January 21st, 2009

Signs and portents

* I bought this Tom Peterson clock at a bankruptcy sale. He was a fixture on late night TV for many years. He would rap on what appeared to be the inside of the TV screen and say something about waking up to savings. The clock, which was given out free with furniture purchases, was supposed to say "Wake up! Wake up and have a happy day!" for an alarm, but it never worked. When I came in from my run, Tom was talking.

* Last week, when I was running I saw a license plate lying in the blackberry bushes. It read 666 DAL. From my time writing a series with a main character who worked with license plates, including Circles of Confusion: A Claire Montrose Mystery, I thought the state automatically excluded numbers and letters series that might upset folks, like FAT. Guess not.

* Where some see hope and joy, others see darkness and fear. At first I thought this post on Verla Kay's blog was a joke, but sadly, it is not. She compares Obama to Hitler. [updated to add: and she later took out parts of her post] I never went to the Blue Boards (I didn't hear about them until long after I was published), but sometimes I send new writers there. Is this a mistake? Is there political stuff like this over there?

* I found this tape in the gutter where the remains of a windblown tree had been taken away. I'm sure it will come in handy someday.

* I always like to find money, and I look for it everyplace I go. First of all, it's rare, at least in my neighborhood. I walk and/or run every day, but sometimes months will go by where I don't see anything. Second of all, money says "In God We Trust," and it reminds me of my need to trust. Lately, it's been freaky. I found two pennies one day, three another, and then last week I was walking to the post office and found 20 pennies glinting under a pine tree. Trust, trust, trust.

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Another portent

Last night I dreamed that Teen got a two-book deal based on the rough draft of an essay she had dashed off. And they were sending her on a six-city tour. I was allowed to accompany her.

In reality, I spent an hour earlier this week helping her with her book analysis. Today, her teacher gave her a worse grade than he did on the first draft. This is the same guy who is making them watch Roots and who squirts anyone who whispers during it with a water bottle, like an errant cat getting on the good couch. This is the same one who made her write a 54-word sentence 28 times because someone gave her a single Pringle in class. "Although the need to regularly to ingest sustenance is a deep, indeed, primordial, human imperative, I must acknowledge that while in the classroom I must confine my feeding instincts to those which feed the mind and soul and leave the nourishment of my body to its regular and appointed time within the school day." To make his deadline, she was forced to write it during science class. The same teacher who shrugged when I offered to come in to talk to the class for free. And who proudly states that he is using the same lesson plans he developed years ago.

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