Small Town, Big Life

Long time gone. November 30, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — handwritten @ 10:09 pm

It’s amazing how life gets in your way. I haven’t written in so long that people have started asking me where I went! Well, I’m still here. I just happen to have had a lot going on in the past 15 days since my last post. I know I promised I would write at least every other day but like I said – a lot has happened.

1. I decided to move back home. I look at it as a new beginning to the life I want to have. It’s amazing how much you realize who you are when you step away from the ones closest to you and find your own way. I’ve found my way; it leads back home. I truly believe God puts you in situations that teach you everyday. If I had never have left and moved so far away I really don’t believe that I would appreciate my family as much as I do now. I had never lived away from home before really so I was not prepared for my reaction to it. I prided myself on being the way I was but now realize that it was really just me being fake; someone I truly am not. I am a momma’s girl and a daddy’s girl, a big sister to a fault. I am a country girl who likes to get dirty with her big ‘ol dog and ride the four wheelers on the weekends. I like my little country church where all my family goes. I like the Sunday afternoon dinners and the naps afterwards. I like being near the ones I love and there is nothing wrong with that.

2. I got a new job. I’m still a Marketing Assistant but now it’s at a paper where I can write and work in the field that I wanted to to begin with. I will be doing what I know I’m supposed to do. Not that my current position is bad by any means; it’s just not what I know I should be doing. So, I have been blessed with another job that I know will keep me going for a while and that is always a good thing.

3. Turkey Day came and went. I really ate too much this year. It was so good though and having not had real home-cooked food in some time I just couldn’t resist the turkey, ham, dressing, sweet potatoes, slaw, mashed potatoes, rolls and the other 40 item spread. I ate. I slept. I ate some more. It was a great vacation.

4. I learned that my dog’s instincts are still there. I have a 110 lb Great Pyrenees. He’s never been anything but a big teddy bear and only comes out of the backyard for his leashed walk around the neighborhood. He’s never been out in the open except for the one time he got loose of me and took off towards the highway. Not a good moment. So, when I decided to take him out to my aunt’s and uncle’s 40 + plus acres and let him run loose I was a bit nervous. But, I knew if nothing else he’d have a ball running around uninhibited. He did. He chased me on the 4-wheeler all over the land and once things got warmed up he started herding. He’s never herded anything in his life, except maybe for the pug every once in a while. It was amazing seeing thousands of years of breeding at work. And his eyesight was astounding. I know I am gushing about a dog but you would be amazed too if you saw an untrained animal’s instincts kick in right before your eyes.

 Here’s to good reading.


Life Choices November 15, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — handwritten @ 7:35 pm

You’ve got a lot of choices.  If getting out of bed in the morning is a chore and you’re not smiling on a regular basis, try another choice.  ~Steven D. Woodhull

I have made a choice recently. A very important life changing choice. When I read the quote above I realized that the choice I had made was the right thing for me to do. There are too many oppotunities in this world to take advantage of and there is no reason to live your life unhappily.

 I have made my choice.


Near Death Experience. November 13, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — handwritten @ 3:04 pm

I almost killed myself today. Not in the melodramatic ways of Lifetime movies either. It would have been an accident – tragic yet terribly stupid. One thing I’ve learned today, in just the few short hours that I’ve been awake, is that when faced with a ‘bad’ thing your instinct takes over and your rational and logical thinking ceases to exist. Let me back-track so that you don’t think I am suicidal.


I was getting ready for work in my apartment’s tiny bathroom. I decided to opt out of the time consuming hair washing routine I usually do and instead took the quicker route of ‘fluffing’ my hair with the hairdryer. I was doing just fine but still running a little late – as usual. I was nearly complete with the ‘fluffing’ and had laid the dryer down on my sink cabinet to grasp the last bit of hair on the top of my head that needed the dryer’s attention. As I did so, the dryer, which was still on, flew out of my hand and landed in the toilet. Yes, the toilet. The loo. The John. The porcelain thrown.


In an instant, time actually slowed down. I can’t explain it, but it did. I saw the dryer slowly float off the counter and down into the toilet. It didn’t bounce around on the rim and then fall in. It went directly into the bowl. I don’t recall it ever touching the seat. It was like an NBA star’s free throw – clean and smooth. Then, I saw the cord still plugged into the wall. Then I saw the water from the bowl being sucked into the back of the dryer and being shot out the nozzle. No sparks, just water. Like an idiot I grabbed the cord and yanked the dryer out of the toilet and threw it on the floor. I didn’t even think to unplug it!


After it lay on the linoleum for a bit, spitting and coughing, gasping for air and electricity, I realized it was still plugged into the outlet and how incredibly close I had come to being part of News of the Weird. I quickly pulled the plug from the wall and left the dryer lying in the floor where it will remain until I get home this afternoon. It’s not that I am afraid that it will electrocute me, because as it is unplugged there really is no chance of that. But, I am a bit afraid to touch something that came so close to killing me or at least hurting me pretty badly. I’m a little gun shy.


So now, I must search the city during my lunch break to find a decent hairdryer so I can actually dry my hair in the morning. I will remember to put the toilet seat down this time.


Life is Frustrating. November 9, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — handwritten @ 12:31 am

Today had to be one of the most frustating days of work in my entire life. I really can’t stand it when people try to be the boss of me, especially when they’re NOT MY BOSS!

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, let’s turn to the election. I am not going to pretend that I am up on politics and throw out big words that I really have no idea what they mean. All I am going to say is – People let’s get over this. You can just see the different parties plotting against one another and how smug they get when they win and how acidic they turn when they lose. What happened to “one nation?”

At this point, if someone is running for a high office, it is my opinion that they pretty much can do the job. It’s not about who can do the best job but who can beat whom these days.

It’s pretty much a mess and we’re are so deep in it that it’s not ever going to get any better. I find it humorous those people who get all wound up over stuff they can’t really change – now I guess I am preaching to the choir.


Breakthrough. November 6, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — handwritten @ 1:43 am

I’ve done it. I’ve finally broken through my wall of procrastinative (is that word? well it is now) tendancies – at least for the time being. I woke this morning at 6:37. Let me explain why this is significant. First of all I woke on my own. I was not jolted awake by my “early bird” roommate putting away the dishes or drying her hair. I think it goes without saying that I am not a morning person. Not even close. Word of warning, my brain usually doesn’t function until 10 a.m.

But this morning was quite different. As I said, I woke at 6:37 bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. I laid in bed for a few minutes then got up and proceded to do the normal morning rituals of showering, teeth brushing and clothes changing. After that, I checked the ol’ email then proceded to clean – yet another thing that I usually procrastinate about doing. After a once over in the kitchen I moved on to the living room then back to my bedroom to work on the ever increasing pile of laundry that has slowly matastisized in the far corner of my bedroom. I got a bit of a ways through that then started my writing.

I am in the process of writing a novel. I’ve never done this before. I’ve never even had a creative writing class but I feel that I am being led to produce this work. I can’t explain this but have decided to just go with it.

I got my outline complete, with a bit of idea collaboration with dear ol’ dad – thanks! Now, I have to fight the battle of procrastination within my soul and pump out about 100,000 words within the next 6 months. Between work and life, this should be interesting. As long as I have a deadline I can become quite creative and persistent. I have never missed a deadline and don’t intend on ever missing one because of my lack of dedication.

I’ll keep you posted.


Good deeds? November 4, 2006

Filed under: Good Deeds — handwritten @ 1:00 am

I was reading on this website and came across the first prize winner you’ll see below. It’s an excellent story and the author was rightly rewarded. I would like to speak not of the author or the story but of the underlying theme.

Good deeds. We are all taught to do them. If you are a Christian it is expected. If you are even remotely religious you will forever feel a tug at your heart, your soul, to do things to help others.

The old saying goes that no good deed goes unnoticed. We all selfishly wish that all our good deeds are in fact noticed. But, what if your “good deed” actually does get noticed – but the intended outcome is not reached, simply because your “good deed” was done to a world of bad?

The world is inherently evil. By doing something good to the world you run an extrememly high risk of having your good deed thrown to the ground and stomped on, having the world twist and skew your deed to exactly the opposite of what you intended.

The following story explores that twist, that inevitable skewing of good in and inherently evil world.

Enjoy as I did. Pass it on or link people to this post. I feel that this message is something all of us should dwell on.

Espousing Dostoevsky
by Robert Eichelberg

Mr. Victor Carlson was reading a paperback copy of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment at his local library, engrossed in the tale, when he flipped to page seventy-two and discovered what he presumed to be, a previous reader’s bookmark. It was a small receipt, pale with age, a snapshot in time when someone paid $3.28 for a breakfast at Denny’s on March 23, 1996. But the distinguished 52 year-old was less interested in the receipt itself than he was with its placement within the book. He couldn’t help but wonder if this was the actual spot—this page seventy-two–where the previous reader stopped reading this classic piece of literature. Was it possible that no one else had read this particular copy in six years? Could it be that in all that time no other reader had come along and moved it out of the way?

As a former teacher of literature, he was bothered at the implication. He felt the receipt’s placement seemed emblematic of a world focused on instant gratification. Still, he reminded himself not to jump to conclusions. After all, any old receipt found in a junk drawer might be used as a bookmark. Why conclude it was last read only then?
The library was practically his second home and, as such, he had no reservations about asking a librarian, particularly Miss Benson, whom he had a degree of affection for, about the history of this particular text.
She was smiling as he approached the counter. Carlson found Miss Benson, who he surmised to be in her late 40’s, to be an attractive woman, possessing a sort of studious Betty White look.

“Hello, Mr. Carlson,” she said, looking at the book he had placed on the counter. “You’re not done with Dostoevsky already, are you? Why, you’ve just checked it out yesterday?”

“No, I wish I read that fast. Actually, I was just wondering if you could tell me the last time this fine book was checked out.”

She raised her eyebrows. “Is this a Patriot Act issue, Mr. Carlson? I had no idea you worked in the intelligence community.” She said it half-jokingly, yet he sensed she might have actually wondered if this explained his continual presence at Wilmington Library.

“Nothing like that, Miss Benson,” he said. “I was just interested in the how frequently Dostoevsky is checked out.”
She nodded at his noble intentions. “Certainly. Let’s have a look.”

She scanned in the barcode, reading the results, her eyes fixed to the screen. “Looks as though it has not been checked out frequently at all. In fact, the last time was March 25, 1996.”

Carlson was dumbfounded.

“Why, that’s absurd,” he said, speaking to himself more than her. “You mean to tell me no one checked out this book in six years?”

She shrugged. “That’s correct. According to the screen here—“

“But it’s a classic!” he said nearly shouting, while scratching his partially bald scalp. “I would expect high schools and colleges to have required it in their literature classes.”

“I’m sorry. I don’t know what to tell you.”

By her blank look, he realized that he was almost badgering her; he hadn’t meant to. He was demanding answers from someone who could not give them.

“I’m sorry, Miss Benson. I seem to have had a temporary burst of insanity.”

“Oh, it’s nothing,” she said, a smile returning to her face. “You’re just passionate about good literature. There’s no crime in that!”

On the drive home he began to obsess about the bookmark, nearly colliding into a Honda Accord in the process. It was during this drive that an idea came to him: what if there was a gift left in the pages of a classic book?—a “thank you” to those virtuous souls wishing to improve themselves through the reading of great literature.

His idea fermented into a plan of putting a $100 bill within the pages of Crime and Punishment. For symbolic reasons he decided on page seventy-four; it would mean the reader at least read more than the Denny’s customer. He imagined the pleasant surprise for the reader. And why not do it? He was wealthy and had no family or close friends to leave his money to. Why not do something constructive with it and encourage literacy?

He relished the intrigue of it all: no one would know who put the bill in the book, and conversely, he would not know who found it. Of course, there was that possibility that Miss Benson or another librarian might look up the last person to check out the book, but he suspected they would keep his little secret.

So a week later, after he had finished Crime and Punishment, Carlson slid a new hundred dollar bill between pages seventy-four and seventy-five, drove to the library, and gently slid the book into the drop box.

Time passed. Weeks turned into months. Every so often Carlson would go to the library and sneak a peek to see if the bill was still there. Sure enough, there was poor old Ben Franklin, alone and unloved, staring endlessly at Raskolnikov’s ponderings of why criminals so often fail in their crimes.

The months turned into a year. Mr. Carlson grew impatient. Therefore, he decided it would be more effective to put a few more bills in some of the other classics. So on anther trip to Wilmington Library, he went to the Classics area, found Voltare’s Candide and Bronte’s Jane Eyre, went off to a remote area of the library and slid a bill into each, just as he had done with Crime and Punishment.

He left the library that day feeling invigorated. But if he thought that these bills would be hidden away for as long, he was mistaken. It was only a week later that he discovered, while reading his local paper, that a single mother, Mrs. Lisa Makowski of Southridge, had discovered a hundred dollar bill while reading Jane Eyre. “I was so happy,” she told the reporter. “Money has been tight, so I cancelled my cable TV, and started reading books from the library instead. I was reading Bronte when I turned the page and saw a hundred dollar bill staring at me. I was elated.”
Mr. Carlson smiled and put down the paper. His actions had finally paid off. He was confident that with this story perhaps others would be inspired to read some of the great books. It also motivated him to put a few bills in a couple of other classics. On another day, he inserted Franklins into Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and Dicken’s A Tale of Two Cities. And because he was moved by the woman’s story, he put one in the pages of a book about single motherhood.

Mr. Carlson left the library proud of his deeds. In fact, he so enjoyed the success of his discrete philanthropy that he went to the bank, withdrew more money, then visited three other local area libraries: Westgate, Cherry Hill Public, and Cambridge Public, leaving little treasures in each.

It was the next night, while he was watching the local news, that he saw a report that made him sit up:

“We now go live to Rex Crane who is at Westgate Library in Brice Park. Rex?”

“Thanks, Steve. The first hundred dollar bill was found in Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations after a librarian became suspicious when she noticed a patron placing something in various books and then returning them to the shelf. Later, she returned to the shelf where the patron had been and found the bill. On further examination she found another hundred dollar bill, this one in Jane Austin’s Sense and Sensibility. But what the generous patron may not have realized is that Westgate Library has an extensive surveillance system, and as a result, we have clear images of the philanthropist in action.

“If we can roll that tape—“

Carlson stared in disbelief. There he was, in an aisle of books, looking to his left and right to make sure no one was watching—when, in fact, the world was watching. He cursed himself; how could he be so stupid not to realize there might be a security camera? He sat down. There was no reason to panic. After all, it was a grainy, black and white image—who would possibly recognize him?


The next afternoon, while on his way to the mailbox, he saw his neighbor, Mrs. Pulski, moving towards him on the sidewalk, dragging along her shopping cart. The snoopy sixty year-old constantly wore a blue scarf that looked like it came from another era.

Carlson flipped through his mail and quickened his pace back to his house, but she cut him off.

“Did you see what happened at Westgate Library yesterday?” she asked.

“No, Mrs. Pulski,” he said, continuing to flip though his mail. “I haven’t really watched the news—“

“Somebody has been putting $100 bills in the books. Can you imagine that?”

“You don’t say. Listen, I would love to stay and talk but–“

“They showed the guy too, you know. He looks like—well, he looks a bit like you, Mr. Carlson.”

He looked up at her. Does she know?

“You don’t say. Remarkable coincidence. Now if you will excuse me—.”

“Not too many people wear that kind of sport coat anymore, do they?” she said, brushing the back of her hand on the black suede.

Carlson looked at his jacket a moment, realizing it was the same one he was wearing in the video. “No, I suppose they–.”

“You go to the library quite a bit, don’t you, Mr. Carlson?”

Noticing her gaze had turned suspicious, he looked back at his mail. “Yes, I suppose I do. Why do you ask, Mrs. Pulski?”

She shrugged. “I’m just saying, if you happen to see the guy when you’re there, maybe you could keep an eye open and snatch up a bill for me. I have trouble making ends meet since Alfred passed away, you know.”

Carlson smiled, putting a hand on her shoulder. “I will keep that in mind, Mrs. Pulski. Now if you will excuse me. As you can see, I have bills to pay.”

On Friday morning he was having breakfast in his kitchen, when he heard commotion outside. He went to the living room window and peered out. Parked on the street, he saw three news vans, their satellite dishes on poles extending to the sky. He moved away from the window. So Mrs. Pulski snitched. But he found he wasn’t entirely upset; he liked his anonymity, but half-wondered if this was what he subconsciously wanted all along. After all, there was a certain attraction in being a local celebrity—and generous one, at that.

He went out the front door and three reporters with their camera crew’s were already coming up the steps. He recognized Jim Gathers from 7-Witness News, Katie Sawyers from NewsTime-5, as well as Lester Brock from News Nine at 9.

Katie Sawyers was the first to approach him, microphone outstretched, as if forcing an ice cream cone upon him.
“Mr. Carlson—are you the person that’s been leaving hundred dollar bills in libraries around town?”

He didn’t have time to answer before the next question was fired off.

“Why did you do it?” asked Lester Brock.

“Are you planning on leaving more bills?” asked Gathers.

Carlson felt flustered. He hadn’t prepared answers. “I would rather not comment at this time—“

“What about the fight at Cherry Hill Library?” asked Gathers.

Carlson stared, confused. The other two reporters nodded.

“Fight? What fight?” Carlson asked.

“You didn’t hear? Then would you care to comment on reports that two patrons got into a brawl over who was the first to grab Tolstoy’s War and Peace? We understand one of the men is hospitalized.”

Carlson stared at the waiting faces, cameras, and microphones.

“I…uh…I hope everyone involved will be all right. I never meant for anyone…”

He gave up; this was too much. He ran from the crowd of reporters and hopped into his car. Fights? He never wanted fights. He was trying to encourage folks to become more civilized, not less.

He raced his car to Wilmington Library, intent on removing the remaining bills before someone got hurt in Miss Benson’s domain.

When Carlson entered the lobby he knew right away that something was wrong. There were several police in groups, talking to librarians. But it was what was behind them that shattered his world: books strewn from shelves, covering the floor in piles: fiction, non-fiction, biographies, mysteries—and his beloved classics as well.

He caught Miss Benson walking across the lobby. She was almost in tears.

“What happened here?” he asked.

“Somebody put $100 bills in various books in the library. When word got out, people came from miles away to search the books. It turned into a mob scene. As more bills were found, the level of madness increased.” A tear fell down her cheek. He offered her his hanky, but she refused.

He looked at the police momentarily.

“Do—do they know who was putting the bills in the books?”

She wiped her tear with the back of her hand.

“I suspect they might find out, don’t you think, Mr. Carlson?”

He swallowed. So she knew.

“You don’t think it’s a crime to put—“

“I don’t think it’s a crime, no. But I don’t think it is a very sophisticated action either. What do you think, Mr. Carlson?”

When he didn’t answer, she continued. “Now if you will excuse me, Mr. Carlson. As you can see, I am very busy. And I hope you will understand when the management at Wilmington Library asks if you would be good enough to patronize a different library the future. Good day, Mr. Carlson.”

She turned sharply and returned to the police.

Mr. Carlson turned to look at the books one last time. Miss Benson’s words pierced him; there were no other local libraries he could turn to. At the moment, those were likely being ransacked too. And to complicate matters, his face was now known in the media. He doubted he would be welcomed anywhere, except perhaps by charities, beggars and free-loaders around town.

No longer welcomed at his second home, he left the library, now to become even more of a recluse. What he thought was a good deed turned out to be the impetus of crimes. And what he thought was an exercise to encourage intellectualism, turned into a circus for greedy philistines. By his own deeds, he became despised by the person he cared about most—a punishment far worse than anything inflicted upon Dostoevsky’s protagonist.
He went home, walked in a daze to his bookshelf, sat down and began to read Dostoevsky’s The Idiot.

Robert Eichelberg
Hoffman Estates, IL.


Are You an Addict? November 3, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — handwritten @ 9:24 pm

I found this article on Yahoo! while wandering the ‘net. I’m not an internet addict but could you be?

Are You an Internet Addict?

Fri Nov 3, 2006 7:58AM EST by Gina Hughes: The Techie Diva

I was reading through an AFP report on Yahoo! News that says Serbia is now treating people with Internet addictions. This counseling center considers anyone who is not interested in daily activities with family and friends as a potential Internet addict and looks for other signs such as spending prolonged hours online, turning to virtual friends, and isolation. I’m not sure exactly how they treat Internet addiction, but they say treatment usually lasts one year.

After reading this, I headed over to Net Addiction and took an Internet Addiction Test (IAT) that told me my Internet usage is causing occasional problems in my life. I won’t take that test too seriously because my occupation requires me to be online a lot of the time. However, I will keep that in mind next time I choose surfing the web over, er, household chores. Can you blame me?

Internet addiction can be harmful for those who delve into the darker side of the web, such as online gambling, cybersex, online affairs, and online gaming. But how do you know when you or someone you love is addicted to the Internet? When is it time to pull the plug and seek treatment?

Here’s a list of common symptoms to watch out for:

1. Lying about how much time is spent online.
2. General decrease of physical activity and social life.
3. Neglecting obligations at home, work, or school to spend time online.
4. Spending too much money on computer equipment or Internet activities.
5. Feeling a constant desire to be online when they’re away from the computer.
6. Going online to escape real world problems.
7. Disregarding the emotional or physical consequences of being in front of a computer all day.
8. Denial of the problem.

There is much debate about the reality of Internet addiction. The bottom line is that anything can be harmful when abused. If you find yourself spending more time online than with real people, then plan for some quality time with the family or friends every other day. Find an activity the whole family enjoys and make a date with them.

I personally disconnect completely every weekend and get out of the house so I’m not tempted to check email. I also have movie nights and “Lost” nights during the week, which are a great excuse to turn off the computer. Different things work for different people, so just find something you enjoy and don’t hesitate to shut the computer off.

What do you do to escape cyberspace?