When I was growing up, I got to know all my grandparents as best as a child can. My mother’s parents were from the hills of Kentucky. Their names were Grover and Lizzie, and they lived in a holler. I called them Mammaw and Pappaw.
On my dad’s site, his parents had divorced when he was five, so that meant we got extra grandparents! Grandad remarried a woman named Jean from Australia, and Grandmother remarried a man named Bill. We called him Bill too. These sets of grandparents all lived in Louisville, Kentucky, the gateway to the south.
As I grow older and (hopefully) more logical, I’ve noticed that things I’m scared of have changed quite a bit.
When I was about five, our family attended a church in a small Midwestern town. The church was an older brick square building in the not-to-bustling historic downtown area of Crawfordsville, Indiana. Since my childhood, the church has moved, both physically and seemingly intellectually. The church moved to a more modern building on the outskirts of town, and my parents stopped attending when they felt the church’s use of tithes for a fancy youth group gym could have better been spent in outreach to needy people.
The other night at a party at our house, I related the story of a strange new-agey kind of experience I had last week. My friend reminded me of Tim Minchin’s Storm, which is a good background to understanding what I went through!
Occasionally I like to have an afternoon for watching movies that remind me in some way of my past. This would include (no surprise) movies set in the south. Some days I just feel vulnerable, missing my dad, who died three years ago, or my mom and the rest of the family, some of whom I get to see next month in California!
I don’t know if I have blogged much about this, but we now have three cats. They are pictured here on our bed. Our eldest cat, and the largest, is rather standoffish. We adopted him almost seven years ago after we got married. When we adopted him, he looked like the runt of the litter, and like a little, gray mouse, so we called him Mouse at first. But he grew into a beautiful cat–an odd mix of a Siamese and Maine Coon. He is so pretty that he made the finals in Cute Overload’s Rock the Stoat contest. Scroll down some to find “Mouse”. I’m sorry to say that the name Mouse never did fit, and he has been known since as “Kitty”.
When I was young, we had “family nights” each Thursday evening at our house on 4524 Johnson Avenue in Western Springs, Illinois. Dad would pop a big bowl of popcorn, and we would gather in the den, with the ugly orange shag carpet, to watch The Waltons. Since we had southern roots and had been up in the Blue Ridge Mountains–and known of mountain people living in even smaller and poorer houses than what was portrayed in The Waltons (which was based on Earl Hamner’s life and writings from the Great Depression), our family could relate.
It is very early in the morning, and I had a long day yesterday. It started with blood tests from the doctor (just regular checkup stuff) and then booster shots for our little kittens we just adopted. By now it was only 10:30 or so. I had to also bind a copy of my book for a reviewer who requested it, so I went to Staples to bind the book. I hope something happens with that, but cannot be sure. It excites me that the reviewer writes for the New York Times and Slate, but I’m not getting my hopes up.
After all is said and done during the week–and the weekend offers some sweet recovery and relaxation–I get into the mood of finding comfort rather than adventure. Here is another survey–about what comforts you.
I really don’t have much time these days to update here. Remember last time when I wrote about the library of forgotten books? As if I needed a new project–but I started one anyway at http://www.shadowsofthewind.com. I’m trying to keep up with that, my press, BCrainforest.com, working full-time (and working with some really cool people who seem like the first friends I’ve started making on my own since moving to Canada), and having fun date nights with my husband. Not to mention walking 2-5 km a day and planning some longer hikes/camping trips this summer, along with a trip to California in May for Kris’s graduation! (Morgan is also quite faithfully doing the couch to 5K run program on the treadmill, plus walking about 2 km a day at least–we usually take weekends off from this stuff.)
Perhaps no novel’s words have haunted me as much as these from Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s The Shadow of the Wind:
A blue-tinted gloom obscured the sinuous contours of a marble staircase and a gallery of frescoes peopled with angels and fabulous creatures. We followed our host through a palatial corridor and arrived at a sprawling round hall where a spiralling basilica of shadows was pierced by shafts of light from a high glass dome above us. A labyrinth of passageways and crammed bookshelves rose from base to pinnacle like a beehive, woven with tunnels, steps, platforms and bridges that presaged an immense library of seemingly impossible geometry. I looked at my father, stunned. He smiled at me and winked.