Friday, November 17, 2017

Lost in Paradise or the Further Adventures of O. Reader


     Well, the Occasionals have been away on vacation again. For the last ten years we’ve only been able to go away by arrangement, organising care for my mother while absent. Since she passed away in October, we took off this month for a whole two weeks to North Wales.

     Most of our first week was spent at a caravan site called Sea Breezes. I should have taken warning from that. The wind raged across the site, barely protected by an ugly sea wall. Fifteen years ago the area had its own version of the New Orleans disaster, when the existing sea walls were breached and the whole area went underwater. Of course we only found this out when we arrived. Still it was nice to crash out in a caravan – even if buffeted by the wind – and not be on the end of a telephone.

     Our second week was a lot better with a flat in the center of Chester.                                   

     We’d passed through Chester on vacation a year or two back and wanted to return. It’s a very attractive city with a speciality of old shops on two levels in the main streets, all dating from the Victorian era or earlier. The place goes back to Roman times and the museum has a fine collection of engraved Roman gravestones, which each tell a personal history. Apparently as the city walls fell into disrepair the locals used to steal these stones from the abandoned Roman cemeteries. Then in the 19th century when the walls were properly restored, many of these stones from the past were retrieved, cleaned up, put on show and told their stories.

     The city is very close to the Welsh border and Welsh could be heard in the streets on occasion. Apparently the bad feeling between the Welsh and English meant that several clock towers in Chester have clocks on three faces but the side facing Wales is blank. To coin a phrase, they weren’t going to give them the time of day.

     The first thing we did was to behave like the total tourists we were, and took the tour bus. It was actually a much restored London bus from the time of the first World War – open topped and taller than modern vehicles meaning you had to duck to avoid being decapitated under modern Chester Bridges.

     The commentary was slick and professional with well-rehearsed jokes and we learned a bit about Roman Chester and its subsequent history. However, there was a lesson for modern writers and commentators. Trundling past an ancient cemetery we were told that here was the grave of the writer of Tom Brown’s Schooldays. That’s Thomas Hughes, and no he wasn’t – he was buried in Brighton. And also the father of postage stamps, Roland Hill, and no, he wasn’t buried there either but in Westminster Abbey.  Also in the same cemetery was supposed to be someone who, with multiple births, gave birth to 33 children. Ouch. I didn’t get a name so didn’t check that one out. But once you find a glaring error of fact in an account, it calls into question everything else you’re told. As someone who writes on history, where the line between facts and opinions is easily blurred, there’s a lesson there.

     Twice during our stay we travelled to a Welsh language religious meeting. Originally we planned to go to one in Bangor but that one is always filmed and shared on the internet. The thought of my strangulated Welsh being watched by mystified people in Patagonia did not appeal, so we went to a nearer location. While waiting for their own Hall this group hires a room in a Welsh castle.

      It was actually a place Mrs O and I visited more than 20 years ago. I used to organise podiatry seminars and our committee suddenly found we had too much money. We had to spend some before the end of the year, so arranged a weekend committee meeting at this castle, and had a medieval banquet thrown in. That was an experience. We were all given huge bibs to protect our clothes and then set to work with fingers on medieval food using medieval wet-wipes. We were served copious quantities of mead by buxom wenches, and then a Welsh choir came and sang at us. The visit wasn’t QUITE as exciting this time.

     We walked around Chester on top of the city walls, which is a two mile circuit and generally quite high. And we went to Chester Zoo.  As Tom Paxton sang: “We’re going to the zoo zoo zoo, how about you you you, you can come too too too” etc.  My daughter was a little girl the last time we visited a conventional zoo. I think we once did a safari park in the interim, where you drive through enclosures and small monkeys leap on your car and scream obscenities, while trying to wrench off your windscreen wipers; but we have been zoo-less for many years.

     I have to say it was very impressive, with a huge fanfare given to its programs to breed endangered species. We saw all the usual animals you would expect to see. But there was a lot of walking. And I surprised myself, I got tired. VERY TIRED. As soon as we got back to base we cracked another bottle of Cava and then I was done for. Flat out on the bed, Law and Order on the TV - out like a light… But I don’t remember feeling so tired since the day A LONG TIME AGO when I was single and pedal cycled from Cardiff to Manchester for a special meeting with a typewriter tied to the back of my bike (don’t ask) and then from Manchester to London, 180 miles with a headwind. The latter stage took 18 hours and I collapsed into a hot bath at the end. It was half an hour of sheer bliss. And then I found I was totally seized up and unable to get out… (Compartmented into my personal collection of one hundred worst moments of my life…)

     I did a bit of writing and a bit of reading. I was supposed to be preparing some lessons for a seminar I’m helping to take when I get home, but that sort of fell by the wayside. I will just have to be busy with that next week. My main non-fiction reading was a recent biography of Josephine Tey. I did write a number of critical paragraphs on this, but Tey really could do with an essay on her own. But then, since American readers have probably never heard of her, I junked most of it.

     To-morrow we leave and I am left with the usual feeling.

     I think I need a vacation.

     To get over this one.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Cherry eating ... detail from a larger painting

So ... I started a new story

I seldom write fiction anymore, and almost never for publication. History writing is time consuming, exacting, and requires most of my attention. But ... I tell stories to my kids. They are a demanding lot, needy. "Tell us a story, Mom," they say. And so I do.

Sometimes I tell my equally demanding pet man an alternate version. "Okay," he'll say, "So tell me what really happened." These versions are certainly more colorful than those I tell my girls.

My current character is a goat girl. She has powers but is unaware of them. The story takes her from ordinary human to 'other.' Herewith are two vision of a goat girl. Neither is exactly like my character, but both are close enough.

Some of you may want to close your eyes. You may not find this to your liking.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Case of the Missing Letters by O. Reader


   A recent speech by British Prime Minister Teresa May had all the hall-marks of farce in recent days. Now I don’t do politics, but I can appreciate a good pratfall, no matter who takes it. As she warmed up a British comedian worked his way to the front and very publicly handed her a P-45 form. For those outside Britain, this is the form you receive when your services are dispensed with by your company. He then ambled over to one of her potential rivals as if the form had come from him. The sleep walking security services finally jumped into action and he was ejected from the Hall. But how he managed to get that near for so long has no doubt prompted some interesting post-conference exchanges.

     Mrs May soldiered on – and then her voice went. It became an unsuccessful advertisement for throat sweets. And finally, the coup de grace, as she croaked to a conclusion – two letters from the backdrop very visibly fell off behind her. It was custard pie meets banana skin – a joy for those who savor such moments.

     What did she actually say? I doubt that anyone now remembers a word.

     It prompted a series of letters in the Times newspaper about other malfunctioning backdrops. One was from someone invited to make the finishing address at a global business competition for young entrepreneurs. The sign behind him proclaimed: “World Young Business Achiever Closing Ceremony.”

     Then the C in “Closing” fell off…

     The latest today was someone driving through a Surrey suburb who noticed a new Italian restaurant called “E VILLA E TORE”. Then his wife pointed out that this was THE VILLAGE STORE” until a few letters dropped off…

     I have this feeling that this anecdote might have a touch of the apocrypha about it. But it’s one of the main reasons why I read this paper.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Shoe shopping, or draining the budget

            Mary Roberts Rinehart [in Circular Staircase, 1908] wrote of the expense of shodding children. Her perspective was the turn of the 20th Century. Nothing has changed, except my daughters have shoes. They’re only bare of foot when they wish to be. But the expense can be horrendous. I know. I took my two youngest and our foster daughter shoe shopping after school yesterday.
            Each has their own personality. Kat is an adventurous warrior girl-woman. Annie is a forest creature. Molly is a happy feet dancer. But they’re more or less attached at the hip, friends for life. So off we went, first to Macy’s, then to Shoe Source, then to Wal-Mart. [Did I ever tell you how much I detest Walmart? Prolly not. Consider it done.] So after spending enough to reduce the national deficit, we came home with boxes of shoes, two pair each. 

An Adventurous Warrior Child

            They picked similar styles for dress up. Black, leather, slip-on or Mary Jane. For school and play not so much. These were sports shoes, trainers etc. Except Molly, who has discovered horse back riding, wanted some western style boots. We found a nice pair with decorative stitching, which made our happy-feet Molly even happier. Frankly, we’re doing everything we can think of, including pampering her a bit, to make her life happier than it otherwise is. [Her mom is some better, but there is no immediate prospect of her returning home.]

A Forest Creature

            Annie picked a pair of pink trimmed trainers. Kat chose all black. I smiled and mentally tabulated the decline of my checking account balance. But if you choose to have children, you can count on near poverty. I chose the children and do not regret it.

Happy Feet Dancing

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Life Changes, Sam's, and a Gaggle of Girls

            So ... some changes in our life. One of our friends, a single mother with an eleven year old daughter, is seriously ill. While she’s receiving treatment in Seattle, we have taken in her daughter. Molly, [not her real name, of course] is a sweet child, a tag along with my girls, even though they’re older than she. My baby half-sister and Molly play together.
            Going from five girls to six is chaos. We had to find a place for her to sleep. That meant turning a storage room into a bed room. At least it prompted me to call the Goodwill truck and get rid of a huge amount of ‘stuff.’ Molly drifts between being homesick and having a ball. Last weekend we had a huge sleep over. Girls of all ages and their sleeping bags were scattered all over the house. I think they’re all still high on sugar. ... Lights went out at 11:30, but chatter continued way past one am. A gaggle of girls means endless chatter.
            Molly’s mom put us in her will as her choice for guardians. Molly’s been part of our family, a fixture in our life, since she was in diapers. Of course we’ll take her. We love Molly as if she were our own. But I am surprised how complicated life becomes when you add one more girl-child to your family.  

 Still High on Sugar.

            I have read a pile of books looking for fugitive information. One of these is a history of 19th Century European political movements. Big book. Two relevant sentences. But I read the whole thing. Two are histories of migration on the American frontier. A few relevant points, but not many. Not enough to footnote, but maybe enough to generate a sentence or two. Another is a history of the war in Normandy. I learned that Montgomery was a liar, but I already knew that. Nothing at all relevant beyond some discussion of French geography – which is what I was seeking anyway. A few other books. Probably this generated ten pages of notes of which I will use ... well ... almost nothing. But you don’t find ‘stuff’ if you do not look for it.

           Now back a few weeks, four to be exact. Many – probably most – who read this blog know I have health problems. I’m often up sometime around 2 am to deal with night time pain and to take a handful of other pills. And I don’t get out of the house much. I like my house, but being confined here gets really old. My pet goat boy does what he can to get me out of the house. [“You need airing out,” he ungraciously once said.] So here’s the story ... as it happened.

I’m sitting in my chair, a not quite antique wing-back thing that was my gramma’s. It’s about 11 pm. I’m sipping coffee. Pet man has refused a cup. He doesn’t drink it in the evening, claiming it keeps him up. I’m immune to coffee. I’m pensive.

“You want to go somewhere?” He asks.

I nod.

“Sam’s?” Sam’s is an all-night place. I’ve mentioned it before on this blog. It’s shabby but clean and the food is lovely.

I make my way up the stairs to see if anyone’s still awake. Annie and Kat are in bed but awake. Annie’s reading. Kat’s writing in her journal. [Journal writing is a class requirement.]

“Your dad and I are going to Sam’s,” I say.

Annie looks as if I injected hyperjuice right into an artery. “Can I go too?” she asks.

“If you want,” I say.

“Me too,” Kat says. “I’ll tell Liz.”

Liz and Isabella share a room. Their lights are out. But Kat throws open their door. Knocking is a lost art here.

“Mom and dad are going to Sam’s. We’re going too,” she says. Lights come on. Isabella sticks her head out the door.

“Wait a minute,” Izzy says. “We’re not dressed.”

I shrug.

Someone woke Arpita. I hear her say, “I have to work tomorrow. I need sleep.” But in five minutes she sticks her head out her door and asks, “Can I change my mind?”

So ... this has turned into a two vehicle journey.  I seldom drive anymore, so I hand my keys to Arpita. Annie shouts a claim to a place in her dad’s truck, and Isabella joins her. Isabella is very protective of Annie. Annie, in her own way, is tough as nails. Gentle but firm as iron when she wants to be. It’s an odd, symbiotic relationship.

So ... we invade Sam’s. At that time of night it’s almost empty. The seven of us go far toward filling the place up.

Feeding seven people [with dessert included] costs a bunch, but it was worth it. Oh, and Sam’s bakes their own pies. I had banana cream pie. It was good. Goat boy had a double helping of Sam’s bread pudding made from blueberry muffins. OH! and Sam’s was serving French onion soup. I had that. Lovely

We got home early in the morning. Poor Arpita was short on sleep when she headed off to the world of high finance. [She works in a bank.] The rest of us slept in.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The English Tourists ... By O. Reader


            Cornwall is always an attractive part of Britain for vacations, because traditionally it has a milder climate than most places, dubbed the Cornish Riviera in the brochures. So here we are, dodging the rain showers and acting like traditional tourists for a week.
            Our daughter and son-in-law love Cornwall because as a county it is very dog friendly. The beaches are dog friendly. The bars and some restaurants are dog friendly. And the folk clubs are dog friendly. Because of this, you tend to just get responsible dog owners, who pick up after them, if you know what I mean. The Abba Song Super Trouper is generally sung as Pooper Scooper here.
            Taking dogs with you has its humorous side. At one place we visited I saw an extremely large black dog of indeterminate breed bound up to a man who was standing there with his family and head-butt him in the groin. As he went “ooof” and partly doubled over, a small voice trilled “Daddy, he’s slobbered all over you...” There was a slight pause and then “It looks like you’ve wet yourself...” At that point we tiptoed carefully away...
            Our main touristy day out so far has been to visit The Lost Gardens of Heligan. If any readers are ever in Cornwall it is well worth a visit. It was originally an estate of well over 200 acres belonged to just one family for about 400 years - a regularly repeated story in British history. But the First World War decimated the staff and the whole place fell into disrepair and over decades was literally lost. A visitor, who was not a gardener but an archaeologist, stumbled upon it through brambles around 1990, and the project of re-birth commenced. A series of documentaries on British TV really put it on the map in the late 1990s. We were last there about 15 years ago when it was very much a work in progress - now it is almost finished and maintained in beautiful condition. There are walled gardens originally designed to make the estate self-sufficient, and numerous exotic plants in wild valleys, now reached by modern broad-walks. Quite nearby, which the energetic can do in the same day is the Eden Project, which has huge domes and tropical forests. It was the brainchild of the same person who started the Heligan restoration. Unlike Heligan, the Eden domes are not dog friendly, so we gave them a miss this time.
            So what was the highlight for me? The Thunderbox. What on earth is that? It is a name given to the latrine/privy/loo/lavatory/toilet/WC/rest room used by the gardeners. As to why it might be called the Thunderbox we can perhaps gloss over that. But this was discovered under rampant foliage when they came to excavate. Now I had better explain that I am not actually a collector of toilets... (There has to be a name for that - perhaps not Crapologist - although the main promoter of water closets, i.e. WCs, in Britain’s Victorian era was actually one Thomas Crapper. You see my purpose with these posts is always to educate...)
            But Heligan’s Thunderbox has a poignant story. When they removed the collapsed roof and all the brambles that filled it, they made a discovery. On the flaking white-washed walls, in pencil, with the date August 1914, the gardeners had written their names. What is poignant is that most of those names can now be found on local war memorials in the surrounding villages. Out of 22 main gardeners, 16 died in the conflict.
            Many other staff never returned after the war, and the new economic conditions meant that the whole estate fell apart. To be rediscovered and restored over 70 years later.
            The Thunderbox actually has a sort of heritage status. The Imperial War Museum granted it “Living Memorial” status in 2013.
            And while we are on the subject of museums and visits, if ever readers are in London they should consider actually visiting the Imperial War Museum. It has touristy things like the air-raid experience, and weapons and airplanes and equipment captured from spies. But amid the entertainment factor, much is very sobering, because to its credit it does not glorify war.
            I last went there shortly after the Holocaust exhibition opened. I know I have written up this account before, but can’t remember now if it was here or somewhere else. Anyhow, I had a special interest in that exhibition, because while it rightly focussed on the Jews and other races systematically targeted by the Nazi regime, it also covered members of a religious group in which I have an interest. They were there because they were conscientious objectors, and being a conscientious objector in Nazi Germany was often fatal.
            They may have changed the layout now, I don’t know, but it was a sort of one-way system, which aptly went downhill. You started off with the increasing of anti-Semitism and sidelining of other minorities, racial, religious and political, and then as you descended, it just got worse and worse. Stories of heroism and courage of ordinary citizens who lost their lives trying to make a difference occurred along the way. There were visual interviews with survivors and witnesses. You ended up with displays of materials, shoes, glasses, pathetic minutia of ordinary lives destroyed, confiscated at the gates of the extermination and concentration camps.
            When I went down there, I was inadvertently accompanied by quite a large crowd of teenagers, who were also visiting the museum. They were typical teenagers, mainly boys, noisy, boisterous, some pushing and shoving and playing about. I guess there should have been some supervision or at least some museum staff on hand to keep them in hand, but I didn’t see it. But as we descended into the bowels of the story, the noise tailed off. They became quieter. And quieter. As we reached the bottom and the literal end of the line - there was complete silence.
            I think that’s an example of an exhibition really doing its job.

Some of these have ...

made a nest in my African Violets. They bite if they are displeased. Feed them marshmallows and they'll do anything you ask.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Queen of the Small

Millennialist Music

We forget or ignore or simply do not know that many classic hymns and other works are Millennialist in outlook

Often presented as Christmas music, but not written with that in mind, this I. Watts hymn is about the return of Christ and its blessings:

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Red Feathers!

I can't read the artist's name, but I like this ...

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Friday, August 18, 2017

Your emails

You Know who you Are:

I have your emails. I will put them into your wife's hands. Your life will change.

Monday, August 14, 2017

World War I

I'm sorting old family photos. I don't know who took these or the exact dates. Brief descriptions are on the back.

Inscribed "Stern Gun on Freighter" 

 Inscribed "Prisoners of War" By the uniform they're German Prisoners.

Inscribed "Aboard H. M. S. Saxonia in Halifax Harbor." The uniforms appear to be American.

Conspiring with the Baby Dragon

Under the table secrets [artist unknown]

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Because there's no better way to explain than to show

When your life breaks and there is no real cure ...

Making a seizure victim stand in place is cruel. Help them to a comfortable place, and, for God's sake, be quiet. Talking to a seizure victim does not help. Comfort does.

Quietly comforting a victim is good

Trying to talk to me in the middle of a seizure makes things worse. It's stupid. Don't do it.

One of several seizure types that afflict me. Now you know something of my life as it is every day.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

On being small and other nonsense

The other nonsense should be first, I suppose. People tend to assume way too much from what they read. Remember the post with Aunt S’s childhood photo and the comparison painting of a distant ancestor? Some who read that were surprised. At least two said they thought my “blood relation” was to Uncle B. [I removed one of those comments.]            
            In fact, both are related to me by blood. They’re cousins, though with enough ‘removes’ to make the relationship somewhat distant. Uncle B’s family connects to my German, Austrian and American bits. Aunt S connects to my Bavarian bits and to the Austrians. There is a Norwegian connection there too I think, but as those things go, the connection isn’t mine. This is not uncommon among my ancestors. I am my own first cousin six times removed. So, now, are you confused? Or is this all perfectly clear?

            Other stuff:

            Goat Boy regularly reminds me that I’m not the world’s mother. The world should be pleased I’m not. Whole populations would be grounded, spanked, frowned at and regularly sent to their rooms. Entire countries would have their privileges revoked. His last reminder was prompted by our new neighbors. They moved into the two-story Federal style house across the street and up one. [It’s painted a nauseating blue.] They have an eleven year old daughter. I see her riding her scooter up and down the street. She has no friends and doesn’t make eye contact with anyone. So, I worry. But beyond saying hello to her and her mother and being totally ignored, I have no plan. My husband says I shouldn’t have a plan. He says that we have enough worry with our five … and boys … and stuff.
            My medication causes deep body aches, so I have trouble sleeping. I wake up every two hours or so. Sometimes I just vegetate in my chair for a while so I don’t keep the pet man awake. Last night I turned on the little lamp next to my chair and read a book I’ve read before. It was written in the 1940s by a Presbyterian minister turned sociologist. In his case both professions were a joke. His source of authority is usually a literary quotation, and he attributed views and words to others they never spoke or wrote. But it is still useful, sometimes for the very nonsense it contains.  So I read it through again, taking some notes that I’ll revisit in a few days.
            My coffee mob has mostly scattered through the summer. We don’t fill up our usual coffee shop. We usually don’t get more than six or seven. Kinda sad, really. But as summer ends and people return from vacations, conferences and such, we should see more.
            I spend more time in bed than I should but don’t seem to have much choice. Everything is an effort. I managed to clean out the pantry. But my front garden needs attention. I’ll pin down one or more of my daughters and get them to pull the weeds. The gardens used to be fun, a distraction. But they aren’t now.
            Night before last I toddled off to the kitchen, heated up left over coffee and sat on the front porch watching bugs buzz the street lights. The moon is full or nearly so. As hot as it is during the day, the nights are cool. My mind wandered from place to place and time to time. Some memories make me smile.
            Most who read this blog know I’m a very small person. My husband [aka Goat Boy] is tallish, almost 15 inches taller than I am. That has its advantages, but we won’t go into that. Some of you would blush. After we were married his dad gifted us with an older but not antique Lincoln which was really nice because he was newly employed and I was pregnant and sick and mostly confined to bed. Consequently, I wasn’t working. We had little money, though things were improving financially. Goat Boy got his first raise and a bonus. Good. Even with insurance, medical bills were increasing. Not so good.
            I begged for him to get me out of the house, and, despite his better judgment, he took me to McDonalds for breakfast food. It was a nice change. We left eventually, and at the car he gave me a very nice, rather passionate kiss. Nice, right? Well I thought it was. But … An older woman, maybe in her mid sixties, confronted Goat Boy for kissing a little girl. My husband is not easily flustered, but he was then. How dare he kiss a child like that? And there was a meaningful look at my belly bump. …
            Goat Boy took a step back, then another, trying to explain. She didn’t let him - Cut him right off. I can enjoy discomfiture only so long. How old do you think I am? I asked. She looked me up and down with her steely gray eyes. Way too young to be pregnant, she said. I’m twenty, I said quietly. She was apologetic. She need not have been. It is rare for someone to confront what they see as a wrong especially in public. Oh, many make snide, stupid, trolling comments online, but few interject themselves into a real life situation. She though I was twelve or thirteen at the most.

            I continued to look like a child well into my twenties. An evangelist knocked on our door when I was twenty-seven. Many from that church know me, but he didn’t. I’d never seen him before. His first words were something like: “Hi. Is your mother home?” I told him I was the mother. Sometimes it’s fun to watch grown men blush. 
            I no longer look as if I’m twelve, but I don’t look my age either. [I turn 40 in November.] I still have it! Sick or not. I was ‘carded’ [asked for my ID] last week when buying a bottle of rum. [The good, dark sippin’ kind.]
            Our wedding was in my parent’s house, the house I grew up in. [Long ago sold so they could move here.] There were about 30 guests, but a large reception afterward. [A compromise with the mothers.] I had almost no sleep the night before and no chance to nap before the wedding. I fell asleep during the reception. And herewith is one of the advantages of being short and scrawny. When it was apparent I was really ‘out,’ he picked me up as if I were a small child and carried me off to our car and then into our apartment. Nice, huh?
            There are disadvantages too. I had trouble carrying my birth children to term. They were all premature, and that was related in part to my size and to difficulty with weight. I couldn’t maintain a ‘healthy weight.’ So Elizabeth was born at 34 weeks and weighed 3 lbs 14 oz. My biggest baby was Annie who weighed just under five pounds. And she, sweet and mild child that she is, perversely broke my tailbone and ruined my urethra coming out. My butt still hurts on occasion. …
            Then there’re kitchen cupboard issues. A folding ladder works best or simply calling for Goat Boy to reach things down. And clothes … and shoes … I wear very small sizes. Probably none of the men who read this blog ever wore a ‘training bra.’ But the women who read this blog know what that is. I can still wear one. I wear a girl’s size 2 shoe. Small sizes are easier to find now than when we were married, and I can find girls’ clothing that doesn’t make me look like a preteen. But not so much when we were first married or before that. Pants? Oh, yes, let’s not forget the adventures buying or simply looking for girls size 12 – 14 that I can wear and not look silly. Finding something that fits and doesn’t look little girlish isn’t as iffy now as it once was. My weight bounces between 86 and 88 lbs drippin’ wet. When I was teaching, most of my students were taller than I am.
            Another drawback is that some people think it’s alright to touch small people. It’s not, but some think it is. It was always worse when I was pregnant. And when I was in high school there was an incident. I threatened him with six kinds of death and loss of an eye. Okay maybe not that extreme but he never tried to lift me up again.
            I like my size, even with the drawbacks. Goat Boy can give me a piggyback ride without keeling over in pain. That’s nice. And I’ve gotten used to looking tall people right in the belly button and not flinching.