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 is now in second grade. She has lost seven teeth so far, one for each year of life. With each new tooth that emerges, so too does a new interest in her life. Laura still enjoys playing piano and has added flute to her repertoire. Her weekly ballet class gave way to a weekly break dancing class this year. Laura’s favorite place on Earth continues to be at school; she loves art and science. Not only does Laura love to get her learn on, but she loves school because it has the highest concentration of friends in one place, and Laura LOVES being with friends. Her parents and sisters try not to take it personally.
Courtney is in her senior year in college. She spent the spring semester abroad this year in London. While there she traveled to France, Italy, Spain, Scotland, Holland, and Belgium. The entire family joined her in London for a week, and then Cheri and Courtney spent another five days in Rome. Courtney will graduate next May with a double major in history and political science. She is considering law school, and her lawyer parents are considering an intervention. In addition to working hard to graduate with two majors in four years (evoking eternal gratitude in the parental units), Courtney stays busy as the Administrative Vice President for a pre-law fraternity.
Kristengraduated from college in June with highest honors and the highest GPA in her major. This has caused the parental units to run amok bragging at every opportunity. Kristen also wrote a grant proposal and was awarded money to design and conduct her own research project and write an honors thesis, earning her distinction in her major at graduation. This causes additional bragging by the parental units at every opportunity. Since graduation, Kristen has been gainfully employed and is financially independent. (The woo hoo from Tom at graduation measured a 6.1 on the Richter scale in California.) Kristen plans to attend graduate school and study psychology.
Tom is über-busy as Chief Patent Counsel. Although Tom works long hours, he likes what he does and where he does it. The white board in his office looks like a scene from Good Will Hunting, so further explanation about what he does by day defies explanation in a single paragraph. Tom continues to keep active by working out and running. To de-stress he enjoys watching football and basketball, playing chess, floating in the pool in summer, and cuddling with his wife in front of the fire in winter (Cheri took liberties with that last phrase under the Rule of Blogger’s Prerogative). Tom enjoys being part of a YMCA Adventure Princess tribe with Laura. Cheri continues to dream of becoming a writer when she grows up, and until that day comes, she keeps her fingers limber at the keyboard by blogging now and then. Cheri recently told Tom that she is ever so grateful for how hard he works to provide for their family; nonetheless, she advised him that if he was going to continue to work such long hours, she would either have to find a lover or hire a decorator. Their home has never looked better. When Cheri is not gallivanting around town with Judy (the decorator), she’s busy with another of her favorite activities, spending time at Laura’s school cutting things out of construction paper for Laura’s teacher.
May the joy of the season live in your hearts all year long.
I almost started my own San Diego wildfire yesterday, through no fault of my own, but still. This has never happened to me before, but the man at the gas pump next to me said it happened once to him. Who knew? Anyway, I was wearing my brand-new chocolate brown UGG boots, which I really needed to be wearing since the weather here in So Cal was in the ‘60s for Gawd’s sake, when I stopped off at the gas station to fill my tank. Baby, it was cold outside and I’d just picked up four ducks (soon to be a l’orange) and a turkey (which I'm going to try not to incinerate like I did with the one I made on Thanksgiving) from the butcher’s shop so my hands were extra chilly. I put the nozzle into my car, flicked down the little lever that keeps the gas pumping, and put my hands in my pockets. I stood there waiting for the snap of the nozzle lever indicating that my tank was full when what to my horror occurred? First the expected snap and then the dang nozzle came flying out of the car all by itself. I jumped back just in time to avoid getting whacked in the gut, but not fast enough to avoid my UGG boots being doused in gasoline. The man at the pump next to me saw the whole thing and rushed over to see if I was okay, which I was except for the fact that my feet were now living petroleum-scented joss sticks just waiting to be lit. Now some of you might be thinking, “What if she’d been on her cell phone while pumping gas?” Well, I wasn’t, and since you can’t believe everything someone emails you, it turns out it wouldn’t have mattered if I was talking on the cell. However, I was on my way to the market and what if some careless smoker had left a butt burning in the parking lot? My feet would ignite and in my panic I would forget all about Stop, Drop, and Roll. Instead, I'd probably start running like Hermes or Mercury, but with flames on my feet instead of wings, and then be the cause of another San Diego wildfire. Perhaps it would be known thereafter as the UGG Fire or maybe the Whole Food’s Market Fire. By the way, does anybody know how to get the gas smell out of UGG boots? At this point I’m down to the unfortunate choice between spending the holidays with desperately cold feet or smelling like Mr. Goodwrench wherever I go.
I know the secret to a successful marriage, and after twelve years in, I will share the secret with you, dear Reader. Here it is in a nutshell: Marry a nice guy. Everyone knows that there are some girls who like bad boys. Maybe that’s because those girls had bad fathers and so they want another shot at making a bad man love them. Maybe it is because those girls had good fathers and they just want a walk on the dark side for a change. I am one of those girls who just loves me some bad boys. Mind you, the boys should not be bad in the violent sense, but rather in the rebellious-acting-out sense stemming from deep emotional turmoil. So maybe not “bad” so much as “bad for you.” Here’s a list off the top of my head of a few of my favorites (some real, some characters), developed over the years and in no particular order: The Phantom of the Opera, Johnny Depp, Mickey Rourke (before plastic surgery), Sam Shepard, Bruce Willis, Mark Wahlberg, and Tim Riggins. But the secret to a successful marriage is to love the bad ones all you want, and when you’re all done with that nonsense, marry a good one. I have often said that although the Phantom of the Opera makes my heart go all aflutter, when the time came to say “I do,” I said it to my own personal Raoul, Viscount de Chagny. But still, every now and then a girl’s mind cannot help but wander a lá Christine Daae or, as they case may be, Elizabeth Swann . . .
Addendum: I left a few of my favorite bad boys off of the original list. I will add to my list as they come to mind.
Viggo Mortensen (especially in A Perfect Murder) Bill Clinton Han Solo Darth Vadar
Laura had her routine dental exam yesterday, during which the dentist explained to her the importance of brushing at least twice a day for two minutes each time. That night we had the following conversation just before bedtime:
Mom: “Laura, did you brush your teeth?”
Laura [with a heavy sigh]: “Yes. And I brushed for a full two minutes, which took about an hour, my mouth overflowed, and then I got toothpaste on my shirt.”
It annoys me to find out that we’ve run out of something altogether, particularly when it is something we needed at the store and I’d already been there that day. I prefer the courtesy of a heads up when we are running low. Yeah, sure, I can see for myself when supplies of certain things are running low, but when it comes to items that I don’t consume or use, then it is up to the consumer or user of said items to let me know that said supplies are running low so that I can buy said supplies during routine shopping trips before supplies are exhausted rather than making special procurement excursions after supplies are exhausted. Breathe. Am I sounding, uh, uptight? Maybe. Ugh. Denial. Fine. But I’m uptight about running errands that I wouldn’t have had to run if someone had told me that someone’s supplies were running low before someone ran out of those supplies entirely. Did I mention that before? Okay. Yeah. Uptight.
You see, while I mostly bask in the pleasure of the many benefits that come along with being a SAHM, having momentary misgivings over having traded a career in law for the tedium of running errands (which tend to be part and parcel to a SAHM career) is one thing – but extra mind-numbing errands because someone couldn’t bother to communicate the status of a supply in need of replenishing? Bah. Phooey. Breathe. But still. I know from going to therapy and also from reading Eat, Pray, Love that Being Uptight isn’t the Ideal State of Being. What to do?
I devised a plan. A simple plan. And it only took me twelve years of marriage to come up with it. How about a shopping list? A novel concept, I know. Here’s how it works: If someone needs a supply, then that someone will add that supply to the list. If the needed supply is on the list, then I will pick it up the very next time I go to the store. If the needed supply was not on the list, then it will have to wait until the next time I go to the store, or the person who consumed or used the item without putting it on the list may make the special procurement excursion if that person so chooses. The plan is working pretty well. So, before I went to the market today, I looked at the list to see if Tom needed anything, which is when I noticed that Laura has decided to see if it will work for her too:
As I have said before, Laura constantly peppers me with questions, and if I don't know the answer to one off the top of my head, then she will insist that I Google it. Today, Laura was filled with questions about Tutankhamun, and when the well of my brain ran dry, I became desperate and told her that I thought that I might be able to find a video on YouTube that would tell her everything she'd need to know about King Tut. I found what I was looking for, and the questions about the boy pharaoh gave way to this question: "Can I watch it again?"
5:15 PM: Eat delicious sushi dinner at old favorite West LA joint.
6:30 PM: Drive back to hotel.
6:55 PM: Stop for a scoop of the best gelato in LA.
7:15 PM: Take bubble bath with Laura.
7:16 PM: Eat gelato in bathtub.
7:45 PM: Check email. Browse a few blogs.
7:59 PM: Tune in to Survivor on big-ass plasma screen TV in hotel room.
8 – 11 PM: Watch Survivor on big-ass plasma screen TV in hotel room while intermittently dozing.
11:01 PM: Feel content that scheming-but-honest-about-it Todd won the $1,000,000; hope that Courtney will use some of her $100,000 for therapy; feel glad that James also got $100,000 because his only mistake was trusting others and trusting others is a good thing; be pleased that Mark Burnett gave Denise $50,000 because he could and because she got a raw deal in the end; mark February 7, 2008 on mental calendar.
The season finale of Survivor: China is tonight. Survivor is in its 15th season and Tom and I have watched each and every episode of each and every season. We even stuck it out during the seasons in Africa and Australia, which were woefully lacking in what proved to be the ratings-dependent combination of beautiful people in a beautiful location. It hasn’t always been easy catching each and every episode, particularly during the days before we had a DVR. We had to go to great lengths – such as putting a blank tape into a VCR -- to make sure we didn’t miss an episode lest we’d have to inadvertently find out secondhand who was voted out at the last tribal council. A case in point was the very first season finale, which aired the same week as our annual family vacation at Bruin Woods. Although we could have loaded up the VCR, the chances that we’d inadvertently read it in the newspaper or that some well-meaning (read: big-mouthed) fellow Bruin would mention the name of the winning survivor before we’d gotten home to watch it for ourselves was too great a risk for us to take.
It was down to the final four: Richard Hatch, Kelly Wiglesworth, Rudy Boesch, and Sue Hawk. Then Sue went to the jury, from which in the final episode she delivered her now infamous “Rats and Snakes” speech. Rudy was the next to go and despite his self-admitted homophobia, it was a shame to see him lose the immunity challenge that might have won him the game because this tough old dude was, if nothing else, someone who shot from the hip – refreshing in an atmosphere of rats and snakes. Also, if I’m remembering correctly, no one in Rudy’s age bracket has ever survived long enough to make the final three since. Then it was down to Kelly and Richard. Richard was also known as Fat Naked Guy because, you guessed it, he preferred traipsing around in the buff and surely this may have been a factor in his win because who could concentrate on the game when distracted by persistent thoughts of “Eeeeewwww?” In the end, Richard was voted Sole Survivor by a narrow margin. The jury of his peers thought he had played a cunning game, and barely a majority of them rewarded him for it. Richard was in fact quite the bullshit artist and he also pioneered the concept of the voting alliance in this game, which was not revealed until the end, although now alliances are disclosed to viewers as part of the show’s intrigue. Richard “allegedly” also got devious with the income taxes owed on his $1,000,000 prize and is now more-than-allegedly serving a 51-month sentence in federal prison for tax evasion, but that’s neither here nor there, except that Rudy would have paid the taxes and I liked him better.
There are no televisions in the cabins (or “condolets” as they are called) at Bruin Woods, so I had to hatch a plot of my own in order for Tom and me to watch Survivor on the night it aired, thus avoiding an inadvertent spoiler. As the seed of an idea began to germinate in my gray matter, I learned that our long-time Bruin Woods pals Keith and Jane were also hooked on Survivor, as were our other long-time Bruin Woods pals Jeff and Andrea. At dinner one evening early in the week, I revealed my secret plan – that I wanted to rent a room at the nearby Lake Arrowhead Resort for a couple of hours during the time that the final episode would be aired. No one laughed at me. In fact, everyone liked my idea and agreed to go in on the cost of the room. We had an alliance! Now imagine being the person working in hotel reservations on the day that I called. “Yes, I’d like to rent a room for six adults, but we only need it for about two hours starting at 8 PM.” Uh huh. Realizing how that might have sounded, I hastily added, “We won’t even mess up the linens. Well, we might be on the beds, but we won’t be in the beds. How much would the room cost for two hours?” Yeah, that was convincing of our innocent intentions, not.
Whatever the reservations person might have been thinking, we nonetheless had our room at the AAA rate for the night, even though we’d only be there for the duration of the final episode. On the night of the show, the six of us gathered supplies for our Survivor Season Finale Soiree, wine, beer, soda, Doritos, nuts, popcorn, and candy, and headed over to the Lake Arrowhead Resort. Now imagine the sight we six must have been when we checked in at the front desk, six adults, for two hours, with no luggage. “Hi, we’re here to check in. Yes, all six of us. We have a reservation. No, we won’t need extra towels. We’ll only be here for a couple of hours.” Oy vey. I felt compelled to explain why we were there – back then I worried about other people’s opinions of me, something therapy has helped me with in the years since. But when I did explain, the front-desk clerk broke out in a broad smile and said she understood completely and was recording Survivor to watch when she got home. So the six of us checked into our hotel room, broke out the Doritos and beverages, and settled ourselves in to watch that season finale in the comfort of our hotel room. And two hours later, when we all came tumbling out of the room, fully clothed in the same outfits we wore in, and with the bed linens fully intact, that darling front-desk clerk refunded the entire cost of the room saying it was the least that a fellow Survivor fan could do.
This weekend we are out of town celebrating our wedding anniversary, and the DVR at home is all set to record tonight’s finale. Although we will be bummed if we find out who won before we get home to watch it, tonight is our actual anniversary and we have dinner reservations at a pretty awesome restaurant. So, in an effort not to encounter a potential spoiler before we get home tomorrow, after dinner tonight I will not be checking my emails, looking at a newspaper, watching television, or surfing the Internet, until we get home. We have opted not to hole up in our hotel room just to watch the season finale, even though we have a rather nice, large plasma television set in here. Hmmmm. On second thought, there’s always room service . . .
When Laura was born I asked my friend Pam (who is a 2008 Grammy nominee) to be Laura’s godmother. According to Wikipedia, godparents were traditionally considered to be responsible for ensuring that the child's religious education was carried out. But Pam’s standing membership in The God Squad is not the only reason I chose her to be Laura’s godmother. I chose Pam because she’s good, kind, strong, soft, beautiful, smart, fun, energetic, powerful, and just imperfect enough to be able to pass herself off as a human. She nicknamed my child Laura Adora. She was the first person outside of the immediate family to come to the hospital to hold Laura right after she was born (at around 1:30 AM). And she rarely returns from a vacation that she doesn’t bring back a souvenir or trinket for her godchild. Oh, and Pam sings like an angel, a sultry angel – did I mention the Grammy nomination yet?
Pam sings like an angel, yes, but she also is one. There are angels who walk among us here on Earth, I have long been convinced of it. And if you stop to think about it for just a moment, I know you’ll agree. Sometimes they look like a Kindergarten teacher. Sometimes they look like a nurse. Sometimes they look like a best friend. Angels on Earth are packaged cleverly, but you usually don’t have to look very deep to see the halo and wings. As it happens, angels have wings and so too do fairy godmothers. According to Wikipedia, a fairy godmother is a fairy with magical powers who takes the role that an actual godparent is expected to play. See how this works? Godmother + Angel = Fairy Godmother. In Laura’s case her fairy godmother has a Grammy nomination, in case I haven’t mentioned that.
So what did Laura’s fairy godmother do to deserve a post all her own (besides being a Grammy-nominated fairy godmother)? Well, in addition to the Grammy nomination, she got this for Laura from Hannah Montana’s dad (Hannah Montana’s dad was known in another incarnation as Billy Ray Cyrus):
How cool is that? And since I keep hinting about a certain Grammy nomination, I will take this opportunity to stop patting myself on the back (returning my right hand to the keyboard will make the typing go much faster) for foreseeing the greatness in the Chickens CD, for which Laura’s fairy godmother (Pam is BB) and her partner Buck Howdy received a Grammy nomination. (Did you catch how I twice fit “Grammy nomination” into the last sentence?) Waaaaaayyyyy back here, I told Blog This Mom! readers to go and get a copy of Chickens. I said it was a great album – AND I WAS RIGHT! There I go patting myself on the back again. My arm is starting to get all achy breaky. Chickens received a 2008 Grammy nomination for Best Musical Album for Children. That’s what I’m talkin’ about. You can read about it here. You can get Chickens on iTunes, Amazon, or CD Baby.
Don’t you think Laura’s fairy godmother would look simply enchanting holding one of these: