Tag Archives: mom

Facebook again

I’m going to talk about Facebook once again. Maybe it’s just because it’s new to me, but it seems like FB (abbreviated as such among those “who know”) has really taken off in popularity. Either that, or the “older” generation is just now catching on. (my sister has joined—for those of you who know her. Go make her your friend)

But I’m going to digress a minute.

When Dad retired back in 1996, he and Mom moved back to Piggott, Arkansas the next year. Piggott is the place they both grew up and had always called home. They’d been away for 30 years though, so a lot of things had changed…especially people.

They began to meet people they hadn’t seen in 30 years and eventually even got involved in class reunion stuff (they graduated in 1959…yes, this is their 50 year anniversary!). I used to laugh at them because they were always pulling their high school annuals out and searching for names and faces they knew. It would go like this: they’d bump in to someone at one of their picnics, get to talking, swap names…and then realize they didn’t have a clue who they’d just spent the last hour talking with. They’d rush home, pull out the annuals and flip through, looking for the name. Find it…then realize “oh! THAT’S who that is!”

It got so bad, they eventually moved their annuals from the back of the house to a stack right next to their recliners in the living room!

Well, they’ve been back in Piggott for more than 10 years now…and the annuals are still there.

I’m done digressing now.

BJ got on FB a little while back and not long after, began getting friend requests from people she went to school with both from Pearl and from Northwest Rankin. Yeah, you guessed what was coming. She started asking me about names and people and I didn’t know many of them. Well, it often only takes one new “friend” to open up a whole slew of new friends. I recognized one of her friends from Pearl, added them…then started getting my own set of friend requests from names that looked familiar but I couldn’t quite place.

See, on FB, many people either post pictures of their kids or—very appropriately—MODERN pictures of themselves. But, I haven’t seen many of them in 25+ years, so I have no idea who they are when I look at them.

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Catch-all day

Today is going to just be a “catch-all” kinda day as I don’t have what feels like a whole blog, but several things which all feel smaller…if that makes any sense.

Y’know, I know I’ve mentioned the age thing here before, but last Saturday night hammered it in once again. If you’ll take a gander at the very pretty girl to the left of this text, you will discover that this is Brittany…yes, my tiny, little 13 year old daughter…all dressed up for the Beauty Review at the middle school. 48 girls were slated to participate, though I think a couple couldn’t make it.

Now I know that I’m incredible biased in all matters Brittany, but she didn’t even place in the top 15 (this is the first cut). And granted, someone would have to be near-nuts to try to say that none of the girls up there were cute (though the girls themselves might complain as there were many of them desperately trying to be young women!)…but I just have to wonder what the criteria were for choosing the finalists. Nah, it’s not sour grapes—we told Brittany beforehand she was the prettiest of them all. J

However, a couple of the girls who made it to the final 15 shouldn’t have been in the final 30. A couple had trouble saying their lines and one even had trouble walking in her heels and looked incredibly awkward. Not a big deal really except they placed over Brittany who appeared incredibly comfortable on the stage. She spoke clearly and where everyone could hear.

I’ve never been a fan of beauty pageants…well, except to look at, that is…but I just don’t get them. Apparently, I still don’t understand them.

Mom and Dad lost power in the big ice storm that hit Arkansas. They’ve been without power since last Tuesday night (over a week) and they been told it could be as long as 6 weeks before the power returns! That’s a long time. The entire town is pretty much without power. Brittany got a call from one of her friends there who was enjoying being out of school…but I think she found out she’d have to go this summer if they didn’t get back in pretty quickly.

I’ve intended to post pictures of our house for some time now. I’d especially like to show the before/after kind of thing so that you can see what a huge difference it is. I just haven’t done it.

However, I do have some pictures of my driveway. Our house sits back about 120 feet from the road, considerably further back than that of our neighbor. In fact, we can even see the back door of our neighbor’s house. That said, as you might imagine, our driveway is really long. The kids often can’t make it from the front door to the road by the time the school bus passes, turns around in the cove, and then returns to the house. On top of that, it is gravel—yes, I’d love to have it paved. BJ and I have always thought some of the his/her things were silly—married folks should just share. However, she’s decided that we need to have a his’n’her’n. So, below you’ll see “my” driveway on the left…her driveway on the right.

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Technology ever changing (us)

Sometimes it’s tough to make the switchover to technology. When I first started writing, I handwrote everyone on looseleaf notebook paper. In junior high, I even drew my comics on lined notebook paper, some of the pages ripped right out of a spiral binder. In senior high, I learned to use the typewriter, but we didn’t have an electric one at home like the school had—we had an old manual typewriter and those things were hard to use!

As a senior, however, I got a Commodore 64 and learned the ways of word processing. Actually, I got it because I thought I’d need it in college (I did) and it was either that or an electric typewriter. Back then, the hot thing was electric typewriters with “memory.” Ha

I used a dot matrix printer with my C-64 and printed everything out. I had files and files and files of stuff.

Have.

See that’s part of the problem with ever increasing technology, it becomes incompatible with the old technology. So I’ve got stacks of short stories and some comic scripts on paper only. I mean, it’d take time to RETYPE them JUST to have them on my computer. (Once after an upgrade, my Mom graciously typed several of my stories in for me. I’m her favorite son!)

Dad always laughs at how his parents used to struggle with the VCR. Now, he laughs at himself as he watches Angie and I rearrange his computer settings and watches Brittany teach my Mom things about the cellphone…a phone which Brittany has only had since Christmas!

But I often wonder what I should do with the stacks and stacks of paper I have. It would sure save me some filing cabinet space if I could find a way to get rid of it. Admittedly, much of it I hold on to for sentimental reasons. Some of it I hold on to it pack-rat-style thinking “Oh! I’ll use this idea some day in a story. I’d better keep it!”

I organize my computer files in much the same way I organize my paper files, though. I have one “big” writing folder…then in that folder are several sub-folders of the different kinds of writing I do. I even have one labeled “ideas and such.” I’ve tried to go through my hand-written “idea” folder and put them all in my computer folder, but for some reason it just isn’t the same opening all the idea files as it is flipping through a folder full of post-its, ripped pages, and napkins with ideas written on them.

Makes me wonder what sort of technology my kids will be laughing at me and BJ about?

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Filed under Columns, writing

Facebook r us

So a few months ago I stepped further into the technological age and added Facebook to my growing list of “internet stuff.” My, what an interesting thing it has proven to be.

I first became aware of Facebook through my cousin Caleb Morris, who happened to work as a computer graphics guru at The Piggott Times while I was editor there (see my picture above—it was taken in my office there). This was around early 2007. It’s also the same cousin who now mysteriously doesn’t respond to any of my emails.

But Caleb showed me around one day, trying to prove to me that it was much different from MySpace.com—a site he also had a page on. At the time I was relatively unimpressed and didn’t really have the time to do it anyway, so I just watched and nodded.

Fast forward to September of 2008. I attended the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference up in Minnesota (Minnesoda to the locals) and came away with some info on new technology, social networking and how writers should carefully embrace the new technology as a way of promoting themselves and their work.

I stumbled across a list, I think emailed to me as part of an email loop afterward, that had the top 10 places writers should be online.

Facebook was at the top.

Wow.

Okay, so not really knowing what I was doing—and not getting any answers to my pleas for help from Caleb—I signed up. In weeks flat, I had 50 friends. We’re talking legitimate I know them, worked with them, something—real friends. Needless to say, I was impressed.

I discovered that I could post pictures on FB (that’s the abbreviated version of “Facebook”) and even share them with people not on FB. I liked that because I’d gotten several invites to various picture sites and each one of them I had to “join” before I could actually see the pictures. I’d never see them because I refused to join.

I can post a link to this blog on FB and in fact I’ve increased traffic here considerably just by doing so. As of this writing, I have 363 “friends” via FB. Granted, not all of them are “real” friends anymore, but 90-95% are. Some people want to add you to the list because you both know someone…I haven’t quite caught the hang of that part yet, but it seems to be not an unusual thing. Most of my friends are people I’ve worked with along the way; around 50 of them are former students from when I taught college courses. More recently, I’ve been running across classmates that I hadn’t talked to in nearly 25 years!

BJ got on FB too, and started getting the requests. So we had to dig out our school annuals—we’d hear a name or see a friend of a friend and recognize the name but not the face (25 years can change folks!)…Our high school annuals have been used more the last few weeks than the last 25 years combined.

Since it seems to be the hot thing right now in internet/technology/social networking…why not give it a shot. Heck…even my Mom is on Facebook now! J

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Ebay and the end of the Pack Rat

I am a notorious pack rat. I don’t know why or how it all began, but for some reason, at some point in my life I wanted to keep everything. I always felt that I’d have a use for it “at some point in time down the line.” And thus, the stuff piled up. I refuse to call it “junk” or I will be inadvertently confessing that my Mom was right all those years ago calling it that!

Neither of my parents are really pack rats, so I don’t get it from them. Funny, too, on the odd chance that I did get rid of something, I found sometime later that I needed it. I remember that I had it…and then say I won’t throw stuff away again.

But multiple moves across state lines sure puts a huge damper on pack ratting. I get tired of lugging boxes back and forth…and don’t get me started about my books—Dad gives me enough grief about them! I have put them in smaller boxes, though.

A few years back, when the moves started to wear thin and when I noticed I wasn’t 18 anymore…we started collecting up stuff to take to Mom. Mom and her sister, my Aunt Judy, put on several yard sales each year. It became a regular thing for us to show up and have a box of “yard sale” stuff.

One year, mom handed me an old Thor flashlight I had as a kid (a quick google search couldn’t find a picture). The flashlight started out at .50cents. They lowered it to .25…then to .10…then to a nickel. I’d just learned of ebay so thought I’d try it out. I scanned the flashlight and posted it on ebay.

It sold for $30.

I’d been willing to get rid of it just weeks before for a nickel.

I started looking around the house then, trying to see what other jun…er, stuff I could find. I would even grab something and ask BJ if she was willing to sell something of hers. She got tired of me asking.

Ultimately, I did find other things to sell, and I’ve been steadily selling since then. The thing about selling on ebay is that you have to have complete emotional detachment because the item you think should sell for $100, will get zero bids at $1, and the item you don’t think anyone will want at .99cents will go for $30. It just doesn’t make much sense.

I’ve even managed to sell some of my comics (the ones I wrote, not my collection) on ebay. I’ll put them together in a set and mention one of them comes “autographed” (I forget to mention it’s ME!) and then let them go. Most of the times they sell, every now and again they don’t.

Through all that, though, our house has become less pack-ratty. Oh sure, we still have stuff we need to get rid of that we don’t use, but we’re doing better. Thankfully we’ve got Mom and the yard sale and ebay! You know what they say about one man’s junk…er stuff!

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Filed under Columns, family, Moving

New father

Well, it’s official. I’m now the father of a teenager. From everything that I understand, my life is about to change, almost as drastically as it did when I first became a father.

Brittany, my oldest, turned 13 yesterday.

She has been looking forward to this day for over half a year. When she turned 12, she started calling herself a “pre-teen,” just so she could get that “teen” word associated with her age. At least four months ago she began telling me she was “practically a teenager.” I argued with her, of course, trying to explain the meaning of the word “practically.” I felt a little like former President Clinton trying to define “is.”

On her birthday card, we told her it was official…she was now a teenager.

So she asked for a phone.

Ha.

Ha.

I said no…but she and her Mom ganged up on me and forced me to change my answer to “I’ll think about it.” Both my kids like that answer because it isn’t a “no.”

I’ve told Brittany before that she never has to worry about me forgetting her birthday. Too many other events associated with it. First, the first day of the battle of Shiloh (the day that “WE” won) took place April 6, 1862. My grandfather (and his twin sister, Juanita, who as of this writing is still living) was born on April 6, 1919. My mother was born then on April 6, 1941.

Mom has always said it was a very good birthday present for her that year, 1995. (Of course, Dad, who’s birthday is 4 days later on April 10, told BJ if she didn’t give birth that day, just to hold her legs together for 4 days. BJ didn’t find that as funny as my dad did at the time.)

Actually, I think it’s neater for Brittany because it has really helped her know her family, know where she’s come from. I think too many younger folks today have no idea where they’ve come from, and I think that’s a shame.

Let’s hope I can remember that myself, as we dive into the teenage years.

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Filed under family, Kids