Wednesday, December 29, 2010

...and in the meantime...

Bad blogger.  That's what I am.  Though I have the multi-post going about writing and agent seeking (and I have thought about it, believe me), I'm enjoying my time with my little fam, the stacks of YA books that surround me, and cups of hot cocoa with whipped cream (which I don't do on a normal basis) a little too much to be pulled away for a full-fledged blogging session.  So while I watch my friend Molly--the very one who inspired me to begin a blog--updating away, I will admit my lack of focus and extend my blog vacay until everyone heads back to work and school next week, and I'm left to rattle around with my thoughts and quietude. 

I wish everyone a fantastical 2011--it feels like a good year ;)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I Need a Sash

I've earned a badges...

"Fictional BFF" badge.  "Ethan Emerson," my cooler-than-cool male protag, is my fictional bff.  Only my real-life bff, Jessy, knows how deranged I am when it comes to him, and it will stay that way (if she knows what's good for her).
"Query Letter" badge as explained by Merit Badger: "How to write a query letter: Rip still-beating heart from chest. Attach to paper. (Use rubber bands or binder clips, not staples.) Insert into envelope. Don’t forget to enclose an SASE!"  Yep, pretty much.  That's what I've been up to for a few months.
Ah, but the above leads to this: the "Manuscript Request" badge, and nothing feels better than when I get the request for full or partial!  Got one last week that made me sock my husband and step on my daughter's toe as I hugged her.  Good times.

All badges from

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

But What Does it Mean?!?!?!

My daughter had a recent, long-term assignment: a mini biography about a famous person of her choosing, on a Wheaties box.  (Very ingenious assignment, I must say.)  My daughter, being the cool cat that she is, chose Jack White; she's been his #1 child fan since she was in pre-k.  Honestly.  She heard "Hello Operator," and she was gone.  I now have all the music on my iPod, but there was once a time when, if I wanted to hear The White Stripes or The Raconteurs (The Dead Weather wasn't in the picture back then), I'd have to go into her room and snake the desired CD--she has them all.  She has posters of Jack all over her room, and she also loves anything and everything red, white, and black.  Diehard.

Back to the Wheaties box, now that I've proven her adoration.

We sat in front of the computer, searching for pictures of Jack for the front of her box, and we came to one I particularly liked.  Her reply was, "Oh, yeah--I saw that one at school today.  People thinks he looks like you in that picture.  They were like, 'Hey, Air, that one looks like your mom!'  I agree--he does look like you in that one."  Let me post the picture in question.  It is not my picture (obviously); I have no claim to it--I've lifted it from (credit when credit is due!), but there's no other way to show what I'm talking about without posting it alongside the picture of me...

Jack White

Okay.  It's the hair, right?  Honestly, I don't know how to translate this.  Should I be insulted?  Is this a good thing?  I still have no clue, but I think it's supposed to be a good thing, because Jack seems to be a popular dude in my daughter's school.  He's all kinds of awesome, anyway--talented to genius-level, artistic, and cute as all get-out (yes, mama is glad her kid's not a Bieber girl--the posters are much more to my liking ;)  ).  Alright, I resigned myself to it being a positive thing, and I moved along.  Until yesterday...

"We were discussing the color of your hair after school, and no one thinks it's dark brown.  It's black.  Everyone says so."  WTH?  Why am I a subject for fifth graders after school?  Are most moms talked about (other than "Your mama is so fat..." jokes)?  Am I a freak to them (most moms there don't talk to me, so it could be a distinct possibility)?  Am I a rockstar (sounds egotistical, but I was floored when a girl came up to me in the school hallway and asked if I was Air's mom, then proceeded to tell me that she'd been to my website and loves my fairies.  Truthfully, she said it like she wanted to ask for my autograph--how cool is that?  It completely shocked me, but it made my week.)?  And when I walk the halls of the school, if my daughter is close by, there is usually a chorus of "Hey Air!  There's your mom!  Your mom is here!" and taps to her shoulder.

But what does being the repeated topic of after school conversation mean?!?!?! Most people wouldn't think twice--"It's just a bunch of kids, for heaven's sake!"  They'd think.


Fifth grade was hard on me when I went through it.  I was "THE FAT KID."  And when kids talked about me, it was for nothing good.  In fact, even though I lost the weight before my freshman year, I turned goth in high school for that very reason--gave people something external to talk about, rather than give them the possibility of talking about something that bludgeoned the internal.  Back then, being odd was taboo.  Now, being different is the goal, and the purple hair that my friends and I got tortured for back in the day is even on Barbie.  Is there a possibility that, as an adult, the quiet eccentricity that I've maintained all these years (but that I've toned down to a respectable 30-something level) still doesn't resonate with the people who were the "elite" of my generation but earns me a spot of "cool" with their kids?  As a writer of Young Adult fiction, I can tell you that it'd make me proud if it were the case, because kids aren't "just" to me.  Kids are brutally honest and complex, and it takes something to earn their respect and attention (I was a teacher--I know this, not always with good outcomes).  

My past, I suppose, makes me wonder a little more than the next person about the "why" and the "what."  For now, though, I'll take the positive outlook on it all.  Being told I look like Jack White is far better than what I used to hear out of fifth grade mouths.  And if the kids who don't know me swing to thinking I'm "okay," maybe even a bit "cool," maybe one day my own will, too.  I doubt I'll ever hear it from her mouth, but maybe she'll at least think it.  After all, apparently I almost resemble her hero.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Next. Life. Watching. Through. Love. Start. Until.

Once again, I've waited for the blogging gods to hammer me with an least a to run with, easily; I've waited for a month--through a season changing and through many life things, but nothing.  And then something as random and banal as running a Facebook app happened.  The innocence of finding out the top words I use in my status updates became akin to me hitting some tarot reader's parlor.  My #1 used word revealed that I'm a true member of the Western world: "time," with my next top rounding out to be the names of my daughter and husband and the word "crow"--surprise.  But then an interesting pattern emerged from the chaos, and the toss of the dice and randomness of it all came together in a message for me.  Bundled into my top words was a particular string that's bounced between my brain and heart all night, all morning:

Next. Life. Watching. Through. Love. Start. Until.

There are times that it's easy for me to watch through love: when the Fall leaves glow like stained glass through my windows, so golden and orange in the soft Eastern sunlight, that my house is lit and warm because of it.  When my husband looks at me--really looks at me--and smiles, and I feel his love for me down to my pinkie toes, and my heart is full.  When things are going right and easy.  When money isn't tight.  When my loved ones are healthy and close.

But there are other times that I don't watch through love at all (and I will admit, I will never be Zen enough to look at certain people with love, just for their innate humanness--maybe that's for another lifetime...or six down the road.  Maybe.).  There's no watching through love going on when, despite the best planning and scheduling, the cat throws up and the dog needs out RIGHT NOW but first does her perfect-spot walk through of the yard, and I'm already late because my straightener tweaked my hair (and I blew 20 minutes I didn't have obsessed with fixing it--to no avail--only to give up worse than when I started), and I head downstairs where I pause to look at the outfit that my daughter chose, and I see flashbacks of Punky Brewster and imagine suspicions of other parents thinking neglect that make me have to go through the harangue of fussing with her to start again, and we finally get in the car and it's on "E." :::deep breath:::  Nope.  No warm glow of loving the moment there.

Or times when my back hurts, and I'd rather curl up and read or clean a toilet than make another night's dinner and hear how gross my daughter thinks it is.  Or when the walls of my home are closing in on me from the piles of stuff that my daughter and husband accrue and deposit for later.  I'm not going Stepford, but I wonder how my attitude would change, at least a little, if I consciously watched through love.  Time is arbitrary, and unless someone is dying, there's actually more than enough of least my daughter comes downstairs clothed, even on her most questionable fashion days--I'm not raising a kid who wants to push the nudity envelope yet--she's just...creative (and what am I always telling her?  Better to be "weird" than boring--I guess she listens!).  Dinner--it's for my people, to bring them close, keep them healthy.  And I have food to give them--I am lucky.  The piles of stuff?  That's a tough one for me, but (again) it proves they're close by.  

All the things outside of my home that annoy me?  Maybe I can slow down enough to be amazed at the little, elderly man shuffle-pushing the grocery cart down the middle of the aisle in front of me--it takes a certain something to do that, after all, and he's earned the right to slow down to the pace that suits him (I love old people, and I am awed when I picture their child-selves next to them, knowing that they've remembered the wonder that they had back then..."watching through love," perhaps?).  The people I'd rather not have in my life, who come into it due to circumstances...well, those circumstances aren't permanent, and I have the people who mean something--who I would choose--close by, and they strengthen me.  The days that seem like my head will explode if one more thing is added--I suppose it's comforting to know that those days aren't every day, and for one reason or another, something in the Universe has decided that I have the brains and the skill to make it through them (and the ability to say "no")...and the world won't pop off its hinges if I don't finish everything.  Maybe watching through love also means loving myself enough to go gently on myself when I need to--I don't do that well.

Of course, the whole thing translates into bigger, world-type things, but, personally, I need to start small in this lifetime, since I'm starting out as a curmudgeon.  It makes more sense to "Start. Until" than to wait for the next life to begin.  No better time than the present.

Friday, October 1, 2010

It is Written; It is So.

I've been struggling, since my last post before my dad died, with what to write next in my blog.  Like my personal "Groundhog Day," my mind always revolves back to the same point: memories of my dad.  Things sneak up on me when I least expect them, and I'm reduced to a puddle of tears--some through smiles, some through laughter, but all through the missing that happens when one is able to say, lost, that someone loved is gone.  Forever.  I doubt I'm the only daughter who feels at peace with her dad's passing, but still clicks frantically through the memory bank of the mind to recall what her father's voice sounded like--remember it--one more time...maybe two more.  I guess, perhaps, my heart needs to commit these memories to the fact of the written word--make them so, and then they will be.  While these memories are personal, and I'm once again indulging myself with my blog, the fact of mourning those we grieve is universal at the same time it is individual, so maybe there's more here than just me.  Maybe.  Forgive me my cheap therapy, but I need it for today.

I remember...
I remember that, as little more than a toddler, I used to call myself "Kalinda Mr. Mosley" because I was so in love and awe with him, and I'd follow behind his big lawn mower with my little plastic push mower, thoroughly convinced that I was cutting the grass he missed, and he never crushed that dream.
I remember when I was obsessed about The Black Stallion series of books and the movies, and I happened upon an announcement that the horse from the movie was going to be at the San Diego Zoo.  And he took me because I asked.  Horse-loving-girl bliss.
I remember when I was the bullied fat girl, and he tried to teach me how to fight in the family room by holding a pillow to his chest for me to hit, and it all ended in my tears, because I didn't want to hit him.
I remember all the nights he'd decide he wanted to hold whichever hamster I had (I had many throughout the years, but this was the experience they all got to live), and he'd fall asleep; the hamster would be gone, leaped down from his shoulder, from the couch, to the floor and down the hall.  We always found the hamster, and we always scolded Dad's narcoleptic tendencies, and he'd always swear it would never happen again...until it happened the next time.  And the next.
I remember before California seat belt laws and his common sense, he'd drive me and my sister up to my grammy's house, not in the cab of his truck (because it really stunk to be sandwiched in the middle of that thing and have my knees bashed with his metal shifter), but--much to the horror of many drivers, I'm sure--in the back of his further: we stood up, holding the roll bar like water skiers.  The ridiculous danger of this now dawns on me, but back then I'd have nominated him for "Father of the Year."  (no, I don't advocate this, nor would I let my child do it.)
I remember, when I was 12, he legally adopted me as his own (my mom married him when I was 2)--because he loved me that much--and presented me with a diamond ring on the day of the final paper signing.
I remember when my sophomore boyfriend broke up with me, and my dad held me while I sobbed, and he whispered in my ear, "Now you can go out with Zac"--THE boy I'd had a crush on for 2 years, THE boy that all the other girls had crushes on.  THE boy who I'd never have had a chance with, beyond the friend he was, but to my dad I did.  To my dad, at that moment, that's what I deserved.  And I loved him all the more for saying the right thing at that moment.
I remember my college graduation for many reasons, but perhaps the biggest being that his voice is forever immortalized on the video he shot, asking "Who's the pasty-faced guy?" in reference to a bizarre creature of an English major who found his way into most of my classes.  He was, indeed, pasty.
I remember how even though he didn't understand a career of art or writing, or anything non-analytical, he encouraged me, and I remember, to my core, the way it felt when he finally told me how absolutely proud he was of me and how much he loved, and was proud of, my husband.
I remember the daily barrage of his emails about politics and vitamins, tips about dogs and hokey cure-alls and cute animals, and though I rolled my eyes on most of them, it's bizarre and surreal not to see them in my inbox anymore.
I remember entering the room that last day with him and seeing him smile through the mask on his face because I made it to him, seeing his eyes meet mine for brief snatches of time, showing him--finally--the crow tracks on my foot that he'd been waiting to see in person, sharing Cinjin's song with him and him nodding for its beauty.  I remember being there with him the instant he left.  I remember.
So many sweet, laugh-inducing, tender (or all of the above) moments are stored in my mind.  How rich I am.

(There's a story about an arcade that I will keep to myself, but I reminded him of it in his hospital room, as I filled a few hours with stories on our final day together; it was the tale that got the most response from him, so suffice it to say that it was a ridiculous, hilarious, embarrassing, and forever thing to remember, with only three other people and the stranger-girl who witnessed it in the know.  ;)~ )

Homer Mosley: October 25, 1933 - September 18, 2010

Sunday, September 12, 2010

To a Dad, From a Daughter.

My soul is quietly coming to terms with the very real probability that it is about to say goodbye to my dad.  I can continue to hope with my heart that he'll make a full recovery, but even if his body comes back around, there are somethings that are just changed and gone.  Just about every word in Cinjun's song, "Wish," speaks to what I'm going through right now...except the part about "you'll always be my best friend"--my dad and I never got around to that point, but after years of distance, we finally got to the place of finding each other, and that's something, because both of us are stubborn and don't easily forgive enough to come back to a place of openness to those who wrong us.  The older I get, the more similarities I see between us--some pretty good, some not so my mom lived under a roof with two Scorpios who started life as crotchety "old crows,"  I'll never know.

He'll "always be completely in my heart" though, and if I could talk to him right now, I'd tell him "Let all my love surround you, it goes all the way around you.  And I was so glad I found you.  Why did you go?  Little bird, carry on.  I'll be waitin' for you at home..."

And to Cinjun, thank you for putting a soundtrack to the thoughts running around in my head and heart that I can't quite get out.

Also See:
-It Is Written; It Is So.
-Holidays, Duct Tape, the 18th, and Dad.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

What I'd Like to Say--Wish I Could Say--To My Daughter's New Teacher

There comes a point somewhere into the summer when a mom hears "What are we doing today?" or "Where are we going today?" one too many times.  Gets nagged out, and with one twitching eye, one thread of a nerve and zero sanity left, she begins counting the days until the start of school.  Being the mom of an only child sometimes moves that point a bit sooner into the summer break.

For me, that point happened quite a ways back.

And then it hit me this afternoon.  My heart's about put on brand new clothes, throw her book bag over her shoulder and walk out the door and into the classroom of someone I don't know.  It happens every year...and every year, that point of counting down days is replaced with the tear-tugging silent prayer of just about every mother:  Please let my child's teacher "get her," appreciate her humor, her sweetness, her everything...Please let her teacher know that she's a good kid--not a perfect kid--but a good kid, and let her occasionally laugh at her jokes and smile when she sees her. Please. 

There are so many things I wish I could tell each new teacher who comes into our lives.  Sometimes they send home a paper that asks, "Is there anything you wish to share about your child"; most of the time they don't.  When they do, my mind races, tripping all over itself with everything I wish I could "share about my child."  Though none of it actually gets written (except two things in her third grade year), my hand that holds the pen struggles against the whispers of my heart.

I wish I could tell this new teacher, just meeting my daughter, about how we almost lost her when I got pneumonia in my fifteenth week of pregnancy.  I wish I could tell her how fighting for my unborn child's life helped save my own.  I wish I could tell her about how we allowed ourselves to be relieved that she made it, that she was born--only to have her turn blue before she was even three months old; how lucky a thing it was that I just happened to turn around in time to see her apneac and dying--in my arms she was limp and slipping into gone.  I wish I could tell the teacher how precious those things make her.

I'd get a kick out of sharing the story of the night my daughter--two and a half years old--confidently corrected our Grammy (her great-grandmother) about Venus being a planet, not a star, as she sat on her daddy's shoulders on a bat watching evening.  How awesome is that?

I wish I could make it matter to the teacher that her dad and I gave her no voice in the decision when we moved from California to Pennsylvania, away from all her friends and all of her family--including our Grammy--mid-school year.

I wish that I could talk about her crazy-brave resiliancy in the fact that, with that cross-country move, she had to adjust to not only a new state with no one she knew, but to life in a hotel for months, while we waited for our house to sell in the crappy California housing market.  That she had to get used to three schools, three teachers and 60 different sets of eyes looking at "the new kid" as she entered the door of each new classroom that year of second grade.

I wish her new teacher could have met my daughter before the bratty girl in the second school of second grade led a brigade to convince her that she was "too smart"--in a bad way--and broke her spirit in math, when she'd JUST gotten comfortable in it.  I wish the teachers she's had since could help bring that spark back that was stolen.

I wish I could get it in writing that I wouldn't have to rush her to the ER for stitches at the hand of a troublesome boy or have to answer calls and console tears because of the same kid, again and again, and I'd kind of like it to be known that I'd kind of like to let my husband go toe-to-toe with the kid's dad once, like he'd like to do.  I'd like to know that this kid will be kept away from my daughter this year--six strikes is enough, and we're ready to go to the school board and show what true Mama and Papa bears look like in human form. 

(But that part would probably scare the new teacher, so I should probably keep that to myself...but I'll continue to think it.)

How awesome it would be to be able to tell the new teacher that my daughter's favorite band has been The White Stripes since preschool, and she can play "We Are Going to Be Friends" on her electric guitar.  I'd also mention that she took Tae Kwon Do for years and got all the way to green belt (and ready for her next belt test) in one school, only to have to start from scratch and work her way up back to it in another, because the first didn't register her with Kukkiwon in Seoul, Korea.  She did it twice, because that's what kind of kid she is.  I'd like to mention that, in first grade, my daughter's teacher loved the fact that she always "got" the joke that no other kid did, and that her humor was considered valuable and welcome in that classroom.  I'd also like to point out that my daughter is pen pals with children at Sareka House in Cambodia, and she might be one of the only ones in the classroom inherently kind enough to think about cultural differences and work from a place of sensitivity to that when writing to them or when we chose books for our care package to send to them.  I'd love for the teacher to know that sometimes, even when my daughter seems like a snide comment doesn't bother her, girls haven't always found it in their hearts to be kind to her, and some of that bravado is her way of trying not to cry--please protect her.

I guess the last thing I'd like to say to the teacher (if I could really get her to hear me) is that I realize I can't make her love my child, and it's okay if she doesn't, because I have enough for both of us, all that I ask is that she doesn't let my daughter know. 

  • note #1--I used to teach; I've been on the other side, and I know that the specialness of each child has to be kept in mind.  I don't teach now, and, honestly, (like everyone) mine's the one who matters to me.
  • note #2--The diary that I kept on the night that we spent in the hospital, after my daughter turned blue, can be found HERE (Diary of a Parent at Her Daughter's Bedside)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Fireworks and Thoughts on a Hot August Night

The sky in Pennsylvania goes on forever.  Last night, I saw it lit up and blazing, every part, with fireworks and raindrops.

My daughter's friend invited my little fam to meet up with hers at "A Night in the Country," an annual farewell to summer, filled with expensive food, $5 lemonade, carnival games, vintage cars, a bad country band with heavy bass, teenagers experimenting with the boundaries of their freedom and flirting, and TONS of people. (In other words, I found myself as much in my element as dear Austin Scarlett in a Bait and Tackle).  The evening air hung sticky and heavy with the impending rain, scheduled to arrive after midnight.  We placed our blanket on the field, and our daughter escaped with her friend and her friend's father, and my husband and I went to look at the cars.

As we walked, he with his admiration of the cars, me with my dread of crowds and heat, I wished I were the kind of wife who could truly enjoy the moment with him--not detract from his enjoyment.  I think I somewhat accomplished that air of enthusiasm with the car show, but there's no hiding how crowds of people make me feel, and, unfortunately, I'm not the kind of woman who looks fresh and granola in any and all weather--my body and hair kind of wilt, just like my spirits, in humidity and heat; it's always been that way.

When we went back to our blanket, our daughter popped back in within minutes, sugared up and drunk with prizes and the excitement of being with her friend.  Even more than I'd wished with my husband, I longed to be the kind of mom enthusiastically participating in these moments, even suggesting them, because they will become her memories of growing up in the country.

Yet there were still two more hours left to wait before the fireworks, and the people kept coming...and coming.  And the air kept getting heavier and heavier.

"What time is it, Mom?"  Every 10 minutes on cue, my daughter asked, and I wished, for my own sake, that I could tell her that there were only 10 more minutes...or even only an hour left.  But the time dragged, and the band kept playing--the bright point being an only-slight butchering of one of my favorite Cash songs and a rousing example of a white-bread Pennsylvanian band attempting to belt out a song with a line in Spanish (uh-oh) them, the line was "Via Con Mios."  Mmmm Hmmm.

The kids escorted adults throughout the midway a few more times, the too-near port-a-potties began making their presence known, and still, I wished I was honestly enjoying the whole thing.  I wished that when my daughter, inevitably, asked if we can return next year, I'd have an emphatic "YES!" to give to her, yet all that went through my mind, non-stop, was I hope Zen (my chihuahua) hasn't peed on the bed to punish us for being gone so long (because she HAS done that) and At least in an hour I'll be done with this night    I hated myself for thinking that way.

A half  hour before the scheduled fireworks--nearly three and a half hours after our arrival, the rain started.  At first, the drops were so minimal I thought that I must be getting hit with some errant teenager's water gun, but only a couple of elderly ladies sat behind us, and while their smiles were a bit deviant, I couldn't pin the crime on them.  More drops, and the rain was official.  Are you kidding me?  How much more into hell do I have to be?  I hated myself a bit more.

And then, finally, the band stopped, the floodlights went out, and the first round of fireworks shot into the sky and burst into flowers of light and sounded with booms that competed with my heartbeat...and the rain didn't matter.  The crowds didn't matter.  My daughter huddled up under a blanket against the rain with her friend, and her "oohs and ahhs" were the only thing louder than the blasts above.  I heard the rain plunk on my soaked shirt, my arms dripping with rain, my hair wet and uncomfortable, and--in that moment--it became okay.  Next to me, I saw my husband's face light up, pink, golden, smiling, and beautiful.  I've never seen fireworks in the rain before.  This is amazing.  Look who I get to be with.

The most magnificent display flared up like a bright dandelion, changed into a gold weeping willow, and covered the entire sky.  I never knew that the sky, that I constantly marvel as infinite, could be totally blocked with sparks and color.  

The blasts and booms resounded in the sky and under us into the ground, reverberating through our bodies and forcing smiles and awe.  That's when other thoughts, beyond myself, occurred to me.  How lucky I am to live in a place where these sounds, these flashing lights in the night sky, don't mean something else entirely different.  How lucky I am that these earth-shaking and machine-gun rapid sounds don't mean death and war.  That these vibrant bursts of fast fire in the sky bring smiles and happy memories, rather than tears and memories that leave indelible trauma bruises on the soul.  The finale of the show was such a mess of all the remaining fireworks at once, all sound and fury, that it almost wasn't possible to see individual fireworks--the sky looked war-torn.  This must be what it's like.  I can't imagine this being my reality and expectation of normal life.  I can't imagine the heartache of raising my child in a place where this all meant destruction and fear, rather than the end of summer.

With a deafening BOOM, it was done.  The sky went black, all sulfur and smoke, and the floodlights came back on.  The crowd was back, and the rain had stopped.

The exodus began--walking bodies and cars--and I held the hands of my people, as we walked the line, my daughter recounting the night and winding down from her sugar high.  All in all, it took a good 40 minutes or more of sitting in our car before my husband could fanangle us out of the lot and onto the road back home. 

Thankfully, Zen didn't pee on the bed.  My daughter did, of course, ask if we'd go back next year; I didn't say "no."  This morning, my up-at-the-crack-of-dawn-girl didn't wake up until past 9:30--enough time for me to make blueberry muffins for her and at least be "that kind of mom" the morning after, while she ate and told me all about the night, once again.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sayings that need to die painful deaths.

Okay, so that's a little extreme. Maybe somewhat painful deaths. At least just die. There are a few of these "pearls" that have been on my mind, as I think of the way that people are implementing them lately.  There will probably be a few others I'll end up adding, as they strike me.

#1 "It's easier to ask forgiveness than ask permission."

Boy, I know a lot of people who subscribe to this one. Yes, it is, indeed, easier. Easy does not mean better. This saying essentially says it's okay to steamroll over someone, as long as you say you're sorry later. Well, no, it's not. How about another saying, The Golden Rule: "Do unto others, as you would have done onto you." Something like that--also known as karma, the law of three, and many other guises. Pretty universal stuff, that one. I'm sure "walking a mile in someone else's shoes" is a great way to realize that #1 is a rude cop out.

#2 "Boys will be boys."

This one rankles me because I know too many good, decent men and boys who don't need to rely on this excuse. Having testosterone isn't a handicap. I sure wouldn't want to have a catch phrase for my bad behavior. "Call a spade a spade" (to use another cliché).

#3 "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."

No, it's not. I'm thoroughly convinced that this was dreamed up by the one doing the imitating, not the one being imitated. Never in my lifetime have I felt the warm fuzzies when someone has used my ideas. There are plenty of fresh ways to look at the same thing; it just takes the guts to take a chance and try it, possibly messing up in the process...however, the originals out there have that in them, and that's what they've done--perfected.

One saying that's actually resonating with me a lot lately is from none other than Judge Judy (and she, in turn, has attributed it to her father):

"Don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining."

The stellar saying, "Honesty is the best policy" is dead on.  It's not easy--like asking forgiveness later, imitating rather than innovating, or excusing bad behavior with hormones.  Not easy at all sometimes, and it can have its costs.  However, it's a clean life, and it's a respectable one.  When my leg is "peed on," I not only lose trust, I lose respect.  Maybe I'm old school--I'm not even 40 yet, so it's saddens me to think that it went down the tube so quickly--but I was taught that one's word is their ultimate gift; shake a hand and give your word, it's golden.  It seems to be a dying concept, and I suppose there will soon be another "great" saying to excuse it.  I'll just continue on what is becoming "the road less traveled," I suppose.  At least I have my friends for some company on it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

What ever happened to the color-coding girl?

So I took my daughter into a craft store today to get new tempra paints and paper for her. (I'm going to interrupt myself now) It's funny (a little annoying, but funny) when the people who don't get my art call it "craft." They say things like "I wish I were crafty," insinuating that I am. I'm not. This point gets driven home every time I go to a craft store and I get sucked back into the notion that I wish I could scrapbook.

I don't wish that, in actuality.

When I get wistful about scrapbooks and take the time to run my hands along the great wall o' paper, let my eyes fix on the stickers and stamps, what I'm actually lamenting is the organized me that I once was (colored folders, Post-it note flags, specific shelves and trays for very specific things, lists, lists, lists...). That, also isn't entirely true, because I like "me" now waaay better than I did back when I was a paper-pushing, color-coding, Type-A. I'm still a Type-A, but I no longer possess the skills conducive to being one, so now it just translates as something to keep me up at night, obsessing about what should be done, needs doing, and what I should say in the phone call about what hasn't been done (not on my end--on the other person's, because I *do* always manage to get everything done, come hell or the proverbial high water).

I attribute those scads of clean-looking, robin's egg blue and preppy brown books, polka dot and striped papers to women who know how to keep things in order and cook along with Paula Deen, while creating stellar offerings from Martha Stewart's latest collection of things-Kalinda-could-never-in-a-trillion-years-ever-hope-to-come-close-to-even-if-she-were-threatened-with-electroshock. Even when I was still a color-coder, I was never this kind of woman. The people who can do these feats, I reason, have a purposeful place for everything, all labeled and wonderous. I've got the label even still has the original spool of tape it came with back in 2003. Nothing, ever (it seems to me) is in its place. I have come to the conclusion, in the past 7 years of being a stay-at-home mom, that (I know this will be shocking) I'm not Super Woman.

Well over a year ago, I let go of my quest to color all the white hairs away, and I forgot my age yesterday; perhaps I should now try to give up the ghost of yet another thing that I'm not anymore and move on, mad scientist mess and all--it's gotten me this far.