Thursday, December 1, 2011

How Ebay and Amazon Saved My Son's Christmases

Ever since my son got it into his head that Santa Claus can make anything, he's really put me to the test.

Three years ago, he asked for a Harry Potter action figure that could bend and move his arms and legs. Yep, he'd been burned by Santa in past years, who gave him "collectibles" instead of toys. He also wanted a Jango Fett action figure, which was nowhere to be found in any local stores. Ebay saved Christmas...and my son's belief in Santa that year.

Two years ago, he really wanted a Roxas action figure. If you don't know who the heck he is, he's the hero of a video game called Kingdom Hearts. At the time, these things weren't in any toy stores. Or else they were sold out. I can't remember. Damn stupid memory. Anyway, amazon was our saviour that year. (In addition to J.C., of course.)

Last year, he asked for baseball action figures. Enough to field two teams that could play each other. And which had arms and well as wrists and ankles...that could move and bend. (I've learned to look for "fully posable" in the product descriptions.) He also wanted them to have equipment: bats, gloves, balls, oh my! Amazon!

This year, my son's at it again. He has asked for a full-size car that has a gokart engine that he can drive around our neighborhood because "Santa can make anything." I'm hoping I can find this on ebay or amazon. Or that my son will forget he wanted this. Or that I can convince my husband that maybe it's time to tell my son the truth. I'll be happy with any of the above.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

It's the Journey

I'm all about the results. The final product. The destination. It's usually only after I've got the results that I can then look back on the journey. And only if the results are good do I feel good about the journey.

My son brought home to me how short-sighted, how...unjoyous...this type of approach is.

Creepy Incredible Edibles. Note the
kids on the box having a blast. The liars.
Recently he saw a commercial for Creepy Incredible Edibles. In the ad, the kids are mixing these concontions then "daring to eat or drink" them. Things like Bio Brains and Green Goo and Gummy Body Parts. And they're having a blast doing so.
His excitement -- his sense of wonder, and of the possibilities -- was contagious. He's been a really good listener lately. So I found myself agreeing to bring him to the store to buy these incredible edibles. I paid for half, and he paid for half with his own money. We brought the box home and he made the easy stuff first, the stuff that didn't require equipment that needs assembly. Stuff that only needed measuring some water and mixing with packets of powder. At first it was fun. The Fizzy Drink changed color like it was supposed to. It fizzed  up just as it was supposed to. But then came the time to drink it. And my son took a sip. Then had to hold back the barf. And the disappointment. It tasted terrible.

We made everything else in this box. And each one tasted awful. And after each one, the disillusionment on my son's face grew. I became obsessed with getting the measurements perfect, the process letter-perfect, the timing exactly right. Hoping against hope that if we just did it correctly, that this would magically make the conconctions taste good. And remove the look of utter disenchantment from my son's face.

Until we finally made a Gummy finger. He became so scared to do any of the steps himself, for fear of doing it wrong. So I took over. And of course it still came out tasting like crap, at which point, he promptly burst into tears. Sad and feeling bad, I asked him what was making him cry. Was it because they tasted bad and he'd been thinking they would taste good, based on the reaction of the kids in the commercial?



He was crying because making them wasn't fun.



I washed all the equipment. Then, I suggested that he make the next batches himself.

"What if I do it wrong?" he asked.

Oh. Another stab of pain.

There is no wrong, I told him. You just do it and have fun. You're free to do whatever you want with them. Make whatever you want.

"Okay," he said. "But throw away the instructions."


Monday, October 31, 2011

Beginning Where I Am

I'm an all or nothing kind of gal.

If I'm running really late for an event, often I'll end up not going. I tell myself I'm so late, why bother. Never mind that I might have enjoyed the second half of the event...or had fun connecting with the people there once I arrived. 

Or I'll stubbornly tell myself I need at least a whole week off from work to clean out and declutter my walk-up attic, even though the Flylady tells me I can accomplish the same thing in 15 minutes a day. Of course, I have yet to prove to myself that this 15 minutes a day thing works because I have yet to DO a 15 minute boogie with a trashbag.

My latest ridiculousness is around my writing. I'm convinced I need several hours in a day to devote to my writing -- I can't write in any less amount of time. Since I don't have several hours to devote to my writing (who the heck has several hours to devote to anything?), I don't write.

And another day goes by without my having added any new scenes or pages to my story.

And another day of not working toward my dream slips by.

So I've decided I'm going to try something new. I'm going to Begin Where I Am. I forgive myself for all those days of not writing. In fact, I'll forgive and FORGET about them. I'll just put those days out of my mind and focus on now. Where I am. And put pen to paper. All I need is one new thought. One new sentence. Maybe even one new paragraph. And tomorrow, same thing. Until hopefully one day I'll look up and find myself at the end of my story...and ready to start another one.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

This, Too, Shall Pass

It's already mid-October, and I dressed my son in shorts for school yesterday. I know that soon enough we'll be bundled in winter coats and shoveling snow and ice from our porch and driveway. But right at this moment, with the sun shining warmly down, it's hard to believe we'll be doing that.

I'm reminded of a sermon I once heard by a priest at the University of South Dakota about 20 years ago. It was the year after I graduated from college, when I traveled for my sorority as a leadership consultant, developing and advising our college women. The priest was a bit theatrical, and he started his sermon by standing right in front of us and pouring salt into his hand. His theme: This too shall pass.
The priest's salt pile has grown in dimensions in my mind,
or at least in importance!

It was a sermon about how everything that happens to you in life, both good and bad, will pass. It was his interpretation of "to every thing there is a season." And he ended it by reading various scenarios, and after each one, we repeated, "This too shall pass." He had us giggling when he'd read a sentence about becoming president or acing an exam, and we'd have to say, "This, too, shall pass." And he had us thinking when he'd talk about a loved one dying or experiencing a breakup with a boyfriend or girlfriend.

I struggle with how to share this important lesson with my eight-year old. Especially when he's sobbing and says he wants to die after events such as the Phillies losing in the first round of the playoffs, or when we can't find the book that was advertised at the end of one of his Captain Underpants books because it looks like the author never wrote it.

I worry that if he's feeling that way about relatively trivial things, how will he handle something truly tragic? And later, will he be able to survive his teenage years when life is so narrowly defined by a small high school peer group?

How do I honor his very real feelings of despair and disappointment, while also helping him understand that while it seems like dark times now, this too shall pass?

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Power of Intention

Last summer, my son told my husband that he wanted a Major League Baseball. But not just any Major League Baseball. He wanted one from a Phillies game.

He talked about it all summer, how much he wanted this to happen.

My husband really wanted this to happen for him. So he bought him a Major League Baseball. It came in a nice case and had the official Major League Baseball stamp on it. My son liked it and treasured it. But it wasn't what he really wanted.

Later that fall, my husband got Phillies tickets. We went down to the ballpark really early. The plan was for me to stay in the car until the game started so that my son could nap while my husband went in to batting practice to see if he could catch a ball. Sometimes the players will hit one into the stands.

As planned, my husband goes into the stands to try and catch a ball. He forgot his glove. So he jams the tips of his fingers into my 7-year old's glove. He's standing in left field and realizes that he's on the wrong side. All of the balls are going to right field. He quick runs over to right field. But when he gets there, all the balls are now sailing out to where he was standing moments ago. Right before he's about to give up, a ball is hit right towards him. He freezes. Then, he holds up his little glove. The ball is falling right towards his glove. He's single-mindedly focused on that ball. He's telling himself, "Don't drop the ball. Don't drop the ball." He's so focused that he's completely unprepared when another dad knocks him out of the way and grabs the ball for his own son.

My husband was crushed.

He came out and got us, all upset. My husband and son had seats in left center field. My son had worn his Victorino jersey to honor his favorite player at the time. These seats were perfect, as Shane Victorino plays center field. I had a seat almost directly across from them -- in seats with one of my good friends.

About halfway through the game, I got a text from my husband. Not only did my son get a Major League Baseball at a Phillies game. But he got one thrown to him by his favorite player.

Ball that Shane Victorino threw to my son

Here's how it happened. Between innings, all the children in the section would stand at the front and yell to Shane to throw them the ball when the players were done warming up. Before one of the innings, out of blue, out of all the children in that section, the usher randomly chose my son to stand all alone with her in front of the section right where Shane could see them. When the players were done warming up, Shane had the ball in his hand. My son yelled, "Shane!" He looked up, saw my son with the usher, standing there waiting, and he tossed the ball gently and perfectly up to him.

And that's how my son taught me the power of intention. And how if you put your intention -- your deepest desire, the thing you want most in the world -- into words, the universe will respond.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Almost Within Reach

Last week I found out an editor, who was recently promoted and is actively building her stable of authors, wants to see the first chapter and synopsis of a story I'm working on. And I didn't even query her! The instructor of an online writing course that I'm taking shared my story concept with her. 

So what did I do? After I jumped for joy -- and fright? And peeled myself off the ceiling?

I did what every self-respecting procrastinator would do. I vaccuumed the entire house, including the baseboards. I even moved furniture out of the way to get those dust balls. Then I did three loads of laundry and two loads of dishes. After that, I turned my attention to the bathroom and scrubbed the toilet and bathtub and sink. Then I moved on to the bedroom and changed the sheets. Finally I entered the kitchen and cooked the chicken I had defrosting. Two different kinds of dishes.

Did I mention I don't have a synopsis written? And I only have a first draft of the first chapter? My class ends next week. And my instructor has told me to send everything to her so that she can give me advice on how to make these things sparkle. So time is ticking...slipping through my fingers as I try to grab onto it to slow it down.

Are you marveling over my actions -- or inactions -- as much as I am?

Two things are running through my head.

First, I'm thinking about Julia Cameron's Artist Way, and her concept of synchronicity, which is rooted in the belief that the universe will respond to your deepest desire. If you have the courage to pursue your dream.

Second, I'm thinking about a friend of mine who told me how she wanted to redo her kitchen for years. But for some reason, she just couldn't get started on it. She was completely blocked. Until this summer, when she felt a shift inside. And suddenly it was really easy. She found a contractor by chance who has been a great collaborator with her, and she couldn't feel more at peace and happy with the process.

I hope and pray that these two things come together for me. That the appearance of this editor is synchronicity -- is the universe responding to my deepest desire. If I just have the courage to pursue my dream. And that I will experience a shift inside where suddenly the insurmountable -- the writing of my synopsis, the revising of my first chapter, the finishing of the second half of my book -- suddenly becomes really easy.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I Used to Want to Be

Wonder Woman
Solid Gold Dancer
Soap Opera Actor
PhD Graduate
Broadcast Journalist
Lead Singer of a Rock Band
Collegiate Leadership Consultant for my sorority
Soap Opera Writer

Romance Novelist
Greek Advisor
Leadership Trainer
Host and Creator of a Show Profiling Soap Opera Actors
Aerobics Instructor
Audio Book Voice Talent (I had to google what you'd call this)

English Literature College Professor
Yoga Teacher
Fresh Air Producer

For the record, I never wanted to be a Puppeteer nor a Mime. I once bought a book with an extensive quiz that promised if you took it, it would tell you your top careers that matched your skills and interests. So after spending days on this thing, those were my top two results.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Spider Love

I heard the most romantic E.B. White poem this morning. Of course it involves spiders! Apparently he wrote it for his wife when they were newly married. Author Michael Sims was on Radio Times this morning discussing his new book, "The Story of Charlotte's Web: E.B. White's Eccentric Life in Nature and the Birth of an American Classic." Sims read the poem on the show, and it moved me profoundly as I was driving to work. I just love that last verse.

Natural History
E.B. White

The spider, dropping down from twig,
Unfolds a plan of her devising,
A thin premeditated rig
To use in rising.

And all that journey down through space,
In cool descent and loyal hearted,
She spins a ladder to the place
From where she started.

Thus I, gone forth as spiders do
In spider's web a truth discerning,
Attach one silken thread to you
For my returning.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mommy Wars...or Mom Me Wars?

Before I had my son, I worked with a lot of working moms -- or rather, moms who worked outside the home. And they all used to talk about the war being waged between moms who worked outside the home versus those who didn't. In fact, Allison Pearson's first novel, I Don't Know How She Does It, deals with this issue.

I never really encountered that in my small part of the world. Instead, that war has been waging inside me. 

I keep a journal for my son. Below is the entry I wrote on my first day back to the corporate world after being home with him for almost two years. It captures much of the agony I felt then...and continue to feel today.

Journal Entry
Little Dude,

Today is my first day back to work. Yesterday evening I drove you to the Goddard School and showed you the school, told you that's Leo's school and that in the morning, Mommy would be gone and Daddy would be there, that you would go to school for a few hours then Daddy would pick you up -- you wouldn't be left there forever -- Daddy would be back and I'd see you tomorrow night. I was going to work.

You woke up this morning before I left. I held you, trying to get you to go back to sleep, but I finally had to put you back in your crib. You were crying and clutching me desperately. You grabbed hold of my index finger and squeezed and wouldn't let go. And you were reaching your other arm out for my neck as you wailed and sobbed and reached and grasped -- but the bars of your crib held you back as you stood in your crib 'til I finally pried your fingers open and encouraged you to go back to sleep before I slipped out the door.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My History in Jobs Part I

Here are jobs I had during the first half of my life. Because my memory is not to be trusted, I reserve the right to go back into this post to add jobs that I may remember later.

In Childhood

Allowance. As the youngest daughter, my job was to empty the spoons and forks from the dishwasher. (My middle sister emptied the dishes, while my eldest washed them; I couldn't wait to be old enough to be allowed to wash dishes.) Then, as my sisters got jobs or went off to college, I moved up to washing the dishes then also cleaning the bathroom then also mowing the lawn and finally also watching my brother.

Babysitter. With only seven houses on the block -- and a middle sister who had a corner on the market -- I only babysat a handful of times.

Pet sitter. I only did this once because I killed the pet, or rather pets -- a tank full of exotic fish that I boiled to death because I thought the knob was a light. I tried to resuscitate them by moving the water around, but they were cooked. (Sorry for the pun.)

My Teen Years

Server for caterer at Messiah College. [edited 6/2/11]

Waitress at Friendly's Restaurant where my friend Sheila trained me. I was so scared the first few times I had to talk to customers and carry drinks and get their food. And then I was petrified the first time I messed up and had to bring a dish back to the kitchen. You'd get it both ways, then, from the customer and the temperamental cook.

During College

Housekeeper for about a week at an upscale historic inn that had been restored. But no matter how upscale, cleaning toilets is cleaning toilets.

Waitress at various restaurants during the summer. Over the years, I worked my way up. My first job after my parents moved was at a real dive crawling with cockroaches and bar flies, where I had to write the drinks exactly as stated by the customers because I didn't know a thing about alcohol, and all the customers and waitstaff smoked and I'd come home smelling like grease and smoke. Then after two summers there, I got a job at an expensive restaurant that served primarily lunch to professionals working in the area, and I worked with a bunch of other college kids but was the only one who wasn't 21 yet. That kind of sucked.

My senior year, I finally arrived and landed a plum job at a really expensive dinner restaurant that had a wine sommelier on staff. I had to buy a crumber (for cleaning the table), a pocket wine opener (for shifts when the wine sommelier wasn't working), and a black vest. It was there that I learned that waiters made more in tips than waitresses.

During the school year, I got hired at Baby's Burgers and Shakes, where the soda jerk was the outgoing Lion mascot. Who knew he was so good looking underneath that costume? For this fifties style joint, I was required to wear fire engine red lipstick and buttons that had stuff like "shut up and eat" and other insults printed on them. I was encouraged to sit down with the customers to take their orders -- and also to insult them. This was probably the job where I had the most fun ever.

Exam proctor during the school year for the Math department.

Deli sub maker in the student union for a work/study I had. It's rather amazing that I still love raw onions on my subs.

[added 6/2/2011] I can't believe I forgot about this! I was an engineer's helper at DuPont, and my office was out in a trailer in the parking lot and I had to wear safety glasses and safety shoes. There was a fellow Engineer's Assistant who was going to school at Old Dominion, and we giggled all day long over how pointless our jobs were. The engineer who directed our work was a contractor and elderly, and sometimes we'd go into his office, which was also in the trailer, and he'd be fast asleep. The whole group we worked for was in charge of facility for the building. So sometimes they'd send us out onto the floor to measure the machinery. Another time we had to measure and trace the duct system. The rest of the group were actual DuPont employees/engineers and they had offices IN the building. I just remember wondering how they came to work every day, knowing they were working on whether this piece of equipment could be moved a foot this way or that way. I sure hope there was more to their jobs than that!

After Graduating During a Recession

Assistant Manager at Friendly's Restaurant. This was a low moment. But I had the best manager of my career -- Walt never gave up on anyone, and he really cared and worked with his people and was willing to do whatever he thought you needed to develop and grow. It was here that I learned how to cook on the grill, interview and hire staff, and scoop ice cream. It was also here that I first feared for my life when we thought our dishwasher was going to go postal on us when we saw him sitting in his truck in the the parking lot late at night.

Collegiate Leadership Consultant for my sorority where I traveled all over the country and met some amazing women and had equally amazing experiences helping collegians grow and learn as officers and leaders, giving them ideas and suggestions. During my travels, I saw Jimmy Buffet in Boulder and U2 at Mile High Stadium in Denver. I also witnessed lightning storms in the Arizona deserts, saw the first baby elephant born in captivity since I don't know when in St. Louis, shopped in the Mall of America in Minneapolis, was the only non-blonde and blue-eyed person in a restaurant in Iowa, and was in Miami in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew. 

Customer Service Rep for a credit card company, where company success was measured by how much debt our customers were getting into. My brother tells me that I used to come home angry. You would, too, if you spent eight hours a day with a headset on and the phone calls beeping in your ear all day long, from angry customers who wanted to yell at you for late fees or finance charges or because their cards were declined. Man I'm grateful I'm no longer there!

Still to come:

  • My Lost Twenties
  • My What Am I Supposed to Be When I Grow Up Thirties
  • My Still Lost But Getting Closer Forties

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Our Plumber, Chick

Our plumber died.

I've actually been expecting it. I don't know how old he was, but he had children, grandchildren, and a rim of salt and pepper hair on his head with a combover. He'd also survived one heart attack. And he lived with a pacemaker and a hearing aid.

Chick was his name, and he was an old school plumber. Not only was his hair salty, but so was his humor. But he knew his pipes. And he was kind to my son.

I found him on the Internet after my husband poured two pounds of overcooked pasta down our kitchen drain. I wanted someone in my town, someone who owned his own business, someone who worked out of his home. I felt like plumbing services could get very expensive and often employed young, inexperienced plumbers who didn't always know their stuff.

We lucked out with Chick. He came over to clear our pipes. Not an easy task with squishy, soft, clogging pasta that refused to be pushed by a plumbing snake. In fact, the snake just cut a hole through the pasta without moving it. It took Chick all afternoon, trying different things. He finally blasted the pasta through with high-pressure water.

After that, Chick did a lot of work for us. He put in our water softener. He replaced our water heater after it blew and spewed water all over our basement. He installed a reverse osmosis water filtration system for our drinking water. He replaced pipes. He cleared clogs. And every time I called, I did it with one eye closed, half expecting to get his wife with the news that Chick had passed.

Recently our dishwasher wasn't draining. So on a late Friday afternoon, I said to my husband, why don't you call Chick. He'll come over if he can. So my husband picked up the phone. He got Chick's son. And as soon as I heard my husband say, "Oh, really? I'm so sorry," I knew. Our wonderful, kind-hearted, off-color plumber Chick was no longer with us.

We'll miss you, Chick. I hope you're in a better spot.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Hungry Like the Wolf

Most people say you never forget your first love.

I say that you also never forget your first teen idol love.

Allison Pearson's novel, I Think I Love You, was influenced by her 13-year-old-girl love for David Cassidy. When I heard Terry Gross's interview with her earlier this year, memories of my own passionate, yearning love for Simon Le Bon bubbled to the surface.

Novel that sparked memories of my wholly imagined love affair with Simon Le Bon.
 It was late 1982. I was in ninth grade and, tragically, trapped in central Pennsylvania. The British Invasion was in full force. Living next to a corn field, however, I was unable to fully immerse myself. We couldn't get cable (and the all-important MTV) in my rural neighborhood of seven houses. I railed against the fates. No MTV. And, even worse, no venue large enough to attract any of these British bands who were playing large sold-out arenas. So my connections to pop culture consisted of Friday Night Videos, Teen Beat, and my friends' record collections.

The focus of our obsession? Duran Duran. Along with all the other teenagers around the world at the time.

We wove stories around the band. Literally. Kim had John Taylor, Karen had Roger Taylor, Amy had Nick Rhodes, and me? Simon Le Bon (bestill my heart). No one wanted ugly and, thankfully, married Andy Taylor (God bless my mean teen self). We wrote stories about being their girlfriends and exchanged pages at school.

I so loved Simon. I drew pictures of him (see a terrible rendition of him below). I fantasized about being his girlfriend. Of marrying him and living happily ever after. I collected buttons with his face and his sexy and, at times, porky body. I pored over his photos. I read articles written about them. I laughed at their witty press conferences. I wore jazz shoes without socks, just like they did. I bought their albums. I knew every word to every song. I admired Simon's lyrics, even though I often didn't understand them. I listened to The Reflex on my walkman (which took cassette tapes) before every race I ran in track. 

My terrible rendition of Simon Le Bon that I thought was so great when I was 14.

And just as suddenly, after Rio and after Seven and the Ragged Tiger, I fell out of love. By the time A View to a Kill came out, I no longer cared about them.

But somehow, unbeknownst to me, a piece of my heart remained with Simon and his band mates.

Fast forward to1992. I was spending the year living out of my suitcase as a traveling consultant for my sorority. When from out of obscurity, Duran Duran hit the airwaves with Ordinary World. It so spoke to me of their own journey. And I was so happy for them to be getting a second chance at success.

In 1998, Duran Duran went on tour. Of course, they only had two of the original members: Nick and Simon. But I was finally old enough to be able to go to a concert. And I finally lived in a major city that attracted musical acts. So 16 years after I first fell in love, I got to see Simon in person at the TLA. He wore a purple crushed velvet suit and my husband called him a tart and I loved every minute of it. My husband was suitably impressed that I still remembered every word to every song as I danced and looked with fond affection at the stage.

And then my long-buried and wildest dream came true. The Fab Five reunited at The Tower in 2003. Two months after I gave birth to my son. My husband bought me tickets and came with me. And he laughed while I screamed, along with the other 3,000 women in the building, as John, Roger, Nick, Simon and Andy posed at the edge of the stage for five whole minutes, soaking up the adoration. They did not disappoint as they sang all of their hits. And I was transported back to 1982.

Even now, I still keep track of the music they're putting out. I listen to interviews with them on Sirius Radio. And when I heard the interview on Fresh Air with Allison Pearson, I was reminded of how much a part of me still loves Simon Le Bon. So much so that I recently found his blog on Facebook and liked it so that I can stay up with what he's thinking and doing and saying. Aah. Simon. Even after all these years, I'm still Hungry Like the Wolf for him.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Waiting for Simon

I know. This post is supposed to be about how Simon Le Bon is my David Cassidy. But do you remember #6 from my last post? About procrastination? Yep. It's smacking me around. Again.

Every once in a while I'm able to keep it at a low level hum. Unfortunately, more often it's full blown and weighing me down so that I don't feel able to get anything done and feel terrible about myself.  

Me feeling bad about myself. Sniff.
This year I had been doing really well and staying on top of things. Then spring hit, and I volunteered to judge five entries in a writing contest (each entry was 35 pages long -- argh!). And I also had to read a book that I didn't want to for my book group. And I signed up for an online writing class for which we had pre-work, and I was really stymied with the pre-work and feeling really inadequate. And I set a goal for myself to try to write a blog entry every week then wrote myself into a corner by saying I would write about whatever readers voted on (which was Simon Le Bon). And then, of course, work got really busy and I was needing to work a little overtime.

Life was feeling really heavy for a couple of months.

Life. Heavy.

I finally see the light.

After carrying 175 pages of contest entries around with me for almost two months, I finally forced my butt in front of the computer (deadlines are an amazing thing), read each one several times, scored them, added my comments/encouragement and turned them in. Whew!

And my book group met. So I confessed to the group that I was only able to read parts of the book.  

As for this blog, as you can see, I'm not holding myself to Simon. At least not for this post. I forgive myself and am going to put this one out. Then I'll finish writing about Simon.

Simon. Coming.

And the craziness at work has passed. Halleluia!

(Notice I haven't said anything about my online writing course? Now that I feel lighter, I feel able to tackle it. Maybe I also needed this extra time to let my mind work on the problem. Of course, now I'm not only two weeks late on the initial assignment, but I'm also behind on subsequent assignments. I'll just tackle them one by one.)

I'm so grateful that almost all of the items on that list were for things in my personal life. That's such a change from five months ago, when my list was even longer, and almost all of them were work-related and urgent and overdue and causing my back to spasm from stress and keeping me from sleeping well.

Here's a poem describing how it felt like to me at my worst last year. When I was completely overwhelmed and dragged down by deadlines. And my inner wild child, as my life coach describes her, was in full rebellion.

Those things left undone,
With deadlines,
That I must do,
That I am required to do,
And that I hate to do,
        Or which will require
                     a lot of my energy,
                                   or which I'm not...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Help Pick My Next Blog Topic!

Yes, I'm procrastinating (see #6), in the guise of making my blog interactive. Here are some first lines, or so, of stuff I've been working on. Which one would you like to see developed?

Leave a comment and let me know! (And if you don't know, leaving a comment can be a two-step process. First you type your comment and hit submit. Then you need to type in the system-generated word to verify that you're not spam.)
  1. I'm a high C.
  2. Weentsy.
  3. I'm considering hiring a private investigator to find my hairdresser.
  4. I always thought that the New Age belief about putting your goal out there and the universe will respond was crap. Until the summer my son proved me wrong.
  5. Plant. Baby. Dog.
  6. Aside from pride...and taking the Lord's name in vain...all right, and being a moody b-word to my son and husband, my biggest sin is procrastination.
  7. Simon LeBon is my David Cassidy.
  8. My mom became a werewolf during her mid-life crisis.
  9. Diving into the wreck of my attic.
  10. My son wants to google who the fastest boy is at his elementary school to see if his name comes up. Wouldn't it be great if you could google what you were meant to do with your life?
  11. Hi. Do you know RH? I'm a fan of his.
  12. Thick skin required.
  13. "When you make a wish, how does it come to you? Does it just appear, or does it come in the mail?"

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I Won! (Or could win.)

My son recently brought home his empty chocolate milk carton from school. When I asked him why it was in his school bag -- and not the trashcan -- his eyes got all big and sparkly, and he announced, "Because I won!"


So I looked on the side of the carton.

Son's "winning" milk carton.
I laughed and told him he had to go on the Internet to enter to win. I shook my head and marveled over his optimism, wondering when he might outgrow that.

Later that same week, I was at the gas station pumping gas into my car when I noticed a piece of paper taped to the pump: "Powerball up to $100 million. Tickets sold inside." And I found myself heading into the store to buy a ticket...and a CHANCE TO WIN $100 MILLION!

Ticket in hand, I began to fantasize about what I would do with the money if we won. After taxes, that would be about $40 million in a lump sum... 

Once home, I promptly forgot about the ticket.

Until my husband asked me about it. Did I check the numbers? Where did I get the ticket? He'd heard in the news that an unclaimed ticket that won $250,000 was from a local store.

He thought it might be ours.

I suspect in my son's case, he may never outgrow his optimism!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Say What?

I once witnessed the following conversation between my son and my nephew a few months before my entire family and their families all went on a Disney Cruise together. At the time, my son had no idea we were going on a cruise, much less an understanding of the word itself.

          Nephew: "When we go on the cruise, we're going to have to get shots."

          Son: "You're going to get shot?"

          "When we go on the cruise, we're going to get shots."

          "You're going to get shot? Will you go in the fire?"

          "No, Leo! The cruise. We have to get shots."


          "The cruise."


I think I've had similar sounding conversations with my husband. In fact, this past summer we had...or rather, I tried to have...discussions...OKAY, they were rants. I'm not proud. 

You see, there's this pan that my husband uses for what he calls his cooking (and which I call scorching the hell out of whatever he's wanting to eat). And I needed him to wash this pan whenever he was done. Instead, I found myself being the one to clean this pan. Every time. And you know how these domestic annoyances build up over time.

Infamous pan that almost ended my marriage.

Anyway, sometimes the other person isn't ready to hear what you have to say. Perhaps he (or she) needs to grow more, expand his (or her) vocabulary, as was my son's case. Or sometimes he (or she) might need you to find a way to cut through all the noise of life to hear what you have to say. In my case, I suspect I was like the Charlie Brown teacher to my husband during our discussions.

What I suspect my husband hears when we talk.

So I found another way to tell him. An old-fashioned way. One that made him laugh. One that made him wash the pan. Praise be to God! And one that became the inspiration for the following poem.

I wrote him a note.

To My Husband
Please wash that pan before I divorce you,
with your burned, blackened, stubborn grease
that I have scraped, scrubbed, soaped and soaked.

Now it's your turn.

Please wash that pan before I divorce you.

Monday, February 28, 2011

What's This All About?

When my son was four years old, he would make up words. "Goolicious" and "squirbly" are two such words.

If he thought something he was eating tasted good, he would rock in his seat, smack his lips, and say, "Goooolicious!" Ironically, when I recently googled the word, I discovered it actually IS a word. In 2007, Merriam-Webster added Goolicious to its dictionary as: "an adjective describing something that is both melty and delicious." Leo, however, was less discriminating with his use of the word. Please direct your attention to Exhibit A for a food item he often said was goolicious.
Exhibit A: Goolicious pan-roasted chicken
Squirbly, on the other hand, IS my son's own creation. He used it to describe Davy Jones's hair in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. Please see Exhibit B. Notice his squiggly, wiggly, writhing...dare I say squirbly? hair.
Exhibit B: Example of squirbly hair
I'm hoping that my son's wonderful play with language, his imaginative ability to create what he needed to express himself, will serve as inspiration for my own writing as I try to express  myself in Goolicious Squirbly.