#1 – Where The Lake Becomes The River by Kate Betterton

29 01 2009

Finally, for the throngs of fans of this blog, the long awaited review of Where the Lake Becomes the River by Kate Betterton. 

I previously mentioned that I won ten copies of this book from bookmovement.com.  This was my book club’s book for January.  The author was gracious enough to call us for a question and answer session this past Sunday evening. 

Were I browsing for books, this is not one that I would have chosen to purchase for myself.  For the most part, I dislike science fiction.  My personal definition of science fiction is extremely broad and would include anything that has the word ghost in the synopsis.  But, we won the book.  I read it and found it to be enjoyable. 

The novel is made up of interwoven short stories about the life of the McCullough family.  Betterton covers a broad range of topics – the Ku Klux Klan and the civil rights movement, life in Japan after WWII, kamikazes, ghosts, patricide, suicide, molestation, reincarnation, returning from the dead.  She ties them together well. 

The book made me think about how I would cope if faced with the death of my husband.  I cannot imagine anything more devastating.  Certainly it would be very hard to accept.

Betterton was wonderful to talk to.  She thoughtfully answered the questions that the book club members posed and expanded on our comments. 

After the call, the meeting turned to food (Monical’s pizza and wonderful baked goods) and girl talk as it always does.  We welcomed a new member.  Hopefully she will stay, as I think she makes a good addition to the group.


Jealous bobbitry, couponing obesity and the boy parts of the recent POTUS

28 01 2009

It is hard to imagine what information the persons using the following keywords to find my blog were actually looking for:

  • jealous bobbitry – Isn’t “bobbitry” in and of itself a jealous act?
  • couponing obesity – Fat people that use coupons to buy more food?  Or, a plethora of coupons?
  • pee hug – I thought I had coined this term after a person who swam in a baby pool that had been urinated in woke me up to give me a hug.
  • Charlie Blackwell’s penis in American Wife – Charlie Blackwell is the George Bush character in American Wifeby Curtis Sittenfeld.  Perhaps she has some inside knowledge about the former President’s member.
  • bowling ball designed butt – A bowling ball that is shaped like a butt?  Sir Mix A Lot would love this.
  • flogging fat girls – So now we deserve to be harmed for our love of food?  Or is this some type of fetishist?
  • best rolling pin  – Ha!  There’s no cooking information here. 

What are some of your own recent favorites from your blog?

When I Was In The News…

25 01 2009

I once made my husband introduce me to all of his colleagues as “And, this is my wife, Mrs. R—–, whom I’m sure you’ve recently read a lot about.”  One drunk fellow agreed that he indeed had been reading a lot about Mrs. R—–.  I had not made the news at that time, but I thought it would be a great ice breaker for the first meeting of his former co-workers.  For those of you who have met my husband, I’m certain you understand the cajoling and begging that was involved in his making such an introduction.

As a student, I made the local newspaper for the standard honor roll, graduations, pageants, etc…  My husband and I were in the local newspapers when we got engaged and subsequently married, and later our names were mentioned when we bought our house.  When I became the Postmaster of the town that I work in, a story about my Postmaster installation was on the front page of the town’s newspaper.

When I was a child I made the news twice for very dumb reasons.  In 1985, I attended the East Peoria Centennial.  A classmate, Justin M, and I were asked to introduce a news segment about the festival after a reporter stumbled upon us sucking air from balloons and talking in crazy voices.  We  the introductions in the high-pitched voices that one achieves only by inhaling helium. 

The next year, I made the front page of the East Peoria Courier.  My neighbor Lindsey and I read enough books to be invited to the Fondulac library’s prestigious end of the year party.  Zookeepers from the Glen Oak Zoo brought different animals for the children to see.  Lindsey and I were photographed petting a skunk.  The tentative looks on our faces made it front page material. 

And several years ago I was a local fitness celebrity.  My husband and I participated in the Indoor Triathalon at the Riverplex.  One of the news stations showed me several times on the news.  I think they chose me as a message to unfit people everywhere – “If she can do it, then you certainly can too!”

I guess my lack of fame is a good thing.  After all, I haven’t been featured in the police blotter.

The Mighty Omni

22 01 2009

In 1991, my Uncle Jack passed away.  Even though I was 14, he left a car to me in his will. 

I was thrilled at the prospects; once I got my driver’s license I would be able to drive myself anywhere I wanted to go.  The savory scent of my future freedom permeated the air around me.  Less than two years would pass and then I would no longer have to depend on other people to give me a ride.  Opportunities abounded making it a fine car, indeed.

The two-tone brown 1983 Dodge Omni sat in my Grandma’s garage for almost two years.  My dad would occasionally start the car, but for the most part it just sat and developed some minor character flaws. 

I got my driver’s license in September of 1993.  The minute I got home from the driver’s license bureau I was literally off like a shot.  The power of being able to drive was exhilarating.

Having a car gave me the ability to quit my hated job as a bus person at Jonah’s.  I interviewed for and was given a job at Foster & Gallagher.  I was movin’ on up.  Now I would be paid the sum of $4.70 an hour plus commission on the number of magazine renewals I was able to obtain.  This was a vast improvement over the $4.25 minimum wage I was paid at Jonah’s.

Before October 1st, I had four flat tires.  Really.  Four. flat. tires.  Although my dad made sure I could change a tire before I was allowed to get my driver’s license, I never had to put my skills to the test.  I would pull over to the side of the road and get out the spare tire and the  jack, but men always stopped and finished the job for me.  This was prior to the advent of cellular phones into daily life.  I didn’t have the ability to call someone to help me.  Now it strikes me as odd that random strangers always stopped to help.  Society has changed a lot in the past 16 years.  Now, it is assumed that everyone has a cell phone and can call for help, so the random men just keep on driving. 

One premium feature of the Omni was the rusted floorboard on the passenger side.  When driving through a large puddle, water would splash into the car dousing the unsuspecting passenger’s feet.

The tan fabric on the roof of the car had come partially unattached and would flutter in the breeze if the windows were rolled down.

The car came equipped with an AM radio.  Back then, I loved gangsta rap music, so I drove around with a boom box in the car blaring my Too Short and Easy-E tapes.  The amount of D batteries I used to listen to such horrible degrading tripe blows my mind. 

Gas was less than $1.00 a gallon.  It cost between $8 and $10 to fill up the tank.  Friends would donate a dollar or two to the cause and we would cruise around Peoria for hours. 

One of the finest days in the history of my Omni occurred in the winter of 1994.  I picked up my friend Kristy before school for our daily ride to school and work together.  That morning we decided to go through the Hardees’ drive through to pick up some breakfast sandwiches before school.  As I pulled into the drive through we noticed the car was making a loud thump with each turn of the tire.  It was snowy out.  Mechanical geniuses that we were, we determined that the thump was caused by snow caught in the wheel well and went about our merry ways. 

After school we were off to Foster and Gallagher for a few hours of trying to get people to renew subscriptions to Nursing, Grit, and Playboy magazines (by the way, I was always one of the top telemarketers, due to my sexy telephone voice).  We headed down highway 116 to work, driving the posted speed limit of 55.  The noise got louder and louder, sounding like a helicopter.  Although it did add some needed bass to the gangsta rap music we were jamming out to, it wasn’t the right beat. 

The night was over and I took Kristy home.  The noise remained at the same level during the ride home.  At the bottom of Bloomington Road I decided that the best way to solve the problem of the “Omnicoptor” would be to turn the steering wheel all the way to the left and then all the way to the right.  Surely that would dislodge the snow.

The entire wheel fell off. 

A friend of my father’s came and towed the car away.  A few days later it was as good as it ever was.

Several months later the Omni just stopped moving as I was driving down the road.  It blew a head gasket and the cost of repair was tenfold the value of the car.  So, the Omni was no more and I had to depend on my mom and my friends to take me places for a few months. 

Rest In Peace, Omnicoptor, wherever you are.  Thank you Uncle Jack. You gave me my first taste of freedom.  I have never turned back.

But, I digress

22 01 2009

The Postmaster oath is the same as the President’s oath of office.  I told my husband this and he looked at me like I was insane and asked how I intended to protect and defend the Constitution.

Soon, I might be meeting President Obama.  I am doing something for work that may put me in very close vicinity with him!  How exciting it would be to actually see a U.S. President in person. 

Last night we started watching the HBO’s John Adams miniseries.  Did you know that John Adams defended the perpetrators of the Boston Massacre? 

I had a crazy dream last night.  I was driving a teal Ford Mustang down a busy highway that was partially covered in snow and ice.  Every time I used the brakes I would fishtail and slide all over the road.  Several accidents were narrowly avoided.  Finally I crashed into a house.  Upon getting out to see what the problem was I noticed I had a flat tire and that all of my tires were completely bald. 

Cell phone update – Yesterday I put the phone in the refrigerator for at least 10 hours.  This did not seem to help at all.  There is still a lot of condensation on both screens.  I am going to try rice next.  If I have to get a new phone, I’m going to use ebay.  Several years ago I got an older model (that was new) for a ridiculously low price.  Since all I do is talk to a few people, I don’t need any fancy bells and whistles.

In Which I Consider Delivering a Sound Flogging Upon Myself

20 01 2009

I couldn’t find my cell phone earlier.  After calling it a few times and searching around the house and in my car, I realized it must be in my pants pocket.  Those pants were in the washing machine which was churning away.

Some googling suggests the following methods of cell phone revival:

  • put it on a dehumidifier
  • put it in the oven on low for 30 minutes
  • put it in the crock pot on low
  • put it in the refrigerator
  • use a blow dryer to dry it out
  • put it on top of the dryer on spin cycle
  • put it underneath a lamp

I had it underneath a lamp for a while.  A few minutes ago, I tried the blow dryer method, which fogged up the display screens a bit more.  Now it is back under the lamp.  Hopefully it will work soon.  I REALLY don’t want to buy a new cell phone.  I’m starting to wish I wasn’t so anti-cell phone insurance.  On the other hand, if I buy a new phone on ebay I think I will be ahead, since I have avoided paying for cell phone insurance for the past decade. 

Cross your fingers for me.  Any tried and true suggestions for bringing my phone back from the abyss?

Years past…

19 01 2009

Recently on a Good Morning America episode, the anchors revealed what past year of their life had the most impact on them.  Hearing this got me thinking about events in my own past and what far reaching effects they have had on my current life.

The events that most changed my life happened over a period of two years.  In 2001, a friend asked me to go with her to Weight Watchers.  I was extremely overweight and was suffering from extremely low self esteem.  At that time and had never made any attempt to diet and didn’t know how to begin.  Weight Watchers literally changed my life.  By the end of 2001, I was a size 4.  My self esteem skyrocketed to the point of megalomania. 

In 2002, I had a raucous time, making up for many years of a life as a obese self-deprecating anti-fatite.  I had previously believed that others based my worth as a human being on my weight.  I also based my own self worth on my weight, though I have always been glad to befriend anyone who stimulated my mind regardless of his/her weight. 

In 2003, I learned to desire things that I could not get with my looks.   I calmed down and set my sights on the future.  In 2003, at the age of 25, I became an adult. 

In 2003, I met my future husband.  In 2004, we moved in together and adopted some pets.  In 2005, we got engaged.  In 2006, we got married.  In 2009, we are very happy. 

I still believe that I can do anything that I want to do.  Keep in mind that I have accepted that with my extreme lack of coordination and short stature, I will not be a ballerina.  Honestly, I believe that anyone can do anything they put their mind to.  Most of the time, its not based on looks.  Certainly a sprinter needs a lean body and strong leg muscles; a surgeon needs a steady hand; a foot model should be free of corns and bunions.  But do you need to look a certain way to be a Postmaster, vending machine repairman or a stenographer?  Probably not.