Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Part II - Definitely Doable

 I am pairing the Hot Guy Diet with my Shoe Workout. Much like the doable diets, this is one of the many ways I’ve contrived to work out without actually working out, like the time I decided I would lose weight if I just did everything faster (you have to admit, it makes sense).

With the Shoe Workout, you buy special shoes. There was a time I spent money on shoes that were NOT good for my feet or comfortable. Imagine! But now, shoes must either be extremely comfortable or promise to change my life for the better for me to spend much money on them. Supposedly wearing these is like a trip to the gym. And I can do that! I can wear shoes!

In fact, I am wearing them right now as I sit at my computer. Therefore I must be working out. With Brendan.

Whew. This is so much work, I may have to load up on carbs. Like from a croissant. If I open a program, Brendan won’t see.

And many enthusiastic thanks to Fran, who promptly responded with her own dietary motivator, pictured above. Good one, Fran. And to think I was going to post a picture of shoes.

“Yep. Bobby’s gonna be wearin’ sweatpants for the right reasons.” ~Hank Hill, “King of the Hill.”

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Hot Guy Diet (Part I)

We are trying to go healthier at my house.  At some point, the cookie jar morphed into the Healthier Snack Jar.  And I keep inventing diets that are so much fun I want to stick to them.  I call them doable diets.  Problem is, the doable diets don’t always…do much.

My current one is the Hot Guy Diet, or in my case, the WWBT (What Would Brendan Think) Diet. I have actually had some success with this one before. Since I do most of my eating at the computer, I have a picture of Brendan Fraser on my desktop as my wallpaper, and he is just so darned cute, I really can’t eat in front of him. [I’ve heard Brendan Fraser is lusted after by librarians and English teachers everywhere. I can’t explain it. I do know I once subbed for an English teacher who kept an autographed poster of him in her classroom. If I were a little less honest, she would no longer have it. If I were a little more smart, I would have taken a quick trip to the copy room.]

Just today, I was operating the mouse with one hand while holding a cup of coffee in the other while a glob of chicken-salad-filled croissant oozed from my mouth. When I shut down the program I was working on, there sat Brendan looking all ripply-muscled and philosophical at the same time. Horrors! He didn’t quite look disapproving, but he didn’t look enchanted, either. That croissant was out of there. He even improved my posture a bit. In fact, I fixed my hair a little, too. WWBT?

Part Two to be continued….

They had a hard time miking me in my loin cloth. I mean, where were they gonna tape it? ~Brendan Fraser discussing “George of the Jungle”

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Totally Random Tuesday: Strength

I asked God for strength, and I got challenges to overcome.

So I asked for weakness. Really. I was exhausted. I thought I’d somehow trick God into giving me a break. What I got instead was indecision and the painful turmoil that comes from it.

These days I’ve pretty much quit asking God for stuff. If I ask for anything, it’s to be worthy of all I do have. The more thankful I am, the more I find I have to be thankful for.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Ode to a Zit

I can think of lots of good things about aging. Really, I can. Like, there’s a certain power in calling young men “Young Man.” Those are magic words, I’ve found, like a password into the netherworld between Momdom and Scary-older-woman-land. I find they usually look a little bit terrified of me and do exactly as I say.

But anyway, one of the best things about aging is no longer breaking out. Unless you’re me, of course! If you’re me, you get a zit erupting on your chin which is so huge, if the world floods, Noah will at least have a place to land the ark, ar ar.

But want to know what the final cruelty is about having a zit when you’re old and wrinkled? It doesn’t look like a zit. It looks more like a wart, or maybe one of those mysterious facial things that old people seem to get sometimes. Just…a facial protuberance.

Years ago, my sister accidentally jabbed herself with cuticle scissors. The resulting scab looked enough like a picked pimple that she felt compelled to explain to people that it WASN’T A ZIT. REALLY.

Now I’m debating whether I should tell people that IT’S JUST A ZIT. REALLY.

Aging really does change one’s priorities, doesn’t it?

Acquaintance about finding me an older boyfriend: “Don’t worry—we’ll find you someone who’s extinguished.”

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Totally Random Tuesday at School

Somebody called me the other day at 8:30 AM and apologized for the early hour. I had to laugh. I was at work and starting second hour. In School World, 8:30 is practically lunch.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

When Bunnies Go Bad

It started when Buddy barked at falling leaves. The snowman made his hackles rise. Then a distant rock made him very upset. The vet confirmed that it’s true: Buddy has cataracts.

Now the furry woodland creatures taunt him. The bunny family moved in under the deck and grew fat, then obese. They didn’t used to come near us. Now they lounge around all day as if in their own private resort, eating hosta salads. Going inside our backyard fence used to mean they were entering the realm of a predator; now it means protection from them.

When I let Buddy out, I exclaim, “Run, bunnies! Here comes the dog!” But they ignore me. Why would they care? Even if he manages to spot them, they know they can outrun him. They also know they rarely need to: they just hop a foot or two away and he will lose them again.  You can practically hear their little bunny snickers.

I used to like furry little bun-buns. Now I think of them as sullen and defiant. These are gangs. Bunny gangs. They even let me take their pictures.

I’m wondering if I should be insulted.

Spoken by high school boy (with a mohawk) to his friend: “Dude! I can’t go to the library. Those library ladies scare me. They’re like, ‘When are you going to bring that book back?’ and I’m like, ‘Never.’”

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Totally Random Tuesday, but with a Random Picture of Backyard Goldfinches That I Took This Morning Through My Window That Needs Cleaning

If you love something, set it free. And work on those control issues while you’re at it; love isn’t about imprisonment. With all due respect to Richard Bach (or whoever originally said it), if it comes back to you, it still isn’t yours. The only thing we truly own is our choices.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Lilac Time

One of the most magical times of the year for me is when the lilacs bloom and I get to open all the windows and let that exquisitely fresh spring air in. Now is that time. There’s something sacred about it, and even more so when lilac time coincides with Mother’s Day.

I remember handing my mother a fistful of dandelions for Mother's Day when I was really little. I hadn’t yet learned to pick the stems, so they were just the heads. They were crumpled and warm from being smashed in my pocket, but my mother exclaimed over how beautiful they were and carefully floated the whole brownish mess in a jelly jar.

But when I got older, my friends and I would wander the neighborhood looking for flowers to pick for our moms for Mother’s Day. We weren’t supposed to pick them from people’s gardens, but anything growing on a tree or shrub—especially if it happened to overhang a sidewalk or an alley—was a freebie, at least in Kid World. So finding lilacs was like finding treasure.

And they’re still a treasure. There’s something about a vase full of frothy lilacs that would make my heart swoon even if they didn’t make the house smell like heaven.

Happy Mother’s Day to my friends, who, treasures that you are, manage to find ways to let your creative brilliance out even after putting your families’ needs first. May this day be about treasuring you.

Because of our mother we missed out on lots of
things other kids experienced. None of us have ever
been caught shoplifting, vandalizing other’s
property or ever arrested for any crime. It was all her fault. ~Anonymous, from email forward titled “Mean Moms”

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Light at the End of a Long Day

Had a very tiring day yesterday thanks to a middle of the night emergency potty break for the dog, plus the lawnmower had pooped out part of the way through mowing Thursday, leaving my daughter upset (she's the resident mower right now) and our front lawn with a reverse putting green smack dab in the middle.

But when I got home from running after-school errands yesterday evening, the dog was better, the lawnmower had recuperated enough to get that oval of very long grass, and…surprise!...several people had emailed me that I’m “Featured Writer” on Tiny Lights!

What a nice thing to come home to!

And how appropriate that the publication uses light as a central theme. Some people have what I call a “writing aura,” and Susan Bono, Editor-in-Chief of this wonderful publication, has one of the strongest. She’s one of those people whose words seem to have a glow about them, so that you just love her after reading one or two sentences. I have no idea how they do it, either.

Becky Povich, one of their columnists, has a writing aura, too. She was the first one to tell me about this lovely publication. Thanks, Becky!

This has nothing to do with the above, but it’s a little exchange I overheard today between two middle school boys, whom I later heard had recently watched an all-school presentation on bullying:
Sixth Grader #1: “You suck:”
Sixth Grader #2: “That comment was toxic. I feel violated.”

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Totally Random Tuesday-Love

I used to think that, in order to be loved, I had to be all things to all people all the time.

Now I’m convinced that in the end we are loved not for who we are or what we do— or even for how much we love back. In the end we are loved simply by virtue of the generosity of the hearts that surround us.

So my true friends and loved ones are getting better as I age. If experience is a sieve, what’s left is the gold.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Happy May Day

While taking a break from spreading mulch (a job I dread every year), I realized IT’S MAY DAY!!! I grew up in an old, very Catholic neighborhood in Omaha, where the children traditionally celebrated May Day by exchanging May baskets. It wasn’t until I was grown that I found out other parts of the country didn’t seem to have this charming tradition. Seems to me I read somewhere that it’s Lithuanian in origin.

One of my friends’ moms was a decorator, so her wallpaper scraps were wonderful. You shape them into little cones (or rectangles with sides), glue or staple, and fill them with candy, little bags of popcorn, and flowers...I seem to remember lots of limp violets and dandelions. Add a long handle, hang them on your friends’ front doors, ring the doorbell and hide.

I don’t have a picture, so here’s one of the wisteria brachybotrys in my garden. I love this time of year.

I think taking a coffee break now would add to my stress.......boy, that really sounds silly, but only women would understand that. ~ Becky Povich