You want to see a miracle? Be the miracle. ~God in Bruce Almighty
If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other? ~God in Evan Almighty
If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance. ~George Bernard Shaw
No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it. ~Albert Einstein
Just follow your heart. That's what I do. ~Napoleon Dynamite
I don't want to be a product of my environment. I want my environment to be a product of me. ~Frank Costello in The Departed
Under certain circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer. ~Mark Twain
This is a doughnut stuffed with M&Ms. That way when you're finished with the doughnut you don't have to eat any M&Ms. ~Dr. Rick Marshall in Land of The Lost
I can't control the cards I'm dealt, just how I play the hands. ~Professor Randy Pausch
Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted. ~Professor Randy Pausch
I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. ~Michael Jordan
I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ. ~Mohandas Gandhi
To be truly radical is to make hope possible, rather than despair convincing. ~Raymond Williams
Laura’s friends August and Henry had birthdays recently. August and Henry are both smart little dudes, so I went to the Imaginarium section at Toys-R-Us to find something science-y for gifts. August got Shadow Magic. And Henry got a human torso model with hand-painted organs to make up for the fact that we couldn’t go see Bodies . . . The Exhibition when we were in Las Vegas because it was "closed until further notice.” Maybe I should have gotten August or Henry the Star Theater. Look how much money I would have saved over the original price if I’d bought it on clearance.
Step One: I must admit that I am powerless over any and all of the following words and phrases:
I’ll do it. Sign me up. I can. I’ll be happy to help. What do you need me to do? Sure, you can put my name down. Yes.
I think that the folks over at the American Psychiatric Association might even be creating a new mental disorder classification in the DSM-IV just for me. I think they’ll label my disorder as Volunteerphrenia. Maybe I’ll even get my own diagnostic code. Maybe I’ll be the subject of various studies, the results of which will appear in articles in professional journals. Maybe I’ll eventually be helped.
Over the years I have volunteered in many capacities (as a civilian, parent, student, law clerk, and as an attorney pro bono). Even before I became a SAHM, I had Volunteerphrenia, and so I would find myself completing volunteer tasks at 3 AM, because I went to school or worked full-time. For example, at my kid’s schools I have worked with the students in the classroom, served on several PTA boards, been a room parent, chaperoned field trips, made costumes, proctored high school exams, ran bake sales, cut out lots and lots of things for teachers, made lots and lots of photocopies for teachers, and mounted lots and lots of art and literature projects for teachers. I have served on various committees at several schools to do such things as organize dances, plan graduation ceremonies, and put on fundraising events. I volunteered my time for a number of organizations at my college and my law school while I was a student. As a law student and later an attorney, I did volunteer work for Public Counsel’s Children’s Rights Project, Public Counsel’s Homeless Assistance Project, The Alliance for Children’s Rights, and the L.A. County Bar Association’s Domestic Violence Project. More recently I led a weekly DivorceCare program, facilitated a Kids First program, and at Laura’s former preschool was a room parent, chaired and co-chaired the parent auxiliary board, and assisted one afternoon each week in a class with children with special needs. Currently, my volunteer duties include working at Laura’s school in the classroom and helping her teacher, building sets and helping backstage for the class play, serving on a non-profit fundraising committee for Laura’s school, being a Girl Scout Co-Leader, helping at Sunday School, and teaching Vacation Bible School one week each summer. Of all of these volunteer jobs, my absolute very most favorite thing of all is working directly with children and their teachers, but I think that most of my other work (e.g., fundraising, committees, and PTA boards) also serves kids, vis-à-vis the trickle down effect.
OKAY. I am not trying to make myself out to be Mother Teresa over here. I’m not offering up the list of stuff I’ve done to serve mankind just to get a pat on the back. What I am doing here is publicly ADMITTING THAT I HAVE A PROBLEM. Well, maybe I have a problem. No, I have a problem. Well, I’m pretty sure I have a problem. Yes, I have a problem. It’s so darn hard to admit that I have a problem. Here it is: I can’t say no when someone asks for help. I’m pretty sure that this is a problem, and I do admit that there have been times in my life when I’ve let the volunteer work get unmanageable. I’m now in therapy. Again with the therapy. I’ve been to my new therapist exactly twice. I immediately felt comfortable enough to spill my guts. He’s kind of cuddly looking, and he says very insightful things. He reminds me of Teddy Ruxpin, except my therapist looks real when he moves and speaks. And, bonus, I think the therapy might already be working!
So it was that one day last week, when all was said and done, and another fun day of volunteering was complete, there was still the whole mind-the-kid, do-the-homework, practice-the-piano, fix-the-dinner, blah-blah-blah thing to deal with. Tom and a colleague had a business dinner with some attorneys from Germany or wherever, so he would not be home in time for dinner. Laura and I told him that if he was going to be that way about it we were declaring it “Chick Night” at home, and told Tom that if he showed up before bedtime and Rocked the Chick World, he’d have to put on a dress. We had a nice “Hot Cotton” one selected from my closet.
As I’ve already let most of the eleven Blog This Mom! readers know ad nauseum, I cleaned out the garage recently, which meant tons-o’-bags of crap for the trash dudes that week. Since Tom's business dinner meant that he wouldn't be home until dark-thirty the night before trash day, I personally, all by myself, alone, just me, in an I-Am-Woman-Hear-Me-Roar style, schlepped out to the curb at least 10 (count ‘em TEN) big, heavy, previously rained-in, green garbage bags filled with watery refuse. I had been to the gym earlier that day (to work out with my very hot, very gay, personal trainer), and then to the park to work with Laura on riding her bike (it would be nice if she gave up the training wheels before her junior year in college), and then home to put the garbage out, all of which I accomplished with a nice attitude. But still, as a result, I was physically hot, gritty, and sweaty. I took a HOT shower. I was CLEAN. I was HAPPY. And then it all started to go sideways.
After my shower, I applied lotion. I put the lotion bottle on a shelf in my closet, shelf number four from the bottom to be precise. I swear that no sooner did I set that lotion bottle on said shelf than did it collapse, into shelf three, which collapsed into shelf two, and so on. When all of the shelves and all of my clothes were in a heap on the floor, COVERED IN SAWDUST, I calmly walked out of that walk-in closet with the Cherry wood floor made up of what were previously Cherry wood shelves, turned out the light, and said to myself a lá Scarlett O’Hara, “Tomorrow is another day! And that’s when I’ll deal with figuring out how to put the shelves back up and clean up the mess.” Then I went downstairs to feed dinner to Laura. While I was preparing it and congratulating myself on being able to put aside the closet for another day (while pouring a glass of Chardonnay, of course), the phone rang.
Neighbor: “Cheri? I don’t know if you’ve seen that dog around, that Labrador? He’s been the subject of numerous Homeowners’ Association meetings. Well, he tore up all of your trash bags, and there is trash is all over the street.”
Cheri: “I’m guessing you are serious.”
Neighbor: “This dog is a problem! I’m sorry to be the one to tell you that he’s the one who made the big mess in front of your house. Sometimes it’s the black crows, but not this time! I caught that dog red-handed. Do you ever go to Homeowner’s Meetings? Have you ever considered being on the board?
Cheri: “Hello? Hello? I think my phone battery is dying . . .”
Cheri: “I’ll go outside and clean up the trash right now, and as for anything to do with the Homeowner’s Association, I really must say no . . .”
This kind of progress after just two therapy sessions . . . just think of the possibilities for me!
Laura and Henry learned the following during their edu-ma-cational field trip to Las Vegas:
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, unless your mom is a blogger.
Bob’s Big Boy is still around.
All you need is love.
Gondolas were first used to transport goods down the narrow canals of Venice, not to entertain children in Las Vegas as many people think.
Even in wax, he proves unlikable.
Even in wax, she proves to be the people’s princess.
A woman’s place is behind this podium.
What happens in the closet stays in the closet, unless your mom is a blogger.
With the help of two moms and a girlfriend, and guy can be coaxed into posing for a romantic photo by a fountain.
For more photos from our trip, and to see just how close Laura and Henry came to being removed from our custody by Child Protective Services, click on over to the Las Vegas 2007 photo set at flickrthismom!