Sunday, January 23, 2011

100 Things About Me

I know this is so 2006, but I like this exercise.

  1. I have brown eyes.
  2. My oldest child is only an inch shorter than me right now.
  3. I have the beginnings of a bad knee.
  4. I was born at home.
  5. I like to eat.
  6. I get up every morning at 6:40.
  7. I am currently trying to reconcile my lifelong rift with winter.
  8. I'm a friendly person, but a bit of a loner.
  9. I keep my fingernails short.
  10. I am about to turn 34.
  11. I enjoy the liberal daily use of good smelling lotion.
  12. I like my dog, but sometimes fear that I don't show her enough love.
  13. I'm the sixth of eight children.
  14. I like to learn a little bit about a lot of things.
  15. I hate it when my home phone rings; it's almost never someone I want to talk to.
  16. I enjoy cooking most of the time.
  17. I love singer/songwriters.
  18. Almost every bit of advice or scolding I give to Christian is something I should use myself.
  19. I love my house.
  20. I used to leave my contacts in for months; now I take them out every night.
  21. I'm in love with my husband.
  22. I think I want to go to the circus for my birthday.
  23. I am falling out of love with blogging.
  24. I enjoy vacuuming.
  25. I do not enjoy dusting.
  26. I hate cleaning out the fridge.
  27. Someday I'd like to learn more about the stock market.
  28. I'm working on a novel. The process intimidates and terrifies me.
  29. I crave summer like a drug.
  30. I would have enjoyed math more in my youth if someone had explained that it's one of very few things in life that result in a "right answer."
  31. I like texting.
  32. I like old buildings.
  33. I love doing laundry and folding laundry, but I hate putting it away.
  34. I have decided to consciously stop wishing things were different about myself. What a waste.
  35. I think David Gergen is the best political commentator ever.
  36. I used to hate chewing gum until I realized that I could chew it for only a few minutes and then spit it out. Turns out, I'm in charge of my gum!
  37. I enjoy walking outside more than any other form of exercise. 
  38. I am a huge fan of carbohydrates.
  39. I like driving my car.
  40. One of my pet peeves is people who stand right outside the entrance of buildings smoking.
  41. Sometimes I feel like a good writer and sometimes I feel like a crappy writer.
  42. I feel like I've become much more serious in the last few months and I don't like it.
  43. I'd like to have more ambition, but I also want to feel content.
  44. I no longer have a toenail fungus.
  45. I am genuinely tired of reading about war: in fiction, in nonfiction, in real time.
  46. I am more funny on paper than I am in real life.
  47. I am not competitive with others.
  48. I really try to be a good parent, and I think that most of the time I am.
  49. I used to be afraid of semicolons; now I just don't like them.
  50. I would never want to re-live my twenties.
  51. I would never want to re-live my teens.
  52. I am saddened when I hear of unhappy childhoods.
  53. I believe in working hard, but also making lots of time for fun.
  54. I love A Prairie Home Companion on NPR.
  55. Even though I am a woman, there is a lot that I don't understand about women.
  56. Give me sushi and I'll be happy.
  57. I'm overwhelmed sometimes by how much I love my kids.
  58. I am continually amazed by Ryan and his accomplishments.
  59. I can waste an entire day with little to no effort at all.
  60. I am a longtime user of Proactiv Solution, and a sucker for most infomercials.
  61. In my opinion, traveling is not only fun, but absolutely necessary. Every place I've ever visited has changed me and my view of the world.
  62. I want to travel more. Lots more.
  63. I think bridges are jaw-dropping structures.
  64. I worry about my dad's health sometimes. I want him to live a long, long time.
  65. I don't worry about my mom's health so much. She was a health nut before health nuts were cool.
  66. One of my favorite quotes to ponder came from Mad Men: "Nobody knows what's wrong with themselves, but everybody else can see it right away."
  67. I'm trying to figure out what everybody else can see right away about me.
  68. I love my brothers and sisters.
  69. I like to sleep with a foot sticking out of the covers.
  70. I am not afraid of or opposed to killing spiders.
  71. I have nice handwriting.
  72. I have bad hearing.
  73. I think it's important to listen to intelligent people who disagree with you.
  74. I used to love David Letterman until he was revealed to be a dirty old man.
  75. I love the energy in restaurants.
  76. I use a lot of brown sugar in my cooking.
  77. I don't understand people who are difficult and abrasive.
  78. Sometimes I want another child, but most of the time I don't.
  79. The older I get, the more I believe that faith is an intensely personal process.
  80. The other day I remembered something really mean I did when I was 12.
  81. I fear that I will never get used to the east coast greet-with-a-kiss-on-the-cheek thing. Awkward.
  82. I really enjoy and appreciate fast food sometimes.
  83. I don't have much interest in super fancy restaurants.
  84. I don't think I have enough confidence in myself.
  85. I am mildly obsessed with This American Life.
  86. I prefer showers to baths.
  87. I truly enjoy an un-rushed trip to Target.
  88. Sometimes, if I really think about it, the momentum of technology can really freak me out.
  89. I haven't made burritos for a long time.
  90. I feel sad that Ryan's parents are dead.
  91. I love the last mushy bite of an ice cream cone.
  92. I am in love with the beach.
  93. I wish I would have known my grandparents
  94. I have music playing all the time. (Just like my mom.)
  95. I am short.
  96. I am nervous to be the parent of a teenager.
  97. I check my email all the time.
  98. I don't keep a regular journal.
  99. I am tired.
  100. I like grapes.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Beware of Betty

Last night I had a terrible nightmare. Betty White (who was somehow Ryan's grandmother in the dream) was not only a celebrated star of the small and silver screens, but also a deranged serial killer. And somehow I was the only one who figured it out while she and I were alone in the basement.

I know the terror is hard for you to imagine, what with the pleasant smile she sports, the tufts of golden white hair on her head, and the soft velour track suit, but it was bone chilling terror I experienced. Moments before I was hacked into pieces by Betty White, I drifted out of the dream. I realized that I was safe in my bed, but the reality of the dream was so strong that I spent several minutes under my covers considering a few important questions as my heart rate returned to normal:

  • Is Betty White really a serial killer?
  • Is Betty White really my grandmother-in-law?
  • Does Anderson Cooper know about any of this?
  • I'm safe now, but is it possible that Betty White is standing at the foot of my bed with an axe?
All day long I've been a little off balance. I mean, if you can't trust Betty White, who can you trust?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Would You?

In late December, I was getting bummed about the very practical assortment of Christmas gifts I'd acquired for Ryan: boots, a coat, a beard trimmer, a travel case for bathroom supplies.

"You're going to have a boring Christmas," I warned him. "Very practical."

"Oh goodie," he replied.

A few days later, I got an email from Groupon announcing the daily deal. It was very non-practical. I pursed my lips. I stroked my chin. I considered the possibility. I imagined the surprise. I clicked "Buy Now!"

On Christmas morning, after the boots, coat, beard trimmer, and travel case had been opened, I handed Ryan a final box to unwrap. Inside he found one of the kids toys---an action figure in a flight suit taped to another small package containing a toy plane.

"I don't get it," he said.

"Keep going," I said, pointing to the rolled papers tied with ribbon.

"Should I be concerned that this action figure is missing a foot?" he asked.

I guess I hadn't inspected it closely before I taped it to the plane.

"Pay no attention to that," I said.

He opened the papers to open the true surprise: a gift certificate for a skydive, the very antithesis of boots, coats, beard trimmers, and travel cases. What happened next explains a lot about Ryan, me, and everyone else we know. First, he spent a couple of hours researching the company, customer/victim reviews, and most importantly, the mortality rates of skydiving. He was relieved to find that after some major changes to regulations in the 90's, very few people die anymore from skydiving. It's around one in every 550,000.

But still, he reminded me, there has to be that one.

I should mention that there were two gift certificates, one for him and one for me. I attempted to get my neighbor friend to buy one for her husband for Christmas. I would spend half as much and we could send them up together. She immediately killed the idea. Her husband isn't into flinging himself from flying planes, she explained. Sure, I replied, but are you into flinging him from a flying plane? She stuck to her guns. I figured I couldn't send Ryan up alone, so I bought another dive for me.

I didn't study the statistics, read customer reviews, or research the company. I do get butterflies and a mild case of diarrhea every time I think about the actual activity, but I'm more or less committed to participating. I buy into the belief that if other people, including many senior citizens, get a kick out of it and live through it, why not me?

At this point, Ryan is about 60% committed to the idea, but is reserving his final decision until later. I think the action figure with the missing foot is haunting him a little.

Since the time he opened the gift, he's asked everybody he knows if they'd do it, and we're both surprised at the findings. Most people say no, thank you very much. More women say yes. My dad says he might have in a younger day. My friend says she would if she had better knees. Christian says he wouldn't, not in a million years, and by the way, we'd better not die if we decide to do it.

Now I'm wondering where you stand on the issue. Would you jump? Have you jumped? Tell me all about it. I want to know. I think.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Emotional Growth: As Seen On TV

Something is happening to me. It's the kind of thing I expected to happen around the time of Christian's high school graduation or maybe when I decrease the time between my hair appointments to keep up the blondification of the increasing gray hairs. As it is, I am only 33 years old with only one silver eyelash---a persistent one I have to keep plucking out---and two little boys who still get excited about Legos. But still, something is happening to me.

Maybe I brought it on prematurely with the purchase of the Clapper, a product I've fallen in love with since its arrival at my doorstep last month. We have a wonderful working relationship, the Clapper and I. I stand in applause and it lights up my life, and then we do it again in reverse. As much as I love the Clapper, maybe it's the cause of the something that's happening to me.

The something is a haunting, a mild ache in my chest, a tendency to be sentimental, reflective, and quick to produce tears. It happens at inopportune times, like at Max's second grade class program a few weeks ago. The class was strung across the room singing a cheery song about being America's kids, America's future. I cried because it was true. It was very inconvenient. Most everybody else was chuckling at all the nose-picking and fidgeting of America's future. But I was crying. I was also crying because of the old wrinkled granny in the audience who was shaking her head and lamenting about the number of Mexican kids in the class. She didn't think they should be part of America's future. That made me cry too.


In the name of full disclosure as I ponder this mystery, I should also admit that I have recently been outfitted with a Snuggie. I did it to myself. In fact, I outfitted the entire family in them for Christmas. We don them while watching movies together or reading books. Today I found Max in his tan church pants, no shirt, and his child-size blue Snuggie worn backward, robe-style. He resembled a young, blond Moses. He parted the couch pillows and settled into a cartoon. He's America's future, you know. I'm wearing my Snuggie as I type this, and I am comfortable declaring my affection for it. The Snuggies are wonderful. Ridiculous? Yes. The cause of my sentimental streak? Perhaps.

Maybe the combination of the Clapper and the Snuggie is the reason why, at plenty o'clock one morning I was alone by the Christmas tree, watching a movie about a family. There were funny parts that made me laugh and sad parts that opened floodgates of emotion. And instead of policing the emotion and rationing its release, I surrendered to it. I let the tears and heavy sighs have a free-for-all with me. I bathed in all of the wonderful sadness. If I'd had a spoon nearby, I would have eaten it. I was wrapped in an overwhelming feeling of content. My soul reached from the inside out, tugged at my ear and whispered, "Just FEEL!"

The feeling thing is a big part of the something going on with me. It's not just feeling emotions at classroom programs and midnight movie viewings, though. It's a new version of feeling, an emotional upgrade of sorts to my internal software. The emotions are accompanied by a new understanding that I have no need to transform them, explain them, or resolve them as I used to believe. I don't have to find ways to turn sad into happy, scared into secure, lonely into loved. Everything is what it is. Feel it, embrace it, and let it go.

Is all this written in the fine print of the Clapper user manual? I'm not sure. I throw away users manuals.

If it's true that these As Seen On TV products propel the aging process and its accompanying maturity, I'm conflicted. I'm enjoying my new outlook on life, not to mention the comfort and convenience of on-demand ambient lighting and soft fleece. But are there other, less-enlightening side effects headed my way? Hot flashes? Hip replacements? Bingo nights? Only time will tell.

In the mean time, however, I'm going to put off ordering the Perfect Brownie Pan or the Microwave Pasta Boat. I can only handle so much wisdom at once.
Related Posts with Thumbnails