12/28/09

Two Kinds of People

 

No, not men and women or conservatives and liberals. Not even Glass Half-fullers and Half-emptiers.

No, I’m talking about those who work through a cold and those who hibernate.

I’m one kind and most of my family is the other. Without passing judgment on either kind, I do see both sides.

Those who work through it feel they have people depending on them and they hate to let others down. So they power through.

And infect others in the process.

Those who take to their beds with the sniffles are shielding others from the germs. But letting their obligations slide. Or at least postponing it all.

Now that Christmas is over, it’s a germ free-for-all around here. So far, I’m okay. I’m on a strict regimen of Airborne, Echinacea with goldenseal, Zicam, Cold-Eze, and lots of water.

Pressing on…

 

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Today I prayed for: Sue, Amber, Nevada Barr

Last movie: If You Believe – a sappy Lifetime Christmas movie.

Last book: Don’t Look Down by Jennifer Cruisie and Bob Mayer

12/19/09

Goals, Schmoals

It’s almost that time of year.

Time to evaluate how we did on last year’s goals and to think about what’s next.

In 2009 I planned to:

  1. Read 100 books
  2. Read a writing craft book each month
  3. Write 1000 words a day or edit for two hours
  4. Write a Charming Note 5 days a week. (See Making a Literary Life by Carolyn See)
  5. Establish my own blog on blogspot and leave my former host site
  6. Attend the Mt. Hermon and American Christian Fiction Writer’s conferences
  7. Work on having a judgmental/critical spirit

I accomplished:

  • I’m at 74 books read. If I really put it in high gear, I might get to 80    
  • I’ve read several craft books, but probably only 1 every couple of months
  • I probably only did this half the days I had available
  • Probably averaged 2-3 a week
  • You’re here, aren’t you? Did it.
  • Made it to Mt. Hermon but not to ACFW
  • I think I’m better. Or maybe I’m delusional and I should work on returning to reality in 2010     

For 2010 my goals are pretty much the same as 2009. I still want to read 100 books in one year. Since I started keeping track about five years ago, 80 is the most I’ve done. I believe that to live the life I want, I need to be more intentional. That means being disciplined to put my butt in the chair several hours a day. Calling the people I want to stay in contact with. Setting up times to have dinner with my kids or lunch with Mom instead of waiting until everyone shows up hungry at the same time.

Goals are good.

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Today I prayed for: Nancy, Donald, and Tom.

Next on my TBR stack: The Lazarus Trap by Davis Bunn.

Last movie: The Tenth Circle, a made for TV movie based on the book by the same name by Jodi Picoult.

12/16/09

Blindsided

When I saw the previews for the Sandra Bullock movie, The Blind Side, I knew I wanted to see it. But I was afraid to.

Afraid that 1) I’d cry my eyes out and 2) It would be gooey, sweet, overly sentimental blahness.

I was wrong on both counts.

I got a little choked up at a few parts and at the end, but left with my eyes not appreciably any redder.

And I thought the writer, producers, director and cast did an outstanding job of keeping the story from turning maudlin’ and self-serving.

Bullock showed Leigh Anne Tuohy as strong and determined, but not as a My-way-or-the-highway kind of woman. She questioned her own motives, she debated if what she did for this young man could be at the expense of her family.

Tuohy’s faith was certainly a driving force but it was never exploited as either an excuse for not doing more for other kids or used as a stepping stone to preach to the rest of us that we ought to find a disadvantaged child to help.

The movie is the story of one woman, one family, one athlete. And how they changed their world.

I highly recommend it.

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Today I prayed for: Sarah, Mel, Tyrell.

Currently reading: Nobody’s Baby But Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips – I’m afraid there’s going to be a very graphic sex scene, but so far, so good.

Last movie: The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency

 

12/3/09

Following the Rules

So after being invisible, the thing I hate most is being a “good” girl, a rule follower.

Especially when it gets you a kick in the teeth.

Our church has a special Christmas event for the preschoolers. The annual Birthday Party for Jesus is a highlight for all the preschoolers and their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles.

Because, who doesn’t love to watch 2 and 3 year olds get their faces painted, ride ponies, decorate and eat cookies, and watch Mary and Joseph ride a donkey into the church parking lot before showing off their newborn wrapped in swaddling cloths. From Babies ‘R Us.

So many parents and grandparents signed up to attend that a rule was quickly instituted: One child = 1 adult.

I happened to be working in the church Information Booth one Sunday last year and someone came to buy tickets for the party. They purchased 1 child ticket. And 6 adult tickets. Yes, SIX. Two parents and four grandparents, had to be. But I said nothing. I sold them their tickets and patted myself on the back because we were following the rules.

In 2007 the Perfect Grand-daughter was 2 and eligible for the first time. Auntie took her. In 2008 Grampie took her. 2009 should be Grammie’s turn.

Guess what? Yep. No Birthday Party for Jesus in 2009. The economic crunch means the church has no money for hired ponies to ride. There’s not even enough for refrigerated cookie dough.

So. Being a rule-following-back-patter got me exactly nothing. No photo ops of Perfect Grand-daughter on the pony of her dreams. No shared pancakes. Bupkis.

I refuse to give up my day with her though. We’re going to decorate the best darn cookies in town.

Now, where can I find a pony for her to ride?

11/21/09

Invisibility: Curse or Blessing

I’ve long thought that I have intermittent invisibility. I’ve tried to narrow it down, but it happens when I’m holding a fist full of cash or have empty pockets. When my arms are laden with packages and bags, or free and open. When I’m alone or with others. Although… it doesn’t usually happen when I’m with the Perfect Grand-daughter, so apparently she’s not invisible.

I used to hate it. I still do, mostly.

I can stand in line for coffee, help/info in a store, sit at a friend’s table. The people in front of me or all around me are offered help. I wait patiently. Finally, it’s my turn. I think. The barista/clerk/friend smiles, sighs as if to say “Great, all done.” Then turn and walk away.

My response varies, depending on hormones and need for caffeine. I may speak up and say “What about me, Moron?” No, I don’t use “Moron,” even though I want to. I may just sigh, cross my arms, and wait for another few minutes until someone else comes along to help me. Sometimes I just help myself. Baristas don’t look at it like that though. They get a little perturbed if I strap on an apron and fire up the foamer.

I often give others the benefit of the doubt, thinking Well, they probably didn’t realize I’m waiting too, they’ll figure it out and be back. Sometimes they do. Usually not.

I’ve left.

I’ve left and then returned to tell someone, “Hey, I was waiting, too and you just ignored me so you lost a sale.” Then I go somewhere else, but all I did was cost myself more time and aggravation.

I’ve decided to use my invisibility super powers for good. I’m still working on what that looks though.

 

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Today, I’m praying for: DJ, Amber, Evelyn, Patti.

Currently reading: The Husband by Dean Koontz. Oh my. It’s wonderful! I can’t wait to get back to it.

Last movie: Twilight

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11/13/09

Reclaim PreDecember

So I was walking in the neighborhood at dusk last night and am still astounded at the sight: a neighbor had their Christmas tree up and a wreath and lights.

What happened to November? Thanksgiving? Gorging on turkey and pumpkin pie?

Christmas and all things associated are supposed to wait until Black Friday.

I know, Christmas stuff has been in Costco since August. And I’m a fan of shopping early and getting much of the craziness done early.

But that’s so I can enjoy December, enjoy putting up the lights and the decorations, and listening to carols and sacred music.

If we don’t stop it, November will disappear all together. We’ll go from Halloween to Christmas and Thanksgiving will be a hiccup.

Not in my house. I’m putting up some turkeys and pilgrims right now. Because I’m thankful for autumn and harvests and grape crushes and football games and Veterans and my brother’s birthday and my sister-in-law’s birthday and my grand-daughter’s daddy’s birthday and her other grandma’s birthday and NaNoWriMo and pumpkin spice lattes and All Saints Day and … well, you get the idea.

November lovers unite! Reclaim PreDecember and let it take it’s rightful place after October!

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Today I prayed for: John Madden, Amber, and Marilyn

Last movie: Rabbit-Proof Fence

Currently reading: Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk

11/12/09

Red, White, and Whatchacall It

I watched the CMAs last night and mostly enjoyed it. Taylor Swift was gorgeous and genuine. What a hoot to see Hootie singin’ country (and winning for Best New Artist).

My only “What in the world…?” moment was with the Judds who gave Hootie … er… Darius, his award.

Wynonna was orange. Hair, skin, everything. Just weird. Her mom Naomi was a kind of creepy, stretched tight, botoxed, buffed and shined version of herself. Her face and décolletage weren’t even the same color. Come on, girls.

Loved everything else.

11/10/09

As I Was Saying…

 

I don’t know if it’s my family or group of friends or if it’s an epidemic all through society, but whatever it is I’m tired of it and I want it to stop.

Interruptions.

It seems I can barely get a half a sentence out before my “listener” (said in the loosest of terms, believe me), feels the need to interject either a) a clarifying question, b) a story about a similar experience of theirs, c) something completely random that my statement reminded them of, or d) agreement.

D isn’t a problem. And while a bugs me, I can sort of see how it might, on occasion, be necessary. I generally wait to ask for clarification when someone is speaking. Usually I can get what I need from the context, if I let them finish.

Usually if I’m talking and someone interrupts, I give up. Go with the flow. Let them talk.

But it’s happening more and more often.

Is it our society of instant messaging and texting and Facebook updating and Twittering. Everyone is talking all the time, so it’s no big deal to interrupt, they’ll be talking again in a few minutes.

I’m so frustrated though, I’m almost ready to take it to the next level.

When I’m interrupted, I’m going to turn and walk away, figuring what you have to say must be so much more important than what I’m saying, you should hurry and go find someone more important than me to listen to it.

You’ve been warned.

 

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Today I prayed for: Sarah, Seamus, and Francine.

Last movie: Still The Pact

Currently reading: Living the Cross-Centered Life by C. J. Mahaney.

11/6/09

Cause for Concern

I’ve already talked about my short attention span when it comes to current events and politics.

But today, I’m mad.

This morning on one of the listening-to-the-news-while-putting-on-your-makeup shows, I heard POTUS giving a sound bite about yesterday’s shooting at Ft. Hood, Texas.

He said: “….blah blah blah, while authorities blah blah find the cause for this incident blahbubity blah.” (italics mine.)

Excuse me? Did you just say something or someone caused the officer to open fire and kill his comrades?

Cause implies prevention. If germs cause colds, prevent them by washing your hands. Onions cause heartburn? Avoid onions. Affair cause divorces; avoid affairs.

There’s a pretty simple cause and effect at work.

But there was no cause to a man deciding to kill innocent people.

I see the spin a’comin and it ain’t pretty.

See, the long war, caused Major Nidal Malik Hasan to open fire, is what we’re going to be fed. Er, I mean told. The prospect of overseas deployment caused him to feel his only recourse was to fire rounds into flesh to explode brains and hearts.

Crap. Total and unmitigated C.R.A.P.

The cause was set in place long ago, when a woman saw an apple and ate it. We’re still feeling those consequences.

I could live with it if the pundits and spokespersons and even the President said, “We’re working hard to find out why the major decided to open fire.”

Then they can talk about his issues with the war and deployment and fighting.

But spare me the cause. I know the cause.

 

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Today I’m praying for: Evelyn, Marilyn, Lindseylyn. Not really, just Lindsey, but I was going for a –lyn triumvirate.

Last movie: The Pact – a TV movie based on a Jodi Picoult novel. The movie just hinted at the layers and depth in the book.

Currently reading:  Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk and Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich.

 

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10/14/09

No Emotion Wasted

My writing teacher/mentor likes to say, "Go deeper."

I still struggle with what exactly that means and how do I do it?

She also talks about taking the emotion from a personal experience and applying it to a fictional situation for a character.

I've been trying to do some intentionally deep and painful journaling about what's in my heart. I know I have to write from the heart/gut/soul to draw a reader into the story. The problem is, I know my heart is "deceitful above all things and desperately wicked." I know the anger, judgmental attitudes, cynicism, and ugliness there. To let others see just how filthy it is in there is so hard. Maybe they won't like me if they know what I'm really thinking.

I've always been very self-aware. I do very little unconsciously or as a reflex. It makes me somewhat inhibited and I often don't respond quickly enough to tender or painful situations because I'm too busy thinking things through and by the time I come to the proper response, it's too late.

That's the con of being reserved and self-aware. The pro is that I rarely put my foot in my mouth. Not really a good sway, I'm thinking. So I'm trying to be more reflexive in what I say and to let my feelings more than my rational mind dictate what I say.

Some emotions I discovered during this journaling and self-examination have been interesting to dissect in the light.

My parents divorced when I was 5 or 6. I remember parents and grandparents being very concerned about how I was handling it all and Mom took me to see a child psychologist. At the time, I was pretty stoic about it and felt like I was okay. The counselor gave me a clean bill of mental health. But somewhere, sometime I began to not be quite okay with it. And the older I got, the less okay it became.

Somehow, I always thought the opposite should be true. As things get older, they get easier to deal with. Maybe that's true if you deal with it, instead of avoid it.

I've been processing and dealing with it all for forty-five years and it's still a journey. I bounce between feeling philosophical about it all (God's in control and He's good so it's all good in the long run) to feeling worthless (was I so unlovable that I wasn't worth putting up with an unhappy marriage? That their happiness was worth more than my well-being?)

The challenge is in finding the healthy middle ground. We live in a fallen and sinful world where fallen and sinful people make good and poor decisions.

That's the "deeper." Now to figure out how to use it.

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Today I prayed for: Shelly Lazarus, Sarah, Heather, Amber.

Last movie: Ghost Town - loved it

Currently reading: Mistletoe and Murder by Carola Dunn

10/12/09

Little Lies

So wrong.

A few months ago I went to an afternoon matinee. Then I stayed and went to a second movie. I only paid for one.

When I left the second theatre, one of the employees said “Bye, have a good day.”

Guilt made me wonder if I knew I was there illegally.

I rationalized it.

I paid $8 for popcorn that probably cost them a quarter. I wasn’t taking up a seat that someone else had paid for.

I still felt guilty.

So yesterday, I went to the movies again. I saw two shows. Paid for them both. Overpaid for popcorn.

After I had paid for both matinees, I asked for help with my rewards card. They said they couldn’t do it, I’d have to call corporate.

Then I was irritated and wished I was getting another two for one. It served them right: Inconvenience me and I’ll get even.

So human. So wrong.

I’m glad I paid for both. I probably should skip the popcorn though. That’s robbery, pure and simple, and I voluntarily gave them my money.

No more.

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Today I prayed for:

Benjamin Netanyahu, Liz, Paula, and Kathy.

Currently reading: Mockingbird, a portrait of Harper Lee by Charles Shields

Last movie: The Invention of Lying

10/9/09

Odd Profundities

I went to a movie yesterday and a line made me gasp. It wasn’t even in the movie I was there to see, it was in the trailer.

Whip It is Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut about Roller Derby girls. A character played by Ellen Page has just seen her first match and she tells the team they are her, “newest heroes.” One of the women looks at her and says, “Put on some skates and be your own hero.”

I felt like I’d taken punch to the gut.

Put on some skates. Or walk around the block. Write a story down. Take soup to a neighbor. Read a book to a child.

Whatever is that you value, that you admire, go do it.

Pretty simple, isn’t it. So why do we (meaning, I) sit and watch others do those things? Why don’t I?

I’m not too busy to watch television.

I’m not too busy cleaning house.

I have enough clothes to keep warm.

So, why don’t I?

Complacent?

Uncaring?

Gotta go get some skates.

9/29/09

Some Great Books

 

I’ve read some excellent books recently that are worth mentioning.

Leaving Yesterday by Katie Cushman is a winner. I love how Katie can take two sides of an issue with different outcomes. One is good for one character and means defeat for the other. The second outcome is good for the other and not-so-good for the first person.  And the reader is hoping for both to come true.

In Leaving Yesterday, Katie takes a different approach and we see both sides of the problem through one character with a choice to make.

Alisa Stewart’s prodigal son has finally come home, clean and sober after checking himself into rehab. Soon though, Alisa finds evidence incriminating Kurt in a horrible crime. If she keeps quiet, Kurt gets his second chance at a new life. If she speaks up, he’ll go to prison.

Loved this one!

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Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.  I may have mentioned this one before, but it’s worth mentioning again. It’s about how the usual qualifications for success such as talent, hard work, determination, and perseverance, may not be as important as the year you were born and where your grandparents came from.

It’s an intriguing viewpoint and the book blew me away. I’m currently reading an earlier work by Gladwell, Blink, about how the unconscious mind can make snap judgments and be right.

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Nothing But Trouble, by Susan May Warren. I get why chick lit is over. I’m over it myself. Warren’s book is a welcome example of how the genre has grown up.

PJ Sugar has tried to outrun trouble all her adult life and all it’s gotten her is back home with all the problems and presumptions she fled after high school. With an allergic nephew to care for, a friend accused of murder to help, and an old boyfriend to confuse her, PJ tries to earn herself back into the good graces of the town.

There’s humor, heart, and happy reading in this one. I loved it!

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Today I prayed for: Diane Sawyer, Amy, Maureen, Fresh Start.

Currently reading: Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

Last movie: Taken – wow!

9/26/09

The Rest of the Story

Continuing my last post about my refusal to plant my seed:

After much sobbing and refusing on my part, and God’s firm and gentle reassurance, I finally planted my seed.  About six inches deep. And I packed more dirt on top, watered it down and packed it on, making sure that seed would never sprout.

What’s up with that? What kind of sick (in the hurting sense of that word) purposely sabotages herself, with GOD standing right there??

Boggles the mind, doesn’t it?

So, every day now, I’m asking myself: What am I doing with my seed? Am I planting it? Watering and weeding to help it grow? Or am I standing on it, refusing to let it see sunlight? 

9/20/09

Plant a seed

I recently listened to a writing seminar on MP3 about the spiritual life of a writer. The speaker had the attendees do an imagery exercise she had done a few years ago. It sounds like some New Age/meditative hocus pocus but she said it had been a powerful experience for her and led to an examined encounter with God.

I played along.

We were to imagine ourselves planting a seed.

That’s it. There were no further suggestions.

I was driving so I didn’t close my eyes, but I did look at the movie screen on the inside of my forehead to see me standing near a tree with God.

He kind of looked liked Gandalf, or Dumbledore.

He handed me a seed and said to plant it.

I refused.

I stood there next to my Father, the Creator of the World, and I shook my head, and clutched my seed in my hot fist and all but stomped my foot in my refusal.

Doesn’t take a rocket scientist or even a psychologist to figure that one out.

The question is why won’t I plant it? What good is the seed doing in my hand? None. Why won’t I let it do what it was created to do, sprout and grow and generate shade and new life?

Because I’m scared.

That’s a pathetic reason.

I’ve written a reminder and posted it on my monitor: Live Fearlessly. Love whole-heartedly.

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Today I prayed for: Pastor George and his family, Mom, Lois, and Dave H.

Last movie: … I have no idea

Currently reading: On Beauty by Zadie Smith. Lovely and lyrical and funny.

9/14/09

A Time to Clean, A Time to Refrain From Cleaning

 

I was cleaning house last week and noticed something.

I used to clean pretty thoroughly every week. Then it was every other week. Then when we were having company. We live in the country and hardly ever have company any more.

Now, I clean before we go away overnight.

I hate to come home to a dirty or cluttered house. So I pretty much only clean before we go somewhere. 

Good thing we travel fairly often or we’d be living in squalor.

Years ago I shared housecleaning with a girlfriend. One week we’d clean her house, the next week my house. This way we each got a clean home about twice a month.

Sadly, I moved away. And my house still misses her.

My standards have changed. When I get around to cleaning, I actually clean deeper and better than I used to. I just don’t get around to it very often. So maybe it all averages out.

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Today I prayed for: Taryn, Dee, our country, Hugh.

Currently reading: Just Friends by Robyn Sisman

9/10/09

Modern Life Sucks… Er… is Hard

The more things are supposed to be easy and convenient, the more they aren’t.

We pay bills online through the bank. We like the convenience, the low postage costs, and the time saved not writing checks.

It works great. Except when it doesn’t.

My trash didn’t get picked up this week. Why, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you. I called the disposal company to ask that very question. They say my payment hasn’t arrived. The bank says they sent it.

The disposal company will gladly pick up my trash next week, if I pay them again. Pay them the money that already left my account.

The bill coupon specifies an address to send the payment to. The live person I talked to locally said to mail it direct to the local office.

Is it just me, or is there a problem here? And I’m the one with the stinky, backed up trash to prove it.

 

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Today I prayed for: Kim, Brittany’s family, McKenzie, Amber, Max Lucado, me.

Last book read: Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

Last movie: Mamma Mia!

8/26/09

Straddling Two Worlds

I'm a follower of Jesus.

I dress in current styles. I keep my hair cut and styled. We homeschooled our kids and they turned out to be (relatively) well-adjusted and contributing members of society. I watch Survivor and Burn Notice and even an occasional R-rated movie. I read Harry Potter and Twilight and Nora Roberts.

I have friends who... don't. They believe their call from God means being separate from the world, to never be mistaken for a worldly pagan, and to vote Republican.

I have other friends and acquaintances who believe their call is to live in the world and in many cases to look like the world. They read The Secret and don't object to gay marriage.

I see the pros and cons of both positions and usually straddle both positions, figuring God knows my heart and that's all that matters.

Sometimes though I question myself and second guess how things are turning out. If I'd been more "godly" and eschewed fashion and threw away my hair straightener, would my kids be closer to God? (Not that they're not close, but maybe they'd be even more pious.) Or if I sent them to school and let society and culture have more influence, would they be happier?

By picking a moderate gospel, did I sell out and not follow Christ the way He would have me? Even worse, did I not point others in the right direction? Did I let them think a life without Jesus is okay?

May it never be!

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Today I prayed for: Joyce, Taryn, Sarah, Susan and family.

Last movie: Ghosts of Girlfriends Past

Currently reading: Tripwire by Lee Child

8/17/09

The More Things Change…

After watching Julie & Julia, I left the theatre a little discouraged. Again.

There is nothing new under the sun. That’s even more true now than it was when King Solomon penned it.

In the writing biz, we’re told to bring something fresh and unique to the publisher.

Huh?

Blogs about using a crock pot every day for a year and about preparing every recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking get picked up for books and movies. Both are well done, I’m not saying the bloggers/cooks turned in substandard work.

I’m saying it’s tough to find that one unique niche that only I can fill.

I’m too snarky on the page and too passive in person.

Last week, a friend I’ve known since I was 15 recalled that way back in high school, I’d be observing and listening in a group and then pipe up with a zinger and leave everyone with their mouths agape.

My husband loves when I do that.

If that’s my unique niche, how in the world do I transfer that to the pages of a novel?

In the words of Kathleen Kelly, in You’ve Got Mail: I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void…

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Today I prayed for: Nancy, Taryn, Louise, Richard Gere

Last movie: Harry Potter

Currently reading: …. something by Chris Grabenstein…

 

 

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8/14/09

Lofty Expectations

As a writer, foodie, and Nora Ephron fan, the new movie, Julie & Julia seemed to be made for me. I’m the exact demographic. I expected to love it. I wanted to love it.

Maybe my expectations were too high, but I left mildly disappointed.

The beginning more than whetted my appetite. The food was beautiful, the scenery a feast for the eyes.

But somewhere in the last twenty minutes, the movie floundered for me. Part of it, I’m sure, is it’s “’based on a true story.” The writers and producers can’t change too many details. But there was a carefully worded disclaimer at the end that even though the movie was based on real life events and people, there were liberties taken and then it finished with the usual, “any similarities to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.”

Excuse me? If a movie based on real people’s lives shows what really happened, it “just happened?”

If it’s fictionalized, why not end with a bang, something satisfying as Beouf Bourguignon? It really just petered out, like no one knew how it ended for real, so they decided to walk off the set and let the audience figure it out.

Alternate endings I’d have loved:

*  Julia Child reading the blog and critiquing it. Especially about Julie saying, regarding unmolding aspic: “The bitch lied.”

*  Julie Powell getting a PBS series for an updated edition of Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

*  Paul Child returning to spying for the Food Network.

*  A deathbed scene between Julia and Julie.

Something better than Julie leaving a pound of butter at the Smithsonian’s altar to Julia. Come on, people. I know you can do better.

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Today I prayed for Joyce, Shawna, Dee, Mona, Jeff Zucker

Currently reading: The House on Olive Street

Last movie: Reign Over Me

8/12/09

It’s the Economy

I know “times are tough.”

I know there’s a recession. I know there is rampant unemployment.

But, even in good times, it seems to me, times are tough. There is always someone I know looking for work, someone being buried in bills (payable, not legal tender).

There’s always someone doing better than us and someone not doing as well.

It’s often easy to “weep with those who weep.” It’s harder to “rejoice with those who rejoice.”

That’s the mark of a friend: they will be happy with you, not just for you. It’s a fine distinction and one I’m not always able to achieve.

An ancient quote attributed to Socrates: “The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”

Yep, the more things change, the more they stay the same. I think Socrates would agree.

 

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Today I prayed for: Mackenzie, Joyce, and Jillian

Currently reading: The House on Olive Street by Robyn Carr

Last movie: One Night With The King

 

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8/1/09

There Goes My Pride

 

Our church has a wonderful tradition of training servants. During Vacation Bible School the junior and high school students help with VBS in the morning, then in the afternoon they do service projects for church family and community members. And a couple of days they do fun stuff, water park and laser tag.

I’ve been using this slave labor for several years now to get some projects done. One year, three big teenage boys used Dave’s SawzAll and cut up the redwood and fiberglass spa that had been curing down by the barn for 10 years and had finally zipped from “almost ready” to “rotting away.” The boys had a ball and we got rid of an eyesore.

One issue every year is the weather. I don’t know how we do it, but every year, VBS is the hottest two weeks of the summer. Last week, I kept the kids working inside. They lemon-oiled my wood furniture, vacuumed and dusted, even did some ironing.

Today is a little cooler so I’m thinking of turning them loose outside again. There are weeds to be pulled. The dogs need baths.

I love giving the kids work to do and seeing their enthusiasm as they tackle the job. They are good kids and they work hard. Now, I know it’s a different scenario at their own homes. I’m sure their moms wish they’d bring a little of these servant attitudes home at the end of the week.

Sometimes it’s hard letting kids see my dust bunnies under the refrigerator and the dog snot on the sliding glass door. But I’ve come to understand, if I want them to learn servanthood, I have to let the pride go. There’s no room here for both.

Gotta go pick up my slaves-er… helpers.

7/30/09

The Power of Words

I’m memorizing Psalm 139. One of my long time favorite verses is in the middle of the song.

Before a word is on my tongue, you know it completely, Oh Lord.

I’m a thoughtful speaker and I almost always think before I speak. I hardly ever speak without thinking, though it does happen occasionally and usually at the most awkward moments.

Anyway, I like knowing that God knows what I’m going to say before I do. I like feeling that God has blessed and used my words to edify, instruct, comfort, encourage, maybe eve bless someone.

One of the five love languages is Affirming Words. One of my family member’s love language is this one. I’ve seen her sit up straighter and begin to glow when I express pride in her. She visibly brightens, like water on a parched lily, when she receives encouraging words.

A friend recently reminded me of something I’d said when she expressed frustration. She said it was so encouraging and she savored it for a long while. I have no memory of it.

Forget God knowing the words. This is when He gave the words, knowing someone needed them.

Today I’m praying for: the Birthday Girl (Happy 29, Amber!), Christine, Tim LaHaye, VBS, and Joyce.

Currently reading: The Historian (sloooow and literary but good. I think I’ll really enjoy once the pace picks up a bit) and Another Way Home by Christa Parrish. Loving them both.

Last movie: One Night With the King – good attempt to bring a Biblical historical story to life.

7/26/09

Argh!

I’m pretty good with electronics and wires and gadgets. Except for the recent Wii troubles which we will no longer refer to.

I’ve been writing blog posts and I thought I was scheduling them for future posting.

Apparently not.

So, if something shows up that seems to be random, it’s probably out of order.

This will be a trial. I’m going to schedule it for a couple of days in the future.

We shall see. I’m not holding my breath. But I may have my fingers crossed.

7/25/09

I Don’t Know What I Don’t Know

A friend has a favorite saying: People don’t know what they don’t know.

Sometimes a piece of writing is declined with the comment, “Not quite ready for publication.” My first response is always, “Tell me what’s wrong and I’ll fix it.” But that supposes I have the skills and knowledge to fix it.

I’m starting to see that I don’t know what I don’t know when it comes to writing and crafting fiction. I know a whole lot more than I used to. And I’m learning more all the time. But it’s becoming comical because the more I learn, the more I see there is to learn and the more I feel I will never learn enough to be able to write publishable fiction.

Which is not true. I’ve published non-fiction and short fiction. I’ve won contests and awards. I can do it. It’s just hard darned work. And it takes time.

I’ve heard writing teachers say that writers have to write a million words before they write publishable words.

In Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, he states that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become world class at anything.

I’m about 750,000 words and 7,500 hours into this. I’m close. I just have to keep working and learning and writing.

If only I knew what I didn’t know, I’d know what to focus on.

Today I prayed for: Amber, Taryn, Evelyn, Katie, and Bud Paxson

Currently reading: Between books. Maybe The Historian or … 

 

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7/24/09

Is the Book Better Than The Movie?

I loved My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!!! Don’t blame me if you keep reading then learn something you wished you hadn’t.

Anyway, where was I?

Oh, yes. The novel ending is possibly the most talked about since the Richard Gere/Jodie Foster movie Sommersby (hated that one, by the way).

Lots of people I’ve talked to hated the ending of the book and I’ve always defended it. It’s the only way it could end and keep us liking both Anna and Kate.

The movie changed it completely, a different sister dies. And I don’t think it’s nearly as compelling or satisfying.

When Anna died in the book, it was completely random, much like life. It wasn’t anyone’s fault. In her death, she was able to do that which she couldn’t accomplish while she was alive: save her sister.

In the movie, when Kate dies and Anna lives, it’s a let down. We’ve known from the beginning that Kate living was iffy at best. In the book, when Kate lives, it’s a complete surprise.

Jodi Picoult picked the hard row and it totally paid off.

Everyone seems to focus on the ending being the only thing really changed from the book and I disagree. I hated what the screenwriters did to the attorney.

I know, it’s only 103 minutes of movie, compared to several hundred novel pages. The subplot about the attorney had to be scrubbed completely. I’m okay with that. I’m not okay with them giving Campbell Alexander epilepsy to explain the seizures.

He had a brain injury resulting in a seizure disorder. I know lots of people would quibble, what’s the difference, a seizure is a seizure is a seizure.  But I think the change diminishes both the disease and the injury. And the movie totally downplayed the role the dog played in making it possible for Campbell to have an ordinary life. I wanted to see him find his lost love from the book.

Okay, enough ranting from me.

Currently reading: The Historian

Last movie: The Proposal (I know, you’d think it was MSK but you’d be wrong. I had to let it percolate).

Last meal: movie popcorn and I’m feeling a little sick.

Today I prayed for: Scott Sassa, Dee, Barbara

 

7/18/09

A Little Can Be Enough

Once upon a time, a grandma and her four year old grand-daughter, Jane, were looking at pictures in an album. There was a photo of newborn Jane in her mother’s embrace and Dad had his arm around both them.

Jane’s parents divorced when she was two, so she has no meaningful memories of them living together or being a family.

Mom walked by just then and Jane called to her. “Look Mom, here’s a picture of me and you and Daddy when you loved him a little.”

I’ve been blissfully married (for the most part) for nearly 32 years. People think I have no knowledge of how hard marriage can be or what divorce is like.

They’re wrong.

I’m a child of divorce. If I counted every parent and step parent, I’ve had five parental figures in my life. More if you count a few girlfriends and boyfriends before my parents each found their final partner.

Several of my best friends are divorced. I’ve sat in courtrooms with them and cried and raged.

Other friends have put their marriages back together. We’ve watched, prayed, listened, encouraged, and cheered.

Jane will grow up. I hope she’ll know she’s loved and will feel secure. But there will always be a part of her that wonders what happened to the little bit of love her parents had and why it wasn’t enough.

 

Today I prayed for: Mackenzie, Kara, Sonia Sotomayor, and Rachel.

Currently reading: The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday by Alexander McCall Smith

 

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7/13/09

A Few Favorites

Because I write book reviews for Armchair interviews (http://www.armchairinterviews.com) I don't usually blog about books but I've decided to change that. Reviews will still be for the website, but I want to talk about a few of my recent reads.

Through the Fire, by Shawn Grady (http://tinyurl.com/m7yqk5 ) is an amazing debut. Shawn is a fireman in Reno and the smell of smoke permeates the pages of this story about a serial arsonist and the fireman he targets and frames. I'm excited that Shawn will be visiting Fresno in March 2010. Through the Fire is a great book for men of all ages.

Nothing But Trouble by Susan May Warren (http://tinyurl.com/m3cxnl ) is one of the best books I've read this year. The prose is delectable and the characters are real.

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell (http://tinyurl.com/l5pske) should be required reading for everyone pursuing their passion whether it's cooking the world's best chili, painting a still life, or ... Never mind, it should be required reading for everyone. He makes a compelling case that great success comes at a price, but a far different one than we've been told.

There are others, but these will live in my heart and memory for a long time.



6/23/09

Books, Books, Everywhere and Never a One to Read

 

I’m surrounded by an embarrassment of riches.

I have more books than I can read. I keep collecting more because I have a hard time letting one go if it’s still unread.

I’m doing better. I periodically go through my stacks and take out the ones that I’ve had for over two years. If I haven’t gotten to it so far, chances are good I never will.

But I recently dug deep in my stack and pulled out a couple of oldies, with mixed results. Two books by two different authors who will remain nameless. Both bestselling. Both in their eighties, now. Both with popular series.

One of the books was a home run. It was delightful, and up to the usual standards of that author.

The other… not so much. It’s obvious this author is past their prime. The book clocked in at about 180 pages. Thick pages. With w  i  d  e  margins. The murder didn’t happen until about page 140. The reader never met the victim in person. The murderer made a cameo appearance early in the story and then went back to California (a handy place to stow suspects until you need them, I guess. Lucky us).

Anyway, it’s a reminder that every book is a gift, every story a new discovery waiting to be enjoyed.

Last book read: Through the Fire by Shawn Grady (highly recommended)

Currently reading: New Moon by Stephanie Meyer

Last movie: Roman Holiday

Today I’m praying for: Francine’s dad, Bev, Darlene.

6/22/09

Is It Lost If You Never Had It?

So, a couple of weeks ago I got an email that I had won an online drawing for two tickets to a concert from the local newspaper. I celebrated (which means I yelled “Whoo hoo!” and clapped my hands and posted it on Facebook), called a friend to go with me, and tootled off to the newspaper office to pick up my tickets.

Except, no one had any tickets to the concert with my name on them. In all fairness, they did look. The person who emailed me was on vacation by the time I went by in person so she was no help. I waited forty-five minutes while they looked. When I got home, I forwarded the email telling me I was a winner.

They tried to buy me tickets. The concert was sold out. They offered to give me tickets to an upcoming show at the same venue. But nothing else really excites me.

All during the wait, the search, the apologies, the counteroffers, I kept wondering if I should be angry.

Someone messed up. Big time.

But, I didn’t buy the tickets, so I wasn’t out any money.

I lost some time while I waited for the staff to search. I used some gas driving downtown to an inconvenient destination.

But I never had the tickets so how can I be upset when I lost them? I shrugged and called my friend to say, “Good news! You’re free tomorrow night after all. We’re not going to a concert.”

It made me think of all the things I do have. Grace. Salvation. A loving husband, great kids. A working air conditioner in my home and my car.

So what if I didn’t get to see Big & Rich in concert? I’m blessed indeed.

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6/9/09

Miracles

 

When I was a kid, I loved Edgar Eager’s books. They were about a group of kids who discovered magic. There was Half Magic, Magic by the Lake, Knight’s Castle, and maybe a few others.

There were rules that had to be obeyed, and the magic had limitations. One of the vignettes has always stayed with me. One child used her turn with the magic to help someone (her father?) at his job at a television station. One of the other children scolded her and said the magic wasn’t supposed to be used in that way.

She silenced him when she asked, “Television is magic. How else can you explain it?”

Now I know there is science behind television transmission, but really, magic sums it up nicely. Pictures are turned into invisible waves and sent through the air where they reassemble in my living room. Yep, magic.

Today I got to thinking about miracles. I’m surrounded by miracles every day and how many of them go unnoticed?

A beautiful sunrise is a miracle. No, any sunrise is a miracle. The earth stayed in its orbit, at the right speed, so the sun and our continent met at the right time, in the right place.

Antibiotics are miracles. Chemotherapy. Dialysis. A baby’s birth. Email. Jellyfish. A fresh nectarine.

Mysterious. Magical. Miracles.

All of them.

Yet Again

I think I’ve figured it out, by George. Who is George, anyway?? This should show up June 9th. 

6/8/09

This is Only a Test

I knew an application like this had to exist somewhere and I kept meaning to search for it and find it. Then today I was nosing around on someone else’s blog getting their side of a kerfluffel and there it was: “I use blah blah app to write my blog posts all at once and publish them whenever I want.”

Ah haaaa… I looked and found it and downloaded it (not easy to do now with all the security and swine flu protection on my computer) and now I’m trying it out. This is a test.

BFF

Apparently today is Best Friends Day. I was informed about this by the Today Show. Then just to be sure, I googled it and found a plethora of web sites confirming this auspicious ...holiday...er?...occasion?...um... confirming this day.

I don't make friends easily, but once you're a friend, you're a friend for life. I don't lose contact with very many people unless they make it plain it's time to let go. I'm still close to my high school best friend. Of course, the relationship has changed. We don't talk about the cute guy in Algebra anymore. Or if we do, it's our kid's teacher. (Just kidding, Hon.)

There are different kinds of friendships. There's the friend of proximity. That's the neighbor or the parents of our kids' friends.

The friendship of shared interests, like the other gals at the craft store/yarn shop/book club.

Friends of friends. People you don't even really like but other people you do like, like them, so you become friends with them, too. Thankfully, I don't have too many in this category. Most of my friend's friends are great people and I genuinely like them.

Family. These are the people you'd be friends with even if you didn't have to spend holidays with them arguing about who makes the best gravy.

Friends of the heart. These are the ones that you share your authentic self with. The people who laugh at the same absurdities in life. The ones you can call in a crisis and not wonder if you're interrupting something important. The ones who drop everything and come even though you've told them you're okay. The ones who send chocolate.

So here's to Jeannine, Colleen, Debbie, Leann, Nancy, Abbie, Debbie, Terry, Kristi, Chrissy, Debbie, Michelle, Carol, Lisa, Kim, Carol, Lisa, Lorna, Linda, Katie, Cheryl, Jo, Kim, and my sweetest friends, Amber and Taryn.

Today I prayed for: Peggy, Sue, Gayle.

Currently reading: Just finished Say Goodbye. Next up: I'm thinking it's time to try Twilight.

Last movie: The Lake House

5/27/09

Once Again

I've done it again. Gone more than a week without posting. More than two weeks. In fact, darn close to four weeks. How? When I promised to post regularly, made it a goal and a priority.

Life gets in the way. Again.

It's a good reminder of the importance of prioritizing and then sticking to it. It's important to floss and I manage to fit it in every day. Exercise is important, and now that I have specific exercises to strengthen my ankle, I usually get them done. Eating and drinking, check. On Facebook, yep, not a problem.

But placing tush on chair and writing? There's always something else that can be done. Then the phone rings or something else happens. And once again, I decide to put it off and write later.

There's the key. I decided what to do, how to spend my time. I only get so many words allotted to me per day and if I use them up posting to friends on Facebook, then I don't have enough to pour into my manuscript.

Sometimes all it takes is getting started, then the momentum carries me through to other tasks. I think I'll go write and do a task I've been putting off.

5/1/09

Cranky and Okay With It

I'm not a political junky.

I have friends who can (and do) debate stuff for hours. I'm good for ten, maybe fifteen minutes and then I'd rather talk about books or movies or food.

So, I think I've been more than patient with the Obama-steria sweeping the nation for the last few months.

But I've reached my limit.

I quit watching Good Morning, America when Joan Lunden was on. She lost me when she treated a (Christian musician) guest with disdain. Then she had one of my favorite authors, Dick Francis, on and instead of intelligent questions about his books and writing, she insisted on asking him about being a jockey for the British royal family.

In the last few months, if I watch morning tv, I tend to flip between the big three. Until Tuesday. Now I'm down to two and GMA is out again.

In a story about the resurgence of gardening in this country, they showed Michelle Obama at a community garden, calling for a wheelbarrow. Okay, photo op, whatever. She was wearing a black dress, it looked like wool, and heels. Not dressed for gardening. The commentator then said that the First Lady is responsible for the new interest in growing vegetables.

WHAT??

There is a recession going on, people. Gardening always increases when times are tough. They have since Adam and Eve were banished from the garden and put to work.

Then today I was getting physical therapy. They have a few televisions scattered around to keep us occupied while riding a stationary bike or trying to pick up quarters with our toes. Today it was tuned to Fox News. There was a sports story about possibly changing the college football bowls to a playoff system. And then the pronouncement: President Obama is in favor of the playoff proposal.

WHAT??

Shouldn't he be working on the economy, piracy, or swine flu? Or even gardening?

I'm not an Obama-hater. I do think he's too experienced for his job. And I didn't vote for him. But he is my President and I respect him.

But I don't have to salivate for all things Obamaesque. Like I said, I'm done with the hysteria.

Today I prayed for: Richard, Carol, Margaret, Katie & Anna.

Currently reading: The Geometry of Sisters by LuAnne Rice

Last meal: Toasted roast beef sandwich at Betty's/Uncle Harry's.

Last movie: Hmmm... I think it was Tribute, a Lifetime movie. Meh (said with a shrug).

4/19/09

Life in a Cast...

... is the pits.

At first, I looked for the silver lining, figuring I'd learn humility and patience, letting others take care of things for me, as well as take care of me.

Yeah. I'm over it.

I've spent 5+ weeks on the sidelines of life, watching others cook, clean, and drive.

Maybe because the pain isn't bad anymore, I'm ready to get up off the couch and do something. I cleaned a toilet last week. It felt good. I couldn't quite stretch to reach the whole bathroom mirror, but the bottom 2/3s of it was really clean.

Being pampered is awesome in small doses. At a spa. On your birthday. But in day to day life, I'd rather do it myself, thank you very much.

Praying for: Amy, Amber, Tom, Kristi, Columbine families 10 years after

Currently reading: Revision and Self-Editing by James Scott Bell

Last movie: Whatever I said last

Last meal: Breakfast strata, fruit, coffee

4/16/09

International Phenom

I first saw the video of Susan Boyle Sunday evening. By Tuesday everyone was talking about it. It's been on the web and television. Ms Boyle was interviewed by Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America today. I've seen the video a dozen times so far.

The first time, I thought it amazing and got a little choked up. You'd think the tear factor would lessen with more watching.

Wrong. It's getting worse.

I was in full cry today watching it on GMA.

I think it's watching this woman, unassuming in appearance, with a tremendous confidence. She's not bothered by the laughs and condescension she was getting when she strode onto the stage. Then she opened her mouth and the confidence made perfect sense.

But she didn't swagger off or smirk even a little. She was genuinely thrilled that the judges and audience agreed with her estimation: she has a voice worth listening to.

What a change from so many of the American Idol wannabes. Their confidence is often misplaced.

So how do you know? How do you know if you've got the talent to make your dream come true?

I'm told I'm a good writer. My mentors, teachers, critiquers say I'm going to make it. For my purposes, "making it" means publishing a novel with a traditional royalty paying publishing house.

I think my stuff is publishable. I know I'm not Anne Lamott. Or Janet Evanovich. But I think I do a pretty darn good Carrie Padgett.

I'd be curious to know if Susan Boyle ever doubted her talent. Or if she's always been certain that she'd a singer and she just had to wait for the right time and venue to see her purpose fulfilled.

It's a joy to watch Ms Boyle's dreams come true as she opens her mouth and turns scoffers into fans. I'll watch it again. And cry again.

4/13/09

What's Up With That?

We're all delicately balanced pieces of craftsmanship.

David's physical self has to be perfectly balanced or he feels sick. His finetuning is to the extent that if he has 12 ounces of coffee in the morning, instead of his usual 16, he'll get a headache. The next day.

I'm more about the emotional balance. When I'm sick or in pain, it takes all of my coping tank to deal with ordinary things. If something extra comes up, I'm on empty and it overwhelms me. I cry, I mope, I can't deal. Which is how I know something is going on.

I've been in pain off and on for the last 4 weeks. I'm on a vicious cycle of feeling good for 2-3 days, then being stopped by crippling pain. The pain pills work, so it's not like I'm lying around in agony. But if I watch a sentimental movie or get a nice phone call from a friend, or David or a family member folds my laundry, I'm overwhelmed with gratitude and struck by what a miserable selfish horrible person I am.

No balance. So, this week, I'm working toward finetuning my pain management with my emotions.

And let me know if this video moves you like it did me. Or am I just a lost cause? This had me weeping.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lp0IWv8QZY



Praying today for: Amber, Tom, Joyce, Katie and Mel

Currently reading: Revision and Self-Editing by James Scott Bell

Last movie: Facing the Giants

Last meal: Leftover lamb and roasted potatoes

3/30/09

Kindness or a Lawsuit?

Before we went on the ill-fated snorkel cruise where I broke my ankle, we had to sign liability waivers, stating that if we were injured or killed we wouldn't sue the Pacific Whale Foundation. I signed it. And would sign it again.

(When I loaded my tote bag the night before though, something told me to add my insurance card to the pocket with my license and debit card. Good thing I heeded that still, small voice.)

Anyway, when I fell and was obviously injured, the crew was very nice and solicitous, with just a touch of "I told you so" in their attitudes. Yes, the captain had warned everyone about how rough the crossing would be and encouraged us to stay seated inside. But given a choice between standing out front where I could see the approaching waves or trapped inside with all the seasick folks, I'd still take my chances outside.

They got ice for me and offered to skip the second snorkel site and return me to the dock and call an ambulance. I opted to go on to the snorkel location because I didn't want a literal boat-load of people mad at me for cutting short their expedition. Although there were probably more seasick people who would have thanked me for cutting short their misery.

The next day, after we knew the ankle was broken, David called the Pacific Whale Foundation, just to give them an update and let them know what was going on. He left a message that he was calling about the injury the day before and he was promised a return call.

A call that never came. I know the call wasn't returned because they were expecting threats of a lawsuit or other bad news.

Nothing could be further from the truth. We knew the risks when we chose to stand up front. We signed the waiver. We're not people who think someone else is always to blame for anything bad that happens. We've even been called nice people. David simply thought someone might like to know how I was doing.

That's what he gets for thinking, I guess. How sad.

---------------

Today I prayed for: Taryn, Clayton, Acting Surgeon General Rear Admiral Steven K. Galson, Kim, and Lisa.

Currently reading: Salvation in Death by JD Robb

Last movie: Facing the Giants

Last meal: grilled ckn, rice, beans, and tortilla at a going away lunch for David. He starts his new assignment Wednesday.

3/25/09

The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

The Good:

I got a hard cast on yesterday. The swelling in my ankle is down. We got a good look at it in between the splint and the cast.

The Bad:

It's not a weight-bearing cast. I was really, really hoping for a walking cast. I'm all registered and paid and planning to attend the Mt. Hermon Christian Writer's conference which begins next week, April 3. A walking cast would have made getting around the conference grounds much easier. So, I'm looking for a backpack that I can wear to carry my stuff around since I need both arms for the crutches.

The Ugly:

The foot shows off several shades of purple, blue, yellow, and even a tinge of green. The purple has spread down to my toes. And so it goes.

------

Today I prayed for: Liz Curtis Higgs, Taryn, Nancy, Kim

Currently reading: I'm between books (how did that happen??) I just finished Death's Half Acre by Margaret Maron. Next up... maybe a JD Robb...

Last movie: The Bucket List

Last meal: Chicken soft tacos made with marinated and grilled chicken. YUM!

3/20/09

The True Story

Yes, it's true. Our perfect vacation ended on a not-so-perfect note. Here's what I wrote a friend:

We had a wonderful 2 weeks in Maui! It was a great vacation.

Until we decided to do a snorkeling cruise to Lanai on our last day. We'd had several days of beautiful, calm weather and of course that day, Thursday March 12th, we woke up to wind and a little rain. We headed out anyway and once we arrived at Lanai we were in a little cove and it was calm and nice. We had a good time, saw some beautiful fish. Then we headed back across the channel to Maui, to a second snorkel spot. The wind had kicked up and the water was sooo rough. The crew said it was the roughest crossing this season and if they'd known how bad it was going to be, we wouldn't have gone to Lanai to begin with.

Pretty much everyone was either hanging on the back puking, or hanging on up front riding/surfing. There were 8-10 foot swells. I was up front and having fun. I never felt unsafe, the catamaran was very stable. But we hit a double wave and I went up and the boat went down, then the second wave pushed the boat up and I didn't have my feet replanted from the first wave and I fell on the inside of my right ankle. I heard/felt a pop and I knew it was broken. The crew helped me to sit (in the midst of all the bucking and hanging on - major thanks to them) and gave me ice packs. 4 Advil and a couple of Mai Tais later, I could walk enough to hobble off the boat.

We went to the hospital in Wailuku. Since I could walk, I thought maybe it wasn't broken, but I was right in my first impression. The tendons stretched and when they snapped back into place, they broke off the tips of the bones on both the inside and outside of the ankle. The Maui ER doctor gave me a splint and a rx for Percocet. We had a red eye flight Friday night that was awful, crowded and lots of turbulence, so we didn't sleep much. They did move us to economy+ so we had a few more inches of leg room and I was able to put my foot up on David's lap for part of the time. We stayed in Altadena with friends Saturday and drove home Sunday.

I saw the orthopedist here on Tuesday and she did more xrays and says I don't need surgery (yea!). But it was still too swollen for a cast, so I have another splint and will return on Tuesday, hopefully for a walking cast. It's feeling much better.

Probably too much better, because I'm starting to put weight on it (a big no-no, so tell me to STOP that right now!) instead of using only the crutches. David said yesterday my color was back and I look better, too. The biggest hassle I think will be no driving. Today is David's first day back to work and so far it's been fine.

Next up: What I'm learning from this.

Currently reading: Love Mercy by Earlene Fowler

Last movie: Still don't remember... David watched Flash of Genius on the plane to Maui.

Praying for: Amber, Katie, Joyce, Will, Liam Neeson and family.

3/11/09

Just Another Day in Paradise...

Post number two from vacation! I wasn't sure I'd get even one in so this is great!

We've had a lovely time and I haven't been homesick hardly at all. As I get older, I seem to tolerate longer periods away from home than I used to. Or maybe it's that my kids are older and don't need me as much. Used to be a week was my limit, ten days was really pushing it. And we only did a trip that long without kids once or twice.

Four years ago we did 12 days here. This one is 16 nights away from home, although only 13 are in Hawaii.

I do miss my girls and my dogs, but we've been so busy that I've been occupied and not dwelling on them. I don't really miss the cat. Which is weird since we get along fine. She's really pretty demanding when she wants affection. She likes to cuddle. On my chest while she kneads with her claws. Then a dog will move suddenly or the phone will ring and she'll peel out, leaving scratches on my neckline. I like wearing my scoop neck Ts and the only accessory is my new whale tail necklace.

Today's agenda is relaxing, maybe a walk to the beach. Tomorrow, snorkeling and dolphin and whale watching around Lanai.

Today I'm praying for: Will, Evelyn, Kate.

Currently reading: The Brethren by John Grisham

Last meal: bacon, frittata, papaya, mango, and coffee

Last movie seen: Can't remember...

3/6/09

Hair We Go

I've been in Maui almost a week. There have been some stiff trade winds, a few sprinkles of rain, and much humidity. And I'm pretty happy with how the hair has withstood it all.

I've got a few pictures but I'm not sure I can upload them to my laptop. If I have a minute later, I'll give it a shot.

We're having a wonderful time. It's hard to believe tomorrow will be a week that we've been here and that we have less than a week to go.

We've relaxed, been massaged, shopped, and lei-ed. The only real tourist thing we've done is the luau last night - The Feast at Lele.

It was fabulous! If you get the chance, this is the luau to attend. http://www.feastatlele.com/

Today we had a wonderful breakfast at the 5 Palms restaurant in the Mana Kai resort in Kihei. http://www.fivepalmsrestaurant.com/Home.html

The men are having a putting contest on the green here at Maui Hill. http://www.resortquesthawaii.com/hawaii/propertyOverview.do?propertyGroupId=25570

Tonight: a dinner/sunset/whale watching cruise. http://www.pacificwhale.org/mauiecocruises/cruise.php?id=1&f=100&

I have no expectations of my hair surviving the cruise in decent shape. I'll stick a flower behind my ear and call it good.

2/24/09

The Crankiest Place on Earth

is Babies 'R Us.

The first time I shopped there, I thought I just was there at a bad time. But it's been three times now.

First: the smell. I guess because it's full of full diapers.

Second: Who shops there? Pregnant women, full of hormones.

Third: Who is forced to accompany the mom-to-be? Her other children who are upset because Mom is buying things for the new baby who's not here yet and is already showing signs of taking over the household and all Mom's attention.

Wails of frustration can be heard from all corners of the store. And the kids are cranky, too.

2/19/09

A Miserable Mass

I think it's a line in The Princess Bride: "You miserable vomitous mass."

That was me.

Now I've shared and I feel really, really bad. As soon as I realized I didn't feel good, I didn't kiss my husband, I barely shared oxygen in the same room with him. He slept in the guest room.

He got it anyway.

He's an awesome nursemaid when someone in the family is sick. He's the one making soup and fetching 7Up and making pudding.

Not me. When I'm sick, I like to be left alone to suffer in silence and peace. He likes to be succored so he renders aid and comfort when he's sick. I leave the patient alone.

We've both learned how to be there for the other. He leaves me mostly alone, and just pops in to check on me. And I do appreciate his willingness to fetch me a pudding cup and a straw. And now I offer to heat soup or bring him a box of tissues.

I had my 24 hours in bed. It's his turn now. Guess I should check our supply of jello. And Ensure.

Today I prayed for: my church, our president, David, Amber.

Last movie: Shrek 3rd - hey I was sick.

Last book: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Last meal: Turkey and mashed potatoes but I think I need to go make some soup.

2/11/09

My Favorite Things

I know I'm not Oprah, but I have favorites too. And I want to talk about them.

Eye shadow primer:
http://www.urbandecay.com/categories/EyeshadowPrimerPotion.cfm
This stuff works! I put it on under my eye makeup and there it stays. All day. I've put it on at 6 am and the eyeshadow is still there at midnight. I love it!

Cleaner:
http://www.mrclean.com/en_US/products/eraser.shtml

A friend who sells cleaning supplies says these things are pretty strong. He said it like it was a bad thing. I love them. One will wipe down all my cabinets and stove and microwave and fridge and leave 'em sparkling. I also ran one over my baseboards last week.

Glucosamine chrondroitin for the dog:
http://www.bullwrinkle.com/ShoppingPages/canine-glucosamine.htm

We get ours at Trader Joe's. It's given our old dog a better quality of life. He still limps but he can keep up with the rest of us. Yeah, we're getting old, too. What of it?

This might be the best show on television:
http://www.scifi.com/eureka/about/

I love this show. Most shows I tivo and watch on my own time. Not Eureka. I'm there.
Imagine you were pretty intelligent. And good at your job. Then imagine you're dropped into a world where everyone else is Einstein-smart. And they knew how to bend things like physical laws, the time-space continuum, and memories. Brilliant. And I don't even like sci-fi. I thought.

That's it for now. I'm going to go play on the Eureka web site a little while.

Today I prayed for:
Katie and Mel, Dad, and Staci.

Last movie: Gran Torino - language bad, movie good.

Currently reading: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Last meal: 2 chicken soft tacos (homemade and yummy).

2/6/09

Occasional Rants

On occasion, my inner curmudgeon demands to be heard. Today she's mad about:

If America is getting fatter, where are they getting their clothes? Yeah, I fit into the fat category and I wanted some cheap cropped pants to take to Hawaii next month. I can't find any in a size larger than an 8, except at the expensive department store. I see fat people at Target and Walmart. I guess they're buying food because it sure ain't clothes.

Why is it shocking that teens who watch sexually explicit tv and movies are more sexually active and at a younger age? It was all over the news recently like it was a groundbreaking revelation. My response: DUH.

I thought she had more things bugging her, but that seems to be all for now. Padgett - out.

2/2/09

Taken by Surprise

I learned something yesterday.

On my old blog, I talked about my brother, Jeff, who died in June. He was a long time drug and alcohol abuser who wore out his body and it finally gave up. Before he died, I asked him about his faith and where he was going for eternity. He said, "I know Jesus is my Lord and Savior."

Can't ask for any more. So I told him I was glad and when he got there to tell Dad and my father-in-law 'hello' and give them hugs. And Grandma. And - you get the idea.

Anyway, I had assurance. But given his lifestyle and addictions, I would still wonder.

Yesterday, Mom told me that my youngest brother Bob told her that it was Jeff who introduced Bob the Lord. Jeff did. The addict who stole Bob's allowance to buy marijuana. Jeff, who begged people to go buy tequila for him.

I pray for people. I'm open about my faith. But a dead drug addict and alcoholic taught me a lesson about authenticity and transparency and about faith.

Thanks, Jeff. Give Dad another hug for me. See you someday.

Today I prayed for: Casey, Lori, and Noah; Katie; Josh; and another Noah.

Currently reading: All The Tea in China by Jane Orcutt

Last movie: Becoming Jane

Last meal: Tostada at Bobby Salazars - still full.

1/30/09

Finding the Lowest Acceptable Standard

I'm naturally orderly and tidy. If I use something, I put it back where I found it. If I can't find something, I go to the last place I used it and widen the search from there.

David and the rest of the family... not so much. I learned a long time ago that if I wanted to preserve any sanity, I had to let go of my need for orderliness.

It's helped.

But sometimes it seems I've let my standards get too lax. At least to me.

Every so often, David and I both get fed up with something, clutter maybe or something stored in an inconvenient location.

My solution is to think on it, figure out a solution, wait a while, think some more, then implement the solution (throw out the clutter or store it or rearrange something to make room).

David's solution: throw it all in a box, label it "Miscellaneous" and stick it in the garage or barn.

Just kidding. He wouldn't label it.

I moved every few years while growing up and the first fifteen years of marriage. That tends to keep the clutter down. We've been in our current home seventeen years, the longest I've ever lived in one place. And the closets and cupboards reflect it.

Books are my current problem. I've come to terms letting go of a few favorites. I used to love to reread special books, but I don't have the time for that luxury anymore. There's always a book to be read, a movie to be watched, an email to be answered. Keeping up on new reading is all I can manage.

On to whittling down the stacks.

Today I prayed for: Sandy, Amber, Alyson, and George.

Currently Reading: Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde

Last movie: Becoming Jane

Last meal: Brown rice pasta with pesto. Would have been fabulous if fresh. Left over: not so much.

Another Day



I didn't style (or do anything except brush it) on Wednesday because I was headed to the doctor for an office procedure:
Thursday: I showered and washed it and let it dry naturally and curly. I would have taken a pic but I never did put any makeup on. I promise: next time I'll skip the vanity and just take the snapshot.

Today: Products: Bath & Body Works Cherry Blossom shampoo and conditioner, Fructis Mousse, Blow drier and flat iron. No finishing serum or spray.
This is probably my favorite look but it won't last. sigh...

1/27/09

Day 2 of the Experiment

At 6:00 am. Product and styling: Bath & Body Works Cherry Blossom shampoo and conditioner, Fructis Mousse, blow dried, flat ironed, hair spray.


At 4: 30 pm. Not too bad. Pretty flat. But it was a long day. But the weather was cold and dry.

1/26/09

Hair Today, Hair Tomorrow

My hair frustrates me.

Given the number of television commercials for hair products, I'm not alone. Although, what do I know? Maybe everyone else loves their hair.

Anyway, I'll be in Hawaii in 5 weeks and that poses a hair problem. The wind and the humidity conspire so my hair arrives in a room 2.75 minutes before the rest of me. Remember that Friends episode when the gang goes to Barbados and Monica's hair turns into a fuzzball? I'm pretty sure Marta Kaufman or David Crane saw me in Hawaii and I was the inspiration for that bit.
The last time we went to Maui I let my hair grow out some before we left, thinking I'd just wear it pulled back all the time. How'd that work, you ask? Here's a snap shot:
I know what you're thinking and I agree. Hideous.












So now I come to my problem for this year. I get a cut every eight weeks. And my stylist, by the way, is amazing. She is not to be blamed for anything and she gets all the credit when it does look good. Anyway, I'm trying to decide if I should get it cut right before we go. Avoid the 2005 issues.

I'll be experimenting with different tools and products in the next month and hopefully I'll find a solution that I can live with in the islands.
My tools: My products:



Today I used the Bath & Body Works Cherry Blossom moisturizing shampoo, Neutrogena pink moisturizing conditioner, Fructis mousse. I blow dried it, added a little Neutrogena Healing Shine Serum, and finished with some Fructis hair spray. Here's a couple pics, one right after styling, the other after a few hours. I know one is blurry but it's all I got. Blame the photographer.

After a few hours: After styling:













I'll post periodic pictures of different results. By the way, does anyone know of a good hairspray that doesn't leave your hair dull-looking?

-------------

Today I prayed for: Sandy, Shawna, and Mike Judge

Currently reading: Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde
Last movie seen: Charlie Wilson's War - better than I expected
Last meal: Trader Joe's Vegetarian Pizza - fabo

1/21/09

Wilma

We lost another one.

I met Wilma Wall in 2003. Not even six years ago but she made a huge impression on me.

She published her first novel at age ... well, I'm not sure of her exact age but she probably joined AARP a couple of decades ago. Forbidden and The Jade Bracelet were published by Kregel; Storm Warning is due out in March.

For the last two years I had the privilege of being in a small workshop/critique group with her. Her comments were always helpful, always insightful, and always gentle.

She was a Christian and a former missionary kid who grew up in pre-World War II China. She was a wife and mother and grandmother.

I wonder what God is up to. She waited so long for the opportunity to share her gift with the world and her publishing career was relatively short.

I know where she is and I know she's enjoying her new home. But if I had one wish, it would be for her to have had a little more time to enjoy the ride.

Today I prayed for:

Lisa, Wilma's family, and President Obama.

Currently reading: Born Standing Up by Steve Martin

Last movie seen: The Darjeeling Limited - verdict: weird but in an almost good way

Last meal: Tortellini with spinach and pinenuts - Yum!

1/19/09

Hyperbole

Praying today for: David, Josette Sheeran - Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme, and Wilma and Sandy and their families.

There is no superlative too extravagant anymore.

Awesome used to be used to describe God. Now it's a fried onion.

The words that mean great have all been appropriated and used for something that's really not even pretty good.

There's a Friends episode where Joey gets a job in an infomercial for a milk carton pouring spout. The announcer proclaims this gadget will eliminate the annoying and messy job of opening a half gallon of milk. From the description, it sounds like this piece of plastic will solve all the world's problems.

There's a commercial airing right now for the Sham Wow: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ns4mnmNBk1Y

If you had any problems the milk pourer didn't solve, just get the Sham Wow and life will be good. You'll save at least $20 a month on paper towels.

What? You don't spend that much on paper towels? Really?? Your house must be a mess if you're not constantly wiping up spills. Sheesh, how do you live with yourself?

1/15/09

Teched or Ticked

Today I'm praying for the Murray family (funeral today), Iris, Phil Knight (Nike), and Mom.

I believe with absolute certainty that a day is coming when cell phones will be a chip and embedded in our heads, right behind the ear.

We have met Johnny-Five, the robot in Short Circuit, and he is us: Input, more input!

We crave information and quick communication.

Part of the allure of vacations is getting away from all the stuff demanding my time. But I also have to check my inbox regularly or I'll be overwhelmed with 231 messages after a weekend away.

I Twitter, blog, Facebook, MySpace, Shoutlife, Paperbackswap, Bookcrossings, text, call, write letters, and email. Whew! I'm so busy keeping in touch with everyone, it's amazing I have time to write or clean house.

Oh. I just realized I'm not very disciplined about the house thing. Slightly more so with writing. But send me a text and I'm all over it. I've been blaming myself, but really it's technology's fault.

I think when the embeddable cell phone comes along, I'll skip it. I have enough voices in my head.

1/12/09

"Bless Me!"

Praying today for: Me, Iris, the Murray family.

A week or so before Christmas I had baked some cookies and they were on the counter in a zipped plastic bag.

Grandaughter Princess Evelyn was over for a visit and she found the bag like it had an embedded homing beacon and she was LoJack. (I think that metaphor works, but I'm not 100% sure...) Anyway, she asked Grampy for a cookie and he referred her to me.

"Grandma," Evelyn said. "Can I have four cookies?"

How, in the span of three seconds and the change of cookie-bestowing grandparent, did the request go from one cookie to four??!!?

I'm still not sure if she thought Grammie was a softer touch or a harder one. She could have figured in order to get one or two cookies (our eventual compromise) she should start high and leave room for bargaining. Or did she really think she had a shot at four cookies from Grandma?

I wish her brain had a pause and save option, so in a few years I could replay it for her and ask just what was she thinking.

It got me to thinking about how I bring prayer requests to God. Do I ask for less than I want, thinking it would be greedy to ask for the whole thing? Or do I ask for more, thinking I'll have to settle.

Neither option is right. God is willing to bless me. Often without my asking. But sometimes, I think He's waiting for me to ask by faith.

That's the tricky part: by faith.

Gotta go. There's Someone I have to talk to about a cookie.

1/9/09

In It Together 1.2

Today I'm praying for Iris, the Taylor family, and Dad.

I had dinner recently at an acquaintance's home. It's on a golf course, in an affluent neighborhood. She's lived there five or six months and she commented that she had yet to meet her neighbors.

A few days later I was in a poorer area of town and stopped for gas. The station was busy and the machine at the pump didn't want to read my card so I had to go inside. From the car to the store and back to the car was maybe twenty yards, round trip. Three people greeted me as I walked, entered, and returned. The door was held open both going in and exiting. No one was grumpy or aloof.

Could it be that those who have material treasures are also full of fears? And those whose blessings aren't in bankable form are freer with themselves, more able to greet strangers?

There was a feeling of camaraderie at the gas station that was missing at the golf course.

That's all I'm saying.

1/8/09

In It Together

Praying for the UN High Commissioner on Refugees António Guterres, the Travolta family, and Taryn.

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is in town this week. They revealed the family this morning after announcing there were several possibles in the greater area.

There's been mostly excitement in the media about the boost this will bring to the local economy as well as exposure in a national marketplace.

One local columnist gave a platform to one disgruntled neighbor (it wasn't known if she was in the neighborhood chosen, or just in a potential area - I still don't know if she's being directly affected) who was upset that the city is making concessions to the production. She says they are circumventing regulations and rules and permit issuances in order to get publicity.

I disagree. I don't think it's about getting free publicity or garnering good will. I think it's about doing something nice.

This family (http://abclocal.go.com/kfsn/story?section=news/extreme_makeover&id=6591588) deserves something nice. And given the current economic outlook and how it's effected charities, this is the community's opportunity to bless someone.

If the city can make it easier for anyone, a tv show, a neighbor, a charity, to help someone in need, that's great.

Maybe there will be a ripple effect and others in need of quick plan approval, or permit issuance will be helped as well.

The publicity and money infused into the local economy is just a bonus.

I say "Welcome and get to work!"