AuGuSt 15 2005
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15 August 2005 (Monday)

I picked up the rolls I shot at my place and
found the shots to be not as good as I’d hoped,
but not as bad as I’d feared.  The focus appeared
to be ok, but I’d really need to blow some shots
up to 8 X 10 in. to tell for certain.  There were
some white spots on some of the prints that was
caused in printing, not in shooting, for they
weren’t present on the negatives.  I’ve had to
deal with that problem a number of times before,
and miss the photo processing I used to get.  I’d
have to drive quite a distance to get it around
here, but might be able to work some way of doing
it without driving across half the state.  I also
picked up Becky’s eBay order, although she still
has some items she wants that are still being
auctioned.

I drove to Yvette’s home and found that she
wasn't there.  She had gone to work, and Allen
and Vickie and Josh had gone to school, so I
visited with Lorien, Becky and Mindy who all
greeted me warmly.  It was bittersweet, for today
is the last day I’ll see them, perhaps for a long
time.  I gave Becky her eBay order, which she
seemed pleased with, although she ordered a group
of items, not all of which fit her or Lorien or
Mindy.  It wasn’t a problem with the order; they
were as specified.  Lorien said she wasn’t
comfortable wearing something that had previously
been worn by a stranger even if it had been
washed.  Becky left the remaining items with me,
so now I have to decide what to do with them.

We debated about what to do with our day and came
up with a sort of “Top Ten” list.  On our second
vote, we decided to go shopping and then go
swimming at Pam and Marcy’s “crib.”  They had
talked about us buying each other presents, but I
told them I didn’t mind doing that, but to keep
the prices very, very low.  I didn’t want us all
spending a lot of money on something we didn’t
really want.

I got each of them a calendar, an odd choice for
August.  But they were 16-month calendars and I
told them they could use them to count the days
to their next visit.  They got me something
unexpected, a pair of earrings.  They knew my
ears were pierced but had yet to see me wear any,
so they said now that they bought some for me I
had to wear them.  They’re 14 K gold with cubic
zirconia stones, and I really appreciated them.  
As soon as I got hold of some alcohol, I put them
in.  I should clarify the alcohol was to cleanse
the earrings and my ears, not to drink.  I didn’t
need the fortification of drink to wear earrings.

When we got to Pam and Marcy’s place to go
swimming, I learned that they weren’t even
there.  Apparently Becky, or should I say
“Crystal,” knew this, but didn’t tell any of the
rest of us.  She had gotten a key from Yvette,
and said Yvette was checking their place while
they were gone.  I didn’t think there would be
any problem as I had met Pam and Marcy, they had
given approval for friends of Yvette’s to be
there, and there was four of us there.

They didn’t have a built-in pool, but one of
those round above-ground pools.  We had a fun and
relaxing time, played with an inflatable ball in
the pool and did Lorien’s favorite piggyback
game, where I gave a ride to each of them at
least once.  Becky tried giving me a ride, but
that was largely unsuccessful.

As I’m posting and/or emailing a version of this,
I want to clarify, for those who have read
Lorien's pro-nudist stance, that none of us swam
sans clothing.  Most of us were at least
partially covered “upstairs” (I must admit, I did
expose my upper torso in that private backyard.  
I hope the authorities won’t come knocking on my
door to arrest me for it, considering that sort
of thing is commonplace on public beaches, and
can be seen on Christian sites promoting baptism
by immersion).

I won’t comment on the actions of Becky’s
imaginary alternate persona “Crystal,” as my
imagination is not proficient enough to
accurately describe what she imaginatively did.  
I have many imaginary characters of my own who
perform some of the most extreme actions, no
matter how severely I chastise them for it.

I think Mindy was at first concerned and later
amused at my “speeding.”  She noticed my
speedometer read I believe 94 when the speed
limit was 60.  I assured her that if it said 60
on the speed limit sign, a speed of 96 was
acceptable in Texas.  Becky said “no way” was I
going that fast, and my speedometer must be off.  
I assured her it was accurate.  Finally, I
explained that the car I was driving allowed the
driver to switch the display between miles per
hour (used in America) and kilometers per hour
(used in most of the rest of the world).  I
switched it to miles per hour, which is of course
how speed limits are marked in the U. S., and it
said I was traveling at 58.  Where the speed
limit was 70 mph, I hit 112 kph.  I slowed down
from there relatively quickly, however.  While
right at the legal limit in Texas (meaning slower
than many people drive), I’m still not
comfortable traveling 70 miles per on a highway
with cross traffic.

I got a hamburger, fries and a vanilla shake, and
realized I had eaten more fast food in the past
week than I usually eat in two or three.  The
topic turned to discussing the relative merits of
various males they knew or saw on TV or in the
movies, and then females, and I found I was able
to keep up with most of it.  We also talked about
Dolly and her situation.  I’m very concerned
about her, but it’s difficult to know what to do
to help.

We saw her at Yvette’s, after I believe Mindy
called her.  I think Mindy was hoping I could do
something to help her.  I did find some resources
on the Internet, and some information on an
organization she could contact for help and
support.  I hope that helped.  I really want to
talk to Dolly’s mother and see if I can help on
that end.  For one thing, I’m concerned about
Dolly’s education.  Very few parents are
qualified to teach every subject required in high
school, and I wonder if home schooling is even an
acceptable option for high school.

I did some checking and found that pregnant teens
can continue to attend regular high school,
although apparently Dolly was told otherwise by a
junior high counselor.  It looks like that type
of discrimination is illegal, and even if not
there are alternative schools available.  I’m
just not sure what’s available in her area.  
Wherever she goes, I believe she really needs
love and support.

On a less serious note, I demonstrated my general
incompetence with video games, an incompetence
I've developed over the years by practicing.  
I've found that the most effective way to
practice one’s incompetence in a field is to not
do it, and I’ve done a great deal of not doing it
in recent years.

Lorien and Mindy both asked me to do refexology
on their feet, and so did Dolly.  She said her
feet got very tired carrying around 50 extra
pounds.  I did Yvette’s feet later, and Mindy
watched me carefully.  She said that she’s still
interested in learning it, but doesn’t know where
she can learn it.  I don’t know if the teacher
who instructed me is still practicing the art,
but I told her I would try to find more
information for her.

I showed everyone the photos I took, and they
gave them praise that to me was more than they
deserved, for I don’t think I shot any great
photos in those rolls.  At least no one spoke
that phrase that will scar the ears of any
serious photographer, “Your camera takes good
pictures.”  I wonder how many painters have been
told, “Your brush paints good pictures.”

I had shot a few photos earlier today, enough to
finish out a roll.  I told them that when I got
my new camera and had practice using it and my
new glasses, I would be happy to take more.  
Becky said she wanted to model, but whether that
was a passing fancy that will have faded by the
time I visit them again I don’t know.  With luck,
I’ll be in California within the year, as I
really miss it and those I know who live there,
including Lorien, Becky and Mindy.

Dolly invited me to photograph her with her yet-
to-arrive baby upon its arrival, which I would
love to do, but I told her that arranging it
might be difficult with the combination of
distance, my job, unpredictability of the time,
etc.  Realistically, I would have to essentially
be on call 24 hours a day, something that would
be very difficult to do under my present set of
circumstances.  And it’s something else I will
need to discuss with her mother first.  It did
make me think about doing a photo series on
motherhood, and to balance that out with one on
fatherhood, so I would welcome the opportunity,
if all goes well.  But I think the chances of it
happening this time are doubtful.

I went with the group and we had fast food,
again.  I went back to Yvette’s, and we more or
less hung out until I said it was really time I
should leave.  I was invited to spend the night,
which I love doing.  Perhaps it’s a carryover
from my childhood, but I love spending the night
somewhere else, almost anywhere else, for a
change.  And staying with people who are
important to me sounded like fun.  But
unfortunately, getting up early the next morning
and going to work sounded like money, and during
the past few days I’ve had a lot of fun and not
much money.

I got at least a hug from everyone and a hug and
kiss from many.  Becky practically mauled me, but
as Lorien likes to say, “That’s Becky.”  Mindy
was sweet and gentle as is apparently her nature,
and Lorien hugged me and held on.  Becky said it
seemed like she was never going to let me go.  I
hope, figuratively if not literally, that she
never does.  I have no intention of letting her
go.  And I plan to hold onto Becky and Mindy as
well.

Yvette said I can stop by anytime, although I
suspect she says that to just about everyone she
knows who’s not on her **** list.  Dolly invited
me as well, and I would really like to see her
again and meet her mother.  There’s a lot more
going on there than I’ve seen, and I am concerned.

I had a quiet drive home, and thought about life,
the universe, and everything.  I watched The
Simpsons with Charles, and realized that the out-
there animated show is really not that far off
from what happens in real life.  In fact, as
usual, truth proved stranger than fiction.

I know I will miss Lorien, Becky and Mindy; in
fact, I already do.  I look forward to seeing
them again.
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August 15 2005
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