Saturday, October 23, 2010

Top Ten Ways To Hold Onto That Weight (and gain some)

1.  Watch marathon sessions of the Food Network.
2.  Try out that new macaroni and cheese recipe - then eat it all by yourself.
3.  Sleep in - for the whole day.
4.  Have ice cream for lunch.
5.  Become a human garbage disposal when your kids don't finish everything on their plate.
6.  Refuse to exercise outside because there are muggers and rapists and vampires out there.
7.  Refuse to exercise inside because the dogs are watching and making snide comments to each other.
8.  Eat the rest of the chips in the house to save your kids from eating them.
9.  Enjoy a glass of wine, or five.
10. Repeat with dark beer.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Getting my priorities straight

Well, I heard about the job. I didn't get it. And the stupid part is this: I didn't really want it, it took me forever to decide I should take it, I wasn't looking forward to doing it, and when I found out I didn't get it I was crushed. Ridiculous!

So now I'm free to conquer the world. I have endless hours to think and write and make a difference. I can finally turn my full attention toward ending world hunger, turning this nation's economy around, and plugging that pesky hole in the Ozone.

Right after Man vs. Food is over.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Things that can't be changed

Okay, so now I have something to say.

It's Monday night. Dalt had his weekly fire department meeting and wouldn't be home for dinner; Joseph and Savannah both made the honor roll this six weeks which earned them free meal coupons from one of our favorite local restaurants, so we went out to eat (Katie is too cool to go out to eat with her family - we brought her food home.)

The kids and I had a great time! We played a roll-the-dice game on my phone while we waited for our food to come and we chatted about school and possible story lines for a book I could write. Joseph likes comedies and Savannah likes scary stuff, so we thought maybe I could write a scary comedy. It was cool because I've been kind of bandying around an idea that was along those lines anyway.

On the way home we got on the subject of dying and what it's like after you go. I said something along the lines of not being afraid to die because we have so many people to look forward to seeing again like Nathan and Papa (my dad.) Savannah perked up in the backseat and said, "Oh my gosh, I almost forgot about Nathan. I almost forgot Nathan was ever alive."

Well, wow. I think about Nathan a lot, and lately my memories have been ambushing me around every corner. I know it's not that way for the kids because they were so young. Three years is a long time in the lives of children. Savannah was barely seven years-old when he died, and Joe was only nine. But I was Nathan's mom for his whole twenty years.

I explained that to the kids in the car on the way home tonight. How it's kind of different for me because I knew him for so much longer and he was one of my children. I told them how I think about him and it makes me sad because I miss him so much, but how, when I really think about it, I feel better because I know where he is and I know I'll see him again.

Savannah asked me if I thought Nathan knew it was coming when he died. I told her I didn't think so, but that God knew. I told her and Joe about hugging Nathan before I left for my trip and how good it felt and how he and I had talked a lot before I left and there wasn't any unfinished business between us.

Then Savannah told me this for the first time: "I remember sitting at the computer desk that day, decorating a doll on my computer game. I remember Nathan coming in and saying how pretty it was and that I did a good job. Then he said he was going outside to swim for a while, but would be back in when Dad got home. He said he'd see me when he came back in. And that was the last time I spoke to him."

She said it in a very matter-of-fact kind of way, just like anything else she might say in the course of a day. But it kind of ripped my heart out.

It made me want. It made me want things to be different. For just a minute, it made me imagine what things might have been like if he'd walked back out of that pool instead of drowning in it. It made me want so badly for him to have come in when his dad got home.

It made me see for the first time a little glimpse of what it must have been like for the kids that day; for him to have been there one minute, and the next be gone. It made me want to rewrite history, to go back in time and be home that day and not know what I know now. That death doesn't come when you're looking for it. It doesn't come when you're ready. It sideswipes you in a blind jab you can't see coming. It made me hurt and cry a million tears behind my eyes where no one could see.

And while I was bleeding from a thousand fresh rips in my scar, I smiled and drove and chatted with my kids. I pulled into the driveway at home and brought Katie's food in and handed it to her. I greeted the dogs and re-started the dryer to toss the wrinkles out of the clothes so we could start a new load. I sat down on the couch and turned on Dancing with the Stars.

Maybe it's still not a scar yet. Maybe it's a scab that has to be scrubbed away every once in a while so it can finally heal all the way, like a deep burn. I don't know.

I really do know where Nathan is, though. I'm just selfish enough to wish he was still here.

History is made

Well, I've tried really hard. But I don't have anything to say.

I know.

Mark this day on the calendar. Somewhere on this wacky planet, right now, pigs are flying.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Can you say, "Mid-life Crisis"?

Can I scream? I mean, if I run screaming down the street until I collapse in a blubbering heap, would that be bad?

I haven't heard a word about the reporting job. Nothing. Evidently the fickle winds of change are even fickler than I once thought.

What? What? What? What am I supposed to do?!?!?

On top of that, I got to visit my son and daughter-in-law and grandbaby and mom and sister on Saturday. The visit was fun, the family photos were frightening. I knew I'd gained some weight, but really? Wow. I have a new fat picture to post on my refrigerator:

Holy buddha and bloated bull frogs, batman. It's time for a change!!!

Friday, October 08, 2010

The fickle winds of change

So, of course, just when I make up my mind to go back to school, yeah. Not going to happen.

I was offered a job as a reporter for the newspaper where I got my start five years ago. New editor. Different circumstances. Our situation is such that it would be silly for me to pass up a genuine job opportunity, but I wanted to at first. I was really looking forward to finally getting a formal education that would lead to a solid, well-paying career. But it seems writing is my destiny.

For now.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Don't blink

I blink and nearly a month has gone by. Gone in a flurry of paperwork (the bank approved our offer to buy our house - now we're going through the loan process, which is BRUTAL), serious decision-making (I've decided to go back to school to be a nurse), studying for college placement tests (see "serious decision-making"), and the usual wife/mom/substitute teacher stuff.

My granddaughter is growing up faster than you can say "I never get to see her because I live so far away." My kids are almost all taller than me.  And the phrase "stuck in the 80's" has been mentioned in my presence way too much for comfort lately. Not that I AM stuck in the 80's. It's just that more than two decades have disappeared while I was concentrating on raising my children.

So, yeah.

I found out this morning that Jeanne Felldin died last week. Jeanne was a member of the writing group I belonged to for a while. Actually, there were only three of us, with a few guest stars every once in a while. But for the most part, it was Jeanne, Bill and me. Jeanne was in her 80's five years ago, when we were still a group, a published author (as is Bill) and quite a lady. She had a way of coercing me into projects that didn't pan out. I learned a lot from her and I loved her, but eventually my inability to set boundaries made me withdraw from her completely. This also resulted in me withdrawing from our writing group. Unfortunately.

So, now I'm going back to school to be a nurse. Very practical of me. I still read author interviews and articles on writing and dream of being able to finish something. But dreams don't pay the bills, my friends.

And, apparently, I'm too old to make it in the Lingerie Football League.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Keep on swimming, swimming, swimming...

Everybody should watch "Finding Nemo" again. I've seen this movie a bazillion times, and still get something new from it every time. Really.

This time, I realized I am Marlin, the over-protective, micro-manager dad who faces his worst fear when his only son is taken away right in front of his eyes.

Now, Marlin was fearful before his son even came along. His suspicion that the ocean was a big, scary, dangerous place was confirmed when his wife and all of their babies (but one) were wiped out in one fell swoop by a vicious barracuda. The only thing more scary than the ocean was the thought of his son out there - all alone - and life without him. So Marlin sets out on an impossible quest.

(Okay, there are a few differences between me and Marlin, but the suspicious, over-protective, micro-manager part is spot on.)

Right when Marlin thinks he's reached a dead end, he meets Dory. Exasperating, joyfully oblivious, Dory. She doesn't have much of a short-term memory, but she never lets that get her down. In fact, her ability to face life with an open heart and positive attitude is the very thing that keeps opening the way for Marlin to find his son.

(We could probably all do with some short term memory loss. Our memories of past failures and disappointments can be the very thing that keep us from experiencing new triumphs and joys. And by we, I mean me.)

But the part of the movie that got me this time was near the end, when Dory and Marlin are in the belly of a whale. Sound familiar? I know. They are in the belly of a whale and Marlin, even though it's been proven time and time again that Dory knows what she's talking about, refuses to listen to her. He is so convinced that he has to rescue his son through his own efforts, efforts that haven't exactly been working out so far, that he stubbornly holds onto the whale when he should be letting go. But he can't hold on forever. When he gets to the end of his strength, he has no choice but to let go. He finds himself in a free-fall, then he gets hurled up into the air, spins and falls again, back into the ocean. When the bubbles settle, he discovers he's right where he was trying to get the whole time. In spite of himself.

Isn't that good?