You’re Never Too Old To Be Scolded

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Whoever thought once you reached adulthood you’re free of the scoldings you received as a child, let me convince you otherwise. You can never escape. I am a prime example of it. I get in situations that I don’t even mean to be in and somehow I end up being at fault or hearing some bizarre story from a complete stranger. I totally prefer to go along my merry way, oblivious to the strange happenings in the world.

I can’t remember the first time I received a scolding from a complete stranger but it seems to be happening more and more as I grow older. It can occur in random, completely unexpected places. First, let me explain that I am all for following rules and rarely veer from the straight and narrow so I don’t know how I get into these situations.

Lately, my scoldings have occurred on vacations, not the time you want this to happen. You’re supposed to be on a break from your everyday life, enjoying yourself.

The first vacation scolding in recent history happened at the now defunct Liberace Museum in Las Vegas. When you entered the museum there were signs saying not to touch any of the displays and you were also warned by the staff who wandered through the facility.

There were four of us on this trip and we were very careful not to come too close to any of the capes, pianos, cars or other memorabilia on display. We were very mindful of the rules. As we got to the end of the tour, I thought it was odd there was no music playing. Liberace was famous for playing the piano and you’d think his music would be softly playing as you walked through the various sections of the museum. A staff member was in the last room so I thought I’d ask. She brusquely told me that she was very busy and didn’t have time to get to the back and start the music. I was taken aback by her response because she had scolded me like I was bothering her. After that, I have to say I accidentally touched some of the things on display. Only accidentally, mind you.

On my last vacation I was scolded twice. Two times! The first was in a museum for taking pictures. Okay, I have to admit I didn’t see the signs but come on! Everyone else was doing it and I’m the one who gets the scolding.

The next place I got a scolding was in the Arizona desert. How can anyone get scolded in the desert, you ask? Well, it’s possible. When we started our hike, there was a sign that said to stay on the path. My husband wanted his picture taken and took one step off the path and my son immediately reminded him of the rule so we were very aware. We came to a bend in the road and right in the corner before the turn was a great-looking cactus. I told my son to stay put and went around the bend so it looked like I was right behind it when in reality I was on the path. He took the picture and we moved on. A few minutes later we came upon a park ranger. It seemed like she came out of nowhere! And guess what? She scolded me for not staying on the path! At first, I had no idea what she was talking about. Then she pointed to the cactus farther down the path from where we just had come. I explained how we took the picture and she said from her angle it looked different. She eventually apologized but I don’t think she meant it. I still think she thinks I’m guilty of stepping off the path and hugging that cactus.

There’s a character in my book, Tyson, who deserves a good scolding. I bet he’s never had one in his life. He’s been a little overindulged by his parents and he thinks things should always go his way. Tyson’s not very good at playing nicely with others. Now if there ever was a person who deserved a scolding it’s him, but I don’t see it happening. I think I have the market on that…or do I?

A few weeks ago, my nephew posted a picture of himself in front of a tapestry at the art museum. He noted below the picture that he accidentally touched it and, of course, with our family luck, someone saw him. You probably already guessed, he was scolded. I had to laugh as I read his comment because I was hoping no more family members would ever be admitted to this exclusive club. Well, no such luck. Welcome to the club, dear nephew, welcome to the club.

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Today was a Fairytale

taylor_swift14sTaylor Swift is my best friend. It didn’t start out that way. We mostly hung out in my car once in awhile. No one would ever believe we were friends. Kids would make fun of me if I told them and that would just be ‘Mean’.

She talked about boys mostly. There was this one boy she liked who was a prince and wore a dark gray t-shirt. Back then, she told me she used to be a damsel in distress. I think she wore a dress when she went out with him. There was this other guy named Romeo, but her dad didn’t like him. Don’t know how that turned out.

Then there’s all that competition with other girls. Taylor had a problem with some cheer captain even though she had more in common with some guy than this girl did. I hope it worked out for her. She already had a best friend, Abigail, the girl with red hair. I knew she never considered me her best friend even though she was on my BFF list but I didn’t care.

Okay, I have to admit this friendship is purely one-sided. Taylor would say she doesn’t even know me and has no idea what the inside of my car looks like. Those kids who’d make fun of me are the young adults in my family. I’m aunt to some and mom to one.

I may not be the target audience Taylor’s shooting for so I secretly put some of her songs on my MP3 player and of course have the complete Fearless album. It was released the year before I started my book and those songs were front and center on the radio back then. I give credit to them for helping me along as I wrote my first novel. I can’t listen to music as I write but I do listen when I’m thinking. I like to hear the same music/artist over and over for some reason. Everyone’s different, I guess.

Taylor Swift was my girl for Waiting for Dusk. Something about her words and the simple messages she puts out there remind me of any girl, any decade.
Could I see her as Katie, my main character? Absolutely. Strong in values, loyal to friends and loves her family. So thank you, Taylor Swift, wherever you are. You’ve got a fan in me.

Outhouse 101

1926 2nd trip to Ostlings _0003Everything I learned about outhouses I learned from my mother. She hated them. We’d sit around the dining room table and listen to her stories from when she was a little girl. One of her favorites was about summer vacations at a family friends’ farm. She didn’t tell us about the idyllic settings or animals she enjoyed; she’d only focus on the outhouse. That was the reason she hated going on this trip…the dreaded outhouse. I will spare you the details of what it was like but you catch the drift.

The only other thing she mentioned about the farm was the dog. She hated it, too. She was never a fan of pets and we have to laugh now as we find more pictures of her posing with some dog that we know wasn’t hers. It was a shame we didn’t ask more questions when we were young because she is gone now and we have so many. We would like more details about the dog and this farm she visited, who these family friends were and what she really did there.

Our mother had a stack of pictures we’d pour over again and again throughout the years and she would share their stories. So imagine my surprise when just a few years back I came across a box in the basement marked “Garage Sale”. Inside were all my father’s yearbooks from Western Reserve University and a scrapbook my grandmother made. It contained pictures I’d never seen before and people I did not know. I took them out of their holders and flipped them over. My grandmother had scribbled the places and sometimes a date, but no names.

The picture above was one of those pictures. On the back it says “Ostling Farm 1926”. This was the famous farm my mother always talked about.
I love this picture, especially the old-fashioned car in the background. Grandpa is sitting in a chair, wearing a wide-brimmed hat. Grandma is about to take a sip of her Swedish coffee. My mother sits between her brother and sister. The boy holding the cat and the woman behind him and the one next to my grandmother…I have no idea.
As I wrote my book, I was reminded of this photo and I think it helped me create Katie’s first scenes at the boardinghouse. Her reaction to the outhouse was one of shock. I believe I had her say, “Yuk!” I thought of my mother when I wrote that.
This family portrait is one of my favorites. It is a tranquil scene of a time long ago. It’s hard to believe it’s my family. They all look so peaceful and happy in the photo but I know in my mother’s mind all she was thinking of was that darn outhouse and hoping she didn’t have to make another trip there any time soon.

Pinterest and Polyvore…Oh, My!

When I heard about Pinterest I had no interest. I heard all about its virtues and that it was like Twitter with pictures. Since I’ve never done well with Twitter it did not sound appealing to me. Others around me began to use it and talked about Boards and Pinners and Likes and Repins. All of it made my head spin.
Then one day I thought I’d take a peek, just one little peek. Pages and pages of pictures filled the screen with titles like ‘Warm and Cozy in a Mug’ and ‘I Would Like This’. These are called Boards and if you click on the picture, you see…more pictures!
After some encouragement from my niece, I tried again. She said to create just one board and then search for that topic. I set up my account and instantly I was following 96 people. So the score was my followers…0, following 96. That was confusing but I was told I could unfollow and to do it later.
I created my first Board, ‘All Things Swedish’, and away I went searching for pictures. I discovered I didn’t have to use the pictures on Pinterest, I could “pin” from anywhere. I just needed a pin button on my toolbar. The niece installed it and it was easy to use. Actually, it was quite fun.
My next big idea was to create a Board for my book, Waiting for Dusk. If I was the only one who ever saw it, I didn’t care. It brought my book to life. I already saved some pictures and scoured the internet for more. I found a beautiful staircase on one of my followers’ boards (yes, I have a few now) and repinned it to my new Board titled ‘Waiting for Dusk’.
My sister discovered Polyvore, where people can create outfits and wardrobes. She began to design outfits for Katie and Lindsey and Jordyn and the rest of my book family. Little did I know that one can “pin” these to Pinterest! I have not gone to Polyvore to see what all the fuss is about. I’m leaving the designing to my sister. But you never know, one day I may get the urge to take a peek…just a little one.