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Inspiring things

I’m not here right now. Rather, I’m here, but I’m hiding. I am not being my best self right now, and as such I am looking for inspiration elsewhere on how people do the right thing even when, maybe, life is not feeling so right.

Do you know what I mean? If you do (or even if you don’t), here’s three places to go today that I promise will up your good karma:

1) Please visit this post at BlogHer to painlessly donate a book to a child in need. Your comment = a book for a kid. It’s that simple. (Bonus points: You blog about it, that’s another book, too.)

2) I couldn’t be more excited about my friend Karen Walrond’s impending book than if I’d written it myself, and the video she posted today made me wish I could always see what she sees. Go watch it.

3) I don’t know this woman (in fact, never read her blog before today), but this post makes me want to be a better person.

Maybe tomorrow I WILL be a better person. I hope so.

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Love is where you see it

I have a young friend who’s going through a difficult time, right now. And so I counseled her—feeling impossibly old and insensitive and Terribly “Adult Who Doesn’t Get It”—to try finding one thing every day that makes her happy, for a week, and to focus on that. “It will help,” I told her, knowing that she was probably rolling her eyes (internally if not externally) and thinking about how I just don’t understand.

The thing is, I totally DO understand. I mean, it may have been a long time since my first heartbreak, but hello, here is my six-year-long shrine to Things I Obsess Over Sometimes When I Probably Should Just Move On, and what I really wanted to say was, “Oh, honey, I understand the impulse to wallow, heck, I may have INVENTED the impulse to wallow, and no one loves a good wallow more than me, sister. But then, sometimes, you have to force yourself up out of the mud and remember that life is still worth living.”

Of course, I also must acknowledge that someone basically tried to tell me exactly that when I was around her age, and do you know what I thought? I thought that no one had ever hurt as badly as I was hurting, certainly not the advice-giver, and she just didn’t UNDERSTAND and the only way to cope with my pain was clearly to 1) mope relentlessly and 2) write bad poetry. (more…)

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Love’s reminders

‘Tis the season to be swept away on a wave of annoyances. I’m prone to agonizing over minutiae, anyway, and I don’t think anyone could or does fault me for the things that often aggravate me these days—the kids’ health, various family matters, work, school… you name it, there’s stress attached. And whether it’s a “good” reason to get upset or not, the fact remains that I fret. Endlessly.

I want to take care of everyone. That’s what I do. I want to soothe the savage hormone beast, make school a happy place again, and hear Otto talk about work without a multitude of heavy sighs. I want my parents to smile and my friends to relax. Is it really so much to ask that I be omniscient and omnipotent and that I be able to fix everything for everyone??

(Uh, don’t answer that.) (more…)

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Humiliation ahoy

Once upon a time there was a kind, beautiful, talented, and extremely mentally ill woman who said to a few friends, “Do you know what we need? We need to start one of those group blogs and do a weight loss challenge, because it will keep us accountable and honest and I am rabidly competitive and I will mop up the floor with you. Doesn’t that sound FUN?”

I am pretty sure I was eating some cookies and didn’t really hear her clearly when I said, “Sure! Great idea!”

Oh, well. I’m stuck, now—I’ve committed to actually diet and exercise in the new year, and be publicly accountable for it, and here we are headed into the Season of Eating and a little voice inside me says, “Oh, I could probably just GAIN ten pounds before January, then take THAT off!” I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t even be cheating.

Anyway. Won’t you come join us over at Five Full Plates? I can pretty much promise you that I will have a full-on tantrum at some point during the competition. Maybe even more than one.

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Memorials, and robot kitties

You know your vacation was just the right length when you’ve had an absolute blast, but are starting to daydream about sleeping at home in your own bed. (Not that the camper bed isn’t also our own bed. But it’s just not the same. At home, there are hardly ever screaming children or motorcycle dudes with mullets directly under our window at 10:00 at night.) I plan to fall backwards onto our bed later today after we arrive home and make a snow angel. Er, blanket angel.

The camping itself has been hugely entertaining, but I was not prepared for how interesting I would find Gettysburg. Otto is a history buff, and more specifically, a war history buff. I watched Band of Brothers with him over the course of a month or two and spent most of it peeking through my fingers and asking, “Is everyone dead now?” I mostly just find it disturbing. But it’s hard to be unmoved when surrounded by all that history in one place. Even for me.

And the day got even MORE interesting when we were joined by Amy-Go! (more…)

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Rocky Mountain bye

As predicted, I remained in Colorado just long enough to get adjusted to Mountain Time and then come home and be really tired. I couldn’t seem to get to bed at a reasonable time last night, but had to get up to the alarm this morning, and the net result is that I am now typing this while face-down in a very large cup of coffee.

That’s just as well, because it’s good nasal irrigation. I don’t know if you know this, but Georgia is just a WEE BIT more humid than Colorado. It’s true! And as a result, if you take southern nasal membranes up into the Rockies, it’s only a matter of days before all of your boogers calcify and leave you with a crispy dried-out nose that feels like it’s full of glass shards. YOU’RE WELCOME. That was such a wonderful experience for me, I just felt like I had to share the joy on that one.

It was such a wonderful trip, though, that it was not to be ruined by a dessicated nose or even the marked lack of oxygen. (more…)

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The invaders on my tomatoes were so horrible, I decided to run away from home.

Actually, I’d decided to go before that particular discovery, but nonetheless, yesterday afternoon I got myself to the airport and got on a plane and crossed the country to check out the Rockies. Oh, and also to hang out with my darling Kira. And snoogle her baby. And pick up all three of her boys and tuck them into my pockets. (Note to self: Get bigger pockets.)

Shortly before I left, we received word that Otto’s mom had been taken into transplant surgery overnight; when my plane took off, she’d already gotten a new liver. When I woke up this morning, she’d gotten a new kidney, too. I can’t speak for the rest of Otto’s family, obviously, but after we almost lost her last year we doubted this day would ever come. But it has. And so far, so good.

That means that even though I woke up at 4:30 (local time) today, I’m thinking it’s a pretty fine start to the week.

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Love is enough

I tend to think of myself as somewhat friendship disordered. I have never had a big crowd of friends, and even the ones I’ve had tend to be intense relationships that burn out over time. In my younger days, when difficulties in friendships cropped up, I—ever bullheaded straightforward—would bring up the issue and demand resolution (yeah, that works about as well as it sounds like it would, in case you were wondering), and if things weren’t resolved to my liking, that would more or less be the end of the friendship.

Why yes, I definitely AM a delight to have in your corner. Line forms to the left! No pushing or shoving!

With time, I’ve mellowed. I’ve had to. For one thing, I’ve realized that the perfect relationship, free of disagreements, doesn’t exist; and to either strive for perfection or settle for being lonely are two equally losing propositions. For another, the wisdom of age has finally taught me that other people handle things in other ways, and that doesn’t make them bad or wrong or even lousy friends. It’s like I’m growing as a person, or something. (more…)

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Love is at its best through the worst

This Love Thursday, I invite you to take a deep breath, hug your children, and then go read about Madeline Spohr. Her life was too short, but her legacy is (already) a swell of love and support that restores my faith in the human race.

My thoughts are with the Spohr family, today.

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What a long strange trip. . . you know

I honestly don’t remember how or when it started, but I know that it was not too long after I began blogging, so about five years ago.

Somehow, Kira and I found each other. We read each other’s blogs, we emailed, and—eventually—started chatting via Instant Messenger. Every night.

There I was on the East coast, and Kira in Colorado. By the time she would get her boys into bed, I’d be thinking about going to sleep, myself. But she’d appear online and I’d vow to just chat with her for a few minutes, and three hours later—stomach sore from laughing or crying or (often) both—I would tell her I had to get to sleep.

I’d been divorced a year, and had two small children. She’d been on her own with her three boys for longer—a veteran, you might say. There were days when she was pretty much the only thing standing between me and a nervous breakdown. (more…)

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