Thursday, February 26, 2009

List making

The other day I was complaining to my friend Jennifer about how little I seem to accomplish during the day. She said, “I’ve started making a to-do list. You know, like professional people do at their jobs.” Ouch. She said she’s amazed at how much she accomplishes when she writes it down and then marks it off. That was a week or two ago and I’ve yet to heed her advice.

Today’s list would read:
aEmpty dishwasher
aWash sheets
aClean bathroom
aCall Angie and get name of cleaning lady
aBake cookies
aMarinate brisket for dinner tonight
aOrganize financials for taxes
aSubmit receipts for flex-plan reimbursement
aEdit photos and print off those of Flat Stanley for Jennifer’s daughter Abby Grace
aWrite up a witty account about how Flat Stanley spent his time in our area
aMail Flat Stanley back to Abby Grace
aClean off my desk
aWatch American Idol that I TiVo’d last night
aSit outside and enjoy 80 degree weather before cold front hits
aHem a pair of pants
aFinish up chapter three of my latest novel
aStart writing my chapter on other novel co-writing with Joan
aFind writing prompt for Writing Women meeting tomorrow

OK, so I’ve made a list. Worse yet, I’ve made it public. Now I’ll see how much of it I accomplish.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Teaser Tuesday

Over on the shouldbereading blog, I've joined her campaign to introduce you to two random lines in a book that I'm reading or have recently read. The idea is to tempt you to read it too, or you may comment with two lines of your current read. Just don't spoil the plot.

Here's mine: (one of three books I'm currently reading/not reading--depending on the day...this one rides around in the car with me)

Shopaholic Takes Manhattan by Sophie Kinsella

about her mad collection of shoes....(page 19)

And once I lined them all up on my bed and took a photograph of them. Which might seem a bit weird--but I thought, I've got loads of photos of people I don't really like, so why not take one of something I really love?

Friday, February 20, 2009

It doesn't even have to rhyme

When I was young, my mother instilled in me an early love of reading. She included poetry at times, and the ones I remember most were by James Whitcomb Riley. Probably a favorite in our house because he was a fellow Hoosier. His are the first poems I could recite from memory—two in particular: “The Raggedy Man” and “Little Orphant Annie.”

It occurred to me the other day that I had yet to introduce poetry to my daughter, so I bought her James Prelutsky’s collection My Dog May Be a Genius. Since she loves anything that has to do with dogs, she seemed to enjoy them. Then the other night I read to her some excerpts from Robert Frost’s Poetry for Young People. First I read “A Girl’s Garden” and she didn’t comment on it. So then I read “Ghost House” and before I could turn the page, she said, “Okay, I have no idea what that meant.” Me either, Sweetie. I could have read the notation at the bottom of the page, but I doubt either one of us would have understood it any better.

I remember in college, reading poetry and then writing essays about what I’d read. The professor I had continually praised my writing and then would give me a B. I finally asked him after class one day what it would take to get an A in his class. His response: Most of the A students are in my honor’s English class.

So, I challenged him. I told him unless he could tell me how to improve my writing so I could get an A in his class, then I thought I deserved to be getting them—even though it was not an honor’s class. My final essay analyzed “To His Coy Mistress” by Andrew Marvell. In typical fashion, I wrote it during the wee hours of the morning before it was due. But this time I got an A.

Now my interest in poetry has been revitalized since I began attending critique group. Two writers, Philip and Ramona, regularly read their poetry, and I used to apologize when offering feedback, saying I didn’t really read poetry and therefore they should take that into consideration when weighing my comments. Now I feel more qualified to respond. And besides, they are usually a lot of fun to read. And not nearly as difficult to understand as Frost’s.

Anyone have a favorite poet? Or poem to share?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Money laundering

I’m pretty diligent about checking the pockets of jeans as I do laundry. If you wash a cell phone, a Sharpie or a crayon (and bonus dunce points if you also dry the crayon), you pretty much figure out it’s easier to check pockets than to try and remove the resulting stains or replace an expensive cell phone.

And some times it pays. Literally. If I find money—it’s mine—unless it’s a lot and then I’m likely to feel too guilty to keep it. Although I may keep half as a finder’s fee. (Jacob: That five dollar bill I gave you last week--there were two. I kept one and you didn't even notice.)

Last night as I was checking pockets, I stuck my hands into the tiny pockets of my daughter’s jeans. Her first pair. I finally bought her a pair since, at the age of five, she can probably wear them without looking like a boy. I didn’t realize she knew to stuff her pockets with things and was surprised to find money in her back pocket. Play money, but money still the same. I guess I won’t be surprised to find a Barbie cell phone in the pocket the next time I wash her jeans. And, if for some reason, I forget to check, I doubt those pink plastic phones are too expensive to replace.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Friday the 13th can be really frightening

Yesterday morning (Friday the 13th—I shoulda known) I woke up with a plan. Get the kids off to school, shower, phone-interview a doctor for an article I’m writing, then put together the makings for my daughter’s Valentine’s Day Tea Party. For her and eight of her classmates. No problem. I had all day to bake cupcakes, ice them, make sandwiches, drinks, wash and cut up strawberries and pineapple, clean the house up, place the table with linens and party dishes, make up a love-themed Bingo game, wrap the prizes for the games, shred the tissue for the craft, decorate the house a bit. Plenty of time.

Then I checked my email and my boss needed me to edit some articles for her. Last minute. Today. Please? Oh. My. Gosh. I mixed up the cupcakes and interviewed the doctor while the cupcakes were baking. I could hear the timer going off and he was still talking. “Um, may I please put you on hold?” Dashed to the kitchen and yanked the cupcakes out of the oven. Back to the interview.

Finished with him and went into overdrive. Managed to edit seven out of 16 articles, hoping that would be a good enough ratio to help me keep my job. Vacuumed the den and mopped the kitchen floor. Kinda. Did a lame job putting up decorations but decided by the time nine little girls are in the house, would it really matter? Iced the PupCakes, which turned out looking more like Muppets gone horribly wrong, but decided they’d taste good and that’s half of it.

At 1:15 I got a phone call from my son’s friend Rachel. She wanted to know if I was serious when, last night at Hobby Lobby, I suggested she could come to Mia’s tea party if she didn’t have anything better to do. Was I serious? Heck, yeah! “I’ll be there about 2:30,” she said. Cool. Rachel can do the craft prep. She works at Hobby Lobby. She’s more than qualified.

And then at 2:30, 15 minutes to go, my friend Tracy came over to help. Actually, she was an angel—not just a friend. She took over the kitchen, wrapped the prizes, decorated the table and chairs, washed the strawberries and everything else while I dashed off to pick up five of the girls from school. I passed Rachel in the driveway and she ran in to help Tracy.

Well, after two hours of fun, food and games, Tracy finished washing all the dishes and Rachel picked up the craft mess while the girls’ parents collected them and went home.

Later that evening I asked Mia what was her favorite thing about her party. She said, “None of it.” I nearly dropped her off my lap and went in search of a more grateful child to parent. Instead, I asked for a clarification. She said, “I loved all of it, so I don’t have a favorite thing.” Good answer. I just might keep her around another year.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Monday, February 9, 2009

A birthday poem

to me, from my son.

I love you, Mom, for all that you've done
You are just as important as the rising sun.

You are as cool as a cucumber, you are the bomb
And that's why I'm glad that u are my mom!

Happy B-day


Sunday, February 8, 2009

If you hold the power...

It should go without saying that if you seek to hold a public office in this country--whether you are elected to one or nominated--there are certain things you should do.

A) Vote with enough regularity to show you care, Caroline.
B) Pay your income tax, Tom.
C) Pay your unemployment tax, Nancy.
D) Not view your position as a way to personally profit, Rod.

It's not about holding politicians to a higher standard than the rest of us. Really. It's what we should expect from every citizen. Just sayin'...