Archive for the ‘Why am I thinking about this?’ Category

Mostly Unrelated Thoughts, strung together for no reason at all.

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

There’s no one around to talk to, so I’m going to put these probably-unrelated thoughts down here because, after all, this blog was intended to be a record of me, for me. (You all are just an added bonus.)

A good-sized puddle of water appeared this morning under the plastic floor protector under my desk chair. No sign of any dropped cup, broken pipe, just-tinkled dog, or overturned flower pot. Huh? Obviously, must be some kind of weird hardwood-floor-sweating situation which will result in the need to rip of the floor and put down a new one. Added bonus? It smells weird.

What kind of disservice am I doing our children by downloading, and then singing and dancing to in the kitchen, the explicit versions of songs like “If You See Kay” by The Script? I expect the MotY (Mother of the Year) people are rethinking my past awards. But I do love that Script song — and part of me believes that this display of “hipness” (distinct from “hippy-ness,” thanks) offsets the hours of Captain & Tenille and Tony Orlando & Dawn that they’ve been subjected to. (Offsets, doesn’t undo. There is a difference, and their therapists can thank me later.)

When I trip over a doodle and blow out my knee in what will surely be spectacular fashion, can I sue them? It’s a matter of time. Simply pushing back my chair, now….results in 170 pounds of dog leaping up out of solid naps and bumping into me and each other. Oh, and swearing. It results in swearing. (Not by them. Can you imagine? I wouldn’t be here, I’d be touring with them if they could swear. We could go places where the Jersey Shore cast would be and mix it up with them.)

I’m anxious for the November elections to be over, if for no other reason than I can stop hiding from incoming calls. Lately, “Washington” with an area code of 206 has been calling a lot. When I do answer (not often), I give the caller a 2-count to answer. If there’s no response to my friendly, cheery hello, I hang up. (Kindly be sure that you’re not drinking water or otherwise incapacitated when I answer, or I shall hang up on you too. No mercy.)

Although I’m moderately distracted by Michael’s sartorial choices (suspenders? pleated pants? sneakers to work?) — never mind Elliot’s (who can even go there?) — I’m ecstatic to report that thirtysomething holds up after 24 years. SantaHusb was kind enough to gift me the entire series for Christmas, and although I’m only about 5 shows into the first season (fall of 1987, 10 pm EST on Tuesday nights. Remember?) it would seem that nothing much has changed between then and now. Oh sure, it’s crazy to see how no one has a cell phone, a laptop computer or even a cordless house phone (all those curly cords!), but the stories of the miscellanea of being a grown-up, in all the iterations, haven’t aged. I’m surprised that my 18-year-old self loved it so much, but I’m pleased to report that my 18-year-old self was correct: it’s a great show.

I’m waiting for Bob Dylan to write a song about how many times a mother must answer the same question.( Is he still writing? It will be a big hit for him, I’m certain.) If he’s again going to determine that the answer is blowing in the wind, this will explain why no one ever hears me when I answer a question — but will not help my search for serenity, now.

I continue to read voraciously, when I am not worrying over the issue of whether reading “trash” will cause my eyes to fall out of my head. I can’t even begin to share with you the titles of some of the stuff I’ve been reading. If you ask, I’m going to tell you I’m reading The Art of Racing in the Rain (a fantastic book. Fan.tas.tic) or Dragon Tattoo, depending on which I think you may have read and liked more. I’ve read those, so it’s not like I’m back in high school, trying to recall if Pamela was supposed to be finished for Thursday and I’ve not cracked the cover. But still. If bad television can rot your brain, as I believe we were told lo, those many years ago, I’m certain that I not-so-proudly possess rice pudding between my ears. (My only defense? I’m learning LOTS of vocabulary. Termagant? Sartorial? Bring on the SAT-V. Never mind that that ship sailed a couple of decades ago. I could totally improve my score now.)

I’m certain that your congratulatory notes are in the mail, so I will thank you in advance for your kind words at my recent achievement of reaching Presidential Platinum status on Continental/United Air Lines. It’s been a long haul, but I got there. Oh, okay. Husband got there, by acquiring his 1,000,000-th mile on Continental. (Very Clooney-in-Up-in-the-Air-esque, honey. You’ll always be my George Clooney.)  I was prescient enough to hitch my wagon to his star — I could tell even Back Then that he was going places — and so now I am super-titanium-diamond-crusted elite. (Of course I am. Have we met?) I’m not going places as often as he goes, but still pretty often. Hooray! Where are the warm chocolate chip cookies?

Related to the above (might be the first time this post. Wow), I had to have photos taken for my application for a Brazilian visa (there’s so much more to write about this: namely, how my whole family is Brazilian but for me, so when the time comes to flee the country they’ll take their green passports and get the heck out of Dodge, while I will either be stuck here with an expired visa or lost in the back of the “foreigner” line at Aeroporto Internacional Guarulhos). Anyhoo, the visa photos. 2″ x 2″ on a white background. Standard passport stuff, any CVS will do. So, mindful of the fact that I was just back from the gym, but in a hurry to get the photos done so the visa paperwork could go, I carefully restyled the mop (read: new pony tail) and applied some makeup (read: tried to cover up the red face and fatigue from the training session). I even penciled in the eyebrows, which means that I meant business. I believed I looked pretty good, all things considered. (This is the part where I would say, “Bless her heart,” because clearly that girl is clueless.) Long story really short: the CVS photos were HIDEOUS. I gasped when I saw them, and sat staring at them in the front seat of my car while I tried to figure out a) what went so horribly wrong (HORRIBLY WRONG), and b) where I could go to get another set taken. Because obviously it was a problem with the CVS, not me. Duh. Long story, trying to be shorter: the second set were WORSE. WORSE! How is this possible? I thought I had learned from my mistakes at the CVS? (You know, stop with the small smile, just look peaceful and intelligent. No cocked eyebrows, no teeth, no enormous eye bags or crows’ feet.) Yesterday’s lesson boys and girls: the location of the visa photo shoot doesn’t appear to make a difference with regard to outcome.

I’m hopeful that the Brazilians will see clear to let me into their country. Otherwise, I will be stuck in the CO lounge, calling for more warm cookies whilst reading Trash That Cannot Be Named and humming obscene Script songs.






Decisions: 2012. (Nothing political, I’ve decided.)

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Don’t look back the spirits cry
Just be glad to be alive
Everything that you need is right here
Everything that you need
–Mary Chapin Carpenter

Happy New Year. Out with the old, in the with new and all that. Should the Mayans have gotten it right, and this is the end of the world as we know it (obviously you’re singing REM by now), I plan to make 2012 a good one.

No resolutions for me, no siree. See, I’m a Language Geek, and I’m unhappy with the term “Resolution.” Aren’t Resolutions made to be broken?  Resolutions are just waiting to be discarded like last year’s Christmas cards. Sure, you’ll hang onto them for a month or so, revisiting them and trying to figure out a way to keep the really lovely ones available for perusal all the year through, but….by the end of January you’ll be thoroughly Christmas-ed out (dammit, still we’ve got pine needles on the floor? They’re worse than stink bugs or Easter grass!) and the cards will decorate the recycling bin. Resolutions are the same way: you begin the month energized, but by the last week of January you’re irritable and depressed that your overenthusiastic self had higher hopes for you than are actually attainable, so you scrounge around for full-sugar Coke and Cheetos and skip the gym.

You can deny these particular circumstances, but you can’t deny the overall scenario. Oh, I was born at night, but not last night.

No Resolutions. I’m going to make Decisions. The language might be a bit groovy, but the idea is this: I can decide to do, or not do, something new or better or healthy or edifying or erudite every day. I can choose to be a Good Example, a Paragon of Health, an Optimist, or Responsible every morning as I start the day. I can be resolute in my decisions, because I’ll make them every day. And make them again (or not) the next day.

I feel better already.

In 2012, I’m going to decide to do, say, or be lots of things. Here is a partial list. (It’s partial, because I’m a Decision-Maker-in-Progress. As are you, by the way.)

I will decide:

  • to keep my room and bathroom clean. It only took me 18 years of cohabitation to determine that my husband is not of the same “leave it where it lies” kind of mind as me. (I kept hoping he’d change, but as we all know: you can’t change a husband.) Therefore, I have decided to make a concerted effort to be tidy. I expect the same of my children, so fair is fair (at least in this case). I will make this decision every day.
  • to exercise better, and perhaps more. It’s clear to my dedicated Team of Fitness Professionals (yes, sadly — or happily, I suppose — it takes a team effort. I’m weak, but more in that moral turpitude kind of way. Physically I’m pretty damn strong, thanks so much.) What does” exercise better” mean? I think it means to arrive at the gym with a better attitude, in addition to cute tops that highlight my eyes and sneakers that are tied. Pretty fundamental (but don’t get crazy: I’m still not going to do walkouts, Luis). What does “more” mean? I’m not certain yet, but I suspect it might have more to do with getting to the gym on my own, as opposed to going only because I’ve paid for the privilege of meeting with the dedicated Team of Fitness professionals. I will make this decision at least four times a week, and perhaps five.
  • to take my vitamins. And Lipitor. And calcium. And the rest of the pharmacological display that takes up one drawer of my bathroom cabinet. I’m looking for a shiny coat and bright eyes. I think it’s there in that drawer somewhere. I will make this decision nightly.
  • to slow down. In all the ways that this can happen: in the car, while I’m reading, when I’m visiting with the children after school, when I’m on the phone. Life’s moving too fast. I don’t need to contribute to the speed of LIfe. I will make this decision every day.
  • to keep my kitchen tidy between 3:30 p.m. and 7 a.m. For some reason during the day, the kitchen looks lovely — hmmm, related to a lack of small people at home? — only to deteriorate into chaos by 4 p.m. It shouldn’t be that hard to keep everything under control, but to date I’ve not been able to do so. Several years ago I lurked around on a site by a woman named “FlyLady” (“ Your personal online coach to help you gain control of your house and home”), and her first suggestion to get a handle on things was to NEVER go to bed with a dirty sink. At the time, I thought “huh?” but now I get it. Ms. FlyLady said that there was little more joyful in life ( I paraphrase) than a sparkling clean sink in the morning. I agree. (There are few things more gross in life than that gunk stuck in the drain trap which requires cleaning at 6:30 a.m. Ick.) I’m going to make this decision every day around 3:30. And probably again around 4:30, and hourly until I go to bed and there’s no one around (read: me) to mess it up.
  • to be a better example for my children in a variety of ways. I talk The Talk a lot; I know that I walk The Walk also, but there are many moments when I can do better. For example, I might make the solid decision to refrain from (gasp) certain kinds of profanity. (I will reserve the right to use “Soft Cheeses!” or any other expressions that Phil uses on Modern Family, because they are both effective and funny.) I will choose to be a better example for them of the powerful action of philanthropy: what giving can do for others, what giving can do for your own self. It’s obvious there are a million little actions we take as parents (and I do mean the little actions — the ones that we do without thinking as a matter of course) that do, in fact, leave a shadow or an imprint that our children can pick up on: what they overhear on the phone, or read over my shoulder on my email (oh, how annoying is that?), or misinterpret when I talk to another adult. I will make this decision over and over and over again every day.
  • to choose joy. Sometimes I think that it is the Irish in me that’s programmed to wait for the other shoe to drop, or the ax to fall, or whatever cliché you’d prefer to communicate that sense of “this all can’t be so good right now….something’s got to mess it up.” I do believe strongly in instinct, as evidenced by my darling Doodle who must must MUST convey his excitement with the world by retrieving something. Anything. It’s just in his nature. And at the same time, I’d like to think I’m more highly evolved than my Doodle….while we’re both lovely ginger-colored creatures, I do have the ability to see the water bowl half full  (AND the ability to choose to leave the gloves in the glove bin rather than carry them into the kitchen [thus interfering with my earlier decision]). I can slow down, choose joy and revel in it. I will make this decision every day.
  • to give attention to only that which is worth my time. If all this connectivity between and among us has fostered anything, it has fostered a million-fold increase in the number of voices Out There who are at times whispering and shouting at us and at each other. For some reason, we seem to believe that we have a right to be heard by everyone we choose to send (whisper, yell, scream) our message to (at). And yes, I recognize the irony of this as I write on a blog entry that will be sent off into the ether to be read by, presumably, one or two others. But don’t you think there are voices, and then there are Voices? I don’t need to (nor do I want to) listen to everything that anyone wants to tell me. I listen to the few voices out there who have demonstrated that they are educated or funny (hopefully both), and who have messages (again, educational, funny, or both) grounded in a sense of integrity and morality. I will make this decision daily.
  • to head off The Blues before they settle in. If you get migraines, you’re often aware of the triggers. If you get heartburn, you can usually figure out what brought it on (buffalo wings? Good choice, not). If you get The Blues, you can often sense their impending arrival. From the Life is Too Short file, I will choose to head them off at the pass: put on loud music and dance, head out on a walk, drink 4,000 oz of water in an attempt to wash The Blues away. It is not fair to those whom I live with to allow The Blues to unpack and visit — we’ve got too much life to live. I will make this decision at the first sign of malaise — and hopefully this means only a few times a year.
  • to get my gall bladder out. It’s probably time to stop playing “Is this a heart attack or just my gall bladder acting up?” because I’m not able to choose the time or place of the game, and my Gall Bladder-y friend wants to play with increasing frequency. The game’s not fun (imagine that). Plus, I suspect that I’m wearing out my late-night welcome (well, cyber-welcome) from my own personal neighborhood physician, who is on the receiving end of “do you think I’m having a heart attack?” texts at 1 a.m. (And, just like when the smoke alarms beep only when I’m the only adult in the house, this gall bladder v. heart attack game seems to be best played when I’m the only over-21 in the house and in desperate need of codeine. Not ideal.) I will make this decision once, hopefully before June.
  • to say what I mean and mean what I say. I find this age that I’m at (ugh, bad sentence, sorry) to be a good one, in the sense that I’m finding it easier than ever to say what I want and mean it when I say it. Nope, I can’t go to that meeting. Yes, I do like that Andy Gibb song (a lot). No, we’re not free that night. I keep learning over and over and over that Life is Too Short. Too short to do things you don’t want to do, too short to be places you don’t want to be, to be in the presence of people or things that don’t make you feel whole or valued or sane. I’m not doing any of that anymore. I will make that decision every day, many times every day.
  • to keep the ugly stuff to myself. No, you’re not going to hear about my weight, or the disagreement I had with my husband (because we never disagree, duh!), or the rest of the dirty laundry of my life (literally and figuratively. I’ve done more laundry in these past couple of weeks than I’ve done in years. It’s just terrifying). In the Age of Khardashian, I choose discretion. (Join me, won’t you?) I will make this decision every time I decide to engage on a blog, on Facebook or (how refreshing) in person.

Got any decisions of your own you’d like to share? Happy 2012: here’s hoping the Mayans were wrong and just ran out of stone tablet space…

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