Monday, May 30, 2011

Illustration Friday-asleep

This was originally posted in the Spelling List series as "each".

Monday, May 23, 2011


I learned the fine art of talking to strangers from my grandmother.

My grandmother lived in the city and didn't drive a car. She rode the bus.

I lived in the country and the only bus I rode as a little girl was the big yellow school bus. So, when it was my turn to stay at my grandparents part of the adventure was the riding the city bus downtown.

I was a shy kid. I had a stick-like figure, a mop of hair and big eyes that I used to stare at people rather than talk to them.

Grandma (pronounced gramma) was also shy. She was just the right size for hugging. She had grey hair and glasses so thick that there was a blur to the exact color and shape of her eyes.  She did not stare at people. She would, in her quiet voice speak to the person closest to her.

As we rode the bus she would comment to the person next to us about the weather or the economy or how a recently reported tragedy in the news was, "a shame".  These openers were usually enough to get folks talking.  Grandma had a good eye for who to leave alone and who to speak to. It was only occasionally that she would get a curt but polite response. For the most part, people had something to say, as if they had been waiting all day for someone to ask their opinion on the subject.

When we got to the shops she would talk to the fellow shoppers about the quality or price of the products or about how it was impossible to find clothes to fit her skinny grandkids. These weren't long conversations. They ended by the time a passenger got to their stop or paid their bill at the store. The brief encounter would usually end with, "It has been nice talking to you".

These little discussions rarely led to life-long friendships. The words exchanged didn't solve any great debates of our time. They were merely a brief connection, a small reminder.

We are not alone.

Illustration Friday-soaked

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Monday, May 16, 2011


There is a long list of things I don't want to do.

Most of these items are on an actual list, right here in my left cheek jean pocket.  I have to make the list so that I will remember to stop pretending that I don't have to do the things on the list.  This list doesn't even include the things I really don't want to do. This is the immediate list. This is the cut it out already and get that done list. This is my get it done before they charge a late fee list.  

The list is there to tell me, "C'mon now, get 'er done".

The list is also there to reassure me that I'm not as big a slacker as I might think.

Let me take a look at today's list and see how I did.

thinking about it still
it was raining so I couldn't
mostly done, the night is young
started to work on it, got frustrated, stopped working on it (that one was double underlined and had two exclamation points, hmm)
sent an email inquiry about the matter
yes, but not written
written, but not mailed

Not bad. Blog post wasn't even on the list.
I'm going to give myself bonus points for that.

Illustration Friday-safari

It's a jungle out there.

Monday, May 9, 2011


A few years back, I was in the wedding party of friend. I had been looking forward to this wedding for a while. It was the first time my baby daughter was going to sleep over at my sister's.  I was back to my regular dress size.  My husband and I booked a hotel room. We would have the whole night to party. Woo Hoo!

Well, I threw my own wet blanket on myself by figuring out that I was pregnant with our second child.  It was about a two days before the blessed event that the reality of my situation started to come to light.  I was barely pregnant. I hadn't even taken the over-the-counter test, but I knew.

I decided to keep it secret for the time being.

My plan was to order seltzer with lime so it would look like I was having gin and tonics. Later, when I was ready for bed by 9:30pm it wouldn't seem so strange.

As I was dancing around with my daughter's secret sister or brother, it occurred to me that both the bride and the groom had only one sibling.

She had a brother and he had a sister. I was trying to imagine what that would be like. I have three sisters and a brother. The one of each deal is much more common than the variety pack of five, but it is a weird concept for me.

I know that not every kid who comes from a big family has a good experience. I also know that the size of your family doesn't give you a better experience, only different. To quote your middle school English teacher, "quality not quantity".

I can't really imagine it though, just like a twin can't imagine being a single.  Absolutly everything about my life would be different.

These are the kinds of things you obsess about when you are pregnant at a wedding, where you are not drinking and the banquet chicken cannot be served fast enough.

At one point I turned to my mother, who was also in attendance and is one of seven kids. I nodded towards my newly wed friends and their siblings.  I asked her, "Can you imagine having only one sibling?"

She replied, "Can you imagine not having any?".

I put my hand on my belly and for the first time that day felt happy about my expectant state.

Illustration Friday-beginner

Monday, May 2, 2011


I want to be brave.

I am willing.

The problem is knowing which scary choice is the one worthy of my valor.

I guess that is what makes the choice brave, not knowing it is the right choice.

When I played baseball as a kid I would just pray that I would hit the ball and then I would run like the wind if I did. I never knew if I should stay on first base or not.  I would keep running, until I was out or until I landed safely on base.  I figured that, the faster I ran the sooner I would be safe at home.

I thought you were either good at baseball or you weren't. I had no idea that a little coaching or practicing of technique could get you further in the game.

I got through most of my childhood and adolescence using this swing and run technique. I don't recommend this style, it leaves a pretty spotty record on subjects ranging from algebra to modern dance.

When I got to college I realized that many of the things that I was natural at could be taught to just about anybody who had the will to learn. Sure, natural ability give a person an unfair head start, but not much.

This set off another light bulb; I could learn to do things that I had the will to study and practice.

Der, I know.

This leads to much reading.  This leads to trial and error.  This leads to planning, organizing, more reading, thinking, preparing, practicing, taking a class, attending a seminar, trolling the Internet, second guessing, erasing, writing, asking opinions, getting second opinions.

Eventually, the time comes to take what you know (even if it is not everything) and pray that you make contact.

Then, run like the wind.

Illustration Friday-lesson