The Great Wall of Fiberglass

I spent this morning watching Star Trek: Voyager and eating Goldfish crackers with Cricket and Thumper.  They love watching “the ship.”  And Cricket trying to say Hirogen was possibly the cutest thing ever.

But this afternoon?  This afternoon I spent stacking insulation in my garage while Bubbles and Tadpole made trips down with it from our attic (Yes, they were appropriately attired for dealing with the stuff.  I, on the other hand, was stupid, meaning not appropriately attired.).  We’re moving shortly, and since the insulation isn’t in any way affixed to our house, we’re taking it with us.  Unfortunately, my attempt to stack it neatly in our tiny little garage did not go well.

2013-10-05 14.28.48

Greath the wall was, but stable and sturdy it was not.

A memory of books

Yesterday morning I was running errands with Cricket and Thumper, and they wanted a story.  I was at Sam’s Club, and they happened to have a bunch of Dr. Seuss board books for sale.  Just the sight of them triggered a fresh wave of childhood memories – my dad hated Dr. Seuss, but not me.  My sister and I both loved his books, and we kept checking them out at the library and insisting he read them to us before bed.  I remember reading a wide variety of books with my mom, particularly from The Great Illustrated Classics line, but I mostly remember reading Dr. Seuss with my dad.

I think it was because he hated him so that we made him read those books to us.  Either that, or he hated Dr. Seuss because we made him read the books so often.

We happened to own a copy of One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, and we read it so frequently that the spine is now falling off the book.  I saw a shiny new copy yesterday next to the board books and was sorely tempted to buy one, but in the end, it remained on the shelf.  I remember bringing home How the Grinch Stole Christmas from the school library and insisting on hearing it before bed one Christmas.  And who could forget Green Eggs and Ham?  Or The Cat in the Hat?  Or Fox in Socks?  Or The Lorax?

When I graduated high school, my childhood Sunday School teacher gave me a copy of Oh! The Places You’ll Go!  I breezed through it, then put it aside.  The whimsy of the illustrations still captivated me, but the message of the book didn’t really soak in.  Not until I had graduated college, married, had a child of my own, and divorced, did the book really make much sense for me.  I recognized several of the stops mentioned in the book, and adjusted my life’s path accordingly.

Books were a huge part of my childhood, and I can’t imagine life without them.  What are some of your favorite books, from childhood or otherwise?

(c) 2013.  All rights reserved.

It’s October!

And that means it’s time for a blog challenge.  Once again, I’m taking part in the October Memoir and Back Story Blog Challenge, run by Jane Ann McLachlan.  I had a lot of fun with it last year, so I thought I’d try it again.  It’s a little bit different this time around, but I don’t mind.

IMG_20130722_191349The theme for the first week of October is childhood memories.  I always feel like I don’t remember very much about my childhood; I think I blocked out a lot of it in a misguided attempt at coping with my mom’s illness (which you can read about in posts from last year’s challenge here and here).  There are times, though, where I think I remember more than I realize, and that thought has worked its way into at least one of my stories.

Today, though, is an absolutely beautiful fall day…

Reflection

Well, the October Memoir and Backstory Blog Challenge is finished.  At least, it’s finished for me, anyway.  I’ve never done a blog challenge before, and this one was a challenge in more ways than I had expected, but I’d like to think I’ve grown as a result.

Some of the posts were a challenge to write in that I had trouble coming up with things to write about (my teen years and my early twenties, most notably), while others were a challenge because I had so many fun stories to choose from and it was hard to pick just one thing to write about (the early childhood years).  Other posts were a challenge to write because they dealt with topics that I’ve spent a lot of time blocking out or just plain not dealing with.  I don’t cope well with change, especially if that change is negative in any way.  It’s not something I ever learned how to do and I wonder if I ever will. But…

Mawwage is what bwings us togevah today…

I said in my post yesterday that twenty-four was a banner year, but twenty-five ranked right up there with it.  We spent the better part of the year planning the wedding and the honeymoon, getting details worked out and being generally happy and excited and everything else that is good.  At Easter, I was confirmed in Seymour’s church after completing the RCIA program.  That was one of the biggest decisions we had made thus far in our life together; his family is devoutly Catholic and mine is Presbyterian.  My family didn’t seem very happy about my decision to convert, but it’s not like I was changing religions or something.  I simply changed my denomination.  After all, Catholics and Protestants do worship the same God, do believe in the same afterlife, do read more or less the same Bible.  It’s not like I joined a cult or something.

However, the difference did pose an interesting question…

Onward and upward!

That’s right, things started looking much better for me in my twenty-fourth year.  Much better, as a matter of fact.  The whole year was pretty stellar, really.  See, my birthday is at the end of January.  Shortly before my birthday, I signed up for Yahoo! Personals.  I had gone to a wedding a few months prior for a couple who had met on eHarmony.com.  The groom and I had gone to high school together and I thought, “Hey – if Seth can meet such a nice girl online, maybe I can find a nice guy myself!”

I had a few first dates, but nothing that really went anywhere.  Then one day, I was scrolling through matches in my area and came across a guy who was a few years (okay, six) older than me and hailed from my hometown.  I had no idea who this guy was.  My hometown has a population of 1800 people, so everyone pretty much knows everyone else.  The first thought that ran through my head was, “Who is this guy and why don’t I know him?”

I clicked on his profile and read through it.  That was when I had my second thought: “I need to know this guy!”  He was a former military officer and a single father who was “not looking for a mom” for his daughter.  He was also a self-professed Star Trek freak.  Could this guy be any better?

So I sent him a message.

D-I-V-O-R-C-E

When I was twenty-three, my marriage sank to the bottom of Lake Despair.  Okay, it hadn’t exactly been smooth sailing for the four years that it lasted, but I had tried to make it work for the sake of the son my husband (now ex-husband) and I shared.  Tomcat was three and a half the day our divorce was finalized.

I spent the weekend I turned twenty-three moving out of the home we had created, leaving the life we had made for ourselves behind.  He refused to sign the papers accepting service at first – he didn’t want a divorce, he said.  But here’s the thing: He’d been looking for a place to move, away from me and our son and closer to the mistress he’d been seeing for four years, closer to the son he shared with her.

The day we were scheduled to appear in court for the hearing on the stipulation, he didn’t even bother to show up.

Twenty-two

Photo by Kay Kauffman

When I was twenty-two, my marriage was falling apart.  My life was a shambles.  But even as my marriage was ending, my brother-in-law’s was just beginning.  As my twenty-second Christmas approached, he and his fiancée asked that I take their engagement pictures, which I was happy to do.  I love photography and at that point in my life, I hoped to be able to earn a little extra money from doing something that I loved.  It didn’t work out, but maybe that’s all for the best.

Twenty-one…

Oh, twenty-one, that eagerly-anticipated age of majority.  I’m actually not sure which age young people look forward to more, eighteen or twenty-one.  Both ages are ages of majority – at eighteen you can vote and smoke and get your driver’s license if, for some reason, you don’t have it already (because, believe it or not, I know a few other people who finished high school without one).  But at twenty-one, you can legally drink, and I know many people who anticipate this event with as much, if not more, excitement than the ability to drive.

Twenty

When I was twenty, I returned to college.  I took a semester off when Tomcat was born and transferred my credits from Wartburg to a community college a little closer to home.  I was no longer working toward a bachelor’s degree in creative writing, but at least I was still working toward a degree.  As one of my floormates from Wartburg put it, a degree is a degree is a degree.  While it may not be the one I wanted, it’s better than no degree at all.

During my time at MCC, I was selected for their honors program, which left me speechless and flattered (okay, not truly speechless – that’s only happened once, but definitely shocked).  In order to obtain my degree with honors, I had to take several honors classes and attend a certain number of honors seminars, one of which was mentioned here.  I took honors art appreciation, honors music appreciation, and honors American Indian history.  It was either that or honors computer applications.  I thought history would be easier than computer, but I was wrong.

The professor I had for American Indian history was brilliant.