Janice Williams Loves Austin And sometimes I write about it.

December 20, 2014

Miracle Story

Filed under: Family — Janice @ 6:19 am

2006 12 Georgetown Daddy Christmas 038

This picture was made 8 years ago today at my parents’ house in Krugerville, Texas. It was 5 days after my dad had died at a hospital in Dallas and the day after he was buried in Amarillo and the family had returned to their home. There’s an amazing story here.

I read once you should write the stories that you tell often. This is one of those stories. I tell it and retell it as often as I can. It is maybe the most amazing event I have witnessed for myself. So I am telling it once again…

Dad died on a Friday and we had his funeral at their church near Denton on the following Monday. The burial was to be the next morning near Amarillo and near where our farm had been for close to 30 years. The weather on the day of the funeral was lovely. A bright, sunny, warm December day. But an ice storm was on its way to Amarillo and flights we had scheduled for the afternoon were canceled due to the forecasted bad weather. So all of our family members had to immediately change our plans and drive to Amarillo and arrived there late that evening, knowing we would be waking up to ice and having to be at a “graveside” service at 10 a.m. (fortunately there was a building at the cemetery for services).

Mark was first up and surveyed the scene and it was grim. It took a LOT of scraping and warming and salt sprinkling to just get our cars moving and out of the parking lot in the morning. It was a beautiful service, but we didn’t wait for the burial. We left it in the hands of our funeral directors and we jumped back in the cars and headed home. The worst of the ice storm was still going on and the sooner we could get further south, the better. My nephews were just teenagers at the time so Mark (my husband) and my sister were driving the two cars and we were on the road. We were all completely exhausted: my mother, sister, her husband, the two nephews, and me and Mark. It had been an intense 6-weeks of operations and setbacks and short sleep for everyone, culminating in this emotional time and very little rest with all the travel.

We arrived back at Mom and Dad’s home that evening. My younger nephew was still in high school and he had already missed two of the last days before Christmas break because of the funeral, so he and his parents needed to get on back to their home in Coppell so he could go to school the next day. My older nephew, Brandt, was a freshman at Baylor and Baylor was out for the semester so he didn’t have that obligation. He asked if he could stay with us at my mother’s house and help Uncle Mark.

Once Mark and I had arrived after Daddy died, Mark had taken on the task of cleaning Daddy’s two garages. It gave him something to do through all the visitation and waiting. Dad’s garages were a mess. One garage did have room for the car and was just off the house. It was full of lots of his childhood antiques, a bunch of household goods bought in bulk, and “necessary” car repair items. I say “necessary” because Mark found (and threw away) a great supply of things like “inner tube repair kits.” Many of the things on the shelf haven’t been used by a shade tree mechanic in 30 years.

The BIG garage had a lot more stuff in it. Dad inherited a lot of things from his uncle when his uncle had to go into a nursing home. He had most of that in a pile, unsorted, in the garage. Like the inner tube kit, there was nothing of value, but Dad might have had a little bit of a hoarder in him. My sister and mother will read this and say, “Oh, you think? (snort).” He had lots of tools and parts and a big riding lawnmower and trunks and tennis rackets and roller skates and on and on. If it had been in his barns and garage in Amarillo before they moved to Krugerville, it had made the trip and was now in this garage. With additions.

Dad had retired from his job as a land surveyor and civil engineer for a gas company in 1990. When he cleaned out his office, he brought home filing cabinets and boxes and piled them in the corner of the Amarillo garage. When they moved to Krugerville in 1994 they were all moved down and put in a corner. For 12 years, more and more things were piled into that corner and the books related to surveying and various maps of gas pipelines in the Panhandle were forgotten.

We arrived back at Krugerville in the evening. Younger nephew and his parents drove on home to Coppell in the DFW Metroplex. My mother went straight to bed, she was worn out. I was still awake, but so tired I just laid on the couch and watched TV. But Mark, being the energetic man he is, decided he could continue his garage project and get it closer to being finished. Brandt, the 19-year-old nephew, had stuck around to help (and hang with his cool uncle) and he went to the garage with him.

They hadn’t been out there very long at all when they came back into the house bursting with excitement. Brandt’s eyes were as big as saucers and Mark was saying, “You are NOT going to believe what we found!” I was hoping for a big stash of money or Apple stock certificates, of course, but what they found was really more valuable than that.

Brandt claims that he went out and joined Mark and, without any real idea of how he was going to help or what he was going to do, he noticed that there was a two-drawer file cabinet with lots of things on and around it in a corner. He decided to investigate and he cleared it enough to pull out a drawer. The drawer was packed tight with books about surveying and math and also had files and envelopes and papers that all appeared very businesslike. Brandt saw a leather folder, the kind that holds a legal pad, and pulled it out of the drawer. It was dusty and had obviously been in a file in a garage since Daddy brought it all home.

Brandt opened the folder and there was a legal pad inside, the first page completely filled in with my Dad’s distinctive tiny printing. The first line read, “This is a letter to my grandson, Brandt. When you read this, in 20 years or so…” And so it began. It was a letter begun in about January of 1988, a month or two after Brandt was born. At that time, Dad’s company was not expanding much and Dad had a lot of time on his hands in his office. It seems that he decided to give some advice to his grandson(s) while he waited for retirement. The letter went on with a little bit of the history of Daddy and where he came from and how he got to where he was. It had advice for a young man heading out in the world. The letter was abandoned at some point and then picked up again in 1989 or 1990 and included mentions of the next grandson Connor and a trip the whole family had taken together. It was the kind of letter that anyone would dream of having from their grandparent.

Brandt and Mark were totally stunned and then I was, as well. The picture I inserted at the top of this post is from the next day when Brandt was reading it aloud to us all. My mother and sister found out about it the next day when we were all awake and together.

To this day we still have some of Dad’s papers and books and things in storage because Mother moved out of that house a few months later. The possibility exists, I suppose, for there to be another treasure like this one in there somewhere. But I doubt it. I believe Dad led Brandt straight to that letter to make sure it was found while it was important and it could give two young men some guidance in their lives. It easily could have stayed in that file folder and possibly never have been found—sold to a junk dealer at an auction or just dumped into the garbage because the books and methods of surveying had made everything there obsolete.

We have all been thinking about my Dad this week. Having a death in the family is hard at any time, but there is (it seems) an added dimension when the death is at Christmastime. The two are now tied together and his memory is with us in lots of different ways in the weeks before Christmas. Both boys have married and will have their wives with us for Christmas. I’m sure they both know the story, but it will probably be retold next week and they’ll learn more of the stories that we tell about Daddy. I love that Daddy’s story and discoveries about his life didn’t end with his death.

Brandt and Connor in Dad’s Air Force uniforms. It was hard for us to fathom that Dad had ever been that slim.

2006 12 Georgetown Daddy Christmas 045 s

December 10, 2014

Appliances

Filed under: At home,Childhood Memories,Food — Janice @ 11:09 pm

Amazon knows me all too well. I have an email touting all the latest kitchen equipment. No, I am not much of a cook, but I am drawn to the kitchen gadgets. I recently did order a “tiny pie making kit” with little tiny pie pans made of silicone (or is it silicon?). Plastic. It is practically plastic, but it doesn’t melt. I have, so far, not made a tiny pie, but I am eagerly anticipating feeling the pie-making urge come upon me so I can test out my new tiny pie pans.

I suppose Amazon also kept track of the juicer I bought a few months ago. I thought I would give that juicing fad a try and see if I could become incredibly healthy AND slim by drinking delicious green concoctions. I really did like the juice, but the process and the clean up became a drag. I am proud of myself that I did not just put the juicer on a shelf or in the back of a cabinet to sit. I bundled it up and gave it to someone else to try.

Well, now that I think about it, I also have been keeping an eye on immersible blenders on Amazon, too. I was watching the prices and yearning for one, but ended up buying one cheap in a big box store one day. It was really neat to have for the four or five pots of soup I made before it fell to pieces in my hands.

I look back on the appliances that my mother had as I was growing up and it is a little bit different than what I use today. At work, the subject of “percolators” came up. Most of the “kids” I work with had no idea what that meant at all. I grew up with a percolator preparing my parents’ coffee every morning. I loved the sound of the steam gurgling and struggling and then heating enough to push that gush of water up through the glass piece on the top to percolate down through the coffee nestled in the metal basket around the tube up the middle. The percolating coffee was a sweet sound to wake up to and the smell meant “home.”  We were always warned about that glass top, to be careful with it. You could get a replacement if it broke, but that would mean a trip to town and no coffee until it was replaced. I think Mom mostly handled the coffee pot and that delicate piece, but I do remember shaking out the grounds from that metal basket into the trash can. My folks switched to a Mr. Coffee after I left home, I think, but that must ahave been invented in the late 70s because I never owned a percolator. They were old-fashioned by the time I lived on my own.

Mother had a Sunbeam mixer on the countertop. I have a mixer of some type on my countertop, too. Mine is used mostly for cookies, though I always THINK I am going to use the bread hooks more than I do. Mom’s didn’t have the lock down feature mine has to keep the beaters from riding up on the dough, but hers had the nifty knob to slide back and forth to change where the bowl was in relation to the beaters. On mine the beaters move around the bowl, the bowl doesn’t move around the beaters. I miss how we could scrape down the sides of Mom’s mixer as we mixed. My current one is built so that you have to turn the mixer off before you can really get in to scrape the bowl sides. I’m sure less fingers go into the cake batter this way. That was a warning we always heard from Mother, to never reach into the bowl if you dropped your spatula or something. I seem to remember a scary tale of my aunt getting caught in the beaters. But she still has 10 fingers so maybe it was just a good fable to warn us.

We had the typical pop-up toaster from time-to-time in my life, but mostly we had the slide in broiler-type toaster. I would love to have one of those again. There was nothing better than a batch of Texas toast, slathered with butter on both sides and toasted good in that broiler, on top and then turned over. Yum. And cinnamon-sugar toast, or just sugar toast, was perfect from that broiler. And cheese toast (we called it grilled cheese, but I think that is something different to most people). Or maybe these were all just better from Mom’s toaster because they were prepared by Mom. In my kitchen I have a toaster oven that is fancy enough to bake in it, it says. I have never ever baked something in it. I toast. And maybe I melt some cheese on something. But I haven’t had cinnamon-sugar toast in years. Sigh.

We never had a microwave when I was growing up. I had my first one when I was already out on my own. We managed to get by. I think I could get by without a microwave again, but my poor husband would starve.

Oh, and crock pots! Those were invented somewhere along in the 70s and I’m sure Mom’s first one must have been harvest gold, like our kitchen, or avocado, the other ubiquitous color of the 70s. For those that don’t remember, except for a few VERY modern pink and blue stoves and refrigerators in the 50s and then the classy copper color that showed up in the nicest homes in the 60s, harvest gold and avocado were the first colors for appliances. We bought a harvest gold stove when we moved from Colorado back to Texas and we thought we were really uptown.

I can’t remember anything Mom made in a crock pot back in those days, but I would miss mine a lot if I didn’t have them now (I have a “regular” one and a big BIG one).

When we moved from Colorado back to Texas and had ordered the stove, but didn’t have it yet, we had a kitchen with appliances, but no stove for a period of time. I don’t know how long it was, probably not more than a week, but I remember the ingenuity my mother used to cook our meals. I felt like it was “Little House on the Prairie” to not have a stove and oven, but Mom did quite a job. She had an electric frying pan, so really that was suitable for most of the things she would have cooked on the stove. We had the toaster oven, too, and we had a little mini-coffeepot that could easily boil water. We used it to boil the water to make tea (we always drank iced tea with dinner) and we boiled eggs in it, too.

Amazon may succeed in selling me a new immersible blender and maybe even a new coffee pot in this holiday season. Now that I’ve gotten all nostalgic, I may have to see if they sell percolators and toaster ovens.

December 9, 2014

Holiday Visits

Filed under: At home,Family,Normal Life,Travel — Janice @ 10:14 pm

There are many things to love and hate about the holidays, but one thing I do love it the feeling that you NEED to visit people you love and people who you love feel the need to come visit you, too. I don’t know why I get in that frame of mind more in the holidays when everything is busy and crazy instead of in maybe February when we’d have time for a good visit, but that is the way it is.

Sunday I went down the street and visited the new little baby boy Jack who was born in July. He’s a precious little thing. His parents are incredibly sleep deprived and deliriously in love with their little one. That made me happy. I hope Santa is very good to him.

Tonight my cousin Alisa was in town from Italy. I met her a couple of years ago via Facebook and my Cunningham family page and we began a bit of a correspondence. Last year she was in Texas on Halloween and we went out to dinner and got acquainted really well. She is a missionary, which is about as far removed from my life as you can get, but she is a writer and a lover of life and interesting things and we find plenty to talk about. She came by tonight and we just stayed at the house and had pizza and wine and visited a bit. It was lovely.

I can’t wait to see who drops in next…

December 8, 2014

Yesterday’s Genealogy and Cameras

Filed under: Childhood Memories,Family,Genealogy — Janice @ 8:51 pm

This display was up a couple of years ago at the Austin Genealogical Society holiday dinner:

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This was the old days of genealogy. I could relate to a whole lot here. I typed a lot of family trees on a computer that wasn’t much newer than this one. Ours was a big heavy Royal. I don’t see the silver handle on the left on the typewriter above. How did they return the carriage and move it to the next line? I think it would be a fun experiment to put a computer savvy teenager or young adult down with a typewriter like this and ask them to reproduce a letter. I think they would think it was easy, but would have no idea how it operates:  how you could change the color of the ink or even cut a stencil for the mimeograph machine, how you set tab stops with little metal pieces around the backside, how you could make it space one, two, or three lines, and how you used the small L for a 1 and to make an exclamation you had to use the apostrophe and backspace and put a period under it. We used a lot fewer exclamation points when they took that much effort!!! And I would bet young people don’t know how you put the paper in to get it in straight, how you straighten it if it isn’t, and then how you WHISK the page away from the platen when the page was done.

Fortunately, our family “inherited” a nicer Selectric typewriter before I had to start writing a lot of papers in high school and college. I use “inherited” because I’m not certain the statute of limitations has run out.

The camera in the box above is a great example of a Kodak when the word “Kodak” meant camera to most of us. My grandmother had a Kodak like this one. The little blue bulbs fit into the top so you could take a flash picture. She must have been an early adopter because she had the only flash camera I ever saw until the revolving 4-flashes flash cubes came along. I don’t remember Mamma taking LOTS of pictures, but she always carefully took a few with her precious camera. Then she would carefully put it back into the box (like above) and put it away after every use. She did love that camera and I have many of the square format pictures it took. I don’t know that Mamma ever had a NEWER camera than that one. She might have been like I am: as long as it still works, why would you replace it? I remember her using it less and less (when others had plenty of cameras to record the moments and give her copies). Now I also recall that she always said “make a picture” instead of “take a picture.” As in, “Let’s get everybody together and make a picture.”

The camera on the right is like no camera I ever experienced until I took photography in college. Mark recently inherited several cameras of that era that belonged to his grandfather and his father. He really did inherit them, it was legit. No quotation marks. These were cameras he loved to hold when he was a boy while his grandfather explained all the rings and settings.

I am definitely coming down on the side of NOW IS BETTER when it comes to typewriters versus computers and cameras with film versus digital cameras. But I’m glad I experienced the old kind so I can appreciate the new kind.

The fact that you are reading this possibly moments after I have typed it is still astonishing to me.

December 7, 2014

December in Austin

Filed under: At home,Austin,Bluebonnets,Garden — Janice @ 8:58 pm

We have had a couple of really cold spells already this winter, which is early and unusual. Our typical first freeze is mid-December and we’ve had several minor freezes. I say minor because, so far, not all of my plants that die back have died back. Some of them are in a very protected spot and they are still happily living, oblivious to their future destruction.

I was out today appreciating my garden. I needs a lot of cleaning. I even had a landscape guy give me an estimate this morning, but I haven’t decided if it is fair or if I trust him to not destroy my baby bluebonnets.

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I always forget the name of this plant/wildflower, but I know it is a Texas native and doesn’t mind a little drought. It is a huge bush of bright flowers and, in person, you hardly notice all the dead things or overgrown grass.

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I always forget the name of this plant, too. I have taken a picture of the tag at the garden centers over and over, but never put it somewhere where I’ll remember where it is. But this is a nice happy plant, too, that looks good all year round and just put up these beautiful winter blooms.

I have bulbs to put into the ground and a dozen bluebonnets that need to go in, too. I have this idea of myself as an avid gardener. That image only shows up when I’m buying plants or accepting bulbs from generous people. When the weekend of opportunity is here, Gardener Janice tends to vanish.

December 6, 2014

The Tree is Decorated

Filed under: At home — Janice @ 11:21 pm

This is an uninspired, dull-colored snap of my Christmas tree tonight:

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It is really a lot prettier than this. Notice that it is sitting up on a big bass drum. That makes it super tall this year. I had to get a stool to decorate the top parts. I’m glad to get the decorating started. Mark did his part of bringing it down from the attic a week ago, but I was slow to act this year. But now the tree is up and decorations are around the house. I think there may still be a wreath that has not appeared, but otherwise we are good.

I also have my Christmas mugs in the dishwasher to they will be ready for us in the morning. As much as possible, I use my Christmas mugs for coffee in the mornings. I have Christmas plates and I hope I remember to use them for some meals this month. We aren’t having company so I won’t have to plan a holiday meal. I bought a beautiful new/old vintage tablecloth with poinsettias on it at an antique mall in Tyler over Thanksgiving. I’m thrilled with it. No stains, no holes. It is bright and beautiful with a centerpiece of the real deal poinsettia.

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I waver between being excited about Christmas and looking forward to all the events coming up in the next two weeks, then I totally forget it is the holiday season and I am surprised when I see something that reminds me. Hopefully the tree and poinsettias will remind more often that the season is here and it is a time to be joyful!

December 5, 2014

Old-Fashioned VCR Stuff

Filed under: At home,Normal Life — Janice @ 11:03 pm

We got to laughing at work this week about the way the world was back when video tape recorders came along. I was the only one in on the conversation that was an adult when this all took place. They were all just kids at home that don’t remember all the details of life back then.

I am NOT an early adopter. My friend Jamey had a massively HUGE Betamax machine. I don’t think I ever saw a real movie on it unless it was just rolling during a party. He was the one that kept me abreast of the latest innovations and how I needed to move forward and get a VCR.

I did finally get a VCR in about 1984, I think. It was a VHS tape player and had a remote that had to be plugged into the VCR so I had a long wire draped across the living room to the remote on the coffee table. I never did mind it because I didn’t lose the remote that way.

My favorite thing about a VCR was that I could tape TV shows and watch them at a different time. I was working a morning show and if I could tape something and go ahead and go to bed, that was a big plus to me. Jamey and others used their tape players more for watching new movies. Back before video came along, if you had a life at night (like a night time job), you missed out on a lot of monumental television. I still haven’t seen Lonesome Dove, for instance.

On my birthday, probably 1985 and I was 26, Jamey and the guys on my staff gave me a membership to a video store. My coworkers were laughing about the ways video stores began. Only one other remembered the days when those stores began. My group gave me a membership that cost $30, I think. Although I feel like everything today is just about as expensive as it was back then, I do realize that $30 then is a LOT more than it is now. That was quite an investment (and 4 guys pitched in on this gift). For the $30 I got 10 rentals included.

I have no memory of what I might have rented with that membership. I really don’t know that I took good advantage of it. I have never been an avid renter or buyer of movies on tape or DVD. Now that we can stream movies I would be more inclined to watch them, but I find myself on the internet or finding TV shows to watch.

Last weekend I actually threw away a lot of VHS video tapes. Since we don’t even own a VCR anymore, they seem rather superfluous. I did save the ones that have my nephews on them as kids. I saved a few of Mark playing on TV. I threw away all examples of me being and actress or newsreader and previous jobs. I know no one needs to see those! I threw away some old TV shows that are probably available on Netflix.

I love how quickly we move from one technology to another. I really like the technologies that let me throw away old things and not replace them with something new. I throw out the VCR and the videos and their replacement is just information in the air.

December 4, 2014

Shopping Adventures

Filed under: Normal Life — Janice @ 11:35 pm

 

Holidailies 2014 Badge

I am participating in the Holidailies challenge again this year, by the way, which is my incentive to write each and every day until December is done. Sometimes I think Jette should have a ____dailies in May or another month that is less busy.

I went shopping for some new clothes tonight. I am not a shopper. I don’t know why anyone wants to be a shopper. It was hot and I made three trips to the dressing room, which might be a record for me. My goal was to have something new and Christmas-y to wear to a dinner I’m going to tomorrow night. I was invited this week to the dinner and I remember his party last year where everyone was wearing pretty festive clothing and I thought to myself, “I want to make sure and get something new for this party next year.” I went to my favorite store, Kohl’s (okay, I realize that maybe that is part of why I am not a fan of shopping, I don’t go to the “good” stores). I only wanted to find a nice long top/shirt/sweater to wear over tights in a festive red color. Easy, one would think.

I discovered tonight that the festive Christmas colors of 2014 are black and gray and black-gray and gray-black and maybe blue. Green does not exist in the world anymore and red was barely visible. I ended up with a festive BLACK sweater to wear. It does have some sparkly sequins that I hope make it look a cut above all of my other black sweaters. I bought some pretty festive jewelry to dress it up. Again, NO RED. Believe me, I’m not just saying I didn’t like the reds this year. They truly were not there.

Apparently sweater shawl things are really big right now. I liked them and would happily wear one, but it does require that you wear something underneath it. Since I had nothing to wear under it, I couldn’t make myself invest in a black or gray or gray-black or black-gray shawl.

All of this is coming from a woman with an entire wardrobe made up of black and gray. But it is CHRISTMAS, right? Even a holiday purple would have been welcome.

December 3, 2014

Recommended Reading

Filed under: At home,Reading — Janice @ 11:11 pm

I resisted getting a Kindle for a long time. It wasn’t that I was against technology, I just didn’t think I needed one. When I did finally get one, the first book I read was a super long book by Stephen King’s 11/22/63. When I tell people I read a Stephen King book, I always feel compelled to add, “I don’t read everything he writes, just the non-scary stuff.” I don’t want people to think I like horror books, because I don’t. I read Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot in college and it scared the bejeesus out of me.

But the Kindle was a terrific way to read such a huge, cumbersome book and I also got a great deal on the purchase and I was pretty sold on the Kindle right there.

Last month, Kindle offered their Kindle Unlimited plan where you can pay 9.99 a month and get all the books– no, scratch that, all the Kindle-Unlimited books — you want (there’s a big difference – you’re not going to find MOST of the books you want to read on the Kindle-Unlimited list I’m discovering). They offered me a free month of the service so I took them up on it and started hunting for a book.

I found the book Wool by Hugh C. Howey fast and snatched it up, thinking this would be an easy way to read a few chapters and see if I liked it.

Wool had been recommended to my be my 27-year-old nephew a few months ago. He told me he had read this book and it was great. But he said it was about a post-apocalyptic world and THAT didn’t sound good to me. I liked science fiction when I was a kid, but I haven’t been a fan in a long time, so I ignored the suggestion (even though he said it wasn’t that kind of a post-apocalyptic-world book) and forgot about it.

A few weeks ago I was at his birthday lunch and his wife mentioned the book Wool and said it was so good. She is a voracious reader and has her Kindle in her hand when she is brushing her teeth. That made me think of Wool again so when I saw it on the Kindle Unlimited site I thought I would at least give it a go.

I read one chapter and already could not put the book down. The second chapter ended with a cliffhanger even more intriguing than the first. And on and on… I couldn’t stop reading. I breezed through 500 pages before I knew it. I got up early in the morning to read. I stayed up extra late to read (no falling asleep with it in my hand), and I took the Kindle with me so I could squeeze some in if I could. I finished it last night. It even ended on a cliffhanger, so I hope there is a sequel.

There may already BE a sequel. I haven’t read enough about the author to find out or find out what other books he has that I should read. In fact, I’m not sure if I read ONE book in the last week or if I read FIVE. That’s one little issue I have with a Kindle. I forget the title of the book I’m reading because I’m not seeing the cover every time I pick up the book and it is harder to figure out things like whether it is five books or one. It appears that Wool is just the first of a five-book series called “The Silo Series.”

Basically, what I am saying is that Wool and/or The Silo Series is really good reading. Like my nephew tried to tell me, it isn’t “all that” post-apocalyptic. It is still about real characters in a real world, but the parallels and allegories are very eye-opening. And I love those books that you can’t put down. Read it if that sounds good to you. I still don’t think I’m going to jump off and start reading a lot of sci-fi (or Stephen King), but the joy in reading a really good GOOD book is a great feeling.

December 2, 2014

The Beginnings of My Blogging

Filed under: Reading,Writing — Janice @ 11:10 pm

 

This is what my computer looked like when I moved to Austin in 1999. Packard Bell. Does it even exist anymore?

I read an entry last night on the Holidalies as I try to keep up and write every day in December (and read some new blogs, too). I read one that made me remember my earliest days of blogging so I thought I should share.

When we lived in Dallas I worked at ABC Radio and we had a computer in the control room. We weren’t supposed to USE it for anything (seriously, we didn’t have email for us on it and they didn’t want us doing any show prep or looking up news while we were on the air…. it was the EARLY days of Internet in the control room). But, like all the jocks on the air, I was using it and exploring the Internet because it was very new to us all.

Somewhere along in there, I discovered blogs. They weren’t called that then, they were online journals or online diaries mostly, I think. Somehow or another, I started reading several on a regular basis. I went back to the beginnings of their blogs and read every entry. I loved the feeling of eavesdropping on someone’s life. It truly was like a slow moving soap opera with some laughs and some interesting stories. I particularly liked Astrofish by a guy named Kramer and Anhedonia by a girl named Jette. I guess it later became Celluloid Eyes. Part of what I liked was that they were in Austin so I could relate to the Texas part of their story.

Only a little bit of time went by as I read their journals and others. I sent a note complimenting Jette’s. I don’t know if I did for Kramer or not. Then, boom, suddenly I am offered a job in Austin and we are moving there. Wow. I wanted to write Jette and say, “Guess what? I’m moving to Austin!” but I thought that would be way too creepy and stalker-y so I did not. We just moved and I continued to read.

One of the things Kramer often wrote about was his long walks around town, especially around Town Lake as he went fishing, exploring, or just to lunch. He also posted some pictures on his blog so I One day I was driving to my job and was on Barton Springs and who did I see walking along the sidewalk with his shirt over his shoulder? It was Kramer. I wanted to honk and wave, but I realized he wouldn’t have a clue who I was.

I truly don’t remember what happened between moving in May and November of 1999, but somewhere in there I did let Jette and Kramer know I was a reader and now I lived in Austin. They, along with other writers of the community, decided to have a get together at Texpresso (one of the great bygone Austin businesses) of writers AND readers of the Austin blogs. I was so excited, I would finally get to meet these interesting people.

Early November we got together. The three of us and maybe a dozen others. It was really to meet these cool new people in Austin and see what they were like in person. During the chatting and discussion, Jette said that I really needed to write my own blog (journal). I wanted to, but had NO idea how things on the Internet worked and how you got an online diary. They were all much more tech savvy than I was. She told me about Diaryland.com. I checked it out and soon my diary was launched.

FIFTEEN years later, yes FIFTEEN, I still have that online diary. Somewhere along the way I quit telling people about it and I don’t often write in it, to tell the truth, but it is still there as my true DIARY of what goes on day to day with a little more explanation in case someone stumbles upon it and needs to know the major characters. A few of those people from those days might be able to hunt it down if they wanted to. I don’t go passing the address around because I don’t know what I wrote 10 years ago. Maybe I wrote about YOU and I don’t want you finding it!

I started THIS blog in 2007 when I was laid off from my job. Initially I thought it would be part of a bigger picture I had for myself and my post-radio future. I would write about local music and events and have a calendar, too. Sadly, I didn’t get too far with that idea. It’s still a good idea, but others are running with similar ideas and doing them much better so I won’t be trying that again. I’m still not tech savvy enough to make it really good.

I found out I enjoy the blogging. I always either over think and don’t write because I’ll never find the right examples or express things just the way I want or under think and just jump in here and write stream of consciousness. But at least that puts up an entry.

Jette started Holidailies a long time ago and I have participated sporadically. I think I ALWAYS say I’m going to participate and then (like my NaNoWriMoNaNoWriMo ambitions) I fall apart 3 days in. Jette, by the way, has moved on to new endeavors, like her amazing blog Slackerwood, and Kramer is still doing what he does, being my personal astrologer and cheerleader and blogger at Astrofish. I thank them both. What a great welcome they gave me to Austin and encouraged me to do something I love to do.

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