whisked it away with a hand swipe.

“Auntie SJ, wake up.”

Now my shoulder shook and I couldn’t ignore the summons. “What?” I rolled over in bed to stare at the intruder.

Watery blue eyes glared at me and a lip quivered. “You forgot?”

“What time is it?”

Now the miniature extortionist added an artful sniffle, as if holding back a tear. “Almost seven o’clock.”

“Ahhh…” I rolled over and faced my bedroom wall. “I didn’t forget. I said I’d fix Rollkuchen for you and I will. The dough is in the fridge, ready to go.”

“I have to catch the school bus at 7:30.”

I heaved a sigh and threw the covers off. “I’ll start them now and if you miss the bus, you can ride to school with me.”

April smiled and the gap waiting for her front teeth showed. “Thank you, Auntie SJ.”

I slid my feet into my slippers and trudged to the kitchen. My sister-in-law works part-time at the packing shed and since the early varieties were already coming off, she’d been at work since five.

Nathan dropped me off at home after last night’s Farmer’s Market. I sat on the steps of the wraparound porch for a few minutes. April caught me feeling melancholy and nostalgic and she dropped broad hints about how boring cold cereal was for breakfast on days her mom worked early. I’d fallen for it and volunteered to make her favorite deep-fried rolls for her.

I’m a teacher. I know breakfast is the most important meal of the day, how it helps kids concentrate and learn better. Did I volunteer to make omelets? Or oatmeal? Even to pick up some bagels?

No. I promised a second grader a deep-fried carb fest for breakfast. Sans protein. Because that’s what beloved aunties do for tow-head nieces with gap-toothed smiles.

After starting the oil heating, I pulled pieces of dough off the big lump, twisted and knotted them, ready for frying. Rollkuchen is often served with watermelon for a summer supper, but we kids could never get enough and Mom often made it for breakfast, sprinkled with powdered sugar. My brother and sister-in-law, April’s parents, didn’t mind that I continued the tradition. In fact, Jake would sometimes drop hints that he wouldn’t turn down a bit of deep-fried dough. I usually do a double batch because they freeze well.

The oil had a few bubbles around the edges, so I dropped in the first piece to test. The dough immediately began to sizzle and pop and I stepped back to avoid getting hot oil on my sleep tee. I learned the hard way not to fix rollkuchen in anything resembling nice clothes.

The kuchen drifted to the top of the oil and the phone rang. I grabbed the slotted spatula and pushed the Talk button. “Hello.”

“May I speak with Sarah Jane, please?”

I spent hours talking to the owner of that deep voice all through high school. If I knew his the moment he spoke, shouldn’t he know mine as well? Obviously he’d been a bigger part of my life than I was of his.

“Jesse. It’s me,” I said as I scooped up the hot dough twist and moved it to the paper towel-covered plate. “What do you want?”

“I know it’s been a while since we talked—”

“No, we spoke yesterday. It hasn’t even been twenty-four hours.”

He laughed and I smiled in response. Apparently I was ignoring the lecture I’d given myself last night on the porch about Jesse being part of my past and should just stay there, unpoked and unprodded to life. I dropped three more twists of dough into the hot oil.

“Anyway, I’d like to ask you something. Can I take you to lunch?”

And right there in Jake and Anna’s kitchen, with me in my PJs, hot oil sizzling and rollkuchen frying, I was forced to acknowledge that even though Jesse was part of my past, I’d never really left him behind. I’m not sure if it was my inability to breathe or the fact that the kuchen was turning from golden and delicious to dark and burnt that clued me in.

“Sarah Jane? Are you there?”

“Uh … sorry. Frying rollkuchen for April.”

“How she is? She must be, what, four now?”

“Try seven, almost eight.”

He was silent and I pictured him sitting at the bottom of the stairs in his mom’s house, the old-fashioned black rotary dial phone perched on his knees as he worked the math.

“Yes, she was a baby when you left. She kept growing even if you weren’t here to see it.”

He cleared his throat. “So, lunch?”

His obvious discomfort at my calling his desertion what it was made it easier for me to say what I knew I had to. “No. I have to be at school all day. Thanks for the offer though. Have a good day.” I stabbed the disconnect button and turned back to my burning kuchen. I had to get these on the table for April and then get myself ready.

The school bus honked and I ran to the front door to wave on Mr. Owens. He tooted again as he continued down the road.

“April! Breakfast,” I hollered up the stairs.

“I’m coming,” sounded from above.

I jogged back down the hallway to the kitchen, removed the last of the kuchen from the oil and set the plate on the table with a shaker of powdered sugar, a jar of Anna’s strawberry freezer jam, and a plate for April.

We passed on the stairs.

“Be ready in twenty minutes,” I said.

“I’m ready now,” she retorted. “Not like you.”

“I had to fix your breakfast,” I reminded her as I hit the top of the stairs.

Since I’d showered off the lingering dust of last night’s farmer’s market before bed, I was able to slip into my skirt and blouse and run a brush over my hair in just a few minutes and I soon joined April at the table.

“Thanks, Auntie SJ,” she said. “I love rollkuchen.” She knew to pronounce it like a real German Mennonite: rawl kue-ken. “Even in the morning. Why won’t Opa let Oma make it for breakfast?”

“Opa’s old school. He grew up having it with watermelon for supper only and he can’t change now.”

“Can’t or won’t?” April asked. Powdered sugar dusted her top lip and her chin.

“You’re pretty smart, you know that? You must be related to me—Oh wait! You are.” I ran a hand over her blonde bangs. “Wipe your mouth. By the way, I know the whole wanting kuchen for breakfast is just a ruse so you can miss the bus and ride to school with me.”

I put our plates in the dishwasher and scribbled a note to Anna that I’d finish cleaning the kitchen after school. I did half the cooking but Anna always made sure I knew it was her kitchen and she had standards that must be maintained. We’d come to a d├ętente in the whole Rinse or not before putting dishes in the machine issue.

As soon as the early peaches were in, Jake and Nathan promised to finish my apartment over the garage and then I would have my own kitchen and I could keep it as clean or as messy as I wanted. Granted, it was going to be a miniscule kitchen, with a miniature sink, two-burner stove, and mini dishwasher, but it was all mine.

My car horn sounded and I hurried down the back steps. “I’m coming,” I called to April.

“I want to play with Tiff and Megan before the bell rings.” She stood behind the driver’s seat, an arm still stretched to give the horn another prod.

We drove down the tree-shaded lane leading from Jake and Anna’s house to the main road, dust billowed behind us.

“Dad would yell at you to slow down,” April said.

“Thanks, Miss Play-by-Play.” I looked both ways and we pulled out and headed toward town and school.

“The dust isn’t good for the peaches.”

“I grew up on a farm, too. I know about dust on the fruit.”

“Do you know how to kiss a boy?”

“April!” I slammed on the brakes and twisted to look at her. “You shouldn’t—that is, I mean, why … um.” Why is a seven year-old asking about kissing? And why is she asking me and not her mother? I took a deep breath. “Why do you ask?”

She kicked against the back of my seat. “Tiffany said she watched iCarly kiss a boy and it looked hard. They closed their eyes and scrunched up their faces.”

I patted my heart. It wasn’t racing anymore. Honestly, between being prodded awake to make Rollkuchen, then Jesse’s call, and now April’s choice of school drive-time conversation, it’s a wonder I stayed on the road.

“Tiffany’s right that kissing a boy is different from kissing your parents, but you don’t need to worry about it for a few more years. By the time you’re ready to kiss boys, you and your mom will have talked about it and I’m sure you’ll be fine.”

That seemed to satisfy April because she quit kicking and just looked out the window for the rest of the ride.

We pulled up to H.G. Bartel Elementary school and I parked in the teacher’s lot.

“Thanks, Auntie SJ!” April shouldered her backpack and waved goodbye as she headed to the playground.

I gathered my satchel with the still uncorrected papers from yesterday. I’d have to squeeze out time this morning to look them over. Twenty-six spelling tests shouldn’t take long. I could make part of the time allotted to Language Arts DEAR time and instead of dropping everything to read like the students, I’d correct their tests.

I was so engrossed in mentally tweaking my morning lesson plan that I didn’t see Jesse until he stepped in front of me.

6/1/11

Woe! It’s Wednesday

So last Friday we were at a local hospital while our son-in-law was having back surgery.

We parked in a wide open lot, with security cameras.

Mid-morning, hubby decided to move the truck under a tree for the shade.

Two hours later, he returns to the truck, turns it on, notices it seems to be running really LOUDLY. Dad was with him and Dad hops out to check if the muffler was stolen.

No, the muffler was there.

The catalytic converter was stolen.

From a hospital parking lot.

I don’t know which is worse, the loss of a $900 piece of legally required equipment or the fact that it was taken from a truck at the hospital.

How low are you to steal from someone at a hospital? For all they knew, we just pulled the plug on someone. Talk about evil and depraved.

They probably sold it the next day at a swap meet for $150.

Pathetic. Creeps.