Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Proust Meme

This meme comes courtesy of Slice of Pink.

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Knowing that the way I live and the way I want to live are the same.

2. What is your greatest fear?
My children dying before me.

3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Lack of honesty.

4. What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Hmmmm. Lack of honesty.

5. Which living person do you most admire?
My mom.

6. What is your greatest extravagance?

7. What is your current state of mind?
Pretty positive.

8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Loyalty. It's rarely deserved.

9. On what occasion do you lie?
When it makes for a better story.

10. What do you most dislike about your appearance?
This changes daily. Sometimes it's a wardrobe issue, sometimes it's the acne scars. Sometimes it's all about lipstick.

11. Which living person do you most despise?
Woah, that's harsh. I'm not answering that.

12. What is the quality you most like in a man?
Strength of character.

13. What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Strength of character.

14. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

15. What or who is the greatest love of your life?
I love my family. I can't pick favorites.

16. When and where were you happiest?
Pregnancy was a great time both times.

17. Which talent would you most like to have?
Perfect pitch.

18. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
My employment situation.

19. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My kids. They're amazing. Such cool people. I sometimes envy them, because they're much better equipped for this world than I am, even now.

20. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
A monkey. It looks like fun.

21. Where would you most like to live?
Here. I like it here.

22. What is your most treasured possession?
I don't have one. Really. I love living things (kids, pets, etc.) but don't care too much about non-organics.

23. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

24. What is your favorite occupation?
Anything that involves making people's lives better.

25. What is your most marked characteristic?

26. What do you most value in your friends?
The ability to be friends with me. I'm not so sure it's all that easy, despite what my husband says.

27. Who are your favorite writers?
Milan Kundera, Charlaine Harris, Nikos Kazanzakis.

28. Who is your hero of fiction?
Jesus Christ in "The Last Temptation of Christ"

29. Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Wow. This is the hardest question in this meme. Joan of Arc is a good choice, although I never would touch her courage. I'll go with Lee Krasner. Look it up if you don't know who she is.

30. Who are your heroes in real life?
My parents, my husband, and Mr. Rogers.

31. What are your favorite names?
Emma, Roland, Darby, Marley, Grace, Eliza, Eudora, Sophie

32. What is it that you most dislike?

33. What is your greatest regret?
Having only two children. The two we have are fabulous. Who's to say we wouldn't have had an amazing tribe of four if we'd kept on?

34. How would you like to die?
Quickly. Hit by a bus sounds good.

35. What is your motto?
I don't have one, but the verse from Micah leads me a lot: seek justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your god. That's excellent advice, and if everyone heeded it, our world would be an amazingly just and good place.

Friday, September 25, 2009


I started having nightmares after I lost my job in April. I dreamed about returning to work and having ugly confrontations with various people. I dreamed about being at work but not wearing pants. I dreamed about running into former colleagues and screaming at them. It's safe to say I was a little angry about the situation.

One of my character flaws is that I hold grudges. For a long, long time. The boy in high school who broke my heart? I still think ugly thoughts about him. (Keep in mind that I've been with my husband for 21 years now...married almost 17 years.) The girl who made me miserable in fifth grade? Let's just say that when I heard that she had been checked into a mental institution in college, my first reaction was of delight.

I know it's not nice, and probably not very healthy, but that's part of who I am.

So, the nightmares. I was waking up, sweating, heart pounding, in the middle of almost every night. Sometimes I fell back asleep, but usually not. I spent many anxious pre-dawn hours in the living room, watching "Big Brother After Dark" or reading mysteries or playing spider solitaire.

And then, one Sunday, my friend Laura was the worship associate in church, which meant she led all the liturgy when we had a guest speaker for the sermon. I don't remember exactly what she said in her prayer, but something changed. Immediately, and, so far, permanently.

Like I said, I don't remember her words, but an image came into my mind as she spoke. An image of a stone in the water, being smoothed by the current. I imagined the jagged edges gradually wearing away, leaving a shiny surface. There is a bowl of river rocks in my bathroom, and I thought of those stones, so different from the various rocks I've dug from my garden soil this summer.

And I though of myself as one of those rough rocks, and how I could let the current smooth out my rough edges if I just let it.

A feeling of peace washed over me. Immediately. Deeply. Something had changed. I felt something unfamiliar: forgiveness. I was refreshed, calmed, different.

The nightmares stopped, mostly. I can't say that I've completely forgiven the wrongs I've experienced in my life, but I definitely am not dwelling on them like before. I'm sleeping better. And I look at those two collections of rocks - those rough rocks in the back yard, and the smooth river rocks in my bathroom - and know that that beautiful, shiny, smooth surface came from years of currents wearing away the jagged edges.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

So, you think you want to be a football mom

I know, I know. This is all I write about anymore. Fair enough. But trust me, this is such a paradigm shift in my household, it's worth further discussion.

So, if you're wondering what it means to be a football mom, here's a bit of information that might help you decide if you can take it.

1. Lots of laundry. Memphis has been through a bit of a rainy spell over the past few weeks (we've gotten about 8 inches of rain this month, so far, compared to a normal monthly total of under 4 inches), and rain means mud. Lots of mud. The team's practice pants are white. And practices/games take place four days a week. And the pants have laundry instructions: no bleach.

2. Even if you're as lucky as we are and your son's team practices in the park that you consider your front yard, you will still have to drive across town for games. And by across town, I might mean into the deep depths of the suburbs.

3. There is a lot of down time between the time your son needs to arrive for a game and the actual start time of that game. Bring a book. There's only so much casual conversation you'll be able to make.

4. If your child is the only white child on his team, you'll be sitting with a few people who might be labeled as "ghetto". Embrace it. Or find another team, which will mean much more driving to practices and games.

5. If your child plays in a faith-based league, get ready for lots of praying at practices and games. If you're the faith represented in the league, this shouldn't be difficult. If you're not, definitely have a conversation with your athlete about respecting other people's religious beliefs. And maybe try to teach said athlete the entire prayer from "Talladega Nights" in case he's ever chosen to lead the prayer.

6. Did I mention the laundry?

7. If your kid happens to be one of the biggest kids on the team, one night, he'll come home and tell you how he got to be the "tackling dummy" during practice. You'll need to remember your Lamaze breathing techniques at this point. Fortunately, he'll be in the shower by the time you realize the entire implications of what he just said.

8. Glasses? Not a problem. The helmet has completely protected his glasses. And his face. I only wish he'd had one of these when he was about 18-36 months old, and was the state champion for head wounds.

9. Watching your child make a game-changing tackle? Is just as great as you could imagine. Even if the team loses the game.

10. Hearing the sincerity in the coaches' and players' voices when they tell your child, "Good game"? Is maybe the best thing a parent could hear.

Yeah, I'll admit it. This theater geek? Loves being a football mom.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Posting like a pirate

The pirate translation of a post a few weeks ago...

Me son started fifth grade at a new sword fightin' academy 'tis month. He knew a couple 'o lads at th' sword fightin' academy, so th' transition was easier than it could have be. He be, however, me sensitive child. While I won't call him shy, I do acknowledge that he takes longer than his extra outgoin' sister to jump into social situations. Which be why I was stunned when, while watchin' th' elementary boys practicin' knife throwin' in th' park across from our ship, he told me he'd like to join that knife throwin' team. But I shouldn't really be surprised. 'tis be th' same jim laddie who decided to take hip-hop dance as his afterschool activity in third grade. So what if he was th' only jim laddie in th' tavern? So what if he was th' only white laddie in th' tavern? He wanted to dance, 'n he did! Perhaps th' knife throwin' be a way to fit in. Perhaps he's simply lookin' fer somethin' physical to do.

Thanks to Post Like A Pirate for the fun.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


I think this makes me a real football mom.

Thank you, OxiClean, for getting his practice uniform clean. No, I wasn't paid to say it.

I suspect I'll get more opportunities to practice my mad laundry skillz, since this is the weather forecast for the week:

Monday, September 14, 2009


puts Baby in a corner.

Rest in peace, Patrick Swayze. Not only did I lose money on you, but I really, really liked you.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Baby's first rap show

Yesterday was day one of the Memphis Heritage and Music Festival, and we ventured over there twice. Early afternoon, the festival was just getting started, and we watched some Chinese martial artistry, a cooking demonstration, and genuinely enjoyed a DJ mixing some fantastic techno music. But the sun was high, and we were getting warmer than we wanted to be. Since swine flu daughter was still not 100%, we left, but the we planned to return for the headliners playing in the evening.

As the appointed hour approached, the girl was clearly going nowhere. She was tired and not very interested in live music. The boy, however, was still game, so he and I headed out, finding a decent parking space (not as good as our space earlier, but still not bad). We ran into an old friend of mine from college, who also had been one of the boy's preschool teachers, and she was planning to head over to the same stage we were, to see Al Kapone. He and I both like rap music, and the show was fantastic. Great energy, great band.

I will admit, though, that seeing this show with my son was strange. See, when I'm in the audience, I tend to move up to the front of the crowd, and I get a workout, because I like to dance. My boy, however, does not like to get in the front of anything, so we stayed off to the side, still close to the stage, but not as close as I would have liked.

He and I also have different opinions about volume. At a show like this, I am in the "turn it up to eleven" school of thought. But my sweet boy turns the volume down whenever he can.

All this added up to an early departure, before the set was done. The boy claimed tiredness, but I think he was a bit overwhelmed by the noise and the crowd. Turns out he made a very good decision, though, because we saw lightning as we drove home, and a big thunderstorm began a few minutes later. Since we didn't have an umbrella, our parking space would have been horrible if we'd left later.

As it was, we had a great time, and I think Al Kapone has a new lifelong fan. We might have to go back today....

*****I am well aware that I have completely failed at my September NaBloPoMo effort. I'm not being graded, at least not as far as I know, so I'm okay with it. It's hard to blog when swine flu girl totally hogs the computer to play Sims. Just saying.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

NaBlo less of a fail

Seriously, there is almost certainly H1N1 going on at my house. My daughter's teachers kids have it. My son's BFF from preschool's family has it. And I'm pretty darn sure my daughter has it. And my husband. And maybe me.

But September's NaBloPoMo topic is "Beautiful" and there's nothing beautiful about swine flu. So instead, I'll tell you a story.

Tuesday, I was at the post office. I go to the post office a lot, because I'm selling lots of eBay stuff. But there was this guy in line. He was probably about 20 (if you're keeping score, that's about half my age) and completely beautiful. One of the prettiest boys I've seen in a long time.

And then he answered his cell phone. That mini-crush I had going on? Was completely gone.

See, here's the thing. I value manners. Which is why I live in the South. And this beautiful boy? Needed a visit with Emily Post, stat. He discussed his finances, his academic issues, his finances, his rent money, his career dreams, and more, all in line at the post office, surrounded by people. As his conversation progressed, I caught more and more people commenting to each other on the ridiculousness of the conversation. Seriously, once he was gone, people started talking to each other about how annoying he was.

So, as my grandfather would say, "Pretty is as pretty does." Please, please, please, if you must speak on your cell phone in public, keep it short and vague. The rest of us really don't want to know about your rent money or career aspirations. If we did, we would ask.


I blame swine flu.

More postiness coming.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

September day 1

With the option of participating in National Blog Posting Month any month, I've chosen September. The theme is "Beautiful," which should help me keep a positive attitude. It's a little hard to be cheerful when I just spent the better part of an hour writing an article for Examiner.com, only to click a button and delete the whole thing, thereby forcing myself to rewrite the whole darn thing. Hopefully the unintended rewrite was a good thing.

So, what's beautiful? Last night, it was football practice. My son, who has no prior football experience, is one of the bigger boys on the team, and was assigned to be a defense tackle. Despite that nagging maternal fear, what I saw yesterday evening was truly beautiful. My son was double-teamed, and he kept the other guys back. He didn't cede even a yard. Seeing this slender, gentle, quiet boy being physically tough was stunning to me. His goofy grin as he loped across the street from the park to the house was mirrored by my own. He enthused, "That was the best practice ever!" as we hustled him off to the shower and encouraged him to eat his dinner before bedtime.

Watching him grow into this new person is breathtaking.