Janice Williams Loves Austin And sometimes I write about it.

August 2, 2011

Thoughts on Reading

Filed under: Family,Reading — Janice @ 11:36 pm

I visited with a friend tonight and she was telling me about the list of 700 or so books she has read in the last 4 years. Yikes. I don’t know if I’ve finished 70 books in the last 4 years. My Internet habit has replaced my television habit that replaced my reading habit long ago.

Not that I don’t read. I really do. Right now I am reading 4 books. Sarah Bird’s latest “The Gap Year” is at the top of the list and it is the reason I look forward to going to bed and getting in a few chapters before I have to make myself sleep. On hold for the moment is the autobiography of Keith Richards. I had to put it aside to read a book for my book club last month (“The Gay Place” by Billy Lee Brammer) and there it sits. I’ve got a book about Comanche Indians on the Texas Plains called “Empire of the Summer Moon” going and I keep it in the car for when I go out for lunch alone or get stuck somewhere for a while. Sadly, that isn’t often enough and that book has been neglected for a while. And I just began “The Art of Racing in the Rain” at the recommendation of my friend Beth. If I read as fast as my friend Susan (or as much) I would have finished those all before this paragraph was written.

I definitely grew up with a mother who read constantly. In the summer, when I was home to observe her, I would see her do the gardening in the morning and get the house clean and then she would lay down on the bed to read for a  while in the afternoon before making dinner. After dinner and after some TV with the family, she was usually the first to retire to the bedroom so she could read.

My Dad was a gas pipeline land surveyor and his job frequently took him out of town from Monday through Friday or even for two weeks at a time. Those summer days when he was gone seemed to stretch forever. Without his leaving in the morning and arrival in the evening to give the day structure, we three just floated on a never-ending bookmobile. Mom would pull the mattress off of her bed onto the floor and Mackie and I would sleep on the floor mattress and she would sleep on the mattress that was still on the bed. We three would read and read and read late into the night. That is a very pleasant memory for me. The windows wide open because the nights are so cool in the summer in the Panhandle and the only sounds were from a coyote in the distance or our dog outside the window and pages turning in the room.

We also were allowed to read at the dinner table when Daddy was out of town. That was a real treat, too. Probably a treat for Mother more than anyone!

We made a lot of trips to the library in Canyon in the summer. Canyon had the best library in the world when I was in junior high. It was a long narrow military building of some kind, like barracks. I don’t know if it had been moved onto that lot, just off of the square in Canyon, or if it was originally there. It was dark and crowded and you could lose yourself in there for a long long time. When I was in high school they moved into a large modern spacious and airy new building and I never got the same enjoyment from it. There’s something about those dark crowded shelves that made me feel like I was discovering something that no one else knew about.

July 29, 2011

A Grave Mystery

Filed under: Music — Janice @ 10:59 pm

Our overnight trip to the Texas Hill Country was coming to a close and we were now close to home. Mark had asked on the trip out if there were any Cunninghams buried in the Hill Country. He was concerned, I think, that I might suffer from withdrawal without a cemetery trip. I told him I would be fine and bit my tongue every time a story about a dead person came to mind (of course there was no need, Mark is a great audience).

Finally, we are nearing our final destination and getting close to Dripping Springs. Ten years ago we visited a grave in Dripping Springs and Mark had mentioned recently that he would like to go that cemetery again. Of course, I’m all for that! I just didn’t expect it to be on this trip, but I’m glad it was. Mark asked if I could remember enough to navigate us back to this cemetery. I knew that I could and we started on a parallel road with 290 heading toward Dripping Springs.

The grave we were going to see belongs to my great-great-great-grandfather James Powel Hallford who came to Texas with his wife Sarah Medlin Hallford and her sisters and their husbands, one who was married to James’s brother. They all came to Texas early in Statehood and settled around Grapevine, Texas, and were the earliest settlers of Southlake, Grapevine, Flower Mound, Denton, and more. Around the end of the Civil War, several of them relocated to Hays County and lived around Dripping Springs. James Powel Hallford died there in 1868 and was buried in this small cemetery. It was really an adventure to find it 10 years ago and it was not easy. We hunted high and low and had to stop and ask for directions and somehow make it through a locked gate onto private property and then not get shot while we were there. We were up for just such an adventure again.

I had no trouble finding the locked gate again. It had not changed. I don’t really remember how we made it through last time. This time we crawled under the gate. Yes, too hefty 50+-year-olds scooching under a big iron gate that had cedar posts hanging underneath it specifically to keep people out. It didn’t work.

We made it onto this beautiful ranch and started walking toward the cemetery. We came up to a fork and went toward the storage buildings and abandoned cars that are there. No cemetery. We go the other way. No cemetery. We go further and further, though we knew we had not walked nearly this far when we came here before, but where would a cemetery go? I began hallucinating about this point. Either because it was 105 outside and we were in the brightest sunshine or because I was determined to find my cemetery. I swear, I would see a tombstone sticking up as plain as could be and I would get closer and it would have just melted away. Or a solid, squared, on-the-ground stone would catch my eye and I’d plow through the brush only to find it was a limestone rock. We walk all the way back and back to the house and back this way and that and then started back out where we came in, still not giving up, and looking closer on that trail. We hadn’t been paying as much attention on that stretch of path because we were sure when we came in that the cemetery was farther up the road, but this time we looked more closely and there is was, hidden in the trees and weeds.

The cemetery had deteriorated a lot since our last visit, I think. I recall being able to read the gravestone more clearly last time, but the dates now are indistinguishable. The name can still be read if you know what it says already. There are probably 20 graves with gravestones that have names or appear to have a name and at least 20 more just marked with rocks. That means there could be so many more that aren’t really marked at all. This is the grave of my g-g-g-grandfather Hallford:

Yes, you’re looking at the inscribed part. There was no way to take a picture of it where you could actually read it. It was more a matter of touch and being a good detective to know what it says. Mark and I discussed the life story of this Hallford and I wondered again, for the millionth time, where his wife is buried. I’ve seen sources that say she died “after 1880 in Hays County,” but I believe that Hays County part is just an assumption based on seeing her in the 1880 census in Hays County and not finding her later. But I found her later. She was living in Comanche County in 1900 with her son (my great-great-grandfather) and his family and she was 88. That is where her trail goes cold. I know at that point she only had 2 living children of the 10 she had given birth to, but I don’t know who the other one was besides my great-great-grandfather. He died in 1902 and — if she was still alive at that time — I suspect she might have gone on to live with the last living child. I need to do more research one day and see what else can be discovered.

We had our photographs and my cemetery fix and we tromped back to the gate again and scooched once again. A harder scooch this time because it was more uphill. We were on our way again. We stopped at the Sonic to re-hydrate (no, no malt or ice cream this time) and I checked my email. I had seen an email earlier that I hadn’t opened, but I opened it this time. It was a request sent to me through findagrave.com, one of my favorite sites for genealogy. A woman was writing to thank me for putting up the findagrave memorial for James Powel Hallford — the grave we had just visited for the first time in 10 years — and wondering where his wife was buried– the same question we had just debated. It all was a spooky coincidence that makes me want to find out where Sarah is buried. That will be one of my next genealogy quests.

July 28, 2011

Comfort, Texas

Filed under: Music — Janice @ 10:48 pm

Comfort is one of my favorite towns in Texas. Mark and I discovered it (for ourselves, I believe many other Texans had discovered it long before we got there) on our honeymoon. We stayed at the fabulous Ingenhuett-Faust Hotel B&B for a couple of nights on our honeymoon and have been back a couple of times since. It’s one of the few B&B’s that I happily go back to and recommend without qualms. I was going to say “without reservation,” but it is a good idea to get a reservation. Ha!

What really saddened us on this trip to Comfort was finding out that the old general store on main street had burned sometime in the past few years. We had not heard about it.

It was really a step back into history to go into that store. They sold hardware and gardening things along with the newspaper and some staples. It was fun to walk up and down the aisles and say, “Oh, look, Daddy had one of these in his garage.” I think we bought our last rain gauge there just because that was something we needed and it was fun to get to buy something from them. We talked to a clerk at another store in town and heard more of the sad story. Of course the old building didn’t have insurance and the owner lost so much in it and after about a year he committed suicide. With no wife or children, distant relatives inherited it and it sat for a long time with no changes. Finally someone has bought the building, but still nothing has been done. You can imagine the daunting task of trying to do something with it. First, you’d have to have loads and loads of available money and then, once you did something, you’d still have the upkeep because a little town can only support so many antique stores and B&Bs and art galleries.

We had our requisite Dairy Queen chocolate malt while in Comfort. It is right on I-10 (I guess it always has been, but I’ve never noticed before) and has the normal fast food on the highway.

Back on down the backroads through Sisterdale and Kendalia and Blanco toward home…  We stopped briefly in Blanco at a good fruit and vegetable stand that I’ve stopped at while passing through before. I sure wish there were a stand like that on my route to and from work. We got tomatoes and okra and potatoes and squash and Mark had to have some homemade peach ice cream. Good move because it was the really good kind of ice cream with the frozen bits of real peaches.

We’re within an hour of home at this point and then the adventure began! Story to come…

July 27, 2011

Still Sitting in the Frio

Filed under: Food,Travel — Janice @ 10:48 pm

We’ll see if my patience lasts longer tonight or the Internet and WordPress work more quickly. I barely have the patience to write, much less upload photos.

But to continue our lovely journey, we spent the afternoon in the beautiful Frio. Nothing like sitting in fresh cold spring water…

When Mark had to go and set up and get ready for his gig, I lolled and napped and read in our sweet little cabin. It’s a weird experience to be somewhere without a TV or a radio, no Internet, no computer, and no cell phone! I zipped through a 100+ book about the history of Central Texas — including my beloved Comanche County– in no time.

The gig was fun. Lots of families come to these river lodges and bring the friends and all the kids and spend a week. There was lots of camaraderie and fun among the crowd and a packed dance floor on every song. Dads and Moms teaching their kids to dance and lots of 14-year-olds awkwardly shuffling around the dance floor trying to play it cool. Lots of little bitty ones, too, running circles around the dance floor and being awfully cute. Lots to watch and enjoy along with the very good music. A couple by me struck up a conversation and that carried on throughout the night, too.

Sunday we were totally on our own with no agenda or deadline, just lots of time to wend our way back to South Austin. First thing on the agenda was food and we drove straight up to Leakey, one of the sweetest little towns in all of Texas, to eat. We were sad to see that the pharmacy that served up the best chocolate malt I’ve ever had was now closed and empty. We went to a restaurant called The Feed Lot that apparently is on Texas Monthly’s list of best small town cafes. It seemed to be the place to start your Sunday morning. There were groups of older men enjoying breakfast together and another couple or two. It didn’t have that look of a diner or restaurant, more of a rustic cabin with picnic tables. They did serve up a breakfast taco like I’ve never had before (yum!):

Those homemade tortillas might be worth the trip back.

Back on the road we drove one of the most scenic drives in Texas from Leakey to Vanderpool across a ridge of mountains on a winding road. I snapped about a million pictures through the windshield and with my hand outside the window, but it is hard to get the camera to capture that scenic glimpse across dozens of miles from the lofty vantage.

Before you knew it we were in Comfort, Texas, and that’s where the story will pick up soon…

[Thanks for all the comments yesterday! I don’t know when I’ve had that many comments on a post.]

July 26, 2011

Down on the Frio River

Filed under: Travel — Janice @ 10:34 pm

Up until a few years ago, the Frio was only something I knew from George Strait’s song “All My Exes Live in Texas” (I remember that ol’ Frio River…). Then Mark and I made a great little trip out there for his birthday one year in the fall. We practically had the river to ourselves and the weather was ideal. This weekend was my first trip back there since then. Mark was offered a gig with a new band to play in Concan at Neal’s Cabins. Neal’s apparently has been there a long time with cabins and a dining hall. They have fabulous pictures going back to the 30s and 40s on the walls of the restaurant.

It may feel like it’s a million miles from Austin, but it is only about 200 miles. We took the long way, of course, and did some meandering on the way out, eating a great brunch at the bowling alley in Blanco (one of our stops on our honeymoon). We got to Concan in the afternoon and there was still plenty of time before Mark needed to set up his gear so we enjoyed some sitting and splashing in the Frio. The splashing occurred when I lost my footing and kerplunked into the spring just about as soon as we got there. With the drought, we didn’t know if there would be water in the river or not, but it is spring fed (and that’s why it is so cold). It wasn’t a full running river like it was when we were there last, but the springs provided enough water for the people down stream to swim and wade and set up their camping tents IN the water so they could lounge in shade while floating. We went farther upstream where there was no one but us for the most part.

Well, I have more pictures to share, but uploading seems to be slow tonight so I will wait and make you anticipate the rest of our journey. Still to come:  more river pics! food pics! and, yes, you guessed it, a cemetery with a spooky twist of an ending.

July 25, 2011

Birthday

Filed under: Family — Janice @ 11:22 pm

I am singing the song Birthday by the Beatles in my head as my sister’s birthday winds down. I didn’t spend it with her this year, we rarely share birthdays anymore, but I have many happy memories of sharing birthdays before distance and jobs and things interfered as much as they do now (or is it laziness?). I’ve talked to her tonight and it sounds like she and our mother had a good time today celebrating and she celebrated with Theo tonight and the boys over the weekend.

I was looking for a picture of Mackie to share and it is hard when I don’t have my more recent pictures as organized as the old pictures. So I’ll share an old one instead. I’ve always liked this picture. It was in our house for a long time and then it was one of those pictures that got lost under other pictures in a frame. I found it a few years ago and love it and those sweet girls in their matching dresses.

July 22, 2011

Citizen USA

Filed under: Family — Janice @ 11:43 pm

Mark and I just watched an HBO Documentary called Citizen USA. It is a short documentary about some of the one million foreigners who become naturalized US citizens each year in our country. It was a VERY moving documentary and I wish every citizen of Arizona and Georgia (… well, and every other state in the union) would watch it.

We take so much for granted in the United States. I remember a joke I read in Reader’s Digest one time where some women were discussing what modern day convenience they wouldn’t want to do without. The microwave? The dishwasher? They were stating their preferences and the 90-year-old grandmother said, “Not me, I’ll take running water every time.” We have so many blessing each and every day, we look right past them. The people in the movie — from Iraq, Jordan, Israel, Mexico, Nigeria, and on and on– loved having 911 to call in case of emergency, the fact that when a school bus stops, the cars in front and behind stop and her children are safe, and being able to walk around the block with a stroller without fear of being kidnapped. A Muslim in Michigan expressed joy that there were churches and mosques side-by-side in Michigan and that the country was founded on religious tolerance.

The movie was made by filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi, the daughter of Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic former Speaker of the House, so I am sure that many people will view it as a liberal mouthpiece without even seeing it, but I would challenge them to find the things they don’t agree with within the movie. Hard to disagree with one immigrant after another praising America as the country where you can come with nothing and work your way up, get an education and a job and a home.

So all that made me think of my brother-in-law. Today is his birthday and he is a naturalized citizen and I’m very happy that he chose the United States to be his home. Coming from Holland, he didn’t face persecution or have to go to the river for his water. He came from a very modern society and was very educated and came to the U.S. to pursue more education. But Theo was looking for freedom in his own way. He has said that it seemed to him that in Holland, people were happy with the status quo and there wasn’t the drive to succeed and achieve. He had that drive and it was not nourished there. He came to the United States to pursue that dream here and has succeeded in so many way.

[I may be playing fast and loose with statistics and quotes and feelings, and I invite Theo or Mackie to chime in in the comments and correct anything I remember wrong from our 30 years as family.]

Theo spoke English and several other languages when he came to the United States on a student visa in 1977. Almost like the movie The Terminal, Theo spent a night at the DFW airport when he first arrived, unsure of how he was supposed to get to town or where he would go when he got there. He did quickly learn and adapt and he met my sister in 1981 and they married in 1982. While he was a student, he was also working as a diamond dealer and learning the trade. He began his own business (Anschar Diamonds) and has been growing that business for almost 30 years. There have been many times when I discover that someone I know knows Theo because they bought jewelry from him or someone in their family bought their engagement ring from him. His network is amazing. Not only do his customers come back again and again, they send their co-workers and family and friends. I certainly have.

Side note…  When Mark and I were talking about engagement rings, Mark had a friend that owned a jewelry store. Mark consulted me and said, “Do I have to buy your ring from Theo or can I buy it from my friend?” I thought it over and told him that I knew that for the rest of our marriage people would notice my beautiful rings and ask if I got them from my brother-in-law. I didn’t want to have to explain why we might not have. I’m so glad we bought our rings from Theo. He got us exactly what we wanted (and I wish I had a great close-up to show you how perfect they are).

Theo became a U.S. citizen in 1997 in Dallas after 20 years in the US. I wish I had been there for his swearing in ceremony. Happy birthday Theo. I’m so glad you are family and the best father to my two nephews and husband to my sister. Thank you for all you’ve done for our family.

July 17, 2011

Home Cooking

Filed under: At home,Childhood Memories — Janice @ 9:29 pm

I miss having a garden. No, I think I mostly miss my PARENTS having a garden. I have had some terrific cherry tomatoes and eggplant and zucchini in my own gardens, but the gardens I grew up with were the memorable ones. And the ones that didn’t require nearly as much effort on my part.

I grew up on a farm and we had a nice big plot for a garden. Big enough that some years Daddy would pull a plow across it with the tractor to cultivate it at the beginning of the season. I remember him doing that, but that must have been before we had trees and impediments in his way. I don’t think he could do that in later years.

When I woke up in the summer — late, around 11 –I would wander out to the garden in my pajamas to say good morning to Mother. That was usually where she was, hoeing the weeds and watering. I would visit and wake up out there and sometimes dash for the house when I would see a farmer’s pickup coming up the road. That didn’t happen too much because we lived at the end of a road so only the farmer that farmed right next to our house ever came up that way.

In our garden back then we grew everything, but I remember the onions more than anything. We had row after row of 1015s and they would grow into absolutely huge onions that we would dig and hang in old pantyhose with a knot between each onion to separate them and keep them dry. Mostly I remember eating those onions. We would make a pile of onion rings like you’ve never seen at a fast food restaurant (or any restaurant for that matter). They were absolutely mouth watering and we would almost make a meal out of fried onions alone.

We also grew zucchini and one of our favorite summertime dishes was zucchini and onions and canned tomatoes smothered in cheese. Bacon. Yes, it had bacon to get you started. Healthy summer vegetables. Yum!

Those summer meals of fried onions, cheesy zucchini, and a big plate of fresh tomato slices were usually served about 9 o’clock. Daddy would be out plowing until the last hint of sun was gone and then he’d come in and we would eat. I don’t know how he kept a schedule like that because he had a full time job that kept him away from the house from about 7 in the morning until 6 at night, but I guess plowing and farming were more of a stress release and relaxation technique than anything else could have been.

We had beans and we had peas. I wasn’t nearly as fond of snapping beans or shelling peas, though the results were worth it. I miss fresh peas a lot. That truly requires a trip to the farmer’s market to get them and I might have them once a year now.

We probably tried to grow corn in our early experiments and didn’t have much luck. We were lucky though. There were some years that the farmer next to our land — Donny McRoberts –would grow corn. He gave us an open invitation to eat all we wanted. Mom would send Mackie and me across the road to pick some corn and we’d bring it home, shuck it, drop it in the boiling water and have it eaten 30 minutes after it was picked. That is a true plus of living on a farm.

Daddy built some chairs from old tractor seats with a disc from a plow as the base and those were at the north end of the rows in the garden. Many evenings Dad and Mom would sit there as the sun sat, watching the irrigation make its way down the rows from north to south. Usually only Dad and Mom enjoyed those evening because there was prime time TV for me and Mackie to be watching inside. We may have grown up on the farm, but we didn’t truly embrace the farm life.

After I became a Master Gardener in Dallas, I was surprised to find that putting coffee cans around your tomato plants was not practiced in all parts of Texas. I learned at that late point that we had to have those cans, or the end piece of pipelines that Daddy would bring home, to protect the tender plants from the constant Panhandle wind. At least until they got big enough to fight against it themselves.

We planted carrots and lettuce and had plenty of zucchini, yellow crookneck squash, and cucumbers. We had a few melons and pumpkins along the way, but that didn’t become a yearly requirement. I learned a lot about gardening on that plot of land. Of course, I haven’t lived anywhere since that had such good, easy-to-deal-with soil.

I started this blog tonight to say that we had corn on the cob for dinner tonight. And potatoes and good Aunt Fanny’s Squash Casserole (that recipe is all over the web if you want it). Oh, and a little tomato salad with green onions and tomatoes. I was feeling like we had one of my childhood-type dinners as I made it. Sadly, now that I write about those dinners in the 70s I know that we most certainly did not. These vegetables were good, but lacked that incredible flavor I remember.

July 15, 2011

Blast from the Past – 2000

Filed under: Austin,Blast From The Past,Writing — Janice @ 10:40 pm

I have seen other writers go back to a previous year and take a glimpse at what they were doing on that date in previous years. I was just fooling with other “blog” (I use that term just so you can imagine what it is, it isn’t a blog) that I have had online for years and thought I would see what I was doing in a previous year. Sometimes when I read something I wrote in the past it makes me laugh out loud. Since this blog was written only for a few special friends, I didn’t worry about hurting someone’s feelings if they were to stumble upon my writing. And now, with 10 years distance, I’ve forgotten this girl’s name and she’s forgotten mine, so I think I’m safe to repost this. Let me take you back to the second summer we lived in Austin… a hot July night in 2000…and ACTION:

I had a truly Austin experience this week that I will not soon repeat. I felt like I was in a sitcom or a candid camera episode. A woman I know is in an Improvisational Dance class at Austin Community College and invited me to her performance this week. I went to be polite and went to see where the campus was. It is a really cool campus where Austin High School used to be. Great neighborhood at 12th and Rio Grande. So I go to the school and find the auditorium. The auditorium would probably take you right back to high school days. At least it did for me. Same vintage as my old Canyon High School auditorium except this one was pretty small and only had about 300 seats. I get there late and four girls are on stage doing a very ethereal and spooky kind of dance to some very rhythmic and strange music. It ends before I see much and their instructor gets up and talks about the “piece” and takes questions. I couldn’t make heads or tails about the questions or answers. “It seemed like this was an organic piece, did you have an organic intention?” “Oh, yes, I had the robotic structure in mind but the plantlike movement as the complement to the blah blah snnnnnooorrre…..” Sorry, I nodded off through this point and was itching to leave already. I wanted to see enough of my friend’s part so I could say I was there. Finally these people cleared the stage and a different teacher took over. Now, believe it or not, this is where it got weird! She asks us all to come and SIT on the stage for this performance. Slowly, like cattle to slaughter, we shuffled to the stage and sat with grunts around the periphery. I am an ample woman and my legs were asleep under me before the first “dance” begin. I put dance in quotes because it was unlike any dance I’ve ever seen except maybe in those old films of kids on drugs at Woodstock or in San Francisco. Each “dancer” (hippie would probably be a better word) took to the stage while a boy played the drum and another performer read words. The words were sort of like a poem but not. The dance was sort of like a witch doctor’s dance but again not. Imagine a full grown person throwing a tantrum like a two-year-old and slinging their toys around the room and running around like they’d had two Mountain Dews for lunch while a friend shouts “Redemption, peace, motor oil” and you’re too busy looking at their hairy armpits to really get much out of it at all. That was my evening. Cindy was performer number five and, thank God, my requirement was over. If only my legs would wake up and let me crawl off the stage unnoticed. The gods smiled on me and I was able to make it and slowly creep out of the auditorium without having to witness more. Miraculously, cutting funding to the NEA seemed to make much more sense

Weekend Chores

Filed under: At home,Music,Website complaints,Writing — Janice @ 9:29 pm

The weekend is here and I’m glad to have my blog back. I know it needs some sprucing up.

When I had had an issue with Yahoo in January, we fixed that issue and suddenly lots of the picture links no longer worked. Now that it is back up after moving to a new host, I see lots of “symbols” that have changed into weird things on old posts, like random A^ everywhere. Why? So I hope to go through some of the pages this weekend and make things cleaner. And I hope to get something BIG AND SUBSTANTIAL written. That’s a tall order.

I also think I will add new categories, or new tags, or whatever. Lots of new, recent readers have commented that they like my “childhood memories” so I might need to make that a category. I’m sure there are others. I didn’t really start categorizing much until much later on in the blog. If you have seen anything you think is weird or think of categories you think I should create, speak now so I don’t have to read 4 years of writing a second time.

There is also a yellow sign at the top of my page that says I need to update. That frightens me. Not in general in the real world. I update software as often as it tells me to, but this has instructions that involve a lot more than an auto-download-and-install. I don’t want things to crash again. Sure, I found a web guy to fix these first issues, but it cost money and he wasn’t as quick or responsive as I would really like.

All this to say I am really glad to be back and glad to have this creative outlet. I have a need to write. I was not a little girl that wrote stories, though I read about them in books like the Betsy and Tacey books and I’ve always wanted to be that girl. I didn’t really keep serious diaries growing up either. But I’ve kept handwritten diaries for a lot of years now (I’d guess at least 25 years offhand). They don’t crash, which is kind of cool. And I’ve written a lot of letters and emails over the years. I write in my head ALL THE DAMN TIME. At least here I have a place to put it where people can read it as a diary or a letter to them or a peek inside my head.

I’m going to start using numbers a lot here, too. I was flipping through some blogs today and that always seems to be the way to get attention:  5 ways to improve your email, 7 ways to get out of bed in the morning, 12 ways I’ve tricked you into reading my blog. Tonight I’ll limit myself to 2:

1.  I’m glad this blog is here and I’m glad you are reading.

2. I’m worn out and I think I’ll go read my Sarah Bird book.

(or is that 4?)

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