Saturday, December 27, 2008

After Christmas Thoughts--Time to Make a Plan!

So the madness is over now and life can return to normal.  Right?  Whatever normal is.

In a few days I can hang up my new Wizard of Oz calendar, purchased during my visit to Mystic, Connecticut.  A new year ahead so it's time to start planning for 2009.  Do you have a plan?  So far I don't.  But it's time to get busy and make one.

I've never really liked plans.  I've always been a "fly by the seat of her pants" kinda girl.  (Thank you, Julia Roberts' character in Pretty Woman)  Just shuffle along, take life one step at a time and see what happens.  Only flaw in that philosophy?  Quite often nothing happens.

I will never forget a line from one of Shakespeare's plays.  (Sorry, but I can't remember whether it was Richard II or Richard III)  Richard is locked up in a prison and he says, "I wasted time, and now doth time waste me."  And why is that so memorable?  Because it concerns the nature of time-wasting. Just what constitutes wasting time?  How does one determine that?  If a person spends the entire afternoon playing video games, is that wasting time or is it time spent having fun/relaxing?

If a person spends the entire evening watching television or DVDs, is that wasting time or is it spending an enjoyable evening on the couch being entertained?

Who can say?  It's all a matter of opinion.  But the gist of that line spoken by Richard is that HE felt he had wasted time, wasted his life not doing important things, and now he was rotting away in prison.  And that's the point I want to make here.  Each of us has to determine what it is we want in life and how we are to make it happen.  Time is only wasted if we're not accomplishing the things we want to accomplish.  Everyone needs some down time to unwind and have some fun.  But too much down time means that list of accomplishments will never get fulfilled.  The master plan will just be a bunch of meaningless words on a piece of paper or computer screen.

So I'm going to make a plan.  And I'm going to try to make it come to life.  I don't want to end up like Richard dying on my deathbed spouting the words, "I wasted time and now doth time waste me."

Nope.  It's time to make a plan!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Too Hot To Handle

So, I was watching a fashion show on The Today Show.  As a young model pranced about wearing a tight pair of black pants and a white shirt (or maybe it was silver), the spokesperson narrating the event was saying that the model could wear this particular pair of pants since she had a "hot" body.  Hmm.  The model was quite slender and that got me thinking about the term "hot body."  What exactly constitutes a "hot body"?

Does one have to be model thin to have a hot body?  And isn't the term subjective anyway?  Surely there are some people who think ultra thin women aren't really all that hot, right?  I mean aren't curves supposed to be sexy?

But what do I know.  I suppose men would accuse me of being jealous because these teensy weensy waisted women are thought of as "hot".  But if they truly are hot, what did that make someone like Marilyn Monroe?  She certainly wasn't pencil-thin.  Would she be considered fat in today's world?

So what do I want?  To outlaw the word "hot".  Let's just erase it from the English language.  Nobody gets to be called "hot" unless the thermometer reads 100 degrees and/or the person is sweating.  He or she is hot and needs a nice, big, cold drink of lemonade!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Merry Christmas to all!

It's four days 'til Christmas
and all through my house
Not a youngster is stirring,
not even my spouse.

They're asleep in their beds
just as snug as can be,
I'm the only one up,
yup, just me and my tree.

So I glance out the window
and what do I see?
Not something I wished for,
don't want it, not me.

It's that four-letter word
people whisper 'round here,
'Cause to say it out loud
makes them reach for a beer.

Yes, it's SNOW!  Here it comes
falling down from the sky!
All my plans are now history,
I'm bumming, am I.

Can't go do some shopping,
can't visit my mom,
Don't tell me to chill out,
I just can't be calm!

I'm stuck in this house
and the walls will close in,
Yes, claustrophobia's
sure to begin.

I guess I'll just write down
these thoughts on the screen,
After all, I'm a writer,
Ya know what I mean?

Ah, I'm feeling much better
and all through my house,
The youngsters are stirring,
including my spouse!

And they hear me exclaim
as I'm typing away:
Merry Christmas to all!
and to all a good day!

Friday, December 19, 2008

sometimes only a poem will do...

Whispers of winter white
dance upon the rooftop,
sprinkle across the windowpanes,
envelop my home.
Jewels that twinkle bright
bounce along the branches,
hugging the evergreen so tight,
lighting up my home.
Soft strains of Silent Night
echo on the airwaves,
touching and lifting hearts this night,
peace will warm my home.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Sounds of Silence (or not)

Drip drip drip.  That's rain water dripping onto my carpet.  Why?  Because my roof is leaking.

Ping ping ping.  That's the heat circulating through the baseboards.  Vents.  Whatever you call them.

Bling bling bling.  That's my son strumming some chords on his guitar.

If you listen carefully there are sounds emanating from various places all throughout your house. We're visual people, most of us, noticing the things we can see with our eyes, except when we're not really paying attention.  And when it comes to smells, well, the rankest ones hit us right in the nostrils, commanding our attention.  But the sounds.?  Not always so obvious.   Much more subtle.  But they're there.  Close your eyes and listen.

Even when you think a house is silent, it really isn't. 

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Part 2 of Mothers Are the True Survivors

(continued from last post)

"Good going, Survivors!  You're all doing splendidly.  But don't get too cocky yet.  You still have enormous challenges ahead of you.  Now you'll face a school age child.  You must pry this 8-year-old out of bed at 7 am, coax him into getting himself completely dressed for school, to eat a bowl of oatmeal, use the toilet, comb his hair, brush his teeth, and search for his backpack while you simultaneously take a shower, comb your hair, apply some makeup, throw on clothes, gulp down coffee, wash the dishes, feed the goldfish, and sign a permission slip.  Sound easy enough?  Ah, but you must do all of this in less than thirty minutes.  And you may not commission a spouse or anyone else to help you.  Survivors ready, set, go!"

Well, only three moms survived that last challenge.

"Congratulations!  But before you pat yourselves on the back, you'd better get mentally prepared for the next test.  This may be the toughest one of all.  You're now going to go head to head with a teenager.  No, not just any teenager.  In fact, we're throwing in two of them--a boy and a girl.  The boy is 15, the girl is 14.  They both need rides.  She needs you to pick her up at school, then drop her off at the hair salon, come back later and drop her off at the mall, pick her up again then take her off to a babysitting gig.  Meanwhile, the boy needs a ride to his friend's house, back home again, then to another friend's house, a hockey game, a rock concert and back home again.  Now since this is just a simulated test and not actual events, we're giving you one hour to accomplish all this.  And just to make things interesting, the two teens will argue with you, ask to borrow money, criticize your driving, tune the car radio to a station you hate and make you listen to it the whole way, and meet you in a different location than the one you agreed on when you go to pick them up.  Whew!  I told you this one would be difficult.  Survivors ready?  Go!"

If there's a mom still standing after this last challenge, then SHE's the true Survivor.  There's no monetary reward, just the satisfaction of a job well done.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mothers are the True Survivors

Does anybody out there still watch that reality show Survivor?  I've never been a fan, but I've got an idea for a new Survivor-like series, a spin on the original one.  This one would pit sixteen mothers against each other to see WHO is the ultimate Survivor of the trials and tribulations of motherhood.  But unlike the TV show's remote locales, oh, just for the fun of it let's make it a different kind of island.  Like Rhode Island.

To start things off the host would say something like this:  "Okay, Survivors.  Your first challenge is to change a dirty diaper.  You must change the diaper in three minutes or less, while the baby is crying, kicking and squirming.  And rubber gloves are NOT allowed.  Ready? Set? Go!"

The moms who fail this first test get booted out of Rhode Island.  The ones who accomplish this messy task can move on to the next challenge.

"Okay, Survivors.  Your next challenge is to get this red-faced, screaming baby to STOP crying.  And whiskey in the baby bottle is NOT allowed.  You have ten minutes to accomplish this task.  Survivors ready?  Go!"

Once again, the moms who fail this test get booted out of Rhode Island.  The ones who persevere will move on to the next challenge.

"All right, Survivors.  You've managed to do what others could NOT do.  I'm very impressed.  But more challenges lie ahead.  Now we move on to toddlers.  Ooh, I hope you are all up to this daunting task.  You must get this two-year-old child completely dressed, to practice using the potty, stop playing with blocks, back on the potty again, into a snowsuit(yes, I know it's 80 degrees out, but...) and strapped into a car seat in less than twenty minutes.  Survivors ready?  Good luck!"

Now, in all likelihood, at this point there will be only a handful of moms left to compete.  The others get kicked out of Rhode Island.  Those still remaining will move on to the next challenge.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A New Home

And so another business bites the dust.  My favorite hair salon I've frequented for the past 10 years is going out of business.  I drove by yesterday greeted by a sign: For Lease.  The owner had sent me a letter back in November, alerting all of her loyal customers about the closing.  Hard times, slow business, so regrettably she was closing her doors.  

And I was a loyal customer at this safe haven, spending a relaxing hour or so sitting in the comfy chair while my stylist worked on my hair.  It was more than just a haircut or coloring; it was a time to chit chat with Nicole, have a few laughs, and read a few magazines under the dryer to find out what Britney, Lindsay and Jessica were up to these days.  (always good for a laugh)

But then Nicole decided to leave and that was quite depressing.  She knew me so well and knew exactly what to do to make my hair look its best.  She was my friend as well as my stylist.  I still miss her.  I continued to visit the salon and tried to make friends with my new stylist.

So now I'll have to find a new hair salon.  I'm sure I can find one, but it won't be the same.  Ten years establishing a rapport with someone/someplace, then leaving your cozy home and getting booted out in the cold.

Another business bites the dust.  And another customer searches for a new home.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Everything Must Change

It's so different now.  I know things have to change, but maybe I have a hard time adjusting to change.  This year I did some things the same way--sliding a new tablecloth across my dining room table, setting the plates, glasses and silverware in place the night before. Then I placed a small candle in the center of the table to provide some warmth and atmosphere.

But on Thanksgiving morning as I prepared to prepare the meal, I thought about what was different this year.  Dad is no longer with us and Mom resides in a nursing home, rather oblivious to what day of the week it is even after you've told her several times.  Thanksgiving has no real meaning for her anymore.  But oh it used to.  I remember those delicious aromas wafting through her kitchen as she prepared the stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn, squash and various other veggies, along with our turkey.  Mom in her apron overseeing the feast, fussing over the burners trying to time it right.

And then it was my turn to oversee the feast for my own family.  Three little kids sniffing the air waiting for the turkey to turn golden brown.  I sat them all at the table where they displayed their best holiday manners.  Our whole family sitting down at the table together for an entire meal!  Priceless!

But this year, on the Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving, Laura and Ben came driving into the driveway, followed five minutes later by Alex.  All three of my grown-up kids home for Thanksgiving.  No longer do they bound down the stairs as I call them to the table.  No, it's quite different now.  They sleep late.  Sleep is more precious, more important now than food.

But eventually that turkey aroma is too powerful, too tempting to keep them in their beds.  They came to the table, bringing their appetites with them.

And we all sat together at the dining room table as a family and ate our Thanksgiving dinner.

Yes, it's different now, but in many ways, it's the same.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

What I learned from Nanoing...

Trying to write an entire novel in one month is quite the challenge.  I learned a number of things. Here are some of them:

1. You can't write a perfect, meaningful, error-free novel in a month.
2. People bug you and interrupt you when you're trying to write each evening.  You're not really busy, you see.
3. If you edit as you go along, you'll never reach 50,000 words in a month.
4. I like to edit as I go along.
5. I need to think before I write.  Sometimes I spend a lot of time thinking.  If I spend a lot of time thinking, I don't end up writing.
6. It's very easy to get distracted when you work at home.  There are way too many distractions.
7. I don't put enough description and scene-setting in my novels.  Maybe I should be writing screenplays instead of novels.  I like dialogue.
8. My novel might not require 50,000 words.  Maybe 34,000 was enough.
9. Perhaps November is not the right month for novel writing.  We need a month with 31 days instead!  One extra day!
10. Perhaps I should just stick to writing poetry.  It's something I can finish!