Friday, December 21, 2012
Tree stands were apparently sent by the Grinch to steal the spirit of Christmas. Just ask my daddy, aka, Ben Daddy.
Year after year, he struggled to get our freshly-cut tree to stand up straight in its stand with the help of three flimsy screws. Year after year, he failed, and we’d inevitably resort to other measures such as tying the top with string and running it across the room to help it stay in place. God only knows what Martha Stewart would have said.
One particular year – my most memorable Christmas – Dad met his match in a beautiful tree with a crooked trunk. I’m sure my sister and I insisted it was the one and that we had to have it. Perhaps the crooked trunk made it even more lovable in our eyes, but for Dad, tackling that trunk was like Ahab trying to catch Moby Dick. As my son is fond of saying, “This is not going to end well.”
Dad cussed and stomped around and made every attempt to force the tree into its stand, but the tree would have none of it.
Finally, Dad hit his boiling point. In a rage, he grabbed the tree and tossed it into the ditch in the front yard while my sister and I screamed, “Not the tree, Daddy! Are we still going to have Christmas?”
At which point, he answered us by flinging the tree stand like a frisbee over the roof of the house. I’m sure we women gave him the silent treatment, and, frankly, I don’t remember the rest of the story. I assume we got another tree, and I’m pretty sure Santa Claus came, but the memory of that event far overshadowed whatever we got in our stocking.
It’s been many years later, and we still laugh about that Christmas. I think Dad’s a little ashamed, but now that I have to deal with tree stands of my own, I can relate to his hatred of them.
This year, we searched high and low for a tree, which is ironic since my son is a Boy Scout and actually sells them. Sadly, we waited too late and missed our opportunity. After five or six empty lots, we drove our hungry children across town and bought a 6-footer for a whopping $70. Merry Christmas to us.
The only problem is, we couldn’t find our tree stand. We looked high and low through the many boxes of decorations. Still no stand.
Someday, some smart guy will come along and invent a magical new method for keeping trees in place. Until then, we’ll go on making memories – with or without a Christmas tree.
Happy holidays from the Knight family.
Monday, December 3, 2012
I work full-time now, and I’m really, really tired when I get home. Real tired. I know plenty of women work and keep their homes neat and their kids fed, but my energy level allowed me to choose one or the other, and the house doesn’t whine.
I can only say this because my grandmother has passed away, but I’m a lousy housekeeper. My grandmother’s house was so clean that my daughter wrote a report about it back in the third grade, stating she had the “cleanest basement in the whole world” and that was no exaggeration.
Today, my daughter has a house of her own, and she said she tries to think to herself, “Is this clean enough for G.G.?” If not, she cleans some more. It obviously skipped a generation or two.
Back to the maid. I hired her through word of mouth. I mentioned to my hairdresser that I was looking for one, and she in turn yelled “Hey, know anyone who cleans?” to her coworker across the room, who in turn gave me a number. That, my friends, is how news travels.
I called her, and we spoke. You’d think I’d be interviewing her, asking her questions about her qualifications, but instead, I spent most of the phone call ensuring her that we’d tidy up before she came and trying to convince her that we really weren’t that bad. I guess I sounded fairly convincing or either desperate enough that she felt sorry for me because she agreed to stop by and give me an estimate.
“Clean up!” I yelled when I got home from work that day. “I’ve hired a maid, and I don’t want her to know how filthy we are.”
“I don’t want anybody but my mama cleaning my room,” my son protested.
I guess I should have been flattered. Instead, I closed his door and told the maid she didn’t have to go in there.
“I wouldn’t ask you to do anything I wouldn’t do myself,” I told her.
She gave her price, and we agreed for her to come the following day. Since I was at work, my husband texted me updates at my insistence. They went something like this.
“Catch her! Tell her to please come back, please. I’ll pay double!” I said, cursing myself for not telling him to offer her a sandwich and something cold to drink.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Friday, November 23, 2012
See, I’m reasonable.
I bit my tongue when my husband accidentally called the house with a jazz version of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” blaring on his truck radio. I wanted to ask if it were some kind of sick joke, but I didn’t. I’ve ignored his humming of holiday tunes around the house and didn’t accuse of him of doing it just to bug me.
See, I’m very reasonable — until one night when my family piled into the car to go somewhere.
“Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock …” sang the radio.
“Jingle around the clock!” my family chimed in at the top of their lungs.
I turned, glared at the kids and pushed the button hard for the next station.
“I’ll have a blue Christmas …” it played.
“Without you …” my family sang in exaggerated fashion. “You’ll be doin’ all right, with your Christmas so whi …”
At which point, I couldn’t stand it and turned the radio off all together.
“You’re a Scrooge,” my husband teased.
“A Scrooge?” I said, outraged. “It’s Veterans Day!”
And, it was. Downtown Newnan looked beautiful with its white lights, but what about flags? Shouldn’t we slow down and enjoy each holiday as it comes, instead of lumping them all together into a “holiday season” that starts the minute the last door is shut on a trick-or-treater? Or is it just me? Sometimes I feel as if it is.
I love Thanksgiving. I love everything it’s about – family, food and, most importantly, being thankful for both. There are no gifts, no pressure to buy, no pressure to decorate perfectly or even to be happy. On Thanksgiving, the biggest decision one has to make is whether to take a nap, go for a walk or have another piece of pie after lunch.
And best of all, there are no songs.
I know some people really love all the pomp and circumstance that come with Christmas, and there are people who have already decorated and been ready for the big event for weeks. Believe it or not, this year, I’m one of them. My children went to a pottery place and hand painted the perfect gift for me. It’s a plate that reads, “Happy Everything!”
I’ve decided to keep it on my mantel year-round. I figure that covers all the holidays, and, hopefully, it will remind me that listening to “The Little Drummer Boy” won’t kill me, no matter what time of year it is — especially when my precious children are singing along.
Friday, November 16, 2012
At first, I was horrified at the thought of sitting around and allowing my family and friends to wait on me, but I found that I soon warmed to the concept. So much so that I began enjoying it more than I felt I should. I voiced this concern to a friend who reminded me: “You have every right to enjoy your recovery – guilt free.”
That was just the permission I needed. Since that moment, I’ve decided to embrace my down time, not fight it. Here’s what I’ve learned in the process:
The world will not end if I don’t leave the house. That’s a good thing because I rather like not leaving the house.
Showers feel really good after a few days.
My son secretly knows how to do laundry. I don’t know how or why.
It’s very easy to tweet the day away.
It’s humanly impossible not to eat fun-sized candy bars if they are in the house.
True friends pass along their trashy magazines. I have lots of true friends.
There’s very little a piece of homemade lemon meringue pie won’t cure.
I don’t miss running nearly as much as I thought I would. Nor working. Nor cooking. Nor cleaning.
In fact, I think recovery becomes me. As my friend said, “It’s amazing what we go through just to get a vacation.”
She’s right. It may not fit into our plans, but God knows what He’s doing and when we need to put our feet up.
So, for now, I’m going to put away my to-do list, unwrap a bite-sized 3 Musketeers, pull out my stack of Hollywood magazines and enjoy because, ready or not, I’ll be well before I know it. At least, my family hopes so!
Friday, November 9, 2012
“Because that’s just what they do in South,” I said.
As I said, very important things.
I also worried a little about food, specifically, what we were going to eat. My husband is an excellent chef and cooks plenty of meals, but for some reason, I had it in my head that I should buy a case or two of power bars to keep by my bed just in case. I should have known that no matter one’s situation, if you know a few Southern women, you have nothing to fear.
In addition to my husband’s homemade Brunswick stew, we’ve been blessed with food from some of the area's finest cooks. Night after night, these sweet friends of mine entered bearing casserole dishes — some fancy, some disposable — all equally delicious.
“I like home-cooked meals,” my daughter said enthusiastically, making me feel a twinge of guilt for not cooking enough the past year, or two, or three ...
The best part about Southern women is they think of everything. The food was gluten- and nut-free per our allergies. They brought jugs of Chick-fil-A tea, 12 packs of cranberry La Croix and sacks of People magazines for me to pass the time. They brought ice cream and cookies for dessert, gift cards for take-out later and cinnamon rolls for breakfast. I gotta tell you, recovering from surgery ain’t half bad.
And beyond the kitchen, I’ve gotten flowers, phone calls, visits, texts and prayers. Any ounce of apprehension vanished as soon as my friends sprang into action. Thank God, I let them, though being the true friends that they are, I had no choice.
Saturday, October 27, 2012
Women wouldn’t have to worry about if they’ve forgotten their girlfriend’s daughter’s birthday or failed to notice right away that they got their late-in-life braces off. All they’d need to know is if the Bulldogs won and whether or not they need a new kicker.
It would really eliminate a lot of pressure.
Now, to be clear, I do not mean they should talk about their kids’ sports. While most women are supportive of one another kids, there’s still a gray area when it comes to who brought the best snacks and who has volunteered more often in the concession stand. Believe me, it exists.
Though I have to admit, I have never seen two women discussing sports. Ever.
I have noticed, however, that every reporter on the field at football games is a woman. I’m not saying they shouldn’t be there, but I wonder if it’s now a requirement to get an interview.
Friday, October 19, 2012
Apparently, one of the television channels is showing a scary movie a night. While I was out of town at a writers’ conference, he was home watching – not the movies – but the commercials.
“Who do you think is scarier, Jason or Chucky?” he asked.
After much debate, we decided that, while Chucky is certainly creepy and worth checking twice under our beds for, his small stature gave us the upper hand.
“Who do you think is the scariest out of all the horror movies,” he asked.
That was easy – Michael Myers.
And forget the movie, I remember borrowing the book, “Halloween,” from a friend and reading it on the bus.
“What’s ‘The Shining’ about?” he asked.
I could have regaled him with the details, but instead, being a mom and scared to death of that movie, I said, “Nothing you need to know about.”
To his credit, he didn’t press. Some stories are better left dead and buried.
With his help, I have compiled a list of do’s and don'ts if you happen to encounter Chucky, Jason or, gulp, Michael Myers this Halloween:
Don’t answer the door if you hear scary music. For example, the “chee, chee, chee” sound that Jason’s waiting outside with a knife.
Do carry your cell phone. Home lines will always be cut.
Do not trust anyone who smiles like Jack Nicholson.
Do expect if you buy a scary mask for Halloween, your kid will sneak up on you while you are doing laundry and not say a word.
Do rent Monsters Inc. this Halloween -- or ET, and cuddle up with your kid.
That seems to be the best defense of all.
Friday, October 12, 2012
My first 5K was two years ago. I was very proud of my time. An impossibly-thin friend I had not seen since high school saw me after the race and asked me what my time was. I proudly told her (note that I am not writing it here).
“That’s a great run for a 10K,” she said.
“Oh, that was for the 5K,” I said.
Her face said the rest.
Since that time, I’ve entered more races, and I’ve run better times. I set my PR when I was running with my best friend. She had done the couch to 5K training plan. I assumed her 5K time would be like my first 5K time. We stayed together the first two miles. By the third, she was still talking, and I knew I was in trouble.
“Are you OK?” she asked.
“Just. Can’t. Talk,” I managed to get out during breaths. “Go. Ahead. Save. Yourself.”
And off she went to the finish line. She later swears she wasn’t trying to beat me – just the guy who was speed walking ahead of us. It didn’t matter, my pride was too tired to care.
You get that there’s nothing to make you feel more alive than almost dying en route.
Friday, October 5, 2012
This summer, we took advantage of some frequent flyer miles to visit her and her family in Alaska. They picked us and our gear up at the airport in two cars, and we drove straight to the best pizza parlor in town. Excited about reuniting, we pulled into the parking lot and began chattering away like we haven’t seen each other in, well, years.
After a leisurely meal, I decided to forego a visit to the powder room because I didn’t want to make the men wait. And thank heavens I was so considerate, because as soon as we went outside, we heard the beep, beep, beep of a wrecker. My brother-in-law bolted across the parking lot just in time to see one of his two cars hitched to the back. If you have not guessed by now, we had inadvertently parked in a no-parking zone. Had I powdered my nose, we’d been minus a car and our gear.
“I sat there and watched you get out and go in the restaurant. I was going to tow you then, but I had another call. After I towed this one, I was going to come back and tow the other,” the man with the wrecker said.
My sister paid a fee that was far less than it would have been two minutes later.
“Still have Green luck,” my husband observed. “We’re in trouble with you two together.”
“I say we have ‘could-have-been-worse luck,’” I said.
My sister and I agreed that it was another case of “it-could-have-been-worse luck.” At least they didn’t tow it, we said.
For the rest of our visit, we took the Alaskan road signs very seriously. On our final night, we dined on delicious Alaskan fare and then went for a stroll around Anchorage. Having eaten all the chocolate I intended to bring back as souvenirs, I insisted on restocking at a local store. That chocolate ended up costing us $60. Yes, we were five minutes late to our two-hour parking, and we paid for.
“I’m tired of could-have-been-worse-luck,” my sister said, a bit discouraged and sad that we were leaving.
“Do you know what I think?” I said. “If you are lucky enough to spend the week with your sister and her family, then you’re lucky enough. And, if you’re lucky enough to spend a week with them in Alaska, well, then you’re aren’t lucky at all; you’re blessed.”
Sunday, September 30, 2012
So, I took off my glasses and went to school. Since I was, in effect, blind without them and unable to distinguish the faces I passed in the hall, I cheerfully greeted everyone. I was no longer a shy girl. Instead, I was a girl who didn’t know a stranger -- literally.
That shy girl still lives inside of me, however. My natural inclination is to avoid things that make me fearful, and people are high on that list. I still have the same fear of rejection or sounding stupid. I fear it right now as I write this column, but I’ve done it anyway.
I read a quote recently by a hero of mine and most girls from the 1980s, Michael J. Fox. He said, “What other people think of me is not my business.”
When I’m expressing my opinion or, sometimes, even dressing for the day, I repeat this. And it helps.
As the years went on, I’ve continued to “fake it until I made it.” My first writing job is a good case in point. I went to the local business expo to allow the kids to sample some candy and pick up a few freebies.
“Why don’t you get a job while you’re there?” my husband teased.
“I believe I will,” I retorted, not amused.
As fate would have it, an editor for a regional magazine was there. My son, who is not shy, began chatting with her, and I suppressed my shy inner self and asked, “Do you need any local writers? I have an English degree.”
“Sure!” she said, and pressed her card into my hand. Days later she called and arranged to meet me.
“Oh, and bring your clips,” she said.
I assured her I would, hung up the phone and immediately googled clips. In case you are wondering, they are writing samples, and I didn’t have any. So, determined to be able to tell my husband that I had, indeed, gotten a job, I searched through our hot attic until I found my old college term papers.
Sunday, September 23, 2012
(Just teasing – sort of.)
I understood where she was coming from. It’s a fine line between being an overprotective, hypochondriac mom who rushes one’s child to the doctor for a nosebleed or a handful of splinters to the mom who brings her kid in for his well visit only to discover that he has dual ear infections and a bad case of bronchitis.
I have been (and done) both.
When my first child was born, pre-Internet, I used my well-worn copy of “Your Child’s Health” to attempt to diagnose what was going on with her. The online photos may gross me out now, but I can tell you rashes were particularly difficult to interpret based on descriptions alone back then.
My older daughter was somewhere between the age of 4 and 6 when I took her to see a local longtime pediatrician.
“I keep calling her name and telling her to do things, but she doesn’t acknowledge me,” I said. “I think there is something wrong with her ears!”
A sly grin crossed the doctor's face, but he went ahead and performed a hearing test. To my surprise, it was perfectly normal.
That’s when it dawned on me -- something the doctor had already determined but was respectful enough not to dismiss. She wasn’t hard of hearing. She was just ignoring me.
That same doctor had been there earlier when I brought my daughter in for the first time at the age of 15 months. She had what I thought was a tear duct infection since she was 3 months old. I went to various doctors and tried all types of prescription drops and answered endless questions from strangers such as “Why are her eyes watering? Has she been crying?”
It turns out her tear ducts were clogged, and she, my baby, my first baby, needed surgery. Who knew? Thankfully, the doctor did.
I’d like to think now that I’m on my third child, I have a better idea of what requires a doctor’s visit, and maybe I do.
I once brought my son in and told the nurse, “He doesn’t have a fever. He’s not complaining, but every once in a while, he coughs.”
Sunday, September 16, 2012
“Mom, did I tell you that the tea you made is very good?”
That was better than expected. In the South, praising one’s sweet tea is the ultimate compliment.
“Now can you sign my book,” she said.
Giveth and taketh away, I thought, as I signed my name in the “Paying compliments” column.
She was still gathering signatures as I drove her and her friends to Cotillion.
“Be sure to watch me proper rise when I get out the car,” she said, “so you can sign off on it.”
I smiled to myself. We drive an Expedition. I couldn’t wait to see her proper rise out of that.
“I forgot my gloves,” said one of the girls hurrying back into the house to get them.
“Good thing you found them,” my daughter said. “I took mine off last time because they were bothering me, and I had to hold a boy’s hand, and it was sweaty.”
“You mean you touched a boy’s hand without a glove?!” asked her friend.
“Yes, ewww, it was gross,” she said.
At this point, I broke the chauffeur’s code and acknowledged I was listening to their conversation.
“Well, I hope you didn’t say anything,” I said, feeling sorry for the poor nervous fellow.
“No, but I made a facial expression to let him know!”
“I hope we don’t have to close dance,” said another friend.
Again, I, being a mom, could not resist.
“Why, because of the sweat?”
“Mom, you know why - Awkward!”
After a few giggles, the girls debated what kind of punch is served and whether or not they would try any tonight. Soon, we reached our destination.
“Have fun, wear your gloves, and don’t forget to proper rise on the way out,” I said, amidst their laughter.
Thursday, September 13, 2012
How the award works:
•If you are nominated, you’ve been awarded the Versatile Blogger award.
•Thank the blogger who nominated you and include a link to their site.
•Copy and paste the award to your blog.
•Share seven random facts about yourself.
•Nominate 15 bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly and include a link to their site.
•Let the other bloggers know that you have nominated them.
So, without further ado, I give you my nominations. Each of them brings something unique and refreshing to the blogosphere. All of them have written at least one thing that has made me laugh, cry and/or think. Some I have just discovered, and others I’ve been following for years. I apologize for those I've inadvertantly left off. Hope you enjoy.
Mamas Against Drama
Writing as Jo(e)
Swimming in the Trees
Momalog - Good enough parenting, one day at a time
I miss you when I blink
Sisterhood of the sensible moms
Life your way!
Tea with friends
Oh boy mom
The good foot
Happy little feet
The Martha Project
Sunday, September 9, 2012
Now that I’m of a certain age, I agree. It is weird. But, unlike my dad, I’ve noticed a few telltale signs that have given me just a hint that I might be older than I feel. Below is a compilation of a few I’ve noticed and/or observed:
You covet your neighbors’ refrigerator, specifically the stainless steel with the freezer on bottom.
You get excited because you got a text, and you see that it’s from your pharmacy telling you that your prescription is ready. And then you get even more excited.
You’re still waiting on leg warmers to come back in style. Please come back in style.
You have to explain what your slang expressions mean to your kids.
You look forward to your doctor’s appointment.
You begin sentences with “back in 1983 ...”
You occasionally say “car phone” instead of “cell phone.”
You’ve been known to listen for a dial tone on said cell phone.
The interns at work are younger than your daughter.
You stop asking if your outfit makes your butt look big because (a) you know it does, and (b) you don’t care.
When you wake up in the morning, you are truly glad to be alive.
You forget and refer to your deceased loved ones in the present tense.
When you tell people at your high school reunion that you are glad to see them, you mean it.
Your hair dresser is your best friend.
You have socks older than your children.
You pray the kids don’t put you on “What not to wear” because you don’t want to give up your favorite gray sweatshirt with paint on it.
You know how many calories and grams of fat are in 12 almonds.
You have learned to forgive people, including yourself.
You know your limitations, yet it doesn’t stop you.
You value good toilet paper.
You start caring about the weather.
You write thank you notes -- and mail them.
You miss your grandmother’s cooking.
You’ll pay an ungodly amount of money for two ounces of wrinkle cream.
You won’t pay more than $2.50 for a head of lettuce.
You would seriously consider killing for good homemade fudge.
Your kids are taller than you, which they think makes them smarter.
You know they never will be because you are older, and if you’re living right, wiser.
Friday, August 31, 2012
As they got ready to leave, my husband held up a handful of things. I couldn’t tell what they were, just saw that they were all shapes and sizes.
“Look what we’re bringing,” he said.
“What are they?” I asked, thinking perhaps they were flashlights.
“Knives,” he answered.
To which my son, my favorite son, added: “Duh!”
I looked in amazement. Less than a month into middle school, and I had gotten my very first “Duh.”
“I can’t believe you just did that to me,” I said.
Misunderstanding what I meant, he said, “I’m sorry, Mom. I forgot to hug you,” and came over and gave me such a happy squeeze that I forgave him instantly.
I know if I really want to impress him, I could take the time to learn about guns, knives and sports. I’m aware that I have a lot of room to grow in that area. I once called a touchdown a home run, which is apparently a sin, especially in the South, where you’re supposed to be born knowing better.
But I have been a mom long enough to know that a milkshake after the game will cause him to soon forget, and forgive, my ignorance. And what impresses him more is not my knowledge, but the fact that I’m willing to take him to Wal-mart at 8:30 p.m. after a long day of work to let him buy a tank that shoots airsoft pellets, an item he knows I care nothing about.
Friday, August 24, 2012
My inner voice is a real you-know-what sometimes. And it’s often quite right.
“If Christina can get up to do a triathlon, then there’s no earthly reason I cannot get out of bed, wish her luck and tell her good-bye,” I thought.
She was packed and ready to go when I walked in the kitchen.
“Good morning!” she said enthusiastically, and I marveled at how two people can go to bed at the same time yet wake up in totally different moods. “How are you?”
At this, I went into my list of daily complaints. I’m not sure how I have so many when I’ve done nothing but sleep the night before, yet they rolled off my tongue.
“Awww, poor baby, do you need me to drop you off at the ER on the way to my triathlon?” said Christina playfully in her wonderful German accent that allows her to say anything and get away with it.
“No, look at what you are doing. My problems are minor,” I said, sucking in my self-pity and focusing on preparing her for the race.
We loaded up her bike, and she headed south for the 2012 Tri PTC Sprint Triathlon. In case you are wondering, a sprint for a triathlon usually means a 750- meter swim, followed by a 12-mile bike ride and topped off with a 5K. This is half the distance of an Olympic triathlon and less than a quarter of the distance of the Ironman, which my friend aspires to do.
If it makes you tired just reading it, then you should really go watch like I did. I was unable to see Christina – and the approximately 750 other participates - swim across the beautiful, but shallow and mucky, Lake Peachtree. I did, however, get to see her as she came out the water and entered what is called the transition area.
The transition area is row after row of bikes and gear where the athletes change (and eat). I can’t even remember where I parked my car after shopping at Publix, so I can’t imagine finding my bike in that sea of equipment.
Yet, they do, and once they have it, they push past cheering spectators and family members. I spoke to the lady next to me and learned she was there to support her husband. He was 60 years old and started doing triathlons at 50. Ironically, he came out of the water just behind my friend.
I saw another older man taking his time drying off while his college-age kids yelled, “We love you, Daddy!”
I saw a girl with one arm run past with her bike, her hair still damp from her swim. I saw a man with a prosthetic leg. I saw young juniors whom we may one day see in the Olympics zip past, I saw middle aged people, I saw older people, I saw kids as young as 9 (Participates write their ages on the back of their calves.)
Sunday, August 19, 2012
When I was a child, I couldn’t wait to grow up so I could eat and drink anything I wanted, stay up all night and drive a convertible, preferably all at the same time. As an adult, I often wish I were still a child, so I could eat and drink anything I wanted, go to bed early, and, well, I still want the convertible.
Alas, there’s a pesky thing called reality, which means I’m gluten intolerant and have to follow a strict diet, both margaritas and Coca-Cola give me an instant headache, I forget what time I go to bed, I just daydream of a restful night’s sleep, and I do not [yet] drive a convertible.
To sum it up, reality bites. However, I have lived long enough to realize that, as a wise person once said, “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored,” which brings me to my present state — focusing on the things that I can change.
First, I made a list of those things. I pulled out a big notebook and sharpened my pencil and got ready to right all the wrongs of the world. Number one, I wrote, myself. Number two, hmmm ... to my surprise, there was no number two.
As part of the exercise, I also wrote a list of things I can’t change. I continued that list until I got a hand cramp. Turns out I do not control the universe, thank God. I mean that literally, thank you, God.
So, reflecting on my most recent birthday milestone, I decided that I would work on changing myself for the better. And I’m making some headway. I have gotten up bright and early (well, the past two days anyway). I’m eating healthy, and I have an exercise plan in place just waiting to be implemented. I also started reading more, and I don’t mean books like “50 Shades of Gray.” I mean, motivational books, though from what I’ve heard, “50 Shades” might qualify.
The first book I read suggested that one write seven things he or she loves about him or herself.
That will be easy. I thought, and pulled out my pencil and notebook, and there this writer sat, with nothing much to say.
Hmm ... perhaps I could put modesty as one, I thought, but that in and of itself defeats the principle of modesty.
So, I contemplated a little harder, and I came up with the following:
I do not give up easily. When I was a child, I believe this was referred to as “stubborn.” As an adult, I’m going to call it “determined” or “tenacious.”
I have a good sense of humor. When I was a child, this was sometimes called being a “smart mouth,” and it wasn’t always funny to adults. Now that I’m adult, I prefer to call it, “witty,” and it still isn’t always funny to adults.
I’m friendly. This is great for my job because people tend to open up and tell me things but not as much fun when it’s the grocery store clerk, and I just want to buy my bread and go home.
I am not materialistic. Above reference to convertible notwithstanding.
I am a good mom. Aren’t I, kids? Tell them. Tell them now or go to your room. (Just kidding. See number two)
I can write, though I think everyone holds this gift. If you had a wonderful encouraging teacher like I did, you may discover it one day. Thanks, Mrs. Faires.
I’m a prolific list maker. Books I want to read, songs I want to download, words I want to know the meaning of, quotes I like, things I need to do, things I’ve done ... the very act of creating a list makes me happy, especially the one that said I only control one thing in this world. Now, that’s something to love.
Try your list and let me know what’s on it.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
He had caught every game without relief with the exception of one inning, when a boy filling in was promptly carried off the field after being clocked in the head by a wayward ball.
I paced not because I was nervous that my son would suffer the same fate. I’ve been a boy’s mama long enough to know that he probably would get hurt -- and he’d probably get over it pretty fast.
No, I paced because there was a rabid fan in the stands. I’m sure you know the type. They holler, yell and berate the players. That’s fine for major or even minor league baseball, but these were 10- and 11-year-old kids. And I don’t even think he was related to any of them.
I listened, fumed, paced and shot him dirty looks, trying to politely let him know that he was distracting the kids and ruining an otherwise peaceful evening at the ball park, to which he was oblivious.
Frustrated, I did the next thing I knew to do – tell my husband.
“Can’t you just ignore him?” he said.
I tried for about 30 seconds until the next hoot, holler and obnoxious rant started and decided that was impossible. So, I stood up and sized up the situation and concluded it was a good thing God made me a 5 foot, 2 inch woman and not a man, because I’d be wrapping my knees right now.
Wrapping one’s knees is a technique my daddy always employed when we were growing up. He’d get so angry – usually because someone did or said something out of line to one of his girls – my mom, my sister and me – that he’d be ready to fight. But before he could fight, he had to wrap his knees. Years of weightlifting had taken its toll, and they had to be wrapped and wrapped tightly before any physical activity, especially putting a whooping on someone.
Fortunately, Dad carried knee wraps in his back pocket for just this sort of situation. And, even more fortunate for the other guy, my mom, my sister and I were always on hand to talk Dad out of killing someone.
I can remember it clearly. He’d stomp in, red faced, telling us just what he was going to do to that “you-know-what.”
We’d say “No, Daddy, don’t fight him!” all the while Dad would wound the wrap around his knees tighter and tighter. By the time he got them wrapped, the redness had left his face; he’d calmed down enough to realize that perhaps pulverizing the guy wasn’t the best method.
It wasn’t until I was an adult that I understood why Daddy had to wrap his knees. Sure, he had bad joints, but it also gave him time to calm down and put things in perspective.
I may not be an Olympic weightlifter, and I may not be a man, but I certainly get angry enough – on and off the ball field – that I, too, have had to go “wrap my knees.”
Whether that be taking a walk or writing a column or going to get a Coke at the concession stand for 20 minutes, it works, fortunately -- for the other guy, that is.
Friday, August 10, 2012
Once home, my son fell asleep and woke up six hours later.
“What time is it?” he asked.
“It’s 8:30,” I said.
“A.M. or P.M.?” he said.
It was then that I knew we were in trouble.
Fortunately, we recovered from our jet lag. Unfortunately, it was just in time to spend the weekend school shopping.
In case you have not had to do this in a while, it’s bad enough to make one want to endure a seven-hour flight next to Beetlejuice back to Alaska. No, I didn’t just watch that movie, too. My son and I actually sat next to him on the way home. At least he looked, sounded, and, I’m certain, smelled like him.
As he slipped his shoes off and starting snoring, I even tried saying “Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!” to see if it would make him disappear. Alas, no such luck.
As unpleasant as it was, it still beat shopping amongst anxious kids and even more anxious moms, especially since we had to go to a certain big box store in town. Sure, their prices are low, and they have everything, but does anyone, anyone, really enjoy going there? Anyone?
Certainly not my son.