Archive for January, 2007

Confessions of a Certified Dork

I am a dork.  I can’t help it, I think that dorkiness is something that’s genetic and since all my siblings are insufferably cool, I got ALL the dorky genes. 

Two weeks ago  Bri and I were going to the school to watch Jazzmin cheer.  I put my digital camera in my purse on top of the day planner, overstuffed wallet, check book, an inch of receipts and half a desk drawer of pens (most of which have no ink).  It had been raining for several days in a row and was really cold that night.  Briauna and I were freezing to death so we ran to the gym and found seats.  I looked for my camera and couldn’t find it.  Not in my purse, not in my coat pocket.  Jazz’s squad came out, still no camera, I figured I left it at home, and stopped worrying about it.  Two hours later we got back in the car to come home and there was the camera laying on the floor board by the gas pedal.  That would be dorky enough, but no, I am the Queen of dorks.  It was laying in an inch of water that had blown in through the crack in the window that I forgot to roll up.   I miss my camera.

There is a button between the driver and passenger  seats that operates the rag top on my car.  When the top is up it hooks into these things by the visors, so if you push the button it makes this ungodly noise and all the windows go down.  Every now and then I forget to tell Jazzmin to hold my thirty pound purse on the way to school and I stick it between us on the console.  Inevitably, sometime on the way to school, I will forget and lean on my purse which pushes the button and starts the ungodly noise, sending me careening off the side of the road before I figure out what it is.  I have done this so many times that the grandgirls now immediately take my purse out of my hand when we get in the car and Bri stores in the backseat.  How pathetically dorky. 

I raised a houseful of girls.  With girls come barrettes, scrunchies, ribbons, bows and all kinds of other girly hair things.  We usually had so much of it laying around the house when all the kids were home that rather than run back and forth to the bathroom putting it away, I’d continue my sweeping, vacuuming, dusting…whatever and stick these objects randomly in my own hair until I got around to cleaning the bathroom.  This is dorky enough, but it’s me…queen.  On the day the previous Mayor decided to ask me to be his running mate, he came to my house on a Saturday afternoon with two councilmen.  We had a lovely conversation in the library complete with formal tea.  After they left, I went to the bathroom and there was my hair, standing on end, full of barrettes, rubber bands, combs and scrunchies.  Apparently they thought it was some kind of fashion statement. 

I’ve set the kitchen on fire not once, but twice, because I can’t throw away a jar candle until I’ve melted that last inch of wax and the water runs out of the double boiler. 

I dare you to try to outdork me.  I’m sure whatever dorky thing you may have done, I’ve done it twice. 


January 31, 2007 at 5:22 am 26 comments

Time in a Bottle

Princess, who is entirely too young for such things, was all maudlin and nostalgic tonight.  She had the grandgirls in stitches telling snarky stories about their mother when she was in school.  I guess that’s what Aunts are for. img008.jpgIn her hunt through our massive box of unlabeled pictures (thank goodness for digital!) for pictures of herself as a kid, I couldn’t help thinking  about how fast time flies.  Its rather horrifying in a way, because while my intellect can say stop…slow down…savor this moment.  Quite frequently life gets in the way.  I could swear I took this picture of Jazz and Bri just last month, but the two gangly girls looking at it with me disagree. 

This fella, I could swear img014.jpgI just washed his baseball jersey this weekend.  But my son has been away at college for almost four years and hasn’t played baseball since his sophomore year of High School.  Tick Tock…Tick Tock….

Its a shame we can’t bottle certain moments or days of our life and just pour them out when we felt like living that moment all over again.  

January 30, 2007 at 9:35 am 15 comments

Miss Manners Is My Name Too

Pap and I took the grandgirls out to eat last night at an other than fast food restraunt.  When our salads were delivered, Jazzmin looked at the two forks by her plate and asked which fork she was supposed to use.  As if on autopilot I went into the “number of tines equals which dish” speech.  I don’t know when I learned this stuff, but I know everything about table settings.  There is no amount of silverware, plates and glasses you can lay out on a table that will flummox me.  After sharing my wisdom on tableware with my grandgirl, she said “Why?” 

Why in deed.  I don’t believe I’ve ever been asked to eat with the President or any other dignitary.  There isn’t a five star restaraunt within 100 miles of my house.  I don’t remember  ever eating at a five star restaraunt.  So why is this needless information cluttering up my brain?  Who taught me this stuff?!  It gets worse…I really can’t get myself to wear white shoes after labor day.  I actually know exactly what to wear for any occasion.  I know the precise number of days before a party that the invitation must be mailed to meet the rules of polite society.   I can’t stop myself from  Some days I feel like I’m channeling Emily Post. 

Anybody know of a support group for the overly mannered?

January 28, 2007 at 8:56 pm 20 comments

The Law of Attraction and Other News

Like most people, I have family, friends, acquaintences, work buddies and a handful of people so close to me they transcend all of these titles.  They are my soul mates, confidants, the guardians of my dreams.  I am lucky enough to have three such people.  Folks who through the many years of our relationship have proven that they have only my best interests at heart.  If one of them told me to throw myself in front of a train, it would be to save me from being mauled from some multi-headed space creature. 

With this in mind, when one of them has sent me a documentary called The Secret with a note saying “Try This”.    It’s narrated by a number of successful people including James Arthur Ray, the country’s leading expert on the psychology and science of success.  Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith, founder of the Agape International Spiritual Center.  His work has been recongnized by Coretta Scott King and he sits on a panel with the Dalai Lama and Gandhi (the grandson).  John Grey, the Author of Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus.  Jack Canfield – author and creator of the wildly popular Chicken Soup for the Soul series. 

The Law of Attraction basically states that thoughts become things.  Whether its health, wealth or happiness that one desires, through the law of attraction it can be had through thought.  As theories go, this isn’t far from what the Bible tells us “ask and you shall receive”, plus it has come to me from  one of my dream guardians.  So I’m going to try this grand experiment to see if I can change my stars.  If you’d like to implement a little Law of Attraction into your own life, go watch the movie here: The Secret. 

I’m going to track my progress on my other blog, if you’re interested, the link will be on my blogroll. 

Motherhood – Round 2, The Upside:  There are some great things about having this opportunity to raise this second round of kids.  They make me laugh and remind me of what a lucky life I have.  Its become my habit to stop by their room on my way to bed at night.  I love looking at them sleeping so peacefully in their big bed, warm and comfortable among their pillows and quilts.  They keep me on a schedule of regular eating and sleeping, which is something I’m no good at doing on my own.  They remind me to play like my kids did, a habit that had fallen by the wayside since everyone grew up.  I love seeing them flourishing under my care.  There is nothing better for a woman’s self-esteem.  Their mother is still climbing out of the gutter she’d thrown herself in, and making progress, although it sometimes seems like three steps forward and two steps back.  She started college in January and is making very good grades.  If she would only unleash the albatross of a man she’s shackled herself with we may see some real progress. 

January 27, 2007 at 11:11 pm 12 comments

Motherhood – Round Two

Its very odd raising young kids again at my age.  I deliberately had all my kids in a lump, when I was young.  Pap and I thought we’d do a better job of parenting if we took it on while we were brimming with youthful vitality.  That was pretty much true.  I certainly got through the mountains of laundry, taxi service and tutoring with energy to spare when my kids were Jazz and Bri’s ages.  I’m not yet 50, so its not exactly like I’m toddling around on my walker to take care of these kids, but it definately feels odd.  The world has changed so much since the last time I was waiting on afternoon announcements and the cannon ball attack of a small kid just set free from classes. 

During round one, taking care of my own kids, everyone was about my age in the lobby at school.  We were picking up kids in our suits and high heels, mentally ticking off the number of minutes it would take to shove some macaroni and cheese down their throats before we ran off to gymnastics, karate or dance lessons.  We were 80’s Mom’s – bringing home the bacon and frying it up in the pan.  That’s how I learned to multi-task.  Back then I could supervise homework while I cooked dinner, planned a birthday party,  called around to organize a car pool and prepared the agenda for the next day’s meeting.   

Here in round two, everyone in the lobby is still my age.  In fact, we’re pretty much the same people.  We’ve traded in our business suits for wind pants or jeans, there are more grandfathers than grandmothers hanging out waiting for the little darlings… but there are many of us on round two of parenting.  I wonder if this new generation will come out better than those 80’s kids.  We grandparents are a smart, savvy group.  We know stuff and are not easily fooled. 

January 26, 2007 at 2:31 am 21 comments

ReRun – This Writer’s Life, April 2006

 Wow, its hard to believe that I actually HAVE simplified my life some since last April.  This post was made right before I accepted a partnership in our little publishing company….

This past weekend, I begged off from my editing duties with every intention of doing some spring cleaning so the house of perpetual remodeling will be presentable for a guest. In eighteen days my boss will fly in from California for a 4 day business meeting. Papa Bear has managed to complicate this visit further by allowing his leg surgery to be scheduled into that period also. Can we all say passive-aggressive? Anyway… With one book out to potential publishers, one in edit with my partner and a new one in the note and research stage, I don’t notice much around the house. Between my accounting job, my editing job, Princess and the dogs, I notice even less. It will be the first time the Chief has seen my house, so I would like it to look like something other than the place where hillbillies go to die. I would prefer that he didn’t lay awake all four nights staring at the ceiling and wondering what diseases he may be contracting from the polluted air of our humble abode.

It should be noted that I am lacking the cleaning gene. I grew up with a woman who was so gifted in this respect that I never saw anything out of place or dirty, nor did I see her actually cleaning. Somewhere in the back of my mind I’m sure I just assumed fairies came in the night and tidied up. I learned to clean from TV. It’s embarrassing, but that’s just the way it is. Thank you Martha Stewart, Clean Sweep and those two British ladies that insist on sniffing the stains to prove the house is really dirty. From these professors of cleanliness I learned: 1) to assemble my supplies in a bucket, 2) Carry with me an empty basket for orphans that belong in another room and 3) clean the room from ceiling to floor in a clockwise fashion. There are lots of little things, but these are the BIG rules.

The first problem arose when I went to gather my supplies to put them in the bucket I’d retrieved from the toy box (the grand girls were using it as a Brat Doll condominium), I couldn’t reach the cabinet that stores the supplies because of the mountain of dirty laundry. My laundry area being approximately the size of a phone booth, it was necessary to actually sort the clothes by color into piles in the dining room. That messed up the last two of my three rules, I couldn’t remove the orphaned laundry or get around the piles in a clockwise manner. Everything broke down after that.

I wouldn’t say I’m anal, but I have always had this aversion to half doing anything. I can’t put a coat in the closet without first straightening the other coats, boots, hats, gloves, camera’s and shoes already in there. I can’t just water the plants, I have to pick out all the dead leaves and repot them if necessary. I can’t just wash a wall that needs painted, I must paint it. Here is where problem number three reared it’s ugly head.

Our old house has two stairways. The back stairs lead to my dressing room and, for all intents and purposes, might as well have yellow caution tape in a big X over them. Treads are loose or broken on three steps and the ceiling has a huge hole in it (when Girl Prof was in High School she and a friend decided to climb into the unfinished attic and walk around. They may have gone up through the attic hatch, but they came down through the drywall). The other stairway is the one we use. It is paneled in ugly 1970’s dark wood paneling. Too narrow for a handrail, going up them was like ascending a tunnel in a coal mine. I made every attempt to just dust them off and go on about my business. It just wasn’t possible, they had to be painted. Lucky for us, Princess works at Home Depot and we have tons of paint. To make a long story shorter, the stairway, upstairs hallway and all the bedroom doors are now a lovely shade of icy blue with darker blue woodwork. It looks cool and clean. The rest of the house is still a disaster, but the hall and stairs are impressive!

Clean houses are over rated in my opinion anyway. How is a person supposed to develop immunities in a sterile environment?

January 23, 2007 at 7:34 am 19 comments

On Church and Other Institutions

I live across the street from a Jehovah Witness minister.  He lives beside the Church of Christ which is across the street from the Church of Atonement.  I’m the heathen that doesn’t attend church at all, so members of the congregations of those churchs generally park in my driveway.  The fact that they find this acceptable is one of the reasons I don’t attend church at all.  A minor reason, but just another nail so to speak.

I haven’t always been a non-church going heathen.  I was raised Southern Baptist, Pap and I both taught Sunday School when our kids were young.  I’ve had a personal relationship with JC since I was eight.  The story of my baptism is still passed around in my home church in California.  I was the only child baptized that day, so they’d put a box in the baptismal for me to stand on so the congregation could see me above the baptismal wall.  Things worked out great in the beginning, a deacon handed me in to the minister, the ritual was completed and the box floated away.  The minister whispered “Can you get out okay?”  I assured him I could and did my finest breast stroke to the stairs.  Ruffled underware on full display. 

My disallusionment with organized church started in my late twenties.  When the church secretary spent her time at church criticizing my husband and his involvement with the raising of our children.  Then there was the minister that forged his ordination papers.  The church that determined anyone who didn’t talk in tongues wasn’t really a christian.  A string of churchs more worried about what people were wearing than the state of their spiritual growth.  That’s when I gave up.  When I left the Baptist, Methodist, and non-denominational churchs in driving distance feeling angry and disallusioned more than uplifted, I gave up.  Paul admonishes us to “neglect not the gathering of yourselves together”, but mingling with these folks would drive me to drink. 

I put the burden of continuing my spiritual education on me.  Armed with the King James version of the Bible I’ve had since I was 8, supplemented with a concordance, various books by people I’ve found to “get it” and the world around me, I trod my path in search of the face of God.  I’ve reached a few conclusions:

1.  God has many names and doesn’t belong to any religion.

2.  Aids, war, famine, flood, sick children and all the other horrible things people blame on God are not his fault.   The fact that he “gave dominion” over all the animals to man tells me he created everything and then left us to manage it.  He isn’t into micromanagement, we’re expected to live with our decisions.

3.  The Ten Commandments make a lot of sense.

4.  Being nice and loving doesn’t make you weak. 

January 21, 2007 at 10:18 pm 20 comments

A Mental Health Day…

That’s what we used to call the days Princess didn’t want to go to school, but wasn’t sick.  It makes me laugh now that she’s in college studying to be a psychiatrist.  Everyone has left for work or school, its snowing but not enough to worry about, both cats and the dog are sound asleep.  The only sound in this room is the blowing furnace and the tap of fingernails on my keyboard.  That suits me fine today.  A chance to feed my inner introvert. 

Princess is studying abnormal psychology this quarter and has decided that I’m borderline agoraphobic.  Last quarter she diagnosed me as borderline manic depressive.  Its a wonder I get through my day I’m so mentally deranged.  What she’s too young to understand is that there isn’t a soul my age walking around without some mental damage, its the price of life, but we also have coping mechanisms to keep the symptoms at bay.  Mine is to withdraw for awhile.  Something I have in common with the Grandmother I’m named after but never met.

Grandma Katherine was married at fourteen.  She had six kids, boy-girl, boy-girl, boy-girl.  My mother was her fourth child.  Kate died of pneumonia in 1932  when my mother was 12.  The height of the depression.   This family of eight lived in a one room sod hut on a windswept prairie in Oklahoma.  My grandfather was always up to some scheme or other, most of which failed, so to call them poor would be elevating their status in life.  So destitute that my mother and her siblings went to school only sporadically because they could never come up with enough clothes to get all six kids to school on the same day.  According to legend, when the stress of kids constantly underfoot, no jobs, no money and no food became too much for Grandma Kate, lacking a room she could disappear to, she’d flip her apron over her head and mumble.  The family assume she was praying under there, but I’m not so sure.  I certainly know what I’d have been saying under that apron. 

January 19, 2007 at 11:27 pm 24 comments

The Perfect Secretary

Jazzmin didn’t have school today, the third grade teachers were all attending a seminar, so she went to the day job with me.  If you ask my oldest grandgirl how old she is, she’ll tell you “8 years, 11 months and 18 days.”  Apparently the need to count things down is genetic.  After spending a day at the office with her, I’ve decided all office jobs should be done by third graders. 

Who else but a third grader finds joy in punching the holes in the payroll sheets, or running the mail through the postal meter?  Everyone likes third graders, so she didn’t have any office dramas today.  We needed to go to the bank twice, a trip too short to drive the car and too far to walk comfortably in this freezing weather.  Unless you’re a third grade girl.  She alternately hopped, skipped, trotted, strolled and sashayed her way up the street and back, taking time to perform an entire gymnastics routine on the railroad ties beside the park.  I was exhausted just watching her. 

Jazzmin kept busy today sorting out the paper clips, pens, and misc. flotsam that lives in this plastic thing on my desk.  She ran messages between offices and watered every plant in the building…whether they needed it or not.  She drew a picture of our street (complete with the pet that lives in every house on the street) on my extra desk blotter.  She kept the used paper torn off my adding machine.  When I told her it was time to go home she said “Oh Nana!  I was just getting started!”  All office jobs should be held by third graders.

January 19, 2007 at 2:24 am 13 comments

Suitable for Ducks & Other News

It has rained, rained and rained some more.  The creek that runs through the center of my small town is rising, something that puts us all on edge since it was just two years ago that we flooded and so many people lost their homes.  I didn’t used to mind rain.  As a little girl growing up in California I loved it.  Raincoats, boots and an umbrella were standard issue with the rest of our school clothes and supplies.  I don’t think I’ve ever found a simple pleasure as satisfying as jumping in puddles, especially if the resultant splash nailed my older sister.  But that was before it was my job to mop the mud off the floors, and dry the sopping dog.  Rain has lost some of its appeal. 

On Saturday I met with the Doctors that have hired me to ghost write their children’s book.  I’ve known for some time that Doctors are just people, but its safe to say I never had any running around in my social circle, and would have told you before that only analytical, non-creative people could succeed at being doctors.  What a dork I can be.  One of them is also a musician. His wife is a fine artist.   The last is the wizard of wild and crazy scenarios and characters.  Its my job to take these scenarios, the art and the music and make them into a viable book, that will also be a book on tape.   What a rush, that much creative energy at one table fueled by lattes, would light a small city.  Sunday, the musician doctor e-mail his original composition for Chapter One and completely blew me away.  This is such a fun project, I can’t wait until I can share some of the book with you complete with its accompanying art and the music. 

January 16, 2007 at 3:53 am 23 comments

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January 2007