Friday, December 31, 2010

A letter to my #1

My dearest son—

I was inspired to write you this letter after hearing a year-long, decade-long retrospective of sound bites on the radio of 2010 and the preceding decade.  I was struck by the number of events that made up 2010 and marveled at what a full year it was.  I was also inspired to write it after noticing your ‘down-in-the-dumps-ness’ last evening. 

A new year is a time to reflect on the passing of time.  Lots of people feel sad and nostalgic when they look back because of missed opportunities and times, places and people that will never come again.  Yes, there are those things, but it’s also a time to look at what a full and wonderful year 2010 was for you.  The dawn of 2010 found you in the new and challenging environment of a new school.  What a courageous move for you, son--to leave the school system where you’d been for eleven years and start out fresh.  It was a GOOD move for you.  Suddenly, you had friends to hang out with—you made LOTS of friends and met people you never would have if you hadn’t moved.  Suddenly you had activities to be involved with: Theatre and Japanese Club and your HeroClix group!!  I only wish we’d moved you sooner.  You’ve had a couple girlfriends, you graduated from high school, you got a job.  You got a car.  You met every major teenage milestone.  You started to college.

Now I understand that it may not be the job you want to spend the rest of your life in, but I assure you that you are far better off than most teens.  You work in one of the most prestigious places in town and you work for two of the nicest, fairest employers there are.  Again, son, it may not be what you had wanted for yourself, but look at the big picture--you didn't give up.  You are slowly but surely reaching your goals.  Look around you.  There are many, many people who started out with very lofty goals, and had have to lower their expectations—or have quit altogether.  You, my dear son, have started out low and are moving higher.  In May, you’ll have completed your first year of college.  Many don’t even make it that far. It’s true.  You are on track with your goals and you are moving forward.   Keep your eyes on the prize, my son.

And most of all, 2010 was FUN.  We did shows:  The One-Acts and "May the Farce Be With You".  We saw great movies:  “Harry Potter” and “Iron Man” and “Toy Story 3” and “How to Train Your Dragon” and “Tangled” and “Scott Pilgrim” and “Tron” and “True Grit”.  We went to the Lake and to GenCon and to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  We survived the drama camp and ate out more times that I can count and had great parties, went bowling and played miniature golf, and walked in the woods, and on beaches, threw rocks in a lake, and dug in the sand, went to festivals, and museums, and saw parades, and had fun with LOTS of people.  And we probably laughed more in 2010 than in any previous year because of YouTube alone.

My beloved child, I entreat you not to be sad.  If you are like me, you will have to fight off bouts of sadness your entire life.  Don’t let the darkness win.  You are a wonderful person, with lots to offer.  You have many people who love you and you love them in return, make no mistake.

The trick to happiness—and I honestly believe this—is to find the joy in the little things.  Find reasons to laugh; find comfort in the joy of knowing that you are loved; and pay your blessings forward.   These are the secrets to day-to-day happiness.

I love you very much.  As your mom, I want so many things for you, but mostly, I want you to be happy.  In happiness, you will find success.


Your mom

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Things That Make Life Worth Living--Thanksgiving Edition

I posted on Facebook that my thankfuls were 'shallow' this year, and then I proceeded to name off a bunch of fluff that basically shows me to be the self-centered, spoiled, ungrateful middle-class American that I am the other 364 days of the year.  But, seriously, isn't that what Thanksgiving has boiled down to?  Food, football, and shopping?  ;-)  Well, I have no desire to go all preachy, but...methinks I haven't done a 'reason for living' blog post in a while, so it might be time.

Reasons for Living (Reasons to be Thankful)
1.  I'm thankful for knowledge and my ability to absorb it:  for National Public Radio, the History Channel, Newsweek, Smithsonian, for books, and countless museums, and friends who are smarter than me and share their knowledge and life's wisdom.
2.  I'm thankful for food and drink:  peanutbutter M&Ms, Burger King's cookie dough pie, Mozzi's pizza, stir-fried rice, and catfish strips at Montana Mike's.  Diet Sunkist, vanilla milk shakes, apples, spicettes and chocolate chip cookies.
3.  I'm thankful for entertainment:  for "Glee" and YouTube and Facebook and the Onion, musical theatre, the song-writing contest, Harry Potter, and hilarious TV commercials.
4.  I'm thankful for technology:  for Comcast on Demand and Hulu, CGI, social networking, my computer, e-mail, voice mail and text messages on my iPhone.
5.  I'm thankful for comfort:  cowboy slippers, my leggings, my wraps, and my sweatshirt collection, heat in my car, my couch, the warm little rat dog who isn't happy unless she's cuddled up next to me, and fires in the fireplace, and for my snuggly husband.
6.  I'm thankful for the people in my life:  for the ones who give hugs; the ones who  make me laugh and the ones who laugh with me; the ones who talk to me, the ones who listen, and the ones with whom I can be silent; the ones who love me and the ones I love in return.

I'm thankful for it all.  Does it get any better than this?  Well...does it?

Friday, November 19, 2010


This is not my writing....but I heard it on this morning's "Writer's Almanac" and LOVED it...
By the time I was six months old, she knew something
was wrong with me. I got looks on my face
she had not seen on any child
in the family, or the extended family,
or the neighborhood. My mother took me in
to the pediatrician with the kind hands,
a doctor with a name like a suit size for a wheel:
Hub Long. My mom did not tell him
what she thought in truth, that I was Possessed.
It was just these strange looks on my face—
he held me, and conversed with me,
chatting as one does with a baby, and my mother
said, She's doing it now! Look!
She's doing it now! and the doctor said,
What your daughter has
is called a sense
of humor. Ohhh, she said, and took me
back to the house where that sense would be tested
and found to be incurable.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Zombie Dream

Last night, I dreamed I was being chased by zombies.  The early part of the dream involved lots of running, chasing, barricading myself in rooms with rickety doors (by wedging a chair under the doorknob), and approaching people I knew only to realize that they were zombies.  You could tell if they were zombies because they would stare at you without blinking and then when they opened their mouths, you could see their grey and rotted teeth.

Eventually, fate caught up with me and I was bitten on the arm by Brock Rittenhouse, an old high school friend [that I haven't seen in 30 years].  I turned to my companions and began repeating over and over again, “I’m sorry!  I’m sorry!  I’m sorry!”

We all sat down to wait for the change—of me, into a zombie.  We did various things—read, cleaned….I was sewing.  Then suddenly, a fogginess enveloped me and I went limp.  I shouted to those around me, “Good-bye, good-bye, good-bye!”

Now I’m sure those of you who are reading this are sure that it’s an allegory for what’s happening in my life right now.  I would be inclined to agree with that, too, but this dream has a punchline.  Read on….

After the fogginess passed, I went back to sewing, the only thing having changed was that I was now officially a zombie.  I sat and sewed…and sewed and sewed and sewed.  And then I said, “Wow.  My attention span is a lot longer now that I’m a zombie.”   

End of dream.  I woke up.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Burning Tower

You think you've wounded me
You've only made me smile
I know you're in there
I see you in there
the layers and layers of ice and cement
 slabs of sheet metal
Your fortress of bitterness

I offer myself up
like a lamb to the slaughter
to the countless slings and arrows
the jabs and the sucker punches
the poison
the venom you spit my way--
in hopes that
you are one step closer
to burning down
your angry tower
that Barad-dur you've built for yourself--
is one step closer
to burning down
and one step closer
to home.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Death Grip

She keeps a death grip
on that sparse bouquet of holy moments
that never fail to bring a smile 

Brisk youthful footfalls advancing across a wooden floor  
A countenance like the sun in the door frame
Glance before outrageous laughter  
Breaking even with convenience store wagers

But time, persistent healer of all wounds
Time, that Thief, pries at her fingers
loosening the hold
she has on those hopeful and petal-less stems.

Their fragrance long staled, now cloyed with rot
Their color unremarkable greyish-green
Crunchy with age, dust with a touch
Clutched yet in a grimy, resistant palm.
Holding on for dear life. 

A silence in the wires
A sliver moon rises over a dry and barren desert
She listens carefully, looks intently, waits
For a message in the spider's web
An alignment of the stars
What god wants her to know

A perfect stillness.
All quiet.
No crickets.  No ticking clock.
The house settles in silence.
And then, as soft as a sigh, but more like a prayer
Breathing in, breathing out.
"No...." she says.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Addicted to Museums

Scott Robinson, an employee of the Indianapolis Children's Museum, just posted an article naming the Indianapolis Children's
Museum one of the ten best museums for children.

I totally agree.  We Schaefers are coast-to-coast travelers and we have not been to a children's museum that comes close to rivaling the one in our own back yard.  However,  I was surprised to note that we had not been to ANY of the other nine. 

My children were raised on museums (members of the Children's Museum until just recently) and LOVE them.  One of our summer trips included visits to more than 15 Civil War battlefield sites and no matter the size of the museum--three floors of Confederate history or a scant display of artifacts found on the grounds, it was always nearly impossible to drag
them away and on to the tour.  With that in mind, here is OUR list of top ten favorites...

1)    Children’s Museum (Indianapolis, IN)
2)    Will Rogers Museum (Cleremore, OK)
3)    Spam Museum (Austin, MN)
4)    Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum (Tucson, AZ)
5)    Buffalo Bill Historical Center (Cody, WY)
6)    Museum of the Rockies (Bozeman, MT)
7)    Museum of Cowboy and Western Heritage (Oklahoma City, OK)
8)    Museum of the Confederacy (Richmond, VA)
9)    Mystic Seaport (Mystic, CT)
10)   Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, (Cleveland, OH)

Of course I have strong memories of CoSi in Columbus, the museum complex in Cincinnati, museums in Boston, DC, Denver, Fort Clatsop in Washington State, and all those fabulous Route #66 museums in Oklahoma, Arizona, and New Mexico....!  And the Eiteljorg, and the Sioux Indian Museum in Rapid City, SD...and...oh, Greenfield Village in Dearborn, and the Shipwreck Museum in Whitefish Point, MI.... 

Yep, we're addicted.  I see a 10-year vacation plan in the future where we visit each of the 9 listed in the article.  That ought to keep us busy for awhile.  ;-)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Buried Importance

Two Dreams...

1) In the first dream, my husband and I went to the restaurant. You know the one. It was much larger than it really is in this dream. It was crowded and busy. And I saw someone I knew across the room in the crowd. I saw him, but I don't know that he saw me. I tried to catch his eye, but he was busily engaged in witty repartee. And I was sad. I couldn't eat. I couldn't converse. He hadn't e-mailed, texted or bothered to call to let me know he was in town. And I understood again my true value and knew that I had no place in the new world order.

2) The second dream was much longer. I was in a show. I believe it was "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever"--which is not the show I'm REALLY in--and we were performing it as part of a Sunday morning church service. It was our last performance and I was desperate to get ahold of him to come and see it, come and see it. Please, please. But my phone wasn't working right. I went out to my car to get my old red phone, but I remembered when I saw it that it was in pieces. I thought about borrowing somebody's phone to text him, but then I remembered that his number was on my iPhone and it wasn't working right. And my mom was mad at me the whole time because I was busy trying to make my phone work and I wasn't paying attention to her. Then the service started and it was too late.

3) Then, as if to lighten things up a bit, I actually had a third dream. I dreamed that John and I were on one of our long driving vacations. We were looking for a town called Sheep. I was watching road signs, but I never saw a sign or a turn off for Sheep. We stopped at some lost-in-time gas station where I went in to get something to eat and try to get some idea of where we were and where we were supposed to be going. I didn't want to ask directions, but I looked all around the gas station for clues of where we might be. There were none. I had absently picked up two different packages of generic oreos and had opened them and eaten several cookies from each pack. They weren't good, but I had opened them and then I had to pay for them. Grr.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Lone Shoe

Lone shoe by the side of the road
how came you to be abandoned,
crying on a paved and gravelly shoulder?
What carelessness, what tomfoolery
what rash, random act
created your solitude?

Your demise hastened by brutal summer sun
midwestern monsoons
deadening exhaust and crushing of tires.

Do you yearn to be a pair,
to dance a proper dance for two
to run at a lope and not a limp?
To hip-hop up stairs with an even gait?
To share the weight equally?

Where now travels your other half
on the highway of destiny?
Where now is your symmetrical twin?
Neither of you to ever be reunited
and worn by mirror imaged feet...

But like the steadfast tin soldier
in Anderson's tragedy
your heart a leaden lump
a lonely vigil you keep
you wait silently immobile
and weep.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What Do You Pray For?

So what do you pray for?  Do you pray for healing?  Do you pray for that miracle—the kind of which seemed so prevalent in the bible?  What DO you pray for?

I have heard something awful.  That someone I know—not well, but after all we’re all members of the human race, feeling joy, pain, sorrow—someone I know has received a medical diagnosis that is most likely not favorable.  The kind of medical diagnosis that generally means a family, a group of friends is condemned to watch a loved one die.   I can think of no greater horror, no greater pain.

What is the sense of it, God?  Really?  What is Your almighty plan here?

I, who believe that everything happens for the best, for a reason. That there is always a silver lining...  And a good Christian would console me with ‘and we may not ever understand the reason….’  Oh, please.  Whatever.  What consolation is that??

When my aunt Betsy was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), I simply couldn’t believe it.  What?  If there were ever a non-Catholic candidate for sainthood, it would be her.  She was much beloved by all; she was as good a person as ever walked this earth.  And I thought that surely, surely…if all the strong Christians she knew and who knew her gathered together in one place—for wherever two or more of us are gathered in His name, there He shall be also—that if they combined their Christian energy and lifted my good, good aunt up in prayer, then surely there would be a miracle.  But it did not happen.  And she died a long, slow death that was agonizing to watch.

My good and faithful uncle—her husband—did he pray for healing?  Did he believe that his God, his Lord would heal her?  And what of his faith now?

My brother lost his only son, two years old, a drowning victim.  The horror of burying your only child and all we can do is watch.  The rest of us hug our children near to us, grateful that the hand of fate saw fit to pass us by this time.  What was the sense in that?  I would say, eight years later to the date, that my brother is leading a happier life.  He and his wife got divorced.  He’s free, and happy, and leading a great life.  But at what price?  Given the choice, would he have chosen this happiness over that?

And I’m left to wonder what to pray for.  Do we tempt God like that?  Do we test Him?  For He also said, “Ask and ye shall receive.”  I would imagine that many people ask.  Many do pray for that miracle, are praying for it right now.  And why should God listen?  Many thousands of people praying for the same thing.  What makes my person, my loved one, any more important than anyone else’s, that my prayer should be answered above theirs?

And when we don’t get what we pray for, what then?  Where does our faith go?  I would imagine that tragedy, a broken heart, that sense of god-abandonment causes a good number of us to to fall away in disappointment, despair, disbelief. 

I know another story of a principal in IPS whose teenaged son was stabbed and killed in the cafeteria of the high school he attended.  And when this man was told that his child had been killed, he fell to his knees and thanked God for the years that he was able to spend with him. 

Now that is some amazing strength.  A strong faith.  As strength that I could only hope and pray  to find inside me in such a moment.  That I would find the strength inside to rejoice in what I had received, the joy already experienced, not in what I was losing.  A tough call.  A long and arduous road to walk.  The rest of your life, an empty place at the table, empty room, photos, the flotsam and jetsam of a life lived.

And so I will not ask.  I won’t test the Lord my God, my faith with yet another prayer for the healing miracle.  Instead, I will pray for strength for that family, for their journey on the road to the abyss ahead.  I will pray that they have a strong support group around them, that they cherish their days together, and draw comfort from each other, that they find it within themselves to keep moving, keep moving as they face the challenges, the shadows, the ordeal ahead, and they are able to find some diamonds to collect along that rough, rough road, and also, a rope to climb out when they're ready.  The miracle, maybe, lies in the fact that we are forced to go on.  And we do.  And we can.  We think we can't, but we can.  And we do.  Strength.  Lord, give them strength and what comfort you can spare.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Measure of the New Maturity

So I'm listening to NPR today...a weekly (?) mental health talk show where they're talking to parents about communicating with teens. 

The first example was a mother who was getting after her daughter for sitting on the couch to spray her hairspray.  The mother was afraid the hairspray would ruin the couch and the daughter was feeling picked on and persecuted.  I don't know.  I can't see me personally getting upset about hairspray.  Papier mache on the couch, small engine repair on the couch, rolling out cookie dough on the couch, I can see.  But hairspray?  As long as you can't see it, what's the problem?

The second example however, was the best.  The psychologists and adolescent experts talked about the changes a child's brain goes through in the teenaged years, and conceded that they simply do NOT think.  They are incredibly impulsive and in many instances it is impossible to deal with them logically and rationally.  The experts stress that it is very important to stay calm, and perhaps put some distance between the offense and the imminent parent-child discussion and discipline session.  The example given was an overnight slumber party, that, on a whim and a dare, bubbled out into the yard with shaving cans and eggs good only for trussing up the exterior of the home of the cutest boy in school.  The police come, chastise the girls and send them back to their party.  The party girl's parents then deliver each girl home to be dealt with by their own parental units. 
     The experts encouraged the parents to STAY calm.  Deal with the situation in the morning when cooler heads will prevail, and the child--having come to her senses--will be shamed into enough contriteness and regret to perhaps write apology letters to the parents of the party girl, the parents of the cute boy, and perhaps the police--letters which would include an admission of guilt and regret for their rash behavior along with a statement of what each girl would choose to do if the situation arose again.

     If the situation arose again?  Are you kidding me?  I would not have missed a MINUTE of that action--running through the night town in just my skivvies, hysterically spraying shaving cream on the house, the car, the other girls, giddily lobbing eggs at the mailbox, at the dog, at the upstairs window where the boy slept, and then tossing the empty cans and egg cartons over the fence into the pool before dashing away into the darkness.  I would not have missed that fun--that glorious, irresponsible fun--for anything.  Yeah, I'd write my letter, submit to grounding for a week, but those memories will soon pass and the memory of that warm summer evening of giggly girl-ness will live on forever.     


I posted this about a year ago. Revisiting it a little on this blue Monday...

A chill as the temperature drops
I pull my sweater closer
And peer at the writing on the wall
The scratchmarks on the door
Like a rocket you're so 'outta here'
Like Jupiter's moon you want to be gone
Like an eagle erupting into flight
I wave a send-off, smiling at your elation
Can you see me from the stratosphere
Or already am I ant-sized on the surface of the earth?
Kneeling, I trace footprints in the dust
Gather a handful of feathers
And tilt my face toward the sun's warmth
Eyes closed to your brilliance
Hands move together for that familiar gesture
But when I look, you've already turned.

Chris 8.18.2008

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The 40th Year

I was digging through some old stuff of mine.  Seems I do that more and more lately....and I found this that I wrote on turning 40.

1)     Make sure that the people you love know you love them.  It’s never too late.  Make it a habit.  Don’t take their presence in your life for granted.
2)    Read—one new book a month.  Doesn’t matter what it is—just read.
3)    Watch one sunrise and one sunset—not just on your way to or from work.    Make a plan and do it.  Stop.  And watch.
4)    Buy the shoes you really want.
5)    Keep a journal.  Write it down.  Some day, memories will be all that’s left.
6)    Travel—go someplace you’ve never been--and take the kids.  You will create a memory that lasts a lifetime.
7)    Stay home and appreciate it.
8)    Go barefoot.  Remember barefoot?  Cool grass.  Warm sidewalks.  Mud.  Sand. 
9)    Be creative.  Make something.  Anything.  And put your name on it.
10)  Thank God for your 1001 reasons to be happy.

So?  From 40 to 50, how'd I do?

Monday, August 9, 2010

New Blog

I am now the creator of three separate blogs.

This one (the one one you're at now):  Better in Writing
The one dedicated to my love and involvement with theatre:  The Director's Journal
My newest one, a blog to document the music that's the soundtrack of my life:  The Message is in the Music

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Geek Love

I stopped at one point today to assess the experience.  On my left, an elegantly adorned pirate.  On my right, two middle-aged men trading Magic cards with the solemnity usually reserved for stock trading.  In my vision, a kilt-clad storm trouper, a couple wearing matching Pikachu hats and pouring over the event catalogue, little Geeklings battling with nerf swords, a giant bounce house rock climbing pyramid, a sleeping Sailor Moon in the corner, and hundreds upon thousands of gamer geeks, all--like me--happy as clams, all enjoying the experience, the fellowship, this community of geeks, gamers, sci-fi fanatics, cartoon nuts, D & D nerds, and cos-players all gathered in one place...this annual pilgrimage, the madness, the mass hysteria, the joyful celebration of difference known as GenCon.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

She Wants...

She wants…
and she wants.
She wants to tell you how
the first rehearsal went.
And she wants to share with you
the funny pink ribbon catalog.
She wants to hear you laugh
at the YouTube link.
And she wants to ask you
a question about Shakespeare.
She wants to know
if you speak Russian.
She wants to give you
the gifts she’s had for so long.
She wants to know
what you know.
She wants everything
as long as its free.
And she wants one more
look at you.
She wants
and she wants.
She wants.
But your death
has made it all

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Make someone happy...

Christine C. Schaefer made people happy today.  That's what it's all about, isn't it?

I made my husband happy by listening to him prattle on this morning about his assorted interests--his short story, his recent FaceBook posts, a movie he watched.  I stayed in bed talking instead of jumping up to go about my busy business.

I made a co-worker happy by giving him the morning off.

I made another co-worker happy by coming into the Gallery and spending time with her before I went to the play.

I made four sets of parents and four little girls happy by carting them out to Westfield and back to see a production of "Annie".

I made another little girl and her parents, and her grandmother and her aunt happy by going to see an almost-perfect-stranger in a play.

I made the aunt happy AGAIN by sending a video clip of the niece to her all the way in California.

I made another parent happy by complimenting her child in the show.

I made a little girl happy by paying attention to her new puppy.

I made one of the drama teens laugh until she cried at Wal-Mart.

I made my older son happy by continuing to work on redecorating his room.

I made my younger son happy by finishing his Black Lantern  cape.

Make someone happy.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Objective Missingment...Prose into Poem

"See, Cassie?  This is something I would have called him about," she said, locking up the door.  "I mean, he was honestly good at this kind of thing.  And he would never tell me what to think or what to do, but he helped me organize my thinking."  She paused, fussing with that damnably irritatingly touchy lock.  She looked up at Cassie.  "He would have helped me with this and to know what to do.  He would know how to manage this.  And he could have helped."

Later in the day, she stumbled across a photo on FaceBook.  It was of her college roommate's niece, the niece named for the roommate, but someone she had never met.  It was a photo of her--the niece--at the county fair with her llama, and both dressed up like a certain current techno-pop diva.  Oh, but he would have thought that was hilarious.
And later still, when the catalogue of pink ribbon items came, too funny, too funny.  Or the truck hauling the pink ribbon porta-potties.  You've got to be kidding.  The hilarity that would have ensued then.
And the Onion story.
The rumor she heard.
A joyous moment needing to be shared, and he was the best for that.
An argument.
An epiphany.
A lesson she learned.
These things, she misses.  

Wuthering Heights

My eyes flutter open in the dark.  Please.  Please let it be a decent hour.  But no, it's 3 a.m.  Great.  I can lay awake for a couple of hours and just as I feel like falling asleep again, it will be time to get up.

And so, the Summer of Loss and Lamentation continues.  

Heathcliffe, they're all watching me.  Still.  But they don't watch here.  Not with any regularity anyway.  Here is where the prisoner can walk the grounds unencumbered by watchful guards and shackles.  Here is where it can all be poured out.  But there's not much to pour.  

He said 'sorry was not the feeling he got from me'.  No, that doesn't surprise me.  I'm surprised that he got any feeling at all.  I'm amazingly flat line these days.  The amazing and sorrowing things I hear about him register barely a blip on the roller coaster I used to ride.  My daily dose has seen to that.  

Well?  What was I do to?  That Morning came, the one where I couldn't get out of the bed, the one where I began to consider other ways to stop the empty sadness.  I saw it coming from a mile away, like a rogue wave rolling in and I couldn't stop it.  But I've been there before and I could not go there again.  It's not all about me, anymore.  I've got too many people depending on me, too much to lose.  I had to keep walking; I had to.  And so I did something about it.  And the saving was my undoing.

Somehow, he comes up in conversation at least once a day.  And why not?  We are in familiar places,  oft-traversed now-haunted places, we talk of shows past, of funnies of old, of the old one who liked us or at least tolerated us.  And their eyes flick to me.  They watch for the Wince and they get it.  Like a nervous tic.  Or the Brave Lookaway.  I look away from the conversation and try to drag my brain with it.  Otherwise, I start thinking about those times, and fall silent, pondering, my thoughts rolling downhill.  I try to remember promises I made, where it began to go wrong.  But I, who can't find the checkbook, the keys, my phone, can't or won't remember what I've broken.

They watch and they're glad.  You know they are.  Good riddance to bad rubbish is what they're thinking.  They think I'm better off.  They tell me I am.  Am I?  I must be.

One jangled her new bangles in front of another and he said, "Where'd you get those?"  
And she said, "I inherited them." 
And he said, "So the divorce is final, huh?"  

Ha.  Funny guy.  

And another is diligently deleting graffiti, names and signatures, from everything.  She cleaned off something written my desk with the Goo Gone.  "Don't do that!" I said.  "That wasn't a bad thing--it was a good memory."  She was indignant and kept on.  Those are touchstones, I explained.  I want them around.  She was indignant still.

One thing I still have.  One thing he left.  Was it of no value? 
I had a dream that it was gone, that it--like the clothes that still smelled of...Burbury?--was gone.  In the dream, I went to the restaurant and demanded it back....  So when I awoke, I dressed and went straight to the Gallery to make sure it was still there.  It was.  And it still plays music. and Davey Jones listening to music boxes from another era....  I can't find the green bracelet though.  The blue one, I have, but the green one has slipped away.

Like so much else, it slipped away.

I'll pour it out here.  Where no one is watching.  Pour it out until the pitcher is dry.  

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Gifts--a vignette

         “Here,” the text read.
         “Hold,” the response.

         She glanced at the three gifts placed strategically on the passenger seat and mused over the order of opening.  She decided on the biggest last, not because it was the biggest, but because it was the most heartfelt, and it should have been given long before this. 
         She had no illusions that her gifts would even register, but they were so ‘him’ that she couldn’t pass them up.  Two of them anyway.  The third was a relic from another time that had most likely already passed into meaninglessness.  Still, there was no one else, so to him it would go.
She’d given so many things over the past couple years—shirts, pins, the stocking, silly things, funny things, heartfelt things, symbols.  She thought of what she’d received from him—a Japanese music box, a director’s chair keychain that had soon fallen apart from the daily battering it received attached to her keys.  If she’d known it was one of the few tangibles she’d get from him, she’d have preserved it for all time in her memory box. 
         She checked her phone for messages.  She changed radio stations, twice, three times.  She got out of the car.  She never could sit very long.  Fidgety.  That’s what she was.  She looked at the house, the yard, the neighborhood.  Pick-up trucks, dish antennas, lawn ornaments.  How could he have come from this?  Amazing.  And what was taking so long? 
         Finally, he jounced out, phone in hand, aviators, untucked button down shirt—all his trademarks.  “Did you see what I posted?” his delight over his own humor was infectious, as was so much about him. 
         “Yes,” she smiled, immediately caught up in the gravitational pull of his aura.  So many were.  High-flying, adored.  His presence was a carnival of wit and edgy humor.  “I commented,” she added. 
         He climbed in and shifted the gifts first to the dashboard and then to his lap.   She could smell the whatever-it-was he wore that she associated with him.
         “Of course.”
         She checked to see if she had money for drinks, then put the car and drive and pulled out, her attention alternating between the road and measuring his response to the gifts. 
He opened the first one.  “Ha!  I saw this in the BSU bookstore. It’ll come in handy, I’m sure.  Did I tell you about the e-mail I got last night from _________?”
“No, forward it to me, will you?”
“Oh, I will, don’t worry.  You’ll love it.  I almost pissed myself.” 
“Eek,” a smile to him and to herself.
He inspected the second gift, already opened.  “Oh.  What is these?”
Ah, her cue. 
“Those is…candy…” 
Raucous laughter burst forth.  “My good friend Kate.”
“Yes,” she agreed and smiled again.  Omg, he never forgot anything.   “Actually they’re gum, but what’s the difference?”
He began tearing into the third gift.  She reached over and placed her hand on it, briefly, and looked at him. 
“Let me open it, woman,” he growled.
Her point made, both hands were back on the steering wheel again.

“I know this book,” he said, flipping through it.
“Yeah, it’s one of those sappy-ass graduation gift books,” as she laughed it into meaninglessness all by herself, but just ahead of him, as he fumbled for his iPod.
“You know this will just go in a box under my bed,” he reached into his backpack, “or under a printer somewhere,” a wry smile at the old-old inside joke.
He plugged the iPod into the car stereo.  “You gotta hear this song,” he said, spooling the green dial through the songs.

And as they drove along the familiar route, she listened to him sing with the music.  Of course, it was one she’d never heard before, but was sure to hear over and over again, marking this moment forever.  How now would she keep up with the music?  She thought of how differently she felt now than she thought she would this time last year, and that it really was a long good-bye after all, complete with enough grief to last a lifetime.  She thought, it’s just like the poem.  He’s already gone. 

“What do you think?” he said, checking his phone again.  “Here.  You gotta hear this one, too.”  The volume of the music made her jump.  
“It’s got a good beat, can you dance to it?” she smiled, pulling into the tightly packed parking lot.
He chuckled, but she knew he didn't get it.  That reference to a 60s TV show was even older than herself.
“All right, well…got a lot of appointments this morning.  Can’t be late,” he said, packing up his stuff. 
“You know you love it,” she said, watching him pack up.  He left the gifts.
“Can I leave these here for now?” he said, rather than asked, now out of the car.
“That’s fine,” she said, “Have a good day.  See you...when?”  But he was already gone.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

"Nice..." he said.

So I was lying in bed this morning thinking about Bernard's comment to my previous blog post about my school dream.  I don't think I know him, so it's hard to know what inflection to put on his comment of 'nice'.  I suspect it's sarcasm.

It made me think back to the 19 years and three weeks I put in as an IPS teacher.  Were there ever good moments?  Of course there were.  There had to have been, right?  Otherwise, I wouldn't have kept at it for said 19 years and three weeks.  I have people in my life that I collected along the way--Julie, Scrib, Beth, and a good number of students:  Harrison, Holly, Corey, Rose.  They are still in my life.  But it was that last couple of years that just beat it out of me.  I always thought I was an amazingly strong person, but I found that I wasn't.   

One of the real horrors was the way the kids treated each other--name-calling, put-downs, horrifically scarring verbal abuse, baiting comments, hitting, pushing, shoving, laughing when someone was hurt.  I couldn't understand why such meanness was considered so funny.  I couldn't imagine what it must be like to be an urban child, to leave a possibly abusive homelife, to get on the bus to jeers and put-downs, and be faced with such insults to the soul ALL day.  
Eventually, I couldn't stand up against their hatred of me, the teacher, the white teacher, who just wanted them to learn, to achieve, to succeed, to find joy in learning and joy in life.  I mean, I knew I wasn't there for them to like me, but how much can one person take?  I could no longer find purpose in teaching children who so adamantly opposed to learning.  They clearly despised me and all I stood for.  I began to crumble.  
I began to think that I could never understand those kids.  My values--decency and kindness towards another human being, culture, education, lifelong learning, literacy--seemed to be so diametrically opposite of theirs.  How could we ever find common ground, connect in an atmosphere of mutual respect and knowledge?  And gradually, I wore away, like sandstone.  

My six years at Marshall fractured me and that last year at #69 shattered the fractures.  Inner city teaching broke me.  I won't go back to the classroom again.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Dream About School

I dreamed I started back to school. Julie was there. It was the most natural thing in the world for me to be there and I was excited and happy about it. I was teaching 4th grade. I realized that the first day was about to begin and I hadn’t made nametags for the kids’ desks. I was trying to cut them with the very dull paper cutter when my first student came in. I asked her to help me, and she did. I wondered how it was that I was just able to walk right back in and get a teaching position. I wondered how long it would be before I felt the despair and futility of my task.

I think this dream comes from the need to have more money coming into our household.  But I have absolutely no desire to ever return to teaching.  I don't know why I did that to myself for so long.  Wow.  And in truth, I don't think I could return to urban-teaching again.  I would never be able to shake the sense that I was engaged in a pointless, fruitless pursuit, trying desperately to teach kids who were simply not interested in learning.  Argh.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Lake Chronicles--2010, entry #2

I was awakened this morning in two stages by two separate sounds.  The first was the song sparrow, marking the 8:00 hour on the bird song clock; the second was the buzz of my iPhone under my pillow with birthday wishes from a friend.

I love having a summer birthday. 
Because we are travelers, I have celebrated my birthday in many places—at summer camps, in Boston on the Freedom Trail, at Gettysburg and Cape Cod, on Route #66 in Arizona, in Montana and Wyoming, on the Oregon Trail, and more than once, here at the cottage.
Yep, a summer birthday is good.

It’s cool and sunny here today.  The lake is smooth and calm.  The water reflects up into the green of the trees making them look like electrical neon trees.  There’s a swan on the lake in my front yard.  HJohn reads on the dock.  Ben is putting together small cardboard animal models.  Charlie is eating a big fat chocolate donut from the Elk Rapids Bakery.  Ron Jolly is hyping the weekend air show on WTCM.  The dogs loll in the sun.

Our plan today is to maybe go in to Traverse and see a movie, eat out, spend several hours at a book store.  A slow, relaxing day that was enhanced by over 40 birthday wishes first thing this morning.

“No man is a failure who has friends.
                             —Frank Capra

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Lake Chronicles--2010, entry #1

  Found paradise.  I said I would and I did.  Here it is, and it is just what I knew was here all along.  Well, I guess that’s about it.  I’m happy to be here, is all.—Garrison Keillor

We are Here.  It’s been too long.  This place is in my blood and bonded with my soul.

Fell asleep last night under two comforters listening to the loons and the coyotes.
Woke up this morning with the sun high in the sky (8:30).  It’s 57 degrees.  My husband has Gordon Lightfoot on the CD player.  The smell of bacon and coffee waft in.  Does it get better than this?  Well, does it?  Thank you, God.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Life's Lessons

I've got a new friendship in the works.  I'm always sort of amazed at adult friendships because I don't think that the adult world is set up to facilitate making new friends--at least, not so easy as in the world of education--high school and college--where the potential for meeting new friends is an every day occurrence. 

So I have a new friend in my life.  I found him through, guess what, theatre.  Hmm.  I guess the potential for new friends in theatre is pretty high.  I picked a good avocation.  :-)  

We did a show together last summer.  Throughout this year, we've crossed paths on and off.  He loves theatre and that's where we connect--doing theatre things.  He's helped me with KidsPlay and he's helping me with the Act-Teens.  He's part of the GleeParty gang.  And now, he's slowly becoming a friend of the family.

We talk a lot.  We talk about theatre, about mutual friends and acquaintances, about the shared and separate shows we're doing, about experiences we've had--in college, in teaching.  And in the course of the dialogue, it's interesting to hear his life's lessons come through.  He's, surprise, quite a bit younger than me, but not so young that he hasn't learned a thing or two about life and people.  And what he's learned is different than what I've learned.  And it's interesting to learn about another person's make-up, values, philosophy, sharing experiences, discussing the here and now.

I listen to him when he talks.  When, in the course of conversation, his life's lessons surface, I listen hard to what he's saying and wonder how he came to learn those lessons, some of which I've learned in other ways, some of which I haven't learned and may never.  Or maybe I could learn them vicariously--by listening to him. 

I'm tentative in this new friendship.  I've got a little baggage lately and I'm cautious about how much to put out there.  But he's kind, and helpful, smart and fun; he's comfortable in my mess of a house and with my husband and kids.  It could be a different kind of friendship and a different kind of summer.  And that might be okay.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Fix

I'm going to fix it.

They say the tango takes two
but I waltz alone
and today--it really must be today.

A long time coming--
Like the glaciers of eons
Creeping in
freezing all in their path
with chilling doom.

Awakening entangled in linen,
Despair's victory grasped in her upraised fist.
I lie immobile 
casting about inside to assess what remains,
summoning the strength for a teary, sweat-stained
hand-over-hand climb to that rocky crag.

Time and tablets are healers.
 Washed down with one sip
And in ten days or a week or two or three,
the wistful blues in the mirror, anxious chewed lips,
uncertain, pale and ever-thinning countenance
will be just a reflection of memory.
Jagged, rust-encrusted edges
of the gaping rent
smoothed out and filling in like Mishe Mokwa
eroding into the freshwater sea.
False hollow laughter 
through the Dungeon's catacombs echoes away--
Distracted glances at the door--
Shadows crossing my countenance like boxcars of memory--
All soon relics of this earthbound purgatory.

Lines and laughter, a golden season
pressed under glass...
A roulette wheel, the roller coaster,
slowed and tamed at last.
Every mountain and hill brought low. 
The depths become shallow. 
And will I remember you?
And will I remember this?
And will I remember?
And will I?
And how?

Monday, May 24, 2010

A thought on love...

“Love is always patient and kind; it is never jealous, love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offense, and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins but delights in the truth; it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes. Love does not come to an end.”


I broke several of these, namely the 'it is never jealous' clause.  I was jealous.  I couldn't help it.  I always brag that I love my people unconditionally, no matter what.  But it isn't true.  It wasn't unconditional because I expected to be loved in return.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I DO Believe, I Do

Have you loved me long enough
And do you love me strong enough
to keep the dark away?

When you wrap your arms around me
Don't you know that you're my armor?
But the dragon that you're fighting
doesn't have green scales and claws.

In your eyes, I see my castle.
Your kiss is my protection.
Can you save your damsel fair?

With poisoned fruit she beckons;
The witch is at the door.
The spinning wheel awaits;
Will I sleep forever more?

Can you swim across the moat
and carry me to safety?
Break the spell that binds me
and remove this gloomy curse?

If you click your heels and tap three times,
Clap for fairies, and kiss that frog
Try the slipper on my foot and remind me of the magic,
Will 'happily ever after' end this tale?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Like You Mean It...

I just woke up from the dream world. 

I was in a big warehouse and I was helping the Drama-Teens with costumes for an upcoming show.  They were coming out one at a time in costume and I was approving them, commenting on them, and giving hugs.  And one of them came out dressed in something that I had made from the KidsPlay costume rack--a vest with one front panel red and the other blue.  He had red and blue bandanas hanging from his shoulders like he was supposed to be some sort of patriotic character.  I was pleased with his sense of entitlement to the KidsPlay costumes and I said, "Well, look at you!" and I gave him the same cursory hug I'd given the rest.   And then brown eyes looked down at me and said, "Would you please hug me like you mean it?"  And so I did.  Because I did mean it very much.  I threw my arms around his neck and hugged him for dear life.

And then I woke up.  And immediately wished I hadn't.  And here it is.  The morning I've feared was coming for a month or so...the morning when I feel like I simply cannot get myself up out of bed.  But I have to.  I have so much to do.  Today is the busiest day of this week.  I. Have. To. Get. Up.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Hello, Followers--

I don't have very many followers, but I'm curious.  There are...six of you that I don't believe I know personally.  I'd like to ask you a few questions.

1)  How did you find my blog?
2)  Why did you decide to follow it?
3)  Do you read regularly?

I'm just curious.  You may contact me privately if you don't wish to post for all 21 of us to read:


Monday, May 3, 2010

Night Rhyme

In the middle of the night
in the lonesome dark
where the fear of god begins
And you think of
what has come and gone
and will never come again

Things you wish you’d said
What you wish you’d done
Things you wish that you had not
Old wounds, ancient souls
Times gone by
And people long forgot

Old bruises luminescent
reappear in the pale moonlight
the sticks and stones
of broken bones
that never healed quite right

The nighttime is
the Twilight Zone
no future, no present, no past.
Conversations played out
in my mind
going all my way at last

What you fear most
the throb of regret
What you know you’ve lost
In the dark of the night
silent and alone
You measure the true cost.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Non-public statuses

Christine C. Schaefer...

1) ....wonders if you would mind MOVING the BFP away from the door to my office.  For cryin' out loud.
2)  :  "Don't touch me again."
3) a past blog post from "The Director's Journal" and FINALLY felt something.  Something.
4) patiently waiting to disappear....
5)  ...needs to know so she can properly set the thickness dial for her exo-skeleton.
6) really overwhelmed by the protectiveness and love of her people.
7)  ....can't remember when she's ever been this physically, emotionally, and spiritually drained.
8) ...will now attempt to clean up the damage from the tornado that went through her car, her house, and her life last week...
9) tearing up reading all the post-performance comments on FaceBook.
10)  ...has SO much to be thankful for....

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Stream-of-Consciousness Statuses

I need my current FB status to stay on show stuff, but there's so much else rattling around in here....

Christine C. Schaefer...
1) ...wonders what it must have cost him to call.
2) ...thinks that the painting looks lovely in the corner collecting dust.
3) ...can't remember when she last ate.
4) ...was surprised and maybe a little touched.
5) ...hopes you got said what you wanted to say before I walked away.  Bitch.
6) ...wonders what will happen when the lights go down.
7) ...really thought it was a B- at best...
8) really starting to recognize 'pretentious' when she sees it.
9) ...never thought of weddings as 'obnoxiously loud'.
9) sort of amazed at everyone's different opinions.
10) ...loves the Tolkein, but isn't sure she gets it.

If you love something...

What-ever.  You know how it goes.  Stupid.  Not playing that game now.  There's a poster in Jacobs' room that says, "In life, there are no make-up exams."  That's right, there aren't.  But enough of stupid, angsty cliches...

I believe the world...or maybe not the world--maybe just me...I will soon learn something real about the strength or the frailty of friendship.  How strong and steadfast or or weak and fragile.  It's certainly not been a friendship that was well-maintained.  We have beaten, battered, tested, teased, challenged, abused, insulted, argued and fought in the two years we've known each other.  And still, it has survived.  Because of the HeartLink.  Gosh, I'd almost forgotten about that. The HeartLink, like so many other things, taken it for granted.  

How far can elastic be stretched
before it snaps?
With machetes
we hack away at that taut slender tendril
we weaken and burn it
with the venom of hatred
each denying its very existence

The Golden Compass is shattered
and the band will play on

So much for my attempt to write a sad poem in my journal and move on.  

I broke a hard-fast rule.  Ha.  I probably broke several.  But the one I KNOW I broke is this:  "Never, ever deliver a mortal blow."  In the 23 years of marriage, of arguments, of fights, as angry as I have sometimes been, I have never uttered a unforgivable word to him.  Not so, here.  We both cast an Unforgivable Curse--I with actions, he with words.  Ah, well.  It can't be undone now....

It's been a long, hard week.  There's still more of it left.  Must, must stay focused and continue to soak up the hugs and smiling faces of happy parents and ecstatic children.  This is what sustains me and blocks the passage to the underworld.  But what about next week, when the applause and laughter fade.  What demons will haunt me then?  What has been so solidly tamped down all this week will eventually come bubbling to the surface.  How lonely and sad...or...happy and free?  Who knows?  Right now, I only feel blank.  Dead.  Flatline.  It feels a lifetime since I turned to look at the doorway and saw and felt that overwhelming warmth of love...

I believe, ahead, there is planned negotiations with a mediator present.  A grand Festivus Airing of the Grievances.  There are those in the periphery that are interested in our continued alliance.  There are those who are not.  Am I?  Is he?  Time passes, and we settle into new shoes, new clothes, new single-half self-images.  The strangeness of the New Reality eventually becomes comfortable.  How much time is too much time?  How much spilt blood can be mopped up?  Is there time at all?

I dunno.  I just don't know.  And I got poems to write.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Ten Minus Five Unpublished Statuses

Christine C. Schaefer

1)  awakens from a dream that wasn't really a dream...

4)  's husband is even asking her if things are smoothed out yet.  Huh.  Who knew he was even paying attention?
5)  knows that the BEST acting isn't going to be on the stage this evening....
6)  thinks that there's a lot of really bad advice floating around out there...
7)  thinks it's too late.

9)  is...surprised at how many think I was wrong.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

"We're raising her...." she said.

"We're raising her."  That's what she said.  A long time ago she said this.  It still applies.

And she also said, "It isn't often that you experience a friendship that takes up an entire half of your heart." 

She said a lot of other stuff, too.  Wise stuff.  Words and communication and rational thinking come easily to her.  

She said, "I love you."  She said, "You're going to throw away these last few months?"  And she said, "You need to fix this NOW." 

My rudimentary understanding of reincarnation is that you're forced to keep living lives over and over until you get it right.  This is the week where I blew it, the one were I sealed my fate of coming back again next life.

So tired.  Not feeling is tiring.  I've already fallen asleep at the keyboard.  Trying to remember what my friend said when she made me go for a ride with her.  All the smart things she said.  She made sense.  She said what I did was wrong, wrong, wrong. 

Compartmentalizing until after the show.  Have to.  A trick I learned from the Other Half. 

This is my blog where, in past entries, I've poured out my love and anger and hurt and joy.  There's none of that here right now.  I just feel numb.  And tired.  Fighting off tired.  Fighting off feeling.  What will I think about today tomorrow?

Tech I'll remember it later....

It is Wednesday of Tech Week.  When I look back, what memory will remain of this week, this show?  I already don't have a memory of Monday. In the circuitous train of thoughts in my head, there's probably one-third or even more that's blacked out right now, so that when the minute hand of my thought cycle edges into it, I just fast-forward through it.  Simply cannot afford to be distracted.  I won't let myself.  Must see this through to the end.  Too many people counting on me.  Too many trusting children's faces looking hopefully up at me as their see them through to the end, to make this a wonderful and positive experience for them, to be the strong leader that they need me to be.  Sometimes I drift around to asking a question:  Why? What? Where?  I'm mostly met with short answers...or a shrug, and I don't press.  Clearly, they've been coached; they've collectively agreed that this train should not derail.  

Today is our matinee.  And once again, I'm out of bed before the alarm.  Need to get more pop, bump up the lobby, talk to Leah, print out the reservation sheet....details, details.  I will lead and direct and answer all the questions, make all the decisions, be all that I am called on to be, and love, love, love those kids.  I will see this through to the end.   And then what?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

An Open Letter to the Alliance for Responsible Pet Ownership

Dear Alliance for Responsible Pet Ownership:

Well, you broke a little boy's heart today--a heart that was set on Marnie, the Sky Terrier.  He had hoped to gather her into his heart and into his arms and take her home.  But, somehow, we didn't meet your standards for Responsible Pet Ownership.

I'm sorry, but I beg to differ.  First of all, please note that I'm a responsible world citizen--I opted for a shelter dog rather than some pure bred AKC Kennel pup.  I fully realize that there are already enough dogs in the world that no one wants--why make more?  I'd also like to point out, for good measure, that both of my previous dogs were spayed.

I filled out your elaborate form--asking questions about my household, the number of adults, the number of children, their ages, any current or previous pets (and what happened to them), the size of our yard, and our daily routine of being in and out of the home.

I spent a good 90 minutes in a telephone interview with the dog's current foster mom talking about why we were wanting to adopt and what we were looking for in a dog, asking questions about Marnie to try to determine if she 'fit' us and we 'fit' her.

I went out of my way--on a very busy weekend--to drive my son up to PetsMart at Castleton to meet and visit with Marnie...and he loved her.  I wasn't sure he would because he had his heart set on a husky puppy (rather than a 5-year-old dog), but he ended up falling in love with her.  At the end of the visit, I met with the foster mom and we made arrangements for a home inspection later in the week.

 Then, last evening, I got the phonecall from the foster mom saying that our application for Marnie had been rejected.  We'd been turned down because the Alliance for Responsible Pet Ownership was nervous that we don't have a fence around our sizable yard.  Really.

Gosh.  Somehow I've managed to own two dogs for over twenty years...somehow my children have managed to stay alive--in SPITE of my irresponsibility in not having a fenced in yard.  And I resent the insinuation that the Alliance for Responsible Pet Ownership cares more about Marnie than we would. 

Can we just step back a minute here for me to point out something.  This is a shelter dog. This is a dog that No. One. Wants.  Otherwise, she wouldn't BE IN A SHELTER.  Do you get it?  WE wanted her.  She would be in a home with a family that would love her like we've loved our previous dogs.   We would feed her and make sure she got proper vet care. She would have lots of attention and live the life that a good dog should.  We weren't planning on throwing her out into traffic like some canine version of Frogger.  Yeah, it does get pretty congested here in the cul-de-sac we live on....

And so, we start over--with choices from the ARPO off the list because we know we not good enough for them.  Hopefully, we'll be considered fit parents with our second choice....

Good bye, Marnie, and good luck with whatever family is responsible enough to have you.


Christine C. Schaefer