Thursday, September 24, 2009

Why I exercise early in the morning before anyone else is up

I’m working out to Tae Bo on Saturday while my six-year-old daughter watches from the comfortable chair behind me, breakfast of milk and banana in hand.

She: She doesn’t look like his daughter.
Me: I’ve told you before, he adopted her. That’s why their skin colors are different.
She: No, she doesn’t look like she used to. Her hair’s curly in this video.
Me: It’s always curly, just sometimes she pulls it back.
She: So is this a new video or an old one?
Me: It’s one of the newer ones, I think.
She: Why is everyone wearing the same kind of outfit?
Me: It’s a boot camp video where they do military-type exercises so everyone has on camo.
She: What’s camo?
Me: (Saw this one coming) It’s short for camouflage. Like animals. Like lizards are green so they blend in with the grass.
She: I know what camouflage is.
Me: I thought so.
She: Why doesn’t that one girl have those stretchy things?
Me: She’s showing people who don’t use bands how they can still follow this video. Like me.
She: But you have weights.
Me: Yes, since I don’t have bands, I’m using weights.
She: Then why isn’t she using weights?
Me: I guess some people might not have bands or weights.
She: Why don’t you have on camo?
Me: Because I’m not in the video.
She: He’s saying ‘right arm up’ and that’s your left.
Me: I ignore him because it’s like looking in the mirror and everything’s reversed. Why don’t you get down here and work out with me?
She: I just like yoga.
Me: But this is good exercise.
She: Not without a mat.
Me: You can use your mat.
She: They’re not using them. Why do she and her dad have on belts?
Me: Those are for their battery packs.
She: Why do they have those?
Me: For their wireless microphones. He’s talking and she’s counting.
She: Why doesn’t everyone get a microphone?
Me: Because we don’t need to hear everyone as they’re counting.
She: I’d want to wear a microphone.
Me: (thinking: God help us all…)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

My story has been wordled

I found a cool Web site: You can enter your blog address, Web site or a selection of words. Then you press enter and this cool collage of word appears. I did this with a short story I recently completed. The result is pretty cool.

Wordle: waiting

If you click on the image, you can see it larger and get directed to their site.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Blind Side

The other day I went to see All About Steve. I almost lost faith in Sandra Bullock. (It was painfully reminiscent of Miss Congeniality.) But this weekend I saw a trailer for her new film, coming in November. I think I’m going to love it.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

What we know of Columbine

It became one of those moments. One of the “I remember where I was when I heard the news” times.

I remember where I was when: the Challenger exploded (at my first real job in Indianapolis); Oklahoma City was bombed (in my office in Alabama); the Twin Towers fell (getting kids off to school in Illinois); and Columbine High School came under fire (in my car in St. Louis).

Columbine quickly became a household name. It was no longer an affluent community in Colorado or a high school of roughly 2000 kids. It became synonymous with every parent’s worst nightmare: that you might one day send your child to school and later be asked to identify his or her body.

I first learned about Dave Cullen’s book, Columbine, through a literary agent’s Web site. Later I bought the book and couldn’t put it down.

What we learned from the media turned out to be so far removed from the truth. The boys, Eric and Dylan, didn’t target jocks or Christians. They weren’t bullied or outcasts. Dylan attended prom just days before he would place bombs beside his classmates. Dylan was a depressed, suicidal kid easily influenced by others. Eric was a homicidal psychopath. Their friendship proved lethal.

They spent more than a year plotting their assault. On April 20, 1999, they didn’t plan to shoot kids in their school library; they planned to blow the place up. The body count would have been staggering. Fortunately, they were lousy at building bombs. Regrettably, they had a backup plan. Before they would shoot themselves, they would murder 12 students and one teacher, injure 24 and stun a nation.

I won’t attempt to summarize Cullen’s story here. You can watch this short video below and then I urge you to visit his Web site. Then read his book. If you do read it, I suggest you flip back to the Notes portion (beginning on page 363) to help you understand the research behind the findings.

Cullen was one of the first reporters on the scene and spent the next ten years reviewing evidence and interviewing survivors and the community.

What I learned was this: As parents we have every right to know what our kids are doing—who they socialize with, what they stash in their closets, what they write in their journals. The amount of evidence both boys left behind is staggering.

We also must persevere to right any injustice we see. A classmate’s mother repeatedly complained to police about Eric Harris—kids knew the boys were making bombs and amassing artillery. A search warrant for Eric’s house was written up and then never executed. So many police blunders and cover-ups would ensue. The boys’ antics slipped through the cracks and people died.

Columbine is a riveting story you’ll never forget. And one I hope to never read again.

Columbine: Dave Cullen

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Top Ten Reasons I will de-friend you on Facebook

10. You play Mafia Wars, FarmVille, Heart-giving or some other mindless past-time that leads me to believe you have no life. (If you see me on FarmVille, it's my daughter--she's sabotaged my password. Again.)

9. You brag about your sex life. Really. I don't want to know. If you got a great haircut or found a fabulous pair of shoes, then I'd love to hear about it. What you and your significant other did last night? Not so much.

8. You expound about your religious views. I know we have a right to believe whatever we choose and good for you for having a strong faith. I just don't care to see posts about it each day.

7. You expound about your political views. Again, as in 8, but worse, in my opinion. Varying religious views tend to make me introspective, and I appreciate learning about different beliefs. But political rants can quickly get ugly. Just like armpits--I know you have them, I just don't want to be exposed to them.

6. Your profile picture isn't you. Okay, I might not de-friend you for this, but it is annoying. If I wanted to check in with a monkey, I'd call the zoo. Or my sister. And your two-year-old is adorable, but again, it's not you. Think of your profile pic as a chance to show your friends how well you've aged. If you haven't aged well, then get someone to PhotoShop your picture.

5. You somehow sent me a friend request based on our mutual interests or other friends. I might have accepted you because I was distracted at the time or you looked harmless. If you post something a little weird, bye-bye.

4. You take endless quizzes. If every day I learn what TV mom you are, which Sex and the City character you are, what medieval warrior you are, what era you're from, which '80s hair band you are...what annoying Facebook quiz you are most likely to take...

3. You collect friends like a hooker collects STFs (sexually transmitted funk). If you have 785 friends, honestly, do you really need me? I'm a writer with a fragile ego--I need to be needed.

2. You tell me what you eat. Incessant, trivial updates make me want to introduce you to a life coach. "Just had three donuts and a soda for breakfast!" Well, you shouldn't have! Do you really want me to comment on that? I can't click on a "dislike" button to give you a thumbs down, but I can remove you if it gets really scary to witness.

1. You keep reminding me of things I'd rather forget. "Remember when we were in high school and you wore that yellow shirt that made you look like a goober and then everyone called you Bananarama and made you cry?" Well, no, but thanks for dredging up that horrible memory. Who are you, Satan?

Special thanks to my sister, Amy, and her friends pictured here (Amy, Rosie, Jennifer and Caitlin) who weighed in on this post. I usually try not to post negative stuff on my blog. I just felt a little bit snarky today. Sorry, Mom.