Janice Williams Loves Austin And sometimes I write about it.

May 1, 2012

My Job, Part I

Filed under: Music,My Job,Normal Life — Janice @ 10:28 am

I have never written about my job in detail here, so I want to give you a taste of what I do.

I have had several jobs in my life that people say “Oh how cool!” Being a DJ, obviously, was one of those that people thought would be super fun. It was. Now I have a job with the title “Music Designer,” just like someone might be an Interior Designer, I design the music for a business. Again, people say “How cool!” Lots of co-workers in the building think it is the coolest job in the company and are envious. They are right. It is.

So what does a Music Designer do? Truly, there are a lot of boring parts in most days, just like any job. I usually start my day (late) and read the emails that have come in and deal with anything urgent there. Urgent might mean that a program I have running has run out of songs and needs to be updated. That is rare since we get warnings if that email is going to be coming. Urgent might be questions from my boss or co-workers. The worst urgent is an email telling me that one of my programs has profanity or some other unacceptable song in it and it needs to be re-issued (we call it “republished”) immediately. This can be bad news for the company because the cost involved can be very high. If, for instance, you do the music for a store with 1000 stores in the chain, we might have to re-print 1000 discs (they aren’t CDs, but similar) and send them by a speedy method to 1000 locations. A $10 mailing charge times 1000 locations? You can see why we do NOT want to get an email like that.

So that leads to a lot of what I do …  While many people picture me listening to music I like and just bopping along, enjoying the tune, a lot of my time is spent listening to music I expect to use in a program and checking it for profanity or other things we don’t want in a song (some people don’t want religious references, some don’t want drinking references, most don’t want references to morbid subjects, like suicide, etc.). Friday I was listening to 7 to 10 songs by the heavy metal band Avenge Sevenfold (I think that was their name) for these things. Surprisingly, they were mostly acceptable. No, this isn’t music that I would choose to put into anyone’s program, but I have a casino in Connecticut as a client and they like to have music in their program by the artists that are performing there that week. This band is playing there in June so I needed to get their music into the program. The week after this band, there was an 80s dance music show with about 10 performers on the bill. The only one I recognized was Vanilla Ice, so I included Ice, Ice, Baby, of course, and then I had to see if there were songs in our database by the other performers and then find out which ones (if any) were hits that people might recognize (since I didn’t) and then I had to listen to all of them and see what lyric problems they might have. Heavy metal, rap and dance, and who knows what. This casino has so many different styles of music it is rather weird to have them all in the same program. As a Music Designer, I would NOT recommend it, but they are the client. And when I am in a casino and I hear the noise levels of the machine and the people and barely hear the music, I realize that it probably doesn’t make a whole lot of difference.

When I’ve finished with a little project like that, I might go to work on another client’s music, gathering appropriate songs and compiling them for their monthly update. Each client is different in what combination of types of music they want, so I have to remind myself of their current program and then go hunting. Right now I have 3 clients that use a LOT of Texas Country music. That is one of my specialties, so I have been working to get licensing for a lot of the artists from Texas so that we can use their music. I also try to put their music in other programs to make it worth their while to go through the hassle of being licensed with us (we do pay them, it is worth it). Some of my clients have lots of the current top 40 music in their programs. Some of these songs on the charts are songs I don’t use in any other programs, so, again, I have to listen to them and familiarize myself with them. Some I may choose NOT to use because even though the client THINKS they want all the hits, I can hear that some of these are too far out there for them or the themes are too dark or too sexy or something. I use my judgment on these things. But it requires me listening to a whole lot of music that I don’t like.

But I also take care of a lot of programs that are not specifically for one client, but many might use the program. Stuff like “hits from the 60s,” “hits from the 50s,” “country,” “traditional country,” “bluegrass,” etc. I enjoy most of these because there is a clear-cut delineation of what works and what doesn’t work on most of them. Was it a hit? Is it the right era or genre? This week I did a lot of work on the 60s program. It is ever-evolving because our technology upgrades and then I can use better versions of the same song, so I am always looking to see if I can find a better quality version of songs that are already in the program. Many times I do checks and realize that there are missing songs from an artist. Perhaps when someone else started this program we didn’t have that song, or maybe I missed it at some time, or we didn’t have it. But now, I am looking at, say, hits by the Supremes and I realize “Hey, I loved the song The Happening. Why isn’t it in here?” I’ll go and check and find that we do have it and I’ll add it. Or, if we don’t have it and I think it is important enough to have in the program, I’ll go searching for it in other databases where we can buy music and request it. I did that last week with Neil Sedaka’s slow 70s version of Breaking Up Is Hard To Do. And that made me think of Tony Christie’s song “Amarillo,” which was written by Neil Sedaka and was a minor hit for Christie, but I still wanted it, so I requested it, too.

A LOT of my time is that “oh that reminds me” thing that leads me far afield from the program I am working on. Or I’ll be working on, say, the 70s program and realize that one of these hits would be perfect for a restaurant I have music in so I’ll save that song in their folder so I’ll come back to it when their time comes. Or I’ll go see the whole list of songs by that artist and pull several for that restaurant or other stores. I may throw them out later when I come back to it, but at least it give me a start on finding their music.

Well, that’s enough for this entry of “What I Do.” This stuff fills up most of my time in most of my days, but isn’t my full job. We’ll get to that another day.

April 28, 2012

My Radio History

Filed under: Radio stuff — Janice @ 10:24 pm

It’s been an interesting week with reminders of all my days in radio popping up. Right now I am listening to a fabulous hour-long CD that a Facebook friend that used to work in Amarillo sent to me. It has airchecks (tapes) of disc jockies that worked in Amarillo in the 50s and 60s, along with commercials and other things that remind me of home. Snippets of music and commercial slogans make me sit up and say, “Oh yeah, I remember that!”

Along with that, this week someone is demolishing the KVET building I worked at on Lamar in Austin. There is a reunion of the old employees in the parking lot the evening before that sounds like a lot of fun, but I don’t think I’m going to be able to go to it. I worked in that building less than 6 months. When I first went there in August of 2001, I thought, “Wow, this is a cool, old authentic radio building!” It was so old-fashioned with it’s long narrow stairway up to the actual studios and offices on the second floor. The studios were incredibly cramped and the sales people practically sat in each others’ laps in their offices. It didn’t take long for me to realize how nasty dirty that old building was and it lost a lot of its charm when I first pulled myself up to the board and my fingers hit rock hard chewing gum that had been put there by disc jockies for decades.

I have also talked to some people this week and had the opportunity to tell some of my radio stories. It brought back memories of stations I might have only worked at a month before I moved on (yes, I could be fickle) and stations that I spent years at and loved so much about them. I don’t want to be in radio again, I just want it to be 1981 again, I think.

April 22, 2012

Writers’ Inspiration

Filed under: Writing — Janice @ 9:51 pm

The writer’s workshop would have been PERFECT if a.) there had been 10 lively, engaging participants, mostly younger than me, but several right around my age, that all were interesting and vivacious and turned to me for my knowledge and wit, b.) I felt confident and superior and realized that my many years of writing and of being published have laid the perfect foundation for my most productive period of writing to begin now, and c.) Sarah Bird had seen me among the participants and exclaimed, “Oh, wonderful! I want you all to meet my friend and favorite reader, Janice Williams. Janice would you come up here and tell everyone how much you love me and my writing? “

Okay, so it wasn’t the perfect writer’s workshop. As I looked around the room of 50 or so gray-haired women and men, a couple of baldies and maybe 3 who could pass for someone under 40, I realized that I am a middle-age wannabe writer. It was a lot easier to go to writers’ conferences and workshops in my 20s and be a young, eager, wannabe writer.

Saturday I participated in a really nice day at the beautiful Blue Rock Studios near Wimberly with Sarah Bird telling us all she knows. She claims it was her first seminar, which is a surprise and I think this now opens up a whole new opportunity for her. I loved it. She talked about her writing style and did a lot of motivating about “telling the story you need to tell.” I know I have lots of stories I want to tell and there are plenty that don’t require the death of the person I am writing about, so I need to get with it.

This TINY little blog is a small start. It is nice to be back. Thank Sarah.


April 7, 2012

Easter is Here

Filed under: At home,Bluebonnets,Childhood Memories — Janice @ 11:22 pm

I truly don’t know why I’ve been on such a long writer’s block. Whatever.

Easter is here tomorrow and that makes me think of many good Easters I’ve had in my life. In Amarillo, Easter was like Halloween in that, as likely as not, it was too cold to do what you planned to do… hunt Easter eggs. We would wear our light spring dresses and white shoes, but freeze all the way too and from church.

As an adult, a favorite Easter memory was when I lived in Dallas and went home to Canyon for Easter. My best friend Beth joined our family for the day and my sister and her family were there. The boys were about 3 and 2 and were adorable in their little matching clothes hunting Easter eggs. We would hide Easter eggs in plain sight and when I “couldn’t find” an egg laying right in front of me Brandt was a good helper by pointing and saying “Aunt Zan, it’s RIGHT THERE.” Connor mostly sucked on his pacifier and had no idea what the fuss was about.

In Austin, our Easters are often bluebonnet trips into the country. We’ve had plenty of those this year and seen so many beautiful bluebonnet patches. And Mark is off on a trip of his own this weekend so I am home taking care of things that have been shoved aside for the last few weeks while I entertained others, did taxes, did work, or felt crappy. I’ve had a highly successful day and if tomorrow is just as successful, there may be light at the end of the tunnel.

March 11, 2012


Filed under: Austin,Music — Janice @ 10:06 pm

I don’t know what is with me lately with this reluctance to write. Lots of ideas flow through my head, but the sitting down and getting them written is not getting done. And, I guess even if it does get done they sometimes are missing. I just found a post I wrote weeks ago that never published, so you’ll now read about my cousin Gary 3 weeks late.

My friend Jenni wrote a blog post about why she loves SXSW today. I read it and it did make me get a little bit excited about the week ahead. I also like the long walks and realizing how close things really are, even though I may only walk that much once a year. And I like running into people and meeting people and discovering new music. I wouldn’t be the Brian Wright fan I am today if I hadn’t heard him at a SXSW stage in the middle of the afternoon many years ago.

But I’ll go ahead and bitch and complain about things that most people would love to have to deal with in order to get to experience SXSW each year. Please don’t come back at me with all the good things about it and why I shouldn’t bitch. This is my blog and I’m going to bitch if I want to.

The main reason I dread SXSW and can’t wait for it to be over is because of how hard Mark has to work through it all. The last couple of years might have been a little bit lighter because of the economy, but this year it seems to be back at full tilt. Most of the year, Mark works from Tuesday through Friday at the drum/gear shop and often has to take gear on a weekend and be with a show for 12 or more hours. But when it gets near to SXSW time, he spends longer and longer hours putting gear together for bands and then it is almost a 24-hour-a-day job by the time this Friday is here. Yesterday he went to work about noon and came home at 4 in the morning. I expect today will be much the same. And there is no weekend or Monday off during SXSW. He’ll be working straight through all the festivities. He won’t get to go out and experience any of the bands he’s putting gear together for. He is there through rain and cold and on his feet all night long putting drums together and taking them apart and keeping track of dozens of sets of drums all over town.

My second gripe about SXSW is that my birthday is almost always during SXSW. On my 50th birthday, SXSW started late and I had a whole Sunday before SX to celebrate me! We ate Mexican food and enjoyed the spring weather and walked around the State Cemetery. My idea of a great birthday. Every other birthday is overshadowed by SXSW. On the good side, I do get to celebrate my birthday each year with Ray Benson at his big party and I am looking forward to that because I see many friends that I really like at that big event.

Jenni mentioned the traffic and that is a nightmare for those of us who live here. Last year we had a company part on the east side and, knowing the city and knowing what downtown would be like, I cut way east to make my way south to avoid the downtown streets. It didn’t help. The minute I cut back toward my side of town I was in long long waits for red lights and it was ages before I was back home. This year our company party is in an even more hard to get to place and I have no clue where I’m going to be able to park for it.

A good thing this year is that I am a little bit more secure in my job and know how much I can be gone to go enjoy the festivities and how much I need to be in the office to do my job. That is a good thing to know. I enjoy the day parties and the day music more than the night events, so I will be taking advantage of my schedule and experiencing what I can throughout the afternoons and getting my work done in the morning.

That’s enough bitching for now. I think most of my anxiety over SXSW is my anxiety and has nothing to do whatsoever with the event. I have had some great moments during SXSW, just like Jenni points out, and I am eager to see who I run into and what music memories I come away with when it is over.

February 21, 2012

Meeting Gary Hood

Filed under: Family,Genealogy — Janice @ 8:37 am

All weekend I thought of things I wanted to write about in my blog, but here comes Tuesday morning after the holiday and I haven’t written (hardly) a thing.

But I did get to meet my cousin Gary Hood this weekend. That was a highlight of my holiday. He and his wife Judy came through on Saturday  morning and I met them at the highway corner so we could become acquainted. As is the case with a whole lot of my “cousins,” we have never met.

Gary used to correspond with my grandmother. Back in the days before I did a lot of correspondence in my genealogy, he was researching his family and found out about my grandmother somehow and wrote letters to her. She was a good letter-writer and kept up the correspondence. He lived in Arkansas and she had just moved to Austin, I believe. They were distant Hood cousins and Gary came down twice over the years for the Hood Reunion in Georgetown and met my grandmother and the others there.

Fast forward to about 5 or 6 years ago. I get email from Becky Hood in Amarillo (another cousin I’ve never met) introducing herself to me. She had heard about me from Gary Hood in Arkansas, but tracked me down through the radio station. He only knew of me because of my grandmother telling him about me. Becky and I began an email friendship and exchange of information and I got to meet her on a trip to Amarillo almost 5 years ago. We hit it off immediately and had so much in common, beginning with the same hometown. My best friend even knew her sister from high school, another connection.

When Facebook came along and took over the world, I eventually became friends with Gary and we exchanged some information and became friends. He travels the world frequently and takes beautiful pictures, so I have enjoyed seeing his travels from my home.

Gary’s great-great-grandfather and my great-great-great-grandfather (I think I have that right) were brothers and lived in Arkansas before the Civil War, near where Gary lives today. Mine fought in the Civil War and was injured and had to use a cane the rest of his life. That injury didn’t keep him out of the war, though, and he continued to be a part of the Confederate force and fought the Union soldiers in Mississippi. I’ve forgotten the name of the battle now, but the Confederates were forced into retreat and had to retreat across a large river. There was sort of a bridge made of boats and they were retreating quickly, but the Union forces were advancing so rapidly, the Southern soldiers had to torch the boats to prevent the Yankees from using them as well. This still left hundreds of Confederate soldiers on the wrong side of the river. Many swam and drown in their attempt to get across. My g-g-g-grandfather was captured and kept in a prison camp for a period of time.

He did survive the war and went home to Arkansas. I need to ask Gary about his ancestor’s service because I expect he was also in the Civil War – who wasn’t if you lived in the South and were of fighting age?

After the war, the two brothers, along with another brother who was the g-g-g-grandfather of Becky Hood, came to Texas to homestead. Becky’s ancestor and mine stayed and found their home here. Gary’s tried it a while and decided he wanted to go back to Arkansas. Which he did. The End.

February 18, 2012

Odd and Ends

Filed under: Music — Janice @ 2:35 pm

I’m cleaning off my desk (and chair and floor – things have gotten way out of hand). I’m finding bits and pieces and scraps of things I wrote down to eventually write about. I may not really write about this, but I thought I’d share these lyrics I wrote done from one of the lame CDs I got at work. I didn’t even write down the artist, not that it matters. These are so typical of ALL of the country CDs I get. It is interesting that in the hands of the really good songwriters, these trite subjects can become a great country song. This guy was NOT one of those writers.

Some examples:

The title “What I Done Wrong” should have been a clue as to how bad this could be. “I been sittin’ here for three long days wonderin’ why it was you went away…”

“There’s a Gideon’s Bible in the drawer, bars on the window, bars on the door.”

“We walked in starched up with our ostrich on…”

“Daddy had a 1941 Ford when I was just about ten years old.”

“I got a brand new pack of cigarettes, I’ve got a brand new pair of shoes.”

“They say sweet salvation saves your soul, but without my woman I just don’t feel whole.”

“Loneliness is the only thing that keeps me company these days when I’m by myself.”

and my favorite:

“My Daddy picked his poison cause I guess that it fulfilled him”  (okay, you’re thinking, that’s a weird lyric, but then the next line ends with “killed him” and you realize it was one of those contrived rhymes he forced)

So did he cover all the country bases? Prison, trains, truck, or getting drunk? Not exactly, but enough of the others (two about Daddy!) that I would give him a “Trite Award.”

February 4, 2012

St. Blaise Day 2012

Filed under: Austin,Spasmodic Dysphonia — Janice @ 9:09 am

I wrote about St. Blaise Day last year and why I go to this Catholic service once a year. I had it in my intentions all this week to again participate in St. Blaise Day on February 3. I was even thinking how great it was that it wasn’t icy and snowy like it was last February and I didn’t have to worry about that issue this week.

But Friday, St. Blaise Day, rolled around yesterday and I completely forgot. I expected to go to a noon mass again and at 12:45 I looked at the clock and remembered! Shoot. With the help of my Catholic friend Denise and the Internet and a call or two, I discovered a couple of after work services that would have the blessing. Denise says I am lucky that it was First Friday or churches might not have been having these services.

I made it to the south side of town to the San Jose Catholic Church by their 5:45 service in the Sacred Heart Chapel. I wanted to see what their big cathedral looked like inside, but I guess I’ll have to go another time for that. The chapel was very nice, though. Plastic movable chairs instead of pews and no kneeling benches. I think Catholics must get to live longer because they keep their bodies limber by kneeling so often. Over and over and over during a service. I don’t/can’t do that. I was surprised that they DID get all the way on their knees when there are no kneeling benches.

The priest this year was a very small berry brown man and I assumed he was Mexican since this church is in the heart of a Mexican community, but when he spoke I realized he is probably Indian. He had a beautiful soft British accent.

It was a long long service with lots of responsive readings and ceremony and ritual. One thing (well, several things) I’ll give to the Catholics:  first, it isn’t a social hour when they come to church, before or after the service. When I go into a church I like to get my mind right and think and relax and prepare for worship. Catholics know how to to that, especially with the holy water and the kneeling as they come in, etc., but mainly with sitting quietly or praying before the service. Baptists (if you haven’t been in a Baptist church) do a whole lot of greeting and talking and visiting as they sit in the pews and come up the aisles before the service gets started. And I appreciate the Catholics for not making me declare that I am a visitor and filling out a card and fearing that they are going to come to my house to visit me. I have several horror stories related to such things I won’t go into today, but it is a huge relief to not even have to worry about that moment of the service where they say “Can we have all the visitors stand so we can welcome you?” Augh. Catholics do have that part of the service where you greet one another and say “Peace be with you,” but no one says “And who are YOU?” or “You are visiting?” or even expects you to introduce yourself. I like that, too. Yes, I like anonymity. But the Baptists do have much better music and much less audience participation so don’t think I’m slamming Baptists. We have our good parts, too.

They did the blessing early in the service and the priest did every one of them (no assistant priest) and said it loudly and clearly so I could really hear the words, asking the bishop and martyr St. Blaise to intercede and prevent diseases of the throat and all other diseases in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. There were at least 75 people there so it took a while.

One thing I liked, too, in this mostly Mexican-heritage congregation was several women with lace scarves on their head. One woman that assisted in the service and communion had a beautiful black and red one that really was beautiful with her black hair and eyes.

Before the service I went into the little store there at the church. Lots of churches (even Baptists) have little stores in their churches these days and I’m not so sure I “believe” in that, but I did appreciate this one last night. I have wanted a St. Blaise medal for years. I have a St. Christopher medal that a listener once gave me and I appreciate it because of her, but I wanted St. Blaise because of this yearly ritual. I had looked online and have seen gold and silver ones for $25 and up, so I haven’t ordered one. Last night I found this store with just about every medal of every saint you could want and got a St. Blaise for all of 50 cents. Score!

Next year St. Blaise should fall on a Sunday again and it might be a long service. I will call ahead to make sure that there will be a blessing since my last Sunday experience didn’t have one. It will probably be Superbowl Sunday, too, but I expect and plan to be there again, unless I forget. 

January 29, 2012

What a Weekend

Filed under: At home,Austin,Childhood Memories,Family,Food,Music,Writing — Janice @ 8:23 pm

As the week goes on, I think of lots of things I think I want to blog about. I sometimes send myself an email with the idea. Tonight I searched for those emails and looked at the ideas and thought, “Now why in the world did I want to blog about that?” I think any subject I come up with has to be written about in the moment of inspiration or it is lost.

Which I guess is a good way of writing and I need to jump on that inspiration train more often. I sometimes tend to hold on to things until I have time to explore them further or really do them justice. I once asked Billy Joe Shaver about songwriting. I asked if he ever came up with a really good line or turn of a phrase and if he decided to save that line for a different song so that he didn’t “waste” it. He looked at me like I was crazy and didn’t understand at all what I meant. And I think that is the way that creative people really work (his way, not mine). They use whatever they have and expect it to be in its perfect place then and there and know there will be more inspiration where that comes from as they need it.

I have spent this day trying to get inspired to do the true paid work I needed to do in order to get past that and do the creative fun things I wanted to do. Mostly I ended up with nothing being done. A bit of the paid work, but not enough, and none of the fun stuff. And very little of the laundry and things that just have to be done to be a contributing member of our society. I hate when the weekend flies by with that feeling of little accomplishment.

On the very good side of the equation, however, I got to spend some really fun and really quality time with my husband. We went out to see music on Friday night and got to hang with some of our favorite people at some of our favorite places and hear truly great music. Saturday we ventured forth and tried a new chicken joint for dinner. Stuck in our ways, we don’t eat out much and we sure don’t eat out at new places much, but we ALWAYS on the search for good fried chicken that makes us as happy as Allen’s in Sweetwater does. We tried the new place Lucy’s Fried Chicken near Oltorf and South Congress that is currently trendy. We went and we enjoyed it, but it is VERY pricey for fried chicken. I think they could tone down the hipster vibe a bit and the organic and master chef vibe and hire some old farm wife to come in and make fried chicken and it would be an improvement. The fried chicken was excellent, the salads we had were excellent, the corn muffins were very good, but it isn’t a place we can afford on a regular basis and it isn’t the kind of place you’d want to go for a truly special night. Our search will continue. We also got to go to an estate sale that we passed and saw drums in the yard. The drums weren’t worth Mark’s money and I just got a book about the Depression and people’s memories of it and an unused spiral and we were happy.

We also watched the movie the Black Swan that got so many Academy Awards last year. I can see why it got them because the acting is outstanding and the set design, costuming, music, Foley, et al, was great. But the movie itself is creepy creepy creepy and I would not recommend it to anyone that doesn’t love creepy or horror. I’m glad I saw it to see what all the fuss was about and I tried to watch a lot of it with my “degree in film” mind instead of my “weak constitution chicken” mind. That helped. Creepy. Haunting.

And today would have been my grandfather’s 104th birthday. His name was Andy Williams, a name that was always fun to use in conversation. He was my first grandparent to die. He was 65 and had just retired a few months earlier (and hated every minute of it) and I was 14. So I have fewer memories of him than any of the others who all lived past 90 or 100. He was a truck driver and had been a farmer and had owned a grocery store and had to do a lot of things to try to make a living in the Depression and soon after. By some reports he didn’t try hard enough and their marriage was a bit rocky at times, I have heard. But they stayed together and he was a good grandfather. He would bring us packs of Juicy Fruit or Double Mint and sometimes coins when he came in from off the road. He let me smoke cigarettes with him when I was about 7 or 8. He would let us ride with him on the riding lawnmower.

Yes, I’m just rambling. I went back to a few of my older entries when I started this blog, trying to fix the links and errors that have cropped up with server changes. The ones I like to re-read are usually the ones I dashed off or wrote about several topics. The ones that were thought out and more like a newspaper article are stale and lifeless now. So will this one hold up over time? It probably would if it had a picture, so I’ll put a picture of Pappa Williams:

Andy and Durward Williams

That’s him on the left with the ever-present cigarette in his hand. Daddy on the right … probably with a cigarette in his other hand, too. This was in their garage. I notice between them in the background my little white and red stepstool that sits in my kitchen. It must have been relegated to their garage when Mamma got her new fancy bigger metal one (that doubled as an extra seat in the kitchen). There were many battles as kids to see who got to sit on the little red and white footstool. It, too, could be a stool you stepped up or, flip the top over, it could be a sitting stool. I “inherited” it from Mamma somewhere down the line. I say “inherited” because I am sure I got it long before she died and I may have flat out asked for it. I don’t really remember how I ended up with it, but I did, and I replaced the hinges and painted it red and white again because it was paint splattered and beat up. My nephews used to compete a bit to get to sit on it at my house, too. That makes me happy. Everyone has grown up with it now and it still sits in my kitchen reminding me of good times at Mamma and Pappa Williams.

January 18, 2012

A Mission

Filed under: Austin,Reading — Janice @ 8:59 pm

Dec. 31, 2011 – My friend Jenni gives me the book “A Redbird Christmas” by Fannie Flagg.

What an incredibly thoughtful gift because it had been a full 11 months earlier that she learned I had not read this book. I don’t know how it even came up, though we were discussing Fannie Flagg books. I told a story about my cousin and her little girl that died at age 3 or 4 and how on the day of her funeral the entire neighborhood was covered in cardinals. Jenni knew this book would mean more to me because of that.

Jan 1, 2012 – I think about how sweet it was that Jenni gave me this incredibly thoughtful gift and I wanted to sit right down and write a thank you note. No, I thought, I will read the book and then I’ll really be able to thank her and tell her how much I enjoyed it, too.

Jan 2, 2012 – Despite football games keeping me up late at night, I start reading The Redbird Christmas and find it to be a wonderful book. Like so many of my favorite Fannie Flagg books, it is about simple people and every detail adds to the story and brings you into it more. I can hardly put it down.

Jan 4, 2012 – I finish the book with great satisfaction (and some tears) and want to immediately turn back to page one and start it again. No, I’ll write that thank you note. But it is bedtime, I’ve finished a good book, I will do that tomorrow.

Jan 5, 2012 – It’s Friday and company is coming so I clean house and put off note writing.

Jan 7, 2012 – A vet appointment and more company preparation. Company arrives, frivolity ensues.

Jan 8, 2012 – I send A Redbird Christmas home with my sister so she can enjoy it, too, and tell her to pass it on to Mother as soon as she is finished. She’s not so sure about a Fannie Flagg book after this last bomb she wrote, but I assure her that this is the old Fannie and she’ll love it. A Redbird Christmas goes home with Mackie and I think, Gosh, I need to write that note to Jenni.

Jan 9, 2012 – Somehow a college football game takes my mind off of thank you notes.

Jan 10, 2012 – I have my new diary for the New Year and I write my 3 things I WILL be doing tomorrow (I’ve learned I can only accomplish 3 things for sure). Jenni’s thank you is at the top of the list.

Jan 11, 2012 – I go to write in my diary only to discover I haven’t done any of my 3 things on my list. I move them to the next day’s list.

Jan 14-15, 2012 – Suddenly I find myself embedded in the couch with football games – football games I won’t remember in a couple of days—completely taking my weekend.

Jan 16, 2012 – I have a dream. I have a dream of writing this thank you note!

Jan 18, 2012 – Today. No, it is still not written. I went so far as the box of cards to see if there is anything appropriate. No luck. At this point, a scribbled note on the back of the water bill would be at least SOME acknowledgement of how much I enjoyed this book and, more importantly, the thought that went into it. No, this blog will not serve as a thank you note. I swear a thank you note will be in the mailbox TOMORROW! And if I promise it here, I have to follow through, right?

I found a beautiful painting of a redbird on the web, but don’t want to steal it – – – so just go look at it HERE. Pretty! Instead I’ll use this pretty bird link (Image courtesy of birdclipart.com):

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