19 Candles

19 Candles.  One more than 18.  18 is grown, you know.  Ask my daughter about the number 19, and she will unequivocally tell you that, yes, she is grown.  I know this because she has already told me numerous times, usually in response to our warnings to be careful, to watch out for bad people, or errant or drunk drivers, and how these kinds of people are out in droves after midnight.  Her answer … grown, grown, grown.  Yes, I know.  Don’t rub it in, please, because I remember when you were running around in diapers … and if there is one warning I can give you that makes the difference, despite you being grown, then I will be thankful I gave you that warning.  She doesn’t like admonitions as she’s walking out the door, but as smart as she is, what she can’t understand is that she will always be my baby girl.  The one who sometimes sought out my help and advice (and I say sometimes here, because this is Sara I am talking about!).  I have watched her grow into a beautiful young woman.  She doesn’t need my advice much now, but I need to give it to her.  I like to think that somewhere deep down she is tucking this advice away for further inspection later on.

Yes, my daughter turned 19 a few weeks ago, and here are a few pictures to commemorate her glorious 19 year old self … 


 Time for presents … a wide assortment of unique gifts … flip flops & sunglasses courtesy of Daniel.  The DVD “Juno,” and, I am not making this up, a jar of mayonnaise from Alex.  Why a jar of mayonnaise, you might ask?  Because he got her cheez whiz last year. 



…and besides, it goes so well with the card he got her … “I’m so glad we’re sisters!” 

 This the summer after her freshman year in college, the year in which she tasted her first bite of freedom away from mom & dad.  Whee, I’m free!!!!   Now back at home for the summer where she encountered, ugh, a rule or two, (and a very lenient rule or two at that, I might add).  It’s been a little tough on all of us but may she never forget this place she calls home, and it’s inhabitants, the people who love her most.

… ok, it’s a freaky looking cake, but I made it myself!  There is a reason I went back to work after all those years of staying at home!


Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Lyrical, poetic, heartfelt genius, and just plain telling it like it was are all words that I could use to describe my impression of this novel.  While not a long story, it is the deep and moving account of a black woman living in the Deep South in the 1930s.  While many in this country suffered during this bleak economic time, blacks suffered the most.  Social injustice, from the limited choices any black person could make, especially a black woman, in the 1930s, to the extreme poverty blacks endured, this book is a brave exposé of the times.  Published in 1937, Ms. Hurston wrote this book when blacks were considered unequal to whites, and all women were considered unequal to men.  Even black women suffered at the hands of black men during this time, as a black woman was considered the lowest of the low on the social ladder.  Ms. Hurston forgot to tell her protagonist, Janie Crawford, that she was a black woman.  She perceived herself to be a person, not only a black woman.

As a teenager, Janie dreamed that one day she would fall in love and marry a man who loved her in return.  Raised by her grandmother, she married early, at her grandmother’s insistence.  Afraid that after she died her grandaughter would be left alone without someone to care for her, she convinced Janie to marry Logan Killicks, an older, more settled, man that Janie did not love.  Janie expected that the love would come, but it didn’t.  When another man, Joe Starks, entered Janie’s life one day, Janie decided to run away with him and they married and started a new life together in Florida.  Joe was an educated man who helped build a new “black town” and soon became its mayor and the owner of the town’s only store.  Janie worked in the store every day, and longed to be a part of the life of the town.  While Joe took care of her, he kept her at arm’s length and wouldn’t allow her to socialize much with customers at the store.  After a number of years, Joe became ill and died, leaving Janie alone.

Before long, Janie began to enjoy her life.  She met Tea Cake at the store, and they became fast friends, playing games and fishing together.  A n’er-do-well, Tea Cake was younger than her, but he treated Janie kindly, and he became the love of her life.  To the astonishment of her friends, the two married and moved to the Florida Everglades, where crops were good, and he could earn more money.  At her insistence, they soon worked side-by-side picking crops.  Tea Cake was sometimes jealous of Janie, afraid that she was attracting the attention of other men.  They fought occasionally over his jealousy, and he once slapped Janie, but their love endured.

A devastating hurricane forever changed the course of Janie’s and Tea Cake’s lives.  I will go no further here, except to say that, while the storm was a pivotal moment in the story, they both survived it.  

Ms. Hurston was a great storyteller.  I didn’t feel that I was reading a book so much as I was listening to a story.  She gave her characters the musical cadence of the old Southern Negro dialect.  I could hear their voices in my head, and often read their words out loud to see if I could match the sound in my head.  The story is of a time and culture that I cannot relate to, but through Ms. Hurston’s story, I can empathize with.  It is an important work that sheds light on that segment of American history.  According to the foreward in the book, this story was dismissed during Ms. Hurston’s life as being inadequate, and as one critic wrote at the time, it “carries no theme, no message, no thought.”  This comment came from a prominent black writer of the times, Richard Wright, a prime example of how black women were commonly dismissed by black men at the time.

About 70 years later, along came Oprah … and Ms. Hurston finally received the acclaim she deserved.

Frog Legs

Here’s my Fritz from behind … or Fritz’s behind … either way, probably not the frog legs you imagined …

Fritz Frog Legs

As promised in an earlier post, this is Fritz taking it easy, frog-style.  I swear the dog has rubber hips.  When not in this pose, you can generally find him pestering Zoe, or the family, all while keeping a keen eye on the perimeters.  Even in this position, he’s hardly relaxed.  Note his ears at the ready, just in case a situation arises that needs a firm Fritz reprimand.

More Boy Games

 I decided to watch the mayhem up close and personal.  No, not prime time television, that’s even more violent!  Here are a few bytes of the soundtrack (from this end only) of my son playing Halo with his friends:

“It works better when it just spawns, not when it comes down … So how’s this map?  How’s it gay?!  I like how someone pushed that in there … wait don’t throw it … don’t throw it … don’t even go in … you have to wait until this one spawns.  Ok, go in … throw it … see it works!  Oh wait, I need to edit the custom powerup.  They spawned.  The one on top will disappear, don’t worry.  I already did mute him.  I hate his music.  Oh, this is like the best map I’ve made so far.  

Wait, no I will.  You’re gonna need this.  You decided to do forge.  I set it to where it will hurt you sometimes or it won’t hurt you.   I wasn’t going to stick you!  Get out of the forge monitor.  I’m only in the forge monitor because I’m hosed.  I made it like that.  No, I didn’t throw it.  Have to wait 20 seconds because I set it like that so you can’t get up there right away.  Ok, wait, he’s coming.  Watch out!  I think he’s got active ammo.  I like how I’m up.  Why, yes it does, how come I got up?!  Yeah, it works.  We all made it.  All three of us got up.  Wait don’t kill me, don’t kill me!!  This is what you do.  You run, jump from right here and hit the top from there.  That’s the way to get up, ok?  You guys, help guard me.  Let’s go.

Dude, that’s the point!  Because the zombies can get up there.  Why’d you kill me?!  I killed you twice, actually I only killed you once.   Don’t go in!  I’ll go in this way, you go … ‘k ready?  Go!  Alright, we should all go in through the top.  I like how he tried to kill me with a shotgun 100 feet away.”

Throw in the constant barrage of gunfire, some grunts and screams, and other 12-year old voices chattering through their headsets trying to convince everyone else of a better strategy.  There you have it, a little mini-war in your very own home.   A bit intimidating, like trying to understand a foreign language to me, but there is some creativity involved.  They build their own sets from which to stage their battles.  While Daniel hated Legos, he is digging the virtual building on Halo.  Sort of an exercise in teamwork, except, of course, when they’re killing each other … twice!  Sounds like I’m trying to justify this mayhem, doesn’t it?! 

 … I hope I got it right, but forgive me if I butchered some of the terminology … the forging and the spawning and such.