Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Test

It's all a test. 

This blog has been migrated over to a new website that combines my professional work with my personal writing. The wonderful Andrew Odom helped me out with it because my patience was not what it should have been for that process.

So...what do you think? Keep it all together, or keep it separate? What do you think about site?

Feedback is always welcome. 

Image by thebarrowboy via Flickr

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A Thing

It’s hot.

Eighty-four degrees in the house, to be precise.  At 11:46 p.m.

I have this thing (one of many that makes me so attractive) that I don’t turn on the A/C until Memorial Day, and it goes off after Labor Day.

And the rest of the time we suffer.

Here’s the thing about having a “thing”: sometimes it’s good. I also have a thing about bigotry (deal breaker) and standing up for people who can’t stand up for themselves (a must-do).

But sometimes a “thing” can be a serious detriment. Not just the fact that if I had balls to sweat off they would be long shriveled and melted away. This is minor, and I will certainly survive (plus, I already have offspring, so infertility is no biggie. And the dogs are getting a little chubby and could maybe be wrapped in plastic wrap to expedite their weight loss. But I digress).

A “thing” like insisting on never doing something (because you never have done that thing before) or always doing something because that’s the way you’ve always done it: these can be bad.

This past Christmas (and I use this label to mark the date only, as we do not celebrate the birth of Jesus in any way), we threw out every tradition we ever had, sort of a preemptive strike against any guerilla grief. We didn’t get out ornaments . We didn’t eat Chinese or go to a movie on the 25th. We weren’t even on our regular coast. And it was perfect. It was different.

It was liberating.

So I may be too cheap to turn on the A/C early (and that may never change), but I wonder what else I should think of doing differently, what “things” I should re-visit and re-think. Now seems to be the time. I am a big fan of systems, but everything is changing.

What do you cling to? For better or worse?

Image by Pockafwye via Flickr

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Weekly Round Up of Random Thoughts

(can you see it?)

Random Thought The First: It strikes me that this blog may sound a little sanctimonious at times, sort of competitively enlightened. That is not my intention. I have a friend who is a recovering alcoholic who likes to lecture me like I am four whenever I ask for advice (and even when I don't). This is just my journey, y'all. It's not meant to do anything other than get some thoughts out of my head and onto digital paper. On the other hand, if you're offended, well, that's just your problem. Please see my very first post on this blog for that disclaimer. If I was trying to intentionally offend you, I'd say it to you directly.

Random Thought the Second: When we finally land in Charm City, I am going to make every single thing on my Pinterest and Tumblr. I have delicious-sounding recipes and funky crafts, but they are pointless in digital form. So starting with this today. Just because.

Random Thought the Third: I miss books. Real books. I haven't read decent fiction in awhile; maybe I am at the point in my life where made-up stories just don't cut the mustard. If anyone has a suggestion, I would love to hear it. I need some good reading.

Random Thought the Fourth: Moving day is 76 days from now. SHIT. So much to do. We actually need to be packed and ready to go July 11th, so really it's 62 days from now.

Random Thought the Last: Current bourbon: Elijah Craig 12. Delicious. Totally different than Angel's Envy.

That's it. No revelations for today. Nothing profound. Just a little random airing out of the brain.

Happy Mother's Day to everyone; La is making me breakfast pizza tomorrow morning, and I can't wait. XO

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Remember the snakes? The ones I talked about yesterday?

Well, today I accidentally weed-whacked one. It started writhing and flailing and I dropped the weed whacker and ran, screaming and cursing, to the other side of the lawn.

I am ashamed to admit (only a little ashamed, really) that I invited my 14-year-old daughter and her friend outside to "see it," mostly so one of them would cut off its head and put it out of its misery, then fling it out of the yard. I then made them pick up my tools, and I was done for the day. The bushes in the back remain untrimmed, which is unfortunate because I had to stand on a ten-foot step ladder just to hack them down to a manageable size so I could cut them more easily before the fence guy comes tomorrow and now they remain like a Towering Wall of Shrubbery that may make the fence guy's job a little difficult.

This fear I have has deep roots in the mountains of western Maryland. I watched a copperhead give birth to what seemed like thousands of writhing babies on the patio in front of our front door. My father stood with a shovel, trying to crush each baby before it slithered away, but inevitably, every summer we would have to wind a circuitous path down the wooden steps of our house, on the right side at the top and the left side at the bottom, avoiding known places where the grown-up babies would bask.

I remember crawling, sobbing, through bushes on the side of our country road to avoid a copperhead sprawled out on the warm pavement in the morning when I walked to the bus.

My brother stepped right over one, a big one, and my dad whacked it in half with a shovel.

We found a snake curled up in the corner of our kitchen, a black snake, but four feet long and as big around as a baby's arm.

I opened the cabinet for a glass once and came face to face with a  snake, staring at me.

We found one in our bathroom.

On the stairs.

Curled in the bushes when I reached for a raspberry.

I could go on. They were everywhere.

I can't shake it, this fear, and it makes me think of what other fears I have that I can't shake. After this past Year of the Snake (the irony is not lost on me), I am not so sure that there is anything left to fear. Every other fear seems so irrational and ridiculous and statistically insignificant that I cannot quite bring myself to be truly afraid.

What scares you most? Truly keeps you up at night or jerks you wide awake in the small hours?

Image by David Evans via Flickr

Monday, May 5, 2014

Cracking the Whip

It's Monday again. 

I am trying to make myself go to yoga. Mondays are hard. 

Being your own boss is difficult. You have to be your own cheerleader and task master. This seems like research from the Department of Duh, but I am here to tell you that it is WAY HARDER than it sounds. 

We get all over kids for putting stuff off and and not being all focused and whatnot, but I have just spent the past two hours watching cat videos and drinking coffee. I maybe paid some bills in there, but I can seriously waste some time if I want to. 

I am the Queen of Procrastination, so forcing myself to do something early is challenging. I threaten myself and try to convince myself that if something happens and I get sick or the computer dies or whatever then I am ahead and I can still meet my deadlines and not be irresponsible. So I write two weeks' worth of stuff and feel all proud of myself then go back to watching cat videos and looking at houses in Baltimore for two weeks and am then no longer ahead. I am out of bourbon currently, so there is no drinking but there is lots of coffee which makes my fingertips feel ELECTRIC and my heart feel a little jumpy which is always interesting. 

I should be developing my website, writing nine articles that are due Friday and another one that isn't due but would be nice to write ahead of time. At the very least I should mow the lawn so the neighbors don't hate me, but there are SNAKES out there and I almost stepped on one last time. 

It is beautiful this morning in the way the south is beautiful for about two months out of the year where the sky is so crispy blue that it looks like the trees are outlined in black. We happen to have particularly comfortable rocking-type chairs out back, so I can move from shade to shade and watch the leaves flutter for hours.


Yoga in 30 minutes. I am out of here.

Image by davidd via Flickr

Sunday, May 4, 2014

May the 4th Be With You

Fourteen years ago today, Pacific time, I was fitfully resting on a hospital bed while Dane napped, drooling, on one of those uncomfortable pull-out chairs reserved for dads. Husky Stadium (the old one) was shrouded in mist, and the sun was barely beginning to rise.

Later in the day, we would watch the beginning of The Price is Right before things started to get really hectic. There would be lots of crying, and pain I still remember clearly, a moment of panic directly after she was born, and, perhaps in a bit of foreshadowing, someone actually getting shit on. 

The Gorgeous Girl was born at 11:21 p.m. on Thursday, May 4th, 2000, and she has been the love of my life since she drew her first breath.

Happy birthday to my sweetest girl!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Just Be Honest

It is crazy to me how many excuses people make to hold themselves back from doing things.

I think a lot about this lately (and I apparently also use the words "a lot" a lot, which is a cardinal sin in my former writing classes because what "a lot" means to different people varies widely. But I digress). I think that one of the only good things to develop out of Dane's death is the gift of perspective. At 43, and at 13 for Sicily, we are able to look at what is important to us and then act on it. Some people spend their whole lives and never figure out what really matters to them.

According to a palliative care nurse who spent many years tending to people who were dying, their regrets, regardless of background, are pretty much the same: working too hard, not being true to themselves, not spending enough time with family, not staying in touch with friends, not expressing their feelings, and not allowing themselves to be happy. Your priorities may be different now, but I will wager that in the end, they are pretty much the same.

(Side note: when I am harping on Sicily about practicing French, I tell her, "No one ever said on their deathbed, 'Man, I regret learning the second language.'" She is never impressed by that, but when I asked her what she thought one of the five regrets were, the first thing she said was, "Not learning a second language." That made me chuckle. The indoctrination is taking hold!!)

I was on the interwebs this morning and saw a post on Facebook from Macy Miller, a friend who designed and built her own (spectacular) tiny house. The first comment was something along the lines of, "Of course she built a house because she is an architect." The insinuation being that you are utterly powerless to build a house unless you already possess the skills to do so.

Which is absurd.

That was just one more excuse. If the commenter really wanted to build a house, nothing would have stopped her. But instead of saying, "Hey, I think this is cool, but I highly doubt I would be able to persist through all of the scraped knuckles, poor measurement, and other mistakes to learn the skills I need to build the house," she made an excuse. 

We all make excuses, but what a colossal waste of time. Just be honest with yourself and make life a lot smoother (see? Used it again. Damnit.). Sometimes we just don't want to. Sometimes it's too hard, or we don't want to sacrifice something else, or we lack confidence, or, or, or. Just be honest with yourself, and maybe your regrets will be fewer.

Or maybe not. But at least you were honest.

Image by Carmella Fernando via Flickr