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...


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.


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



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!



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?


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.


"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.


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.


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!"


The Long Haul

Today I prayed for Ted Turner and Amber.

I first tried to name this blog The Long Haul but it was taken.

It seems that we're in everything for the long haul. Marriage. Parenthood. Faith. Relationships with cars.

I kind of get why the divorce rate is spiraling up. I've got many divorced friends (including my parents) so I'm not pointing fingers, just kind of thinking out loud.

We've got so much that is disposal in our society. Lighters, food containers, even major appliances are designed to wear out far sooner than they used to. So if all of our stuff is lightweight and meant to be thrown into the recycler, then why not marriages as well? Why not a baby? We told the mom she could get rid of it before its birth, why not in the first few minutes as well?

We give up on children and drug them.

We give up on marriages and say, "God doesn't want me to be unhappy." I don't see that in my Bible. My Bible says God is making me into the image of Christ and that's painful and hard work. And has nothing to do with my happiness.

We give up on toasters and buy a new and bigger one that will fit four bagels at once. Who needs to toast them many bread products at the same time? Have they never heard of Atkins??

Anyway, yeah, I'm in it for the long haul.



Today I prayed for Billy Graham and the Montelongo family.

Today is the one year anniversary of the death of my friend Kim.

She was on her way to work the first day after the holidays. A big rig ran a stop sign. She died at the scene.

In one of those weird twists of life, the driver of the truck was a private contractor driving for a friend of ours. So several people who knew him knew that we knew his victim.

They would say things like, "He's a good man, a good driver. He's a good father, he's got three kids."

I understand they were defending their friend, but my first response was, "Yes, he's a good man, but he's alive and my friend is dead. And why does his three kids and wife trump her two kids and husband? They don't."

I don't know the status of any charges, trials, or lawsuits.

I only know that I miss Kim. We met when she was 17 and I was 18. I was engaged. She had a steady boyfriend who became her husband. We worked together at a savings and loan. We both married young and stayed married.

A few years later Kim was the receptionist for a podiatrist and wanted to work part-time when her daughter was born. I'd been staying home with our daughter and also wanted part-time.

We became one of the first pairs to share a job. She worked 8 am -noon and I came in 1-5 pm. We did that for three years, until my husband's new job transferred us out of the area.

We moved back after eight years and Kim and I would have lunch occasionally. My niece and her daughter were roommates for a while so we stayed connected. The last few years we would run into each other and say, "We've got to get together and get caught up." We never did.

Kim loved Jesus, her husband, her kids, her family. Her funeral was a dark and drizzly day, common in central California in January. A crowd of hundreds shivered. The minister had a captive audience and he knew it. Kim would not have been amused. I wanted to call her and commiserate. I settle for praying for her family.


It's Time

So. Here we are. It's 10:00 pm on New Year's Day. One of my goals for the year was to set up a new blog. One of my other goals is to post at least twice a week.

I call myself a writer but I'm often confronted with the reality that I really don't have much to say. Or at least that's what I tell myself. I have plenty of opinions but for some reason it's hard for me to share them.

In a group, I'm the one listening and nodding. I rarely speak up. Unless I feel strongly about something and I'm sure what I have to say hasn't already been said by the loud person in the center of the room. That's not an insult because frequently that loud person is my husband and I'm happy to have him speak.

That's why committing to blogging regularly scares me to pieces. What if it's true and I really don't have anything to say?

My blogging friends fall into two categories: the uber-bloggers who write every day, sometimes more. And the others like me who post when either a) something moves them or exciting happens or b) it's their prescheduled day to post.

I hope to fall into a third category: a regular poster who always has something to say.

Today we watched the 120th Tournament of Roses Parade on HGTV. We used to live in Pasadena, then in Sierra Madre and we still often travel down for the parade. Television doesn't do it justice. If you haven't seen it in person, that should be your goal for next year.