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Somewhere in the run-up to my 30th college reunion–which I did not attend–I received a survey to fill out from the alumni office. They’ve never lost me in all these 30 years, but they must keep hoping they have the wrong Maureen Egan (there were two of us in our class at Holy Cross) and figure eventually they’ll find the one who is a billionaire and wants to give it all back to the college. Keep trying.

Of course, they want to know what field people are working in. Under the self-employed spot–after the ones they’re really interested in–investment bankers, stockbrokers, doctors, lawyers–a couple of telling options popped up. There was freelance writer, where it belonged, which is one part of what I do. Right under it was an option I’d never considered and certainly didn’t expect it to have its own line: funeral director. A trick of that pesky alphabet or something more? The two fields have plenty of things in common. Magazines and newspapers keep dying and so do people. Synergy. God knows I’ve been to enough funerals that provide a microphone to people who could use a good writer to make what’s said not make the audience go nutty. See, Yes, I’m referencing my own damned story! It’s sad that I remember the awful funerals as funny stories and don’t remember the good funerals much at all. Perhaps I should write about that….

It cracks me up seeing the searches that bring people to my blog:

topless beaches Spain

James River Park

park via bicycle

topless Portugal

(I have never been topless in those countries–except when I was bottomless and supposed to be–in the shower, for instance.)

Richmond Slave Trail

handwriting

bad handwriting

really bad handwriting

really crappy handwriting

basketball floor wallpaper

my favorite smells

nothing ever happens

luna bar diet

rocketts landing waste treatment smell

recycled trophies using Barbies

cream puff stuffer

short pump stranger talking

basketball

segway old lady

(hard not to take it some of them personally….)

polar plunge

slave trail

sarah palin ruined the name Sarah

(and they haven’t even read one post I never posted)

knitting

and perhaps my favorite:

sausage mausoleum

(I get that one. It takes a lot of guts or hope or something to type those two words into google.)

and there are so many more…many of them gross and disgusting. Hmm. Suspect they aren’t getting what they are looking for. I can only assume I get a lot of confused people landing here. Or perhaps I’m the confused one. Based on the searches that find this blog, I could be a guilt-ridden old lady with a keen sense of smell. A polar plunging, segway and bicycle-rider, knitting hiker who likes cream puffs. And a basketball freak. Perhaps all that dribbling I did as a youth plus the knitting has cramped my hands so as to explain the really bad handwriting. I am surprised how infrequently chocolate comes up. Other than that it sounds about right.

Herewith another in a series of inventions I’ve invented that I really only thought of as opposed to actually making–a shower whose walls are wet boards.  I know. You wish you’d thought of it.  Take the idea and run. Make it happen.

What I’d like to see is a truly write-able and wipe-able tile-ish shower wall where I can jot down the brilliant and/or ridiculous ideas, lines, and full length speeches that come to me only in the shower.  Just as some people can really sing in the shower, I can really write there. But the second I step out and onto the bath rug, all is lost. It might have something to do with the mirror staring back at me.

You’re going to need to invent the marker that writes on the wall and doesn’t stain it or get washed away by the shower, yet can be wiped away when the time is right. It’s a challenge, but so worth it, I’m sure. Especially since all I ask in return is that you write me a check for 50% of the proceeds on your shower wall.

I wake up every day thinking I can get everything done I need doing.  Somehow I believe this will be the day I check off thirty seven errands, fifty two emails, two dozen stories, five article pitches, a few children’s poems, and three essays in between planting dozens of annuals, buying more plants, weeding thousands upon thousands of weeds, transplanting 8 million liriope and daylillies, calling several people, organizing my desk, files, and closets, cutting up fruit for my fruit salad habit, making two pans of brownies from scratch for my other habit, and running 100 miles or so. Then sitting down to knit several rows of the throw I’m not making any progress on would be such a relaxing treat. Oh sure, running 100 miles seems slightly unrealistic, but I keep adding up the miles I don’t get around to running every other day and they add up.

I guess this approach makes me simultaneously sunny and stupid. Jim Croce couldn’t save time in a bottle, but it fits nicely in a trash bag.

I’m in a perfectly good mood today, but I have a file on my computer entitled, “Journal of a Bad Attitude,” a take-off on May Sarton’s Journal of a Solitude (which I could never get through). My file is something like a bajillion words over the course of eight years though I haven’t added to it with any regularity the past several years. Perhaps that means my attitude has been good of late. That doesn’t seem likely. I think I will make myself read through the damned thing and see what I can find lurking there.

Here’s something from July 2001:

“Strangely enough, I might be too polite to be much of a writer.  I suppose that is why people become novelists, so they can crucify the people they want to indirectly under cover of plot and character.  Or at least bitch about them, contradict them, hold them up as a laughingstock, but I’m just too damned polite to do that to my friends, so I have nothing to write about.  Or at least a lot less.  I do love typing fast.  Maybe I should have been a data entry clerk or a secretary.  Let’s try to imagine that for a moment…me blazing away not perfectly accurately, but at least I can spell words right the third time around.  Completely routine stuff–mundane, dull, boring, and omnipresent.  Good ole Mrs. Guiliani, the typing teacher whose bosom would have made a fine, sturdy desk for her typewriter.  How convenient it would have been for her.  I don’t have a bosom.  The lightest laptop would fall right to the floor. ”

hmmmm… notice I didn’t say I was too damned polite to do all that to family….

So Richmond rated a mention and a whole 36 hours in the NY Times last week:

http://travel.nytimes.com/2009/10/18/travel/18hours.html?ref=travel

Glad to see my friends at Riverside Outfitters get a shout out. I climbed up seventy feet in a tree in my backyard with them back in 2005 when they were getting started. Very fun.  Sadly no photos survived that expedition, but at least David Tate, Scott Turner, and I did. Here’s what I had to say about it back in the day:

 http://richmondmagazine.com/?articleID=619557350f8c8c74220812808a6c5ddf

I would love to get back up there on a warm winter day when the leaves are gone to see what the birds see, but I don’t think my bum leg is ready for that sort of workout just yet.

I’m back!

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