A reunion with an old friend

It was Christmas of 1983. I was in the seventh grade and I was 12 years old. I was into typical things for a girl of that age back then, but specifically…unicorns. My parents gave me this book as a gift that year. I doubt they even remember it. I look at the cover and think that the reason they bought it for me had very little to do with the story as it did the fact that it was a book (my favorite pastime back then) and it had a unicorn on it (which was something I collected back then) so win and win. Great gift. Little did they know the impact this book would have on me.

This was the first book that I remember reading that challenged my thinking. It taught me things and at the same time, it made me do some research on my own…which was harder in 1983 than it is now. I actually had to use a dictionary and an encyclopedia! The story was good but there were words and topics that I did not fully understand. I liked the story enough that I was compelled to look stuff up. This was a first for me.

I had loved reading ever since I can remember, but this book was my first “adult” novel. I think that had my parents read the last few pages that they would not have given it to me, so parents…I advise you to NOT buy this book for your 12 year old daughters…unless you want to rip out pages 319 – 321. This is the first book that when it ended, my heart felt broken. Both because of the ending of the story and because I did not want to be done with the book. I’d found friends in the pages of the book. I’d grown attached to them.

Over time, that book was the only thing I kept from my childhood. I read it 2 or 3 times a year until my husband and I moved into the house we live in now. We have been here 11 years. So, I guess I had read that book between 24 and 36 times over a 12 year period…each time I understood more and more about the characters and the story…and about what went on from page 319 – 321. The book was my comfort food, my nicotene, my blankey, my safe place…it was home. It was the one constant when nothing else seemed to be. My friend.

You may wonder why I stopped reading it. Had I grown up? Was it now boring? Yes I had grown up…unfortunately after having moved so many times and having been read and loved more than any book on the planet…she fell apart. It started with the cover, then slowly the pages began falling apart and finally she disappeared. I don’t remember throwing her away, she just wasn’t where she was supposed to be any longer. When I first realized it a few years ago, I was very saddened but figured I could locate her at a library or a local book store…boy was I wrong. Nothing turned up at the used book stores locally either. Even if I had found it, I could not have bought it. She was a gift to me, and it would be weird to buy the book for myself.

I found an electronic version on line, but it wasn’t the same. The cover illustration was different and the feel would be wrong if I downloaded and printed it at home. After a little searching I found some used copies on line…so I hinted around to my parents and my husband for a few years. Birthdays, Valentines Day, Christmas, Anniversary…

Well, this Christmas, my husband gave me the best gift ever…diamonds could not even come close. He purchased a copy that – though the page edges are yellow, has never been read (or at least the binding never broken) and is signed by the cover artist. Though it is signed “To Stuart…” still, a collectible for me. He also purchased another copy, in decent condition so that I can read…over and over until she too falls apart…

For those who know me, and are placing bets…yes, I cried. I am rather weepy now…good tears. Being reunited with a friend…what a great gift…I have been through cover to cover and my Breanna (16 years old is okay, 12 not so much) has gotten to know my friend and likes her quite a bit – except pages 319-321…

So Dave, honey, these words really can not do justice to how much this has meant to me.

Thanks honey, I love you very much.

(And hey, Steven R. Boyett…if you’re out there…thanks to you as well.)

A Floppy Morning

So, I was going to take a break from blogging for the holidays but had to share this.

I dropped Paige at school today and there was this little dog running all over the parking lot. It was actually running alongside a pick up truck as it was trying to park. Paige said it had been at the school yesterday as well. As I got out to help Paige with her things I noticed that it would run up to every open car door trying to get in. So after I got Paige into her school I tried calling the dog over to see if I could read it’s tags…it had many. It would not come to me. So I go to my truck and open the door and it hopped in! Not really a surprise when you note it’s previous behavior. A gentleman came out of the school whistling for the dog…appparently he saw the chaos it was creating and so I told him it hopped in my truck and that I’d take it to the shelter. Well, both shelters were closed on the way to work.This dog was too funny and a cute little thing. The whole drive to Breanna’s school it rode on her lap with it’s face pressed to the windshield as if it wanted to see where we were going. I dropped Breanna off and the dog remained in her seat and was very vigil during our drive.

When I pulled into the parking lot at church, it got all excited. As soon as I opened the door it darted out and ran around a bit….UGH! It would not come to me. I don’t know it’s name. I noticed that it kept heading for the doors so I jiggled my keys and it followed me to the door and walked right in when I unlocked it. I called the vet on the tags who gave me the owners information and the dogs name. She is called Floppy. They did not answer, so I left a message with my cell # and told them she would be at the Humane Society. I called the Humane Society to send someone out and began making signs to put on the closed doors to the common areas of the church offices to let them know that Floppy was here and to knock so that I could grab hold of her because as soon as I started using her name, she began barking at people who came in through this entrance. Apparently having formal knowledge of who she is granted me protection rights in doggy code. So, I tell you all of that to tell you this….

As I am writing the signs, one of the doors opens and Floppy starts going nuts barking. At who? You might ask. Well Mark Beeson and his son Aaron of course! Who else? I am just trying to help a creature out and what does she do – tries to make me look bad in front of the man who founded and leads Granger Community Church. Way to go Floppy! Thanks for protecting me. I apologized profusely…I truly am sorry.

(side note, Floppy’s owner called before the Humane Society got here so I called them off and she came to pick her up…”and they all lived happily ever after” )

‘Twas 2 weeks (or less) before Christmas

…and all through the house, all the creatures are stirring and even the new mouse. The stockings aren’t hung, the chimney is bare, poor Saint Nicholas wont understand when he gets here.

Basically, this Christmas season I decided that, I am not going to stress about Christmas shopping, and wrapping and getting the perfect gift for each person on my list. I am having way too much fun being involved in events where I am giving my time and energy and love.

I am heading up the Adopt-A-GCC-Family program at our church and though it at times can be a very emotional and challenging program…I feel like I have front row seats to a show called “Miracle…LIVE”.

I spent nine hours with a friend and several more with my family baking cookies and creating chocolate covered fruits – as a gift for a group of friends.

Our family spent a Saturday morning helping unload a semi (one of seven) of food onto another truck and then helping deliver that food door to door to a community that needed it.

It has been an honor and a pleasure to be a part of the giving…what a great gift for me.

In case I don’t have another chance to say this to each of you:

Merry Christmas!

An Inconvenient Truth

This is a longer post so if you aren’t brave enough or dont have the time – here is my main point: Go get a copy of this movie – purchase, rent, or borrow it from your library but you need to see it!

I am going to share something that may surprise you: I never knew what exactly Global Warming is – until today. Now, I am worried. Of all places to be educated…the Oprah Winfrey show. Of all the people who I could have learned this from, who taught me? Al Gore.

I knew he had been doing “something” about the environment, but I chose to ignore what it was. Today, somehow my attention was captured by the above picture of the Earth. The show that followed had me sitting wide eyed staring at the TV thinking, oh my goodness. This is real. This not only COULD happen, this IS GOING to happen in MY lifetime. OUR TIMEFRAME to be able to contain and reverse this process is said to be 10 years. 10 years. Think about how quickly your child went from birth to age 10. That went pretty quickly for me. It may as well be tomorrow. Think about it.

That picture made it real for me.

It is a computer generated rendering of what will happen to Florida in 45 years if we dont stop this. I can see the area that I used to call home, Tampa, and it is under water. This picture is nothing compared to Singapore, San Diego, and Manhattan. There will be hundreds of millions of people that will be displaced because of the rising sea level. There is already a village in Alaska where homes have been lost to the sea or have had to be relocated because of the rising sea level. The cost to relocate the entire village is estimated to be $100 million.

Global warming is caused by an excess of CO2 emissions. The sun heats the earth and the earth emits infrared rays and some are naturally trapped by the earth’s atmosphere. CO2 emissions are causing a thickening of the atmosphere therefore trapping more of the infrared and creating Global Warming. The photographic and scientific proof presented to me and anyone that watched Oprah today was astounding. Once you watch it, you can’t ignore it. You WANT to do something, thankfully they gave us 5 things every household can do to decrease their CO2 emissions.

  • use compact flourecscent lightbulbs and/or use outdoor solar lighting- the result of doing this alone is staggering
  • switch to a programmable thermostat that reduces your energy use while you are not home
  • change your air/furnace filters regularly
  • wrap your water heater in a specially designed water heater blanket
  • purchase energy star appliances

You can also balance your CO2 emissions with the planting of trees. If you plant 4 trees per month it balances the emissions that you produce. You can go to americanforest.org and purchase trees to be planted. For every dollar you spend a tree is planted. There is a $15.oo minimum donation.

I plan on still being alive in 45 years. Not only do I NOT want to see this. I don’t want this to be the legacy left behind by my generation for my children and grandchildren.

Educate yourselves. Do something now:

An Inconvenient Truth

Al Gore’s documentary, directed by Davis Guggenheim, is now available on DVD.www.climatecrisis.net. (I have checked and it is available at our local libraries)
Proceeds from the purchase of the book or DVD – 100% go into supporting a non-partisan organization that continues education of global warming.
Earth 911
Earth 911 seeks to empower the public with community-specific resources to improve their quality of life. Find information about recycling your Christmas tree, too.www.earth911.com
Sierra ClubSierra Club is the largest and oldest non-profit environmental organization working to protect the planet.www.sierraclub.org
Stop Global Warming Virtual March
The Stop Global Warming Virtual March is a non-political effort bringing Americans together to declare that global warming is here now and it’s time to act.www.stopglobalwarming.org
Paporganics creates stationery and gift wrap made from organic cotton, hemp and recycled fibers.www.paporganics.com
Tree Hugger
Tree Hugger is a Web magazine with tips and advice on living a sustainable lifestyle, and seeking environmental solutions and initiatives.www.treehugger.com
American Forests
American Forests is an organization dedicated to protecting and restoring trees and forests. A minimum donation is $15. Every dollar you donate plants one tree.www.americanforests.org