Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Part One, Exhibit A: Writing Therapy.

A forthcoming post took way too long for me to write, though I hadn't expected it to. I think I've developed a barometer of sorts, that determines how near and dear a topic is to my heart. If I write a piece fairly quickly, it means I find the subject mildly interesting (or want to cop a laugh off my readers). On the other hand, if I write several paragraphs and then get writer's block, it means the subject is too personal for me to glibly pen and post. I seem to have a hard time writing about parts of my life, or people in my life, that I care deeply about.

Maybe I've found a new way to prioritize the elements that make up my life? I could write about the people I know, and the things I do, and see which topics stop me cold. Perhaps I'd find that I don't give a hoot about something I'm angsting over. Conversely, I may be neglecting someone, or something, that makes a tremendous difference in my life.

Consider the upcoming post: I didn't realize the topic was so meaningful to me until I attempted to write about it three times and failed. It started out as a simple story that evoked emotions within, and then evolved into a completely different story. On the outside, it's a quaint observation of Spring. On the inside, it's a look at relationships, traditions, friendships, and aging. So, I decided to break the original into two. Hopefully between the two of them, I'll do the subject matter justice. Part Two will contain the observation of Spring--read on for the rest of Part One.
Part One, Exhibit B: Fred.
I've known Fred since 1989. We started out as zookeeping co-workers, then moved on to be lunchtime compadres. When I quit zookeeping to go art school, my husband and I made pilgrimages to Fred's house. We'd all go fishing or hiking, or we'd watch science fiction movies in Fred's funky folk-museum of a den. Fred eventually quit zookeeping to become a nurse, and switched the pilgrimage to our house. (We had kids and became less footloose and fancy-free.)

That kind of friendship shouldn't be taken for granted. Most of my long-term friendships have evolved into a benign distance, and I admit it's mostly my fault. But Fred has stuck with us, and we've stuck with him, to the point that he's family. He's in the "Circle of Trust". He's "Uncle Fred". He is loved; by me, my husband, and my children. Heck, if you had told me back in the day that I would have Fred by my side as I struggled to birth a 9lb. behemoth, I would have laughed right in your face. By the time I was ready to deliver my second child, however, there's no one else I wanted around to support my husband and I. Good old Fred hung with us for that less than glamorous scenario, and has since put up with numerous toddler tantrums, in-car marital quibbles, and interactions with our attention-starved dog.

I guess that's why my first attempt was so difficult to write. To know how meaningful the subject is, you have to know how special Fred is. I want you to know what he means to me, and my family. But I'd never thought about what Fred meant to me and my family, until now. So, a post on Fred was well-warranted, before I ventured further into our exploits. So thanks, Fred, for being my friend, and being a friend to my family. (Keep that in mind the next time I flippantly call you a "moron" :)

Anyway, that's all one needs to know, to be in the proper frame of mind to read Part II; Coming Soon.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

We goin' to Disney...

I half shudder with dread and half wiggle with excitement; I am taking the family to Disney World. I could word it that "We are taking the kids to DisneyWorld", but so far I'm the only one obsessing about the details. That's okay, I appreciate having the space to be as much of a control-freak as I want. After all, we're talking the four and six year-old on their first trip to the Mouseconglomeration! It must be nigh perfect.

At least that's what my Parental Vicarious Mechanism yearns for. In reality, who knows what parts of the trip they will savor or hate? They may end up most excited about mouse-shaped straws in the souvenir shop, whereas I'll be pestering them to notice the details of the "Pirates of the Caribbean." (C'mon, you have to give the Imagineers credit when they put curly hairs on the swinging foot of a pirate!)

I've had many a happy experience in the World called Disney. Heck, we hit the park the first year it opened in sleepy Orlando. We have hilarious pictures documenting each visit from then on; varying hair and clothing styles mark the passage of time. Every vist was always more magical than the previous--including the duration of our honeymoon. Until it was time to leave, that is...

Mom and Dad had gone above and beyond to book us a room at the Polynesian resort. The freaking Polynesian! It was as beautiful and exotic as I'd dreamed it would be. We frolicked from park to park by day, we wined and dined by night. We couldn't have asked for more. Our last day of the trip came way too soon, but we planned to make the most of it by going to the new waterpark, "Typhoon Lagoon". We left our luggage in the resort's secure baggage area to maximize the fun time. We would swoop back to the Polynesian after a day's fun, and hop on a jet plane into the sunset. Or at least, that's how we had planned it.

Yes, we did pack up our bags to send off to luggage storage, and yes, idiot me took off my shiny engagement ring and put it in an unlocked makeup case. And yes, right in full view of the the bellboy. (You should be hearing "dum de dum dum" by about now) We headed out via the resort courtyard, and stopped to watch scads of cute gray bunnies hopping about in the lush grass. Our bellboy skidded his golfcart alongside us and shouted "What's wrong?". At the time, I didn't question it. On hindsight, it's a bit odd wording to pose to two smiling people looking at rabbits. We told him everything was fine, and went off to have another great day in RodentLand.

Fast forward to check-out time. Close-up shot of newlywed opening her makeup case while waiting for the cab. Time-lapse still photos of increasing fear on bride's face as she realizes her diamond ring is definitely not in the zipped jewelry bag within said makeup case. Sickening stomach-wrenching agony as couple realizes their honeymoon has come to a rather miserable conclusion.

From then on, it's mostly a blur of talking to a million people, filling out forms, and discovering that the luggage area is not guaranteed as "secure". We even experienced the privilege of riding to the airport with a resort employee. She outlined the sordid pasts of recently fired co-workers, and mused that the ring had probably been pawned by now. We had a plane to catch, so we numbly headed home to life as a married couple. Without my engagement ring. That we'd purchased together, with combined savings. Which wasn't insured. (We were naive enough to think our renter's insurance had covered it.)

Once home, we made our best effort to see justice done. We called Orlando police to file a report. To increase our despair, they concurred with the resort driver. We were probably too late. What we should have done, we were told, was to get Orlando Police in before Disney security got involved. After the Mouse-B.I. showed up, likelihood of recovery was nil.

The pitiful tale pretty much ends there, aside from the scathing letter my Dad wrote to Michael Eisner. Eisner didn't reply, go figure. My husband and I repeated a process we were all too familiar with; saving up to buy an engagement ring. Adding insult to injury, my mother had recently bought a matching ring since she loved my diamond and setting so much. I had to sit and stare at it any time I was in her presence. It sparkled and glinted in the fixed smile on my miserable face. Gut-stabbing irony Number Two: her diamond fell out of the setting one Christmas Eve as we were power-shopping. It was uninsured. (Mom just hadn't gotten to it yet) Dad replaced it that week. Urggh. Glub.

We've only been back to WDW once since our lovely, yet not-so lovely honeymoon. Thus my half-shuddering with dread. Don't get me wrong; my replacement diamond will set no foot on Disney property. But it's hard to believe in the Disney "magic" once you've had an experience like that. I'll probably eye the sugar-coated castmembers with cynicism. I'll keep all money, credit cards and documents on our persons in pickpocket proof wallets.

At the same time, I want my children to experience the magic untainted. I hope that they'll actually notice the pirate's hairy foot, and kudos if they appreciate the "hidden Mickey" in their souvenir straws. I guess in some way, I'm hoping to recover some of the magic for myself. If we can make this a safe, happy and memorable trip, maybe I'll give the kleptomaniac mouse a little break.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Shaking off the moulder of the grave.

More than a year later, I emerge from the grave to keep my blog from permanent death...I stopped blogging because indeed, my other interests superceded my writing bug for a good long time. Knitting and digital photo art were, and are the two main contenders for my spare hours, along with being a Daisy Scout leader and the mom of two.

I don't plan to keep this blog as a daily diary; I never have. However, the writing muse tickles me enough to want to try writing a book. My neighbor has just published his first book, by the way, and guess who illustrated the cover? http://www.bloodlotto.com

He went the e-publishing route...I can't say what publishing mechanism I'll use at this point, since I barely have a manuscript and no proposals drafted. However, I know enough published authors in the traditional world that I'm hoping on collecting some solid advice when the time comes.

Meanwhile, maybe I'll post some new ideas for my manuscript here every now and then, who knows? No, it's not a "weblog" in the sense that most users define it, but it served as a great "story factory and warehouse" for me. Enough said, it's Monday.