Wednesday, February 24, 2010

3:22 a.m.

The cat threw up a hairball at 3:22 a.m. I heard it happen, got up, cleaned it up and went back to bed.

I was wide awake at that point, so I laid there thinking. I had been having a dream before the hairball incident. In the dream, I was having a conversation with someone about a knitting bag. It was a complicated conversation, but I couldn't remember any of it.

I just couldn't get back to sleep at this point, and thoughts started popping into my head. My brain literally felt like a popcorn popper with random thoughts flying about. Here is a sample of the things that were flying about in my brain:

My daughter will be ten soon. She will likely only live with us for eight more years. Geez, that makes me sad. I need to do more stuff with her. Mental note to self: Make time to paint ceramics with her soon. Didn't I just bring her home from the hospital? (Then the theme from "The Way We Were" started playing in my head.) Geez, "The Way We Were" was a great movie. A young Robert Redford . . . insanely good looking. Of course, Robert Redford is still good looking. What was that movie he was in with Michelle Pfeiffer? That one had a good theme song too. I don't remember the name of the song, but Celine Dion sang it. Hey, Robert Redford was great in "The Sting". Another good movie song. I wonder how many Robert Redford movies had hit songs?

Then I heard my husband's Blackberry chiming in the kitchen. I wondered who was emailing him. Probably someone half-way around the world. I wondered where they were. I wish I knew someone half-way around the world. If I did, I would get up and send them an email, and then they would wonder why I was up in the middle of the night sending emails to them.

It was then that I started drifting back to sleep only to be jolted awake by the cat who decided to profess her love for me by purring and cuddling up next to me. I looked at the clock. It was 4:12 a.m.

Then I laid there thinking about the Olympics and Canada. I wondered what it would be like to live in Canada. Are they that much different from us? I wonder if I could pass for a Canadian if I learned the words to "O Canada" and started putting an extra "u" in words like "favourite" and "colour". I might have to learn about hockey. I think maybe the Canadians would see through me. They seem like a smart bunch. I really like Canada. That's where William Shatner is from after all. Captain Kirk was my first crush.

And somewhere in the middle of Canada, Captain Kirk and the Olympics, I managed to fall back asleep for a couple of hours.

I see that the damn cat is sleeping peacefully right now. I'm going to go wake her up just for spite. I wonder if cats dream? If she were dreaming, what would she be dreaming about???

I need to find an "off" switch for the random thoughts that make their way into my brain.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Everything I Needed to Know in Life I Learned From American Idol

I watch a handful of TV shows each week. Some are complete trash - i.e. Grey's Anatomy. I don't care about any of the characters on that show. The writing is completely unrealistic. But sometimes there is a neat plot twist, maybe a surprise or two, and I loves me some McDreamy. Patrick Dempsey just has those EYES. I could watch him with the sound off.

Then there is Lost. Great writing 98% of the time. Wonderful actors. We all need a little mystery in our lives, and this show delivers. And there is Josh Holloway. Not that I watch TV just to see the cute guys. Sheesh. But, truth be told, it's a dead dog that doesn't wag its tail.

As a rule, I hate reality shows. However, I love American Idol. I'm hooked on Idol from the first audition to the finale. I enjoy watching the truly talented contestants and the train wrecks. But I think there is much to be learned from watching Idol.

1) Life is not always fair. Bad things happen to good people.

2) Life is what you make it. Even people who get voted off go on to have fantastic careers.

3) There is usually a freak around every corner. Enjoy the weirdness. It keeps life interesting.
4) Sometimes the stars align just right, and magic can happen.

5) People who take what they've learned, mix it up and make it their own can have great success.

6) It's all about choices. Make the choice. Live with the consequences.

7) Choose who you listen to carefully. There are good mentors and bad mentors. There is good advice and bad advice.

8) Be fearless. You may fall short. You may come up on top. You will gain the respect and admiration of others.

9) There will always be someone more and less talented than yourself. Life would be boring if everyone were the same.

10) Everyone has good and bad days. Life goes on.

11) The most talented person doesn't always win. Life is a popularity contest at times.

12) There is always an a**hole that will tell you what to do. Try and find a nugget of truth in his negativity, learn from it and move on.

13) Be true to yourself. Know who you are. Do what you love.

14) Keep looking forward. Learn from the past but don't dwell on it. You might miss what lies ahead.

15) We all have to do things we don't want to do. Suck it up. Don't think about it, just do it.

16) We are all judged on our looks. Sad but true.

17) You'll never know if you can do something if you don't try.

It's not a perfect world, is it? If it were, Patrick Dempsey and Josh Holloway would be co-hosts of American Idol, and I would be able to sing. Good thing we always have dreams to fall back on. Sometimes it makes reality less harsh.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Love in the Mist

My little guy has a habit of making me little cards out of paper and leaving them on my bed at night. He occasionally gives me post-it notes with little pictures of him and me and a tree with hearts all around us.

This morning, I had forgotten to turn on the bathroom fan while I showered. When I came out of the shower, I saw a message written on the foggy mirror. It said "Joe" and then a picture of a heart and then "Mom". He must've written them after his shower last night, and I didn't see them because I was busy elsewhere in the house.

Note to self: Make time to look for messages from now on. Give the kids a hug. Write more love messages on post-its.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Kindergartener Who Loved the Beatles - Proof That I've Always Been This Way

I loved kindergarten. My teacher was very young. Just out of teacher's college (called Normal School back then), she had short blonde hair and clear blue eyes. She smiled all the time, had a sweet personality and was a trendy dresser to boot. I thought she was wonderful. Just what I wanted in a kindergarten teacher.

At the end of that school year, the weather turned very warm. My teacher, Miss Bohl, was having trouble keeping our attention on our schoolwork. One day, to break the monotony, she gave each of us the opportunity to stand up in front of the class and perform a song. Kids got up and sang songs that we learned in school like "Animal Fair" and "Shoo Fly". I got up and sang "Fool on the Hill" by the Beatles. I'll never forget the surprised look on my teacher's face.

On that day, I felt like the Beatles' music was the most wonderful thing you could ever perform. I still feel that way today. I have been a Beatles fan for as long as I can remember. I was born shortly before they made their US television debut on the Ed Sullivan show. I had sisters who were 10, 14 and 15 at the time, so I grew up listening to their music. It was something that I loved so much that I wanted to share it with the class.

I received a mixed reaction that day in kindergarten. My teacher smiled and told me that it was a very good performance. One of the boys told me that I was dumb, it was a dumb song, and I sang it in a dumb way (he got sent to the corner for that.) One girl who was a friend of mine praised my choice of song and told me that she wished she would've sung it. Overall, I was pleased with my performance. And, if I could choose one moment in my life that I would like to see on video, that would be the moment. To see myself as a little girl with black hair in pigtails wearing a blue jumper dress and white knee socks singing the words "Day after day, alone on a hill . . ." with my head held high would be priceless.

My writing is like that Beatle song that I sang almost 40 years ago. I just put myself into it and put it out there for anyone who cares to read it. I want to share what I love and care about. No doubt, I have my share of readers who are slightly surprised at some things like my teacher was at my choice of song. I would imagine there are some who think I'm terribly dumb like the boy in my kindergarten class. (If only there was a corner in which to put negative people where they could hopefully find a better attitude. Well, that would make the world a much better place if you ask me.) And I know there are readers who will encourage me as my friend did the day I warbled out "Fool on the Hill". God bless them. No matter what the reaction to my writing, I always take it in stride.

So, imagine my surprise when I've started to doubt my ability as a writer lately. Does anyone get what I'm saying? Does anyone really care? Do I write for myself, or do I really want to reach out to people and make them think? Then, I thought about John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Do you think they ever worried that no one would "get" their songs? Did they really care? I think they put their hearts and souls and minds into their work and they sang their songs for anyone who would listen. Some songs were hits. Some never got radio airplay. But they wrote and sang them all.

And there was my six-year-old self who thought so much of their music that I tried to make it my own and share it with others. I sang it loud and sang it proud to mixed reaction.

But at least I took that chance and sang that song.

"I'm fixing a hole where the rain gets in and stops my mind from wandering where it will go." Lyrics from "Fixing a Hole" by Lennon/McCartney

Tuesday, February 9, 2010



This book is coming out next month. You can pre-order it on Amazon here.

When I got my copy in the mail yesterday, I had forgotten all about it. I opened it and stood staring at my story in print.

And I smiled.

And then I started reading all of the beautiful well-written stories from the other authors. I read their bios at the end of the book. A talented and accomplished group of people. My bio is the very last one (they went alphabetical by last name). I'm a little different from the rest of the group. I mention the Green Bay Packers in my bio. Seriously.

Hey, life would be pretty boring if everyone was the same. I always bring a little green and gold to the party.

And then I started thinking that my story wasn't quite up to par with the other stories in the book. I wasn't as talented as the other authors. I mentioned my feelings to my husband on the phone. And he said, "But, honey, YOU made the cut."

This is why I love that man of mine.