Monday, April 25, 2011

The Professor

By 7:10 that evening Julie was sitting at a table in Starbucks, drumming her fingers, waiting. Melissa had agreed to standby just in case. Julie had hoped Clayton would be waiting when she got there. He wasn't. So she ordered a latte and blueberry muffin and sat down. She wished she'd brought her laptop. She could've gotten something done.

Finally, the professor made an entrance. He came right up to her, like he knew her. "Hi, Julie," he said, no question in his mind it was her. "I'm Clark Clayton. Do you remember me?"

She nodded, stood and shook his hand. It felt large. He was tall, six-four or five, slender, in great shape. She liked being around someone taller than her five-eleven. He looked handsome, if old. He had an engaging smile and a gentle, yet masculine voice.

"You had a class from me. It's hard to forget your beautiful smile."

"I remember you." she said. "You're grading wasn't that complementary though. I enjoyed your class. Especially the lectures, even if sociology wasn't my tea."

"Well, speaking of tea, it looks as if you've ordered. Maybe I should get something. Will you excuse me? Can I get you anything else?"

"No, thank you," she said. "I'll wait."

Professor Clayton was a surprise. He had on a suit, a conservative one, not made of leather either. In fact, he was wearing no leather, except for a belt and some shoes. The shoes looked store-bought, the belt inconspicuous. The outfit was blue, pinstriped, expensive; he had augmented it with a nice buttoned-down white shirt and an artsy tie. He looked distinguished.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sketching It Out

Melissa had insisted that Julie meet with Professor Clayton.

Julie found her request strange and tried to probe Melissa more about its necessity. It seemed like rain out of blue sky, without any detectable cause or logical explanation. However, Melissa wouldn't give any clues or additional information. She just said Julie had to.

So, to appease Melissa, Julie agreed. What could it hurt? Julie met with strangers of all kinds in audits all the time; she didn't think meeting with the old, gone-off-the-deep-end professor would be any more challenging than meeting with some arrogant taxpayer with over-bloated claims on his business's tax return. And, besides, now she was curious about why Melissa thought it was so important.

But she saw no urgency in doing so and wanted to put it off for at least a couple of days. After all, detritus cluttered her life at every point of the compass at the present, what with work and trying to facilitate an excuse to get out of going to Atlanta, the separation from Ron and the divorce and its fallout, especially, as it related to Tommy. Furthermore, Angela was still sitting in jail without Julie having even been able to visit or help her in any way.

When it came right down to it, Julie saw no purpose in meeting with the weird, old professor. "And if I do," she said, "I want you there with me."

"That's not going to happen." Melissa was adamant. "You need a couple of minutes at least to talk one-on-one."

"Then a meeting isn't going to take place." Julie tried to be as firm.

Nonetheless, Melissa insisted and demanded that the visit be as soon as possible: that night, at the very latest.

God, Julie thought, she's a bitch. "So, am I supposed to - what? - just show up at his office?" Julie asked. "At the University? Like I'm a student or something?"

"No, that's probably not a good place to meet or strategy," Melissa said. "It'd be better someplace else."

Why? " Here, in one of these audit rooms, like this one? Him over here and me over there. Like it's an examination of his financial records? I'd be totally comfortable doing that."

"Very funny. No." Melissa pulled out her telephone and made a call. "Yeah, it's me," she said after a moment. "Is tonight okay?" A couple of seconds passed. "All right. Let's say Starbucks at 7 PM, the one at the Courtyard Marriott where I'm staying."

So it had been arranged and Julie agreed to go.

A little after 2 PM, Julie took a break from work to go get Tommy from school. It was her turn to pick him up, so she didn't anticipate any problem relative to Ron interfering. She didn't know yet what she would do tomorrow, however, when it'd be Ron's turn to pick the boy up. Julie hadn't thought that far in advance yet. By now, the divorce and injunction papers had probably been served on Ron, who therefore wouldn't be able to legally contact her. So she would have to work through Bob Cartwright to make arrangements with Ron as to how they would handle matters relative to Tommy in the interim until everything got all sorted out.

Before leaving to go get Tommy, Julie called Katie Truman, a college-age girl Julie usually counted on for babysitting. Katie was always desperate for spare change, and Julie regularly utilized her services. Katie agreed to meet Julie at Angela's, where she'd watch Tommy until Julie got off of work around five o'clock.

So after work, Julie hurried home, relieved Katie of her babysitting duties, fed Tommy and the dogs, and called the Sheriff's office to see when visiting hours at the jail were. Not until Wednesday's. Then Julie hurried off, dropping Tommy at Claudia's to play with Claudia's son, Doug, his cousin. Then she went to the appointment.

Now Julie sat at a table in Starbucks, drumming her fingers and waiting alone. Melissa had agreed to be on standby in case Julie called her and said she needed to be there. Julie had hoped that Clayton would already be there, waiting for her, but he hadn't been. So she ordered a latte and a muffin and sat down. She almost wished she had brought her laptop - after all Starbucks had Wi-Fi - so she could get something done as she waited.

Finally, the professor made an entrance. He came right up to her as if he knew her. "Hi, Julie?" he said, a question. "Clark Clayton. Do you remember me?"

She stood and shook his hand. He looked great, handsome, had an engaging smile.

"I think you had a class from me years ago, at the University. It's hard to forget that beautiful smile."

"I remember you." she said. "I enjoyed your class, the lectures, even if the subject wasn't quite my cup of tea."

"Well, speaking of cups of tea, it looks like you have ordered. Maybe I should get something, also. Will you excuse me a moment. Can I get you anything else?"

"No thank you," she said. "I'll wait right here for you."

Professor Clayton surprised Julie. He had on a suit, a conservative one, not made of leather. In fact, he wore no leather except for his belt and shoes, and the shoes looked store-bought. The suit was blue and pinstriped; it looked medium-priced, if she was guessing right, and he had augmented it with a white shirt and a dark tie. He looked distinguished.

When he returned and sat down, he said, "Well, sociology as a course of intense study isn't for everybody."

"Yeah, I know." Damn if he didn't look like a lawyer scheduled to appear before the Supreme Court.

He sniffed and then slurped at his drink and complimented it. "It's not often I get my coffee done up so dignified."

Julie laughed. She'd never seen Clayton dressed like he was. Especially, lately when she'd caught glances of him around town. Once, not long ago, she'd seen him on the news. He'd even looked his mountain-man self there, and she wondered why he hadn't worn something to lend more authority to what he was saying to the journalist. He had, according to the newscast, invited a group of neo-Nazis to speak to one of his sociology sections. It turned out a media event. All of the local stations carried the story, including an interview with the professor.

"So, what did you study at the University?"

"I got my degree in accounting," Julie said. "I'm a CPA. I work as a revenue agent with the Internal Revenue Service."

"That's quite different from sociology. However, I bet it requires considerable contact with the public."

"Sometimes more than I like."

Friday, April 22, 2011


Light-years from middling, not just MILES FROM ORDINARY.

That is Carol Lynch Williams's latest novel for youngsters, and it is light-years from middling.

I enjoyed reading the novel, but, in the interests of full disclosure, I am an oldster, and probably not among those of its primary audience. After reading Williams's THE CHOSEN ONE, however, I just had to read her latest offering, which is set in a very real, if atypical, world.

Recently, as my wife and I walked through Barnes & Noble, she noted how difficult it seemed to be to find new books for kids and young adults that didn't deal with vampires or other fantastical elements, with dystopian adventures, or alternative realities.

What is it? Have we become so fraught with challenges of everyday living that we have to resort to escapism to entertain and inform our youth?

Well, this novel, MILES FROM ORDINARY, fits the bill for the here and now; it is very real and most compelling, yet just as horrifying and challenging of mind as anything in fantasyland or sci-fi. It doesn't have the ubiquitous vampires or a panoply of Hogwarts-like characters or characteristics; it isn't dystopian, and its realities aren't alternative. At some point in time, all of us, even the youth among us have to face reality.

After all, who needs the paranormal when you can read first-hand paranoia and insanity in a tight, fast moving story arc like this one? Or when you can see the effects of mental illness in Lacey's mother and its consequent demands and eventual effects upon the thirteen-year-old's life. She simply longs for some degree of family normalcy and friendship outside of home.

Lacey indeed: the delicate interweaving of a thread of life of a sensitive, caring, and concerned daughter of a very sick and, as it turns out, most dangerous mother. Lacey. Dicey.

But this novel produces the same emotions and intellectual challenges as fantasy and sci-fi do in a far more immediate and practical way. There really are young people like Lacey: classmates, neighbors, riders on buses, customers at the grocery store. Not only do the children and teens in such circumstances need to read this book and understand its implications, but everyone does. We all need to realize that our society is diverse and contains all the horror and intrigue of fantasy or sci-fi. It behooves us to recognize it and to show the proper sensitivity for it, and face it more realistically.

Carol Lynn Williams's MILES FROM ORDINARY, in my estimation, achieves that end.

It isn't perfect. There were a few grammatical and punctuation errors. (After all, I was reading from an advanced, uncorrected proof.) Some of the other criticisms in the critiques present here certainly have validity, but overall the novel has a nice story arc, compelling characters, tremendous conflicts. I believe it is original in the contemporary literature out there for children and young adults. It was a plausible scenario and seemed realistic in its presentation. I didn't find that it made unjustified leaps in logic. I found the writing at times powerful and, at times, a little less than powerful. I liked it's building pace, and what some others took for a slow start, I took as calculated, a deliberate attempt to make the quickening pace more compelling. I thought flashbacks were overused. In fact, I was quite surprised by the number of them given the intended audience.

I wrote Time For All Eternity.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Our youngest daughter was born to her biological parents — possibly just to her mother, but we really don't know the whole story, or truthfully, any of the story relative to her parents or birth other than through supposition — on February 15, 1980. So she was about as close to a valentine baby as you can get without having a valentine baby. She didn't come to live with us, her adoptive parents, however, until about six months later, probably in August sometime. I'd have to look to see the exact date of her arrival.

She was born in Korea, in Seoul Korea, as I recall, or thereabouts. She was apparently abandoned at an orphanage there, I believe, but I'd have to talk to my wife for clarification and to get greater information about anything we know or found out about her or her family in advance, but I don't think there was or is anything. My wife did most of the paperwork involved in the process. She wasn't working at the time outside of the home. We utilized the services of the Holt Adoption Agency to arrange for our youngest daughter to come here to the United States to live with us and to be adopted and naturalized as a citizen.

We had some experience adopting already, since we had adopted her older brother. He was born in the vicinity of Boise, Idaho and we were able to gain custody of him a few days after his birth — he was born May 30, 1979, and we took custody of him on June 8. We went through an agency affiliated with our church to adopt him.

We also had a biological daughter who was born in 1973.

Our adopted daughter had a birth defect. She was born with cerebral palsy and a tendency to have seizures, both petite and grand mal, which early on were controlled pretty much by phenobarbital. In her infancy and toddler state she underwent considerable therapy, which included physical, occupational, and speech therapy. In her early years most of the therapy that she received was provided by the Shriners Hospital in Boise.

As she grew into puberty, the seizures became more frequent and more difficult, even impossible, to completely control. She has over time taken more and more medicine and had more and more severe and frequent seizures. In her elementary school years, the phenobarbital more or less held her seizures in check but she still had to deal with the effects of cerebral palsy, which included partial paralysis on her right side and diminished mental ability. From the onset she needed accommodation in school.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Cellist of Sarajevo

I finished reading THE CELLIST OF SARAJEVO a few days ago. Carol picked it for us to read this month for our book club.

I liked it. Everybody in the book group liked it, I think. There were criticisms. Cheri, for instance — I hope that's the correct spelling — didn't like it switching between viewpoints so often over against a more even and flowing story arc.

If life were longer, it was good enough it would definitely be among books I would revisit. I may, in any event. I liked it.

Did I already say that? I did.

I flatter myself thinking that I am a pacifist. I consider myself one. Of course, I'm not that good of a pacifist. But I'm opposed to killing. I'm against the death penalty, for instance. I take literally the "thou shall not kill" admonition in Christian Scripture. I take it literally even over against stories in various scriptures that illustrate something quite the opposite – I'm thinking of the Mormon Nephi-Laban killing. (No wonder so many people say the Mormons aren't Christians, ha ha).

The book is nicely put together. I found it well organized, with its characters carefully selected to illustrate the effects of war upon common citizens. Of course, all of the characters were good guys, from the cellist to Arrow, the sniper, who is on the side of those being shot at from snipers on the hills above and around the city. At least, I considered them all good guys. They felt real to me, given their circumstances. They seemed well-rounded within the parameters of their existence in war-torn Sarajevo during the war there in the nineties. Was of the nineties? Yes, in the mid--1990s. They also, ask characters, seemed flawed and at the same time displayed heroism to some degree or another. From the father, going to get water for his family and for his cantankerous, hard-to-get-along-with neighbor to a baker frozen with anxiety and worry about crossing a street for fear of being shot to death yet hungering and worried he'll starve if he doesn't cross and get something to eat. Over against them there was the clearly evil of the snipers on high, who represented the devil in war and killing.

I liked the book's originality. It stole, it seemed to me, enough of history to color in with sufficient original palette to make a nice, new detailed painting to accompany the sound of the one-man adagio commemorating the killed.

I found the book plausible.

The writing felt strong and vibrant to me.

The following represents some of the very powerful positions taken by characters in the novel:

"But power is rarely given up voluntarily. It's a question of who will prevail. She knows the survival of the city depends as much on the attitude of the defenders as it does on repelling the attackers. A city of the zealots and criminals isn't worth saving."

I highly recommend this book.


The life of servitude. Who really knows anything about it? That is, that I know about? In this day and age? In this land? In my neighborhood?

Hopefully no one. But who knows what goes on behind the walls and doors and the windows of the neighbors? You think you know, but truthfully you don't. They think they know about you, but truthfully they don't. We have more private lives then perhaps we think we have in this modern era of social media and everybody spying on everybody else, taking photographs and watching each other and filming and listening without telling or disclosing or otherwise indicating you are doing such.

I'm pretty certain there are individuals out there who are like slaves, who are in the command of somebody else. In fact, you hear about such instances in the news — I want to say all the time, but it is not that frequent. It occurs in the drug culture and in prostitution rings. Undocumented immigrants are particularly vulnerable to such treatment. And the unscrupulous with power and money are not above imposing such restraints on individuals to the benefit of themselves and the detriment of the individuals who don't have documentation.

What must it be like to be a servant, a slave?

There is a difference between being of service and being in service. One is voluntary; the other is not. I suppose they can and often do overlap. No employer considers himself/herself as going without a servant. Employers have expectations of those they employ, probably not unlike the expectations upon those who have slaves. Yet there are also differences. There must be.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Up or down?

I've hurried away from the house, wearing a coat too heavy for the weather. I've done it already this year. I've faced the music, to use an old metaphor, a cliché, in doing so, too. I'll do it again if I survive until next year, too. It's almost as if it is inevitable, or as if I'm too stupid to ever learn better. I'll use old worn-out clichés again, too. That's just the way it is. I don't think it's predetermined…you know, the way life plays out isn't; I don't believe in predestination. Do you?

Likewise, I've used this program in Word before with similar faulty results, and here I am doing it again when I know it isn't as efficient as it is using it in the other program first and then copying and pasting. I am a slow, inefficient learner. Perhaps we all are. I plod along, making commitments that are difficult to keep up with and doing little to improve myself the way I dreamed and hoped for and planned to do.

Anyway, somebody said hard work can be the ultimate refuge. Balderdash. It is not refuge. There is no refuge. There is just life in all of its complexity and perplexity, or not. We see it through rose-colored glasses on one day and through Coke bottles the next. Guess which day is today.

Friday, April 15, 2011

What Is Engaging?

Often times when I sit here to write, nothing seems that engaging that I want to write about. Either not that engaging or too engaging to want to bother with. I need to write about privacy laws in the United States and WikiLeaks and espionage and all of that, for example. I could begin writing my pages for critiquing on Tuesday, but somehow I don't want to, not yet. I could go back and edit Alejandro. It needs to be done. But I don't want to do that either.

It would be nice to be able to just sit down and let the words flow like the enthusiasm of a nice spring creek. That doesn't happen often, if at all. I don't have that gift of gab that some people seem to have, or at least, I haven't nurtured it. Also, on that note, I think I've talked myself into thinking that it is too late to nurture it or anything like it. That's probably a false assumption, pure laziness, but I guess it's one I mostly accept.

It's getting late. The sun is either set or off in the western sky where I can't see it or its effects. It isn't dark out, but it's getting there.

Off in the still-barren oak trees, a magpie sits above the entire oak tree forest and watches for a few minutes, that he sails down, down, fast and controlled. Not stuck in his flight or correction on words or thoughts like me.

Pretty soon some of the closer magpies are squawking at each other before it's too late to squawk much and they retire for the night. It always makes me wonder where they sit during the darkness. They are still busy, fighting over something, arguing like they do. I also hear the distant traffic along the highway down below, people coming and going on a Friday night, people younger than I, with more energy, with more going on.

Someday, maybe, my thoughts would be so rambling and insecure. Maybe. There are plenty of people out there to admire who are much more organized than me.

What's Coming Up

The plan for Shelley in the immediate future is to have her undergo surgery a week from next Thursday, July 27, 2011. It will be done in Salt Lake City, at the Intermountain Healthcare Center just off of 52nd South sometime in the afternoon.

They call it a debulking surgery. Typically, they open patients up from just below the bottom of the lungs to the pelvic bone to do debulking — removing and scraping out whatever is cancerous that can be done reasonably.

With her, the plan is to go in and do a laparoscopy first to look around and see what they think is prudent to work on and remove. It might entail the long convertible incision of our regular debulking procedure, but it might not, too. It depends on what they see through their scope and what seems the most sensible thing to do. Sometimes they can remove the most affected tissue through small incisions. For example, in Shelley's case, the omentum is involved. Sometimes the omentum can be removed through a smaller incision. Same with ovaries.

In the interim, Shelley needs to work on getting stronger. The big prescription for that is eating and drinking lots of proteins and getting some small degree of exercise.

Lately, Shelley's oxygen levels have been back to normal or near normal. She has ceased wearing oxygen all the time and now just wears her when she's asleep, and then because of sleep apnea.

After the surgery, she will have to be in the hospital a few days — from two or 3 to 5 to 7, just depending on what they do. Afterward, they planning on her having some physical therapy to build your strength up. Also, as soon as she can she'll go back on chemotherapy.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

We can't separate ourselves from the past

We can't separate ourselves from the past. Nor should we want to, I suppose.

I grew up in Utah. My parents also grew up in Utah.

My mother was the oldest in her family, the big sister to her siblings. She had both brothers and sisters. She was born in Central Utah; I think in Richfield, Utah. I know that she graduated from Gunnison High School, which isn't far from Richfield as I recall. She never talked much about growing up in Central Utah. I don't remember her ever taking me there to those small towns or showing me where she went to school or anything like that. I don't remember any stories from her youth. She didn't talk much about what it was like being a kid or going to high school in such a rural area. I wonder why. Actually, my mother didn't talk much about anything about her life to me. She liked to focus on me, not on her.

My father had ten siblings, and he was one of the last of the ten. Maybe he was third from the last; I don't remember for sure. He was born in Ogden, but not in the hospital but in the home his parents lived in, located someplace — I'm thinking about twenty third street — below Wall Avenue. He talked more about his youth than my mother did. His father died early — I'm thinking when he was about fourteen, maybe younger. He told me how difficult it was trying to make ends meet, emphasizing that he had quit school because of the hardship, whether that was true or not. By that age he had taken up smoking and he smoked as long as I lived with him. I think he quit after I married my wife, sometime after 1971. He was born in 1920. I'm thinking he quit smoking sometime around sixty, perhaps later.

Even though my parents grew up in the midst of Mormonism, neither of them adhered to its tenets or seemed to care about it much at all. While my mother had been baptized a Mormon and even graduated from Mormon seminary when she went to high school and graduated — I saw her yearbook and that's how I know, I never knew her to be engaged in the religion or to practice it. My father was never baptized. His mother was disaffected from Mormonism early on — possibly before she even married. Her husband wasn't Mormon. She came from Holland when she was a youth — I think when she was fourteen. Perhaps she came under false pretenses, lured here by promises never kept, but I'm not sure. I'm just left with that impression.

After I married, in 1971, my wife and I finished our bachelors' degrees and then left Utah. We went to Illinois, then to California, then to Idaho.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

imagine blooming flowers falling from the heavens

I picked up BEYOND RAIN OF GOLD mostly because of the illustration on the front of the book jacket (by Steven Yazzie).

That painting shows what I take to be a young man — his back is to you, but his hair is dark and not grey or silver and he doesn't look overweight or disfigured or bent over with age. He appears to be conducting the orchestra of a desert. The shirt he wears appears to be split at the bottom like the back of a tuxedo is. His arms are raised, and his right hand holds a baton; his left hand is opened and a bird sits in its palm. The sky is blue with a few clouds on the horizon, the mountains in the distance. The desert is out ahead and all around the conductor, cacti and other desert flora covers the landscape out to a ridge. The sun is peeking into the picture in the upper left-hand corner. For the most part, the artwork looks like it is set in the physical here-and-now. It seems to suggest that the book is about a confident young man who is egotistical enough to think he can lead the music of a natural setting familiar to him, and perhaps tame it.

Of course, I had kind of an agenda in picking up the book because of the cover. I had myself, an old, once redheaded but now white headed Caucasian, been writing the fictional story of a boy born in the desert as his parents crossed the border from Mexico into the United States some fourteen years ago. (Oh, the arrogance of me to take on such an endeavor.) So I was interested in reading about the life of a Mexican-American first-hand, and the book seemed to have that flavor from what I read on the jacket and saw in that painting.

But then, in the artwork on the jacket of BEYOND RAIN OF GOLD, blooming flower buds are falling unnaturally from the sky all around the conductor. And I reminded myself that that little bird was sitting there unnatural-like in the young man's palm. And I asked myself, what's with all of that?

Please excuse me for a little tangent. I have lived most of my life in Mormon country. Recently, Gary Lawrence wrote How Americans View Mormonism. One thousand randomly-selected Americans were asked fifty-five questions about Mormons. The results indicated that those individuals saw Mormons as friendly, honest, kind, having strong family values, willing to help the needy, and patriotic. Conversely, they also saw Mormons as self-righteous, out of touch, insular, brainwashed, fanatical, and narrow. Mormons in the Mormon area I am from for the most part see themselves in the positive forms indicated but not in the negative ones.

I think a similar dynamic is at play with respect to Victor Villasenor. Often, the problem is that we seldom associate very closely with groups of individuals who aren't like us. We often don't know how to talk to other people about what we believe in ways that they can understand or find useful. Furthermore, often we don't have a clue about our own naïveté and talk past other people.

Now it is quite obvious that Victor Villasenor sees himself as the youth in the picture, the conductor of an orchestra of his desert. The falling flower buds in bloom seem to speak to "magic" or the "spiritual" — some say fantastical — elements in the "musical" score of Villasenor's life as a writer, conducted by him but influenced by all of the characters in his life, including his parents, Lupe Gomez Camargo, his mother, and Juan Salvador Villasenor, his father, and his wife, Barbara. You a lot of individuals who says have passed away and gone before and have come back to him.

For instance, he writes: "It was like heaven had really come down to Mother Earth. For instance, every morning my writing room would fill up with these Grande Masters from the Other Side – like Shakespeare, Cervantes, and Frank, Confucius, though Stravinsky, and many others — and they all wanted to help me.

"Also, I didn't know my dad's cigar anymore. No, now I smelled wildflowers, just like I smelled outside of Phoenix, Arizona, when I heard OUR SYMPHONY OF CREATION!"

The book is classified, among other classifications, as a biography of a twentieth century Mexican-American author on the copyright page. It is published by Hay House, a "new thought" and "self-help" publisher.

I won't reiterate all of the faults and irritants that I, too, found in the narrative characterized as Villasenor's autobiography . Other critiquers have more than adequately covered them, even ridiculed them, and I, for the most part, agree, except with the ridicule. Despite them, however, I did find enjoyment as I read along and contemplated the spin Villasenor tried to put on his life, the spiritual and fantastic elements of living.

For me, it is easy to contemplate that when the "downs" in life exceed the "ups" that it can have an effect upon your perception, and can make it sometimes difficult to separate reality from what is hoped for and believed in. And when you get to that point, it might be difficult to communicate with somebody who hasn't had that experience or contemplated it.

I'd say if you read this book, read it with curiosity, trying to understand the elements of Villasenor's life that took him where he is. Try and imagine blooming flowers falling from the heavens in all of the music.

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Long Day

I've worked on and off all day on Kiele's computer which has been infected by a FakeAlert malware attack. It occurred after Mike helped her set up online Scrabble. Of course, it might not have anything to do with that. Also, washed sheets for Shelley's and Kiele's beds, etc. and took Shelley to see doctor for her edema. That took at least two hours and then we went to eat at Crown Burger. I never did get to the store to do some shopping I need to do. Tomorrow. I did manage to finish my four pages for tomorrow night.

Shelley is restless and unsettled tonight. Asia is right now too, begging for treats at 11:26 p.m. It's time to shut this down and go to bed. Below my stomach and my lower back hurts; it has a couple of days now. Poor me.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Foundation


It is late again tonight, and I've felt tired all day and especially so tonight. I had already shut down my computer, put on my nightshirt, and went in to the other room to read a bit more of Victor Villasenor's book Beyond Rain of Gold — it's slow going reading it. I almost dread having to do a critique of it because of the mixed feelings I have about it.

Then I remembered my baseboards' blog entry last night and knew I needed to come in here, start the computer, and write this. So here I am to make a small entry. I don't want to spend a lot of time doing this but I do want to do it. There is something about a foundation that his firm. Usually, the ones underneath houses here are made of concrete. Solid. People hope they are immovable. I guess a commitment to make an entry on a consistent basis is like that: a foundation of sorts.

It would be sad — at least two would be to me — to have made a mental commitment to myself to make entries more consistently only to give up and not do one the very next day. It wouldn't be a very firm foundation. So here I am, doing one. Hopefully, I put in the right ingredients to make this foundation solid and hard and immovable.



I want to talk for a moment about baseboard. After all, it is late, — almost midnight — I promised myself I'd make a blog entry, and it's the first thing that came to mind that I found acceptable for a short analysis.

The baseboard I have in mind, without looking the word up in the dictionary or in an encyclopedia, is the board at the base of the wall on the interior of a house. For instance, in this room I'm in there is a baseboard. It is at the intersection of the finished sheetrock and the floor, in this case a carpeted one. The baseboard in here is an inch-and-a-half to two-inches in height and perhaps a little more than a half-inch wide at its widest. It is painted the same color as the wall is. It is grooved, I suppose to make it more appealing to the eye. It is not only grooved, but it his also notched, I assume to further please the eye and overall to cover the more unpleasant transition at the bottom of the sheetrock when it meets the floor. I've seen much more simple and considerably more complex and intricate baseboards. The one in this room is pretty standard for the construction at the time the house was built.

I doubt that baseboard, like the one in this room, or even generally, adds anything to the structural integrity of the wall or house. I don't think it makes anything particularly stronger or more functional in a strictly practical sense. If it did, it would be so minute as to additional function that the additional cost would not justify having it. No, the baseboard is aesthetic. It is to make things look better. To cover up what would be considered ugly. Less artful, less pleasing to the eye.

More generally, what issues in life, if any, are important to structure and integrity over against mere aesthetics. Is an analysis of that issue important to me? What do I think about it?