Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Same Time, Same Closet redux

This entry was first posted at Observations Of A Misfit. I wanted to put something new up, however, the Elementary-school-flu of death (Son is fine, of course) is making the rounds of the family. My turn. So a rerun it is!

February 18, 2005
Same Time, Same Closet

Like most people I have, on occasion, dreamed of running away from home. It seems only last week, I contemplated the joy, the freedom, the bliss of the open road. To be perfectly honest, it was more like yesterday. My husband returned from work to find me sitting silently in the unlit closet of our bedroom.

“Honey? What are you doing?” he asked carefully.
“Sshhhh! He’ll hear you!” I whispered. "Come in, shut the door, and for heaven's sake be quiet!” Without further question, he looked over his shoulder, made sure that he had not been seen, and quietly slipped into the closet with me. “Were you followed?” I asked urgently.
“No, I don’t think so. I think we’re okay for now,” he whispered back. “Who are we hiding from?” I pulled a box of crackers from a drawer, and handed him a bottle of water.

“Who do you think?”

“Oh." He patted my knee sympathetically. "Long day, huh?”

“You have no idea.” He made himself more comfortable, and began opening his crackers.

“Not so loud!” I hissed.


“The wrapper! You’re making too much noise with the wrapper!”

“He can’t hear that from his room; he’s on the other side of the house!”

“Oh no,” I informed him. “He just wants us to THINK he can’t hear, but he hears. He could hear a candy wrapper rustle from three blocks away.”

“Is that so? Then how come I have to bend down and shout directly into his ear to get him to come when I call him?” he asked, seeming puzzled. I patted his knee and looked at him through the dim glow of the flashlight.

“Ahh. Allow me to explain," I told him, as I rearranged the shoes on which I was sitting.
“The hearing of a nine-year-old boy is directly related to the implications of
the incoming sound.”

“Excuse me?”

I sighed. “Okay, if you want him to come downstairs to take the garbage out, there is no way in the world he’s going to hear you. The same with bedtime, school, homework and chores.”

“Yes,” he nodded, “I’m with you so far.”

“Good. Now, I don’t know if he is even aware that he ignores what he’s hearing. It’s possible that he is somehow able to automatically tune out anything he doesn’t want to hear.”

“Do we have any cheese?”

“Here,” I said, handing him the Cracker Barrel pre-cut cheddar. He frowned.

”How old it this cheese?"

“I don’t know. It was aged 90 days before I bought it, what’s a few more days going to hurt? Now, please focus. We’re discussing our son and his selective listening skills.”

“Huh? Oh, right. Yeah, I have no idea why he’s like that.”
“It is quite a mystery,” I replied, as Mike positioned a slab of cheese on his cracker, lining it up square with the edges.

“You were saying?” he asked before popping the cracker into his mouth.

“I was saying that the same child who cannot hear an atomic blast occurring three feet away is nonetheless able to pick up the barest whisper of a bag of potato chips being opened in a neighboring town.”

“Right,” Mike agreed, nodding. “Do you have chips somewhere around here?”

“Look, I really need you to concentrate. If you can’t, you’re out of here, got it?” He swallowed one more cracker and set them aside.

“Okay. Let’s hear it.”

“It started with his haircut.”

“You took him to get his haircut?” Mike asked.

“Not exactly. Do you remember walking into the bathroom this morning and seeing hair all over the counter?”

“Yes, I thought you were trimming your bangs.”

“I don’t have bangs, dear.”

“Oh.” He seemed perplexed. I gave him a moment for the idea to settle in. “Oh!” he said, as realization dawned. “I see. How bad is it?”

“Well, remember when he was a baby and had just one little tuft of hair? Remember how cute he was?”

“Yes.” He smiled fondly.

“Well this is not nearly that cute.”

“So, then what?”

“Well, so then I walked him into the bathroom, pointed out the hair all over the counter and the floor and asked, ‘Did you cut your hair?’”


“And he denied it. He looked me right in the eye and said he had no idea what happened.”
“You’re kidding, right?”

“Nope. He wouldn’t even admit it when I pointed out that his hairstyle had been radically altered.”

“What did he do?”

“He looked shocked. He looked in the mirror as if he was realizing only then that he was sporting a Mohawk.” I explained. “So I asked your dear mother’s grandson, ‘How do you think your hair got cut if you didn’t do it?’ and do you know what he said? He said, ‘It must have just fallen off’!”

Mike rubbed my back. "It sounds like you’ve had a rough day,” he sympathized.

“Oh, that’s just the beginning,” I informed him. “It gets worse.”

“Okay,” Mike said, settling more comfortably against the door with a pillow. “What next?”

“I got a call from his teacher. She found something in his pencil box after school today.”

“Is it too much to hope that it was pencils?”

“Yes it is.”

“But it wasn’t...”

"No, nothing like that.”

“Well then, what?”

“It seems your son has been stashing his homework beneath a false bottom he created for his pencil box. He folds each paper up as small as possible, slips it in the box, covers it, puts pencils on top of the false bottom and then puts the box behind his books in his desk.”

“Really? That’s, er...creative. Why is he doing this?”

“When I asked him he told me it was because he didn’t have time for school work.”

“Why is that?” Mike asked.

“Because he has a business to run.”

“What kind of business?”

“Apparently, he draws pictures of cartoon animals and sells them to the other kids. He calls them Desk Pets. I asked where he gets his materials. He said, and I’d like to stress that this is an actual quote, ‘I just use the classroom stuff, so there is very little overhead for my business. It’s mostly profit.’”

“Wow. That’s impressive.”

“Be that as it may, he hasn’t turned in an assignment in weeks. He’s has been telling me that he doesn’t have homework, and he’s been telling his teacher he left it at home.”

“Well that’s not impressive. That’s not even original. You’d think he would have come up with something better than that.”

“Yes, the lack of creativity in his lies is the truly upsetting thing.” I snapped.

“Sorry," he said, with eyes downcast.

“Moving on; after the meeting with his teacher, we came home and he started his ‘I’m hungry’ mantra. I gave him a snack and sent him to get started on his homework. When I came in to check on him, he had polished off two apples, a package of beef jerky, and a bowl of cereal.”

“How long were you gone?”

“About five minutes.”

“Yes, that sounds about right.”

“Then I put his school clothes in the wash.”

“How was that a problem?”

“Cargo pants.”

“Again?” Mike asked gently. I nodded. “What was it this time?”

“Crayons. I swear I checked every pocket, but these cargo pants have 87 pockets, and it’s very easy to miss one. And of course, he has to put something in each and every pocket, and you don’t even want to know what he puts in some of them,” I began ranting.

“Okay,” he soothed. “Hair, school, laundry, anything else?”

“As a matter of fact, yes.”

“Is it bad?”

“You tell me; his physical therapist called and said that our dear little boy was trying to sell his leg brace to another boy at school.”

“How much was he asking?” I glared at him. Sorry,” he said. “Anything else?”

"Just the usual. Laundry, cooking, cleaning, first aid, tutoring, school, cub scouts, church, shopping and then I start all over again.”

He nodded. “So what do you want to do now?”

“That’s just it. I think we should run away from home. We’ll go live on a little island somewhere, you won’t have to work, we’ll get away from responsibility and pressure and the day after day after day drudgery. I can make pineapple smoothies and you can organize all the sand by size and color of grain.”

“What about our son? What about the house?”

“He can have the house. I don’t care anymore. We’ll just give him the house; leave a credit card and a good supply of corn dogs. Your parents are close by. They’ll take care of him. He’ll be very happy.”

“That does sound appealing,” he mused. Sensing victory, I pressed on.

“Yes! Think of it! We can sleep in, no homework we have to pretend we understand! It’ll be heavenly!”

“How do you suggest we finance the whole thing?”

“We can live off your trust fund.”

“I don’t have a trust fund.”

“Pity your parents didn’t set one up. We should get away before you become resentful about it.”

“It does sound tempting,” he said wistfully.

“Yes! It sounds...Shh! What was that?” We sat silently for a moment, listening intently.

“Is it the refrigerator opening?” Mike asked. I eyed him in disdain.

“The refrigerator. Honestly, you two are so much alike.”

“No, seriously, I think he’s in the kitchen.” We waited. Then, as we knew it would, the call came.

“Mom? I’m hungry! What’s for dinner?”

Mike and I looked at each other and sighed. “Well,” I said, “it was fun while it lasted.”

“Yes, it was fun,” he answered. “Same time tomorrow then?”

“Yes, of course. Same time, same closet. Don’t forget it’s your turn to bring the snacks.”

Monday, January 16, 2006

I Wonder As I Wander. Then I Just Get Really Confused.

Something is happening to my mind. I'm losing control of the memory function and not in a good way.

I have mentioned my fabulous memory. I believe I have indicated that I have almost no ability to recall important stuff. But until recently I was able to at least remember why I was in a certain place.

Here's the thing. Lately I've been finding myself standing, say, in front of the linen closet with absolutely NO clue as to why I might be there. There really are very few reasons why I would be standing in front of the linen closet. I could be there looking for clean sheets. Maybe a table cloth. (Though that's pretty unlikely since we are backwoods Utah people and we usually just eat things right from the boxes in which they were delivered.) I suppose it's even possible that I might be there looking for that bag of Hershey's Kisses I stashed there weeks ago. (Thank heavens I still remember the chocolate-related information.) But whatever the reason for my presence there might be, I. Do. Not. Remember. It.

I admit that at first this was amusing. A little game in retracing my steps. Finding myself in the laundry room holding a tennis racket and a box of cereal and trying to find the connection was good for a few minutes of entertainment. But now it's starting to worry me.

What happened to my mind? Did aliens come and steal my memory chip during the night? Is Mike poisoning me a little at a time and memory loss is but the first symptom? Am I suffering from early dementia?

Truthfully, I've been kind of worried about this. But the other day Michael yelled from downstairs, "Honey?"

"I am standing on the stairs to the basement."
"Well, I'm just wondering if you have any thoughts about WHY I'm here because I've tried but I just can't remember what I'm doing here."

So at least I'm not alone. But I hope there's a good explanation for this. I have visions of us driving aimlessly around town desperately searching for a clue to explain why we're out.

Does anyone else suffer from this? Just be aware that if you tell me that it's because I'm getting older I will smack you. As long as I remember the purpose of my visit once I'm actually standing in front of you, that is.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Ah, memories!

I don’t mean to sound immodest, but I have an incredible memory. There is no detail so small, so insignificant or meaningless that it escapes my mind. This is something that baffles, fascinates and frustrates my husband.

One night we were watching “The Black Stallion”. This is a movie I had not seen since it was in theaters when I was a child. Half-way through the film, apropos of nothing I announced, “Cassolet.”

“What?” Mike asked.

“Cassolet. That’s the name of the horse.”

“I thought it was 'The Black.'"

“No, I mean the name of the horse playing the Black Stallion. It’s Cassolet.” Michael took a few minutes to ponder this revelation. Then he asked,

“Is this something that was a big deal when the movie came out? Was this a famous horse or something?”

“I don’t think so.”

“Okay. I give up. How do you know this?”

“I saw it in the credits.” I had his full attention now.

“You saw it in the credits?”


“I thought you said the last time you saw this you were a kid.”

“I was.”

“So 25 years ago, you saw a name flicker on a movie screen and you remember it to this day.”


“Okay, now explain to me how you know this but you haven’t quite nailed down your social security number.”

You see, there is one drawback to my fabulous memory. I only remember insignificant, useless information. If a particular nugget of information is something that will be of no use to me whatsoever, my mind puts it in some high priority memory file, never to be forgotten. I can’t ever remember exactly when my mother-in-law’s birthday is, but I DO remember that the boy my cousin had a crush on when she was in the ninth grade was born on December 14th. (His name was Nick.)

I can’t name more than three members of congress, BUT I do know that on Gilligan’s Island the Skipper’s first name was Jonas. His last name was Grumby. By the way, the Professor was named Roy Hinkly and Lovey Howell’s name was Eunice. Lovey was a nickname. This is but the tip of the TV trivia iceberg I have contained in my mind. But I’ve promised Michael I won't reveal everything I know since he feels that there is a circus out there somwhere just waiting to sign someone who can tell people exactly how the Skipper and Gilligan met.

I don’t have any idea why my mind clings to this information. I wish I could remember things that matter. I often wonder if there is some way to wipe out my mental hard drive to make room for data that will be useful for something more than winning radio contests. (Knowing the name of General Grant's horse is good for movie tickets, you know.)

So, no. I don’t know my driver’s license number. I’m not entirely sure who the governor is and I have no idea what my social security number is though I think there may be a nine in it. Or a six. An eight? Hmmm.

I'm not going to be able to help you much with the important questions in life, but if you ever need someone for your Trivial Pursuit team, give me a call. I’ll just be brushing up on the important stuff. “Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale…”

Monday, January 09, 2006

Things You Never Think You'd Have to Say While Teaching Piano Lessons

Please stop licking the piano.

Please get your face off the keyboard.

Seriously, stop licking the piano.

Feet on the floor please, this is a piano not a jungle gym.

Did you just SPIT on the keyboard?

Okay, WHY do you keep licking the piano?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Driving in Utah

I’m not what you’d call a daredevil. I’ve never been one to engage in dangerous behavior or chase after that adrenalin “rush.” Not on purpose anyway. I confess, however, that there is one dangerous activity in which I voluntarily participate on a daily basis. Scary enough to entice any extreme-thrill seeker this pastime is something that plunges even experienced risk-takers into heart-stopping, breath-stealing insanity. That’s right! I drive in the great state of Utah.

I haven’t really driven anywhere besides my home state so I don’t know if it’s this exciting in other places. Still, I like to think that we Utah drivers bring something special to the driving experience.

First of all it is important to remember that we are a friendly and loving people. This is perhaps why we are reluctant to allow any space at all to come between our car and those of our fellow drivers. Anyone who is stand-offish enough to leave enough distance between themselves and the car in front of them will soon realize that even the smallest space will quickly be filled by more friendly drivers. If you drive in Utah, you can expect people to be friendly enough to stay very close. The driver ahead of you will be able, simply by glancing in the rear-view mirror, to lip read the lyrics to the song you’re singing. Perhaps they will even sing along. They will be able to share the aroma of the doughnut you are attempting to eat as you drive to work, and despite what appears to be a common belief that we are, ourselves, invisible behind the clear untinted windows of our vehicles, be aware that YOU are in clear view and we will not pretend we don't see you squirt jelly from said doughnut all over your shirt. But don't worry. We're so busy trying to manage our gallon-sized mugs of Sprite that we won't laugh. Well, not really hard, anyway. The point is, get used to being close to other cars, especially if there are traffic lights in the vicinity as this brings us to:

The “I’m with them” driving technique. I suppose that technically, when a traffic light turns red, only the car in the middle of the intersection should proceed. But after all when you’ve been bumper to bumper with a person for several blocks, it’s hard to say goodbye. Therefore, it’s acceptable, or at least common to see several cars pass under the red light, as if they all belong to a procession of sorts; one that cannot and should not be interrupted by something as capricious as a traffic light. “It’s okay,” they seem to tell us as they proceed beneath a crimson light, “I’m with them!”

Traffic lights, in fact, are generally regarded as a loose suggestion. A green light means “Go. Or not. Whatever suits you, it’s your call." Just because there may be traffic approaching behind you, it’s no reason to leave before you’re ready. By all means, stay as long as you’d like! Of course some people feel that a green light means you should actually go. They see green as a sort of starting pistol or something. But wait, you say. What if I haven’t finished checking my makeup, or reading my newspaper? The answer is simple. Feel free to linger if you need to, but keep in mind that the accomplished driver is able to perform several tasks while still in motion. Try it. It’s not uncommon to see people talking on the phone, shaving, programming a palm pilot, spending some quality time lecturing the children or even performing little mini-concerts complete with air guitar and drums while simply driving to work. A yellow light is sort of a friendly reminder that perhaps you could be traveling just a bit faster. Of course, if you are less than three feet from the intersection when the light changes by all means stop and enjoy the kaleidoscope of color about to appear before your very eyes. A yellow light is so fleeting, so very brief and the next thing you know it changes to red. Take the time to stop and enjoy it. Of course there are those drivers who prefer to slow down to appreciate the last seconds of the amber hue before accelerating and racing through the red light. It’s a nice surprise for those silly drivers traveling the opposite direction who are attempting to turn left. We must do our part, after all, to keep everyone on their toes! A red light is an indication that if you’d like to stop, for whatever reason, you may do so. However, you should be considerate of other drivers and be certain that you aren’t holding up a procession of “I’m with them” drivers. In fact, just to be on the safe side if you are any closer than three blocks away from a red light, you should probably just plan on continuing through anyway, just in case.

But traffic lights aren’t the only way to have fun while driving. Far from it! We have the added excitement of interpreting turn signals. While some people believe that a turn signal is a means of informing fellow drivers of an intent to turn, I have found that this is not always the case. There are a number of reasons for using a turn signal. For example, if a car in the next lane is lagging behind leaving enough space for you to actually enter their lane, a turn signal is the quickest way to get them to pick up the pace and fill that space! Turn signals of course can be used to indicate a desire to, say, turn or even change lanes. You take the chance, however, that this will be misunderstood so it’s better to simply turn without the signal.

On the other hand, the thoughtful driver who really does wish to alert other drivers of an intent to turn can do so by simply switching on the signal indicator several miles before the anticipated turn. This gives everyone ample time to close any gaps, plus it allows for an exciting game of “Is he really going to turn or is he just teasing?” Also be sure to note the light-hearted game of "Made You Think I Wasn't Turning!" played by many. This game is always good for a laugh when you are attempting to turn onto a busy street but having difficulty finding an opening. Remember, no spaces between cars! You too will laugh heartily as a person careens toward you at full speed and then, without any indication whatsoever of intent, the driver suddenly turns! This brings you the realization that if they had signaled a turn you would have been able to pull onto the street, but they got you! Now you have to wait longer! HA HA HA!

I recently learned that turn signal etiquette is not limited to the state of Utah. A friend of mine is a police officer in Idaho. A thoughtful citizen has informed him that turn signals should be employed anytime a car turns, even if the turn is merely a result of a curve in the road. Furthermore, this driver feels strongly that law enforcement officers need to enforce this practice, to protect everyone from the potential hazards of a person traveling down a road with no intersections or lane changes. Why should anyone assume that because the road curves, the driver will also? Signaling in this case is really the only thoughtful thing to do. My friend, being the staunch defender of justice and protector of safety that he is, was nevertheless relieved to be able to evade this responsibility by pointing out that the road in question is not in his jurisdiction.

With that insight from Idaho, I have to conclude that maybe Utah isn't alone in the peculiarity of certain drivers. Perhaps driving in other states is taking one's life in one's hands as well. On the other hand, I've seen the bewildered and sometimes furious expressions on the faces of those driving cars with out-of-state license plates. These drivers will, for example, signal a lane change and then actually attempt to change lanes. While this may be acceptable in other places, in Utah it's just plain crazy. Driving in Utah is not something I recommend to the faint of heart. For them it would perhaps be better to try something more sedate and predictable. Like driving in New York.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

About the Comments

I'm going to be dealing with the kidney stone issue for the next couple of days, so I won't be putting up a new entry until that's resolved. I appreciate the kind comments so far. Just so you all know, I've set the comments to members only until I get back. Thanks and I'll see you later!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Parental Paranoia

So we had an interesting morning. Mike has a sinus infection and while I feel sorry for him and all, his snoring has become loud enough to alter the rotation of the earth. This is slightly problematic when it comes to falling asleep myself. And so, in order to preserve our marriage, I've spent the last couple of nights camping in the family room. But last night, despite having an ENTIRE house between us, I could STILL hear him. That, coupled with a kidney stone that is currently making my life very interesting, kept me awake until, oh, around six o'clock this morning. This is important to understand, because it explains why I did not wake up until I heard the garage door, located directly below the family room, open.

It was still dark, and I assumed that Hubs was leaving for work, since he mentioned last night that he needed to go in early today. So, imagine my surprise when I looked at the clock and realized it was eight o'clock and my young son was no longer in the house.

Now, rationally, I understood that it was possible that Son had dressed, eaten breakfast and left for school all by himself. Stranger things have happened. And though I shudder to think about the possible clothing ensembles and hairstyles he tends to sport when unsupervised (think blind rodeo clown on crack) my greater concern was his tendency to head for an "alternate destination" while on his way to school. I was also concerned because it appeared to be raining heavily and for some reason the brain function that tells a person to for heaven's sake put on a coat because IT IS WINTER AND HYPOTHERMIA IS NOT AS GLAMOROUS AS ONE MIGHT THINK does not seem to have yet developed in my son.

In the few seconds to took for me to process this, I was able to ascertain via super sleuthing skills consisting of yelling his name as loudly as possible while walking through the house that Son had definitely left the building. I noticed that the garage door was left open, which is Son's usual M.O. This drives Mike insane, since he is convinced that there are people lurking in the bushes just waiting for someone to leave the garage door open so they can finally explore the forbidden environs of our garage.

Mike's paranoia about the garage is exceeded only by my paranoia that there are people lurking in the bushes just waiting to grab a mouthy, stubborn, ten-year old boy dressed like a homeless person, with his hair sticking out in directions that defy all known laws of physics and sporting milk mustache. He may be a scruffy, obnoxious urchin, but he's MY scruffy, obnoxious urchin and I'd really like to hold on to him for awhile longer. Besides, Son's pride and joy, his new bike, was still parked in the garage. That was definitely weird because he's been talking all week about getting to ride it to school. There is no way I would have let him ride to school in the rain, but I didn't think he would leave it home if I wasn't up to tell him "no".

And so, despite the fact that I was attired at the moment in my Christmas jammies and barefoot, with my hair looking very much like my son's (at least I'd not yet had time to acquire a milk mustache of my own) I grabbed my keys and went to look for my child. And before you go getting all judgmental, let me remind you I WAS TIRED!

I drove along his usual route to school, praying that I wouldn't run out of gas or get into an accident thus causing me to be seen by anyone who had the power of sight.(Because as everyone knows, you're invisible behind the windows of an automobile.) I arrived at the school and spotted him. He was standing out in the rain, of course, acting cool and pretending he didn't see me. Now, I know that I should have just driven away at that point. I realized I had overreacted but now I knew where he was, I knew he was safe. But no. I waved him over. His friends nudged him and Son very reluctantly looked over at me. Instead of actually coming over though, he just shouted from about 50 feet away, "WHAT?!" Disrespectful kid. I waved him over again and he trudged over to the car.

"Hey, you left without saying goodbye, and I was worried. How did you get here? You didn't take your bike."
"Dad brought me."
"Dad? Dad went to work early this morning."
"No he didn't. He's staying home because he's sick. Oh my gosh, MOM! Are you wearing JAMMIES?!"
"Hang on, if Dad stayed home, where's his car?"
"How should I know? He just brought me to school and said not to wake you up."

I sat there for a second wondering if Son was telling the truth or just trying to avoid getting into trouble.
"Uh, Mom? Could you go now? You don't need to get out of the car do you? Please don't get out of the car."
"I swear, I'll do anything you say, just DON'T get out of the car." This, coming from a child who routinely wears his shirts inside out AND backward and who thinks a towel qualifies as an article of clothing. As tempting as the thought of displaying my sleepwear for all the children was, I simply waved goodbye and drove home.

Upon my arrival, I noticed the garage doors were both closed. Apparently Mike was indeed home, and I must have passed him somehow. I walked into the house where I found Mike frantically dialing my cell phone, which I could hear ringing upstairs.
"Where have you been?"
"Why are you home? You're supposed to be at work!"
"I called in sick." He looked at me. "Are you wearing JAMMIES? Did you go out of the house in your JAMMIES?!"
"Why is everyone so fixated on that? And how was I supposed to know you were staying home? Your car was gone, I thought you went to work. Good grief, what if I was having an affair and arranged to have him meet me here this morning? How awkward would THAT have been? You can be SO inconsiderate sometimes."
"Seriously, you went out in your jammies?"
"HEY! I was worried that YOUR child had been misplaced or taken or something and I went looking for him."
"In your jammies? That poor kid is going to need therapy."
"I look like Julia Roberts on Oscar night compared to SOME parents when they take their kids to school."

At that point we both started laughing. Even though I'd been out of school for years when I met Mike, he had seen Dad's take-the-kids-to-school outfit. My brother likened it to being chauffered by Papa Smurf in a parka and a bright orange hunting cap. Though, arguably the best part of Dad's routine was when he'd roll down the window and spit right in front of the school. I have no idea why he did this, but I have to say it made quite an impression on my friends.

Okay, so I'm a little paranoid. And I'm a LOT over-protective. But comparatively speaking, my visit to the school this morning was down-right glamorous.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Older Than Dirt

Today I had one of those wonderful moments when my son allowed me realize that time is not just slipping by like sands through the hour-glass (Dang, I miss TV. But I digress) it is careening past at speeds too high to be accuarately clocked.

It all started harmlessly enough. We were watching the movie "Freaky Friday". Not the Lindsay Lohan re-make (which we've viewed countless times due to Son's heart-wrenching crush on Lindsay) but the original with Jodie Foster. There we sat, my son and I enjoying a movie I remember fondly from childhood. We were watching the scene when the mother, in Anabel's body, is trying to type on an electric typewriter. And then it happened. Out of nowhere my son asked, "What are those?"
"What are what?"
"Those keyboard things."
"Yeah. What are they?"
"Well, they are used for typing letters and things."
"Like on a computer."
"Yes, like that."
"Well where's the monitor?"
"There is no monitor."
"Then how can you see what you're typing?"
"It's right there on the paper. You just look at it as you type."
"So you, like, type WHILE it's printing?"
"Sort of."

As I was coming to terms with the fact that my child did not understand what a typewriter is, he hit me again.

"How old is Jodie Foster?"
"I'm not sure. A few years older than I am, I think."
"Whoa! Are you kidding me? She's really older than you?"
"Well, yes. A little."
"Man! Is she even still alive? I can't believe this movie is even in color!"

The sad part is, he wasn't even trying to be sarcastic.

Christmas vacation ends tomorrow. Not a moment too soon.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

The No Resolution Resolution

Ah well. Here we are again. Once more we have reached that time of year where we evaluate the old (meaning how quickly did we abandon our resolutions last year?) And what can we resolve to do THIS year that we might actually stick with, or at least until all the people we told about it forget?

While I understand the concept of a clean slate and all that, I've still always been a bit puzzled by the concept of New Year's resolutions. Why wait? Why plan to change your life on a specific date that way? If it's something you want to do, why wait to do it? If it's something you want to give up then isn’t prolonging said habit really just a way giving yourself permission to indulge a bit longer? And if that's how you feel about it, how successful can you really be?

And so, here's my philosophy for resolutions this year. I resolve to make resolutions throughout the year, not just today. I'll do them as they come to me. I will learn new things, no matter what the calendar says. (And unless Astro gives me a heads-up first.) I'm going to have fun where ever and whenever I can. I'll try my best to help other people when there is a need and do what I can to make other people smile just a bit. I'm going to laugh. I'm going to read wonderful books. I'm going to discover new things I can do. A year ago, I didn't think I could write. Now, some of you may agree that I can't write. Some have even kindly suggested that I should “For the love of all that is good and decent step away from the keyboard.” In fact, some dear souls even took the time out of their busy schedules of bashing people they probably don’t even know in real life in order to send me their assessment of my writing skills or lack thereof. ME! Can you believe it? I’ve got people bashing me! I’ve come a long way, baby! Which reminds me, I made a resolution back in October: I don't read anonymous emails sent with the clear intent to hurt me. Constructive criticism is one thing, but when you write to tell me I’m a bad writer and you use the word “dicshunary” in your diatribe, that’s something else entirely. So BYE!

Meanwhile, for better for worse, I’m writing, and I love it. I can’t wait to find out what I can do with this. My journals are a lot more interesting for starters. My descendants will read them and praise Loretta’s name for getting me started. And I thank Loretta, for the laughs that have cracked my ribs, (thanks very much), her encouragement and mentoring. Never have I met anyone with such joi de vivre, with the courage to say what needs to be said, be it popular or not. So if I had a serious resolution, it would be to learn more from Loretta. (Actually, that’s more of an ongoing thing, not a goal. She’s a bottomless pit of humor and wisdom and I’m incredibly grateful to know her. Plus we are going to have a BLAST on Atonement Island!

Life is full of exciting things waiting to be discovered. For example, until this year, I had never sung anywhere but the shower and the car. (Never at the same time though.) I didn't make a resolution in January to discover if singing is something I might be able to do. That was more of a late June resolution rather than a New Year's resolution. In January it would never have occurred to me. But through the acquaintance of wonderful people I've met via Observations of a Misfit my ego is at an unprecedented level of obnoxiousness. It's really getting out of control, because this year I attempted to make fudge and we all know that is REALLY not within the realms of my earthly abilities. But I met Vero, with her theater group, Lisa, Pat, Justin etc. who all have blogs. These women are creative and hilarious. Their blogs are linked on the main page. Check them out. Between them and Loretta, that’s how I got here. They are my inspiration. They are the wind beneath my wings, they are…well any other Bette Middler schmaltz we can find.

So my resolutions are going to look a little different this year. My theory is this: If you're going to resolve to do something, why wait? Why not start now? I admit that I've been inhaling chocolate since October. Okay, since Easter. Oh all right, all right, I’ve been going strong since 1991 when I moved to Japan and the chocolate there is, well, that’s another entry. But I’ve never really stopped eating chocolate. I mean, sometimes I stop to chew, but I find that only slows me down. But I don’t sigh and say, "You know after the first of the year, I'll never eat chocolate again and then everything will be paradise. Boy, I wish it were New Year's NOW just so I could just STOP, already. But alas, it's not, so I'll just have to keep eating all this chocolate."

So point one. If you want to resolve to do something, do it now.

Point two: Be realistic. Are you really, truly going to go an entire year without chocolate? Because if you do try going for a year without the sweet elixir of chocolate, food of the gods, then you are either a diabetic or completely out of your mind. Try making your resolutions reasonable. For example:

Last year's resolution: “I will stop eating chocolate.” Uh huh. Right. This year how about: “ I will at least take the wrapper off first.”

Last year I made my resolutions in January, abandoned them by March and still managed to have a pretty good year. It’s not that I’m opposed to setting goals, you understand. I'm all for it. I’m a strong advocate for setting goals, improving myself and learning new things. I just think it's a lot of pressure to wake up on January first and say, "All righty! From this moment on I am going to be PERFECTION PERSONIFIED! I will be completely organized, kind to everyone, more effective at my job, my house will be spotless and I will lose 8 pounds just walking down to breakfast which will consist of cottage cheese and air.” Of course, I then trip over “someone’s” new remote control car, and my perfect vocabulary and boundless patience will both take a hit.

I'm not saying it's not amusing though to watch those at the breakfast buffet on New Year's morning eating as though they are on the Titanic and the buffet is the last source of comfort available to them. (I just have to tell you, though, that if I had been on the Titanic that night, I would have ripped off that corset and eaten every dessert in the galley. If you've got to die, at least die with chocolate on your lips, I always say.)

So this year, I resolve to live. I resolve to laugh. I resolve to love and to be happy. And if I could cut back on the chocolate, that would be great.