Monday, August 30, 2010

Spoiler Alert--This Post is Self-Indulgent

Just got back from seeing “Eat, Pray, Love” and I am inspired.

No, no, no, hold on—I need to explain. Movies have this effect on me, and it has nothing to do with Elizabeth Gilbert’s book. I know some people LOVE this book, but I’m not one of them. I liked it, that’s about all I can say.

On a scale of inspiration, this movie ranked below “Far and Away” but above “Without a Clue." And if you know either of these movies, you now know that I’m easily inspired.

I’ve been riding the crest, because I’ve gone to two movies within the last four days. Before then? It’s been months. Used to be I’d go to a movie every week. If I’d seen all the good movies showing, I’d see art films, or bad movies. But on the big screen, almost any movie can be good as long as you’re willing to accept the premise and get into it.

That’s the key. You must get into it. And to do that, you have to go to the show. Can’t be done at home, surrounded by comfy pillows, neglected chores and the distracting clutter of your stuff. Can’t be done if you can pause for pee breaks and telephone calls and your child having nightmares, because the TV is too loud.

Seeing movies in the theater is one of the few things in life I’m actually passionate about. So permit me a poem. (And don’t worry--I’ll try not to do this too often.)

Into the dark
Every thought of mind


To another place
Every emotion


In the universe
In history

Relived, Relieved, Revived, Reminded.

Movie Meditation by Maria A.W.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cooler than a Mountain

On the way to the library my 3-year-old boy spoke wistfully from the back seat, “I wish I could climb a mountain.”

His *ahem*-year-old mommy in the front seat thought, “I used to wish the same thing.” Then I thought, wait a minute, I still wish I could climb a mountain.

Got me thinking about the limitless future that children see stretched out before them. As a child, you believe that anything is possible, if only you are old enough, and your darned parents quit interfering. Money is no object, practicality is irrelevant and there will always be enough time. You will eat Lucky Charms for breakfast every day, then go climb a mountain, and have a picnic with ice cream for dessert before you sail your boat home to your tree house.

At what age or milestone do people stop believing that anything is possible? We get so wise, we start dismissing dreams because they are unrealistic. But isn’t that what dreaming is about? Just because you have a firmer grip on reality as an adult doesn’t mean you have to stop believing in possibility. I believed that I would have all the skills and freedom necessary to climb a mountain, once I turned 13—my magic age. If I could believe that, why can’t I believe I could climb a mountain at, oh, 83? Maybe that can be my new magic age.

I’ve seen mountains, I’ve driven in them. Haven’t climbed a mountain. But if my little boy is going to climb a mountain, I’m going to be climbing too.

A mountain is his ultimate standard of comparison. If something is tall he wants to know if it’s taller than a mountain. If our destination is far, he asks, “is it as far as a mountain?” His oatmeal is hotter than a mountain. He even said the book he found at the library was “cooler than a mountain.”

I don’t know about that. Mountains are pretty cool.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

One Day

Today was my one day between "vacation" and "real life" and boy oh boy did I have big plans for it, much to the dismay of my family, who just wanted to do puzzles (kids), take naps (husband) and otherwise be unproductive. I assigned projects to hubby and kids, and while they were re-arranging carseats in preparation for the Kindergarten drop-off zone, I got started inside.

The bad news first: I did not accomplish everything I wanted to.

The reality check: Wanting to organize the entire house in one day was probably over-ambitious.

The good news: I did manage to get the desk cleaned off, just in time for tomorrow's deluge of last week's mail which I'm anxiously awaiting--and I do mean anxiously. Have you ever noticed that sometimes people say "anxiously awaiting" when really they should be saying "eagerly awaiting"? I read that just today in a letter from the pre-school teacher. . . hmmm. . . maybe she did mean "anxiously". That's how I'd feel about seventeen 3-year-olds.

By the time I had whittled down the stack of school-related papers, sending about 75% to the recycling, I realized that between Kindergarten, pre-school, dance classes, and my tax classes, my wimpy little daily planner was not going to cut it. So I had to take a shopping break to buy a new planner capable of holding the 25% of memos I need to keep. Then I had to transfer infomation from my old calendar to the new one. And since the new planner has handy to-do list spots, I had to fill those up.

Other than the school papers, the other big stack on the desk was all the medical bills. Doesn't that sound dramatic, like I'm wallowing in debt due to some dibilitating disease? Thank God I'm not, because it took me two hours just to research and cross-reference these bills related to a simple foot surgery. (Minus the 10 minutes I spent eating the sandwiches I ordered for dinner from my dear husband.) I did however, discover what seems to be a $95 billing error, and I diligently added it to my new planner/to-do list, allocating 1/2 hour to deal with it on Tuesday. I know that's optimistic, but that's just the way I am. Remember? I was going to organize the whole house today?

I forced myself to take a Dairy Queen break with the family. And then I managed to clean out a closet while my very patient husband gave the kids a bath before bed. I can now cross shampoo off the shopping list. Need to add to the to-do list: tell mom to stop buying me cute bottles of wonderfully-scented lotion, before I end up on "Hoarders" with the world's largest lotion stockpile.

Last, but not least, I write. Not bad for my "one day".

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


It’s August. Which means I’ve missed a deadline for a monthly newsletter that I was supposed to complete by July 25th. I’m not a slacker (well, maybe), I just thought that I had already done it.

I’m sure you’re wondering how I could have imagined I created a whole non-existent newsletter. Pretty simple—I just have a bizarre form of dyslexia when it comes to the months June and July. Basically I’ve never learned to distinguish them as two separate months.

You have to admit it’s easy to get confused. They’re both four-letter words that start with “J”, they’re both summer months, and for the first 22 years of my life, they were summer vacation. Months with no dates, deadlines or goals. Nothing but playing, camping, reading, watching TV. Then August arrived with its “A” and back-to-school ads, and panic attacks. (I’m sure it’s no coincidence that August starts with “AUGhhh”.)

Never mind how many years I’ve had since college to figure this out. It’s just not happening. I can’t count how many times I’ve mixed up dates or paid bills only one of the two months. I bring checkout lines to a standstill, staring at my checkbook in a daze trying to remember what month it is. And heaven help me if I have to write the date in numerical format, because even if I’ve figured out the correct month, I’m still not sure if it’s 6/ or 7/. Even a national holiday called “4th of July" doesn’t help me get it right.

Since summer in Michigan is way too short to cram in all the swimming, biking, vacationing, gardening, and day-trips I’d like to do, I’ve come up with a great idea. Let’s just officially declare June and July to be one month—Juny. There would be only one month’s worth of bills, deadlines, work and responsibilities, but eight wonderful summer weeks to get it done. No more missing events because I wrote it on the wrong month of the calendar. Juny will be a confusion-proof 61 day month. (Sorry 4th of July, you will now be 34th of Juny).

I’m already on board with this plan. Just need to e-mail all my elected government officials to see if they’ll go along with it. Hope you’ll join me!