Thursday, October 31, 2013

Imagining a Haunted Elevator Ride for Halloween

Some folks today were putting old horror music soundtracks online, and I clicked on  the theme from "The Exorcist."  I thought, idly, that it sounded kind of like scary elevator music .

And I wondered, "Has anyone ever created a haunted elevator?"

You would have to be able to turn off the lights. One of those really fast elevators in a really tall building would be good.  Someone on the roof of the elevator dropping down stuff is too clumsy, but you could create some neat effects like cobwebs rubbing across the face. I bet you could do some really scary effects. Of course, once you reach the top, it immediately starts back down again.

All in the dark. With spooky music.

I don't think you would want too many inside at a time. One would be best.

Eh, someone probably has already figured this out. Or some crazy college kids soon will.  It would be a fun alternative, I think, to the haunted houses that abound. A genuine locked room, with pretty much total darkness.

I still remember being in Carlsbad Caverns on a tour as a kid when the ranger (they had people lead the tours then) had us all pull up a rock to sit on and turned out the lights. He left them off long enough for us to realize we had NO light to adjust to. I wasn't touching my parents, and it was a disorienting sensation.

Perfect for Halloween.

If some reads this and knows of a place where a haunted elevator event has occurred, I would like to know how it went.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Contraction of Freedom

It won't be a lot, statistically, but some women won't be able to vote in Texas this year.

We have a new photo ID law.

I recently voted early. Before I went in, I looked for my voter ID and realized when I neatened my purse recently, I apparently threw it away with the old one.

It didn't matter. This year you don't need a voter id to vote. Only a driver's license, or three other options.

Thing is, my voter's id card and driver's license card don't match exactly. One includes my maiden name, the other doesn't. I had to sign an affidavit to vote, even with the picture matching my appearance. Women will have more problems since we are the ones who change names. We have women who have been voting legally for years with one last name on their driver's license and their new married name on the voter ID, or vice versa. Older people no longer driving with no voter ID can't vote at all.

I guess I'll wait and see how many didn't get to vote. Probably less than 10 percent.

But by gum, illegal immigrants didn't get to vote.

Oh, unless they already have a Texas driver's license and voter registration that agrees.

Sorry. Don't often go into politics, but this irritates me.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Basking in the autumn sun at marching band competition

I know a number of retirees who take life easy, shop, garden, take in a show or a party, and have a lot of time to relax.

I should say I know of such persons.

If we were formerly busy as professionals, with any outside activities, most of us are busy now.

Most of us, in fact, have to rein in our commitments to enjoy the occasional late morning snooze-in.

I'm not that busy, overall. But I had to beg off a luncheon Wednesday for a real treat.

My granddaughter's band was in regional UIL competition in a stadium just minutes away, on a beautiful fall day with full sun, temps in the 70s.
It was chilly enough I left the house wearing a sweatshirt. All would have been well if I had worn a t-shirt underneath, but I didn't, and I got very warm by the time I left. I watched four bands, including my granddaughter's, which I believed excelled musically in particular. The judges agreed, awarding the highest grade, a 1, which advances them in competition.

Some of the stepwork, the dramatic moves, were evident in several performances. Quite effective. The flag girls are so different from baton twirlers 50 years ago. The past had limited imagination.

I love pageantry, and marching bands are nothing but. Next year I will surely go again. My neighbor wants to go, as does a friend. The event costs nothing. Quite a few parents and other family members attended.

I can't remember when I just attended the show, basked in the day and just enjoyed the happy with no other goal.

I would say such times are good for the soul. The verbal rhythm is so much better than saying it aids my emotional balance.

I just smiled at everyone the rest of the day. Apparently enthusiastically, because everyone smiled back.

I have a number of friends who are startled that I go to high school concerts and other events involving my granddaughters. I am astonished at them in my turn. In the community I live in, two or three generations regularly turn up for the same events I attend. It is one of the things I like best about my home. In the breaks, I have people my own age to talk to and visit with some of the parents.

I am a bit startled. I never knew I would like this so much. Friends say the same, heading in different directions.

I have friends I never knew even sewed who have taken up quilting.

I have probably 20 women friends who are following the World Series avidly.

Others have dived into gardening. Apparently, things they always loved, like me, but didn't have time to bask in before.

Browning may have been right.
"Come along, grow old with me,
for the best is yet to be...."

We ache. Hurt. Accustom. Go on. And find the thrills.

You'll have to get here to believe it.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Stark truth.

For many of us, this is life.

For an increasing number of us, this is life. For returning soldiers, this is life.

Life is good, and peaceful.

Then it is not, and painful.

I have written about my life. Sometimes, the dogs are laughing, and keeping me warm.

Sometimes the star teenage athlete in town takes drugs ane eoes inexcrable things.

We all, all, live this life. We just don't want to admit it.

Dogs are Perpetual Smart Toddlers

We had some weather last night. Apparently we also had some wind. I let the dogs out back, then walked out front to pick up my newspaper. And there were my dogs. It's cold this morning--37--and I haven't gone around yet to check the gates.

Gracie is one, when let loose, will run amok and not come back. Brody, my irrepressible male, will ALWAYS come when I call. And if he comes, so does Gracie. She might miss something. Whew! both dogs came in with me willingly. After all, it was cold.

When they are unleashed in the front yard, I am fearful. I have not trained well, but I love them. I don't want them to die. But no one was out on a weekend morning walking their dogs. No one was driving by.

Gracie continues to think the world is good and everyone needs a good lean against. Brody continues to bark at every moving thing and loves my chair where he can survey the street and bark. I find it strange that when he is I the back yard, on the deck, he can hear better, and does not bark. Gracie barks when she chases squirrels, birds, and butterflies. Inside, she sometimes chases houseflies, which I appreciate and can track by the thuds on the floor.  When she runs, she is beauty in motion. She can balance better on her hind legs then any dog I have ever seen, looking for food on perimeters of tables.

Alas, alas. I don't make that mistake often. Once, I did. And she is ever hopeful.

When she leaps in the air to try to snap a fly, it isn't pretty. When she and Brody race around the back yard, I laugh at the joy of it. They are beautiful, sometimes leaping over one another, laughing all the way as they run.

My grandcats live next door, and are fun.  They often come to visit and leave cat paw tracks the length of my car. Occasionally, they go to the back yard to tease the dogs when I let them out. The cats are very confident they are faster. They are.

The dogs and I have an agreement. At night, when it is dark, they are not allowed on the bed. Once it is turning light, they are allowed up. It's supposed to be 30 minutes, but it often is an hour of the best sleep I get.

Years ago, there was a band called Three Dog Night. I interviewed them once, and the leader explained that in Australia, a three-dog night meant cold weather. In other words, they were VERY cool.

I will never have more than a two-dog night, but Brody likes my feet, Gracie likes my back.  I sleep so well that time before the sun wakes us all up.

Gotta check the gates. Time to let them out again.

Friday, October 18, 2013

When Drugs Seem to Take Over

You see the stories all the time in the Metroplex, Dallas-Fort Worth. About 7 million folks living here.

But we are on the fringe. We operate small. A lot of grandparents live here with parents and kids. As do I.

It goes well, most of the time. Sometimes it doesn't.

Our small town just started football a few years ago. Last year, first year of UIL competition, we almost made the state finals.

That's how good our quarterback was.

This was to be his senior year, crown on his full ride to a university.

In August, he was arrested on drug charges.

The coach kicked him off the team. the sophomore replacement hasn't led to many victories. It was righteous.

This boy, who has gone through all the schools here, whose mother is a teacher here, didn't start his senior year here. I don't know what the family did. Already I weep for this family.

He and his girlfriend broke up. Apparently she is the daughter of a school board member.

He is accused now of buglarising his girl friend's home and setting it on fire.

He is in jail at last word.

If that were my son, I don't know what I would do.

I don't know what will happen.

This boy hasn't destroyed his life yet, but he could. At 18 years of age. He will never have the bright lights and maybe the Pro Sports he hoped for. If he turns around, he can have A Life.
But he has to turn around. I don't know if he can. His parents hope, but they can't know.

Drugs are ugly. They destroy. For some reason, this boy tried them. He chose through drugs to destroy his life.

When you hear it in the news, it hurts. When it is in your community, it hurts all of us.

He made the choice. He used the drugs. And he and the rest of us have to live with the consequences. Some of them are very painful.

You know? I haven't said a word about the victims in this same community. The fire burned most of their belongings. Their poor dog, thinking the burglar was a friend, was doused in fuel and set on  fire as well.

This is horrible. And I hope you, your neighborhood, your community, never have to experience it.

Because it hurts. . Really, really bad.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Remembering a date I hope my granddaughters never have

Yesterday, I had lunch with two college roommates. We try to make it once a year, although we live in three different cities in the Fort Worth-Dallas Metroplex. We met our freshman year. They met the men they would later marry the same year and are still happily married to them. We discussed art, museums, books, families, grandchildren, and delicately, politics. At a really, really good restaurant. I think this makes 52 years of friendship. How cool is that?

Today, as I drove home, I saw the flash flood of Oklahoma fans flooding I35 on their way to Dallas for the Cotton Bowl and the UT-OU football game. The flood of cars reminds me of flash floods at home when we would drive up safely close to watch the flood waters and boulders wash by. Sometimes at this time,I pull up at a parking lot along the service road and watch the cars flood past. This year, ignited by yesterday, I remembered another event.

Two of us did not have parents past our teens. The third commented it made us strong. I think we were strong from birth and this made us stronger. I think all three of us are strong,smart, empathic women. But hey, that's my opinion.

And it triggered a memory of my freshman year. I had pledged a sorority. Both my parents still living then, both wanted it. So. I did. I was shy, didn't know how to flirt, and I had never been away from home before, hence no blind dates. The sorority social director got me a date with a slightly older fraternity guy who was about 5 foot six inches. I was marginally taller, and figured high heels wouldn't work. I needed some dressy flats. These were at a shopping center I was told about a mile away. And I knew nothing about the bus systems. I walked, and it was three miles. Then I walked back, reaching my dorm in time to dress, but no dinner. I was hot and sweaty and had a half-hour to dress.

We went to a huge fraternity party. I danced. He danced. Sometimes we danced together. Thank God there were snacks. I had a couple of drinks (18, no experience at all, illegal) but decided I preferred colas. He, however, got plastered. I had never been around a drunk person before so I had no idea how drunk he was. He seemed okay. We had another couple in the back seat and he started back on the freeway. I suddenly realized he was veering straight towards a car going the other direction. I screamed magnificently, grabbed his wheel manually and jerked us suddenly and violently back into our lane. He was angry, but slowed. drove sedately, and actually walked me to the door of my dorm. There certainly was no kiss.

He looked at me. "I have never heard anyone scream that loud in my life," he said.

I nodded. Heard that before, in other situations related to football stadiums and enthusiastic cheering.

We never spoke again. The social chairman of my sorority never tried to get me another date.

I was relieved, happy, and glad to be alive.

I still think I was right to grab that wheel. He probably still thinks I was an hysteric.

And we are both alive to think it.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Do you ever have a moment when you wonde whether you were getting the message or giving it?

After 1 pm, (grumble) I