Monday, October 31, 2011

From Harry ...

Searching for the little town that wasn't there (anymore).

Rachael knows I love puzzles (like her real name, address, and phone number) and she tantalizes me with hints. She also drives us all to distraction with pictures of long dead kings, ships, and even train wrecks.

Recently she has posed the question of discovering the location of a town that was wiped from the face of the earth nearly 70 years ago. The aerial photo was accompanied by the hint that it was "Once one of the busiest and most secret places on earth, now returning to the desert."

'Secret' and 'desert'' I immediately thought of the Manhattan Project and the Trinity atomic bomb test site in the area of Los Alamos, New Mexico. I searched long and hard using Google Earth to fly over the land at an altitude of about 6000 feet (where roads are clearly visible along with a host of other details. Just like real search pilots I set up a grid to cover every inch of the arid, desert lands of New Mexico. I also did scans of Nevada and parts of Utah.

Widdershins helped by making a couple of guesses and our pixie helped in return to limit the search area by excluding most of the desert areas of the American West. She also assisted by giving a major hint by way of the photo of that desolate school building, aka Hanford High School.

By Googling the Manhattan Project I discovered that the fuel for the first A-bombs was produced at the Hanford site. The Hanford Nuclear Reservation was established in 1943 and covered 586 square miles. The land was bought under Imminent domain and 1500 people were relocated mostly from the town of Hanford.

By Googling Hanford, Washington I matched the school photo that Rachael posted and learned of the town's short history. Founded in 1907, the residents were given their eviction notices on March 9, 1943 by the US government. "Hi, we're here to help you!"

I finally went back to Google Earth and told it to take me to Hanford. With quiet aplomb the program zoomed down on the desolate landscape that once was a bustling town that "boasted a hotel, bank, and its own elementary and high schools."

I had missed it before because my earlier scans had concentrated on areas that had the same background colors as Rachael's original view. My version of Google Earth has photography that is only a couple of months old. All the colors were different and the abandoned streets are nearly invisible, but when you look closely you can recognize the features.

So there it is. Another mystery solved. Hanford is gone, but not forgotten. Nothing remains but crumbling pavement and the outlines of a few house foundations. The school building is still there and believe it or not, still used from time to time as it is stormed by heavy armed SWAT teams in training. The pixie still personally perplexes me with her puzzles, but I'll keep digging. "I'll get you yet, my fine pretty!"

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Endless

I have an endless amount of things to do. I'm in the middle of re-writes for a key chapter. I’m reworking our outline - again. Two more planned chapters have gone away, folded into another chapter. There isn’t enough documentation to warrant a chapter - which is regrettable because the material is very interesting. I’m reading furiously trying to fact-find for my writing partner. I have a partially written chapter that’s waiting on us to resolve a difference in emphasis. My writing partner wants to include material I don’t see as important. We’re still discussing it, and I continue to add bits in other sections. Also, we have an outline for that chapter’s introduction, but I’ve decided not to write it until the remainder is finished. My rational is this: Additional research changes the picture. What we first planned to write is accurate, but it suffers from lack of perspective. Our vision of events improves each week, sometimes each day.

So ... that’s where I am with that, at least in abbreviated fashion. Oh ... there is one additional thing: One of the subscribers to our invitation-only history blog has a fixed-in-stone view of events between 1870 and 1876. It’s a common view, but it’s not sustainable from the documentation. He is very reluctant to give up a new discredited view. I think this is going to be a problem among our potential readers. Many of them have the same view, and for some few of them their rejection of their former religion rests in at least a small part on maintaining that view. They believe that a man named Russell lied when he said he was never an Adventist. They want him to be a liar. They want him to have been an Adventist (not SDA but Second Adventist) because they see Adventism as disreputable. Russell didn’t lie.

All of this is colored by the really faulty and partisan histories to come out of the Advent and Church of God movements. Church of God writers refer to the Advent Christian Church as their “sister church.” The most recent AC historian makes it seem as if the two churches have been best buddies for generations. Neither assertion is true. In the 1860 and into the late 1870s, they fought like animals, hissing and spitting at each other, expelling from fellowship those who believed as the other group did. Church of God/One Faith believers saw the AC Church as a daughter of Babylon. Recapturing this without over doing it or leaving anything unsubstantiated is a challenge.

So ... last night was surprisingly quiet at work. I saw one brown fairy in the parking lot. I shooed her off. She was probably the smallest fairy I’ve seen and a very fast flyer. The wildlife in this area continues to do strange things. A moose swam the river last night. We have a herbaceous border around the parking lot. He made a dinner out of some of the plants. I also saw a huge flight of bats. Usually if you see a bat at all, it is a loner. Last night a large group flew over us. Someone told me they live in the trees along the river. I don’t know, but that sounds reasonable.

As quiet as it was, by the time I got home I was worn to the bone and I hurt. I put on my pink feeted jammies, made hot chocolate, answered an email, and crawled into bed. Knobby Knees had to leave early, so I only had about an hour of snuggle time. He’s off across the state for two days on a project. After Kknees left, I toddled off to my work room bed. I didn’t want to climb stairs and it was close. I slept until ten thirty. Sleep is nice. I wish I was back in bed now.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Reclaimed by the wilds ...

Once one of the busiest and most secret places on earth, now returning to the desert. Can you identify it?
Nope, it's not Area 51. ... But it is in the American west.
Nope, it's not Los Alamos. Wrong state.
It's not in Arizona, Nevada, Utah, or any of California.
Hint: World War 2

Big Hint: The only original structure remaining at the above site. This was originally a school. Later the Army used the building for construction management offices.

Ground Level View as it is today.


Manhattan Transfer never sang about this place, but there is a connection.

Tracy & Co. (1859-1863)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I'm boring you all, aren't I?

That means one or more of you must write an exciting guest post or find someone else to write one. It's your duty!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

If you look closely ....



... you will see a Pixie in this video. Go to 1:10 and then to 2:47.

Monday, October 24, 2011

History lectures, Book lists, a Fairy

So, here’s the scoop. … I’m feeling better today. I toddled off to lecture a 20th Century Lit class on the social aspects of World War I. Their questions took us off into areas I had not anticipated. It was fun. The class read All Quiet on the Western Front. Understand that I like that book, but I’m a rebel when it comes to reading lists. I’d have sent them off to John Buchan’s Thirty-Nine Steps. But it’s not my class.

Philosophically, I think young students learn as much, maybe more, by reading interesting books than they might from reading books that fall with in the “canon” of 20th Century classics. That some call that sort of reading list “the canon” suggests a hide-bound almost religious attachment to it. Pfutt!

Kitty Foyle (Christopher Morley) is more fun than Great Gatsby, and the writing is better. (This is my blog, and I can write literary heresy if I want!) Morely was able to foreshadow character development far better than Fitzgerald and not leave you bored. It comes down to eyeglasses or a seven year old who forgot her panties to her life long embarrassment. Personally, I think the seven-year-old’s story is more telling than an obscure symbolism involving spectacles.

I’d rather have them read Miss Pinkerton: Adventures of a Nurse Detective, than umm well, you name the modern classic that everyone is supposed to admire but bores you silly. So maybe these are “sub-classics.” (I just invented the term. Like it?) But they’re good books and tell one as much about culture and good writing as any of those that teachers feel compelled to recommend but which bore students silly.

There is a nearly forgotten literary past that we should resurrect.

Anyway, we talked about the social elements and conflicting world views found in Europe and America pre-war. We talked about women on the front lines, especially the Salvation Army volunteers and the nurses. All sorts of ‘stuff” crossed our path. The students hated the gore found in All Quiet. War is brutal. Even in the religious history that I write, it sticks its monstrous head into our line of sight. We describe the Allegheny Arsenal explosion in the new book, and that vision includes the body parts and singed bits of clothing of the young girls who worked there. Its not an attractive picture. But it is part of the story.

We discussed the conflicting social forces in America and the decisions individuals had to make. That the war was used as an excuse for revenge against unpopular religious and political views was also part of your discussion. I did not get the feeling that these were the most deeply thinking students I’d ever met. I did not send them off to Tuchman’s Guns of August, but I regret that. I should have.

So … enough of that …. Now on to fairies.

Do you believe they exist? … Of course you don’t. I didn’t either. But remember the dragon I saw? I wrote about it here, and you were all polite enough not to laugh at me. How kind. … Anyway, I saw a fairy, one of the small ones. It was blue. It flew right by me when I was standing in the parking lot at work. I couldn’t tell if it was male or female, though I’m inclined to believe it was male. It was about six inches long. Its wings were as blue as its body, though nearly transparent. It didn’t look at all like the small fae in one of my not yet published pixie stories. My small fae are essentially human looking with skin tone within what is normal for humans, except for a bit of iridescent scale on the chest. This thing was blue head to toe. Its hair was swept up into a kind of peak; its feet were narrow and out of proportion to its height.

For a minute or so I stepped out of what we think of as reality and into one of those other worlds that exist within our own.

You can comment on this, of course. If you snicker at me, I’ll pout.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Drollerie Press

Pixie Warrior was published by Drollerie Press in 2007. The company is closing due to the owners declining health. Pixie Warrior will go out of print within a few days.

I do not anticipate self-publishing the book. I intend to finish the history book I'm co-writing and abandon writing. Today I submitted my resignation to the school district for which I teach. I do not intend to return to teaching at any level.

I'm considering closing this blog. If there is anything you want from the old Live Journal blog, now is the time to save it.

Sorry for the drama. I've hit rock bottom with health issues piled on top of a bad week at the office and the bad news about Deena. I'll be better next week.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

How to Play

The letter game consists of an exchange of letters based on those I 'send.' Submit your letters via email, using the one attached to this blog. Click on View my Complete Profile. You must stay in character. The year is 1876. Mystery and adventure happens on the shores of Lake Champlain.

Letter 3 in the Letter Game. Letter 4 tomorrow

Letter 3

Cooper’s Bay, New York
29 March 1876

Dear Aunt Jane and Uncle Peter and all my many cousins,

Your favor finally caught up with me, and I was pleased to peruse it. Cousin Andrew can, if he doesn’t mind me saying so, find a better match than Penelope Lynch-Stanton. I am, of course, saying so even if he minds. Penelope simply does not meet his intellectual standard and he will find her company boring in not too many years. I realize there are other attractions, but over the long term they will pale. Surely my opinion will not matter, but that has not (as you can see) stopped me from expressing it.

Our journey to this wilderness was tedious. The principal part of the journey found us in a railroad carriage. From New York City we traveled northward along the Hudson River to Albany. American railroads are no more comfortable than British railroads, and I did not expect them to be. The cars are designed differently, and one is thrown in with a variety of personalities. Some of those with whom we shared our carriage made an interesting study. A small boy maybe five years old kept leaning over the back of the bench in front of us. He studied us as if we were preserved specimens. We do make an unusual trio: Molly with her flaming red hair, Sarita in her native garb, and me. I am uncertain which of us he found the strangest.

The trip up the Hudson brought into our line of vision some entrancing sights. I enjoyed it until the train’s rock and sway took its toll on my posterior. It is impossible to sleep on a train. At least it is for me. Molly managed to sleep peacefully for miles, most of them passing with her head resting either on me or poor Sarita. We crossed the Hudson at Albany and ended our rail journey in Saratoga. Saratoga is a lovely city. I would have been content to stay there. As it was we had a single night in the Grand Union Hotel. I felt as if I were a princess.

Tuesday that week found us on another train that ultimately deposited us in a village some forty miles from Cooper’s Bay. Cooper’s Bay is a post village. Unlike the City, it receives mail only three times a week, and if one wishes to travel there (God alone knows why anyone would) you wait for the Postal Stage. There were just the three of us and our driver and some sort of assistant. The two of them rode up top, and though we were alone in the stagecoach there was sufficient evidence of passengers past. The coach smelled of old sweat, of staleness of an indeterminate origin, and of rotted straw. The contrast with the Grand Union could not have been greater. The Grand Union was immense and spacious, built as its name implies in grand style. We took one of the “family suits” and were very comfortable. The coach was cramped and not meant for human habitation, no matter how brief. The feather beds in the Grand Union were pleasingly soft and vermin free. Nothing in the coach was soft and the vermin was evident.

The road to Cooper’s Landing was once a plank road. Most of the planks rotted to fragments a decade ago or were purloined by locals for building material. It’s rutted and dusty. It must be pure mud during and after a rain. One is surprised by jolts and shaking when the coach finds a stretch of remaining planking. I bit my tongue as a result of one such jostling. It was very painful.

The village itself is very small, consisting of two unpaved streets that run north to south and four cross streets. It boasts of 300 souls, but many of them do not live in the village but on surrounding farms. It is not an unpleasant appearing village, though one cannot say with any sort of honesty that all of its citizens are pleasant either in appearance or comportment. We are on the west shore of Lake Champlain. Across the bay from us is a saw mill that employs many of Cooper’s Landing’s males. The slightly sulphurous scent of newly sawn wood drifts our way. It is not an unpleasant smell. Most of this area is of a gentle slope ending at the lake shore. The house father has leased is south of town by perhaps a mile and up hill. We live on the one promontory and find ourselves in the last house save one. The road ends in a carriage turnaround. Across from us is a lovely newly built brick home. Behind it is the old one it replaces which I am told was built sometime before the American Rebellion. It seems vacant now.

Much care has been bestowed on our neighbour’s house. It is of two stories and painted a pale yellow. A brick wall of herringbone pattern fronts the house. There are well kept flower beds just starting to bloom in this cold lake air. An older couple live there. Molly, who is ever forward even when uninvited, made their acquaintance the first day. She did so by the expedient of walking across the road and introducing herself. They are caretakers of a small child. The child is odd. I shall probably tell you more of her in my next letter.

Being on a hill, our front door does not exit onto the same level as the road. One must climb five steps to reach road level. The steps are of well worn granite. I’m certain it is my imagination, but they look as if they are the ancient relics of eons past. They are simply out of place here.

I received yesterday a letter from Cousin Thomas to whom you sent a copy of my letter. I do hope you are not match making again. I am sixteen to be sure, but I haven’t been properly presented yet and I certainly will not be ready to take any man seriously until I have settled in my own mind what my future should be. I will, however, write to Thomas tomorrow. I do remember him and I remember his mother, Aunt Rebecca Katherine. He wrote at some length about the party where Dodgson was quest of honor. I do not remember that man, famous for his books though he may be, with much fondness. He seemed to be a queer one with his eyes too much on the younger of us girls. Do you still correspond with him?

Abundant love to you all,

Victoria Sophia

Letter 2 in the Letter Game - Harry's Voice

Eagle’s Bluff on the James
Tuesday, March 28, 1876

Miss Victoria,

It was a delight to read your letter, although it took the long road to reach me here in Virginia. Our dear Aunt Jane thought kindly of her American kin and had your letter copied and sent to her cousin, my mother. It is so quite amazing that it only took the better part of a month for your words to travel to London and thence back to America. Usually the March gales have an onerous effect to the ships traveling the Atlantic at this time of year, but the schooner Justine, out of Plymouth, made good time in it’s crossing to Norfolk. It took nearly as long, six days, for the mail coach to come from Norfolk to Petersburg before the latest papers and dispatches reached us.

Dear lady, where are my manners? I realize that I have been sitting here, pen in hand, rambling on about mundane things, and I have yet to introduce myself to you. I am your cousin Thomas Fitzhugh. My mother Rebecca is cousin to Lady Ann. You and I had met several years ago, although I doubt I made any impression on you. It was on the occasion of a garden party for the Reverend Charles Dodgson, a gentleman with whom I was unfamiliar. The grounds of the estate had been gaily decorated with large playing cards, red and white roses, and a large open area had been set-aside for Croquet. There were birds called flamingos in the fountain, and a large white rabbit wandering freely about the garden. Someone had tied a large red velvet bow tie around the animal’s neck, which made him quite a ridiculous sight. There was a young maiden with curls following the rabbit around, trying to induce him with a carrot to be still so she could pet him. That my dear cousin, as I am sure you will remember, was you.

Your father had made a business visit to London from India and brought a rather precocious ten-year old with him. I had recently arrived in London. With the help of Uncle Peter I had enrolled in the Royal Polytechnic Institution with the hopes of studying the physical sciences. I was particularly interested in the workings of electricity and wished to learn all I could about its properties and applications.
I admit I was somewhat uncomfortable in the company of so many finely dressed ladies and gentlemen. You, my dear cousin, were not. You blithely ran in and out of small groups in conversation, chasing that white rabbit and receiving laughter from all except for a small Indian woman in a sari who vainly attempted to gather you up and keep you from making a disastrous mess of your dress and petticoats.

Thinking of all that now has brought me out of my darkness for awhile and I hope when you get this letter, you will write back and tell me more about your adventures in your new home in New York. Please do not be so hard on us Americans, northern or southern. We may seem crude to your sensibilities, but there are many kind-hearted people in this growing country. Hopefully as you spend more time here, you will find that you will enjoy it.

Respectfully your servant,
Thomas

Taking Pictures

Repost (Because I like it) of Pixie and Satyrs



Centennial Ticket



Widdershins wants a translation ....


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Just because


Dyma gariad fel y moroedd,


Tosturiaethau fel y lli:


Twysog Bywyd pur yn marw—Marw i brynu’n bywyd ni.


Pwy all beidio â chofio amdano?


Pwy all beidio â thraethu’I glod?


Dyma gariad nad â’n angof


Tra fo nefoedd wen yn bod.

Ar Galfaria yr ymrwygodd


Holl ffynhonnau’r dyfnder mawr;


Torrodd holl argaeau’r nefoedd


Oedd yn gyfain hyd yn awr:


Gras â chariad megis dilyw


Yn ymdywallt ymâ ’nghyd,


A chyfiawnder pur â heddwch


Yn cusanu euog fyd.

Childhood reading ...



While I'm waiting for you to write your letters for the letter game, I'm going to ramble about my current research. A man named Charles is probably the most prominent of those we consider in our work in progress. He was an organizer and a promoter of religious views that he held dear. Absolutely none of them were unique to him, which is as it should be. If one seeks the original apostolic 'truth,' then one follows old trails. One does not forge new ones.

Of all the writers that influenced his thinking, the most neglected group is those authors he read as a child. We cannot point to many of these by name. We can consider the young adult genre as it existed in the 1860s and 1870s. We've found surprising things.

All of this is preliminary to my question of the day: How profoundly were you affected by your childhood reading?

On first though, I'd have said that I wasn't greatly affected by what I read as a child, but that’s not true. I lived in Oz for weeks, sometimes months, depending on how much I liked the book I was reading. I still live in ‘other lands’ much of the time. The Oz books taught me how to create other worlds and other places and to see what isn’t there. The summer between fifth and sixth grade I read a history book published in 1927. I found it among my grandmother’s books. That book taught me critical thinking, and I learned reading comprehension from it. I read and reread paragraphs from that book until I learned how to remember exactly what I read.

So … how about you? How did your childhood reading affect you.

Monday, October 17, 2011

First Letter - March 2, 1876

The letter game begins. Read the letter below. Assume a persona. Write to me. Send your replies to me via email, using the one attched to this blog. The adventure begins ...

New York City
2 March 1876

Dear Aunt Jane and Uncle Peter and all my many cousins,

I miss you all intensely. Sarita has been an endless comfort, and Molly has been too in her own way. Molly has been with us for so many years that she sometimes forgets that she is our maid and considers herself part of our family though in what way shifts according to her mood. She is, in fact, a year younger than I am, but occasionally sees herself as my mother. Without fail Sarita puts her in her place and equally without fail Molly will forget it all within minutes. Sarita is the only mother I’ve known having been my ayah since mother died. I have no memory of mother, only two photographs taken in Calcutta, one on her wedding day and one when Governor General, the Marquise Dalhousie, visited our home right after the Sepoys mutinied. Alas, an eighteen month old infant retains few or no memories, though I like to imagine that I remember her face. So as I said, Sarita has stood in my mother’s stead and holds a place of great affection in my heart which she guards jealously against any motherly incursions from Molly.

We were all suitably relieved when New York City came into view. The trans-Atlantic crossing was far less agreeable than the much longer transit from India to London. The seas played havoc with our dispositions, and a feeling of well-being eluded us all, except for papa who seems immune to rough seas, coal smoke, and the rough talk of sailors.

We entered the City through Castle Garden, an old fort converted to receive immigrants and visitors to this wild land. Perhaps some day civilization will come to America, but judging by the ill tempered immigration officer, it may happen in another century. This year is the centenary year of the Republic, but a hundred years have not taken the savage frontier out of its residents, if one can judge by the squat, rotund, unwashed immigration official who processed us through Castle Garden. In fairness, I should say that that our stay at the Ashland House was delightful. The staff would have done credit to any of the finer hotels in London, even the Irish bellboy who took charge of our trunks was acceptable. At the very least he was not outrageously Irish, meaning he was sober and washed.

Papa was very busy our first week in the city, and we were left to our own devices. We hired a cab for the day and toured the more suitable parts of the city. The Cooper Institute is an agreeable enough building, though I am told it is unbearably hot and poorly ventilated in the summer. We lunched at a small café near a very narrow church with an exceptionally tall spire. Though I know Uncle Peter would like to know its name, I am at a loss to recall it. A rather disagreeable man with a full black beard debated a religious point with his companion at the next table. That he was earnest I have no doubt. That he was polite is in serious doubt. He was not, I should think, anything at all like what an American gentleman should be, but for that he is a more common type in the City. His companion did not share either his fervor or his loud voice. That at least was a relief.

Father spent most of our first week in conference with our Consul-General in New York, Edward Mortimer Archibald. He is Canadian born. He has a high and rounded head, bald as little Peter’s bum, except for wisps of cross-combed hair. He is a well-spoken man. Personally, I think he’s a bit stuffy, but most of father’s acquaintances and peers are.

I should prefer to stay in the city, but father says we leave for Lake Champlain two days hence. I am not enamored of the idea. Why we are to be left in some desolate village on the shores of a coldwater lake while father enjoys the larger American cities is beyond me. We leave for the wilderness. (All of America outside the larger eastern cities is the habitation of frontiersmen and savages and rustics.) Father leaves for Washington in the District of Columbia. I should rather go with him. But it is not to be so. I tried pouting which usually works with father. The technique failed this time. “You’ll be safe where I put you,” he said. No amount of quizzing explained why I should be safer in the wilderness than I would be with him. All I got for my efforts was a frown and a quelling, firm voice. There is no crossing father when he has that mood on.

In compensation he has promised to take us to Philadelphia when the great fair opens. I am anxious to see the fair. I am sending this at Molly’s hand. I think it is safe to trust her with this letter from our rooms to the front desk. Mail is picked up and delivered twice a day in this city. I pray this letter does not go astray.

Share this letter with all my friends and relations. It will save me writing dozens of letters when one will do. I wish I was in London, in your sitting room, having tea and cakes and watching Percival Cudworth pretend to be a butler. He really is a dear old man. What will you ever do when the aged major domo dies?

Victoria Sophia

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The pervert from Citrex Hosting ...







... only comes here for the goat pictures. Dan, you're fat; consider Weight Watchers and a personality transplant.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The trials and tribulations of Pixiehood

Dangerous Eyebrows


So, my rebellious computer is back up and running. I never upgraded to windows 7, so we loaded the old vista disk. Fun, huh? Windows update winked its saucy eye at me and said, "Oh, by the way, you have almost 120 updates." So I've been updating all day. I tried doing that as a unit. Failed! Well not quite. Slightly over half updated on the first pass. The Service Packs had to be downloaded separately. Then I loaded the rest in groups of ten.

While I'm suffering through that (almost finished as I type), I'm stuck with IE7 which was defective on the day it was released. I can't download a better browser until all the updates are completed. I've stuck out my little pink tongue and made rude faces at the computer screen. I muttered one full blown curse and sixteen mere imprecations. Since my computer survived that, and assuming that Microsoft's home office didn't implode from the curse, we're nearing the end! Maybe ...

While the computer has been dating someone named Fritz (do I have to explain this pun?), I've made two trips up to my aunt and uncle's house. My poor uncle suffers. He's in a lot of pain and complains of old age. He's lost a lot of hair this past year. He blames the gray hair on his first daughter and the loss on his youngest. I'm sure that isn't so. We'll it's probably not so. Okay so maybe it might be partially truthful.

The loss of his hair has been compensated for by the growth of really bushy eyebrows. You could probably make a really durable watch spring from some of his eyebrow hair. (You reading this, Uncle B?) So ... the first trip up there we sat in their living room sipping coffee and taling nonsense. Uncle B kept rubbing his right eye, and I could see it was red and mattery.

"What's wrong with your eye?" I ask.

"It feels like an eyelash," he says, explaining that Aunty has looked and can't find anything. He's looked. Nothing.

I volunteer to look. Of course if I look my two youngest have to look too, right? Other than the redness and a bit of mattery material, I can't see anything.

"He should just stop rubbing his eye," Aunty says.

So he blinks. And guess what. There is this curled up eyelash, a long spring coiled hair, that uncoils and jabs at the corner of his eye. I have found the culperate. At least I think so. I trim his eyebrows, declining daugther five's offer to do it. I think most mothers know that children and sissors don't mix. It's not for nothing that some mother, probably the day after sissors were invented, said, "You'll put someone's eye out!"

So eyebrows are tamed and he breaths a sigh of releaf. I am pleased with myself - probably too pleased. I mean it's not as if a good old-man eyebrow trim gave me a medical degree, though I admit to feeling as if it did for at least 30 seconds.

Later, Uncle B takes a nap. He sleeps for about an hour while Aunty and I "do stuff." After awakening, he stumbles out into the kitchen. His eye is red still or again. "I still feel as if hair were getting in my eye."

Now you have to see him in this state. His hair is wispy on top and stands up in odd solar-flare like angles. I put on my Sherlock Holmes hat. (Forget the pipe. Smoking is nasty.) He sits on a kitchen stool and I peruse. I smooth his hair.

"New barber?" I ask.

A friend from their church cut it. Uncle B invariably says, "No comb-over." It's his standing rule with barbers. Friend P ignored the rule and left this longish clump of comb over material right in front. I sweep it down the front of his face. Behold! It goes straight into his eyes. More sissor work (call it hair surgery!) and the mystery of the sore eye is solved!

The memory of a 17 year old ...

Well, here I am on my newly repaired computer. It works as it should. The fixer person made a password protected administrator account, and he made sure my oldest could remember it. This is good, right? The man has no children of his own. Of course this is not good. ...

I can't load any programs because the password my daugther remembered does not work ... Dear LORD! You didn't expect her to remember it without writing it down, did you? So ... I emailed him for the password. Hopefully, he'll get back to me today so I can load all my nifty programs back on this thing.

The Ludites were right! where is my hammer?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Still broken ...

My computer is still in the shop, waiting its turn for a fix of tech attention. ... Also I've been driving back and forth to help out my aunt. Old guys can be peculiar. When I'm back on my own computer I will tell you the furry eyebrow story. Be patient. I am. I'm doing quite well, surprisingly.

I've read more books than usual, filed papers, and worked on next year's lesson plans. (We're changing one of my classes both in content and format). I've even watched a few movies, something I almost never do.

We hardly had a summer. I mean I never burned my feet on the sidewalk or sweat so much that I wilted. And now fall is here, and for the last two days Autumn has been more like winter. Someone pay God his rent and evict the planetary monsters so God will return the weather to normal - please,

I have accumulated a short list of under achievers. One boy and one girl in my middle school critical reading class do not belong in it. The girl has no attention span, and the boy is disinterested. The boy's parents refused to buy him the book. "I can't be bothered running all over creation to find a book!" or so said his parent. Nice, huh?

I admire parents, probably because I am one. But not all parents are admirable. This kid's parents are poisonous.

I also have one troubled student. He's bright, but has a learning disability that he tries to hide. I understand his feelings. My oldest who will be Valedictorian if she keeps up her grades until graduation, has a complex of learning disabilities that she keeps well hidden. So I sympathize. He cannot write in complete sentences. He finishes them in his head and moves on. If i prompt him to tell his story orally, he does well. Also, he confuses phonetically similar words. Constitution may make it to the page as constituent. I've never confronted quite this set of problems. The program administrator and I will have a conference early next week.

All in all, my students are spectacular, if you account for pubescent hormones. I discovered that three of my upper-grades writing students can sing. ... I mean really sing! I was using musical notes and rests to illustrate how punctuation and words interact. The things you learn about your students ... They sang to our class. Nice. Anyway ... I'll be back in a few days.

Patience is a virtue, or so I'm told.
If you lack it, you might be inclined to scold.

Don't do it. I'll give your Oreos to someone else if you do.
Or maybe send you off to the zoo.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Not at all ready for this ...

Well ... here I am on my kid's icky lap top. ... I hate lap tops. ... Just so you know.

My oldest daughter received a letter from one of the state universities today. She graduates this year, and they're recruiting her. This is flattering, but I'm going to discourage this one. There are two junior colleges and four universities within driving distance of our house. I can't see sending her clear across the stste when we don't have to do that.

I'm endessly proud of her. I'm also aware of her personality. She needs to attend near home. Accademic brilliance and a pleasing personality do not always produce the full measure of good judgment.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Moms computer

mom's computer is broke. she said i could write this t o you. Annie

Update: The Pixie is back. The fix was simple and quick but we spent the weekend up at my aunt and uncles, and I more or less ignored the computer while we were there.

Computer is back in the shop for a hardrive transplant. Harry, if you see the gang at morris and bonifacio, tell them what's going on. 'Specially Lindi, she worries.