Monday, July 30, 2007

Something Sad

Alisa was telling me that she likes the blog but that maybe it is too consistently perky and optimistic. She advised that maybe I should write about something sad, to balance it out.

So here it is something sad:

It's a picture of the lake today. It is drying up. The dock is now sitting on mud, and I cannot get my canoe or kayak out to the water without trudging through thigh-deep muck which I am not willing to do. So they sit, beached, by the house, probably providing a habitat for some varmint who's all fat from eating up what's left of my garden. Meanwhile, the fish keep getting bigger, swimming around triumphantly in the middle part of the lake where I can't get to them.

I heard the weather guy say that this area is now classified as being in a state of drought, whatever criteria is for that, something about inches of rain below the average.

All I know is that it would take a LOT of rain to recover from this. Not just quick little showers but the kind of soaking, drenching, continuous rain that we haven't seen since, oh, the very day that I tried to have the outdoor luau TIKI BIRTHDAY PARTY! I am so mad at the weather.

Somebody do a rain dance.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

They're sisters, but are we related?

I am fortunate to feel as though I belong to several groups of people that I have come to think of as family, even though in some cases we are not related. Of special note are the friends from my college sorority. We have maintained, and in my opinion strenthened our friendships that go back almost 2 decades. Over the years we have formed an informal group of "sisters" who live in the same area, and although most of us knew each other in college it spans a few years so in some cases we have developed our relationships afterwards. There have been some who have gone off to other states as far as Florida and Seattle and then returned, and others who still live across state lines but manage to make it over for an event whenever they can. We get the families together every Christmas for a huge party at someone's house each year, and for the past six years we have gone to Alisa's awesome house for a party on the lake which was this past Saturday. We have gone on trips together, stood up in each other's weddings, and many other gatherings either with just the girls, couples, or with our children. It's no longer even about the college days, it almost seems to be a random group of people who have continued to get together, building new memories as we go, and I expect it to go on until we are a group of little old ladies gathered around a table giggling like the girls we always will be. The husbands have even started to form friendships, and now that our children are getting older they are starting to get along as well.
On Friday I invited Alisa's sons Nolan and Connor over for the afternoon, so she could have some time to get ready for the party, and also to add some variety to Tim and Jeff's summer routine. While they were playing I happened to overhear a conversation between Nolan and Jeffrey, discussing whether or not they were cousins. I can see from their perspective how this might make sense, and I didn't bother to break in and explain to them a technical definition of a family. They kind of have it right, anyways.

Rural Pearl

Sometimes you just have to sign up for something. This weekend there was an organized bike ride that departed right from our town. In fact, it was on the trail that connects to our subdivision that we ride on every day. I debated a little about signing up for it, because there is an entry fee and we could ride on this trail any time we feel like it, but the reality is that although we ride almost every day it's usually just a couple of miles at a time. And the fee went to the local youth assistance as a fundraiser anyways.

So we even convinced Larry to join us, and we signed on for the 16 mile loop. I got out a box that containing old cycling clothes, and there were some shrunken jerseys in there from "Team GM." That was a group that I was a founding member of in the early 1990's. It was the one truly cross-functional team in my experience where we had executives though hourly workers joining together through their dedication to cycling, philanthropy, and the company to put together a GM team for the MS150, a 2-day 150 mile ride. I eventually disconnected from that when the kids came along, although it did pop up at the health fair I attended at work just before I left. I was glad to see that it was still going, and that they had come up with MUCH better jersey designs by now. Anyways Larry and Timmy pulled on the ugly old jerseys, loaded with irony, and away we went.

I was immediately glad that we were doing this when at the sign-in there were lots of colorfully dressed cyclists milling around, along with Bike Shop Guy doing checks, and a goody bag for local businesses. It helped to make the bike riding seem like more of a cool sport to the boys, instead of something that you go along and do with Mommy because she's says you have to. And the ride along the trail was beautiful. We saw a lot of deer, and a young one even came on the path and trotted alongside of Timmy for a moment. Honest! It was tiring riding on the crushed gravel path because you can't coast like on pavement which we usually ride on. Plus no one but me had trained very much for this. I kept pointing that out but they didn't want to hear it.
By the end of the ride we were all glad that we did it, and now I'm looking for another ride we could do yet this season. And then I'm going to sign us up for it.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

You don't have to be a STAR, baby

Today was interview day. Last night I realized I had to get ready. I went and got a haircut at the walk-in place. I needed it BAD. Then I looked in my closet for something to wear. Everything looked so worn out. I really stretched it with my wardrobe near the end, once I thought I might be leaving I stopped buying anything new even if I needed it. I settled on a yellow dress shirt that I had gotten on clearance at the Brooks Brother's outlet, and my standard black pants. And my scuffed up clunky black shoes that have not touched my feet since I kicked them off on my last day. And my pearls, always a good choice. I thought I should wear a jacket, but the black jacket I still own was last used by Timmy on Halloween to complete his Billy Joe Armstrong costume (from the band Green Day) and had smudges on it. Then I set my alarm, something that I have not done for months now. Ugh.

I got up in the morning and did the getting ready thing, feeling like I was running late, and hating it. Then I did the eating bagels and drinking coffee in the car thing while I drove through the miserable traffic, and hated it. I did get to listen to my new Hairspray soundtrack, but I turned it off after a while because I had no more time left to put off preparing for the interview itself.

I had realized that this might be what is called a "Targeted Interview" which is a process that GM has for selecting candidates where you have to provide examples of how you handled certain situations. They even offer a course on how perform in these interviews, and I know people who have done extensive preparations to anticipate all the possible questions and have handy anecdotes all ready to spew out. My preparation was to go to a website where I knew I could find out a little about it, and the advice was to be a STAR, which is the acronym for Situation, Task, Action, Results. I really didn't feel like thinking about my past experiences at work to come up with some of these. Could I use the time I fixed the pond fountain? How about the extra Cardamom purchase? The bread Result was a success! I was going to have to wing it.

So I got there and parked and walked the 1/2 mile across the parking lot to the lobby, and the man was standing there waiting for me (but I was on time!) No chance to use the bathroom, and I had just downed a large car-mug of coffee on the way in. They had changed the security procedure for this building and now you had to watch a safety video if you didn't have the green sticker on your badge. I had one, but I'd turned my badge in. So we stand there by the TV with some other people and of course there is someone I know, Kristine from Validation. Awkward!!! She wanted to know what I was doing there and I said "Long story!" because I hadn't gotten to talk to my interview guy yet, who was standing there with me.

Finally, we got to the interview room. The man was very nice, and he said that the other person who was supposed to be there with him had another place to be. He said if the other guy was there he'd insist on doing the targeted process, but he'd prefer that we just talk. (yay!) And so we had a very good interview, I think he liked me enough. The job itself sounds like a good fit for me, I would have wanted to do this if they would have let me make a move when I was in my old position. Near the end we even did some of the easy targeted questions, so he could have the paperwork filled out right. Then he suggested that we walk around, he wanted to introduce me to some other people. Not too many of them were around but then we went around the back, he wanted to show me something. So he swipes his card and opens up a door in the back and tells me to look outside, and he shows me the special secret parking area for the people who have desks in the building. "That's my car, right there." It was just steps away from the door. I guess I gaped in amazement a moment too long because it set off the emergency alarm and then we had to frantically figure out how to make it turn off. A close parking spot! It was a lovely thing to behold. A distant dream in my last location, where my walk from car to desk added another 15 minutes to my commute. The hard sell.

There are other people under consideration for this job, so until I hear something I don't have to make any decisions yet. I'm going to pull a Scarlett O'Hara and think about that tomorrow.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Campin' Out

This weekend I am taking the boys camping. Considering how much we enjoy outdoor activities, you'd think this is something that we regularly do. But it's not. I have achieved exactly ONE night sleeping in the great outdoors in my entire 42 years of life. And I didn't really sleep, I laid in a tent listening to the sounds until morning came. That was last year, and this year we are going to do it again, for two nights this time. We are joining my sister Mary Beth and her family who we went with last year. Since then they have bought a big, bad used camper named Honey. I will put my tiny little tent up somewhere in it's shadow.

I have amassed a giant pile of "gear" that we are going to stuff into my little truck somehow. I think I can do this. I was talking to Becky (our other sister) on the phone about it and she said: "If Mary Beth will put up with it you know it can't be that rough." She has a point.


It wasn't too bad. I'd even do it again. Maybe even for longer. This big reason for this might be that we had perfect weather. Come to think of it just about every camping horror story that people have felt compelled to tell me about in some way involves some weather influence. Rain, bugs, landslide, avalanche, they are all out of the equation when it is sunny, mid-seventies, with a gentle breeze. The kind of weather where you want to be outside for as many moments as you can possibly pack in to a day before it goes away. That's what we had. Cool nights, but not too cold. Low humidity. I can think of many potentially torturous situations that I might be willing to endure if I could simultaneously say to myself: My, isn't it NICE out here, so glad I get to be outside in it! So with that in mind, I offer some of my observations about this whole curious camping thing, because I said I would:

I noticed that:

I didn't sleep the first night. Well maybe for a few moments closer to morning but the majority was spent awake. But this happens to me whenever I'm in a new place, even in the Knickerbocker Hotel. So I can't blame it on being in a tent. I thought that getting less sleep the night before (due to the Margarita party) might help with that, but no. I did like being outdoors, and our little tent is cozy! There were a lot of sounds to listen to, such as people talking, setting off fireworks, and coming in late and backing up their fifth wheel. These things wouldn't have been cause for concern except for how they seemed like they were happening one inch from my tent wall.

I now know that you have to put away every piece of food or thing that smells like it might be food at night. We tried to do this but the first night a package of fudge stripe cookies got left on the picnic table. A raccoon came and ate every single one of them. That would be one thing but if you've ever handled one of those packages they are LOUD and I listened to the whole thing, wondering if I could get to my camera and get a picture for you (but I didn't) The kids found this incident endlessly fascinating and they even named the unseen rascal "Fudgy Stripe." The next night he came back and went through the garbage and tore into a bag of hot dog buns. Then they decided to re-name him "Fudgy Buns" which set off giggling that is still going on.

There is sort of a weirdness about sharing space with so many strangers, all going about the business of daily camping life in full view of each other. And trudging to the bathrooms in various states of dress and appearance. It kind of reminded me of the communal living at college, and it didn't bother me like I thought it might have. The experienced campers seemed to be used to it. It's just what you do there.

A campground is not a good place to be if you are a germophobe. Or are intensely bothered by dirt, or the presence of bugs. I tend to be a bit of each of these things in my normal life, but I made a conscious effort not to let them get the best of me on this trip. And sure enough I came to find out that these things, although troubling, are really not worth getting worked up over. They are there, and you deal with it. (and then wash everything and everyone real good when you get home!)

Camper envy is an official pastime at a campground. People walk around noticing the details of other people's stuff and discussing how it might be better to have that. I tried not to get sucked into it (although there are some CUTE string lights out there) mostly because I felt claustrophobic whenever I went into the camper and it seemed to undo the goodness of being outside in the nice weather which is the thing I liked about camping. But I say that NOW. I know it's how they all start out.

It's hard to get very cranky when you are in the company of a group of deliriously happy children. Cousins who need to be together. Having fun fun fun swimming and digging at the beach, finding petosky rocks, tossing pretzels into the mouths of seagulls, riding in canoes, trying to catch fish, metal detecting, exploring, riding bikes, burning things up in the campfire, going for ice cream. We did it all.

And finally, like any trip long or short, good or bad, how nice it is to come back to your own home sweet home, where everything is just how you like it, and you crazy cat is there waiting, and a husband who unpacked the whole car and put the towels in the washing machine while I went to lay down on the couch.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Is Melinda there?

The phone rang.
"Is Melinda there?"
In my brain: No! She is gone! I put her in a box with a bunch of papers and desk stuff and now it's in the basement! Just Mindy now.
Out of my mouth: "Yes, this is Melinda"
He identified himself as a manager at GM and asked if this was a good time to talk. I looked at the boys who had just flicked on their game-boys for a Pokemon Battle. "Yes."
He is the hiring manager for the position I had posted for. We did kind of a phone interview and then he called back this week to set up an interview in person. So that's next week Wednesday. The job is in the internal education area. I still have to find out more about it but it would be a good way to use a lot of the skills and knowledge that I gained in my old job without having to go back to doing it again. And I'd be learning new skills. All good things, except for the part about having to go there every day!
I'm still unsure about this, I like my at home life so much right now, it is like a dream. But the fact remains that I am not getting paid. Of course we had figured out that we could do this financially and be ok in the short term, but I do worry about the long term. I think of myself as a person who is naturally very good at living "thrifty" but I have noticed a difference between buying my clothes at Target because I want to versus because I might have to.
So I'm going to follow this through and see where it takes me, I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Breaking News

I had just gone into the bathroom when there came a pounding on the door. "MOM!" I hurried out.


"When Timmy plays Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on the piano, Missy starts to close her eyes!"

I followed Jeffrey into the living room and sure enough there was Timmy playing the song very slowly...and there was Missy the cat on the back of the armchair where she always goes to sleep at this time of the day, somewhere in between seeing what the boys were doing and getting the nap she used to have when we were all out of the house at this time.

I decided I would not get annoyed about this. I remember when I was home with my boys in the year after Jeffrey was born, and how impossible it was to ever get enough consecutive uninterrupted minutes to do the things I needed to do. I even remember going to a luncheon back at work around that time, and being asked how I liked it at home. My response was that at least at work I could go to the bathroom whenever I wanted to. That got me a weird look from Budget Bob. But then over the years workloads increased, and cell phones and pagers followed us everywhere, and my statement became less accurate anyways.

So I just smiled at the sleepy cat, knowing that someday in the future my boys will be off living their own lives elsewhere, and the cat will fall asleep without it being a major news event.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Giving Garden

I am of the opinion that acts of altruism are best done anonymously, because when you do something good and then go and take credit for doing it, you sort of take a bit of the good back for yourself. But I am going to forgo that and go ahead and tell you about the giving garden, because I really want to write about it and I'm probably already getting more than I'm giving already anyways because I have been enjoying this so much.

There is a large property across the road from our subdivision that is owned by the Dominican Sisters (nuns.) We have been on the campus in the past for various reasons, there is a chapel where they have mass, and a retreat house where the boys took catechism, and a Montessori daycare that Jeffrey used to attend. I had noticed there was a big garden there but hadn't known what it was for until this year when I saw a notice in the church paper asking for volunteers to help tend it. Turns out it is a "giving garden" run by volunteers and the produce is donated to the local food pantry. So I have been going there on Saturday mornings when the people are all there, and once during the week on my own. I have met some lovely people and gotten to learn about organic gardening, and most of all I just get to be there. We do have our own small garden plot in the backyard (remember the desk lamp seed starting project) that I also refer to as "salad bar for deer." This one is huge by comparison and is run by people who really know what they're doing.

While the boys were still in school I went there by myself, and it was a perfect spring day and I could hear the music from the preschool children singing, and I sat there pulling weeds and thought there was no place I'd rather be at that moment. Early in my career there were times when we were forced to take a certain amount of training each year. When I'd run out of relevant coursework I would usually sign up for something like "managing stress" because I knew it would mean at some point leaning back with my eyes closed and taking deep breaths while getting paid for it. They would usually tell us to use "guided imagery" and to imagine yourself in a peaceful place until the stress dot they stuck on your hand turned a color other than black (very high stress.) Well, this is it! My peaceful place! Maybe for some it is a beach in the tropics but since my vacations seem to bring their own measure of stress, I choose this garden.

So now I bring the boys with me. They like to pick things when they are ready and weigh them. We also use this as an excuse to be on the property, exploring a little. It turns out that the sandhill cranes that were in our lake have made their home over here, I got close enough to take this picture of the mother and baby.

There is also a cemetery, outdoor stations of the cross, an old mansion and a lake with a glass gazebo. Jeffrey was going around on his bike when I was finishing up and he said "I found someplace spooky." Then he showed me this spot that you totally cannot see until you are right up to it, like a secret door underground. What do you think it goes to?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Do you blog? Maybe you should!

I have hit a milestone! This is my 50th blog entry! Wow! I had no idea what I was getting into when I started doing this, I just wrote stuff down that I was thinking about and took it from there. But it has turned out to be a lot of fun for me, and a way to stay connected with a wide range of people that I know.

Pam wrote to me once and said that she wished everyone had a blog. I do too! It would be great to turn on my computer and just check what's going on in the brains of all the people I'd care to know that about. There is a short list of fellow bloggers that I know on the sidebar of my blog. I just wish it was longer. Which means that YOU should start one. It really is easy and only takes as much time as you want to put into it. Then I could read about you.

Aunt Chris said to me this weekend about my blogging: "If you ever go back to work now the people there will know how you really are." I don't know if that's true because I always have the choice to edit what I put here, I am in total control of the image I project. Although she has a point that I haven't been too careful about that. But then again, why shouldn't I want the people I interact with to know how I really am, isn't anything else misrepresentation? Maybe I'm still trying to figure it out anyways, whether I am Melinda or Mindy or Chloe's Piano Teacher's Wife of Tim and Jeff's Mommy or some combination of them all.

I have also been cautioned about security. "What if you get a stalker?" Well, I haven't gotten one yet, and how are they assigned anyways? I read on aol today that there are now over 70 million blogs out there with 120,000 added every day. So I figure that the chances of anyone taking that kind of interest in ME out of that is pretty slim.

So anyways I really do wish that I had more blogs to read, so you really should start one. Or if you already have then please let me know I will read it. Or if you know of any interesting blogs that you think I would like too, pass them on. And, of course, you are welcome to pass a link to my blog along to anyone that you know who might want to read it, unless of course they are stalkers.

Monday, July 9, 2007

A Picture of Heather

Here is a picture of Heather that I took with my phone last night. I always do as I'm told.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Used to it

Heather recently moved out of an inside lot in our neighborhood and into a nearby subdivision where her house backs up to a small lake. Today she was telling me how much she loves being on the lake, and she asked me: "Do you eventually get used to it?"

I had to think about that a bit.

I absolutely love looking out of the windows of my house at the view. It is ever changing and often just awesomely beautiful, especially right now in the summer when everything is green and on a sunny day the lake reflects the bright blue sky and shimmers like a diamond. I feel so fortunate to have that to look at. But I must admit that there are days when I am going through the tasks of the morning and I'll realize that I haven't even glanced out the window yet. When I become conscious of that I usually stop what I'm doing and walk over and take it in. But you just know that there are sure to be times when I'm just living out my life against this incredible backdrop and simply not realizing it's there at all.

A person can get used to anything, and I have to think that it's good to be able to be used to something wonderful, as long as you periodically pause to appreciate it. Maybe it's still there, making you happy on some unconscious level. As opposed to the things that we become used to that aren't so great. Are they also there, annoying me on some layer of my brain, cancelling out the good ones?

An example of this could be that broken washing machine knob of mine. I had all the good intentions to get it a new one, I looked it up online but I could only find the model number for our dryer and not the washer. One website wanted $9.00 for it and I didn't want to spend that for a 10 cent piece of plastic unless I was sure it was the right one, so I put it off. So now every time I do a load of laundry (which is quite often) I grab a screwdriver to get it going. And I've become used to it, so it doesn't really bother me to do that anymore, and I hardly see the need to get it replaced.

I think that you can get used to a lot of things that if viewed by an outsider would seem utterly ridiculous, yet they become such a part of your routine that you aren't even thinking about them. I remember Aileen had a clunker car in college that had a broken driver's side door. So she would slide across through the passenger side. It was just what she did. But having any car in those days was a privilege you just didn't complain about. Another thing that comes to mind is when I was at work we had ID cards that you had to slide through these readers to get through doors all day long. We were also issued "property removal passes" that were the same size and most of us carried around attached to the same clip. But to slide the one through the reader you'd have to separate the two. One day my friend Nancy (a different Nancy!) announced that she'd removed the package pass from the clip, thus simplifying her life in one small way. I quickly followed suit and was delighted every time I slid my card through the reader that it was now easier to do. Even though I hadn't actually realized that the old way was that much more difficult. I then resolved that I should try to look for the little, easy to change annoyances in my life to eliminate, possibly adding up to an incrementally higher level of happiness.

Maybe it's just the analytical engineer in me that's looking for a mathematical formula for subconscious annoyance vs enjoyment when all I really need to do is try to remember to appreciate the good things in my life, change the bad things when I can, and the rest: just get used to it.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Playing with fire

A few weeks ago I was shopping at Target and made the impulse purchase of a big box of "legal" fireworks. It might not have been the wisest thing to spend our limited monetary resources on, but I have a happy memory of a couple of years ago when I had a party and my cousin Derek had great fun lighting off a stack of these, and the kids still point out the burned-up spot on the landscape edging and remember the awesome fire that happened there. Plus these things don't last long at the stores AND the box has printed right on it $89 value for only $29! (yet how can that be the value if it's never actually sold for that much?)

So tonight we had a small family party to celebrate some birthdays and then have our fireworks show. I had invited my brother-in-law Hal's mother when we were at their cottage earlier in the day going swimming. (Their family cottage happens to be in the township that we live in, yet was "up north in the country" for them through the years)

First we let the kids do sparklers and those little pop-it bags that you slam down on the cement. I got to keep telling them to be careful. Then my brother-in-laws Mark and Hal did the honors of lighting the wicks the various little packages with the curious names such as "Jade flower" "Sparkling Eagle" and "Friendship Fountain." Jeffrey and I had opened up the box and arranged them in the order of size for a good progressive show. I think that there is a gene for pyromania and Mark and Hal clearly both have it in their DNA spirals. They really would have like to try tying multiple boxes together or launching them into the air, but I wasn't having any of that.

So as we were sitting there watching them light these things, my favorite part was when Hal's mother, who is 79, kept cautioning him to be careful. Hal is 44 years old and was once in the Marines where he shot a machine gun. But she heard in the news about an accident involving fireworks, and he was making her nervous. Oh! So when you are the mother of a boy you get to keep on saying that, no matter what age they are. I am very glad to know that now.
Be careful!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Good with Names

We needed a couple of things, so I took the boys to the shopping center (near the site of the rollover.) We drove there with the windows down and sunroof open singing songs with our hair whipping around into our faces. After we got what we needed we made our way across the strip mall. Since I let the boys browse in Game Stop I convinced them to come with me into Old Navy where I could look at clothes. I was feeling conscious of the ratty denim shorts and shrunken faded T-shirt I had on and would like something new to wear. Well nothing caught my eye so I headed towards the front of the store trailing Jeff when Tim appeared holding a pair of striped shorts.

"I want these!" He said.

I looked up towards the registers and saw a woman with a cute curly hairdo looking right at me. I recognized her as Kendrea's friend Shelly.

"Hi Shelly!" I said and smiled at her.

"Can I have them?" Tim held up the shorts.

"Nancy." She said. Shelly must be bad with names, I thought, since we'd been to the Karaoke Bar for all those hours together recently with the Glenmoor Gals.

"Oh! No, Mindy" I corrected her.

"These are 14's, they'll fall down" I told Tim.

"You're an IP engineer, right?" I wondered why Shelly would be asking about my job, had I even mentioned what I did? I took a closer look at her, and then a wave of recognition flowed across my brain. It wasn't Shelly, it was a woman from work. She was the Product Engineering Manager. (PEM)

"Melinda, right?" She said to me, tilting her head to the side a bit.

"Oh! right, yes! Nancy! I mean, I'm Melinda, uh, they call me Mindy, you know, for real, on the outside..."

"I'll wear a belt!" Tim said.

"Did you know I left there?" I asked Nancy.

"No..." She said. "I think there have been two more since you in that job." She was looking at me strangely, possibly because of the awkwardness, or maybe my windy hairdo.

Tim shoved the shorts into my hands.

"This is what I do now! I announced, gesturing towards my windblown boys with the shorts.

"Buy shorts for boys?" Nancy asked, I couldn't tell if she was kidding.

Then a cashier called out to me: "I'll take the next in line!" And I stepped over to the register, suddenly paying for the shorts I hadn't actually decided to get. I took that moment, with my back to her, to remember what I knew about Nancy. She was Mid-to-late 40's, single, with no children. I worked with her on my second-to-last job, doing continuous improvement, a job I was "put" into but was overqualified for. She was in charge of making engineering decisions for a line of Buicks and Cadillacs, and I would go to her for approval of changes. I respected her as being decisive and professional. My boss at that time had asked her to write an evaluation of me, and she was complimentary even though I found the situation kind of humiliating.

We made it through the checkouts at the same time and arrived at the exit doors. I said some parting comment, I don't remember what, and we headed back towards the car. I marveled at the remarkable physical resemblance between Nancy and Shelly, with the difference being that if this encounter had been with Shelly, she would have at some point smiled at me.