Sunday, April 14, 2013

20 Twenty-Nineth Beginning (Nanowrimo 2007) Organizing Aunt Sheila

[Welcome to the middle of a long conversation between and Aunt and the Niece she has never met and who has been sent by the family to "help orgainize." Do not read any part of this as if it were a completed story or you will be disappointed. In 2007, my strategy for Nanowrimo was to call my efforts 'literary' use that as an excuse to dump ideas and references that had been collecting in my mind and desk and files for years. I skipped linear progression.]

[I also skipped quotation marks and dialog tags. They may or may not go back. I kind of like the ambiguity.]

[Barbara has collected stacks of notes and is reading from them as she and her Aunt Sheila sit on a log in a meadow an undetermined distance away from nearby houses. The point of their exercise is to enter things into a database and throw the pieces of paper away.]

This looks like a family newsletter.  Will I meet these people?

Thanksgiving 2006

Left Stockton about 7 on Saturday – finished a write-in from 3 to 6 before we left.  Took X home, then drove for about and hour before we stopped for dinner.  Mom drove after that.  I typed into the laptop.  We stopped once at a rest stop and pretty much drove until after midnight.  We got as far as Magic Mountain and stayed in a Best Western.

The next morning we went the rest of the way to Aunt E and Uncle H’s.  We got there about noon.  We had good soup and braised short ribs and got taken out to Chinese for lunch the next day.  We got to see the pictures from E and H’s trip to Australia.  Uncle H’s knees are getting better, but it’s slow going.

Mom and I shared a room with roll under each other twin beds.  It’s been awhile since either of us had to stay balanced on a twin.  I sure missed my queen.  Mom says she was more used to staying on her own side and didn’t have as much trouble.

On Sunday night, St and K came by with B and T.  We caught up with them and with how D is doing.  B and T stayed, but St and K went on to Nevada.  J came and we caught up with her.  She’s still working for the courts and she has a boyfriend living in Palm Springs.

I did more typing.  3 called to say that the local newspaper columnist was trying to get ahold of me for an interview for Nanowrimo.  So I called him.  We coordinated with S2 for Disneyland on Tuesday.

Tuesday Aunt E brought out the videos of doggy dancing.  They were cute.  Well, Halo was cute.  We couldn’t find Heaven on the tape before we had to leave.  We also got to see the hat that she made out of couch springs for a church comedy fashion show.  It went with the ‘spring jacket’ she made, with all kinds of springs attached.  She went to Goodwill to get a jacket, because she didn’t want to ruin one of her own.  Then she decided that she liked the new one and took the springs off of it ASAP and kept it.

Aunt E is teaching more dog training classes and she’s showing both Halo and Heaven in agility trials as well as doing dog dancing routines with both of them.  The training classes are through Lomita Park, which has recently starting handling all of the paperwork and money. The dog dances are filmed on video and sent in for judging. 

Uncle H took us all out to lunch while Aunt E was teaching her class and afterwards he took us for a ride around the area to let us see what had changed.  Quite a bit had.  I remember when the Palo Del Amo shopping center grew out over the street to connect to the Palo Del Amo Woods.  Now there’s also a parking structure that spans the same street.  We didn’t go inside, only drove through.

On Tuesday we headed to Disneyland to meet S1 et al.  C, her son, M1 and her two grandchildren were already there when we finally got through the gate at eleven with M2 and S1 and their girls.  But they hadn’t been there long and there were characters posing for pictures and giving autographs in the square.  We called M’s cell phone and while it was ringing, Mom spotted him. 

C knew to go get fast passes for the rides with long lines: Space Mountain first, then Indiana Jones.  You can only get the fast passes every hour or so, you can’t just book from ride to ride collecting them.  Let’s see if I can remember where we went.

N and M3 went on the Casey Jr. Train together and then on the Dumbo ride with M1.  S2 and C and the rest of the kids went on the Mad Teacups.  Mom and I hit the carousel while the others went on another ride.

We went on Thunder Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Nightmare Before Christmas (formerly the Haunted Mansion – I kind of miss the spooky), the Tiki Room, Indiana Jones, Star Tours, and Space Mountain.  The kids went on Space Mountain multiple times. 

It’s a Small World had changed for the holidays.  Not only was it decorated outside, there was a substitution to the clock outside.  In place of the normal parade of figures at the hour, there was a light show against the whole fa├žade to the tune of part of the Nutcracker Suite.  And the inside had been totally Christmassed up.  Even the singing had been changed.  Instead of the mesmerizing theme tune playing continuously, it played interspersed with Christmas Carols.  The carol was Jingle Bells most of the way through, but there were a couple of others near the end.

We were in the Jungle Cruise when the fireworks went off.  It was interesting to be doing that ride in the dark with mysterious booms going off in the distance.  We were in the last boat of the night and got out just in time to see the finale for the fireworks.  I’ve never seen a single set of shots go on for so long. 

C staked out a parade location for us.  When most of us came to join her, the girls wanted to get some food.  They were given some money and sent to hurry.  They came back with three chicken dinners that they shared with everyone, so that we all benefited.  We really appreciated it. 

R was worried that Mom and I would be tired out and C was warned to make sure that we left when we had to, but we closed down the park.  We followed C home, which was easier to do after one in the morning, because there were fewer cars on the freeway to get in our way.  We could have done without the fog, though.

R’s house is huge and C keeps it looking really nice.  J (now K2) and her husband, J, are here and S1, and her husband and girls are going to come in later today.  S2, M2, and their crew will be staying at Disneyland one more day.  They’ve been to R’s, but stayed overnight at the Disney Hotel last night.  It should be interesting.

N is playing football and being scouted by different colleges.  While we were there he got letters from coaches from Washington State, Oregon State, Arizona State, Wake Forest, Boston College, Colorado University, Boise State, and Wheaton College.  He plays defensive tackle.  He’s going to have a big game on Friday.  We’ve decided to stay for it.  S2 and M2 had to leave too soon to stay for it.  The rest of us will be there.  It’s a playoff game.  If they win, they have one more game and if not, it’s the end of the season.  For some of the seniors, it may be the last football game they ever play.  Randy is the president of the booster club.

There’s a Yorkshire Terrier named Daisy visiting.  She came with K2.  R has a  bulldog named Sophia and a white West Highland Terrier named Macy.  The bulldog is short and wide.

There are commercial flower growers in the area, so R brought a load of flowers for the house.  He picked up some nice fall colors, mostly mums and gladiolas, but including some decorative pine and what looks like stalks with miniature pumpkins hanging from them.  He also took advantage of the fact that the fishermen sell their catches to buy five kilos of fresh shrimp.  That’s fresh as in caught yesterday.  K2 got to make the flower arrangements and got to peel and devein a third of the shrimp.  C and I set up an assembly line for the rest of them.  I peeled and she deveined. 

S1 and husband called on their way from the airport and got our order for In and Out burgers for everyone.  That was a treat.  Later he and R made grilled sandwiches for everyone for dinner.  They were good cheese and meat sandwiches, either ham or roast beef.  R prewarmed the meat before grilling to ensure that the meat would be hot without risking burning the bread.

S2 and husband and girls stayed at a hotel.  S2 and M2 and their girls came in late from their second day at Disneyland.   S2 had thought that the kids would be up early and ready to go, but they were tired and wanted to sleep in.  Mom and I were in bed before they came in.

Mom’s new cell phone number is redacted.  I called E2 to check up on things.  His girlfriend is evidently having dental problems.  They had to deal with it as an emergency and she’s now taking vicodin and antibiotics. 

K2 made oatmeal for everyone for breakfast.  She said it was R’s orders.  R and N went to the gym to work out. 

Mom and I are catching up with S2.  She’s teaching a class in basic nutrition at a Junior College as part of their nursing program.  She’s developed a flow chart for teaching digestion and she’s going to send me a copy.  You can tell that she’s really interested in finding ways to get the information across.  She was talking about the ways that she slanted the material towards nursing to raise student interest in the class.

Oh, R just showed me a Notre Dame fan site that has a recruitment section.  N’s thread can be found there.  They have pictures and a bunch of site members discussing his stats and moves.  There are pictures, if you’re interested.

Well, we’re back from the game and R still has a little voice left.  He says this is the happiest he’s ever been in his life.  The newspapers weren’t expecting N's team to win, but the Titans put it away.  We all went, dressed in Titan shirts and hats.  S2 called from Arizona to see how it was going (they had started driving home earlier). 

The Titans had it all their way the first half, ending the half at 21 to 0.  Then the Falcons came back stoked and with 2:20 left in the game, they had it tied up at 21 to 21.  That Titans rallied, though, and after much give and take, the game ended at 27 to 21.  In the first quarter N blocked a kick that left the team set up to drive for a touchdown.

After the game N and one of the other big defense guys were interviewed by a local sports show.  S2 and spouce stayed to see it broadcast, before going back to their hotel, but it wasn’t shown.  They’ll leave tomorrow for the airport without coming back.  N went out with the guys to celebrate.  I’ll bring back a copy of the program from the game.

We’ve made a dent in the leftovers.  The ham and the pumpkin pie have been finished off.  So has the dark meat.  There’s still plenty of green bean casserole, white meat, and stuffing.  There’s probably some jello salad left, too.  The big one, anyway.  There were two or three of them, and only the big one is left. 

R’s house is 'da bomb' and Christine has obviously put thought into decorating.  Didn’t get a chance to use the hot tub, though.  Didn’t think of bringing a bathing suit. Next time I’ll know.  The last night there, Macy slept with me.  She’s a quiet sleeper, staying right at the foot of the bed and not moving until morning. 

Traveled back to Harbor City Saturday morning and caught Aunt E and Uncle H up with the rest of the relatives’ news.  Ate more Thanksgiving leftovers in a different location.  Heard about how their Thanksgiving went.  Did a little writing.  Took a walk before bed with Mom and Aunt E and Heaven.  Blood numbers were good even though there had been pie for lunch.  (S2 had recommended walking or other exercise before bed to get Mom’s morning numbers down.) Left to head back to Stockton on Sunday morning, about nine. 

Construction here and there on the 405.  It’s the route that I took to work, back when I worked at GMAD Van Nuys.  Man, I don’t remember the air in the valley being this brown.  Although when I was little they had that commercial with the grandfather telling the grandchildren “once upon a time there was air that you couldn’t see.”

The first set of mountains didn’t contain it all.  The second set didn’t either.  Ether that or Bakersfield had it’s own smog base.  Maybe it’s not so much brown as grey.  Maybe they’ve got a low overcast going.  Looks brown to me, though. 

Mom is happy because there was no line in the rest area.  K had passed the word that they’d had lines when they were traveling over the holidays.  Mom’s got a cough going and coughing and lines at the rest area don’t go together well.  Traffic on 5 around Bakersfield wasn’t too bad, either. 

We called E2 around Bakersfield and let him know we were on the way.  Turns out that he was sick Friday night and Saturday morning.  His girlfriend had to go to Saturday night’s Golden Rivers Medieval Feast without him.  She hasn’t had her tooth fixed, yet, although they have stabilized her drugs, so that she has some relief and not too many side effects.

By the time we got to Avenal, the air was looking more grey than brown.  Could have happened before then, I wasn’t really watching for it.  It also could be that there’s just more overcast, there, so that the grey masks the brown.  A little way after than we ran into actual rain, which will clean the air if nothing else.

Came home and found that D and S3 were ready to come visit with us.  We’d been trying to hook up with them, so it was nice that they did the work for us.  We went out to Marie Callendar’s with E2 and his girlfriend.  She will be beginning her root canal on Wednesday.  They’re at school now.  Mom is washing dishes.  I’m writing on the novel.  The newspaper column featured Nanowrimo (and me) on the 24th, so I have to finish it this year.  That's 50.000 words.

Wish me luck with that.  All in all, it’s been a great holiday.  Mom will probably head back to Idaho some time this week.  When she leaves will depend on the weather up north. 
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No, you won't be meeting these people.  I wrote that up from someone else’s notes.  She posted it online.  Someone else did the emailing for me.  It was a hit.  I got cookies for it.  I’ll get more next Thanksgiving.

Here’s another one that sounds like a family thing. 

[ok, that was a bit dire.  I'm going to post all of this, just on principle.  But I'll try to post regular chunks, so that we can get through it quickly.]

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