Monday, September 29, 2008

Rainy days and Mondays

I love them both. Always have.
I love rain - it's so refreshing.

Today I was looking out the window when I suddenly noticed the light but consistent mist falling. You could almost not call it rain, it was so fine. But I didn't care. I jumped up and ran outside. I love rain. We rarely see it out here. But, as expected, it didn't last. No time to even grab an umbrella. Something about walking in the rain with an umbrella is so precious.

Extra special today - I didn't have to work. A day off - I did plenty of housework and I went to see my Jennifer's tennis match. She's an awesome tennis player. Last year she started playing for the first time and she's on the JV team but frequently plays varsity. She won again today. :) Catherine was on the team when she was there too and went two years undefeated. I love watching my daughters play tennis. Marisa always goes with me and she enjoys it too.

I took my girls to the mall and to In and Out for dinner. It's so strange not having Catherine here. I miss her. But I did get to spend the weekend in Santa Barbara with my family. It was very special.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Ralph Lauren shoes

Remember the song by Melanie Safka?
"I've got a brand new pair of roller skates, you've got a brand new key."
Growing up, anytime I got a new pair of shoes, I'd walk about singing it. I've always loved new shoes.
Well..... I've got a brand new pair of Ralph Lauren shoes.....

I had most of the day off today so Catherine and I headed to Fresno for some school clothes (jacket mainly) shopping. She leaves for Santa Barbara this weekend.
Our first stop was Macy's - she fell in love with a nice coat there and picked it up.
I fell in love with the shoe department -- Stuart Weitzman shoes but at $295.00 a pair, they were a bit much. Same thing with a wonderful pair of Vince Camuto's (yeah, for fun I tried them on) and some nice Coach shoes. But then I saw and tried on a pair of Ralph Lauren Shoes and I could not leave them there - so I pampered myself and bought them.

  Ralph Lauren "Hollie" Leather Pumps

Here they are - aren't they pretty?
They're chocolate brown, beautiful, have the sweet RL enamaled ornament, and I love them.
Happy Birthday to me. :)
I hadn't had a pampering "princess" day in a long time and I needed it. And, Macy's is one of my favorite stores - of course, I prefer Boscov's but none of those here.

(I wore them to work Friday and felt like a little girl wearing new shoes.)

Friday, September 12, 2008

September 11

In honor and memory of September 11, the city of Porterville lowered their flags to half staff.

photo by Esther Avila

Thursday, September 11, 2008

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I had the most wonderful time tonight. Marisa and I went to see Collin Raye at the Tulare County Fair. It was wonderful. I love Collin Raye and have seen him in concert seven times now.

Tonight was great. Not only did I totally enjoy the concert, but afterwards, the stage manager gave me a song list. They normally don't give them out but I was working (I had my name tag and had been talking to people and taking lots of pictures, so they asked if I was with the press and I said yes.
And not only did I get the song list. I got a guitar pick from Collin Raye and they gave Marisa a glossy 8x10 photograph......

AND......(drumroll) .....I got an exclusive interview with Collin Raye's stage manager! He gave me his business card and asked me to also email him my story and that he will see about placing it online! Oh my gosh....I love my job.

I was so excited. He talked about his new album and where they were heading next.

Oh....another interesting thing....the drummer.
You gotta love the drummers. 

But, during one of the numbers ---- he fell off the stage! Literally.
He actually fell off the platform and all the way off the stage.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"Letting Go"

This past weekend I attended and wrote about the fifth annual "Wish Upon A Star - Shave the Brave" event. Law enforcement, firemen, and military men and women shaved their heads, beards, mustaches - to raise money to make dying children's dreams come true.
After that event, I covered a "Locks of Love" story - two sisters with hair long enough to sit on had never cut their hair in their lives (10 and 12 years) -- I was there for their first cut.

I decided this was a good place to post my last online contest story.
I entered the 250-words or less short story in Jason Evan's Clarity of Night'
The way the contests work: Jason posts a photo and writers are inspired to write a short short story, using the photo as inspiration.
This particular contest sported a photo of a motorcycle.

"Letting Go"

Ever since Sarah could remember, Johnny wanted a motorcycle, so it did not surprise her that when he turned 16, it was what he asked for.

“No. Absolutely not,” Sarah said as she turned to face her husband. “You know how I feel about these things. Tommy would still …”

She couldn’t finish the sentence. Her younger brother had been killed on his first motorcycle – at age 16.

“Stop baby,” her husband said as he went to her side and held her. “He’s not Tommy. Look at him. He’s not a little boy anymore. Sooner or later you’ll have to learn to let go.”

She turned to look at Johnny, who had tried so hard to find his identity. Sarah couldn’t help but smile as she saw that the half-man/half-child had fallen asleep on the couch – watching cartoons – his long lean body draped over a stack of pillows on the floor.

She remembered how upset she felt when he cut his hair, first into a Mohawk, later clean-shaven. A lightening bolt tattoo followed and Sarah was relieved when he told her it was only henna.

No matter how big he got, he would always be her little boy, she thought.

“Sweetheart,” her husband interrupted her thoughts, telephone against his chest. “It’s ‘Make a Wish Foundation.’ They are bringing a motorcycle for Johnny to ride.”

Sarah nodded as tears rolled down her face. She knew she couldn’t take Johnny’s last wish away.

*~*{Sameera}*~* said...
That was so heartrending.My heart went out to the family.Hope it might not be his last wish...Very well narrated!
July 15, 2008 1:39 PM
wrath999 said...
Wow sadness at abundance here.Excellent!alex
July 15, 2008 1:58 PM
BernardL said...
Well illustrated sample of a parent's nightmare.
July 15, 2008 2:37 PM
Sarah Hina said...
So heartbreaking. You took this in a completely different direction than I thought. The line about having to "let go" really gets me in retrospect. And I like how he is caught between boyhood and adulthood as all this strikes. Richly drawn tale. Good job!
July 15, 2008 2:49 PM
strugglingwriter said...
Very heartfelt. I could totally hear my Mom saying “No. Absolutely not,” to a motorcycle :)
July 15, 2008 2:55 PM
J.C. Montgomery said...
Wow, what a tug on the heart. Good job on drawing the reader in so well in such a short space of time.
July 15, 2008 3:11 PM
Beth said...
Truly a surprise ending, not what I expected at all. Very good!
July 15, 2008 3:11 PM
kgilbert said...
A superbly woven story. Surprise ending. Very poignant.
July 15, 2008 3:58 PM
JaneyV said...
Esther - a beautiful and poignant story. The ending was both heart-breaking and unexpected. You packed a lot into your 250 words. Well Done.
July 15, 2008 4:35 PM
SzélsőFa said...
Oh, this was painful and haunting. The twist at the end made it sorrowful, and took the meaning of 'letting go' to another, elevated level.
July 15, 2008 5:01 PM
September said...
Thank you, everyone. I actually had three different stories in mind but decided to go with this one because I enjoy writing unexpected endings. I was hoping it was not too obvious but wanted the reader to go back and see it -- the "letting go" and the shaved head. I had a couple other hints in there but removed them because it may have been too obvious.Thank you again for the kind comments.
July 15, 2008 10:15 PM
Lena said...
really a surprise ending, makes me feel so sad after reading it, you have done a great job in just 250 words :)
July 15, 2008 11:26 PM
JR's Thumbprints said...
It's not easy being subtle, but I think you did a good job with it.
July 16, 2008 12:17 AM
Wannabe Writer said...
Not even a hint that Johnny was sick until the end. Good job. -Rita
July 16, 2008 7:53 AM
Scott said...
I was sure this was going to turn bad quickly, but you played it straight. This is a slice of a parent's life, the pain of letting go. Touching.
July 16, 2008 8:05 AM
Dottie said...
Ditto what Scott said. Nice pacing in your piece.
July 17, 2008 11:37 AM
The Grocer said...
Excellent surprise at the end in a totally different way to expectation.
July 17, 2008 12:20 PM
pernille said...
What an ending! I was so surprised. After reading you own comments I found the clues - excellent writing.
July 17, 2008 5:44 PM
angel said...
omg that totally caught me off guard! i have a big lump in my throat now... wonderful!
July 18, 2008 2:52 AM
c.s. said...
beautifully written! i like it a lot!
July 18, 2008 12:40 PM
September said...
Thank you for the supportive comments. I've always enjoyed reading (and writing) stories with twists and turns, and especially enjoy surprise endings. I'm grateful to Jason for running these contests - we all learn so much and it so entertaining to read all of your stories.
July 19, 2008 2:41 AM
Posolxstvo I said...
Nice irony... made us think that mom said no to a bike because someone she loved was killed on one - looks like even she believes that. This was one of my favorites (so far).
July 19, 2008 10:48 AM
Missy said...
July 19, 2008 1:31 PM
September said...
Thank you, missy and posolxstvo i.
July 19, 2008 6:42 PM
laughingwolf said...
well done, esther... hits home on so many levels
July 19, 2008 7:34 PM
September said...
Thank you, laughingwolf.
July 20, 2008 2:20 AM
jason evans said...
Very effective emotional hit. Did not see that coming at all. We were lulled into a sense of normal teenage rebellion. High marks overall.
July 24, 2008 4:57 PM

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Reading and more reading

I guess you could say that if I am not at work, I am reading. Though lately, I've found it harder to read a book a weekend. The last book -- "The last summer of you and me" took me two weekends, but no surprise, as I was also out with my girls doing back-to-school shopping.
(cute little story, by the way - sweet summer read)

It's amazing how much Catherine needs for school. I had never given it much thought until we started picking up things - basically, she needs everything -- but keeping in mind that it all must fit into a dorm room.

She got her new flat screen television (I know, don't say it) but the way I see it, she studies hard and if she wants to watch a program or two, it's fine with me. New printer, new mini refrigerator, iron and board, etc. etc. -- and all of the normal dorm stuff - xl sheets, xl comforter, and cute stuff for her desk -- the list seems endless. How fun.

Well, this weekend was another long weekend. I had Saturday and Sunday off so I picked up a new book -- Nicholas Sparks "The Choice" -- but I just couldn't get into it.
I was too busy Saturday with family -- barbecue at my sister's house -- and on Sunday, just couldn't get into it. It may take me a couple of weekends for this book since this weekend is gone.
Oh, I worked Monday, Labor Day. I'm off today but it's another busy day. I'm taking care of my mom and then have a tennis match, followed by Back to School Night for Jennifer.

So, nothing exciting to report. Oh...yes....there is one thing. Collin Raye will be performing on September 11 at the Tulare County Fair. That's exciting - for me anyway. He has been one of my favorite country singers ever since I can remember....."That's my story and I'm sticking to it."