Thursday, December 29, 2011

Why I'm Not Posting

I keep meaning to write posts, and I keep delaying. The main reason is that I'm busy working, and once I get home I'm not really all that inclined to do more writing.

The secondary reason is that I'm still getting the hang of being an actual journalist, and I don't want to mess up and write something I really ought not to be writing about here. At the moment I don't think many people who read my work in the newspaper are aware that I also have a blog, but I'm sure that will change if I do anything stupid.

So why don't I talk about my Christmas... that's a fairly safe topic.

Christmas Day

Eric and I got up lazily when we felt like it on Christmas morning. We attended church together, and once home we made orange biscuits using my mother's recipe. And yes, it was a "we" effort. Eric made the sauce, then helped me roll up the biscuits. The orange biscuits were REALLY good, and there's a story about them I'm going to tell as soon as I'm done with the main Christmas day events.

After our late breakfast/brunch, we opened presents. We did not get presents for each other, but both sets of our parents sent a package, so we opened those. From my in-laws I got a few months supply of my dark chocolate and some other very nice gifts. From my mother (and sister, I gather) I got a flying shark. We watched the second half of Gone With the Wind, which I had never seen before. And that was about it.

Orange Biscuits

Now, a few days before Christmas I wrote a column in the editorial pages about what Christmas means to me, and mentioned (twice) the scratch-made orange biscuits that my mom used to make. The column was printed on Wednesday, and on Thursday I got a call from a person VERY interested in the recipe for the orange biscuits. So I contacted mom, asked her permission to print it, and wrote up a column on responses I'd gotten to my writing since coming to work for the newspaper. Mom promised to send me an updated version of the recipe that included changes she just automatically makes when she makes them herself, but forgot to write into the recipe.

So I got the updated recipe before Christmas and decided that before I print it, I ought to at least make it again for myself... and it was delicious. I told Mom so, and she told me how the recipe came about. I may end up using it for a future column, but I don't think so. So I guess I'll write that little tale here for everyone to enjoy.

Mom said she was working at the hospital when she turned 16, and there was an older lady who worked in the kitchen who made the pastries and such, and had her own corner of the kitchen. Mom said the woman's orange biscuits were a favorite, and when she made them she wouldn't allow anyone in her corner, jealously guarding her secret recipe. But the biscuits, oh, they went fast when they were put out. So mom did some experimenting. She started with a fairly standard cinnamon roll recipe for the biscuits, and worked on the sauce, altering it and adding to it and trying to get the balance just right. Eventually she came up with the recipe that had her children scrambling for the stuff every Christmas morning, and remembering the dish with awe and happiness.

Flying Shark

Whew. Now, on to the flying shark. I mentioned on this blog that I wanted one a few months ago, and my mom came through with flying... er... sharks. I was tickled, but not really sure what to do with the thing. I mean, a flying shark!

So yesterday after I got off work, Eric and I went down to the grocery store and got it filled with helium. The folks at the store weren't sure how much to charge, because it's a tad larger than the typical 18 inch mylar balloon. So they charged me $5, which I felt was reasonable, and I went home with the very light and amusing shark which Eric dubbed "Bruce".

Once home, I attached the various bits and bobs to the thing that make it fly properly. It was a bit of a job, and I messed up some of it. But overall I didn't do too bad. The quality of the equipment seems really flimsy, but it was made to be very light so it can fly, and I think it's not all that bad. Ask me again once it has run out of helium and I have to refill it. Once I was done I used the remote to chase Eric around the house, although he didn't really run. Bruce is fairly ineffective, bumping up against people instead of gripping and shredding with his painted-on jaws.

The shark seemed heavy enough to stay put, as it wasn't really floating above the couch. When we went upstairs to bed, the shark was downstairs, sitting on the back of the couch looking very calm and collected.

In the morning I got up and opened the door to our bedroom and screeched a little, slamming the door. Eric asked what was happening, and I opened the door again to see Bruce the shark floating at eye level right outside our upstairs bedroom. I couldn't really think of Eric pulling that particular trick on me, and besides, Bruce was floating, so it was fairly clear he'd gotten up there on his own.

When I posted about the event on Facebook, Garret posted this link to a similar story with a less happy ending.

Shark at Work

This morning I decided that I couldn't possibly take Bruce to work, and didn't. I did tell my flying shark story to my office mate, and she was a little amused and more bemused. At lunchtime I debated, but not for long. I couldn't take Bruce in my car, so I took Eric's car back to work with Bruce in the back seat.

Once at work I spotted one of the gals in the ad department in the parking lot and enlisted her help in getting the flying shark safely into the building. It really does not like being outside in the wind. It feels very much like it's going to blow away no matter how hard you hold onto it. She got me into the press room, which is the large part of the building where the printing press is set up. It was running off today's paper when we got in, and I let the shark go immediately and used the remote to make it swim around the air in the large room. It was very neat, as there was plenty of room to maneuver in there. The folks of the press room were amused at Bruce, and then we took him down the hall.

Word got ahead of me, so the ladies in the front office weren't at all surprised to see the floating shark, but we hid Bruce around a corner and waited for the other ad gal to walk down a corridor before the shark swam out at her and startled her good. No one else was really surprised until my editor came back from lunch, then my office mate and I managed to get him while his back was turned. I was afraid for the health of the shark for a bit there, but the editor returned it in one piece.

I also managed to startle one of the other reporters, and got the publisher making jokes about land sharks for some time. I overheard the ad lady I surprised telling someone on the phone that "one of the reporters is attacking people with her pet shark!" I was warned not to leave Bruce in the office overnight, as other balloons had moved around enough to trigger the alarm. Which was fine with me, I had no intention of leaving him there, but at least I had a bit of fun.

The editor suggested I take the shark to the senior center tomorrow, since I'm headed over there for a story. Hmmmm....

Anyway, that's my tales for the moment. I'll endeavor to write more regularly now, if I can just get my willpower working again.


Roger Owen Green said...

"flying shark attacks newsroom" - maybe you can get a Pulitzer for that!

David Oakes said...


Nathan said...

Bruce like the shark in Finding Nemo?