Category Archives: navel gazing

Cobwebs and Open Spaces

For the past six months, the adults in this household have been doing some real work. Not so much the work we get paid for, or the work that keeps us up late at night meeting deadlines. Rather, it’s been the sort of work that forces you to dig deep, to look inward with the piercing flashlight that is the mind’s eye, lifting out the cobwebs and shifting things around in there so that your heart, soul, and spirit have the space they need to breathe.

And so I have discovered what happens when you commit yourself to taking the risk and spending the time required to go on that long, arduous journey: you discover that you are looking at the world through an utterly different lens, one that has enormous clarity and that contains space for new experiences and perspectives to enter. Turns out, once the cobwebs and clutter are bundled up and moved aside from within, it is nearly impossible to tolerate them on the outside.

For me, that has manifested itself in a great many ways. It seems that nearly everything I encounter in my day needs paring down, trimming back, clearing out. I crave open space. Each time I open a drawer or cabinet in our house, I sit down for a minute and organize it, making a pile of things I can throw or give away. When I open my closet, I pause to clear out the clothes I no longer like or need. I can’t take earrings out of a jewelry box without pulling out all the jewelry in there that I don’t wear anymore. Stopping to get a tupperware container for one of the kids’ lunches, I end up with a big pile of mismatched pieces to toss out. I have carted carload after carload to donation centers.

Opening Facebook on my computer, I am bothered by “friends” in my newsfeed who I honestly can’t even remember from my past, and I simply unfriend them. There are no bad feelings and no guilt. Those perfectly nice people are certainly not cobwebs, but their information is not actually pertinent to me and interferes with me seeing news from folks I have actual connections with. It’s a no brainer.

This Christmas I had no need to put up all the decorations we’ve used in the past. In fact, I packed up a whole box of them to give to Goodwill. As a result, I have not felt so claustrophobic about holiday decorations that I’ve wished to take them down the second the Christmas gifts are opened. I also see excess holiday snacking and desserts as its own kind of clutter, as is excess weight. I look at a platter of cookies and after having one or two I think, “I don’t need all that.” The rest are cobwebs, really.

I know from experience that bad habits can be broken — they can be undone. Resolutions can be kept, if we work hard at them, one at a time, and harness a lot of will power. But what I am not sure about is whether we can stick to those new habits long term if we aren’t actually seeing and feeling differently. I’ve stopped eating excess cookies before, I’ve cleaned out closets, and I’ve dumped the old medicine in the bathroom cabinets, too, each time feeling so satisfied by the changes that I was absolutely sure I wouldn’t let the cobwebs creep back in. That’s not always the way it panned out.

It is no coincidence that my career has suddenly reached new heights, that my husband has renewed energy and interesting opportunities coming his way, that the kids are moving outside their comfort zones in significant ways right now. When any one member of a family shifts in perspective, things shift and grow for everyone. When two make that change, it’s a whole new world.

It is therefore no surprise that we cleared enough physical clutter out of our house that we were able move a few things around and create an entire new room, a family room, that did not exist a month ago (pictured above).

This New Year’s Eve, I wish for all of us that we might make the time to clear the cobwebs and clutter – both internally and all around us – opening up space for all good things to come in and give us exactly what we need.

May all your wishes come true in 2012.

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Summer Wanes

It’s been a glorious summer here in Chicago, and I ought to know: I haven’t left town since our mid-June family trip to my college reunion in Minnesota. Yes, we have stayed home all summer, catching up with local friends in between their trips to all corners of the earth, and serving as a stopover for families on long road trips, hugely enjoying seeing them on their way to faraway destinations. We had plans for this summer, all of which fell through; none dramatically, just in the ways that plans can fall through sometimes. And so here we were.

It was lovely, being here for long, warm summer days. In the end, it occurred to me that summer is exactly the time to stay home when you live here. Late winter is when I want to be far, far away, but summer? Flowers blooming, the neighborhood yards lush, the lake perfectly swimmable, fireflies glowing and cicadas buzzing into the evening. Why leave?

August was a quieter, calmer month for me. The kids were home more with their sitter, not requiring me to rush them to day camp every day with lunches and water bottles, swimsuits and towels. Many of my clients were on reduced schedules, allowing me to work three days in a row and take four day weekends all month. In the past, this is the month we’ve left town, in effect leaving at just the time when we could be home and relaxing. I’ve loved being home this year.

I’ve gotten some projects done around the house – cleaning out drawers and closets, setting up a budget for our family, and getting the boys on board with a set of expected household chores. But more importantly, the spaces in my days and nights have opened up my mind and creativity in new ways; I find myself with ideas that excite me about my work now and in the future. These margins in my days have also given me the energy to tackle the challenges we have had all year with our dog, and help us move in the right direction with him. We’ve made great strides with him in the past month. I’ve seen my friends often, and I found a yoga class I love, something I’ve been wanting to do for the past year. I also started swimming in the lake with a friend or two at least once a week at sunrise: now that is the best way imaginable to start a day. If yoga and sunrise swimming don’t leave you feeling zen and ready to take on the world, what will?

I can see the impact on my whole life when I have this extra time; indeed, the impact on all our lives. And I am managing to keep some blocks open in my schedule this year, something I was unable to do last year. That’s going to be time for me. Maybe I’ll swim, or go to yoga, or take a walk. I’ve arranged everything around those blocks of time: they’re non-negotiable. Because for so long, everyone else’s needs and wants have been non-negotiable, but what I needed came last time and again. Not because anyone asked me to put them last, but it was what I did.

And so the summer wanes. But this year I’m not scared of the fall routine, the full impact of demands at work that go from 0-60 in early September, because when I look at my schedule I see some days when instead of driving the carpool I will have time to run to the gym, and other days when I will be stopping home for lunch and a dog walk before seeing afternoon clients.

It’s become easier to shift the kids’ summer bedtime closer to their school bedtime this week because it’s getting dark earlier already; only last week that task seemed impossible. Their school supplies have been dropped off and we’ve seen their new classrooms. The sun comes up a bit later each day, and our sunrise swims – those that we may have left – will have to be timed just so. But I welcome the changing light and look forward to the golden trees and a new school year. And I welcome more days of this life that thankfully seems to keep spinning in sync with the amazing world we live in, year after year.

A Moment for Me

Holy moly, the kids have been funny lately. I mean, when they’re little they’re cute and funny and you lie in your bed at night laughing over the hilarious things they’ve said all day. But when they reach middle childhood, there’s a different quality to the humor and, in our experience, it’s even funnier. As you’ve seen from the last few posts here, we’ve had comical drawings, Calvin & Hobbes related secession attempts, and short stories that will make you cry laughing. It’s like living in a Judy Bloom book 24/7, and I always did love those.

Lest my blog make it seem like Lyle is the only funny child in this house, I need to remind readers that a year or two ago I pulled back on what I share publicly about Baxter. Tweens are less forgiving about what is seen in print and I respect his privacy. I will tell you that Baxter wrote an absolutely incredible story this spring called “Killer Zombie Pigs”, complete with fabulous illustrations. It made quite a splash. It’s too long for me to post on the blog. He also makes me laugh heartily with his sardonic wit many times a day. Sometimes he doesn’t even mean to make me laugh, like today when I showed him how I’d finally taken all the winter clothes out of his wardrobe and reorganized it. He said, impressed, “Thanks. It’s simple and efficient.” I mean, really. That’s funny.

But, despite appearances, I am not actually just following the funny children around, posting their witticisms on Facebook all day. Thanks to my iPhone that only takes about 30 seconds to accomplish, which is a very good thing because that is about all I have had free these days.

It occurs to me that I haven’t mentioned what I’m doing lately. In essence, this past year, I’ve been working. Like a crazy person. I took on a lot of direct service with kids again last year and have been seeing clients at schools and at my office all week except for the two afternoons I still pick up the boys from school. I haven’t worked this many hours in 10 years, and it’s the most kids I’ve seen since I started my practice. My business has really taken off and I get many referrals every week. In fact, one of my big challenges has been figuring out how to make time to return those referral phone calls. Yes, this is a good problem to have. No, that doesn’t actually make it go away.

I won’t bore you with details of what it’s like to work intensively with kids and their families through the day without a break, even for lunch, and then go home to give my full attention to my family, make dinner, get the kids to bed, and then start all the paperwork for the day around 9pm. Suffice it to say, I’ve been late getting reports out to families and haven’t gotten quite enough sleep or time for exercise. This all got ramped up a few notches in April when I began a whirlwind couple months in which I turned 40 and celebrated my birthday (3 times), took a family vacation to California for Spring Break, immediately started a major office relocation and set-up without a single day off, and conducted nearly 20 free preschool speech/language screenings that required follow-up and referrals. All in addition to my regular caseload that was already resulting in late nights and work every weekend. Dizzy yet? Me, too.

But finally, in the last two weeks, I have felt things slow down. The office is set up and almost as done as I’d like it to be (photos here!). My associate, who was away this year, will be back in a couple weeks to work for me again. When I need to schedule a phone call I can give people a few options instead of one 15-minute time slot a week out. I’ve had a handful of clients move or be discharged, so there are a few open spaces in my days and I’m leaving some of them open in spite of the waiting list.

I have been able to focus again on the news (for a couple months there I was so overwhelmed that I couldn’t even handle listening to NPR on my way home from work, I just needed silence). And I’ve turned some of my focus back toward myself and what I need. I feel calmer. I’ve sat on the couch and read books again. I’ve had time to play games and watch Saturday morning cartoons with the boys. I was able to go to the movies with my family yesterday. I haven’t had a day completely off from work except when we were out of town, but we had a wonderful trip to St. Paul, MN for my college reunion last week. It was fabulous to get away with Matt and the kids and see old friends.

So, yes, things have been out of balance, in many ways. You can see why I’d want to focus on all the million little ways my boys make me smile when we’re together, and perhaps why I’d be writing them down because I fear that, in the busy-ness of this life, those moments could have been too easily forgotten.

And so the summer begins. One more week of school for the boys. Fridays off from treating clients. I wish I could take more than one week off this summer, but my schedule will be lighter and life will be calmer without school. It will be easier.

There, my friends, you have it — a moment for me.

Now back to the funny kids.

Crawling My Way Out

Hoo boy, am I out of it.

I kept running when I got home from Massachusetts, paused for a moment to write a post about what the week was like and just kept going, because I came home to more stress, more to figure out, more to handle.  There was no time to sit and relax for a few minutes so that I could unwind or even take time to grieve, as everyone suggested and I desired.  In fact, the sadness and stress of the first week was overlapped with the onslaught of emotion and exhaustion of the next. Without going into details, I dealt with it the only way I knew how, which was to move forward one day at a time and figure everything out as I went along.  I was once again amazed by the support of those around me.

I blew up over the weekend, taking out on Matt the overwhelm of the two weeks I’d just had.  It was short-lived, and he understood exactly where the sudden swell of rage had come from, and I took to my bed for the rest of the afternoon.  But it wasn’t his fault and I was very sorry, because when you (uncharacteristically) have so many people you’d like to holler at and one person acts as your true lifeline to sanity, it’s really unacceptable to holler at that one person.

Since that afternoon lying in my bed with my books, sense of regret and iPhone Scrabble, I’ve been quite unable to get moving again.  I feel it, this desire to tune out for a while, and I just want to sit and be quiet.  I started to rearrange my schedule for the week, pushing anything back that could be moved and canceling things that weren’t strictly necessary.  This didn’t include the kids’ activities for this week, but things that were my responsibilities.  And so I am in the midst of a series of mismatched days where I have half a day to be on my own, followed by a busy afternoon with the kids, and it helps but isn’t quite enough. When I noted last night that my little blocks of time off weren’t alleviating my exhaustion, my wise friend Emily wrote to me, “You might be surprised at what even one day of complete decompression will do for you” and I know she’s right.  I need to run my battery all the way down before I can truly recharge it.  I know I could pull that off with Matt’s help, but I don’t see a way to make it happen in the near future.

There is work to catch up on after my week away, loads of it, and so I try to check a few things off my to do list each day, because watching that grow exponentially is also stressful.  I find myself limping along on this quiet morning at home, a meeting postponed due to the snow that has continued to fall for hours, catching up on 500+ unread blog posts (thankful for that “Mark all as read” button) and eating tortilla chips in my pajamas, half tuned out and half plagued by that which I am not doing.  I try to jump in and do something simple like communicate with my fellow kindergarten moms about filling the volunteer spots in our kids’ class and realize that I’ve screwed up the most basic scheduling task; it leaves me feeling as if I’m on drugs or like maybe stress has eaten half of my brain and I’m not actually functioning as well as I think I am.

We’ve all been in this place, and we all crawl out of it somehow, except for those of us who become unwashed recluses and live in a shack in the woods, I suppose, but I’m too attached to my nice house with its indoor plumbing and good shampoo and Internet connection, and, well, people, to make that move.  So I guess  I’ll just take my little breaks when I can get them, and start crawling my way out.

Highs and Lows

I’m out of the habit of writing.  My life, which had been relatively mellow (for me, anyway) for a few months in the fall, became extremely busy with pre-holiday, pre-vacation tasks and a sudden uptick in consulting work in December. School ended, we took off for California immediately, and all I’ve been able to manage here since my return are some photos of our trip.  I don’t beat myself up about such things, but I’ve missed this space where I can sit and think and write and process life for a while.

Life is strange right now.  The highs are high and the lows are low, and I find myself floating between these poles, often quite quickly, feeling neither here nor there, just doing what needs to be done.  It’s hard to know what to write about or even focus on, in this life of extremes.

I’ve felt surrounded by death for the past few days, deaths which have been particularly shocking because it’s been young people who are passing away.  Within 24 hours I heard of three people younger than me who had died; two of them were relatives of friends and I didn’t know them, but one was the incredible, young, energetic executive director of the music studio the boys attend for private lessons.  It is so hard to fathom the loss of someone who was so full of life and apparent good health just a few weeks ago when she sold me the beautiful bag her mother had made for her to sell to the students, with the hand stitched name of the studio on it.  At the time, all I could think of was how proud her mother must have been of her daughter’s business venture and success when she made them – I visualized her, living out of state and carefully sewing these beautiful bags for kids to carry their music in to lessons at the studio and this image moved me to buy one – and now I picture that same mother grieving this illness that led to the sudden loss of her young daughter and it’s more than I can stand to think about.

In the midst of it all, at the other end of the age spectrum there’s my grandfather in Massachusetts  (the one I spent time with last fall when my grandmother was in the hospital) doing very poorly.  After spending a week in the hospital with a blood infection and cardiac problems, he was moved to a skilled nursing facility yesterday; he won’t be going home this time.  He’s asleep much of the time, but somehow still manages to crack his favorite old jokes in his awake, lucid moments.  His body is failing him and we are not sure how much longer he will be with us.  This leaves my grandmother living in their apartment alone, blind, and often confused, still deep in her denial of aging and death that has, no matter how frustrating for the rest of us at times, probably been what allowed them to live independently into their 90s.  I had to make the difficult decision yesterday not to try to go spend a few days with her next week, much as I would like to help her.  My cousin is there now and my parents will be there later in the week.  I am not prepared to leave my home or work life behind again after our recent two weeks away, and have some major conflicts this week;  unless something significant changes (e.g., there is no one else to visit with my grandmother and take her to see my grandfather each day), I am hoping to get grounded here before flying off again.  It was hard to make this decision, living as I do by a “family first” motto, but I am at peace with it.  I can’t do more than I can do.

The lows are very low.

And, as is the case so often, in the midst of being hit over the head with death of people far too young and the difficult realities of the end of my grandfather’s life, there is simultaneously new life on its way.  Tomorrow we will celebrate the upcoming arrival of my friend and partner-in-crime-colleague Lorell’s baby girl, due in just a few weeks.  I’ll be hosting the staff and mothers from the clinic here at our house, and enjoyed preparing the house, shopping for food, and buying all sorts of pink decorations to hang on my walls today.  (Truly, there has never been this much pink in our home!)

Further, there have been some bright spots in my first week back at work and I feel hopeful that 2010 is starting off to be a stronger year and full of new possibilities that I look forward to pursuing.  Back at home, I had a fun night out with a wonderful friend on Wednesday, and the boys are currently the best of friends and spent the day playing together non-stop and peacefully.  They seemed to bond in a huge way over the winter break, having no other kids around on a consistent basis. It’s remarkable and makes me so happy.

The highs are very high.

Without a doubt, this is life: highs and lows.  The difference at the moment is the intensity of each, and the speed with which things are happening.  It feels a bit like six months of ups and downs have been fit into a few days, and so I’m taking it slow whenever possible, sitting down to watch TV some evenings, getting the house professionally cleaned in preparation for the party, and sleeping in until 8 AM today.

And so I’ll hang out here in the midst of the chaos and be grateful for the chance to sit in a warm house by a cozy fire and think about it all for a while, because really, what a huge privilege this life of highs and lows is.

Left? Right!

The conversation around our family’s dinner table tonight was very much like a long answer to the joke that starts with,

“What do you get when you cross a linguist with a speech-language pathologist?”

Lyle, kicking things off with a random deep thought: Mommy, of the side-to-side words (gesturing from left to right and holding out his hands), which do you like better, “left” or “right”? I mean, the words, not the directions. Which one of those words do you like the best?  I like “left”.

Me, surprised: Hmm, I never thought about that.  I guess I’d say I like…

Baxter, interjecting quickly: Right.  I like right.

Me, finishing: …”left”.  I think I’d say “left”, off the top of my head, just because it seems more unique and interesting than “right”.  I guess I’m thinking about how common it is for people to be right-handed and fewer people are left-handed, so “left” seems kind of cool to me.  That’s the first thing I think of.

Lyle: I like “left”, too, because “left” only means one or two things, but the word “right” can mean lots and lots of different things.

Baxter: Yeah, like when you get something “right”, or correct… I like “right” because one time in Amelia Bedelia, Mr. Rogers told Amelia to turn left and she said, “Left?” and he said, “Right!” and so she turned right! [This retelling was a lot longer but I couldn’t follow its winding roads well enough at the time to reiterate them for posterity here.]

Matt: I like “left” because it makes me think of leftovers...

Me, laughing: But I think many people have a negative connotation when they think of leftovers!

Matt: Well, I’m thinking of pizza leftovers… (all three of us were suddenly on board)

Baxter: Then there’s also getting “left” in the dust, and that’s bad...

And so it went, on and on.  We also discussed our preferences for “up” v. “down” and a variety of other oddities.  This has just got to be in their genes.

** Edited to add: At breakfast this morning, Baxter taught Lyle what vowels and consonants are.  The boys spent half an hour giving each other words and naming the vowels in them.  (I made Lyle a cheat-sheet.)  They both found this endlessly entertaining.  After this posting of  last night’s dinner conversation, I did, too.

Can a Blogger be Too Happy?

unicorn_rainbowI have to admit it – I’m feeling self-conscious.

I feel like it’s all sunshine and cotton candy over here.  I mean, maybe I’m a little nuts; I did recently write two rather serious, dark posts about my grandparents vis a vis aging and elder care issues.  Those weren’t especially uplifting.  But I can’t shake this feeling that you, dear readers, are all out there rolling your eyes, gnashing your teeth, and thinking, We know you’re working less and the boys are both in school and you have time to breathe and your kids are calm, happy and organized , and hell – even when they have fits because they don’t want to play soccer they end up flying around the soccer field on the top of the world in the end. How endlessly fascinating!

And who could blame you?

Now, to your credit, none of you have actually said this out loud or been anything but pleasant and supportive, which is really super nice of you, but I wouldn’t blame you if you had.

At the same time, I’m also aware that I may have simply and erroneously internalized the message I heard a couple years ago when I was a contributor to a large-group-of-mothers-blog that shall remain nameless.  The message was, in a nutshell: People don’t want to read about your great vacation or how well your kid is doing – readers want something they can relate to.  So give them your bad day, your deteriorating relationships, your failed parenting moments. That’s what brings in the numbers, ladies! Further, we were informed that we Midwestern mothers were the worst culprits when it came to blogging about the niceties of life and thereby tossing our own popularity and success as bloggers into the crapper.   I promptly quit that blog, crying BULLSHIT! on my way out, not because that message is implausible if you are focused on your “numbers”, but because nobody tells me I have to write about how crappy my life is when things are, for a little while anyway, going great.  Nobody puts Baby in a fake shit storm.

But despite my rejection of it, that theory – fact? – is never far from my mind, especially when things are going well like they are right now and I write a few posts in a row that literally shower my kind readers with too many unicorns jumping over rainbows.

However.  I force myself to assume that my little cadre of readers comes back to hear my honest voice, which I value enormously in the blogs I read.  If what’s going on is fabulous, that’s exactly what I’ll be sharing; the rest of the time, I’ll give you the exhausting days, the parenting mistakes, and the fact that I’m out of wine at a very bad moment.  I would expect the same from everyone else.  Do we have an agreement?

If you have a blog, do you think about this? I’d love your insights.

Resolute.

Last year at this time, I resolved to get more sleep in 2008.  Not quite remembering how much sleep I was getting in 2007 (probably because of the tired, blurry haze surrounding it) I am not altogether sure that I achieved it.  However, I don’t feel that I’m lacking sleep in particular, so let’s say I improved upon it – that, or I simply got used to the sleep that seemed unsatisfactory in 2007, which is also a distinct possibility.

There are a few things on my resolutions list this year.  I’ll share them here so that in a year I can come back and not remember if I’ve achieved those, either:

1.  Thank you notes – I am a very grateful person.  I swear this to you.  But I cannot seem to get a thank you note out the door to save my life.  At this point, there aren’t too many that I feel I need to send as an adult when I can make a call or send a special email note to thank people, but I do feel that I need to teach the kids to do them.  I almost got them out after Lyle’s birthday party – I even had him write the word “THANKS” on a piece of paper, scanned it in and made cards out of the pages, enough for all of his gifts.  And then did I find the time again to sit down and write them?  No. I finally gave up on them around the time of Baxter’s birthday, three months later.  I managed to work with Baxter to send a few critical ones before we ran into the holidays.  If you have a good solution to kids’ thank you notes, I’m all ears.

2. Call My Grandparents – As I have mentioned, I am fortunate enough to still have all of my grandparents  living on their own.  Some of them even love to talk on the phone.  I am well aware that as soon as I lose one of them, I will be acutely aware of how infrequently I managed to call them to say hello and chat.  It can be tricky with some on the East Coast and one on the West Coast but I should be able to work around the time zones, it’s just not that hard.

3. Health and Well-Being – I was determined to improve this before the holidays and now I’m desperate to do so.  I’ve already used my Wii My Fitness Coach program four times this week, getting up early in the morning to do a seriously challenging aerobics workout in my living room.  I love it!  I was already going to the gym very early in the morning, so I don’t mind setting my alarm and getting up to exercise; what’s amazing for me is just walking into the living room instead of going out into the cold, dark morning to drive to the gym.   I’ll still go to the gym for Tuesday yoga and to do a weekly cardio work out with my friend, but I can add the home workout on the off-days and be quite happy.  Further, Matt and I have cleared the cookies and pie out of the kitchen and are embarking on a hard-core food plan tomorrow.  I don’t plan to report on this here, but if you want to know what we’re doing and how it’s going, feel free to email me.  Suffice it to say, our fridge is seriously packed with produce.

So there you have it: the Big Three.  What’s on your list this year?

Ouch, I’ve Meme’d Myself!

Perusing the web tonight, I came across this meme at our friend Christopher’s blog over here and got it into my head to tag my own crazy self because it a) looks like fun, b) is something I want to pass on to you all, and c) will really assist me in procrastinating on the rest of my work tonight.  So here goes…

1. Five names you go by
a) Jordan
b) Jordie
c) Mommy
d) Scruffy
e) Jody

2. Three things you are wearing right now:
a) pink flannel Garnet Hill pj pants with red and white stars on them
b) fuzzy blue socks
c) a 10-year old dark green waffle weave pj shirt (I am of the opinion that sleepwear does not follow the same matching rules as daywear.)

3. Two things you want very badly at the moment:
a) a new car that requires no work and no monthly payments
b) big, warm Ugg boots

4. Three people whom I would like to see fill this out:

Anyone who is in the mood!

5. Two things you did last night
a) sent invoices to clients
b) lit Christmas candles on the dinner table for the first time this season

6. Two things you ate today:
a) corn and roasted red pepper soup

b) a handful of mini-marshamallows
7. Two people you last talked to on the phone:
a) a neighbor calling about the roof repairs
b) a new parent referred to my practice

8. Two things you are going to do tomorrow:
a) attend a workshop on auditory processing at Erikson Institute
b) go out for dinner with Matt (the boys are out of town for the weekend!)

9. Two longest car rides (I’m interpreting this as road trips):
a)  Minneapolis to Boston (1390 miles in a U-Haul)

b) Minneapolis to Seattle  (1662 miles)

10. Two of your favorite beverages:
a) a really good latte
b) a strong cup of coffee

AND ANOTHER:
Pick a color for the things that you have done. Mine are in red letters.
I have…

1. Started my own blog
2. Slept under the stars

3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world

8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched lightning at sea
14. Taught myself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown my own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight

22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort

25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Skied a marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught myself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person

39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had my portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie (documentary)

56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi concentration camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square

74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job (by my mother!)
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone

78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby

95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

100. Ridden an elephant

Why, You!

You know that I love the Google searches that bring people to The Wonderwheel.

In the past few days, I see that there have been a few decent ones:

thunderstorm chicago – august 23rd, 2007  [clearly, living in the past – a very specific date in the past]

all about me story third grade  [8-year old searching for cliff notes?]

jorden stadler [almost there, sweetheart, but not quite]

obama can speak articulately [this is true, but when did i become the expert?]

But this one that I caught from today really cracked me up:

who does jordan sadler like?

I picture a seventh grader, don’t you?  There’s some cute guy with my name out there, and the lovestruck girl who sits behind him in math class is hoping that the answer to the cosmic question of who he likes can be answered on Google.  Because what can’t you find on Google?

I’ve decided to answer it for her.

It’s YOU, honey.  Guaranteed.  How could he not like a funny, smart, sweet kid like you?  And maybe he’ll ask you out, oh, in college, because until then boys are awfully awkward.

Now get serious.  Pay attention to that geometry, because if you don’t learn it now, you never will.