Monday, September 27, 2010

Didja hear the one about the lady who flew to Poland by herself?

That's right. I'm flying to Poland by myself. Ryan will already be in Poland, which will make him unavailable to fly with me. I'm not really worried about flying by myself. I've done it before. However, I do get occasional butterflies when I remember that I will have to switch planes in Paris and find baggage claim in Warsaw, when I speak neither French nor Polish. Oy vey! (I do speak a little yiddish. Will that do me any good?)

Ryan will already be in Warsaw, teaching a course at Warsaw University to Polish grad students with one of his colleagues. I will join him at the end of his teaching and then we're going to tour Warsaw, Vienna, and Prague. It's going to be an adventure, for sure, not to mention for my mom, too, who is flying out to stay with our kids when I leave. She assures me that she has no worries about managing the kids, but she is terrified of getting lost on the way to our mailbox. She comes from the land of wide, straight roads, and, well, we don't.

I've asked the neighbors to watch out for her, to offer directions and even escort her if necessary. The fact that there is a GPS in the car seems to bring her no comfort. The fact that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west provides no relief. The fact that I'm going to provide her with a list of addresses of any and every place she could possibly need or want to go offers her no solace. However, the bulk case of signal flares I ordered in the event of her getting lost is giving some peace of mind. I have also advised her to wear reflective neon clothing and to leave a small trail of breadcrumbs everywhere she goes.

I know it's not always wise to blog about upcoming travel. However, I am confident that I have taken all necessary security precautions. The house will be protected by our alarm company, our terrifying guard dog, and our short-tempered Samoan bodyguard, Mewannacutchoo.

Everything's going to be fine.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Dear Blog, It's not you. It's me.

Not sure why the words aren't coming so easily these days. Well, actually, that's not true. I'm pretty sure I know exactly why. My mind and heart have been caught up in some matters that aren't blogable and I've never been very good at blogging-as-usual when my heart and mind are elsewhere. It turns out that my mind and heart are key players in this writing thingie I do. (I shouldn't have typed that out; they're going to come begging for a raise.)

Anyhoodle, I'm going to try harder to get both of them on board to keep up here. Because I miss this. I miss you. 

In other news, did I tell you that I'm headed out of town next month? In fact, I'm headed out of state, country, time zone, and foods I'm familiar with. I'm going to cross an ocean, people. And--get this--I'm flying alone. Eeek!

But all of that is a story for another day. It's late now and I'm going to retire. But I promise I'll be back. You'll be here, won't you?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ten Thoughts for a Tuesday and an Unrelated Photo

  1. Bad economy! Go to your room!
  2. I am in a funk. Funny how being in a funk does not make me feel funky. 
  3. J.D. and D.D. arrive in eight days. That makes me feel funky.
  4. The forecast has been spectacular.
  5. I like doing laundry, which I realize means something is wrong with me.
  6. If a genie granted me three wishes, one of them would be to have a British accent. (I cannot reveal the other two because they would blow your freaking mind.)
  7. I found some amazing knives the other day at TJ Maxx, and cut my finger within 12 hours of the purchase. I am not used to amazing knives.
  8. I keep ordering weird, unknown movies on Netflix, expecting to be delighted. Turns out, some weird, unknown movies are unknown for a reason.
  9. The other day we saw a Chevy Citation on the road. I used to drive one. It was blue.
  10. I love my sisters. I love other people too, of course, but I'm dedicating this thought to the two of them.
Christian just got home from school. I forced him to take a picture with me.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Ringing Endorsement

These are my friends Annie and Dan.
They are ready to be parents.
Guess what kind of parents they will be?
The best kind.
The kind that will read story books every night before bed.
The kind that will keep track of teeth brushing, fingernail clipping, and vegetable intake.
The kind that will say no when you should say no, and yes when you should say yes.
The kind that will surround their kids with loving cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents.
The kind that will make sure their kids never stay up or out too late (unless there's a really good reason).
The kind that will make birthdays and holidays and even normal days special.
The kind that will check for monsters under the bed and witches in the closet every night, if needed.
The kind that will wipe noses, clean up puke, and pull all-nighters when the occasion calls.
The kind that will give their kids tedious chores that they won't appreciate until adulthood.
The kind that will continue to buy Legos even after they step on a few strays 
left in the middle of the floor.
The kind that will gladly attend parent teacher conference and back to school night
and PTA meeting and soccer practice and piano recitals and fund raiser meetings 
and even a few blood-curdling tween concerts.
The kind that will be good examples of hard work and a strong marriage.
The kind that will answer all the tough questions as best they can, 
and admit when they don't know any more.
The kind that will smile and laugh at lame-o first grade jokes.
The kind that will give pep talks, hugs, and unsolicited advice,
no matter how many times the eyes roll.
The kind that any kid would be exceptionally lucky to have.
The kind our world needs more of.

Annie and Dan are adoptive parents, waiting for a miracle. 
I am their friend who is happy to share their story.
You  know, because.
Because maybe you know someone.
Or maybe you know of someone.
Or maybe you will know someone.
Someone who isn't able to care for a child.
Someone who is looking for a solution to a heart-wrenching problem.
And maybe you will think, Hey! I think I know who could help.
And maybe you will remember Annie and Dan.

They even have a website with more of their information.
Check it out.
Spread the word, if you like.
Hug your kids.
And keep my friends in the back of your mind.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

This Story Is Way Shorter Than It Looks

I'm suffering from a chronic case of writer's block
I think I need a strong antibiotic
And perhaps some sort of -ectomy
I've sat down to write many, many times
Then frozen completely
Several hours later when I finally thaw
I can't write
Because at that point I need a snack
Because I'm hypoglycemic
Speaking of hypoglycemia
Most people roll their eyes at the hypoglycemic population
(I'm looking at you, Ryan)
But that's just because they are jealous
That those of us who are hypoglycemic
Have to eat at regular intervals
Or else we get really mean
And lightheaded
And headache-y
And petty
And sometimes dead
I cannot be held accountable for things I say or do
When my blood sugar is low
I have a note from the doctor
No I don't
I just fibbed there
But you can't blame me
Because I haven't eaten for three and a half hours
Let's switch gears now
A funny thing happened today
Ryan's been waiting for some test results in the mail
Not results for blood sugar levels
Results from the licensing exam
He studied all summer long for that damned exam
It was one of the black rainclouds that hung over our summer
(There were others, too)
He took the exam at the end of the summer
And had to get a 70 percent to pass
It's a ridiculously difficult test
Most of which has nothing to do with his work at all
But a man's got to do what a man's got to do
And my man had to study for and pass this test
He found out last week that he passed
(Holy Mother of Yahooeeee!)
But he didn't know his score
Until today
I got the mail and texted him that it arrived
I asked him if he wanted me to open it
He didn't reply right away
So I was forced to open it
(My blood sugar was low at the time)
I saw his score and was confused
It said 720
I thought maybe a decimal was missing
Like, it was supposed to be 72.0
And I thought to myself
Wow, he barely passed
That's going to bother him
He's going to ruminate about this for months
When he finally texted me back
(After I'd had a cookie to prevent death)
I asked him if he wanted to know his score
He said yes
I told him that he got a 72
Or at least what I figured was a 72
I told him the decimal was missing
It just said 720
But it was supposed to be 72.0
Because I had it all figured out, of course
He called me at that point
He was laughing
He said 720 is the scaled score
Which made sense, now that he mentioned it
Since it said "Scaled Score: 720" on the paper
I asked him what that meant, then
What's your score? I said
He said, Well, 500 is 70 percent
Which means 720 is way more than 70 percent
Even more than 72.0 percent
You betcha
Like ninety-something percent
He's not exactly sure how many percent
Because as it turns out
That is a really tough math problem to figure out
And this wasn't a math exam
It was a licensing exam
Which he passed, by the way
With a buttload of flying colors
And I couldn't figure out what percentage it was either
Because I'm hypoglycemic

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Very Complex Creative Process

  • Stage 1: A good idea is born. No, make that a great idea.
  • Stage 2: Your soul is filled with purpose, your veins with adrenaline. You're the king of the world! No, better than that--you're an artist!
  • Stage 3: You compose the entire piece in your head's brilliant.
  • Stage 4: Pen (or computer, or paintbrush, or guitar) in hand, you begin the real work, the nuts and bolts of putting your brilliant idea into a tangible form!
  • Stage 5: You stop for a snack.
  • Stage 6: You check out what's on TV.
  • Stage 7: You get back to work and redo the entire beginning.
  • Stage 8: You stop for another snack.
  • Stage 9: Potty break.
  • Stage 10: You get back to work and erase at least one-third of what you've done.
  • Stage 11: Panic.
  • Stage 12: Confusion.
  • Stage 13: Blank staring.
  • Stage 14: You force yourself back to work and squeeze out a painful sentence/line/stroke/chord.
  • Stage 15: You stop fooling yourself and admit--out loud--that you are an idiot.
  • Stage 16: You wallow in the miserable realization that you will never, ever, ever have a good idea again in your life.
  • Stage 17: You imagine yourself as an old, toothless homeless person talking to anyone who will listen about all the brilliant ideas that escaped you.
  • Stage 18: Massive chocolate and/or potato chip intake.
  • Stage 19: You give yourself a half-hearted pep talk and decide to try again.
  • Stage 20: Before trying again, you wander every room in the house and lie on the floor and stare at the ceiling.
  • Stage 21: You re-read The Little Engine That Could.
  • Stage 22: You weep uncontrollably.
  • Stage 23: You force yourself back to your work.
  • Stage 24: You're really serious. No more playing around. You're going to soldier on. You're ready to get back on the creative horse, no matter how many times it bucks you off.
  • Stage 25: You get back to work...right after you take a very important self-portrait.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Change of Plans

Max was in a melancholy mood the other night. He explained that after a lot of thought, he was going to stop saving up for a Lamborghini. It wasn't a realistic dream. He had eight dollars in his wallet and he figured it was going to take every nickel from every petsitting job from now until adulthood to have enough for his beloved car. And even though he was sure he could do it, he realized that he would probably want to purchase other stuff along the way, like video games and candy.

Goodbye, Lamborghini. Easy come, easy go.

He consoled himself by googling images of Mustangs and Camaros. His plan now, he explained, was to purchase one of each. The two-seater Camaro for himself and the four-seater Mustang for the wife and kids. I nodded approvingly.

There was a lot of life planning going on beneath all that blond hair. When I told Ryan about it, he thought it was sad. When I told the neighbor about it, she thought it was hilarious. When I think about it, I'm somewhere in between.

Do you remember the plans you made as a child?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Mandatory Photos for the Grandparents

First day of seventh grade.

First day of second grade.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Stuff I Didn't Know About Adulthood Until I Got Here

  • Most things are complicated.
  • Most people are complicated.
  • Sooner or later, you have to learn to be assertive.
  • You really only need a few good friends.
  • The amount of thanks you gave your mother for cooking is directly related to the amount of thanks you'll get from your own kids.
  • Being right is less important and valuable than you ever thought it would be.
  • Grownups get mad at kids for making messes, but nobody makes bigger messes than grownups.
  • Taxes suck.
  • There are too many occasions where there is very little you can do to help.
  • Just when you think you've got it all figured out, everything changes.
  • Nothing is black and white.
  • You will continue to be haunted by everything you swore you'd never do as a parent.
  • People can change, but you can't change them.
  • Sometimes life is absolutely terrifying.
  • The most valuable skill you will ever develop is listening, followed closely by shutting up.
  • You're going to feel ambivalent about a lot of things.
  • No matter how old you get, there are still times when all you want is your mommy.
  • You are the only one who's going to eat that last little bit of cereal in the box.
  • Sometimes you have to be your own cheerleader.
  • Emotions are transient. Let them come and go.
  • You'll probably regret voting for at least half of the people you vote for.
  • Worry is a robber.
  • You are going to change a lot of toilet paper rolls, diapers, and trash can liners.
  • Swearing, when saved for special occasions, can really make you feel better.
  • It's completely, 100% okay and normal to doubt.
  • It's virtually impossible to leave the house without spending at least $40.
  • Gossip always gets you back.
  • You really don't need all that stuff. 
  • Buying stuff really does seem to make you feel better sometimes.
  • Even if you didn't lose the remote control, you're going to be the one to find it.
  • Watching the news is only occasionally beneficial.
  • The IKEA instructions include everything but the argument with your significant other.
  • Sometimes you don't know you're experiencing PMS until you feel the urge to throw things at people's heads.
  • No good has ever come from the word "upgrade" especially as it relates to software.
  • Every time you turn around, some organization will be asking for your money.
  • You will continually surprise yourself at your ability to waste time.
  • There is freedom in accepting that life is uncertain and unfair.
  • It's good to say no sometimes.
  • You can act brave without feeling brave.
  • Loving someone will reveal just as much about yourself as it will about them.
  • Your metabolism is a jerk.
  • You might as well say "I love you" every time you feel like it.
  • No matter what you do, individual socks are going to randomly disappear.
What have you learned in adulthood that you didn't know before?
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