Monday, December 26, 2011

The Missing McStays

Scene: me, in a post-holiday coma in dark bedroom watching ID TV whilst the kids play their new Wii games down the hall.

The show spotlights the disappearance in SoCal of an entire family.  Poof!  Gone.

Dad, mom and two toddlers vanish in the night.  The last anyone sees of them is Feb 4, 2010, nearly 2 yrs ago.  Their white Isuzu 
Trooper is seen leaving their house at night, and the truck is discovered 4 days later abandoned 80 miles from their home in a US strip mall near the Mexican border.


Feb 15, 2010 they are declared missing.  That's 11 days from the time they are seen last.

According to the show, and reading online, there are many theories surrounding their vanishing.  Perhaps mom had dad killed and fled the country with the kids and a beau, or the family was abducted or forced to leave, or they simply "dropped out" of society, etc.  
Any one theory is plausible, and with the scant evidence a case can be made for any number of viable scenarios.

The thing that sticks with me is how can they be gone for 11 days before they are reported missing?

Sure, they live a carefree lifestyle and he owns his own biz and works from home, and I know those types.  They're on their own schedule and live life according to different rules.  But 11 days?  That's a long time for most anyone to be completely missing, especially a couple with a thriving business, two small children, and family living nearby.

If my hubby, our kids and I went missing, I wonder how long it would be before someone noticed?  How about you?  How long would it take?

I would say probably 2 or 3 days.  But different from the McStays, my hubby has a job and his boss would be concerned.  He would start making calls, or have someone come by.  The neighbors would just think we were out of town, so I doubt they'd notice we were unduly absent.  If I would fail to show up for a meeting with a friend, that would send up a red flag.  My absence on my social networks would be noticed.  We home school, so the kids wouldn't be absent from school.  I'm just thinking out loud here...

On further thought, maybe it would be more than a few days, maybe a week.  I'd say about 7 days.

This is interesting to ponder.  How long would it take for a person to be absent from life before anyone noticed?  Before anyone came by the house or called the police...?

Here's the link to the tv site:

Here the link to a blogger who is also interested in the McStays:

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

John Steinbeck

Thanks to my sister-in-law I have Sirius XM in my car.  I happened upon a reading on the Book Channel of John Steinbeck's Sweet Thursday, his sequel to Cannery Row.  Here is a taste for you:

"Doc walked on the beach beyond the lighthouse.  The waves splashed white beside him and sometimes basted his ankles.  The sandpipers ran ahead of him as though on little wheels.  The golden afternoon moved on toward China, and on the horizon's edge a lumber schooner balanced."

What a delightful morsel.  I want more.  I want to read this--not listen to it--so I can savor the turns of phrase and re-read the little gems over and again.

This writing excites me.  It envelopes me into the story like folding sugar into egg whites of divinity.  It's an Edward Hopper painting set to words.

So, I'm endeavoring to read those Steinbeck novels that didn't make it into English class.  I wasn't sure where to start, and hubby said, start at the beginning.  Logical minds will do that.  I'm not sure I'm that logical.  Which will win out, my OCD or my right brain freeform?  

Something about Sweet Thursday is speaking to me now, so even though I have yet to read Cannery Row, I just may do that.  Or, doing so might nip annoyingly at my need for order.

More likely my library's book availability will determine the reading sequence.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Fantasy Family

Do you ever feel as if you are the outside looking in?

I have felt that way my whole life.  Near Christmastime, I would drive along the narrow streets of Highland Park, TX looking into the cozy, candlelit windows of warmth in those beautiful brick homes and want nothing more than to be inside so I could also bake cookies in my kitchen while the kids and hubby played Scrabble by the fire.  As I drove along, I'd stare up at the dimly lit trees splattered with mistletoe admonishing God up there somewhere, and then, nearly hitting a parked car, I'd have to pull over and let the angry tears burn my face.

My parents divorced when I was young, and Christmas was never the same.  It was always a battle of who got me when, and where and when we'd open presents, have dinner or go to church.  No matter how fair I tried to make it, it would never please anyone.  Maybe no one could be pleased regardless, I don't know.  It wasn't something full of magical anticipation.  No holidays were.

I wanted what I finally have now, nearly 20 years later.  And, I thank God for this beautiful life every single day.  

Kitten and Hubby came back with a Christmas Tree today that she picked out.  It's a lovely tree, and fits perfectly in our small living room.  Maybe I'll bake some cookies tomorrow.  Maybe Hubby and the kids will play a game.  It won't be a fantasy: there will be bickering, and shouts of "no fair!" and Hubby will finally yell, "enough!" and the kids will probably walk off in a huff.  But, we'll get back together again on the couch to snuggle and watch a Christmas movie with popcorn.  

Rarely things in life will meet or exceed our fantasies, but that's because fantasies are rather unrealistic.  

When you're looking in through the window, you merely get a small detail of the entire painting.  The fantasy is perfect because the vision is only a fragment.  It's also not fulfilling.  Real life is much more expansive and enriching because you get the entire picture.  It's also sweeter, not for lack of, but rather because of the vinegar.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Rocket Man VW Passat

So, the new VW Passat commercial uses the song Rocket Man with "average people" singing what they think the words say.  It's funny, to be sure.

I had a friend who worked in the music industry in the 70s with people like Manfred Mann and Elton John.  While doing backup for "Blinded By the Light" he said that they asked the singers to purposefully mumble the lyrics.  They were supposed to make the words unrecognizable because the industry had found that they sold more "records" when people didn't know what was being said.  It added to the longevity of the song.  

In those days, only top 40 songs were played on the radio.  You couldn't find older songs played, they were "outdated."  So, we listened to the same songs over and over and over again.  It wasn't until the 80s that they started having specialty stations in the larger markets.

The VW Passat commercial hits on that bit of history.  To the Elton John words "burning out his fuse up here alone," (which, really, I have a hard time understanding the red head chick in the ad and had to look it up online) average peeps say things like, "burning out this useless telephone," and "burning up the room with cheap cologne."  Hilarious, especially for those of us who lived through it.

Who hasn't sung the wrong words to a song?  We all have.  I wish I could remember some of the lyrics I used to sing.  Really funny!

The only thing that strikes me in the commercial is that not one person in the commercial is old enough to remember Rocket Man, or care about the lyrics.  Still, it's cute.  Here's a link to the ad if you want to see it...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Welfare Affects Us All

I've known two people from upper middle class families who were open about being on welfare and receiving aid.  They both eventually got off it by going to school, one becoming a therapist and the other a nurse's aid, but the amount of money they received to help them through school by having the state slash their tuition rates to practically nothing, pay for housing and give them EBT cards makes me a bit uncomfortable considering how many people I know today who are in huge debt for student loans.  Especially considering their families had means. 

Read this blog post.  It will make you think.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Oyster Stew

One of my favorite holiday food traditions is our Christmas Eve oyster stew.  My father used to prod us to eat the oysters in mom's buttery broth by wondering aloud which oyster would have the pearl.  We all wanted to find a pearl, so we greedily filled our bowls with oysters.  Sitting around the festive table glowing with candles and our expectant faces hoping for a pearl was the best part of Christmas.  I believe that oyster stew sums up life perfectly: it's the hunt, not the prize that matters most.